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Game Night Sidestories 03: Celestia Game Night Sidestories

By twilightgamenight
Created: 18th December 2020 10:26:52 PM

  1. >“Ra-ra-ra-rarararity!
  2. >The word drags out as the pink pony runs the length of the hall, trailing the sound behind her like a banner.
  3. >At the intersection ahead, the unicorn stops moving with a hidden frown that is gone by the time she swings her head around to face her friend.
  4. >”*Yeeesss,* darling?” she answers with all the fake enthusiasm she can muster. “Is there something I can help you with?”
  5. >”Maybe!” her pursuer calls out, closing the distance before the word is even out of her mouth.
  6. >And then lengthening the distance again as she accidentally overshoots her target.
  7. >One of Rarity’s eyeroll later, and Pinkie Pie has already trotted back to her friend.
  8. >”Well, what *is* it, Pinkie Pie. I *do* have places to be, you know.”
  9. >”Uh, yeah, I kinda know that, silly!” the earth mare titters into her hoof. “I just wanna know *where* you keep running off to!”
  10. >”Oh, darling…” Rarity returns the laugh, “… do you *really* want me to ruin the surprise?”
  11. >That gets her attention, sure enough.
  12. >Absurdly large blue eyes grow even larger.
  13. >”I LOVE SURPRISES!”
  14. >”I *know*,” the unicorn smiles in satisfaction. “Now *that* is settled –“
  15. >”BUT I ALSO WANT TO KNOW WHAT COULD BE BETTER THAN HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS AND PLAYING - !”
  16. >”Volume!”
  17. >”Oh, right, sorry,” Ponks giggles guiltily. “So anyway, what could possibly be better than hanging out with us at the –“
  18. >”Absolutely *nothing*, Pinkie Pie,” Rarity answers with a smile – earnest or not, she cares about her friends. “But some things are a *necessity*.”
  19. >The earth pony’s eyes cross in confusion and her head flops to one side.
  20. >”Liiiiiike…?” she drones. “Uh… Parties!?”
  21. >”Like *finishing* my costume for the final day of Cantercon, darling.”
  22. >”But… you said you were already finished with e-everything!” Ponka pouts.
  23. >It wasn’t a Pinkie Promise, but the lie still hurts.
  24. >”And I *was*,” Rarity answers with a happy sigh, “but I recently was introduced to somepony with a *very* special talent, and –“
  25. >She pauses, grinning slightly at her own mistake – she’d nearly let the surprise out.
  26. >”Let us just say I need to lengthen some of the straps to accommodate a larger barrel, but I am almost out of my *special* leather.”
  27. >”Oh?” the party pony peeps. “Is *somepony* else going to wear your costume?”
  28. >”Not quite,” the unicorn teases. “Now, if you could please, stop asking questions so you do not ruin the surprise.”
  29. >Ponks nods reluctantly, but without too much delay.
  30. >With a happy smile, Rarity resumes trotting away, only this time she has a pink shadow trailing along with her.
  31. >”Also,” she says flatly, “stop following me.”
  32. >”Ooooooh.”
  33. >Rarity experimentally takes a few more steps, but Pinkie doesn’t follow.
  34. >In fact, she sits down.
  35. >Right there in the hallway.
  36. >Staring expectantly at her friend, like she somehow – against all odds – expects Rarity to change her mind.
  37. >”Oh, darling,” Rarity sighs. “Truly, you would *not* find this entertaining. Not compared to… *whatever* it is you were going to play.”
  38. >She sighs again.
  39. >”What *were* you going to play?” she asks after long seconds of silence.
  40. >”I don’t know,” her friend answers bluntly. “We haven’t started yet, silly!”
  41. >Another sigh from the unicorn.
  42. >”I will try - *TRY* - to get it wrapped up as soon as I can.”
  43. >”Yay!” Ponks cheers, clopping her forehooves together excitedly. “We’ll be in the – “
  44. >”Oh, don’t bother to tell me,” Rarity cuts her off with a shake of her head. “If - *if* I finish early and make it back –“
  45. >”Just listen for the kazoo!”
