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War and Slavery by Britanon

By SlavePonyGeneral
Created: 19th December 2020 02:47:52 AM

  1. [Copied from pastebin.com/psQ4gdXJ]
  2.  
  3. >The war had been waging for several years now
  4. >With it came all the horrors and atrocities on both sides
  5. >It had started shortly after the portals opened
  6. >Portals to the fantasy land of "Equestria" inhabited by brightly coloured talking ponies as well as mythical creatures such as dragons and griffons
  7. >Believing them to be a total pushover, various companies along with private militaries had gone through the portals, forced the ponies out of their homes and started harvesting their natural resources and setting up factories on their land
  8. >The Equestrians had struck back with a vengeance, and soon enough small skirmishes and land grabs had escalated into total war between the two worlds
  9. >Sure, humanity had a staggering numerical advantage as well as far more advanced technology and ordnance
  10. >But as they had soon found out, no materials on earth were resistant to magic
  11. >The stronger unicorns were able to conjure magic blasts that punched clean through tanks
  12. >Then the ponies began to reverse engineer human technology, creating their own vehicles and adapting bullets and bombs to use magic rather than gunpowder and explosives
  13. >Now both sides had mass conscription and desperate struggles waged as they had armies on either side of the portals
  14. >The war had dragged on to a stalemate with the front lines in a deadlock and each side unable to gain significant ground or get an advantage over the other
  15. >In order to keep up with the constant material demands brought about by the war, both sides had also resorted to slavery
  16. >Most factories were majority pony workers overseen by a few human bosses
  17. >Same in the mines and construction
  18. >There were also ponies kept as domestic slaves, primarily by rich families
  19. >Like most people your age, you had been conscripted into the army shortly after conscription was introduced
  20. >You had been fighting on the Equestrian front where some of the fiercest fighting had taken place
  21. >After only a few months of your deployment you were already one of the most experienced soldiers on the line, even though you still felt kinda green
  22. >The average life expectancy on the Equestrian front was not long at all
  23. >In your sixth month, you had been on a convoy sent to reinforce the Ponyville sector
  24. >Command was planning a large offensive and forces were being built up all along it
  25. >The town was nothing special in itself, however it provided direct line of sight on Canterlot- the nation's capital
  26. >Taking it would allow human forces to fire more accurately on it, try and bombard them into submission
  27. >Seeing this, the ponies had fortified the fuck out of the town, turning it into a giant fortress
  28. >There were extensive trench networks and bunkers going from the forests outside of town to within the town itself
  29. >The forest touching the town had been cut down to give a clear perimeter, effectively turning all the area surrounding the town into a killing zone once humans reached it
  30. >It was certain that taking Ponyville would cost horrendous casualties and was likely to be one of the bloodiest battles of the war so far
  31. >Thankfully though, you yourself never got to experience this battle
  32. >The convoy you had been on was ambushed and you were severely injured
  33. >You had been dismissed from the army since the extent of your injuries meant that you would never be fit to serve again
  34. >Your right leg had been blown off (now replaced with a prosthetic) and you had partial vision loss in your right eye
  35. >You remembered the events of the ambush vividly, the events permanently branded onto your mind
  36. >You had been peering through your binoculars out of the top hatch of your armoured transport watching the road ahead
  37. >You glimpsed a mint green unicorn stood in the road
  38. >She looked up at the convoy with a startled expression, then bolted into the bushes
  39. >You had been so focused on the bushes where she had disappeared that you forgot about the actual road itself
  40. >There was a deafening boom as the lead vehicle was disintegrated in a ball of flame as it hit an IED
  41. >Yours being the second vehicle came screeching to a halt as you were violently jerked about in the turret and a cacophony of small arms fire erupted from all around
  42. >Suddenly a rocket hit the side of your vehicle and a fiery plume erupted from inside of it
  43. >You could feel the heat on your lower body that was still inside, and immediately started pulling yourself out through the hatch
  44. >You noticed the rest of the crew that had survived the detonation trying to bail
  45. >A couple of them were on fire, flailing and screaming as they flung themselves from the wreck, their flesh being consumed by the flames
  46. >The ones that seemed relatively intact were immediately cut down by a hail of gunfire and magic blasts
  47. >As you began to drag yourself over the side of the vehicle you felt your right leg hit a snag
  48. >Your boot was stuck on something and you couldn't get it free
  49. >You began to panic as you were laid there completely exposed on the top of the vehicle whilst bullets pinged off all around
  50. >A flash of movement in the bushes next to your fiery wreck caught your eye
  51. >Looking down you saw the same mint green unicorn mare staring up at you
  52. >She looked panicked still, glancing left and right
  53. >You both knew that she was going to kill you
  54. >She had to
  55. >The mare squeezed her eyes shut as you saw the energy building up in her horn
  56. >The inaccuracy caused by her reluctance to bear witness to what she was about to do caused her shot to go stray
  57. >Rather than exploding your head like you expected the blast went higher, slicing clean through the leg that was caught in the turret
  58. >The rest of your body tumbled to the ground and you saw your leg limply dangling from where it was stuck
  59. >The final thing you saw was the mint green mare
  60. >She stared in horror at the severed leg, then at you, and then threw up and broke down crying
  61. >Then you blacked out
  62.  
  63. >That had been about six months ago
  64. >In that time you had been brought back to earth, fixed up, given a prosthetic leg and discharged from the army
  65. >Oh, and the Ponyville offensive had gone horribly, with journalists comparing it to the Battle of the Somme in 1916
  66. >Your house was in the countryside with only one neighbour relatively close to you
  67. >He was also a war vet like yourself, discharged for medical reasons
  68. >Severe PTSD after almost his entire platoon was wiped out in the Ponyville offensive
  69. >Poor guy lost everyone he knew
  70. >You checked in on him a few times a week to make sure he was coping, keep him company, clean his house
  71. >That sort of shit
  72. >As you were walking back to his house one day you heard a loud bang
  73. >You knew the sound clearly
  74. >Gunshot
  75. >You broke into a sprint but you already knew what had happened
  76. >Kicking the door open you braced yourself for what you were about to see
  77. >He had done it in the kitchen, sat at the table
  78. >His brains were sprayed across the back of the room, his head and neck leaning backwards over the chair
  79. >A cigarette was crushed into an ash tray with smoke still rising from it
  80. >You sat in the front room and called the police, trying not to look back into the kitchen
  81. >When they arrived they gave you a few questions about what had happened before they let you go
  82. >Once home you turned on the TV and tried to forget about it
  83. >The news was showing footage of fighters engaging a dragon over some city or another
  84. >As early evening came there was a knock at your door
  85. >Opening it, two officers greeted you with a rather blunt statement
  86. >"Since he had no next of kin, some of your neighbour's possessions will be left to you if you want them, including this:"
  87. >The two officers parted to reveal a short green mare with a matching green mane with a white stripe through it
  88. >You knew her
  89. >Time stood still as you both looked into each others' eyes
  90. >Your breath caught and your heart seemed to be beating a million times per minute
  91. >As you both stood and stared the officers silently left
  92. >One less problem for them to deal with
  93. >The pony began to tremble violently as tiny squeaks left her throat
  94. >"No....no....nononono..."
  95. >She shook her head spasmodically as tears began streaming down her face
  96. >"Y-you're dead, I k-k-killed you... YOU'RE DEAD!" she screamed as she crumpled to the floor and buried her face in her hooves unable to look at you
  97. >She was trembling like a leaf and wailing pathetically
  98. >You yourself were shaking slightly
  99. >This was the mare who had blown your leg off
  100. >She had tried to kill you
  101. >And apparently she had been living next door all this time
  102. >Yet looking at her now, all you felt was pity
  103. >It was evident just from glancing at her that she had been horrifically beaten and tortured, with the majority of her surface being bruises, welts, cuts and the odd burn mark
  104. >Furthermore she was emaciated and clearly starving
  105. >You wouldn't wish that on anyone, not even the pony who tried to kill you
  106. >Sighing, you picked her up and carried her inside
  107. >Her entire body tensed up harder than a rock at your touch but she didn't try to fight you
  108. >Be that from exhaustion, fear or resignation to her fate you didn't know, but you shut the door behind yourself and set her down on the couch
  109. >As soon as you put her down, the pony curled up as far away from you as she possibly could, wrapping her tail around herself
  110. >She was white as a ghost despite her fur being green, and her amber eyes conveyed absolute terror
  111. >"I-I killed you. I saw you die" was all she kept mumbling, more to herself than speaking to you
  112. "Hey, calm down. Can you tell me your name?"
  113. >The mare stopped mumbling as she tried to process your question
  114. >"L-L-L..." The pony stuttered
  115. >Then she threw up on the floor
  116. >It was only a small puddle, probably due to the fact that she hadn't eaten properly in a while
  117. >As soon as she finished retching she stared at it in disbelief, then screamed in terror and bolted down the hall
  118. >She ran straight into your bedroom, slamming the door behind her
  119. >You got up to follow her but doubted there was any comfort you could bring her since she seemed to be absolutely terrified of you
  120. >You paused at the door rather than barging in and you could hear heart rending sobs coming from the other side
  121. >No need to traumatise her further you decided
  122. >Better to leave her alone until she calmed down
  123. >You decided to make her some food though since she was obviously starving
  124. >Rationing was in full effect, but thankfully ponies were vegetarian and you grew a lot of your own produce
  125. >You decided to keep it simple and mashed up some potatoes with boiled vegetables and a tall glass of water
  126. >Even cut her a slice of some home made cake
  127. >Approaching the door you could still hear sniffles coming from the other side, though not as bad as earlier
  128. >As quickly and quietly as you could you cracked the door open and slipped her meal inside, then shut it again
  129. "Some food if you're hungry"
  130. >You called out gently
  131. "Water too, just leave it outside when you're done"
  132. >With that, you went back to the living room to clean up her mess
  133. >Your mind was racing as you scrubbed
  134. >Right now in your bedroom was the pony who had blown your leg off in an attempt to kill you
  135. >So many memories of your time on the front came flooding back
  136. >All the pain and hardships you had suffered
  137. >You didn't blame her for it though
  138. >It's just war, kill or be killed
  139. >Can't hold a grudge against her for doing her duty and defending her world
  140. >You would have done the same
  141. >If anything you felt worse for her than you ever did for yourself
  142. >You didn't even know your neighbour had a pony slave, so evidently she had been locked up or out of sight most of the time
  143. >She had been captured, tortured and starved
  144. >At least you had been allowed to recover when you were brought off the front
  145. >She just went from one hell straight into another
  146. >After you finished cleaning, you decided to just go straight to bed
  147. >Your mind was too busy to get anything productive done, but you knew that you weren't going to get much sleep
  148. >You went to grab some spare blankets from the closet, and noticed that the pony had deposited her dirty plates and cutlery outside the door
  149. >You carried them back to the kitchen and gave them a quick clean before you bedded down on the couch for the night
  150. >For hours you laid in the darkness wide awake
  151. >You could hear the perpetual rumble in the distance of cities being bombed
  152. >Your home wasn't at risk since it was in the middle of nowhere, but on your occasional run into the city you had witnessed the devastation first hand
  153. >Rubble everywhere blocking the roads and all the windows shattered
  154. >Homeless people caked in dust sitting on pavements with those blank stares
  155. >And the bodies of those caught in the blasts lined up under tarpaulins
  156. >Several times throughout the night you heard the pony screaming
  157. >She obviously suffered from night terrors and you could hear her thrashing and screaming her lungs out
  158. >It took all of your strength not to wake her up and comfort her, but you knew it would do more harm than good
  159. >Her screams and wails chilled you to the bone and prevented any thoughts of sleep
  160. >Usually you just felt numb seeing all of the victims, be they injured or suffering from psychological damage
  161. >Even with your own neighbour, you just tried not to think about it too much or it wore away at your own mind
  162. >The fact that it was now a pony you could hear screaming made you think though
  163. >It was humanising in a way, made you appreciate more that they are people too rather than them just being "the enemy"
  164. >She probably had a family back in Equestria that she had left behind
  165. >Lost friends and loved ones in the fighting and bombing
  166. >Experienced the same hardships on the front that you did
  167. >Its not like they were feral animals
  168. >You sighed as you relaxed into the darkness
  169.  
  170. Be Lyra
  171. >You had gone from the frying pan, into the fire and now straight into the furnace of Tartarus itself
  172. >Your old master had been brutal, that's for sure
  173. >You had been broken by constant torture and rape until you thought life couldn't get any worse and you were going to die
  174. >Then he shot himself, and you were taken straight to.... him
  175. >The one you had shot, who you were certain you had killed
  176. >You had nightmares about him every time you were allowed to sleep
  177. >And now he was here in the flesh to haunt you
  178. >He was going to punish you with a fury so bloodthirsty and vengeful your old master would be like a cuddly teddy bear
  179. >To make matters worse, the first thing you had done was throw up on his carpet
  180. >You could already feel the whip flaying your skin as you imagined the wrath he was going to bring down upon you
  181. >Consumed by fear you had fled to the furthest room you could find, a bedroom, and hidden under the bed
  182. >You knew running was futile, that it would make your punishment even worse, but your body had taken on a mind of its own
  183. >You had read about slaves who ran away having their front legs cut off, or their hooves so badly crushed that attempting to walk on them was agony and knew that a similar punishment was in store
  184. >Then the strangest thing had happened
  185. >The door cracked open and as you lay there paralysed with fear, the human had set a plate of food down on the floor and simply left, saying something that you didn't really hear
  186. >It was a test
  187. >He was trying to bait you out so he could punish you
  188. >Bad slaves didn't get food, nevermind such a generous helping as this
  189. >This was a human sized portion
  190. >You waited a few more minutes, your gaze fixed on the steaming plate of food
  191. >Your stomach gave a violent grumble making you curl up in pain
  192. >Eventually the need for food became strong enough to overpower the fear of punishment
  193. >The punishment was inevitable, you might as well take it on a full stomach
  194. >In a flash you had snatched the plate and glass and devoured the contents before your master could come and catch you in the act and part you with the rest of your meal
  195. >Once you had finished and no one had burst in to beat you, your confusion grew
  196. >Your ears twitched listening for movement, but you heard none
  197. >As quietly as you could you crept out from under the bed, pushed the door open and slipped the plates out through the crack, then quickly closed it again and darted back under the bed
  198. >You stayed there for what felt like hours on edge, waiting for him to come
  199. >The bruises all over your legs ached from laying on the floor, but you didn't dare leave the safety of the bed
  200. >Eventually though your body gave out
  201. >It had been a long, stressful and confusing day and you could no longer cope
  202. >You fell into a fitful sleep of nightmares and terrors
  203.  
  204. Be Anon again
  205. >You could hear birds chirping and sunlight peeking through the cracks in the curtains
  206. >Must be morning already
  207. >It was 7am so you decided to get your ass up
  208. >Heading to the kitchen you fried some eggs, slapped them on toast and made some baked beans
  209. >You could have gone for the full monty but you weren't that hungry and didn't want to waste food in times like these
  210. >You made another portion for your guest/slave once you had eaten and carried it to your room
  211. >Again you pushed your door open a crack and set the food down for her, then left
  212. >Not even five minutes later you heard the door open again as the dirty crockery was left outside
  213. >You cleaned it in the sink before heading back to your room
  214. >Time to try and talk to her
  215. >You knocked on the door and immediately heard shuffling from inside the room
  216. "Hey, mind if I come in?"
  217. >She gave no response so you entered anyways
  218. >It took a second to spot her until you glimpsed her huddled underneath the bed
  219. >Her wide, terrified eyes stared up at you as she shivered
  220. >You decided to play it safe, not wanting to scare her further, so you stayed at the opposite end of the room
  221. "Mind if we talk for a bit?"
  222. >Again. no response
  223. "Alright I'll take that as a 'yes'. So, what's your name?"
  224. >It took a few seconds for her to work her mouth, but finally she managed to squeak out a few words
  225. >"P-private Heartstrings, service number..."
  226. >You cut her off
  227. "Come on, I meant your real name"
  228. >She looked startled and quickly corrected herself
  229. >"L-L-Lyra. Lyra Heartstrings, master"
  230. >Guess she had been conditioned into calling people master
  231. "Alright Lyra, that's a beautiful name. I'm Anon, and you don't need to call me master"
  232. >She looked at you dumbly, but didn't dare speak
  233. "So, let's address the elephant in the room shall we"
  234. >She looked around startled, which would have made you laugh if it weren't for what you were about to say
  235. "You shot my leg off"
  236. >It wasn't an accusation, just a statement, and something that needed addressing and putting to rest before you could both move on
  237. >Immediately all of the colour drained from her face and she started crying
  238. >"I'm sorry I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry" She started rambling
  239. >She threw herself to your feet bawling and begging
  240. >"Please don't kill meeeeee!"
  241. >She wailed into your feet, clutching your ankles before realising that one of them was not made out of flesh and bone
  242. >She recoiled and covered her face with her hooves
  243. >"I didn't want to do it, I had to, I had no choice..." She rambled
  244. >You knelt down to her level and hushed her quietly
  245. >She looked up at you with large, tear filled amber eyes as she spoke softly
  246. >"I know you hate me and you want your payback but please don't k-kill me. You can beat me and use me but I don't want to die. Please master" She begged
  247. >Sure you had taken lives before but that was just war, it wasn't as if you wanted to kill them or took any pleasure from it
  248. >And you had never had a pony at your feet begging for her life
  249. >You stared at her in stunned silence, not really knowing how to respond
  250. >Taking your silence as refusal, Lyra began to cry much harder
  251. >"Please make it quick then" She begged as she pressed her face into the carpet
  252. >You thought you could feel your heart physically break as you looked at her
  253. >Your voice trembled as you finally managed to speak
  254. "I-I'm not going to kill you Lyra. Please stop begging, I'm not going to kill you"
  255. >You couldn't bare to hear another creature begging for their life at your feet
  256. >Memories of the front flashed across your mind
  257. >The nights where you could hear the wounded and dying still laying in the battlefield calling for help, for God, for their mothers
  258. >It felt like a weight upon your soul
  259. >Finally her grovelling stopped and became sniffling
  260. >"Th- thank you master. I'm so sorry I..."
  261. "Please don't be sorry. Not for me. It's just one of those things that happens in war, I don't blame you. No hard feelings right?"
  262. >You said with a small smile
  263. >She looked at you in utter disbelief
  264. >"B-but I killed you... your leg" She muttered
  265. "Like I said, shit happens. And I'm not dead so quit saying you killed me"
  266. >She looked at you as if she didn't believe you, but chose not to argue further
  267. >"I see your face every time I close my eyes. In my nightmares I see you falling from that burning vehicle as I kill you" She said in that tiny voice as tears rolled down her cheeks
  268. >"The guilt I felt at taking another life... it never went away"
  269. >You reached out to touch her as she sobbed
  270. >She jerked away in fear but gradually relaxed as she allowed you to stroke her mane
  271. >You realised that it was greasy and filled with dirt, the white stripe in her mane being closer to a piss yellow now that you saw it up close
  272. "I'm sorry Lyra"
  273. >You found yourself apologising to her, though you didn't really know what for
  274. >Her trauma? The war? Her slavery and horrific abuse?
  275. >None of it was your fault but you still felt sorry for her
  276. "I wish this never happened to you"
  277. >You didn't know if she heard you or not she was crying that hard, but you continued to try and comfort her
  278. "And please don't feel bad about what you did to me"
  279. >You waited for her to calm down before you spoke again
  280. >You wanted to hold her but were still cautious, though you kept your hand on her mane
  281. "Come on Lyra"
  282. >You said as she stopped crying
  283. "Lets get you cleaned up"
  284. >You lead her to the bathroom in the hall
  285. >Sure your bedroom had an en-suite but this pony needed a thorough scrub down and soak in the bath
  286. >You started to fill the tub as Lyra stood there awkwardly
  287. >She seemed to be constantly on edge, afraid to touch anything
  288. >You showed her where everything was- soap, towels, shampoo etc
  289. >She nodded obediently but didn't seem to be taking in any of the information
  290. >Oh well, you were sure she'd be able to figure it out, it was just a bath after all
  291. >You shut off the tap as the tub was just over half full
  292. "Alrighty, I'll leave you to it then"
  293. >You closed the door behind you and left to go do... stuff
  294. >Yeah you didn't do much in your free time
  295. >Mostly just watched the news, looked after your neighbour and had the odd walk into the city
  296. >You used to play a lot of computer games before your conscription but that mostly depressed you now that your old gaming buddies were either deployed or dead
  297. >You resorted to pacing around your house in your boredom, just waiting for Lyra to finish in the bath
  298.  
  299. Be Lyra (Non Greentext speech is still Anon)
  300. >You had woken up to a fresh cooked breakfast placed inside the door
  301. >Another full meal that you had done nothing to earn
  302. >Every sense you had screamed that it was a trap, but like last night you quickly snatched it and wolfed it down
  303. >Again there was no negative repercussion for your actions and you were able to place the plates outside of the door and retreat under the bed before your master came back
  304. >When he returned he finally entered the room, said he wanted to "talk" to you
  305. >You knew that punishment was finally upon you
  306. >But true enough to his word he had stood at a distance and simply spoke to you
  307. >Even complemented your name
  308. >But then he had brought up the fact that you had dismembered him
  309. >You knew it was too good to be true
  310. >He had lulled you into a false sense of security just to make breaking, torturing and killing you all the more painful
  311. >Nothing to do now but beg for your life since torture was inevitable
  312. >He stood in silence as you begged, no doubt judging you and sneering at how weak and pathetic you were
  313. >Oh Celestia he was gonna kill you, and you could bet it would be slow and painful
  314. >How did your life come to this?
  315. "I'm not going to kill you Lyra"
  316. >His words carved through your reality like a knife
  317. >He... wasn't going to kill you?
