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Suddenly, Fluttershy Remake

By nehem
Created: 19th December 2020 08:49:42 PM

  1. >It’s just another quiet night on the internet.
  2. >Try as you might, you cannot bring your mind out of the haze it’s in. This is the kind of haze brought on from the repetitive activities of everyday life.
  3. >Not really that you mind that, though. It’s peaceful, there isn’t a lot to worry about, and you have fun.
  4. >Doesn’t stop you from nearly falling asleep at the computer, though.
  5. >After spending some time just trying to wake back up, you finally resume your regularly scheduled internet browsing.
  6. >Now what were you doing again..?
  7. >You stare blankly at the monitor, the screen displaying many a picture of colorful cartoon equines.
  8. >Right. /mlp/. The board dedicated to a kids show that’s obsessed over by many grown men.
  9. >One of which you are.
  10. >Emasculation aside, it’s an entertaining way to pass the time.
  11. >Speaking of time, how late is it anyway?
  12. >A quick check of the clock in the corner of your monitor shows it to be a little past midnight.
  13. >Huh, it seemed later than this.
  14. >You’d normally stay up much longer, but you’re pretty beat tonight.
  15. >Might as well check the catalog then hit the hay.
  16. >stealthpun.png
  17. >Yawning, you begin lazily scrolling through the vast array of threads.
  18. >Not too much new tonight. Just the standard generals, CYOA’s, theories, and shitposting.
  19. >One thread in particular catches your eye.
  20. >It has no name.
  21. >It has no fame.
  22. >The thread actually looks pretty lame.
  23. >But you investigate despite the outward appearance.
  24. >You have two options.
  25. >The first is quite simple. You can go to Equestria, but the very concept of sex does not exist. They don’t have genitals, and you’ll get your ass sent back to Earth if you try to get them to do anything sexual.
  26. >Option two is quite the opposite. You stay on your world. Your favorite pony comes to you and warms up to you fairly fast. Nobody but you can know of their existence or else they disappear never to be seen again. Eventually they fall in love with you.
  27. >Neither of these options would appeal to you in reality.
  28. >You begin to think of it as if you were forced to choose one with no choice to walk away.
  29. >You’d either get torn away from everything you’ve worked for, and only have your hand as a way of release for the rest of your life, or you’ll have a new roommate that couldn’t buy their own food.
  30. >And they would be an alien that would have some pretty awkward feelings towards you later on.
  31. >If you wanted to get rid of them, you could just show them to someone. But where would they disappear to? The post didn’t specify.
  32. >Y’know, You’re overthinking something very simple.
  33. >Something drives you to post a reply. Boredom, maybe?
  34. >You click the reply button and type.
  35. If I couldn’t choose NOT to choose… I’d probably go with option 2.
  36. >A simple sentence. Short, sweet, to the point.
  37. >If something like that were to occur, you’d at least not have to get torn from your realm.
  38. >Even though it would mean tearing someone else from theirs.
  39. >You really are a selfish bastard, aren’t you?
  40. >Whatever, you just do what it takes to stay on top. No need to dwell on fictional possibilities.
  41. >Besides, you’re too tired to think rationally right now.
  42. >You turn off your monitor, walk to your bed, and flop down on it for the night.
  43. >With the satisfaction of knowing that you’ll be getting a bit more sleep than usual, you drift off into darkness.
  44. >It’s one of the more restful ones you’ve had as of late, really.
  45. >Unfortunately for you, this rest is cut short by the sudden sound of what sounds like shattering glass from the next room over.
  46. >Your eyes shoot open, sleep still clouding your mind.
  47. >Realization strikes you as your head clears up.
  48. >Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit.
  49. >You knew this day would come. You knew and yet you still aren’t prepared.
  50. >Quickly, you slide out of bed, avoiding flopping onto the floor like you usually do.
  51. >First thing’s first, a decent weapon.
  52. >It’s weak, but gramps’s old revolver should do the trick.
  53. >If only you could find the ammo for the damn thing.
  54. >Looking at your open bedroom door, you realize there isn’t any time. You’ll just have to hope they’ll run away when they see you have a gun.
  55. >You quietly sneak your way out, attempting to replicate the stealth tactics you see on TV and vidyagames.
  56. >All seems to go well until you reach the room where the noise came from.
  57. >The sight of the room distracts you from trying to find the possible intruder.
  58. >Or rather, the sight of the room’s wall.
  59. >Once, a large glass window resided here. Now, there was only a square hole and some menacing looking pieces of sharp glass.
  60. >Below it, in the center of the room sits a decently sized crate.
  61. >Not just some small delivery box. A full sized wooden shipping crate.
  62. >Whatever they put in it must be heavy to break the window like this.
  63. >This is all it takes to distract you and make you trip over your feet onto your front end.
  64. >Right into the broken glass shards.
  65. >Dear god, your fucking arms.
  66. >At least they’ve taken the brunt of the damage, not your torso.
  67. >Careful as to not agitate your now injuries, you climb to your feet, gun in hand.
  68. >A cold breeze blows through the now broken window, reminding you what a pain it’s going to be to get it replaced.
  69. >Speaking of entry points, you have to check the rest of the house.
  70. >Cursing yourself for your stupidity, you check your back.
  71. >They could have easily snuck up on you at this point.
  72. >For the next twenty or so minutes, you scout out your property, checking every place that someone could hide.
  73. >No matter where you check, you see don’t see anything suspicious.
  74. >Returning to the site of the supposed break in, you stare again at the crate.
  75. >Well, before you call the cops, you’d might as well check what’s inside.
  76. >Maybe someone just wanted to hide a body and pin it on you.
  77. >In which case, you probably shouldn’t be handling the evidence.
  78. >You’ll just leave that train of thought to the people in the world who are actually smart and are not currently still partially asleep.
  79. >Throwing caution to the wind, you fling open the lid of the crate, which just so conveniently landed cover side up, and was apparently never sealed.
  80. >The sight inside the crate is enough to make you throw the lid back down.
  81. >Now THAT is something you weren’t expecting.
  82. >No, there wasn’t a cut up mess of body parts in it.
  83. >The contents aren’t even human.
  84. >And surprisingly, not mentally scaring.
  85. >Slowly opening the lid once more, you take in the sight of what lies in the box.
  86. >In the faint natural light, you can just barely make out the appearance.
  87. >Four legs. Pale yellow fur. Butterflies on the ass. A tail made of light pink hair, and a long mane to match.
  88. >It’s a… pony. A pony that you know from a certain TV show.
  89. >You let the reality of the situation sink in.
  90. >No, you aren’t dreaming. You are currently face to face with Fluttershy.
  91. >She’s not even your favorite character, though!
  92. >Will there ever be a day where OP actually delivers?
  93. >Poor attempts at humor aside, you aren’t sure what this means.
  94. >The very fact that a fictional character is sitting here in your house and is at the same time looking like a living cartoon defies the laws of physics.
  95. >You start looking around in the cold night air, hoping that the universe isn’t starting to crumble apart.
  96. >Well, you aren’t hurdling up into the sky, and there’s no bright white light emerging from the fabric of reality, so you suppose that everything is holding together for right now.
  97. >Steeling yourself, you look back over to examine the pegasus once more.
  98. >Though it’s dark, you can see that her eyes are closed.
  99. >Is she dead? It’s hard to hear if she’s breathing or not.
  100. >Only one way to find out.
  101. >Slowly you extend your hand, somewhat nervous about actually touching the pony.
  102. >You immediately feel warmth when your hand finally makes contact with her side.
  103. >Before long you also feel the sensation of her chest rising and falling with her breathing.
  104. >Good sign. You won’t have to bury any bodies tomorrow, then.
  105. >Another cold breeze reminds you that you are completely exposed to the outside weather.
  106. >Seriously, spring is almost here, why does it still look and feel like winter?
  107. >Whatever, you’ve got a box to lug back to your room.
  108. >Sure, you may not exactly be pleased with the whole turn of events, but you aren’t going to just leave a living thing out to be exposed to the elements.
  109. >Okay, so you don’t take in every homeless person you pass on the street, but that’s different.
  110. >Crouching down, you slide your hands under the crate, careful to not touch any glass that may lie beneath it.
  111. >It isn’t all that difficult to lift it up, and before too long, you are headed back to your room.
  112. >Despite checking the house, and obvious signs hinting that this wasn’t any ordinary break in, you can’t help but feel nervous.
  113. >Poor attempts at humor aside, you aren’t sure what this means.
  114. >The very fact that a fictional character is sitting here in your house and is at the same time looking like a living cartoon defies the laws of physics.
  115. >You start looking around in the cold night air, hoping that the universe isn’t starting to crumble apart.
  116. >Well, you aren’t hurdling up into the sky, and there’s no bright white light emerging from the fabric of reality, so you suppose that everything is holding together for right now.
  117. >Steeling yourself, you look back over to examine the pegasus once more.
  118. >Though it’s dark, you can see that her eyes are closed.
  119. >Is she dead? It’s hard to hear if she’s breathing or not.
  120. >Only one way to find out.
  121. >Slowly you extend your hand, somewhat nervous about actually touching the pony.
  122. >You immediately feel warmth when your hand finally makes contact with her side.
  123. >Before long you also feel the sensation of her chest rising and falling with her breathing.
  124. >Good sign. You won’t have to bury any bodies tomorrow, then.
  125. >Another cold breeze reminds you that you are completely exposed to the outside weather.
  126. >Seriously, spring is almost here, why does it still look and feel like winter?
  127. >Whatever, you’ve got a box to lug back to your room.
  128. >Sure, you may not exactly be pleased with the whole turn of events, but you aren’t going to just leave a living thing out to be exposed to the elements.
  129. >Okay, so you don’t take in every homeless person you pass on the street, but that’s different.
  130. >Crouching down, you slide your hands under the crate, careful to not touch any glass that may lie beneath it.
  131. >It isn’t all that difficult to lift it up, and before too long, you are headed back to your room.
  132. >Despite checking the house, and obvious signs hinting that this wasn’t any ordinary break in, you can’t help but feel nervous.
  133. >Questions run through your mind.
  134. >The most obvious being how?
  135. >You watch a TV show, and somehow one of the main characters appears in the same place as you.
  136. >This was either one hell of a coincidence, or you entered and won the horsefucker lottery without knowing.
  137. >Wait, didn’t you post on that thread that started almost just like this..?
  138. >That’s going to be something to investigate in the morning.
  139. >In the meantime, you notice the unconscious equine next to you begin to quiver.
  140. >Your arm extends without thinking to start rubbing her back.
  141. >Within seconds, the shaking subsides.
  142. >You find yourself letting out a small chuckle at the sight.
  143. >For what feels like the first time today, you speak.
  144. “This… is gonna be an interesting day.”
  145. >The past few minutes have been enough to wake you back up.
  146. >Your nightstand clock shows the time to be 2:54 AM.
  147. >Going to sleep at midnight means you’ve gotten a little less than three hours of sleep.
  148. >Fuck it. You’ll just take some time to get things together in your head, and maybe browse the web a bit while you’re at it.
  149. >What kind of preparations should you make for the first encounter?
  150. >Food might be a good start.
  151. >You’re sure you have something decently vegetarian around here somewhere.
  152. >Taking your hand off the pony, you rise from the bed.
  153. >Before leaving to raid the fridge, you take an extra blanket from the closet and drape it over her back.
  154. >Stepping out of the door and back into the rest of the house, you make your way to the kitchen.
  155. >There really isn’t much in here in terms of fruits or vegetables, but that shouldn’t be hard to work around.
  156. >After a few minutes of scouting around, you settle on just getting some peanut butter, some bread, and a banana to make a sandwich.
  157. >You finish the meal making process by filling a glass with water and bringing it all back to your bedroom.
  158. >Finding some open space on your night stand, you set down the plate and glass.
  159. >What else?
  160. >You can’t really think of anything right now.
  161. >For now, you’ll just browse the net again.
  162. >Gotta do something, right?
  163. >Perhaps you’ll check back on the thread from earlier.
  164. >You fall back onto your desk chair and wake your computer back up.
  165. >Maybe this is just the start on an equine invasion and there are others on the same thread having their houses damaged by cartoon horses.
  166. >Speaking of, you’ll have to check with your insurance to see if alien invasions are covered in your plan.
  167. >Can you even sue otherworldly beings for property damage?
  168. >Eh, there’d be no use, even though this is America and you probably could.
  169. >Time goes by fairly fast as your insane mind wanders.
  170. >You completely forget about looking for the thread and end up on a completely different website than you started out on.
  171. >Soon, your trance is broken when you hear murmurs and the rustling of covers from behind you.
  172. >Turning your seat around, you see Fluttershy’s eyes slightly crack open.
  173. >It begins.
  174. >This might very well be first contact.
  175. >Better make a good impression of humanity, Anon.
  176. >Her head heavily lifts up, looking around groggily.
  177. >You wait for her to get her bearings straight.
  178. >Her large eyes slowly focus, pupils changing to the correct size for the current level of light.
  179. >For a time, the mare just looks around, trying to take in her dim surroundings.
  180. >It isn’t until you raise your arm to scratch the back of your head that she seems to notice you.
  181. >The two of you lock gazes.
  182. >Only now do you realize it’s just a little uncanny having something with such big eyes looking at you.
  183. >You’ve never been one to back down from a staring contest, though.
  184. >Silence fills the room while the two of you just look into each other’s eyes.
  185. >Nobody blinks.
  186. >Your gut rumbles a bit, causing a bubble to rise up into your chest.
  187. >Fluttershy tilts her head slightly, trying to make sense of the situation.
  188. >The gas travels up to your throat, the tense situation not slowing it down in the slightest.
  189. >Unconsciously, you push it out through your mouth.
  190. >Much harder than you need to.
  191. >The sound that comes out can only be described as the roar of a lion with a bad case of gas.
  192. >And with that, you now also know that ponies might be the only living creatures on this planet to break the sound barrier without the use of a machine.
  193. >As your mighty display of gaseous power took place, the pegasus had instantly bolted from your bed to an unknown location, blanket still attached.
  194. >Well, the certainly could have gone better. But hey, at least you won the staring contest, right?
  195. >You should probably look for her. She couldn’t have gotten far with your door closed.
  196. >Standing up, you make your way towards your bed, but it isn’t long before you find out where the frightened pony went.
  197. >You look down and see a long gathering of pink hair sticking out from beneath your bed.
  198. >Speaking with a calm, soft voice, you attempt to reassure her.
  199. “Uhh...”
  200. >”S-stay away..!”
  201. >You should have known that it wouldn’t be easy.
  202. “Hey, I’m uh… I’m sorry about that. I just had a bad burp, that’s a-“
  203. >A growling sound comes from her position.
  204. >You fall back on your ass against the wall.
  205. >What the hell was that?
  206. >Intrusive thoughts begin to push to the front of your mind.
  207. >Shit… Is she transforming?
  208. >Was this all a clever ruse? Are you going to get eaten and not even have a corpse to leave?
  209. >A yellow blur collides with your torso.
  210. >You try to scream, but can’t.
  211. >It’s too late now. The grip is too tight.
  212. >You squint your eyes, waiting for the inevitable feeling of teeth sinking into your flesh.
  213. >However, that feeling never comes.
  214. >Another growl, and the grip tightens.
  215. >The beast holding onto your body begins to shake and emit what could be mistaken as a whimper.
  216. >Breathing is difficult, and life is slowly turning into suffering.
  217. >You open your eyes, ready to face your demise.
  218. >When you look down, you don’t see the flesh devouring monster you were expecting.
  219. >Instead, you see the familiar form of a quivering pony, holding onto you for dear life.
  220. >Instant relief.
  221. >You hear the same sound from earlier, and with a clearer mind, it’s easy to tell what it is.
  222. >The sound of hunger, and this time, you’re pretty sure it isn’t the hunger for human flesh.
  223. >You attempt to choke out some reassurance.
  224. “H-hey… don’t be af… afraid. It’s just your… stomach.”
  225. >Some seconds pass before this registers to her, and she slowly loosens her grip.
  226. >Then quickly backs up to the middle of the room when she sees just what she was burying her face into.
  227. >You get to your knees, deciding that standing would probably cause some intimidation with your height.
  228. >An idea strikes, and you twist to the nightstand to grab the food you made.
  229. “You must be pretty hungry. I’m not sure what you might like for food, so I just made this.”
  230. >You set the plate down, doing your best to telegraph each action you are about to take.
  231. “How are you feeling?”
  232. >Fluttershy eyes the sandwich a bit before sniffing it and responding.
  233. >”I’m… Fine.”
  234. “That’s good, I’m glad to hear it. You must be curious as to where you are. Right now, we’re in my house. In my bedroom, to be exact. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m sure you have a lot.”
  235. >You look at her, waiting for a reply.
  236. >The pony shrinks back under your gaze, shaking ever so slightly in fear.
  237. >You aren’t too surprised, she probably isn’t quick to trust.
  238. “It’s okay if you’d like some time to clear your head. I can leave if you want.”
  239. >The part of your mind that’s still quite irrational from the recent events is asking you why you just offered to leave your own damn room, but your calmer side tells you it’s the right thing to do.
  240. >Still now answer. Maybe you should leave her be for now.
  241. “Well, if you need anything, please, don’t be afraid to ask.”
  242. >You can see her body become a bit less tense at your attempt to reassure her that your intensions are good.
  243. >To give her a bit of space, you back off to your desk and sit.
  244. >So… First contact didn’t go as well as you had hoped.
  245. >Can’t say it wasn’t expected, though.
  246. >Now then, what were you doing before she woke up?
  247. >Oh right, the thread.
  248. >This time you’re focused.
  249. >Before you know it, you’re back at the page that may or may not have started all of this.
  250. >Hopefully there’s something in here that will shed some light on the events that have unfolded.
  251. >Starting from the top, you scroll through the posts that are shown, paying closer attention for any underlying hints.
  252. >Sadly, by the time you reach the end of the thread, you are left with a lack of answers.
  253. >With a sigh, you put your arms on your desk and lean forward.
  254. >The pain comes almost instantly.
  255. “Gah..! Damn, what the hell?”
  256. >Your eyes shoot down to your arms as you turn them to your face.
  257. >You can’t decide whether or not it is surprising that you forgot you fell onto broken glass earlier.
  258. >Small trickles of blood stream down your arms, telling you that these aren’t just a few small scratches.
  259. “Damn, these are some pretty bad cuts… How’d I manage this?”
  260. >An attempt at pulling one out ends in you just agitating the laceration further and causing more bleeding.
  261. Why do injuries only start to hurt when you notice it?
  262. >Speaking of not noticing stuff, a certain yellow pony startles you when her voice emanates from right next to your seat.
  263. >“Excuse me, are you okay..?”
  264. >You’ve definitely been better.
  265. >You turn around to face the source of the unexpected question.
  266. >Fluttershy is standing a few feet away from your chair, trying to get a decent view of what might have caused you this pain.
  267. >She shrinks back slightly, her courage wavering at the eye contact.
  268. >You put on a slight smile and speak.
  269. “It’s nothing too bad, I’ve had worse. I’m just having a bit of trouble getting this glass out.”
  270. >As you speak, you turn one of your arms towards her; her eyes widen as blood quickly runs down your arm to your elbow.
  271. >Well, you certainly did a number on that one.
  272. >”Oh no! How did this happen?”
  273. >You feel bursts of what feels like wind hit you as the pegasus takes to the air, inspecting your arm closer.
  274. >”Oh my… These are in deep…”
  275. >Not one to cause worry to others, you grab ahold of a different shard and try to pull.
  276. “It’s really no big deal, I just gotta… gah..!”
  277. >You pull your hand away and notice a small cut on your index finger.
  278. >Perhaps you should use something other than your hand to pull these out.
  279. >”No, you can’t take them out like that..! Here…”
  280. >She pauses for a moment.
  281. >”L-let me help… Is that okay..?”
  282. >For a moment, you consider just waiting to go to a doctor in the morning, or trying to pluck these out yourself.
  283. >But this would offer a good chance to allow the both of you to communicate a bit more closely.
  284. >A trust exercise of sorts.
  285. >Plus, it beats killing yourself accidentally from blood loss.
  286. “Sure. Anything we should have around?”
  287. >She stutters out a list of items that you luckily have around the house.
  288. >Minutes later you have the supplies laid out neatly on your desk, and a pony working on your wounds.
  289. >You watch in a mix of amazement and horror as the shy pony uses a pair of tweezers with her mouth to extract one of the bigger pieces.
  290. >This process goes on for several minutes, and after a bit of effort from the both of you, your arms are void of glass.
  291. “Hey, you’re pretty good at this, you know?”
  292. >No vocal response, but you do get a blush and a bashful smile as she begins to bandage up your arms.
  293. >An awkward silence ensues.
  294. >…
  295. >Just now, you realize that Fluttershy more than likely does not know that you know what she is or where she’s from.
  296. “So… What’s your name? And what are you? Can’t say I’ve seen something like you around here.”
  297. >”I’m… I’m Fluttershy. I’m a pony.”
  298. >She stops to think.
  299. >”I’m from Equestria. From the looks of it, I don’t think I’m still there…”
  300. >You nod.
  301. “Probably not, since I’ve never heard of it. This is earth, in the United States.”
  302. >Her eyes widen.
  303. >”And I haven’t ever heard of that…”
  304. >She backs off, her bandaging finished.
  305. “Do you remember what happened before woke up here?”
  306. >The mare shakes her head.
  307. >”I… just went to bed, and when I woke up, I was here.”
  308. >Scratching your chin, you nod once again.
  309. “And the ride here must’ve been pretty rough. You’ve got some pretty nasty cuts yourself. Here, let me return the favor.”
  310. >You get out of your chair and motion for her to sit down in it.
  311. “Don’t worry, I hurt myself all the time. I at least know how to treat a few cuts.”
  312. >”If you say so…”
  313. >After a moment of hesitation, she complies and lands in the spot you were just sitting.
  314. >Now that you think about it, you have no clue why the usually cautious pony would actually let you do this.
  315. >Even more so since you appeared to not know how to even take care of your own body with that glass earlier.
  316. >Maybe she’s starting to trust you already? Or she could be too afraid to say no.
  317. >Either way, you are almost done treating the cuts on her body.
  318. >She sure took the disinfectant a lot better than you did, that’s for sure.
  319. >While you would swear like a sailor every time she touched you with it, she’d just wince and let out a small whine.
  320. “And there… we… go. That all ought to hold for now. Everything feel alright?”
  321. >As Fluttershy shifts around in your chair to test the bandages, you proceed to gather up the various medical items.
  322. >”They’re fine…. And thank you.”
  323. “Not a problem.”
  324. >You head out the door once more towards the bathroom.
  325. >Arriving at your bathroom, you place each item in a spot that’s easy to remember. You never have to use these often, luckily.
  326. >Upon returning to your bedroom, you find your chair rotated around so that the back is to you and the front is facing your computer screen.
  327. >Your steps are muffled by the carpeted floor as you make your approach to your destination.
  328. >Something tells you that this visitor is a bit curious about the big shiny rectangle on your desk, and you aren’t about to pass up the opportunity to observe this phenomenon.
  329. >Plus, your mischievous side is going get a kick out of her reaction when she finds out you’ve been here all this time.
  330. >Soon, you’re standing right behind the seat, waiting to see what she does.
  331. >Turns out, not much, as all she does is look around the various parts of your desktop wallpaper and various icons.
  332. >Eventually, the pony raises a hoof towards the display.
  333. >However, seeing as no one has given the computer any actual input in over ten minutes, the screen goes black just as her hoof makes contact.
  334. >Best. Timing. Ever.
  335. >A wave of panic seems to overtake her as she frantically falls back and looks around your desk for a solution for the problem.
  336. >She tries tapping the screen with her hoof again to no avail, letting out a whimper of nervousness in response as she falls back into the chair once more.
  337. >You stifle your childish giggles, having more fun than you should watching an alien horse struggle with technology.
  338. >Finally, the panicked mare freezes, gaze slowly drifting up to meet your own.
  339. >A dumb smile spreads over your face and you let your even dumber giggles go free.
  340. “Having fun?”
  341. >In a flurry of yellow feathers, the pegasus jumps from your seat and begins to profusely apologize as tears well in her eyes.
  342. >”I’m sorry! I… I b-b-broke…”
  343. >Okay, you may have let this get a bit too far already. Best to end this now before any further damage is done to her weary mind.
  344. >You wiggle the mouse and the display fades in back to life.
  345. “It does that if you don’t do anything to it for a long time. It conserves energy that way.”
  346. >A smile already on your face, you kneel down to match Fluttershy’s height.
  347. “Do you have computers where you came from?”
  348. >You’re fairly certain they don’t, but you obviously can’t let her know you know that.
  349. >The pony shakes her head, wiping away the tears from earlier.
  350. “Well, hop back up here and I’ll show you what this can do.”
  351. >”Really..?”
  352. >You roll your eyes.
  353. “No, I’m going to keep you locked up in here away from your friends and family. C’mon, the seat’s all yours.”
  354. >That… actually may not be too far from the truth if this is going by the same rules as the thread.
  355. >Which brings to your attention the fact that you’ll have to tell her eventually what’s going on if it’s true.
  356. >Getting back to your feet, you wait for her to get back up where she was so you can commence the show and tell.
  357. >Before beginning the grand tour, you completely close your internet browser so that no evidence of your previous pony adventures on the web are seen.
  358. >You start by showing her the basics. The mouse, keyboard, monitor, and others.
  359. “And this down here is the computer itself.”
  360. >Fluttershy looks back up at the monitor, confused.
  361. >”What about this?”
  362. “Like I said, that just takes what this is doing and displays it in a readable form.”
  363. >You are about to lean over her and start opening a few programs, but get a better idea.
  364. “Go on, grab the mouse and try clicking on a few things.”
  365. >Looking unsure, she speaks.
  366. >”A-are you sure..? I don’t want to break anything…”
  367. >With a roll of your eyes, you reassure her that nothing is going to break.
  368. >Although, the hard drive HAS been getting slower and making more noise lately…
  369. >A look of amazement is plastered on her face as you guide her through the various functions of the PC.
  370. >After a few minutes in the paint program, she finds her way to your pictures folder.
  371. >In it is a group of people in a grassy park; only a few people in it are posing for the camera, the rest are doing their best to do something dumb for when the picture is taken.
  372. >It’s a memory that sticks out to you. This was the day of your graduation.
  373. >You see yourself with your small group of friends. Everyone looks like they’re on top of the world.
  374. >Fluttershy’s amazement breaks and she points a hoof where you are looking.
  375. >”I see you right there. Are those your friends with you?”
  376. >For just a bit longer you go over the picture before responding.
  377. “Yeah. I haven’t seen them for quite a few years now.”
  378. >Those were some pretty good times…
  379. >…But those were in the past now. You’ve got a life to focus on. Two now, if this doesn’t end up being some strange fever dream.
  380. >Now her face seems to convey sadness as she looks down at her hooves.
  381. >”I hope my friends are okay…”
  382. >You didn’t think about the status of her friends. Could they have ended up in a similar predicament?
  383. >The look on her face is enough to put a small crack in even your stone heart.
  384. >You rest your hand on her back in an attempt to reassure her.
  385. “I’m sure they’re safe and sound at their homes. They’re probably just as worried about you right now.”
  386. >You’ve never been good at comforting those in need, despite so many people coming to you for it before.
  387. >This time though, it seems to be enough to bring a small smile back to her face.
  388. >”I hope so…”
  389. >Taking your hand off, you continue.
  390. “And I’ll do what I can to get you back. I’m not sure what all I can do, but I’ll try.”
  391. >Fluttershy looks back up at you and her smile widens just a bit.
  392. >You aren’t sure what came over you just now to make you feel like you had to say that, but for now, you’ll just chalk it up to sleep deprivation. You don’t even know where you’d start!
  393. >Before she can say anything, you yawn and look at the clock. Almost 4 AM. So much for getting to bed early tonight.
  394. “Hey, I’m getting kind of tired, how’s about we continue this in the morning?”
  395. >The pony looks just a bit disappointed at having to stop so early, but agrees none the less.
  396. >She gets out of the chair and looks at you.
  397. “You can sleep on this bed tonight. It might be a good idea to stay in here if you don’t like the cold.”
  398. >Realization strikes you as you receive a questioning look from the pegasus below.
  399. >By the time she woke up, you had already taken her out of the box. The sound of the window breaking probably evaded her as well.
  400. >”Um, what’s wrong with the other rooms, if I can ask?”
  401. >Looking down at the crate, you answer in a tone that’s a tad bitterer than you intend.
  402. “See that crate over there? It was thrown through my window with you inside. Now the cold air is seeping in through a huge hole in the wall because of it.”
  403. >The mare grows uneasy, hearing the annoyance in your voice.
  404. >”O-oh no… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-“
  405. >Shit, gotta rectify this.
  406. >Before she can get too far into her apology, you motion for her to stop.
  407. “It’s alright. I’ve got a feeling that you probably didn’t hop in there to go for a joyride. Just an unexpected bump in the road of life is all it is. Anyways, let’s try to get some sleep. We should talk some more in the morning, if you’re up for it.”
  408. >Meekly, she nods her head and walks to the bed.
  409. >You on the other hand lower yourself into your chair.
  410. “Could you get the light while you’re over there, too?”
  411. >Punctuating your request with a yawn, you sink into your chair and close your eyes.
  412. >”Is, um… Is that really where you are sleeping? I don’t want to take your bed away from you…”
  413. >Already drifting off, you answer.
  414. “I fall asleep here four nights out of seven anyways. I’m good. Thanks though.”
  415. >For once in your life, you aren’t lying to make someone feel better. You really need to work on actually using your bed.
  416. >A shuffle of sheets, a click, and the absence of light are the last things that register to your tired mind before your consciousness fades away.
  417. >…
  418. >Your sleep is restless and filled with breaks in its cycle.
  419. >It’s nothing too unusual, this always happens when you fall asleep at your desk.
  420. >You keep telling yourself to get up and stagger to your bed, but you’re too comfortable to do that right now.
  421. >Finally, you get enough clarity to force yourself out of your chair.
  422. >It’s still dark out, so you haven’t been asleep all that long.
  423. >A small chill runs up your body from the temperature of the room.
  424. >Is your heater broken again?
  425. >Whatever, the blankets will solve that.
  426. >Arriving at the head of your bed, you look to your clock.
  427. >6:12 AM
  428. >Not bad. You’ll have plenty of time to get some real sleep.
  429. >Your hair stands up on end as an unexpected noise emanates from behind you.
  430. >It sounds close to a whimper, but you can’t quite place…
  431. >You turn around, and still to your surprise you can see the faint outline of a sleeping equine laying her head on your pillow.
  432. >So that wasn’t a dream…
  433. >Through the darkness you can see that Fluttershy is completely uncovered, and is heavily shivering along with her pathetic whimpers.
  434. >You can’t blame her, it IS pretty cold in here.
  435. >Might as well plug in the space heater while you’re thinking about it.
  436. >Quickly, you take the small heating implement from your closet and plug it in next to your bed.
  437. >With sleep clouding your mind, you sit next to the sleeping pony and begin to absentmindedly stroke her side.
  438. >You’ll have to come up with a plan to get her back home in the morning.
  439. >After a bit, she stops shivering and subconsciously snuggles herself into your hand.
  440. >Removing your hand from the pony, you get up and tuck a blanket around her before going back to your chair.
  441. >Sleep comes much easier than before.
  442. >Before you know it, you are awoken by the alarm of your watch on your desk.
  443. >You really have no idea why you use this instead of the perfectly fine desk clock next to your bed, but whatever.
  444. >The light that tries to poke through the window blinds is quite faint, telling you that today is going to be filled with clouds once again.
  445. >Groggily you get up from your chair, a nice soreness in your back greeting you.
  446. >Looking over at your bed, you see that Fluttershy is still asleep and that this is indeed still not a dream.
  447. >It appears to be 10:30 AM on the dot from what your clock says.
  448. >Good enough time to wake up, you suppose.
  449. >You decide to let the bed’s occupant sleep a bit longer, seeing as she’s had a much rougher night than you.
  450. >Removing the makeshift insulator once more from your door, you step out into the wall of cold.
  451. >As soon as you walk into your living room, your mouth drops.
  452. >Snow. A huge pile of it, right under the base of your window. It’s also still coming in, most of the outside world beyond it being obstructed.
  453. >You knew there were going to be snow showers, but not THIS bad!
  454. >For a while, you just stare.
  455. >Fuck it. You’re making breakfast. It’s the floor’s issue now.
  456. >You ponder on what to eat on your way to the kitchen.
  457. >Whatever it is, you’ll have to make double what you normally do.
  458. >It’s been a while since you’ve made breakfast for two.
  459. >As you look down at a box of instant oatmeal packets, you remember the last time you did.
  460. >The woman you had over ended up slipping something in your juice. When you came to, your wallet was gone, your toaster was leaking a mysterious fluid, and all the plates at the table were licked clean.
  461. >It always seems like shit like that happens whenever the girl you have over is great in bed.
  462. >Totally worth it, though.
  463. >Finding some pancake mix in the cupboard, you decide to just make something simple today.
  464. >Setting out a bowl and some plates, you proceed to pour the powder into the bowl and mix it with some water.
  465. >The counter is already a mess.
  466. >After all of the lumps are crushed out of existence, you set a skillet on the old gas stove, you ignite the burners and pour half of the contents of the bowl on two different parts.
  467. >A while later, you have two very large golden brown pillows of… whatever pancakes are made of.
  468. >You slide one onto each plate.
  469. >Before leaving, you get out some syrup and butter.
  470. >Once back at your room, you quietly open the door and creep back to your bed.
  471. >As she lets out small, near inaudible snores, you see a single strand of her light pink mane blow out with every breath she exhales.
  472. >Out of habit, you end up lightly brushing it back into the rest of her mane with the back of your fingers.
  473. >With a steady hand, you lightly shake the sleeping mare through the covers in an attempt to wake her.
  474. “Hey, it’s morning. You don’t want to sleep the rest of the day away, do you?”
  475. >Slowly she stirs, making small squeaking sounds before stretching and letting out a large yawn.
  476. >Well, large for her.
  477. >Her eyes open up partially, trying to comprehend the space around her now that it actually has daylight filling it.
  478. “Good morning, Fluttershy. Feeling better this morning, I hope?”
  479. >The pony sits up, rubbing her eye with a hoof.
  480. >”Mmmh… Good morning… I’m fine…”
  481. >Turning around, you begin to head back to the room in which your holy bounty of breakfast food awaits.
  482. “I’ve got food waiting in the kitchen if you’re hungry. It’s two rooms to the right as soon as you leave this room.”
  483. >You’ve walked out of the bedroom, deciding to give the occupant some time to wake up and get herself together
  484. >The kitchen smells of fresh cooking, something you have always enjoyed, an opposite you draw with some members of your family.
  485. >They’d always insist on venting it out. You’d insisted that they were in need of a psychological evaluation.
  486. >You arrive at the table shortly, and prepare for the meal ahead.
  487. >Opening up the butter, you scrape some off with the knife and smear some on your pancake.
  488. >For yours, you pour some syrup over the top and begin digging in.
  489. >It isn’t long until you hear the strange new sound of hooves clopping on your tiled floor.
  490. >You hope like hell this isn’t going to leave scratches.
  491. >Seeing this cartoon character walk through your kitchen is still one of the most surreal things you’ve experienced so far.
  492. >You smile at her.
  493. “Didn’t have any trouble finding the place, I hope.”
  494. >Fluttershy shakes her head, wearing a soft smile of her own.
  495. >”Oh no, not at all.”
  496. >When she reaches the table, you scoot out a seat for her.
  497. >What? These seats are big, heavy, AND hard to move across the floor, even for you. She’s smaller than them. You aren’t reaching maximum fedora tippidge just yet.
  498. >After fluttering up to the chair, you move her in closer to the table.
  499. “I wasn’t too sure what all you might like on yours. I might have some whipped cream in the fridge, or some strawberries I could still chop up. I’m kind of boring when it comes to food.”
  500. >Well, at least in comparison to some of the stuff you’ve seen in the show. You’d like to at least consider yourself not bland in taste.
  501. >”Oh, that’s okay, I couldn’t ask for more than you’ve already given. Thank you for the food, it smells great!”
  502. >You shrug.
  503. “It was nothing, really.”
  504. >No, really, it was nothing. Just add water to the powder, mix, then cook.
  505. >They probably don’t have the all in one mix in Equestria, though.
  506. >After putting some butter of her own onto her serving, Fluttershy begins to reach towards the bottle of syrup, only to be stopped by the shortness of her own front arm.
  507. >You kind of just let it happen, chewing on a bite of your food before you realize that she could probably use some help.
  508. >Quickly, you lean over and pass the bottle to her.
  509. >She takes it with a sheepish grin.
  510. >Once her flapjack is covered with syrup, her next action surprises you just a bit.
  511. >She goes headfirst into the plate, then back up, emerging with a piece of the food in her mouth.
  512. >Right. Ponies. Hooves.
  513. >Surprisingly, her face isn’t dirtied in the slightest.
  514. >Minutes pass as the only sound in the room is that of chewing, and the occasional clank of silverware.
  515. >Now is as good a time as any to strike up a conversation.
  516. “So… How’s about we get to know each other a little better?”
  517. >An apprehensive look is cast your way, the food in her mouth swallowed like a large pill with no water.
  518. >Looks like you’ll have to take the initiative here.
  519. “Here, I’ll start. My name is Anonymous. You can just call me Anon for short, though. I like to relax at home on quiet evenings after a long day of work, though I also enjoy the occasional outing with friends whenever we’re in the same place.”
  520. >Gee, sounded like you just sat up a dating profile there, bro.
  521. >Whatever.
  522. >You list off a few more of your interests, along with your job.
  523. “So, that’s about it for me. What about you?”
  524. >Hesitantly swallowing, the butter colored pony speaks.
  525. >”W-well… My name is Fluttershy. I like to interact and take care of… animals…”
  526. >Her sentence trails off at the last word, but you can still hear it.
  527. “Interesting. Do you have any pets?”
  528. >”W-well, I have a bunny. His name is Angel…”
  529. >You faintly remember that white puffball. If you aren’t wrong, that rabbit’s name betrayed its personality.
  530. “Any others?”
  531. >Almost as if composing a list in her head, she looks down at her plate, only a small bit of the once large pancake remaining.
  532. >Then she lists off what animals she takes care of.
  533. >They range all the way from mice to bears.
  534. >In all your life, you’ve never heard one living being list off as many different creatures as she has just now.
  535. >”But I just take care of them, they’re not really pets. They’re my furry little friends! I feed them and treat them when they’re sick or injured.”
  536. >She’s much more opened up, now.
  537. “That’s good to hear that you care for them like that.”
  538. >The pony nods and points at her rear end.
  539. >”In fact, that’s what my cutie mark symbolizes.”
  540. >Your eyes fall to the three butterflies on her flank.
  541. “Cutie mark, eh? Can’t say I’ve heard of those before. What’s that all about?”
  542. >She goes on to summarize how each pony earns one specific to them whenever they find their special talent.
  543. >Honestly, you kind of zoned out seeing as you already know about all that.
  544. >Then, she goes on to tell you how she got hers.
  545. >Again, something you know about, but it’s still interesting to hear it be told to you first hand.
  546. >You try not to laugh at the fact that she opened her story up the exact same way as she did in that one episode.
  547. >Which also leads to her telling you about the rest of her friends and how they got theirs.
  548. >Though these were much shorter summaries, seeing as they weren’t her own.
  549. >After the discussion, you take the empty plates from the table and over to the sink.
  550. >Returning to the table, you find your guest staring down at her hooves, much more downtrodden than a moment ago.
  551. >Something tells you that you know what’s going on here.
  552. >Instinctively, you squat down at her side to meet her eyes.
  553. “You’re worried, aren’t you?”
  554. >Sullenly she nods her head.
  555. >”I’m afraid… I might never get back… What if I never…”
  556. >Her words falter a bit as she has trouble choking out the next sentence.
  557. >”…See my friends, or my family again..?”
  558. >Instant guilt.
  559. >You really don’t know what to do or say.
  560. >This is possibly your own doing.
  561. >Jesus Crispy Christ, all you were doing was being an idiot online!
  562. >This is why you hate people that take stuff literally.
  563. >You say something dumb that shouldn’t be taken seriously, then the next thing you know, they’ve managed to travel across dimensions, kidnap one of the inhabitants, and throw them through your window.
  564. >Well, if it even WAS a person…
  565. >Guess you should be thankful this didn’t turn out worse.
  566. >The torrent of self-pity is driven away when you notice a single tear running down the face of the mare in the seat.
  567. >”I hope they at least notice I’m gone…”
  568. >Her comment takes you by surprise.
  569. >For something like that to come out of her mouth, this whole situation must be taking a much bigger toll on her mind than you thought.
  570. >What you’ve seen on the show tells you that with how strong their friendship is, a thought like this should never occur to her.
  571. >It’s something you can’t just let go by unattended.
  572. “Hey now, don’t give up already. You haven’t even been here twenty four hours yet. Your friends surely haven’t forgotten about you. Besides, if what you’ve told me about them is true, they never would. I mean, you have all of the perfect elements to make a great lasting friendship, and that’s hard to break.”
  573. >By some miracle, your weak words of wisdom manage to strike a chord and you see the pony’s eyes light up a bit.
  574. >”Elements… That’s right!”
  575. >What’s she blabbing about..?
  576. >”I can’t believe I forgot… We held the Elements of Harmony for a reason..!”
  577. >Oh right, the magical MacGuffins.
  578. >You really didn’t mean to remind her of those, but hey, looks like luck was on your side today!
  579. >"I can't believe I was thinking that way... They'd never forget about me..."
  580. >Once again putting your hand on her back, you speak.
  581. "I wouldn't worry about it. This is a stressful situation for you. Judgement is sure to be clouded at first."
  582. >She nods.
  583. >"I guess so..."
  584. “As for getting you back, I see it this way: If there’s a way into this world, there’s gotta be a way out. You got here somehow; most methods of travel have a way to go in reverse. We’ve just got to find it.”
  585. >Much easier said than done, that’s for damn sure.
  586. >She looks back up at you, eyes still glistening with leftover tears.
  587. >Now however, you see something else in them. The signs of renewed hope shine through along with a smile.
  588. >”You really think so..?”
  589. >Scratching the back of your head, you respond.
  590. “I’m not gonna lie. It’s going to be difficult, nearing on impossible. But I’ll do my best to help.”
  591. >Her face doesn’t fall, and you aren’t sure whether to feel happy or guilty because of it.
  592. >”I’m glad that you’re here to help… I-I can’t thank you enough.”
  593. >Once more you see face light up with happiness when she speaks her next sentence.
  594. >”Plus, my friends will be working to find me, too!”
  595. >You didn’t think of that.
  596. >A society that actually understands portals and magic is a lot better than a single man with an average education and day job.
  597. “That’s very true! Heck, by the time you leave, you’ll have been here for so little time that you’ll be able to forget about me in a day or two!”
  598. >Flashing a smile towards Fluttershy, you get a small giggle from her.
  599. >Good, crisis averted for mow.
  600. >Seeing the snow let up outside of your kitchen, you are reminded of the broken porthole in the other room.
  601. >Better put a to-do list together for today.
  602. >Alright, so you have to shop for a few things.
  603. >Groceries, and a window.
  604. >First should be relatively easy. Though you’ll probably want to cry internally when you witness the cost of it all.
  605. >As for groceries, you know what YOU want, but now you need to get an order from a second person- er… pony.
  606. >Taking a pad of paper from a nearby drawer, you approach the timid pony.
  607. >You speak, breaking her attention away from looking out of the window near the table.
  608. “Hey, Fluttershy.”
  609. >She turns her head towards you, a curious look in her eyes.
  610. >”Hm?”
  611. >You place the pad down on the table.
  612. “I’m gonna go out to the store. I figured you might be able to think of something you’d like from there while I get a few things ready to go out.”
  613. >Realizing you forgot something, you run over to the room that you call an office and grab a pencil.
  614. “You can just write down what you’d like.”
  615. >Once your instructions are clear, you go to get some proper clothes.
  616. >Up to this point, you’ve just been wearing a pair of underwear and a shirt. Definitely not the kind of clothing you’d want to be wearing if your new guest was a human.
  617. >Once you are dressed, you grab your wallet and keys.
  618. >While gathering what you need, you remember something that’s going to be difficult to explain.
  619. >Like most living things, you’re pretty sure the temptation to go outside is going to hit Fluttershy at some point, and you don’t have a plan to tell her to stay out of the front yard.
  620. >Sure, cars don’t drive by all that often, but they still do often enough for it to be a risk.
  621. >Maybe you could tell her the truth…
  622. >Or you could just ask her politely to avoid the living room and front yard for now.
  623. >That might work for now.
  624. >Passing through the living room this time, you get a better view of the damage.
  625. >And the snow.
  626. >Guess you’ll have to take care of this before leaving…
  627. >About ten more uninteresting minutes later, you’ve cleared away the offending mound.
  628. >You return to the kitchen, noticing that Fluttershy is no longer there.
  629. >On the table, you spot the paper, now with a few scratches of writing on it.
  630. >Taking the notepad, you rip off the top sheet.
  631. >You fold it and stick it in your pocket, deciding to start your search for the wayward interloper.
  632. >However, you don’t have to spend much time searching as you find her in your office, one room over.
  633. >When you step in, you spot her looking at the TV placed next to your work desk.
  634. “That’s a television. We use it to watch all sorts of things.”
  635. >The sudden break of silence is enough to make her jump a bit.
  636. >”O-oh, Anon… You startled me.”
  637. >You respond, a small laugh escaping your throat.
  638. “Sorry about that.”
  639. >”What do you watch on it?”
  640. “You really don’t have a lot of technology back home, do you? Imagine watching a stage show, only it’s all in a little box.”
  641. >Her eyes light up in understanding.
  642. >”So, like a movie?”
  643. >Oh yeah, they have movie theaters in Equestria.
  644. “Yeah, pretty much. Only the screen is solid and isn’t being projected onto a surface.”
  645. >You know, there might be an idea hatching here.
  646. >Grabbing the remote from your desk, you press the power button and activate the device.
  647. >After a bit, the screen pops in, the last channel you were on filling the screen.
  648. “Here,”
  649. >You crouch down and put the remote at her hooves.
  650. “Press this button right here to switch what you are watching. What you are seeing is based on the channel number you are on. The one pointing up increases the channel number, the one going down decreases it. If the pictures stop showing, go to a lower channel number.”
  651. >Pointing at a set of similar buttons, you explain further.
  652. “These control the volume of the television. Up makes it louder, down makes it softer.”
  653. >Some time later, once you’re sure she has the hang of it, you decide to ask her the difficult question.
  654. “I’d like to ask you to stay inside while I’m gone, if that’s okay. I can’t really explain right now, but I hope you can understand this time.”
  655. >Fluttershy gives you a bit of a confused look, but nods.
  656. >”Okay. I don’t mind, it’s kind of cold out there.”
  657. >You stand back up, watching the pony press a button on the remote with the tip of her wing.
  658. >The TV starts displaying what seems to be a documentary on nature or animals.
  659. >It catches her attention and the remote is forgotten about almost instantly.
  660. >Her predictability lifts your spirits a bit and you walk out of your room.
  661. >Once in the garage, you open the door to the driver’s seat of your car and climb in.
  662. >The engine roars to life with the key inserted and switched on; all that’s left to do is get to town.
  663. >It’s been about an hour and a half since you left your house.
  664. >At first, you only went out to get a few things, but as always, you have to go to about fifty thousand different fucking stores before you can find what you want.
  665. >You didn’t really expect to be out this long. At this point, Fluttershy probably thinks that you were eaten by a grue or something.
  666. >Cool air hits your face as you climb out of your car into the freshly shoveled parking lot and head for the store.
  667. >This place better have what you need, otherwise you’re gonna…
  668. >Well, you don’t know what you’re going to do; all you know is that whoever’s on the receiving end isn’t going to like it.
  669. >…
  670. >Well, that was some extreme luck.
  671. >By some miracle, not only did you find the window, but it was also on sale.
  672. >At this price, why even bother making an insurance claim?
  673. >That would probably just end up raising your premium anyways.
  674. >The installation team should be at your house in a few hours or so.
  675. >Before starting up the car again, you look in your back seat, trying to remember if you’ve forgotten anything.
  676. >Everything seems to be present and accounted for.
  677. >You even picked up a few flowers before you arrived at this store.
  678. >Only issue with this is that you don’t know if these are edible by alien technicolored equines.
  679. >Well, they don’t look half bad anyway. If she likes flowers for their looks, you could just give them to her as a gift.
  680. >Anyways, time to get the hell back home.
  681. >…
  682. >The sight of your house off in the distance is a welcome one for sure.
  683. >This whole trip was really more difficult than it should’ve been.
  684. >Oh well, such is life.
  685. >Your garage door opens in reaction to you pressing the button on the small remote on your dash.
  686. >The sound of your car echoes in the confined space, announcing your return.
  687. >Grabbing the bags, you shut the door behind you, the thump resonating throughout the room.
  688. >You struggle to get the door open with your hands full, but after a few seconds of adjustment, you manage to unlock the door and step inside.
  689. >The house is quiet aside from the faint sounds of the TV.
  690. >Your arms are freed of their load, which is now sat upon the kitchen table.
  691. >You decide to go into your office to see how she fared while you were away.
  692. >When you come to the door of the room however, you see that the pegasus in question is completely absent from the room.
  693. >Well, not completely, as there are a couple of feathers that match her coat color in the place she was sitting when you left.
  694. >Questions enter your head as you kneel down to pick up one of the lost feathers for closer inspection.
  695. >Maybe she was somehow discovered and just poofed away?
  696. >Though that would be next to impossible if she was in here the whole time.
  697. >Well, there is a giant hole that a burglar could have hopped through…
  698. >Wouldn’t that be one hell of a coincidence?
  699. >Dropping the light yellow strand of fibers to the floor, you get back to your feet.
  700. >That outcome is likely not the case, but the possibility still uneasily creeps into the back of your head.
  701. >Searching the bathroom yields no results, and neither does the living room.
  702. >The thought of Fluttershy somehow disappearing begins to creep into your mind more and more as you search, your heartbeat rising slightly.
  703. >However, your fears are calmed when you step into your bedroom and see a familiar scene.
  704. >That being the sight of a pale backside ending in a pink tail sticking out from the side of your bed.
  705. >A laugh escapes your mouth despite your curiosity as to why she’d be hiding under there again.
  706. >You notice her rump begin to quiver at the unexpected sound.
  707. “Fluttershy, it’s me. What are you- Oomph-!”
  708. >An impact knocks the air out of your lungs and knocks you onto your back.
  709. >You’re going to have to start up a pony research journal.
  710. >The first note to go in it would be something like this: Ponies, no matter how slow they may seem, can move at extremely high velocities. Heavy padding should be worn at all time to avoid injury.
  711. >Also, they can somehow tackle you without you being able to see them immediately, despite looking straight at them when they do.
  712. >You may or may not have just heard one of your ribs crack under the force of Fluttershy’s grip on your body.
  713. “H-hey… You’re stronger than you look, you know. It’s… getting kinda hard to breathe…”
  714. >Your words do nothing to reduce Fluttershy’s vice-like grip around your ribcage.
  715. >Pain. Pain is your life. It never isn’t.
  716. >Tilting your head down, all you see is the pale pink mane and yellow ears of the pony hugging you for dear life as she buries her face into your chest.
  717. >Thoughts of a deformed horse-like alien creature that kills it’s victims via constriction begin creeping into your head.
  718. >It’s thoughts like this that cause you to be a bit uneasy.
  719. >No, you know who this is.
  720. >…Well, pretty sure at least. You never know when this could just be a brain sucker that reads your mind and-
  721. >Okay, enough paranoia, you need to focus on the situation.
  722. >For the first time since you got back, the quivering mare speaks.
  723. >”Y-you’re okay! I-I… I thought you got eaten!”
  724. “What gave you…”
  725. >You try to inhale.
  726. “That idea..?”
  727. >”I-I heard that roar from o-outside after you left…”
  728. >Roar? Was there something around here while you were gone?
  729. >”Then you w-were gone for so long, and I heard the… The r-roar again just now…”
  730. >By some unholy act of god, her grip starts tightening again.
  731. >You reassure her and begin patting her on the back.
  732. “It’s okay… I’m sure it was nothing…”
  733. >Your surroundings seem to blur a bit as you try to speak.
  734. >This girl better let go soon. You really don’t fancy the idea of dying from suffocation.
