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The Rarity and the Beast: part 1

By DocInTrouble
Created: 6th April 2021 10:53:13 PM
Modified: 6th April 2021 11:11:12 PM

  1. edit: 2020-12-18, still alive
  3. Synopsis:
  4. Alright, once again, just to make sure you really understand. This evening, on your doorstep, there’s a smoking, smelly, talking husk of a cartoon Unicorn called Rarity asking to be enslaved… Nope, you're still confused. Still, you can't let the poor girl out in the Human streets like that. Especially considering you know, personally, how bad they are; the Humans.
  6. *****************************************************
  7. When was the last time you had a dream? You are not sure… What about nightmares you say? Ah, yes, you do have plenty of those, but people call them a day and move on to the other. It is sad, but it is true.
  8. *****************************************************
  10. >People call it a day, hun?
  11. >They're bad days.
  12. >No, they're just nightmares.
  13. >Which one is the worst to have though?
  14. >
  15. >Despite not feeling completely rested, you lift the blankets and sit on the side of the bed; the cool air slowly leeches off the warmth of your now exposed clammy skin.
  16. >Grunting, you take a look at the blankets and consider for a moment to return beneath them.
  17. >No, that would be lazy.
  18. >And you're not lazy. No, you're not.
  19. >You are, you are going to get up and do… something.
  20. >Yeah, you're going to do something.
  21. >But first, clothes.
  22. >Luckily, for you, they're not too far. Just over there, pilled up in the middle of the room.
  23. >A pair of underwear even catches your eye.
  24. >But it is stuck, between socks and a pair of pants.
  25. >Hmm.
  26. >Weighted down by lingering grogginess, you shuffle toward the undergarment while licking your dry lips.
  27. >Once they're in your reach, you carefully pinch them and yank them out!
  28. >The heap wobbles.
  29. >But doesn’t crumble.
  30. >Hey, lil’ victory.
  31. >A quick sniff of the tissue reveals that it's clean enough, so you put them on and start scavenging the rest to dress up.
  32. >
  33. >Hmm, what would you eat.
  34. >Oh, right, you bought a new cereal brand. There’s an Irish guy with some lil’ Irish charms on it; you wanted to make sure the little charms were marshmallows.
  35. >But first, the morning journal.
  36. >
  37. >Having already put pants and socks on, you push your head through the shirt’s collar and leave the bedroom with a hasty pace.
  38. >You cannot wait to pour yourself a bowl of marshmallows.
  39. >Erhm, cereals.
  40. >As you pass through the kitchen to reach the front door, you notice the shotgun idly leaning beside it.
  41. >It has protected you so many times.
  42. >
  43. >You put your sneakers on, open the door and take a deep breath of smog from the industrial area.
  44. >Ever since they passed the carbon tax the air had started to reek less.
  45. >That’s very nice.
  46. >But do you deserve it?
  47. >Munster.
  48. >
  49. >You remark, while bending down to take the journal, that there are wooden signs on the lawn: *Fucking kill yourself already* *Murderer* *Merchant of death*.
  50. >It has been a while since you saw the last one.
  51. “Sorry…”
  52. >Yep, it’s one of those days.
  53. >At least they’re wasting their cash, and, and you get some firewood for winter, after scrubbing the paint off.
  54. >That’s… that’s nice.
  55. >Yeah, right.
  56. >
  57. >With pain in the chest, you gather everything and head back inside, closing the door with a foot.
  58. >Putting those signs in the basement, with the others, seems like a good idea but…
  59. >You look at your feet, and shrug, before dropping them in the entrance. Then, you toss the newspapers on the table.
  60. >Breakfast reading, he-he.
  61. >Wait, No, To-do list on the fridge first.
  62. >
  63. *To Do list*
  64. Buy metal.
  65. Buy pudding.
  66. Call the tax guy.
  67. >Oh right, the tax guy, Carl. Takes care of taxes for you, for a price, but he’s a good guy­.
  68. >Hmm, works the night shift though, can’t call him whenever you want.
  69. >What time is it anyway?
  70. >A quick glance toward the clock indicates it's nearly noon.
  71. >OH NO!
  72. >The noon cartoons!
  73. >Swiftly, you make a bowl of cereal, milk and spoon included, and head toward the couch.
  74. >You carefully sit down on the crumbling furniture as to not spill anything. After pressing one of the remote's buttons, the television comes to life.
  75. >Sitting cozily with breakfast in hands, you are all set and eager to look at the colourful characters allowed to live their lives happily.
  76. >Cheerfully.
  77. >Yay…
  78. >
  79. *[] were demolished in an 8-0 match against the Bolsons yesterday.*
  80. *Unsurprising, considering their main goaler is recovering for an nth unspecified lower-body injury.*
  81. *It is also the price you pay when you build your team around a goaltender.*
  82. >That's… not the cartoon channel.
  83. >It should start with the grumpy orange cat, not with some guys talking about sports.
  84. >The cat's really funny though, except when he’s mean to the dog, ‘cause it's bullying and bullying is bad!
  85. >No, you shouldn’t think about that, it’s noon cartoon time.
  86. >Happy hours.
  87. >Alright, where's the contro- Ah, there.
  88. >You take a deep, deep breath, and zap.
  89. >Still not the cartoon channel.
  90. >So you zap and you zap again, but.
  91. >The channel's nowhere to be found.
  92. >No, nonono. Noon cartoons always start with the cat. it’s been so for years now. Where, where is it!
  93. >Maybe you skipped it?
  94. >Yeah, that's, that's right, must have skipped it.
  95. >So you zap.
  96. >
  97. >You zapped through your channel three times by now, and still no cartoon channel.
  98. >So you, you.
  99. >You…
  100. >TAKE. A. deep breath.
  101. >Put the bowl on the coffee table, pushing empty insta-meal and cups of noodles to make some place by the same occasion, and close your eyes. Then, you flex your muscles really really hard, before slowly letting all the tension go.
  102. >You flex your muscles, before slowly letting the tension, and your stress, leave your body.
  103. >You flex your muscles[…]
  104. >
  105. >Now that you are feeling better, you open your eyes.
  106. >So.
  107. >It might be that noon cartoons do not start with the cat anymore, but.
  108. >Hmm.
  109. >But, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t start at all!
  110. >Yeah, that’s right. Just find the channel where cartoons play and then enjoy them.
  111. >Easy.
  112. >Now with a plan in mind, you take hold of the remote and zap.
  113. “Eight, sevun, sik-ss, fhive… Dhere.”
  114. >Alright, the tv's on the cartoon channel, the happy hours will begin.
  115. >The only things left for you to do is to take the bowl back, lean back and enjoy the cartoons.
  116. >
  117. >Meh, last episode's credits.
  118. >Okay there's the logo, and then-
  119. >“What issss Yak? Yak Yak Yak!”
  120. >Cursed toy.
  121. >Ah, finally over.
  122. >“Long, long ago, deep in the forest, there was a hidden village where tiny creatures lived, they called themselves Murfss; they were good.”
  123. >The Murfss?
  124. >Never heard of them.
  125. >Oh, so they're little blue guys in white, except the blue one in red.
  126. >Makes him look like a garden gnome.
  127. >Should be interesting.
  128. “Dey wer good?”
  129. You take your first mouthful of Irish charms. “HMM!”
  130. >Marshmallows!
  131. “Good!”
  132. >That makes you very happy.
  133. >The television continues “Then, there was Garglemail, the evil wizard; he was bad.”
  134. >Bad.
  135. >You do not like bad.
  136. >Well, as long as Garglemail isn’t human, it should be interesting.
  137. >Alas, the smile on your face fades as soon as Garglemail, the human, appears and shouts out of the window.
  138. >Feeling drained out of all enthusiasm, you turn the television off.
  139. *He was bad*
  140. >Of course he's bad.
  141. >He's human, and they do bad things.
  142. >Humans are the ones who turn things sour. Always been the case, and will always be.
  143. >Like, they put signs on others' lawn during the night!
  144. >They, they…
  145. Sigh
  146. >They're just bad.
  147. >*Fucking kill yourself already*, *Murderer*, *Merchant of death* comes back to your mind along with memories of having coffees, beer cans and anything people had in their palms thrown at you.
  148. >Feeling miserable, you eat the rest of the cereals in the silence of the industrial district, until you've eaten them all.
  149. >Then, you just feel miserable, cold and alone.
  150. >
  151. >You… you know you shouldn’t listen to them, and letting them affect you means they win, but there's nothing you can do about it!
  152. >You're stuck! Stuck to stick to your house, the grocery store, and Carl’s house. Stuck, surrounded by mean people, except Carl.
  153. >Stuck to swallow the rage, the fear, the sadness in you, ‘cause you can’t even complain! They just yell at you harder and then they push you and sometimes they hit you.
  154. >At least Carl doesn't, he's a goo-
  155. >HEADACHE!
  156. >Wincing and gritting your teeth, you bear the throbbing pain spreading in the back of your head.
  157. >All the while staring at the dark human behind the screen, sitting on a couch, holding his head.
  158. >The munster.
  159. >Which world is the real nightmare to live in…?
  160. >Yeah, here it’s the real nightmare. Was there ever any doubt about it?
  161. >Right, when you woke up.
  162. >Must have been half-asleep then.
  163. >That’s why you doubted.
  164. >
  165. ****************************************************************************
  166. It’s nice to see you, haven’t talked in quite a while. You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you… why? Why what? Oh, you know, why do you keep crutching on Crazy Mouse so goddamn much? I mean, you should know the definition of insanity by now!
  167. ****************************************************************************
  168. >
  169. >Many hours have passed by the time you regain self-awareness.
  170. >Hours in which you've only stared at your reflection in the screen.
  171. >It's easy to lose the notion of time during happy hours.
  172. >After all, doing nothing means you cannot do anything wrong.
  173. >But now, your ass is getting sore.
  174. >Maybe you should move and do something. But what?
  175. >As you ponder the conundrum, you scratch your itching beard, and your nose is assaulted by a strange smell.
  176. “Hun, datz ngnyew.”
  177. >You could, you could take a shower, a cold, freezing shower to clear your head.
  178. >Yeah, that’d be nice.
  179. >Although water isn’t cheap. Wait a minute now…
  180. >Don't listen to them and their mean words!
  181. >That’s right, you’re in your home, Anonymous, and they’re not!
  182. >You can do what you want ‘cause you’re the only one that can tell you what to do!
  183. >That’s what Carl said, so it must be true, ‘cause Carl never lies to you.
  184. >Ah, bravo Anon, you just wasted part of your day weeping on the couch, you fucking idiot!
  185. >Sniffling and gritting your teeth, you get up and bring a few empty cups of ramen along to the kitchen.
  186. >Once in front of the recycle bin, you pull it out of under the sink, throw the trash in and push it back.
  187. >Then you turn the tap to rinse your hands.
  188. >But… where is the bowl?
  189. “Shit.”
  190. >Snorting, you pull the bin, rummage, find your bowl and your spoon, put them on the counter and push the bin again.
  191. >Imbecile.
  192. >You take them, rinse them, put them on the counter, close the tap and wipe your hands with the hand towel.
  193. >You need to smite.
  194. >Yeah, that’s what you’re going to do, you’re going to smite, and you’re going to craft something.
  195. >Filled with determination, you walk through the back door and head toward the forge in the backyard.
  196. >What to forge though?
  197. >There are so many things you could forge: hatchets, machetes, kitchen knives, butterfly knives, butcher knives.
  198. >Igorot headhunting axe.
  199. >What to do, what to do…
  200. >Well, depends on what you have. You’re short on metal this week.
  201. >It is on the to-do list, right?
  202. >Better write it down.
  203. >You go back inside and take a look at the fridge’s door.
  204. *To Do list*
  205. Buy metal.
  206. Buy pudding.
  207. Call the tax guy.
  208. >Oh right, the tax guy… Carl. Takes care of your taxes for you, for a price, but he’s a good guy­.
  209. >You take a look at the clock and notice its needle is past 16.
  210. >It seems that you've spent too much time being useless… on the couch.
  211. >
  212. >Discouraged, you trudge your way back to the forge.
  213. >You put your apron on, take your hammer and a wild idea appears in the back of your mind.
  214. >With a quick flick of the wrist, you send it swirling it in the air, before catching it by the handle, feeling smug about it.
  215. >When you turn around to face the anvil, you finally notice the straitjacketed mouse plush sitting on it.
  216. >It seems like it is trapping a piece of paper between the hard metal and its soft tissue.
  217. “Oh.”
  218. >Got a special order.
  219. >You lift the rodent and take a look at the post-it underneath.
  220. >It's a drawing, a hastily drawn Bowie knife with ‘SSS’ written on the blade.
  221. >Simple, simple, simple. Simple as can be, huh?
  222. >What do you have at hand?
  223. >Well, nothing, actually, 'caus it's on the to-do list.
  224. >Like, there’s only, hum, steel 1055 left to work with.
  225. >Got lots of wood and leather and rope and all kind of stuff for the handle, but only steel 1055 for the blade and tang.
  226. >It makes good knives, but they rust quickly. They need mineral oil to stay sharp afterward.
  227. >And, a Bowie knife… Ain't gonna be a kitchen knife, much too big and food corrodes it real quick.
  228. >Now that's a problem.
  229. >You do not take orders without having the materials for it.
  230. >Besides no collector will want a Bowie knife made of 1055.
  231. >So, if you only had 1055 and drew it yesterday, then it is going to be a blade to stab people with.
  232. *Merchant of death*
  233. >Stop thinking.
  234. >Just, just get to work instead.
  235. >It'll make you feel better.
  236. >Or at least, less bad.
  237. >
  238. >First, to start the coke forge, it takes newspapers, which are in the newspapers bin… That's empty?
  239. “Ah? Oh, right, newzpaper… Fo’got tor’fill it. Can’t start t’forge ‘thout paper.”
  240. >Fortunately, there are some on your doorstep each day, so you head back inside, walk through the kitchen, open the front door, bend forward and… Wonder where they actually are.
  241. >In the mailbox maybe?
  242. >Yeah, it would make sense.
  243. >The newspapers guy never forgets to deliver, so if they are not on the front door, they are probably in the mailbox.
  244. >You straighten up and walk down the alley, toward the battered mailbox.
  245. >The mailbox…
  246. >Meanies like to drive by with their car and smash it off with baseball bats. Or sometimes, when they feel really mean, they break it apart, forcing you to repair it, else you get a fine.
  247. >They even stole it once.
  248. >That was very, very mean.
  249. >Who the hell steals a mailbox?!
  250. >
  251. >Finally in front of it, you pull the lil' door to find a noose made of barbed wires and a letter.
  252. >Oh! A letter, sweet!
  253. >When was the last time someone sent you something?
  254. >Let's just hope that it hasn’t been there for long. That would make you feel really bad.
  255. >After all, no one ever writes to you.
  256. >They only write about you…
  257. >No, don't think like that, or they win!
  258. >
  259. >Feeling all giddy, you try to open it, but it slips out of your hands and glides down the mailbox.
  260. >You bend down to pick it up but stop before hitting your forehead on the aforementioned mailbox.
  261. >Oof, close one.
  262. >Soon enough, the envelope is opened; inside are instruction on how to hang yourself.
  263. >It is even signed, *Cordially, the world.*
  264. >Right.
  265. >What did you expect?
  266. >W-Well, at the very least, they bothered to give you a proper noose, so.
  267. >So…
  268. “Well, if A’m carful, could ‘lwayz make gud flail… Pepol like t’buy dat kend ofstof unline.”
  269. >Who are you kidding?
  270. >You close the mailbox and trudge back inside, carrying a ton in your heart.
  271. >
  272. >Why are people so mean to you?
  273. >You understand some HAVE reasons to hate you, but at most, they were… What was bigger again, thirteen, or thirty?
  274. >Math ain't your strength.
  275. >It's Carl's though.
  276. >Muscles is your strength.
  277. >Wait.
  278. >Hehe.
  279. >Made a pun.
  280. >
  281. >Now back inside, you decide to take a good look around, for once.
  282. >The house is cozy, dirty, but cozy.
  283. >On the right there is the kitchen, with a pile of spoons on the counter, waiting to be cleaned.
  284. >Eh, you forged them yourself. They add a nice irony taste to the pudding. It spikes it up.
  285. >On your left is the rest of the kitch-Oh the newspapers were on the table!
  286. >Why though?
  287. >Oh, you know, ‘cause the newspaper guy is also the mail guy.
  288. >He must have seen the mean rope and decided to bring the newspapers inside! That’s really nice of him.
  289. >Knowing that there are still nice people in the world, not just Carl, makes you very happy.
  290. >You take them, light-heartened, and head back to the forge with a big smile plastered on your face.
  291. >Once there, you put down both noose and letter on your workshop.
  292. >So, to start the forge, you have to take a few sheets of newspaper and crumble-wait, was it written Anon on the headline?
  293. *uncrumpling newspaper noises*
  294. *Two-face Anon, the merchant of death: selling knives to outlaws and gangsters, making our street more dangerous, one knife at a time.*
  295. “Dat’sa lie.”
  296. >They don't know what they're talking about.
  297. >The problem's behind the blade.
  298. >But, who cares about the truth?
  299. >They're just humans, they're just mean.
  300. >They're just bad.
  301. >Nothing new.
  302. >You crumple the meanpaper, light a match and the bottom of it, put them in the forge, cover it with coal and wait for the fire to spread.
  303. >Having nothing to do until then, you decide to take another newspaper and read it.
  304. >Maybe its comics will make you feel better?
  305. >First order of business, the caricature.
  306. >It is Annoying Fruit.
  307. >YAY!
  308. >You read it aloud to yourself.
  309. Annoying Fruit and LemonAnon:
  310. >“Hey, Hey, Yellowkiwi!”
  311. >“Leav me alone…”
  312. >“Hey, Hey, Yellowkiwi!”
  313. >“…”
  314. >“Hey, Hey, Yellowkiwi!”
  315. >“…”
  316. >“Hey, Hey, Yellowkiwi!”
  317. >“Am NOT yellow kiwi! AM A LEMON!”
  318. >“Oh, really?”
  319. >“Yeah, now leav' me alone…”
  320. >“Do you know Frank?”
  321. >“…?”
  322. >“He’s kind of dirty, doesn’t ring a bell?”
  323. >“No.”
  324. >“Too bad, he’s a really good guy.”
  325. >You’d like to meet Frank.
  326. >Annoying Fruit continues bothering LemonAnon, “Are you really a lemon? You don’t look like one. You look like a lime, with a question mark.”
  327. >“Am a lemon!”
  328. >“No you’re not, you’re a lime, a green lime.”
  329. >“Hun?”
  330. >“Lime, L-I-M-E, lime, not like-” Annoying fruit gasps, eyes wide open.
  331. >“Wat?”
  332. >“Maybe you’re a lemon with Lyme disease! That would explain why you’re green.”
  333. >“Euh… No. And wusn’t I yellow?”
  334. >“Oh, you are yellow kiwi after all!”
  335. >“NO!”
  336. >“Gee, no need to be bitter, Nyahahaha!”
  337. >“…”
  338. >“Why aren’t you laughing?”
  339. >“Caus’not funny.”
  340. >“Mmmmm, yeah, you’re right. My colour-blindness isn’t oranging itself, Nyahahahaha!”
  342. >“Are you sour? Because that would make sense.”
  343. >“Yaes, A’m shure.”
  344. >“No, not sure, sour, you know, like acid.”
  345. >“Yes.”
  346. >“Yes what?”
  347. >“What?”
  348. >“Yes.”
  349. >LemonAnon is so confused, it makes you laugh.
  350. >It feels great to forget about your problem and simply enjoy seeing someone being trolled.
  351. >“Hey, that question marks on your forehead really fits with your face right now! Nyahahahaha!”
  352. >“Leav me alone…”
  353. >“Hey, hey, LemonAnon!”
  354. >“WHAT?!”
  355. >“You’re a lemon right?”
  356. >“Yeah…?”
  357. >“So, you’re mentally disabled.”
  358. >“Am not.”
  359. >“Really?”
  360. >“Well, I am, not ‘cause A’m a Lemon.”
  361. >“Then it’s because of what?”
  362. >“Because am-” Wait.
  363. >You reread the sentence carefully, ‘Because am Anon’
  364. >Skipping a few panels ahead you see the knife joke; your brand of knife.
  365. >
  366. >You toss the journal in the fire and cover the coal with coke using a metal poker.
  367. >Patience, Anonymous, patience… You will smite stuff soon enough.
  368. >You’re going to get the steel red hot, then you will take your hammer and beat the living shit out of it. You are going to pummel it to your heart’s content, and you'll feel better.
  369. >Just be patient.
  370. >While you ruminate your inner demons, the fire, smothered by the coke, creates an extremely thick brownish grey smoke.
  371. >The wind turns, and you inhale a substantial amount of it.
  372. >You crouch out of the smoke and cough hoarsely.
  373. >Right, the fan.
  374. >Still coughing, you push a button on the forge's side, which ends up sucking smoke up the chimney, above your head.
  375. >That is not even a beginner's mistake, even you knew about that before you began smithing. And you have been doing it for a while.
  376. >Making blades is the only job you can do, alone; the only one that allows you to pay the rent at least.
  377. >As long as you do not breath in the smoke!
  378. >Stupid Anonymous…
  379. >After recovering enough breath, you pull the anvil closer and sit on it, then, you push the coke to cover some of the flames that aren't completely covered.
  380. >That is the thing with coke forges, you put metal in the… Hot place between the flames and the coke, ‘cause that’s where the heat’s trapped. Still, have to let enough air for the fire, or you choke it, and that’s bad… but not as bad as seeing your knives used to hurt people. Because that’s downright munstrous.
  381. >You mumble out of your lips words you can barely hear yourself, “Am not a munster… ‘snot me fault that me knives’re used t’hurt… I make knives, not me fault what ‘appens negckst…”
  382. >Stop lying to yourself Anon, you’re a munster, just accept it.
  383. >If you live, you’ll keep forging knives, and they are going to hurt people, and that’s bad.
  384. >If you die, it’ll make people happy.
  385. >Just go on and be done with it, coward.
  386. >
  387. >Sighing, you take the steel 1055 and start drawing the Bowie pattern on it using a wood chisel.
  388. >Normally, other smiths would draw their pattern on paper first, but you can just draw it on the fly and the blades still turn out good.
  389. >Not only does it saves you time, but it also makes you feel special, somewhat.
  390. >You put the metal in the forge and cover it with coke.
  391. >Using a coke or coal forge is trickier than gas forges. Gotta be careful to not overheat, or burn the metal, because yes, you can burn met-
  392. >Out of the blue, deafening thunder strikes, scaring you to death. You reflexively throw your arm up--and the poker--high in the air.
  393. >You also realize it pretty quickly.
  394. >Without losing any moment, you dive under your workshop and wait for it to fall down.
  395. *CLUCK-kickling-kiking*
  396. >There, it fell on the stone floor, you are safe now. But you are still out in the open when there’s thunder! It isn’t in itself scary, but thunder means lightning, and lightning, when you are surrounded by metal, is extremely dangerous.
  397. >That is why you eagerly get out of your hiding place, on all four, and why you rush toward the house.
  398. >You grab the door’s handle, turn it, push the door open, get inside and slam it close.
  399. >Heaving, you turn around and look through the door’s window. A few flies are buzzing about around it.
  400. “Ahh… ahh…”
  401. >There is but a clear summer evening outside.
  402. “Ahhh?”
  403. >No clouds in sight, a beautiful bluish dark sky. Through the glass you can see the grass, gently swaying under the hot zephyr.
  404. “Huuuuun?!”
  405. >Absolutely nothing indicates that a storm is coming, or just rain.
  406. >And there were no flash of light.
  407. >But you know what you’ve heard. It wasn’t a gunshot, you know what they sound like, and it didn’t sound like that. Plus your hair is standing on its edge. Electricity gives you goosebumps, even your beard is affected by the goosebumps. It gets straight and itchy and you don’t like that.
  408. >You take a few steps back while scratching your beard.
  409. >Breathing hard, eye darting from left to right and up and down. What are you looking for exactly?
  410. >You are not sure. But what you are sure of is that the thunderclap was really close, only one building or two away from your house and you have never heard thunder as loud as that before! Your ears are still ringing from it. No, you think that ringing is caused by you; by your panic… But YOU HAVE a really good reason to panic!
  411. >You could… you could have been struck by lightning! Oh no, oh-no you don’t like that. The forge’s supposed to be safe. You, you don’t feel safe now, you’re in danger-no it’s the forge that’s dangerous.
  412. >The sound of your heartbeat in your ears, of your breath that deepens and the tingling in your fingers are the only things you can feel, as everything else is quiet, really quiet.
  413. >It’s quiet, too quiet. It isn’t uncanny, you are just on edge, but… you could have died there, you could have died, fried on the spot, burned to a crisp! You, you have to move away from the door, so sit down and calm down.
  414. >Yeah, that’s what you need, but where?
  415. >Dumb question, the kitchen's the closest place where you could sit.
  416. >Because, chairs.
  417. >You trudge toward the room; unfortunately, your wobbly feet forces you to lean on the walls to keep your balance.
  418. >There is also an uncanny feeling of having a sword of Damocles above you that makes it all the more harder to move.
  419. >First, Barnfield, then the thunder? Something really weird is going on today.
  420. >Why is the corridor so long anyway? You don’t need long corridors.
  421. >
  422. >Realisation dawns upon at the end of the corridor that you will have to walk the rest of the distance without using the wall to stay up.
  423. >Why is the corridor so short anyway? The chairs are so far and yet so close…
  424. >Can you walk up to there, with feebleness spreading in your body, creeping its way up to your heart, building pressure on it?
  425. >You’re… you’re not sure. You just want to go back to your forge and smite something.
  426. >But you can’t, it's dangerous!
  427. >Being in danger is bad, you don't like bad.
  428. >Crazy Mouse always takes care of the bad, but Crazy Mouse cannot protect you from lightning.
  429. >He would if he could, you know that.
  430. >
  431. >Your legs give in, forcing you to slide down the wall until your bottom touches the cold and dirty floor.
  432. “Ahh… ahh… ahh…”
  433. >You need to calm yourself. You take deep breaths, and you let them go. Deep breaths… and, and l-let them go.
  434. >
  435. >
  436. >It doesn’t take you very long, however, and you are back in your forge.
  437. >Metal isn’t cheap, it has to be ordered, and that takes time, plus you don’t know when the client will arrive and you don’t want to waste steel 1055 that’s heating.
  438. >The thunderclap was really, REALLY scary, but you know better than to ask yourself answerless questions; such as, where did it come from? If there’s no cloud in the sky, then it shouldn’t happen again, right? Yeah, so now the forge’s safe.
  439. >There is a knife to forge, you should get to work instead of thinking.
  440. >It has never done you any good to think anyway.
  441. >You take a pair of tongs and pull the metal out of the blaze to see what colour it is.
  442. >Red, ready to forge, neat.
  443. >Wait, that’s weird… Metal should take much longer to heat.
  444. >Eh, whatever, it saves you some time so that’s good. You shouldn’t think too much about it.
  445. >Since the metal is just the right hue of red, you take your hammer, swirl it in the air, catch it by the handle, and the screeching of tires in front of your house smothers your momentum.
  446. >“Read between the lines, motherfucker!” shouts an old and loud voice.
  447. >It felt… Familiar.
  448. >Probably your imagination.
  449. >In any case, curiosity gets the better of you, and you forget the annoyance of being interrupted in your work for the third time in a row.
  450. >However, you have steel that is, right now, ready to be forged. It might warp while you're taking a look, but it might burn if you leave it in the forge,
  451. >Well, merely taking a peek wouldn't be so bad. It is not like you are going to be delayed for THAT long.
  452. >You drop the metal on the anvil, put the tongs on the workshop and go back inside to open the front door.
  453. >You grab your safety shotgun; just in case bad things happens and you need to defend yourself.
  454. >It wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last.
  455. >The firearm's currently empty. Most of the time, meanies run away when you point it at them, and that is more than enough.
  456. >And if they don’t, chasing them out and swinging the gun like a club does the trick. Still gets you in trouble, but much less than shooting someone.
  457. >Someone knocks, pulling you out of your thoughts.
  458. >Surprised, you open the door and… you’re befuddled, for there is a white Unicorn in front of you.
  459. >No, really, there IS a FREAKING cartoon UNICORN on your doorstep!
  460. >“Good evening kind sir, would you be interested in owning a slave?”
  461. >And it spoke…
  462. >“Pretty pleeeeeease?”
  463. >Now, that's something new.
  464. >
  465. >
  466. >On your doorstep, there is a smoking purple mane white Unicorn looking at you.
  467. >She is sitting on her butt, her forehooves joined together under her chin, and she has puss in boots' eyes, Except she doesn't have a Spanish hat, nor is she a cat.
  468. >Instead, she has death in her big blue eyes.
  469. >She is not blind but, there is no light in them, no life.
  470. >You know them all too well.
  471. >They are the same as yours when you look in the mirror.
  472. >It is nostalgic to see someone else being but a husk, trying their bitter best to just, just.
  473. >Survive.
  474. >What is less nostalgic is the fact that she’s bleeding from her neck as if someone strangled her with a thin thread. She also smells of charred fur, strawberry pie, blood and garbage cans.
  475. >Worse, she looks cartoony, noon cartoon cartoony.