  46. >Rarity blinks at the earth mare.
  47. >”I should *not* be surprised, and yet, *somehow*…”
  48. >She waves a hoof towards Ponks.
  49. >”Very well,” the unicorn concedes. “I shall listen for a –“
  50. >The shrill hum of Ponka’s suddenly-appearing instrument brings a smile to her friend’s face.
  51. >”Yes, exactly,” Rarity nods. “That.”
  52.  
  53. *****
  54.  
  55. >”Trixie is *still* avoiding Fluttershy?”
  56. >The princess is an idiot.
  57. >As if the Great and Powerful Trixie could ever be *that* pathetic.
  58. >She is just unused to such soft beds – the firm and NOT HARD AT ALL sofa offers *much* better support for her back.
  59. “Either that or she got locked out.”
  60. >Foolish human.
  61. >Such a thing is unthinkable!
  62. >Trixie is greeted with open doors and arms wherever she goes. All know of unmatched talent and wish to be her friend.
  63. “Leave it, Twi. We can take care of them later.”
  64. >Wise.
  65. >One does not interrupt Trixie’s sleep!
  66. >And yet, one does, digging through her saddlebags loudly.
  67. >The sound brings her to the edge of wakefulness, just enough for her dream-addled mind to hear a voice.
  68. >Hear and comprehend, in a fashion.
  69. “Just getting my wallet, Trix.”
  70. >The mare doesn’t truly understand the words – she’s still too deeply asleep for that – but she *does* recognize the voice and the tone.
  71. >Whatever is happening, it’s not a danger to her.
  72. >She lets herself fall back into a deep slumber.
  73. >Though there’s not really any escaping it.
  74. >It’s been far too long since she has had a decent night’s sleep.
  75. >All the effort making her costumes – and assisting Fluttershy with little touches the pegasus couldn’t manage on her own – kept her busy this past week, with little time to rest.
  76. >At the time, she entertained the fantasy that CanterCon would somehow be more relaxed than the week spent in preparation.
  77. >She knew it was a lie.
  78. >That’s what fantasies are – pleasant little lies you tell yourself to get you through the day.
  79. >They’re about all she had to keep her going.
  80. >Now, she’s not sure *what* motivates her to put one hoof in front of the other and keep moving forward.
  81. >All her fantasies are ash.
  82. >Ponies recognize her – adoring fans from other cities, but this isn’t the place for her – but nopony is interested in a magic show now.
  83. >Nopony here needs one of her shows to distract from their dull, boring lives.
  84. >Nopony needs her at all, though some may think they do.
  85. >Her fellow players didn’t really need her to make their characters.
  86. >The campaign has been a cakewalk so far; perhaps with suboptimal builds it might have had a chance of being somewhat challenging.
  87. >Her friends don’t need her to paint their models – they’re just pitying her and she knows it.
  88. >And while she feels grateful on some level, she can’t help but be infuriated.
  89. >At them, for pitying her.
  90. >At herself, for being so pathetic.
  91. >At being so very pathetic that she plays along.
  92. >Fluttershy doesn’t need her, not truly.
  93. >She just needs *somepony* that she can pretend to care about.
  94. >It’s what she does.
  95. >Rescue hurt and lost animals and care for them.
  96. >Until she gets bored of them.
  97. >When they don’t *need* her any longer, when she can’t fawn over them and feel good about herself, then she “lets” them go free.
  98. >It wouldn’t have been long before the pegasus moved on from Trixie.
  99. >It couldn’t have been.
  100. >The mare twitches angrily in her sleep, hooves kicking out and knocking over her bags.
  101. >Boxes of miniatures tumble across the ground, but the sound doesn’t wake her.
  102. >She continues to fidget, rolling over first one way then the other.
  103. >The red and white costume Rarity had lent her falls to the ground on the fourth turn, leaving Trixie shivering in the chilly early morning air.
  104. >That is too much for one of the guardsponies stationed at the end of the hall. The soft whimpering of the mare had caught his attention earlier, and after a nod from his partner he briefly abandons his post. He doesn’t exactly feel sorry for her, but he knows one of the princesses’ guests is uncomfortable.