  735. >You don’t know why the thought of you dying has terrified her so much. About twelve hours ago, she didn’t even know that you exist.
  736. >The fact is though, she does. And that hypothetical situation doesn’t set well with her.
  737. >With your hand starting to rub up and down her neck, you adjust yourself on the hard floor.
  738. “I’m still here. There’s nothing to worry about. There’s nothing around here that would be cause for alarm…”
  739. >Breathing becomes a much easier task as the grip around you loosens.
  740. >Fluttershy raises her head from your chest, her face close enough to feel her breath.
  741. >Seconds tick on in silence as the two of you stare at each other.
  742. >Finally, you are the one to break the silence.
  743. “Feeling better?”
  744. >Suddenly realizing the awkward position, she scuttles off of your torso.
  745. >”Um, yes... I’m so sorry about-“
  746. >You speak, cutting off her apology.
  747. “It’s alright. You just surprised me is all; I’m just happy I didn’t hit my head.”
  748. >A weak smile comes back to her face as you give her mane a quick tussle.
  749. >Before another word is said however, a knock sounds out from your front door.
  750. >Shit, are the window people here already?
  751. >Looking at the clock on your phone, you see it plain as day.
  752. >1:20 PM. Yup, that’s the time they agreed to come out.
  753. “I gotta answer this, gimme a sec.”
  754. >You get up and head for the front door in the other room.
  755. >As you round the corner to the living room, you spot somebody already inspecting where your window was.
  756. >Your hairs stand up on end when you feel the floor vibrate from something behind you.
  757. >Looking over your shoulder, you notice the small pegasus trailing behind.
  758. >Immediately your heart sinks into your stomach.
  759. >Acting purely on instinct, you scoop Fluttershy into your arms and dive back to your bedroom.
  760. >”A-anon..? What’s going on?”
  761. >You sigh as you place her back down on her hooves.
  762. “I…”
  763. >You are left without words. You don’t know how to explain to her that she can’t be seen.
  764. >Another knock.
  765. “I’ll be able to explain here in a bit. I just need to answer this first. Is that okay?”
  766. >She nods wordlessly, curiosity still plastered on her face.
  767. >You smile at her.
  768. “Thanks. I’ll be right back, then I’ll tell you what’s up. Promise.”
  769. >”Okay then…”
  770. >Returning to the front door, you open it up to reveal a slightly heavyset man in work clothing appropriate for the weather.
  771. “Hey.”
  772. >”Hi, we got an order for a window and installation from Anonymous Uh… C-… M… How do you pronounce this?”
  773. >You chuckle and reply.
  774. “That’s alright, most people can’t pronounce my last name correctly. Anyways, yeah, that’s me.”
  775. >The worker nods and holds out a clipboard.
  776. >”Alright, just gonna need you to sign here and we can get started.”
  777. >Taking the clipboard from him, you use the attached pen to scrawl your name onto the signature line.
  778. >You hand it back and he looks over it.
  779. >”Looks good. Alright guys, let’s get started!”
  780. >And with that, the rest of his team gets to work.
  781. >Now, that only leaves you with your task.
  782. >Time to spill the beans.
  783. >The walk back to your room is the slowest it has ever felt before.
  784. >Usually when you’re headed there, you’re looking forward to either getting on the computer after a long day of work or really tired and just want to get to your bed.
  785. >This time though, you just want to abandon ship and do anything but go there.
  786. >How the hell are you going to explain this?
  787. >You could be as vague as possible, but that would only lead to more trouble down the line.
  788. >That pretty much leaves telling the whole truth, or most of it, right to her face.
  789. >At least she’s not violent… right?
  790. >Fuck, you really don’t want to know what getting kicked by a horse feels like.
  791. >Just as you begin sorting out a contingency plan, you are greeted by the sight of your closed bedroom door.
  792. >Taking a deep breath, you twist the knob and open it.
  793. >Already the novelty of seeing the otherworldly creature in your bedroom is starting to wear off.
  794. >Perhaps it’s because of the stress in your mind right now.
  795. >Following your usual routine of getting down to eye level, you speak.
  796. “I… may have messed up. Big.”
  797. >The pink maned mare tilts her head, looking at you curiously.
  798. >”That’s not good, how so..?”
  799. >You take in another breath of air, a poor attempt to stall for a way to make this situation end well.
  800. “You remember the computer, right?”
  801. >Her gaze follows your hand when you point it towards your PC.
  802. >She nods.
  803. “Well, I remember telling you about a lot of the stuff it can do. One thing that you can do on there is communicate with others and discuss different topics on what we call a message board.”
  804. >You pause again.
  805. >This is something she deserves to hear, even if it causes a divide between your already nearly nonexistent relationship.
  806. “Well, I have no proof of this as of yet, and there are other factors that go into it, but I participated in a discussion on one. I think it may be the reason you are here. Again, I have no proof that this is the case.”
  807. >Trying to remember the rules, you recite them, intentionally leaving out any mention of ponies or Equestria.
  808. >You feel bad for keeping such important info from her, but you also don’t want to hurt her in any way.
  809. >It is something you’d like to tell her eventually, though.
  810. “It presented a hypothetical situation. You could either go to another world, or you could bring a being from the other world to you. The catch was that nobody in this world could see them, or they disappear. They weren’t clear on what they meant by it. I…”
  811. >Saying this almost feels like you are confessing to some sort of crime. You sure as hell feel guilty enough for it to have been one.
  812. >You really know you didn’t mean to do this, but it doesn’t help.
  813. “I went set up a hypothetical situation for myself in which I couldn’t choose NOT to choose. With that in mind, I chose the second option. A few hours later, I found you.”
  814. >How the hell were you supposed to know this would happen? It’s almost as if you have to tell a little paraplegic girl that her dreams of becoming a ballerina will never come true.
  815. >…Nope, memes aren’t alleviating your tension.
  816. “All in all, it may or may not be entirely my fault for bringing you here. If it is, I’d just like to say I’m sorry. What I’ve done is unforgivable, so I can understand any negative feelings you may hold. Just know that I harbor no ill will.”
  817. >With your speech over, you look at the pony in front of you. It’s hard to gage her response from her face alone, so you just wait for her to speak.
  818. >When you finally do get a change of facial expression, you aren’t sure whether or not to be surprised.
  819. >Instead of the contemplating look she was wearing earlier, now she was giving you that same soft smile that you’ve seen so much before.
  820. >”That’s alright, Anon, you couldn’t have known. I know that you’re a good person.”
  821. >The comment surprises you greatly.
  822. “How do you know that?”
  823. >Her next statement comes out quickly and confidently.
  824. >”You’ve helped me so much even though you didn’t have to. With all that you’ve done, you’re very… nice.”
  825. >As sickeningly sweet as that was, you can’t help but feel happy at that.
  826. >She’s really fast to trust. You shudder to imagine what would happen if she started trusting the wrong person in this world.
  827. “Thank you, Fluttershy. I really appreciate that.”
  828. >The feeling diminishes slightly when you realize you haven’t told her the other reason you don’t want her seen.
  829. >That reason being that humans may or may not have an adverse reaction to seeing her.
  830. “I don’t want to kill the mood, but I feel as if I have to tell you one more thing.”
  831. >Still smiling, she speaks.
  832. >”Yes?”
  833. “If it turns out you CAN be seen, I really don’t know if I’d recommend it or not.”
  834. >Her eyes go curious again.
  835. >”Why do you say that..?”
  836. “Well… Some of us aren’t so nice. They could do unspeakable things if they find out about a species unheard of to this point. That brings me to another reason. If any scientists are government officials find out about you, you won’t be getting a moment of privacy for the rest of your days.”
  837. >That didn’t set well with her.
  838. >”I um… I don’t think I’d like that.”
  839. “Yeah…”
  840. >Silence falls between you both as the conversation concludes.
  841. >You look around, hoping to find something that would at least reignite some conversation between you both.
  842. >Right now, you can’t take Fluttershy out of this room without having to pass the one with all the workers.
  843. >Guess you’re trapped here for now.
  844. >Sure, you could just go back out and do something else, but that would mean leaving her all alone in your room with next to nothing to do.
  845. >At this moment you really hope that ponies don’t have to pee too often.
  846. >Just when you think that there isn’t anything interesting you remember that you have an entire computer at your disposal.
  847. >Perfect.
  848. >…
  849. >You haven’t noticed until now, but you’ve fallen asleep.
  850. >Once your mind registers this fact, you try to remember what you did leading up to this.
  851. >The faint sound of your computer speakers permeates your ears, and you begin to remember.
  852. >You’d browsed the web for a bit with Fluttershy, trying to find something she would find entertaining.
  853. >Eventually you found some kind of nature documentary; you’d intended to look back at the thread for any updates while she was distracted, but when your ass hit your bed you were overpowered.
  854. >From the sounds of things, it’s still going on, so you must not have been out for too long.
  855. >Blearily, you grab your phone from your pocket, never having taken it out after coming home.
  856. >Still on your back, you hold the phone above your face, being too lazy to get up.
  857. >Gotta find that thread…
  858. >Despite being groggy from sleep, you find it in the catalog quite quickly.
  859. >Nothing seems too different. Just the usual greentext stories, >rape posts, and people actually choosing an option.
  860. >However, one post catches your eye on the way down. It appears to have been posted at eight A.M.
  861. >”Well, OP certainly delivered today…”
  862. >Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but this might just be something…
  863. >How would you go about trying to contact somebody about this on here, anyway?
  864. >You slump your head back down to your mattress, the sound of the documentary becoming white noise as you think.
  865. >Looking back at your phone, you see a conversation at the end of the thread that still seems to be ongoing.
  866. >They’re… comparing dick sizes…
  867. >Well, not the strangest thing you’ve seen on this website.
  868. >Somehow this ends up triggering an idea in your head.
  869. >You reply to one of the posts.
  870. >It essentially says that you opened up a group in a certain messaging/voice chat program for people to converse in so the thread can avoid taking up posts.
  871. >Now all you have to do is actually make that group.
  872. >Shortly after you do, a knock comes at your door.
  873. >Strange, you don’t remember telling them what room you’d be in.
  874. >”Window’s done! Hope you have a good day in there!”
  875. >You lean up on your elbows and reply.
  876. “Alright, you too!”
  877. >Shortly after, you hear the truck start in the driveway.
  878. >As you do, you witness something that is almost akin to a frightened dog.
  879. >Fluttershy leaps out of the computer chair, hooves slipping across the carpet as she tries to run for a hiding place.
  880. >You know exactly where she’s going to go, too.
  881. >To you, there’s no explanation for what you are about to do.
  882. >It might just be a strange desire to break the repetition of this situation; or it could just be a sudden idea you’ve decided to act on.
  883. >Just as she is about to run for her usual spot under the bed, you jump down in front of her.
  884. >Not having any time to stop, she collides into you, almost knocking the wind out of you in the process.
  885. >Fighting through it, you wrap your arms around the miniature equine.
  886. >Surprisingly enough, she doesn’t seem to be fighting against it.
  887. “You don’t have to be afraid.”
  888. >Seriously, why is this horse so jumpy?
  889. >Well, there IS the whole “stuck in another world with someone I don’t know if I can trust” thing going on.
  890. >But still.
  891. >You feel her shake in your grasp as you stroke the back of her neck.
  892. >”But… T-that was the same sound… The same sound as earlier..!”
  893. >The same sound..?
  894. >Oooh… You know now.
  895. “That was only a vehicle. Those make noises all the time; they don’t hurt anyone…”
  896. >Well, they can, but you’ll leave it out for now.
  897. >You lean back, observing her face.
  898. >She’s still quite startled, but appears to be thinking about what you just said.
  899. >”A… ve-hi-cle? What’s that?”
  900. >You take a breath, getting ready to explain.
  901. >Though an idea strikes your brain.
  902. “You know what? Let me show you.”
  903. >Taking your hands from her body, you stand up and walk to the door.
  904. >You open the door and beckon Fluttershy to follow you.
  905. >In a few minutes, you are at your kitchen door, with your pony pal close behind.
  906. >With a twist of the knob, you open the door leading into your garage.
  907. >The temperature isn’t much different, considering you haven’t turned your heat back on yet.
  908. >Fluttershy takes a tentative step out into the darker unfamiliar area.
  909. >Flipping the switch a few inches away, a couple lights flicker on, dimly lighting the place up.
  910. “This,”
  911. >You point to your car that sits in the middle of the room.
  912. “-Is what I was talking about. They go by quite a few names. Vehicles, cars, et cetera.”
  913. >Stepping away from the door, you approach your car and lay a hand on the hood.
  914. “We use these to travel faster and longer than just using our legs. They come in all shapes and sizes.”
  915. >Pointing at the wheels, you continue.
  916. “Like a wagon, the wheels spin on this to make it move. The difference here is that nothing needs to pull it.”
  917. >Looking over at Fluttershy’s location, you see that she hasn’t moved a whole lot from when she came in.
  918. “Come on over. It doesn’t bite, despite the headlights and grill forming the vague shape of a face.”
  919. >You pat the hood a few times for emphasis.
  920. >”O-okay… If you say so.”
  921. >A hoof cautiously steps forward, making its way in the direction of the car.
  922. >Two more slow steps, then eventually something that could be compared to a normal walking speed.
  923. >Soon enough, she’s at the front wheel of the car.
  924. “See? Perfectly safe.”
  925. >Unless it’s careening towards you at sixty miles an hour, but that can be said for most heavy moving objects.
  926.  
  927. >Removing your hand from the vehicle, you step back and look at the palm.
  928. >A dirty residue remains.
  929. >Eugh, maybe she’s got a good reason for not really wanting to come near this thing.
  930. >A mental note is made in your mind as you begin wandering, taking you over to a nearby window.
  931. >The weather seems nice enough out, no more snowfall and the wind isn’t blowing too much.
  932. >Outside isn’t exactly a place you go unless you have to lately. Not so much because you’re a basement dweller, but more because after work, you just get tired.
  933. >Such is settling into a monotonous routine.
  934. >Right now though, something compels you to see what’s happening beyond the walls of your house.
  935. >Now that you think about it…
  936. >Out front of your house may be dangerous for a certain pony to be seen, but you’ve never seen anybody in your back yard or the small woods behind it.
  937. >Maybe Fluttershy won’t have to stay cooped up inside after all, so long as there are no hikers nearby.
  938. >In the meantime however, now would be the perfect time to have an outside escapade.
  939. >You turn around, about to speak, but are startled by the pegasus’s sudden close proximity to you.
  940. “Gah!”
  941. >”Eep!”
  942. >This causes you to rear back into a shelf, knocking a bucket down.
  943. >The target of said bucket ends up being your head.
  944. >Addendum to section five, paragraph two of the Alien Equine Handbook: While they seem harmless enough, ponies are great at causing injuries indirectly. Scientists have yet to determine whether or not this is a form of aggression, or just a major coincidence.
  945. >Alright, so maybe this is the first and possibly only time this will happen, but you’ll keep note of this for future reference.
  946. >As you rub your head, Fluttershy stutters out an apology.
  947. >”Oh no! I-I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you! Are y-you okay..?”
  948. >The pain subsides, and you reply.
  949. “It’s alright, just didn’t expect you to be so close behind me is all.”
  950. >Guess she thought you were going off to show her something else.
  951. >Slightly rolling your eyes, you smirk.
  952. “Anyway, I had an idea. You wanna go out for a bit?”
  953. >She cocks her head in a questioning manner.
  954. >”But I thought you said it would be dangerous to go out there.”
  955. >You lean over and grab the fallen bucket, intending to return it to its former location.
  956. “Usually, yeah, but this is just my back yard and possibly a bit further. There are usually no other humans around, so it shouldn’t be dangerous.”
  957. >Her teal eyes seem to light up at the statement, though her voice remains just as quiet as it was before.
  958. >”That sounds nice.”
  959. >Having put the metal container back where it was, you clap your hands.
  960. “Alright then, let me just ready and we can go.”
  961. >You move to the door, ready to get a light sweater.
  962.  
  963. >Most of the time you aren’t one to be affected by the temperature, primarily due to being too lazy to grab your winter clothing in your youth.
  964. >Yeah, your parents and teachers weren’t exactly fond of you going out in negative temperatures in a short sleeve shirt.
  965. >Too bad you can’t ignore the low degrees that much now. At least you’re still more resistant than the average person.
  966. >Having put on your single article of winter clothing, you return to the garage to meet up with Fluttershy.
  967. >She turns around, regarding you with a gaze that conveys both familiarity and caution.
  968. >So, pretty much the same kind of look you’ve been getting from her for the past couple of hours.
  969. “Alright, let’s get started, shall we?”
  970. >The mare nods, pink mane bobbing along with her head.
  971. >”Mmhmm.”
  972. >You open the door to the outside world, the cloud obstructed sunlight seeping in through the doorway.
  973. >Once outside, you patiently wait for Fluttershy to emerge.
  974. >A yellow hoof steps out from inside and touches the snow covered ground carefully.
  975. >Pulling back at first, she eventually places it back onto the cold ground only to retreat again.
  976. >Right when you’re going to ask her what’s up, she takes to the air and flies to you.
  977. “Something wrong?”
  978. >She shakes her head.
  979. >”It’s nothing, really. Although, the snow is cold to my hooves.”
  980. >Oh, that makes sense. There were a few instances on the show of ponies wearing boots now that you think of it.
  981. >Maybe you could give her some kid sized boots sometime. Or maybe you could just nail on some normal horseshoes?
  982. >Nah, she probably wouldn’t go for that.
  983. “I understand, sorry about that. I’ll look into getting you some proper foot- er, hoofware if the weather keeps up like this.”
  984. >Yet again she shakes her head.
  985. >”Oh no, I couldn’t bother you with that. I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
  986. >Some people are just too passive for their own good.
  987. >Fluttershy is the type of sapient individual that would deny someone’s offer to help her out of a deadly trap just because she wouldn’t want to bother them.
  988. “Don’t worry about it, it’s no big deal. Anyways, we’re wasting daylight. Welcome to my backyard!”
  989. >You gesture your arms towards the plot of land. Sure, there really isn’t much to look at despite the size, but you like it.
  990. “…It looks better in the spring, believe me.”
  991. >”I think it looks nice. Snow can make a pretty scene, too.”
  992. >So, the world being drained of color looks pretty, huh? Kind of an unusual thought process.
  993. >Ah well, to each their own.
  994. “Heh, well thanks.”
  995. >You look around, knowing that there really isn’t much to do out here.
  996. >Further down is the path to the woods, which at this time of day while most people are working, should be empty.
  997. “The woods are down this way further. C’mon, let’s go.”
  998. >She complies without a word, hovering at your side on the way.
  999. “I don’t come out here all that much, but it’s nice if I just need to relax and clear my mind.”
  1000. >”I did the same thing occasionally back home. I um… actually live on the edge of a forest.”
  1001. >That’s a coincidence you never thought of. Both of you live out in more remote areas near wooded areas.
  1002. “That’s interesting. How big is it?”
  1003. >The woods out here are a decent size, but not near the size of a forest, despite you accidentally referring to them as such quite often.
  1004. >”Well… they’re quite big. They’re dangerous, too. I don’t like to go in too deep.”
  1005. “So, you’ve got bears or wolves in there?”
  1006. >Fluttershy puts a hoof to her chin before responding.
  1007. >”Well, occasionally, but most of them are really quite friendly, I take care of them quite often actually. The real dangers are the timberwolves, manticores, cockitrices and the like.”
  1008. >That’s definitely a forest you wouldn’t want to go into without a hunting rifle and a few boxes of ammo.
  1009. >Not just for self-defense, but for the bragging rights as well.
  1010. >Seriously, how cool would it be to mount a scorpion lion’s head on your wall?
  1011. >Better not tell your nature loving companion about those desires, though.
  1012. “Funny, all of those are just myth and legend here.”
  1013. >Her eyes expand in surprise.
  1014. >”R-really?”
  1015. >You nod.
  1016. ”Yeah, not even a trace of any of them.”
  1017. >She looks back ahead.
  1018. >”Wow…”
  1019. >You both continue down the path in relative silence, enjoying the peacefulness of nature.
  1020. >Time seems to fly by with the only sounds being that of Fluttershy’s wings beating, and the crunch of the snow under your feet.
  1021. >It seems like only a little while, but when you check the time, it turns out that an hour and fifteen minutes have passed.
  1022. “Better start heading back, it’ll be dark by the time we get there and I forgot to bring a flashlight.”
  1023. >”That might be for the best...”
  1024. >Turning around, you start on the path back home.
  1025. >Within a few minutes, you hear a strange noise in the ever dimming light of the woods.
  1026. >It sounds like its close by.
  1027. >In fact, it sounds like its right next to you!
  1028. >You look towards the sound, and you don’t see what you expected.
  1029. >Fluttershy is rubbing her front legs together, chattering her teeth.
  1030. >You exhale, noticing now that you can see your own breath.
  1031. >The temperature has fallen significantly since you first came out.
  1032. >Another thing you didn’t really think of.
  1033. >Despite having fur, these creatures still seem to need clothing for the cold occasionally.
  1034. “Oh crap… Here, take this.”
  1035. >You strip off your sweater and hand it to the shivering pony.
  1036. “I think you need this more than me.”
  1037. >You want to wrap it around her before she can protest, but her wings are preventing that since she’s in the air.
  1038. >”N-n-no, I’m fine...”
  1039. “You can’t even speak right now. Just take this, I’d rather not argue with you about it.”
  1040. >It makes you feel a bit bad for having to be curt with her, but she’s an adult, she probably won’t take it too hardly.
  1041. >With a sigh, she lands on the ground, but immediately flies back up.
  1042. >”I… I don’t want to be a b-bother, but… How c-can I wear that and still fly…? The snow is s-still too cold.”
  1043. >Shit, that’s right.
  1044. >What to do in a situation like this…
  1045. >Maybe you could wrap her in the sweater and carry it over your shoulder like a trash bag?
  1046. >No, the material is too light and would probably rip…
  1047. >Another more sensible idea sneaks into your head.
  1048. “Okay, I have a plan. Try landing long enough to put this on, then hop onto my shoulders. I’ll ferry you across the snow and back to the house.”
  1049. >”A-are you sure..?”
  1050. >You give a thumbs up, despite the species gap.
  1051. “It’s no big deal. A little exercise never hurt anyone.”
  1052. >After searching your eyes for a bit, the pegasus lands in the snow, wincing from the cold.
  1053. >Once again you hand her the sweater, and she puts it on to the best of her ability.
  1054. >You roll up the sleeves for her, then turn around and kneel.
  1055. “Alright, hop on up and we’ll be on our way.”
  1056. >After a bit of hesitation, you feel a weight on your back.
  1057. >A pair of hooves grip onto your shoulders, then another pair press into your spine.
  1058. >They seem to struggle as they slide back down, unable to gain a foothold.
  1059. >You assist by giving her your hands to steady herself on, eventually placing them under her back legs to put her in a sort of sitting position with her head sticking above your own from behind.
  1060. >Brushing some of her long mane out of your face, you speak.
  1061. “Everything feel alright?”
  1062. >She nods, bringing the strand of hair back to where it was before.
  1063. >Moving it once more, you stand.
  1064. “Then let’s get a move on!”
  1065.  
  1066. >Going back home with a pony on your back has surprised you in a few ways tonight.
  1067. >Number one, you aren’t expending nearly as much energy as you thought.
  1068. >Number two, it isn’t as awkward as you had expected. While the trip in was quiet, the trip out has been filled with many different conversations; some about you, and a few about her.
  1069. >And number three: This horse is cozy as hell. Despite her size, Fluttershy’s small body has replaced your need for a sweater.
  1070. >Wait, she’s wearing it, so does that mean it’s been replaced at all?
  1071. >By the time you make it to your back yard, the sun has already descended beyond the horizon.
  1072. >Speaking of the sun, that’s what the conversation has turned to in the past couple of seconds.
  1073. >”So, the sun here isn’t controlled by somepon- um, somebody?”
  1074. “Nope, just the spinning of the Earth. You mentioned that the princess uses magic to move the sun earlier; well, magic doesn’t exist here.”
  1075. >”I can’t believe it… Your species has accomplished so much with no magic..?”
  1076. >You look up into the sky, briefly contemplating the stars, planets, and everything beyond their vast expanse.
  1077. “Funny the way it is, isn’t it?”
  1078. >”You said the earth is spinning right now?”
  1079. “Yeah, we’re standing on a rock that’s spinning around at about a thousand miles an hour right now.”
  1080. >For the next few minutes, you tell Fluttershy of the workings of gravity to the best of your ability.
  1081. >Soon enough, you are both back where you started this little journey.
  1082. >Scraping some snow away with your foot, you kneel down to let your passenger off.
  1083. “Alright, we’ve reached our destination. All hooves should remain inside the vehicle until we’ve come to a complete stop and all that other stuff.”
  1084. >You feel the pony carefully ease herself off of your back and onto the ground.
  1085. “I hope you enjoyed it out here tonight. Thought I should help you get at least a little fresh air.”
  1086. >Not one to pause to talk in the cold, you open the door and await her to enter.
  1087. >”Mmhm, I did. It was really nice.”
  1088. >The two of you head back inside to wind down for the night.
  1089. >…
  1090. >You are in your kitchen, waiting for your microwave to finish heating up some hot chocolate.
  1091. >Not for you, but for a certain yellow pony who is still cold.
  1092. >Probably because you still had not turned your damn heat back on.
  1093. >It’s finally back up and running now.
  1094. >A situation like this made you decide that the cliché activity of drinking warm beverages after doing stuff in the snow would be a good idea.
  1095. >You stop the microwave at one second left and test the drink.
  1096. >Seems hot enough.
  1097. >To top it off, you add a generous amount of whipped cream on top before going back to your living room where Fluttershy is
  1098. >You see her on your couch, playing with a handheld game system you had lying around and decided she might like to try.
  1099. “Drink’s ready!”
  1100. >She looks up and smiles.
  1101. >”Thank you…”
  1102. >A hoof extends to you, and you place the cup in it as another grips it from a different angle.
  1103. >”You aren’t having any?”
  1104. >You shake your head.
  1105. “I’m not feeling it right now, maybe another time.”
  1106. >Truth be told, that was the last of the ingredients. You may have joined in otherwise.
  1107. >A vibration goes off in your pocket.
  1108. >Withdrawing your phone, you check the now lit up screen to see what happened.
  1109. >Your heart skips a beat when you see that it’s a notification from the group you set up.
  1110.  
  1111. “I’ll be right back.”
  1112. >You practically dive back into your bedroom, rushing for your computer.
  1113. >Sure, you have a phone, but the app for this chat program sucks balls.
  1114. >Bringing up the required client, you find the newly sent message.
  1115. >It doesn’t seem to be anything too interesting other than a simple greeting from the anonymous newcomer.
  1116. >You type in one in response.
  1117. >Shortly thereafter, you get a response as well.
  1118. >This time, the person on the other end asks you to join in the voice channel of the group.
  1119. >Now that’s something you can get behind. You’ve never been big on reading text based messages anyway.
  1120. >Clicking on the button to join in the channel, you plug in and put on the headset you keep hooked to your PC for just this sort of occasion.
  1121. “Hello?”
  1122. >A distinctly male voice comes out of the headset.
  1123. >”Hey there.”
  1124. “Yo. So, what’s up with you tonight, bro?”
  1125. >The typical white noise of a mid-quality microphone is your only response until the person on the other end sighs.
  1126. >”More than you could believe. You ever suddenly find a purple alicorn stuffed in a crate in your house before?”
  1127. >Did… did he..?
  1128. >You really hope this guy isn’t just referencing the thread’s premise, you really fucking do.
  1129. >But should you tell him? If the thread’s rules are true, then…
  1130. >If you tell this guy about Fluttershy, god knows what will happen.
  1131. >God damn it. What the fuck do you say to get your point across without outright saying it?
  1132. >You think for a good few seconds before speaking.
  1133. “Well no, but I’ve had something similar happen. It had had wings, no horn though. It was also an interesting shade of pale yellow.”
  1134. >Hopefully that’s enough of a hint.
  1135. >”You’d better not be pulling my leg, dude. I’ve already tried telling two of my closest friends about this shit, and they laughed it off like it was some kind of fucking joke.”
  1136. >This… actually seems to be going somewhere.
  1137. >Something doesn’t quite sound right about this, though.
  1138. ”You’re telling me that you told two people about this? If the rules of the thread are true, then-“
  1139. >He cuts you off.
  1140. >”Yeah, I thought the same thing. I tried to risk it anyway. Think about it though, how can the rules tell when somebody knows about one of the ponies existence? It’s not like someone tapped my phones and put a virus on my computer. Believe me, I even checked.”
  1141. >He has a small point, but he still took a huge risk telling people.
  1142. “You’re kind of right, but I still gotta say, when a magical unicorn pegasus hybrid appears in your house out of nowhere, logic’s pretty fucking dead at that point.”
  1143. >The person on the other end snorts.
  1144. >”Guess you’re right. Anyways from your earlier statement, I’m guessing you’ve got a pony, too?”
  1145. >Even though he claims that telling people about what has happened hasn’t made his visitor disappear, you’re still unsure whether or not you can trust him.
  1146. >You can’t think of an evasive response for this, either.
  1147. >It would be easy to just close this thing and not look back, but it’s your best lead right now.
  1148. >”C’mon, don’t worry about it. Here, I’ll even tell you directly so there’s no doubt. Twilight Sparkle is in my house, two rooms away from me. There. I could go back right now and still find her there reading.”
  1149. >There’s still no proof, but the time to make a choice is now.
  1150. >On the one hand, you could get some form of help with this whole situation.
  1151. >On the other though, if no one knows about it, you’ll probably never get anywhere…
  1152. “I… can confirm your assumption. She’s in the other room right now.”
  1153. >Nervousness hits you as soon as those words leave your mouth.
  1154. >That was reckless as hell. You did not think that through enough.
  1155. >You should check your living room.
  1156. >”There we go. Guess we already have a few things in common, eh? Well, Maybe just one. Might as well drop the act and stop with the whole “Pretending ponies are in my house” thing.”
  1157. >Shit.
  1158. >Oh fucking shit.
  1159. >This son of a bitch was just fooling around?
  1160. >You just told a total fucking stranger about Fluttershy.
  1161. >If the rules really are true…
  1162. “Yeah, hah… We’ll just drop that. Hold on, I’ve gotta take care of something.”
  1163. >You don’t give him a chance to respond.
  1164. >In one swift motion, you mute your microphone and throw it to the desk.
  1165. >Scrambling out of your chair, you run for the living room, hoping to god nothing has happened.
  1166. >When you reach the threshold to the room, you trip over a loose bit of carpet, and end up careening towards the floor.
  1167. >Your anger begins rising in addition to the uneasiness in your gut.
  1168. >All of that melts away at once as a voice calls out to you.
  1169. >”Oh dear..! Anon, are you okay?”
  1170. >You raise your head up, getting to your knees in the process.
  1171. >Fluttershy is still on your couch, covered up in the same blanket you draped her in earlier.
  1172. >A small glob of whipped cream is resting on the tip of her muzzle, providing a humorous scene in contrast to her concerned eyes.
  1173. >Relief washes over you at the sight.
  1174. >She’s not gone.
  1175. >You scoot closer to the pony.
  1176. “I’m fine, thanks. I just keep forgetting about the loose parts of carpet.”
  1177. >You lean over and grab a napkin from the nearby coffee table.
  1178. “Here, you’ve got a little something on your nose.”
  1179. >Gently, you rub off the whipped cream from her muzzle, making her giggle.
  1180. >Thanks…”
  1181. >Noticing that the cup she was drinking from is now empty, you speak.
  1182. “I was just coming in to see how you were getting along. Want me to take your cup back?”
  1183. >”Um, sure, if you don’t mind it…”
  1184. >So, she’s still here. That’s a major relief. Does this mean the thread’s rules don’t apply?
  1185. >Now you’re left with more questions than answers.
  1186. >Is this all just one big coincidence?
  1187. >You really aren’t sure. Between the long walk a short while ago and panicking like that just now, your mind is just too tired to dwell on it.
  1188. >Never thought you’d get worked up so hard over a character from a children’s TV show, huh?
  1189. >After the short trip back to the kitchen, you return to your PC.
  1190. >You put the headphones back on and unmute your mic.
  1191. “Alright, I’m back.”
  1192. >The other user speaks with a lighthearted tone.
  1193. >”Welcome back. You doing okay? You sounded pretty shaken up there earlier.”
  1194. >Well, when you’ve found out that all that you’ve worked for the past few hours might fizzle away before your very eyes, it’s hard not to be.
  1195. “Eh, just had to deal with something real fast, had a short time window to do so.”
  1196. >You hear a small snicker from his end.
  1197. >”You sure you didn’t just fall for a ruse?”
  1198. >What’s he talking about?
  1199. “What are you getting at here?”
  1200. >”Well, I know just how tense you were to spill the beans to me about the pony in your house. I couldn’t help but rile you up a bit.”
  1201. >Is he really saying?
  1202. >You really fell for..?
  1203. >The knowledge that you fell for something so obvious and poorly thought out sinks in.
  1204. >The words that come out of your mouth next are seem like they are not your own; it’s almost as if a spirit made of pure anger has possessed you.
  1205. “You goddamn cock sucking son of a two bit prostitute!”
  1206. >At that point, the man bursts out into booming laughter.
  1207. >”And they say my jokes are bad! After what you just said, I guess you could call me a…”
  1208. >This bastard better not.
  1209. >”WHORE…”
  1210. >He’d better shut the fuck up right now.
  1211. >”…IBLE PERSON!”
  1212. >You let out the loudest groan you’ve ever heard yourself make.
  1213. >This is the guy you have to work with.
  1214. >At least this has taught you a valuable lesson. You’re going to have to be much more careful going forward.
  1215.  
  1216. >If your desk wasn’t such a clusterfuck of junk, you would ram your face straight into it right now.
  1217. >Carlos incarnate over here has made at least three more awful puns within the past five minutes that you dare not repeat; for if you did, everyone within a three block radius would die of an aneurism.
  1218. >And you know who would catch the blame for that?
  1219. >You.
  1220. >Why? Why would blame be placed upon you for just mentally repeating those terrible combinations of words?
  1221. >Because fuck you.
  1222. >Alright, calm down now. The dude’s just having a little fun at your expense; you used to do it all the time with your friends.
  1223. >You take a deep breath through your nose, letting it out through your mouth.
  1224. >You’re calm now. You can handle this.
  1225. >But if he says another fucking pun, you’ll strangle the life-
  1226. >No, stay calm. Deep breaths.
  1227.  >”Oh god… I’m sorry, I just…”
  1228. >He tries to keep back his laughter.
  1229. >”I couldn’t help myself.”
  1230. >Finally, he goes quiet.
  1231. >”So… uh, what now?”
  1232. >Funny, you hadn’t really thought that far ahead.
  1233. >You find another person in this situation, then… what?
  1234. “Uhh… How’s about we exchange our stories on how the ponies got in our houses?”
  1235. >”Good enough for me I guess. I posted in the thread, stayed up for an hour or two longer, then went to bed. Found the box at my front door the next morning.”
  1236. >Well, that was short and sweet. Guess you didn’t ask him for his life story though, so you can’t blame him.
  1237. >”How’s about you? Pretty much the same, I’m guessing?”
  1238. >This time you laugh.
  1239. “Not really. I posted in the thread, went to bed, then the crate flew through my fucking window.”
  1240. >The familiar laughter returns, albeit not as strong as before.
  1241. >”Guess you got the short end of the stick in more ways than just the pony you got, eh?”
  1242. >For some reason, you can’t help but laugh.
  1243. “Damn dude, savage. You know we’re talking about actual living things now, right?”
  1244. >”Force of habit, you know? In all seriousness though, she isn’t bad. I’m sure none of them are that hard to get along with. Even me and Twilight over here had a rough start, but got through it fairly quick.”
  1245. >Now your interest is piqued.
  1246. “Rough start, huh? Care to elaborate?”
  1247. >”Well, let’s just say that when you’re holding a creature with immense power in your arms and it wakes up, it may not be too happy. Especially if it’s in an unfamiliar place.”
  1248.  >Yeah, that doesn’t sound like it would make for a pleasant experience.
  1249. “So, how much property damage did you suffer?”
  1250. >He pauses for a bit.
  1251. >”The only thing damaged is my pride.”
  1252. “Your prid-“
  1253. >”I have to shift most of my weight to my left ass cheek and hip when I sit now.”
  1254. >You think for a second.
  1255. “Magic blast to the ass?”
  1256. >”Magic blast to the ass.”
  1257.  
  1258. >For the next half hour or so, you and the newcomer chat it up, eventually straying off the topic that made you two meet in the first place.
  1259. >First impressions aside, he’s not too bad. You can relate to him in a few ways.
  1260. >”Yeah, I’m pretty excited for that to come out.”
  1261. “Can’t say I’ve ever played it before, but I might try getting into the series before it comes out.”
  1262. >The topic had eventually shifted to that of video games.
  1263. >”You really should, though I’d recommend-“
  1264. >He is suddenly cut off by what sounds like a firecracker, and a loud, annoyed groan.
  1265. >”Shit, if she keeps this up, the neighbors are gonna be phoning in bomb reports before too long.”
  1266. “What’s going on?”
  1267. >Though you can guess the source of the sound from his previous statement, you have no clue just what the ticking purple time bomb is doing.
  1268. >”She’s trying to make a portal back to Equestria. Though so far, all four, well, five now, of her attempts have failed. Every time she fails, she gets more and more agitated over it. The last time I saw her, her mane was already worse than it was in Lesson Zero.”
  1269. >You hadn’t thought about that. A pony with magical strength that large just might be able to do it, though it’s hard to know with how vague the show is about magic sometimes.
  1270. “That actually reminds me of something. Now, I’m not sure if you’d be for this, but I have a plan.”
  1271. >He replies curiously.
  1272. >”Go on.”
  1273. “Well, I’m trying to get Fluttershy back home. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I was hoping maybe you could help with it.”
  1274. >The other guy stops to consider for a moment.
  1275. >”I don’t see why not. Not quite sure what to do either, but I’ve got a very smart pony to help!”
  1276. >Speaking of…
  1277. “Are you going to try to help Twilight get home, too? I’m sure that if any of her friends are missing, she wouldn’t rest until they were back home.”
  1278. >This time, he speaks almost instantly.
  1279. >”Sure thing. Why do you think I’m letting her try to make a portal back? Here’s an interesting fact, actually. I chose option one.”
  1280. >Wait, what?
  1281. >But that option takes you into Equestria, not bring a pony to Earth…
  1282. >Could this mean that the options have no bearings on what happens when you post?
  1283. “You did? Who knows, maybe this thread is just a huge coincidence…”
  1284. >Wait, you might know a question that would answer that!
  1285. “Were you the one that commented on how OP actually delivered on the thread?”
  1286. >”Nope. Thought that might have been you. Sounds too fishy to be a coincidence.”
  1287. >He’s right. There’s potentially a third person on the thread with a pony.
  1288. >Something from a few minutes back creeps back into your head.
  1289. “You think it might be a good idea to check on Twilight? If she’s getting as stressed as you say she is, that’s not good for any living thing’s health.”
  1290. >A snicker can be heard from his end.
  1291. >”Well aren’t you just a bleeding heart? A bit of a change up from your all business personality earlier, I see.”
  1292. >Falling right into his trap, you reply hastily.
  1293. “C’mon now, I might want to get shit done, but I’m not a complete bastard!”
  1294. >He starts to laugh again.
  1295. >”Boy, you just can’t take a joke, can you? Lighten up! Anyways yeah, you’re right. I’m gonna see if there’s anything I can do for her. If I’m not back in a bit, I’ll try to get on tomorrow.”
  1296. >Before he leaves, you speak.
  1297. “Yeah, might be a good idea to hang out for a bit, too. If you are gonna be sharing the same house for a while, it’s best to know who you’re sharing it with.”
  1298. >”True.”
  1299. >One last question escapes your lips before he gets up to leave.
  1300. “Also, what should I call you? It gets strange just referring to you as ‘that guy’ in my head.”
  1301. >He stops to think, before speaking.
  1302. >”I hadn’t really thought of that, actually. Tell you what, I’ll think of something and tell you when I come back. You can do the same.”
  1303. “Sounds good to me.”
  1304. >”Alright, well I’ll see you later then.”
  1305. >Acknowledging his departure, you exit the voice chat and minimize the window.
  1306. >You stomach growls, breaking the silence of the room.
  1307. >Looking at the clock, you see it is way past the time in which you’d normally eat dinner.
  1308. “Hm, wonder if Fluttershy’s hungry yet…”
  1309.  
  1310. >You go to the kitchen, thinking of what to make to eat tonight.
  1311. >This seems to always be the most difficult question for you to answer every day.
  1312. >Tonight may be easier seeing as you’ll probably just end up making the same thing for both of you, and there isn’t a lot to choose from that’s vegetarian.
  1313. >You’ve just been to the store, too so you can at least work with some fresh ingredients.
  1314. >Might as well make something fairly simple.
  1315. >In about fifteen minutes, you have two bowls of salad ready to be eaten.
  1316. >This might be the healthiest thing you’ve eaten this year, and you’re only eating this because you’re too lazy to make two different meals.
  1317. >There’s one way to disprove those health nuts.
  1318. >With the table completely set, you stick your head into the room where you spot Fluttershy still playing with the gaming device you gave her.
  1319. “I got some food ready if you’re hungry. It’s on the table for when you’re ready.”
  1320. >You see her drop a stylus from her mouth, only now remembering the thing has some touch functionality to it.
  1321. >”Okay Anon, I’ll be right there!”
  1322. >With your announcement done, you go back to your seat.
  1323. >Now that you think about it, just how does she manipulate a stylus with her mouth? Or any writing utensil for that matter?
  1324. >You ponder this while idly chewing on a piece of lettuce. Curiosity eventually gets the better of you though, and you grab a pencil and notepad from across the table.
  1325. >Sticking it in your mouth eraser side first, you attempt to write something on the paper.
  1326. >The most you get is some faint scribbles that hardly resemble letters.
  1327. >As you contemplate breaking the pencil to make it smaller and easier to use with your mouth, you are taken from your thoughts by Fluttershy’s voice.
  1328. >”Anon..? What are you..?”
  1329. >You spit the pencil out, letting it fall unceremoniously to the table.
  1330. >Before talking, you spit a few times, trying to rid your mouth of eraser shavings.
  1331. “Oh, heya Fluttershy, what are you doing here?”
  1332. >She looks at you, confused to your question.
  1333. >”You told me you made food. N-no offense intended…”
  1334. >Scraping at the floor with a hoof, she tries to focus on a random object in the room.
  1335. “I did, yeah, no big deal, I just zoned out is all. Sorry about that. I just made some salad for us both, I hope that’s alright with you. If you’d like something else though, I can get it.”
  1336. >With a small shake of her head and a smile, she hops into the seat you set her bowl in front of.
  1337. >”No, this is more than enough, thank you. It looks very tasty.”
  1338. >In situations like this, you really can’t tell if she’s telling the truth or trying not to make you feel bad.
  1339. >For the next few minutes, the two of you eat and talk.
  1340. >Somehow though, you don’t think to inform her of your recent discovery until you are both done eating.
  1341. >Well, should you tell her? Right now, she might think she’s the only one in this situation. You really don’t want to add another load on her mind.
  1342. >You definitely shouldn’t hide it from her though, that’s for sure.
  1343. >Taking a deep breath, you start.
  1344. “I’ve found out some more about what’s going on here. It’s not exactly good news, but it isn’t too bad, either, depending on how you look at it.”
  1345. >You get a concerned look from the small equine.
  1346. >”What is it..?”
  1347. >You tell her outright.
  1348. “One of your friends is here, too. And they were brought here the same way, to a person from the same discussion I told you about.”
  1349. >Her pupils noticeably enlarge.
  1350. >”Who… Who is it?”
  1351. >Sighing, you respond.
  1352. “Twilight. She’s with another human. I talked to him for about twenty minutes or so. He seems like a nice guy from what I can tell. Plus, I don’t think he’d mess with her after what she did to him. She shouldn’t be in danger.”
  1353. >You chuckle, imagining the scene he described.
  1354. >”Oh goodness, what did he do..?”
  1355. “Nothing, really. They just had a misunderstanding and she ASSerted her dominance.”
  1356. >Oh for the love of…
  1357. >New goal added: Find a cure for the Mexican pun virus.
  1358.  
  1359. >The mare looks at you inquisitively, but you shrug it off, not wanting to go into more detail.
  1360. >Dinner is finished at about the same time for both of you.
  1361. >You take your dish to the sink and rinse it out, leaving it on the counter to be washed more thoroughly later.
  1362. >Fluttershy does the same after observing you.
  1363. >When she’s done, you notice something overtake her, as if she suddenly had a severe itch crop up.
  1364. >She crosses her back legs for a bit before relaxing them a bit.
  1365. >”Um… Anon? Where’s the bathroom..?”
  1366. >You almost completely forgot about her possibly having biological functions like that.
  1367. “Here, follow me, it’s right over here.”
  1368. >Shortly after, you’ve given her a full tour of your small bathroom.
  1369. >After showing her the shower and seeing herself in the mirror above the sink, she’s decided to clean herself up after relieving herself.
  1370. >She closes the door, and you hear the toilet seat lift up; that’s your signal to leave her to her business.
  1371. >With nothing else to do, you go back to your computer, deciding to take a break and goof off for a bit.
  1372. >You hear the sound of the shower starting after the toilet is flushed.
  1373. >About fifteen minutes pass before you hear the bathroom door open once more.
  1374. >The floor creaks as the occupant of the bathroom steps out.
  1375. >The sound gets closer to your position, causing you a bit of unease.
  1376. >It’s been so long since you’ve had another living being in your house that hearing movement is unusual.
  1377. >It’s even worse when the movement is approaching you slowly from behind.
  1378. >You turn around, catching sight of Fluttershy, who is now sporting a bit of a messy mane and coat.
  1379. >”I um… I hate to be a bother but, do you have a hairbrush? I could only find a comb in the bathroom…”
  1380. >A brush? It’s been a while since you’ve seen one of those… Though, you know that there’s one around here somewhere.
  1381. “Sure thing, give me a bit and I’ll see what I can find.”
  1382. >You start by searching the dresser in the corner of your room. That’s usually where you put stuff like this.
  1383. >Old photos, a few CD’s and cassette tapes, and a flashlight are all you find at first.
  1384. >Digging deeper has you discovering a lacy, black pair of female underwear.
  1385. >You’re pretty certain that Jessica isn’t going to be coming back for these any time soon.
  1386. >”What a soft looking cloth…”
  1387. >Panic overtakes you as you quickly toss them over into a trash can at the side of your bed.
  1388. “Yeah, it was old and dirty though. Best to get rid of it.”
  1389. >Eventually you find a brush in the drawer, not too far under the undergarments.
  1390. >That must have belonged to your mother or grandmother at some point. You’ve never used one before.
  1391. “Okay, I found it! Here you go, hope it works well for what you need it for.”
  1392. >Fluttershy takes it from your hand with a hoof, which intrigues you.
  1393. >That’s definitely a subject you’ll have to ask her about sometime.
  1394. >”Thank you. Is there any place you’d like me to put it when I’m done?”
  1395. >You shake your head.
  1396. “That’s alright, you can just put it wherever will be the easiest place for you to find it next time.”
  1397. >She trots off and you are yet again left alone in your room.
  1398. >Getting bored of your surroundings, you go back to the living room in search of something to do.
  1399. >Usually you’d be content to just browse the web or do other indoor activities at night like this, but you’ve become restless since the events that have transpired in the last fifteen hours or so.
  1400. >You start looking through a few cabinets to see if there’s anything you forgot about in them.
  1401. >Anything to kill the time, you know?
  1402. >The first one you open up contains a collection of DVD’s you haven’t watched in a long time.
  1403. >You take a few out, looking them over.
  1404. >Hey, that’s an idea…
  1405. >In a matter of minutes, you see the yellow pegasus emerge from the bathroom, looking a lot cleaner and dryer than she did earlier.
  1406. >You wave to her, and she canters over.
  1407. >Her attention is soon taken from you over to what you are currently holding in your hands.
  1408. >No matter how hard she searches, she doesn’t know what purpose the rectangles you hold in your hands serve.
  1409. >However, she never asks, so you have to take the lead.
  1410. “If you don’t know what something is, feel free to ask. I don’t mind in the slightest; I want to help you while you’re here.”
  1411. >”I-I’m sorry, I just thought I was asking too many questions…”
  1412. >Patting her head, you speak.
  1413. “You can’t ask too many around me. Anyways, these are DVD’s. They’re what we use to store movies so we can play them on our own screens.”
  1414. >Opening the case reveals the round disc inside.
  1415. “Well, that’s just the case. This little flat donut thing is the actual movie.”
  1416. >You remove the disc and turn it over, showing off the shiny side.
  1417. >The pony looks on in wonder as you explain how it all works.
  1418. “So, you wanna watch one?”
  1419. >”Sure, if it isn’t too much trouble for you…”
  1420. >You stand up and place it in the DVD player, turning on the TV after.
  1421. >The menu for the movie comes up on the screen.
  1422. “None at all. We’re ready to roll.”
  1423. >For the next two hours, you both sit on the couch and watch the movie that you selected.
  1424. >You made sure to select something that not only she would find interesting, but would also be family friendly.
  1425. >Most of your vocal strength went towards describing many of the things that she had never seen before.
  1426. >Fluttershy seems to have taken what you said to mind and is actually asking you questions when she has them.
  1427. >Overall, it’s been a fun time for the both of you.
  1428. >The credits roll and you press the stop button on the DVD player remote.
  1429. “Well, that was nice. I hope you had as good a time as I did.”
  1430. >”I did, your world has so many interesting things in it! Although, I’m not too sure if I like how much of it is covered in cement…”
  1431. >You can’t say you disagree, despite not really being a nature lover like her.
  1432. >Looking at the clock shows that the night is fairly young by your standards, but can’t say the same for Fluttershy when you look back and see her yawn.
  1433. >You won’t be able to stay up too late tonight, though.
  1434. >Work resumes tomorrow, and you haven’t set up bedding arrangements for your guest yet.
  1435. >You’re going to have to sleep on the couch.
  1436. >That also means no late night computer antics.
  1437. >Oh well.
  1438. “Sounds like it’s time for bed.”
  1439. >She nods, a sleepy look on her face.
  1440. “You can just sleep where you did last night until I bring the other bed out of the basement.”
  1441. >In return you get a shocked look.
  1442. >”B-but that’s your bed..! I couldn’t…”
  1443. “No, no. It’s okay, I’ll just sleep on the couch for tonight.”
  1444. >The mare shakes her head in defiance.
  1445. >”I-I can sleep on the couch….”
  1446. >You shake your head back.
  1447. “It’s my fault you’re here. I thank you for your consideration, though.”
  1448. >She stares at you with her big teal eyes for a moment before finally sighing in defeat and nodding.
  1449. >You pat her on the back and smile, attempting to assure her that everything is okay.
  1450. >”Okay, well… Goodnight Anon. And thank you.”
  1451. >A smile is thrown your way, one which you return.
  1452. “Goodnight Fluttershy. Sleep well.”
  1453. >She returns to your bedroom, and after a few minutes, the light goes out.
  1454. >You stretch and yawn, realizing that you are actually sleepier than you thought.
  1455. >After turning off the only light in the room, you pull a blanket out from under your couch.
  1456. >Soon enough you drift off, the only sound you hear being that of Fluttershy shifting around in bed.
  1457.  
  1458. >As usual, morning arrives much faster than you want it to.
  1459. >Sure, vacations are nice and all, but it sucks on the first day back.
  1460. >Oh well, at least it pays well. You could buy a fucking mansion with how much you’ve saved up.
  1461. >That’s probably just because of how little you spend, though.
  1462. >You roll off the couch, unceremoniously falling to the floor on your face.
  1463. >It’s about an hour and a half before you have to leave.
  1464. >The first thing you do after staggering to your feet is go fix some food.
  1465. >You get to work making your breakfast, which is just a simple piece of toast.
  1466. >Once you’ve shoved it down your throat, you head to your room to get your work clothes.
  1467. >You tread carefully, trying hard not to wake the pony in your bed.
  1468. >The clothes go on quietly, and when your vision is no longer obstructed by your shirt you turn to see if you’ve woken her.
  1469. >Just like the night before, she lies completely uncovered, forelegs snug to her chest.
  1470. >You grab the top of the blanket and swiftly bring it up under her chin.
  1471. >Subconsciously she grabs the cover, which in turn is also where your hands still are.