  476. >And you fucking hate her. Crazy Mouse is probably going to hate her too.
  477. >
  478. >Wait, what the fuck?
  479. >You close the door, feeling like a munster.
  480. >How could you be so mean to someone you have never met, that is exactly in your shoes, like, the shoes you wore back in the days?
  481. >No, you have to give her a hand, because you know that was the only thing you begged for.
  482. >Just, just, having a lil’ bit of help to keep on fighting.
  483. >But, if you help her, you'll get in trouble.
  484. >Do want more bullies?
  485. >No, no you don’t want more bullies.
  486. >She reeks of trouble. You don’t want to get in trouble, you want to forge things and eat pudding.
  487. >Not Unicorns.
  488. >She might even be dangerous.
  489. >Don't take chances.
  490. >You pull the top drawer of your chest of drawer and take the ammo box out.
  491. >Truly, it is one of those days.
  492. >Her voice, muffled by the door, reaches you shortly after she rams it with her body, “W-W-Wait! You don’t understand! If you don’t let me in, they’ll, they’ll…”
  493. >Once the gun is fully loaded, you open the door and aim.
  494. >She sighs in relief, “Oh thank you! Than-” until she sees the shotgun and pulls her ears back, “Oh dear.”
  495. “What’re’ou?”
  496. >Silence.
  497. >Her sorrow begins to run deep in her eyes, and down her cheeks.
  498. >Not fear, Not incomprehension.
  499. >Sad resignation.
  500. >“If you do have to shoot.”
  501. >With a slow gait, she advances toward the gun, and puts her forehead on the canon.
  502. >“T-Then, I…” sniffle “Please, allow me to make sure that…”
  503. >Oh no.
  504. >She is beyond complex.
  505. >Even you never went that far down the barrel. Crazy Mouse came to help you before that.
  506. >Now you will have to think, and quick; shit.
  507. >If you help her, you are going to need…
  508. >Hum…
  509. >You are going to need a stable?
  510. >
  511. >Annoyed by the awkward silence, and by your lack of a brain, she stomps her right hoof on the ground.
  512. >“Well, what are you waiting for, exactly?” she says, frowning, looking at you with human eyes, “Go on, p-pull the trigger!”
  513. >Those eyes.
  514. >Hatred, fear.
  515. > The chimera of having control over you.
  516. >She is scary. That's bad, quick, say something!
  517. “A'm not waitin’,” you articulate, hoping to calm her a bit.
  518. >She jerks her head back, addled.
  519. >Was she expecting more?
  520. >“Just 'what' is it that you might be doing, if not waiting then!”
  521. >Well-
  522. >She pushes the gun back with her forehead, but you stand firm on your feet, “I’ll let you know that I AM, desperate for an owner, that there is but only ONE thing on my mind right now, and that is that I am never-never-NEVER going back!”
  523. >She pulls her head back to increase the momentum of her headbutt, which shoves the recoil pad further back in your right shoulder, forcing you to take a step back to remain standing.
  524. >“Never, do you hear me? never, NEVER!”
  525. >And yet, her face is not distorted by pain, anger or fear.
  526. >It is not an order, but a plea, a plea out of desperation.
  527. >Her eyes close; head hung low, her tears flow.
  528. >Thick sobs come out of her; droplets of tears slowly cleanse their way down her dirty cheeks.
  529. >“I am… never, ever going back…” she whispers before struggling against her tears.
  530. >Just, wait for a min-
  531. >Ignoring your confusion, she carries on, sniffling, straightening her head high. With her right hoof, she wipes her eyes to beg you for mercy better.
  532. >“S-so if, if you have no intention of being one,” she turns her head to her left and bites her shaking lower lip.
  533. >She lowers her head a second time just to shake it sideways shortly after, before straightening herself once more into a poise.
  534. >Her eyes are darting everywhere and nowhere, except on you, or the gun, “If you have no intention of being one, t-then, you, you just have to shoot!”
  535. >Her frail body is shivering, her breathing is jagged; she sniffles every now and then.
  536. >What are the lies, what is the truth, you're confused.
  537. >She manages to collect herself enough to look at you with her wide opened eyes a trembling chin, and what fails to look like a reassuring smile, “S-Simple, isn-isn't it?”
  538. >
  539. > An awkward smile that tries to be reassuring.
  540. > A soiled poise which desires to be worthy.
  541. > A present, blinded by blows of the past, unable to see the future.
  542. >You do not know what to do.
  543. >
  544. >Noticing your inaction, she drops her head, giving up the fight against her tears.
  545. >“Please, show some mercy and sh, shoot… shoot before, before…”
  546. >There is a crying cartoon unicorn on your doorstep.
  547. >She’s not blind but, she cannot see a future ahead of her.
  548. >“It's si-im-im-mple…”
  549. >No, it isn't simple. Killing is wrong, no matter what.
  550. >Except in your case. You should die.
  551. >No one will cry if you die.
  552. >In fact, the world will be a better place once you die.
  553. >But.
  554. >She's not you, she's not human.
  555. >She shouldn’t die.
  556. >Because that would be sad.
  557. >
  558. “Thinkin’,” you articulate, again.
  559. >“T-thinking,” she whispers back, without hearing the word.
  560. >Huh, That's what you said..?
  561. >“Thinking,” she whispers again, as if acknowledging the word, “you are, t-thinking?” She asks while her eyes are looking at yours.
  562. >You nod slowly, as you look down at your past.
  563. >She smiles slowly, as she looks up at her future.
  564. >She snorts and put on a feeble smile, “Then, then maybe you could…”
  565. >The light in her eyes diminishes, and she lowers her gaze, her head high.
  566. >With great difficulty, she says, “You could… be my, Master?”
  567. >It's weird to see someone else being that far deep down the barrel.
  568. >Taking her in might, it might be the right thing to do.
  569. >You need time to think, again. But you need to warn her, otherwise, or she will get angry again.
  570. “Thinkin’.”
  571. >She blinks, incredulous.
  572. >Heh…
  573. >
  574. >Her ears swivel back. A grimace distorts her face and she jerks her head back.
  575. >Wait, is she chased?
  576. >Are there bullies after her!?
  577. >But she said master, so, so she wants to be a pet, right?
  578. >No one bullies pets.
  579. >That would make sense, horses are like big pets. Ponies are like small horses.
  580. >That would make her, Erhm… A small big pet!
  581. >Despite being proud of your good idea, your head is starting to hurt again.
  582. >
  583. >She turns her head toward you, a hoof raised above the ground and panic in her eyes.
  584. >She tries to strafe away from the gun’s barrel but you keep aiming at her head, slowly putting your finger on the trigger.
  585. >You trusted people before, and that's when they hurt you the worst.
  586. >Never again.
  587. >
  588. “Stay still.”
  589. >With a gulp, she obeys.
  590. >She wanted to die and now she’s afraid of the gun?
  591. >Too complex…
  592. >And what is she exactly? Never answered that.
  593. >You really, REALLY want to help her, but bullies… You, you don’t want to deal with bullies, no you don’t, but you also want to help her and- No, focus! She didn't answer you.
  594. “What’re’ou?”
  595. >Incomprehension floods her face. With her wide open eyes, she titters, “You’re foaling, right?”
  596. >What? Foaling?
  597. >Your head hurts; thinking too much.
  598. >And you're wasting time here. The knife’s cooling on the anvil, it isn’t good.
  599. >You’ll have to reheat and you will lose time, if, you can salvage it.
  600. >Less time for pudding. So you’ll press her.
  601. “Answer or die.”
  602. >Better safe than sorry.
  603. >Now realizing the gravity of her situation, she fixates the gun, and blinks, “Haven’t you heard about Ponies being sent to Earth enslaved, and then sold?”
  604. >Hun? Ponies being sent to Earth?
  605. “You slave Puny?”
  606. >Flabbergasted, she opens her mouth, raises and turns her hoof upward, but says nothing.
  607. >Isn't necessary though, you understood very well. 'How possibly dense do you have to be to not understand the situation?'
  608. >Not like it's your fault. It is getting really complex, you don’t really know what slavery is, but, she is a girl, she is hurt, she has those eyes, she is confused, and she even wants to die, and-and she acts as if she is bullied, so she wants to be a pet and-
  609. >“THERE SHE IS!”
  610. >A purple van brakes on your street, leaving dark tire marks on the road.
  611. >Many men come out of the vehicle, one by one. Slamming the doors shut, armed with dangerous baseball bats, they approach.
  612. >They look like thugs.
  613. >They're scary.
  614. >That's bad, really, reaaaally bad.
  615. >They're coming for you.
  616. >And you have loaded your gun.
  617. >
  618. >One of them stops walking and spreads his arms out to stop those beside him, and speaks up.
  619. “Hey, w-w-w-wait, it’s ‘Two-Face Anon.”
  620. >“Fuck man, how did the bitch knew where he was?” asks a second man.
  621. >“The boss’s going dispose of us if we lose her though…” Says the driver through his window.
  622. >“Not if we take her back.” Says a fourth man.
  623. >The driver replies, “If you want to deal with ‘Two-Face Anon, suit yourself, I’m not getting anywhere near the loony fucker, if he shoots, I’m leaving you behind.”
  624. >They look at each other's before playing rock paper scissors, but you couldn’t care less.
  625. >There are bullies on your lawn, it's bad, they're going near you, it's bad. Your shotgun's shaking in your hands.
  626. >Go away!
  627. >But they won't.
  628. >Would talking help?
  629. >Fuck no.
  630. >Never works.
  631. >Fear works.
  632. >You have to scare them.
  633. >To scare them you need anger. You need rage. You need it. You want it.
  634. >Become angry!
  635. >These men want to bully a pretty cartoony Pony? That angers you.
  636. >A pretty girl? Oh, now you are really angry.
  637. >Bullies on your property, WHO WANT TO BULLY!?
  638. >The complexion of your face changes, twists as you grit your teeth, frown, crinkle your nose and tense your muscles.
  639. >Rage is boiling up in your chest, and it's good.
  640. >It is good because you feel safer with munster rage than with human fear.
  641. >You survived, thanks to the rage deep within.
  642. >It is good.
  643. >
  644. >The mare, trying to get away from them as much as she can, turns back and leans on your legs, breaking your focus.
  645. >The rage disappears and fear slowly creeps its way inside you.
  646. >“C'mon guys, last round.”
  647. >It’s gone, IT’S GONE! No, nonono, it-it can’t be gone…! You aren’t safe anymore, scared, dangerous, flee!
  648. >Don’t want to hurt, don't want to be hurt, no, no hurt it's bad.
  649. >Rock paper loser's getting closer; they’re getting closer, to you, to her, closer, danger.
  650. >The hands are shaking. something is going to happen, they are coming; it’s because of her-no, it’s Two-Face Anon, it’s Two-Face Anon who's always bullied, will always be.
  651. >The breathing accelerates. Yes, they want him, they’re going to hurt him with the baseballs bat they’re carrying. They just used the mare to get you out of the forge, the safe forge.
  652. >A pressure on your chest, it hurts.
  653. >They’ll tie Two-Face Anon and beat him with baseball bats until they break. Then they’ll steal your money to buy more bats and beat Two-Face Anon until they break again and they’ll buy more bats until you don’t have cash anymore and then they’ll, they’ll…
  654. >“Fuck me, man…”
  655. >Danger draws close not safe not forge.
  656. >Afraid, so afraid-NO!
  657. >Scare them more than they scare you. But you need anger, you need anger-GET ANGRY!
  658. >Be strong forge made you strong. Strong now, strong.
  659. >A gun, stronger.
  660. >“No, nonono NO, NOOO!” she screams.
  661. >No, not gonna let them, no you're not. You want to fight. You want to-you want to hurt. Be mean. Survive.
  662. >Be ugly, be the munster they see.
  663. > Congruence.
  664. ****************************************************************************
  665. > Head feels like it is going to explode, the pressure on the sides, the sheer pain in your mind, they make you want to cry.
  666. > It hurts to be back. It hurts so fucking much.
  667. > The thugs, they reek of grime, of cigarette, of smoke and sweat.
  668. > She cries and smells foul, with a hint of strawberry.
  669. > The odour of skin on the gun, your own breath, your own stench.
  670. > Hot summer air, sweaty clothes, dry throat, water beads sliding down your forehead.
  671. > It is too overwhelming, too much at once, too painful. You hate pain, you hate it, you hate it!
  673. >
  674. > Pain, fear, anger and hatred are all mixed together to distort your face.
  675. > Complexion deformed and reddened by rage, there is foam in the corner of your mouth; your trembling head constantly flickers your hair.
  676. > Rage.
  677. > The ringing in your ears is deafening. Your teeth hurt, warm blood is coming out of your gum. the vertebrates are cracking under the pressure of your neck muscles.
  678. > Yes, you are Crazy Mouse, and you’re a freak, naturally, just how you have to be, and you’re going to protect Anon. That is your purpose, that is why you were born, from the depth of his anguish.
  679. > The panic and pain he suffered gave birth to a monster, one so cruel that they would quake in fear just by hearing the name of it.
  680. > Heh, probably not.
  681. > Still.
  682. > You are Crazy Mouse, and you are going to protect Anon. That is your purpose, it is sad, but it is true.
  683. > But you’re here now, and there are guests in front of you, guests who didn't read the “beware”, “off limit” and “danger” signs.
  684. > Oh, right, they're in the basement.
  685. > You will need to be polite then, and welcome them, to the freak show.
  686. ***************************************************************************
  687. >Your throat feels like it’s quenching a white-hot machete, and you are out of breath. Your knuckles hurt and strangely enough, so does your elbows.
  688. >God, is the sun always so bright during the evening? It's hard to see and… that headache, GOD, it hurts!
  689. >There is also something warm under you, between your legs.
  690. >Bewildered, you look down and the terrible scene unveils itself.
  691. >You are straddling a man whose face has been caved-in.
  692. >Someone is running, you put your arms around your head to defend yourself.
  693. >But, it seems like they are running away?
  694. >You take a peek between your arms. One man, holding what remains of his right shoulder is running away.
  695. >The van is nowhere to be found.
  696. >The air reeks of burnt tires and blood.
  697. >Weren’t you inside your house?
  698. >Confused, you look around and try to get your bearings.
  699. >You are on your lawn, so that’s good.
  700. >But, the house…
  701. >There is another headless man on the ground in front of it, and a mare that’s completely out of it.
  702. >She is resting on the ground, on her right side, looking at the air in front of her with specks of blood dotting her coat, visible even at this distance.
  703. >The man, he has no head left on his neck.
  704. >Just a tongue, and a jaw.
  705. >Having taken your tongue out to express your disgust, you taste an irony liquid dripping down your face.
  706. >The air also smells of gunpowder.
  707. >Your shotgun is beside you.
  708. >It all begins to make sense…
  709. >It happened again.
  710. >You, you were munstrous again.
  711. >Was, was only supposed to scare them, not, not…
  713. >Infuriated, you grab your shotgun and storm back inside.
  714. >Something squeaks in fear as you walk by the corpse.
  715. >Frowning, you turn to your right and spot a terrorized Unicorn, petrified at the munster that is standing tall and bloodied in front of her.
  716. >Ah right, it was about a horse.
  717. >She is so afraid that-
  718. “Hey, not here, dirty. Bathroom.”
  719. >“S-Sorry!”
  720. >You knew the damn Unicorn was going to make things complicated.
  721. >With a sigh, you walk inside.
  722. >It is not just one of those days…
  723. >It's a terrible, terrible day.
  724. >No, it’s just another reason why you should kill yourself.
  725. >But you won't.
  726. >Fucking coward.
  727. >
  728. >The mare, shaking on her hooves, follows you shortly after, which surprises you.
  729. >If she wants to die that bad, she can stay, you don’t even fucking care anymore.
  730. >Wait, it smells like… smoke? Oh, right, the knife.
  731. >There's a knife to forge, but what about the Pony? You don’t really want her to put her muzzle everywhere.
  732. > Especially not the basement.
  733. >Yeah, especially not in the basement.
  734. You turn around to glare at her, “Sit, ‘till finish k-nife.”
  735. >She nods, chattering her teeth, on the verge of crying, and sits down beside the wooden signs.
  736. >Oh yeah, she fears you now. You ARE the bad guy now!
  737. >It’s always like that, either you’re not taken seriously, or you’re feared and hated.
  738. >But the bullying never ends, and WHEN you tell them to stop AND THEY continue to bully, he ends up killing them, or some of them, and then they stop, but it’s just ANOTHER, BIGGER gang that shows up the next day!
  739. >So fucking sick of it all already!
  740. >No matter what you fucking do, it doesn’t matter! No matter how hard you try, IT’S NO USE! It’s ALWAYS getting WORSE!
  741. >The sound of her breathing is becoming jerkier by the second, she even begins to cry, but she does not blink.
  742. >Of fucking course she'd stare, the last thing you want to do is blink in front of a munster.
  743. >As if he'll bite your throat off as soon as he can.
  744. >She asked for help, you chased the bullies off, and, and…
  745. >It just got worse.
  746. “GODDAMNIT!”
  747. >You turn around and stomp down the corridor, toward your forge.
  748. >No but really, you TRY to be the good guy, GOD KNOWS how hard you just want to be the good guy. But EVERY TIME you fail, WHY? FUCK LIKE YOU KNOW!
  749. >Even now you can hear her wailing with more ease because the scary munster is going away.
  750. >
  751. >You realize, as you seize the backdoor handle, that you are dripping a lot of blood, and that bits of you don't want to know are dangling from your beard.
  752. “FuuuuUUUUUCK!”
  753. >You get in the bathroom while putting your hands under your chin.
  754. >Once in front of the sink, you turn your palms to let the blood and other things fall down the drain and dye it red.
  755. >Disgusted, you lift your head up.
  756. >Yeah.
  757. >There’s one thing that’s nice with mirrors, they reflect what’s in front of them.
  758. >A face covered in specks of blood, crying.
  759. >A few streams of tears diluting the blood on your cheeks. Bits of flesh dangling from your beard. Clean lips, as if you had licked them.
  760. >Dead eyes.
  761. >Scars, hidden by your facial hair, by your long, messy and unkempt hair, full of dust, or dandruff, you aren’t sure; and blood.
  762. >Scars, on your lips, on your arcades; a nose, broken so often it flattened down.
  763. “A munster.”
  764. >You open your mouth and look inside.
  765. >As a result of being struck so often on the jaw, what is left that can be called teeth has grown inward.
  766. >Even with the surgeries, Distraction osto whatever, it hurts when you chew.
  767. “A’m ‘gly munsteh.”
  768. >And somehow, you’re the bad guy.
  769. >Always the bad guy.
  770. “Un-ffair… Sszik ofvit…!”
  771. >You’re just so sick of it all.
  772. >You’re over it, bored to death. Why are you even carrying on?
  773. >Don’t you have enough things to regret already? Do you need more of them? is that it, is that what you want?
  774. >How many people have to die before you kill yourself?
  775. >That’s the only thing you can do if, if you really want to stop killing people. Since there are much more of them than there are of you, wouldn’t it make more sense to just die already?
  776. “Ma’be…”
  777. >Coward.
  778. >J-just what happened. You were in your house and.
  779. >And you were scared and…
  780. ****
  781. >“NOOOO! NO, PLEASE!”
  782. >“Enslave me, please! I’ll do anything yo-”
  783. /
  784. > You can’t just shoot, yet; you need something to justify, they haven’t done anything to you.
  785. /
  786. > They said her, they spoke about her.
  787. /
  788. > They want to hurt her, it’s like hurting your family. It is justifiable.
  789. > A man approaches you.
  790. /
  791. > Clenched teeth/dangerous, you’re afraid, you want him to go away, you want-
  793. /
  794. > You point your gun at the closest man’s face.
  795. /
  796. > Crazy Mouse pulls the trigger.
  797. /
  798. > The danger’s gone.
  799. /
  800. > Head turned to a U. You could see his uvula. Giggles.
  801. /
  802. > A man, trying to crawl away from you, begging.
  803. /
  804. > Have mercy.
  805. /
  806. > Of course.
  807. /
  808. /
  809. /
  810. > It always makes you giggle when they beg you to stop. Like, do they really think it will happen just because they asked you?
  811. > Did they ever stopped when you begged? That’s right, it’s only fair if you don’t then.
  812. ****
  813. “Nnno…”
  814. >That’s, that’s right. This time Crazy Mouse struck first. You didn’t tell them to stop. They told you to stop. And Crazy Mouse didn’t. This time.
  815. >Crazy mouse was the bully.
  816. >No.
  817. >You let him out before they did anything wrong, and struck first
  818. “No…!”
  819. >This time.
  820. >You were the bully.
  821. “NO!” you shouted, sending blood all over the mirror.
  822. >Feeling sick, you puke in the sink.
  823. “Oh God…”
  824. >With each punch, you felt the man’s face caving-in.
  825. >You puke in the sink.
  826. “No, Noooo…”
  827. >Every time, you felt his teeth being pushed inward. Every time, his nose flattening.
  828. “God, bleasEURGH-”
  829. >You retch again, and now your stomach is empty.
  830. >He kept moving his face, trying to avoid the blows. That pissed Crazy Mouse off. He grabbed him under the chin and pushed forward so he would stop moving, and then he raised his elbow and-
  831. >You heave, nothing comes out.
  832. “God.”
  833. >And he didn’t stop. Crazy Mouse didn’t stop when the man went silent. He didn’t stop when the man stopped moving. He kept thinking about that Pony and it made him so mad… so fucking mad!
  834. >Stark raving mad! Crazy Mouse is never mad! Crazy Mouse never kills… Like that. Crazy Mouse is methodical. Crazy Mouse is always calm, that’s why you survived for so long. Crazy Mouse never, ever, loses his shit. Anonymous loses his shit, Crazy Mouse doesn’t.
  835. >This time, you were the munster. That’s all there is to it.
  836. >You heave, your stomach hurts.
  837. >
  838. >
  839. >
  840. >Your apron is in the bathtub. Most of the blood was rinsed down the drain.
  841. >Yet you cannot scrub hard enough to get all the blood off your hands.
  842. >Don't think too much. Work instead, there’s a knife to forge. Don’t think too much.
  843. >Yeah, thinking's not going to do you good. Just, just go smite something. Something that’s not human. That’ll, that’ll make you feel better.
  844. >Yes, smiting is good, it doesn't hurt.
  845. >Sauntering back in the corridor, you head toward the forge. However, there is something orange by your anvil that catches your attention.
  846. “Shit.”
  847. >You hasten. If your fears are founded, the metal will be bent, the blade and the tang won’t align.
  848. >Taking the the tongs and grabbing the steel by each extremity, you put it in front of your eye so they both align in a straight line.
  849. >It is slightly bent.
  850. “Shit!”
  851. >Must have fallen off the anvil. It is not great for the blade, but it is salvageable.
  852. > Wait, it was an ingot when you put it there.
  853. >You stand still for a moment, confused and pissed off.
  854. >The metal you are holding is a blade, but you don't remember having heard the sound of a hammer while you were at the front door.
  855. >Was there someone else in your forge?
  856. >No, impossible, but then why would…
  857. >DAMMNIT! What's going on today?!
  858. >You put the ingot down, squat down, pull your smiting ingots from under the workshop, and throw them in the fire.
  859. >Until they're green and purple, you'll craft the blade, but once they are, you'll smite.
  860. >Metal that never breaks no matter how much you heat, re-heat and smite, that is what your smiting ingots are.
  861. >They're special.
  862. >So is your mother’s blade, on the workshop. The only gift she ever gave you.
  863. >Can't even remember her much.
  864. >Stop thinking. Get to work. Thinking’s bad, it hurts.
  865. >
  866. >You take the steel 1055 bar with the tongs, hold it on the anvil and flatten the bent surface before using a brush to scrub off the scales.
  867. >Once it is all nice and clean, you hold the bar against the edge of the anvil before smacking it several times to bend and cut the metal where you want the knife’s tang to end.
  868. >It is a little bit shorter than you want it to be, but once you get to hammering it, the metal will expand.
  869. >You also hammer one side of the bar to create a thick bolster, the space between the actual blade and the tang.
  870. >By the time you are done, the metal has started to grey again, so you brush the scales off and put it back in the forge.
  871. >Having nothing to do until it re-heats, you take a look at your workshop, and your eye rest on your Mother’s blade.
  872. >Your ears start to ring and the headache comes back. You wince in pain and look away.
  873. >Crazy Mouse does not want to remember. Crazy Mouse always wants to forget everything. But, how do you know you ever lived, if you can’t remember having lived?
  874. >No. Bad Anonymous, you shouldn’t think. You should smite instead.
  875. >Yet…
  876. >It is still sad that you can hardly remember stuff. Stuff of your past, or the stuff you do every day. Crazy Mouse is always gnawing your memory away.
  877. >He says that, if you forget the sad parts, you only have the happy parts left.
  878. >But you only have memories of being sad.
  880. >Furious, you shove everything that is on the workshop down, bend backward, to give yourself momentum, jump, bend over, land on the ground and headbutt the cold, hard wood.
  881. >The impact spreads to the stone and up to your soles, through the shoes.
  882. >It really hurts. But…
  883. >STOP.
  884. >You bend backward and smash your head on the wood.
  885. >Your forehead starts bleeding. Your brain hurts. It fucking hurts. But…
  886. >THINKING.
  887. >You smash your head again. The workshop’s table bounces off the ground.
  888. >The pain in your spine is unbearable, let alone your neck, and your vision is blurred, and you get dizzy. But…
  889. >Now unsteady on your legs, you hold yourself on the table, sway back, and… and lose balance.
  890. >Your back lands squarely on your anvil, cutting your breath short, sending your head backward, stretching your neck.
  891. >Your spine hurts, your head hurts, your neck hurts, everything hurts. But…
  892. >No matter the amount of pain, no matter how much it hurts, it is never enough to distract you from the pains in your chest, and in your head.
  893. >Slowly, you slide down, putting your sleeve on the forehead and applying pressure, weakly swaying left and right, wailing.
  894. >What a nightmare.
  895. >
  896. >
  897. >The feeling of the hammer in your hand as you strike down the metal, with metal, against metal, is good.
  898. >The rebound in your hand, the shock in your shoulder, the pain in your elbow, they all feel good.
  899. >The loud, high clink sound you make and the object being moulded in front of your eyes feel good.
  900. >Soothing…
  901. >Careful now, striking the blade unevenly, or too hard, or too much would be bad.
  902. >A good blade is a blade that is strong at its core, and sharp at its edge.
  903. >Flexible in the middle, but not brittle on the side, or sides, depending on the knife.
  904. >A big tang will be heavy and disrupt the balance of the blade, and that would be bad, don't do that.
  905. >It is precision work that one wants with a knife, not fight its weight in his hand.
  906. >But a too small tang will break, splitting the hilt and the blade apart.
  907. >Unsalvageable.
  908. >Bad.
  909. >Yes, steady rhythm, spread the blows evenly, feel good.
  910. >Imagine the blade, the outline, the curve; the fragile tip, be gentle with it.
  911. >Never lose sight of dilatation coefficient.
  912. >The blade will shrink as it cools but will expand with each strike.
  913. >Also, give it a strong back, a spine, some strength.
  914. >Long and steady, push your muscles, breath, endure the pain.
  915. >And give birth to a blade with your own hands.
  916. >Beautiful.
  917. >Calm.
  918. >What a dream.
  919. >
  920. >
  921. >The knife is done. A nice steel 1055 bowie knife. Pushed narrowing tang into a slope handle made out of Sapele pommele sanded by hand, making it really smooth and fun to the touch. You also gave it a polished wood look.
  922. >Since you had nothing else to do, you decided to smite.
  923. >At least, the pain makes it hard to think.
  924. >The green ingot is greying again, so you put it back in the forge and take the purple one out to smite it on your anvil.
  925. >“Hey there buddy, what’s up?”
  926. You answer in a hoarse voice. “Sky…?”
  927. >It would seem like you have yelled too hard.
  928. >No, Crazy Mouse did.
  929. >Carl snorts and shakes his head, as you try to clear your throat.
  930. >Why is he laughing?
  931. >Carl would never laugh at you, even if you have dried blood all over the face.
  932. >It must be ‘cause of what you said.
  933. >But even then, you don’t understand why. If you look up, you do see the sky. There are no clouds either.
  934. >Moving your head for a while is a bad idea… ouch.
  935. >“Well, you never change, do you?”
  936. “Erhm… Nut reelly?”
  937. >Carl’s here today. It is only when he buys knives that he comes to visit you, so that knife must be his.
  938. >Now that you think about it, you did not hear him approach, and he must have walked through your lawn to go around the house, so he must have seen…
  939. “No chan-ge, still m-munster…”
  940. >You smite the ingot, hard.
  941. >After a little silence, he replies. “Don’t say that. You’re not a monster, you’re human.”
  942. “What’s t’difference?”
  943. >“That's…” visibly uncomfortable, he rubs his neck and looks away.
  944. “Thoughtszo.”
  945. >You smite the ingot.
  946. >
  947. >This isn't the first time you have killed, and you will kill again, so what if the judge says you’re not criminally responsible, or even innocent.
  948. >So what if the psychologists or psychiatrist say something about criminal liability… You kill, cause pain around you, to everyone that knows you. So why is he friend with a monster?
  949. >Slowly, you move your head and look at him.
  950. “Why freend with munster like me?”
  951. >He sighs and crosses his arms, pinching his glabella. “Why did you… Let Crazy Mouse out this time?”