  318. "And please don't be sorry, not for me."
  319. >How could you not be sorry? You had taken his limb
  320. >You poured your heart out to your master, confessing your remorse
  321. >The nightmares and hallucinations of him that ate at your mind, preventing any real sleep in the short times that you were allowed it
  322. >Most nights your old master would wake you up with a boot to the stomach for screaming him awake and kick the shit out of you until he decided to go back to bed
  323. >You felt a hand touch your mane and jerked away, expecting to be hit
  324. >But instead the hand began to gently caress and stroke you
  325. >It was strangely relaxing, and you began to gradually calm under its careful touch
  326. "Come on Lyra, lets get you cleaned up"
  327. >Your master spoke softly and gently
  328. >Not like every other human who had only shouted and spoken cruelly
  329. >You followed him to the bathroom and watched as he pointed various things out
  330. >He was speaking, but your mind was elsewhere
  331. >You had rarely been cleaned since you were captured and taken to this world, and even then it was freezing water from a hose to get the outer layer of dirt off and 'pretty you up' so that you could be used
  332. >So he wanted you to be that sort of slave
  333. >You hung your head in shame as your master left the room and you climbed up into the bath
  334. >At least it was better than being beaten constantly, but maybe that was yet to come
  335. >You stared into the water, seeing the ribbons of black, brown and crimson seeping from your fur as the dirt soaked out
  336. >You looked at your body, only now fully realising how filthy, ragged and starved you looked
  337. >You looked abhorrent, there were corpses on the battlefields prettier than you
  338. >No wonder your master wouldn't fuck you yet
  339. >Tears began to drip as you stared down at yourself, consumed by self loathing and pity
  340. >And soon enough you were sobbing as the water you were slumped in turned a murky brown
  341.  
  342. >Whilst pacing your house you happened to walk past the bathroom where Lyra was bathing
  343. >You heard the sound of... sobbing coming from inside
  344. >Cautiously you entered the room, not like she would be indecent since ponies don't wear clothes
  345. >Stepping inside you saw her slumped over in the bath
  346. >She was startled by your entrance and rushed to gain her composure and look like she was trying to clean herself
  347. >"S-sorry master! I know I'm taking too long"
  348. >You crouched down next to the tub, noting that the water was already a brownish colour
  349. "I heard you crying. What's wrong?"
  350. >It's nothing master, I'm sorry. Please don't hit me!"
  351. >You weren't about to hit her, didn't know why you would, but you pressed your question
  352. "Come on, what's up? You can tell me"
  353. >She looked away from you and sniffled, scrunching her muzzle up
  354. >"I- I'm a complete mess" She started
  355. >"I'm filthy and bruised and all my cuts are infected. I can't even look at myself"
  356. "Aww shit, let me take a look at you"
  357. >Guess you were gonna have to bathe her after all
  358. >First thing's first, you needed to refill the tub with clean water
  359. >You lifted her out and draped a towel over her to keep her warm
  360. >As the bath refilled you started looking through the medicine cabinet
  361. >You found some bandages, antiseptic and a razor
  362. >Some of the cuts you would have to shave some of the fur back a bit to treat it properly
  363. >Her eyes widened at the razor but she didn't say anything
  364. >When the bath was refilled, Lyra climbed back in
  365. >You helped her shampoo her mane and tail and wash her back
  366. >As you ran your hand through her mane you hit a hard bump and stopped
  367. >Lyra winced and drew in a sharp breath at your touch, making you recoil
  368. >That's right, she was a unicorn, somehow you had pushed that to the back of your mind
  369. >Must've had her horn broken off at some point, probably when she was captured
  370. "Sorry, I'll be more careful" You muttered
  371. >You saw tears in the corners of her eyes but she was trying not to cry
  372. >As you continued to scrub her you noticed welts all over her legs and backside
  373. >If you had to guess they were whip marks, but you weren't about to ask
  374. >They were concentrated around her cutie mark, almost obscuring it with scars and welts so you couldn't really tell what it was meant to be
  375. >The guys on the front used to joke calling them tramp stamps and slag tags, but you knew they were deeply personal and special to the ponies
  376. >There was also the odd burnt patch of skin on her legs
  377. >You grabbed the shower head and began to rinse the soapy suds off her body
  378. >It was a little awkward but you'd done worse stuff
  379. >Rinsing her tail, you also noticed that there was scarring on her mare parts, much to your horror
  380. >You rinsed it as quickly as you could, trying to be gentle and not touch it
  381. >Finally she seemed to be sufficiently clean so you pulled the plug out and lifted her out of the bath again
  382. >You helped her towel off, though somewhat tentatively in case you hit another sore spot
  383. >Now for the hard part
  384. >You had to clean and patch those wounds
  385. >Most of them were pretty easy, just a matter of rubbing some anti-septic on and bandaging the larger and weeping cuts
  386. >The anti-septic cream clearly stung a lot as evidenced by Lyra's winces and occasional hiss of air through her teeth
  387. >You couldn't find any special cream for the burns, but you figured some moisturiser would at least ease the discomfort
  388. >Once you were done patching most of the surface wounds you moved on to the harder ones
  389. >Most notably there was a large split in her head running down from the stump of her horn
  390. >You were gonna have to shave some of her hair back to properly get at it so you could actually see what you were doing
  391. >You grabbed a pair of scissors and the razor and lifted them to her head
  392. >A sharp squeak of fear came from the pony's mouth as she started pleading
  393. >"No master, please! Please don't!" she begged as she started trembling
  394. >She had her eyes clenched shut as if she was bracing for pain, her face contorted in fear
  395. "What?... Oh! Oh shit!"
  396. >You took the sharp objects away from her head
  397. "I'm sorry Lyra. I just need to shave your mane back a bit to get at this cut. I promise I'll be gentle, I don't want to hurt you. Just stay still for me"
  398. >She obeyed though she was still shaking slightly which made it tricky
  399. >Thankfully you managed to do it without nicking her skin
  400. >The gash was pretty nasty but it didn't seem like there was any damage to her skull- she would have been in a lot more pain if that were the case
  401. "Alright Lyra this is gonna suck, you're just gonna have to grit you're teeth and bare it ok?"
  402. >She gave you the slightest of nods before you continued
  403. >You tried to be gentle but there was no avoiding the inevitable
  404. >Lyra let out a little scream as you rubbed the anti-septic in, muffled as she pressed her face into your chest
  405. >You rubbed it in as quick as possible so you didn't drag out her pain
  406. >You were done rather quickly though it felt much longer with Lyra crying into your chest
  407. >Fortunately her mane fell so that it mostly covered the shaved patch
  408. >Honestly you could hardly tell unless you were looking for it
  409. >You lifted her chin up so you could look her in those beautiful sad eyes
  410. "Hey, you're OK. It's over now"
  411. >"M-my mane" She mumbled back
  412. >It was strange how much she cared about her appearance to say she had spent months filthy and bruised
  413. >It made you smile slightly
  414. "You look great Lyra, you can't even tell it's been shaved"
  415. >You caught the sceptical look in her eyes as she sniffled softly
  416. "Here, take a look for yourself"
  417. >You lifted Lyra up so she could look into the mirror
  418. >She looked genuinely astonished at her own appearance
  419. >She must have gotten used to being cut, bruised and filthy
  420. >Now she was a whole lot cleaner, and as you held her you noticed how soft her fur and mane was now that it wasn't matted with dirt and grease
  421. >She ran her hooves through her mane around the patch you had shaved
  422. "Looks a lot better huh?"
  423. >"Y-yes master" She replied though with a sad tone still in her voice
  424. >Still at it with the 'master' crap
  425. >You figured it was too drilled in for her to just drop it, besides she didn't seem to trust you at all yet
  426. >You sat her down and began to put away the medical equipment
  427. >You noticed Lyra leave the bathroom
  428. >You didn't know where she was going but there weren't many places she could go, no need to pester her
  429. >Once you were done you gathered the damp towels and chucked them in the washing machine
  430. >Then you heard Lyra calling from down the hall
  431. >"I-I'm ready master!"
  432. >Ready for what?
  433. >The call came from your bedroom so you headed inside
  434. "What the fuck?" You exclaimed as you stepped through the door
  435. >Lyra was bent over the bed with her tail raised and her... privates exposed
  436. >She didn't look at you, her face pressed into the covers
  437. "What the fuck are you doing?"
  438. >"I- I'm ready for you to use me master"
  439. "Use you? What the hell gave you that idea?"
  440. >Lyra looked up at you, bewilderment etched onto her face
  441. >"Y-you cleaned me. You made me pretty for you so you can use me. That's the only reason why a slave needs to be cleaned"
  442. >She explained it to you like it was basic, like even a 5 year old would understand it
  443. >How fucked up must she be to expect rape after every bath or shower
  444. "Lyra, I'm not going to 'use' you. That's sick"
  445. >Her confusion only seemed to grow as she stared at you
  446. >"I don't understand master. Why did you clean me?"
  447. "What? I cleaned you so you could be clean and your cuts aren't all infected. You want to be clean right?"
  448. >You couldn't believe that she couldn't grasp the concept
  449. >Surely she'd had at least a shower since her capture without being raped
  450. >"B-but I haven't earned it. You cleaned me and fed me and I've done nothing in return for you"
  451. >She looked down sadly
  452. >"I don't deserve all this"
  453. "Of course you deserve it, that's just basic decency. Look at me Lyra"
  454. >She looked back up at you with those sad confused eyes as you spoke to her gently
  455. "You're safe here. I'm not going to beat you, rape you or in any way hurt you for anything. I know you're used to being treated like shit but under this roof we are equals. I've seen enough suffering in my life to ever inflict more of it"
  456. >She struggled to work her mouth, too dumbstruck to speak
  457. >Tears filled her eyes and she was shaking so much you could feel the bed vibrating
  458. >"Y-you're messing with me master" She said simply
  459. >You could tell she wanted so badly to believe you, but life had made her so mistrustful of humans that she simply couldn't
  460. >You wrapped her in a hug as she once again pressed her face into your chest and began bawling
  461. "I'm not messing with you Lyra, I mean every word of it. Please believe me"
  462. >Tears were soaking through your shirt as she cried, and you just held her and stroked her mane
  463. >The inner turmoil between her instinct to distrust and the overwhelming desire to believe you was tearing her apart
  464. >"No you don't mean it! All humans do is hurt and destroy and kill! You're all monsters!"
  465. >You could tell she didn't fully believe what she was saying
  466. >What with her face pressed into you and her hooves wrapped around your torso so tightly it almost hurt
  467. >But she wouldn't let herself believe you
  468. >"We did nothing to you. Nothing at all and you came and bombed us and killed us and turned us into slaves!"
  469. >You weren't personally responsible for the war but her words still evoked a strong feeling of guilt
  470. >You had killed ponies, each one had a family, friends, dreams...
  471. >You'd seen war crimes and atrocities too
  472. >Innocent pony civilians killed just for the hell of it
  473. >Homes burned down just to drive the inhabitants out
  474. >And rape was the most common of all
  475. >The leaders didn't even give a shit, most of them even did it themselves
  476. >You hadn't personally partaken, but what had you done to stop it?
  477. >Memories flashed through your mind at her accusations, evoking feelings you thought buried in the past
  478. >You began to cry as well as the feelings overwhelmed you
  479. >Your chest felt tight and your tears fell onto Lyra's head as you cried
  480. >Noting this she looked up at you with an uncertain gaze
  481. >"Master?"
  482. >You gave a heavy sob as you closed your eyes
  483. "I never wanted any of this. I didn't want to be a killer... a monster. I was still in university when I got drafted"
  484. >"M-master I didn't mean..."
  485. "I'm sorry!"
  486. >You gasped as you hugged her tightly
  487. >You held each other for a while as you both cried
  488. >You had managed to keep these thoughts at bay after you were discharged
  489. >But now the consequences of your actions were staring you in the face and the guilt was crippling
  490. >You also felt the loss the war had brought on you, the men you had seen die and friends lost in other units
  491. >Your parents had both died in the bombing whilst you were deployed
  492. >It all came to you in a flood as you cried out your anguish into her mane
  493. >This pony who was supposed to be your enemy, who you were supposed to feel righteous hatred towards, you now held for comfort
  494. >How anyone could want to harm such small innocent creatures was beyond you
  495. >She didn't deserve to be tortured and raped, but was had made monsters of us all and this was commonplace
  496. >You hated the war and you hated humanity for starting it and stooping to such barbarity
  497. >It made you feel sick
  498. >If you had known your neighbour was the one inflicting this you would probably have put a bullet in him yourself
  499. >At some point whilst you were crying, Lyra fell asleep in your arms
  500. >You tucked her into bed and decided it was time to pull yourself together
  501.  
  502. >She slept more peacefully this time, though she still twitched like she was having nightmares
  503. >She wasn't thrashing around screaming this time though
  504. >You went into the kitchen to make lunch for when she woke up from her nap
  505. >Just sandwiches and some fruit, but it was something
  506. >Figuring she wasn't completely petrified of you any more you decided that she could eat at the table rather than hidden in your room
  507. >As you turned around to set the plate down you heard hooves clopping on the kitchen tiles and saw Lyra cautiously walking in
  508. >"I'm sorry I fell asleep master, please don't be mad at me for it" She muttered, looking at the ground
  509. "You can sleep whenever you want Lyra, you need the rest. I made you some lunch though"
  510. >You gestured to the plates on the table
  511. >"I-I'm allowed to sit at the table?" She asked
  512. "Sure, hop on up"
  513. >You pulled the chair out for her to emphasise your point
  514. >She slowly climbed up, glancing at you repeatedly to make sure it was ok, and you took the seat opposite her
  515. >"Is this all for me?" She asked, looking at the sandwiches and fruit
  516. "Dig in, I'm not hungry so I didn't make anything for myself"
  517. >She ate quickly as you would expect from someone so underfed, but you were still able to talk to her whilst she ate
  518. "So, reckon you can stop with this master stuff yet?"
  519. >She stopped chewing and looked you straight in the eyes
  520. >"You really meant it? I don't have to call you master and you won't b-beat me for it?"
  521. "I meant it, I'm not your master and i never will be. I don't want to be associated with slavery in any way if I can help it, my ownership of you is just a technicality."
  522. >She cocked her head and looked up at you as if weighing you up, still trying to figure out if it was a trick or not
  523. >"Ok... Anon. I won't call you master any more"
  524. >You smiled as she said your name
  525. >Partly to reassure her and also because it meant you were making progress with her and she trusted you a little more
  526. "There's something else I wanted to ask too"
  527. >You started as another question popped into your head
  528. "You like all the food I've been giving you? I don't really know what ponies eat other than they're vegetarian"
  529. >"It's great m- Anon. This is the best I've eaten in months, years! Army rations weren't very appetising..."
  530. >Well that much was obvious, but you wanted to make her something nice if you could
  531. "Well what's your favourite food then? I'll try grab you some stuff next time I go into town"
  532. >She looked shocked at your question, but began to list off foods regardless as you rushed to get a pen and paper
  533. >It was nice to see her thinking up stuff she enjoyed rather than all the things that made her miserable
  534. >It felt like a glimpse of what might have been her old self showing through
  535. >"I'd be happy to make it all if you'll let me. I used to be a good cook"
  536. "Course you can make it Lyra, I'll go get the stuff we need at the weekend"
  537. >She visibly brightened up at being able to cook
  538. >Clearly it was good to give her things to look forwards to, even if it was something so seemingly small and insignificant
  539. >Once she had finished up with lunch and you cleaned the plates, you decided that it was time to give her a proper tour of the house
  540. >There wasn't much to look at but you showed her the facilities as well as how to use everything
  541. >Human domestic technology was still massively advanced compared to the ponies, even though they had been rapidly catching up in other areas such as industrial and military advancements
  542. >She was amazed by basic things such as washing machines that just did all the work for you
  543. >You didn't show her the computer yet because you knew it would fascinate her and you couldn't be arsed teaching her how to work it
  544. >You figured she'd be worse than old people, plus you had no idea how she was supposed to work it with her hooves
  545. >You did show her the TV though which immediately became her favourite
  546. >The fact that live HD pictures could be shown just sort of blew her mind
  547. >She flicked through channels until she landed on the news
  548. >There was 24/7 coverage of events on the Earth front and occasionally on the Equestrian front, but comms between worlds was tricky
  549. >Currently the picture showed Equestrian bombers levelling a town
  550. >Lyra's mouth was agape
  551. >"Th-those are military targets they're bombing right mas- Anon?"
  552. >You had a good laugh at her naivety
  553. "They don't discriminate. Military, civilian, industry... If its human it gets a bomb"
  554. >She watched in horror as the camera, perched on a hill somewhere, panned down to show the havoc the bombs were wreaking on a mostly civilian district
  555. >"They said it was you bombing us..." She muttered
  556. "It happens both ways, we bomb you, you bomb us, try and blast the other side into submission though it never works. Been that way since world war two"
  557. >She looked up at you with a shocked expression
  558. >"You've been to war with other worlds?"
  559. >Again you chuckled
  560. "No Lyra, all our wars except for this one have been different human nations fighting each other. This is the first war fought against a different world"
  561. >"Have there been a lot of wars?"
  562. >If only she knew
  563. "All human history is is wars, it's just what we do- what we've always done"
  564. >Lyra's brow furrowed in confusion
  565. >"But war is horrible. You said it yourself, nobody likes it. So... why?"
  566. >Well there it was, the eternal question which no one could really answer
  567. >"Fuck if I know Lyra, guess it's just human nature"
  568. >"Haven't you ever tried diplomacy?"
  569. "Yeah.. we're pretty shit at it. Often it's too easy and too tempting to use force. Why compromise when you can just take it all?"
  570. >She opened and closed her mouth a few times like she wanted to say something but didn't know how to phrase it, but in the end just closed her mouth and stayed quiet
  571. >She still had the look of confusion though, like she was deep in thought
  572. >You were thinking yourself
  573. >It was interesting to see how the other side perceived the war
  574. >Lyra- and you expected most other ponies- were still very naive about the nature of warfare and the reality of the atrocities committed by both sides
  575. >You wondered if she even knew that the ponies back home were using human slaves
  576. >Probably not since they were kept out of sight, being worked to death in the gemstone mines and building railroads through the "Everfree Forest" which was home to some extremely lethal wildlife
  577. >The ponies also didn't seem to be the sort to be able to withstand the mental pressure of war- the fighting, bombing and general life on the front
  578. >Lyra had broken down crying after she shot you
  579. >But equally you had seen acts of heroism and suicidal bravery performed by these ponies
  580. >They would have been inspiring if it weren't for the fact that such acts had killed many of your friends
  581. >You both sat and watched the TV for a few hours
  582. >Many times it was extremely awkward
  583. >Reports of human successes on the front greatly saddened Lyra
  584. >Many times she remarked "I knew somepony that lived there"
  585. >Equally when there were reports of human losses and Equestrian success, Lyra would perk up and sometimes cheer, and occasionally you would mutter "Damn I knew someone serving there"
  586. >Every time you would look at each other, then look away awkwardly or try and give some sort of an apology
  587. >You noticed that Lyra would always revert back to calling you master when she was scared or thought she'd done something wrong
  588. >It was like watching a football game where you were both supporting different teams, only success was measured in the loss of friends
  589. >Eventually the news got too depressing so you flicked the TV off
  590. >It had cut to interviews with soldiers clearing bodies at some FOB in Equestria
  591. >From the looks of it the FOB was getting the shit kicked out of it and was barely holding
  592. >And Lyra thought she recognised one of the bodies being thrown into one of the mass graves
  593. >As soon as she began to cry you flicked the TV off and tried to comfort her
  594. >She calmed down relatively quickly compared to other episodes
  595. >The war had dragged on so long that people were more numb to the loss
  596. >Sure it was still felt, but when everything around you was death and destruction it was less scathing
  597. >It just sort of blends in with the other shit
  598. "Come on Lyra"
  599. >You said as you helped her to her hooves
  600. "Lets go make something for dinner"
  601. >She followed you into the kitchen, still a little sniffly
  602. >You began to grab ingredients from the cupboards and fridge, placing them all on the counter
  603. >By the time you were done almost all the food you had was on the worktops
  604. "Alright Lyra, what can you make with all this?"
  605. >She looked at the food, then at you
  606. >"H-how much am I allowed to use?"
  607. "As much as you want, use anything, make anything, it's all up to you. I'll help you where you need me"
  608. >You had figured since she enjoyed cooking you would ask her to cook most of the meals from now on, make her the chef
  609. >You wouldn't force her or demand it, but you were a pretty shite cook and it would probably be better for both of you if she took over
  610. >Plus putting her in charge and being there to help her seemed like a good way to build trust and help her come to grasp the whole "no longer a slave" thing
  611. >Once she had selected what she needed you put the rest back as she set to work
  612. >She was tentative at first, reluctant to ask you to do things and always checking she was allowed to use stuff
  613. >Soon though she began to realise more that you were genuine and were granting her some proper freedom
  614. >Eventually she was casually directing you around as the both of you chatted like friends and cracked some banter
  615. >She didn't even call you master once
  616. >It was probably the first time in a long time that both of you had wide genuine smiles and truly felt happy
  617. >It seemed like more of her true self was showing, and the more you saw of it the more you grew fond of her
  618. >Eventually you had made a large vegetable stew with rice and a fruit salad for after
  619. >Sure it had cleared out the majority of what you had in stock, but it was worth it to make her happy for a while
  620. >Plus you had made so much that you could freeze some to last a few meals
  621. >That evening you dug into the best meal you had eaten since you started living by yourself
  622. >How she made a fairly basic stew taste that good was a mystery
  623. >You didn't even mind potentially having to turn vegetarian if she cooked like that
  624. "Holy shit Lyra, this is the best thing I've had in years!"