  1472. >Try as you might though, you can’t take your hand out of her unintentional grip.
  1473. >Holy hell, you didn’t think she could hold on like this, especially while sleeping!
  1474. >It only gets worse as she tucks your hand in closer, treating it as if it is a teddy bear.
  1475. >Despite how soft and warm she is, you’re fairly certain your arm is going to fall asleep given time.
  1476. >Well, at least you have an hour until you need to leave…
  1477. >…
  1478. >Fifteen minutes.
  1479. >It took fifteen minutes until you could find an opening to free yourself.
  1480. >After that interesting little event, you killed time until it was time to leave.
  1481. >It occurs to you though that you never told her you have to work today.
  1482. >Before you depart, you scrawl a note telling her where you’ve gone and to feel free to use any food in the kitchen to make what she wants for breakfast.
  1483. >…
  1484. >The day went by slow, with little to nothing happening.
  1485. >It’s one of the few days you just decided to leave early when given the chance.
  1486. >You pull into your garage, hoping that you aren’t going to have to coax a butter colored horse from under your bed again.
  1487. >When you walk into your house, the first thing you hear is a small, high pitched sneeze.
  1488. “I’m home! Also, bless you by the way.”
  1489. >”O-oh, wel… welco-com- AH…”
  1490. >Oh crap, that sounds like it’s going to be big.
  1491. >”…choo!”
  1492. >Never mind that.
  1493. >”W… Welcome back. Thank you.”
  1494. “No problem. So, how was your… mor…ning…?”
  1495. >When you see her finally, you already have an answer.
  1496. >Her normally smooth and straight mane is messy and disheveled, her nose is noticeably red, and she’s shivering as if it’s in the single digits.
  1497. >All of the signs of being sick.
  1498. “Oo… How did this happen..?”
  1499. >The sick pony speaks with a noticeably stuffiness in her voice.
  1500. >”I wasn’t… *sniff* …sure myself until I… I..”
  1501. >She releases another tiny sneeze then continues.
  1502. >”I remembered what we did last night…”
  1503. >You try to think back, and realize what she means a few seconds later.
  1504. “Going outside without proper clothing?”
  1505. >She nods, sniffing and shaking.
  1506. >Realizing you tucked the blankets you left in here under the couch, you quickly pull one out.
  1507. >You flick it and it comes unfolded, ready to be used.
  1508. >Before she realizes it, you’ve draped it over her body and are tucking it beneath her.
  1509. >She looks at you with appreciation in her eyes.
  1510. “Can I get you anything? Tissues? Drinks?”
  1511. >As the mare is about to respond, another sneeze interrupts her.
  1512. >She sniffs a few times and you speak again.
  1513. “Tissues it is then.”
  1514.  
  1515. >Shortly after Fluttershy’s last sneeze, you return with a box of tissues in your hand.
  1516. >Even though she’s tucked in with a blanket, she still appears to be shivering heavily.
  1517. >Funny, you didn’t think that a cold usually gave fevers.
  1518. >Maybe it’s the flu? Can you even get that from being in the cold too long?
  1519. >Who knows.
  1520. >Without really thinking, you sit next to her and put your hand to her forehead.
  1521. >Warmth instantly soaks into your palm, confirming your earlier thought.
  1522. >And just like this morning, the sick pegasus begins pushing into your hand, seemingly enjoying the gentle touch.
  1523. >Her eyes close in contentment, and she murmurs something you can’t quite understand.
  1524. >Seeing her like this sends small pangs of guilt into your mind.
  1525. >You may have taken her from her home. You took her outside and got her sick. It’s strange. You try to help, but you just make stuff worse, huh?
  1526. >Being bad at trying to help others is something you never thought possible, but it’s apparent with what you’ve done.
  1527. >While you stew in your own self-deprecation, you move your and so that your fingers are rubbing behind the shivering pony’s ear.
  1528. >Her head adjusts its pressure so that she is still snuggling into your palm.
  1529. >Time passes as you sit in silence and just pet Fluttershy’s head.
  1530. >Eventually you realize what you’re doing and quickly pull your hand away, afraid you may have just tried to pull off some odd stunt she wouldn’t approve of.
  1531. >You find it hard to tell if the redness spreading from her nose to her cheeks is a product of her fever or your hands.
  1532. >She opens her eyes, noticing the absence of your hand. To your surprise, she looks more disappointed than creeped out.
  1533. >The silence of the room is broken by her letting out another one of her sneeze-squeak hybrids.
  1534. ‘Well,”
  1535. >You clear your throat.
  1536. “You definitely do seem to have a fever.”
  1537. >Silence follows. You really don’t know what to say or do about it. The most you really can do is help her keep comfortable and wait it out.
  1538. >There’s still about an hour or two of daylight left, and you really don’t know how to keep your sick housemate entertained while continuing your investigation and not seeming too distant.
  1539. >The sound of her stomach rumbling gives you a good idea where to start.
  1540. >What’s something good to eat when you have flu like symptoms?
  1541. >An imaginary lightbulb turns on in your head.
  1542.  “How’s about we get some food in us? Would you like some soup?”
  1543. >She nods with a small sniff and a gracious smile.
  1544. >”Would you like some help..? I know a good recipe for a nice soup, and we have the ingredients here…”
  1545. >You could get sick too if she gets too close to the ingredients…
  1546. >Eh, to hell with it. You’ve been close enough to her that you’re probably guaranteed to catch it anyway.
  1547. “If you’re up for it. I’d like to advise you to rest first, though.”
  1548. >”That’s okay, Anon. I’ve been resting since you left today.”
  1549. >You stand.
  1550. “Alright, but if you need to stop at any time, just tell me.”
  1551. >”Mmhmm!”
  1552. >She uncovers herself and follows you to the kitchen.
  1553.  
  1554. >In no time at all, you have a pretty damn good looking pot of soup boiling on the stove.
  1555. >Grabbing two bowls, you take them to the stove to be filled.
  1556. >Fluttershy handles that part with ease, taking a ladle in her mouth and pouring some into each bowl.
  1557. >You make a mental note to disinfect the handle later.
  1558. >Dinner is eaten quickly and in silence until you drink down the last of your portion.
  1559. “I gotta say, I’ve never been a fan of vegetable soup, but you really have a good recipe here!”
  1560. >The pony looks up at you, face reddening slightly.
  1561. >”Thank y-you...”
  1562. >She speaks with a lot less of a nasally tone this time. The soup must have helped a little.
  1563. >When she finishes her own bowl, you pick them both up and wash them out in the sink.
  1564. >With dinner eaten and the dishes washed, you return to the living room couch.
  1565. >The pegasus jumps back to her spot and you instinctively tuck the blanket around her.
  1566. “I’m going to go work on a few things in my room. If you need anything, anything at all, please call for me. I’ll be back to check on your periodically.”
  1567. >Getting an affirmative nod in return, you rise to your feet.
  1568. >So she’ll have some form of entertainment, you leave a few different things next to her.
  1569. >At least two of the objects are things she’s used before, such as the TV remote and handheld gaming device.
  1570. >Others are simpler, like magazines or other little things you’d mess with when bored.
  1571. >Hoping she can find some way to rest and pass the time, you return to your room and get back on the computer.
  1572. >Checking the communication program reveals something kind of exciting.
  1573. >Two users are in the voice channel.
  1574. >There’s something different though. Instead of being anonymous, the first guy has a name.
  1575. >The first name on the list is Twifag.
  1576. >Probably the guy from last night.
  1577. >The other one is still anonymous.
  1578. >You enter the call, putting your headphones on as you do.
  1579. >”Like hell I’m calling myself that!”
  1580. >This is certainly something to walk into.
  1581. >A familiar voice sounds out.
  1582. >”I didn’t say you had to like her, I’m just saying this so we can tell each other apart!”
  1583. >”Like I’m going to take up a name made after the cunt who literally crashed my house and refuses to leave!”
  1584. “So uh… what’s going on here?”
  1585. >The familiar voice speaks again.
  1586. >”Oh hey, you’re back! I was just telling Dashfag over here about-“
  1587. >The new voice interrupts him.
  1588. >”I told you not to call me that!”
  1589. >Twifag, as he calls himself, picks up where he left off.
  1590. >”I was telling him about my idea for how we can identify each other.”
  1591. >”It’s pretty dumb if you ask me…”
  1592. >Can’t say you disagree with the new guy. Flutterfag isn’t a name that you find appealing to be identified by.
  1593. “Not a bad idea. I think I’ve got my name already, though.”
  1594. >They both ask you what it is.
  1595. “Well, you’re looking at it right now!”
  1596.  
  1597. >The three of you had discussed your strange choice of name for a while.
  1598. >Your main reason is because you are lazy and don’t feel like picking one.
  1599. >Plus, it matches up with what people usually call you.
  1600. >Not that you’d tell these guys that.
  1601. “So new guy, what’s your story? From the sounds of things, you must be wrapped up in all of this, too.”
  1602. >He lets out an agitated sigh, having to explain his situation again.
  1603. >”I posted in that thread. I said both options were shit and told the OP to kill himself.”
  1604. >Even though this is a real surprise, you can’t help but snicker.
  1605. “Off to a great start so far.”
  1606. >”Yeah, whatever. I went to bed and was woken up by something rustling around in my kitchen. When I went to check it out, I found the goddamn gay pride horse raiding my fucking fridge.”
  1607. >You try to hold back your laughter.
  1608. >It takes all of your effort, but you keep it down.
  1609. >…Okay, you’re a huge fucking liar.
  1610. >You laugh almost as hard as you can, from the bottom of your gut.
  1611. “Goddamn, I never knew being a prick online could come back and bite you in the ass like that!”
  1612. >He snorts in annoyance.
  1613. >”Yeah, you and me both. The worst part is, I can’t even get her out of my house! She’s staying just to spite me, she even told me right to my damn face!”
  1614. >That is THE STRANGEST case of Stockholm syndrome you’ve ever heard of.
  1615. >”So yeah, that plan you have to get them home? I’m in.”
  1616. >You are taken by surprise.
  1617. >That was really easy, you didn’t even have to ask!
  1618. >Twifag speaks up for the first time in a while.
  1619. >“I’m surprised you didn’t just try to get her seen or something to get rid of her.”
  1620. >He’s got a valid point, actually.
  1621. >”I showed her the rules. She thinks that “disappearing never to be seen again” means that she wouldn’t go back to her world.”
  1622. “Oh, well shit. Looks like she was reading between the lines, too.”
  1623. >”I think I already know the answer to this, but have you tried just stepping back, taking a deep breath, and trying to get along for a bit?”
  1624. >The other mostly silent member of the room just spoke what you wanted to say, but didn’t feel like starting an argument over.
  1625. “TF’s got a good point, really. Everything will go over smoother if you try to cooperate with each other.”
  1626. >He lets out an irritated grunt.
  1627. >”You think I haven’t tried? With the way she acts, it’s hard to keep that up for long.”
  1628. “I can’t say it surprises me much. Based on her personality, things are going to be rough, but if you hold out for a while, I’m sure she’ll warm up.”
  1629. >TF speaks up.
  1630. >”Yeah man, things didn’t exactly go well at first for me and Twilight, but now we can relate to each other, have friendly conversations, and I can avoid getting shot in the ass with magic again!”
  1631. >This gets the first genuine laugh you’ve heard from the newcomer.
  1632. >”Heh. I guess we’ll see. So, what’s this about ass magic?”
  1633. >The banter continues for a good few hours.
  1634. >About every quarter of the hour or so, you go to check up to see how your sick houseguest is doing.
  1635. >You got mixed reactions to the news that Fluttershy was sick. TF thought it sounded really cute and wished he could see it. Anon #2 on the other hand asked if you planned on being a vet.
  1636. >Finally, each of them has to go do something, leaving you as the last man standing.
  1637. >Having nothing else to do, you retire to your living room.
  1638. >You have a movie in mind that could pass some time if Fluttershy feels like watching it.
  1639.  
  1640. >The movie you chose was a bit shorter than last night, only clocking in at about an hour and ten minutes.
  1641. >Just as the last time, she was transfixed on the screen, still amazed by the architecture of earth and all the things it had to offer.
  1642. >The prospect of flying transportation, while fascinating to her, was still a scary thought for her to think of.
  1643. >Funny, a pegasus who’s afraid of flying.
  1644. >Unlike last night, there are still a good few hours before bed.
  1645. >Conversation between the two of you dies down after around fifteen minutes, then you just sit in silence.
  1646. >Eventually she goes back to playing with the game you gave her.
  1647. >Well, at least she’s entertained.
  1648. >You should find something to do, yourself.
  1649. >Looking around your surroundings has you noticing a bookshelf.
  1650. >So many books you never got around to reading…
  1651. >Well, no time like the present, right?
  1652. >You proceed to the shelf, looking for something that would be interesting to read.
  1653. >One of the spines catches your eye, as it looks familiar, yet is something you haven’t seen in a long time.
  1654. >Vaguely you remember starting it long ago, but never getting past the first few chapters because you got busy.
  1655. >Should be the perfect time to start over.
  1656. >You come back to the couch and sit down, opening the book up to the first few pages.
  1657. >Silence retakes the room, and the only sounds for a while are those of your separate activities and Fluttershy’s occasional sniffs.
  1658. >Abruptly, the sounds of the game stop and you look up.
  1659. >Fluttershy has folded the system over and is looking at you.
  1660. >Glancing at her curiously causes her to speak.
  1661. >”Um… What are you reading..? I don’t mean to be nosy…”
  1662. >You wear a gentle expression and shake your head, closing the book.
  1663. “It’s alright. Basically, it’s…”
  1664. >Trailing off, you think of how to summarize it.
  1665. >This isn’t your forte.
  1666. “Tell ya what, how’s about we read it together?”
  1667. >You hadn’t thought about it before, but this seems to have almost everything that would pique her interests.
  1668. >She hides behind her mane for a bit.
  1669. >”I-if you’re okay with that… S-su-Ahh…”
  1670. >Her head rockets forward as she involuntarily exhales.
  1671. >”S-sure…”
  1672. >So she doesn’t have to move, you scoot a bit closer.
  1673. >Now she’s close enough to see the pages, but not quite making bodily contact.
  1674. >Opening back up to the start of the first chapter, you begin to read out loud.
  1675. >As the pages are read through, you slowly notice the little pony getting more and more relaxed.
  1676. >Chapter one comes to a close, promising an exciting tale for the rest of the book.
  1677. “So, do you like it so far?”
  1678. >She drowsily acknowledges you.
  1679. >”Oh, yes… Can we..?”
  1680. >Picking up on her question, you reply.
  1681. “Sure thing! Alright, chapter two coming up…”
  1682. >This one seems to be longer than the first, but it’s still calm for the moment.
  1683. >As you read, you can hear Fluttershy’s breathing get slower.
  1684. >It gets to the point where you soon feel a light impact with your side.
  1685. >You stop mid-sentence, looking over to confirm what you think you felt.
  1686. >Sure enough, a sleeping pegasus has fallen onto you and is using your arm as a pillow.
  1687. >This illness has probably taken more out of her than you thought.
  1688. >You fold over the page and set the book to the side.
  1689. >Her warmth fills your body, serving as a good source of heat to go along with the warm room.
  1690. >You give her some time, waiting to see if she’ll wake up.
  1691. >This however proves futile as she hasn’t woken up even seventeen minutes later.
  1692. >With gentle care, you wrap your arms around her midsection and cradle her as best you can in your arms.
  1693. >She’s only slightly smaller than you would have expected, head coming up to about groin level.
  1694. >Once back in your bedroom, you place her in your bed and cover her up.
  1695. >Before turning out the light, you grab your laptop.
  1696. >You go back to your office and sit at your desk, opening your computer in the process.
  1697. >Looking back to the chatroom, you see two names.
  1698. >Twifag and Dashfag.
  1699. >You chuckle. TF must be great at convincing people.
  1700. >For the rest of the night, you shoot the shit with the two strangers.
  1701.  
  1702. >As always, work comes and goes without a hitch.
  1703. >Like yesterday, Fluttershy is back on the same spot on your couch.
  1704. “I’m home!”
  1705. >The pegasus turns her head to meet your eyes.
  1706. >”Welcome back, Anon. Was your day okay?”
  1707. >She speaks in a voice that doesn’t seem as obstructed by mucus as it was yesterday.
  1708. >Kicking off your shoes, you sit down beside her.
  1709. “It was, thanks. You sound better today. How are you feeling?”
  1710. >”I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday. My nose is still pretty stuffy, though…”
  1711. >You nod and lean back on the couch.
  1712. “I’m glad you are, and I feel you. Stuffed noses are a pain.”
  1713. >Leaning over, you place your hand back on her forehead.
  1714. >Still warm, but not as bad as yesterday.
  1715. >Her eyes close at your touch, and for the slightest moment, you swear you can see her lips curl up in a small smile.
  1716. >You retract your appendage, and her eyes open back up.
  1717. “Your fever’s definitely dropped. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end, eh?”
  1718. >The pony nods.
  1719. >”I hope so…”
  1720. >Turning to face the clock, you start making a mental checklist.
  1721. >You have just a little bit of work to do for your workplace tomorrow. It really shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.
  1722. >If you do it now, you’ll have the rest of the day to yourself.
  1723. “I’ve got a bit of work to finish. I won’t be too long. Call if you need anything, alright?”
  1724. >Fluttershy nods.
  1725. >Quickly you head for your office, intent on finishing before the hour’s end.
  1726. >When you get there, you are met with an unfamiliar sight where your desk is.
  1727. >Instead of the disorganized piles of various objects strewn about your desk, you see organization.
  1728. >Getting closer, you sift through a few papers that are now in neatly organized stacks.
  1729. >You can actually find what you need to!
  1730. >Your pencils are all neatly placed in a cup, and the few books you used are lined up on a lower shelf.
  1731. >They even have bookmarks in the ones you left open.
  1732. >Looking around, you see that the other few pieces of furniture have also been dusted.
  1733. >For once, this place doesn’t look like it’s been left to rot for years on end.
  1734. >You can’t help but crack a grin.
  1735. >Turning on your heels, you go back to the living room.
  1736. >The butter colored mare looks at you curiously as you walk in and approach her.
  1737. >”Oh, did you forget someth- eep!”
  1738. >Her words fail to escape her mouth as you kneel down and wrap your arms around her.
  1739. “Thanks. That room really needed to be cleaned.”
  1740. >You release her, being sure not to overstay your welcome.
  1741. >”Y-you’re… Welcome…”
  1742. >Walking away, you speak with your back still turned.
  1743. “Really appreciate it!”
  1744. >…
  1745. >Your work was finished as quick as you expected, and it left you with your usual free time.
  1746. >Tonight hasn’t really differed from the last, really.
  1747. >You picked up where you left off in the novel last night, and continued to read until it was time for dinner.
  1748. >And just like last night, Fluttershy helped you prepare it.
  1749. >Unfortunately, there still isn’t any meat. You may be happy with yourself for eating healthier, but you still require certain things a vegetarian diet can’t provide.
  1750. >You take the liberty of washing the dishes, wanting to repay her earlier kindness.
  1751. >As you do, you look out the window over the sink.
  1752. >In the dark, cloudless sky you see a sea of stars.
  1753. >Even though you have to look at them through the light reflecting off the window, you are still amazed.
  1754. >This is something you haven’t seen in forever.
  1755. >You clean faster, and call over your friend.
  1756. >Being too short to look over the counter, she hovers up.
  1757. >”Oh my, the sky is beautiful tonight…”
  1758. “Yeah, it really is. I don’t know how I don’t see it more often.”
  1759. >You start to think.
  1760. “Hold on, I’ll be right back.”
  1761. >Quickly heading downstairs, you begin to search.
  1762. >It takes some effort, but you eventually find one of the old coats you’d wear as a child.
  1763. >In addition, you find the hat you’d wear with it.
  1764. >Once upstairs, you present your idea to Fluttershy.
  1765. “Would you like to go outside and look at the sky with me? I found something that would help keep you warm.”
  1766. >You hold out the jacket and hat.
  1767. >Her eyes light up.
  1768. >”That sounds like a wonderful idea.”
  1769. >Kneeling down, you help her into the winter clothing. Due to the small size, she’s able to get it on with ease.
  1770. >However, you both notice something.
  1771. “Oh, your wings don’t have any room…”
  1772. >Thinking quickly, you go to a drawer and grab a permanent marker.
  1773. “Could you hold still for a moment, please?”
  1774. >She does as asked, and you feel around for her wings under the clothing.
  1775. >For each one, you draw a circle around the outer edges.
  1776. “Okay, could you take it off for me, please?”
  1777. >Again, she does as asked, and you move on to the next step.
  1778. >Taking out a pocket knife you keep in your pants, you use it to cut each circle out of the coat, making a spot for her wings.
  1779. >A look of surprise adorns her face.
  1780. >”Y-you didn’t have to do that for me..!”
  1781. >Handing the coat back, you reply.
  1782. “I’m not getting any use out of anything that small.”
  1783. >Standing up, you wait for her to get it back on.
  1784. >Her wings come through and they are just as flexible as they are when she has nothing on.
  1785. >Remembering the hat, you grab it and carefully slide it onto her head, over her ears.
  1786. “Feel comfortable?”
  1787. >”I do.”
  1788. “Alright then!”
  1789. >You open the door to the outside.
  1790. “After you.”
  1791. >In a while, you both end up in the middle of your backyard.
  1792. >Fluttershy hovers next to you.
  1793. >You’ll still need to think of some footwear.
  1794. >”It’s even better outside…”
  1795. >Looking up, you take in the sight of the night sky.
  1796. “It really is…”
  1797. >In the wide expanse of sky, you spot something you’ve never witnessed in your lifetime.
  1798. >Pointing a finger in the sky, you get Fluttershy’s attention.
  1799. “Over there, a shooting star!”
  1800. >She looks to where you point.
  1801. >”Oh! Quick, make a wish!”
  1802. >You shouldn’t be too surprised that that is also a custom shared between the dimensions.
  1803. >What could you even wish for..?
  1804. >Normally you aren’t one to do stuff like this, but you do it anyway.
  1805. >Before the light goes out of view, you think of something.
  1806. >You wish for a happy ending for everyone involved in this mess.
  1807. >Turning your head to the pegasus, you ponder if she’s wishing the same thing, too.
  1808. >Rational thoughts reenter your brain.
  1809. >You look up at the sky with determination.
  1810. >The only way to make this wish come true is to work for it.
  1811. >And you’ll be damned if that isn’t what you’re gonna do.
  1812.  
  1813. >A few days passed since that night.
  1814. >Fluttershy is pretty much back at 100% now.
  1815. >As much as you wish you could say that you’ve made progress on the plan, or have found more people, you can’t.
  1816. >Right now, you’re just sitting at your PC that you moved into your office, talking to the only two people that have been discovered so far.
  1817. >”So, when do you think we’ll find more people?”
  1818. >DF was the first to break the silence you didn’t even notice had fallen over the three of you.
  1819. >”No clue. Seems like they might have shown up by now if there are more out there.”
  1820. >You didn’t really think of that.
  1821. >That would actually be a good thing, only having 3 ponies to have to help.
  1822. >However, as if on cue, a ping sounds, signaling somebody’s entrance into the room.
  1823. >You stop what you are doing, going to check for new people.
  1824. >Just as the sound had signaled, you see a new anonymous user.
  1825. “Hey, welcome in!”
  1826. >A deep, yet soft voice speaks from the other end.
  1827. >”Hey.”
  1828. >TF is the next to speak up and greet the newcomer.
  1829. >”Sup man, how are you doing today?”
  1830. >”Good I guess. How about you?”
  1831. >”Doing pretty well, bro. Just hangin’ out.”
  1832. >DF introduces himself next.
  1833. >”Yo.”
  1834. >”So…”
  1835. >The new person starts.
  1836. >”Your names…”
  1837. >As you are about to come up with some bullshit excuse, TF hops in.
  1838. >”Oh, well we couldn’t really think of any names, so…”
  1839. >Another entry ping.
  1840. >Oh shit!
  1841. >That’s two in less than a few minutes!
  1842. >”Hello?”
  1843. >Everyone says their greetings at the same time.
  1844. >”Wow, quite a greeting.”
  1845. >His words sound slurred.
  1846. “You been drinking, buddy?”
  1847. >”Yeah dude. Friday night, man!”
  1848. >Well, no better reason you could give.
  1849. >”So, what are you all up to tonight?”
  1850. >TwiFag responds, followed by DashFag, the newcomer from earlier, then you.
  1851. >”Just browsing the web right now.”
  1852. >”Watching videos.”
  1853. >”Staring at my screen.”
  1854. “Looking for something to do.”
  1855. >You can practically hear his smile when he hears the last two answers.
  1856. >”You guys should join me! I don’t feel like dragging my friends out of their houses tonight, so it would be perfect.”
  1857. >Drinking isn’t an activity you’ve done heavily for a long time now.
  1858. >This guy though, there’s something about the way he acts. You feel compelled to join in with him.
  1859. >Well, you have tomorrow off anyway, so…
  1860. “Hell yeah, let’s do it. You guys in?”
  1861. >DF is the first to respond.
  1862. >”I’m in.”
  1863. “You in, TF? New guy?”
  1864. >TF responds.
  1865. >”I don’t have anything with me right now. I’m not much of a drinker anyway.”
  1866. >”Okay. I’ve got some around here.”
  1867. >You quickly rush to the kitchen, fetching a large bottle of whiskey you keep under the cupboard.
  1868. >You’re ready to party.
  1869. >…
  1870. >A few hours have passed.
  1871. >Everyone but TF is drunk off their asses.
  1872. >”You know… I never got the explanation for those weird ass names. And there are three people including me named Anonymous, why haven’t you guys picked a name yet?”
  1873. “I’m not changing mine, this is my name.”
  1874. >”Alright then. Guess me and the other guy will have to change ours. You can call me…”
  1875. >He stops to think.
  1876. >”I’ll join the others in their naming conventions. Call my Rarifag.”
  1877. “So, that’s your favorite pony?”
  1878. >No response.
  1879. “H-hello?”
  1880. >You put on some exaggerated nervousness.
  1881. >”Not really. Might be the alcohol telling me to tell you this, but do you know that thread’s premise? The second option?”
  1882. >Everyone gives a confirmation.
  1883. >”Well, that shit’s fucking real. Though, wrong in a way. I posted for Option One and-“
  1884. “Got a random pony?”
  1885. >He’s caught off guard, but continues.
  1886. >“Yeah. It was Rarity.”
  1887. >Suddenly, the other quieter anonymous user speaks.
  1888. >”You too? I got Pinkie. I chose her AND Option Two…”
  1889. >Looks like it’s time for more explanations.
  1890. >For the next quarter hour you all summarize your adventures, revealing what’s been going on.
  1891. >The small “party” goes well into the night, leaving you unable to remember going to sleep.
  1892. >Through the dark cloud over your mind, you hear a faint voice.
  1893. >”A...on…”
  1894. >You don’t wanna get up yet…
  1895. >”A…n… O…ay…”
  1896. >Wait, are you late for work?!
  1897. >You instantly shoot up into a sitting position.
  1898. >Well, you try to, only to ram your head into something above you.
  1899. “GAAGH..! Fuuck!”
  1900. >You hold your pounding head, almost regretting being alive.
  1901. >”Anon..! A-are you okay? You look awful..!”
  1902. >Gee, thanks.
  1903. >The voice registers to you, and you recognize it as belonging to Fluttershy.
  1904. “O-oh… Good morning… Did you sleep well?”
  1905. >She nods, but doesn’t fall for you trying to steer the conversation away.
  1906. >”Y-you were asleep for so long… I couldn’t wake you up, you had me so worried…!”
  1907. >You open your eyes, realizing you fell asleep under the coffee table in your living room.
  1908. >Carefully you slide out from under it.
  1909. >You feel like a bit of an ass. You’re supposed to be helping her stay comfortable while she’s here. Both physically and emotionally.
  1910. “I’m sorry. I just partied a little too hard last night. It won’t happen again, I promise.”
  1911. >Gently you stroke her mane, rubbing behind her ears when you get the chance.
  1912. >Her mouth forms a smile as her eyes close.
  1913. “What would you like for breakfast today?”
  1914. >It takes a while for her to respond, but it doesn’t surprise you in the least.”
  1915. >”W-whatever you w-want is fine…”
  1916. >Well, you have an idea for something the two of you can eat.
  1917. >You take your hand from her head, causing a look of disappointment to come to her face.
  1918. >In a few minutes and with little effort, you have a nice bowl of waffle mix ready to be put in the iron.
  1919. >After calling the mare in, you slide the finished food out of the hot surface and onto a plate, setting it on the table for her.
  1920. “So, I’ve found more of your friends.”
  1921. >She almost chokes on her food at the news.
  1922. >”O-oh dear, are they okay?”
  1923. >You nod.
  1924. “The people they’re living with all seem capable and nice from the few days I’ve known them.”
  1925. >A sigh of relief is let loose from her mouth.
  1926. >”That’s good…”
  1927. >The rest of breakfast goes by uneventfully. After everything is picked up, you find yourself sitting with Fluttershy on the couch yet again.
  1928. >For once, you decide to start a conversation with her about some of her hobbies.
  1929. >Her eyes shine as she lists off various different things she either has done, knows, or wants to do with her animal care.
  1930. >You keep up to the best of your ability, but you are no biologist by far.
  1931. >Something you notice is just how close she’s scooted over to you. It’s to the point where the side of her right hoof has made contact with your thigh.
  1932. >For almost an hour you both just talk.
  1933. >The subjects range from your friends, your parents, events at your schools, so many things that you haven’t disclosed with each other before.
  1934. >Though, as the conversation turned more sentimental, you notice Fluttershy’s eyes begin to water.
  1935. >Uh oh.
  1936. “Oh man. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have steered the conversation that way.”
  1937. >She shakes her head, tears building.
  1938. >”No, i-it’s o...”
  1939. >She begins to tremble, and she sniffs.
  1940. >Finally, the damn breaks and the tears fall from her eyes.
  1941. >You feel a pang in your heart, deriving no pleasure from seeing her in such a state.
  1942. >The feelings currently overtaking you drive you to lean over closer to her.
  1943. >With all the feeling you would put into someone you genuinely care about, you wrap her in a gentle embrace.
  1944. >In return she slips her hooves under your arms, pressing her head into your chest.
  1945. >Neither of you says anything; you remaining quiet because you don’t know what to say, and her just taking comfort from your close proximity.
  1946. >You stay like this for about six minutes before simultaneously separating.
  1947. >Looking into each other’s eyes, you speak.
  1948. “I’m sorry. I should have been more careful about what I-“
  1949. >She cuts you off.
  1950. >”It’s okay… I’m just… Scared.”
  1951. “I understand completely.”
  1952. >Quickly you think of a way to change the subject.
  1953. “So… How have you found this world so far? I’m sure it can’t compare to home, but… Y’know.”
  1954. >You see her face brighten just a small amount.
  1955. >"It's interesting so far. I didn't know stuff like this could exist without magic!"
  1956. >And with that, you both keep talking, taking pleasure in each other’s company.
  1957. >This doesn’t last for long though, as your phone rings from the table you bumped your head on earlier.
  1958. >You look at the caller ID.
  1959. >It’s from work.
  1960. >...
  1961. >You hang up.
  1962. >They want you to come in today due to being understaffed.
  1963. >God damn it.
  1964. >Turning to Fluttershy, you inform her of your sudden need to depart.
  1965. >Her face, which was once one of near content comfort turns into one of disappointment.
  1966. >”Oh… You really have to?”
  1967. >You grunt as you get up.
  1968. “Yeah, unfortunately. I’ll probably get tomorrow off in compensation, though.”
  1969. >A small whimper of disappointment can be heard from her spot on the couch.
  1970. >You kneel down and rub her head.
  1971. “Don’t worry, this shouldn’t be a long one. I’ll be back before you know it.”
  1972. >Honestly, you are surprised at her disappointment with this. Maybe she does get lonely here..?
  1973. >You start getting a small idea in her head.
  1974. >You might have to make a stop on the way home tonight.
  1975.  
  1976. >Work is done within a few hours, just as you predicted.
  1977. >While it would normally be sunny out, the sky has been obstructed by a heavy layer of clouds.
  1978. >Clouds that are releasing flake upon flake of snow.
  1979. >Instead of going home right away, you’ve decided to take a little detour.
  1980. >You’ve seen the place you’re headed to before, but have never gone inside.
  1981. >A bit of fear creeps into your heart as you think about what could become of your house and your budget.
  1982. >You contemplate this as you pull into a parking space of the local pet shop.
  1983. >This is a place you haven’t visited before, having no pets around.
  1984. >Your parents always said they’d make the house dirty and smell up the place, and you have to agree.
  1985. >There’s that, and the simple fact that you’ve never considered getting a pet before.
  1986. >Looks like that’s changing now.
  1987. >Walking through the front doors of the building leaves you at a lack of words.
  1988. >On the outside, it looks like your average everyday hole in the wall, but on the inside, there are lines upon lines of shelves stacked to the brim with various pet supplies.
  1989. >After asking for directions, you make your way to the back where the animals are kept.
  1990. >When you arrive, you realize that there is one massive gaping hole in your plan.
  1991. >You have absolutely zero idea of what animal to choose.
  1992. >Sure, Fluttershy will like pretty much everything here, but you want something that the both of you can compromise over.
  1993. >As long as it isn’t loud, won’t dig up the yard, and won’t shed and get feces everywhere, you’re fine.
  1994. >You look up, ready to begin the search.
  1995. >…
  1996. >Well, that didn’t go over so bad.
  1997. >You just hope that she likes what you’ve chosen.
  1998. >Home is only about a block away at this point, and the snow has only gotten heavier.
  1999. >This is why you have a weather app on your phone, why don’t you ever check it?
  2000. >The final house for a long time before you get to yours passes by your window.
  2001. >Funny, no one’s been there since you were just learning to walk.
  2002. >Apparently the man who owned the house abandoned his family one day, and never came back.
  2003. >The remaining household members left shortly after.
  2004. >You reach your house just as the newly developing snowstorm begins to pick up in force again.
  2005. >The wind is also getting pretty bad.
  2006. >Carefully taking the small, covered animal enclosure out of the back seat, you make your way back inside.
  2007. >With one hand on the door, you push it open and call inside.
  2008. “I’m home!”
  2009. >Unlike the last few times you’ve come inside, you find Fluttershy tidying up in the kitchen.
  2010. >”Welcome back, Anon. Oh, what are you carrying?”
  2011. >A grin starts creeping onto your face.
  2012. “Come into the other room with me and I’ll show you.”
  2013. >You carry the container to the living room and await her arrival.
  2014. >Dishes clank around a few times in the other room before you hear hoofsteps approaching the door.
  2015. >A moment later she sits in front of you and the covered object.
  2016. “I stopped after work to pick this up, I thought you might like it.”
  2017. >With a flick of the wrist, you uncover what you now reveal to be a cage.
  2018. >Inside of it is a-
  2019. >”A parakeet..!”
  2020. >She’s not wrong.
  2021. >Instantly Fluttershy leans in.
  2022. “Yeah, the person at the store said it’s a-“
  2023. >”A conure!”
  2024. >Again, not wrong, but will you be able to get a word in over the expert here?
  2025. >She opens the door to the cage, but stops and looks at you.
  2026. >You realize she’s asking permission.
  2027. >Uncertainty fills your thoughts. To you, it might be a better idea for the bird to get used to its surroundings, first.
  2028. >Against your better judgement, you nod your head, and she sticks her hoof inside.
  2029. >You are amazed to see it walk onto her arm without a fuss.
  2030. >She pulls it out carefully and brings it closer to her face.
  2031. >”Hello there..! How are you?”
  2032. >In response the bird lets out a few chatters of some sort.
  2033. >Either that was damn good timing, or somehow this mare can communicate with actual earthborn animals.
  2034. >She goes in to nuzzle it and it takes the action as if she is its mother.
  2035. >Again, you are surprised that whatever ability she had in the show has carried over to here.
  2036. >It nibbles lightly at her ear and she speaks.
  2037. >”Aww… He’s so cute…”
  2038. >He, huh? You didn’t bother to find out the gender earlier.
  2039. “I figured that you might like to feel a little more at home while you’re here. So I picked this little guy up for you, I hope you like him.”
  2040. >Her face grows surprised at your statement.
  2041. >”F-for m-me…?”
  2042. >She puts the feathered animal back in the cage and looks at you.
  2043. >D… Did you do something wrong?
  2044. >Your negative thoughts are relieved when she jumps over and nuzzles your shoulder.
  2045. >”Thank you… You didn’t have to d-“
  2046. “I wanted to. I care about you, and want you to be happy and feel comfortable while you’re here.”
  2047. >She steps away, lifting her head up.
  2048. >The same small, gentle smile you’ve come to know is on her face.
  2049. >You’ve never been much to get mushy over stuff, so you try to switch to another subject.
  2050. “I left everything you’ll need for him over there. How’s about you get him fed and watered?”
  2051. >The excited pony nods, smile growing larger.
  2052. >While she does that, you’ll just go get a change of clothes and check the PC real fast.
  2053. >Looking out the window on the way to the closet, you see that the snow has gotten even heavier outside.
  2054. >The wind’s howls can be heard with every gust.
  2055. >This isn’t just a snowstorm, it’s a fucking blizzard.
  2056. >Woo, more shoveling tomorrow…
  2057. >You get changed quite fast and head for your office.
  2058. >You check the chat room and see two names.
  2059. >Rarifag and… Applefag?
  2060. >Oh shit.
  2061. >You scramble to get your headset when suddenly everything goes black.
  2062. >Testing your appendages, you confirm that you’re still conscious.
  2063. >You can still see some faint natural light outside the window, so you aren’t blind.
  2064. >It’s now that you know that the power has gone out.
  2065. “Oh… You gotta be shitting me!”
  2066.  
  2067. >You can’t see anything right now.
  2068. >The nearest flashlight you can think of is in your bedroom. It’s a good thing you know this place like the back of your hand.
  2069. >Miraculously, you somehow make it to your destination and grab the flashlight.
  2070. >Turning it on, you decide to look for Fluttershy.
  2071. >The first and only place you look is in the living room.
  2072. >Pointing the light around reveals her to be sitting on the couch, trying to see her surroundings.
  2073. >”Anon..! What happened to the lights..?”
  2074. >You sit down next to her.
  2075. “The power was knocked out by the snowstorm. Hopefully it will be back in a few hours.”
  2076. >She looks at you curiously in the tiny amount of light.
  2077. >”How could the snow do that?”
  2078. >Pointing out the window with the light, you explain.
  2079. “Have you seen those posts in the ground with what looks like threads or strings of some kind coming out of them?”
  2080. >”Um… Yes, I remember those.”
  2081. >You point the light back down to the couch.
  2082. “Well, those carry electricity from the main source to various different houses. Sometimes if one of the lines in between a set of posts is damaged, every house up ahead of it will lose power.”
  2083. >That was the simple explanation.
  2084. >”Oh, I see…”
  2085. >Hours pass, and there is no sign of power returning as of yet.
  2086. >Neither of you can find much to do aside from talking to each other for a while until you suggest picking up where you left off in the book you two have been reading.
  2087. >Fluttershy gladly agreed as you grabbed it from the shelf and opened it back up to the page you left off on.
  2088. >Though she could read it for herself, you continue to read it out loud and let her follow along.
  2089. >As the temperature outside drops, so does the temperature in the house.
  2090. >The heat isn’t running without power.
  2091. >You come to the end of a chapter and let out a yawn.
  2092. >Looking at your phone, you find it close to being time to sleep, anyway.
  2093. “Alright, I think I’m going to turn in for the night, how about you?”
  2094. >Your yawn seems to be contagious, as she lets out one of her own.
  2095. >”I think I will, too…”
  2096. >Having no running water to do your nightly routines, you both head straight for bed.
  2097. >Taking your light blanket from under the couch, you cover yourself up, hoping it will be enough to shield you from the rapidly dropping temperature.
  2098. >You lie there for a time, slowly drifting in and out of half sleep.
  2099. >From the other room, you hear the constant shifting of bedcovers from your room.
  2100. >This continues for around fifteen minutes before you force yourself up to investigate.
  2101. >It takes until you are at the entrance to your bedroom to hear the chattering of teeth.
  2102. “Fluttershy..? Are you okay?”
  2103. >Through the darkness you see her poke her head out from under the blanket.
  2104. >”O-o-o-oh… I’m s-s-sorry Anon… Did I wake y-you..?”
  2105. >You witness her shiver heavily as her teeth chatter.
  2106. >Once again you ask her what’s going on.
  2107. >”Oh… I-it’s just c-cold… I h-hate to b-bother you, but do you h-have a heavier blanket..?”
  2108. >You scratch the back of your head, trying to remember.
  2109. “I’ll look real fast. I’ll be right back.”
  2110. >First you check the closet. Then you check another closet. Then the last one in the house. None to be found.
  2111. >Next you check the basement. Still no blankets. How the hell is this possible?
  2112. >A few minutes later, and you’ve turned the whole house upside down.
  2113. >There are no heavier OR extra blankets to be found.
  2114. >You return, and to Fluttershy’s disappointment, empty handed.
  2115. “I’m sorry. I always just made due with what I have around here. You can have my blanket if you want.”
  2116. >”N-no, I can’t deprive you of warmth… You have less fur than me.”
  2117. >You open your mouth to protest again.
  2118. >”Anon, you’ve already done so much for me… I can’t accept this.”
  2119. >Wow, she’s really adamant on this, isn’t she?
  2120. >Closing your mouth, you begin to formulate a plan.
  2121. >Something comes to you, and you rush back to the living room.
  2122. >You come back with your blanket in hand.
  2123. >”Anon, y-you really don’t…”
  2124. “If you don’t want me to give this to you, how’s about we share it?”
  2125. >A bold move, but you have good intentions.
  2126. >”Wh-wha..?”
  2127. >The flustered pony remains quiet for a few moments before stumbling over a response.
  2128. >”O-okay…”
  2129. >Wow, you didn’t expect her to go with that idea.
  2130. >With a plan of action accepted by you both, you spread your blanket over the bed.
  2131. >Taking a shaky breath, you climb in to the bed.
  2132. >it’s small, but made for two people.
  2133. >You can almost feel Fluttershy’s body heat from here.
  2134. >This night is going to be interesting.
  2135.  
  2136. >The first hour passes relatively easily.
  2137. >The two lightweight blankets provided just enough heat to fend off the disappearing degrees.
  2138. >However, the poor insulation in your house was no match for the elements outside, and you soon feel the bed start to rumble.
  2139. >You roll over, having had your back turned to the mare to avoid any possible awkward situations.
  2140. >It may be dark, but you can still tell that Fluttershy is shivering again.
  2141. >Isn’t her fur supposed to help with that?
  2142. >If only you kept that gas heater…
  2143. >Faintly you can still feel the heat radiating off of Fluttershy’s body.
  2144. >Body heat… That’s usually the way to conserve heat and keep warm in extreme situations.
  2145. >It would also be an easy solution here, but you highly doubt that she’d agree to it.
  2146. >Though, you may just be able to use her shy nature against her…
  2147. >You begin to change your breathing. Slowly you change it from its average medium pace to one that’s a bit slower.
  2148. >Closing your eyes, you begin to breathe a bit heavier.
  2149. >Eventually you sound as close as you can to a half snore.
  2150. >Praying that this doesn’t backfire, you shift around and drape an arm over the pony in front of you.
  2151. >A squeak of surprise sounds out as you bring her against your chest.
  2152. >She is dead still aside from her breathing.
  2153. >Her rigid body soon eases up.
  2154. >When she’s finally completely relaxed, she eases into your chest, seemingly enjoying the warmth.
  2155. >You are taken by surprise when you feel her muzzle burry itself into part of your curled up arm.
  2156. >Admittedly, this is pretty damn cozy now.
  2157. >Enough so that in a matter of minutes, you drift off to sleep.
  2158. >You awaken partially, only somewhat able to make out your surroundings.
  2159. >The room is light, signaling the arrival of the sun.
  2160. >You look over at the clock on the nightstand, and are relieved to see it blinking.
  2161. >The power’s back.
  2162. >Attempting to rub your eyes results in you realizing that your arms are immobile.
  2163. >About to panic, you pry your eyes open and look at your unmovable limbs.
  2164. >You are met with quite the tranquil sight when you do, though.
  2165. >In your arms rests a quietly sleeping yellow pegasus, hugging your top arm to her chest.
  2166. >Your bottom arm has somehow ended up supporting her back.
  2167. >It almost pains you to have to take your arms back, but you have to if you want to be able to talk to her normally this morning.
  2168. >For almost seven minutes you work on slipping your arms out without waking the peacefully slumbering mare.
  2169. >You roll out of bed, successful in your endeavor to avoid waking up your bedmate.
  2170. >Time to reset those clocks.
  2171. >As you go about the tedious task of setting every clock in the house, you begin to get lost in thought.
  2172. >It’s been just a little more than a week since this all started
  2173. >You’ve found four out of five of Fluttershy’s friends in that time.
  2174. >However, you’re no closer to finding a way home for them.
  2175. >So far, Twilight’s been the only one being able to do any real work towards dimensional travel, and that hasn’t been going so well.
  2176. >You five are the only ones that know about the existence of these ponies so far, and despite having revealed this info to each other, no one has disappeared.
  2177. >Recently though, a subject was brought up.
  2178. >Just how many rules of that thread are in effect?
  2179. >Sure, one rule has been broken already and there seem to be no consequences, but what about the other?
  2180. >”She will fall in love with you in time.”
  2181. >A few of the other anons had mentioned the pony they were living with had started acting a tad strange around them.
  2182. >It started with Dashfag. Though he and Dash were getting along now, he was far from pleased with the signals being thrown his way by his blue companion.
  2183. >Most of what he said was too loud for his microphone to handle, so you were forced to take his word that she was starting to want to become more than friends.
  2184. >The next day, Rarifag showed up. His mood wasn’t much better. During the “party”, he revealed that one of the reasons he was drinking was because of Rarity.
  2185. >Apparently she was starting to show some questionable signs.
  2186. >Complimenting his appearance, personality, denying his attempts at self-deprecation…
  2187. >You all tried to reassure him that she was just being nice, but he swore that by the look in her eyes, that wasn’t the only reason.
  2188. >Despite all of that, there haven’t been any outright confessions yet.
  2189. >If this is true, and something like this is going to happen to everyone in this mess eventually, you all have to work fast.
  2190. >Everyone agreed that the ponies should be returned home, even PF, who actually chose the outcome he got.
  2191. >That’s one thing you’re thankful for. Mostly everyone in this mess has a level head and wants the right thing.
  2192. >You’re just worried that you won’t be able to fix this before Fluttershy possibly starts having feelings for you.
  2193. >it’s hard to think of what to do if that day does come to pass.
  2194. >Reject her for her own good? She’d be better off back home building a life in her own world, for sure. You’d hate for her to want to stay because of you.
  2195. >Come to think of it, you aren’t even sure how you feel about her.
  2196. >You get along very well, and she’s very sweet. You both help each other out when needed. You always enjoy doing different things together…
  2197. >But could you really see yourself getting into a relationship like that with her?
  2198. >Especially with the species gap…
  2199. >You shake your head.
  2200. >This is something you’ll save for later.
  2201.  
  2202. >You and Fluttershy have decided to take another walk through the woods today.
  2203. >The blizzard was two days ago, but the temperature has only managed to get rid of about an inch or two of snow.
  2204. >”The woods look beautiful today…”
  2205. >You look around, ears perking up at the voice to your side.
  2206. >Finding beauty in nature has never been a strong suit for you.
  2207. “Yeah. The blizzard really worked its magic.”
  2208. >As you walk and take in the sights, you halt mid step.
  2209. >Just ahead, a few steps from you is a rabbit.
  2210. >You hold out your arm, halting the pegasus’s forward movement.
  2211. >She looks to you, about to ask what’s happening, but that is soon answered when you point towards what stopped you.
  2212. >Before you can tell what she’s doing, Fluttershy ascends over your arm and lands a few steps ahead.
  2213. >This isn’t going to go the way she thinks it is.
  2214. >You try to reach out to stop her, but she begins to talk to the creature ahead of her.
  2215. >”What are you doing out here, little one?”
  2216. >To your surprise, the animal doesn’t run away, but hops closer.
  2217. >”It’s cold out here, are you looking for food..?”
  2218. >It hops closer once more, and she continues to talk to it as if it is an actual person.
  2219. >You look around your surroundings, looking for any signs of reality collapsing.
  2220. >It’s quite reminiscent of the first night you found Fluttershy in your house.
  2221. >Soon she sends the rabbit off with a wave and turns back to you.
  2222. >”Is something wrong, Anon..?”
  2223. >You shake your head, wondering if your education on this sort of thing was wrong, or if the world is wrong.
  2224.  
  2225. >You slam the breaks to your car as you pull into the garage.
  2226. >This is the third time this week that you’ve almost ran over some kind of small animal on your way in.
  2227. >Looking over, you see Fluttershy holding open the front door to let a line of animals out.
  2228. >She gives you a quick wave and a smile before disappearing out the door along with them.
  2229. >It’s been five days since you’ve discovered that Fluttershy’s strange ability to communicate with animals also works here.
  2230. >Ever since, she’s been taking care of whatever animals she can find outside.
  2231. >Getting out of your car, you enter your house and head for your computer.
  2232. >You’ve set up a brainstorming session with the rest of the group today.
  2233. >Nobody’s really come up with any ideas on their own for the past few days, so hopefully having a group sessions will yield some results.
  2234. >Waking up your PC, you see that everyone is online.
  2235. >Putting on the headset, you join in the voice channel.
  2236. >”Alright, Anon’s here, now.”
  2237. >Applefag is the first to greet you.
  2238. “Oh, heya AF. I haven’t seen you since before my power went out the other day!”
  2239. >He laughs before speaking again.
  2240. >”Yeah, sorry about that. I’ve had to work really hard for finals coming up.”
  2241. >Chucking, re reminisce on your own days as a college student.
  2242. “I feel ya there. Shit can be rough. Hope you’re doing well at least.”
  2243. >”It’s working out, thanks. So… Is everyone here?”
  2244. >All five of the rest of you respond one at a time.
  2245. >”Alright then,”
  2246. >Twifag starts.
  2247. >”Let’s get going.”
  2248.  
  2249. >”First of all, I’d like to say that we may be onto something. Well, Twilight, at least.”
  2250. “How so?”
  2251. >”Well,”
  2252. >TF clears his throat.
  2253. >”Yesterday Twilight was working on the portal spell again. Most of what she explained went right over my head since I’m a dumbass, but something she did made her start detecting some magic residue close by.”
  2254. >Applefag speaks up.
  2255. >”How does she know that’s not just radio signals or something? We don’t know how that kind of thing could react to magic in this world.”
  2256. >”She’s certain that this is magic. Apparently it’s very specific.”
  2257. “Well, no use questioning the expert, if you ask me.”
  2258. >The rest of the group concurs with your statement, as Twilight is really the only living being on the planet right now that understands magic.
  2259. >”So, have you tried tracking it down yet?”
  2260. >”Not yet, Mr. Pink. She only found it before bed last night.”
  2261. >Pinkiefag falls over his words, shooting back a disapproving response at his sudden nickname.
  2262. >”Why am I Mr. Pink? That’s a faggot’s name!”
  2263. >DF laughs sharply.
  2264. >”We all have “fag” in our name, dipshit.”
  2265. >”Yeah, but mine’s worse because I have “pink” and “fag” in my name!”
  2266. >”Well, get better taste in ponies next time!”
  2267. >”Oh, you mean like Rainbow Dash, then?”
  2268. >”You listen here, I didn’t-!”
  2269. >AF is the one to break up the squabble.
  2270. >”Calm down guys. We’re supposed to be thinking of a way to fix all this, remember?”
  2271. “Yeah, what that guy said.”
  2272. >In a short while, the conversation is back on track.
  2273. >”So, I was thinking. What if we-“
  2274. >The communication client pings, alerting everyone to a new person’s presence.
  2275. >Everyone falls dead silent, doing their best to avoid leaking potential info.
  2276. >”Hello?”
  2277. >This person definitely sounds older than the rest of you.
  2278. >Not quite elderly, but not young, either.
  2279. “Hey there. How’re you doing today?”
  2280. >He replies in a gruff tone.
  2281. >”Eh, as good as I can be all things considered. How’s about yourself? Anybody else in here with you?”
  2282. >One large amalgamation of voices sound out at once, answering his question immediately.
  2283. >”Well, I’ll take that as a yes. So, what’re you all doing in here?”