  952. >And there comes the question that breaks the dam holding your tears.
  953. >You fucking Munster.
  954. >
  955. >Noting you aren’t answering, he talks, “You did it to protect yourself again?”
  956. >You shake your head. Shouldn’t have.
  957. >Pain.
  958. >Since your vision is blurred by tears, you aren’t sure if he tilted his head or not.
  959. >“No?”
  960. “Proteke-ted… *sniff* sommbudy…” you say as you wipe your eye with your unsoiled sleeve.
  961. >“Whom?”
  962. “Herm… Puny.”
  963. >A silence settles in, so you break it by smiting your ingot.
  964. >“You said somebody, but then you said Pony… was it like, cartoony Pony, Pony?”
  965. >“Mhm,” you hum approvingly, then you turn your gaze to the ingot in order to strike it some more.
  966. >It's nice to talk to him.
  967. >He understands.
  968. >Carl is also the only one allowed in your forge ‘cause you trust Carl, he’s a good friend, he wouldn’t come in here to bully you. Carl is a good guy.
  969. >Not like you.
  970. >“It’s okay buddy, you were a good Samaritan there, but now, you’ll have a Pony to take care of, think you can manage?”
  971. “Hun? buh-why?”
  972. >“Because…” Carl thinks for a while, “Because, she probably has nowhere else to go, and she’s wounded, tired, and yes, Anonymous, she was bullied, if you were wondering.”
  973. >Wait.
  974. “Carl?”
  975. >“Yes, Anon?”
  976. “How y’know Puny izshe, or wund-ded?”
  977. >Carl opens his mouth, and raises a smile in the corner of his mouth. “W-well, I watch the news, don’t you?”
  978. >Well, that does make sense, it’s probably in the news already.
  979. *Two face Anon strikes again, 3 murders, to save a horse!*
  980. >You smite the ingot, munster.
  981. >“Hey, you’re her hero, don’t you know?”
  982. >You slooooowly lift your head to look at him, and swipe the memories flowing down your cheek.
  983. >“Yeah, you just saved a damsel in distress, you’re her hero now!”
  984. “Nan Carl, killed human t’save Puny. A'm t'bad guy.”
  985. >Not wanting him to cheer you up, you hand him over the knife and some mineral oil. He knows how to apply it and all, so he’ll be on his way now. He won’t cheer you up.
  986. >He inspects it closely as if he knew how to appraise it, before smiling, “Fine work as always, buddy.”
  987. “Ye. Good t’killin’ pee-pole, good t’makin’ stoff t’kill pee-pole.”
  988. >Heh.
  989. >You smite the ingot, hard.
  990. >
  991. >“Anon, you know I’m your friend, right?”
  992. >Barely nodding, you smite the ingot.
  993. >“And friends do not lie to each other’s, right?”
  994. “Ye?”
  995. >“Well, I’m going to tell you something, Anon. The men you have killed deserved to die.”
  996. >What?
  997. >He seems dead serious about it too.
  998. >“Some humans do deserve to die; now killing is never a good thing, but sometimes, it’s worse to let someone live, that why the government is allowed to do it. Don’t worry about it,” he smiles and puts his hand on your right shoulder, “I’ll deal with the cops and all the paperwork, but you’ll have to go in court when they’ll come for you, okay?”
  999. >You look down with a pain in the chest, “Tan-k-s, Carl, you good frend-Oh right, ‘bout ta-kses…”
  1000. >He raises his right brow, “That was last month, I did them for you, is there something wrong?”
  1001. “Oh, srry. Fo’got.”
  1002. >You smite the ingot.
  1003. >”Aw c’mon buddy!” He says with a wide smile.
  1004. “C’mun wat?”
  1005. >”C’mon, smile!”
  1006. “C’mon, sm-ile?”
  1007. >”Yeah, c’mon and smile!” he repeats before pointing his own smile.
  1008. >You do not want to c’mon and smile, but you do not want to hurt Carl, so you lift your cheek with your fingers, creating an obviously fake smile that is lacking a lot of front teeth.
  1009. >”Now that’s better.”
  1010. >Smiling, he takes out a check and hands it over to you. You take it and wave each other’s goodbye.
  1011. >You inspect the paper.
  1012. >Is there an extra zero on it? That's weird.
  1013. >Hehehe, Carl doesn’t know how to count.
  1014. >Wait, he does your taxes.
  1015. >Now that’s worrying.
  1016. >
  1017. >You yawn and look at the clock in your forge.
  1018. >6 Am.
  1019. >Yeah, it is late. You are hungry and sleepy. Maybe smiting all day wasn't necessary but you needed to clear your head.
  1020. >Badly.
  1021. >In fact, it is the first time your smiting ingots turned that much purple and that green.
  1022. >It always clears your head when you smite them. And seeing Carl too, that makes you real happy. It’s as if you’re floating on a cloud right now. Everything doesn’t look so dark anymore, it’s really, like, really nice.
  1023. >Something's wrong.
  1024. >Like always, something's going to come and pop your balloon.
  1025. >Bah, whatever.
  1026. >
  1027. >Heh, heheheh.
  1028. >Maybe you should have waited for the smiting ingot to be ready before smiting the table with your forehead.
  1029. >Dumb Anon. Well, at least, it makes the skull thicker, easier to bear the blows, so that’s nice.
  1030. >
  1031. >After having put your fire out, the ingots on the cold stone floor, your tongs on the rack, and replacing everything on the workshop, you look at your Mother’s blade.
  1032. >Another terrible headache assaults you but you do not care.
  1033. >You’re tired of feeling lonely, and when you look at it, you feel less lonely.
  1034. >Is it because you can feel Crazy Mouse rampaging in your head, or because the blade reminds you of Mother, but you do feel less lonely when you look at it.
  1035. >This is also the most precious blade you have. It has a deep blue colour, almost black, or is it so black that it looks like it’s blue?
  1036. >Meh.
  1037. >Yawning once more, you leave the forge and head home. Once inside, you realize that the Unicorn is still sitting in front of the door.
  1038. >Surely, she didn’t wait all that time.
  1039. >Right?
  1040. >Wait, now that you see her back for the first time, there seems to be like some kind of rubber on her tail, like, at the base of it.
  1041. >That’s weird.
  1042. >Why would she want to tie her tail into a ponytail? IT IS a Pony tail.
  1043. >Girls are complex. And right now, you really don’t have the head to focus on things that are hard to understand.
  1044. >You’re hungry, pudding is simple, pudding understands you.
  1045. >You close the door. She squeaks and turns her head around to face you. Confused, she inspects her surroundings.
  1046. >Was she sleeping?
  1047. >Nervous, her attempt at a smile turns into a wavy lips rictus, “B-B-Boujour!”
  1048. >Bewildered, you frown and pull your head back, which sends jolting pain down your whole body.
  1049. >Reflexively, you close your eyes and clenches your hands.
  1050. >Maybe tilting your head a bit would help?
  1051. >As soon as you rotate your head sideways your neck produces several loud cracks.
  1052. >That… didn't help.
  1053. >Sighing, you open your eyes and massage your sore neck.
  1054. >Obviously she is looking at you…
  1055. >A sigh comes out of your mouth.
  1056. >Her hero, heh?
  1057. >Don't think so.
  1058. >She looks at you the way someone looks at the guy pointing a gun at them in the middle of a Russian roulette game.
  1059. >Munster.
  1060. >
  1061. >Ignoring her stifling and jerky breathing, you move toward the kitchen and open the fridge,
  1062. >There are so many puddings.
  1063. >And one bag of milk.
  1064. >You take one cup of pudding, pull the lid off and sit on a chair. Arming yourself with a spoon from your pile, you dig in.
  1065. >Hmmmm… Pudding. You love pudding. So sweet and not hard for your teeth. Although cold at times.
  1066. >But you don't like the fruity topping.
  1067. >Maybe you should brush them more often, but that’s boring, and the mint aftertastes is yucky.
  1068. >A pudding flavoured toothpaste though, hmm…
  1069. >Another spoonful of pudding enters your mouth, and you savour the entirety of it with delight.
  1070. >Eating pudding is near as fun as smithing.
  1071. >If only you could smith pudding…
  1072. >You’d be a puddingsmith. You don’t really know how, but you’d be one, for sure.
  1073. >
  1074. >Movement in front of you catches your attention, and you stop scraping the plastic container.
  1075. >It was just her who had decided to untwist her neck. She is now looking at the front door again.
  1076. >Right, you have a Pony to take care of now, that’s what Carl said.
  1077. >So, hum, how do you take care of them exactly?
  1078. >Do Ponies eat? Would make sense at least. Well, you only have milk and Irish Charms in the fridge. Oh, and pudding. Do Ponies even love pudding?
  1079. >Hope not, it's yours.
  1080. >Should ask though.
  1081. >Well you can’t talk right now, your mouth is full of it.
  1082. >How can you get her attention if you can’t speak?
  1083. >Wondering, you take a look at your kitchen and notice a box of tissues in your reach.
  1084. >Oh yeah, that would work.
  1085. >You take it and throw it at the back of her head, it lands directly on target.
  1086. >She squeals and jumps, giving you time to swallow and a headache.
  1087. “Hey, d’you like pudding?”
  1088. >Confused, her ears turned backward, she turns her head while rubbing the back of it. “Huh, I, hum, y-yes?”
  1089. She doesn't even sound sure herself, “Good.”
  1090. >Ponies do love pudding, it's nice, but the idea of sharing is… meh.
  1091. >Taking another spoonful of pudding, you think, and it hurts.
  1092. >Tomorrow you have nothing to do. Should talk with her.
  1093. >Hmm.
  1094. >It feels like you are forgetting something… You always do when puddings are involved.
  1095. >Maybe it’s on the to-do list.
  1096. >You take a look at the fridge’s door.
  1097. >The door is not there. Instead, you see all your pudding and a bag of milk.
  1098. >Oh right, forgot to close the door. Silly Anon.
  1099. >You close the door, turn around and eat some more pudding.
  1100. >Wait, you closed the door for a reason. Not just because it was open. Right, you wanted to look at the to-do list.
  1101. >You turn around and look.
  1102. *To-Do list*
  1103. Buy metal.
  1104. Buy pudding.
  1105. Call the tax guy.
  1106. Buy new apron.
  1107. >
  1108. >Oh right, the tax guy… Carl. Takes care of your taxes for you, for a price, but he’s a good guy­. Oh, right, you need to strike through the tax guy too.
  1109. >But you'd need a pen for that.
  1110. >Where would you- ah, there’s one on the counter.
  1111. >Stretching, you wiggle your arm around to get the few millimetres missing and manage to slap it toward you. Now that it is in your possession, you strikethrough and drop it on the table.
  1112. >She swallows and asks with a quiet and uncertain voice, “Master… C-can I move now?”
  1113. >Oh yeah, you have a new pet.
  1114. >You will need to take care of her… That involves feeding her, right?
  1115. >Do Pony like pudding?
  1116. >You think they do, not sure why though.
  1117. >Mother always said that you had to share. So you’re going to share your pudding, but you want your pudding for you alone.
  1118. >You have to work to buy pudding, but the Pony didn’t and yet you have to share. She even made you shoot people.
  1119. >So unfair.
  1120. >Well, no, what would be really unfair would be to let her starve.
  1121. >It's so painful to starve, she doesn't deserve that.
  1122. >
  1123. You speak with a hoarse voice, “Yeah. Want some pudding?”
  1124. >She tries to lift herself. However, she shrieks in pain and stays down.
  1125. “Hmm.”
  1126. >Seems she’s sore from staying in the same position for so long. Gonna need to lift her up. Big animals are heavy, but you’re strong, and you’re big too.
  1127. >You get up and walk toward her; she quivers in fear and looks at you with panic in her eyes.
  1128. >“S-Sorry Master, I-I didn't mean to-”
  1129. >You crouch, holding your back straight, put your hands under her butt, swipe your arm forward so she leans on you; finally, you push yourself up, holding her against your abdomen.
  1130. >The extra pressure made your spine and neck crack several loud times.
  1131. >Somehow, that alleviated the pain.
  1132. >Niiiiice.
  1133. >You are now bent backward, holding a Pony in your arms.
  1134. “Puny talk too much… Eat pudding, better,” you grunt between your teeth.
  1135. >
  1136. >Pets usually do not talk, so it is nice when she calls you master. It makes you feel, you do not know, acknowledged, important?
  1137. >Anyway.
  1138. >Since she is shaking and slipping down, you bend your knees a bit and hop a little, sending her in the air long enough for you to grab her by her cannons.
  1139. >She eeps, sharply, in response.
  1140. >Your poor head.
  1141. >
  1142. >Now that her lower body is firmly pressed and secured against your upper body, and that you have a proper grip, you walk toward the chair.
  1143. >To make sure she would not fall while you move, she grabs you by your neck, making it crack some more.
  1144. >Oh, that felt sooo good. Must have replaced some vertebrae or something. It’s also nice she stopped shaking too.
  1145. >It's less awkward to carry her.
  1146. >The chair creaks as soon as you overload it with your combined weight.
  1147. >Shit.
  1148. >You lean back a bit, stretch your arm and grab another chair, pull it on your right and sway to the left before pushing yourself up with your left leg, lifting yourself up just enough to land on both chairs.
  1149. >They do not creak this time.
  1150. >Good.
  1151. >
  1152. >All that workout has left you breathing hard, especially since her weight prevents your lungs from opening fully. Nevertheless, you do not mind; her hair smells of strawberry pie.
  1153. >Since she can’t use spoons, you will have to feed her pudding.
  1154. >However, she is still holding your nape; her horn threatens to impale your eyes.
  1155. “Let go.”
  1156. >“Oh, hum, sure, pardon me.”
  1157. >She lets go, and your neck cracks again as you pull your head back.
  1158. >It shouldn't crack that often…
  1159. >
  1160. >You turn her sideways on your lap and scoop some pudding, then you drag the spoon to her face, which shifts from fear to questioning.
  1161. >In fact, her breathing becomes jerky again, she’s also trembling.
  1162. >Is she cold?
  1163. You speak with your sore voice, “’Re you cold?”
  1164. >“Hun? N-no no, I’m-I’m fine, really.”
  1165. “Then why you shakin’?”
  1166. >She must be cold. You’ll warm her by holding her tighter with your other arm.
  1167. >Surprisingly though, once she's pulled closer, she shakes more, not less.
  1168. >Complex Pony.
  1169. >Food makes fat. Fat keeps warm. If she wants to be warm, she has to eat, it’s simple.
  1170. >You move the spoon closer to her mouth.
  1171. “Open.”
  1172. >She opens her mouth, trembling, looking at you and not the spoon.
  1173. >Weird.
  1174. >You put the spoon in her mouth, she purses her lips around it, and you pull it out. After a few seconds, she eats the pudding, closes her eyes and cry.
  1175. >For God’s sake, you’re so confused it’s annoying you. Does she really like pudding? Or what does she likes in that pudding?
  1176. With a grunt, you ask. “You like?”
  1177. >She nods.
  1178. >What exactly did she like… For example, you like vanilla, not the fruity topping.
  1179. >Maybe she cried because your voice was too loud? Yeah, you shouldn’t be loud, your throat hurts, so you’ll whisper in her ear this time.
  1180. “What, you like?”
  1181. >She’s not quivering anymore, she’s vibrating.
  1182. >“Fruits,” she chirps, reflexively putting a hoof on your chest to push you away.
  1183. >Yay! You can give her the fruity toppings.
  1184. >Wait… There is no need to share pudding, there are lots of them inside the fridge!
  1185. >Anon, you’re a genius!
  1186. >You open the fridge, take out another pudding, close the door and open the pudding.
  1187. >Using your spoon, you put your fruity topping in hers and mix it all.
  1188. >Otherwise, she will only have fruity topping, then she will only have pudding left.
  1189. >Wisdom from experience, hehe.
  1190. >Right, Mother also said that guests prefer to have their own spoon.
  1191. >Never understood why.
  1192. >Stretching your arm, you pull and take a spoon out of your spoon drawer.
  1193. >This time, when you scoop some pudding and approach her, she eyes it, instead of you.
  1194. >She even shakes less, that's good.
  1195. >Despite her being really heavy on your laps--your toes are even starting to tingle-- you're having so much fun you don’t bother.
  1196. >You'll enjoy the balloon while it lasts.
  1197. >
  1198. >Like a big girl, she purses her lips around the spoon all by her herself.
  1199. >There is bliss on her face, as she flips and warms the sweet in her mouth.
  1200. >It is a beautiful sight.
  1201. >As soon as she swallows it, she looks down and swishes her tail against your leg, “M-Master, is the pudding a, a reward?”
  1202. “Yes.”
  1203. >The pudding is indeed a reward. You like to reward yourself with pudding, you smith and you give yourself objectives, if you can smith a blade in less than four hours, you get two puddings instead of one. You made a blade in less than two hours today, which means…
  1204. >That the pudding has been doubled! That’s quick math.
  1205. >Doesn't take elementary school diploma for that.
  1206. >
  1207. >After the third scoop, she whispers, closing her eyes with bliss, “When was the last time I had sweets…”
  1208. >Oh.
  1209. >Now you understand a little bit better. If you were to spend so much time without pudding that you would forget what they tasted like, you too would be crying.
  1210. >If pudding brings her tears of joy, then the least you can do is give her some more.
  1211. >
  1212. >Every time there is a new spoonful of pudding in front of her, she sniffs it, which crumples her nose. She pricks her ears, which is cute, and she melts as she lets the dessert melt in her mouth.
  1213. >Every now and then, her tail even brushes against your leg.
  1214. >What a cute pet, there is so much light in her eyes.
  1215. >Even you never had such bright, happy eyes while eating pudding.
  1216. >Ponies must reaaaaaally like them.
  1217. >Wait a minute.
  1218. >You took a pudding out of your fridge so you would not have to share your pudding. But ultimately, it is still your pudding that is being shared.
  1219. >Dummy.
  1220. >
  1221. >She turns her gaze toward you.
  1222. >Now that's a strange face.
  1223. >You take another spoonful of pudding in your mouth, and she eyes it… before licking her lips and looking at you again.
  1224. >Her eyes narrow and darts away, she jerks her head as to not look at you, her breathing accelerates, she trembles.
  1225. Dread.
  1226. >Oh.
  1227. >Oh, right.
  1228. >You are a beast, a human, her master. 
  1229. >A munster.
  1230. >Not her hero…
  1231. >Despondent, you lower your gaze and move your hand where you had left her spoon.
  1232. >Something falls on your hand.
  1233. >Surprised, you jerk it back and notice that it was the spoon.
  1234. >Her spoon.
  1235. >What, why, what the hell's going on!
  1236. >AHHH fuck it!
  1237. >In one swift motion, you grab the spoon and throw it as hard as you can toward the door.
  1238. >It flies like a knife, hits the wood and remains stuck for a few seconds before falling down on the signs.
  1239. >Bullshit's happening all over today, don't have time for that.
  1240. >After taking a big breath, you realize that she's staying still and staring at the ground in front of her.
  1241. >Great, fucking hell, you really can't do anything right, do you?!
  1242. > Just apologize.
  1243. “S'rry.”
  1244. >Her right ear turns toward your voice, and she nods, acknowledging the word.
  1245. >Nothing more.
  1246. >Yeah, anger's going to get you nowhere.
  1247. >Nowhere good at least.
  1248. >With a sigh, you stretch again to take another spoon.
  1249. >It doesn't surprise you that she carefully watches your every move.
  1250. >Pull the drawer.
  1251. >Push your arm and rummage, take a spoon out.
  1252. >And then push the drawer with the spoon.
  1253. >Pull your arm back, scrap some of her pudding and bring the spoon to her mouth.
  1254. >She opens her mouth to take the spoon in, purses her lips, you pull the spoon out, it comes clean.
  1255. >She swallows.
  1256. >And you repeat.
  1257. >Nope, the magic's gone, but, hey, as long as you do not have to think, you do not mind.
  1258. >
  1259. >A moment has passed and before you realize it, her cup's empty.
  1260. >However, she appears to have calmed down.
  1261. >She is now wary of you, instead of terrified, an improvement to say the least.
  1262. >Even if it is merely pretending from both sides.
  1263. >Yet, you cannot help but notice that she eyes her cup every now and then.
  1264. >She also eyes you when she thinks she's not in your field of view.
  1265. >Seems like something is bothering her.
  1266. >With a silent sigh, she lowers her ears, eyes and head.
  1267. >Hmm.
  1268. >Nothing much has changed, except her pudding cup is now empty.
  1269. >Hmm
  1270. >Does she wants pudding?
  1271. “Want more?”
  1272. >Her right ear pricks toward you and her head follow shortly after.
  1273. “Heu, heu, w-w-well I, I…” Her eyes move without focusing on anything, she taps her forehooves together repeatedly, timidly, “I wouldn’t dare to ask for more than what you are willing to give me, sir.”
  1274. >She’s thinking too hard. Not good.
  1275. “B’rries or lem-mon?”
  1276. >Please say berries please say berries please say berries please say berries please-
  1277. >She pulls her head between her shoulders and squeaks, “B-Berries!”
  1278. >YAY! You won’t have to share your lemon puddings.
  1279. >You turn around, as much as you can, open the fridge and try to reach the berries cups, but they're just out of your reach.
  1280. >Curses.
  1281. >Taking her spoon, you awkwardly tap the top of the cup toward you; it falls.
  1282. >You put the spoon down, stretch again, grab the cup, turn around, put it on the table, turn around again to close the door--should have done that first-- finally, you open the pudding.
  1283. >Her tail swishes.
  1284. >Before you dive her spoon in tough, a wild idea appears in your mind.
  1285. >Hehe.
  1286. >You put HER spoon in her cup, move it toward her mouth and continue toward yours.
  1287. >Just as you expected it, she looks at you, mouth and eyes open, confused.
  1288. >You laugh, she doesn’t.
  1289. >You roll your eyes and put the spoon back in front of her mouth.
  1290. >She frowns just a tad, and her eyes dart all over you as if she was trying to analyze you or something.
  1291. >Raising your right brow, you flick your chin toward the spoon.
  1292. >As if remembering her fear, she opens her mouth; you put the spoon in, she closes her mouth and radiates happiness.
  1293. >She has no sense of humour, but, she hasn't tried to lie or hurt you.
  1294. >It's nice.
  1295. >
  1296. >You would spend the rest of the morning eating and giving her pudding, because you had to share, after all. It is the right thing to do.
  1297. >It was a great morning. You have smitten the bad thoughts away, you have eaten lemon pudding--you really like lemons--Carl paid you a lot, the cops didn’t come to question you and you have spoon-fed your new pet; she was really happy about it, well not at first, but she ended up liking it.
  1298. >It was, really, a great morning.
  1299. >
  1300. >
  1301. >She yawns, exposing her teeth. Most are missing, just like you.
  1302. >Just like you…
  1303. >Intrigued, you inspect her more closely.
  1304. >She has nice purple hair, it's called a mane, right?
  1305. >It looks like it was cut with glass or very, very dull scissors.
  1306. >She notices your stare, and you think that when she saw your face, she turned her ears back, but you’re not really sure since your vision is blurred for some reason.
  1307. >You sniffle, it smells of sweat, grime, strawberry pie, and grass a bit, but that’s probably her mouth.
  1308. >There’s still something else in the air, but you can’t quite put your finger on what, you’ve smelled it before, that's for sure.
  1309. >That’s bad news.
  1310. >Now, you will have… to think.
  1311. >Frowning, you lower your gaze and mull.
  1312. >
  1313. >It just doesn’t make sense, she acts all high-lady ladylike. The kind of ladies that always have weird and expensive and-and hard to maintain haircuts. They always smell of nice and pricey perfume, they always take great care of their bodies, but mostly, they’re always afraid of you. The last part’s self-explanetary though.
  1314. >Erhm, Exploratory…? Explainable…?
  1315. >It makes sense she’s afraid of you.
  1316. >But sweat, grime and real bad haircut just don’t go with her high lady attitude, yet it doesn’t seem hypocritical.
  1317. >Why is she withered like that? Wait, that’s right. She was chased… by humans.
  1318. >Yeah, that’s it.
  1319. >They withered this flower. They forced her to be unladylike. It’s always humans that sour the nice things in life.
  1320. >Always.
  1321. >“M… Master?”
  1322. >Ah, yeah. The smell that’s been eluding your nose, you remember what it is now.
  1323. >Industrial soap.
  1324. >Not the commercial one, no. The one they use to clean motor oil or fat or something, the harsh stuff that hurts the skin, bad.
  1325. >It’s so horrible for the skin, so terrible, so munstrous.
  1326. >Only humans would force people to wash with that.
  1327. >She, however, looks like she’s searching for the right words to say, or how to say them, you’re not really sure, your vision’s blurred.
  1328. >Well, you know how hard it is to say words sometimes, you can wait.
  1329. >Hmm, even then, the more you learn about her, the more you think she’s just like you.
  1330. >Wait, she’s not human, she’s a small big pet, and she’s a girl.
  1331. >Maybe you’re not all that similar after all.
  1332. >
  1333. >She puts her right hoof on your left shoulder and says, with a worried tone, “Master?”
  1334. “Hm?”
  1335. >“May I know the wh-If, if, you want to tell m- talk about it, of course, hum, the whys and wherefores of your tears?”
  1336. >Oh, tears, that would explain the blurred vision and the sniffling.
  1337. >Well, you don’t really know what whys and where 4s mean, but you know why you have tears, the answer’s obvious.
  1338. Looking at the spoons and empty cups, you wipe your eye with your sleeve and mumble your answer, “‘Cause humans are munsters.”
  1339. >She doesn't respond.
  1340. >And by their standards, YOU’RE the monster! Gang of hypocrites.
  1341. >You grab an empty cup and scrub the rest of the vanilla inside, absentmindedly.
  1342. >Well, more so than usual.
  1343. >
  1344. >You notice that she follows your hands, weird.
  1345. >That’s not one of her cups.
  1346. >You ain’t scrubbing for her, you’re scrubbing for Anon, and that’s you.
  1347. >She must be looking at your finger stumps or the scars on your hands. It always scares the girls and disgusts men.
  1348. >Meh.
  1349. >You stated that you’re a monster. Since she doesn’t know you, she’s probably looking for proofs.
  1350. >Well, does she knows you?
  1351. >Would be nice if she didn’t try to lie to you, like everyone else. But everyone else has reasons to lie to you, if she doesn’t know you, she shouldn’t have reasons to lie to you, right?
  1352. >Sounds logically sound.
  1353. “Know who I am?”
  1354. >Surprised by the question, she turns her ears back, “Hum…”
  1355. “So no, that’s, that’s nice.”
  1356. >If she knew, she would have lied, or she would have said yes; wouldn’t have hesitated.
  1357. >Hooray, someone else that’s going to give you a chance until they learn who you really are.
  1358. >Then, she’ll try to stab you in the back.
  1359. >Telling her that you’re a monster from the get-go was the right thing to do. She won’t feel betrayed once she learns it.
  1360. >Wait, what? Just because she doesn’t know you, she’ll become your friend? Yeah right, as if.
  1361. >Good Job, Anonymous. You both got your hopes high and crushed them in less than 30 seconds.
  1362. >Good job you imbecile.
  1363. >
  1364. >She tilts her head down, looks at her bottom right corner and put her right forehoof under her chin, “W-Well, if I am to be honest with you, the only things I do know about you are… What the men that were chasing me said about you, hum, before…”
  1365. >Oh, great.
  1366. >Over time, you learned some trick to know whether someone’s lying or not.
  1367. >And just now, she triggered many of your lie detection flags.
  1368. >Looking away in that specific direction, protecting her throat and putting the hoof near her chin, self-soothing gestures; giving too many unnecessary details, repeating your words, too much delay between her cut sentences. Plus, she’s trying to end your investigation by making you feel bad about what you did… That’s changing the subject. Finally, claiming honesty.
  1369. >Especially that one. Why would someone honest state that they’re honest, to begin with?
  1370. >Because they’re not honest, that’s why.
  1371. >Still not enough to be really sure she’s lying though.
  1372. >Should stay quiet, people talk more when the one they’re talking to stays silent and stare.
  1373. >Especially liars.
  1374. “…”
  1375. >She looks at you, before lowering her gaze and finally looking away, in complete silence. When she breaks it, however, she does so hastily, “M-Maybe I should not have brought the topic of killing people on the table…”
  1376. >Her breathing’s different now, more shallow; still, no contractions when she talks.
  1377. >Even taking into consideration you have dried blood all over your face, despite having washed it once, and that she saw you kill three people, you managed to break the ice with the pudding.
  1378. >Logically, she shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Besides, she didn’t get upset. She got uncomfortable.
  1379. >Speaking of tables, it’s funny she said brought the topic on the table, after she looked down, at the table.
  1380. >The now familiar headache starts to set in, but you don’t show it, you just grit your teeth.
  1381. >Carl taught you how to use a computer, and the first thing you did was searching for ways to spot lies. It greatly helped you to detect them.
  1382. >It also showed you which were your real friends. Only Carl passed the tests.
  1383. >Realizing all your friends were liars hurt, it hurt real bad. ‘Specially when you confronted them and they just laughed in your face, saying things like ‘Was about goddamn time you figured it out, you moron.’