  625. >She blushed and looked away at your remark
  626. "I can't wait to see what you can do with a fully stocked kitchen"
  627. >Her blush deepened at your complements, and honestly it was the most adorable thing you had ever seen
  628. >A mint green pony with her cheeks a deep crimson looking away and smiling bashfully to herself
  629. >"My old master wouldn't let me cook for him. Said I'd try to poison him"
  630. "would you have tried to poison him?"
  631. >She looked at you with a startled expression, sensing that it was some sort of trap
  632. >"N-n-no master! I would never try to poison anyone, I don't even know what is poisonous to humans!"
  633. "Aww, come on, an asshole like that? I would have tried to poison him"
  634. >Her expression became one of confusion, one which you were becoming used to
  635. >"Y-you would? I thought he was your friend, I used to hear you come over sometimes and you seemed really nice to him, though he always kept me locked up when you came"
  636. "Hah, if I knew what he was doing to you there I would have killed him a while ago"
  637. >That wordless look of confusion stayed on her face as she seemed to be weighing you up again
  638. >You thought to yourself as you finished up with the meal
  639. >It was amazing the change you could already see in her
  640. >If you focused her mind away from sore spots and things that made her sad such as the war and her past you could keep her relatively happy and stable
  641. >She was already a huge step up from being terrified at the mere fact you were alive, though you could tell she was still very scared and nervous of you, waiting for you to flip
  642. >You believed that with the right care and help you could get her back to her old self
  643. >Well, maybe not quite
  644. >No one is ever the same after experiencing horrors like she had, but maybe she could be somewhere similar to how she was. Happy at least
  645. >Once you had both finished you gathered the plates and chucked them in the sink
  646. >"Don't you want me to wash them?" Lyra asked
  647. "Sod it I'll do it tomorrow, lets watch a movie"
  648. >You had to explain to her what a movie was first, but it wasn't hard for her to understand
  649. >You knew you couldn't put anything too dramatic on, and probably not something all about humans
  650. >Clearly it was time for Disney Pixar's 'Finding Nemo', which for some reason you had on DVD
  651. >Lyra seemed to greatly enjoy the film, becoming emotionally invested in the story and characters which was shown by her expression and over the top reactions whenever something happened
  652. >It was like watching a small child watch it, and it brought you a feeling of wholesome happiness
  653. >She was so engrossed in the film that she didn't seem to notice or mind when you began to idly stroke her mane
  654. >Soon enough she was cuddled up to you on the sofa, her head leaning on your chest and your arm wrapped around her
  655. >You didn't care about the movie and just focused on the soft warm pony cuddles you were receiving
  656. >You scratched behind her ear and felt her relax so much she seemed to melt into you
  657. >You were also relaxed- probably the most you had been since the war started- the sole focus on your mind being to scratch Lyra's ears
  658. >Lyra let out a yawn as you gently stroked her, and you absentmindedly noticed that the movie was coming to the end
  659. >The end credits began to roll though neither of you moved, content to just lay there
  660. >You continued to massage her head until you heard gentle snores coming from her
  661. >You looked down and smiled to yourself
  662. >She looked adorable, and didn't seem to be having any nightmares if her gentle smile and soft snoring was any indication
  663. >Not wanting to wake her or leave the warm comfort of her body, you decided to just fall asleep laid there underneath her
  664. >You could explain it in the morning if she thought it was weird
  665. >Conveniently the TV remote and blanket from last night were both under the arm of the sofa where your head was rested, so you were able to flick the TV off and cover the both of you up without really moving
  666. >Normally you were restless in bed and would toss and turn until you either fell asleep or morning came
  667. >Not tonight though
  668. >With the comfortable warmth of Lyra cuddling you and the overwhelming urge not to wake her up by moving, you fell asleep within minutes
  669.  
  670. >You woke with a start
  671. >You swear you felt something move against your body
  672. >Looking down, realisation hit you like a truck as relief flooded through your body and you relaxed back down
  673. >You totally forgot Lyra had fallen asleep on top of you
  674. >She was adorably nuzzling your chest in her sleep and you gave yourself a few minutes to enjoy it
  675. >Checking your watch you noticed that it was 11 AM already
  676. >Holy shit you had slept in, you had stuff to do today
  677. >Looking back down at Lyra, you saw that she was sleeping on top of your leg
  678. >That would be a killer case of pins and needles if your leg wasn't prosthetic
  679. >You were going to have to wake her up, though it would be one of the hardest things you would ever have to do
  680. >You tried to wake her gently and grudgingly reached your hand down and began to scratch her ear
  681. "Time to get up Lyra"
  682. >She let out a soft moan at your touch and nuzzled your chest harder, though didn't wake up
  683. >You grabbed her shoulders and began to shake her slightly
  684. "Wake up sleepy head, we got shit to do"
  685. >She scrunched her muzzle in annoyance and buried her face into you
  686. >She mumbled something into you, though it was hard to decipher what she said
  687. >Sounded something like "5 more minutes.." and then a name beginning with B
  688. >Bourbon?
  689. >Your name was Anon though
  690. >And Anon had shit to do
  691. "Lyra. Wake up!"
  692. >You shook her harder, speaking more forcefully
  693. >Suddenly her eyes shot open and she looked up at you
  694. >She screamed and leaped off onto the floor, then curled up and began cowering
  695. >"I'm sorry master, I know I was screaming again, I can't help it!"
  696. >She kept flinching, as if expecting an impact that never came
  697. >Slowly she cracked an eye open and peeked up at you
  698. "You weren't screaming Lyra"
  699. >"B-but I always scream in my sleep. My master used to beat me until I woke up because it made him really angry"
  700. "I know you do Lyra, I heard you on the first night. But not this time though, you slept like a baby and I think I did as well"
  701. >She stared at you, confusion and hope mixed into one on her face
  702. >"I- I didn't scream?"
  703. "Nope, and from the sound of it you were having nice dreams. Kept nuzzling my chest and you called me Bourbon or something"
  704. >"...Oh" She almost whispered, her voice seeming to catch in her throat as her eyes looked far away and sad
  705. >OK, adding Bourbon or whatever it is to the mental list of things not to bring up
  706. >Time to quickly change the subject before she was taken away by painful memories
  707. "OK, lets go get some breakfast. We've got stuff to do today Lyra"
  708. >"What sort of stuff Anon?"
  709. "I'll tell you over breakfast"
  710. >The pair of you just had cereal for breakfast, no time to cook a proper meal
  711. >Whilst you were eating you laid out the plan for the day
  712. "We've got garden work to do Lyra. I figured since you're still recuperating your strength I'll do the strenuous work. If it's OK with you I'd like it if you could pick the vegetables, water them and do some weeding"
  713. >She was giving you that look as if you were an idiot again
  714. >"I'll do anything you tell me to m- Anon"
  715. >The response wasn't exactly what you hoped for, but you took it as acceptance and didn't raise an issue out of it
  716. >"What will you be doing whilst I work?"
  717. "I've got a lot of grass needs cutting, some fences need repairing and some wood to chop"
  718. >Aside from the plants you grew for food, you hadn't really touched any of your land since you got home from the war
  719. >The first few months it was because you were still going through treatment and physiotherapy
  720. >After that it was just laziness on your part
  721. >However you decided that now would be a good time- keep both you and your companion busy, plus the weather was nice
  722. >Once you were finished eating you lead Lyra outside to show her what needed doing
  723. >Though the building itself was small the land around it was vast, but you didn't own most of it any more
  724. >It used to belong to your parents and you inherited it after they were killed in a bomb blast whilst visiting friends in the city
  725. >Most of the land had been given over to the local farmer who could better use it to produce more food for the war effort
  726. >You were still left with the main decorative garden, a decent sized field which you grew stuff in and a small orchard that had about 20 trees growing mostly apples and plums
  727. >You lead Lyra out to the field and showed her what all of the plants were and how much you wanted picking/ digging up
  728. >She seemed to know what she was doing well enough, so you ran the hose pipe over to her and two sacks, one for veg and one for plant waste
  729. >You then set about doing your own chores
  730. >It took you around an hour and a half to fix up the fences but by the time you were done they were sturdy enough, though it looked a little shoddy
  731. >Next you had to mow all the grass, so you went to get the ride-on lawn mower from the shed
  732. >You checked on Lyra on the way, and as you stuck your head over the fence you saw her sat in some shade, her mouth moving as if she was chewing
  733. >The half eaten carrot in her hooves was a dead giveaway
  734. "Caught you red handed... er, hooved"
  735. >Lyra jumped out of her skin as you started chuckling, choking on her mouthful and spluttering as she desperately tried to apologise
  736. >Her face was bright red as she kept coughing, and you just stood there in hysterics
  737. >Eventually you came to your senses and crouched down next to her, patting her on the back as you brought the hose pipe to her mouth
  738. >Once death by carrot was avoided you laughed again
  739. "That was like catching a kid with their hand in the cookie jar, you looked like you shit yourself!"
  740. >She looked ashamed and refused to look you in the eyes
  741. "Aww come on, I thought it was pretty good..."
  742. >She let out a sniffle
  743. >"I'm sorry I'm such a bad slave master. You've been nothing but god to me and I repay you by stealing food. I don't deserve a master as good as you"
  744. >Time to comfort the crying pone again
  745. >You wrapped your arm around her and sighed
  746. "Lyra if you're hungry just tell me, or help yourself I don't mind. Look-"
  747. >You gestured to the growing plants
  748. "There's plenty more still in the ground, it doesn't matter"
  749. >To illustrate your point you ripped another one from the earth, cleaned it with the hose and offered it to her
  750. >Her eyes boggled
  751. >She still found it hard to decide if you were fucking with her or not
  752. >Gingerly she took it from your hand, and her eyes locked with yours as she slowly chomped down on it
  753. >You ruffled her hair and smiled as you stood back up
  754. "Come on, I've got something you might enjoy"
  755. >You took her to the shed, unveiling your large ride-on lawn mower
  756. >OK granted that is a bit of an anti-climax, but you always thought they were cool as shit
  757. >You perched your ass upon it and started it up with a roar, causing Lyra to jump back in fear
  758. >You motioned to her that it was OK, and as she stepped closer you lifted her up and sat her on your knee
  759. >She wriggled about in confusion and surprise, but quickly relaxed and sat in your lap
  760. >As it started to go she looked up at you
  761. >"What does it do Anon?" She shouted
  762. "It cuts grass!"
  763. >Her expression was strange
  764. >It seemed to say "Are you serious, that's it?" and "Wait that's actually pretty neat" at the same time
  765. >For once you found mowing the grass strangely relaxing, probably because of the cute pony in your lap looking around curiously
  766. >Usually you fucking hated it, having to rake up all the grass, not to mention the fact that it gets fucking everywhere
  767. >Once you were finished Lyra spoke again
  768. >"You humans sure like to over-complicate everything. I would never have dreamed of a big growling machine like that just to cut grass before all this"
  769. "Yeah but you guys don't need to invent shit when you can just magic your problems away, cheaters"
  770. >She gave a sad smile
  771. >"Well, not any more I guess"
  772. >Aw shit, you never really considered the full impact being dehorned would have
  773. >Guess it would be like missing a limb, or even several from how much they could do with it
  774. >Noticing the concerned look on your face, Lyra spoke again
  775. >"It's OK Anon, I'm used to it by now"
  776.  
  777. >The day passed by fairly quickly, you chopped wood whilst Lyra brought the veg inside and made something for dinner
  778. >By the time it was ready the sun was getting low, casting a beautiful orange sunset over the fields with the city silhouetted in the distance
  779. >You decided to eat sat on a small hill just behind your house so you could watch the sun set together
  780. >You talked as you ate, and for once Lyra seemed to be leading the conversation
  781. >"I love watching the sun set, it makes me think of home, of Celestia"
  782. "She's your leader right?"
  783. >She gave you the "You're a fucking retard" look
  784. >She might be too polite to ever say it, but her opinions of you were betrayed by her facial expressions
  785. >"She's more than just our leader Anon! She's the immortal princess of the sun who rules over Equestria with her sister Luna, the princess of the moon. They both raise the sun and moon every day and night!"
  786. "Wait, doesn't that make them technically Goddesses or something?"
  787. >She giggled at that
  788. >"In a way I guess, if you want to think off it like that"
  789. >You scratched your head in disbelief
  790. "No wonder we're getting fucked so hard by this war. Don't know how anyone's supposed to compete with literal Goddesses"
  791. >You both stayed there on the hill for hours, Lyra telling you all about the different princesses and their royal duties whilst you tried to explain the physical impossibilities of raising the sun and moon
  792. >What do ponies care for physics though?
  793. >The mere fact that a path between your worlds to wage a war exists is a scientific mystery
  794. >The sun had completely set, and on the wind you thought you heard the distant wail of air raid sirens
  795. >As you watched, the first flashes of explosions began to light up the sky
  796. >Tracers from anti-aircraft guns zipped through the night in fruitless attempts to shoot down the Equestrian bombers obliterating the city below
  797. >A sombre quiet rested between you, only broken by the rumble of bombs and cry of the sirens
  798. >A sharp chill ran down your spine, and finally you both got up and went back inside
  799. >Very few words were said between the two of you that night after that
  800. >You tucked Lyra into your bed and went back to sleep on the couch again
  801. >Lyra screamed a lot again that night, and your heart felt heavy as you eventually drifted off to sleep
  802.  
  803. >It was finally the weekend which you had been looking forward to, but you felt like shit
  804. >You'd had a fitful sleep, being woken frequently by Lyra's screaming and your own nightmares
  805. >You felt groggy as you groaned and dragged yourself off the couch
  806. >After a quick cup of coffee you went to get a shower and hopefully wake yourself up a bit
  807. >The shower was in the en-suite in your bedroom where Lyra was sleeping, so you pulled the door open carefully to check if she was awake
  808. >She was curled up on the bed, but the twitch of her ears showed she was awake
  809. >Slowly she lifted her head up and turned to look at you through bleary eyes
  810. >There were large bags under her eyes, a result from the restless night
  811. "I'm gonna get a shower. Get some more sleep if you want, or go make yourself some breakfast"
  812. >Her head flopped back down on the pillow as you shambled into the small bathroom
  813. >Your shower was brief but served its purpose, and you felt a little more human once you were finished
  814. >Lyra was still curled up in bed when you stepped out so you went to the kitchen to go make breakfast
  815. >You figured it might perk her up a bit to have breakfast in bed so you set some cereal, toast and juice on a tray and carried it in for her
  816. >She looked up at you quizzically as you set it all down on the night stand next to her head
  817. >"You made me breakfast... in bed?"
  818. "Yeah, you look like you need it. You still up for going into town later on?"
  819. >She instantly brightened up at that
  820. >"Today? It's the weekend already?"
  821. >"Sure is, I'll take that as a 'yes' then" You chuckled
  822. >The two of you made some idle chatter whilst she ate
  823. >You noticed that her eating pace had slowed down considerably already
  824. >She no longer demolished everything in the blink of an eye, instead taking time to savour the meal and actually taste it
  825. >You hoped that was a sign her body was beginning to recover from starvation, and that she trusted you not to take food away as a form of punishment
  826. >After she had eaten she too got a shower though you didn't need to help her this time in cleaning herself
  827. >Her various wounds and injuries seemed to be healing well enough, but there was nothing you could do to get rid of the scars
  828. >Or bring back her horn
  829. >They would be a constant reminder of her suffering
  830. >You got your stuff ready to go out whilst you waited for her, mainly just your wallet and some bags
  831. >Lyra didn't take long in the shower and when she finished she seemed more than eager to go
  832. >Clearly the fatigue of the morning had worn off and things were once again looking up to be a decent day again
  833. >You slammed the door shut and locked it behind you and saw Lyra already setting off without you
  834.  
  835. Be Lyra
  836. >During your enslavement time had escaped you
  837. >You didn't know the date or how long you had actually been here, only how long it felt like
  838. >An eternity
  839. >That's why it came as a surprise when Anon said it was the weekend already
  840. >Instantly the haze of your nightmares and sleep deprivation had dissipated and you now hummed a happy tune as you and Anon walked together
  841. >Being outside always lifted your spirits, now more than ever
  842. >Your other master had kept you locked up all day- literally
  843. >You were kept in one room which was always locked when you were left alone in it, and quite often chained to the radiator
  844. >Being outside felt like proper freedom, even though you were still technically a slave
  845. >Anon was nice though, not like your other master
  846. >He didn't even feel like a master- he didn't beat you or say mean things to you, didn't even get you to do chores except the cooking, and that's only because you wanted to do it
  847. >In all aspects he seemed more like a... friend?
  848. >Maybe not quite yet, but he certainly wasn't an enemy
  849. >The walk into the city took almost 2 hours and went down a forested hillside from Anon's house until it gradually flattened out and the buildings became more densely packed
  850. >The city was intimidating and nothing like you had in Equestria
  851. >The buildings were tall and imposing and the dull stone and concrete contrasted with the glaring adverts that seemed to be plastered to every available surface
  852. >There was a lot of bomb damage, and most buildings had their windows boarded up making the place feel even more claustrophobic
  853. >It was as if humans built their cities to be deliberately oppressive and uncomfortable
  854. >Regardless, there was still a lot of activity on the streets and the vendors who's stores were too badly damaged simply set up stalls in the streets
  855. >You remembered the first time you had experienced a bombing raid first hoof back in Equestria
  856. >The utter disbelief that anyone could be so monstrous as to just carpet bomb civilians
  857. >most of the ponies were paralysed by fear, just staring up at the bombers as they blotted out the sun and rained death on the world below them
  858. >The destruction of the first raid had been catastrophic and Celestia only knows how you survived
  859. >You were found after the raid huddled in a corner in a puddle of your own piss, shaking and babbling incoherently
  860. >your stomach turned at the memories but you pushed them away
  861. >You weren't going to let your past ruin your day
  862. >You spent a great deal of time buying groceries with Anon, getting to select everything you wanted
  863. >It was strange for a human to be asking what you wanted and felt a little unnerving even though you welcomed it
  864. >Anon was the only person so far who had treated you like a pony rather than a piece of shit
  865. >Even the random passers by on the street scowled down at you, cold hatred and despise in their eyes
  866. >To these people you were the monster, you were the ones bombing them every night
  867. >They had every right to hate you
  868. >You stopped at a more or less intact bakery for a late lunch at around 2pm to get a bite to eat, though your rest was brief
  869. >You had to finish shopping and walk all the way back home in time for dinner which gave very little time to break
  870. >Once the grocery shopping was completed, Anon took you into a different store
  871. >"A pet store? You don't have any pets"
  872. "Figured they'd have some better products for your mane and stuff in here, can't have you using half a bottle of my shampoo every time you jump in the shower"
  873. >Still, a pet store
  874. >That was more than a little demeaning, but there was no such thing as a free pony in human land you guessed except for in the war zones
  875. >It didn't take long to find some decent shampoo, though from Anon's wince at the price tag it cost rather an extortionate amount
  876. >He still forked out for it though
  877. >As you left the store you noticed another man follow you outside, his glare focused on you
  878. >This wasn't really out of the ordinary, you had been enduring glares and condemning looks all day from random people
  879. >This man however decided to make a confrontation of it as he walked up and spat on you in disgust
  880. >"Fucking animals!" He spat
  881. >Anon spun round to see what was going on
  882. "Hey what gives? Don't spit on her!"
  883. >"That thing belongs on a leash, better yet down the mines!"
  884. "She can handle herself, she knows how to behave- she's not a fucking wild beast you know?!"
  885. >The man sneered at Anon, his self righteousness dripping from every word he said
  886. >"That's exactly what it is! A wild animal, the fucking enemy! There's a war going on you know?!"
  887. >Anon looked gobsmacked, ripping his trouser leg up and gesturing at the prosthetic leg beneath
  888. >His face was a mask of shock and rage
  889. "You see this? I was fighting on the Equestrian front watching my friends die whilst you were... what? Cowering here letting young men die to protect your freedom? Look at her- what's she going to do to anyone? She's half starved and not even half your height. Don't you dare talk to me about who the enemy is!"
  890. >A brief moment of doubt flickered across the man's face before he steeled his resolve and retorted again
  891. >"Then don't act surprised when she stabs you in the back, or cuts your throat whilst you sleep"
  892. >In a flash Anon was on him, seeing red and screaming bloody murder as he drove his fist into his face
  893. >You'd never actually seen Anon angry, and now he was downright psychotic on your behalf
  894. >You never expected a human would fight to protect a pony, much less yourself. But here Anon was beating some guy's face into a bloody pulp because he spat on you
  895. >You barely even noticed the wailing in the air as the sirens started up
  896. >"Anon! Anon!" You yelled, pulling at his sleeve with your teeth and trying to drag his attention away from the pummelling he was unleashing
  897. >He turned around to look at you, still glaring daggers and holding the man by his neck
  898. "What?"
  899. >"The sirens!"
  900. >Surprise dawned on his face as he immediately began trying to scramble to his feet
  901. >You helped him up as the man he had been beating ran for his life
  902. "Shit, I think the shelter is this way, come on!"
  903. >You both took off in a sprint, noticing that most others had already fled whilst Anon was busy
  904. >"I thought they only bombed at night!" You gasped between breaths as you panted
  905. "Pegasus dive bombers!" He shouted back
  906. "They ride on clouds until it takes them over a city, then they swoop down and unleash hell. Almost impossible to detect until it's too late and equally as hard to catch or shoot down"
  907. >The two of you rounded a corner as you neared the shelter, only for your faces to droop immediately
  908. >The street was packed with people trying to get in, the fact that the raid was in the day meaning that there were hundreds more people in the city who now needed shelter
  909. >If they really were Pegasus dive bombers you wouldn't have time to get in, you had mere minutes at the best
  910. >The shaking of explosions was already beginning, startlingly close
  911. >You felt an overwhelming feeling of despair as you began to quake in fear
  912. >You had survived a bombing before, and only a miracle saw you through
  913. >You wouldn't be that lucky twice
  914. >And to be killed by your own side, in bombing which you believed wasn't happening, there was some bitter irony in that
  915. >You heard your name being called in a distant voice, somewhere far away, but your body refused to move to acknowledge it
  916. >This was how you died, on an alien world, a slave, ripped apart by one of your own bombs
  917. >At least you got to meet Anon before you died
  918. >You liked him, he was the only human who was ever nice to you- nicer than a lot of ponies in fact- and he was going to die here too
  919. >You didn't want him to die, not like this. He didn't deserve it
  920. "Lets fucking move!"