  105. >He’s gone just long enough to cover up again with the robes, and then he’s right back to his place under the archway.
  106. >When she kicks it off again, he does nothing – there’s only so much a stallion can do to help somepony who doesn’t *want* to be helped.
  107. >And she’s clearly punishing herself for something.
  108. >He doesn’t know what, and a part of him is curious, but it’s not his place to ask.
  109. >That’s day one of Royal Guard Academy Training.
  110. >”You *will* see some weird shit,” the drill instructor had told him. “Just ignore it, stand there, hold your spear up and you might just get a chance to retire.”
  111. >Still, it tugs at him.
  112. >His partner, on the other hand, is only two days from retirement.
  113. >Nothing short of an enemy attack could get him to budge now.
  114. >With an annoyed sigh, he turns away to leave Trixie to her dreams.
  115. >And dream she does, though it’s nothing more than vague, ominous memories that remind her how worthless she is.
  116. >If Trixie was a more important pony, if others actually cared about her, perhaps Princess Luna would visit her dreams to comfort her.
  117. >That brief flash of dream-born insight digs at her, reminding her just how much she hates this world. The princess of the night has time for everypony else, but not Trixie.
  118. >It never occurs to her that Luna might be busy elsewhere, or even deep asleep herself after a long night of watching anime with her sister with her own equally vague and disturbing dreams.
  119. >That last part probably wouldn’t occur to *anypony*, though, so Trixie can be forgiven for overlooking it.
  120. >Not that she would let anypony forgive her for that – she doesn’t *need* their forgiveness! Not for anything! Trixie has done nothing wrong; everything that has happened is somepony else’s fault.
  121. >And perhaps that is actually true – it *is* everypony else’s fault.
  122. >For putting up with her.
  123. >She flails about in her half-awake state, almost falling from the sofa.
  124. >The only thing that saves her from the tumble is the sound of a door being unlatched.
  125. >Instinctively – even in her sleep – the unexpected sound makes her freeze, limbs askew.
  126. >Fluttershy’s delicate yawn is too soft to draw any further reaction from Trixie, leaving the mare with one leg sticking straight up in the air.
  127. >Even with sleep-blurred eyes, the pegasus notices it.
  128. >Eventually.
  129. >”Oh, Rainbow Dash…” she mutters disgustedly under her breath, “are you drunk *again*?”
  130. >As if she is one to talk, though she usually does manage to make it all the way home.
  131. >Usually with the help of others.
  132. >Being the kind one that other ponies actually like has some definite perks.
  133. >The question isn’t loud enough for anypony to hear, not even if they *had* been awake at the time.
  134. >Fluttersky tries to blink the drowsiness away without much success.
  135. >She had been up as late as everypony else, playing…
  136. >Well, she can’t quite remember exactly what it was she had been playing with Octavia.
  137. >On a completely unrelated note, her entire body is sore, which certainly doesn’t help with the memory.
  138. >Sorry.
  139. >She must have slept wrong.
  140. >Good thing Fluttershy woke up, because it would have been *really* bad if she had spent all night in that position.
  141. >She’ll crawl right back into bed as soon as she… um…
  142. >”Drat,” Fluttershy growls softly.
  143. >The pegasus can’t remember why she got up.
  144. >It can’t be for a glass of water, because she would have headed to the kitchenette, not out *here*.
  145. >Similarly, if she needed to go to the bathroom – and honestly, her body is too sore for her to actually tell right now – she wouldn’t have walked out into the hallway.
  146. >She’s not *that* tired.
  147. >Or crass.
  148. >She’s not *Rainbow Dash*.
  149. >Reminded of the sleeping pony, Fluttershy sighs.
  150. >She’s too tired and sore to drag her friend back to her bed, but she can at least give her a poke and point the speedster in the right direction.
  151. >”Um, Rainbow Dash?” the little yellow mare asks quietly, approaching the sitting area with all the stumbling grace of a zombie.
  152. >Because that’s basically what she is at this very moment, but with less brain-hunger and slightly – SLIGHTLY – better speech skills.