  1384. >It hurt so bad…
  1385. >Yet, thanks to that, you learned, a lot, the hard way, but you learned a lot. You ain’t giving your trust to anyone anymore, ‘cause you trusted people before, and that’s when they hurt you the worst.
  1386. >Fucking. Never. Again.
  1387. >Even if she’s your new small big pet.
  1388. >
  1389. “Don’t lie.”
  1390. >She takes a fraction of second to stiffen and to stop her breath. Only then does she turn her head toward you, splattered with fake confusion, “I-”
  1391. “A’m not gonna lie, would appre'iate if you don’t. Don’t care ‘bout what you tryin’ t'hide, or why. Just don’t lie, it’s dumb and bad.”
  1392. >“I, hum…”
  1393. >Pissed off that she still tries to lie, you poke her barrel twice before poking your chest, “Ah gave you puddin’! Ah protected you from bullies! Yet, Ah don’t d’serve truth…”
  1394. >Slumping down your shoulders, looking down at your fat belly, limply shaking your head, you sigh.
  1395. >It really was a great morning.
  1396. >You’re just happy it lasted THAT long. Usually, something goes awry much sooner.
  1397. >But, heh, she's not arguing back, seems like she was indeed lying.
  1398. >Yay, you were right…
  1399. >
  1400. “Shoul’nt even bother me at this point,” you state, dismissively, “still does though.”
  1401. >She doesn't say anything.
  1402. >Whether it's because she has nothing to say or because she prefers to stay silent, it proves that you were right, She lied to you.
  1403. >It makes you want to bash her muzzle in.
  1404. >People so hypocritical and selfish that they can’t realize that lying is bad unless you tell them, then, they have a face of enlightenment, as if a great mystery of the universe just fell on their laps.
  1405. >You shouldn’t lie. Then they’re all NOOO, REALLY? God, if only I had known it was bad and counterproductive!
  1406. >Fucking hypocrites.
  1407. >Nevertheless, she probably doesn’t even give a shit about you to start with, like everyone else. So why would she be bothered to say the truth? Why would she care about your feelings.
  1408. You titter, “Heh, who car ‘bout munster’s feeling ‘nyways.”
  1409. >You, that’s who. And-and Carl, of course. That’s two against… what, 8 billion now? Ain’t even a minority, it’s just aberrant data.
  1410. > You should take yourself out of the equation.
  1411. >Yeah, already got the noose in your workshop. Just do it already. Wouldn’t have to deal with hypocrites, and liars, and headaches, and bullies.
  1412. >Why haven’t you tried something yet? Like, everyone would be so much happier if you’d just drop dead and be forgotten.
  1413. >You first.
  1414. >  
  1415. >Like a sad puppy, she puts her forelegs between her rear legs, lowers her head and looks down, “Am I going to be…”
  1416. >Going to be what?
  1417. >“P-P-Punished?” she asks, wincing, keeping her head low, and looking at you with flopped down ears.
  1418. >Silly Pony. You’d be in jail if you punished everyone who has lied to you. And why should she be punished for something everyone else does, to begin with?
  1419. >Wanting to hurt you is common sense.
  1420. >You’d also be a bully by punishing her for doing something that you do not like.
  1421. >That would be wrong.
  1422. >Would be nice to have that, though, common sense.
  1423. >Then you’d understand, and once you understood, you’d also be able to hate yourself… like everyone else.
  1424. >Maybe then, you’d have the right motivation to just off yourself.
  1425. >
  1426. >You shrug, licking the modicum of vanilla gathered on your spoon, “Nan, just tired o’ ‘pocrites and li-ars … It’d be nice to talk to honest pe-ple b’sides Carl.”
  1427. >She slightly raises her head, before nodding and looking down.
  1428. >Not sure why though. Probably ashamed of herself for having been caught lying.
  1429. >‘Cause that’s the thing. Liars don’t care if they lie, they just feel bad if they get caught.
  1430. >It’s, it's just common sense.
  1431. >
  1432. >“Hum… Master?” she asks with a sidelong glance.
  1433. “Hm?”
  1434. >Noticing your interest, she perks up and faces, but do not look at you, “Could I know more about Carl?”
  1435. >You shrug, why not?
  1436. “He’s a good guy.”
  1437. >She remains still, looking in front of her.
  1438. >Weird.
  1439. >Wait, she wants to know more about him?
  1440. >W-Well, she’s a girl and all… and girls like Carls and all.
  1441. >Not Anons… not at all, it's common sense.
  1442. >Must be the beard.
  1443. >
  1444. “Does me taxes…”
  1445. >She blinks, twice, and jerks her head back, before smiling a nervous smile, “Oh… hum, I am afraid that I am not aware of what, hum, taxes are,” nervous chuckles, “I, I would like to know more about them, if you don't mind telling me, of course”
  1446. Smirking, you raise your brows and slowly shake your head, “Have no idea, just som'thing we gotta do. Lotsa numbers. Too complex for me.”
  1447. >“Well, I don’t mean to boast,” she puts her right hoof on her barrel, confidently, before boasting, “but I’m pretty good with numbers myself, maybe I could-”
  1448. You drily cut her with a firm, “No,” deflating her enthusiasm like a balloon.
  1449. >Hehe, balloons deflating.
  1450. >They’re funny ‘cause they make fart noises.
  1451. >
  1452. >Feeling awkward, she rubs her right leg and looks away, “Oh, I, I apologize for getting ahead of myself.”
  1453. >Lies, now synthetics sentences? All right.
  1454. “Meh, don’t be s’rry,” you shrug, “Carl’s real happy doing taxes. Maybe he just happy to get some muney. Still, Ah trust Carl. Never bullied me. He’s good guy.”
  1455. >She raises her posture and puts her right hoof on your right shoulder, “W-Well I would be really happy to do them for you too, plus, hum… I’ve also never bullied you.”
  1456. >Mentally, you sigh at her hypocrisy.
  1457. >She’s conspicuously trying to make you owe her something. Ain’t doing this out of generosity.
  1458. >Who knows, maybe you’ll give her more treats or allow her to be on the bed?
  1459. >You know that way of thinking all. too. well. And that makes you sick.
  1460. Thus, you frown and push the hoof away, gently though, “Didn’t murder humans ‘cause of Carl. Pony did enough for today. Plus, Carl already did taxes.”
  1461. >Her ears flop down and she looks down, again, “When you put it that way…”
  1462. >She’s getting on your nerves.
  1463. “Hypocrite.”
  1464. >She jerks her head toward you, visibly stung by the truth, “Pardon me?”
  1465. Also irritated, you poke her barrel, “You’re hypocrite Puny.”
  1466. >She makes offended lady noises, the high pitch “Ha” sounds that cuts in the middle, before closing the distance between your faces and poking your chest, “The nerves! You, Two-Face Anon, are calling me, Rarity, a hypocrite? After I earnestly --and most importantly-- generously offered YOU, MY, help?!”
  1467. >Aaaaaand the hypocrite’s out of the bag.
  1468. “Ts’what Ah said, you don’t even know who Ah am.”
  1469. > That's not even how being generous work.
  1470. >
  1471. >Unexpectedly, she pulls back and quivers on your leg, but you’re not even feeling it, besides, you don’t even care anymore, you just take another empty cup and scrub the vanilla.
  1472. >“Oh duty. P-P-P-Please Master, I, I didn't mean to, I don’t know what’s gotten into me, I, I…”
  1473. >What? Pets can be angry at their owners, sometimes they don’t want to let go of the ball, sometimes, especially with cats, they don’t like to be woken up.
  1474. “Not what I meant,” you sigh.
  1475. >Just who does she think she is anyway?
  1476. >“B-But, I-I raised my voice! I-I was disrespectful, I-I,” she winces and looks away, before gritting her teeth, “I deserve to be punished, Master.”
  1477. >Jesus, how hypocritical can one be?
  1478. > She thinks she’s the only one who’s been abused by humans? She thinks you don’t know what it is to see ALL humans as monsters that’ll try to strip you of your dignity? That’ll try to abuse you in every definition the word "abuse" can have? She thinks you don’t know that the first thing you wanna do to someone nice to you is milking him before he realizes who you are and start hating you like everyone else?
  1479. > Or worse, that they want to put their dirty hands in dirty places?
  1480. >No, calm down Crazy Mouse, don’t ruin the great morning you just had.
  1481. >You just have to show her why she should get off her high horse.
  1482. >Hehe, horse, Pony, high horse.
  1483. >Hehe.
  1484. >Made a pun.
  1485. >A smile appears on your face, which unsettles her, which also makes you self-conscious about it.
  1486. >Ah, forget it, your head hurts, you had a great morning and all, don't want to ruin it.
  1487. >You’ll explain later.
  1488. “Fo'get it,” you say as you look away, “B’sides, you just want me to owe you by doing nice things t'me, just, just stop, okay?”
  1489. >She nods and lets go of her breath.
  1490. >Despite her apparent reluctance of touching you, she leans against your chest, “Sorry.”
  1491. >Reflexively, you lift your arm in a desire to run your hand down her back, but you stop it in midair.
  1492. >She's just toying with your emotions, she doesn't want to lean on you, she doesn't want to be with you.
  1493. “Hypocrite.”
  1494. >She takes a deep breath, and cough at the stench, before trying again, and sighing.
  1495. >Not like it's her fault though.
  1496. >It's just so much safer to be what they want you to be, to be whatever is not you.
  1497. We know, we know…
  1498. >The fridge cooling system turns on, adding background noises to the silence of the industrial zone that 'Two-Face Anon' lives in, ending the conversation, and the morning, with a bittersweet pudding aftertaste.
  1499. >
  1500. >
  1501. >A wave of tiredness overwhelms you, and you yawn, wide, so wide that your jaw cracks on both sides
  1502. >Ouch.
  1503. >Nevertheless, you should both go to bed.
  1504. >You get up --you can’t feel your legs or toes-- put Rarity on the table, gently, because you don’t want her to sit on a cup, then you grab them and try to take a step toward the counter.
  1505. >Jello-knees-counter-arriving-fast.
  1506. >You put your hands forward and manage to grab the edge of the sink, halting your fall.
  1507. >You really can’t feel your legs.
  1508. >She was much heavier on your laps than you thought. Can’t say that to a lady though.
  1509. >Wait, wait a minute.
  1510. >If you’re holding your balance with your hands right now… where are the cups?
  1511. >You look down and find your answer.
  1512. >Sighing deeply, you crouch, pick them up, pull the recycling bin, put them in, but…
  1513. >Hehe, he, hehe.
  1514. >You cannot un-crouch. The legs say no.
  1515. >So the arms put the hands on the counter to lift the body.
  1516. >Okay the legs are tingling now. You’ll soon be able to bring her to the bedroom with you to sleep a bit.
  1517. >Well, if you can sleep with all that pudding you both ate. Sugar doesn’t help to sleep, at all.
  1518. >
  1519. >Positioning yourself in front of her, you extend your arms forward, indicating her to hop in. She doesn’t. Instead, she averts her eyes, pinches her lips and blushes, “W-Would you be kind enough to-”
  1520. >Pony talk too much.
  1521. “Upsy daisy?”
  1522. >“Heu…” surprised, she turns her head to face you, “Yes?”
  1523. >Lazy Pony.
  1524. >You put your arms under her… shoulders? And lift her up.
  1525. “No, Upsy Rarity, hehehe.”
  1526. >It takes a few seconds before she makes the connections, then she laughs, fakely, that lady-like 4 ohohohoh.
  1527. >Then she will say-
  1528. >“Good one…”
  1529. >Deadpan stare of judgment.
  1530. >“Sir…?”
  1531. “Drop the act, be real you, Rarity. Ah prefer silence over fake laughs, frowns over fake smiles.”
  1532. >She’ll probably go away sooner or later, but if you’re real lucky, you’ll be able to have real, honest, and warm interactions with her until then.
  1533. >You pull her closer and cradle her back in your big arms, resulting in her having her four hooves up in the air. Strangely enough, she puts her tail between her legs and holds it with her forelegs.
  1534. >Whatever makes her comfortable…
  1535. >She still looks at you like you’re some kind of divine messiah though.
  1536. >Must be the beard.
  1537. >Or the muscles.
  1538. >Makes you feel proud.
  1539. >
  1540. >You walk toward the bedroom, bending your knees inward a bit with each step. You don’t want them to bend the other way; would be, like, super awkward to faceplant on the floor with a lady in your arms.
  1541. >It would also REALLY hurt your forehead… Hehe, again.
  1542. >“W-Where are we going?”
  1543. “To bed.”
  1544. >She shivers.
  1545. >She is STILL cold? It must be the pudding, nevertheless, she’ll warm up under the blankets.
  1546. >“B-But you said I only had to do laundry and dishes, isn’t it right?”
  1547. >You’re not sure you follow, there’s no link between doing chores and sleeping. Except you prefer to sleep than to do chores…
  1548. >Wait, maybe Crazy Mouse said that. Wouldn’t be the first time someone tells you that you said something without you remembering.
  1549. >You look at her more closely: normal eyes, normal breathing and she doesn’t look away.
  1550. >Seems like he really told her that.
  1551. “Yes, still going to bed.”
  1552. >
  1553. >You open your bedroom door and enter. Inside: a king size bed with pretty heavy blankets, a very big wardrobe, a nightstand with a clock, no windows.
  1554. >Pretty cozy in your opinion.
  1555. >She gulps as she inspects the room, but most specifically, the bed. “W-What are we… going to do on the bed, exactly?”
  1556. >Gently, you put her on the bed with a ‘Pomf’.
  1557. >You really didn’t like the ‘Pomf’ and the question, but you don’t know why… Yeah, it was a dumb question, that’s why.
  1558. >You were both going to sleep.
  1559. >That’s what beds are for, sleeping.
  1560. >Silly Pony.
  1561. “Dumb question, Puny talk too much.”
  1562. >You strip down; sleeping naked is much better; you feel free, and your underwear doesn’t get stuck in your ass or irritate your groin.
  1563. >Once you’re in your Adam suit, you take your clothes and throw them on your pile of clothes.
  1564. >That makes it crumble, and you feel sad.
  1565. >It was pretty high…
  1566. >Meh, it’ll be bigger next time.
  1567. >You turn toward the bed; she's on her right side, her head raised to look at you, eyes wide open, jerky breathing.
  1568. >She’s petrified by fear.
  1569. >It nearly makes you feel ashamed of your scars. You had so many…
  1570. >If only you would have listened more, maybe you'd have less.
  1571. >No, wait a min. If you follow her gaze, she’s afraid of you, yes, but she’s looking at…
  1572. >Nan, probably not. Must be your scars.
  1573. >Weiners aren’t scary.
  1574. >You’re big and ugly enough to be scary… Oh, maybe that’s why she’s scared.
  1575. >When you have clothes, she doesn’t have to look at ALL of you.
  1576. >Yeah, that makes sense, she now sees the munster for who he really is.
  1577. >B’sides, women don’t like big and scary things.
  1578. >
  1579. >Without blinking, she turns her gaze toward the bed and inspects it.
  1580. >Right, she’s a horse, so she doesn’t know how to use beds. Seems too smart of a pet to just tell her to sleep on the ground though. Plus, it ain't comfy.
  1581. >
  1582. >You lift the blankets and get under them, nicely covering your shoulders with them.
  1583. >They're special, heavy blankets, it's soothing to sleep under them, somehow.
  1584. >You get a whiff of the bedsheets smell, and you like how they smell just like you. It makes you feel… secure. Makes you feel like you own something.
  1585. >However, when you look at her, she’s even more confused than before. So much that you’re even confused yourself.
  1586. “Go under blankets.”
  1587. >Broken out her out of her trance by your voice, she sighs apparently dispirited about something, “Yes Master…”
  1588. >She lifts the blanket and moves beside you; she pulls the blanket over her shoulders with her mouth, before pulling her tongue out.
  1589. >Of course sheets don’t taste good, why didn’t she pull with… Oh.
  1590. >Right, she has hooves.
  1591. >
  1592. >Hesitantly, she rolls on your side and closes her eyes. You close yours. Good, you can now both sleep-
  1593. >She takes your arm with her hooves and uses it as a body pillow.
  1594. >Ah?
  1595. >It’s not so bad, except your hand touches something; feels like a wet slit. You have absolutely no idea what it is, and you can feel two… weird mounds on your wrist, but it’s her crotch.
  1596. >Crotchboobs and wet slit?
  1597. >Super awkward.
  1598. >W-W-W-W-W-Wait a min! Is she… rubbing her crotch against you like a male dog?!
  1599. >“M-Master… Do you want me to-”
  1600. >OH HELL NO! BAD PET!
  1601. >You swiftly jerk your head toward her, giving her a stern look,
  1602. “Puny, beds‘re there for sleeps… Comfier than sofas or floors, if Puny wants floor, Ah don’t care, Ah wanna sleep.”
  1603. >She blinks twice.
  1604. >No flags.
  1605. >Only stunned silence.
  1606. >
  1607. >Finally getting the hint, she pushes herself off your arm, “O-Oh, I thought that… M-my apologies, sir I didn’t mean to-”
  1608. >You turn your back to her, “Puny talks too much, sleep now,”
  1609. >The sensation of her slit lingers on your wrist… She was wet down there.
  1610. >Hmm, doesn’t smell like piss.
  1611. >And the boobs…
  1612. >Bleeeeh, super awkward.
  1613. >Oh right, you DO have a body pillow, and a pillow, but she has no pillow.
  1614. “Hey Puny, here, pillow,”
  1615. >You throw the body pillow over your shoulder; it lands on her with a ‘pomf’ and a little squeak.
  1616. >Must have been her, you don’t have squeaky pillows.
  1617. >“A pill-… Thank you, Ma-”
  1618. >You grunt.
  1619. >“Right, I talk too much… Hum, goodnight sir.”
  1620. >It’s morning, but whatev, you just want some shut-eye.
  1621. >
  1622. >
  1623. >There’s a mattress, there, in the middle of the very large room. So large in fact, you can hardly see the walls amidst the abyss; but what really disturbs you is the lack of the usual child, curled up, beaten and crying on the fabric. That’s not how the nightmare usually starts…
  1624. So, what did I missed?
  1625. “Haven’t even started yet… somehow. Got the milkshakes?”
  1626. >The void sighs, but the mouse size nail clipper replies.
  1627. I told you I was going to the cheese market to get a sandwich, anyway, we made a compromise, here’s your… milkshake.
  1628. >The dairy products levitate in front of you. A nice, warm and even chunky milkshake.
  1629. >It takes a lifetime to get used to sour things, but now it's comforting, because you expect things to be sour, and you're expectation is met.
  1630. >
  1631. >The nail clipper clips its nails, it must be annoyed by your silence. Hmmm, what could you talk about? Could always mention what’s going to happen next. It’s not spoilers when you’ve both seen it countless time already.
  1632. “Gonna get a conversation with mother, ‘bout something like, way in the past. She’ll turn into a black widow, and I’ll take the airplane to get away from her. However, it’s gonna be hijacked, so I’ll have to rewind the time and nearly miss the connecting flight. I’m going to be glad I saw the nymph with the black balloons though. She’s always gorgeous… Especially when she’ll eat sweets. It’s just sad that the black bat’ll fly and take my hands.”
  1633. That’s… not on the program, but anyway, next are the spider eggs hatching, right?”
  1634. “I’m not done… Like, those’re the usual things that happen, right?”
  1635. Well, yeah, I would know, I pre-bought the tickets.
  1636. “You should never pre-buy something… Hum, where was I?”
  1637. Something about the usual things. Except there are-
  1638. “Oh yeah. When I’ll rewind time, this time, spider Mother will bite me, she’ll be small too, about the size of my hand. She’ll come down the ceiling. Then, there’ll be that huge multicolour spider with purple hair that will, also, come down on me to chew her to death…”
  1639. Wow, why do they change the schedule like that? I bought something and I get something else… Pre-ordering sucks. Wait, you said a black bat flew and took your hands?
  1640. “Yeah, that’ll be shortly after that rainbow spider finishes chewing Mother.”
  1641. How huge the other spider’ll be?
  1642. “Hum, about horse size, I guess?”
  1643. >
  1644. >
  1645. >You open your eyes and gaze upon a very familiar ceiling.
  1646. >No, there’s something wrong, there’s something weird going on.
  1647. >Could it be that, that you feel well rested for once?
  1648. >Well, you also feel hungry, but that’s normal.
  1649. >Hmmm, maybe it’s going to be one of the good days.
  1650. >“No banana phone Pinky…”
  1651. >The fuck?
  1652. >Confused, you turn your head toward the feminine voice on your left.
  1653. >There’s… there's a mare, you think it’s called, in your bed.
  1654. >Hmm.
  1655. >At least it's not just a head on a pillow.
  1656. >But.
  1657. >What’s weirder to have in your bed? A girl or a cartoony Pony?
  1658. Hmm…
  1659. >Mehhhh, the girl wins by a small margin.
  1660. >Still don’t know why she’s there, you don’t even remember going to slee-OH YEAH, she’s your new pet.
  1661. >That’s right, you went to bed with her. Wait, she said something about a, a, Grrrr, what was it again… Oh yeah, a Bananaphone.
  1662. “A Bunan’phone?”
  1663. >“I’ll call my cat just fine without one, thank you very much.”
  1664. >Hun? That still doesn’t make sense, and it’s weird, she’s talking with her eyes closed… Like she’s sleeping.
  1665. >Could it be that she’s, she's sleep talking?
  1666. >Would be fun to wake her with a smack.
  1667. “…”
  1668. >Brain. Like, no… just no. You and you are supposed to help each other’s, you know?
  1669. >Actually, with what you did yesterday, it’s surprising you don’t have a headache or a spine that’s killing you.
  1670. >It’s very unsettling. Maybe that’s another reason you feel things are wrong.
  1671. >Yeah, why don’t you feel any pain? Are you dead or dreaming or something? You should pinch yourself to make sure.
  1672. >Or just bite your lower lip, that’s faster.
  1673. >OUCH!
  1674. >Well, now your lip hurts, but you know you’re alive and awake. Yet, it’s still weird. Very weird.
  1675. >Meh, probably just another answer-less question. Like why do we cook bacon and bake cookies, instead of cooking cookies and baking bacon?
  1676. >Those kinds of questions won’t be answered no matter how long you ponder about it. So it’s pointless to think about them.
  1677. >Hmmm, what do you want to do today? Do you want to work on the flail? Well, you could, unless you got an order from Crazy Mouse again.
  1678. >Still, it implies going out of the warm and comfy bed.
  1679. >Meeeeeeeeeeh, don’t wanna…
  1680. >It’s so comfy and cozy and shit in here. Well, there’s no shit, but, you know what you mean.
  1681. >It’s just that you’re poor, you can’t really laze around in your bed all day long. Gotta do something, or else, you won’t get the money for the puddings… and the mortgage, that too, but it ain’t first priority.
  1682. >If you’re hungry, you can’t forge, if you can’t forge, you can’t work, if you can’t work you… heu… right, you can’t pay the mortgage.
  1683. >So, you’ll have to get up.
  1684. > Yeah, something feels really odd.
  1685. >
  1686. >Your rub the lingering drowsiness off your face with your right hand.
  1687. >What time is it anyway… Bah, if you want to know, you’ll need to take a look at the clock on the nightstand, on the other side of the bed… her side.
  1688. >So you look.
  1689. >12:12.
  1690. >OH NO! THE NOON CAR-wait, it’s not Barnfield anymore, it’s the Murfss that starts at twelve o’ clock.
  1691. >Heh nearly stressed there. In any case, cartoons play for, like, twenty minutes… You got some time before the good cartoons start.
  1692. >However, there’s someone else in your bed. If you move too quickly, you’ll wake her.
  1693. >That wouldn’t be very nice.
  1694. >She seems so calm, so peaceful when she sleeps. Lifting and lowering the blankets with each of her slow and evenly spaced breath, warming your left shoulder by the same occasion.
  1695. >So serene, as if there was nothing that could trouble her; as if she wasn’t chased, as if… she had never met you, or Crazy Mouse, or humans.
  1696. >
  1697. >The more you look at her, the more it hurts.
  1698. >A part of you wanted her to be gone once you woke up… And Crazy will probably want to forget about her too, ‘cause It feels good in the chest, but not in the head, and like everytime that happens, emotions flow down your eye and your nose.
  1699. >
  1700. >You don’t want to get too attached to your new pet. Since she’ll leave you at one point, they all do.
  1701. >Except for Carl, he’s always there for you, but why?
  1702. >He must be, like, aberrant data, but she’s not, so you shouldn’t believe she’ll stay in touch with you, like him.
  1703. “…”
  1704. >Well, a high lady ladylike cartoony cartoon small big pet IS pretty aberrant.
  1705. >No-don’t-get-your-hopes-up! ‘Cause that means you’d be happy, and you don’t want to be happy, ‘cause when you are, and something wrong happens --something wrong always happen-- you feel even sadder than you were before. So don't be happy!
  1706. >It’s also much safer for her too. ‘Cause bullies always hurt or break what you like. If you don’t like her, she won’t be in danger ‘cause of you…
  1707. >Yeah, she has to go, it’s probably safer- wait.
  1708. >No, no, it won’t be. She also has bullies of her own. Who knows when they’ll catch up to her and be mean to her?
  1709. >Most likely, she absconded, to survive.
  1710. >Heh, it's nostalgic.
  1711. >
  1712. >Your right leg gets itchy. You scratch it with your big toenail and geez are your feet cold!
  1713. >It IS one cold noon. Just another reason as to why you should stay in bed.
  1714. >Heh, reminds you of that one day with the psy now that you think about it. You had your nice and thin lil’ cotton gloves, a cop told you that it was time for your appointment, so he brought you there and waited outside the office.
  1715. >Was shaking in his *new guy* boots. But it was nice, while you walked on the sidewalk, people didn’t try to hurt you. They weren’t as… as human as they are usually with you.
  1716. >It was. nice. Yeah, it was nice.
  1717. >It’s just sad they thought you were getting arrested and sent to jail or something. That made the cop proud, he even liked to poke you with the baton to make you walk faster…
  1718. >Aren’t they supposed to protect the citizen or something?
  1719. >Gang of hypocrites.
  1720. >Do they think Crazy Mouse won’t realize what they’re all trying to do? They put the new guy to deal with the monster, the most narcissistic spoonfed brat, probably hoping you’d traumatize him or something, for a good laugh, or even better, dispose of him.
  1721. >Let’s talk about him, actually! A brat that’s just petting his own inflated head, thinking he’s a big deal ‘caus he got the badge and the blue uniform with the big A+ and the diploma and shit.
  1722. >Crazy Mouse wanted to bite his face off, and you were beginning to agree with him, then you arrived in front of the office.
  1723. >He waited outside until you were done with your appointment.
  1724. >Was a new psy though, that wasn't good.
  1725. >After a while and some small talk, you still couldn’t figure out why Crazy Mouse hated him, but you also had a hunch he was very human.
  1726. >Then, he seemed annoyed at your answers, something your usual psy never was.
  1727. >He crossed his legs, steepled his finger, and told you that to get out of your sadness, you had to yearn for some happiness first. So you asked him what could be a source of happiness in your life.
  1728. >After a moment to gather his thoughts, he said, “Well, being alive is… It’s something at least, don’t you agree?”
  1729. >His tone worried you. It didn’t felt friendly at all; like, less than before.
  1730. “I’m not living, I’m surviving.”
  1731. >He stayed quiet for a while, then he answered, verbatim. “Well, if you’re surviving, it should make people happy, right? That’s one good reason to stay alive.”
  1732. “How? The only people that are happy I’m still alive bullies me,” you replied.
  1733. >Then you realized what was wrong.
  1734. >And at that very moment, you knew why Crazy Mouse didn’t like him.
  1735. >He was no different than the ones putting signs on your lawn, or the cashiers taking their pause when you arrive with your cart.
  1736. >He was just a human, like everyone else.
  1737. >He must have seen the flash of realization in your eye, ‘cause he apologized, saying things like, that’s not what he meant.
  1738. >The flags his excuses rose said otherwise. It enraged you so much that you sprung out of your chair, ready to take it and smite him with it, but…
  1739. >Despite really wanting to do that, you didn’t.
  1740. >You couldn’t.
  1741. >He was wearing glasses, and everyone knows not to hit people with glasses.
  1742. >Heh, now that you think about it, you tried that at school, but it didn’t work.
  1743. >If only you had known you weren’t considered as a person back then, you wouldn’t have bought glass.
  1744. >
  1745. >So, where were you? Oh right, you were enraged at him, but you couldn’t hit him, instead, you verbatim left his office.
  1746. >He didn’t try to stop you, the cop did; he stood right in front of you.
  1747. >Not really sure what he intended to do, really.
  1748. >He was thick as a match, and you’re twice the size of an average man.
  1749. >If memory serves you right, Crazy Mouse said, without looking at him, “Try, and we’ll both see what happens next,” Then he lowered his gaze to meet his and grinned, cocking your head sideways, far enough that your neck cracked, “Personally, I’m very curious, never had a cop… Trying, to stop me before.”
  1750. >Heh, he was so nervous, he tried to take his gun out; ‘caus he felt in danger for his life, that’s what he claimed in court.
  1751. >The rest is a blur because Crazy Mouse completely took over at that point. However, you’ve been told, like everyone else of course.
  1752. >Everyone learned what had truly happened, there were witnesses from the waiting room at the trial, including the human psy.