  2284. >You think quickly, crafting a believable lie.
  2285. “We’re just shooting the shit right now, how’s about you?”
  2286. >”Eh you know, the usual. Yard work, washing the car, waiting for the inevitable embrace of death. That kinda stuff.”
  2287. >”Ain’t that the truth!”
  2288. >DF pipes up at the mention of waiting to die.
  2289. >Typical.
  2290. >TF speaks next.
  2291. >”So, how’d you find the place?”
  2292. >”I was just browsing the board. Found the thread and saw the link to the group you posted up. I figured “Why not try to meet some new people? The internet seems to be popular for doing that nowadays”.”
  2293. >When he’s done with his story, Rarifag responds.
  2294. >”As good a way as any, I guess.”
  2295. >The new person chuckles.
  2296. >”Well, creating the thread also helped too, probably.”
  2297. “Oh, so YOU’RE the OP, huh?”
  2298. >Again he lets out a small laugh.
  2299. >”The one and only.”
  2300. >He stops for a moment.
  2301. >”I guess my ass has a name, now.”
  2302. >Having been looking at the chatroom window just now, you witness his name change from what it was set to when he came in.
  2303. >Where there was once the default “Anonymous” is now two simple, capital letters.
  2304. >RF acknowledges the new name.
  2305. >”OP, huh? Well, it’s easy to remember.”
  2306.  “Keepin’ it simple, always a good thing.”
  2307. >With the introduction of a person outside of the circle, the plan for a brainstorming session is thrown out the window.
  2308. >Surprisingly, everyone is able to take an equal part in the conversation, even though one is more advanced in years.
  2309. >Looking at your clock, you see that it’s about time for dinner.
  2310. “Alright people. I’m gonna go get something to eat, I’ll catch you all later.”
  2311. >They all say their goodbyes and you close the program.
  2312.  
  2313. >Preparing dinner is a simple task, as all you had to do is make a couple of sandwiches.
  2314. >All you had to do was put the toppings on and toast them until the cheese melted, and you have a nice meal.
  2315. >The only difference between yours and Fluttershy’s is that hers has daisies on it in addition to the other ingredients.
  2316. >You look outside, finding her tending to some more animals.
  2317. >How did she even amass so many in so little time?
  2318. >Opening the window, you call out to the pale colored pegasus.
  2319. “Dinner’s ready!”
  2320. >You grab a couple cups and fill one with water, leaving the empty one next to her plate.
  2321. >Shortly after, the door to the kitchen opens, with Fluttershy following through.
  2322. >”The food looks wonderful, Anon. Thank you.”
  2323. >You shrug.
  2324. ”Thanks, and don’t mention it.”
  2325. >She looks closer at your food, and raises an eyebrow.
  2326. >”Anon, I don’t mean to be nosy, but can I ask you something..?”
  2327. >Swallowing a bite of food, you nod.
  2328. “Go for it.”
  2329. >”Well, why don’t you ever eat any meat?”
  2330. >You didn’t expect that.
  2331. “How did you know I can?”
  2332. >She points to her mouth.
  2333. >”Your teeth! They can tell you a lot about what you can eat.”
  2334. >Oh yeah, that’s true.
  2335. “Ah, you have a point.  You’re right, I can eat meat. To answer your question: I’ve just been making meals we can both eat. I’ve been too lazy to make any meat for me.”
  2336. >Her eyes grow wide at the revelation.
  2337. >”Are you at least eating foods to replace the nutrients you’d normally get from meat..?”
  2338. >Now it’s your turn to raise an eyebrow.
  2339. “The what now?”
  2340. >She lets out a defeated sigh.
  2341. >The rest of dinner goes by normally, aside from Fluttershy reminding you a few times to eat properly.
  2342. >As you wash off the plates, she softly walks over to your side.
  2343. >”Um, Anon..?”
  2344. >You continue to wash off the plate and respond.
  2345. “Hm?”
  2346. >Her eyes dart nervously before continuing.
  2347. >”A-are you doing anything after… after this..?”
  2348. >Placing the dish in the drainer, you turn to her.
  2349. “Eh, I was just thinking about working on a few things in my office.”
  2350. >Fluttershy’s head falls, long mane dangling in front of her face.
  2351. “Why? You have something in mind?”
  2352. >She picks her head back up, uncertainty plain on her face.
  2353. >Beginning to scrape the floor with a hoof, she starts to speak.
  2354. >”N-not really… I was just thinking that maybe we could…”
  2355. >The last words that come out of her mouth are a near inaudible mumble.
  2356. “I’m sorry, what was that last part?”
  2357. >This time, she speaks clearly.
  2358. >”Maybe we could… Spend some time… together..?”
  2359. >You stop to think.
  2360. >About two days ago, you decided to let her have more time to herself.
  2361. >Once she started finding more animals to take care of, you thought you might have been suffocating her with your constant proximity.
  2362. >Well, you’ve been wrong before.
  2363. >Must be now is no exception.
  2364. “I don’t see why not! Is there anything in particular you want to do?”
  2365. >The yellow hoof continues to scrape the floor.
  2366. >”Maybe w-we could just… talk?”
  2367. >You can’t help but notice she’s acting a bit strange.
  2368. >Talking to her might possibly reveal more to this puzzle.
  2369. “Yeah, we could do that. Want to go make ourselves comfortable?”
  2370. >Fluttershy nods, then follows you when you start moving.
  2371. >You both reach the living room shortly and sit on the couch.
  2372. >She looks at you.
  2373. >You look at her.
  2374. >She turns away, not sure how to handle the eye contact.
  2375. “So… anything in particular you want to talk about?”
  2376. >The mare stays quiet for a bit before taking a deep breath.
  2377. >”Y-yes, um…”
  2378. >As soon as she turns her head back to you, her words seem lost.
  2379. >You lift your arm and place your hand on her back, beginning to gently rub it.
  2380. >She leans into your touch almost as soon as it starts, and it seems to help coax her thoughts out.
  2381. >”W-well I… I’ve been here for a little while…”
  2382. >You keep rubbing her back, staying mindful of her wings.
  2383. “Mmhmm..?”
  2384. >”I-I’ve been thinking… You’ve been s-so helpful… and nice. I don’t know… what I would have done without you here. O-or what I WILL do without you if I can get home…”
  2385. >Wait.
  2386. “Huh..?”
  2387. >Her head raises, eyes meeting your own.
  2388. >Through the uncertainty you can see a glint of something you rarely see from her.
  2389. >Courage.
  2390. >”Anon… I…”
  2391. >This isn’t happening right now, is it?
  2392. >”I like you… I have s-since we met. But now, I do so much m-more…”
  2393. >At this point, you can’t even form a coherent thought anymore.
  2394. >”You’ve done so much f-for me, b-but… I’d be so happy if you’d do one more thing… If you’d be my special someone…”
  2395.  
  2396. >Up until now, you never knew it was possible to break someone’s brain verbally.
  2397. >After the last words escaped Fluttershy’s mouth, you retreated into your mind.
  2398. >Questions buzz around with no clear answer for any of them in sight.
  2399. >You can’t…
  2400. >Can you..?
  2401. >Do you WANT to..?
  2402. >In all your life, you can say you never really felt true romantic love.
  2403. >Sure, you’ve had many a girl over for a fun time in the bedroom, but that was when you were young and only slightly dumber than you are now.
  2404. >When you read that thread, you can honestly say you never considered the romantic side of the deal.
  2405. >And even after all this happened, you always tried to push it away as something that probably wasn’t going to happen.
  2406. >It’s not like you don’t like her. She’s great company, and you’d be lying if you said it wouldn’t be lonely without her.
  2407. >The question though is, do you like her like that?
  2408. >You’ve never really thought about it.
  2409. >You could always give her a chance and see how it turns out…
  2410. >What if it ends badly, though? To hurt her in such a way would be terrible.
  2411. >Not to mention the whole “different species” thing.
  2412. >You think back to what your dad would always tell you.
  2413. >”It’s not about what they look like. If their personality is good enough, you can look past anything.”
  2414. >He was probably referring to humans, but the point still stands.
  2415. >You sit there, dumbfounded and staring into space.
  2416. >Out of the corner of your eye, you still see Fluttershy looking at you, a heavy blush spread across her face.
  2417. >Gotta say something.
  2418. >Inhaling, you open your mouth to speak.
  2419. >You don’t know what to say.
  2420. >Exhaling, you say the only thing that floats through your mind.
  2421. “I don’t know…”
  2422. >You turn your head to her, too confused to read her expression.
  2423. >”H-huh..?”
  2424. >Oh hell.
  2425. >She heard you.
  2426. >No choice but to face the music, now.
  2427. >With a heavy sigh, you repeat your last statement.
  2428. “I… I don’t know. This just came out of nowhere for me.”
  2429. >Realizing you still have your hand on her back, you pull back.
  2430. “You’re a great pony. Don’t ever think differently. I just…”
  2431. >You take a shaky breath.
  2432. “I’m not sure if this is a good idea.”
  2433. >Fluttershy’s head falls.
  2434. >”O-oh…”
  2435. >Shit, she’s taking it the wrong way.
  2436. “I mean, just…”
  2437. >Your words pick a grand time to fail you.
  2438. >The couch shifts as you feel her get off.
  2439. “Fluttershy, I didn’t mean…”
  2440. >She shakes her head.
  2441. >”N-no, it’s o-okay… I understand.”
  2442. >You lose sight of her, still frozen in your seat.
  2443. >Not long after, you hear the back door open, then close.
  2444. >What came over you just now..?
  2445. >Remaining on the couch, you contemplate what you could have said.
  2446. >What you should have said.
  2447. >Maybe it would just be best to give her some time for herself.
  2448. >Pulling out your phone, you check the chatroom, finding only Rarifag and Applefag.
  2449. >You enter the voice room and speak, your voice sounding drained.
  2450. “Anybody here?”
  2451. >AF responds, sounding curious.
  2452. >”Yo, I’m here. RF is, too.”
  2453. >”Yup. You sound like shit, Anon. Something wrong?”
  2454. >You sigh.
  2455. “Where would I even begin?”
  2456. >AF tries to reassure you.
  2457. >”Well, wherever you choose, I’m all ears.”
  2458. >”Same here.”
  2459. >You chuckle bitterly.
  2460. “Alright, thanks. Well, it goes like this…”
  2461. >They both listen intently as you tell the tale of today’s events.
  2462. >You punctuate your last sentence with a deep breath.
  2463. “And that’s all there is to it.”
  2464. >Looking out the window, you await a response.
  2465. >AF is the first to pitch in.
  2466. >”Well buddy, I can’t really tell you how to feel. If you ask me though, you seem to care about her a lot. And-”
  2467. >Before he gets too far, the other person throws a thought in.
  2468. >”Yeah. You’re afraid of hurting her somehow, but with the way you speak, you’d do your damndest to be sure she was happy.”
  2469. >Picking up where he left off, AF speaks.
  2470. >”Pretty much what he said. To me, it sounds like you’re afraid of yourself. Just try to imagine how far you’d go for her. The answers to questions like that might just help you along.”
  2471. >You stop to think about what he said.
  2472. >Could it be as simple as that? It seems like you’d know your own thoughts.
  2473. >”Also, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but where is she right now anyway?”
  2474. >You stop to think again.
  2475. “I… really don’t know.”
  2476. >In that moment, they both descend upon you like hungry vultures.
  2477. >”Well you should probably look for her, then.”
  2478. >”Yeah man, you never know…”
  2479. >Looking at the clock, you see at least twenty minutes have passed.
  2480. “Alright, you guys are probably right. I’ve gotta get going.”
  2481. >You don’t even let them say bye before closing the app and running for the door.
  2482. >Uncertainty still clouds your mind.
  2483. >One thing is sure to you, though.
  2484. >You are going to find closure for this.
  2485.  
  2486. >Bolting outside, you are slightly disheartened to find no living thing in your now grassy back yard.
  2487. >The sun’s hot rays are an unwelcome burden as you pace around nervously.
  2488. >Where could she have gone?
  2489. >She went out the back door, so the only other place she could have gone if she didn’t decide to hop your fence is…
  2490. >You look to the back of your property.
  2491. >The woods.
  2492. >You set off in a sprint.
  2493. >If you go fast enough, you can still find her.
  2494. >Even though you haven’t been running for too long, your pulse has elevated significantly.
  2495. >You really fucked up.
  2496. >You need to find her and fix this, now.
  2497. >As you run through the start of the wooded area, you try to formulate a plan through clouded judgement.
  2498. >First, you’ll check the areas that you and she usually travel through.
  2499. >If that fails to yield anything, you’ll…
  2500. “Fuck…”
  2501. >You don’t know what to do after that.
  2502. >For now, you’ll just run until you’re in unfamiliar territory.
  2503. >At around the halfway point, you trip.
  2504. >You fly towards a scraggly tree, throwing your arms out to catch yourself.
  2505. >The impact is spread out through something other than your face, but it doesn’t make your arms feel any better.
  2506. >You inspect your arms after falling to the ground.
  2507. >Splinters of all shapes and sizes are embedded in your forearms.
  2508. >Suddenly, a flashback triggers in your mind. One in which a somewhat tentative Fluttershy was tending to some shards of sharp glass in the same area.
  2509. >That was what broke the ice between the two of you…
  2510. >Maybe you shouldn’t have been so nice to her. If you were cold and distant, she wouldn’t have built up these feelings.
  2511. >You grunt out loud.
  2512. >No use dwelling on the past.
  2513. >Hanging your head, you try desperately to think of a plan of action.
  2514. >What is it about this shy little pony that gets you so riled up?
  2515. >Taking a deep breath, you get to your feet.
  2516. >You have to keep going.
  2517. >Even if your only plan is just “Track down Fluttershy”.
  2518. >Wait… Track…
  2519. >The soil around this place has always been soft.
  2520. >You look to your feet.
  2521. >Lifting one up reveals an ever so slight dent in the ground from your shoe.
  2522. >Oh how you hope she didn’t choose to fly…
  2523. >You turn to where you came from, running once more.
  2524. >When you’re back at the entrance leading to your property, you hold your breath and look down.
  2525. >To your excitement, you can see the faint outlines of a hooved creature.
  2526. >From what you’ve seen of the undersides of her hooves, this matches up well.
  2527. >You grab a stick for marking anything that you may need to on the ground whilst tracking.
  2528. >The tracking proves to be more difficult than you expected, but you’ve surprised yourself many ways while doing it.
  2529. >While doing this, you’ve found more than just her hoof prints.
  2530. >A stray strand of pink mane here, a yellow feather there…
  2531. >You are certain you are on her trail now because of it.
  2532. >She really went out far. You’ve never been out here before.
  2533. >You didn’t even know these woods were this big!
  2534. >Eventually, her tracks are lost, and all that’s left is grass.
  2535. >You kick the ground in frustration, looking up for the first time in what feels like hours.
  2536. >What you see shocks you.
  2537. >Just a few yards in front of you is a river.
  2538. >Not a stream. An honest to god river.
  2539. >You really should have looked up a satellite image of this place.
  2540. >It looks almost still, and makes no noise.
  2541. >Scanning the length of the newly found river uncovers a further surprise, a very welcome one at that.
  2542. >Sitting at the side of the body of water is the pony whose heart you’ve broken.
  2543. >She’s facing the water, just looking in.
  2544. >Your heart is filled with relief.
  2545. “Fluttershy!”
  2546. >It all happens almost as if in slow motion.
  2547. >Her hair stands up on end, and she shoots into the air.
  2548. >Momentum caries her forward, and her wings remain clamped to her sides.
  2549. >You step forward, trying to keep her from falling in.
  2550. >It’s too late.
  2551. >She tumbles into the calm river…
  2552. >…Only to be carried away at an extreme speed.
  2553.  
  2554. >The speed of the current takes you off guard and you stay where you stand, just staring.
  2555. >Finally, the horrifying sight of Fluttershy being swept away by the tide brings your thoughts back into focus.
  2556. “Hang in there, I’m coming!”
  2557. >You shout, hoping she can hear you.
  2558. >Ignoring any lack of energy you might be feeling from the earlier run, you give chase.
  2559. >There has to be a way to get her out of there…
  2560. >The river is surprisingly wide for this location, which means you can’t just run up ahead and grab her as she goes by.
  2561. >You curse under your breath.
  2562. >None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you and your big mouth.
  2563. >It seems like it’s been a non-stop torrent of pain and sadness for her since she got here.
  2564. >First she’s battered and bruised in a shipping crate, then you get her sick, now you’ve caused her to fall in a river.
  2565. >You aren’t helping anything!
  2566. >A tightness forms in your chest.
  2567. >You could have, though. It would have been easy to make her happy; all you had to do was say yes…
  2568. >The thought of her smile seems to give you an extra burst of needed energy.
  2569. >Really, was there a better sight than that in the past few days?
  2570. >Soon, something even worse than the sight of her being dragged downstream plays out before you.
  2571. >Despite her best effort to tread water, the current gets the best of her and you stop being able to see her head as it sinks.
  2572. >At this point, you’d follow her anywhere.
  2573. >And that’s why you abandon any doubts and dive in behind her.
  2574. >The cold water assaults every nerve ending in your body, and you almost inhale a healthy amount of it.
  2575. >No time to think about air, though. You have to find where Fluttershy sank.
  2576. >You force your eyes open, ignoring the burning of the cold liquid.
  2577. >Swimming along with the current proves to be easy.
  2578. >Your eyes hurt from the feeling of the water colliding with them, but you keep going, scanning the area for any signs of your friend.
  2579. >Feeling your lungs burn, you attempt to rise to the surface for air.
  2580. >It proves more difficult than expected, however.
  2581. >The current is too unpredictable.
  2582. >Oh shit.
  2583. >The thought of your own mortality begins to sneak into your thoughts.
  2584. >You can’t die yet. You need to save her.
  2585. >Adrenaline flows through your veins, and time seems to slow to a crawl.
  2586. >Feeling every push and pull of the water, you work with it to guide you to the surface.
  2587. >Your head pierces the top of the water, and you take in as much air as possible before submerging once more.
  2588. >Taking long, powerful strokes, you ride the current downstream.
  2589. >Where is she?!
  2590. >You don’t know where it leads, but you definitely hope it doesn’t end in a waterfall.
  2591. >Scanning once more, you see something that doesn’t match up with the rest of the water.
  2592. >The bright midday sun reflects off of a pale yellow mass.
  2593. >Flowing from that blurry mass you can see another familiar color.
  2594. >Pink. This has to be it.
  2595. >She’s approaching quickly, you have to time this right.
  2596. >With a few more powerful strokes of your arms, you succeed in completely passing her.
  2597. >You resist the urge to scream out the rest of your held breath. There isn’t much left.
  2598. >Now isn’t the time to resurface.
  2599. >Turning around, you feel lucky that you can still see her in the distance.
  2600. >However, you can’t just wait for her to come to you. You’re moving back, too.
  2601. >With no other choice, you begin to swim against the current with all of your strength.
  2602. >Your lungs cry desperately for air as you practically claw at the water.
  2603. >Pay no mind to the air… Stay focused…
  2604. >Spots begin to flicker around your vision as it begins to tunnel.
  2605. >Consciousness tries to leave you, but by some miracle, you hold on.
  2606. >And through doing so, you eventually feel an impact with your chest.
  2607. >Through your heavily impaired vision, you can barely make out the familiar form of a small four legged lifeform.
  2608. >Despite only being semi-conscious, you are immensely relieved.
  2609. >Wrapping your arms tightly around her, you swim to the top, pushing past any forces that try to get in your way.
  2610. >Emerging once more, you greedily suck in all the air you can.
  2611. >You are certain to keep Fluttershy’s head above water, even as it tries to pull you back down.
  2612. >Looking around, you fail to find a way to get out of this watery grave.
  2613. >You look to the sides.
  2614. >Those definitely weren’t that inclined a few minutes ago.
  2615. >There… isn’t any way out.
  2616. >At least, you think this until you see an abnormality further down the stream.
  2617. >You try to focus, not entirely sure what it is.
  2618. >Whatever it is, it’s sticking out across the river.
  2619. >It might very well be your only way out.
  2620. >As the current pushes you closer though, you are finally able to tell what the strange object is.
  2621. >A dead tree. One that just so happened to fall down halfway across the river.
  2622. >Though there isn’t much time to stop and consider your options, you don’t know if you want to try this.
  2623. >You might very well die when you hit that thing.
  2624. >But… There might not be another way out of here this fast.
  2625. >Fluttershy still hasn’t responded and you aren’t sure if she’s okay or not.
  2626. >Throwing cation to the wind, you yell as you put yourself in a direct collision course with the fallen tree.
  2627. >Pain floods through your arm as it rams into the wooden object.
  2628. >Letting out a guttural groan of pain, you quickly loop your injured arm around the log that stopped you.
  2629. >it’s hard work, but soon enough you have Fluttershy on dry land, then yourself.
  2630. >You lie on the ground, breathing heavily before rolling onto your side and vomiting.
  2631. >Inspecting your arm, you find a large wound in your shoulder.
  2632. >Blood runs down your arm, but you pay it no mind as you crawl over to the pony whose life you saved.
  2633. >Your heart stops and your blood runs cold when you don’t feel any air coming from her mouth.
  2634. >Oh no…
  2635. >Placing your head to her chest, you are at least thankful to hear a pulse.
  2636. >You need to act fast, though.
  2637. >Having never been trained in CPR, you are scared as hell to try this.
  2638. >At least you’ve read about the things to do in this kind of situation.
  2639. >She doesn’t appear to have any head or neck injuries, but you can’t be sure.
  2640. >Opening her mouth, you are glad to not find any water in it.
  2641. >Good, that makes this easier.
  2642. >Only one thing left to do…
  2643. >Saying a quick prayer to whatever entity might be watching over you, you plug her nose.
  2644. >Leaning forward, you place your mouth upon hers and breathe in.
  2645. >Her chest rises along with your breath.
  2646. >You pull back for a couple seconds before going back in and repeating the process.
  2647. “C’mon… You can’t die now!”
  2648. >Every five seconds you provide her with more air.
  2649. >Almost on the verge of tears, you lean back in.
  2650. >With your lips connected once more to hers, you exhale.
  2651. >An awful taste floods your mouth as Fluttershy vomits up a mix of bile and water.
  2652.  
  2653. >You pull away in disgust, spitting out the rancid mixture.
  2654. >Realizing what just happened, you quickly roll Fluttershy on her side as she spits up more fluid.
  2655. >She begins to cough and choke, taking heavy breaths as she does.
  2656. >Eventually her lungs clear out and she rolls onto her back, something you mirror as you collapse in relief.
  2657. >Right now you just want to take a nap and not wake up for a couple of years.
  2658. >Rolling onto your belly, you use your one good arm to claw your way closer.
  2659. “Fluttershy…”
  2660. >The mare in question groggily rolls her head to you.
  2661. >”A-anon..?”
  2662. >Your mouth curls into a weak smile.
  2663. >”Y… You’re a-alive… I thought that you… That I killed you…”
  2664. >The realization sinks in.
  2665. >You almost killed her.
  2666. “This… All of t-this… Is my fault...”
  2667. >Not just the rejection. Not even scaring her into the river.
  2668. >If you hadn’t of made that post, she wouldn’t have gotten into this mess just now.
  2669. >”H-how did I… G-get here..?”
  2670. >You look up, head pulsing in pain.
  2671. “I… I d-dove in a-after you…”
  2672. >Her pupils grow in size.
  2673. >”Y-you saved me..?”
  2674. >You cringe at the question.
  2675. “…I did.”
  2676. >A weak smile of her own starts to form.
  2677. >Shakily, Fluttershy begins to sit up.
  2678. >You try to stop her, but she assures you that she is alright.
  2679. >With her up, you rise to your knees.
  2680. >She leans over, noticing the blood running down your arm.
  2681. >”Anon, your arm..!”
  2682. >Looking down at it, you wince slightly at how red it is.
  2683. “Yeah, I saw that.”
  2684. >The tired mare scoots closer, worry apparent in her eyes.
  2685. >”How did it happen?”
  2686. >With a sigh, you recall the events to her.
  2687. “I couldn’t reach you from the shore… I had to jump. After I got ahold of you, I had no way to stop and get out. Then, I found that dead tree. I used that to stop myself, but I had to take an impact in the process.”
  2688. >A weak smile creeps onto her face, and she leans into you.
  2689. >Her hooves wrap around your midsection.
  2690. >”Thank you…”
  2691. “But… I was the one who did this…”
  2692. >She shakes her head.
  2693. >”You didn’t mean to...”
  2694. >A lump begins to form in your throat as you start trying to rebut.
  2695. “If I was more careful…”
  2696. >Her head shakes on your chest.
  2697. >”You can’t change the past, Anon. But you put yourself in danger… for me…”
  2698. >Fluttershy raises her head up while you lower yours.
  2699. >Your gazes meet and she continues.
  2700. >”I’ve said it before… You’ve done so much for me. That’s why…”
  2701. >She trails off, the memory too painful to finish.
  2702. >Tentatively, she lets go.
  2703. >This is it.
  2704. “Why you… like me..?”
  2705. >Her response comes out in the form of a hesitant nod.
  2706. >To hell with it. Your judgement is clouded, and you’re still riding on adrenaline.
  2707. >You’re going to charge in headfirst and hope for the best.
  2708. “Fluttershy… I’m sorry.”
  2709. >Her face falls, bracing for rejection a second time.
  2710. “What I said before… I shouldn’t have. This whole ordeal made me realize just how much I care for you.”
  2711. >She looks up at you, unsure of where you’re going with this.
  2712. “Seeing you with a smile on your face is enough to make my day. If I could see that every day, I’d die a happy man.”
  2713. “It only took nearly drowning for me to realize it, though. You have every right to hate me for what I’m about to ask you, but I think I’ll regret it more if I never ask it.”
  2714. >With a deep breath, you pop the big question.
  2715. “Fluttershy, if the offer is still on the table… would you give me a chance?”
  2716. >You look down at her, finding her features hard to read.
  2717. >For a while, she just stares at you, and you’re almost certain you probably just chose the absolute worst time to bring this up.
  2718. >Then, slowly she closes her eyes, a single tear rolling down as she falls into your chest.
  2719. >The pony you risked your life to save finally speaks, giving you the answer you seek.
  2720. >”Anon… Nothing would make me happier…”
  2721. >That could still mean no…
  2722. >Her eyes open.
  2723. >This time, her expression is clearly readable.
  2724. >The corners of her mouth are curled into a grin.
  2725. >Your heart skips a beat.
  2726. >Yup, seeing her happy still makes you feel great.
  2727. >Woah, you didn’t remember her face being so close…
  2728. >Like two magnets, your faces move towards each other.
  2729. >Your lips meet, and you swear that the world around you disappears.
  2730. >It’s nothing like when you were giving her mouth to mouth.
  2731. >In what seems to be too short an amount of time, you separate.
  2732. >To your surprise, it didn’t feel wrong in the slightest.
  2733. >You are the first to break the silence.
  2734. “Is that a yes?”
  2735.  
  2736. >It’s a question that doesn’t even have to be asked, but your penchant for bad humor got the best of you.
  2737. >Shortly after your big moment, Fluttershy rests on your torso with her eyes closed.
  2738. >You sigh, alleviated of the stresses from today’s problems.
  2739. >A shiver runs down your spine as the wind blows against your still damp body.
  2740. >The diminutive pony in your arms does the same, trying to bury herself deeper in your embrace.
  2741. >Spring may be starting, but the temperature sure hasn’t gotten the memo.
  2742. >In contrast, the warm blood spilling down your arm reminds you that you still have a wound to tend to.
  2743. >With your near death experience over, the adrenaline fails to mask the pain anymore.
  2744. >Your arm begins to burn, and doing anything with it sends bolts of agony down the bone.
  2745. >This damn thing might very well be broken.
  2746. >You set down Fluttershy, who is quite reluctant to let go until she sees your injury.
  2747. >”W-we don’t have any first aid out here… How are we going to stop the blood..?”
  2748. >She’s right, but you’ll just have to deal with what you have for now.
  2749. >The shirt you’re wearing is already heavily bloodstained.
  2750. >Might as well put it to good use with this much red on it.
  2751. >Taking off the wet shirt, you wring it out as well as you can.
  2752. >When it seems dry enough, you wrap it around the wound as tight as possible.
  2753. >It’ll hold for now.
  2754. >Time to get out of here.
  2755. >You stand up, only to realize you don’t know where the hell you are.
  2756. >Damn. You need to start carrying a map…
  2757. >Wait… You have a phone!
  2758. >Feeling clever, you take out the device, only to have it not awaken when you try to use it.
  2759. >Oh, right… You were in the river…
  2760. >Fuck.
  2761. >Alright, no need to panic yet. You can just follow the river upstream, right?
  2762. “Do you feel well enough to travel?”
  2763. >She stands, seemingly having little trouble.
  2764. >”I’m a little shaken… But I think I’ll be fine.”
  2765. >You tell her of your plan to find your way back, and she agrees.
  2766. >Taking a wobbly first step, you begin the trek back home.
  2767. >You aren’t sure for how long you’ve been walking.
  2768. >Over time, your legs have started losing strength from kicking so much earlier.
  2769. >”Anon, up ahead..!”
  2770. >Taking your gaze off the ground, you look to where Fluttershy is pointing her hoof.
  2771. >Only a little ways off you spot a small wooden bridge connecting the two sides of the river.
  2772. >Huh, maybe there is a god.
  2773. >Although it looks weak, you and your companion cross it without trouble.
  2774. “Okay… Now we just have to find what direction to move.”
  2775. >If you had a compass, this would be easier.
  2776. >”Um, I could fly up and look for your house if you want…”
  2777. >That’s true, but…
  2778. “Are you really up to it? The past few minutes haven’t exactly been rejuvenating for you.”
  2779. >She smiles, shaking her head.
  2780. >”I’m okay. Besides, you’ll catch me, right?”
  2781. >You’ll what now?
  2782. >In a split second, Fluttershy unsteadily takes to the air.
  2783. “Wait! What did you-“
  2784. >To your astonishment, she’s already above the treetops.
  2785. >Blocking the sun with one hoof, she soon finds what she’s looking for.
  2786. >Strain evident in her face, she points in the direction of your house.
  2787. >”Th-that way!”
  2788. >You become uneasy upon seeing her wings struggle to control her descent.
  2789. >Before you know it, she’s in a near freefall towards the ground.
  2790. >Ignoring your exhaustion, you set off in a full sprint.
  2791. >You dive, catching her in your arms just in time.
  2792. >Thinking quickly, you twist your body to avoid crushing Fluttershy on the landing.
  2793. >A surge of agony rockets through you upon impact.
  2794. “Nngh… Same damn arm…”
  2795. >You look down in your arms to check on the wellbeing of the heavily breathing pony.
  2796. “You okay?”
  2797. >”Yes…”
  2798. >Once more staggering to your feet, you grimace as you point in the direction she pointed to earlier.
  2799. “That way..?”
  2800. >A mumble of confirmation as she nestles into your arm is all you need to teeter on in the proper direction.
  2801. >In what seems like an eternity you finally stumble into your back yard.
  2802. “I’m never leaving this place again… Work can piss off…”
  2803. >Fluttershy fails to hear you, having fallen asleep in your arm shortly after you caught her.
  2804. >Finally in your house, you lie the mare down on your couch.
  2805. >Feeling her coat tells you that she’s still quite wet.
  2806. >Reality begins to cloud over, exhaustion tugging at your consciousness.
  2807. >Not yet. You still have something left to do.
  2808. >Your head throbs with every step you take, but you manage to fetch your hair dryer from the closet.
  2809. >A slight buzz begins to roll through your head as you plug the dryer in.
  2810. >Your aim is rocky and your grip is loose, but you soon have Fluttershy dry as can be.
  2811. >You turn the dryer off and set it aside, falling to your back after.
  2812. >Then, everything goes dark.
  2813.  
  2814. >Darkness.
  2815. >It’s all that you can register from behind your eyelids.
  2816. >That, and a faint sound. It’s not far away, and it isn’t muffled.
  2817. >At some point, you woke up. You don’t know when, though.
  2818. >You attempt to focus in on the unknown noise.
  2819. >The most you can hear is that it’s high pitched and doesn’t seem to be constant.
  2820. >Eventually it becomes clearer.
  2821. >Is that…
  2822. >Crying?
  2823. >Curiosity overpowers your desire to sleep, so you crack an eye open.
  2824. >Filling your vision is the blurry, quivering form of a small quadruped.
  2825. >Reality soon catches up to you, and you realize just what the silhouette is.
  2826. >You weakly attempt to raise your arm, feeling your arm momentarily stick to the carpeting.
  2827. >Gently, you place your hand on Fluttershy’s cheek, using a thumb to wipe away the tears.
  2828. >She freezes at your touch, turning her head to you.
  2829. >”A-anon…”
  2830. >You lift your head a bit.
  2831. >The pony breaks away from your touch, trying to usher you back down.
  2832. >”Don’t move..! You’re too injured!”
  2833. >Though you are woozy, you don’t feel too worse for wear.
  2834. “I’ll be fine… I just need some rest and maybe a visit to the doctor in the morning.”
  2835. >You sit up completely, only feeling slightly dizzy.
  2836. >Fluttershy looks at you, tears still welling in her eyes.
  2837. >”I s-saw you pass out… I… I thought…”
  2838. >She is silenced as you wrap her in a tight hug.
  2839. “It takes a lot more than that to kill me. Don’t worry, you’re stuck with me ‘till the end.”
  2840. >With a tiny sniffle, she nuzzles into your neck.
  2841. >You get to your feet, keeping your new romantic partner in your good arm.
  2842. >A small “Eep!” of surprise echoes in your ear as you do.
  2843. >Yeah, you’re definitely stronger than earlier. You’ll just have to get your arm checked to see if it’s broken tomorrow, and you’re good to go.
  2844. >Turning on the lamp, you look back over to the spot you passed out at.
  2845. >Damn. You lost a lot more blood than you thought.
  2846. >Better get that out while it’s still wet.
  2847. >Setting down Fluttershy, you head to the closet to get some cleaning supplies.
  2848. >As much as it pains you emotionally and physically, you ignore her protests for you to rest.
  2849. >You can understand, but you feel fine right now.
  2850. >A little weak, but fine none the less.
  2851. >Before long, the carpet is as good as new.
  2852. >At this point, Fluttershy finally gets your full attention.
  2853. >”We need to dress your wound…”
  2854. >Looking to your now ruined shirt, you chuckle sheepishly.
  2855. “Yeah, I think you’re right.”
  2856. >The process mirrors that of the first night she arrived.
  2857. >You sit on a chair in your bedroom as she unwraps your arm. The wound doesn’t look as bad now that it’s scabbed over.
  2858. >It’s hard to hold back swears as she disinfects it, but you manage.
  2859. >And before you know it, you have a nice clean bandage wrapped around your injury.
  2860. >You yawn with a stretch, looking at the clock.
  2861. “Wow, it’s later than I thought. I don’t know about you, Fluttershy, but I’m gonna hit the hay.”
  2862. >She sighs with relief, thankful that you are finally resting.
  2863. >”Me too…”
  2864. >You get up, ready to retire to the couch.
  2865. >By the time you reach the door though, you are stopped by a voice nervously calling your name.
  2866. >Turning to her, you smile as you inquire about what she wants.
  2867. >”I-I know we just started our… our… r-relationship, but um…”
  2868. >She clenches her eyes shut as she blurts out her question.
  2869. >”Could you sleep in here tonight… with me…?”
  2870.  
  2871. >Huh. She’s gotten a bit more confident as of late, it would seem.
  2872. >You turn around to face her.
  2873. >She looks away, face as red as a beat.
  2874. >Okay, there could be some improvements in the ways of confidence, but she’s still gotten better.
  2875. “Yeah, of course I could do that!”
  2876. >With your confirmation, her head raises back up and beams a smile that further softens your previously assumed heart of stone.
  2877. >Having no need to change clothes, Fluttershy hops into bed and crawls under the blankets.
  2878. >On the other hand, you change into something a little less bloody.
  2879. >Returning to the bedroom, you find a certain yellow pegasus looking at you with a giddy smile.
  2880. >You give her one of your own, though yours is a bit sleepier, as you crawl into the other side of the bed.
  2881. >When you are settled in under the covers, she turns off the light.
  2882. >The bed shifts under you, and you soon feel warm air gently blowing against your face.
  2883. >As sleep tugs at your eyelids your playful side gets the best of you, and you close the gap between your mouths for the briefest of moments.
  2884. >What almost sounds like a squeaky toy sounds out beside you when you separate.
  2885. >With a tired grin, you throw your arm over Fluttershy’s side.
  2886. >She nuzzles into your collar, her body heat seeping into you.
  2887. >Funny, as much as you’ve done this with other women before, you’ve never felt like this.
  2888. >Whether it just be for getting your rocks off, or the rare chance at material gain, all those previous times don’t compare to this.
  2889. >You actually feel something. This intimacy, this new feeling, it feels…
  2890. >Nice.
  2891. >In minutes, you are asleep.
  2892. >…
  2893. >”Goddamn, you don’t fuck around, do you?”
  2894. “Hmph.”
  2895. >”I mean, c’mon bro, you nearly killed yourself trying to save her! I know a lot of people would have chickened out at that point.”
  2896. “Eh…”
  2897. >DF’s reaction to your spiel of what happened yesterday is not what you were expecting at all.
  2898. >Yeah, he could get loud and hyped about stuff, but he was normally pissed, or drunk. Or piss drunk.
  2899. >”He’s right, I can’t say I’d be ready to break my arm that fast. I’d probably be trying to find some alternative until it was too late.”
  2900. >You sigh.
  2901. “I already said T, the bone is bruised, not broken.”
  2902. >You rub the sore spot on your newly stitched arm.
  2903. >Thank god for pain medication.
  2904. “And you’d do the same if you were in my situation. Look, can we just drop it?”
  2905. >Everyone has their laughs, and the group soon quiets down.
  2906. >”So…”
  2907. >TF begins.
  2908. >”Now that you and her are… together, what of the plan to get her home?”
  2909. >His words hit you like a brick, and you realize just what this implies.
  2910. “I didn’t think that through, actually.”
  2911. >”Pretty bizarre for you, the guy who’d have to plan his course to the bathroom.”
  2912. >You snort, as AF begins to counter him.
  2913. >”Funny, the more crap I hear come out of your mouth, the more I think you and Rainbow are made for each other.”
  2914. >You can smell D’s irritation from here.
  2915. >”Alright, you can cease talking anytime now. Maybe breathing, too.”
  2916. >Their playful argument is tuned out as you contemplate what T asked earlier.
  2917. >What do you do now? Fluttershy has been almost inseparable from you since last night.
  2918. >Losing you would devastate her. You can’t say you’d be too happy to see her go, either.
  2919. >That is, if you don’t take the most obvious choice.
  2920. >Exactly what is keeping you here, anyway?
  2921. >A job that pays well and you enjoy.
  2922. >Friends that you hardly talk to anymore.
  2923. >Family that isn’t really even immediate.
  2924. >Wow, you never realized just how… empty your life has been up until now.
  2925. >And you’ve always been okay with it.
  2926. >A voice calling your name breaks you out of your trance.
  2927. “Huh?”
  2928. >”I said “Have you thought of anything yet?”.”
  2929. >Your shoulders slump a bit as you reply.
  2930. “Gotta say T, if I’m able, it would probably be best for the both of us if I stick around as long as my body will let me.”
  2931. >”So, does that mean..?”
  2932. “I’m going to be making a dimension hop with her.”
  2933. >He snickers.
  2934. >”Didn’t think I’d ever hear you say that you’d want to go to Equestria.”
  2935. >DashFag chimes back in.
  2936. >”Yeah, I’d been thinking you were a damn normie this whole time!”
  2937. >TF lets out a grunt in response before speaking again.
  2938. >”Well, I don’t think that’ll be a problem if we can get the portal open. It should be able to fit eight beings. Uh-”
  2939. >The last sound that comes out of his mouth is one of surprise, as if he just remembered something important.
  2940. >Hold on a second…
  2941. “Eight, huh? Are you going, too?”
  2942. >He lets out a small giggle before speaking.
  2943. >”Yeah, Twilight probably would kill me if I said I wasn’t coming back…”
  2944. >”Boy, she must’ve taken a liking to you, then.”
  2945. >This time, a sigh.
  2946. >You’ve already pieced it together. Now you just have to wait for the village idiot to realize.
  2947. >”You could say that I guess. Maybe a little stronger than just “like”, though…”
  2948. >Three…
  2949. >Two…
  2950. >One…
  2951. >”Ooohh, so that means…”
  2952. >”He and Twilight are together.”
  2953. >Hm, wonder if AF put it together as fast as you did.
  2954. >D remains silent for a while, until he finally asks a question.
  2955. >”So we have two literal horsefuckers in here now?”
  2956. >You slap your face, even though he kind of has a point.
  2957. >...
  2958. >So, funny enough, their relationship started off this morning.
  2959. >It started pretty typically, too.
  2960. >Two friends, realized they had stuff in common, one admitted to having a bit of a crush, and it all escalated from there.
  2961. >Just like with you though, it was the pony who admitted to having feelings first.
  2962. >It’s just like the thread said.
  2963. >Looking at the clock, you remember telling your boss that you’d come in to help with something in a while.
  2964. “Alright, I gotta get going to work in a bit. I’ll see you guys whenever.”
  2965. >You get your goodbyes one at a time, until you get a question from D.
  2966. >”Seeya man. What time is it for you, anyway?”
  2967. >Even though you just looked, you check the clock again.
  2968. “About 2:10 right now. You?”
  2969. >”Same here, actually. What state are you in, anyway?”
  2970. >You hesitate upon the thought of giving personal info out over the internet, but you realize this might actually be necessary in the near future.
  2971. >Upon telling him, he responds in bewilderment.
  2972. >”I live there, too.”
  2973. >”…So do I.”
  2974. >That was TF.
  2975. >”I actually do, too.”
  2976. >AF.
  2977. “T, which city do you live in?”
  2978. >”I guess I’d have to say eventually…”
  2979. >The channel explodes when he reveals his location.
  2980. “So, you’re telling me that we all live in the same country, state, AND city?”
  2981. >”How the FUCK didn’t we find this out sooner?”
  2982.  
  2983. >You walk out your back door, feeling drained from a particularly long day of work.
  2984. >Your boss wasn’t too keen on having you around with your injury yesterday, but you convinced him to let you stick around.
  2985. >Luckily, that carried over today as well.
  2986. >While cursing yourself for being a workaholic internally, you look around the plot of grass and trees behind your house.
  2987. >You spot Fluttershy tending to some local wildlife. Funny how that’s become a normal sight now.
  2988. >She waves at you with a carefree smile, something you return fairly easily with your good arm.
  2989. >Making your way to her position, you begin to think about a few things.
  2990. >You’ve been doing it a lot lately, just getting lost in your own thoughts when no one is talking to you.
  2991. >Nothing is worrying you too much, but you can’t really say that your thoughts aren’t plagued.
  2992. >One thing that keeps bugging you is something you keep pushing away whenever you think about it.
  2993. >Why do you like this mare?
  2994. >Is it really as simple as enjoying each other’s company?
  2995. >You had plenty of female friends that you liked spending time with, but you never felt anything like this for them though.
  2996. >Why’s that, then?
  2997. >Well for one, they weren’t as cute.
  2998. >Man, you really ARE going soft. Oh well, not like it’s a bad thing, right?
  2999. >You’ll save this for another time; you’re only a few steps away from her, now.
  3000. >Fluttershy closes the gap, flying up to you and giving you a peck on the cheek.
  3001. >”Welcome back, Anon. How was work today?”
  3002. >Through a yawn, you answer.
  3003. “The usual, really. Injury hindered me a bit, though. Kinda tired from it all. How’s about you? Your day been well so far?”
  3004. >She looks to your arm, happiness falling from her face.
  3005. >Damn it, you shouldn’t have mentioned that. That always makes her sad.
  3006. >Using your injured arm, you pull her into a hug.
  3007. “C’mon, we went over this before. No need to feel guilty. If I kept my big mouth shut, it wouldn’t have happened.”
  3008. >You nuzzle into her mane, noticing that she doesn’t smell as much of animals as you expected.
  3009. >Eventually, she returns your hug.
  3010. >”I know… I just feel like if I wasn’t so jumpy, it could have been avoided.”
  3011. >You snicker, finding the mutual guilt to be a bit of a mood lightener.
  3012. >Maybe you two can relate more than you thought.
  3013. “Well, I’ll tell you something. I still feel bad that I tore you away from your home and friends. If I didn’t, then-“
  3014. >”I wouldn’t have ever met you.”
  3015. >Your heart skips a beat.
  3016. >Is this really how much you mean to her?
  3017. >Enough for her to hold you above her home and loved ones?
  3018. >Lifting your head, you speak with a hint of surprise.
  3019. “You… really mean that? But…”
  3020. >She moves your head against your chest.
  3021. >”Well, all of my friends are here, and they are a lot closer than we thought. I’m almost certain that we’ll find a way back. We might even be able to travel back and forth!”
  3022. >You never thought of that. It would definitely be nice to be able to come back here.
  3023. >Soon, the two of you separate.
  3024. “So, I never got an answer. How was your day?”
  3025. >Fluttershy giggles as she lands.
  3026. >”It was good, thank you. Though, it’s better now that I have some company…”
  3027. >You look behind her, noticing a group of various creatures waiting patiently to be attended to.
  3028. “Gotta say, I’m real impressed with what you can do. Usually these guys run away if you’re so much as ten yards away.”
  3029. >Her cheeks redden at your compliment.
  3030. >”Well, you just have to know how to handle them… Want to feed one..?”
  3031. >Looking over the group of small critters, you shrug.
  3032. “Sure, why not.”
  3033. >You can probably afford rabies treatment.
  3034. >Grabbing an apple in her mouth, she moves it over to you.
  3035. >Taking it gently, you kneel down and hold it out a distance from a nearby rabbit.
  3036. >Slowly it hops over, possibly smelling it.
  3037. >It takes a few curious sniffs, then a small bite.
  3038. >Soon, it begins nibbling away at the sweet flesh of the fruit in your hand.
  3039. >You look over at Fluttershy, seeing her eyes shine with excitement.
  3040. >After eating its fill, the rabbit hops off to a different part of the yard.
  3041. >Placing the apple back down for any other interested parties, you stand back up and turn your head back to Fluttershy.
  3042. >”That was great! You handled it really well…”
  3043. >It wasn’t really anything that big.
  3044. >”Do you want to stick around..? Maybe help out a bit?”
  3045. >To your surprise, hanging around these animals hasn’t been too bad. It’s actually pretty relaxing.
  3046. >With another shrug, you give your answer.
  3047. “I could do that.”
  3048. >She smiles, letting out a small squeal of joy before ushering you over to a different location.
  3049. >Time ticks by as the two of you feed, water, and even groom various animals from the woods.
  3050. >At one point, you even got to touch a deer. That was pretty interesting.
  3051. >Finally, with the setting of the sun, the two of you finish up with the rest of the wildlife.
  3052. >As you head back to your house to make dinner, you tell her what you thought of today..
  3053. “You know, I actually enjoyed this. Having some outdoor time, helping these guys out, it’s not half bad.”
  3054. >You gaze over to your companion, who looks like she can hardly contain her excitement.
  3055. >”I’m so glad that you feel that way. Doing this is one of my favorite activities…”
  3056. >She begins to tell you of her home, and how she’d love for you to see everything it has.
  3057. >From chicken coops and birdhouses, to a field and knotholes for mice, it almost sounds like her property covers half of town.
  3058. “I’d love to see it sometime. It sounds like a great place.”
  3059. >You take a deep breath of fresh spring air.
  3060. >No longer do your thoughts plague you.
  3061. >You can feel it in your bones.
  3062. >This relationship is going to work out great.
  3063.  
  3064. >You never imagined this day would come so quickly.
  3065. >You hoped it would, for her sake, but you really didn’t think it would happen this fast.
  3066. >However, this is Twilight we’re talking about. The pony who fixes a problem by writing magic and becoming royalty all in one day because of it.
  3067. “This portal, how stable is it?”
  3068. >”Well, that’s the problem.”
  3069. >Damn it, TF.
  3070. >”You see, it works… in theory.”
  3071. >RF, who has been sitting back and listening until now pipes up.
  3072. >”In theory? How do you mean?”
  3073. >He replies, sounding as if he is trying to remember something he forgot.
  3074. >”Well, the spell is to the point where Twilight can get a portal open, but she’s not sure if the magic is safe for biological material or not. You could come through the other side completely safe and sound, or you could stick your hand in, only to pull out a stum.”
  3075. >You lean back in your chair.
  3076. “So what, is this some Terminator shit or something? And what’s the deal anyway, she knows how to teleport, and that doesn’t kill her unless you take some other theories into mind.”
  3077. >”I’ll be honest. I don’t understand half of what she says when it comes to magic. I asked her the same thing, and got lost two seconds in. There’s also a, very slim mind you, chance of the portal blowing up as you walk through it.”
  3078. >Damn.
  3079. “What about longevity? Can it be used over and over, or is it just a onetime thing?”
  3080. >”Just once, apparently. She’s have to figure out a bunch of other crap to make a portal from Equestria to Earth. She could make as many portals from here to there as she wants.”
  3081. >So much for seeing home again…
  3082. >AF asks something next.
  3083. >”Have either of you tested it in any way?”
  3084. >TF simply takes a deep breath before answering.
  3085. >”I’m not afraid to admit that I’m not too keen on testing it. Twilight doesn’t want me to, either. And if she goes and we lose her, well… Yeah.”
  3086. >”No more portal.”
  3087. >AF says what TF preferred not to elaborate on.
  3088. “Well, fuck…”
  3089. >”Well, we all apparently live in the same area, as unbelievable as it is. What if one of us tested it?”
  3090. >Huh…
  3091. “Not a bad idea, R. Any volunteers?”
  3092. >Silence.
  3093. “Don’t all jump at the same time…”
  3094. >”I like having my limbs, bro.”
  3095. “I’d expect nothing less from you, D.”
  3096. >”You’d better believe it.”
  3097. >No one else has responded.
  3098. “Alright, well. How’s about we do this.”
  3099. >You grab a die from your desk and turn on your webcam.
  3100. “Yo PenkFeg, you there?”
  3101. >The only person to not speak this whole time finally makes his presence know.
  3102. >”Yeah, sorry. Was watching a video.”
  3103. >After bringing him up to speed on the whole thing, you present your idea to the group.
  3104. ”Alright. Seeing as we’re all here, why not draw straws? We’ll use a die instead.”
  3105. >”How would we do that?”
  3106. >Holding it up to the camera, you explain.
  3107. “Well T, I was thinking. Each of us get a number. Whichever number the dice lands on is the vict-I mean tester.”
  3108. >Murmurs reverberate throughout the group, until everyone eventually agrees.
  3109. “Okay. TF will be one, D will be two. I’ll be three, Apple will be four, Rara will be five, and PF will be six.”
  3110. >Everyone confirms their numbers, and you tilt the camera towards the predicted landing zone of the die.
  3111. >With a flick of your wrist, it flies out of your hands, bouncing a few times before rolling to a stop right where the camera is pointing.
  3112. “…”
  3113. >”Well…”
  3114. >AF starts to speak.
  3115. >You look down at the dice on the surface of your desk.
  3116. >In plain sight, printed on the upward face of the cube, you see three dots in a diagonal line.
  3117. >”Looks like your lucky day, Anon.”
  3118. >Yeah, that’s some luck alright…
  3119. >You take a deep breath, not really resigned to your possible death yet.
  3120. “I guess it is. T, I’ll send you my address privately. I’m at least having some say in this, and those are my terms.”
  3121. >”Alright dude, works for me.”
  3122. >You look around your room.
  3123. >Now there’s something you never would have considered for a long time.
  3124. >This might be one of the last times you see this place, whether the plan succeeds or fails.
  3125. >Welp, better tell Fluttershy the news.
  3126.  
  3127. >”What?!”
  3128. >Wow, you’ve never heard Fluttershy this loud before.
  3129. >You’d just gotten done explaining the whole portal situation to her.
  3130. >Seems she doesn’t like the part about possible harm befalling the test subject.
  3131. “Well, it’s just like I said, really. Twilight has a portal that might work-“
  3132. >You fail to finish your statement as the shaken mare cuts you off.
  3133. >”Yes, “might work”, and you said you’re going to test it! I’m not a unicorn, b-but something like this… it could be dangerous..!”