  153. >The upright leg disappears as the other mare tries to hide.
  154. >She’s still not actually awake, but she *is* aware enough to know somepony or some*thing* is approaching.
  155. >”Rainbow Da – Trixie!”
  156. >Anypony else, and the magician might be thankful to be awakened from the vague darkness of her dreams by the pegasus’ shout.
  157. >If only it was anypony else.
  158. >Perhaps if it *was* anypony else, Trixie would have slept through it.
  159. >But not Fluttershy.
  160. >Briefly, she considers pretending to still be asleep.
  161. >It’s the first thing to flit through her mind as she wakes, and like most such ideas, it seems reasonable enough.
  162. >Fluttershy is too timid to actually try to shake her awake.
  163. >But, as usual, the combination of drowsiness and shock lay a glamor of reason over a very unreasonable thought.
  164. >The pegasus won’t leave, Trixie realizes.
  165. >Even if she pretends to be asleep – even if she actually does fall back to sleep – Fluttershy won’t leave. She’ll stay there, waiting quietly for the unicorn to wake.
  166. >In the best case scenario, she might fall asleep soon in one of the chairs and give Trixie a chance to slink away, but that seems unlikely.
  167. >The unicorn has had far less sleep than the other mare.
  168. >She had to stay out much later to avoid bumping into Fluttershy when one or the other returned, and while she *tried* to nap on one of the convention center’s benches, the noise of the con was just too loud for even her.
  169. >And she is used to sleeping through carnivals and the like.
  170. >Perhaps it was just worry and fear and self-loathing that kept Trixie awake, but as far as she is concerned it was purely the noise.
  171. >No, trying to outlast the pegasus isn’t a realistic idea.
  172. >Neither is actually talking to her.
  173. >Trixie’s pride won’t let her apologize for shoving Fluttershy, not that she did anything wrong.
  174. >Nor was it wrong of her to avoid the pegasus. It’s quite reasonable for her to avoid spending time with a pony she despises.
  175. >None of this is *her* fault, but somehow Trixie’s heart fills with guilt when she hears one of the chairs creak softly as Fluttershy crawls into it.
  176. >”Trixie, are you awake?” the pegasus asks in her characteristic whisper. “Wouldn’t your bed be more comfortable?”
  177. >Not really.
  178. >There’s a reason Trixie crashed in Anon’s room yesterday.
  179. >If only she had gotten the timing right, but she had been so certain that Anon and Twilight had left already.
  180. >”You look cold,” the pegasus whines, followed by another creak of the chair. Hoofsteps tell the unicorn that the other mare is leaving – she can’t believe her luck. “Don’t worry, I’ll be right back with a blanket.”
  181. >She’s not worried – she’s overjoyed. As soon as Trixie hears the squeak of a door opening, her eyes snap open.
  182. >Hurriedly, she shoves everything back into her saddlebags - it’s difficult fitting so much back in so quickly, but it’s not the first situation where she’s had to pack everything she owns and escape on short notice.
  183. >Not even the first she’s had to do it because of these particular ponies.
  184. >At least her home isn’t a ruined mess this time.
  185. >Just… miles away.
  186. >Bags packed and slung over her back, Trixie pauses and looks towards the room she was to share with Fluttershy.
  187. >Her costume is in there.
  188. >The costume she was supposed to wear today, the one that would match everypony else’s.
  189. >She’ll have to come back for it.
  190. >Later.
  191. >Her luck won’t hold much longer.
  192. >She’s dashing past the bemused guards only seconds before Fluttershy nudges the door open again.
  193. >The pegasus doesn’t notice that the other mare is gone – she’s having a hard enough time struggling with the heaviest comforter she can find.
  194. >It seems to catch on everything, or find its way under her hooves. Might even be sentient, because it somehow winds up wrapping around her and sending her tumbling as she clears the doorway.
  195. >It would be embarrassing if anypony else were awake to watch.
  196. >Instead, it’s just frustrating.
  197. >The guardsponies that she doesn’t notice find it cute.