  921. >Reality came crashing back as Anon scooped you up in his arms and began sprinting for his life- both of your lives
  922. >"W-where are we going?" You screamed, your voice trembling
  923. "I don't know, anywhere but here!"
  924. >You looked over Anon's shoulder as he ran, the world behind him disappearing in fire and smoke
  925. >"Oh sweet Celestia..." You whispered in horror under your breath
  926. >"They're almost on top of us!"
  927. >As you stared, your mouth agape, a single bomb plummeted straight into the remnants of the people who were still struggling to get into the shelter
  928. >Your heart seemed to stop as they were vaporised, reduced to paste in the blink of an eye
  929. >Then, swooping through the plume of smoke you spotted another Pegasus, a bomb grasped between his hooves
  930. >He was headed straight for you
  931. >You didn't even notice as you wet yourself, your piss streaking down the front of Anon's shirt
  932. >The momentary distraction caused Anon to stumble and trip over a crack as you both went sprawling on the tarmac, just as the Pegasus dropped his payload
  933. >The bomb went hurtling past you, detonating some way down the street and showering both of you with rubble and dust
  934. >You struggled to your hooves, expecting Anon to do the same but he wasn't moving
  935. >"Oh Celestia, oh fuck!" You shouted as white hot terror burned in your mind
  936. >His head was bleeding where a chunk of rubble had landed on him, knocking him out cold, though the ride and fall of his breathing meant he was still alive
  937. >With all your strength you hooked your front hooves under his armpits and bit your teeth into his collar and dragged for all you were worth
  938. >You screamed in anguish and panic as you dragged him into a side alley, havoc raining from the skies all around you
  939. >Your muscles bulged, burning in agony but you refused to leave him out here to die, just as he had refused to leave you behind outside of the shelter even though he easily could have
  940. >Probably should have, you slowed him down and made him trip
  941. >His blood was on your hooves if he died, as you had once thought it was
  942. >Celestia herself must have been watching over you for as you glanced backwards over your shoulder you noticed an overturned dumpster laying on its side
  943. >As quickly as you could you dragged Anon inside, tucking his legs in and climbing in after him
  944. >Your body then completely gave out and you clung to his unconscious body for dear life, crying into his piss soaked shirt as debris clanged off the side of your shelter and explosions tore through the air
  945. >Thankfully Pegasi can't carry many bombs, especially not large ones, so the raid was relatively short
  946. >Soon enough the only sound that could be heard was your own crying as you begged Anon to wake up
  947.  
  948. Be Anon
  949. >As consciousness returned the first thing you felt was the immense pain in the back of your head
  950. >The next thing was Lyra's soft crying, and you could feel her pressed into you
  951. >You opened your eyes but the world was still black
  952. >Were you blind?
  953. >A surge of panic flowed through you at the notion but you were quick to squash it down
  954. >You could not let yourself be overwhelmed by fear now
  955. >You groaned as you shifted your body into a sitting position
  956. "Lyra? Where are you? I can't see"
  957. >"Oh, let me fix that" Came the reply, and you heard a shuffling
  958. >Then a crack of blinding light appeared and you were forced to squint against it
  959. >You crawled through the gap the light was coming from and found yourself in a dusty rubble filled side street
  960. >You had been sheltering in a dumpster
  961. >Gross, but good thinking on Lyra's part
  962. >You were then tackled back down to the ground as a furry ball impacted your midsection
  963. >Lyra was on top of you crying and nuzzling you violently
  964. >"I thought we were both gonna die. I thought I was gonna lose you..."
  965. >Your hands were shaking as you ran them through her dusty mane, shock finally beginning to settle in
  966. >You let out a shaky breath as you struggled to your feet, still clutching Lyra like a child as she cried into your neck
  967. "Come on, lets get home"
  968. >You walked at a trudging pace, your body too weak and battered and your mind too frayed to muster any strength
  969. >Most of what you bought had been lost in the carnage, though you were lucky enough to find one of your bags in the street which contained some groceries and the shampoo you had bought for Lyra
  970. >You walked with the bag in one hand and Lyra in the other, watching as people emerged from their shelters to behold the desolation
  971. >Most just looked around in weary bewilderment, though some still had the wits to glare you and Lyra down as you passed them by
  972. >You didn't have the energy to care at this point, you just wanted to get home and collapse
  973. >The journey home seemed to be painfully slow, but at least Lyra found the strength to walk on her own hooves and didn't need to be carried all the way
  974. >It was growing dark by the time you made it home and there was a cold chill in the air
  975. >Pushing the front door open you made your way straight to the living room and simply collapsed face down on the couch
  976. >Lyra climbed up next to you and you rolled over to accommodate her, wrapping your arms around her body as she tucked her head under your chin
  977. >You let out a collective sigh of exhaustion, no words being spoken between you for a long time
  978. >You were both lost in thought, far away stares in your eyes as you both lay there perfectly still and your ragged breathing the only noise to be heard
  979. >After what seemed like an eternity you broke the silence
  980. "You saved my life... again"
  981. >"Again? When was the first time?"
  982. >Lyra rolled over, tilting her head up to fix you with her large amber stare
  983. "The first time- if you hadn't shot my leg off I would have died on that burning vehicle, either from burning or being picked off whilst I struggled. Feels weird thanking someone for that, but I've thought about it a lot and you saved my life"
  984. >She looked away from you
  985. >"I- I never thought about it that way, I only thought about how horribly I maimed you"
  986. >Her gaze once again met yours
  987. >"You saved my life too Anon, if you hadn't picked me up and carried me I would have stayed stood there until a bomb took me"
  988. "I'm just surprised you were strong enough to repay the favour and drag me into cover. For a small pony you sure pack some strength"
  989. >You hugged her tight to your chest, simply savouring the fact that you were both still alive
  990. >For a few hours you simply remained there locked in an embrace until the distant rumble of renewed bombing began and interrupted the moment
  991. >At least your distance from the city offered you respite, though the noise was still unnerving
  992. >You stood up and walked to the window, watching in grim silence the hell you had narrowly escaped from
  993. >Fires raged and explosions flashed, illuminating the crumbling buildings briefly against the black night
  994. >As you surveyed the scene a flash of movement caught your eye, close in the field outside your house
  995. >The hairs on the back of your neck rose, adrenaline immediately coursing through your veins and washing away the fatigue
  996. >Someone or something was out there
  997. >You didn't know what it was but a gut instinct told you it was danger
  998. >A thief? A wild animal?
  999. >There wasn't really anything larger than a fox around here, and even they were few and far between
  1000. >"Anon? What's wrong?"
  1001. "Someone's out there, stay here"
  1002. >You rushed to the kitchen, unlocking a safe which you hoped you would never have to open again
  1003. >In it was your old service pistol along with a box of ammo and a couple of magazines which you quickly loaded as you readied the firearm
  1004. >You also grabbed a flashlight as you made your way back towards the door to confront whatever stalked outside your house
  1005. >You strode out into the darkness, casting the light over the fields to try and spot whatever it was
  1006. "Come out, I've got a gun!" You yelled
  1007. >You'd had a few burglars up here before and usually the threat of being shot was enough to deter them, in fact a warning shot was the most you ever needed to convince them to go away
  1008. >Your threat proved ineffective though as no one came forth
  1009. >You started to doubt yourself as you swept the beam around the property
  1010. >Maybe you had been seeing things, you'd had a stressful day and hallucinations weren't unheard of after such situations
  1011. >You noticed Lyra's concerned face watching you from a gap in the curtains, making sure you were alright
  1012. >You were about ready to call it quits and head back inside as you felt your adrenaline surge running out and exhaustion returning
  1013. >Then a sharp crack caused you to whirl in place and hit the deck
  1014. >There was no mistaking the sound of a gunshot, and your arm reflexively raised in the direction it had come from as you fired a few rounds
  1015. >Two more shots flew over your head in response, your assailant evidently blind firing over their cover
  1016. >You fired back and saw a shape dart out from behind a hedge and back into cover behind another
  1017. >You too shifted position, and as you moved a bullet whizzed past your ear whilst another impacted your prosthetic leg with a loud cracking noise
  1018. >The impact caused you to stumble, but as you fell you dumped the rest of the mag towards the bush the attacker was hidden behind
  1019. >A rather unexpectedly feminine squeal of pain met your ears as you landed with a thud
  1020. >The gunshots ceased and you heard a muffled crying and whimpering coming from their position
  1021. >You loaded a fresh mag and cast your flashlight towards the bush as you cautiously made your way towards it
  1022. >What the light illuminated caused you to gasp in surprise
  1023. >It wasn't some trigger happy thief that has attacked you
  1024. >It was a young Pegasus mare, who now sat coughing up her own blood as it pooled around her
  1025. >There was a messy hole in her chest and one through her front leg which she clutched to herself
  1026. >She was trying to shield herself from you with wings that were tattered and bloody as she cried weakly
  1027. >"Just kill me already, get it over with!"
  1028. >Shit, you weren't prepared for this
  1029. >You scooped her up in your arms despite the pain it caused her and charged back towards your house
  1030. >You kicked the door open and sprinted to the kitchen, throwing everything off of the table and laying the pony down on it
  1031. "Lyra get in here!"
  1032. >Your voice cracked as you yelled for Lyra, panic starting to consume you as your hands began trembling
  1033. >You threw open the medicine cupboard, throwing everything out and scattering it on the counter
  1034. "Why couldn't you have just put the fucking gun down? This didn't have to happen!"
  1035. >You shouted at the wounded pony on the table as you ransacked the cupboard, unable to control your emotions
  1036. >"Anon! What's going on?!" Lyra screamed as she came bursting into the room
  1037. >"O- oh Celestia..." She breathed, seeing the pony bleeding out on the table
  1038. >She was visibly fighting the urge to be sick as she looked between you and the Pegasus
  1039. "Get her talking Lyra, we need to keep her focused!"
  1040. >Your commands seemed to snap her back to attention as she moved next to the Pegasus, face to face with her
  1041. >"W-what's your name?" She asked in a tiny wavering voice
  1042. >The Pegasus ignored her, screaming at you instead
  1043. >"Just kill me already, get it over with! That's all you do isn't it?"
  1044. "I never wanted to hurt you! You shot at me!"
  1045. >You yelled in a desperate plea as you turned back to her
  1046. >All you had was bandages and basic dressings to patch the wounds and some tweezers to try remove the bullet
  1047. >It would take a miracle to save her
  1048. >The bullet in her leg had gone all the way through so you moved to examine her chest wound, but immediately her legs began flailing as she tried to fight you off
  1049. >"No! Get your filthy monkey paws off me you monster!"
  1050. >You looked at her in confusion and desperation
  1051. "Why won't you let me help you? You want to live don't you?"
  1052. >"What so you can make me your slave as soon as I can walk again? So you can beat me and rape me every day like you do with her?"
  1053. >She threw a hoof out to gesture at Lyra
  1054. >"I'd rather die than waste away the rest of my days as a slave!"
  1055. >You and Lyra both looked at each other, both silently urging the other to do something
  1056. >This pony wasn't going to trust you no matter what you said and you were at a loss at what to do
  1057. >"I- I'm not a slave" Lyra squeaked out in a tiny voice
  1058. >The Pegasus winced in pain as she turned to look at her
  1059. >"Pffft so what? You voluntarily came here to live with a monster, get beaten, raped and whatever the fuck else he wants to do with you?"
  1060. >"He doesn't beat me or rape me, or any of those other horrible things. He's not like that"
  1061. >"So what are all those scars from? Where's your horn?"
  1062. >Lyra winced at the painful reminder, bringing a hoof up to her head and gently touching the stump
  1063. >"I used to be a slave, up until a few days ago. My old master... he tortured me for months, maybe even a year. I don't even know how long I've been here!"
  1064. >She stopped to gather her thoughts, taking a deep ragged breath as sobs threatened to wrack her body
  1065. >"But then Anon came and cleaned me and fed me, he- he saved me from that hell! He lets me do whatever I want and never asks for anything in return- he even fought another human to protect me!"
  1066. >You noticed the Pegasus' expression soften at the way Lyra spoke, glancing between the both of you and looking for any hint of a lie
  1067. >"Please..." Lyra begged, tears in her eyes
  1068. >"Please let him help you. We've seen enough death already, please..."
  1069. >The pony turned back to face you and her expression stiffened
  1070. >"Fine, but I'm out of here the second I can walk. I still don't trust any of you monkey people not to put me in chains as soon as I let my guard down"
  1071. >You breathed a sigh of relief and hoped she hadn't lost too much blood during the little argument
  1072. >Before you got back to the operation you remembered something that might help
  1073. "Here, drink this"
  1074. >You passed her a bottle of neat vodka off the counter, mostly full
  1075. >She looked at it dubiously, swilling the clear liquid around
  1076. "It'll taste like shit but it'll help a bit with the pain. Trust me this is gonna suck"
  1077. >The mare took a small sip before her face scrunched up in disgust and she began coughing
  1078. >"It burns my throat" She spluttered
  1079. "Yeah it does that"
  1080. >You replied, taking the bottle and having a long swig yourself to try and calm your shaking hands
  1081. "Try and drink some, it'll help"
  1082. >You handed the bottle back before picking the tweezers up again
  1083. >She looked at you as she choked some more down, her expression queasy and uncertain
  1084. >A mix of the alcohol she was trying to drink and anticipation of the inevitable pain
  1085. "No time like the present" You sighed
  1086. "Try keep her distracted Lyra. Give her your hoof, talk to her"
  1087. >She gave you a small nod, extending her hoof out to the Pegasus as your attention returned to the bullet hole in her chest
  1088. >The fur around it was wet and matted with blood, almost her entire chest was red by now
  1089. >The bleeding seemed to have slowed down though which you assumed was a good thing
  1090. >"What's your name?" Lyra asked
  1091. >"S- Sun Striker AAAAAAHH!" She screamed as you inserted the tweezers
  1092. >You had seen light glinting off metal inside the wound and moved to grab it before it was submerged in blood again
  1093. >The Pegasus was crushing Lyra's hoof in a vice like grip as her body tensed in agony
  1094. >You could feel the tweezers knocking and scraping against something solid and with some effort you managed to grab it
  1095. >The bullet seemed to be lodged and you grimaced as each little tug caused her to writhe and cry out in excruciating pain
  1096. >Finally it came free, but as you pulled it free a massive gush of blood spurted out of her chest
  1097. >She gave an ear splitting shriek of horror as she watched her own blood fountain out of herself, her eyes boggling
  1098. >You rushed to slap your hands over the hole and put some pressure on the wound as blood seeped out between your fingers
  1099. "Lyra! Bandages!"
  1100. >You shouted forcefully, unable to control the volume of your voice in your panic
  1101. >"I- I don't want to die, please don't let me die..." The Pegasus begged as you began to cover the wound
  1102. "I won't, I won't..." You mumbled as you wound bandages around her torso
  1103. >You could see blood seeping through it already but you kept on bandaging
  1104. >If you had to guess you'd gone through a vein, but you didn't have the medical skills to be sure or even really do anything about it
  1105. >You weren't a medic or a doctor or even a vet, and you were way out of your depth
  1106. >Finally you got the bandages applied, both on her chest and her leg that you had shot, though the leg wasn't too bad
  1107. >You couldn't see any blood coming through the surface of the bandages yet and hoped that meant the bleeding was stopping
  1108. >You gave a long exhale of exhaustion and relief, slumping down in your chair and wiping your brow which streaked blood across your forehead
  1109. >"W- will I be ok?" The mare asked in a frail shaky voice
  1110. >You wanted to tell her yes. You wanted her to be OK and make a full recovery but honestly if she survived the night it would be a miracle
  1111. "I don't know, I did everything I could"
  1112. >She sniffled in response, but kept it together enough to not break down into a full fit of tears
  1113. >You had to admit this mare was strong even though she looked small and younger than your average fighting pony, certainly younger than Lyra
  1114. >That was probably the only thing giving her a chance for survival
  1115. >"My parents warned me about this, they told me not to go..." She whimpered
  1116. >Lyra was by her side holding her hoof and stroking her mane as she cried softly
  1117. >"My sister- she was enslaved at the beginning of the war. A special team rescued her, but when she got home she was... broken"
  1118. >She looked you in your eyes, staring into your soul as her next words cut like knives
  1119. >Pony eyes were so wide and expressive, and in them you saw sorrow and regret like no other
  1120. >The regret one can only feel when they reach the end of their life, only to realise their death was a waste
  1121. >"They pulled her wings off, made her fight other ponies for sport and when she wasn't fighting she was getting beaten mercilessly and raped to 'toughen her up'. Whenever we tried to talk to her or touch her she would flinch and try and move away..."
  1122. >You sat and listened to her unable to move, rage, sadness and pity all boiling together inside you making you feel sick
  1123. >"I was so angry when I thought about what you people did. She was so broken and fucked up that i almost wished she'd died, just so she wouldn't have to live like this"
  1124. >Lyra was also crying openly, her sobbing seeming to complement the sad tale being told
  1125. >"I went and I joined the Pegasus Fighting Corps, got transferred to the bomber wings later. All I wanted to do was kill the monsters who dared hurt my sister. I lied to the officer about my age to get in I was that desperate. My parents begged me not to go, told me I was gonna die or even worse wind up like my sister, but I didn't listen"
  1126. >Sun Striker heaved a heavy breath as she finished her story
  1127. >By now there were a few tears streaking down your face too
  1128. >"The last time I saw my parents... my mom couldn't even speak she was crying that hard. All my dad could say was 'We love you Sunny', before he started crying too and the officer came and took me away. I- I tore them apart and I'm never gonna see them again"
  1129. >She whispered the last words as if she couldn't quite bring herself to believe it before breaking down into quiet sobs
  1130. >You thought you could feel your heart physically breaking as you looked at her
  1131. >The crushing guilt you felt at being the one who put the bullet in her, the one who took her away from her parents and sister, it was unbearable
  1132. "I'm so sorry Sun Striker, I didn't want to hurt you, I never wanted any of this..."
  1133. >She turned to you, her expression gentle and sad as she sniffled
  1134. >"I- It's my own fault really, I shot at you first and you were only defending yourself. For the record I think you're a good person..."
  1135. "Anon"
  1136. >She looked up at the ceiling with a far away expression as if pondering something
  1137. >"Anon..." She whispered, then let out a long breath
  1138. >Her features seemed to relax and she looked peaceful
  1139. >Oh shit!
  1140. >"Anon!" Lyra screamed
  1141. >"Anon do something!"
  1142. >You leaped to your feet, grabbing Sun Striker by her shoulders and shaking her
  1143. >"Come on Sun Striker don't die!"
  1144. >Her head flopped around as you shook her, her lifeless eyes glazed over and distant
  1145. >"Celestia no, please no..." You heard Lyra begging
  1146. >"Not again!"