  3134. >The worry on her face is apparent, so you stoop down to eye level to make an attempt at pacifying the normally hushed pegasus.
  3135. “I know it is, but we’re not going to get anywhere without some kind of field test.”
  3136. >You gently touch her cheek with your hand.
  3137. “There’s no need to fret over it. If we do this carefully and don’t rush it, the worst case scenario would be a minor injury that’s fully recoverable.”
  3138. >And just as you thought it looked like she was going to come back down to earth, a look of panic reappears on her face.
  3139. >”Injury? B-but Anon, you’re already injured!”
  3140. >Damn it. You really need to work on your people skills.
  3141. “There’s only a small chance that will happen. I-“
  3142. >She shakes her head, pushing your hand away in the process.
  3143. >”Anon… I-I’m sorry, I know this is important, but please… Don’t put yourself in danger.”
  3144. >The sound of her distress pains you, and the worry on her face only adds to that.
  3145. >As much as it hurts you to go against her wishes, you press on.
  3146. “I’m sorry, too. I want to do this. To help you, to help your friends.”
  3147. >Her face falls, as does her head just a bit.
  3148. >You dig deep into your mind, trying to think of something, anything to put her at ease.
  3149. >Drawing a blank, you prepare to pull something out of thin air and try to roll with it from there.
  3150. >Then, Fluttershy speaks up.
  3151. >”If you insist, then…”
  3152. >You return your gaze to her, and notice she is now looking back up at you.
  3153. >Determination fills her eyes as she speaks her next words.
  3154. >”…I’m going with you.”
  3155. >You respond, voice filled with surprise.
  3156. “Are you sure?”
  3157. >”I’m not going to just sit by and do nothing while you could get hurt. I want to be with you for this.”
  3158. >You sit down, deciding to take some time to think it through.
  3159. >The way you understand this whole thing, it’s a bit like Russian roulette.
  3160. >You might shoot yourself on the first go, and you might not.
  3161. >Well, like you said before, if you take it easy, the most you might come out with is a few minor burns or something.
  3162. >Looking back at the pony, you give your answer.
  3163. “I can accept that. Thank you, Fluttershy, for caring so deeply about me.”
  3164. >A smile replaces her stern gaze, something that is much more welcome.
  3165. >”I’m glad to hear it.”
  3166. >She leans in and wraps a hoof around your back.
  3167. >As you return her embrace, you realize something.
  3168. >You’ll have to be more careful with things like this from now on.
  3169. >You have much more to lose now.
  3170.  
  3171. >Tossing and turning in your bed is becoming a regular occurrence tonight.
  3172. >You were stoked to start sleeping in your own bed again, and expected to start sleeping a lot easier.
  3173. >And you have, even harder than you expected as a matter of fact.
  3174. >That might have something to do with your new bedmate, though.
  3175. >You take a deep breath, thinking of the events to come.
  3176. >Tomorrow night is the night that may be the beginning of the end, and to be honest, you’re a bit nervous about the whole thing.
  3177. >This isn’t just moving to a new neighborhood, or city or state.
  3178. >You are possibly going to a completely different dimension. A new world.
  3179. >Now there’s something you’ve never expected to be thinking to yourself.
  3180. >Well, you might be if you were about to die, but…
  3181. >Wait, no. That could still be happening, too.
  3182. >You adjust your position once more, this time causing the small equine at your side to stir and mumble a bit.
  3183. “Sorry, did I wake you?”
  3184. >Said in a hushed tone.
  3185. >”Mm… Just dosing off…”
  3186. >She’s certainly more relaxed than you are right now.
  3187. >With one last heavy breath, you roll over and wrap your arm around her.
  3188. >Her warmth combats the chill that lingers in the room from the early spring weather as she snuggles down into your torso.
  3189. >No use in worrying about the future now, probably.
  3190. >You’re starting to get too tired to worry anymore, anyways.
  3191. >…
  3192. >Dawn of the maybe kind of Final Day.
  3193. >You and Fluttershy have eaten breakfast, and you’re going through the usual cleaning routine.
  3194. >For the next four days, you have no work due to some workplace renovations.
  3195. >No need to leave the house today.
  3196. >Now all you have to do is kill some time until TF arrives this afternoon.
  3197. >You stretch, the muscles in your body protesting a bit from the strain of yesterday’s outdoor work.
  3198. >Your injured arm throbs, sending a jolt of pain down the bone.
  3199. >Both the doc and Fluttershy have insisted that you rest it, but you haven’t exactly been cooperative when it comes to that.
  3200. >The pain hasn’t gotten much better since the incident a few days back.
  3201. >You huff in annoyance.
  3202. “Guess I better listen for once…”
  3203. >Though, if you’re going to be a pile of dust in a few hours, would there be any use?
  3204. >Bah.
  3205. >You shake your head, trying to rid your mind of the intrusive thoughts.
  3206. >What’s with the cynicism lately?
  3207. >Looking up, you call out to the mare cleaning off one of the stove burners.
  3208. >”Hm?”
  3209.  “I’m going to rest today. Hoping to get my arm better. Sorry I won’t be able to join you outside.”
  3210. >Her smile almost glows as she aims it towards you.
  3211. >”Oh, I’m so happy you’re finally taking the advice! I don’t like seeing you in pain when you’re moving your arm.”
  3212. >Now all you have to do is find something to occupy yourself.
  3213. >An hour passes with you finding a whole lot of nothing in the ways of entertainment.
  3214. >You flop down on your couch, still finding nothing in the ways of entertainment.
  3215. >Boredom fucking sucks.
  3216. >Now that the snow has melted, you can actually get some work done outside you’ve wanted to do all winter.
  3217. >And now you can’t because of your damn arm.
  3218. >Oh well, that’s life.
  3219. >Pulling out your phone, you spy one person in the voice channel.
  3220. >OP. You haven’t seen him in a while.
  3221. >Might as well at least talk to somebody while you wait.
  3222. >Jumping in, you throw out a greeting.
  3223. “Heya old timer, how’re ya doing today? Haven’t seen you around lately.”
  3224. >For a while, the only sound from his end is some fairly loud background noise.
  3225. >it almost sounds like…
  3226. >A UFO or something. A pulsing sound along with a faint buzzing. Like something you’d only hear out of a sci-fi movie.
  3227. >Doesn’t sound like any machine you’ve ever heard.
  3228. “Uh… Hello?”
  3229. >Upon your last few words, you hear someone in the background, and the sound begins to wind down like that of an engine being turned off.
  3230. >”Oh, Anon! Didn’t hear you enter the call. What’s going on with you today?”
  3231. “Not much right now, just loafing around. What about you? Those were some strange noises I was hearing.”
  3232. >He laughs.
  3233. >”Oh, that thing? Just an old air conditioner I’m trying to fix up. Figured I’d get a good price if I find the right buyer.”
  3234. “Must be a big one if it sounds like that.”
  3235. >With another couple of chuckles, he responds.
  3236. >”Well, it’s fairly large, yeah. Definitely bigger than any home central air unit.”
  3237. >Your phone beeps, and another voice chimes in.
  3238. >”Hey guys.”
  3239. >The voice is easily recognized as belonging to TF.
  3240. “Oh, hey dude.”
  3241. >”Welcome in.”
  3242. >He responds quickly, taken by surprise.
  3243. >”Oh, hey OP. Where’ve you been?”
  3244. >The older man lets out a bit of a hum before giving his reply.
  3245. >”Eh, been a bit busy the past few days. Just got back from a vacation.”
  3246. “Really? Where to?”
  3247. >With a chuckle, he gives a sarcastic answer.
  3248. >”I spent a few days in Equestria. Decided to cause some havoc somewhere else for a change, y’know?”
  3249. >You and TF give out short snorts of amusement, a wordless gesture for him to tell where he actually went.
  3250. >”Heh, alright. I went a few cities over to visit my family for a while.”
  3251. >The small talk continues for a while before you receive a private message from TF.
  3252. >In short, it asks you to join a voice channel that he just made.
  3253. >You do so, muting your voice in the other one in the process.
  3254. ”Hi, something wrong, T?
  3255. >”Nah, I just had to ask you something. I didn’t want OP to hear about it though, seeing as it has to do with the ponies.”
  3256. “Don’t you think it’s a bit strange that he made the thread, but hasn’t really talked about it all that much?”
  3257. >You can almost feel his shrug from the other side.
  3258. >”Kind of, maybe. I mean, yeah, it seems like if he made a thread that had effects like this, he might know. But he might not, either.”
  3259. “Or he could be keeping it a secret. Maybe we should just come out and ask him? It’s pretty much how we did it with all the others.”
  3260. >After thinking for a bit, he gives his answer.
  3261. >”Maybe we could. I was hoping he would pick up on the names though and ask about it, maybe reveal something himself.”
  3262. “Eh. Who knows? Anyway what did you want to ask me?”
  3263. >He responds in surprise, just now remembering what he wanted to ask.
  3264. >”Oh, right! Mind if I come over in an hour instead of later? Twilight told me she wants to try the spell and still have time to work on it if it goes wrong.”
  3265. >You look at the time, finding no issue with the proposal.
  3266. “Sure, I’m game.”
  3267. >”Alright, I’ll be right over!”
  3268.  
  3269. >Shortly after you and TF came to an agreement, he logged off to head to your place.
  3270. >With how close he is, he should be here in about forty minutes or so.
  3271. >The just leaves you laying on the couch, making occasional small talk with OP and trying to push him into revealing any information that might be useful.
  3272. >Ever since the six of you met, you just kind of stopped looking for answers outside the group.
  3273. >No matter how hard you try though, you fail to get anything of interest.
  3274. >When you’ve run out of ideas, you mute your mic and let your thoughts drift off as you stare at the ceiling.
  3275. >The sound of random tools being used coming from the older man’s end eventually lulls you into a light sleep.
  3276. >You don’t know how much time has passed, but the noises from the other end cease to exist after a while.
  3277. >It’s enough to bring you out of your trance and make you notice that you are snoring.
  3278. >Must’ve been a heavier sleep than you thought.
  3279. >As your mind clears, you notice a slight difference in the area you’re lying in.
  3280. >You don’t even have to look to tell.
  3281. >A pillow is under your head, and a blanket over your body.
  3282. >That was definitely a deep sleep. You didn’t even notice this happening!
  3283. >You note to thank Fluttershy for watching over you while you slept.
  3284. >Finding your phone on the floor, you pick it up and check the time.
  3285. >You’ve been out for almost half an hour.
  3286. “Looks like it’s not going to be long before-“
  3287. >In the distance you hear the faint sound of a car getting closer.
  3288. >The sound gets louder until it is right in front of your house.
  3289. >However, unlike the cars that you hear usually, the sound of this one doesn’t fade out again, it gets louder yet.
  3290. >You uncover yourself and walk over to your window.
  3291. >In your driveway sits a plain looking blue car with its engine still running.
  3292. >T never told you what kind of car he has, but you rarely ever get visitors, so you open your front door and wave to the person in the driveway.
  3293. >The engine dies down and the driver seat door swings open.
  3294. >Out steps a slightly heavyset man wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts.
  3295. >The short brown hair on his head matches the stubble growing on the peach colored skin of his face.
  3296. >Overall, you could describe him in one word: Average.
  3297. >He waves back as you step out of your house.
  3298. >”Hey!”
  3299. >That voice is definitely familiar.
  3300. “Hey T, glad you could find the place! You made it faster than I expected.”
  3301. >He laughs as he walks up to you.
  3302. >”Yeah, I really got lucky with the traffic today.”
  3303. >You bring your hand out just as he does the same and you meet each other in the middle for a handshake.
  3304. >His large, rough hands have a firm grip as you exchange a quick shake.
  3305. “Come on inside, I can show you around a bit.”
  3306. >Letting go, he nods.
  3307. >”Alright, give me one second though.”
  3308. >The man turns around and calls to the car.
  3309. >”Hey Twi, all clear! You can come out!”
  3310. >You don’t know how you forgot about that. It’s kind of the whole reason he’s here.
  3311. >The noise of the passenger seat opening and closing comes from the other side of his car.
  3312. >Next is the sound of hooves hitting cement.
  3313. >Rounding the front of the vehicle is a purple pony very similar to Fluttershy.
  3314. >This one has a horn though.
  3315. >She trots over to his side, looking up at you curiously, but also with a hint of excitement.
  3316. >”So, Anon- wait.”
  3317. >He stops.
  3318. >”We’re talking in the real world now. Mind if I get your real name?”
  3319. >You smirk and let out a bit of a laugh.
  3320. “You’ve been using it, pal. Anonymous. Anon’s preferred though.”
  3321. >He looks at you as if you’re insane, which may or may not actually be true at this point, until he finally accepts that you are serious.
  3322. >”Your parents didn’t have a lot of faith in you, did they?”
  3323. >You shrug.
  3324. “Who knows? Even now it’s hard to tell what’s going through their heads. Anyway, now that you have my name, what’s yours?”
  3325. >”You can call me Trevor. And I this lovely mare down here is Twilight Sparkle.”
  3326. >She blushes at his compliment and looks away with an embarrassed smile.
  3327. “Nice to meet you, Twilight. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
  3328. >The purple alicorn turns her gaze back to you and holds out a hoof.
  3329. >”It’s very nice to meet you too, Anonymous. Trevor’s told me about you and the rest of the other humans that have been helping my friends. I just want to say thank you for doing this. It means a lot to me, and I’m sure it means a lot to them, too.”
  3330. >Crouching down, you take her hoof in your hand, and she grips you the best she can with it.
  3331. >After a light shake, you stand back up.
  3332. “Speaking of your friends, how’s about we go see one? I’m sure Fluttershy would love to see you again.”
  3333.  
  3334. >You turn on your heels, waving your hand towards your door.
  3335. >The sounds of hoof and footsteps follow behind, telling you that they understood your signal.
  3336. >You step into your empty living room, leaving your front door open for the guests.
  3337. “Hey Fluttershy, you in here? We have guests!”
  3338. >Your voice echoes through the house, but there is no response.
  3339. >She’s probably still outside.
  3340. >Figuring you can trust them not to steal whatever worthless stuff you have in here, you tell them that you’ll be right back and to make themselves at home.
  3341. >You go out back and just as you predicted, there is the shy pony you’ve been looking for.
  3342. “Fluttershy!”
  3343. >The mare in question sets down a bowl of food she was preparing and turns to look at you.
  3344. >”Oh, hello Anon. Did you sleep well?”
  3345. >You shrug.
  3346. “Could have been a bit longer, but I’m not gonna complain. Thanks for the pillow and blanket, by the way.”
  3347. >She giggles as you ruffle her mane a bit.
  3348. >”It was my pleasure. I don’t mean to be rude but, didn’t you say you were going to rest?”
  3349. >A grin creeps across your face.
  3350. “Well, I was, but something came up. Could you come inside with me real fast?”
  3351. >She looks at you questioningly, but complies with your request soon enough.
  3352. >When you get inside, you hear Trevor and Twilight conversing amongst themselves.
  3353. >You look down to Fluttershy to gage her reaction. Her ears perk up at the familiar voice in the other room.
  3354. >Stepping aside at the doorway, you let her go in first.
  3355. >Her suspicions are confirmed upon walking in and seeing the new human and familiar pony standing in the middle of the room.
  3356. >You told them to make themselves at home, they could at least use the couch.
  3357. >Twilight and Fluttershy meet in the middle of the room, staring at each other in silence.
  3358. >Trevor and you step off to the side to let them have their moment.
  3359.  
  3360. >Neither of the ponies know what to say.
  3361. >Though they have been treated very well, the events of the past few weeks have taken their toll.
  3362. >Their emotions soon take control however, and lead them to simultaneously embrace each other in a tight embrace.
  3363. >”Fluttershy, It’s so great to see you safe and sound…”
  3364. >The purple princess cannot keep the smile off of her face, nor the sting of the joyful tear that slips out from one eye.
  3365. >”I’m glad to see you too, Twilight… I’ve been so worried…”
  3366. >They part from one another, huge smiles plastered on their faces.
  3367. >”I feel like it’s been forever since we last saw each other…”
  3368. >Fluttershy brushes back a stray lock of her mane that fell out of place during the hug.
  3369. >”It really does, especially after seeing each other almost every day. It almost feels unreal that we’re finally face to face once more. It feels weird just saying something like that.”
  3370. >”I was worried we’d never see each other again…”
  3371. >Twilight turns her head to the two of you.
  3372. >”But thanks to Trevor, Anon, and their friends, we can!”
  3373. >Both mares look up admiringly at you two.
  3374. >You look to the side, uncomfortably scratching at part of your injured arm.
  3375. >”It was nothing, really. Anon was the one who had the idea to form the group to help you all. I just went along with him.”
  3376. >Shooting an annoyed glare at the man, you just get an amused smirk in return.
  3377. “Well, T over here was the one who convinced me to tell him about the situation. If he hadn’t of said anything, we’d probably not be here right now.”
  3378. >He rolls his eyes and his smirk grows.
  3379. >”That may be true, but-“
  3380. >Twilight laughs and breaks apart the battle of modesty.
  3381. >”Okay, okay, we get it. The point is, none of you had to do this, and we’re both very grateful for it.”
  3382. >Fluttershy just nods her head in agreement.
  3383. >”Not that I want to break up this moment, but shouldn’t we be getting to work here?”
  3384. >Oh, right. You were so caught up in the moment, you completely forgot the original purpose of them coming over.
  3385. “Weren’t you the one that was teasing me on the night we first met about being a workaholic?”
  3386. >”What can I say? Twi’s probably rubbed off on me.”
  3387. >This catches her attention, and she looks to him and pouts.
  3388. >”I’m not a workaholic…”
  3389.  
  3390. “So, what all do we need for the experiment?”
  3391. >Twilight perks back up and starts to explain the plan.
  3392. >”It’s quite simple really. All we need is a decent sized mirror, and a preferably open area. We should have the mirror in the back of Trevor’s car.”
  3393. >Trevor’s eyes widen in surprise.
  3394. >”Good thing you remembered to pack that, I completely forgot!”
  3395. >This time it’s Twilight’s turn to look surprised.
  3396. >”I thought you said YOU were packing it?”
  3397. >The man goes silence.
  3398. >”You didn’t…”
  3399. >”…You’re right, I didn’t.”
  3400. >The alicorn brings her hoof to her face in irritation.
  3401. >”Great…”
  3402. >You scratch your chin in contemplation for a bit.
  3403. “I think I’ve got a full body mirror in the basement. Conveniently, that’s also a roomy area.”
  3404. >Twilight looks at you, hope shining in her eyes.
  3405. >”Really? That’s great!”
  3406. >The other human in the room claps his hands together.
  3407. >”Alright, let’s look for it!”
  3408. >You depart for your basement, ushering everyone to follow you.
  3409. “C’mon, this way.”
  3410. >You arrive before the other three and get a head start on finding the mirror.
  3411. >”Gotta say Anon, this is a pretty nice place you’ve got.”
  3412. “Thanks man. I actually put a decent amount of effort into getting it.”
  3413. >Honestly, this basement is nothing but a mess of different things you tossed down here because you weren’t using them anymore, but never knew if you were going to need them in the future.
  3414. >Now, if only you could just find this damn mirror.
  3415. >Maybe you could try to play up some of this stuff and have T take some of it off your hands.
  3416. >Speaking of T, you hear him trying to make small talk with Fluttershy.
  3417. >”I don’t believe we ever introduced ourselves. You may already know, but my name is Trevor. Twilight’s told me about you, but how’s about you tell me yourself?”
  3418. >”O-oh… I’m Flutter…”
  3419. >The last part of her name trails off, pretty much inaudible.
  3420. >”Nice to meet you, Fluttershy.”
  3421. >Uncomfortably she nods her head, looking away awkwardly.
  3422. “Found it!”
  3423. >Twilight walks up to it and begins to inspect it closely.
  3424. “Will this be fine?”
  3425. >”This will do nicely.”
  3426. >You pump your fist.
  3427. “Great.”
  3428. >Picking up the mirror, you lug it over to the big open space in the middle of your basement.
  3429. >Once it’s steady you step back, allowing Twilight to take the lead.
  3430. >”Okay Anon, Trevor tells me that you’re going to be testing this? Do you know the risks?”
  3431. >You nod in affirmation.
  3432. “Yes, I’m going to perform the test.”
  3433. >A tug at your pant leg makes you look down towards the source of it.
  3434. >You see Fluttershy looking up at you expectantly.
  3435. >Right. You really don’t want her risking herself like this, but even in this situation, that face is hard to say no to.
  3436. “Fluttershy also wants to join me.”
  3437. >A gentle smile forms on her face at your compliance with her request.
  3438. >Just as you’d expect however, Twilight almost instantly explodes at the mention of it.
  3439. >”What?! Fluttershy, are you sure about this? It’s really dangerous!”
  3440. >She nods, surprisingly stern about her decision.
  3441. >”I don’t want Anon to have to go through this alone. He… he really means a lot to me. I’m not sure what I’d do if he was gone…”
  3442. >You look to the pegasus, who looks to you with what you can only call infatuation.
  3443. >The winged unicorn looks between the both of you, slowly picking up on what’s going on between the two of you.
  3444. >”Wait, you two…?”
  3445. >A simple nod from both of you is all it takes.
  3446. >She looks over to her partner, and he smiles at her.
  3447. >”I guess that makes four of us. Anyway… Are you two really sure you want to do this? You could end up hurt, or worse if you aren’t careful.”
  3448. >You look to Fluttershy, then back to Twilight and give a thumbs up.
  3449. >She tilts her head in confusion.
  3450. “I’m ready.”
  3451. >”Me too.”
  3452. >The purple mare sighs, and turns around.
  3453. “I’m going to need to concentrate to do this. So before it begins, let me wish you good luck.”
  3454. >You both thank her, then she closes her eyes.
  3455. >Her horn begins to glow, and she aims it to the mirror.
  3456. >A bright beam of very light purple light shoots to the glass of the mirror, and the surface starts to illuminate.
  3457. >Soon, the beam coming from Twilight’s horn spreads out across the surface of the glass and becomes more transparent near the end.
  3458. >”I-it’s ready! I won’t be able to hold it for too long, so just try to make it quick!”
  3459. >You nod and run up to the mirror, fighting your instincts to stay put.
  3460. >Fluttershy does the same.
  3461. >You stare into the bright surface of what was once the glass for a moment before inching closer.
  3462. >She said to be quick, but something comes to your mind as you’re about to jump through.
  3463. >Thinking logically, you reach out a hand.
  3464. >No heat coming from the portal.
  3465. >You lightly touch it, and your fingers pass through. No pain so far.
  3466. >Pulling out your digits shows no sign of damage.
  3467. >Taking it a step further, you place one hand on each side of the frame of the mirror and stick your head through.
  3468. >At first, you are pretty much blind. You practically just stuck your head right into a spotlight.
  3469. >Your vision eventually clears, and you can see your surroundings.
  3470. >As fast as you stuck your head through, you yank it back out, falling backwards and almost landing on Fluttershy, who had followed behind you.
  3471. “What the hell was that?!”
  3472. >What you saw back there…
  3473. >It’ll probably follow you to the end of your days.
  3474. >The spell breaks, and the mirror returns to normal.
  3475. >”What? What’s wrong?”
  3476. “The portal, Twilight! It didn’t lead to a land of ponies, it led to…”
  3477. >You shudder.
  3478. >The mare looks at the mirror in contemplation.
  3479. >”So, the portal led to the wrong place? My calculations must have been off…”
  3480. >You pick yourself up, while Fluttershy helps you dust yourself off.
  3481. “Tell me about it… If I wanted to be traumatized, I would have joined the corps!”
  3482.  
  3483. >Fluttershy moves around you, looking over your body for injuries.
  3484. >”Are you hurt?”
  3485. >Your breathing soon returns to normal.
  3486. “No, I’m fine thanks.”
  3487. >You ruffle her mane in affection.
  3488. >Looking at the purple pony who made the portal, you inquire.
  3489. “Just what happened back there anyway?”
  3490. >Twilight pulls out a book of what you presume are notes and starts to look over them.
  3491. >”I’m not really sure… I could remove a few of the stabilizers to improve accuracy. That would make it really dangerous, though...”
  3492. >You shrug.
  3493. “Danger’s what I was expecting. I don’t see why not.”
  3494. >The pegasus at your side gives you an uncomfortable look.
  3495. >”A-are you sure?”
  3496. >You nod.
  3497. >Twilight instantly barks at you.
  3498. >”Are you crazy? It could blow you to pieces!”
  3499. >You shrug.
  3500. “It might be the only way. You don’t have to test this one if you don’t want, Fluttershy. The mirror is a bit narrow for us to both go at once like we had originally expected anyway.”
  3501. >With a shake of her head, you already have her answer.
  3502. >”I’m still going to go with you for it, even if I have to trail behind you.”
  3503. “Alright,”
  3504. >You look back at the mirror.
  3505. “I guess it’s settled, then. Twilight, whenever you’re ready.”
  3506. >The mare mentally fights with herself for a while before letting out an irritated sigh.
  3507. >”Alright, but just to be sure, you know this one is going to be a LOT more dangerous, right?”
  3508. “Yep.”
  3509. >Her horn lights up once more, and she aims it at the mirror.
  3510. >All the same bells and whistles happen as before, but this time, the light from the mirror seems to be rippling like wave in the ocean.
  3511. >”You’d better try it fast!”
  3512. >Doing as Twilight says, you and Fluttershy run up to the newly made portal, feeling for any heat or static once again.
  3513. >When none is found, you place your hands at each side of the mirror and stick your head in.
  3514. >The same bright light fills your eyes, and once it’s gone, you open them.
  3515. >Before you sprawls a land covered in green grass and trees.
  3516. >Everything seems a lot more… Drawn.
  3517. >Looking beyond the horizon, you see a small settlement in the distance.
  3518. >That’s when you realize where this is.
  3519. >Taking your head back out, you call to the others.
  3520. “I’m pretty sure this is it! Try to keep it up a bit longer, I’m going to pass through.”
  3521. >Twilight tries to stop you through gritted teeth, but is too late.
  3522. >You make a running sprint for the portal and jump in.
  3523. >However, as you see the pastel land again, you feel something odd against your body.
  3524. >It’s almost as if you’ve ran right into a wall of static filled plastic wrap.
  3525. >Plastic wrap that can go right back to its original form.
  3526. >Before you can fully register the situation, you are thrown backwards into your basement once more.
  3527. >You stop mid-air, and gently float back down.
  3528. >Opening your eyes, you see the world coated in a pinkish purple.
  3529. >Wow, you really few high.
  3530. >You land in front of Twilight and thank her for the save.
  3531. >Like last time, Fluttershy frantically gallops to you, concerned for your wellbeing.
  3532. >Scooping her up in your arms, you turn back to Twilight.
  3533. “That one was it, I’m sure of it. What happened at the end, though?”
  3534. >Twilight begins to explain to the best she can.
  3535. >”Well, when you started going through, I had a lot more trouble keeping the portal stable. By the time you were almost completely through, the portal was outright rejecting you since I lost complete control.”
  3536. >You think for a bit, rubbing your chin in Fluttershy’s mane.
  3537. “Do you think it was my size? Maybe your spell is only adapted for stuff the size of a pony.”
  3538. >The bookish mare lowers her head in contemplation.
  3539. >”It could be a reason… We’d need a pony to test it though.”
  3540. >”I… I’ll do it.”
  3541. >Everyone in the room looks at Fluttershy.
  3542. >”I-I was going to go through w-with Anon anyways, so…”
  3543. >You manipulate the mare in your arms so that she’s facing you.
  3544. “Do you really want to do this?”
  3545. >A simple nod is all it takes.
  3546. >She takes you by surprise, bringing her lips to your own in front of the two others in the room.
  3547. >When she pulls back, you look at her with confusion.
  3548. >”For luck…”
  3549. >You give her a grin and a nod.
  3550. >The mare flashes you a bashful smile before hopping down from your hold.
  3551. >You motion for Twilight to get into position.
  3552. >The portal appears once more, still having as many ripples as before.
  3553. >”Okay Fluttershy! You have ten seconds, try to be in and out by that time!”
  3554. >The pink maned pony nods nervously, and sets off at a full gallop.
  3555. >She dives through the portal, and is gone.
  3556. >You begin to count in your head, holding your breath in anticipation.
  3557. >It’s been four seconds.
  3558. >Five.
  3559. >Six.
  3560. >Seven.
  3561. >Eight.
  3562. >Shafts of light shine out of the portal, and with them comes a familiar yellow pony.
  3563. >Her face is one of pure excitement.
  3564. >You rush to pick her back up, almost twirling with her in your grip.
  3565. >”That was it! It was Equestria! I could feel the grass beneath my hooves, smell the air, everything!”
  3566. >Everyone gathers around to celebrate.
  3567. >Cheers erupt from the small group, until eventually they all calm down.
  3568. >You realize something.
  3569. “So, does this mean I was right? Can only ponies go through this?”
  3570. >Twilight comes back down to earth and ponders for a moment.
  3571. >”I’m… not sure. We’d need to test another human to see.”
  3572. >Trevor steps forward, speaking what feel like his first words in a while.
  3573. >”Well, now that I’ve seen what this portal can do, I’m a bit more willing to try.”
  3574. >The alicorn hesitates momentarily before aiming her horn at the mirror again.
  3575. >”Okay, same as last time. About ten seconds once I cast the spell.”
  3576. >”Got it.”
  3577. >She activates the portal, and Trevor runs for it.
  3578. >He phases through the light, and you see Twilight start struggling.
  3579. >This goes on for about four seconds, and then Trevor flies back out backwards.
  3580. >Like with you, Twilight catches him with her magic.
  3581. >”I don’t think that thing is fond of humans, Twi.”
  3582. >”Well, I think it’s more like Anon said. It’s just any object that’s bigger than a pony. You see, when…”
  3583. >Twilight begins to go on a tangent, which you tune out.
  3584. >”Anyway, seeing as ponies and humans are the only ones trying this right now… I’d say yes, humans can’t go through.”
  3585. >Her face falls, and Fluttershy looks up at you in concern.
  3586. >”I… I know we never talked about it, but… I was always hoping that we could still see each other after this…”
  3587. >You reply, crouching in front of her.
  3588. “Well, I had already planned on coming through the portal with you, seeing as it’s a one way trip once Twilight goes through. Though, it’s looking like that might not be possible…”
  3589. >A pang of sadness shoots through your heart as you see Fluttershy’s expression of sadness and defeat.
  3590. >”No.”
  3591. >You both look to the source of the voice.
  3592. >Twilight opens her mouth.
  3593. >”I’m not going to give up on it this easy. I’ll find a way to let humans through the portal, but I’ll just need time. If the rest of my friends want to go home, they can, but I’m not leaving until Trevor or you can make it to the other side.”
  3594. >Everyone looks at Twilight, and slowly starts to share her look of determination.
  3595. “Alright then, let’s get to work.”
  3596. >…
  3597. >When you finally emerge from your basement, the sun is starting to set.
  3598. >”Hey Anon, I just thought of something.”
  3599. “Yeah, what’s that, T?”
  3600. >You step aside at the stairs.
  3601. >”Why don’t we let the ponies talk to each other online?”
  3602. >Huh, you never thought of that before.
  3603. “I don’t see why not. Actually…”
  3604. >You look at the clock.
  3605. “Why not check who’s on right now if you guys aren’t in a hurry?”
  3606. >”Yeah! I’m not going anywhere tonight. How’s that sound, Twi?”
  3607. >Her eyes light up in excitement.
  3608. >”That would be great!”
  3609. “What about you, Fluttershy?”
  3610. >Though her face doesn’t convey the same amount of enthusiasm as Twilight’s you can tell she likes the idea.
  3611. “Alright then, follow me!”
  3612. >It must be your lucky night, because all four of the other guys are online.
  3613. >Trevor’s idea goes over great with them all, and in a few minutes, all of the ponies are at the computers.
  3614. >You unplug your headphones so that both Twilight and Fluttershy can hear.
  3615. >As a last minute idea, you turn on your webcam, urging everyone else to do so too.
  3616. >Everyone does as they’re asked.
  3617. >”Uh, hello? This thing workin’?”
  3618. >That’s a familiar accent…
  3619. >”Applejack!”
  3620. >”Twilight?!”
  3621. >Another familiar voice pipes up out of the speakers.
  3622. >”Twilight? Applejack? I must say, it feels like AGES since we last spoke!”
  3623. >Fluttershy speaks up now.
  3624. >”Hello girls..!”
  3625. >Your speakers almost burst at what comes out next.
  3626. >”FLUTTERSHY! TWILIGHT! APPLEJACK! RARITY! I’VE MISSED YOU ALL SOOO MUCH! HI GIRLS!”
  3627. >”Yeah, you can say that again!”
  3628. >That sounded like…
  3629. >”Oh, hello Pinkie Pie… And Rainbow.”
  3630. >Well, Rarity got it right.
  3631. >”I can’t wait for us to all meet up and throw a reunion celebration! Then when we get back home, we can throw a Welcome Home party!”
  3632. >They laugh amongst themselves.
  3633. >You and Trevor sit back on a couch behind the computer and proceed to talk to each other while the girls catch up.
  3634. >”Never change, Pinkie. Never change…”
  3635. >”Can’t say you’ve changed too much from the sound of it, RD.”
  3636. >The raspy voice of Rainbow Dash comes out of the speakers once more.
  3637. >”You’d better believe it Applejack!”
  3638. >Twilight is next to speak.
  3639. >”We’ve certainly ended up in an interesting situation. All six of us are split up and end up in different houses with different humans. Have you all been getting along with them?”
  3640. >”Oh you bet! He gets me everything I need to make the best pastries EVER! And we get to have parties every Friday, too!”
  3641. >Pinkie’s friends have a good natured chuckle at her predictability.
  3642. >”I almost feel as if fate sent me to this man. When I arrived, his house was so untidy, and his appearance was even worse! Luckily, I managed to whip him, and his home back into shape.”
  3643. >”What about you, Applejack dear?”
  3644. >The farm mare shrugs.
  3645. >”We get along. I’m just glad he helped me find all of ya.”
  3646. >”Speaking of getting along, it sure sounds like Fluttershy and Twilight are getting along with their humans!”
  3647. >Twilight’s eyes shrink to the size of pinpricks.
  3648. >”Rainbow!”
  3649. >Fluttershy’s face heats up, making a heavy blush spread across it.
  3650. >”W-well, um…”
  3651. >As they are stammering in embarrassment, a beep sounds out from your speakers.
  3652. >Somebody’s joined the room, and the ponies are talking with the cameras on.
  3653. >You rush over to investigate, coming into view of the camera.
  3654. >In the list of online participants, you spy OP.
  3655. >Words fail you, and you try to piece together an excuse.
  3656. >Before you can say anything, the name leaves the list.
  3657. >That was fast.
  3658. >Maybe he lost connection?
  3659. >Quickly, you set up a private room to avoid any more risks.
  3660. >You leave the mares to catch up.
  3661. >…
  3662. >The sun has pretty much set now, and the ponies have gotten all caught up.
  3663. >Everyone promises to let them all talk to each other again soon.
  3664. >You, Twilight, Fluttershy, and Trevor head for your front door.
  3665. “I’m getting pretty hungry, I’ll have to make dinner soon. Sure you don’t wanna stick around?”
  3666. >He shakes his head.
  3667. >“I’d love to, but I really should get going.”
  3668. >He extends his hand, and you take it.
  3669. “Alright, see you later bro.”
  3670. >He turns around, and you shut the door.
  3671. >His car backs out of your driveway and safely makes it to the road, dissipearing into the distance.
  3672. “Alright then, anything you want to eat, Fl-“
  3673. >A knock on the door cuts you off.
  3674. >Huh, did he forget something?
  3675. >You turn back to your door and open it.
  3676. >A sharp impact connects with your skull, sending you to the ground.
  3677. >Before you can get a good view of the culprit, you black out.
  3678.  
  3679. >Your head throbs.
  3680. >It hurts to think.
  3681. >Faintly, you hear some muffled voices from what you presume is another room.
  3682. >Along with them is a strange sound that you can’t quite place.
  3683. >You crack open your eyes, finding yourself in a dingy, dimly lit room.
  3684. >It’s pretty small, too.
  3685. >A basement of sorts.
  3686. >Trying to get up yields no results, as you can’t control your limbs.
  3687. >Both your hands and feet are tightly bound together.
  3688. >The rest of your body is tied to a chair.
  3689. >What the hell is going on here..?
  3690. >The last thing you remember is opening your front door, then pain, nothing.
  3691. >Oh fuck.
  3692. >Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck.
  3693. >If you left your front door open, whoever knocked you out might have seen Fluttershy!
  3694. >Your panic takes precedence over the pain in your head, and your brain starts to clear up.
  3695. >You need a plan. Best to get your surroundings straight first.
  3696. >It may be dark out, but thankfully there’s a light on in this place.
  3697. >This kind of resembles your basement in a way. No carpeting, the floor is concrete instead of wood…
  3698. >There are a few small windows on the top of the wall to your right.
  3699. >That furthers your basement theory.
  3700. >One of the voices in the other room gets closer.
  3701. >You look to your left and see a plain white wall, with the only interruption in it being a single door.
  3702. >The knob twists and the door opens, un-muffling the strange sounds from the other room.
  3703. >It sounds like… something out of a sci-fi movie.
  3704. >From the door walks a figure in black clothing.
  3705. >A black sweatshirt, sweatpants, and even a ski mask.
  3706. >Whoever it is, they look like they’re ready to rob a fucking bank.
  3707. >What you see under their right arm though infuriates you.
  3708. >Under his arm hangs Fluttershy, fearful and confused.
  3709. >”Anon..!”
  3710. >The figure shushes her immediately.
  3711. >A distinctly male voice comes out from behind the mask in a low rumble. It’s almost familiar in a way.
  3712. >”Ahh, finally awake, huh Anon? Enjoy the rest? God knows I could use some.”
  3713. >How does he know your name?
  3714. >You yell out at him, venom dripping from your words.
  3715. “Hey, put her down!”
  3716. >The man slowly walks up to you, bending over and leaning in until your faces are inches apart.
  3717. >”From where you’re sitting, I wouldn’t say you’re in any position to give orders.”
  3718. >This person, you swear you’ve heard his voice before…
  3719. >You return his glare.
  3720. “Well excuse me then, I thought this was the drive through.”
  3721. >He snorts in irritation, and places Fluttershy in the corner of the room opposite of you.
  3722. >”I was going to do it anyway, just so you know.”
  3723. >The voice, it’s not young. It belongs to an older man.
  3724. >Looking closer, you see that she is also tied up.
  3725. “Untie her.”
  3726. >Shaking his head, he approaches you once more.
  3727. >”Already said, amigo. Your commands don’t mean a whole lot here. Sorry, but them’s the breaks when you go against the rules.”
  3728. >You tilt your head in confusion.
  3729. “The rules? What the hell are you going on about?”
  3730. >A gloved hand collides with the left side of your face.
  3731. “Gah! The fuck?!”
  3732. >You hear Fluttershy call out your name in horror.
  3733. >”You know exactly what I’m talking about! How else would she have gotten here?!”
  3734. >He points to Fluttershy.
  3735. “How should I know?! I’ve been trying to figure that out for weeks!”
  3736. >The hand raises again, but this time it isn’t you that he slaps.
  3737. >Your assailant’s palm connects with his own face.
  3738. >”I’m talking about the thread!”
  3739. >Stopping to think, you realize what he means, and your heart drops into your stomach.
  3740. “So, you’re talking about…”
  3741. >”If anyone figures out about them, they disappear. I’m here to make that happen.”
  3742. >This is worse than you thought.
  3743. >”I know that you have reunited the six of them. What do you have planned? How far are you into it?”
  3744. >You remain silent. There’s no telling what he has planned.
  3745. >Whatever it is, you can’t let him know about the portal spell.
  3746. “Nothing. We just stumbled upon each other and that’s all there is to it.”
  3747. >You’ve at least telling a half truth. Everyone practically did stumble upon each other.
  3748. >He crosses his arms and shakes his head.
  3749. >”I find it hard to believe that all six of you somehow all found each other by accident. That’s beside the point, though. What are your plans?”
  3750. “Why do you even want to know?”
  3751. >Taking a few steps back, he replies.
  3752. >”That’s none of your business.”
  3753. >Lying through your teeth once more, you respond.
  3754. “Well, same answer as last time. Nothing. Zip, Nada.”
  3755. >The figure leans close to you once more.
  3756. >”You’re lying. I can tell.”
  3757. >You raise an eyebrow.
  3758. “How would you know that?”
  3759. >Standing back up, he shoots back.
  3760. >”Why should I tell you if you can’t be truthful with me?”
  3761. >Guess he has a point.
  3762. >”So tell me, do I need to be forceful? Gotta say, I’m not a fan of that approach. It requires much more effort from both sides.”
  3763. >Casting a glare in his direction, you give your answer.
  3764. “Bring it on.”
  3765. >He laughs hard.
  3766. >Wait. That laugh…
  3767. >””Bring it on”, he says! You’re going to be singing a different tune when I’m done.”
  3768. >He turns around to make his leave.
  3769. >”I’m gonna need a few tools for this, you just wait right there. Not like you’ve got much of a choice, though.”
  3770. >As he opens the door, you call for him one last time.
  3771. “I’ll be waiting, OP!”
  3772. >He stops in his tracks.
  3773. >”Maybe you’re not as dumb as you look…”
  3774. >Though you couldn’t hear him, you still have to think of a plan.
  3775. >Looking over at Fluttershy’s mortified form, you call out.
  3776. “Fluttershy, are you okay? Did he do anything to you?”
  3777. >The pegasus, whose gaze has never left you the entire time, finally speaks without restraint.
  3778. >”N-no, he hasn’t. He just asked me the same things as you just now, as well as what m-my relationship with you is, a-and if I know who he is…”
  3779. >You think it over for a bit.
  3780. “I’m guessing you didn’t tell him about our plans, otherwise he wouldn’t be asking me.”
  3781. >She nods.
  3782. >”I didn’t, I-I’m sorry…”
  3783. >You shake your head.
  3784. “Don’t be. No matter what, we don’t want him to know about how far we’ve come. No matter what he does to me, don’t tell him, alright?”
  3785. >The pony hesitantly nods, as much as it hurts her to think of you getting hurt.
  3786. >”O-o-okay…”
  3787. >A thumping sound emanates from your right.
  3788. >You snap your head over to it, thinking it might be OP trying to pull something.
  3789. >All you are met with is a wall.
  3790. >The thumps start again, a bit quicker this time.
  3791. >Following the noise up, you eventually catch sight of the source.
  3792. >Through one of the small windows, you see two silhouettes.
  3793. >You can faintly make out the face of one as it waves, then runs off with the other one following behind.
  3794. “Fluttershy, did you-“
  3795. >Just then, the door swings back open, revealing OP and his new equipment.
  3796. >A car battery with a set of jumper cables, and a gas can, and a cloth.
  3797. “Woah, buddy. That’s some sketchy equipment you have there. I hope you know what-“
  3798. >”Can it, Anon. I’m starting to get irritated with your attitude.”
  3799. >He places everything on the floor next to you, then proceeds to hook up what you can now tell are jumper cables, to the battery.
  3800. >You flinch when he brings the clips close to your face and sparks them.
  3801. >”Hey Fluttershy, would you like to see what I’ve got planned for your little boyfriend over here?”
  3802. >Oh great, she must have told him about you and her…
  3803. >Fluttershy responds with a plea.
  3804. >”N-no! Please d-don’t hurt him..!”
  3805. >The mysterious man turns to her, momentarily letting his arms fall to the side.
  3806. >”Well, maybe if you’d like to tell me what I want to know, we can sort something out…”
  3807. >Sweat begins to form on her head as you shake yours in rapid disapproval.
  3808. >A loud slam erupts from behind you, and a familiar voice rings out.
  3809. >”Quick Twilight! Hold him down!”
  3810. >The black clad man drops the jumper cables he was holding as his body begins to glow with a familiar aura.
  3811. >You feel as the ropes keeping your hands together come loose, along with the ones around your legs and torso.
  3812. >Looking to the new entry of the room, you speak.
  3813. “Trevor… If ever I needed a Deus Ex Machina, it was definitely now. Thank you.”
  3814. >”Hey man, what are friends for?”
  3815.  
  3816. >You look over to where Twilight is focusing her magic, seeing that your assailant is immobile.
  3817. >With this knowledge, you turn your attention to Fluttershy.
  3818. >Rushing over to her side, you begin to work on her binds.
  3819. “I swear, I oughtta kick this guy’s shit in for doing this…”
  3820. >The pegasus cringes at your strong language and violent desires.
  3821. >Before long, you have her hooves free and have her wrapped in a tight hug.
  3822. “I know I asked before, but he really didn’t do anything to you, did he?”
  3823. >She shakes her head against your shoulder, returning your hug.
  3824. >”No, not at all… I went along with him after he showed me what he did to you. He… He said that he would do much worse if I didn’t…”
  3825. >You can hear her voice waiver at those last words.
  3826. >Gently patting her back, you turn back to the new person in the room.
  3827. “And just how did you guys find us?”
  3828. >Twilight is the one who answers you.
  3829. >”Trevor’s black hole of a stomach is what we have to thank for that.”
  3830. >You tilt your head in confusion.
  3831. >”Yeah. On our way back, I got hungry.”
  3832. >”And impatient.”
  3833. >He rolls his eyes.
  3834. >”Yes, that too. Anyway, we stopped at a food place on the way back home, not too far from your house, actually. While we were eating, Twilight was able to detect some powerful magic. Just for the heck of it, we tried tracking it down. It led us here, and my curiosity got the best of me. I snooped around the place a bit, and looked into one of the windows that had light coming out of it. The rest is history.”
  3835. >The alicorn mare ends the story with something that sends a chill up your spine.
  3836. >”If we were any further away, we wouldn’t have been able to track the direction the magic was coming from.”
  3837. >Damn.
  3838. “So I was this close to completing a circuit…”
  3839. >Fluttershy’s grip tightens at that statement.
  3840. “Did you guys ever find the source of magic?”
  3841. >Trevor points towards the door they came in through.
  3842. >”Possibly. Once we’re sure we’re all safe here, we can investigate further.”
  3843. >The aura around Twilight’s horn fades, and she smiles smugly.
  3844. >”I don’t think he’ll be moving for a while.”
  3845. >You look down at the man now lying on the ground.
  3846. >The ropes that were once straining you and Fluttershy are now being used to keep his hands, feet, arms, and legs together as he lies on his back.
  3847. “Nice.”
  3848. >Walking over, you kneel down with the mare still in your arms.
  3849. >With one hand, you peel off the ski mask from his head.
  3850. >The first thing you notice is a head of wavy grey hair, joined with a face to match. A short goatee that matches the color of the hair on his head spreads over his chin.
  3851. “Well, I’m glad to see that you at least look like you sound.”
  3852. >He struggles to break free from his ropes, but fails to do so.
  3853.  “Well, me and my friends here are going to go see what you’ve got in the other room. Don’t go anywhere now! Not like you have a choice, though.”
  3854. >With a sharp laugh, you turn on your heels and walk to the door.
  3855.  
  3856. >You motion for everyone to follow you.
  3857. >The next room is much like the one you were just in, only much bigger.
  3858. >In the middle of it sits something you can only imagine seeing in a movie or video game.
  3859. >What looks like three comically oversized antennas are all pointed in various directions.
  3860. >They’re pretty much what you’d imagine someone using to launch a death ray with.
  3861. >Two are horizontal, aimed at each other.
  3862. >The last one seems to be welded to the ceiling, pointing towards the ground in between the other two.
  3863. >All three are connected to a control panel of sorts in the corner of the room.
  3864. >”What even is this thing..?”
  3865. >Trevor cautiously approaches the unknown device.
  3866. “No idea. Looks like some kind of high tech torture device to me.”
  3867. >”Whatever it is, I’m detecting magic residue from it…”
  3868. >The alicorn steps towards one of the protrusions.
  3869. >You walk over to the box that houses all manner of knobs, levers, and buttons.
  3870. >”Do you think you know how to use it..?”
  3871. >Fluttershy asks you from your arms.
  3872. >You shake your head.
  3873. “I’d probably just end up blowing us up or something.”
  3874. >Bringing her head closer to one of the machinery, Twilight comments.
  3875. >”I might be able to look into the kind of magic coming from it. Maybe we could find out what it’s used for that way.”
  3876. >You and the others voice your agreements, and an idea comes to you.
  3877. “I’ll see if I can get some answers from our friend in the other room. You with me, T?”
  3878. >He nods as you gently place Fluttershy back down on the floor.
  3879. “Alright, let’s do this thing.”
  3880. >You leave Twilight and Fluttershy to examine the machine and go back into the room where the old man is tied up.
  3881. >”Alright bro, we’re back.”
  3882. >Going over to the prone man, you grab him by the back of his collar.
  3883. >Trevor picks up the overturned chair and you drag OP over to it.
  3884. >”Quite a nice way to treat an old man…”
  3885. >You almost can’t believe what you are hearing right now.
  3886. >Shoving him in the chair, you spit back a retort.
  3887. “Don’t give me that! You knock me unconscious, break into my house, threaten someone I hold very close, and kidnap us both…”
  3888. >You shake your head.
  3889. >Best not to let this guy get under your skin.
  3890. >”We’ve got some things to ask you. It’s the least you could do after what you did to my friend here.”
  3891. >He pats your head, causing you to recoil in pain.
  3892. >”Whoops, sorry.”
  3893. >As OP struggles against his binds, he replies.
  3894. >”Yeah, alright. We’re all just going to get along now, after I abducted and was about to torture you, and now you’ve got me tied up here. I’m absolutely ready to spill my guts out to you!”
  3895. >Trevor leans over to you.
  3896. >”This guy doesn’t seem like he’s ready to speak…”
  3897. >You sigh.
  3898. “Listen man. I just want to know why you brought me and Fluttershy here.”
  3899. >He shoots you a glare, then rolls his eyes.
  3900. >”I already said before, but let me make it a bit clearer. You posted in the thread, you chose option two. With that, you agreed to the terms. One of them being that if anyone besides you knew about the pony, the pony would disappear never to be seen again. Once I found out that someone knew about Fluttershy, she had to go. I bring them to you, I also take ‘em back.”
  3901. >You think over his words momentarily.
  3902. “Well why did you bring ME here if you were just going to make her disappear?”
  3903. >”I’m not even going to try to pretend you don’t know who I am. I came into the group tonight and saw the ponies all on the video call. I wasn’t expecting that. Not knowing what you all had planned, I took you to get that info.”
  3904. >He seems to be telling the truth…
  3905. >”How did you even find who posted in the thread?”
  3906. >OP shakes his head at Trevor’s question.
  3907. >”That’s all you’re getting.”
  3908. “Well, what about WHY you’re doing this? It seems to be a lot of effort for something that doesn’t really seem to have a lot of payout to you.”
  3909. >An indescribable emotion briefly crosses his face before returning to one of neutrality.
  3910. >”You’ll have to do better than that. I’ve said all I want to on this.”
  3911. >For a while, you pace around the room.
  3912. “T, where are we, anyway?”
  3913. >He shrugs.
  3914. >”I never looked at the address, but we’re actually kind of near your house. This place is just your average everyday home on the outside and ground floor. We’re in his basement right now.”
  3915. >This guy literally has an underground lab!
  3916. >You sit down, trying to think of what to do next.
  3917. >Looking over at the equipment he brought in, you contemplate using his own methods against him.
  3918. >No, you aren’t that desperate for answers.
  3919. “I’m guessing you aren’t willing to disclose what that machine in the other room is for, huh?”
  3920. >The older man simply shakes his head.
  3921. >You take out your cellphone to check the time, surprised he didn’t check your pockets.
  3922. >10:04 PM
  3923. >You see a few notifications from the group, which you absentmindedly investigate.
  3924. >Nothing too important, but you find one person in the voice room.
  3925. >Joining in, you greet the lone member.
  3926. “Heya D.”
  3927. >He returns your greeting.
  3928. >”Hey there Anon. Your quality sounds pretty bad right now, you out somewhere on your phone?”
  3929. >Giving a halfhearted chuckle, you answer.
  3930. “You have no idea…”
  3931. >You take a few minutes to explain your situation to him.
  3932. >”WHAT?”
  3933. “Yeah, the OP from the group? He’s the one who did this. It’s been pretty hard to crack him, though.”
  3934. >A growl of sorts comes from his end.
  3935. >”I’ll get the bastard to crack. Gimme the address, I’ll come over there and beat the bastard within an inch of his life!”