  1753. >He claimed far and wide that he had seen. That’s surprising since he shouldn’t have been able to see past the door frame from where he was sat…
  1754. >You had grasped the gun, pulled the trigger and shot the, heh, "good" cop.
  1755. >Having kid winter cotton gloves that day wasn’t because it was a cold wintery day, and that you liked your thin gloves. It was obviously all planned to leave no fingerprints.
  1756. >That is the true version everyone knew, before and, especially, after the judge stated you were not responsible for anything of the sort.
  1757. >According to both you and him, the cop was nervously trying to pull it out of the holster and shot his own leg.
  1758. >The angle of the bullet wound just didn’t make sense otherwise.
  1759. “Yeah…”
  1760. >A psy that lies and tries to convince his patient that being abused is what they ought to be, and a cop that tries to put innocents in jails.
  1761. “Humans all right.”
  1762. >No, you can’t really blame them… it’s just common sense it’s always your fault. Thankfully, the judges want facts. And you know why this pattern keeps repeating itself, despite always being proven innocent in the end. Crazy Mouse told you.
  1763. >He told you that it wouldn’t be fun if you were, actually, guilty of something. Then, you’d be in jail and the bullies wouldn’t have their toy anymore.
  1764. >Hey, now wait a min.
  1765. >Can you verbatim leave out of an office? That’s exactly what you did, so it should work… maybe.
  1766. >“Ngh…” emits the mare, frowning, eyes closed.
  1767. >She’s probably having a nightmare.
  1768. “Hmm.”
  1769. >Heh, hehe, she’s a mare, and she’s having a nightmare, in the middle of the day.
  1770. “Hehe.”
  1771. >It’s funny.
  1772. >
  1773. >The psy words come back to your mind: “Well, if you’re surviving, it should make people happy, right? That’s one good reason to stay alive.”
  1774. “Hmm.”
  1775. >Hey, maybe, maybe the psychologist wasn’t wrong. Oh, he knew what he said, that’s why he said it, but that’s not what you meant.
  1776. >Maybe his words had a hidden double meaning.
  1777. >Yeah, maybe… Maybe if, if she would stay, then, then maybe you’d have a reason to survive, and maybe, to live.
  1778. >NO!
  1779. >Infuriated of being hopeful again, you lift the sheets and try to get out of bed, but your attempt dies right there.
  1780. >‘Cause she won’t let go of your left arm.
  1781. >
  1782. >Seems like you hadn’t felt her legs around it. In fact, she’s clamping down, forelegs locked on one another around your elbow.
  1783. >How hard or long must she have held it for you to lose all sensations?
  1784. >Really, it IS a pretty large arm.
  1785. >No, she must stop holding it… You must go, because if you don’t, you’ll feel happy, and you don’t want to feel happy; it’s, it’s just too painful, and you’re sick of being hurt all the time!
  1786. >Sadly, you don’t want to wake her. It is wrong to wake people, and she’s probably happy to be sleeping… In a bed.
  1787. >With someone, instead of sleeping with someone else in a bed.
  1788. >
  1789. >Yeah, waking her is just out of the question, but staying is just as much out, so the question is, how can you do both?
  1790. >Hmm…
  1791. >Slowly pulling your arm away seems like the only way, therefore, you pull it, slowly.
  1792. >She frowns, whimpers and trembles in response while strengthening her grip.
  1793. >Please, stop, it’s going to make you sadder in the end. You‘re sick of feeling sad all the time, It’s just too painful.
  1794. You whisper, “Please, let go!” despite knowing she won't hear you, and you pull some more.
  1795. >However, pulling harder’s no good either, she simply won’t let go. If you want to leave, you will have to pry her forelegs open with your other hand.
  1796. >You reposition yourself, as to not dislocate an arm, while pulling; however, when you put your right hand on her forelegs, she screams, “No! D-D-Don’t touch me!”
  1797. >And that leaves you paralyzed, one hand in the air.
  1798. >
  1799. >You know she isn’t conscious, that it is but a dream, that she isn’t saying it to you, but it still shakes you, hard, ‘cause you did touch her, and she screamed at you as if you were… a bully, a munster.
  1800. >As if you tried to force her to do things she didn’t want to.
  1801. >That scream…
  1802. >The willpower behind it, the tone of her voice, a mixture of dread and, and…
  1803. >And…
  1804. >There’s no word for it, but, it’s like "that" feeling, when you still think saying "no" has some secret defensive ability, like a magical word or charm of protection.
  1805. >That you have some kind of power over the situation, and you’re just all too aware of how delusional you are to even say that word.
  1806. >It just excites them, 'cause they feel in power'
  1807. >It's because you say no and they’ll do it anyways that they feel strong and in control.
  1808. >And yet, you're the munster, you're the bad guy.
  1809. >Gang of hypocrites.
  1810. >
  1811. >Her face shifts from hatred, to fear and regret, “No, p-please, don’t touch her…”
  1812. >Unsure of what to do, you get back to your original position.
  1813. >Since you stopped pulling, she grabs your wrist with her hind legs and locks them too.
  1814. >Seems like you’re not getting anywhere anytime soon, and… Crotchboob. Ew.
  1815. >At least, it’s the back of your wrist that’s being sandwiched between two blobs of flesh.
  1816. >While you were ruminating, part of her mane fell down her face.
  1817. >It makes her ugly, you don’t like that, and she’s already sleeping deeply so, putting it back behind her ear, even if it’s more on top of her head shouldn’t be a problem.
  1818. >Reassuring her too wouldn’t be a bad idea.
  1819. >Slowly, you touch her forehead with your big index and trace a path up to behind her ear, pulling all the hair back with it.
  1820. “Shhh…”
  1821. >“I’m sorry, p-please! Don’t beat her, I’ll… I’ll do it…”
  1822. >She tightens her grip, somehow.
  1823. “…”
  1824. >You know you shouldn't be happy right now, because that means you're going to regret it later, but…
  1825. >And-and you knew she would bring problems; girls always do, but…
  1826. >Even then, when you look at this girl, shaking, frowning, holding on to your arm, out of desperation, and calming down, because you’re there for her like some kind of beacon of hope through the depth of the nightmare that is the world you both live in; the kind of nightmares that people dismissively call, a day, before moving on to the other, as if it was the most natural thing to do… When you look at her, and you see yourself; when you know that you are now, for her, what you always yearned for from someone else, even today…
  1827. >It’s just, just…
  1828. >God, you’re going to regret it so bitterly later!
  1829. >You knew she would bring problems. Girls always do.
  1830. >
  1831. >
  1832. >Eventually, she loosens her grip and turns around, pulling the blankets along with her.
  1833. >Part of you regrets being free… Then there’s another part that hates the first.
  1834. >They both make a hodgepodge out of your head.
  1835. >They’ve also been at it for so long that your head feels like it’s trying to split itself.
  1836. >Staying here’s just painful. Even if the bed’s comfy, you can’t stay, you have to go somewhere else, but where?
  1837. >The forge! Yes, the forge, you’ll… you’ll smite. You’ll smite until you feel calm. Yeah, that’s, that’s a good plan.
  1838. >Entertaining the idea, engrossed by it and using its momentum to get up, you take some clothes and go through the back door, oblivious to the cold air leeching off your heat.
  1839. >It is only once you're sitting on the anvil that you dress up, too eager to get away from… your thoughts.
  1840. “Hehehe.”
  1841. >Blood is starting to flow back in your arm, and it's all tingly and ticklish, from the elbow up to the fingertips.
  1842. “Hehe, hehehe.”
  1843. >No matter what you do, it keeps tingling.
  1844. >Clenching and unclenching your hand only makes it worse!
  1845. >Not like it’s going to stop you though.
  1846. “Hehehehe-hahahaha!”
  1847. >Hey, now that you’re thinking about it. What would happen if you struck your anvil, holding the hammer in your left hand? It would, like, super tingle!
  1848. >Anon, you’re a genius! Now, where is your hammer? Ah, there, on the workshop.
  1849. >You grab it-
  1850. “Hihiiii-hihihihi!”
  1851. >The mere pressure required to hold your hammer is already enough to make you giggle quite a bit, but that’s not enough. No, it’s not that it’s not enough. It’s that it’s not the tingling peak you can reach.
  1852. >To do so, you must hit the anvil. Hence, you move your arm up in the air and-
  1853. >Wait, hitting the anvil might be loud enough to wake her…
  1854. >Awwww, killjoy!
  1855. >Is there something else that is smite-able, wouldn’t break or make too much noise?
  1856. >Well, there is you that fulfill all the criteria.
  1857. >
  1858. >Brain, can you not? It’s like, just don- wait, maybe not yourself, but what’s on you!
  1859. >That’s right, if you take off your clothes and put it on the anvil, smiting will make far less noise!
  1860. >Anon, you’re a real genius!
  1861. >Luckily, no one will be there to see a madman in underwear smiting his clothes with a hammer, on an anvil, giggling like a little girl.
  1862. >Just to make sure though, you look around.
  1863. >Nope, there’s no one else but you and your idea.
  1864. >No one else.
  1865. >You’re all alone.
  1866. >Hehe, no one will ever know. It’s a perfect crime, ‘cause there’s no victim!
  1867. >Thus, in the middle of the day, Anonymous, in his underwear, struck his anvil and giggled for several minutes.
  1868. >
  1869. >Soon enough, and to your displeasure, the tingling in your arm vanishes.
  1870. >You put the hammer down on the workshop, yawn and extend your arms forward while pulling your head back, feeling the neck muscles stretching.
  1871. “T’was fun, hehe…”
  1872. >Now, you should get to work.
  1873. >And dress up, it’s real cold outside, now that you think about it.
  1874. >Once sat on the anvil, again, you put on your t-shirt, your underwear and your pants, but when you bend over to put your socks, something weird catches your eye. The smiting ingots are green, purple and… and in smithereens.
  1875. “…”
  1876. >Your ingots, in smithereens.
  1877. >It looks like they just, just cracked into pieces which crumbled into piles of rubble.
  1878. “What?”
  1879. >Grumbling, eyes closed, you rub your temples.
  1880. >This is troublesome. You’re going to smite on what now when you don’t feel good?
  1881. >It’s not like you can melt the shards in a mould and make another ingot.
  1882. >That’s what fantasy forge do, and that’s not what you have. A coke forge’s what you have.
  1883. >It can melt metal alright, that’s for sure, but you smith things with elbow grease, not moulds.
  1884. >Plus, those ingots were probably not made of metal. No matter how white or red, they were always just as hard to strike. Besides, they didn’t expand when heated. Finally, they never caved in or broke when smote, yet, you have never felt the impact of the block climbing up your shoulder when you smote them.
  1885. >They really were the perfect smiting ingots. But now, they’re in smithereens…
  1886. >
  1887. >Why does everything you like, just… goes wrong, somehow, one day or the other?
  1888. >Humans, fine, they got a will of their own, it’s their choices to hate you but, as far as you know, objects don’t. So unless someone interacts with them, they shouldn’t, they shouldn’t betray you.
  1889. >Hmm.
  1890. >Well, truth be told, they already kind of do. The knives or whatever you create is never meant to cause pain. Yet, you’re the one to blame when they're used for stabbing or killing people.
  1891. >Not like it’s very hard to know why though.
  1892. >Gang of hypocrites, gang of humans.
  1893. >
  1894. >A sigh slips out of your mouth as you try to focus your thoughts.
  1895. >Anyway, investigating it a bit sounds like a good idea.
  1896. >Maybe you’ll find a thing or two that’ll explain what happened.
  1897. >Maybe looking at one shard will reveal something.
  1898. >Who knows?
  1899. >Unfortunately, you'll have to get up to grab one… Oh, right, you could always lean and grab a pair of pinchers for some extra reach!
  1900. >Good idea Anon!
  1901. >With trembling hands--because you don’t want to make the purple shard slip out of the pinchers-- you slowly catch and pull one toward you.
  1902. >It isn't hot at all. It’s actually real cold.
  1903. >So cold that ice creeps on the tool.
  1904. “Hun?”
  1905. >Reminds you of Mother’s blade, actually. Ain’t the same colour but when you compa-
  1906. >
  1907. >You freeze mentally and your expression turns into a deadpan one. You gaze in the air in front of you.
  1908. >Ain’t the same colour, but when you compare it with the blade that’s supposed to be there, on the workshop, yet, isn’t…
  1909. “…”
  1911. >Quick as a spring, you jump off the anvil and search the workshop.
  1912. >It isn’t there, on the counter, leaning on the wall, besides your tongs where it usually is.
  1913. >Letting go of the tool, which bounces on the stone floor, you hold your head with your hands and pull your hair.
  1914. >Nononononon-NOOOOO!
  1915. >Mother said it would happen, she told you to always take that which is precious to you back inside, else, one day, someone mean will steal them.
  1916. >Why didn’t you listen to Mother?! You always listen to Mother! Always!
  1917. >But now, Mother’s blade’s not there. It’s gone
  1918. >Nononononon-NOOOOO!
  1919. >Why didn’t you listen to Mother?! Why Anon, why!? Now, Mother’s blade’s not there. It’s gone.
  1920. >Mother is… gone.
  1921. >Gone.
  1922. >
  1923. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!” roars Anonymous, panic-stricken, sending a chill down the spine of many a worker, recognizing the voice of a human being over the sputtering thrums of heavy machinery.
  1924. >
  1925. >IT WASN’T stolen, you, you, you just misplaced it, yeah, misplaced it somewhere-anywhere ok?!
  1926. >ARGH! There’re just so many things that aren’t Mother’s blade everywhere. They’re just in the way!
  1927. >Should throw them all out… Y-Yeah! If the forge’s empty, there’s only going to be the blade that CLEARLY wasn’t stolen.
  1928. >Right?
  1929. >Right?!
  1930. >RIGHT?!
  1931. >
  1932. >Pincers, ingots, wood, ropes, tongs, newspapers, nails and everything that’s not Mother’s blade flies somewhere that’s not in the forge behind you.
  1933. >The thuds of metal falling on the grass slowly turn into loud clunks of metal landing on metal.
  1934. >Only once there’s nothing left to throw out of the forge at first glance do you realize that there’s no blade.
  1935. >Could it be under the workshop?
  1936. >No, it isn’t there.
  1937. >Maybe it fell off the counter!
  1938. >You look on the floor, and you see socks, shards of metal, some weird piece of cut rubber, but no blade.
  1939. “No…”
  1940. >You look everywhere you haven’t look, even under your anvil.
  1941. >No blade.
  1942. >Could it be that you threw it along with the other tools?!
  1943. >Holding onto that hope, you jolt out of the forge, holding your enthusiasm back with great difficulty while inspecting the coalesced cluster of various metals and other materials.
  1944. >There’s more than one extremely sharp edge in the pile, after all. Can’t grasp a blade if your fingers aren’t connected with your hands anymore, hehe…
  1945. >WHY are you laughing?! There’re no reasons to laugh! Focus on finding your blade!
  1946. >After a calming slap meeting your cheek, you listen to yourself and focus on the pile.
  1947. >4 blades are extracted out of the pile, but those blades… none are the one you’re looking for. It blurs your vision.
  1948. >
  1949. >It is such a dear blade… it was the last blade Mother forged with you; she said it was a farewell gift.
  1950. >You didn’t understand what she meant. Then, a few days later, she died, so you couldn’t ask her what she meant anymore. It wasn’t until much, much later that you understood.
  1951. >The day she forged that blade with you is the only real memory you have of her, and it’s really blurred.
  1952. >Thus, the blade’s proof that she, one of the two persons that have been nice to you, ever existed. And, and, whenever you looked at the blade, you knew that she existed, because you can't really remember stuff well, but now…
  1953. >The proof's gone.
  1954. >Another palm strikes your face.
  1955. >If you have the time to think, you have the time to search! So search Anon. Search! Where, where could it be?
  1956. >Maybe… Maybe you took it back inside without knowing?
  1957. >With the energy of despair, you clamber out of the pile and head toward the back door. It opens long before you can reach the doorknob, revealing a drowsy Pony.
  1958. “GETOUT M’WAY!”
  1959. >She freezes on the spot. Clearly, she doesn’t understand how dire the situation is!
  1960. >Right now, she’s an obstacle.
  1961. >Therefore, as soon as you reach her, you place your big right hand on her right shoulder and shove her out of the way, which means on the wall, on which she bounces off with a pained neigh.
  1962. >
  1963. >Inside, you’re inside now, you’re past the corridor and you're now in the kitchen.
  1964. >Look Anon! Look!
  1965. >Not in the sink, around your pile of spoons, on the counter, on the table or on the fridge.
  1966. >Mother’s blade isn’t in sight.
  1967. >It’s-it’s just one room, just one room, there’re many more rooms to look through. Which one are you going to investigate next?! The living room? Right, the nearest one's the living room.
  1968. >Without wasting a second, you rush to it and rummage through the room strewn with litter. There's a hefty amount of empty cups of noodles, instant meals, and even more cups of pudding.
  1969. >Yet, still no blade.
  1970. >It could be under the cushions, right? You always find the remote there, maybe the blade’s hiding there too?
  1971. >In order to verify your hypothesis, you throw the cushions away, discovering lots of springs, but no blade.
  1972. >Next stop, the closet, ‘caus, why not!?
  1973. >Opening the doors, shoving the vacuum out and looking inside reveals no blade.
  1974. >FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK! It HAS to be inside, if it’s not outside, right?! Where else could it be?! It’s not in the kitchen, the living room or the closet, what’s left!?
  1975. >The bedroom!
  1976. >You hurry toward it and turn it inside-out. Meanwhile, she wobbles under the doorframe, “W-What’s happening?!”
  1977. >A blurred white spot appears in your sight when you turn your gaze toward the voice.
  1978. “LOST M’BLADE!” You roar, wiping your eye.
  1979. >
  1980. >You have to keep looking, you have to, you have to, ‘cause… ‘cause…
  1981. “No… NO! CAN’T LOSE IT, CAN’T, AH CAN’T!” you shout, shifting back your attention to your wardrobe.
  1982. >It is not in the cupboard, not under the bed, not under the blanket. Not in or under the pile of dirty cloth you keep on a chair.
  1983. >The only thing left is the floor.
  1984. >For the first time in your life, you felt like you wanted a pristine, clean house. That way, you’d know instantly if it’s on the ground or not.
  1985. >The sound of hooves on the floor reaches your ears, seems she's slowly backing away from the door. Probably didn't like you shouting.
  1986. >No, Anon, FOCUS, focus on the ground, focus on what’s important right now…
  1987. >Focus on what’s actually not on the floor.
  1988. >The bathroom! You’ve yet to check the bathroom!
  1989. >She’s already out of the doorframe when you sprint out and nearly rams the bathroom’s door open.
  1990. >When you look inside, you find no blade.
  1991. >However, you hear hasty hooves moving away on the wooden floor.
  1992. >Weird.
  1993. >FOCUS ANON! Where else could it be, now that you’ve looked everywhere! Where else do you go when you’re inside?
  1994. >M-M-Maybe inside the fridge?
  1995. “Fridge!”
  1996. >
  1997. >You, you just trudge toward it, knowing all too well you wouldn’t find Mother's blade inside.
  1998. >Curiously, the mare’s beside the front door, next to your gun.
  1999. >You always keep it near the door, because sometimes, there’re mean peop-
  2000. >Wait.
  2001. >It all makes sense now. Staying beside the gun, that’s…
  2002. >That’s, yeah, that’s a very big flag, right there before your eye.
  2003. >You aren’t smart, but you’re not slow-minded either. Well, much less than you were before. It doesn’t take many suspicious behaviours for you to know when something’s fishy.
  2004. >
  2005. >She didn’t ask if she could look for the blade with you, and you didn’t see her looking for it either. No, once she knew what you were looking for, she made herself discreet and backed away toward a gun, for safety.
  2006. >Since when did she… did things behind your back?
  2007. >Heh, most likely, ever since the beginning.
  2008. >Yeah, yeah every weird thing happening today and yesterday is because of that weird pet.
  2009. >There’re no coincidences in life, at least, not in yours.
  2010. >Everything happens for a reason; Barnfield, the thunder, the bullies, you… striking first; ramming your head on your workshop, and now the blade.
  2011. >The correlation’s more than clear.
  2012. >There’s but one explanation to all of those weird things happening to you.
  2013. >She brings bad luck, and she knows it goddamn well.
  2014. >Not just the girly bad luck, no, that's magical bad luck level.
  2015. >Unicorn are magic creatures, they must be able to use magic, right?
  2016. >Makes sense.
  2017. >Or she’s an evil spirit of bad luck; that too seems sound.
  2018. >Wouldn’t be too far-fetched, truth be told. Unicorns exist, apparently, why wouldn’t every other fantastic creature?
  2019. >Might not even be a Unicorn for that matter. Still, because of her, you lost Mother’s blade… What else can she take from you?
  2020. > Told ya to not trust her!
  2021. >A dreadful and terrible headache shortly follows the voice, bringing along a ringing in your ears and grey spots in your vision.
  2022. “QUIET!” you shout, without warning; pulling your hair down, clenching your fists, making her jump.
  2023. >Not now, not-now not-now not-now! This is SUCH not a good moment!
  2024. > Why? You need to defend yourself, you're panicking, you don't want to deal with the situation, and…
  2026. >She’s beside your gun and a gun’s the thing you can defend yourself with. It protected you so many times before…
  2027. >Ever since she knocked at the door… the thugs, now Mother’s blade. Maybe she’s the reason there was thunder yesterday? Maybe she spawned there, back then… Spawned like a demon spawn, or a succubus or something. There're no mythological creatures that are good AND brings bad luck to good people.
  2028. >Or just bring good things to you at all for that matter.
  2029. >You can deal with her, on your own. There's no need for another bloodshed.
  2030. >Speaking of which, how come there weren't any cops knocking on the door?
  2031. >It might be because she's involved in that too, somehow…
  2032. >
  2033. >How can you take care of her? she’ll run away with magic before you can shoot her, or she might shoot you before you can reach her…
  2034. >W-What…? Why are you thinking of attacking first? Didn't you have enough yesterday? Are not you sick of hurting others every day?
  2035. > We're just tired of being hurt all the time, Anon. It's called retaliation, not revenge. It's fighting back, it's just a preemptive strike. It's just… self-defence.
  2036. >Stop it! You're only giving each other’s a headache!
  2037. > There’s one because you’re denying the truth, Anon…
  2038. >
  2039. >Feeling limp, you pull out a kitchen chair and let yourself fall on it before your legs decide by themselves on what they're going to let you fall on.
  2040. >Next, you lean on the table with your elbows, still holding your head, grimacing in pain.
  2041. >This time, you’re sure of it, your skull is going to split open.
  2042. “Please, quihet…” you whisper through your clenched teeth, “Mother said’t’get along…”
  2043. > Heh, there’s only a modicum of memories you retain, and you still manage to misinterpret them, remarkable.
  2044. “Shut up…”
  2045. > Heh, we’re in the same boat, wherein you and I live in symbiosis; I’m your truth, I’m your alibis. I am, Anonymous, when you can’t bear living.
  2046. >Heh, you're not the only one that misinterprets stuff.
  2047. > Whatever you say, buddy. Still, she does bring bad stuff in our life, I’ll give you that. However, and here come the big questions. What is she doing on purpose? What hide the flags you didn’t notice?
  2048. > Finally, listen to your dreams, for I notice what you miss, but the brain notices everything…
  2049. >Are you, like, not hating her anymore and telling me that now, I do?
  2050. > Gee, here's fifty points for golden gryphon.
  2051. >You swear on your head that if he doesn’t shut up, you’ll blow your head off, that’ll teach him to mess with your head for fun.
  2052. >
  2053. >
  2054. >Finally, some quiet…
  2055. >Shouldn’t listen to him, that’s also what everyone says, and he hates her, so of course, he’ll try to link everything she does with riddles 'cause he's the insane one.
  2056. >He's, like… what did they say they thought he was, paranoiac schizophrenia? You laughed so much when they explained what it was, but not as much as him.
  2057. >"Paranoid schizophrenia is differentiated from other forms of schizophrenia by the presence of hallucinations and delusions involving the perception of persecution or grandiosity in one's beliefs about the world."
  2058. >It’s not paranoia anymore when you get mail that says: ‘kill yourself, cordially, the world’.
  2059. >It’s not paranoia anymore when you have to pull placards out of your lawn.
  2060. >It is not paranoia when, heh, every one of your trials ends up with the judge saying that you’re not guilty because of Provocation, Self-defence, Infancy or Mental disorder.
  2061. >Heck, the best proof that you’re sane enough is that you’re still allowed to keep your firearm, even if you’ve shot about a dozen people so far.
  2062. >Yep, despite having a gun, and mental issues, you are not considered, in the eyes of the law, as a threat to the general public. "Hallucinations and delusions involving the perception of persecution" Now that’s a good one.
  2063. >The persecution IS real.
  2064. >Anyway, you only shoot in self-
  2065. >Oh fuck, oh fuck oh fuck! No, not, not last time. It, it wasn’t self-defence last time. It wasn’t.
  2066. >Plus, there are witnesses and there’re cameras all around your house, it makes the trial easier because there’re proofs of what happened.
  2067. >You might actually go to jail, ‘cause of her… ‘cause you wanted to help her.
  2068. >Carl, he, he even said it.
  2069. >Oh the irony is so spot-on, it hurts juuuuust right. In less than a day, your life’s most likely ruined, and that’s because you, you, heh.
  2070. >Because you didn’t want to see another you.
  2071. >
  2072. >If, if you could get back your blade, just, just your blade, you, you might… Endure, yes, that’s the word, endure the hardship of keeping such a bad-luck bringer long enough that the trial’ll happen, then, she’ll get a guardian caretaker whatever or something ‘cause you won’t be able to take care of her in jail.
  2073. >
  2074. >Defeated, you slump down on the table, holding your head in your arms, listening to words coming back to your head.
  2075. *She thinks you don’t know that the first thing you wanna do to someone nice to you is milking him before he realizes who you are and start hating you like everyone else?*
  2076. >Heh, if only you had known.
  2077. *When you look at her, and you see yourself… when you know that you are now, for her, what you always yearned for, from someone else, even today…
  2078. It’s just, just…
  2079. “…”
  2080. God, you’re going to regret it so bitterly later…*
  2081. >Hehehe, didn’t expect the later to be so soon.
  2082. >You got happy, you got your hopes up, and here it is, the something wrong that always happens, the balloon that pops.
  2083. >Serves you right, Anonymous. Can’t believe you thought that, since she wasn’t human, she would be different, that she wouldn’t try to fuck your life up, serves you right, Anonymous. There’re only 4 persons that have ever been or is nice with you: Mother, Anonymous, Crazy Mouse, and Carl. Serves you right, Anonymous.
  2084. >It serves you so right that, that now…
  2085. >There’s nothing left.
  2086. >“M-Master?”
  2087. >Oh, oh, right.
  2088. >There is something left. Your, heh reason to live that has, actually, stolen your entire life’s worth of effort to avoid jail, to not willingly commit a crime.
  2089. >She’s the only one you’ve been kind with to this extent, and she masterfully stabbed you in the heart, from the back, by ruining your entire life. Not just a tiny bit, no, the whole shebang.
  2090. >She coldly taught you that anything that breathes will try to stab you in the back, in the end.
  2091. *The nerves! You, Two-Face Anon, are calling me, Rarity, a hypocrite? After I earnestly --and most importantly-- generously offered YOU, MY, help?!*
  2092. >She was right, you can't claim that everyone will try to stab you in the back if you expect someone to not do so.
  2093. >That's hypocrisy.
  2094. >Thank you, Rarity, it was a most valuable lesson… It was, very, very generous of you.
  2095. *However, and here comes the big questions. What is she doing on purpose? What hide the flags you didn’t notice?
  2096. Finally, listen to your dreams, for I notice what you miss, but the brain notices everything…*
  2097. >
  2098. >Sigh, you don’t feel like solving riddles, but… Maybe you should, actually.
  2099. >It’s bad to jump to conclusions, sometimes.
  2100. >But… fuck man; you can feel this headache behind your eyes and up to your nape. There’s just no way you’re in condition to solve riddles!
  2101. >Especially not when Mother’s blade’s missing.
  2102. >And who’s to blame!?
  2103. >That new pet.
  2104. >
  2105. >Not only did you gave her a roof, took care of her bullies, she’s also never been grateful about it, or anything!
  2106. >Wait, wrong, she thanked you once, for giving her a pillow.
  2107. >A fucking pillow.
  2108. >What a selfish bitch. You even shared your pudding with her! Not even Carl has received pudding from you, and yet, and yet… you would have done the very same things, because you were in her shoes, once.
  2109. >Heh, she’s expecting you to do something to her, at one point. Not, not Two-Face Anon style, no, no, far from that.
  2110. >She’s merely expecting human behaviour out of you. So of course, you won’t believe that random person that’s nice to you, all of a sudden.
  2111. >This is as suspicious as it can get.
  2112. >And, once you’ve learned, the hard way, that they’re the one who hurts the most in the end, you keep your distance from them.
  2113. >You don't want them, but you need them, so make them think they need you.
  2114. >
  2115. >However, for some reasons, the blade’s gone, and she’s to blame.
  2116. >This very thing means that this time, she did something wrong, so she can’t blame it on the nice guy becoming a bully or an abuser.
  2117. >In fact, you know what she’s thinking right now.