  1147. >There was nothing you could do, CPR, mouth to mouth, there was no point
  1148. >Sun Striker had simply lost too much blood and died, bled to death on your kitchen table
  1149. "She- She's dead Lyra"
  1150. >You said plainly as you crumpled to the floor, your back leaning against the table leg
  1151. "She lost too much blood, there's nothing I can do"
  1152. >Lyra let out a wail of despair as she threw her front hooves around you and buried her face in your chest
  1153. >A few tears rolled down your cheeks to land on her head, but mostly you just felt numb
  1154. >After everything the day had thrown at you your nerves were fried and your spirit crushed, and you simply sat and held Lyra as she screamed and cried her sorrow into you
  1155. >Eventually Lyra cried herself to sleep, but the crushing weight of your guilt made sleep impossible for yourself
  1156. >You carried her off to your bed before making your way outside, back into the darkness
  1157. >The night air chilled your skin, making you shiver as you opened the shed and grabbed a spade
  1158. >You walked to the edge of the hill your home was on where the terrain began to slope steeply and began digging
  1159. >The exhaustion from the day was replaced only with a hollow numbness, you felt empty
  1160. >You fell into a steady rhythm as you dug
  1161. >It felt mechanical, like you were a machine
  1162. >Your mind was very much alive however
  1163. >Thoughts of Sun Striker consumed you, the parents you had taken her away from, her broken sister who's mind was damaged beyond repair by your species
  1164. >They wouldn't even know she was dead since you were the only one who knew and you had no way of telling them
  1165. >She would forever be listed as MIA in the Equestrian records, her family living in false hope that she would one day return to them
  1166. >Each day that passed their hope would be crushed a little more until they died never knowing if their daughter was alive or dead
  1167. >You had robbed them not only of their daughter but their closure too
  1168. >Tears flowed freely down your face and into the dirt as you dug though you didn't really notice
  1169. >By the time you were finished digging your hands were blistered and sore, but you had a deep rectangular hole cut out of the earth
  1170. >You stuck the spade into the ground and headed back inside
  1171. >You walked towards the kitchen, each step feeling heavier and slower than the last until you were stood at the door
  1172. >You had to go in there and see her again, bear witness to what you had done, the pain and suffering you had wrought upon another creature
  1173. >Slowly you pushed the door open and as you stepped inside your breath caught and you froze
  1174. >Her body still lay lifeless on the table but somehow your mind had managed to erase the memory of just how much blood there was
  1175. >The table she lay on was completely red, the blood pooled so thickly that it was still wet
  1176. >Much of it had dripped onto the floor forming crimson puddles around the table that were slowly beginning to dry
  1177. >The blood that had spurted from the hole in her chest had gone everywhere, and there were small patches of drying blood on almost every surface that appeared almost black as they crusted over
  1178. >It's coppery scent tainted the air, making you gag as you stepped closer to Sun Striker's corpse
  1179. >You'd seen your fair share of blood and gore, especially in the hospital tents, but here in your own kitchen with someone you had shot the horror seemed much more gripping
  1180. >You looked down at the dead Pegasus
  1181. >She'd died with her eyes closed and her face looked calm and peaceful, as if she'd simply gone to sleep
  1182. >Honestly if you had to look into her eyes you thought your mind would simply snap
  1183. >You reached out cautiously to touch her, your hand flinching as if the contact would electrocute you
  1184. >You slowly lay your hand on her shoulder and realised her corpse was already going cold
  1185. >You let out a heavy ragged sigh, almost a sob, as you took one last long look as Sun Striker's body
  1186. >You wanted to commit every feature to memory, make sure that at least someone remembered her aside from her family
  1187. >You wondered if she ever expected such a messy tragic end when she joined up, or if she expected to bleed out her last with a human trying to save her
  1188. >You wondered if she would have stayed with you if she'd survived, maybe you could have become friends and waited out the war together, helped her get home to her family
  1189. >So much that could have been, so much potential now ripped away by your hand
  1190. >Eventually you managed to tear your eyes away from her, that one act seeming to require all of your strength
  1191. >You then lifted her body up, as gently as you could like you were cradling a newborn baby
  1192. >As you lifted something slipped out from underneath one of her tattered wings landing in a dry patch where she had been laid
  1193. >You lifted Sun Striker onto your shoulder before you grabbed the small piece of paper to examine it
  1194. >Turning it over you let out a short sob and almost fell to your knees at what you saw
  1195. >It was a simple family photo with Sun Striker stood at the front with who you assumed to be her sister with her parents stood behind them
  1196. >It must have been taken before the war broke out since her sister was not the wreck that had been described, instead mimicking Sun Striker's broad grin and hugging her
  1197. >Both parents wore the proudest smiles you had ever seen on their faces, staring more at their kids than the photographer
  1198. >Your hand trembled like a leaf as you slid the photo into your pocket and carried Sun Striker outside
  1199. >The crude grave you had dug was still there, a shallow hole on an alien world which was to be her eternal resting place
  1200. >She deserved so much better but you couldn't provide it
  1201. >You gently laid her down into the pit before grabbing the spade to bury her
  1202. >It felt appropriate to say a few words before she was gone forever, but none would come
  1203. >You stood and stared at her for a few minutes, your mind going blank
  1204. "I'm sorry Sun Striker"
  1205. >That was all you could bring yourself to say before you filled the hole in
  1206. >When you were finished you smoothed the dirt and headed back inside
  1207. >You would make a gravestone at some pint, lay some flowers or something even though it would never wash the guilt from your conscience
  1208. >You made your way to the kitchen which now seemed eerie and empty without Sun Striker laid on the table
  1209. >Her blood still decorated every surface though
  1210. >lacking the energy to clean it all up, you simply grabbed the bottle of vodka that was still on the table and slouched to the floor, ready to drink the pain away
  1211.  
  1212. Be Lyra
  1213. >Awoken violently by the nightmares that plague your sleep you sat bolt upright in bed
  1214. >You thought you could hear a noise coming from down the corridor
  1215. >Your ears perked and you could make out the sound of gentle sobbing
  1216. >Quietly you climbed out of Anon's bed and walked towards the sound which was coming from the kitchen
  1217. >You steeled your nerves before opening the door, remembering full well that there was a dead pony on the table along with copious amounts of her blood everywhere
  1218. >You took a deep breath and pushed the door open
  1219. >Two things immediately became apparent- Sun Striker's body was gone and Anon was crumpled on the floor sobbing brokenly
  1220. >He didn't notice you enter, which allowed you to take in the sight a little while longer as you approached him
  1221. >Anon was in a bad shape, stained with blood, dirt and sweat and reeking of death
  1222. >The vodka bottle that he had offered to Sun Striker now lay empty beside him and in his hands was clasped a small scrap of paper
  1223. >"Anon..." You whispered as you got close to him
  1224. >His body stiffened and he looked up at you with red unfocused eyes
  1225. >He looked... scared?
  1226. >Almost as if he wanted to run away from you and hide
  1227. >"Anon it's me"
  1228. >He trembled as he opened his mouth to speak
  1229. "Y- you hate me..."
  1230. >You couldn't really tell if that was a statement or a question, but either way it was a notion you wanted to dispel
  1231. >"No I-"
  1232. "I killed her Lyra! I shot a huge fucking hole in her chest and she bled to death! I'm a fucking monster!"
  1233. >You were speechless at his sudden outburst, taking a short step back in surprise
  1234. >Anon seemed to notice your fear, and just like that his anger evaporated as he slumped down even further into the puddle of Sun Striker's blood that he was laid in
  1235. >He covered his face with one hand as if he couldn't bear to look at you and his other arm outstretched, offering you the scrap of paper
  1236. "Look at what I've done Lyra, what I've destroyed. I'm a fucking monster..." He muttered
  1237. >You turned it over and took it in your hoof to inspect it
  1238. >You let out a short gasp at the family photo, recognising Sun Striker straight away and seeing her parents beaming down at her
  1239. >Your gasp became a sob as tears began to fall down your cheeks
  1240. >Then you looked back up at Anon who seemed like a broken shell of himself
  1241. >You did the only thing you could think to do and wrapped him in a tight hug
  1242. >He tried to fight you and push you off, but in his exhausted state the most he could do was lightly claw at your fur
  1243. >"It wasn't your fault Anon" You whispered into his ear as you embraced him
  1244. >"Don't say that, don't fucking say that..."
  1245. >He hissed between clenched teeth
  1246. >"It wasn't your fault, you didn't mean to kill her, you tried to save her"
  1247. "I put two fucking bullets in her" He sobbed
  1248. >You held him as he cried, and by now he too was clinging on to you tightly, like a crying foal you thought
  1249. >"You were only trying to protect yourself Anon, protect me. Nopony can blame you for that, I don't think even Sun Striker took it too personally"
  1250. "I just... I can't believe I killed her..." He wept
  1251. >He let out some more choking sobs as he held you, and you could practically feel his whole body trembling
  1252. >You held him until he began to calm down, his crying becoming ragged breathing with the odd hiccup and whimper
  1253. >You wanted to stay there comforting him for a while longer but there was an important question nagging at you
  1254. >"A- Anon..." You said gently
  1255. >"Where's Sun Striker?"
  1256. >Your voice quavered as you asked the question, you were dreading the answer
  1257. >Anon clung to you a little tighter, composing himself to speak
  1258. "I buried her... I- In the garden, by the ridge..."
  1259. >He heaved a heavy sigh before he spoke
  1260. "I- I figured it was the only decent spot- the way the sun catches it when it rises in the morning- I wanted her to be able to see it every day. Maybe she'll think of her home, her family. Maybe one day the war will end and our worlds can make peace a- and her parents can come and see her and get their closure"
  1261. >His words were mumbled and somewhat slurred by the alcohol, but you could feel the emotion and the hurt in his voice as tears streamed down his cheeks
  1262. "A- and you can go home too..." he whispered
  1263. >That caught you off guard
  1264. >You hadn't given much thought to what you'd do when the war ended
  1265. >You always just sort of assumed you'd die on this planet before it ceased
  1266. >But if the war ended, would you go home if you could?
  1267. >What would even remain of your home?
  1268. >Already most of it was in ruins and most of the close friends or family you knew were dead
  1269. >And what about Anon? Could you simply abandon him?
  1270. >Looking at him now, a bloody broken mess on the floor, your mind was made up
  1271. >He'd dragged you out of the depths of desperation and misery and you would repay him in kind
  1272. >"Come on Anon" You cooed gently
  1273. >"On your feet, lets get you cleaned up OK?"
  1274. >He gave you a tiny nod of acceptance and you pushed yourself under his arm so he could use you as a support to get up
  1275. >Your muscles strained under his weight as he leaned on you heavily, but slowly he climbed to his feet
  1276. >He was swaying and shaking quite worryingly as he stood there, once again assaulted by the sight of the bloodbath that was his kitchen
  1277. >Your slight tug at his sleeve was enough to pull his mind away and you lead him through his house to the en-suite shower in his room
  1278. >You would prefer it if he had a bath, but drunk people and baths don't mix too good
  1279. >As you entered the small bathroom Anon managed to catch his reflection in the mirror
  1280. >He stopped, staring in disbelief at himself
  1281. >Even his inebriated swaying was barely perceptible
  1282. >He brought his hands to his face, feeling the crusted blood mixed with grime and sweat, his jaw slack
  1283. >He looked completely shell shocked, something which both of you had seen plenty of, and you gave another tug at his sleeve to bring him back to reality
  1284. >"Anon, we need to get your clothes off"
  1285. >He gave a weak nod, hearing but not seeming to listen as he still stood there zoned out
  1286. >"Come on" You said gently, giving him a firmer tug that brought him down into a sitting position on the floor
  1287. >With great effort you managed to tug his clothes off, and you found yourself really wishing you still had your magic
  1288. >How can belt buckles possibly be so complex and tricky to undo?
  1289. >What happens when they are busting for the toilet?
  1290. >Your cheeks flushed a little at seeing Anon in the nude, but your mind was too focused on the task of getting him cleaned to allow any room for embarrassment
  1291. >Besides, you had seen a human's junk before, just under vastly different circumstances
  1292. >You chucked his ruined clothes into a pile in the corner before turning the water on
  1293. >You waited until the temperature was right and then ushered Anon into the shower
  1294. >He was too plastered to stay standing for very long, and instead sat hunched over whilst you cleaned him off with the shower head clenched in your mouth
  1295. >There wasn't much room in the shower, and it was rather awkward having to climb over and around him which wasn't helped by his lack of cooperation
  1296. >The water ran a reddish-brown colour as it cascaded over his body and through his matted hair, washing the horrors of the day from his body
  1297. >You grimaced as the filthy water in the basin began lapping at your hooves and seeping into your fur, but pressed on regardless
  1298. >Anon was once again sobbing as he watched Sun Striker's blood run from his body and gurgle down the drain, and you watched his back heave and shudder in his hunched over position
  1299. >You remembered when you were first brought to Anon's home and he had bathed you in much the same way
  1300. >How you had stared appalled at the water as the blood and dirt from your body had soaked out, reminding you of all the suffering you had been through
  1301. >How much it hurt seeing how much of a state you were in, how disgusting and wretched you had become
  1302. >You understood how he felt now, but more so you understood the compassion he had felt when he took you in
  1303. >To see another creature so degraded and repulsed with themself was painful to witness
  1304. >He barely acknowledged your touch as you moved him around to clean him, simply lost in his own mind as his thoughts consumed him
  1305. >You took the bottle of shampoo and began to massage some into his scalp with your hooves, noticing the lather discolour as it cleansed more of the dirt matting his hair
  1306. >You also used some scented body wash, scrubbing gently at his skin to make sure you cleaned him thoroughly
  1307. >Anon still sat there like a sack of potatoes, sniffling and occasionally mumbling to himself
  1308. >You began to rinse him down again, washing the soap off his body and also noticing that the water running into the basin was finally clear rather than brown
  1309. >When all the soap was washed from him you decided it was time to get him dried up and of to bed so you shut off the water
  1310. >"Lets dry you up Anon" You said gently as you lifted his head up with a hoof
  1311. >His eyes focused as they looked into yours, and he actually seemed to gain some clarity and awareness
  1312. "O- Ok Lyra, th- thankyou"
  1313. >Then his eyes darted away from your gaze again, and he was back to looking at the ground
  1314. >You laid out a dry towel on the floor for him to sit on and then draped one around him
  1315. >Drying him properly was tricky, but thankfully humans aren't covered in fur like ponies are so it could have been worse
  1316. >Again you discarded the towel in the pile in the corner and went to fetch Anon some clean boxers to wear to bed
  1317. >To your surprise he managed to put them on himself, though he did put them on backwards
  1318. >You then lead Anon to his bed, tucking him in like a mother would with her foal, then decided to curl up next to him after you turned off the light
  1319. >You were sure you'd both be glad for the company tonight, even if the feeling was unspoken
  1320. >You snuggled up to him, laying your head on his chest and listening to his quiet breathing and his steady heart beat
  1321. >Focusing on him made it easier to push the bad thoughts away that were sure to overwhelm you if you were left alone
  1322. >You laid there for a while although sleep never came, and you were pretty sure Anon was awake too
  1323. >This was confirmed a moment later when he broke the silence with a question that made your blood run cold and your stomach lurch
  1324. "Lyra, who's BonBon?"
  1325. >Memories crashed through your mind as your body went rigid and your heart seemed to stop
  1326. >"H- how do you know that name?" You stuttered as you tried to formulate a response
  1327. "You mumble her name in your sleep. I thought it was like Bourbon at first but the more I listened the more I could make out the name. Who's Bonbon Lyra?"
  1328. >"She..."
  1329. >You pictured her smiling face, her cream coloured coat and purple and pink mane
  1330. >"She's..."
  1331. >The image of her tattered corpse hunched over in the street flashed through your mind and you physically reeled back
  1332. >"...was my m-m- marefriend" You finally choked out
  1333. "W-what happened to her?" Anon whispered
  1334. >You remembered it perfectly, the events branded into your memory and certain to haunt you until you died
  1335. --------------------------------------------------------
  1336. >"We can't just leave her there Lyra, she's gonna bleed out!"
  1337. >"If we go out there we'll be as dead as she is!"
  1338. >You peeped out from behind the crumbling wall to where Summer Rain Lay
  1339. >She'd taken a hit crossing the street and now lay moaning and writhing in pain as she clutched the bloody wound with shaking hooves
  1340. >She might survive if you could get to her right now and stabilise the wound...
  1341. >As you sat trying to decide the best course of action Summer Rain managed to lift her head up and lock eyes with you
  1342. >Her face was going pale and you knew time was running short
  1343. >"Lyra, Bonbon, help me..." She pleaded
  1344. >Your jaw hung open as you tried to speak
  1345. >You wanted to reassure her, tell her to stay down and stay still whilst you went to get reinforcements but her desperate stare had you paralysed
  1346. >"Buck this I'm not leaving her here!" Bonbon cried as she suddenly charged past you
  1347. >"Bonnie!" You screamed, reaching your hoof out in a futile attempt to stop her
  1348. >Bonbon closed the distance rapidly, somehow making it to the fallen pony without taking any incoming fire
  1349. >She crouched down next to Summer Rain, checking her over and offering some reassuring words as she began to hook her hooves under her shoulders
  1350. >"I got her Lyra, It's alr-"
  1351. >Her voice was drowned out as a hail of machine gun fire ripped Summer Rain to pieces, shredding Bonbon's front legs as it raked over her
  1352. >"Bonbon!" You shrieked in horror
  1353. >You stepped out into the street ready to charge over to her
  1354. >She had just enough time to turn her face towards you, giving you one last mortified gaze before her head exploded, her beautiful face and wide blue eyes disintegrating as her brains turned to mist
  1355. >The world seemed to come screeching to a halt as her headless body stayed propped up for a second, then flopped into the pool of blood and dirt next to Summer Rain
  1356. >Your eyes bulged and your breathing stopped as your mind refused to process the scene before it
  1357. >You could feel the shot ringing in your ears, echoing through your soul as you watched the blood leak from her decapitated corpse
  1358. >A small whimper escaped your throat which escalated into a piercing wail of despair as you turned tail and fled from the nightmare
  1359. >You ran as fast as your legs could carry you, as if you could run fast enough you could escape reality and the memory of what you just saw
  1360. >You galloped through ruined buildings, bunkers and rubble strewn streets, back through your own lines screaming like a madmare
  1361. >Eventually you collapsed into a gibbering wreck on the ground, the vision of Bonbons head exploding playing endlessly through your mind as the gunshot still echoed in your ears
  1362. >You stayed that way crying and screaming until a couple of stallions found you and dragged you off back to the area's headquarters bunker
  1363. ----------------------------------------
  1364. >"I miss her so much Anon! She was always so kind and sweet, she was always smarter and braver than me. It should have been me that died instead of her, she didn't deserve to die Anon!"
  1365. "Don't say that"
  1366. >You lifted your heads from the sheets to look at Anon
  1367. >You were both crying heavily, and there was a waver in his slurred voice
  1368. "Don't ever wish you were dead Lyra, I- I don't know what I'd do if I lost you..."
  1369. >You stared speechless at him as tears rolled down your cheeks, then crushed him in a massive hug and nuzzled into his neck
  1370. >He returned the gesture, putting his arms around you and resting his head against yours
  1371. "I'm so glad you're alive" He whispered, burying his face in your mane
  1372. >You stayed locked in the embrace as exhaustion took you both and you drifted off into the dream world
  1373. ----------------------------------------------------------------------
  1374. >You woke up gently, something soft and warm pressed against you and you snuggled against it
  1375. >"Look's like somepony's finally awake"
  1376. >Your eyes flittered open to see Bonbon staring back into them smiling at you
  1377. >"I just had the strangest dream..." You muttered before leaning forward and giving her a soft kiss
  1378. >You took a while to savour the moment before Bonbon broke the kiss, rolling away from you
  1379. >"Come on Lyra, Anon's downstairs making breakfast"
  1380. >You smiled before rolling out of bed yourself, now eager to get downstairs
  1381. >Anon had been living with you since he appeared in your world and had become one of your best friends
  1382. >He didn't know how he got to Equestria, but said he had escaped a horrible war that was being waged on it, though rarely talked about it
  1383. >Walking into the kitchen he smiled at you as he set the table
  1384. "Morning Lyra, Bonbon"
  1385. >You greeted him back as you sat at the table, seeing fruit, toast, cereal and a pot of tea all laid out for you
  1386. >You made some small talk as you ate, laying out plans for the day
  1387. >You and Bonnie both had the week off, and you wanted to take Anon to see the sights of Canterlot
  1388. >He was very excited about this, having only seen the city clinging to the side of the mountain from Ponyville
  1389. >As you chatted you felt a slight rumble in the earth and heard shouting from outside in the street
  1390. >The others at the table had clearly noticed it too, both wearing concerned faces
  1391. >"Hold on, I'm gonna go check what's happening out there" You said, walking over to the window
  1392. >"Probably just the elements getting up to no good again" Bonbon joked, prompting a chuckle from you and Anon
  1393. >Your smile turned into a gasp of shock as you peeked out of the window
  1394. "What is it Lyra?" Anon called from the table
  1395. >You saw fire raining from the skies, buildings exploding with rubble flying around like confetti as ponies ran around in a blind panic
  1396. >You thought you could see a familiar pony- Sun Striker you think her name was- lying face down in the street as blood pooled around her
  1397. >One of the ponies outside noticed you staring horrified out of the window and ran up to you
  1398. >"Lyra I don't know what's happening! We have to leave!" She screamed
  1399. >You realised it was your old friend Summer Rain, a moment before a huge explosion detonated just outside and she disappeared as you were blinded by a cloud of smoke
  1400. >You were left reeling by the explosion, losing your bearings and collapsing to the floor as your vision spun
  1401. >When you finally managed to sit up and open your eyes properly, all you could see was smoke and dust swirling in the air
  1402. >The windows were blown out and one of the floors and the wall at the back of the house had collapsed in
  1403. >Suddenly the figure of Bonbon plunged at you out of the smoke, grabbing at your chest
  1404. >Her front legs were tattered and bloody and her fur was caked with dust
  1405. >"Lyra... help me" She pleaded before her head exploded into pink mist
  1406. >You stared petrified at her headless body, before noticing the tall figures creeping about in the smoke
  1407. >With a scream of rage and anguish you let off a volley of magic blasts into the haze of dust, feeling some small satisfaction as one of the figures fell beneath you
  1408. >Your satisfaction immediately turned to ice cold terror as you looked down at it, realising at once that you had hit Anon
  1409. >His leg was missing, blood gushing from the blasted stump, and his clothing was torn and burnt
  1410. "Lyra... why?" He asked, the look of betrayal in his eyes staring daggers into your heart
  1411. >You didn't even have time to say sorry and beg for forgiveness before the others were on you, pinning you down to the ground and wrapping you in chains, shackling your hooves
  1412. >"Anon, Bonbon... no!" You wept as you were dragged through the rubble struggling and screaming, before being thrown into the back of an armoured vehicle
  1413. >You shook violently in the back of the vehicle, both from the trauma you had experienced and from the vehicle bouncing over rubble and bodies as it took you away from your home, your friends, dragging you away into the clutches of slavery
  1414. >There were other ponies in the back, all decorated in dirt, blood and bruises, their expressions hollow
  1415. >The shaking was jarring, rattling your bones and bouncing your head around
  1416. >"Lyra!"
  1417. >You thought you could hear a voice calling you
  1418. >"Lyra!
  1419. "Lyra! Wake up!"
  1420. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1421.  
  1422. Be Anon
  1423. >Sleep had been difficult with the events of the evening, but eventually it had found you
  1424. >Sleep had been brief however as Lyra's tossing and turning and occasional cries woke you up
  1425. >You had a brutal hangover and still felt emotionally unstable, but the evident nightmare Lyra was having was enough to partially take your mind off it
  1426. >You tried holding her and stroking her, trying to calm her down so that you didn't have to wake her up, but she grew more and more restless
  1427. >You sighed to yourself in resignation, realising that you were going to have to wake her up
  1428. >You shook her gently and began to call her name but she began thrashing about, crying out for Bonbon and surprisingly yourself
  1429. >Then abruptly you felt a growing warmth on your leg as Lyra continued whimpering, and it took a few moments for your brain to actually figure out what it was
  1430. "Aw shit, come on Lyra" You muttered
  1431. >You began to shake her harder, raising your voice as you tried desperately to wake her up
  1432. "Lyra! Lyra wake up!"