  3936. >You debate whether or not to do so, but decide he has as much of a right to know as the rest of you.
  3937. >After asking T for directions, you make your way up the flight of stairs he came in from.
  3938. >The house is pretty much what you’d expect to see from an average earth domicile.
  3939. >Making your way out the front door, you look for the address on the house.
  3940. “Found it!”
  3941. >You give him the location and return to the basement.
  3942. >”Alright. That’s about twenty five minutes away. I might have to hold off on the beatdown until tomorrow.”
  3943. “That’s cool. I’m thinking about resting for a while here anyway. Speaking of, T, do you think you could keep an eye on our mutual acquaintance here for a bit? I’m going to get some sleep. You can wake me up when you get sleepy.”
  3944. >He gives you a thumbs up.
  3945. >”You got it. I don’t have work tomorrow, so I’ve got all night.”
  3946. >You head for the staircase in the other room.
  3947. >”You need someone to watch over a guy who’s completely tied up?”
  3948. >Yawning, you reply.
  3949. “Nobody ever died being too careful.”
  3950. >The night passed quietly, with only one shift change in between.
  3951. >You yawn, wishing you could catch a few more hours of sleep.
  3952. >Even Twilight and Fluttershy went to sleep a few hours ago, leaving you as the only conscious person left in this house.
  3953. >You’re able to keep yourself awake by talking to people coming in and out of the group, though.
  3954. >So far, you’ve been able to inform AF and PF about what’s happened.
  3955. >”Huh, that place isn’t too far away from me. What time did D say he was going?”
  3956. >You look at your phone, which you now notice is running low on power.
  3957. “In about three hours.”
  3958. >”Hey, that’s perfect, I’m not doing anything then. I could bring Pinkie over, I’m sure she’d love to see Twilight and Fluttershy.”
  3959. >Stretching, you agree.
  3960. “Hell yeah dude. I’ll send you the address.”
  3961. >You type up a message to him with the information and send it.
  3962. >”Alright, I’ll be there in-“
  3963. >The screen of your phone goes black as the battery dies.
  3964. “…Damn.”
  3965. >You look away from your phone, your gaze falling upon the person tied to the chair across from you.
  3966. >He opens his eyes, slowly regaining consciousness.
  3967. >His bleary gaze falls upon you.
  3968. “You uh… wouldn’t happen to have a micro usb cable lying around, would you?”
  3969. >OP rolls his eyes, remaining quiet.
  3970. >Silence falls on the room, the rays of the morning sun peaking in through the windows.
  3971. >The door from behind you opens slowly, and a familiar squeaky yawn comes out along with it.
  3972. >Turning around, you see Fluttershy rubbing one of her eyes, looking like she just woke up.
  3973. “Oh, good morning Flutters. Sleep well?”
  3974. >She nods, making her slightly bedraggled mane bob with each motion.
  3975. >”Yes… You look tired, Anon… How long have you been awake?”
  3976. >You shrug.
  3977. “Maybe five hours? I slept until about two AM.”
  3978. >The pony walks up to you and nuzzles at the calf of your leg.
  3979. >Placing your hand behind her ear, you cuddle her closer.
  3980. >”Please don’t overdo it…”
  3981. >You yawn, giving a weak chuckle.
  3982. “I won’t.”
  3983. >The man across from you lets out a laugh of his own, looking on at you and Fluttershy.
  3984. >You raise an eyebrow, and Fluttershy diverts her attention to him.
  3985. “Do I have something on my face?”
  3986. >He shakes his head in response.
  3987. >”No, no… I’m just enjoying the fruits of my labor…”
  3988. >Tilting your head in confusion, you inquire further.
  3989. “Mind elaborating on that?”
  3990. >”All in due time…”
  3991. >You grunt in frustration.
  3992. >There isn’t much time to dwell on it though, as the door behind you opens once more to reveal Trevor.
  3993. >Turning around makes you regret some of your life’s choices as you see him.
  3994. “Jesus, you couldn’t have at least gotten dressed before coming down here?”
  3995. >OP gags and begins to struggle against his binds.
  3996. >”I swear, you better not have slept on my furniture in that!”
  3997. >You risk another look.
  3998. “Briefs, really?”
  3999. >He shrugs.
  4000. >”I don’t judge how you live your life.”
  4001. >You stand up from the chair you were seated in.
  4002. “I’m going to go investigate the lab. You mind taking over?”
  4003. >”Sure thing dude, but just what the hell are we going to achieve by doing this?”
  4004. >Stopping in your tracks, you think.
  4005. “I… really don’t know. He doesn’t want to answer anything I ask. We have to find a way to get some info out of him.”
  4006. >”Alright, well, I’ll be thinking. Maybe the others will have some ideas.”
  4007. >You nod.
  4008. “Yeah. Speaking of, P’s coming over, too.”
  4009. >”Nice.”
  4010. >Shutting the door behind you, you get to work investigating the lab.
  4011. >Now that you are more focused, you see that there is actually a bit more to the lab than you originally saw.
  4012. >Three tables littered with all sorts of different tools are placed against the wall across from you.
  4013. >You look at one, finding various jars, bottles, beakers, and vials filled with different liquids.
  4014. >Unscrewing one, you take a sniff.
  4015. >There doesn’t seem to be a smell of any kind. You don’t know if that’s a good sign or not.
  4016. >You recognize another as rubbing alcohol.
  4017. >The rest though are mysteries.
  4018. >The next table holds a locked metal box, along with a mess of papers and notebooks scattered about the surface.
  4019. “Oh hell yeah, this might be what we need…”
  4020. >You pick up one of the notebooks and flip through it.
  4021. >Numerous formulas are written in chicken scratch on the pages.
  4022. >The first and only bit of English you can recognize is off to the side, with an arrow pointing to what looks like a string of characters representing a chemical compound.
  4023. “Elevated empathy…?”
  4024. >You continue to flip through the notebook.
  4025. >Under a complicated looking chain of letters and numbers, you see something strange.
  4026. >They look like words, but you can’t quite place the meaning.
  4027. “eregilid munenev… I can’t even pronounce this!”
  4028. >Throwing down the notebook, you accidentally knock something from the other table to the floor.
  4029. “Shit…”
  4030. >You bend over to pick up the object, almost impaling your head in the process.
  4031. >From a hole in the concrete wall protrudes a sharp metal rod.
  4032. “The hell is this guy doing down here?”
  4033. >Grabbing the fallen object, you stand back up.
  4034. >On closer inspection, you see that it is an empty syringe.
  4035. >You place it back down amongst the third table, which you now see is mainly reserved for tools.
  4036. >Eyedroppers, syringes, Bunsen Burners, forceps, and the like.
  4037. >So far, it looks like the notebooks, papers, and locked box are your biggest lead.
  4038. >Scooping them in a neat pile, you turn towards the exit, only for the door to fly open.
  4039. >”What’s up, Anon!”
  4040. >Standing in the doorway is an unfamiliar person, skinny and short. His dirty blonde hair reaches to the base of his neck.
  4041. >You recognize his voice from the group.
  4042. “D? I didn’t expect you here this early!”
  4043. >”I got bored, what can I say?”
  4044. >Behind him you catch a glimpse of a multicolored tuft of hair.
  4045. “Brought Dash with you?”
  4046. >He nods.
  4047. >”She wanted a piece of the guy who kidnapped her friend.”
  4048. >A smirk comes to your face.
  4049. “I don’t think he’s the only one she wants a piece of…”
  4050. >You feel an impact with your shoulder.
  4051. >”Shut up, you damn horse fucker.”
  4052. >Laughing, you speak.
  4053. “Couldn’t help myself. Anyways, it’s nice to meet you…”
  4054. >You trail off, extending your hand.
  4055. >”David.”
  4056. >He takes your hand and shakes it.
  4057. “Anonymous.”
  4058. >He freezes.
  4059. “…Yes, that’s really my name.”
  4060. >The corners of his mouth slowly curl up as he tries to contain his laughter.
  4061. >With a sigh, you let go of his hand and push through to the next room.
  4062. >The two of you head back into the other room, with Dave’s snickers trailing behind you.
  4063. >Trevor and Fluttershy seem to have left, leaving only Rainbow, who is giving OP an intense glare.
  4064. >”Yo Rainbow, over here!”
  4065. >She looks over to you, her glare dissipating.
  4066. >”Meet…”
  4067. >He snickers again.
  4068. >”Anonymous..!”
  4069. >Her face mimics that of her human friend’s, though once her cheeks begin to puff out, she lets out an uproar of laughter.
  4070. >”What kind of name is that?!”
  4071. >You cross your arms and tap your foot.
  4072. >Dave’s snickers begin to grow, affected by Dash’s infectious laughter.
  4073. >”Yeah, really! Did your parents just lose faith in you as soon as you came out?”
  4074. >Eventually their laughter dies down, enough so for the blue pegasus to introduce herself.
  4075. >”I’m Rainbow Dash! Ace flier, possibly even the best!”
  4076. >She extends a hoof to you, which you bump with your fist.
  4077. >Handshakes with ponies are awkward.
  4078. “You already know me. Though, I don’t really have anything special to say about myself.”
  4079. >”Well,”
  4080. >The pony starts.
  4081. >”You ARE Fluttershy’s colt- er, boyfriend. That’s an accomplishment, getting her to come out of her shell like that.”
  4082. >Her remark takes you by surprise, and you look over at your blonde friend in shock.
  4083. >He told her? Guess it wasn’t a secret, but still…
  4084. >Yet again you are taken by surprise when Dash flies up close to your face with a glare that rivals the one she gave OP.
  4085. >”You’d better treat her right. If you do one thing to hurt her or break her heart…”
  4086. >She begins to grind one hoof against another.
  4087. >You recoil slightly.
  4088. “Message received…”
  4089. >”Alright, I hate to break up the party, but I’ve got some work to do with our old friend here.”
  4090. >Looking over, you spot David picking up the battery and jumper cables that were left behind last night.
  4091. >”Anyone with a weak stomach might like to leave now; things are liable to get preeetty messy around here in the next few minutes!”
  4092. >A glint of excitement in his eyes and a wide grin on his face tell you that he’s been waiting for this.
  4093. >You could stop this…
  4094. >But you need the answers.
  4095. >As you walk to the stairs, you call back to him.
  4096. “Call me if you need me.”
  4097. >An uneasy feeling builds in the pit of your stomach as you scale the steps.
  4098.  
  4099. >You pace around for a bit in what you assume to be the living room of the house.
  4100. >Though you are not sure how to feel about your choice of letting somebody get tortured.
  4101. >It’s a literal case of “You could have stopped this”.
  4102. >Shaking the thoughts out of your head, you take a deep breath.
  4103. >Boredom overtakes you.
  4104. >Not even the overabundance of painkillers is getting you high enough to deal with it.
  4105. >Your thoughts trail back to Rainbow Dash, and the way she was acting towards you earlier.
  4106. >She laughs at your name and threatens you, and you just sit there and take it?
  4107. >You’re going to have to reassert your dominance later.
  4108. >For now though…
  4109. “I’m gonna take a walk, guys. I gave you my number, right T?”
  4110. >He nods, looking up from his phone.
  4111. >”Yeah, I’ll call you if anything comes up.”
  4112. >Fluttershy turns her attention to you from her seat.
  4113. >”I don’t mean to be rude, but do you think that’s a good idea..? Your head injury wasn’t pretty.”
  4114. >For a moment, you consider what she says, seeing as she’s possibly got the most medical experience out of you all.
  4115. >Being the person of questionable decisions you are though, you shake your head.
  4116. “I think I’ll be alright. That might just be the brain damage talking, though.”
  4117. >She cringes slightly at your mention of that.
  4118. >”Please don’t say that…”
  4119. >You walk up to her, gently stroking the top of her head.
  4120. “Sorry, I won’t joke like that. Don’t worry though, I’ll only be gone about ten minutes.”
  4121. >Her head pushes into your palm, the soft silkiness of her mane a welcome sensation against your unfamiliar surroundings.
  4122. >”Okay…”
  4123. >You take away your hand, her head lingering in the spot it used to be.
  4124. >With one last look at her, you head for the exit.
  4125. >Fresh air flows into your lungs as you take a deep breath.
  4126. >It feels like you were in that house for ages!
  4127. >Walking down the cobblestone driveway that leads to the road, something dawns on you.
  4128. >In the light of the morning sun, you can make out your surroundings a lot easier.
  4129. >You jerk your head back around to get a better look at the house.
  4130. >Upon seeing it completely, you realize just what this house is.
  4131. >Every day you pass this house on your way to and from work.
  4132. >It’s the last house for a long time before you reach you own.
  4133. >All this time, you thought it was abandoned.
  4134. >Now you have even more questions.
  4135. >Your walk passes by uneventfully, aside from you going back to your house and fetching a few things before using your car to get back.
  4136. >Walking back inside, the first sight you are greeted with is a literally green faced Twilight who rushes past you and unloads the contents of her stomach into the unkempt bushes lining the house.
  4137. >You catch sight of Trevor, who looks mildly uncomfortable himself.
  4138. “The hell’s happening here?”
  4139. >A howl of pain rises from the basement, giving you an idea.
  4140. >”That. He got started a few minutes before you got back.”
  4141. “Wonder what took him so long.”
  4142. >He shrugs.
  4143. >”Who knows. Maybe we should take the ponies out for a while, I think Twilight and Fluttershy might get scarred for life if they have to hand around for too long.”
  4144. “And Dash?”
  4145. >Another shrug.
  4146. >”She hasn’t come back up yet, so she might be just as fucked in the head as he is.”
  4147. >The cries of agony cloud your thoughts as you try to think.
  4148. “Should we take them outside? There are more people around here, and they might get seen.”
  4149. >Scratching his head, he responds.
  4150. >”Well, the upholder of the rules is a bit tied up right now, so…”
  4151. >You groan, which gets a bout of laughter out of him.
  4152. “Jokes aside, do we really want people besides us knowing about their existence?”
  4153. >His laughter dies down and he replies, a smile still on his face.
  4154. >”Don’t worry, he’s actually got a pretty decent sun room connected to his garage. You can’t hear anything from the inside. I took Fluttershy out there when the screaming started.”
  4155. “Oh, well that works then. Let’s go see if Twilight’s okay, then we can hang out there for a while.”
  4156. >His eyes light up, and his mouth goes into the shape of an O.
  4157. >”Oh yeah also, PF’s going to be here in about fifteen minutes.”
  4158. “Alright then. Let’s get to it.”
  4159. >After helping the alicorn out of the bushes, you head out to the room that your friend mentioned.
  4160. >It looks surprisingly nice, even though the outside could really use some cleanup.
  4161. >There’s even some nice furniture. Two armchairs and a couch rest near a window.
  4162. >Upon the couch rests a slightly shaken pegasus whom you promptly seat yourself next to.
  4163. >She lays her head in your lap, disregarding the additional company in the area.
  4164. “You okay, Shy?”
  4165. >The pony meekly nods her head against your leg as you rub her neck comfortingly.
  4166. >”His screams were…”
  4167. >Her voice waivers and you place a finger to her lips.
  4168. “Shh… I know… Try to take your mind off of it.”
  4169. >The other human and pony sit in the adjacent chairs.
  4170. >”Let’s just talk for a bit until Pinkie gets here. I’m sure she’ll be able to lighten the mood.”
  4171. >You smile.
  4172. “Sounds good to me.”
  4173. >For the next few minutes you all exchange different stories, until the sound of a car pulling into the driveway causes the conversation to grind to a halt.
  4174. “Looks like he’s here.”
  4175. >Trevor is about to get up, but you stop him.
  4176. “Hold on, I’ll just tell him where we are, no need to get up.”
  4177. >Pulling out your phone, you send him a message with directions to your location.
  4178. >”Why not just go to greet them?”
  4179. >Twilight asks you with a raised eyebrow.
  4180. “Because I’m lazy. This is how this world works; we do our best to accomplish as much as we can with as little effort possible.”
  4181. >The mare gives you a stare of disapproval.
  4182. >”That doesn’t seem-“
  4183. >”RAINBOW, TWILIGHT, FLUTTERSHY, I’M HERE!”
  4184. >That sounded like…
  4185. >A pink blur flies through the door to the room, nearly colliding with the wall across from it.
  4186. >Behind it lopes in a tall, skinny man with long black hair and a small pair of wireframes sitting on his nose.
  4187. >His general appearance could best be summed up as “unkempt”.
  4188. >”I’m here, too.”
  4189. >Once the pink mass has reoriented herself, she shoots towards the general direction of you and the others.
  4190. >With physics defying powers, she instantly stops and faces you.
  4191. >Before you can even register what’s going on, she launches herself at an ungodly speed towards Fluttershy, who has since climbed further into your lap.
  4192. >This leaves you in an unusual position in which you now have the weight of two ponies on top of you as Pinkie nearly strangles the life out of Fluttershy with a tight hug.
  4193. >”I’ve missed you sooo much! When I first woke up, I was pretty excited to see this new world, but then Lucas told me I couldn’t go outside and I was sad, but then I saw his KITCHEN! And we made pies and cakes and…”
  4194. >Your brain begins to tune her out. That, or the lack of oxygen is starting to cause your senses to stop working.
  4195. >Something starts poking at your shoulder, and you tilt your head to catch a glimpse of it.
  4196. >A pink hoof prods at your body, and connected to it is a pony with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.
  4197. >”My name’s Pinkie Pie! What’s yours?”
  4198. “Anonymous… Just… Call me Anon…”
  4199. >Her smile somehow grows.
  4200. >”Okie dokie, Anon!”
  4201. >She jumps down off of you and redirects her assault to Twilight.
  4202. >Taking every breath as if it is your last, you stand, putting Fluttershy on the couch in the process.
  4203. >You stagger over to the new person.
  4204. “You must be Lucas.”
  4205. >He giggles.
  4206. >”You’re right. Nice to meet you… Anon?”
  4207. >You hold up your hand.
  4208. “Don’t ask. Just accept it as fact.”
  4209. >He gives you an incredulous look, but relents.
  4210. >”Sure thing.”
  4211. >You open your mouth to say something, but are interrupted when another voice speaks.
  4212. >”There you guys are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
  4213. >standing in the doorway is Dave, looking slightly sweaty.
  4214. >His gaze shifts over to Lucas.
  4215. >”PF?”
  4216. >”Lucas.”
  4217. >They both extend their hands and shake.
  4218. >”Listen, I’d love to have a long winded introduction, but our buddy down below is ready to talk.”
  4219.  
  4220. >Everyone heads downstairs in a line.
  4221. >At the front is Dave, at the end is you.
  4222. >Your earlier moral dilemma of the practicality of torture in this situation still hangs over your head, but it’s too late now.
  4223. >There isn’t much time for internal debates, as one by one, everyone steps off of the final step to the cold cement floor of the basement.
  4224. >In the center sits a now shirtless OP, tied up to the chair with a wet sack over his head.
  4225. >One of the first things you notice is the electrical burns on his chest.
  4226. >You look around, noticing something is missing.
  4227. >Directing your attention to the interrogator, you pose a question of your own.
  4228. “Where’s Rainbow?”
  4229. >His eyes light up in realization.
  4230. >”Oh… I’m not sure. I think uh… I think I got a little too into the whole interrogation thing.”
  4231. >Looking around the room, you find a blue feather sticking out of the door to the lab.
  4232. >Tapping on Dave’s shoulder, you point to your discovery.
  4233. >He walks up to the door and knocks.
  4234. >”Uhh… Dash? It’s okay now. I’m done going crazy.”
  4235. >With a careful hand, he pushes the door open.
  4236. >Looking into the room reveals nothing at first, but when you look close, you see a blob of cyan and different colors huddled in the corner.
  4237. >The person beside you takes a step inside, seeing the same thing as you.
  4238. >A distressed look appears on his face, nearly matching the one of the pegasus.
  4239. >”Rainbow… Are you okay..?”
  4240. >Her eyes shoot to the source of the voice and her pupils constrict.
  4241. >”D-dave..?”
  4242. >He keeps his distance.
  4243. >”Yes, it’s me… Please, don’t be afraid…”
  4244. >A nervous smile spreads across her face.
  4245. >”Afraid? I-I’m not afraid!”
  4246. >Turning to you, he whispers.
  4247. >”Hey, you can tell him to talk. I’ll get the story from one of you later. I need to sort things out.”
  4248. >You nod, backing out of the room and closing the door.
  4249. >Wordlessly, you walk up to the incapacitated man.
  4250. >In one swift motion, you roughly yank the sack off of his head.
  4251. >You see Lucas and Fluttershy flinch at the sight of his now injured face.
  4252. >Bruises and small lacerations litter the surface.
  4253. >OP looks up at you with a tired glare.
  4254. >”Man, Davey really did a number on him…”
  4255. >Trevor walks up beside you after his statement.
  4256. >”I’ll say!”
  4257. >Pinkie says as she uses Trevor’s shoulders as a perch for a better view, surprising him and taking him off balance.
  4258. >”I realize I’m beautiful, but are we going to sit around talking about it, or am I going to tell you what you want to hear?”
  4259. >Wow, whatever went on down here, it sure improved his compliance.
  4260.  
  4261. >”Let me start by saying one thing.”
  4262. >OP shifts his gaze between the ponies in the room.
  4263. >”You, all of you.”
  4264. >”Moving uncomfortably in his seat, he begins.
  4265. >”I lived in your world for a few years.”
  4266. >Most of them except Pinkie look stunned.
  4267. >”But I don’t understand… I’ve never seen any mention of humans in any of the books I’ve ever read!”
  4268. >He gives Twilight an answer, sending a cocky grin her way.
  4269. >”I made sure you, or any other living being in your world wouldn’t know about me.”
  4270. >Twilight, ever the curious one, inquires further.
  4271. >”Why though? It could have provided-“
  4272. >”I had my reasons. Let me just get on with the story.”
  4273. >Though she glowers at him, she remains silent.
  4274. >”I love my family.”
  4275. >Pinkie waves a hoof from her human stool.
  4276. >”EVERYONE loves their families, silly!”
  4277. >Ignoring the hyperactive mare’s misinterpretation, OP continues his parable.
  4278. >”I guess I should begin where it all started, twenty years ago.”
  4279. >Lucas adjusts his glasses, speaking in a tone of surprise.
  4280. >”That’s… kind of a long while back.”
  4281. >The old man grunts in confirmation.
  4282. >”Yeah, it was. I was actually pretty young back then, about the same age as you all.”
  4283. >Something doesn’t seem right about that to you.
  4284. “You look pretty old though, no offence. By that logic, you’d be about early to mid-forties.”
  4285. >Though he already looked it to begin with, irritation flashes in his eyes briefly.
  4286. >”I’ll get to that in time. Anyway, I was just starting out in the real world. I’d been married for about five years, and had a daughter about the same age. We weren’t a perfect family, that’s for sure. We had our ups, and sure as hell had our downs, but I wouldn’t say we were going to fall apart.”
  4287. >Momentarily he checks to see if you all are still listening. Seeing that everyone is all eyes and ears, he keeps going.
  4288. >”Well, one day me and my wife… we got into a fight. A big one. We both said things that we would regret. Unfortunately for everyone there, my daughter was there to witness it.”
  4289. >The sound of an unassuming voice stops the tale once more.
  4290. >”If… If you don’t mind me asking… Why were you fighting..?”
  4291. >You look down, seeing Fluttershy making eye contact with the battered man.
  4292. >As if opening an old wound, regret fills his eyes.
  4293. >”I wasn’t… Neither of us were really faithful. That day, I caught her in the act and it all escalated from there. More than usual, I might say.”
  4294. >The quiet pegasus nods her head sullenly and allows him to continue.
  4295. >”I stormed off, intent on putting a dent in the fool that she was with. Something about him, it struck me the wrong way. With that thought in mind, I got in my car and sped off.”
  4296. >He seems to struggle with the next part.
  4297. >”I… never found him. I didn’t make it back, either. As I was driving down the road, I saw something unusual. Where there was once trees and a few buildings, I saw the bright halls of what looked like a regal castle.”
  4298. >Everyone listens intently at the strange turn of events.
  4299. >”Slamming on the brakes, I got out to investigate. When I got out, I could see that the halls were becoming less visible. It was almost as if a portal was closing. Our world was closing in, making the entrance to that place smaller. The strangest part… is that it also doubled as a vacuum. I tried to get away, but it was too powerful. It sucked me and my car towards it, but… it was only big enough for me.”
  4300. >He inhales, his breath quivering as he does.
  4301. >”And that’s how your princess abducted me.”
  4302.  
  4303. “So, Princess… You mean like…”
  4304. >”Princess Celestia, raiser of the sun in Equestria.”
  4305. >Twilight glares at him with a look of shock, upset that anyone would say such a thing of her former mentor.
  4306. >”What do you mean “abduct”? She would never kidnap someone against their will!”
  4307. >”Cool your jets there, purple stuff.”
  4308. >Her glare only intensifies at his remark.
  4309. >”You’re right, she wouldn’t. Not on purpose at least. As you can probably already guess, she was the one who created that portal. However, she got part of her spell incorrect.”
  4310. “So, it wasn’t supposed to inhale you, was it?”
  4311. >He nods.
  4312. >”You’re partially right. When I got there and the initial freak out was over, she explained the situation to me. The spell she cast was only supposed to look into a random world, not actually tear a hole through dimensions.”
  4313. >To the side, the door to the lab opens up, and through it walks two figures.
  4314. >First is Dave, then the rainbow maned pegasus, whom oddly to you, he affectionately pets on her way through.
  4315. >They join the small crowd, and Lucas quietly catches them up on the details.
  4316. >In the meantime, OP starts talking again.
  4317. >”I asked, DEMANDED for her to send me back, but with the way she did it, it was nearly impossible for her to find our dimension again.”
  4318. >His voice begins to sound more tired.
  4319. >”She let me stay in the castle. I made sure she never breathed word of my existence to anyone outside of it, and the same for anyone working to close to where I was to stay. A few years passed with me nearly killing myself researching how to get home, and eventually I found a way back.”
  4320. >Trevor, speaking for the first time since the tale began, interrupts.
  4321. >”Why didn’t you want to be known about?”
  4322. >Through his ropes he shrugs.
  4323. >”A number of reasons. Back then, I still had a shred of decency in me. I didn’t plan to be there long, so I didn’t want to cause an uproar about aliens or some shit. And two, I didn’t want to be bothered while I tried to get home.”
  4324. “What happened next? Obviously you got back here, what made you want to do this?”
  4325. >He snickers.
  4326. >”Straight to the point, huh? That makes it easier on me. Well, I found my way back as you said. I got everything right when it game to harnessing magic in an external container and using it with other “machinery” to make a portal. However…”
  4327. >The grizzled man’s visage grows darker.
  4328. >”Time works in strange ways. Though the ponies can control it a bit better than we can, it’s still quite the mystery to most. When I stepped through that portal, I had no clue what awaited me on the other side. Where my house once was lied a run-down old shack with nobody in it. Cars were… different. The clothes people wore contrasted heavily to what I would see before I left.”
  4329. >Looking down at his feet, he proceeds.
  4330. >”It didn’t take me long to find out. Twenty years had passed while I was in that other world, and yet, it had only been two for me. Then came the changes to my body…”
  4331. >You look at his wrinkled face and grey hair.
  4332. >”After the first day back, I noticed a wrinkle under my eye. A few days later came the grey hairs on my chin. Then it spread to my head. Within months, my age caught up to how many years had passed on Earth while I was gone. To this day I still don’t know how. That…”
  4333. >He stares at everyone in front of him.
  4334. >”That was three years ago. In five years, I’ve lost everything that I held dear to me… My wife… My daughter… My job…”
  4335. >You cross your arms.
  4336. “What happened to them, then?”
  4337. >Anguish fills his eyes.
  4338. >”My wife, I couldn’t get a lot of details… All I know is that she is no longer with us. As for my daughter, she thinks I abandoned the family. She refuses to talk to me, and I don’t blame her.”
  4339. >When he looks back to the group, he focuses on the otherworldly beings.
  4340. >”And that’s when I decided to take revenge. I spent those three years making another portal with the equipment I brought back from Equestria. I would remove the things that saved it multiple times and kept it safe.”
  4341. >Grinning like a madman, the man raises the volume of his voice.
  4342. >”I would ruin the world that ruined me!”
  4343. >Silence hangs over room while everyone takes in all that he said.
  4344. >You dwell on his tale, going over every little detail in your mind.
  4345. >”How can we tell this isn’t just some sob story?”
  4346. >Rainbow zips up to his face, giving him a fish eye only accomplishable by a cartoon character.
  4347. >”That’s up to you to decide. We don’t have any lie detectors here, plus they’re inaccurate as hell anyway.”
  4348. >Something comes to you, and you grab his attention.
  4349. “Why go through all the trouble of making a thread and those rules, though?”
  4350. >Another grin appears on his face, one from an almost sadistic side that you haven’t seen from him before.
  4351. >”Where to begin? When I found out the way their world exists on this planet, I thought it would be interesting to see how someone else who knew about it would react in this kind of situation.”
  4352. >A lightbulb seems to turn on above his head.
  4353. >”That reminds me. While I was in Equestria, I also became a bit of a dabbler in alchemy. With that knowledge, I decided to add a little bit onto the test. Anon, and the other humans here, do you remember what that last rule was?”
  4354. >You dig into your mind to remember how the rules of the thread went.
  4355. >Out of the corner of your eye, you see Trevor’s mouth fall open.
  4356. >”I think your buddy over here is getting where I’m coming from.”
  4357. >What the hell does he mean?
  4358. >”I just so happened to learn of an interesting little recipe for a certain kind of poison. Not a deadly one, but one that would make you a little sick. A little… lovesick. The ponies that I had recently acquired seemed like perfect little test subjects at the time. I’m glad to see that it’s working.”
  4359. >It’s in this moment that your heart sinks to the pit of your stomach.
  4360.  
  4361. >”What?!”
  4362. >A clearly distressed Rainbow Dash quickly levitates into the air, biting at her hoof.
  4363. >All eyes go to her, surprised at her outburst.
  4364. >Sheepishly, she ceases to flap her wings, bringing her roughly down onto her hooves.
  4365. >”I-I mean… Why? Don’t you just see how distressed these mares are?!”
  4366. >Bolting over between Fluttershy and Twilight, she puts a hoof around their necks.
  4367. >To be honest, she isn’t wrong, neither of them are exactly happy by any means.
  4368. >”I oughtta teach you a lesson for leading us, I mean them on like that!”
  4369. >OP simply responds with his typical sneer.
  4370. >”What can I say? I’ve always been a man of science, so I like to at least put my discoveries to the test.”
  4371. >Twilight throws a look of pure fury his way.
  4372. >”Discoveries?! Love poison has been known about for-“
  4373. >You don’t know what surprises you more, the fact that he is able to cut her off through her anger, or that she’s debating science with him minutes after she realizes her love is false.
  4374. >”Yes, you’re right. This one takes a while to really take effect, and it’s weaker, too. It starts by increasing the empathy of the host. Then throughout the next few days, the bonds you develop with those around you are much stronger than normal. Simple as that.”
  4375. >The man and mare stare each other down for a few seconds.
  4376. >Though her agitation is great, she fails the stare down, running away with brimming tears in her eyes.
  4377. >Trevor follows close behind, leaving only seven people and ponies total in the basement.
  4378. >No one speaks for what feels like minutes, until Dave finally breaks the silence.
  4379. >”I think that’s enough for now.”
  4380. >You nod in agreement, and he starts making his way up the stairs with Dash close behind.
  4381. >Lucas and Pinkie are next, leaving you and Fluttershy as the last people in the basement.
  4382. >She looks to you, uncertainty and sadness filling her teal colored eyes.
  4383. >You motion for her to go ahead of you, and she does, her gentle gait dragging more than usual.
  4384. >Looking one more time in OP’s direction, you follow behind the befuddled mare.
  4385. >Once upstairs, you close the door behind you.
  4386. >Nobody is in the room that the stairs lead to, must be they went somewhere else.
  4387. >Pulling up a nearby chair, you sit on it, using the back as a prop for your arms and chin as you look out a nearby window.
  4388. >You begin to think about your current situation.
  4389. >This is so fucked.
  4390. >It’s the first time you actually felt like this for someone, and it turns out to be all false.
  4391. >You let out a bitter chuckle.
  4392. >Isn’t that what usually happens anyway?
  4393. >”Anon..?”
  4394. >Fluttershy’s timid voice comes from behind you, causing you to turn around and look at her and sit in the chair normally.
  4395. “Yes, Shy?”
  4396. >It’s slowly becoming second nature to shorten her name, even after what’s just transpired.
  4397. >”Do…”
  4398. >She begins to rub her front foreleg with another as she builds the courage to speak.
  4399. >”Do you still… want to… be together..?”
  4400. >Fear and uncertainty are the only things you can see in her face.
  4401. “I was wondering the same thing about you, honestly.”
  4402. >The pony doesn’t respond, still focusing on you.
  4403. “Well, my truly honest answer… It would have to be…”
  4404. >She almost cringes as you tell her what you want.
  4405. “…It would have to be yes. Though, if you don’t wan-“
  4406. >A familiar warm weight connects with your body, and you feel two soft appendages wrap around you under your arms.
  4407. >”I feel the same way, I don’t care if it’s fake..!”
  4408. >You enclose her small frame with your arms, burying your face in her plentiful, soft mane.
  4409. >Having her in your arms fills your heart with happiness, but the logical part of you tells you that the right thing to do would be to find a way to counteract what the old man gave to her and the rest of the ponies.
  4410. >For now though, you relish in the time you can spend with the shy mare in your arms.
  4411. >Your shirt gradually becomes damp with her tears of relief.
  4412. >”I-I was so scared th-that you… you’d say no…”
  4413. >Her hold on you tightens, as does yours on hers.
  4414. >Even your own breathing becomes a bit shaky as you both find comfort in each other’s presence.
  4415. >Doing your best to calm it down, you clear your throat.
  4416. >You’ve always been there for her, and her for you.
  4417. >In this moment though, you must remain level headed.
  4418. >One way or the other, she’ll get out of this happy, even if you don’t.
  4419. >You’ll make sure of it.
  4420.  
  4421. >Knowing Fluttershy wants to stay with you this badly warms your heart and makes you happy.
  4422. >At the same time though, you are almost certain that this is just the love poison talking.
  4423. >The two of you sit quietly with the only sounds in the room being that of her occasional sniffles, muffled by your shirt and chest.
  4424. >You do nothing, and neither does she.
  4425. >Your shared embrace is enough to keep the both of you content.
  4426. >Nature soon takes control though, and you hear a tiny rumble come from the mare’s stomach.
  4427. >One of a much greater size comes from your own only moments later.
  4428. >Fluttershy retracts her head in surprise, but starts to giggle after.
  4429. >You join her in her laughter, finding this to be a much nicer change to her previous demeanor.
  4430. >A nearby clock shows it to be a little past nine AM. You aren’t sure about Lucas or Dave, but neither you nor Trevor have had breakfast yet.
  4431. >The same goes for Fluttershy and Twilight. Op, too; you aren’t one to abuse captives.
  4432. >With the same gentle care you’ve become used to using, you bring a hand to her cheek and wipe away the last of the tears that have fallen from her blue eyes.
  4433. “Let’s get some food.”
  4434. >She nods, her giggles coming to an end before nuzzling into your chest once more with a small smile.
  4435. >You wait for a moment, expecting her to dismount you and allow you to proceed with the necessary steps to acquire sustenance for you both, but she never does.
  4436. >Not having the heart to ask her to remove herself, you put an arm under her, and use another to hug her close to your body.
  4437. >Getting to your feet isn’t too hard, and she stays perfectly still as she cuddles into you.
  4438. “Comfortable?”
  4439. >The yellow pegasus murmurs something, enjoying your body heat too much to form a real sentence.
  4440. >Letting out a small chuckle, you head out in search of the others.
  4441. >The living room is empty, as is one of the side rooms.
  4442. >You head upstairs to where the bedrooms are.
  4443. >In the small hallway, you see that one of the normally open doors is closed.
  4444. >Hesitating only momentarily, you rap on the door with your mostly free hand before returning it to Fluttershy.
  4445. >”It’s open.”
  4446. >A notably drained Trevor calls out from behind the wooden barricade.
  4447. >You open the door to a reasonably sized bedroom with two windows, a closet, and a queen sized mattress.
  4448. >On the bed is Twilight and Trevor, the latter of which is gently stroking the downtrodden princess’s mane.
  4449. “Just came in to ask if you guys were hungry. I can go back to my place and fetch a few ingredients to make a good breakfast with.”
  4450. >He looks over to the diminutive pony beside him.
  4451. >”I’m open to it. What about you, Twi?”
  4452. >Rubbing at her noticeably reddened eyes, she nods.
  4453. >You wish them well before quickly heading out of the room and closing the door.
  4454. >Twilight seems to be taking this pretty hard, and you don’t blame here.
  4455. >Best probably to leave it between them for now, though.
  4456. >Not seeing any signs of anyone around the house, you go for the door to the outside.
  4457. >Sure enough, you see Lucas and Dave sitting in the outside room as they watch Pinkie and Rainbow play together outside.
  4458. >Lucas turns to you, his face softening and a smile coming to his face when he sees Fluttershy.
  4459. >”I’m just going to say it now, the two of you together is pretty cute.”
  4460. >Across from him, Dave turns to look at what he was referring to.
  4461. >Upon seeing you, he gives a small shrug while attempting to hide a smile of his own.
  4462. >Feeling awkward about your relationship being the center of attention, you attempt to change the subject.
  4463. “You all hungry? Me and Trev haven’t eaten yet, so I’m gonna make some food.”
  4464. >The mention of food gets the blonde haired man’s attention.
  4465. >”Hell yeah, I’m starving!”
  4466. >Lucas responds much more calmly.
  4467. >”Yeah, I could go for some food. Actually-“
  4468. >A hyperactive female voice comes from a nearby window.
  4469. >”I thought maybe you guys might not have eaten, so me and Luke packed some stuff into a cooler before coming! Maybe you could make something out of that!”
  4470. >You jerk your head towards the window and find Pinkie looking in.
  4471. >That wasn’t open a minute ago.
  4472. >Making a note to find out how she is able to break physics in real life, you respond.
  4473. “Sounds good, that’ll save me a trip.”
  4474. >Jumping through the window, the pink mare bolts to wherever their car was parked.
  4475. >In only a few seconds, she returns with a cooler on her back.
  4476. >”We packed a lot, so I hope you find what you like!”
  4477. >With a loud thump, the container lands on the floor.
  4478. >Damn, must be she really means a lot…
  4479. >Pinkie opens the cooler, and you crouch down to get a better look.
  4480. >You see bread, eggs, sausage links, and even a box of cereal.
  4481. >There’s even more than that, but that’s more underneath the other stuff.
  4482. >In the corner you see a small bottle of vanilla, and next to that a container of cinnamon.
  4483. >Kind of a strange thing to have for breakfast food, but whatever.
  4484. >Right after you think that though, something starts forming in your head.
  4485. “Alright, I think I’ve got the perfect meal planned. Good choice in foods, guys.”
  4486. >The fluffy maned earth mare jumps up and down in excitement.
  4487. >”That’s great! Need some help?”
  4488. >You shrug.
  4489. “Sure, it’ll help it go by faster.”
  4490. >Pinkie closes the cooler and you turn back to the door.
  4491.  
  4492. >When you get inside the kitchen, you crouch to let go of the mare who has grown so comfortable in your arms.
  4493. >The look on her face says all you need to know about her opinions on this action.
  4494. >Once she is safely on the ground, you quickly press your lips against her cheek, wiping away the previous expression of unhappiness.
  4495. “I’m all yours once we’re done with breakfast.”
  4496. >Patting the top of her head, you go to meet up with Pinkie who is setting up the ingredients.
  4497. >Fluttershy heads back the way you came in.
  4498. >”So Anon, watcha got planned?”
  4499. >Leaning against a counter, you speak nonchalantly.
  4500. “Nothing too amazing, but it tastes good. Funny enough, I’ll even be able to use the vanilla and cinnamon you packed, too.”
  4501. >Her eyes grow at least two sizes and shine with excitement.
  4502. >”Oo, oo! What is it?”
  4503. >You pick up an egg and examine it.
  4504. “Well, I’m not sure what they call it where you come from, so why not just see as we go along?”
  4505. >Only deflated by a small margin, she begins to jump up and down.
  4506. >”Okay! What do you want me to do first?”
  4507. >You think for a second, calculating the amounts of each thing you’ll have to use for eight people.
  4508. >The calculations are easy to process, and you write down a list of things for her to use.
  4509. “Okay, you can mix these up in a bowl. I’ll get to cooking these sausages over here.”
  4510. >The bubbly mare gives you a salute and a big smile.
  4511. >”You got it! I really don’t like the smell of cooking meat, anyway.”
  4512. >With the speed of a fighter jet, the pony rushes to the opposite counter and starts putting everything together.
  4513. >You on the other hand turn your attention to the vacuum sealed package of sausages.
  4514. >They take some effort to open, but you do it all the same.
  4515. >By the time you are halfway done with them, you hear Pinkie behind you.
  4516. >”Okay, it’s all mixed! Do you want me to get out the bread?”
  4517. >She takes you off guard with her accurate prediction.
  4518. “Yeah, go for it. You know of this food?”
  4519. >”Definitely! You made a pretty good choice!”
  4520. >You’ll have to ask her what they call it back in Equestria sometime.
  4521. >Best get to learning now if you’re going to be making a permanent switch.
  4522. >Your heart skips a beat when you remember the implications of the revelations that transpired only an hour ago.
  4523. >The whole reason you’re going there is for Fluttershy.
  4524. >Thoughts of unfortunate outcomes begin to intrude in your head. The curse of the poison is lifted and she feels nothing for you anymore, leaving you to live by yourself in an unfamiliar land.
  4525. >You can feel your heart begin to beat faster as you merely think of the possibility.
  4526. >Stress overtakes you as you have a hard time deciding how to deal with this.
  4527. >If you do go, there is a chance it’s all for naught. If you don’t, you’ll be questioning what could have been forever.
  4528. >Only the near smoldering of the sausages in front of you break you out of your panic.
  4529. >They seem to be done well enough for you to take them off of the heat.
  4530. >You do so, and go to check on Pinkie.
  4531. >Apparently she has been next to you for quite some time, having dipped the bread in the mixture of eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4532. >Now she’s cooking them in a pan that is above the burner right next to the one you were using.
  4533. >To her side is a stack of already cooked bread on a plate.
  4534. “Nice job, Pinkie! I’ll go get the others.”
  4535. >”Alrighty!”
  4536. >The mare speaks as she effortlessly flips a slice of bread onto the already tall stack.
  4537. >It doesn’t take too long for you to gather the rest of the guests, and you return too the kitchen.
  4538. >No longer is Pinkie cooking, but now she is dividing the food equally amongst some paper plates that she and Lucas brought over.
  4539. >You count nine plates in total. One for each of you, and one for the captive down below.
  4540. >”I’ll feed the one downstairs!”
  4541. >The thought of what she is doing entertains you.
  4542. >Here he is the one that abducted her from her home, and she’s still going down to feed him with a big smile on her face.
  4543. >People and ponies begin to file into the kitchen, some sniffing at the air as they do.
  4544. >”Wow, this is smelling pretty great! I can’t wait to see what you and Pinkie can do, Anon.”
  4545. >Lucas is the first one to speak.
  4546. >”I can agree for the most part, but the meat makes it kind of off-putting, no offense.”
  4547. >Twilight says, waving her hoof in front of her nose.
  4548. >”I still don’t understand that. I mean, I know some other species eat meat, but at least they eat it raw!”
  4549. >Rainbow has a bit of a point.
  4550. >Fluttershy is the last in line, and adds her two cents as well.
  4551. >”I always meant to ask Anon about that… I didn’t know that humans cooked their meat, though.”
  4552. >David turns his head to you.
  4553. >”You a vegetarian, Anon?”
  4554. >You shake your head.
  4555. “Nah, I’m just lazy. It’s a lot easier to make a meal we’ll both eat than two different ones.”
  4556. >Trevor comes over to you chuckling.
  4557. >”You sure about that? Those arms of yours look like they’ve never seen an ounce of protein in their life!”
  4558. >He squeezes at your bicep as he ribs you.
  4559. >A grin comes to your face as you pinch at a bit of excess fat hanging from his belly.
  4560. “Hey, at least I keep this stuff off of me! If anything, you’re the one here who would benefit the most from eating his veggies.”
  4561. >Both of you laugh for a bit before you let go of each other.
  4562. “Feel free to grab a plate, everyone!”
  4563. >You wait as everyone grabs servings of the food before grabbing your own.
  4564. >There is one plate leftover, which belongs to Pinkie.
  4565. >Speaking of her, the bright pink mare is hopping up the staircase right now with a plate on her back.
  4566. “How’d it go?”
  4567. >A smile remains on her face as she catches you up.
  4568. >“It went good! He liked the food and ate it all.”
  4569. >Handing her food to her, you reply.
  4570. “That’s good. C’mon, let’s eat.”
  4571. >”Uh-huh!”
  4572. >She bounces after you as you go to the shockingly large table everyone is at.
  4573. >Looking across the crowd sitting around the table, you see a single open seat next to Fluttershy.
  4574.  
  4575. >You quickly look between the open seat and the mare standing next to you.
  4576. >Hoping that Fluttershy doesn’t take it the wrong way, you begin to offer the open seat to Pinkie.
  4577. “I’ll eat at the counter, no wo-“
  4578. >Before you can even finish your offer, you see the spontaneous pony fly through the air while still keeping her plate level by some amazing fleet.
  4579. >You hear a grunt of discomfort as she lands in Lucas’s lap.
  4580. >”This is always the best seat, no matter where we are!”
  4581. >As she gets comfortable, you see her victim’s face turn at least two shades of red.
  4582. >”Y-yeah. You certainly have no problem showing it off…”
  4583. >As if noticing his plight, the oblivious mare cranes her head back to look at him.
  4584. >”Is something wrong, Lukey? You’re really flushed!”
  4585. >Her head tilts a bit, noticing something on the flustered man.
  4586. >”You’ve got some syrup on your cheek. Let me get that for you!”
  4587. >With little warning other than that, she sticks out her tongue, throws it onto his face, and slowly drags it downward.
  4588. >You are just sitting down in your seat across from him, getting a full view of his thousand yard stare usually only seen from traumatized war veterans.
  4589. >”There, all better!”
  4590. >She beams an excited, innocent smile at him.
  4591. >The most he is able to do is let out a nervous laugh.
  4592. >”T-thanks…”
  4593. >Having done her duty, Pinkie takes a big bite out of a slice of her french toast.
  4594. >Aside from what just happened, breakfast conversation is fairly light.
  4595. >The meal is eaten in a matter of minutes.
  4596. >You take your plate to the sink and wash it, a few others following suit.
  4597. >Everyone does their part to help clean up, and within minutes, the kitchen is spotless.
  4598. >Stepping to the side, you check your phone.
  4599. >One unread message from RF awaits to be read.
  4600. >Checking it reveals that he got in contact with AF, and they’ll both be here by about six PM.
  4601. “Yo guys, we’re gonna meet the rest of the group this evening!”
  4602. >David turns his attention to you.
  4603. >”So, we’re getting Rarity and Applejack?”
  4604. >The mention of their friends’ names attracts the attention of the various ponies in the room.
  4605. >”Applejack and Rarity are coming?”
  4606. >Rainbow drops what she’s doing and flies towards you and the dark blonde man.
  4607. “You bet. If everything turns out as expected, you’ll all be reunited tonight.”
  4608. >This new piece of good news brightens Twilight’s deadened look, causing her to look more like her normal self.
  4609. >”That’s great! When are they coming?”
  4610. >You look at your phone’s time.
  4611. “In around eight hours.”
  4612. >Pinkie raises up onto her hind legs and begins to kick her front ones as she cheers.
  4613. >”We’re reuniting! The band is getting back together!”
  4614. >Somehow the ecstatic mare throws confetti around.
  4615. >Only a few hours have passed since you met her, and you’re already learning to just accept that she can rip out parts of reality and make them her bitch.
  4616. >You yawn, still affected by your lack of a good sleep last night.
  4617. >That couch in the other room sounds pretty inviting right now.
  4618. >Slipping your phone back in your pocket, you turn in the direction of the place you are thinking of.
  4619. “I’ll be in the main room if you all need me.”
  4620. >Trevor nods in agreement.
  4621. >”Sounds good. Me and Twi are going to work on the portal some more. If we’re lucky, we might have it up by next week.”
  4622. >Lucas looks at them in bewilderment.
  4623. >”Wow, you guys work fast!”
  4624. >Twilight glows with pride.
  4625. >”I’m going to see if I can get that box open we found in the lab. I’ve always liked working with my hands.”
  4626. >Trevor leans closer to him and twitches his eyebrows up and down.
  4627. >”Oh, I bet you do…”
  4628. >Dave rolls his eyes so hard, you’d swear his retinas detach.
  4629. >”Gaaaay.”
  4630. >You decide to leave them to your banter as you feel your eyes droop.
  4631. >Making it to the room, the couch looks like a…
  4632. >Like a…
  4633. >You don’t know. All you do know though is that you want it to hug your body and never let go.
  4634. >Collapsing on the couch, you close your eyes and let the food drag your consciousness into the depths.
  4635. >That drugged oatmeal’s got nothing on a well-made meal.
  4636. >You have yet to drift off completely, and after a few minutes you feel the couch shift under a new weight.
  4637. >It’s a familiar weight, and you’re pretty sure you know what it belongs to.
  4638. >Just as you begin to predict it, you feel it climb onto your leg, then gently rest upon your chest.
  4639. >Opening your eyes, you see the familiar orbs that belong to Fluttershy.
  4640. >The memory of what you promised her earlier returns to you.
  4641. “Oh… I’m sorry Flutters… I’m just kinda sleepy…”
  4642. >She gives you a gentle smile.
  4643. >”I just want to be near you is all… If that’s okay right now.”
  4644. >You wrap her up in your arms, holding her close.
  4645. “For sure.”
  4646. >The future may be uncertain, but you want to at least enjoy what you have right now.
  4647.  
  4648. >You check the time.
  4649. >5:44PM
  4650. >Not long now.
  4651. >At least you feel rested from your nap earlier.
  4652. >It was a deep sleep lasting only about an hour and a half, but it sure was just what you needed.
  4653. >You weren’t sure about Fluttershy.
  4654. >All you know is that she fell asleep too, and you don’t blame her.
  4655. >Anyone would fall asleep if they were just laying down doing nothing.
  4656. >Now you are just watching Twilight work on the portal spell while Dave works on trying to crack open the lock on the solid metal mystery container.
  4657. >Watching the events unfold before you, you try to remember if you’ve even left this couch today.
  4658. >Trevor gets kicked back out of the portal for the umpteenth time as you mentally recap the past few hours.
  4659. >At least now he isn’t flying back into the wall anymore.
  4660. >Whenever he gets kicked out, he falls out on his butt and is able to get right back up.
  4661. >You look at the mare who is resting her head on your lap.
  4662. “Not that I don’t like your company, but you know you could take the portal back home and wait for us, right? Or even just go check in on things and come back after an hour or two. As long as Twilight’s on our side, she can reopen the portal so you can come back.”
  4663. >An expression of discomfort appears on her face.
  4664. >”I know I could… It doesn’t feel right, though. Everyone else but you two and Twilight could go, leaving you and her behind. Friends shouldn’t leave each other behind.”
  4665. >Shifting your eyes back to the portal as you absorb what she said, you watch the tenacious man leap through once more.
  4666. “Loyalty. A good quality to have.”
  4667. >A bright flash of light flashes as Trevor is rejected from the portal.
  4668. >At the same time, you hear a set of heavy knocks from the door.
  4669. >You twist your neck to look to the entrance of the house.
  4670. >From a bit further out, you hear something that you don’t even know how to process.
  4671. >”ALL OCCUPANTS OF THE HOUSE, STEP OUT WITH YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!”
  4672. >You feel your hair stand up on end at the sound of the aggressive male voice.
  4673. >This sounds like a police raid.
  4674. >But why? You’ve heard stories of the DEA getting the wrong address, is this one of those situations?
  4675. >Fluttershy quickly looks up to the source of the disturbance.
  4676. >”What’s happening..?”
  4677. >Gently pushing her aside, you speak in a hushed tone.
  4678. “I don’t know, but I’ll see.”
  4679. >Hearing a clunk come from the area that Dave is working in, you look over and find it to be empty.
  4680. >Looking back at the door has you seeing him with his back to the wall and trying to look out the blinded window in the middle of it without being seen.