  2118. >Oh no, that blade was extremely precious to him, and since I bring bad luck, I’m responsible for its disappearance. This, this time, his jovial mask will fall and he will beat me, or rape me, or both, or worse! But, but now, I’m close to a gun, his gun. I’m safe, I can say no. If he tries to do something to me, or make me do something, I’m safe… I can say no, for once I can say no.
  2119. >You’d bet your hands that this is what she’s thinking right now. Not like it’s wrong of her to think that.
  2120. >Your life’s also ruined. Like that idiom about rats and sinking ship, she’s taking what she can with her, like your blade, maybe, before YOUR problems overlap with hers, but of course, if HER problems overlap with yours, it’s convenient.
  2121. >Yeah, right, it’s convenient for her, a greedy, hypocrite and selfish pet. Again, if you do beat her, you’re just proving her that you’re but a human, like every other that has abused her before.
  2122. >Really, you can’t blame her, given the circumstances.
  2123. >She’s just trying to survive.
  2124. > How nostalgic…
  2125. >Hey, wait a min, is that, is that, like, an answer to *What is she doing on purpose?*
  2126. >No, not, not quite, you feel like there’s something more, something deeper, or two, but, with such a headache… The rabbit isn’t too eager to go down Alice’s hole, so to speak.
  2127. >Wait.
  2128. >Hehe, he, hehe.
  2129. >It’s the other way around.
  2130. >Alice goes down the rabbit’s hole.
  2131. >Silly Anon.
  2132. > So, you’re just going to forgive her now? Although, it’s true that you shouldn’t punish her too much, if, at all. In fact, you should especially not spank her, since she has two ass problems, and the missing rubber isn’t one of them. Not like you had enough brain to figure it yourself.
  2133. >Hun?
  2134. > The rubber on the dock, her dock, specifically, don’t confuse it with her skirt.
  2135. >Rubber on the dock? The sea’s like, kilometres far; there’re no docks around.
  2136. >Plus, she’s a horse, they don’t wear clothes. Like, girls wear skirts, and she’s a girl, but she’s also a horse.
  2137. >Wait did you had a naked girl in your house all that time?
  2138. > It’s painful to admit, but you still manage to surprise me with how dense you can be at times; I thought you had reached osmium density, yet you just reached another level, astonishing.
  2139. >Hey!
  2140. > Oh, don’t mind me, just thinking aloud. You, however, should think about what you’re going to do now that your life is ruined and that… Mother is gone. Do you think you’ll feel safe enough to forge again, now that she is?
  2141. >Well… If you find the blade back, you’ll be able to forgive her. That is the only wrong she did.
  2142. > Are you really forgiving her, merely on the basis that you don’t want to punish someone that’s been mean to you because she’s exactly like you were before?
  2143. >That’s…
  2144. > Hey, Anon, that was before. Now, she’s your pet. Wake up! You now have some responsibilities because of her. Punishing your pet because it causes trouble isn’t bullying or abuse, it is educative! Even more so now that your life’s ruined.
  2145. >But..!
  2146. > Strike the iron while it’s hot Anon, or she’ll make you regret it later.
  2147. >…
  2148. >Yeah, you’re, you’re right.
  2149. >Gotta be assertive, sometimes. Otherwise, people walk on you like you’re some kind of, like, doormat. And you’re sick of it.
  2150. > Yeah, and when it happens too often, you break down and I have to fix everything!
  2151. >Sorry.
  2152. > Just remember, don’t punish her too much. If she flees because of the abuse, it’ll be really hard to convince the judge and jury that you shot people because of a cartoony cartoon Unicorn.
  2153. >Good point. Got any ideas on how to get out of the impasse?
  2154. > You mean her being near your gun? Yeah, I do. Bait her with hypocrisy, then, once she bites, you reel her in and away from the gun.
  2155. >Hun? She’s not a fish. You really are stuck on the sea, Docks, bait…
  2156. >No, no. Just… For fuck sakes, just do a Crook hook.
  2157. >Oh, yeah, don’t really like that one, but now’s not the time to be picky. What’s the hook?
  2158. > You.
  2159. >Figures. So, what about punishment?
  2160. > An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth… A horn for a blade.
  2161. >That’s right! The most precious thing for a Unicorn is her horn, that’s what they say in the children book; and in your book, Mother’s blade’s the most precious thing you have.
  2162. >Had, most precious thing you had.
  2163. >Hmm.
  2164. >
  2165. >Yeah, a horn for a blade indeed seems like a fair trade-off for Mother’s blade.
  2166. >With enough strength to bend metal bare-handed, surely you can break a horn.
  2167. >If she’s an evil spirit, though… Well, you’ll probably still be able to take it on.
  2168. >’Cause you’re big.
  2169. >In any case, you got a plan, now you just have to get in the mood to cry. It’s pretty easy; you just have to think about your life.
  2170. >And endure this headache.
  2171. >Sure, you’re furious that she ruined your life, but mostly, you’re just… Tired.
  2172. >It’s tiring, always having to watch your back. It’s tiring of never being able to be generous without people trying to fuck you over before throwing you away in disgust once they got what they wanted, just like they throw away used condoms.
  2173. >You’re just tired of, of living, yeah, that’s the word.
  2174. >There’s only Carl that, sometimes, brighten up your day, but.
  2175. >He’s just a, a good guy. He is different from you. He understands you, but you can’t really understand him. People understand one another, usually, and they can befriend each other’s then.
  2176. “…”
  2177. >Now that you think about it… maybe you were friendly with her, because, because you could understand her?
  2178. > No, it’s not about her specifically, it’s just because you could understand someone, for once.
  2179. >But, but even then, she ended up betraying you.
  2180. >Yeah, betrayal; that is what hurts the most in your life. You trust someone enough to be vulnerable, and they take advantage of you.
  2181. >That was such human behaviour, from a pet you thought you could trust.
  2182. >Just how much pain must you endure? When will it be enough for you to be happy, for once?
  2183. >Right, stupid Anon, that’s an answerless question.
  2184. >So why bother?
  2185. >
  2186. >Now that you feel like crying, you can follow the pattern of the Crook hook; first, you sniffle a few times, then you start to sob, slowly, in silence; wailing, occasionally, but always softly, for a while.
  2187. >Then you cry louder, and people get closer to you, usually either to beat you up, or to comfort you.
  2188. >At least, that’s what they want to do, until they realize who they’re trying to console.
  2189. >Now sprawled on the table, head in your arms, each sob paired with a jerk of your chest; you think it’s time to let out the long wails of sorrow.
  2190. > Obviously, the pain you’re feeling right greatly helps the act.
  2191. >No, there’s no more need to fake tears and bait her with hypocrisy.
  2192. >Genuine tears are falling down your cheek.
  2193. >
  2194. >For a long, long moment, the sound of sorrow and heavy machinery are the only things that prevent an oppressing silence to settle in the messy kitchen.
  2195. >
  2196. >The sound of her hooves hesitantly approaching pulls you out of it.
  2197. >She bit on the hook, nice. When she’s going to be close enough, you’ll get her, you’ll pounce on her, and then you’ll break her horn.
  2198. >You just need to listen to the sound of her hooves, between your sobs, to gauge the distance, which is atrocious with a headache, but it’ll all work out in the end.
  2199. >It’ll have to.
  2200. >
  2201. >She’s pretty close now, you could probably-Nononono, you don’t know if she has the gun, let her close the distance some more.
  2202. >…
  2203. >She stops, just beside you, but you can’t be sure. You’re wailing face down.
  2204. >“Master, I’m…”
  2205. >She puts a comforting hoof on your shoulder.
  2206. >Now.
  2207. >Swift like a rat trap, you twist your body, clamp down on her right foreleg and pull as hard as you can. The leg stretches and you feel a vibration coursing through the limb, like a muffled crack.
  2208. >You’re not done yet.
  2209. >Now that she is unsteady on her hind legs, you shift your right hand from her leg to the back of her head and slam it on the table, all the while sweeping her unsteady hind-legs, making her fall down disoriented and in pain.
  2210. >Instinctively, she rolls on her stomach and tries to get up and gallop away.
  2211. >Does she think you were going to let her go?
  2212. >As if.
  2213. >Like a predator, you pounce and straddle her back, pinning her on the ground. In response, she shrieks in pain.
  2214. >Weird… You’re not THAT heavy.
  2215. >And by the lord, your head, URGH!
  2216. >Wincing in pain, and feeling Crazy Mouse’s presence guiding your movements, you push the back of her head down and pull her horn upward.
  2217. >Either she’s a Unicorn and will panic, or she will shift into mist or something to escape, revealing her true nature.
  2218. >“NO!”
  2219. >So, Unicorn then.
  2221. >Still, she wants to keep her horn? Well, you wanted to keep Mother’s blade!
  2222. >So you pull, and you pull, and you pull!
  2223. >
  2224. >Well, the horn’s way sturdier than you thought… It’s not breaking, although you can definitely feel it bending in a weird angle.
  2226. >Wait, maybe, maybe she could help you find it with her magic?
  2227. >Maybe she even knows where it might be!
  2228. >Driven by a different idea, you stop pulling and she stops squirming. Instead, you crush her face on the floor, leaning with all your weight as you move your mouth closer to her ear so you can growl each word, carefully, slowly, “Where the hell is my most precious blade.”
  2229. >The underlying threat in your cold tone paralyzes her. She doesn’t even move a hair; in lieu of that, she takes sharp, deep and quick breaths.
  2230. >Yet, she doesn't answer.
  2231. “Where is it!” you shout, further pushing her face on the grime that stains the floor.
  2232. >Yet, she does not answer.
  2233. >
  2234. >Flags, flags everywhere in front of your eye, in the palm of your hand, between your legs.
  2235. >What could possibly be worse than not answering in her situation?
  2236. >Saying the very thing you do not want to hear.
  2237. >
  2238. >She is thinking, instead of answering. She is afraid of which may or may not happen if she’s punished. So she’s thinking of how to not be punished. Instead of decreasing its severity.
  2239. > How nostalgic.
  2240. >She will spill her beans, but she’s not afraid enough to do so.
  2241. >How convenient that you're a the munster among monsters.
  2242. >You put your left hand on her mane and turn her head to the left, allowing you to glare at her right eye, maintaining your grip on her horn with your right hand.
  2243. >She stares back without blinking, her iris retracted as much as it possibly can.
  2244. >Yet, she does not answer.
  2245. > Not begging for her life, no tears, no anger, only her mind’s gears on speed… That’s not good Anon, you’re losing your edge if you can’t scare a girl half to death.
  2246. >Shut up, you already have enough edge for both of us.
  2247. > Point taken.
  2248. >A small sound comes out of her throat, “I…” but it is not followed any others.
  2249. “You WHAT!” you bark, sending spittle at her face.
  2250. >Yet.
  2251. >She does not answer.
  2252. >
  2253. >Yeah, you’re right; she’s still trying to avoid answering. It’s pissing you off.
  2254. >So, you rest your right palm on her face and lift your right thumb just above her eye, holding her lower eyelid down with it; threatening the eye with your nail, provoking trembles coursing through her, from head to hooves.
  2255. >Especially in her eyelid.
  2256. >Unable to move her head thanks to your hand holding her mane, there is no other choice for her than to look at your stern and scornful expression.
  2257. >No tear, but panic in her eyes, and yet no fear.
  2258. >She's thinking, planning, you don't like that.
  2259. >
  2260. >Doing that, to her, it is, like, quenching blades in your heart; it hurts.
  2261. >You have to get this over with as soon as possible, so even if you hate talking with complex words and articulating properly, you’ll have to.
  2262. “Rarity arrives, there are bullies, then, my blade is gone; now, tell me if unlucky day for me, or if you are related to one, or both…”
  2263. >To emphasize your point, you grasp her horn again. Curiously, it is warm now, very warm.
  2264. *KATAKCLINK!*
  2265. >You jerk your head behind, wondering what the fu-
  2266. >MOTHER’S BLADE!
  2267. “M’BLADE!”
  2268. >Too happy to have found it back, you twist your body and retrieve it, completely forgetting about her.
  2269. > You’re crying like a lost kid in a supermarket that has found his mother back.
  2270. >Not paying attention to him, you bear hug the blade as much as you can without cutting your skin, and for a long moment.
  2271. >Losing Mother once was painful enough.
  2272. >Losing her again would be the worst.
  2273. >
  2274. >Nevertheless, maybe you don’t know exactly what just happened, but one thing’s crystal clear.
  2275. >She brought Mother’s blade back. That is more than enough to forgive her in your book.
  2276. >Speaking of which, you’re still on top of her…
  2277. >
  2278. >The things you did and said to her. They make you feel like a horrible monster; feel like, like…
  2279. >A bully.
  2280. >You get off, lift and bear hug her, arms over her legs.
  2281. >“AGHA-”
  2282. >It sounds like your apologize hug has hurt her, but- Oh right, the leg you pulled.
  2283. >It must be quite sensitive.
  2284. >She’ll need a doctor.
  2285. >Or… A vet?
  2286. >The sooner the better, then, you won’t feel as guilty, yet.
  2287. >Obviously, she can’t walk with a wounded leg. You’re gonna have to cradle her comfortably in your big arms and carry her all the way.
  2288. >The vet is not that far on foot anyway.
  2289. >
  2290. >You bend your knees and hop on the spot a little so you can shift your grip, making it much more comfortable for both of you, and head toward the door.
  2291. >Shaken out of her stupor by the position shift, she stutters, “W-W-W-W-Where are we going, Master?”
  2292. “Vet.”
  2293. >For some reasons, she seems really, really confused.
  2294. >“B-But, w-what about the blade?”
  2295. >You raise your right brow. Why would she ask that? Worse, speaking while holding her’s gonna be rough.
  2296. “Found it, Ah’m happy; wounded pet, Ah’m unhappy. Vet treats pet, happy again.”
  2297. >Aaaaand now she’s even more confused.
  2298. >She’s a weird Pony. What kind of Master does not want its pet to be happy and healthy?
  2299. >A bad Master. That’s who, and you want to be a great Master for her. For as long as you can, that is.
  2300. >Even if it means being assertive.
  2301. >Shaking that thought out of your head, you manage to open and pass through the front door.
  2302. >Wait.
  2303. >You might need a wallet or something for the vet, cards or, maybe, cash, so.
  2304. >Hmm, is that weight in your right pocket, your wallet?
  2305. >Let's see… yeah, it is.
  2306. >Luckily, it seems like you’ve put on the right pairs of pants today.
  2307. >Happy with the nice coincidence, you proceed down your alley, with a mare in your hands.
  2308. >Waaaaait.
  2309. >Hum.
  2310. >Did you lock the door?
  2311. > No.
  2312. >Oh.
  2313. >You turn around and lock the door, holding her with your left arm and your chest, which makes breathing difficult, but you can safely hold her like that.
  2314. >Also, never complain about a lady’s weight, to the lady.
  2315. >Never, ever.
  2316. >EVER.
  2317. >It brings problems. 
  2318. >Ah, there, the door’s finally locked; you can now shift her back on both arms and breath again.
  2319. >This time, you proceed down your alley. Then you turn right.
  2320. >Following the long sidewalk which leads to town, you pass by many factory parking lots.
  2321. >You realize something after the third factory though.
  2322. >Even if you are strong and big she is by no means light to carry, and now that you’re thinking about it…
  2323. >The vet miiight be a little further than you thought.
  2324. >No, it’s your fault that she’s in this condition. You didn’t ask, you jumped straight to a conclusion and hurt her.
  2325. > Not just on the conclusion.
  2326. >Carrying her that far doesn’t seem like a bad thing to do, when compared to what you’ve done to her.
  2327. >Plus, Carl said she was depending on you, and now that she has one problematic leg, she can’t walk all the way down.
  2328. >If only you had a car though, it’d be easier… Yet, it’s best if you don’t.
  2329. >Not having one is one thing less to vandalize on your property.
  2330. >Your mailbox, house, and lawn are more than enough.
  2331. >Being lost in thoughts has made you unaware of your surroundings, you, therefore, didn't notice the soda can thrown at your head until it reached its mark.
  2332. >“Oh shit, man, sorry. I was aiming at the trash can.”
  2333. >On your right, there’s a hobo, resting on a sidewalk bench, a shopping cart full of empty soda cans beside him. On your left, there is indeed a trash can.
  2334. >There is no one else but you on the sidewalk, neither behind nor in front of you.
  2335. >No one else.
  2336. “The grin of your face says that you hit the mark…” snarks Crazy Mouse as he continues to walk, without even glancing behind.
  2337. >Good thing too, else you would have put that man in the trash can yourself.
  2338. >After all, trashes belong in trash cans, it keeps the city clean and it makes you a good citizen, right?
  2339. >Hehe, he…
  2340. >No, it’s nothing to laugh about.
  2341. >It was silly of you to daydream outside of your house. No, that’s not just silly, it's moronic of you to have forgotten that you are going to town, where people who mail you mean mail and plant mean signs on your lawn lives and works and…
  2342. >Yeah.
  2343. >And she’s staying very still in your arms, now.
  2344. >Hmm.
  2345. >Well, it’s great for her, actually, now that you think about it.
  2346. >The best way to avoid being beaten is being with someone more likely to be beaten.
  2347. >Right?
  2348. > Yeah right, that’s such a relief for you.
  2349. >Sighing, you focus your attention back on the streets.
  2350. >Just think positive, like, like, hum… Yeah, an empty soda can isn’t that bad, you had worse.
  2351. >Maybe today won't be a bad day.
  2352. >
  2353. >
  2354. >Ah, thank God the first vet is finally in front of you. Your arms were seriously starting to ache.
  2355. >Except…
  2356. >How do you open the glass doors? Maybe the girl at the desk could help you?
  2357. >Oh, you didn’t see that she was talking on the phone.
  2358. > Hmm, she has a necklace and bracelets, both with Christian silver crosses. There’s also a slightly hidden bible tattoo on her neck. This should be interesting.
  2359. >You’ll have to wait unt-
  2360. >Hun? She looked at you, hung up and now she’s making wide motions with her arms.
  2361. >Is she… pointing something behind you?
  2362. >A quick glance behind reveals nothing suspicious.
  2363. >Or anything, so to speak.
  2364. >What is she on about?
  2365. >Confused, you turn your gaze back to her and raise a brow.
  2366. >Rolling her eyes, she moves away from her desk, heads towards you and opens the doors for you.
  2367. >You smile until she opens her mouth, “Go away you degenerate, we’re not treating your Pony!”
  2368. “B-But!”
  2369. >“Leave, NOW! Or I’m calling the cops.”
  2370. >For a split second, you want to rip her fucking face off with your teeth, but Crazy Mouse intervenes in the nick of time.
  2371.  “Blinded by wrath now are we? What a sinful display.”
  2372. >She opens her mouth to answer, but can’t come up with anything to reply.
  2373. He smiles and chuckles, “Seems like we have more in common than you thought. If I come here today, it’s for her, not for me, and treating animals is your bloody job. Not only are you unethical in your practice by letting your opinion gets the better of you, but you’re also discourteous to your neighbours because of your unjustified wrath.
  2374. “I’m also filing a complaint.”
  2375. >Shaking her head to put some orders in her thoughts, she frowns, “Yeah? Well, go on, do file one, ain’t like my boss will disapprove that I didn’t treat a Pony just so Two-Face Anon can abuse her all over again!”
  2376. >He laughs and turns around, giving you back the reins.
  2377. > The complaint can be filed anonymously, in three months, or a year, or tomorrow. Also, good luck trying to explain to the boss that, out of the blue, Two-Face Anon has adopted a Pony and came here to get her treated.
  2378. >“WA-WA-WA-wait a minute now!” Objects Rarity, stretching her neck in order to look above your shoulder, “He wasn’t the one who did this to me, I swear!”
  2379. >“And he even managed to brainwash her, what a monster…”
  2380. Monster
  2381. >“WHAT?! I’ll have you know that he has done no such thing. And based on what premises dare you slander him in such ridiculous manner?”
  2382. >You pinch your lips and close your eye, but the pain still manages to leak out of one.
  2383. >The tone of the secretary changes. She now sounds as if she is on the verge of tears.
  2384. >“And she sounds so sure of her, I don’t even want to know what that demon has done to you”
  2385. Demon.
  2386. >“I, I’m sorry, I can’t do anything for you.”
  2387. >The sound of the doors closing behind you makes you jump a bit.
  2388. >“W-WHAT!?”
  2389. “Stop, Rar’ty…”
  2390. >She jerks her head toward you with determination and anger in her face, “After what she just said about you?! How can you conceive that I’ll-” before noticing your own and have her willpower deflate, “Oh, I-I didn’t saw that you…”
  2391. “It, It okay,” ou lie, wiping the tears on your shoulder as much as you can, given that you’re still holding her.
  2392. >Did you really believed that it would be simple to get some help, just because it wasn’t about you?
  2393. >How fucking dumb can you be, Anonymous, how fucking dumb?
  2394. >“Hum, sir?”
  2395. “Hmm?”
  2396. >“May I ask you a question?”
  2397. “Shur.”
  2398. >“A man with a cat just passed by, heading toward the vet.”
  2399. You raise your right brow, “And?”
  2400. >“W-well, it’s just that, I, I was expecting, maybe, more patients of the Pony kind?”
  2401. “Hmm."
  2402. >Not sure you follow there,
  2403. “They treat pets, but it more common t’have cats than Punies.”
  2404. >She blinks, incredulous, before gazing in front of her; reflecting or something.
  2405. >“So, when you said, "vet treats pet, happy again" you actually meant… pet.”
  2406. “Yeeees?”
  2407. >“And, and when you said, vet, you meant veterinary, which do treat animals.”
  2408. “What your point?”
  2409. >Puny talks too much.
  2410. >She presses her hoof against her barrel and looks at you, appalled, “B-b-but, I am not an animal or a pet by any means, I AM a Pony!”
  2411. “Hun? You Puny, yes, but not human, so animal.”
  2412. >She blinks.
  2413. >Her mouth's open.
  2414. >And that's it.
  2415. >Hmm.
  2416. > Hey, spit in her mouth, aim for the uvula!
  2417. >Hehehe, no.
  2418. >
  2419. >She slowly lowers her eyes to stare at the void, “W-well, I suppose that it IS one way to be treated like an animal…”
  2420. “Not just animal, a pet!”
  2421. >She rotates her head and reveals a deadpan face.
  2422. >“Really…?” she asks, dead serious; smirking, but her eyes tell you that she doesn’t find it funny at all.
  2423. > Gee, she’s giving you one last chance to rephrase yourself.
  2424. >Oh shit, hum, hum…
  2425. “Hum, a cute pet?”
  2426. >Oh boy, twitchy right eye.
  2427. >Out of options, and in an explosive situation, you opt for your last resort.
  2428. >You smile with all your missing teeth and try to look friendly.
  2429. “…”
  2430. >Quite
  2431. >Obviously.
  2432. >It doesn’t work.
  2433. >Sighing in defeat, you head down Austin Street, with your head down, “Still unhappy, still not ‘nough.”
  2434. >“But of course I am unhappy!” she bursts, moving her hoof around in the air to express her anger more vividly, “I could have been treated there, had it not been because of, of…!”
  2435. Munster
  2436. Demon
  2437. “Yeah, s-s’rry, Ah’m munster,”
  2438. >Surprised, she frowns and smiles, “What…? No! I wasn't talking about you, I was talking about her!”
  2439. “B-but, she said no, ‘cause of me, t'munster.”
  2440. >Grunting, she throws her head back, “Will you please stop moping around all the time?! It has become rather unbearable, so to speak! Whatever could you have possibly done to justify such defamation anyway?”
  2441. >Unable to bear her gaze, you look forward, trying to avoid colliding into, or have pedestrian colliding into you, “Don’t wanna’now.”
  2442. >“But of course I want to know!”
  2443. > Hmm, she is looking at you suspiciously.
  2444. >You’re not trying to hide it from her, but.
  2445. >Ah, to hell with it.
  2446. “E’er heard dee ee-di-om, cu’iosity killed t’cat, but s’tisfaction brought it back?”
  2447. >“Yes, I have, what about it?”
  2448. “W-well, ain’t no kitty c’ming back, if you know, and, and Ah’m sick of be-een lonely.”
  2449. >Despite clearly not being satisfied with the answer, she stares at the ground, resentful, “Fine.”
  2450. >Munster.
  2451. >She sighs, “You, haven’t tried to put your muzzle in my… circumstances, I should say. The least I can do is to not put mine in yours either.”
  2452. > Yep, listen to her, Anon. Do not forget that she is wounded, needs treatments and a warm atmosphere; you should at least provide the latter. Moping isn’t really helping you in that endeavour.
  2453. >Wiping your eye on your shoulder, once again, you carry on deeper in town.
  2454. >It wasn’t the only vet, after all.
  2455. >Although, the longer you linger, the riskier it becomes, you can see it in their staring.
  2456. >You want to be in your forge right now…
  2457. >
  2458. >
  2459. >Going further into the districts was the only choice you had, so there you are, on the park’s Avenue.
  2460. >Many passersby are giving you looks filled with judgment.
  2461. >At least, those who even deigns to look do.
  2462. > Tis not judgments, but bloodlust, Anon. Stay on your toes.
  2463. >But it hurts to stand on them.
  2464. > Oh, for fuck’s sake.
  2465. >You try your best to ignore both the passersby and him.
  2466. >You are not ‘Two-Face Anon’, you are Anonymous. You are kind and you’re trying to help your Pony right now. Gotta stay positive, for the warm atmosp-
  2467. >Ah, the light’s red now, gotta wait until the green guy lights up.
  2468. >Since it is a busy street, it doesn’t take long for the few brave ones to gather around you and coalesce into a small crowd at the end of the sidewalk.
  2469. >There’s also an old lady at the forefront, which was there before you: yellow straw hat or something with a feather on top and a pink woollen… dress, something, you don’t really know, it’s old people’s cloth.
  2470. >Also, she smells like peppermint and soap.
  2471. >Hey, that’s right, now that you think about it, you’ve been cradling her for a while, and you’ve yet to smell that strawberry scent she had the first day.
  2472. >That’s really weird, you don’t remember her taking a bath or something.
  2473. >In fact, she is just nearly as dirty as she was when you first met her. She got cleaner, somehow.
  2474. >Weird.
  2475. >The old lady, feeling a presence behind her, turns around and gasps, recognizing who is standing, tall, behind her.
  2476. >Not losing a second, she rummages through her purse, without breaking eye-contact, despite shaking in her loose clothes and chattering her teeth.
  2477. >It could go awry pretty quickly, and that would be bad, for many reasons, so you smile and try to talk to her, hoping to calm her down.
  2478. “Hum. Hi, how are-”
  2479. >Why does she has a relieved smile on her-
  2481. >Your eye! IT BURNS!
  2482. >
  2483. >Surprised by the uncalled-for pepper spray assault, you let go of the Pony to cover your face with your hands, step back a few steps and accidentally colliding with strangers behind you.
  2484. “ARRRRGH, M’EYE, M'EYE!”
  2485. >Your pet screams as she lands on the cold hard cement.
  2486. >
  2487. >You can’t see! You can’t breathe!
  2488. >“Anonymous!”
  2491. >“What the hay do you think you’re doing!? STOP, STOP!”
  2493. >It’s in your mouth, in your nose, in your eye, they all burn! It burns! God, it fucking burns!
  2495. >It burns, it burns so much, worse, you are in danger, and surrounded, and, and oh, God, you don’t like that, it is going bad, it is going really bad.
  2496. >You gotta do something, and quick, or else…
  2497. > Hmm?
  2498. >
  2499. >In order to block the spray, you fumble your hands toward her.
  2500. >It works, the spray stops.
  2501. >“What the… What the fuck’s wrong with you, you, you old hag!”
  2502. >Was that Rarity?
  2503. >The old lady speaks, “Oh shut yer wanker sheath, ye facking gorm!”
  2505. >Oh no, please, no, anything but elect-
  2506. >“ANON, WATchmhgh! HMMMMM!”
  2507. >From the sound of it, someone is gagging her!
  2508. “RAR’TY!” you howl, desperately heading toward her voice, your arms raised in the air to compensate for your blindness.
  2509. DZZZZZZ-
  2510. >Unfortunately, your palm meets a Taser gun.
  2511. >Violent spasms invade your body; you can’t help but tighten your grip on the lady’s hand, shocking her along with you.
  2512. >“What the fuck are you doing to her, you monster!”
  2513. MUNSTER.
  2514. >After a few seconds of blind agony, you feel knuckles striking your left cheek.
  2515. >A warm liquid invades your mouth.
  2516. >One man shouts, “LEAVE HER ALONE YOU MANIAC!”
  2517. MANIAC.
  2518. >YOU’RE TRYING! You swear to God, you’re trying!
  2519. >“GRRRRRRRRR!”
  2520. >“FUCK! She bit me, that bitch!” Says another man.
  2521. >The sound of someone kicking and a painful neigh reaches your ears.
  2522. >Before you can do anything, another punch follows its predecessor. This one, however, is strong enough to floor you and thus forces you to let go of her hand.
  2523. >Now on the ground, you hold your scorching face.
  2524. > WhyWhatHappenedItBurnsScaredFearRunAwayNoPonyNeedHelpsFearDangerBulliedHelpSorry…
  2525. >“She’s not breathing… SOMEONE CALL AN AMBULANCE! SHE’S NOT BREATHING!” Orders a voice, just in front of you.