  1433. >Suddenly her eyes shot open though her pupils were pinpricks, and she began to shriek in terror as she frantically tried to kick away from you
  1434. >"I don't wanna be a slave again! I want Bonbon back!" She screamed, still trapped in her waking nightmare
  1435. "Calm down Lyra it's me Anon, you're safe!"
  1436. >She continued to resist for a while as her world slowly gained clarity and she could make sense of the situation
  1437. >"A-Anon? You're... you're ok?"
  1438. "I'm fine Lyra, it's alright, you were just having a nightmare"
  1439. >You gave her some time to calm down as she was still shaken up and breathing heavily before you spoke again
  1440. "Listen Lyra, we're gonna have to get up and change the sheets and clean you up a bit. You uhhh.... wt the bed a little"
  1441. >Her cheeks immediately flushed a deep crimson and her lips quivered before she burst into tears
  1442. >You threw your arms around her and pulled her in tight, letting her cry into you
  1443. >You could sympathise with her embarrassment and shame
  1444. >Some of the guys that came back traumatised from the fighting had bed wetting problems, and you yourself had gone through a short phase of it
  1445. "You don't need to be ashamed Lyra, it happens to loads of people, even me. We just need to clean you up and change the sheets"
  1446. >"I'm worthless... worthless and pathetic" She sniffled into you
  1447. "It's not pathetic, after last night I'm surprised that I didn't piss myself"
  1448. >She took a deep shaky breath and continued
  1449. >"Its true, I don't mean anything, I'm not worth anything. I should be a slave right now but here I am living off your kindness giving nothing in return. How long until you get bored of me, decide you don't have enough to pay for me? What then?"
  1450. "If... if its worth anything, you mean the world to me Lyra.I meant what I said last night; even though I was drunk I still remember it. I don't know what I'd do anymore without you- helping me, keeping me company- if you weren't there last night I would have lost it... I- I think I would have just shot myself right there in the kitchen after seeing that photo"
  1451. >She shook her head that was still pressed against you, not wanting to believe your words
  1452. >"No Anon, don't say that. You're strong a- and kind, you were fine before I came here. You didn't need saving from enslavement, you're not dependant on the kindness of another purely to survive"
  1453. >You sighed, trying to figure out how to express your feelings and thoughts which you had kept suppressed for a long time
  1454. "Lyra... there's a lot of shit in my head.The things I've seen, thing's I've done in that war that will be with me forever- seeing my friends fall, having to kill other sapient beings, losing my leg- all of it I just pushed to the back of my mind. Since I was discharged I've just sorta been going through the motions, but I could always feel that dam of repressed thoughts threatening to burst. I think last night it did just that. I fucking lost it... and without you here I don't know what I would have done."
  1455. >Lyra was looking up at you as you finished
  1456. >Those beautiful amber eyes seemed to be peering straight into your soul, seeing you in a new light and judging you
  1457. >You felt strangely small staring into her eyes, like with most other ponies that you had seen up close.
  1458. >Their eyes held a natural innocence and wonder, but through the endless violence and bloodshed they also betrayed the pain inside
  1459. >The mental scars of the war, the concealed mourning and loss, the hopelessness in the eyes of slaves as they were dragged away by their masters
  1460. >You felt guilt too, her eyes seeming to reflect back at you the hurt that you yourself had inflicted on other ponies- Sun Striker to name one, as well as countless others that you had killed or injured whilst you were fighting
  1461. >But through all that you saw admiration, compassion and even hope though she often tried to suppress it
  1462. "I think we were meant to find each other Lyra. I'm not really a believer in destiny, but I think fortune put us together for a reason. We've both saved each other's lives multiple times, confided in each other, given blood sweat and tears and we've barely known each other a week. I think as long as we have each other life will get better- we will get better, no matter how shit things seem now. Then one day we might not both be fucked up emotional trainwrecks and we can be truly happy again"
  1463. >Lyra's crying had stopped but her grip on you had only strengthened as she tried to hug the life out of you
  1464. >She didn't say anything but the hug was more than enough for you to know that your words had sunk in and you'd said what she needed to hear
  1465. >You let the hug go on for a while, cuddling back into her and stroking her mane before you forced yourself to break it up
  1466. "Come on Lyra, lets get cleaned up and then we can get back to bed for a bit. We're gonna have a long day cleaning the kitchen later and I'd rather put that off as long as possible"
  1467. >Lyra nodded in agreement, peeling herself away from you and heading off to the bathroom
  1468. >Her face was still red as a cherry as she saw the mess under the sheets and she hung her head, but thankfully didn't break down again
  1469. >You were only wearing boxers and they had avoided being soaked but you still needed a shower as some had gone down your leg
  1470. >Whilst you waited for Lyra you stripped the bed covers, throwing them straight into the washing machine and replacing them with fresh ones
  1471. >She was finished by the time you were done so you took a quick dip yourself before rejoining her in bed
  1472. >It was 9am already but you were both still exhausted and you wanted to spend at least a few more hours in bed
  1473. >"You should have let me change the sheets Anon" Lyra said as you climbed back in next to her
  1474. "What for?"
  1475. >"I'm the one that soiled them, and you've let me sleep here all week. I should be the one to clean my own mess up, especially gross stuff like that..."
  1476. >You chuckled and ruffled her mane, making her scrunch her face up adorably
  1477. "Its really no big deal Lyra, I've got a whole awful mess in the kitchen to clean up later and to say this pales in comparison is a pretty massive understatement. Besides, the quicker the sheets get changed the quicker we can get back into bed"
  1478. >Your lighthearted tone seemed to work at easing her mind, and she wore a little half smile as she cuddled up to you again
  1479. >You pulled her in tight and put your arms around her, idly combing your fingers through her fur as you held her
  1480. >You're pretty sure neither of you actually slept, your minds now too active and the threat of nightmares looming over you, but laying there together was comfy and you thought you could feel some happiness creeping back into your heart after so much grief and trauma
  1481. >You stayed in bed for several hours, just laying there cuddling each other and letting your minds rest
  1482. >Lyra honestly felt like a fluffy hot water bottle, one that let out little adorable squeaks when you squeezed her, and it took every ounce of your strength to let her go and get out of bed
  1483. "I'm gonna go start cleaning the kitchen. You can stay in bed if you want, you don't need to help me with this if you don't want to"
  1484. >You would have certainly appreciated the help but you weren't going to force her to help clean another pony's blood that was stained all over your kitchen
  1485. >"Of course I'm gonna help Anon, I can't let you do that alone. A problem shared is a problem halved right? And the quicker we get this done the quicker we can try and get back to some sort of a normal life"
  1486. >She gave you a sincere smile as she got up from the bed and you chuckled
  1487. "You must be an optimist if you think we're gonna be able to have a normal life. Alright, lets get cleaning then, we've got a long day ahead"
  1488. >Before starting on the kitchen you went and got some buckets and sponges from the shed, filling them with hot soapy water
  1489. >The kitchen was as much of a hellscape as you remembered and you didn't really know where to begin
  1490. >Lyra clearly mirrored this sentiment as she was stood in the middle of the room looking rather lost, staring at the blood that was pooled around the table and spattered over some of the worktops and walls
  1491. >You decided that you would tackle the stains on the walls and cupboards since they were too high up for Lyra to reach, whilst she started work on the table and lower down stains on the furniture
  1492. >Mopping the floor was obviously left for last and by then water had mixed with the dried blood, turning the floor into a slippery mess
  1493. >The whole ordeal lasted all afternoon and into the evening, and you were both exhausted by the time you were finished
  1494. >You'd barely spoken to each other all day, the mood being way too sombre for any discussion or chit chat to feel appropriate
  1495. >Neither of you had eaten properly all day either
  1496. >You had tried having some lunch but found yourselves unable to stomach it, throwing up what little you did eat
  1497. >The coppery stench in the air and the immense waves of emotion crashing through you made you feel nauseous all day, making the task of cleaning gruellingly painful and dragged out
  1498. >You also had to clean up the blood and dirt that had been tracked through the hallway and the crimson stained clothes that had been left in the corner of the bathroom
  1499. >You were about to throw them in the wash but then stopped and put them in the bin
  1500. "Not like I'm ever actually gonna wear those again" You muttered to yourself
  1501. >Even if by some miracle the blood actually came out of them, the memories that clung to them would never be washed away
  1502. >You still felt like utter shit, the guilt weighing inside you felt impossibly heavy, but you'd kept yourself together for most of the day
  1503. >You'd both had the odd little breakdown, but nothing compared to last night
  1504. >Finding the picture of Sun Striker and her family had set you both off again, but as you recovered you set it to the side and carried on
  1505. >Next time you felt brave enough to go back into town you were gonna get it framed and buy some stuff to decorate her grave
  1506. >For the time being it was just a patch of overturned soil in the middle of the grass without a proper gravestone or anything, and she deserved better
  1507. >You were going to make sure that she was honoured and remembered as long as you were still alive
  1508. >You also noticed another reminder that she had left- the bullet that you thought had glanced off your prosthetic was actually flattened and embedded into it
  1509. >It proved impossible to pry it off when you tried, so you decided just to leave it there as a reminder
  1510. >A testament to her fighting spirit or something
  1511. >Who knows, a poet could probably make it sound better
  1512. >You certainly got lucky though, if that leg were real or she'd hit the other one it would have probably put you out of action
  1513. >Then you'd be dead, Sun Striker would have fled and probably gotten captured, and Lyra would probably have wound up back in slavery with the trauma of your death on top of that
  1514. >Knowing what they were like they were likely to pin your death on Lyra, use it as an excuse to beat her harder and give her the shittest jobs and most abusive owners going
  1515. >At least that thought alleviated some of the guilt you felt
  1516. >You were protecting yourself and your friend who was dependant on you, and you knew she wouldn't survive another ordeal like she had already gone through again
  1517. >When you were done the kitchen and hallways felt impossibly clean, like the strange sanitary feel of a hospital
  1518. >Sure it was cleaner than it had been in years, but it just felt... wrong
  1519. >You both showered off again after cleaning the house and eventually found yourselves crashed on the couch
  1520. >Your appetite seemed to have come back slightly and you decided to try to eat again, hoping you would be able to keep it down this time
  1521. >You really wished you could just order a pizza or something like you used to be able to, but most fast food places had either closed or charged extortionate prices, and delivery was out of the question since everyone was trying to conserve fuel
  1522. >Instead you found some of the stew that Lyra had made earlier in the week which you had frozen and simply heated it in a pan and served it with some bread
  1523. >You ate sat on the couch watching another Disney movie and even found a blanket to throw over you both
  1524. >Eventually you wound up snuggled up to each other again, with Lyra laying on your chest and you laying flat on the couch beneath her
  1525. >Out of the corner of your eye you noticed that she seemed to be watching you more than the movie, but you chose not to meet her gaze or comment on it
  1526. >You knew it would just become awkward and you didn't want to ruin the moment, you didn't really know what to say to her anyways
  1527. >It did prompt you to think more about your relationship however
  1528. >Maybe she had feelings for you, like 'more than just friends' feelings
  1529. >She was certainly giving off the signs- her constant staring at you currently and your frequent cuddles and falling asleep together- and it seemed possible, if not likely that she liked you
  1530. >This caused even more questions though
  1531. >Did you have feelings for her? You'd never really thought about her in this way before and it felt weird
  1532. >Ok maybe you did have feelings, but the whole 'being another species and also a violently abused former slave' thing made you feel extremely conflicted
  1533. >What if it was just some strange manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome, falling in love with the first human to not treat her like a living piece of shit
  1534. >If that were the case it would be morally wrong to have a relationship like that, you'd be taking advantage of her
  1535. >Then another fairly trivial but still conflicting thought pushed its way into the front of your mind
  1536. >Wasn't Lyra a lesbian or something? She had a girlfriend... marefriend, whatever called Bonbon
  1537. >As your mind worked itself into a frenzy you idly glanced down and noticed that she had fallen asleep on you, a peaceful smile on her lips as she snored softly
  1538. >Your heart fluttered at the sight, that special heartwarming feeling you always get when another living being falls asleep on you
  1539. >As gently as you could you reached for the TV remote to flick it off and tucked the blanket back over you both, being careful not to rouse the adorable ball of minty fluff on your chest
  1540. >Seeing her curled up like that pushed all those confusing and conflicting thoughts out of your head and you slowly brushed your fingers through her silky mane you you drifted off to sleep
  1541. -----------------------------------------------------------------
  1542. >You awoke with a start, sitting upright and rubbing the sleep out of your eyes
  1543. >You must've drifted off, and from the time your watch showed you'd been asleep for at least ten minutes
  1544. >Thank god the Sergeant hadn't come to check on your post yet, sleeping on sentry duty could get you in some serious shit
  1545. >You briefly scanned the forest in front of you, making sure nothing seemed out of the ordinary
  1546. >Nothing stood out to you, and you didn't want your stare to linger too long- the longer you looked into the dark forest the more your mind played tricks on you, thinking you could see skulking figures or faces staring back at you
  1547. >The paranoia could drive people insane
  1548. >You fucking hated this deployment with a passion, stuck at some FOB guarding one of the only routes through the Everfree, just sitting around waiting to get shot at
  1549. >You'd compare it to some of the fighting in Vietnam if you had to describe it
  1550. >Certainly seemed about as pointless
  1551. >And it wasn't only Equestrian attacks you had to worry about; the forest's wildlife was extremely hostile and several men from your company had already been killed by manticores and timberwolves
  1552. You sighed as you stared out into the blackness before a sudden tap against your helmet made you jump out of your skin
  1553. >You spun around trying to ready your weapon, coming face to face with Sergeant Bowers who was chuckling heartily at your expense
  1554. >"Take it nothing's going on over here then" He laughed
  1555. >"At least try and stay somewhat alert though" He added in a more serious tone
  1556. "S-Sir" You breathed, still trying to calm your racing heart
  1557. >You turned your attention back to the forest, grumbling to yourself as you heard his footsteps shuffling away
  1558. >He shouldn't have snuck up on you like that, everyone was jumpy just from being under constant threat of danger, nevermind the guys like you sitting out here in the dark
  1559. "W-wait a minute Sir" You said with a hint of apprehension in your voice as you noticed a small flicker of light deep within the forest
  1560. "Do you see that?"
  1561. >He walked up behind you and craned his neck over your shoulder, looking at where you were gesturing
  1562. >"Looks like the glow of a unic-"
  1563. >His voice was cut off as the world was plunged into chaos, bright multicoloured flashes of light searing your eyes forcing you to cover them and hit the deck
  1564. >As you came to your senses you could hear panicked screams as gunfire and magic blasts ripped through the air turning the black night into a deadly laser show
  1565. >You pulled yourself out of the dirt, and as you looked around you saw that ponies were already inside the perimeter intermingled with your own and the scene had descended into a bloody melee as desperate hand-to-hoof combat was waged
  1566. "Where the fuck did they come from?" You screamed as you let off a few sharp bursts at whatever targets you could pick out
  1567. >As if to answer your question another half a dozen ponies appeared a short distance away from you in a flash of light and you struggled to bring your rifle to bear in time
  1568. "Fucking teleporting? Really?!"
  1569. >You still hadn't come to grips with the magical abilities these tiny horses possessed, they seemed to just bend reality and physics to their will
  1570. >Right now they were teleporting themselves straight inside the perimeter, conveniently avoiding the barbed wire and trip mines that were supposed to keep your position secure
  1571. >Your gun clicked empty as you dropped the few that had just appeared, and you fixed your bayonet as you loaded another mag
  1572. >You noticed Sergeant Bowers firing his sidearm rather than wasting time reloading his rifle, killing another two ponies who were charging you
  1573. >Suddenly the entire area was illuminated a bright green as a flare shot up into the sky, showing clearly the utter havok the base had descended into
  1574. >You felt a rhythmic rumble in the ground as you tried to make sense of the scene
  1575. >Wait a minute...
  1576. >You snapped your body around, squeezing the trigger of your rifle before you'd even brought it up properly, letting off the entire mag in full auto at the oncoming stampede of multicoloured equines
  1577. >In the midst of the confusion the bulk of their forces had charged the perimeter, and you were now facing a tidal wave of bloodthirsty ponies
  1578. >You slammed the next magazine in, cocking the gun and firing again as panic overwhelmed you
  1579. >You and the Sergeant were quite literally fighting back to back now against a horde that was getting ever closer
  1580. >They were mere feet from your sandbag parapet when your gun clicked dry
  1581. >Your blood froze to ice as you looked down at the firearm that had betrayed you, then back up as a pony flung itself over the barricade at you
  1582. >You clenched your eyes shut, pointing the barrel of the gun upwards and bracing for impact
  1583. >A heavy weight crashed into you accompanied by the sickening sound of a bayonet tearing through flesh as a hot fluid sprayed all over you
  1584. >There was a pained gurgle and you looked up straight into the eyes of the pony who had landed upon you
  1585. >A pair of stunned, golden eyes locked with your own as life left them, the pony's vaguely minty smelling breath rasping out as it coughed blood all over your face
  1586. >"A-Anon?" It choked out before going completely limp
  1587. >Recognition dawned on you before your senses were drowned in overwhelming grief and panic
  1588. "L-L-Lyra?!"
  1589. >Her dead eyes stared back into your own, questioning you, accusing you
  1590. "N-no! Lyra! Lyra!"
  1591. >You tried to crawl out from under her lifeless body and push her off but you were pinned, helplessly struggling as her blood soaked into your clothes and pooled around you
  1592. >The world seemed to slip away, growing darker at the edges as if you were blacking out whilst you struggled to free yourself from underneath the corpse until your vision failed completely
  1593. ------------------------------------------------------------
  1594. >Your eyes shot open as you attempted to sit upright, but there was a weight keeping you pinned down
  1595. >You began to panic- you knew you'd just woken up from a nightmare so why were you still unable to get up?
  1596. >You looked down and your heart skipped a beat as you saw Lyra laid upon you, eyes closed
  1597. "L-Lyra?? Wake up, please!"
  1598. >You shouted and shook her violently, the nightmare you'd just had becoming reality in front of your very eyes
  1599. "Lyra please!" You begged, your voice cracking as tears began to well in your eyes
  1600. >Groggily she began to stir, her ears twitching and muzzle scrunching up as she opened her bleary eyes
  1601. >"Buuuh...huh...wha? She mumbled in a daze
  1602. >Relief washed over you like a waterfall as you stopped shaking her and embraced her in a tight hug instead
  1603. "Oh thank god you're OK" You sighed into her mane
  1604. >"Anon? wha-what's going on?" She asked, completely perplexed at what was going on but returning the hug anyways
  1605. >You held her until your heart rate came back down and your breathing was normal before speaking
  1606. "I- I had a nightmare, one I've had a few times before..." You admitted
  1607. "But this time you were in it and I... I killed you Lyra. Your body fell on me and pinned me down and when I woke up with you laying on me like that I just freaked out. I thought you were actually dead"
  1608. >Lyra lay her head down underneath your chin, lightly stroking your chest with her forehoof in a comforting manner as she looked up at you with those beautiful amber eyes
  1609. >"Its ok Anon, I'm fine. Nothing bad's gonna happen to me when you're around, and I know you'd never hurt me"
  1610. >You smiled and relaxed a little more, scratching Lyra behind her ear and causing her to hum happily
  1611. "Well it looks like we won't be getting back to sleep after that one, I'm sorry for waking you up so violently"
  1612. >You both got up off the couch, stretching your tired muscles and popping several joints
  1613. >Lyra went off into the kitchen to make breakfast but you weren't really hungry yet so you decided instead to go out into the garden and watch the sun rise
  1614. >You grabbed a patio chair, carrying it onto the lawn next to Sun Striker's grave
  1615. >You'd always loved watching the sun rise especially from your home's position overlooking the city,even though you were usually too lazy to get up and watch it
  1616. >This spot in particular caught the sun really well which was why you'd chosen to bury her here
  1617. >You stared at the horizon whilst random thoughts bounced around your head, watching as the sun rose
  1618. >"Wow it really is beautiful over here" Came a sudden voice from at your side, making you jump in surprise
  1619. >Lyra let out a giggle as you tried to regain your composure and make it look like you hadn't just nearly shit yourself
  1620. >"I can see why you chose to bury her here"
  1621. "It's gonna look a lot more beautiful once its decorated properly. I want to get a proper gravestone and a border put in, and some bright flowers to go on it"
  1622. >"I think she'd like that Anon, that sounds really nice" Lyra replied, resting her hoof on your leg in what seemed like a comforting gesture
  1623. >The pair of you watched wordlessly as the sun rose, the comfortable quiet only broken by the chirping of birds and the whispering of the wind
  1624. >A gentle warmth embraced you as the sun rose higher in the sky, soothing your mind and feeling refreshingly calming after the hectic few days you'd had
  1625. >You stayed there for a while longer enjoying the peace until a grumble from your stomach alerted you that it was time for food
  1626. >You slowly got up and stretched again before heading back into the kitchen with Lyra following close behind
  1627. >You grabbed a simple bowl of cereal for breakfast and sat down at the table
  1628. >The memories of what the kitchen looked like and the lingering anti-septic scent curbed your appetite significantly, so you didn't think you'd be eating large meals for a while
  1629. >As you ate you both talked about plans for the next few days, or lack thereof
  1630. >You and Lyra were both absolutely exhausted from the bombing and Sun Striker happening immediately after each other, so you agreed to take a few days rest
  1631. >At the weekend you would brave the trek back into town to pick up the stuff you wanted to decorate the grave as well as other groceries and essentials that needed stocking up
  1632. >It was great the amount of input Lyra gave to the planning and shopping list you made up, it almost felt like you were becoming family with less of the respectful politeness and reluctance to ask for things that had been going on previously
  1633. >She was using her own initiative a lot more and you seemed to finally be truly comfortable with each other which eased your stress a lot considering you lived together
  1634. >Except for the fact that she kept pestering you to buy sweets and chocolate and got all pouty when you refused, but her gleeful smile when you finally relented and added them to the list somewhat compensated for the cost
  1635. >The rest of the day seemed to go by pretty quickly, the two of you spending most of it lounging around in the garden and watching movies on the couch when it got dark
  1636. >The next few days were spent in pretty much the same way and you got to know each other a lot better since you finally had the time to just sit and chat, and you felt comfortable enough in each others company
  1637. >Sleeping together had also become routine, both of you agreeing that it was comfier and you couldn't sleep on the couch forever
  1638. >You spoke a lot about what your worlds were like before the war and interesting stories you had to tell, and also more about yourselves in general
  1639. >Obviously many of the memories were bittersweet- happy but tinged with sadness by the fact that the people or ponies in them were dead or the places razed to ruin
  1640. >Lyra in particular seemed to have most of her fondest memories with Bon Bon, she'd always get carried away with herself giggling and laughing as she told the stories until she reached the end, and a sad frown would appear on her face
  1641. >Her world seemed amazing before the war hit, everyone seeming to have their own wacky cartoonish adventures and shenanigans
  1642. >It seemed like a fantast- there was always a happy end and no one ever got seriously hurt, let alone killed
  1643. >It was tragic that her entire world had been robbed of its innocence, even when the dust of war settled its bitter taste would be impossible to ever get rid of and Equestria would be permanently damaged
  1644. >For your world wars were just business as usual, sure it was tragic and bloody but mankind was used to it, Equestria apparently hadn't fought a proper war in hundreds of years and never on this scale
  1645. >You told Lyra about your world too and your past life, though there wasn't really that much to say about yourself
  1646. >You'd had a fairly standard boring life before the war, you were studying history at college and working part time before you got drafted into the army, and that's about all there was to it
  1647. >You didn't have any cool adventures to compare to Lyra's, it's just not really how life worked on Earth
  1648. >People couldn't just miss work to go around the globe chasing some far out fantasy or idea they had, and the superviallains in your world didn't tend to be the sort that 6 random blokes could sort out with the power of friendship
  1649. >She seemed a little put out by that, but then began excitedly babbling about how she could show you round Equestria and Ponyville once the war was over and she could go back home
  1650. >It took her a few minutes of rambling before she realised that most of these places were bombed out ruins, and once again that sad frown came onto her face
  1651. >It hurt you to see her optimism being crushed, you could tell it was her nature to be bright and happy all the time and you wished you could have gotten to know each other before the war tainted everything
  1652. >You put your arm around her to make her feel better
  1653. "Lets not get ahead of ourselves" You said, trying to cheer her up again
  1654. "Lets focus on what we can do here and now that makes us happy, rather than the uncertainties of the future"
  1655. >She looked up at you with sad, watery eyes as she sniffled softly
  1656. >"Do you think this war will ever end?"