  4681. >”I’m not getting arrested… I’m bailing the second I see a cop.”
  4682. >Panic tries to set in as you question his behavior.
  4683. “The hell did you do?!”
  4684. >He quickly looks as you, an almost crazed look to his eyes.
  4685. >”Nothing!”
  4686. >”YOU HAVE UNTIL THE COUNT OF TEN TO GIVE YOURSELVES UP!”
  4687. >Trevor and Twilight approach, with the human part of the couple speaking up.
  4688. >”Then you should have nothing to worry about. I’d say let’s just go out there and see what’s up.”
  4689. >You nod.
  4690. “Here, I’ll step out first. T, help hide the girls and find Lucas, Pinkie and Dash.”
  4691. >”Got it.”
  4692. >The panicked man tries to stop you, but you already have your hand on the knob and have it twisted all the way.
  4693. >Pulling the door open, you prepare to follow the orders of the person outside.
  4694. >However, instead of being met with flashing lights and armored SWAT team units, you see a grinning Lucas and Pinkie Pie.
  4695. >Behind them are two cars that you don’t recognize.
  4696. >Standing by them are two men, one with a megaphone.
  4697. >They too begin to laugh when they see you.
  4698. >”Man, you should see the look on your face Anon!”
  4699. >Whatever look you had on your face is replaced by one of annoyance.
  4700. >The two people by the cars make their way to you.
  4701. >”Damn, I think we about killed blondie in there. He looks like he’s going to have a heart attack!”
  4702. >You look to the door and see that Dave is in fact, sweating bullets and looking like he’s already been shot at at least three times.
  4703. >Suddenly, you begin to feel very dumb for not recognizing the voice on the megaphone.
  4704. “AF?”
  4705. >Holding his hand out and chuckling, he steps closer.
  4706. >”In the flesh.”
  4707. >You take his hand and shake it.
  4708. >”Sorry about that. When I saw that Devin over there has a megaphone, I couldn’t help myself. Name’s Ron.”
  4709. >He backs up, making way for the person behind him.
  4710. >Devin, as you now know him, takes his place.
  4711. >”It was a bit of my fault, too. I told him I’d pay him ten dollars if he did it.”
  4712. >Turning to him and sticking his hand in his pocket, he pulls out a ten dollar bill.
  4713. >”Speaking of, here you go.”
  4714. >The slam of a car door catches everyone’s attention.
  4715. >”Are y’all done with that prank of yours yet? Being cramped up in that darn car of yours is a pain in the flank, y’know!”
  4716. >Out of what you assume is Ron’s car emerges an orange mare with a blonde mane. Resting atop the golden strands of hair is a familiar cowboy hat.
  4717. >”Yeah, you can come out now, sorry about that!”
  4718. >The person closest to you calls out as well.
  4719. >”You can come out too, Rarity!”
  4720. >From the other car, a door opens revealing a bright white unicorn mare.
  4721. >Daintily she makes her way down, careful not to chip a hoof or something landing on the cement.
  4722. >”I’ll be there in only a second!”
  4723. >She looks to her side, noticing her friend close by.
  4724. >”Applejack!”
  4725. >The orange mare hears the familiar sound of Rarity’s voice and looks in her direction.
  4726. >”Rarity!”
  4727. >Both ponies gallop towards each other, eventually meeting in a tight embrace.
  4728. >You laugh internally at the sight.
  4729. >They may not have gotten along too well at times in the show, but they are still close friends.
  4730. >Their reunion is not quite audible, but they soon let each other go and canter towards the house.
  4731. “C’mon guys, let’s meet up inside.”
  4732.  
  4733. >Once everything is calmed down and back to normal, everyone gathers in what you’ve dubbed the main room of the house.
  4734. >Though David was a bit of a challenge to convince that everything is fine.
  4735. >You could spend years in a room alone with him, and you doubt you’ll ever understand this guy.
  4736. >Same goes for Pinkie, but that’s a given.
  4737. >In the back of the room sit you and the rest of the humans, while in the middle are the ponies as they finally reunite completely.
  4738. >”Gotta say, we’ve had us quite an adventure so far; even if we haven’t really left our houses.”
  4739. >A few people laugh at Ron’s statement.
  4740. >”Yeah, ain’t it the truth?”
  4741. >Devin leans back in his seat, taking a gulp of beer from one of the bottles that Ron provided.
  4742. >”C’mon Anon, plenty to go around!”
  4743. >Lucas offers you a full bottle of the amber liquid.
  4744. >You shrug.
  4745. “I’m actually thinking of driving home here in a few hours, but what the hell?”
  4746. >Taking the bottle from his hand, you uncap it and drink down some of the contents.
  4747. >”What, can’t handle your drinks? It’s just beer!”
  4748. >Trevor taunts you as he tosses an empty bottle aside.
  4749. “I can, which is unfortunate since I’ll have to drink more to stand looking at your face.”
  4750. >He laughs heavily, along with nearly the rest of the group.
  4751. >The night continues like this for a few hours, with you guys drinking and conversing; and the girls doing much the same minus the alcohol.
  4752. >Looking out the window, the sun appears to have completely disappeared from the sky.
  4753. >You check the time, and see that it’s 9:58 PM.
  4754. “Alright guys, I’m gonna get going.”
  4755. >You stand up, ignoring the slight buzz in your head
  4756. >”Nah, bitch. We’re just getting started!”
  4757. >Devin protests.
  4758. >Shaking your head, you move your seat back to the original position.
  4759. “So, just to be sure, Devin and Lucas are staying here tonight to keep guard. Twilight’s also going to stay to research the machinery in the basement?”
  4760. >Trevor affirms your question, much more sober than the person who spoke before you.
  4761. >”Yeah. I need to get a good night’s rest in my own bed, maybe it’ll help me think clearer in the morning. Twilight though, I don’t know how she does it.”
  4762. >Devin throws an arm around Lucas, who uncomfortably tries to scoot away.
  4763. >”Hell YEAH! We’re gonna kick this shit up!”
  4764. >You look to Ron with an unamused expression.
  4765. “You sure it was a good idea to give him the vodka?”
  4766. >He shrugs.
  4767. >”Ah, he ain’t going anywhere. I don’t see the harm.”
  4768. >Picking up a few of your scattered belongings, you respond.
  4769. “Yeah, well let’s hope Lucas can keep a good lookout on the old man tonight.”
  4770. >Across the room, Rarity and Fluttershy are holding a relaxed conversation.
  4771. >The pegasus mare notices that you are now standing.
  4772. >With you having informed her of your plans earlier, she finishes up the conversation at hand and moves over to you.
  4773. >”Goodbye now, dear; and good luck~!”
  4774. >Fluttershy smiles.
  4775. >”Thank you Rarity, goodbye!”
  4776. >You and the pony make your way to the front door.
  4777. “Alright, bye guys! I’ll be back tomorrow to see what’s going on.”
  4778. >A mixture of farewells emanate from the people still hanging out near the back of the room.
  4779. >Opening the door, you let Fluttershy out first and follow behind.
  4780. >…
  4781. “So, I can see a few changes have been made.”
  4782. >You look around the walls of the basement, seeing the only window in the room is now covered in wooden boards. The door to the lab has a new knob with a slit for a key, and there is now a camera looking towards the center of the room from the corner of the wall.
  4783. >Pair all this with a new lock on the upstairs door, and you have a somewhat decent makeshift prison for someone who was once forced to remain tied to a chair.
  4784. >”Yeah, really makes the place feel cozy now.”
  4785. >OP crosses his now free arms.
  4786. >It was a random spot of boredom that brought you back down here.
  4787. >Only three days have passed since the culprit for this whole debacle was found and captured, but not much else has happened since then.
  4788. >You cross your arms in turn.
  4789. “You can’t say you didn’t see something like this coming.”
  4790. >“Actually, I can. I didn’t expect for your pals to bust in at the last moment to save you.”
  4791. >Shaking your head, you correct yourself.
  4792. “Well, I meant you couldn’t say you didn’t see yourself ending up in a situation like this AFTER getting caught.”
  4793. >He rolls his eyes.
  4794. >”You got me there. Still, never thought I’d ever be held prisoner in my own basement.”
  4795. >Turning to one of the corners, you pull out two folding chairs and set them out.
  4796. >Placing yourself in one, you offer him the other.
  4797. >Pride prevents him from accepting it, however.
  4798. >Blowing out air through your mouth, you try to think of a conversation topic.
  4799. >Why did you even come down here? There are so many other things you could do to alleviate boredom.
  4800. >You end up vocalizing the first thought that comes to your mind.
  4801. “What you did may have been extreme and hurt many living things emotionally, but I can still say that I can understand your anger.”
  4802. >Turning away from you, he speaks.
  4803. >”What, the anger from being held prisoner in my own house, or from practically losing everything?”
  4804. >His bitterness doesn’t surprise you, especially under the current circumstances.
  4805. “Both, really. Though I’m talking more about the second one.”
  4806. >OP starts to pace around the small room.
  4807. >”I’m so glad you can! That’ll surely bring my wife back. That understanding will make my daughter stop hating me, I’m sure.”
  4808. >You sigh.
  4809. “Just trying to provide some moral support.”
  4810. >He turns to you, looking tired.
  4811. >”Well, I don’t need it.”
  4812. >Walking back over to you, he takes the chair and sits back down.
  4813. >As always, you attempt to add some humor to lighten the mood.
  4814. “Didn’t think you’d be too keen on sitting on one of those after a few days ago.”
  4815. >OP snorts, unamused by your attempt.
  4816. >”I’m just glad your buddies put some decent bathroom equipment down here. Wasn’t looking forward to it smelling like shit and piss for however long I’m gonna be here.”
  4817. “I’m sure they weren’t looking forward to that, either.”
  4818. >This actually gets a chuckle out of him.
  4819. >Silence soon falls between the two of you.
  4820. >You look around at everything but the man in front of you, whilst he looks at the ground.
  4821. >”How did they find us, anyway?”
  4822. >He is now looking at you.
  4823. “You mean Twilight and Trevor?”
  4824. >Wordlessly nodding his head, you answer his question.
  4825. “Twilight was sensing a large amount of magic coming from this area.”
  4826. >You see his eyes widen in bewilderment.
  4827. >”Unicorns can do that? Peh, teaches me for not looking into that shit more.”
  4828. >Thinking on what you just said, you remember that Twilight never found the exact source of it.
  4829. “Any idea on what that might have been?”
  4830. >Predictably, he shakes his head.
  4831. >”Not a clue.”
  4832. >You don’t believe him for a second.
  4833. “Oh. Well…”
  4834. >Yet another silence ensues as you try to think of something to say.
  4835. >”I really did love my family. No matter what anyone says, I did. I just wish it didn’t take me losing them to realize it…”
  4836. >For once, you can relate to the stuff that he’s saying.
  4837. “I know what you mean. Mine had a happier ending, though. To an extent. Someone I care about very deeply almost drowned. Funny enough, it was right after they had confessed that they liked me as more than a friend. I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, but when I saw them nearly lifeless on the shore…”
  4838. >You nearly shudder remembering the events of the day Fluttershy almost died.
  4839. “I knew how I felt.”
  4840. >”Though, I bet you’re unsure about how you feel now.”
  4841. >You look at him curiously.
  4842. >”I already know about you and the pegasus. Now that you know about the love poison I put in her, I’m willing to guess you’re second guessing all that now.”
  4843. >Feeling a twitch of irritation in your eyelid, you reply.
  4844. “No, I know how I feel. Though, how she feels once we find a cure is up to her.”
  4845. >”So, you’d just take that happiness away from her, huh? What if she doesn’t want to let it go?”
  4846. >You ponder what he says for a moment.
  4847. >There are many implications to negating the effects of the poison.
  4848. >Gauging how Fluttershy would feel after being cured is a difficult task, as you can only imagine a few outcomes.
  4849. >Either she’d wonder just how that concoction could make her feel attracted to you, or maybe, just maybe, she’d still feel the same way.
  4850. >Tough nothing is out of the realm of possibility when it comes to lifting this curse.
  4851. >You eventually answer.
  4852. “It’s not about what she or I want. It’s about what we should do. Eventually one or both of us will wonder if what we have is real or not, and will want to be rid of the poison. Best to do it sooner rather than later.”
  4853. >Scratching his chin, he responds.
  4854. >”You are definitely an interesting man, Anon. I wonder how others would deal with this if put in your position.”
  4855. “I could say the same about you.”
  4856. >The older man cracks a smile and laughs.
  4857. “Can I get your name? I’m running out of stuff to call you in my head.”
  4858. >”Well, I’m probably going to be down here a long time. No point in trying to keep it secret anymore. Call me Jay.”
  4859. >You commit the name to memory.
  4860. “Got it.”
  4861. >You rise from your chair.
  4862. “Anyway, I have to get going. Have a good time down here.”
  4863. >He sneers back.
  4864. >”You can bet I will.”
  4865. >Putting back your chair, you look to the lab.
  4866. >The dim light in the room and the angle in which you look at it triggers something in your memory.
  4867. “Hey…”
  4868. >You switch your course to go back to Jay.
  4869. “The night you had me captured, I heard a strange sound in that room. I heard something similar when we were talking online. You said it was an air conditioner, but what was it really?”
  4870. >A wrinkled smile comes across his lips.
  4871. >”Isn’t it obvious?”
  4872. >You tilt your head in a sign of confusion.
  4873. >Slapping his face, he makes it clear.
  4874. >”The only machine there is in that room. I had it running on the night I captured you.”
  4875. >That makes sense.
  4876. “You’re not going to tell me what it does, are you?”
  4877. >He shakes his head.
  4878. >Sighing, you turn to the stairs once more.
  4879. >This guy is one hell of an engineer. Magic normally only used by ponies, machines, machines that use magic…
  4880. >You stop dead in your tracks.
  4881. >A theory begins to formulate in your head.
  4882. >How didn’t you realize this earlier?
  4883. >Are you some kind of idiot?
  4884. >You turn around and run down the stairs.
  4885. >”Back already?”
  4886. >Ignoring his quip, you speak.
  4887. “Where is the portal you built?”
  4888. >He looks to the side as he considers his answer.
  4889. >”Probably scattered across a junkyard in Equestria. I rigged the thing to explode so no one could follow me.”
  4890. “No. I mean the one that you used to go back.”
  4891. >You keep a close eye on his face.
  4892. >When for just a split second he looks to the door to the lab, you are certain of where it is, whether or not he answers truthfully.
  4893. >He couldn’t have it self-destruct around here without causing a disturbance. The houses may be a bit sparse, but an explosion wouldn’t go unnoticed.
  4894. >”That’s a mystery to all of us.”
  4895. >Deciding not to reply, you rush back to the stairs.
  4896.  
  4897. >”Are you sure of this? I mean, it’s a good theory and all, but we don’t have much to go on other than the body language you picked up on.”
  4898. >You move around the room, almost as if patrolling it.
  4899. “I’m sure of it, Twilight. The machine, the way it’s set up, the circumstances behind his travel… It has to be the way he went back and forth.”
  4900. >Stopping to examine a random nick nack, you await a response from the rooms only other occupant.
  4901. >”It certainly would help a lot if it were… I mean, a portal guaranteed to teleport humans… that would solve our last issue!”
  4902. >You look back at the alicorn.
  4903. “I never asked this before, thought it was a bit personal. You’re still working on the portal, even with the whole love poison thing?”
  4904. >For only a moment, Twilight looks uncomfortable.
  4905. >Then, just as fast as the uneasiness came, it is replaced with her normal expression.
  4906. >”We decided to take the plunge. Trevor… has things in this world he wouldn’t mind leaving behind. For him, he’ll still be taking a small win if this doesn’t turn out well.”
  4907. >This brings thoughts of your own situation to mind.
  4908. >You really should make up your mind, especially with the chance that a portal could be ready very soon.
  4909. “I’m going to go look at the machine. Have you tried disassembling it at all?”
  4910. >Right away you know the answer by the look on her face.
  4911. >”Not yet, I’ve been too afraid to for fear of breaking it.”
  4912. >Stepping away from the table of decorative ornaments, you go to the exit of the room.
  4913. “I don’t blame you. Anyway, no use in waiting around. I’ll grab some tools and look over the notes and see if I can find anything out.”
  4914. >Following behind, she gets ready to split up in the small hall.
  4915. >”Okay, good luck.”
  4916. >…
  4917. >This house is surprisingly easy to find stuff in.
  4918. >Only eight or so minutes into your search, you found a few hefty toolboxes on one of the shelves in the garage.
  4919. >The thing is difficult to lug to the basement, but you manage to find a bit of help on the way.
  4920. >Passing by Devin, who is doing something on a laptop, he averts his gaze from the screen and calls out.
  4921. >”Do you need some help with that?”
  4922. >You stop and shrug.
  4923. “Why not. Mind opening the basement door for me?”
  4924. >He gets up from his seat, and after squeezing past you in the small kitchen, opens the door.
  4925. “Thanks.”
  4926. >Devin outstretches his arm with his hand open.
  4927. >”Here, gimme one of those. I’ll carry it down.”
  4928. >No one has to ask you twice.
  4929. >Handing him one of the metal containers, you make your way down.
  4930. >”So, what’re you planning on doing with all this?”
  4931. >Doing your best to shrug while walking down the stairs and carrying a heavy box, you answer.
  4932. “Just going to tinker with the mystery machine for a bit. I’m thinking it may actually be what Jay used to teleport between here and Equestria.”
  4933. >”Okay, hold up. First of all, Jay? Who the hell is that? Second, a machine that teleports stuff? Isn’t that impossible?”
  4934. >Once again you shrug.
  4935. “I thought so, too until a couple weeks ago. Remember though, he said he BUILT a portal. It has to be around somewhere.”
  4936. >The person behind you mulls it over for a bit.
  4937. >”I mean, I guess. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around all this for so long, and I’m still failing.”
  4938. >Reaching the bottom of the steps, you see the greying man laying down on the recently placed cot with his eyes closed.
  4939. >Well, at least he didn’t hear your discussion, maybe.
  4940. >You open the door to the lab and get a good look at the daunting machine.
  4941. >Placing your toolbox on the floor, you dust off your hands.
  4942. “Well,”
  4943. >You start thinking of where to begin.
  4944. “Let’s get to work.”
  4945.  
  4946. >To start off, you walk a circle around the strange device.
  4947. >Maybe it’s just because you’re in a better state of mind now, but now that you are looking over this thing more closely, you see more details you overlooked before.
  4948. >The first and most unusual one being that you see absolutely no connection to a power source.
  4949. >The second is just the overall layout. Each of the “antennas”, as you’ve been calling them, on the floor are jutting out of metal tombstone like objects.
  4950. >On the ceiling, you just see one sticking out of a flat base.
  4951. >What’s unusual about that is that you see no connection between any of these. Perhaps the wiring is underground?
  4952. >That doesn’t explain how it would connect to one on the ceiling, though.
  4953. >Crouching down for a better look at any possible places for a cord to be hiding yields not much more than a few specks of dirt and a thin layer of dust.
  4954. >You do remember a possible way to turn it on. Maybe it’s battery powered?
  4955. >In an attempt to get his attention, you call out.
  4956. “Hey Dev, mind turning this thing on from that control panel?”
  4957. >Turning it on without knowing its function is probably a bad idea, but you don’t have much else to go on at this point.
  4958. >He walks over to the part that you mentioned, looking at it quizzically.
  4959. >”Sure thing, but how?”
  4960. “It should be the big green button that says “ON”.”
  4961. >You hear a click as he presses something.
  4962. >”Found it!”
  4963. >A moment passes and nothing happens.
  4964. >Straightening back up, you go to where he stands.
  4965. “Nothing, huh?”
  4966. >”Nope.”
  4967. >You sigh.
  4968. “Don’t know why I expected anything from that.”
  4969. >Looking across the panel of the station, you see a simple LED screen, along with a standard computer keyboard underneath. To the right of it lies the on and off buttons.
  4970. >The front of the machine also holds a button, just below where the top and front most portion of the machine meet.
  4971. >It’s featureless and shares the same color as the metal the machine is made of.
  4972. >On closer inspection of the control station’s base, you see a pleasant surprise on the walls.
  4973. >The only thing holding the walls of this pile of metal together is an even dispersal of bolts on the edge of two of the sides.
  4974. “Hey man, I hate to be a bother, but could you fetch me a socket wrench from that toolbox over there? Should be in the one I was carrying.”
  4975. >”Sure thing, bitch.”
  4976. >You hear the clatter of different tools in the box as he searches for the correct one.
  4977. >”Alright, I found it.”
  4978. >Walking back to you, he hands you a weighty plastic box.
  4979. “Thanks, fag.”
  4980. >You both snicker, and you get to work matching the various cylinders in the box to the bolts of the machine.
  4981. >Soon, you find one that matches, and you begin the process of taking off one of the side panels.
  4982. >A loud clang reverberates through the room, signaling your success.
  4983. >If that didn’t wake up the person sleeping in the other room, you don’t know what will.
  4984. >With the inner mechanisms revealed to you, you start looking at what all it has to offer.
  4985. >Wires and circuitry are neatly strewn about the machine. You can even kind of recognize a few parts from the time that you built a computer.
  4986. >Other than that, though, none of the parts are familiar to you in the slightest.
  4987. >Almost everything here looks like stuff you’d see on the inside of a machine, but at the same time…
  4988. >It all looks different.
  4989. >You decide to look to see if there’s anything in here that might supply power to the controls.
  4990. >Doing one more sweep of the inside, you notice one detail you overlooked before.
  4991. Beneath the board and wires, you see a small compartment extending into the other side of the machine.
  4992. >From the hole, you see light blue lines extending out in different paths.
  4993. >Seeing this, you finally realize what looks different to you.
  4994. >None of this is attached to a circuit or motherboard of any kind.
  4995. >Every component is connected by the lines that come from this compartment.
  4996. “Now I’m really confused… Is something missing..?”
  4997. >A new voice speaks from behind you.
  4998. >”Maybe this’ll help. This page in particular.”
  4999. >Devin turns away his gaze from something on one of the tables he was looking at.
  5000. >”Yo Ron, what’s good bitch?”
  5001. >You turn to see Ron standing at the closed door, waving a small notebook around in one hand.
  5002. >Rising to your feet, you extend a hand to retrieve the book.
  5003. “Where’d you come from?”
  5004. >You look down at the book, and to your surprise you see a rough sketch of what you were just looking at in the machine.
  5005. “And how did you know I’d need this?”
  5006. >He shrugs.
  5007. >”I asked Twilight where you guys went to, and she told me where you went. I was reading this at the time and figured it would come in handy later.”
  5008. >You step out of the way as he goes to the machine.
  5009. >”But apparently, this thing is powered by a magic crystal of some kind.”
  5010. >He bends forward a bit as he inspects the insides.
  5011. >”Don’t know how that would help us, seeing as the damn thing seems to be missing…”
  5012. >You start looking around the room.
  5013. “It has to be around here.”
  5014. >However, no matter where you look, the crystal is nowhere to be found.
  5015. “I don’t understand… He was using this thing the night he captured me and Fluttershy!”
  5016. >Ron shrugs.
  5017. >”Maybe he took it out before he came back to you?”
  5018. >You shrug.
  5019. “I don’t know. The thing was making noise, but I couldn’t see it. Eventually it stopped, then he came through the door with Fluttershy.”
  5020. >Silence reigns as you try to think of your next step.
  5021. “…Fluttershy, that’s it!”
  5022. >You run for the exit, Ron and Devin trailing behind.
  5023. >Opening the door, you see the old man still asleep.
  5024. >”What do you mean? What’s going on in that head of yours now?”
  5025. >Ron questions you as you travel up the stairs.
  5026. >”Yeah dude, what the fuck?”
  5027. >You direct your voice behind you as you reach the top.
  5028. “He had Fluttershy in that room with the machine running! She might know where the crystals are!”
  5029. >”Oh shit!”
  5030. >You have to speed up so that Devin doesn’t overtake you when he hears this.
  5031. >…
  5032. >Finding the pale yellow pegasus doesn’t prove to be hard, and you find her in the back yard with Applejack and Rarity.
  5033. >You asked her what all she saw before she was escorted out, now it’s time for the moment of truth.
  5034. >With your breath held, you await the answer.
  5035. >”Before he… took me out, he pressed a button on the machine. He reached down and grabbed something, it looked like a large gemstone.”
  5036. >Leaning in closer, you ask another question.
  5037. “What happened to it?”
  5038. >The mare tilts her head down, trying to remember the fine details of the stressful situation.
  5039. >”He… He went to a table. Then he opened a b-box and put it and some other stuff inside.”
  5040. >You feel excitement well up in you.
  5041. >The thrill of solving a problem is one of those feelings that never get old.
  5042. >”Oh fuck YEAH!”
  5043. >And neither does Devin’s enthusiasm.
  5044.  
  5045. >”Um, what did you need that for..?”
  5046. >In your excitement, you pick up the unsuspecting mare and hold her in the air facing you.
  5047. “To get to Equestria.”
  5048. >She tilts her head in a confused manner.
  5049. >”How..?”
  5050. “That thing you saw him using. It’s what will help us open a gate there!”
  5051. >Her bluish orbs widen in wonder.
  5052. >”You mean… We’re… We’re going back?!”
  5053. >You nod vigorously, pushing back the thoughts of the various implications into your subconscious.
  5054. >”Now, if it’s the box I’m thinking of; wasn’t that thing locked the last time we saw it?”
  5055. >Resting the mare back down on the ground, you reply.
  5056. “Yeah, that’s true, Ron. Though it shouldn’t be too hard to crack a lock. Much easier than having to devise a new spell.”
  5057. >He puts his hands in his pockets.
  5058. >”You’ve got a point. How’s the progress coming along on that?”
  5059. >Taking your phone out of your pocket, you ready an answer.
  5060. “Let me see.”
  5061. >Navigating through your contacts, you stop at Dave’s name and begin composing a message.
  5062. >When it’s done, you send it off and await a replay.
  5063. >Devin approaches your side.
  5064. >”Sure is convenient using actual phone numbers rather than that other program.”
  5065. >You nod.
  5066. ”Too bad it got bought out by a bigger company. It actually used to be functional.”
  5067. >While sharing a laugh with them, you hear a sound and feel a vibration in your pocket.
  5068. >The reply disappoints you when you read it.
  5069. “Nothing yet. Say, do any of you have an idea that could get it open?”
  5070. >Ron lowers his head in thought, a reverse image to Devin, who is looking to the sky.
  5071. >Even Fluttershy joins in, picking at the dirt as she looks for an idea.
  5072. >”We could always try to drill into it. That’s how someone broke into a safety deposit box in the downtown bank last month.”
  5073. >You focus your gaze on him.
  5074. “Do you have a drill powerful enough to do it?”
  5075. >He shakes his head and returns to his thinking pose.
  5076. >Ron shares his idea, raising his head from the grass.
  5077. >”Well, my dad used to be a fireman. He still has a saw that he used to use to cut through metal back then.”
  5078. >Thinking it over for a bit, you give your answer.
  5079. “Better than anything I can think of. Can you get it from him?”
  5080. >He nods.
  5081. >”Shouldn’t be too hard. I could even get it right now, actually.”
  5082. >Glancing over at Fluttershy, then Rarity and Applejack in the distance, you let out an uneasy breath.
  5083. “We should do it as soon as possible. Everyone trapped here has been waiting to get back to their homes and families for too long already.”
  5084. >Ron checks the watch strapped to his wrist.
  5085. >”Okay, my place is about twenty minutes away. It’s 4:18 right now, and the rest of the group is stopping by at 5:30 or so.”
  5086. “Alright. We can get started on the box when you get back, and if we’re lucky, have everyone home in time for dinner.”
  5087. >He lowers his arm and turns to the house.
  5088. >”Alright, I’m gone.”
  5089.  
  5090. >With Ron gone, you elect to return to the house and read up more on the machine.
  5091. >Behind you, Fluttershy tails, a beaming smile radiating from her face.
  5092. >”Oh, I can’t wait to show you my house! It’s got the calmest little brook running in front of it… And the animals, I’m sure they’ll all love you!”
  5093. >Her excitement brings a smile to your face, an expression that betrays what you feel inside.
  5094. >Never did you expect that you’d have to make up your mind this soon.
  5095. >You’ve always just kind of went with the flow in life, and were planning on doing the same thing until you learned the truth of Fluttershy’s affection.
  5096. >The slight nip of the late winter air leaves you as you step into the house.
  5097. >Living in a new world would be easier if you had someone to share it with. But if you don’t…
  5098. >Your leg warms up, and you turn your attention to it.
  5099. >The yellow pegasus has leaned into you, an almost serene smile on her face.
  5100. >Finding a suitable seat for you both on the couch, you plop down along with her.
  5101. >Maybe you’ll just decide when the time comes.
  5102. >You look over to the mare, who has situated herself next to you.
  5103. >Fluttershy opens her eyes, catching your gaze.
  5104. >A face like that really makes it hard to break her heart if you end up deciding to stay behind.
  5105. >The cure for the poison would fix that though, wouldn’t it..?
  5106. >Mentally slapping yourself, you choose to leave it as a subconscious decision, as heavy of one as it is.
  5107. >You open the book and begin to skim over the chicken scratch.
  5108. >The pages are filled with different diagrams of the inner parts of the machine.
  5109. >Like the last time you sat here, the pink maned pegasus rests her head in your lap. Subconsciously you reach a free hand out and scratch behind her ear.
  5110. >Time goes by, and during that period, you’ve managed to actually learn a few things about the machine.
  5111. >Apparently, the wires and circuits are all made out of different metals than the normal kind.
  5112. >The kind in the machine are specially made so that they can transfer magical energy.
  5113. >It also mentioned the monitor of the control panel being made of a similar magic material to the power crystal.
  5114. >Something else important that you learned is how to actually operate the thing.
  5115. >A list of commands are listed on one of the books pages. Commands similar to an old DOS computer.
  5116. >The book never outright states that the machine is used to make a portal, but the commands that are listed seem to give enough of a hint.
  5117. >One example being the ability to set a destination.
  5118. >Normally you’d assume that this meant what file location you want to save something in or the like, but the only two destinations written down point to the contrary.
  5119. >EQST, and ERT.
  5120. >You really should have read this earlier.
  5121. >The sound of the front door opening takes you out of the book.
  5122. >Looking over your shoulder, you witness Ron walk in with a large circular saw.
  5123. >He holds it up on two hands,
  5124. >”Just like I said. We’ll be in that box in no time.”
  5125. >You smile at the sight.
  5126. “Nice. Just remember to be careful with it. We don’t want to destroy anything inside.”
  5127. >Resting the tool against the wall, he nods.
  5128. >”Absolutely. I’ve got a bit of experience using this, so hopefully we won’t run into trouble.”
  5129. >Switching your eyes to the book once more, you respond.
  5130. “Sounds good. Now we just gotta wait for the others. Trevor got back about ten minutes ago, so that just leaves Davey and Luke.”
  5131. >He looks at his watch.
  5132. >”Should only be a few minutes now. I’ll go check on the others and see what they’re doing.”
  5133. “Alright then.”
  5134. >The man leaves the room, leaving you alone with the quiet mare.
  5135. >Closing the book, you set it aside and use both arms to lift Fluttershy up to your lap.
  5136. >Lacking a reaction, you see that she’s fallen asleep.
  5137. >With both arms around her, you whisper to yourself.
  5138. “No matter what I choose, you’ll be sleeping in your own bed tonight…”
  5139.  
  5140. >Not long after Ron arrived with the saw, Lucas pulled into the driveway.
  5141. >You gently wake up Fluttershy, telling her of her friend’s arrival.
  5142. >She lets loose a yawn that sounds like something between a whine and a squeak.
  5143. >Giving her one last stroke on her head, you go and open the door for Lucas and Pinkie.
  5144. >You brief him on the situation, which causes Pinkie to rocket into the air, landing on the couch beside the bleary eyed mare.
  5145. >”Did you hear that Fluttershy?! We’re going home tonight!”
  5146. >Through her sleepy mind, she smiles and replies.
  5147. >”I did… I’m very excited about it.”
  5148. >Your dark haired friend drops down into a chair across from the couch.
  5149. >”So, this is it, huh? We finally have a working portal…”
  5150. >Falling into your thoughts once more, you reply as you cross your arms and stare at nothing in particular.
  5151. “It’s around a ninety percent possibility. At least by my estimate; for all I know, this thing could be used to turn chocolate into gold and I’ve just been misinterpreting everything.”
  5152. >Violently, you are ripped out of your contemplation by a wall of pink… pinkness.
  5153. >”Why would you want to do that?! Chocolate tastes so GOOD!”
  5154. >Your eyes are met with a pair of bright blue ones that try to stare into your very soul.
  5155. >Just as you are about to plead for your life, Lucas speaks up to calm down the excitable pony.
  5156. >”Relax, he was just making an example. No chocolate is being alchemized today.”
  5157. >The mare falls down from… Well, you don’t even know what she was standing on to reach your face, but she’s back on the floor now.
  5158. >”Oh, okay then!”
  5159. >And just like that, her panic is gone and she’s just as happy as ever.
  5160. >”Yoohoo, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie! Care to join Applejack and I for a bit? We’re going to do a few activities before we try to go back home.
  5161. >The bubbly pink mare hops over in the direction of where Rarity’s voice came from.
  5162. >”Oh, I’ll come, I love activities!”
  5163. >Fluttershy peers over the couch at the elegant unicorn.
  5164. >”Sure Rarity. I’ll be there.”
  5165. >Making her way around the couch, she looks back to you and smiles before departing with the two mares.
  5166. >After the back door closes, the front one opens.
  5167. >”Must be Dave.”
  5168. >”Heh heh, you bet your ass it is!”
  5169. >Dave and Rainbow Dash both walk in the door.
  5170. ”Yo, bro.”
  5171. >”Hello, Dave.”
  5172. >They sit on the couch after closing the door.
  5173. >Dave looks at the rather large saw leaning against the wall.
  5174. >”So, this is what we’re using, huh? Gonna have to be careful with how small this thing is.”
  5175. >You nod in agreement.
  5176. >Reaching into a duffle bag you only just now noticed, he pulls out the metal container in question.
  5177. >”Guess we can get to work on this, then.”
  5178. >Lucas gets up from his seat.
  5179. >”Let’s go get Ron, then. I don’t trust you around sharp objects.”
  5180. >Rainbow bursts out in laughter at his statement.
  5181. >”You’re right to think that way. You should see him in the kitchen with a knife!”
  5182. >Dave gives her an annoyed glare.
  5183. >”Hey, that was just one time, and I only ALMOST cut my finger off. It still works!”
  5184. >He wiggles his index finger for emphasis, which has a bandage on it you haven’t noticed until now.
  5185. >The mare rolls her eyes, still wearing a grin.
  5186. >”Whatever you say…”
  5187. >Now behind the couch, Luke calls out.
  5188. >”We gonna get this show on the road or what?”
  5189. >Dave and Rainbow get off the couch, with you behind them.
  5190. >”Yeah, yeah. I’m coming!”
  5191. >…
  5192. >Standing in the garage, your heart beats nervously as Ron dons as pair of goggles and plugs in his saw.
  5193. “Remember, be careful.”
  5194. >Walking back to the work bench, he sets aside the saw and locks it into a vice.
  5195. >”Don’t worry, Anon. I’m used to using this. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve worked on smaller things than this box here.”
  5196. >Without another word, he activates the motor for the saw, bringing it to life.
  5197. >He spins it a few times, sending a roar throughout the room.
  5198. >Soon, he begins keeping it at a constant speed and slowly brings it closer to the locked portion of the box.
  5199. >You feel yourself start to sweat as the saw makes contact, sending brilliant sparks sailing through the air.
  5200. >Shielding your eyes, you fail to see what happens next.
  5201. >Many grinding and revving sounds later, the decline in sound from the tool tells you that Ron is done working.
  5202. >Taking your hand away from your eyes, you see Ron unmasking himself as he unplugs the cutting instrument.
  5203. >The man looks pleased with himself, going over to the bench.
  5204. >From this distance, you can see a clean cut across the front of the lock.
  5205. >”Now, just one last step…”
  5206. >You look on curiously, seeing him take a hammer in his hand.
  5207. >Before you know it, he has the hammer raised above his head and brings it down swiftly on the lock of the box.
  5208. >Nothing appears to have changed on the outside, but it becomes clear that he had a reason once he released it from its binds and it opens with ease.
  5209. >Running over, you lean in close to observe the contents.
  5210. >Just as Fluttershy claimed, you see a large gem-like crystal sitting in the middle of the cushioned insides.
  5211. >Ron hands you the box.
  5212. >”See, told you. Nothing to worry about!”
  5213. >You laugh lightly.
  5214. “You’re right. My apologies for doubting you.”
  5215. >He laughs in turn.
  5216. >”Not a problem.”
  5217.  
  5218. >You hold the vaguely egg shaped crystal in your hands, treating it as if it is a valuable artifact from a forgotten land.
  5219. >If you think about it though, it really is.
  5220. >This is it. The key to opening the portal, and closing the book on this journey.
  5221. >”Now that that’s done, you think we should gather up the others?”
  5222. >Dragging your attention away from the reflective object in your hand, you nod in Ron’s direction.
  5223. “Yeah. You wanna do that while I get things set up downstairs?”
  5224. >He points his thumb upwards.
  5225. >”I can do that. Good luck down there.”
  5226. “Thanks.”
  5227. >He turns his back to you, going out the door.
  5228. >You go back to the basement, still examining the unusual object on the way.
  5229. >It’s almost time, and you still haven’t chosen an option.
  5230. >This was so much easier when it was a hypothetical question on an image board…
  5231. >The machine you are going to be using is still going to be here after everyone goes through, and people would still be on the other side to use it; maybe you could still go back if things go sour!
  5232. >However, just as your heart wells in excitement, it deflates when you realize that you have no way of sending a signal back to Earth.
  5233. >Damn.
  5234. >Arriving at the bottom, you are met with the grizzled face of the old man.
  5235. >Looking at your hand, he spots the crystal in your hand.
  5236. >”Huh, I was wondering what all that racket was up there.”
  5237. >Giving him a blank stare, he continues on.
  5238. >”You’ve all done some damn hard work, even if you’ve just been wandering around like a chicken with no head.”
  5239. >You look at him incredulously, uncertain of where he’s taking this conversation next.
  5240. >”I might as well not hide it anymore, plus I think you already know. You’re going to open the portal, aren’t you?”
  5241. >Having a hunch is one thing. Having it confirmed is a different one.
  5242. >Honestly, you’re surprised you managed to guess this correctly.
  5243. “…Yes. I am.”
  5244. >The man rubs at the messy hairs of his goatee, which is beginning to blend in with the hair growing across the rest of his face.
  5245. >”I don’t understand that. I hear you guys say that Twilight’s got a portal ready. Why not just use that?”
  5246. “It doesn’t let humans through. We figured that if you used this to go there, we could too.”
  5247. >He gives a sharp laugh.
  5248. >”That’s all? I’m stunned.”
  5249. >You tilt your head in confusion.
  5250. “How do you mean?”
  5251. >Speaking like a teacher would to a class, Jay begins to give his answer.
  5252. >”It’s really simple. I won’t bore you with the details since you probably don’t know a lot about magic, but it just takes a bit of quick adjustments to allow for such a thing.”
  5253. >Stopping seemingly mid-lecture, he looks past you in thought.
  5254. >You await his next remark, but it never seems to come.
  5255. >Eventually, he exhales deeply and talks in a defeated manner.
  5256. >”Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush. I don’t know what the hell you’re gonna do with me when this is all over. I just gotta know.”
  5257. >Huh, you never thought about that.
  5258. “Well, we can’t call the cops on you, obviously. That would attract too much attention and potentially cause problems for both worlds. We’re not killers, either so that’s out of the question.”
  5259. >You begin to think deeply.
  5260. “I really am not sure.”
  5261.  
  5262.  
  5263. >”I may sound like I’m pleading my case here, and I really am honestly. Being cramped up in here for the past few days has given me time to think.”
  5264. >Folding your arms, you give Jay your full attention.
  5265. “I’m listening.”
  5266. >He sits down on the side of his cot.
  5267. >”I guess… Well, I guess that I realize just how dumb this whole thing is. I know, I’m only saying this now that you all have beaten me completely. Revenge just seems… Not worth it the more I think about it.”
  5268. >Continuing to look at him skeptically, you remain quiet for him to speak.
  5269. >”It seems like for all my life, I’ve lived in an endless sea of strife. This last week in near isolation has been the most at ease I’ve felt in a long time. Can I tell you something?”
  5270. >You shrug.
  5271. “You already are, so I don’t see why not.”
  5272. >He gives out a small chuckle before continuing.
  5273. >”Before all this happened, before I was sucked into that land, I was a mechanic. I liked it, it was simple and allowed me to distract myself from my home life for a little while. But, when I began doing my research to get back home, something began to bud. I didn’t realize it at first, but I slowly began to develop an attachment to my new activity.”
  5274. >Thinking back on his tale of his stay in Equestria, you realize what he means.
  5275. “So, you mean the research and engineering?”
  5276. >”Bingo.”
  5277. >Standing back up, he talks again.
  5278. >”Right now, the most interesting thing to me sounds like…”
  5279. >Looking towards the boarded up windows, he finishes the sentence.
  5280. >”Rest. I’d like to go find a nice sunny place to read, relax, and… watch the world go by.”
  5281. >As suspicious as you are about his spiel, you cannot deny how tired he appears.
  5282. “Why are you telling me all this..?”
  5283. >The question sounds cold, but you truly do not understand why he has put you through his rambling.
  5284. >His answer begins with a weak shrug of his shoulders.
  5285. >”I’m not sure myself. Perhaps I’m trying to butter you up so I can have a better outcome once all this is over. Or maybe it’s just an old person thing.”
  5286. >That first reason sounds much more likely to you.
  5287. >Returning to your thoughts, you try to think of an appropriate solution.
  5288. >You can’t just keep this guy trapped for the rest of his life. That would be inhumane, not to mention way too much work. Killing him would be going too far, even for Dave. You could always leave him be, but who knows if he’s lying about having given up?
  5289. >Maybe…
  5290. “Maybe you could go through the portal with Trevor and Twilight.”
  5291. >Jay fails to answer your suggestion at first, having focused on another part of it instead.
  5292. >”You aren’t going through?”
  5293. >Realizing what he asked, you quickly stammer out an answer.
  5294. “Well yes, I mean, no but… I don’t know. I’ve had plenty of time to think, and I still can’t make up my mind. I was heavily leaning towards going at first, but now I’m not so sure. I’m not used to second guessing myself; usually I just make a choice and go with it, for better or for worse.”
  5295. >This is something you haven’t even discussed with your friends, so why you are divulging all of this to the man who tricked you is a mystery.
  5296. >”I can see why. Moving down the street is one thing. Moving to another town is another. Moving to another state is much bigger, and moving to another country is huge. Moving to another dimension though? That’s another thing entirely. One thing I can say about Equestria though is that they are very accepting over there once they get used to you; they’ll most likely even offer to help you get on your feet.”
  5297. >Raising an eyebrow at him, you give him a question.
  5298. “Are you trying to make me go?”
  5299. >He shakes his head, giggling a bit.
  5300. >”No. I’m just offering a bit of information on one of the choices you can take. I figured seeing as you’re helping me after what all I’ve done to you and the others, it’s the least I could do. Speaking of help…”
  5301. >Turning around, you see the first non-malicious smile you’ve seen from him on his face.
  5302. >”I really appreciate the offer and would be glad to take you up on it.”
  5303. >Your eyes grow in shock at both his facial expression, and his choice.
  5304. “You really want to go back there, even after what you went through?”
  5305. >His face returns to normal.
  5306. >”It’s the lesser of two evils, really. This place just holds good memories I know I can never go back to. The other, while housing some bad memories still has potential for new, better ones to be made.”
  5307. >Having made his point, he sits back down on the cot once more.
  5308. >The stairs begin to thump with the sound of multiple living things making their way down to the bottom.
  5309. >Voices can be heard before their owners come into sight.
  5310. >”I must say, it will be quite relieving to get back home and be rid of this condition. No offense meant to you Devin, but having feelings for a different species like this feels most strange.”
  5311. >”Heh, you know it. You don’t know how much I was freaking out when you began making hints.”
  5312. >You see the pony and person who’s voices were coming down the stairs.
  5313. >Rarity is sporting a light blush and a sheepish smile, while Devin has a shit eating grin on his own face.
  5314. >”Yes… I must apologize for that. I cannot help myself at times.”
  5315. >He reaches down and messes up her mane with his hand as he rubs her head.
  5316. >”Forget about it. It’s all going to be over in a few minutes anyway.”
  5317. >The unicorn frantically tries to fix her mane as the rest of the group floods in.
  5318. >”Man, I’m glad you and I haven’t had to deal with that, huh AJ?”
  5319. >Ron looks over at Applejack, who suddenly finds the nearby wall to be very interesting.
  5320. >”Yeah, right…”
  5321. >Trevor steps forward with Twilight in tow.
  5322. >”So, you all ready to do this thing?”
  5323. >Everyone vocalizes their confirmations before you step forward.
  5324. “Before we begin, I’d just like to get your opinions on something me and Jay over here were discussing.”
  5325. >Now having gained everyone’s attention, you present what you have planned for the person who started this entire thing.
  5326. >You don’t think this will end with them willingly allowing it, but once you explain what you have in mind, maybe that will change.
  5327. “We’ve discussed letting him through the portal with those who are going.”
  5328. >As you expected, stunned looks of disbelief are shot directly at you.
  5329. >Rainbow Dash is the first one to vocalize her thoughts, another thing that doesn’t really come as a surprise.
  5330. >”Are you crazy?! You DO know who you’re talking about, right?”
  5331. >The small alicorn pipes up next.
  5332. >”I don’t mean to sound rude, but I have to agree with Rainbow in a way. He’s dangerous, it would be a bad idea to allow that!”
  5333. >Holding up your hands, you retort.
  5334. “Hear me out first.”
  5335. >They reluctantly do as you request, and you start your argument.
  5336. >This part is something you didn’t really get the chance to discuss with him out loud, but you’ll just have to roll with the punches.
  5337. “If he comes with you guys, he can be placed under observation. Me and him spoke for a while, and while I can see where your doubt lies and have doubts of my own, I think he’s truly on the road to rehabilitation, in a sense.”
  5338. >Behind you, the person in question gets to his feet and walks over beside you.
  5339. >”Yeah, in a sense, I’m turning myself in for what I’ve done. You can keep an eye on me to be sure I’m not up to anything.”
  5340. >You nod.
  5341. “Pretty much that.”
  5342. >The six mares group up in a football style huddle and quietly talk amongst themselves for a while.
  5343. >This lasts for several minutes until they finally separate and look to the two of you with various degrees of uncertainty.
  5344. >Twilight leads their side of the debate.
  5345. >”You make a good point, Anon. We’re… willing to take him through. But…”
  5346. >She briefly glances at the rest of the ponies.
  5347. >”As soon as we reach the other side, he’s being taken to the princess for judgement.”
  5348. >If you didn’t already know what Celestia was like, you’d think that would be something for him to be very worried about.
  5349. >In fact, he might actually have to be worried if she doesn’t like the idea of some of her most highly regarded subjects being forcibly kidnapped.
  5350. >Jay lets out a resigned sigh.
  5351. >”I’m not sure if I’m gonna regret this, but alright. I’ll accept the terms.”
  5352. >There is just no end to the surprises that today has to offer.
  5353. >Twilight nods, a slight smile on her lips.
  5354. >”Okay then, it’s a deal.”
  5355. >She looks at her friends, an even bigger smile spreading across her features.
  5356. >”Are we ready to get going?”
  5357. >Cheers erupt from the small crowd.
  5358. >A grin of your own begins to grow as you retrieve the power source from your pocket.
  5359. “Then let us not delay. Let’s bring an end to this!”
  5360. >”Yeah, we’ve been sitting around with our thumbs in our asses for too long, let’s go!”
  5361. >There’s that good old fashioned Dave charm. No wonder he wins over everyone so easily. Dash is probably the only mare out of the group that has legitimate feelings outside of the poison.
  5362. >Seriously, how can you deny charm like that?
  5363. >You open the door to the lab and allow everyone in before you.
  5364. >Jay stops in front of you before going in.
  5365. >”Just gotta say… Thanks, and I’m sorry.”
  5366. >Smiling, you push him through.
  5367. “Forget about it.”
  5368.  
  5369. >”Well hey, at least we got the expert on our side now!”
  5370. >Ron grins, leaning against the wall.
  5371. >Trevor is observing closely with Twilight as the person who engineered the machine checks the parts.
  5372. >”Something I’ve wondered… How did you travel back and forth without getting older than you already are?”
  5373. >Jay blows off some dust from one of the machine components before replying.
  5374. >”Very carefully. I’m not joking with that, either. I had to make my trips quick and precise so that I wouldn’t take too long on the other side.”
  5375. >He shrugs in response.
  5376. >”Seems reasonable.”
  5377. >Finishing up his inspection, Jay stands up and motions to you.
  5378. >”Anon. Do the honors?”
  5379. >Pointing to the crystal, you become aware of what he means.
  5380. >You kneel in front of the open machine and locate the socket that it goes into.
  5381. >Carefully, you slide it in where it belongs, and it blinks in a pale pink light before quickly fading out.
  5382. >”That should be good. Now let me just get this back together real quick.”
  5383. >The aging man kneels once more in front of the machine and uses the wrench you used earlier to re-attach the side panel of the machine.
  5384. >Every crank of the rachet ticks away the seconds that you have to make up your mind.
  5385. >You turn your gaze to Fluttershy, which by some coincidence she turns her head and catches.
  5386. >She approaches you, happiness apparent on her face.
  5387. >It would only hurt her for a while if you didn’t follow through.
  5388. >Only if the love poison was the culprit entirely, though.
  5389. >Could you really hurt her like that, though? Even if temporary?
  5390. >You fail to realize it at first, but the pony his now standing directly in front of you.
  5391. >”Oh dear, you look like you’re troubled… Is everything okay..?”
  5392. >The two of you haven’t discussed your plans post revelation as far as you can remember, but from the way you’ve talked, you assume she believes nothing has changed in that department.
  5393. >”I’m okay, just a bit nervous, y’know? Switching worlds is tough on the brain.”
  5394. >…Shit, you just said you were going through with it. Now you’ll be a liar if you fail to go through with it.
  5395. >A worried frown comes to her face as she begins to rub her cheek on your hand.
  5396. >”I’m sorry… I know it’s selfish…”
  5397. >Instinctively, you turn your hand over and cup her cheek with it.
  5398. “It’s alright. Everyone gets to be selfish once in a while. Especially towards me.”
  5399. >She begins to smile, which must be infectious seeing as you begin to do the same.
  5400. >It brings some solace to your conflicted mind.
  5401. >”Alright, we’re ready to fire this baby up!”
  5402. >The sound of Jay’s gruff voice tears you out of the moment you were just having.
  5403. “Ready?”
  5404. >Fluttershy keeps her smile and nods.
  5405. >Everyone gathers around the portal machine, awaiting its activation.
  5406. >”Alright, everyone’s here? All said your goodbyes and got everything off your chest?”
  5407. >He doesn’t speak mockingly like the last few times he’s said stuff like this, but sincerely.
  5408. >A few murmurs are all that’s heard before he speaks again.
  5409. >”Let’s go then!”
  5410. >He brings down his hand on the comically oversized power button.
  5411. >You await a change in the machine, expecting a bright flash, or at least a sound of some kind.
  5412. >…but nothing ever comes.
  5413. >He presses it again with a bit more firmness.
  5414. >Still nothing.
  5415. >”What’s wrong with this thing..?”
  5416. >Jay mutters to himself as he scratches his head.
  5417. >He presses it once more before letting his arms fall to his sides.
  5418. >”Something isn’t going right with the machine.”
  5419. >Devin groans, Rarity and Pinkie gasp, Twilight mumbles something to herself, and Dave slowly starts to lose it.
  5420. >”Do you know what’s wrong with the darn thing?”
  5421. >Applejack steps closer to one of the portal conduits to examine it.
  5422. >Jay shakes his head.
  5423. >”Not yet. I’m not sure if I’ll even have what we need to fix it once I find the issue. I used up almost everything I brought back with me to make this.”
  5424. >The angry blonde man stomps towards the console.
  5425. >”I can’t believe this useless pile of scrap metal was supposed to open a portal!”
  5426. >Bringing back his leg, he swings it forward in a fit of rage.
  5427. >A loud metallic thump reverberates through the tiny room.