  2526. >Neither do you, the pepper spray was shot directly at the back of your mouth and then across your face.
  2527. >You can’t help but cough deep and hoarse coughs that taste of pepper and blood.
  2528. >“YOU’RE NOW TARGETING THE ELDERLY YOU MONSTER!?” Shouts the first man before kicking you in the ribs, cutting whatever breath you painfully mustered.
  2529. >“ANON, HEEEEEELP!”
  2530. >The crowd forming around you cheers as you protect yourself in a fetal position.
  2531. >Unable to breathe, bullied again, for having done nothing wrong, again!
  2532. >“I pulled my children out of school because of you, do you have ANY ideas how hard it is to homeschool them, DO YOU?” shouts a woman.
  2533. > Open the cage, Anon, and set me free.
  2534. >NO, I-
  2535. >“With freaks like that on the street, everyone’s at risk!” Says a man, before stomping your liver, derailing your train of thought.
  2536. >“Yeah, give him what he deserves!” Replies a woman.
  2537. > It ain’t about us, anymore, Anon, it is for her.
  2538. >B-But!
  2539. >“Because of you, my insurances have raised, you fucker!” Claims another elderly person.
  2540. >Deafening at first, their voice slowly fades into intelligible sounds…
  2541. >
  2542. > It’s about her, Anon. She needs you!
  2543. >Several hands are pulling your right arm away from your body, uncovering your ribs and face, which promptly get stampeded.
  2544. >In response, you stop resisting their pull; instead, you use the momentum to roll on your other side, covering the other half with your left arm.
  2545. >N-NO! She just wants to milk me and, and-
  2546. >“ANOOOOOOOON!”
  2547. > That cry of despair is genuine. Listen to your heart this time Anon. This time, it won’t betray you.
  2548. >…
  2549. > I am Crazy Mouse, and my purpose is to protect you, Anon. If I tell you to go for her, it means you’re going to hurt much more if you don’t.
  2550. >But-
  2551. >“ANOO-GMHMMM!”
  2552. >“Shut the FUCK UP, BITCH!”
  2553. > Interesting, that voice is the driver’s, one of her bullies, Anon.
  2554. >It, IT IS!?
  2555. > Yep, they’re going to take her away and bully her. You failed to protect her, apparently.
  2556. “NOOOOOOOO!”
  2557. >Filled with vindictive determination, you jolt in a sitting position and try to stand up, forcing your eye open.
  2558. >A red, blurred movement appears in front of his eye, and one second later, Anonymous is knocked out cold.
  2559. ***************************************************************************
  2560. Everyone knows what a man that has nothing left to lose can do.
  2561. The real danger, however, comes from the man that has everything to lose.
  2562. Do not worry, Anonymous, even if you live in a land of confusion, for I, Crazy Mouse, will set things right, with what is left.
  2563. Jesus, if you’re watching, please avert your eyes, for it is not the time to forgive, but to be aggressive.
  2564. Sorry, the right term is: Self-defence against an unprovoked assault.
  2565. ***************************************************************************
  2566. >GOD, your… head! it hurts so… fuck!
  2567. >A headache, the taste of blood, and a thin stream of blood flowing down your nose are the first thing you notice.
  2568. >Shortly after, the scorching irritation in your face and the agony in your ribs make themselves known.
  2569. >Seems like you got beaten up again… but where are you now?
  2570. >W-Wait, you were in the streets, and, and with your pet!
  2571. “Rar’ty…?” Is the only word you manage to get out of your painful mouth.
  2572. >“Y-Yes, Master?”
  2573. >Oh, oh your fucking God, she’s safe.
  2574. >Even better, there’s no pain in her voice, which means they must have only been after you. That’s such a relief.
  2575. >It’s way better for you to take the beating anyway. You’re big and strong, you can take it.
  2576. >That’s… That’s nice, yeah, that’s nice.
  2577. >No what are you saying, it’s great! It means Crazy Mouse protected her, or at least, fled with her, and, and, if you got the reins back, it means that you’re both safe.
  2578. > It’s nice? Talk for yourself, dumbass…
  2579. >Sorry.
  2580. >
  2581. >Now that you think about it, your eyes are closed.
  2582. >Probably better to keep them that way.
  2583. >You see the colour red through your eyelid, which means light, and it doesn’t mix well with headaches.
  2584. >It does bring a question though.
  2585. “Where’re we?”
  2586. >“Hun?”
  2587. “Where, are… we?”
  2588. >“You, you mean, you don’t remember?”
  2589. “R’member… Lady, then, smile, t-then pain.”
  2590. >Hoooohoo-hoo! Nope, don’t try to remember, it hurts too much.
  2591. >A whole lot of hurt.
  2592. >But why is she so quiet all of a sudden?
  2593. “Puny…?”
  2594. >“Hun? Oh, yes, right, pardon me. Hum… we are currently in the park; on a bench, to be more precise.”
  2595. “Thanks.”
  2596. >From how you’re feeling, someone might have kicked you in the face, once, but most must have stomped on you. Your right knuckles are numb, but not painful.
  2597. >The right elbow is, though.
  2598. >You must have thrown punches, maybe once, or a few times, but you definitively struck something real hard with your elbow.
  2599. >Must have been a forehead, or, a skull, or hopefully, you just fell on the floor real hard.
  2600. >Hmm, also, you’re both in the park, which is near the street you were on.
  2601. >Your body feels like shit, but not your bones.
  2602. >Therefore.
  2603. >It was a quick battle, in which the mob lost its will to fight pretty soon.
  2604. >Good thing too.
  2605. >Otherwise, you wouldn’t have enough strength to go back home, let alone carry her through town.
  2606. >If you think about it a bit, you might be able to go to a vet or two, but not enough to go back.
  2607. >That might be a problem.
  2608. >In any case, you’re gonna have to open that eye sooner or later, so…
  2609. “Gnn…”
  2610. >Damn, the sun’s always too bright.
  2611. >At least, you can see pretty well. Wait, that is strange. You had pepper sprayed in your eye!
  2612. >Also, your face and beard are wet.
  2613. >That's weird.
  2614. >Oh, there’s a water fountain right there, like, the one people use to drink. There’s also a bit of blood on the side.
  2615. >He must have washed the pepper off there.
  2616. > It’s fucking pepper oil mixed with water. Have you ever tried to wash oil with water? let me tell you that it fucking doesn’t work.
  2617. >Right.
  2618. >Yet, there’s one thing you want to look at now.
  2619. >Her, on your right.
  2620. >
  2621. >She doesn’t look hurt, in fact, she seems… deep in thoughts, or, reminiscing.
  2622. >Maybe she is thinking about the times she was beaten and you being beaten brought that shit back up.
  2623. >Well, it’d be better to change her ideas now, ‘cause they don’t give a warm atmosphere.
  2624. “Puny o-k?”
  2625. >Without blinking, she slowly drops her head, before nodding.
  2626. >Hmm, this is as flag as flags can be. Let’s see if cradling her can shock her out of it.
  2627. >You get up, move, crouch in front of her, and put your hands under her-
  2628. >“W-Wait!” she bolts in surprise, clearly unwilling to comply.
  2629. “Ouch, m’head…”
  2630. >“W-Why don’t we take a moment to rest?” she asks, visibly nervous about something.
  2631. >She also raises many flags, “After all, it is such a beautiful and bright day. The weather’s nice and, and, and hum…”
  2632. >Really?
  2633. >She also realizes that you're not buying it, but just to be sure, she asks nonetheless, “And you don’t believe me one bit now, don’t you?”
  2634. >You shake your head, before wincing in regret.
  2635. >However, if the lady wants to rest, it is merely courteous of you to comply, so you sit on the bench again, and join your hands together.
  2636. >Which apparently confuses her big time.
  2637. >Why does she look at you, confused? No, not confused… aghast.
  2638. >“Sir, your… cheek,” she jerks her head in front of her and trembles, “s-sorry, I haven't seen anything.”
  2639. >Confused, you touch the cheek and-
  2640. “Oh.”
  2641. >Your dental prosthesis broke, again. It must be due to a big blow, such as a kick to the cheek, or something.
  2642. >Since it broke, your whole cheek has caved-in. Her reaction’s understandable.
  2643. >For now, the best thing to do is to see if you cannot fix it, somehow. You ought to be at least, presentable to get some treatments for her, after all.
  2644. “It okay, Pro’lly don’t wann’ look though.”
  2645. >The whole thing usually isn’t hard to pull out, but now that it’s broken, it might have sharp edges. In order to not damage your flesh, you carefully, gently, pull at your incisors… and the rest follows easily, great!
  2646. >Now, let’s look at it, is it… yep, that part broke again.
  2647. >For now, the only thing you can do is to bend it… like… that, there you go, and let the two broken part push each other like an arch.
  2648. >The only downside is that you’re going to have an overbite until you can fix it at the forge.
  2649. >
  2650. >Licking your teeth, you feel ready to show your face to her, so you drive your finger between her ribs, “Look, all nee’ew.”
  2651. >Hmm.
  2652. >Now that’s a weird face.
  2653. >“Wah… B-But your face! How-did-you…”
  2654. “Prosthesisss,” you articulate, smiling.
  2655. >“Oh,” she looks away, grits her teeth and takes a deep breath, “I see,”
  2656. >Now why is she like, embarrassed or something?
  2657. >“Is, is it common for you to, to…”
  2658. “Prosthesiss?”
  2659. >She shakes her head, rubbing her right foreleg, before wincing, “No, not that, the… You know.”
  2660. >No you don't. What's she on about?
  2661. >She puts on a smile on her face and faces you, “N-Nevermind, it wasn’t very important anyway.”
  2662. >Something not important?
  2663. >Oh, oh right, the beatings.
  2664. >Right…
  2665. “Beatin’s?” You ask as you turn your gaze toward the bloodied fountain.
  2666. >“No-no-no, it’s, it’s fine. No really, it is. I shouldn't put my muzzle in your, hum circumstances, was it?”
  2667. “It ok. Nhot like ta’kin’ ‘bout ith's dange’ouss.”
  2668. >“…”
  2669. “No, no not offten.”
  2670. >Meh, she’s right though. Getting beaten up isn't important.
  2671. >What’s important right now is her and her well-being.
  2672. >Anyway, if you’re lucky, the beatings will stop in jail too.
  2673. >
  2674. >You sigh.
  2675. >No, for now, she’s what’s important, focus Anon, focus.
  2676. >“B-But, why? I mean, I can understand that they believed you were assaulting her with that Taser even if they were wrong; but even then, she simply had no right to use that, that, spicy weapon against you, who had done absolutely nothing wrong!”
  2677. “Yeah.”
  2678. >“I cannot believe some people, like that vet, who on Equestria does she think she is to accuse you of things that you would never, ever do!”
  2679. “Yeah…”
  2680. >She neighs, which actually sounded like scoffing, and swats her tail, “Ooooh, I swear that if I ever see any of them again I, I will… Oooh, for the love of me I don't even know what I would do to them, but they certainly would have a piece of my mind!”
  2681. >Jaded, you do not have the strength to answer.
  2682. >“That foul-mouthed hag even told me to shut my… yuk, just thinking about it reminds me of the taste!”
  2683. You chuckle, “Yeah, it bad.”
  2684. >She doesn't follow up, weird…
  2685. >“No offence, sir, but I do not believe that you can truly understand what it is to, to…” she sighs and mumbles, “have my circumstances.”
  2686. “Hum, no, but… Ah, Ah…”
  2687. >Unsure of how to proceed, you rub your nape.
  2688. >“Then how could you poss-Oh…”
  2689. >Oh?
  2690. >“That is the way you swing, isn't it?”
  2691. “Swin'?” you ask, looking at her, confused.
  2692. >Fiddling her mane, she clears her throat and swishes her tail, trying hard to focus her sight on anything but you, “I-I-I mean, there is nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong at all. It isn't my business in the first place, although it does explain a few things about… well, other things.”
  2693. >Whaaaaaa?
  2694. > She's calling you gay.
  2695. >Oh…
  2696. “Hum, no. Ah have circums'-anfes…”
  2697. >Her complexions stiffens; so does her fiddling with her mane, “Oh.”
  2698. >Embarassed, you look away and trap your nose between your palm, holding your glabella with your indexes.
  2699. >“I sincerely apologize for what I have just said…”
  2700. “She had the right,” you state in an effort to change the subject.
  2701. >“Plait-il?”
  2702. >Great subject change…
  2703. “Y-you know, De ol' la'y.”
  2704. >“Oh, you were talking about that bag of dusty bones. But, I don't understand. I saw the whole thing with my very eyes! It was unfair of her to-”
  2705. >Please, stop it.
  2706. “It al’right, Puny, it al’right.”
  2707. >“Of course not! It is far from alrigh-”
  2708. >You jerky your head toward her and shout, “Raritchy!”
  2709. >Surprised, she closes her mouth, but the determination in her eyes screams that she’s merely holding back.
  2710. >And that it will come out, sooner rather than later.
  2711. >It’s painful having to explain it, she really doesn’t know who, you, Two-Face Anonymous is.
  2712. >Now, you’re gonna have to articulate, again, what a pain.
  2713. >You open your mouth… but the right words don’t come out.
  2714. >Not really knowing what to do, you close it and move closer to her, hugging her, gently.
  2715. >She stiffens, but she doesn’t draw back. In fact, she turns her head and rests her cheek on your nape, before putting her left foreleg on your back.
  2716. >However, you notice a spider walking on the bench’s armrest. It reminds you of your dream, for some reasons…
  2717. >No, now’s not the time to solve riddles. Because right now, what’s important is…
  2718. >That’s it, those are the words.
  2719. “Is Rarity hurt?”
  2720. >“No, not really. They, they didn’t try to do anything. I am… luxurious goods, after all.”
  2721. >Gee, that was a venomous tone.
  2722. “Then, it okay.”
  2723. >She stiffens and increases the volume of her voice, “No, it is not, it is far fro-” before sighing and patting your broad back. affectionately, “Why, exactly, do you believe that it is 'okay'?”
  2724. “Because… It common sense to beat me, that's all.”
  2725. >
  2726. >The statement makes her stiffen her leg for a moment, but she doesn’t stop.
  2727. “They always do, so, why bother?”
  2728. >After a short pause, she says, “Are you saying that beating each other’s on the street is some sort of… Man custom?”
  2729. “No, beating munsters is, and they are right to do so 'cause no one likes munsters… Munsters who shoot people with shotguns, or munsters who…”
  2730. >ANON! This is NOT a warm environment, this is just an ugly monster complaining, and no one likes people who complain.
  2731. “But it all okay, since Rarity is safe,” you tell her as you break the hug.
  2732. >Her expression is one of genuine concern, which is very weird; you hugged her, she shouldn't be worried about herself.
  2733. >Sighing at her complexity, you look at the path of stone leading out of the park.
  2734. >But, sir-”
  2735. “Let’s just go to vet.”
  2736. >“Anonymous!”
  2737. >Ignoring her, you lift your arms to cradle her-
  2738. >“ANONYMOUS!” shouts the mare as an invisible force swats your arms away, scaring the shit out of you.
  2739. >Out of the two, however, she seems to be the one most shocked by the supernatural phenomenon.
  2740. > Interesting…
  2741. >Sighing, you lean and rest your arms on your knees, gazing at nothing in front of you.
  2742. >She doesn’t want to be cradled, it’s understandable, but she didn’t have to be so mean about it!
  2743. >It's not like you tried to- to put your dirty hands on her, against her will…
  2744. >You dumb fuck.
  2745. > Want some help, buddy?
  2746. >Mental sigh.
  2747. >Yes.
  2748. >
  2749. “Rarity, if crying about it would change anything, I would’ve known, a very. long. time. ago. So, why should I?”
  2750. >“That’s…”
  2751. “They’re gonna beat me again, whether I want it or not ‘cause I’m a mo-munster. I got better things to do than whining ‘bout what I can’t change. Going to the vet, for example, and getting your leg fixed, that, I can do.”
  2752. >He pets her mane, “So, let’s get it over with, m’kay?”
  2753. >“That is simply too cruel, Anonymous.“
  2754. >He shrugs, jaded, “Meh,” and chuckles, “Not really, it just humanity for you, and my very circumstances.”
  2755. >This time, he crouches in front of her and slowly approaches his hands.
  2756. >She nods, defeated, so he proceeds to cradle her.
  2757. >Unfortunately, you can’t help but see her crying… for you.
  2758. “B’sides, don’t cry Rarity. You just dehydrate yourself. After all, it common sense to not care ‘bout munsters feelings.”
  2759. >3. 2. 1…
  2760. “GRNG..!”
  2761. >There he goes, standing proud and tall with a crying girl in his arms.
  2762. >“What could they have possibly done for you to, to…”
  2763. He chuckles, “So, Puny got a taste of humanity? Well, I was raised amongst them.”
  2764. >Frowning, gritting his teeth, he walks down the rocky path.
  2765. “Ever wondered how they can be so cruel, at times? It simple, really; they got to practice on humans, lots, lots of practice.”
  2766. >
  2767. >It doesn’t take much time to leave the park.
  2768. >For now, your anger’s enough to carry her, despite your bruises and burning throat, but it’ll fade, sooner or later.
  2769. >Fortunately, there’s another vet not too far-
  2770. >“This world is so cold.”
  2771. >Hmm?
  2772. >It’s still in the early afternoon; the sun’s also shining brightly in the summer sky.
  2773. “Cold?”
  2774. >After a moment, she nods, so, you press her harder against your chest.
  2775. “Bet'er?”
  2776. >Shaking her head, she looks away.
  2777. >Somehow, doing so makes her look even more despondent.
  2778. >“Even I have done horrible, horrible things.”
  2779. “Hun?”
  2780. >She puts her head on your right shoulder, her cheek on your ear.
  2781. “Things or acshionsh aren’t munshtroush. Humansh are. You not human. So, can’t be munshtroush.”
  2782. >“Mhm…”
  2783. >Doesn’t seem like she believes you.
  2784. >Sure, she’s been a real bitch to you, but, you can’t really hold it against her.
  2785. >She’s one of the few that doesn’t want to hurt you straight off the bat, and she tasted the brunt of Humans first-hand.
  2786. >You can’t blame her for the little things she has done to you!
  2787. >But, you should still cheer her up, for the warm atmosphere.
  2788. “Munshtersh hurt and bully for fun. But Puny, Puny hass bad luck.”
  2789. >“N-No, you don’t understand, I’ve done horrible, things, selfish things… things I will never forget.”
  2790. “Must not be that bad… Puny is not pepper sprayed on streets! Hehe, heh…”
  2791. >She tenses up in your arms and her tone dries up. “Then, should I seek comfort knowing that others have done worse?”
  2792. “Hum…”
  2793. >She moves her flexible neck in order to stare at you with a frown and a wrinkled nose, “Having done things worse than me does not make my actions any less cruel and selfish and horrendous, and, and…”
  2794. >Her voice cracks as her pain flows through her blue eyes, “How can I ever forgive myself for the atrocities I have done?”
  2795. >Unsure of what to do, you nod and stay quiet.
  2796. >“It’ll be 5.45$, please. Thank you, have a nice day!” Says a masculine voice.
  2797. >“How can you even think that reminding me of your actions could, could…”
  2798. “W-Well, people always feel better knowing there is someone worse off than them, right?”
  2799. >She rolls her eyes and rests her head on your shoulder.
  2800. >Hmm… what should you do?
  2801. >Ah, there’s a bench just ahead, you’ll be able to rest your arms a bit, and think.
  2802. >Joy.
  2803. >
  2804. >You carefully sit down on the bench and drop her on your left.
  2805. >Although it takes a burden off your arms, seeing her cry quietly, adds one to your heart.
  2806. >“I’m sorry, Master.”
  2807. >It is not hard to guess her train of thought; you had the same, before…
  2808. “Shouldn’t bo'her me with your phroblems?”
  2809. >Stifling her cries, she nods and turns her head the other way, so you can’t see her being vulnerable.
  2810. >‘He might take advantage of it.’ isn’t it?
  2811. >Taking a deep breath, you wonder about what to say.
  2812. >She doesn’t want to talk about, well, all of that, but she can’t bottle up the fact she has done horrible things, and hide it from you either.
  2813. >Hmm.
  2814. “Hypocrite Puny.”
  2815. >Outraged, she swivels her head to look daggers at you, “WHAT!?”
  2816. >She’s even gritting her remaining teeth, but it doesn’t faze you one bit since it’s a typical reaction, you know how to handle those.
  2817. “Cry, if you want to cry. Don’t bfottle up your emo'ions, if you don’t want to… ssilly Puny.”
  2818. >Taken aback by the honest statement, the rage in her face shifts into incomprehension, “What?”
  2819. You stretch your aching arms while explaining, “Ah mean… Ah know that crying won’t chhange things, but, some people like to cry and talk about phroblems, not bfecause they looking for solutions, but bechause bottlin' the bad in their chest hurtss too much. That'ss you, and you don't, so you are hypocrite Puny. Easy.”
  2820. >Smiling, you pat her head.
  2821. “Drop the act, be real you, Raritchy. Ah prefer silence over fake laughs, frowns over fake ssmiles. You rememper?”
  2822. >Unpleased by the touch, she shoves your hand away with a swing of her horn, “But you said that I talked too much, and-and not just once, but several times!”
  2823. “rhight, but… when you talk, you don’t klisten to others, and to yourself.”
  2824. >“But, that’s what I did!” she stomps on the bench, “You told me to be quiet, and now, you want me to express myself!?”
  2825. >That headache is coming back…
  2826. >Trying to make sense out of this complex girl, you close your eyes and frown.
  2827. “Ah… Lookf, Puny,-”
  2828. >But she wouldn't hear none of it, “You aren’t after my body, you do not want to abuse me, or hurt me, or, or anything, really!”
  2829. “And…?”
  2830. >Her right eye twitches, “Just what do you want from me, what is it that you expect from me!?”
  2831. “T-Truth and happiness?”
  2832. >“Truth and happiness…”
  2833. “Yes.”
  2834. >Dumbstruck once again, she looks down and ponders your words.
  2835. >It’s simple, really. You want her to be honest with herself, and happy.
  2836. >Like, who in their right mind doesn’t?
  2837. >
  2838. >She uses her left hoof to tap her chin, “I guess I can be more transparent with you, if, if that’s what you mean of course. but, it is the ‘happiness’ part I am having a teeny bit of problem with.”
  2839. “Why?”
  2840. >“Well, as I have previously mentioned, I do not know whichever you desire from me.”
  2841. “Hmm."
  2842. >What?
  2843. >Tilted by your oblivious expression, she throws her hoof in the air, “Master, it is simply impossible for me to make you happy if I ignore-”
  2844. “Hun!? Ah’m not talking about my happiness, Ah’m pftalking about yourff!”
  2845. >She blinks a few times, smirks and frowns, “I… Am not quite sure I follow you, sir.”
  2846. >Gee. And Crazy Mouse calls you dense…
  2847. >Your stomach interrupts the conversation by growling.
  2848. “'ight, did not fh-eat-t-today.”
  2849. >That overbite is getting on your nerves so much.
  2850. >“Oh my, you are right,” she says, before opening her eyes wide, as if blessed by a revelation, “I’m also hungry, Master.”
  2851. “?”
  2852. >“W-Well, you told me to express myself more… N-Nevermind.”
  2853. >She wipes her eyes and rests her head on her forelegs.
  2854. >“It’ll be 3.75$… Thank you, here’s the ice-cream for the little boy… have a nice day!” Says a masculine voice.
  2855. >Is this Carl’s voice?
  2856. “Carl?!”
  2857. >Oh, right! Carl also works the ice-cream truck.
  2858. >Silly you.
  2859. >Mother always bought you ice-cream when you were sad; it made you feel better. It wasn’t pudding, but it was good.
  2860. >It made you feel like you mattered, that someone wanted you to be happy.
  2861. > That’s what the psychologist said, at least. Anyway, she seems pretty down for some reasons, why don’t you buy her some?
  2862. >Hmm, you don’t know.
  2863. > Girls always eat some when they’re sad. It’ll also rinse the burning sensation in our mouth.
  2864. >But…
  2865. > And your whining about being born amongst human ruined the warm atmosphere.
  2866. >So, warm the atmosphere with ice-cream?
  2867. > Heh, yep.
  2868. >
  2869. >Driven by the idea, you gently tap her barrel with the back of your hand to get her attention.
  2870. “Wait here, m’kay?”
  2871. >She raises her head and eyes you, unsure, “Hum, sure?” before resting her head on her legs again, “Not like I have much choice now, do I?”
  2872. >Smiling reassuringly, you leave her and walk in front of the ice-cream truck.
  2873. >
  2874. >“Welcome, what can I do foooooh shiiiiiit! Are you having an allergic reaction, Anon? You’re red all over!”
  2875. “Allergy to pepper spray, yeah. It burns and makes my face swell…”
  2876. >He blinks, twice.
  2877. >You try to maintain a serious face.
  2878. >“It was a lady?”
  2879. “Yep.”
  2880. >“Old?”
  2881. “Elderly.”
  2882. >“Alone?”
  2883. “Nope, surrounded.”
  2884. >Just like you, he tries to remain impassive in this situation, even though you are starting to feel the need to pinch your lips together in order to do so.
  2885. >He shakes his head and smiles, “They never liked you, hun?”
  2886. “Nope.”
  2887. >“Must be the beard, right?”
  2888. “Mhhm!” You hum, nodding, on the verge of cracking.
  2889. >“Mhhm…” Hums Carl, also on the verge of cracking.
  2890. >For a moment you both remain perfectly still, maintain eye contact, and purse your lips.
  2891. >Your cheeks hurt. Damn prosthesis.
  2892. >Before long, you both burst in laughter for several seconds, wheezing, bent in two.
  2893. >
  2894. >Carl is the one to regain his composure first. He clears his throat and speaks, “It’s a pretty hot day today, isn’t it?”
  2895. “Yeah, but hotter in forge.”
  2896. >The ice-cream vendor chuckles, “Can't argue with that. By the way, thank you for last week’s knives, my wife says, ‘cutting carrots with them is like cutting water.’”
  2897. >You grin, “Poor Carl, married a woman who triesf to cut water with knivesf”
  2898. >Grinning despite him, Carl sighs, “Idiot, and at this price, she’d better be happy!”
  2899. “Heh, you paid for quality, knivesf will last long, good investment.”
  2900. >“Yeah, yeah, I guess so. Anyway, same as usual?”
  2901. “Nan, it’s for lady.”
  2902. >His eyes light up, impressed, “Oh oh, and who’s the lucky girl? Not the pepper one I presume?”
  2903. “Nope, idiot. It’s her.”
  2904. >You point at your Pony. The ice-cream vendor stretches his head out of his truck to take a look.
  2905. >Then, he looks confused.
  2906. >“Who?”
  2907. “The lady, of cour'e.”
  2908. >Unable to find her, he frowns and scratches his forehead, lifting his ice cream cap by the same occasion, “Where is she?”
  2909. “On bench, new pet.”
  2910. >He turns his head to look at you, before looking at her again, quite shocked.
  2911. >“Anon, did you?”
  2912. “Hmm?”
  2913. >He looks at you again, worried, “Anon, she… It’s illegal to own a slave, you know it, right?”
  2914. >Hun? She’s your pet, not a slave, whatever that is.
  2915. “Not slave, new pet, just told you. Punies are pets, so if they’re pet, they’re not slafes, right?”
  2916. > Never knew he could do a pretty great speechless stick guy impression.
  2917. >“I, I guess.” Says the vendor, shaking his head, “Look, Carl, you’re doing two jobs to meet both ends. You are selling ice-cream right now.”
  2918. “Hun?”
  2919. >“So, hum, what would you like for the lady?”
  2920. “For her to be happy. To do that-”
  2921. >“Pudding,”
  2922. “Hmm, pudding…”
  2923. >While you’re thinking about pudding, you don’t see Carl wheezing,
  2924. >“Works all the time… Hey Anon, why don’t you buy some ice-cream to make her happy?”
  2925. “Oh, great idea Carl, recommend what?”
  2926. >He looks left and right before leaning forward and whispering, “Can you hold a secret?”
  2927. “No, I forget secret is secret, or simply forget it.”
  2928. >Chuckling, or sighing, you aren't sure, he shrugs, “Good enough, I’ll give you my special mixture.”
  2929. >He takes a rectangular cone from under the counter, put some grass inside, takes a spoon, one which you remember having forged and scoops ice-cream from a bucket somewhere you can’t see.
  2930. >Soon enough, you’re holding 4 ice-cream balls on top of a rectangular cone that smells of grass.
  2931. >“It’s on the house, if she likes it, you’ll be able to come again and buy some more.”
  2932. “She’ll like?”
  2933. >“Who doesn’t like my ice-cream?” he boasts and crosses his arms.
  2934. “Girls don’t like to eat grass.”
  2935. >“Ponies do.”
  2936. “Hmm.”
  2937. > It’s free dude, so shut up and take it. Besides, remember how happy she was when you gave her pudding?
  2938. >It was pudding, not ice-cream.
  2939. > She likes sweets, right?
  2940. >It’s ice-cream…
  2941. > Ice-cream is also a kind of sweet.
  2942. >Hmm.
  2943. “Thanks, Carl.”
  2944. >“No problem for my number one client, and for his lady,” he winks, you blush, "See you around, Anon.”