  1657. >You gave a little half smile at her question
  1658. "Of course it will Lyra, wars can't last forever. It might not be a happy end, in fact I think it will be quite the opposite, but it will end and over time the scars will slowly heal"
  1659. >She sniffled again as she kept her gaze fixed with yours
  1660. >"Do you think I'll ever get to go back to Equestria?"
  1661. >This question was a lot trickier, and you scratched the back of your head and sighed
  1662. "I honestly don't know Lyra, we could try smuggle you through a portal but I don't think either of us wants to be that close to an active warzone again. When the war ends then... maybe, but I really don't know"
  1663. >This time she looked down and pawed the sofa shyly with a hoof
  1664. >"If... if I could, would you... would you come with me?" she asked with a quick glance up at you
  1665. "I- I..." You stuttered, taken off guard by her question
  1666. >You'd never be able to lead a normal life if you went to Equestria with her; the locals would hate you, you'd probably have no rights and be treated like shit and have to act like Lyra's slave out in public
  1667. >It was also an alien world so unfamiliar and untamed compared to your own, with different society, customs and technology
  1668. >Then again, Lyra was sitting in exactly the same boat back here in your world and she seemed to be getting on alright
  1669. >You couldn't actually picture leaving Lyra at all anymore, you just always assumed you'd be living together on Earth like you were now
  1670. >You sighed, but gave her a smile
  1671. >The answer was obvious
  1672. "Of course I'd go with you Lyra, I'll always be with you"
  1673. >She looked up at you again, her eyes happy though streaming with tears before she pulled you into a tight hug and nuzzled your neck
  1674. >"I- I love you Anon" She whispered as she squeezed you with all her might
  1675. >Your mind froze and your heart seemed to stop at those words, but your tongue functioned all on its own
  1676. "I love you too Lyra" You breathed
  1677. "I love you with all my heart, you're the world to me"
  1678. She leaned back from you staring deep into your eyes, her expression a mix of adoration, excitement and pure joy, before she slowly leaned in planting her lips on yours in a soft, tender kiss
  1679. >All at once your senses came crashing back to you, your heart thundering like a drum and your breathing coming in rapid breaths through your nose as you closed your eyes and leaned into the kiss
  1680. >Doubts swam in your mind about whether this was right or not, about whether Lyra was in a fit state of mind to truly know if she loved you, but you squashed them down and locked them away
  1681. >She was a grown adult and knew her own mind better than you did and you certainly felt the same way about her, you'd just been trying to suppress these feelings
  1682. >You squeezed her tightly as she moaned softly into the kiss, and you lost yourself in her soft embrace
  1683. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1684. >You woke up wrapped in a comfortable warm fuzziness that you'd grown used to the past few days
  1685. >You smiled and gave Lyra a small squeeze, content to just lay there with her for a while longer
  1686. >Your movements caused her to stir however, and suddenly you were locked in a death grip as her hooves latched onto you and your neck was viciously nuzzled
  1687. "Ly- Lyra!" You gasped as you felt your ribs beginning to crack
  1688. >Her eyes fluttered open to look at you, a happy innocent smile adorning her face as she crushed the life out of you
  1689. "Can't... breathe" You spluttered
  1690. >She looked down, only now realising that her hug was a little 'overenthusiastic'
  1691. >"Oh.. Sorry" She said with a sheepish smile as she let go of you
  1692. >You took a few deep gulps of air as Lyra held you a lot more gently, then leaned down and gave her a small kiss on the lips
  1693. >Not satisfied with this Lyra climbed on top of you, pinning you down and pressing her lips firmly against yours in a deeper more passionate kiss, until once again you were left gasping for breath
  1694. >You began to contemplate how your life even came to the point where you were laid in bed making out with a mint green mare, and a former slave at that, when she finally released you
  1695. >"Are we still going into town today?" She asked excitedly
  1696. >She was relentless this morning, you wondered what happened to the quieter, more reserved Lyra Heartstrings as you tried to catch your breath
  1697. "If you're still up for it"
  1698. >"Sure am!" She chirped as she jumped up to the window and threw the curtains open
  1699. >"It's a nice day too, no clouds!" She said merrily, oblivious to the fact that your retinas were being seared by the sudden light
  1700. "Thank God for that" You mumbled as you rubbed your eyes
  1701. >Still, what she'd said had gone through to you
  1702. >No clouds meant that you weren't going to be surprise Pegasus bombed again which helped alleviate some of the apprehension and anxiety you were feeling about going into town again
  1703. >Mustering your strength you sat up and swung your legs out of bed, stretching your arms and back and yawning
  1704. >Lyra who was half way into the bathroom turned her head, stealing a look at your shirtless form, her cheeks reddening slightly
  1705. >You just managed to lock eyes with her as you finished your yawn before she rushed into the bathroom and slammed the door
  1706. "Caught you staring" You chuckled
  1707. >There was no response as the sound of running water started, so you turned to grab breakfast whilst you waited for the flustered pony
  1708. >By the time you were done Lyra had finished in the shower and came trotting into the kitchen with her mane and tail bunched up in towels
  1709. >"Shower's free" She smiled as you went to take your own turn whilst she got herself breakfast
  1710. >You had a quick shower and a shave before heading back into your bedroom wrapped in a towel to grab some fresh clothes
  1711. >As you walked in you found Lyra sat on the floor in front of your wardrobe mirror trying to brush her mane
  1712. >Her neck was twisted at an awkward angle as she tried to brush the back of her head with the brush clenched in her teeth
  1713. >You let out a small snicker as you moved past her to grab a shirt and trousers and some fresh underwear
  1714. "Having a little trouble there?"
  1715. >She growled through the brush in her mouth as she tried to work a knot out
  1716. >"I don't get how earth ponies do this every day!" She exclaimed, spitting the brush out in frustration
  1717. >"I miss my horn! I want my magic back! My life was so much easier when I could just levitate stuff and not have to use my mouth or these clumsy hooves"
  1718. >You sighed and sat down next to her as you finished getting changed; you hadn't meant to strike a nerve
  1719. "I'm sorry, I didn't think about it that way" You said as you wrapped an arm around her
  1720. >She sighed and leaned against you and you saw her looking at the stump where her horn used to be in the mirror, a sad frown on her face
  1721. "I uuuuuh... I can help you if you want. Y'know, brush your mane for you?"
  1722. >"Oh.. I couldn't ask you to do that for me" She muttered as her cheeks took on a rose tint and she looked away from you
  1723. >You chuckled and gave her a light squeeze on the shoulder, finding her embarrassment adorable
  1724. "C'mon, I don't mind, in fact I think I'd rather enjoy it"
  1725. >She glanced up, looking at your reflection in the mirror for a split second to see if you were being serious or not before looking back down at the floor again
  1726. >"A- Alright, if you're sure you don't mind..."
  1727. >You smiled as you repositioned yourself so that you were sat behind her, taking the brush in one hand and giving the other an experimental run through her mane
  1728. >There were quite a few knots and tangles that made you wince as you snagged them, expecting her to complain or tell you to stop, but she carried on sitting there patiently
  1729. "How have you been brushing it before now anyways?" You mused as you began to brush it properly
  1730. >"Well, it usually takes me a long time and a lot of effort, there's a certain knack to holding a brush without magic that I haven't quite gotten"
  1731. "I can tell, didn't take you for a contortionist before now"
  1732. >You gave her a sly smile as you met her gaze in the mirror, to which she gave an angry huff and glared at you as her cheeks glowed red again
  1733. >You continued brushing her mane in relative silence after that, deciding to focus on your task and relent on the teasing for a bit
  1734. >You brushed as carefully as you could, making sure not to tug the brush too much if it hit any snags, and taking extra precaution not to hit the stump of her horn
  1735. >before long the brush was gliding smoothly through her silky mane which was now free of any knots or clumps, and Lyra was sat with her eyes closed humming a happy tune to herself
  1736. >You let her enjoy herself for a little while longer before setting the brush down and running your fingers through her mane a few times, giving her ears a little rub as you did so
  1737. "All done"
  1738. >You gave her a squeeze from behind before she scooched closer to the mirror to admire your work
  1739. >"This is the smoothest its been in years!" She exclaimed, spinning around and tackling you in a hug, then firmly planting a kiss on your lips
  1740. >Her previous embarrassment at having you brush her mane had totally dissipated and was now overcome with joy after seeing the outcome
  1741. >Her happiness made you grin too, and you took it from her reaction that you would be doing this a lot more in the future
  1742. >Not that you minded in the slightest, you'd found the experience extremely relaxing and therapeutic, and it only helped the two of you bond even more
  1743. >As if reading your mind, Lyra released you from the kiss and looked down at you with a cocky expression
  1744. >"Wanna brush my tail too?"
  1745. "I'd love to"
  1746. >She then climbed off your chest and up onto the bed, sitting down and swishing her tail down over the edge so that you could brush it easier
  1747. >You quickly fell back into your brushing rhythm again as Lyra began humming another happy tune, and you could feel your mind relaxing as you focused on the simple repetitive task
  1748. >All too soon her tail was brushed out to the same silky standard as her mane, and you gave her a gentle pat on the rump as you stood up and stretched your legs
  1749. >You both admired her appearance, her entire being seeming more lively and radiant as she bubbled with happiness
  1750. >"I'd almost forgotten what my mane and tail look like when they're brushed properly, I've just been used to looking dishevelled for so long. I feel like I'm about to go on a date..."
  1751. "Yeah you look alright I guess... OW!" You yelled as she slugged you hard in your non-prosthetic leg
  1752. "Alright fine, you look gorgeous"
  1753. >You gave your sore leg a rub, thinking about what she'd said
  1754. >You couldn't really take her out on a date, though you wished you could
  1755. >For one you didn't know any restaurants that allowed ponies inside, and secondly you didn't actually know if your relationship was even legal, and you'd rather not find out the hard way
  1756. >Maybe you could set up some sort of romantic date night here in the house, cook her a nice meal and get some candles and flowers or something
  1757. >It'd probably be really corny and awkward, but hopefully she'd appreciate the gesture
  1758. >You mind was brought back to reality as Lyra spoke again
  1759. >"Guess we'd better get ready to go into town now"
  1760. "Oh... yeah"
  1761. >You rubbed the back of your neck bashfully, the entire day's plan having slipped your mind whilst you brushed her
  1762. >You finished getting ready, putting on a jacket and grabbing your keys, wallet and some bags before leaving your house with Lyra leading the way
  1763. >You had to move at a jog to keep pace with her as she pranced down the road happily, humming another merry tune
  1764. >You'd become slightly out of shape since your leg was blown off, not unfit by any means but you were panting slightly as you ran after her
  1765. >Despite the exertion you had a massive grin plastered on your face, finding Lyra's cheer infectious
  1766. >Every day that passed she seemed more like her true self, how you imagine she was before the war took everything from her
  1767. >The country roads that snaked down the hillside from your house to the town were peaceful, being rarely travelled except by farmers and the few people who lived around here
  1768. >As you came closer to the town and there were more people about her energy and excitement became more subdued, not wanting to draw unneeded attention to herself, though she still had a spring in her step as she walked closer to you, leaning against your side a little
  1769. >As always your equine companion attracted glares and suspicious looks from passersby
  1770. >It made you somewhat anxious, not wanting another confrontation, however Lyra didn't seem to be letting it get to her
  1771. >Your first order of business was to go order a gravestone engraving from the local funeralcare service, after which you were just getting standard groceries and essentials
  1772. >The funeralcare place was just on the outskirts of the town centre so the area had avoided some of the harshest of the bombing, though there was still noticeable damage to many of the buildings
  1773. >Your mood was a little more sombre as you entered the place, reality taking a firmer grip of your mind
  1774. >The guy at the desk, some guy probably in his lat 40s wearing a suit, looked worn out and fairly depressed
  1775. >As he looked up at you he gave a quick glance at Lyra beside you and his features seemed to contort into a glare for a split second before returning to his previous ragged stare
  1776. >"What can I do for ya?" He sighed
  1777. >You told him of your need for a gravestone, and he showed you an available selection on his computer screen
  1778. >You settled for a fairly simple one made of white granite, nothing extravagant or over the top but still modestly impressive
  1779. >"And what'll be the engraving on that?" The man said as he input the information on the computer
  1780. >You'd decided to keep it short and sweet, you couldn't really make any grand statement about her since you didn't know her properly, but you hoped it would do her justice
  1781. "Here lies Sun Striker-"
  1782. >"Sun Striker!?" The man cut you off
  1783. >"This for a special slave or something?" He sneered, and you saw him glance down at Lyra again, the disgust on his face more apparent
  1784. >You felt anger beginning to boil within you, but tried to quell it to avoid causing another scene
  1785. "She was not a slave"
  1786. >You said through clenched teeth
  1787. >"Slave, pet, sex toy, same fucking thing" He laughed, his voice dripping with hostility
  1788. >You balled your fists and took an aggressive step towards him, ready to give him a piece of your mind, but Lyra's concerned stare halted you
  1789. >She was clearly scared of another fight starting and you didn't want to put her in harm's way by causing trouble
  1790. >You sighed as you felt your rage subside, it wasn't worth getting so worked up over
  1791. "Look, are you gonna do the engraving or not? It's a waste of both of our times to argue about this"
  1792. >The man opened his mouth to reply, but then stopped and seemed to consider his words more carefully
  1793. >He appeared to visibly deflate as he slumped into his chair and ran a hand through his hair, letting out a long drawn out sigh
  1794. >"Yeah don't worry I'll do it. Sorry for snapping at you, I just get a lot of people come in here that've lost loved ones to these fuckers. It builds up in ya y'know?"
  1795. >You could appreciate where the guy was coming from, having to deal with grieving families and widows every day sounded like a rough job
  1796. "it's alright, I get it. Bet business is booming for you right now eh?"
  1797. >He gave a quick snort at your dark joke, sitting back up in his desk
  1798. >"Yeah, anyways what was it you wanted engraving on the stone?"
  1799. "Here lies Sun Striker, may her spirit remain free and unbroken"
  1800. >He typed it into the computer, telling you that it would be ready in a few days
  1801. >You'd have to use your truck to come pick it up since it was too heavy to carry, which meant spending a bunch on fuel since shortages had driven the price up, though it was still cheaper than delivery
  1802. >You paid for the gravestone and left the place quickly, not wanting to be trapped in that depressing atmosphere any longer
  1803. >When you came out, Lyra's cheer seemed to come back a bit as she smiled up at you
  1804. >"I'm glad you didn't hit him"
  1805. >You smiled down at her bashfully and patted her on the head
  1806. "I don't go around thumping every person I speak to y'know?"
  1807. >"Still, that last guy..." She giggled and then trailed off
  1808. "That last guy was just being a dick and trying to start shit, the dude in there who deals with grief and loss every day has more of a reason to be pissed, I get where he's coming from"
  1809. >Lyra looked thoughtful for a while as you set off walking again to go pick up groceries and a picture frame
  1810. >After a few minutes of silence you decided to speak up as something was clearly troubling her
  1811. "What's up Lyra? You've been frowning at the floor for a while now"
  1812. >It was a few seconds before she actually spoke, her brow was furrowed and her face scrunched up like she was really thinking about what she was going to say
  1813. >"I just... I never thought about the way humans truly felt about the war much until now. I always sort of assumed that you were an exception and that everyone else supported the war and hated ponies. I never really considered the fact that humans mourn and grieve the same way we do and that the soldiers who die are all someone's child or dad or special someone and will be missed just like we miss our loved ones..."
  1814. >She looked up at you seeming on the verge of tears but keeping herself together in public
  1815. >"That man in there... the war seemed to be eating him alive and he never even had to fight, and then I realised how many other humans must feel the same way. I feel horrible for thinking that your people didn't care or weren't affected much by it"
  1816. "Hey, don't beat yourself up about it, it's only natural to think that way"
  1817. >She looked up at you with a confused expression that begged you to elaborate
  1818. "It's normal to demonise your enemy, make them out to be monsters that don't feel, don't know love or compassion or feel grief and loss. If you didn't you wouldn't be able to kill them, and once you're done killing them it would make it really fucking hard to live with yourself after. It doesn't make you a bad pony or person, it's a normal coping mechanism."
  1819. >"I've just never shown such little compassion for another living species before..."
  1820. "I don't really think there's too much compassion going around anywhere in the world right now to be honest Lyra. I don't think I'd feel too much compassion towards another species that appeared on my world one day and immediately started a war with us."
  1821. >Your attempt to cheer her up was shitty, you didn't really know what you could say to make her feel better, it was just one of those things that gets better with time
  1822. >By this point your shopping was pretty much done as you had been walking and talking the whole way and you didn't have that much to get, so you decided to get Lyra a little treat to pep her up a bit
  1823. >There was a bakery open selling fresh sweet pastries that were priced remarkably reasonably, so you grabbed a few to eat on your way home
  1824. >You wandered back through the streets happily munching on your treat and glanced down to see how Lyra was enjoying hers
  1825. >To your confusion she hadn't even touched it yet, it was still in the paper bag clenched in her teeth
  1826. >Then you facepalmed at your own stupidity
  1827. >How was she supposed to walk and eat it at the same time? She used all her legs for walking and couldn't do magic with a broken horn
  1828. "Here, I got an idea" You said as you stopped and bent down
  1829. >She let out a surprised squeak as you grabbed her and hoisted her up onto your shoulders
  1830. >"W-what are you doing Anon?"
  1831. "This way you can eat whilst we move" You chuckled as she squirmed about on your shoulders
  1832. >"I could've just saved it 'til we got home, you don't have to carry me!"
  1833. "Hey come on you're getting a free piggy-back, quit complaining. Plus are you telling me that you wouldn't rather eat it whilst it's hot and fresh?"