  198. >Fluttershy fights her way free of the comforter and grips it with her mouth, dragging it the rest of the way to the sofa.
  199. >The weight of it keeps her head bowed, so even as she approaches, she doesn’t realize that the other mare has fled.
  200. >It’s a shock, then, how she can manage to overlook the same box that Trixie had.
  201. >She stumbles over the box with a surprised squeak, tumbling forward into the side of a chair and knocking it over.
  202. >Not particularly painful, thanks to the thick padding of the arm, but enough to make her drop the comforter.
  203. >And somehow - *somehow* - as she slumps to the floor, the heavy comforter falls over her, pinning her to the ground like some kind of mixed martial artist wrestling boxer pone fu master rapist.
  204. >Fluttershy panics. She can’t help it, it’s what she does. That, and be too quiet for anypony to hear.
  205. >Her distressed screams are too soft to do her any good, not even taking into account how the comforter muffles them more effectively than a gag would.
  206. >She doesn’t know how much time passes – it could be hours, it could be days –
  207. >It was thirty, forty-five seconds. Tops.
  208. > – before an orange hoof pulls the cloth back and frees her.
  209. >”aaaaaaaaaa- oh. Thank you, Applejack,” Fluttershy stops mid-scream to thank her rescuer. “I was afraid I was going to die under there.”
  210. >”Ah somehow doubt that,” the farmer sighs, frowning down at the yellow mare. “Still, yer lucky Ah’m an early riser. Don’t matter how late Ah stay up, Ah just can’t stay in bed once the sun is up.”
  211. >”Oh, I *am* lucky!” Fluttershy stumbles to her hooves and points towards the long-empty sofa. “Would you possibly help me carry Trixie back to bed? I’m afraid she was just too tired to make it all the way to our room last night…”
  212. >AJ’s eyes flick towards the empty sofa. The motion continues smoothly into an eye roll and she sighs.
  213. >”Yeah, uh-huh,” she grunts, ignoring her friend’s happy smile. “An maybe she was just didn’ wanna wake you up, so that’s why she slept out here.”
  214. >”Oh, maybe!” Fluttershy answers excitedly. “I didn’t even think of that, but it’s very possible!”
  215. >AJ’s brow furrows – she’s used to being up early and tackling the days’ troubles head-on, but it’s still too early to deal with *this* shit.
  216. >”Dang it, girl, Ah wasn’t bein’ serious!” the farmer growls. “Just let ‘er go, Fluttershy. Head on back to bed. I’ll take care o’ this here blanket for you, seein’ as it gave you some trouble.”
  217. >”What? No, Trixie’s right… oh.”
  218. >Fluttershy actually looks at the sofa – all that remains of the magician is a crumpled red and white robe and the box of miniatures the pegasus had stumbled on. Her head slumps, chin almost to her chest.
  219. >”Just let her go,” AJ advises. “Yer startin’ to remind me of Anon and Twilight, and believe me, that ain’t a good thing.”
  220. >”Oh.”
  221. >The pegasus’ head sinks further until she practically has her nose pressed against the floor.
  222. >”Look, Ah understand how a mare can be after a long dry spell, but –“
  223. >”I just felt so sorry for her,” Fluttershy murmurs, though she doesn’t expect her friend to stop talking or even hear her.
  224. >But she does.
  225. >”An’ maybe that’s the problem, sugercube,” AJ sighs. “You shouldn’t go into a relationship just ‘cause you feel sorry for somepony. That never ends well.”
  226. >She reaches out and gently – for her – pats Fluttershy’s shoulder to comfort her.
  227. >It nearly knocks the little pegasus over.
  228. >”That’s not it,” the yellow mare objects as forcefully as she can – which is to say not at all and barely at a volume other ponies can understand. “I just thought she needed a friend.”
  229. >”Then why don’t you try just bein’ her friend, ‘cause right now… and sugarcube, Ah don’t mean no insult –“
  230. >Fluttershy nods once.
  231. >”Ah don’t mean no insult, but you’re comin’ on a lil’… uh… strong. Just let her go, an’ if she *wants* to be your friend, she’ll be back.”
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