  5428. >Along with that, a soft hum that grows louder with each passing second.
  5429. >Frantically, Jay leans back into the screen and tentatively presses a few keys on the keyboard.
  5430. >You notice a dim light reflect off of his face, and the implications of what that means start to come to mind.
  5431. “It’s… working?”
  5432. >He retreats from the console and nods.
  5433. >”I… guess. The screen looks a bit off, but I can still type into it.”
  5434. >Dave pumps his fist.
  5435. >”Hah! Violence always works!”
  5436. >You go towards the console and look at the dent Dave’s foot left.
  5437. “Should we try it out despite the possible damage?”
  5438. >Jay shrugs.
  5439. >”We could. I think the most it could do is just crash.”
  5440. >Looking away from the dent, you nod.
  5441. “Then let’s march onward.”
  5442. >”Got it.”
  5443. >The elderly man begins to type on the keyboard once more before looking back to everyone.
  5444. >’I’d recommend stepping away from where the portal will open. It can be a bit of a doozy.”
  5445. >Applejack and a few others back away as ordered.
  5446. >When everyone is at a safe distance, he presses a button and the (literal) magic begins.
  5447. >The conduits begin to glow and emit a chime similar to Twilight or Rarity’s horn when they use a spell.
  5448. >Pulses of light repeatedly travel up to the tips before disappearing, and a small glowing orb begins to form in the center.
  5449. >”Here we go!”
  5450. >The orb slowly grows in size, and you feel a breeze begin to blow out from it.
  5451. >Right now, the ball of magic is easy to look at, but the light is slowly getting brighter.
  5452. >Fluttershy gets behind you, peeking out from behind your legs.
  5453. >At this point, the orb is hard to look at without squinting, but you can see something in the center.
  5454. >You can’t really make it out, but it isn’t luminous like the rest of the mass.
  5455. >As the ball begins to grow, so does the point in the center, until you can guess what it is.
  5456. >”It’s Ponyville!”
  5457. >Pinkie exclaims in joy at the sight of her home.
  5458. >By now, the faint picture of the small hamlet is almost as big as the white light it started in.
  5459. >”Sure is a sight for sore eyes.”
  5460. >Applejack gets closer by a small margin.
  5461. >The portal has reached the point where it is touching the tip of all three conduits.
  5462. >”Well, here we are, folks. It’s all ready when you are.”
  5463. >Twilight carefully steps to the rip in reality.
  5464. >”It looks a little… unstable. Are you sure it’s safe?”
  5465. >Jay nods as he steps out from behind the terminal.
  5466. >”It should be, though I’ll admit it isn’t as stable as it normally is.”
  5467. >Right as he finishes his sentence, a bolt of what looks like lightning shoots out from the center of the light.
  5468. >You dodge out of the way as it nearly hits you in the dome.
  5469. >It hits the wall behind you, sending the three tables flying in different directions and making a loud boom as it hits.
  5470. >The exposed part of the wall that was between the tables is even bigger now that it has been hit.
  5471. >Another bolt shoots out as the picture flickers in the portal.
  5472. >This one hits the console directly, shockingly not destroying it or closing the door to dimensions.
  5473. >After a few more flickers, the portal appears to stabilize and return to normal.
  5474. >”That was close…”
  5475. >Trevor wipes his brow as Jay rushes back to the console.
  5476. >A few sparks fly out of it and curl around, which to you is enough cause for unease.
  5477. >This unease is justified when you hear three words that make you fear for your life and the life of those around you.
  5478. >In a voice only possible via a speech synthesizer, the console “speaks”.
  5479. >”Self… destruct… aCtivE… One mInUtE to enter passWORD…”
  5480. >You yell at the man at the controls.
  5481. “I thought you said you didn’t rig this one!”
  5482. >He frantically presses keys.
  5483. >”I’m gonna keep this short, I lied! I was still being an uncooperative ass back then!”
  5484. >Devin rushes up beside him.
  5485. >”I’m gonna beat YOUR ass if we get blown up!”
  5486. >Trevor remains level headed and speaks more calmly, if not urgently.
  5487. >”We should probably get out.”
  5488. >Looking around, you set your focus on the exit.
  5489. “Everyone, to the door!”
  5490. >You make a break for the door.
  5491. >To your utter dismay, the portal chooses to take this time to become unstable once more; this time though, it is much worse than before.
  5492. >Two more magical bolts emerge from one of the conduits.
  5493. >You dive out of the way and hear two much more larger impacts as you land.
  5494. >The Earth shakes around you, and you cover your head.
  5495. >Looking up, you see a giant pile of furniture and rubble up to a new hole in the ceiling where there was once a door.
  5496. “Fuck me, we’re trapped!”
  5497. >Quickly getting to your feet, you think.
  5498. “How much time do we have left?!”
  5499. >Jay, still frantically pressing buttons on the keyboard yells.
  5500. >”Thirty five seconds!”
  5501. >Ron yells over the sound of the increasing wind from the portal.
  5502. >”The hell do we do now?!”
  5503. >You look around desperately for a means to escape.
  5504. >Within seconds, you settle your eyes on the portal itself.
  5505. “The portal! Everyone in, quick!”
  5506. >Twilight glares at you.
  5507. >”Are you CRAZY?!”
  5508. >Scrambling to your feet, you yell back.
  5509. “Probably, but it’s this or explode! Pick your poison!”
  5510. >Everyone looks uncertain, except the old man, who is now trying to eject the power crystal.
  5511. >”Fuck it, I ain’t dying today!”
  5512. >You look over and see Dave eyeing the portal.
  5513. >He yells as he takes a deep breath and runs for it.
  5514. >A bright flash comes from the rip in reality, with no trace of his existence after.
  5515. >Applejack is the next to make an approach.
  5516. >”Well, I guess it’s now or never!”
  5517. >She scrapes at the ground a few times before setting off at a full gallop.
  5518. >The mare jumps through, with the same thing happening to her as Dave.
  5519. >One by one each member of the room leaps through the portal to possible safety.
  5520. >It soon just leaves you, Fluttershy, Trevor, and Jay.
  5521. “Okay Fluttershy, you’re next! We’ve only got…”
  5522. >”Twenty three seconds!”
  5523. >She looks up at you, worry heavy across her face.
  5524. >”B-but-“
  5525. “No time, go!”
  5526. >You push her in the direction of the portal, and she soon begins to walk towards it on her own.
  5527. >Just as always though, fate has different ideas.
  5528. >You notice it slightly at first, but it soon becomes apparent that the portal is about to shoot out more magic.
  5529. >Time slows down as you see a bolt start leaving the tear.
  5530. >Without any second thoughts, you run up and push her out of the way.
  5531. >It turns out well for her as she gets out of the way unscathed, but you…
  5532. >You get sent flying backwards as a powerful jolt runs up your spine and renders you semi-conscious.
  5533. >Pain shoots through your back in a narrow point as you slam into the exposed portion of the wall, one of the sharp metal supports piercing through your torso on impact.
  5534. >Fluttershy lets out an anguished cry at the sight of you being flung through the air.
  5535. >Even though the time window is growing smaller, she rushes over to where you now sit against the wall.
  5536. >You inspect your body to see if everything is okay, but what you see would make you throw up if you were more conscious.
  5537. >Through the right part of your abdomen protrudes one of the broken metal supports for the cement wall.
  5538. >Redness from your own blood stains the length.
  5539. >”Anon, are you-!”
  5540. >She spots the beam protruding through your abdomen and immediately tears up.
  5541. >”O-oh no…”
  5542. >You try to speak, but find it extremely difficult to do so.
  5543. >Despite this though, you try to tell her to get out.
  5544. >”Sixteen seconds!”
  5545. >You barely hear Jay yell as your vision begins to fade.
  5546. >In what to you is a blink, you see Trevor next to you along with Jay and Fluttershy.
  5547. >They both share looks of determination, while the pale yellow mare looks on weeping.
  5548. >Their mouths move, but you hear only muffled voices.
  5549. >In a swift motion, they yank you off of the sharp metal, sending pain through your dulled nerves.
  5550. >You don’t get a chance to rest, as each person drapes one of your arms over their shoulders and drags you to the portal.
  5551. >Faintly, you can hear the robotic voice of the machine count down.
  5552. >”Three…”
  5553. >Fluttershy is behind you.
  5554. >”Two-o-o-o…”
  5555. >Trevor briefly stops and grabs her by a hoof. Roughly he swings her through the portal.
  5556. >Even though you are almost completely unconscious, nothing pleases you more than knowing she might be safe now.
  5557. >”O-o-one…”
  5558. >You are flung from the support of their shoulders into the portal.
  5559. >Everything goes black.
  5560.  
  5561. >Your consciousness sparks just enough for you to tell that it hasn’t been there.
  5562. >Over the years, you’ve grown to be able to tell if you’ve been sleeping for longer than usual.
  5563. >This is definitely one of those times.
  5564. >The rational part of your brain tells you that you need to wake up fully. The lazy, irrational half fights back and tells you to just relax and let time run its course.
  5565. >For what seems like a few minutes, you float around in the space of your semi-conscious mind.
  5566. >What happened, anyway? You don’t remember going to bed.
  5567. >No matter, it will all probably come to you in time.
  5568. >Right now though, you need to get up.
  5569. >It takes a great amount of effort, but your eyes crack open just enough to see your surroundings.
  5570. >In the dim light, you can blurrily see an unfamiliar set of walls, one part blue, the other part a greenish brown.
  5571. >This is definitely not your room.
  5572. >With how dim it is, it must be night.
  5573. >Moving your head makes you dizzy and nauseous.
  5574. >To your left, you can make out a blob of pink and light yellow.
  5575. >Must be Fluttershy’s getting up, too. Wait, why is she here?
  5576. >You take all this in within two or so seconds, then your eyelids fall shut from your weakness.
  5577. >A few more minutes pass as you gather your strength.
  5578. >Luckily, it seems to return to you fast, and you can open them much easier now.
  5579. >Your surroundings are still blurry, but you are actually awake now.
  5580. >The room seems to be brighter now, almost as if it’s daytime.
  5581. >Turning your head is less sickening now, and you look back to where you saw what you earlier guessed was Fluttershy.
  5582. >It’s not there anymore, but you do see an amalgamation of different colors.
  5583. >Faintly, you hear a sound from your right. It sounds like people talking amongst each other, but you can’t quite understand any of it.
  5584. >Seems like your brain has yet to turn your hearing back on all the way.
  5585. >Rotating your head over towards the sound, you see the same pink and yellow mass from earlier.
  5586. >In fact, you see many more bright colors gathered at both sides of it.
  5587. >You begin to blink your eyes repeatedly in an attempt to clear your vision.
  5588. >Blink by blink, everything starts to come into focus.
  5589. >Sure enough, you see the familiar pegasus mare standing at the front of the rest of her friends.
  5590. >Her mouth is moving, and you can finally make out what she says.
  5591. >”…Can you hear me? Please, answer..! Anon…”
  5592. >You gaze deeply into the perturbed mare’s eyes, opening your mouth to speak.
  5593. >Speaking is a lot harder than you expect, now you’re really starting to be bothered by all this.
  5594. “F… Fluttershy…”
  5595. >A weak smile creeps onto her face, and a bit of the worry dissolves from her eyes.
  5596. >She carefully props herself up on the bed you are laying on by her two front hooves.
  5597. >”You’re finally awake… I… I was so afraid, I thought we… that I…”
  5598. >The smile falls from her face and her eyes become watery.
  5599. >”…lost you…”
  5600. >More and more you want to know just what happened.
  5601. >You make one attempt to sit up and comfort the now crying mare, but an intense stabbing pain in your abdomen prevents you from doing so.
  5602. >And in that moment, everything comes back to you, tumbling down like a pile of bricks onto your head.
  5603. >There, in the basement with the teleporter…
  5604. >You almost died. You got impaled on the goddamn wall!
  5605. >Almost everyone in the room rushes to put you back down on the bed at once.
  5606. >They don’t have to tell you twice.
  5607. >You even feel a human hand grab at one of your arms.
  5608. >Looking over, you recognize the face of Trevor.
  5609. >Behind him is Dave and Lucas.
  5610. >Wordlessly you exchange nods.
  5611. >In the meantime, you settle for hugging Fluttershy the best you can with one arm as she lets out her emotions.
  5612. >She grips your hand with a hoof, letting out small sniffles as she does.
  5613. “So… How long was I out?”
  5614. >A white mare with a pale pink mane much like Fluttershy’s emerges from the back of the group of mares.
  5615. >Atop her head rests a nurse’s cap, revealing her purpose.
  5616. >”You’ve been unconscious for three days. This was to be your fourth, but you woke up just as expected.”
  5617. >Her answer shocks you greatly. After living day to day for all of your life, having even missed a few seems insane.
  5618. “Three days? I thought I only got a wound down below.”
  5619. >The nurse approaches you, looking over your body closely.
  5620. >”You may have, but from what we were told, you were also hit with some powerful magic. To make it simple, it traveled up your spine and hit your brain. It rested there for a few days before fizzling out. That magic is what rendered you unconscious.”
  5621. >After doing a few quick neurological tests, she travels down your body to your torso.
  5622. >She lifts up the hospital gown you are wearing, and you catch sight of your wound for the first time.
  5623. >Well, somewhat.
  5624. >Your body is wrapped with fresh white bandages, with a small amount of blood staining the part that you were pierced at.
  5625. >”As for your other injury, you were very lucky. By some miracle, none of your internal organs were hit in the process.”
  5626. >You feel Fluttershy’s grip tighten at the mention of how close you came to severe internal damage.
  5627. >”Altogether, I’d say you lucked out. Given some time and healing magic, you’ll make a full recovery.”
  5628. >Feeling a burden lifted off your chest, you sigh in relief.
  5629. “That’s great to hear.”
  5630. >She nods.
  5631. >”I believe it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few things to attend to. You can all remain here, but please don’t try to stir him up too much. He still needs his rest.”
  5632. >For the first time since you’ve woken up, Twilight chimes in.
  5633. >”I think we’ll give these two a few minutes to themselves. I think they could use it.”
  5634. >Everyone agrees in unison, turning for the door and making a quick leave.
  5635.  
  5636. >With the last person out the door and its closing, you are left alone with the teary eyed mare.
  5637. >Being mindful of the IV needle in your arm, you grab her under her two arms and hoist her onto your bed.
  5638. >It sure as hell hurts your wound, but you grit your teeth and fight through it.
  5639. >She protests against your exertion, but by the time she does, you’ve already got her beside you.
  5640. >Like before, you throw your unbound arm over her small frame and hold her close.
  5641. >All is quiet in the small room aside from her deep breathing and sniffles.
  5642. >For a while, you reflect on the events of the past few days.
  5643. >First you jump in a raging river that looked pretty peaceful, then said river almost drowns you and smashes you into a fallen tree, tearing up your shoulder in the process.
  5644. >That was pretty recently. In fact, you still have the stiches. They should be removed soon.
  5645. >After that, you are put in a magic coma and impaled.
  5646. >Yet somehow, here you are, alive and on the road to recovery.
  5647. >You must be made of iron or something. That’s something you’d prefer not to test though, as much as the scientific world might.
  5648. >You make a mental not to avoid Twilight for a while.
  5649. >Fluttershy’s sniffs are finally interrupted by the sound of her own voice.
  5650. >She speaks softly and shakily, doing her best to be understandable through the spike in her emotions.
  5651. >”Please Anon… Please don’t put yourself in danger like that anymore… After the river, Twilight’s portal, and now this… I… I can’t…”
  5652. >The shaken mare’s resolve almost shatters until you place a finger over her lips.
  5653. >She looks into your eyes, searching for answers to questions unknown even to her.
  5654. “Fluttershy… I’m so sorry for making you worry like this. It tears me apart to see you so upset, so if it means I have to avoid getting killed…”
  5655. >You slide your hand over to caress her cheek.
  5656. “Then I won’t. It’s an easy decision. We’re here now, our task is over, and we’re safe.”
  5657. >Her frown remains for only a second longer before her familiar smile returns.
  5658. >Wetness seeps under your hand as tears of relief and leftover stress pour from her eyes.
  5659. >Being careful not to agitate the hole in your body, the mare moves closer and wraps you in a hug while burying her face in the crook of your neck.
  5660. >You return the hug, happy to have your first true moment of respite since you were kidnapped almost a week ago.
  5661. >Having everything dangling over your head for so long took more out of you than you’d expected.
  5662. >Especially with trying to decide whether or not you wanted to go back with Fluttershy.
  5663. >Guess that choice was made for you.
  5664. >And so the minutes pass with the only thing happening being the constant embrace of two loving partners.
  5665. >It doesn’t bother you.
  5666. >You have until you die to do other things; and if you’re being honest, this is on the top of the list of things you want to do.
  5667. >Fluttershy’s tears eventually dry, and her breathing returns to normal.
  5668. >She raises her head, eyes now reddened from letting her emotions free.
  5669. >”I-I’m sorry… My feelings got so strong and…”
  5670. >Once more you place a finger over her mouth.
  5671. “It’s okay, we’re all emotionally charged after what’s happened.”
  5672. >The shy pony giggles before gently hugging you again.
  5673. “Shall we call the others back in?”
  5674. >She Backs up.
  5675. >”Sure.”
  5676. >Carefully getting out of the hospital bed, Fluttershy makes her way to the door.
  5677. “Oh, and if it isn’t too much trouble, could you get one of the staff to get some painkillers in here? I’m starting to hurt.”
  5678. >She turns her head to you with a cheery smile.
  5679. >”Okay, I’ll be just a minute.”
  5680.  
  5681. >Only a few minutes after Fluttershy left the room, the previous gathering of ponies and humans come back in.
  5682. >Pinkie cheerfully bounces in as if leading the crowd.
  5683. >Trevor comes in next, his arm resting on Twilight’s back.
  5684. “Huh, I take it you haven’t taken any kind of antidote for the poison yet?”
  5685. >The alicorn looks up at Trevor with a small, yet joyous smile.
  5686. >”I did, actually. All it took was a visit to a friend we have out in the forest! She’s a zebra who’s a great alchemist.”
  5687. >Zecora, you could’ve guessed that easily. That zebra has a cure for just about everything.
  5688. >Taking a moment to re-evaluate what the pony just said, you balk as you ask your next question.
  5689. “So you and Trevor…”
  5690. >You point between the two as the rest of the visitors come back in, including the nurse.
  5691. >Trevor answers.
  5692. >”You betcha!”
  5693. >While Trevor is much more exuberant, Twilight remains stoic and collected.
  5694. >”Yes. While some of the stronger feelings died down, there’s really no doubt about it.”
  5695. >She blushes and her smile grows when she looks up to meet the human’s gaze.
  5696. >”The experiences we shared were too much to forget about. They helped shape what our relationship is now.”
  5697. >You look between the two of them, happy for them both.
  5698. >Some of your nervousness about curing Fluttershy of the love poison is gone, but you’ll still need to convince her to go through with getting the cure.
  5699. “I’m glad to hear that. Who knows, mayb- Ow, shit!”
  5700. >Unexpectedly, a sharp pain digs into your shoulder.
  5701. >Jerking your head in the direction of the unwarranted pain.
  5702. >You see the same nurse, pulling away a syringe.
  5703. “The heck was that for?”
  5704. >She cleans the needle and smirks.
  5705. >”The pegasus told me you needed something for the pain. I’m just doing what you asked.”
  5706. >You rub your shoulder, the pain already disappearing.
  5707. “And you couldn’t warn me?”
  5708. >Putting the syringe in its proper place, the nurse steps back to the door while still wearing the same cocky smile.
  5709. >”She told me how you’re afraid of needles, doing it this way gets rid of most of the fear.”
  5710. >You gape at the mare as she leaves.
  5711. >Fluttershy got it all wrong. You’re not afraid of needles; you just… get anxious around their presence. You told her that.
  5712. >For sure.
  5713. >Browsing the crowd, you notice that the mare in question isn’t here.
  5714. “Speaking of Fluttershy, where’d she go?”
  5715. >Applejack is the first to inform you of the pony’s whereabouts.
  5716. >”She had to use the restroom real fast. Shouldn’t take her too long.”
  5717. >A laugh erupts from one of the ponies, namely Rainbow Dash.
  5718. >”I’m shocked, it’s been near impossible to tear her away from you!”
  5719. >You aim a questioning gaze her way.
  5720. “What do you mean?”
  5721. >Rarity replies this time.
  5722. >”Why, she’s hardly left your side since you arrived! We’ve had to convince her on multiple occasions to take care of herself and that the doctor said you would recover completely. As worried as it makes us, I have to admit it was the sweetest thing…”
  5723. >A few of the other mares giggle thinking about it, and the guys just give you cocky grins as you chuckle uncomfortably at being the center of attention.
  5724. >That reminds you, everyone here came to see you.
  5725. >Even the five ponies you really haven’t spent too much time with.
  5726. >Though, the other two of your human friends didn’t show up, nor did Jay.
  5727. >At least you’ve found a way to shift the subject off yourself.
  5728. >That, and Fluttershy is walking back in, so they might not continue on that subject anyway.
  5729. “So, what happened to the others? I’ve noticed they weren’t here.”
  5730. >”They should actually be here soon. They just had a few things to attend to, first.”
  5731. >Lucas tells you.
  5732. “Wait, it sounds like you all had this planned.”
  5733. >Dave shrugs.
  5734. >”Well, the doc said you’d be waking up around this time. We arrived about ten minutes before you did. Y’know, you’re pretty damn weak if you’re letting a bit of magic put you under for THREE DAYS.”
  5735. >You narrow your eyes at the man, and look to the person beside him.
  5736. “Yo Luke, punch his shit for me, okay?”
  5737. >He looks over at Dave, iffy on if he wants to get violent.
  5738. >”You’d better not.”
  5739. “I’ve got at least thirty bucks in my wallet, wherever it is. You can have that.”
  5740. >Almost before you can finish, Lucas brings a fist into Dave’s ribs.
  5741. >Through his laughter, and over Dave’s agony and rage, Trevor gives a warning.
  5742. >”You know our money isn’t valid here, right?”
  5743. >Lucas’s excitement crumbles into one of devastation.
  5744. >”NOOO!”
  5745. >You laugh as Dave begins to grumble something about putting on a rubber glove and shoving his fist somewhere it shouldn’t be.
  5746. >As you laugh, you are happy to notice that it doesn’t hurt to do so.
  5747. >Those drugs are really doing their work.
  5748. >Eventually everything settles down, and you ask your next question between weak chuckles.
  5749. “So, what about O- Jay? I’d wager to guess he isn’t hanging around here.”
  5750. >”He helped you get here and stop the bleeding. After everyone was sure you were okay, he set off for Canterlot to see the princess as promised.”
  5751. >Twilight pulls out a notepad of sorts as she informs you of his location.
  5752. “He went alone?”
  5753. >She shakes her head.
  5754. “Alright, glad to hear he was telling the truth about coming here.”
  5755. >”I’m actually expecting to receive a letter about what’s going to happen with him by tomorrow.”
  5756. >That’ll be something interesting to hear about.
  5757. >Briefly you search for more questions to catch up on, but you fail to find any.
  5758. >You lean back in the bed.
  5759. >This isn’t so bad right now, you have company to pass the time. In a few minutes to hours though, you’re going to have to find a way to make it go by quicker yourself.
  5760. >For at least two weeks.
  5761. >This is going to suck.
  5762. >On the bright side though, you didn’t wake up with a catheter in you.
  5763.  
  5764. >The next few weeks pass by just about as fast as you expect them to.
  5765. >By fast, you mean so agonizingly slow that you’ve almost resorted to trying to pull out your own teeth twice.
  5766. >You’d get visitors most every day, so that helped.
  5767. >There was never as many as when you first woke up, but that’s to be expected.
  5768. >On one day it would be Trevor and Twilight, the next would be Rarity and Pinkie.
  5769. >One thing stayed consistent though, and that was Fluttershy.
  5770. >Throughout this entire healing process, she’s been by your side, day and night.
  5771. >She’d always find a way to brighten your day, whether it be bringing some special food from home, telling you about her day, or just showing some affection at an appropriate time.
  5772. >When you first got out of bed for the first time since you woke up, she was by your side to assist.
  5773. >Even though you’re still on pain medication most of the time, you still swear her very presence helped with the agony shooting through your torso.
  5774. >Now you can move around while only sometimes grasping at your abdomen.
  5775. >To your astonishment, unicorn magic actually works on your body.
  5776. >Rather than using stitches, both sides of your wound were rapidly healed to seal the outside.
  5777. >Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the inside is completely healed.
  5778. >Some of it is healed, but your body’s going to have to do the rest.
  5779. >The doctors give it about three to five months.
  5780. >Best of all, you haven’t seen the place in at least fifteen minutes.
  5781. >Yeah, you’ve gotten to go out for a few minutes at a time before, but now you’re truly free.
  5782. >That’s right, you’re out.
  5783. >You may not be able to exert yourself for a while, but you can at least go where you please.
  5784. >Normally, you’d be worried about a housing situation, but a certain yellow pegasus is helping with that.
  5785. >In fact, everyone has a place to live right now.
  5786. >Trevor is with Twilight, Lucas is staying with Pinkie in her room, Ron is in with Applejack and her family, Rarity cleared out a spare room for Devin, and Dave made himself a decent hut at the edge of the forest.
  5787. >A lot of things here may work with humans, but clouds are definitely not one of them.
  5788. >He was the first to find out. The hard way.
  5789. >Rainbow Dash caught him in time, but he’s already declared war on clouds and vapor as a whole.
  5790. >Literally. Twilight has claimed to see him shooting self-made arrows with a self-made bow at the sky a few times.
  5791. >Some things really do never change.
  5792. >All of that brings you to this moment.
  5793. >You are walking through town with the kind yellow mare by your side, headed to her house.
  5794. >Not as many of the residents that are out and about look at you strangely as you’d think.
  5795. >It’s probably because there have been at least five other humans roaming around here for the past few weeks.
  5796. >That’s good for you, now you don’t have to explain yourself as much.
  5797. >Wordlessly you continue to follow the pegasus, taking in almost every bit of your surroundings.
  5798. >It took you a while to get used to it, but you can finally look at this world without overthinking how it works.
  5799. >One example is how everything looks sparsely detailed until you are right up close to it.
  5800. >You noticed it on Fluttershy back home, but that wasn’t so bad since it was just her.
  5801. >Now it’s everywhere, almost like your eyesight is extremely diminished in the depth department.
  5802. >Outlines are still another thing that escapes you.
  5803. >You and the other humans are the only things here without one, and you still don’t know how the things work.
  5804. >”Are you enjoying the outside, Anon?”
  5805. >The gentle voice of Fluttershy pulls your wandering mind back into line.
  5806. “You bet. Anything is better than that hospital, though.”
  5807. >She giggles softly.
  5808. >”I can tell. We started to worry when you wrapped a bandage around your head, claimed you were a solid snake, and tried sneaking out.”
  5809. >You can feel your face heat up at the mention of your near mental breakdown.
  5810. “Not really my proudest moment… I get kind of out of character if I get too bored.”
  5811. >Another giggle.
  5812. >”I’ll say. You’re usually much calmer. Adjusting to a different world probably caused some stress, too.”
  5813. >You nod.
  5814. ”Maybe.”
  5815. >Looking over at her, she meets your gaze and asks you a question.
  5816. >”I don’t mean to pry, but what did you mean by that? I don’t think a solid snake is too good at sneaking around…”
  5817. >You blow a gust of air through your mouth.
  5818. >Best to give her the short version, lest she die of confusion.
  5819. >The two of you exchange small talk until you finally reach the home stretch.
  5820. >Thankfully you’re traveling lightly, so abruptly leaving your home world has it’s advantages.
  5821. >Her cottage can be seen clearly now.
  5822. >It’s a small structure and only has a few rooms from what you can remember, but that isn’t much of a bother.
  5823. >The outside looks like it’s becoming overgrown with vegetation.
  5824. >In any other circumstance, you would think this place was abandoned or unkempt.
  5825. >The pale colored mare takes the lead after you’ve crossed the bridge over the small stream.
  5826. >You reach the front door that she excitedly opens, attempting to gage your reaction.
  5827. >As soon as it opens, you brace yourself for the smell of animals, but it never comes.
  5828. >You take your first step in, the sound of your foot on the wooden floorboards echoing throughout the room.
  5829. >The inside is recognizable from what you’ve seen of it in the show, though it’s much more different in 3d.
  5830. >”Do you… like it?”
  5831. >Fluttershy meekly approaches you
  5832. >You look around for a few more moments, taking in what will probably be your home for quite some time.
  5833. “I think it’s great. It’s cozy, and not too small either.”
  5834. >The mare’s face lights up, a nice change from the nervous expression that was on it earlier.
  5835. >”I-I can show you around, i-if you want.”
  5836. >You place a hand on her back.
  5837. “I’d love to.”
  5838.  
  5839. >Life continues at an easy pace, and after only three days seems to settle into a sort of monotony.
  5840. >You’ll have to get a job soon, more out of habit than need.
  5841. >Fluttershy somehow makes more than enough money to support the both of you, but not doing anything to contribute just feels like mooching.
  5842. >One day you’ll have to ask her how she does it.
  5843. >The day is winding down, and you are just returning home.
  5844. >That’s one thing you still have yet to get used to, calling the unusual structure “home”.
  5845. >In time it should become second nature, but for now you’ll just have to get used to it.
  5846. >As soon as you open the door, you smell the pleasant aroma of food cooking from the kitchen.
  5847. >Making your way to the kitchen, you catch the familiar pegasus hovering between different parts of the kitchen.
  5848. >”Oh, you’re home! Dinner’s almost ready.”
  5849. >She flies over and quickly plants a kiss on your cheek before returning to her cooking.
  5850. “Sorry I wasn’t here sooner. If I had of known you were making dinner at this time, I would’ve came back and helped.”
  5851. >Going over to attend to a pot on the stove, she shakes her head.
  5852. >”It’s okay, I wanted to surprise you when you got back.”
  5853. >Looking closer at the pot’s contents, you see a tasty looking vegetable soup.
  5854. “This looks pretty good. When did you start?”
  5855. >”Not too long ago, it’s not too hard to prepare. Actually, I think it’s ready…”
  5856. >You back away from the stove, letting Fluttershy do what she needs to do.
  5857. >The fire underneath goes out, and she brings two bowls forward.
  5858. >Each one is filled up with a generous helping before being brought to the table for eating.
  5859. >Once everything is in order and the rest of the leftover ingredients are put back, the two of you proceed to eat your meal for the night.
  5860. >Putting everything away gave the food time to cool down to a point where you wouldn’t burn your mouths when eating it.
  5861. >”I’m so glad everything from the past few weeks is over… It feels like so long since we’ve been able to just live our lives without something big hanging over us.”
  5862. >You nod in agreement.
  5863. “Yeah, waking up in that hospital was the most relaxed I had felt in weeks.”
  5864. >Though, it feels like you’ve been forgetting something.
  5865. >Even as at peace as you are, you can’t help but feel there is one last thing that you need to do.
  5866. >”I wonder… We haven’t heard from the person who caused all of this since he left two weeks ago; what happened to him?”
  5867. >You shrug.
  5868. “I kind of assumed Twilight would tell us eventually, being close with the princess and all.”
  5869. >After finishing your statement, the forgotten objective resurfaces in your mind.
  5870. >Her mention of Jay managed to dig up the appropriate memories to assist in your task, and now you are once more uneased by the thought of it.
  5871. >How did you forget about it, anyway?
  5872. >The love poison. As far as you know, Fluttershy hasn’t taken the antidote yet.
  5873. >You sigh, your good mood diminishing quickly.
  5874. >Across from you, Fluttershy notices your unintentional sullen expression.
  5875. >”Is something wrong, Anon?”
  5876. >This is something you really haven’t wanted to convince her to go through with, mainly in fear of her reaction.
  5877. >However, it’s now or never.
  5878. “…Fluttershy, before I tell you, I just want you to know that you mean the world to me.”
  5879. >She tilts her head a small amount, worry creeping into her expression.
  5880. “I just have one request. One that I hope you won’t take the wrong way, but I feel it’s very important.”
  5881. >The mare’s expression doesn’t grow any less worried, but she responds in a calm voice.
  5882. >”Okay…”
  5883. >You inhale a large gulp of air. This sort of thing is never a good dinner conversation topic.
  5884. “I think we should get the antidote for the poison. As soon as possible.”
  5885.  
  5886. >Fluttershy’s look of worry changes to one of almost fear with the mention of the antidote.
  5887. >Knowing that your words are the reason for this… it hurts a bit.
  5888. >”Anon… what… what about our relationship..? If… if I lost you…”
  5889. >You lean over across the table and take one of her hooves in your hand.
  5890. “The status of our relationship, that’s all up to you. Once you’ve taken the antidote, your feelings will adjust accordingly. If you don’t feel anything for me, we’ll break it off. If you still do, we’ll continue like we have been.”
  5891. >She cringes at the mention of ending the relationship, but seems to go into deep thought.
  5892. >You can feel a light shaking come through her hoof.
  5893. “Did you know that Trevor and Twilight are still together? Even after taking the antidote, Twilight still remembered and felt the same way about the experiences that lead up to them getting together. She still has genuine reasons to feel the way she does about him.”
  5894. >A few moments pass without a response. As much as you hate to pressure her like this, you really feel that having a possibly fake relationship is never a good thing.
  5895. >Going off of your last statement, you move to her side of the table and gently raise her head to look at you.
  5896. “I won’t force you to do this. However, I have a question to help you decide if you want to or not.”
  5897. >”Okay…”
  5898. >You tighten your grip slightly.
  5899. “Fluttershy… Why do you like me the way you do?”
  5900. >The yellow mare’s eyes search your own for an answer before she softly replies.
  5901. >”W-well… You really cared about me back in your world, even when I first arrived, it seems like. No matter what was happening, you’d drop what you were doing and come to my side of I was upset, scared, having trouble, o-or anything… You’ve also always been considerate of my feelings. You’d never ask me to do anything I was afraid or unsure I could do, and would encourage me to do the things I could. And you are rarely loud or anything… You’re passive, kind of like… like me…”
  5902. >And the list goes on.
  5903. >Almost endlessly, it feels like. You really don’t know how she’s thought of all of it.
  5904. >When she sounds like she’s come to the end of her list, you speak up.
  5905. “Those don’t sound like reasons conjured by some silly poison. If what you say really is true, you’ll see those same reasons once you’ve taken the antidote. You can take all the time you need to decide. If you do decide to go through with it though, just keep those reasons you gave me in mind. Hold onto them as hard as you can, and I’m sure everything will be fine.”
  5906. >You can see her slowly grow back her familiar gentle smile that you know so well.
  5907. >”O-okay… I’ll think about it.”
  5908. >Giving her a smile of her own, you take your hand off her hoof and redirect it to hold her back.
  5909. >Wrapping her in a tight hug, you whisper in her ear.
  5910. “Thanks for hearing me out. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
  5911. >She returns the hug.
  5912. >”It’s okay… I’ve honestly thought about it a lot, but have tried to push it out. I know I shouldn’t…”
  5913. >You separate and stand up.
  5914. “Well, if I haven’t completely ruined dinner, let’s keep eating!”
  5915. >To your relief, she giggles as you walk back to your seat and start eating once more.
  5916. >The rest of dinner passes in silence, the both of you content with just having each other around.
  5917. >Fluttershy is the first to finish her soup, and she watches you deep in though as you take your last few bites.
  5918. >Once you are finished, you see her face has dropped the concentration it conveyed, and now is looking at you with an expression of determined resolve.
  5919. >”Anon?”
  5920. >You turn your attention to her.
  5921. >”Let’s go get the antidote.”
  5922. >Picking up your dishes, you respond somewhat casually, despite actually being nervous inside.
  5923. “Okay. When do you have in mind?”
  5924. >”Right now.”
  5925. >if you were drinking, you’d be choking on whatever was going down your throat.
  5926.  
  5927. >After many minutes of questioning if she was sure of her choice, the two of you head out of Fluttershy’s house.
  5928. >Over the horizon, the sun is just starting its descent for the night.
  5929. >The cool night air of early spring lightly caresses your skin, providing a nice temperature to make the walk in.
  5930. >Off in the distance you hear the familiar beating of wings, causing you to seek out the being making the noise.
  5931. >It isn’t until the sound gets louder and closer that you are able to see the pegasus that is flying.
  5932. >As they get closer, you can see a blue uniform of sorts on the pony’s body.
  5933. >”I think that’s a mail carrier… What are they doing out so late..?”
  5934. >You look closer at the clothing, and just like she said, you can tell that the uniform is that of a mailman… mailwoman... mailstallion… mailmare..?
  5935. >Sometimes you hate pronouns.
  5936. >Touching down, the courier approaches you and Fluttershy.
  5937. >”You Anonymous?”
  5938. >The white coated, fluffy brown maned stallion asks, looking at you.
  5939. “That’s me. What’s up?”
  5940. >He sticks his face into a bag hanging at his side, coming out with a sealed envelope.
  5941. >”Got a letter for you from Canterlot. The postage was for immediate delivery.”
  5942. >You take the letter from his mouth, noticing a pleasant lack of saliva on it.
  5943. “Who’s it from?”
  5944. >He shrugs with his wings.
  5945. >”No clue, I just got it from one of the workers from Canterlot Castle. They said I could probably find you here.”
  5946. >Taking back to the air, he gives a quick wave before turning around.
  5947. >”I’m gonna get going, have a good evening!”
  5948. >Just as fast as he came, he took off in the opposite direction.
  5949. >Fluttershy looks at the letter in your hands.
  5950. >”Should we read it now..?”
  5951. >Sticking the letter in one of your bigger pockets, you shake your head.
  5952. “We can later. I’m sure that if it was really important, we’d actually be told so by the deliverer.”
  5953. >”Oh, that sounds fair enough.”
  5954. >You and Fluttershy continue on towards the Everfree Forest.
  5955. >…
  5956. >This is the first time you’ve actually been in the Everfree, and just like you expected, it’s a forest.
  5957. >So far, there’s nothing too much to be afraid of.
  5958. >However, if you get surrounded by timber wolves or cornered by some big monster, it’s probably not going to end well for you.
  5959. >Zecora’s hut isn’t too far into the forest from what you’ve heard; it’s probably about a fifteen minute trip by foot.
  5960. >In fact, it should be right around the corner since you’ve been here about ten minutes already.
  5961. >You continue deeper in the forest with Fluttershy at your side for around seven more minutes before you see the unusual hut amongst the trees.
  5962. >The lightly colored pegasus trots over and knocks on the door, which is shortly answered by the familiar Zebra.
  5963. >They both talk for a bit, their words lost on you until eventually Fluttershy ushers you in.
  5964. >Inside of the hut is the typical room you saw from the show.
  5965. >Shelves with different kind of ingredients and strange decorations line the walls, while in the center of the room sits a cauldron filled with a bubbling blue liquid.
  5966. >The zebra turns to face you and speaks.
  5967. >”You are Anon, I presume. What brings you to my room?”
  5968. >Right, rhymes.
  5969. “Nice to meet you. Me and Fluttershy came to see if you still had any antidote for the love poison. I think you’ve already given it to a few ponies?”
  5970. >She nods and opens up a nearby cabinet, peering into it.
  5971. >”Certainly, my friend. This potion should bring the poison to an end.”
  5972. >Zecora pulls out a small flask filled to the top with a yellow fluid and hands it to you.
  5973. >This is it.
  5974.  
  5975. “So, the entire bottle, or just a bit?”
  5976. >The zebra stirs the liquid in her cauldron and replies.
  5977. >“To be rid of the poison that ails her, the entire potion must be drank, to be sure.”
  5978. >You nod and slowly offer the vial to Fluttershy.
  5979. >No second thoughts now. Like you told her, it’s for the best.
  5980. >By the look on her face, she looks like she’s having similar thoughts.
  5981. >She takes the container from your hand with a shaky hoof and uncorks it.
  5982. >For a while, she just stares into the bottle, observing the slight sloshing of the liquid within as every minor movement of her hoof makes it react.
  5983. >The mare shifts her eyes to you and places the potion on a nearby table.
  5984. >”A-anon, before I d-drink this…”
  5985. >She flaps her wings and gets to eyes level with you.
  5986. >”I w-want you to know th-that I’m very glad we’re t-together…”
  5987. >Before you realize what she’s doing, she leans in and her lips are on your own.
  5988. >You place a hand on the back of her head and return the affectionate action.
  5989. >The two of you stay like this for a while before you pull back.
  5990. >Fluttershy’s face has turned a light pink, and she smiles shyly at you.
  5991. >”I… h-hope this isn’t the last time we get to do that…”
  5992. >Nodding, you do your best to smile back.
  5993. “So do I, so do I.”
  5994. >You remove your hand from her, and she tentatively picks the potion back up.
  5995. >With one last look at you, her expression hardens, and in one quick action, she brings the rim of the flask to her lips and tilts her head back.
  5996. >The liquid drains from the vial and into her body.
  5997. >In only a few seconds, the vial is completely empty and she sets it aside.
  5998. >The mare sits in silence for a moment, uncertain of the effectiveness of the potion.
  5999. “How do you f-“
  6000. >Your question is cut short when you see Fluttershy’s cheeks puff up, followed by a large expellation of what looks to be green steam from her mouth.
  6001. >Everyone in the room is taken aback by the strange display, except the zebra stirring the mystery fluid in her pot.
  6002. “Was… was that meant to happen..?”
  6003. >Zecora simply nods.
  6004. >You quickly look back at Fluttershy, who is recovering from what was essentially a large belch.
  6005. >Potions here really take effect fast.
  6006. “Are you feeling okay..?”
  6007. >The mare looks herself over slowly, testing each of her legs, wings, and everything else she can move one by one.
  6008. >”Y-yes, I am. That was… unusual…”
  6009. >She turns her focus onto you.
  6010. “I hate to rush you or anything, but… what about the other thing? We’d be able to tell by now, right?”
  6011. >You look at Zecora, and she nods while adding something to her pot.
  6012. >Unintentionally you hold your breath, fearing the answer you will receive from the yellow pegasus.
  6013. >Her face scrunches up a bit, lost in thought as she searches for an answer.
  6014. >”It’s hard to tell… It feels like… All of my initial feelings are gone.”
  6015. >You swallow hard, feeling like a rock lands in your stomach.
  6016. >She continues to think.
  6017. >”B-but… It’s like all of my later feelings are still there. L-like… I didn’t feel like I do now until later on.”
  6018. >A drop of hope is restored as you hear the end of her last statement, though she still looks conflicted.
  6019. >Fluttershy stares at you deeply, as if the answer she seeks lies in you.
  6020. >”Those memories, they still make me feel warm… safe… but is this how I really feel..?”
  6021. >Taking a step forward, you kneel down in front of her to meet her gaze.
  6022. >Without even thinking, you lean in, mimicking her earlier actions.
  6023. >Your mouths connect, which takes her by surprise.
  6024. >Her shock doesn’t last long, and before you know it, she is returning your kiss full force.
  6025. >Pushing her is not your intention in the slightest, though you wouldn’t blame anyone if they assumed otherwise.
  6026. >More than anything, you just wanted to help her answer the question that was in the forefront of her mind.
  6027. >If she didn’t feel anything, or felt negatively of this, you’d both have the answer.
  6028. >She pulls away, fresh tears trailing down her face with a content smile to go along with them.
  6029. >”I know how I feel. Just the same as when I confessed… maybe e-even stronger…”
  6030. >The small pony lets herself fall into your chest, much the same as she did after you rescued her from the river.
  6031. >Gently embracing her, you stroke the back of her neck, causing her to let out muffled murmurs of comfort.
  6032. >”The poison that was used was quite weak. How it was successful is quite a feat.”
  6033. >You rise your head from the embrace and look at the zebra curiously.
  6034. “How so, and how do you know?”
  6035. >Walking over to a small rack of drawers, the zebra opens on up and takes out a slip of paper.
  6036. >”Your friend the princess took an interest, and the original creator helped with the rest. He listed the methods and herbs he used, so that the situation could be defused.”
  6037. >Is she talking about Jay?
  6038. >You look over at the list, and aren’t able to understand a single thing written.
  6039. >Alchemy isn’t your forte.
  6040. >”The poison could produce a strong crush at the most, giving only a small burden to the host. Perhaps it could help stronger feelings develop, but most times that issue does not come up.”
  6041. >She returns the paper to its original spot, and returns to her business.
  6042. >Fluttershy eventually leans back and looks back up at you with shimmering eyes. Her fur appears matted from her tears earlier.
  6043. “Shall we go?”
  6044. >She nods, letting go of you.
  6045. >You get back to your feet, feeling the stiffness in your body catch up to you.
  6046. >”Thank you for your help, Zecora. I really appreciate it…”
  6047. >The potion maker smiles at her as she walks to the door and opens it for you both.
  6048. “Me too. Thank you for your help, I’m sure it took some work.”
  6049. >”There was no problem to be had. Poison like that could be quite bad.”
  6050. >You and the pegasus exit Zecora’s hut, saying your goodbyes as you do.
  6051. >”Farewell, my friends. I am glad to have brought your dilemma to an end!”
  6052.  
  6053. >It’s just another quiet night outside.
  6054. >After you and the newly cured Fluttershy left Zecora’s place, you started walking to wherever your steps would take you.
  6055. >Eventually, those steps lead you both to where you are now.
  6056. >The Whitetail Woods.
  6057. >The sky’s brightness and color hasn’t changed much since you made your way into the forest, though the sun is truly beginning to set now.
  6058. >”It’s lovely out tonight, isn’t it, Anon?”
  6059. >Gently patting her head, you nod in agreement.
  6060. “Certainly so. Not too hot, the humidity is low, and I’m with the best pony in the world.”
  6061. >You chuckle as she blushes from the compliment.
  6062. >This might be a new hobby of yours; her reactions are pretty cute.
  6063. >About a month ago, you wouldn’t have considered her anything more than an entertaining image on a screen.
  6064. >You had no “waifu” or anything like that, you didn’t even consider any of the main cast cute, like you just did with Fluttershy.
  6065. >A normie, that’s what a lot of people on the board would have considered you.
  6066. >Now, you really dove off the deep end.
  6067. >And you don’t regret a single bit of it.
  6068. >The mare leans into you as you both continue down the trail of the woods.
  6069. >Walking in here reminds you of the times back on Earth that you’d walk with Fluttershy in the woods behind your house.
  6070. >Whitetail Woods seems cleaner around its path, though.
  6071. >Sticking your free hand in one of the pockets of your pants, you feel the mysterious envelope you were given earlier.
  6072. >Fluttershy notices this and eyes the letter curiously.
  6073. >”I wonder what that letter is about…”
  6074. >You shrug, letting your hand holding the letter fall back to your side.
  6075. “Me too. Here, let’s find a comfortable place to read it at.”
  6076. >The pegasus’s eyes light up and a smile grows on her.
  6077. >”I know a nice place, if you’d like to read it there.”
  6078. “Lead the way, then!”
  6079. >She leads you through the woods, the sound of chirping birds a nice melody to compliment your relieved mind.
  6080. >Going further down the well-traveled trail, you eventually see one that seems to be lesser used.
  6081. >Twigs and leaves litter the ground around it, and the grass is thicker than that of the main walkway.
  6082. >Regardless of the quality of the route, it is still accessible and smooth to traverse.
  6083. >The trees thin out, and the ground begins to shift to an incline as you move forward.
  6084. >By now, you can tell that the two of you are going up a fairly large hill.
  6085. >Admittedly, you feel a bit of pain exerting yourself to climb up the slope, but you do your best to hide it as to not worry Fluttershy.
  6086. >At the top resides a single tree, providing a picturesque scene for the evening.
  6087. >”We can sit under the tree here, if you’d like. I thought it would make a nice place to rest.”
  6088. >She’s right, it does look inviting; though that could just be the hole in your torso telling you to sit the hell down.
  6089. “I like it. It looks comfortable.”
  6090. >Reaching the top of the hill, you and Fluttershy move under the tree and sit down against it.
  6091. >”The sunset looks beautiful up here…”
  6092. >You raise your head a bit to behold the sight ahead.
  6093. >The sky is a light shade of yellow mixed with pink, with the large orb that provides this light and color resting halfway in the horizon.
  6094. “Wow, you got that right…”
  6095. >Seconds tick by as you take in the scene before you.
  6096. >Fluttershy places her two front legs in your lap and uses one of your legs as a pillow to get comfortable as she watches the sun make its journey downwards.
  6097. >A gentle breeze blows into you and the mare in your lap.
  6098. >You use your free hand to open the envelope and unfold the letter within.
  6099. >Before you read the contents within, you use the same hand to lightly brush at Fluttershy’s mane.
  6100. “Okay, here’s what the letter says…”
  6101. >You clear your throat in preparation for the speech.
  6102. Dear Anonymous,
  6103.         Hopefully you get this letter in better health than when I last saw you. From what I’ve heard though, you’re already out and about again, so I guess that solves that. Anyways, I’ve been hiding away for a while, as it were, and I thought I’d shed some light on that. When we first got here, we took you to the hospital. Kind of the first thing you think to do when someone’s got that much blood pouring out of them. Once we were sure you weren’t buying the farm, I went to Canterlot just as Twilight requested. I have say, trials here in Equestria certainly don’t take as much time as they do on Earth.
  6104.         It was only a few hours after I arrived, and I was face to face with the princess herself. She didn’t recognize me at first, but after taking a while to observe my appearance, everything came back to her. I’ll spare you the details on the reunion, but it was interesting to say the least. Then came the judgement. Let me tell you, even I wasn’t prepared for this. I’ll be staying here supervised, in my old room. What’s more, I’m now a part of the royal R&D unit. Apparently my work with mixing magic and machines is impressive enough to land a position like this. It baffles me beyond belief, but she claims it’s her way of apologizing for what she helped my life become. I never noticed it when I was first taken here, but she is a very benevolent ruler, and I am grateful for that.
  6105.         Switching topics, I also wrote this for another reason. I just want to tell you thanks. Thank you for vouching for me when you all were about to leave. I’m certain no one else would, and though we had few conversations and knew next to nothing of each other, I felt I could respect you. Even after I had full intentions on bringing harm to you and already had as a matter of fact, you made your decisions based on the goal at hand, and not on emotions unlike me and your (possibly unstable) friend that gave me a taste of my own medicine. Now that I’m here, I can say that it definitely beats what I had in mind for myself after you left.  
  6106.         Anyways, this letter has probably gotten long enough already, so I’ll end it off. Now that I’m in the position I am, I can do quite a few projects of my own as long as the team and princess knows about it. My first order of business? Getting these damn wrinkles off my face. As good looking as I am like this, I’ve still got plenty of life I need to live.
  6107. From, Jay (OP)
  6108.  
  6109. P.S.: Tell David that he needs to control that temper of his. He’s not the only one it might get killed one day!
  6110. “…And that was all of it.”
  6111. >You carefully fold the letter up and stick it back in the envelope.
  6112. >Fluttershy climbs a bit further into your lap.
  6113. >”I’m glad everything turned out well for him. I didn’t know him well, but there seemed to be a lot of pain in his eyes when I saw him.”
  6114. >Continuing to stroke her mane, you nod.
  6115. “Some people certainly can act strongly based on emotion. I can say the same about myself when it comes to you, really.”
  6116. >A blush lights up her face as she giggles.
  6117. >”Like with the river?”
  6118. >You nod with a laugh of your own.
  6119. “Yeah…”
  6120. >The sun continues its descent, slowly darkening the colors of the evening sky.
  6121. “We should probably get going here soon, it’ll be night before too long.”
  6122. >Fluttershy sighs with an air of disappointment.
  6123. >”You’re probably right…”
  6124. >You smile, helping her get to her hooves as you stand up.
  6125. “Don’t worry about it too much. We have all the time in the world now. I’d definitely like to come out here again to see the sunset.”
  6126. >The yellow pegasus smiles.
  6127. >”Me too.”
  6128. >Keeping one hand on Fluttershy’s back, the two of you travel back home.
  6129. >Equestria. Never in a million years would you have guessed you’d be calling this place home.
  6130. >You’ve only been here two weeks, is it normal to consider it that?
  6131. >You and the others fought tooth and nail to get here, but it’s taken a while for the realization to truly sink in that you’ll be living here for good.
  6132. >Looking down at the pegasus who is now leaning against you with her eyes closed as you walk, your worries are instantly put to rest.
  6133. >No matter what, she’s here for you, and you’re there for her.
  6134. >You’re both home.
PiE StoryTime Anon Fluttershy I hate indonesia

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