  1834. >Her response was some undecipherable grumbling, something along the lines of people watching and being super embarrassed, but the sounds of chewing and crumbs falling down the back of your neck a few minutes later told you she accepted her fate
  1835. >You were getting a lot of odd looks from people as you walked by with the mint green unicorn perched on your shoulders eating her pastry
  1836. >Some stared in bewilderment and confusion, others glared her down angrily, muttering things under their breath
  1837. >Neither of you gave a shit though, let them think what they want
  1838. >"So this is what the weather's like up here" Lyra joked, and you could picture the goofy grin she had on her face
  1839. "I'm not even gonna give that one a pity laugh Lyra, try harder" You replied, thankful that she couldn't see your own smile betraying what you'd just told her
  1840. >"Aww c'mon Anon" She huffed
  1841. "I'm serious, that joke was lame, try another one"
  1842. >The rest of the journey home was spent with the both of you cracking some of the worst jokes and puns you could think of
  1843. >You barely even realised until you reached your front door that Lyra was still on your shoulders; you'd given her a piggy back all the way home
  1844. >It wasn't like she was heavy- she weighed about the same as a child and you were used to carrying a bergan and other gear- you just expected her to protest and get down at some point
  1845. >You unlocked the door and then bent down so that she could hop off you, then followed her inside
  1846. >It was early evening already so you both set about making dinner straight away, chatting to each other as you did so
  1847. >After eating you spent the rest of the evening in the same way you spent most others- you stuck a movie on and then laid down on the couch with Lyra curled up on top of you
  1848. >As per usual she was fast asleep by the end of the film so you carried her off to bed and tucked yourself in next to her
  1849. >Your dreams had been getting a lot more pleasant since you started sleeping together, the feeling of a warm body pressed against your own seeming to calm your subconscious
  1850. >Nightmares were less frequent for both of you, and even when you did have them it was a lot better having someone there to calm you down again and lull you back to sleep
  1851. >You squeezed her close to you and pressed your face into her mane, smiling as you drifted off
  1852. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1853. --3 days later--
  1854. >You'd finally got the message that the gravestone was engraved and ready to collect so you got up a little earlier to get ready
  1855. >You wanted to pick some other stuff up as well for something special you had planned later on, so you made up some bullshit excuse to keep Lyra at home
  1856. >Told her that there was too much housework and gardening that needed doing, which to be fair there was some as you'd spent the last few days being lazy and doing bugger all
  1857. >So here you were, trying to drive your shitty old truck without crashing it, cursing and swearing all the way into town
  1858. >You'd had it for ages, it used to be your dad's for ages until he was killed so it was pretty old, but still reliable nonetheless
  1859. >You just couldn't drive for shit since losing your leg
  1860. >You'd learnt again after getting your prosthetic but never really drove it since fuel prices were through the roof and most places were within walking distance
  1861. >It mostly just sat around gathering dust except for odd errands like this where you were picking up heavy shit or going long distance
  1862. >Thankfully the roads were quiet so you didn't hit anyone as you lurched and swerved all over the place, though you did have a couple of near misses and scraped a wall once
  1863. >Your bones were feeling a little rattled as you pulled up outside the funeralcare place, but the truck was still thankfully intact
  1864. >You strolled inside and immediately spotted the old guy slouched at his desk, looking depressed as ever
  1865. >He recognised you as you walked in and seemed to perk up a bit, if only to appear a little more professional
  1866. >Hard to forget the only guy who dared walk in not only with a pony, but also to buy a gravestone for one
  1867. >He welcomed you and asked you to wait in the room for a minute as he went to get another coworker from the back who would help you lift the heavy stone into the back of your truck
  1868. >A short while later he came out with a much younger looking man, probably mid 20s by your guess
  1869. >He shook your hand and then you both went to go lift the gravestone, making some small talk along the way
  1870. >"You got some nerve ordering one of these for a pony you know?"
  1871. >His tone wasn't hostile, slightly amused if anything, and he wasn't exactly wrong in what he was saying
  1872. "Yeah I probably do, still, they're sapient and have similar customs to us, I respect the dead of both sides"
  1873. >He gave you a quick look of doubt but didn't push you any further on it, so you decided to ask him a question of your own
  1874. "So how come you haven't been drafted? You definitely look the right age and build"
  1875. >"Asthma" He sighed
  1876. >"I run more than 200 metres and I can hardly breathe... my buddies got drafted though, almost everyone I grew up with is out there fighting. Few of them have died too"
  1877. "I'm s-"
  1878. >"don't be sorry dude," He cut you off
  1879. >"Everybody's lost someone, and it helps no one to walk around being sorry about everything"
  1880. >You gave him a nod of respect as you finished loading the cumbersome object into the back of your truck, then shook his hand and thanked him before he departed
  1881. >It made a refreshing change to meet someone who hadn't let grief and bitterness about the war consume them, who still thought clearly and positively
  1882. >You strapped the stone down and then left the truck parked there as you walked further into town to pick up the rest of what you wanted
  1883. >You deliberately hadn't mentioned anything to Lyra about it because you wanted it to be a surprise, but you were planning on a romantic meal for the two of you at home
  1884. >It sounded cheesy and you were half convinced that she would laugh at you for it, but it wasn't as if you could take her out anywhere and you hoped she would appreciate the gesture
  1885. >You'd been stuck thinking for ages about what food to make for the meal, what she liked and disliked and what would even pass as a romantic meal
  1886. >It wasn't as if you could just make pizza and chips, much as you might be tempted to
  1887. >You didn't even know if any sort of food was considered romantic in pony culture; didn't they eat flowers and stuff sometimes?
  1888. >In the end you went for Italian, that seemed to always work for people and it was one of your personal favourites
  1889. >You'd settled on a pasta dish, sort of a vegetarian ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese with a tomato sauce
  1890. >Serve that with some garlic bread and a pavlova for dessert and you had a bloody good meal hopefully
  1891. >You strolled about town gathering the ingredients you needed, as well as some candles and flowers to help set the mood a little better, or maybe to eat if flowers were actually a part of pony cuisine
  1892. >Everything about this felt like some teenager's shitty attempt at a first date, but honestly you had no other ideas
  1893. >You were bad at romance as it was, and all of your ideas consisted of going out to some place which obviously wasn't a possibility, so you were making the best with what you had
  1894. >Honestly you felt really nervous about the whole thing, though at least she couldn't run out on you whilst she pretended to go to the bathroom or something
  1895. >Still, it would make it really awkward living with her if you fucked it up and made an arse out of yourself
  1896. >You smacked your head and mentally scolded yourself for letting such silly thoughts run around in your mind
  1897. >Lyra was far too sweet to do anything bitchy or inconsiderate; you were sure she'd enjoy it as long as you didn't burn it or anything dumb like that, and the romantic atmosphere would make a change to the usual which flicked between depression and goofing off
  1898. >You finished buying the last of the items you needed and left the store, ready to get back in your truck and get back home
  1899. >As you stepped out you noticed that the street was oddly clear and your stomach turned slightly as panic began to well
  1900. >Alarm bells were going off in your head as you scanned the roofs and the windows, expecting gunfire and explosions to come from anywhere
  1901. >Your fears were abated swiftly however as you noticed military personnel clearing the streets to make way for a convoy that was rolling through, civilians filtering off down side streets to get out of their way
  1902. >You stood to the side and watched as they rolled past, a few looked on with curiosity but most just got out of the way, eager to carry on with their day
  1903. >Convoys came through pretty regularly, it wasn't a special occasion or anything, just military gear getting transported from A to B
  1904. >You did notice that the soldiers looked a little more pissed off than usual though- stern faces, some of them shouting at civilians to stay back; two of them were having a massive argument in the front of their vehicle
  1905. >You wondered what was making their day so sour- it's not like they were fresh off the front if they were running convoys and they weren't heavily armed so obviously they weren't heading into a war zone
  1906. >Most of the vehicles were standard troop transport trucks with a couple of Humvees as lead and rear
  1907. >Another thing about this that struck you as odd; all the transports were covered with their flaps down, not even the odd guy having a smoke out of the back
  1908. >in this weather you wouldn't even expect them to have covers on, much less all the flaps tightly shut
  1909. >You watched on with your brow furrowed slightly as the line of vehicles made its way past you
  1910. >As the last transport rolled past you thought you could hear muffled shouting from inside it and turned your head just as the rear flap burst open
  1911. >You saw a soldier in the back being overpowered by a couple of ponies, his buddy on the opposite bench looking like he'd already had his throat slit
  1912. >One of them jumped out into the street, making a mad dash for freedom
  1913. >You winced as you heard his leg crunch as he landed, the limb twisting at a sickening angle
  1914. >A couple more ponies jumped out after him, these landing safer, who then tried to drag their fallen friend off
  1915. >By now the other guy in the back was dead too and the rear vehicle had slammed to a halt as infantry dismounted to apprehend the escaping ponies
  1916. >No one had opened fire yet as there were still some civilians in the street, but most had the good sense to flee or take cover by now
  1917. >You yourself were crouched in the doorway of the store watching the scene unfold with morbid curiosity, unable to tear your eyes away
  1918. >About 6 ponies in total had jumped out of the back, two of them dragging the one that had broken his leg whilst the others bolted in random directions
  1919. >By now the street was clear enough for the soldiers to open fire, and immediately the .50 cal on the rear Humvee opened up with a deafening roar that sounded like rolling thunder
  1920. >As you watched, the ponies dragging their friend were ripped to bloody chunks, pieces of their bodies literally flying off as the heavy machine gun disintegrated them at point blank range
  1921. >Two of the fleeing ponies split into different alleys as bullets cracked off the walls around them, but from what you saw neither of them got hit
  1922. >Each one was being pursued by a fireteam, cursing and swearing as their bullets seemed to hit everything except the small equines they were trying to gun down
  1923. >As they vanished your attention was brought back to one mare who thought she could outsmart the soldiers by sprinting underneath the halted convoy, darting between the massive wheels and using them as cover
  1924. >A couple of gung-ho grunts opened up on her regardless, blowing out the tyres of a few of their own vehicles as they let loose
  1925. >As she dived out to dip into an alley she seemed to fall and a spray of blood erupted from her side, splattering the wall next to her
  1926. >She'd caught a round right in the cutie mark and her back legs gave out, seemingly paralysed
  1927. >She looked down at the wound, then looked around in desperation before a volley of rifle fire put several more holes in her, ending her suffering once and for all
  1928. >"Woooo got the bitch!" You heard one of the soldiers shouting as they all regrouped to take stock of the situation
  1929. >You saw their commander dismount from his vehicle, looking royally pissed off as he started barking orders to the rest of the men
  1930. >His ass was definitely in for a thorough chewing out from the higher-ups later, and you certainly didn't envy him
  1931. >The two dead soldiers were dragged from the back of the transport, and you noticed that several ponies were still huddled inside, either too scared or physically unable to flee
  1932. >The commander broke off his bollocking as he strode over to the vehicle, leaning into the back with malice in his eyes
  1933. >"I warned you fuckers!" He screamed as he chucked a grenade into the back before jumping down and taking cover behind another vehicle
  1934. >There were muffled shrieks of fear and confusion and you saw the fabric bulge as ponies tried to claw their way through it
  1935. >Then there was a sudden boom, followed by silence as smoke drifted out through the gaps in the fabric
  1936. >You fought the urge to be sick as he climbed into the back again and there were several gunshots as he finished the job off
  1937. >Unable to witness any more, you quickly darted down a side street so that you could get around the convoy and get home
  1938. >You hurried back to your truck, your mind completely focused on getting home; back to Lyra and away from this cursed town
  1939. >The streets were relatively clear now, most people having hurried off or hidden inside after the cacophony of gunshots
  1940. >Your driving became even more reckless due to the adrenaline still coursing through your body and you lurched and bounced in your seat as you bombed it down the deserted roads
  1941. >As you drove you thought you could hear something bouncing around in the back- probably didn't strap the stone down hard enough
  1942. >You forced yourself to slow down and focus, not wanting to damage the item that had brought you on this journey in the first place
  1943. >The drive was brief, and it was mid afternoon when you arrived back at your rural home
  1944. >As you climbed out of your truck you spotted Lyra in the small orchard a short way away and waved at her
  1945. >She gave you a smile and a short wave back before returning to what she was doing- trying to buck apples off the trees or pick them off the low hanging branches
  1946. >She was struggling quite a bit, so being the helpful guy you were you stood and watched her for a while with an amused expression, finding her attempts pretty cute to watch
  1947. >After a couple of minutes watching her you headed inside to make yourself some lunch
  1948. >Your mood had been lifted somewhat by seeing Lyra, though the memory of what you saw in town still gnawed at your mind
  1949. >Nevertheless you hummed a happy tune as you put the groceries away and made yourself some cheese and salad sandwiches to eat
  1950. >It was past lunch time, so you assumed Lyra had eaten already and didn't bother to make her anything
  1951. >You sat in the living room as you ate, waiting for Lyra to finish up and come inside so she could help you lift the gravestone out of the truck
  1952. >If she still hadn't come in by the time you'd eaten you'd go out and lend her a hand
  1953. >You were just finishing your sandwiches when you heard a faint rumble coming from outside
  1954. >You turned your head towards the window in confusion- sounded like engine noises
  1955. >Multiple large vehicles, not just cars
  1956. >You walked to the front door, confusion and anticipation growing within you
  1957. >As you opened the door your stomach knotted as you saw a squad of soldiers dismounting from a couple of Humvees that had pulled up on the road outside
  1958. >They spread out along your property as the squad leader- probably just a 2nd Lieutenant- approached you
  1959. >You glanced around nervously as he strode towards you, wondering where the fuck Lyra was
  1960. >You couldn't see her in the orchard, nor any of the fields around it, and she hadn't come back into the house
  1961. >You began to sweat nervously
  1962. >"Afternoon sir" The officer began as he came close
  1963. >"We've tracked an escaped pony to this area, and we have reason to believe it might be on your property. I'd like to request that you stay inside whilst my men and I search the area"
  1964. >Fuck, if they found Lyra she's dead, you knew for sure they weren't gonna care which pony they found as long as they got one, in fact even if she was with you they'd probably just shoot her and pay you the money back later
  1965. >Private ownership of ponies had dubious legality even though it was common, the rules surrounding it were mostly unwritten so there really was nothing to stop them from just killing her and leaving
  1966. "Th-that won't be necessary sir" You stuttered as you tried to convince him to leave
  1967. "I've been outside most of the day and haven't seen one, plus if there is one I can deal with it myself, I have a gun in the cabinet back there"
  1968. >Your attempt was pretty pathetic and the officer refused to accept it
  1969. >"Sorry sir but we have solid intel that a pony is hiding in the vicinity, its probably scared and extremely dangerous, and it's crucial that it is found and dealt with as soon as possible"
  1970. "Alright fine... just don't go damaging my property ok?"
  1971. >You said that last bit in the hopes that they wouldn't go in guns blazing at anything that looked suspicious, throwing grenades all over the place
  1972. >It might give Lyra a bit more of a chance to evade them and survive
  1973. >"Very good sir, we'll try to be quick and rest assured the army will pay for any damage caused. Now please stay inside whilst we search the area"
  1974. >With that he turned around and walked back to his men as you hurriedly slammed the door and began to have a mental breakdown
  1975. >What the fuck were you going to do?
  1976. >Lyra was out there being hunted like an animal whilst you were stuck inside
  1977. >You could go out and try to find her first but if the soldiers saw you they'd probably escort you back inside and keep you guarded, probably with some uncomfortable questioning and rough handling to go along with it
  1978. >You couldn't fight them either, that'd just wind up with you dead or in jail
  1979. >There was really no option other than to sit and wait, and hope that by some miracle Lyra managed to evade the patrol
  1980. >Your hands trembled and you felt dizzy and nauseous as you ran around the house checking out of every window to glimpse what was going on, or to see if Lyra had managed to sneak back to the house
  1981. >Your heart managed to sink even further and dread overwhelmed you as you saw a helicopter floating over the area, the droning hum of its blades boring into your mind
  1982. >You collapsed to the floor and wept openly, seeing no possible way that she could make it out alive now
  1983. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1984. Be Lyra
  1985. >You'd seen the human military vehicles coming up the road whilst you were in the orchard, but much too late to run back to the house without being seen
  1986. >Why were they here?
  1987. >Were they coming to take you away from Anon? To take you away and force you to work in the mines or the factories to support the war effort?
  1988. >Whatever their reason for being here, your gut told you that there would be serious trouble if they found you
  1989. >Without any further hesitation you turned and bolted in the opposite direction
  1990. >You didn't know where you were going, you hadn't really had the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas fully and panic rose as you realised that you didn't know any good hiding places that weren't in the house or its immediate vicinity
  1991. >Regardless you carried on galloping, wanting to put as much distance between them and yourself as possible
  1992. >You reached the end of Anon's land quickly- he didn't own much, and soon you were in fields of wheat that belonged to one of the farmers of the surrounding area
  1993. >Your breath was ragged as you ran for your life
  1994. >The wheat was thick, snagging at you and slowing you down, but thankfully you were fleeing downhill now
  1995. >As you approached the edge of the field your ears flicked and turned towards some strange new noise that was filling the air
  1996. >You looked up and instantly your legs turned to jelly as you saw one of those human flying contraptions
  1997. >You'd seen them before, and terror surged through your mind as you remembered them raining missiles and bullets the size of your horn, disintegrating whatever they hit
  1998. >The flying machine was heading right for you, obviously seeing the trail you'd left through the wheat field and following you
  1999. >You let out a shrill squeal of terror as you scrabbled over the stone wall at the end of the field, just waiting for the sudden roar of its gun or whoosh of a missile that heralded your doom
  2000. >As you flopped down on the other side you noticed the terrain got steeper, heading down into a forested valley
  2001. >A faint hope blossomed in your heart, knowing that if you made it there you could hide from the flying death machine, and then it would be just a matter of evading the soldiers on the ground
  2002. >Still a difficult task, but at least your problem would be halved
  2003. >You galloped for all you were worth, the blood pounding in your ears as your hooves thundered across the ground
  2004. >You were nearing your limit, exhaustion threatening to overcome you, and you knew that you were only running on pure adrenaline now
  2005. >Still you pressed on, and finally you made it to the treeline as the angry drone of the machine flew past overhead
  2006. >You were rewarded with an extra burst of adrenaline for your accomplishment, allowing you to push further on into the forest
  2007. >You slowed your pace to a fast trot now that you were alone, trying to get some of your breath back
  2008. >Your lungs burned and your breath came in out in ragged pants, making it hard to focus
  2009. >You scanned your surroundings looking for somewhere to hide- a hollow tree, thick shrubs, anything you could conceal yourself in so that your bright aquamarine coat couldn't be seen from afar
  2010. >Your searching became more frantic, finding nothing that could easily conceal you on the steep forested slope into the valley
  2011. >Your fur stood on end as you began to hear distant voices, and you let out a small "eep" of terror as you set off galloping at full speed again
  2012. >You were so focused on putting distance between yourself and the voices that you didn't notice the sudden small cliff that you were heading towards until the last second
  2013. >Your hooves skidded and clawed for purchase as you tried to stop, but your momentum kept carrying you forwards
  2014. >Just as you began to drop over the edge you felt a tremble in the earth, and for a moment you were totally weightless, your stomach leaping into your mouth as the dirt ridge collapsed
  2015. >Your shrill scream was muffled somewhat by the sound of earth and rocks crashing down around you and branches snapping as you plummeted
  2016. >You flailed your limbs around in panic, trying to grab onto anything solid, though finding nothing to stop your fall
  2017. >Suddenly your body collided with the ground, belly first, and the air was slammed out of your lungs
  2018. >Your rear left leg twisted painfully, and you gasped and wheezed as pain exploded through your mind, unable to scream after being winded
  2019. >You kept gasping, desperately needing air in your burning lungs, but each time you took a breath your mouth was filled with dirt and debris, making you splutter even more
  2020. >Cold terror was all that you felt as the cliff kept collapsing around you, dirt piling over your prone form, burying you alive
  2021. >You were completely covered, a single eye and half of your muzzle the only parts of you left protruding from the earth
  2022. >You blinked your eye rapidly, trying to clear the dirt that was in it, and forced yourself to slow your breathing so that you stopped sucking dirt into your nostrils
  2023. >You struggled slightly, each movement sending jolts of pain through your battered body and twisted leg, the earth burying your moans of pain and flooding your mouth with more soil
  2024. >Your eyes began to water as you started to cry, the sheer hopelessness of your situation setting in
  2025. >Buried alive, barely able to see or breathe and with a group of soldiers closing in on you
  2026. >They must have heard your scream of surprise and fright, and the sound of the ground collapsing on top of that
  2027. >To confirm this, you heard the muffled rhythmic thump of boots hitting the ground and careless snapping of twigs as one of them came to check the area out
  2028. >"Hey, over here!" You heard him shout, the disembodied voice sounding almost as if it was underwater because of the dirt covering your ears
  2029. >This was it, your fate was sealed
  2030. >This was where you met your end
  2031. >You couldn't think of Equestria, your family or friends, not even Bonbon or Anon, the horrifying fear you felt drowning out your ability to think of anything
  2032. >All you could do was screw your eyes shut and wait for the inevitable as multiple sets of boots converged on your location
  2033. >"It definitely came through here, keep your eyes peeled guys"
  2034. >The voices were much louder now
  2035. >Your heart felt like it was pounding out of your chest, so loud you felt they'd be able to hear it, or feel the ground trembling as it slammed against your rib cage
  2036. >Time moved agonisingly slowly as the boots shuffled around, almost as if they wanted to prolong your misery and drag out your suffering as much as they could
  2037. >You almost felt like trying to raise your head out of the ground and shout them over, beg for them to get it over with
  2038. >You felt like you were going to explode from the sheer amount of tension
  2039. >"Ha! There it is!"
  2040. >The sudden shout made your heart stop and your breath hitch
  2041. >Oh Celestia you weren't ready, you didn't want to die, not like this
  2042. >The boots converged together, and though your eyes were screwed shut tight you knew they were all looking at you, buried and unable to flee
  2043. >"What should we do with her sir?"
  2044. >There was a brief moment of silence as they considered your fate
  2045. >.........
  2046. >"Shoot the bitch, she's given us enough hassle as it is. Command won't give a shit whether she's live or dead"
  2047. >"Aye sir!"
  2048. >There was a shuffling as everyone got out of the way, giving your executioner a clear shot
  2049. >You kept your eyes screwed shut, unable to witness your fate or look upon the face of your executioner
  2050. >"Off to pony hell with you bitch!"
  2051. >....
  2052. *BANG*
  2053. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
/spg/ lyra heartstrings lyra

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