  2945. >She is not your lady, she's, she's just a lady, nevertheless, you nod him goodbye and go back to the bench.
  2946. >Where your pet looks, confused, for some reasons.
  2947. >Once you sit beside her, you approach the cone to her mouth.
  2948. >She eyes it with evident desire, and yet her ears are still turned back, her expression is still one of confusion.
  2949. “Yours.”
  2950. >She takes it between her forelegs, unsure, before giving you a once-over, as if she was searching for something.
  2951. “Hmm?”
  2952. >“Where’s yours?”
  2953. >Noooooow that you think about it, getting some ice-cream does seem nice, but you want her to feel special. It is her treat, to make her happy.
  2954. >Just like Mother did for you.
  2955. You brush her off nonchalantly, “Don’tf need.”
  2956. >It isn’t enough to allay her worries. Nonetheless, she sniffs the treat, before perking her ears up, opening her eyes wide and looking at your friend’s truck.
  2957. >That was weird, do they know each other?
  2958. “Know Carl?”
  2959. >Startled, she turns her head toward you, “Oh, hum, yes and no,” then fixates her treat.
  2960. “Hmm?”
  2961. >Flag.
  2962. >“It, it doesn’t really matter, since he… He’s a good guy, right?”
  2963. >Ah.
  2964. Smiling, you lean on the bench and put your hands behind your head, “Yep, Carl’s a good guy.”
  2965. >Having nothing to do, you take look around. Quickly enough you notice that passersby are giving you weird looks, again.
  2966. >Yeah. Giving ice-cream to your pet seems weird, but she can eat pudding. She can talk.
  2967. >She’s special enough to eat ice-cream.
  2968. >Still, you don’t like those looks, they’re full of judgement.
  2969. >However, when you lay your eyes on her, you realize that she minds them much more than you do.
  2970. >She even tries to hide behind her mane.
  2971. >You want her to be happy, not judged.
  2972. >To avoid that, you should go somewhere nearby, with fewer people.
  2973. >But where?
  2974. >Hmm.
  2975. “Park…”
  2976. >“Come again?”
  2977. >Cradling her again, you make sure her ice-cream stays steady between her forelegs, and walk toward your destination.
  2978. >You also notice how steady the cone stays between her legs, despite your gait.
  2979. >Carl is really smart, cone-shaped ice-cream cones would be a real pain for her to hold, so a rectangular one’s a great idea!
  2980. >
  2981. >Sitting on a bench again would be boring, and would attract passersby’s attention. Therefore, you decided to sit down under the shade of a tree.
  2982. >She needs a vet, sure, but she needs to smile much more.
  2983. >“Master, why?” she asks as she looks at her surroundings, before laying her gaze on you.
  2984. >A question mark on her face, between her sadness and her worries wouldn’t have been more obvious.
  2985. “Eat, or it meltsf.”
  2986. >“This is exactly what I’m talking about. I have done, terrible, terrible things, and yet you’re buying me ice-cream, and-and now, I’m on your laps, in the middle of a park, under a tree!”
  2987. >What point is she trying to make?
  2988. “Horrible things, to whom?”
  2989. >“To…” she turns her away but keeps her ears back, "To many people.”
  2990. “Hmm.”
  2991. >She looks at her ice cream for a moment, before slowly turning her gaze to meet your, allowing you to see the distress of her mind on her face, “Just, why, why would you do such things for me? I clearly do not deserve-”
  2992. You put your finger on her lips to shut her, and articulate, “Everyone deserves happy faces. They’re contagious, like yawning, but you never have happy faces,” You point at the ice-cream, “Mother always bought ice-cream when… When memories flowed down my face.”
  2993. >“Memories… oh, tears.”
  2994. “No, they're different so…”
  2995. >You look away and rub your nape.
  2996. “Like, pudding brings happy smiles on peoples’ faces, even mine, but to you, it does something else.”
  2997. >“And… what does it do, then?”
  2998. “Brings life back to your blue eyes.”
  2999. >Thinking's hard, and it gives you headaches, but this time you have to think, to find the words.
  3000. “Puny has put her forehead on my gun and cried with dead eyes. Puny back then was dead in there,” you poke her chest, “and in there,” you poke her head.
  3001. >You bend a little and hug her, tightly, but not too much, as to not hurt her again.
  3002. “And Ah hurt Puny back home…”
  3003. >“But, you were right to-”
  3004. “Ah thought my blade was gone, but, you brought it back, so, it forgiven.”
  3005. >"I, I see…”
  3006. >Your hug lasts for several seconds… until you draw back.
  3007. > You know, you’ve just hugged a naked girl for several seconds, right?
  3008. >Blushing, you look away.
  3009. “Erhm, y-yeah, eat your ice-cream now, or it melts.”
  3010. >A long moment passes.
  3011. >In which you think about nothing.
  3012. >It’s good to think about nothing.
  3013. > Yeah, and you slept in the same-
  3014. >Shut up or, or…
  3015. >“T-Thanks, D-Dar-”
  3016. “Hmm?”
  3017. >She pinches her lips, and slowly shakes her head, “When you said that you wanted truth and happiness from me, was, was that…”
  3018. >With a slow and heavy movement, she lets her ears fall down and raises her head, “Was, was that, an…”
  3019. >Her lips shake, and memories flow down her eyes.
  3020. >“An… *hic* an, an order?”
  3021. >An order?
  3022. >What?
  3023. >You can’t force someone to be happy and honest with themselves, it’s just stupid- Oh…
  3024. >Maybe that’s why she’s sad. She thinks it is stupid to ask.
  3025. “No, it wasn’t an order.”
  3026. >She grits her teeth and closes her eyes, “W-Why do you… It, it has to be enjoyable to you, isn’t it!”
  3027. “Hun?”
  3028. >Helped by her left foreleg, she wills herself to get up, grunting her pain through her clenched teeth.
  3029. “H-Hey, sto-”
  3030. >“NO!” she barks at your face, “I won’t let… You…”
  3031. >Her struggle nearly made the ice-cream topple over on the grass, but your quick reflexes saved it.
  3032. >She, on the other hand, shrieked in pain as she manages to put one hind hoof on the ground.
  3033. >“Make me lower… my… guard and…”
  3034. >Stoic, you look at the… her, ice-cream in your hands.
  3035. >With another effort and grunt of pain, she puts her other hind hoof down. Her whole body trembles, enough to make her mane shake as she stares down at you, like a human, “And, trick me into believing you’re a kind Master! I know what you are trying to do, you, you want to, to…”
  3036. >With one final push and shriek, she succeeds to stand on her 3 legs; her right foreleg resting against her barrel, “Have my trust just to reach whatever shred of emotion I have retained, throw it in a mortar, grind despair out of me, and finally break me so I become your compliant little plaything! NO! I, Rarity, will not let you have what you want!”
  3037. >Yeah, you can’t blame her for behaving like that, but…
  3038. >Your own bottle is near its limit.
  3039. >Exhausted, you lift your head up, and for once, stare back at humanity in the square of the eye, and articulate.
  3040. “When you said… what, I’ll have you know that he has done no such thing. And based on what premises dare you slander him in such ridiculous manner?”
  3041. >Her complexion softens, and her ears rotate forward.
  3042. >Hypocrite.
  3043. “She simply had no right to use that, that, spicy weapon against you, who had done absolutely nothing wrong!”
  3044. >“Stop… it!” she tells you, in a saddened voice.
  3045. You lower your gaze until your chin rests against your dirty and bloodied shirt, “Now, you understand, right?”
  3046. >“*hic*”
  3047. “You are deluding yourself in chimeras, just like humans.”
  3048. >“No… you, you didn’t really want me to be happy! You just wanted me, to…”
  3049. >Inhaling a great amount of air, you sigh, deeply, and put the ice-cream down between two roots, to make sure it stays steady.
  3050. “Sometimes, people pretend you’re a bad person, so they don’t feel guilty about what they did to you.”
  3051. >“Stop it…”
  3052. >Chuckles.
  3053. >Stop what? The truth?
  3054. >You pinch your glabella between your index and your thumb.
  3055. > Hey, let me talk to her.
  3056. >Mental sigh.
  3057. >
  3058.  “I want your trust just to grind your emotions into despair, so you'd become my compliant little plaything?”
  3059. >He raises his head and wipes his eye, before meeting her gaze.
  3060.  “Right. Back. at. you, human.”
  3061. >What?
  3062. >What is he on about?
  3063. >
  3064. Anonymous was the only one oblivious to what was actually happening between her and him.
  3065. His heart was so big that it obstructed his vision.
  3066. >“No, no, I, I didn't… it's, it's different!”
  3067. >The sad truth is that she had never seen him as either slave or pet master.
  3068. >But as a human, as a male.
  3069.  “So, it's a double standard then? When humans turn ponies into their plaything it's wrong, but the other way around is fine? Or is it just fine if you, Rarity, do it?”
  3070. Has it been like that since the beginning?
  3071. You have been so nice to her, except the horn, but still.
  3072. Even at the crushing bottom of the barrel, cartoon characters will try to take advantage of you?
  3073. >“N-No! it's not like that, I… I was afraid, I had to protect myself from-”
  3074.  “From who, huh? From fucking who, me!? I don't want or expect anything out of you! Open your eyes, you are not important enough that everything revolves around you!”
  3075. >“Not important enough!” she replies, stung, angered by the truth and tone, “I am Rarity of Ponyville, the element of generosity. I own three boutiques in Equestria, and I have saved it more times than you can imagine!”
  3076.  “Then what have you done that can be qualified as generous toward me, except throwing unbidden problems on top of my laps!”
  3077. >“Nothing easier, I, I, I have done…”
  3078. >What has she done for you?
  3079.  “Because of you, I have commited murder. I gave you shelter and safety from those humans, I gave you pudding, I gave you a pillow!” he pokes her chest, “What have YOU done for me?”
  3080. >Shaken and taken aback, Rarity gawks at him. What has she done for him?
  3081.  “You keep talking about rewards, and punishments, and you've tried… something in the bed. you keep calling me master and behaving like a slave when I have never ever ordered you to! And you have to protect yourself from who? from your master, and I am not your master, I am Two-Face Anon! Open your eyes and actually see what's around you, who's in front of you, and who you really are!
  3082.  “If you're so sick of being a slave that you dare escape, then why are you behaving like a slave with me!”
  3083. >“I… that's-”
  3084.  “How can you get out of slavery if you prevent slavery from getting out of you! Tell me HOW you can avoid being a slave, by acting like a slave!”
  3085. >She shakes her head, unwilling to believe, unable to acknowledge, “I, I didn't I didn't behave like a slave…”
  3086.  “Then who or what were you behaving like? Were you Rarity of Ponyville? is Rarity of Ponyville the one standing in front of me?”
  3087. >“Y-yes!”
  3088.  “So, back in Equestria, you were playing behind everyone's back? You burdened everyone with your problems? You tried to manipulate, to pull others' heartsrings?”
  3089. >“NO! that's not, That is not… stop,” Rarity rests her forehead on your right shoulder, “stop it, please…”
  3090. >Yeah, stop. You've done enough.
  3091. > Tsk.
  3092. >
  3093. >You pull her into a bear hug, “It not me who has to stop talking, but you to start accepting, Rarity.”
  3094. >“N-No, it’s you…” she whimpers, softly headbutting your shoulder, for her leg is stuck beneath your arms, “You are the man.”
  3095. “Yes.”
  3096. >“You are my owner..!”
  3097. >Headbutt.
  3098. “Yes…”
  3099. >“I am not even your slave! I am your… pet!”
  3100. >Headbutt.
  3101. >“I raised my voice against you!”
  3102. >Headbutt.
  3103. >“I used my magic without your permission!”
  3104. >Headbutt.
  3105. >“Even worse, I have used my magic AGAINST you!”
  3106. >Headbutt.
  3107. >“I have stolen your blade!”
  3108. >Headbutt.
  3109. >“I have broken your ingots!”
  3110. >Headbutt.
  3111. >“I even tried to… to…”
  3112. >She doesn’t headbutt you.
  3113. >“Why don’t you punish me or rape me already, so I can hate you!”
  3114. >As nothing comes to your mind, you choose to remain silent. Nothing wrong will come out of your mouth like that.
  3115. >“By any means, you should have punched me, or kicked me, or, or anything already! And, and yet you haven't!”
  3116. “Hmm.”
  3117. >“No, instead, you give me a bed, and a pillow, and, and, you don’t humiliate me, or rape me, or threaten me or whore or…”
  3118. >You rub her back while resting your head on her… shoulder?
  3119. >And let her cry.
  3120. >It won’t change anything, but, it can ease her pain.
  3121. >
  3122. >“I-Instead, you, you give me pudding, and *hic* and ice-cream and… and… want me to be happy!”
  3123. “It okay…”
  3124. >“NO! It isn’t..! I, I finally had enough of it all! I *hic* I, I had decided to obey you, out of fear! *hic*”
  3125. “‘Cause Ah’m Two-Face Anon?”
  3126. >She nods, “Every time I tried to deceive you, it didn’t work. Every time I lied, you noticed it, but you didn’t care! WHY!?”
  3127. >Your lips are sealed.
  3128. >“Why?! Why do you make me feel like I AM the abuser! Why, every time I tried to better my situation, you made me realize how selfish I was!”
  3129. >Hun?
  3130. > Solve the riddles.
  3131. >Oh.
  3132. >
  3133. “Sorry…”
  3134. >“Why can’t you be like all the others! Why can’t you be despicable like them so I can hate you!? It would have been simple! You would have abused me while I would smile and pretend you’re the perfect man in the world!”
  3135. “Ah’m…”
  3136. >“But that is not what you did! You have never ever played your part! This is not how it is supposed to work, Anon! I am not supposed to feel like a monster every time I try to hate you, and you are not supposed to be kind to me! You are not supposed to make me believe that…”
  3137. >Another fit of sobbing overwhelms her. You gently pat her back.
  3138. >“That I can be happy! That you care for me! That I have rights! You are not supposed to make me feel like obeying is the least I can do for everything you have given me! You broke me, Anon! You managed to make me believe that obeying was the right thing to do! And that was the very thing I’ve been martyrizing myself to avoid!”
  3139. >“So why can’t I simply hate you for it..!” she wails, before emptying the rest of her bottle on your shoulder.
  3140. “Ah told you before, silly Puny. You talk too much, and don’t listen enough.”
  3141. >Feeling her weakened and vulnerable by her confession, you squeeze her even tighter.
  3142. >She coughs, so you let go of her, a bit, “Ugh, and that smell…”
  3143. >Chuckles.
  3144. “Ah know, helpsf to keep people at bay… but you dont ssmell much better.”
  3145. >She chuckles, “I, I guess I do, after all.”
  3146. >Despite the nice situation, you can't help but think, ironically enough.
  3147. “You can't hate, because Puny is not Human. Puny does not have common sense…”
  3148. >She buries her muzzle deeper in your chest.
  3149. “Hatred is Human, and Humans are munsters, but Puny is not munster, Puny has bad luck… Or good luck.”
  3150. >You stay in each other’s embrace for a long moment, silently enjoying the warm atmosphere, in this cold world.
  3151. >
  3152. >
  3153. >Soon after you broke the hug, she sat down besides you and began eating her ice-cream.
  3154. *Why?! Why do you make me feel like I AM the abuser! Why, every time I tried to better my situation, you made me realize how selfish I was!
  3155. Solve the riddles…*
  3156. >Thoughtful, you lean against the tree, hands joined together on your belly.
  3157. >But, solving the riddles. What were they again?
  3158. >Hmm… Think, Anon, think.
  3159. *What is she doing on purpose? What hide the flags you didn’t notice?
  3160. Finally, listen to your dreams, for I notice what you miss, but the brain notices everything…*
  3161. >Yeah, that’s right…
  3162. >Why can’t Crazy Mouse just be like.
  3163. >Simple.
  3164. >Instead of crazy.
  3165. >It’s never simple, even if that’s just what you want!
  3166. >Smiting, pudding, and being hated.
  3167. >A simple life.
  3168. >Instead, you got a cartoony Puny girl right there… Fighting bugs, apparently.
  3169. >“Shoo, shoo, go away you dirty flies. This ice-cream isn’t yours to savor!”
  3170. >Feh, cute.
  3171. >“Shoo! Shoo! Oh my goodness. It doesn’t matter how many time I swat them away, they just keep coming back!”
  3172. >Hehe, who’s she talking to?
  3173. >Hmm? Why’s her horn glow… Glowing, and… the bugs too?
  3174. “Hun?”
  3175. >“Now, off with-” the bugs implode in nasty squishy-cracking sounds, “you…”
  3176. >Yep. Not, a simple life.
  3177. >She swiftly rotates her head back, and trembles, “Y-You haven't seen a thing now, d-did you?”
  3178. “What?”
  3179. >“What do you mean, what!? I was talking about-” she gawks, “Hum, n-nothing!”
  3180. >She focuses on her ice-cream again.
  3181. >Hmm.
  3182. >Must have been… her magical luck or something.
  3183. >Anyway, focus on what’s important, Anon. Focus on the riddles.
  3184. *What is she doing on purpose?*
  3185. >Hmm… Stuff. She does stuff on purpose.
  3186. >Easy.
  3187. >Wait. That was too easy.
  3188. >And Crazy Mouse is not that easy.
  3189. *Solve the riddles*
  3190. >Hmm, solve riddles, not answer questions.
  3191. “…”
  3192. >Nice… now, you will have to think again.
  3193. >Luckily, you got time; she’s eating her ice-cream…
  3194. >And freaking out while looking at the bugs, hehe…
  3195. >…
  3196. >Focus!
  3197. >
  3198. >The first riddle was…
  3199. *What is she doing on purpose?*
  3200. >Hmm…
  3201. >Hum…
  3202. >Hmm…
  3203. “…”
  3204. >The riddle is hard.
  3205. >
  3206. >Nope, nothing comes to mind… You can’t think of an answer.
  3207. >Hmm…
  3208. >Hey, thinking about the answer does not help.
  3209. >But what if you think about the riddle instead!
  3210. >Might help.
  3211. >Hmm…
  3212. >What is she doing on purpose…
  3213. “Hmm…”
  3214. >WHAT is SHE DOING on PURPOSE.
  3215. >Yeah, there are 4 things that matter here.
  3216. >A what, a who, actions, and a purpose.
  3217. “…”
  3218. >Now that doesn’t answer shit.
  3219. >Wait, it’s his riddle, so, maybe thinking like him should work?
  3220. >Maybe….
  3221. >Think, think Crazy Mouse, think crazy like him…
  3222. >Hmm…
  3223. ****************************************************************************
  3224. “Knock knock.”
  3225. >“Who’s there?”
  3226. “Me, I kill you!”
  3227. ****************************************************************************
  3228. > Crazy Mouse, the undead terrorist from kekistan, I like it!
  3229. >S-so, that didn’t work.
  3230. >Obviously.
  3231. >
  3232. >If thinking crazy is not the answer, then solving the riddle crazily might work.
  3233. >Hmm, what would a crazed person do to solve the riddle?
  3234. >Hm.
  3235. >Herm…
  3236. >Scrambling and pulling things out and making other things out of it would be crazy.
  3237. >Right, its Crazy Mouse crazy. might works, actually.
  3238. *Yeah, there are 4 things that matter here.
  3239. A what, a who, actions, and a purpose.*
  3240. >Feels like you’re onto something here.
  3241. >So, there are things she does on purpose…
  3242. >Then, obviously, there’re things which she doesn’t do on purpose!
  3243. “…”
  3244. “…”
  3245. “…”
  3246. >EVERYONE sometimes doesn’t do things on purpose!
  3247. >Ugh. Headache!
  3248. >Okay, okay. It hurts, but, you got something.
  3249. >And that’s nice.
  3250. >Soo… No, the riddle isn’t answered.
  3251. >It’d be too easy.
  3252. *Yeah, there are 4 things that matter here.
  3253. A what, a who, actions, and a purpose.*
  3254. >So. Got a what, a who, action, with or without purpose…
  3255. >Like, it must be more than just ‘what she does on purpose’ or not.
  3256. >Like, lots of stuff happens while we have nothing to do ‘bout it. And it might even happen to you, or-
  3257. >Or to her.
  3258. >
  3259. >So, to resume…
  3260. >One, she does things on purpose, and two, there are things which she doesn’t.
  3261. >Three, one and two might happen unbeknownst to you, or her.
  3262. >Erhm.
  3263. >Four, things might happen to you, unbeknownst to you, or her.
  3264. >Five, things might happen… to her, unbeknownst to…
  3265. >God… that headache..!
  3266. >But, but you feel like, like you’re that close to the answer…
  3267. >If there are things… happening to her, then, s-someone’s involved…
  3268. >And, and she cried on your shoulder, ‘cause she said you did things to her.
  3269. >Which you didn’t.
  3270. >If it’s not you, and not her, then the only one who might have done something would be-
  3271. “!”
  3272. >Crazy Mouse…
  3273. >Crazy Mouse do roam free sometimes, and, and you barely remember what happens when he does, and, and she was there both times he took over!
  3274. >Five, things might happen to her, unbeknownst to you, or her.
  3275. >She and he know… things, which only, you, Anon, are unaware of.
  3276. >Fucker!
  3277. > My role is to protect you, Anon. I would rather have her gone than abuse her until she reaches a state of mind broken servility.
  3278. >Yeah, right. It really doesn’t sound like Crazy Mouse to torment or torture people.
  3279. > Maybe… it does sound like me, after all, but take a good look at her, first.
  3280. >Uhhh, okay?
  3281. >Hmm, she is dirty, back at you, and there’s, like, a wound circling around her neck.
  3282. >She’s also calmly eating her ice-cream.
  3283. >There’s like… nothing wrong.
  3284. > Eeeexactly.
  3285. >Huh?
  3286. > She is peacefully eating her ice-cream, without a word, without a care in the world; starstruck at the birds tweeting in the trees… and turning her ears backward every time she glances at a human.
  3287. >And?
  3288. > She is calm, and true to herself, despite having a hu-MAN behind her, you simpleton.
  3289. >Oh, so, you mean.
  3290. > It means that you’re the only one who’s ever hurt her, Anon, not me!
  3291. >Heuu, lost you there.
  3292. > You nearly broke her horn, and you pulled something in her leg, not to mention you slammed her onto the wall. Yet, you’re hell-bent that I AM the one she should be wary of?
  3293. >W-Well, Crazy Mouse murdered people!
  3294. > Self-defence…
  3295. >W-Well, everyone is afraid of death!
  3296. > If she would be afraid of death, Anon, she wouldn’t have begged for you to pull the trigger.
  3297. >Oh.
  3298. > If she is afraid of something, it’s about being hurt.
  3299. >Yeah, and that’s also the only thing Crazy Mouse ever does.
  3300. > Oh, oh sure, yeah, whenever you’re not looking, which is when there are muuuuunsters trying to buuuuuuly you, I’m using her as my punching bag, or I’m sticking it in her butt while telling her to be more entertaining to rape than last time, just like he did to us-
  3301. >SHUT UP!
  3302. > It not me who has to stop talking, but you to start accepting, Anonymous.
  3303. >That’s it!
  3304. >You are going to shut him up.
  3305. >
  3306. >The sound of a palm striking skin and a neigh turned quite a few heads in the park.
  3307. >
  3308. >The whole side of your face’s numb, can’t feel it, but, it was very effective.
  3309. >He quieted down.
  3310. >Movement in your field of view catches your attention, breaking your train of thought.
  3311. >As you lift your gaze, you notice her facial expression.
  3312. “Oh, s-sorry. M-Mosquitoes…” you lie, turning your gaze away, devastated.
  3313. >With a nervous smile, she answers, “O-Oh, mosquitoes, b-but of course…!” before looking back at her ice-cream.
  3314. >
  3315. >Her ears were pulled back. Her eyebrows raised and lifted together, wrinkling her forehead. Her eyelids, wide open, revealed nervous eyes, which darted from side to side, before locking on you. Her mouth, open, allowed her quick and shallow breaths.
  3316. >Her eyes were pleading you, begging you…
  3317. >‘Anything but a beating’ is what her eyes said to yours.
  3318. >An expression of fear, carved into her mind, linked with that sound, was looking at you.
  3319. >
  3320. >You should have known, should have thought… DAMMIT!
  3321. > My role is to protect you, Anon, but it is merely because, had I not been there, we would have died long ago. In other words, if you survive, so do I.
  3322. > However, the quality of your life correlates with my own. And molesting your pet will make you lose your shit.
  3323. >Get to the point, already, Crazy Mouse.
  3324. > Playing a stupid game of tug of war to be in control of the reins is pointless and counterproductive.
  3325. > That said, I have no qualm making a hell out of our nightmare of a life, and deposing you, once you can’t cope with it anymore, if, that ensures my safety better.
  3326. > So go ahead, insult me with your jumped-to conclusions, however, if they paint me in a pejorative way, I shall correct them, with draconic measures, if necessary.
  3327. >For… a simple life, right?
  3328. > Eh, let’s just say, that you can eat pudding, smith, and be hated, while still having a pet. As long as she doesn’t cause too many problems, that is.
  3329. >Hmm.
  3330. >
  3331. >A stray white stripe orange cat comes to you, and meows.
  3332. >It looks real cute.
  3333. >Did the slap attracted him?
  3334. > Yeah, ignore me.
  3335. >Are not…
  3336. >Just don’t want to be lectured, and sad, when you’re with her.
  3337. >That would ruin the warm atmosphere.
  3338. >Wouldn’t be nice, not at all…
  3339. >Well, anyway, there’s a kitty now.
  3340. >Focus on what’s important and all…
  3341. >Hehe.
  3342. >
  3343. >You’d like to just grab it and pet it, but when you do, they get angry.
  3344. >After a while, you found a trick though.
  3345. >First, you extend your right arm, like that…
  3346. >Then, the cat should sniff at your fingertips, with its ears bent backward, just like that…
  3347. >And then, they-
  3348. >The cat starts to rub its face in your palm.
  3349. >Daw.
  3350. >Puzzled by the sound, she turns her head around and also melts. “Aww, what an adorable peach kitty!”
  3351. >Peach, orange, whatever.
  3352. >It’s a cat.
  3353. >It’d be nice to pet it, but, not by stretching your arms.
  3354. >They’re already painful ‘cause of her.
  3355. >So, you move your hand on its nape, pinch it, lift the now paralyzed cat, and put it down on your chest.
  3356. >Cats are weird like that. When their nape is pinched, they stop moving.
  3357. >As soon as you release the pressure on its neck, it sniffs you a few times, before turning on itself, and snuggling into a ball of adorableness.
  3358. >Dawwwwww…
  3359. >Now you can pet it!
  3360. *Pet pet*
  3361. >It purrs in response to your pets.
  3362. >Dawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…!
  3363. >“Hum, sir, could I ask you a question?”
  3364. >You nearly daw-ed.
  3365. >What does she want? You’re busy petting a cat…
  3366. >Bah, ‘nyway, not like it’s going to go away, THAT soon…
  3367. >You look at her. She promptly shows you something at the bottom of her cone.
  3368. >Looks like grass.
  3369. >Like, dried grass, coated in melted ice-cream.
  3370. “Hmm?”
  3371. >“There seems to be some kind of wheat at the bottom of my cone. I was wondering if you were aware of it, when you…”
  3372. “Yes.”
  3373. >Of course you knew, Carl threw some herbs in.
  3374. >Guess it was wheat after all.
  3375. >Hehe.
  3376. >
  3377. >Sooooo, it should be good, since horses like to eat wheat.
  3378. >Right?
  3379. >So, why’s she crying.
  3380. >Again?
  3381. >And smiling at that!
  3382. >Complex girl.
  3383. >Wait she might be allergic to it.
  3384. >Or to the cat!
  3385. >That would be bad.
  3386. “You allergic?”
  3387. >“Allergic? Oh nonono, not at all, I love wheat, actually…” she lowers her gaze, “I just…”
  3388. > ‘Never expected to eat something you like again.’?
  3389. >Ooooh, then.
  3390. “Hehe, hehhh.”
  3391. >Such bright joy of life… Is painful, and warm, in the chest.
  3392. >That’s Carl’s magic for ya, always knows how to make ladies happy.
  3393. >Anonymous just knows how to scare them.
  3394. >And get pepper sprayed.
  3395. >Hehe… Heh.
  3396. >She lifts her gaze, and smiles, once she notices yours.
  3397. >Yet… there’s still suffering that lingers, there, in the depth of her eyes.
  3398. >It pisses you off, because that kind of pain shouldn’t exist in the first place, but…
  3399. >Her lips tremble as she whispers, “Thank you…”
  3400. >But her smile is already a great milestone.
  3401. >
  3402. >Having nothing else to do, you keep petting the cat, and it keeps purring.
  3403. >Hmm.
  3404. >That makes you wonder.
  3405. >If the cat purrs when you pet it, would the Pony neigh if you pet her?
  3406. >It is not an answerless question, so, you should try.
  3407. >Driven by the idea, you extend your right arm and start petting her purple mane.
  3408. >She stiffens like a bar, yet, doesn’t resist, nor complain.
  3409. >That’s really weird.
  3410. “You like?”
  3411. >No answer, but her eyes darting from left to right indicates that she is thinking…
  3412. >Hard, at that.
  3413. >“W-Will I be… but… If I…”
  3414. >With wet, but wide open eyes, she cowers and shakes her head; her ears glued to it. “I don’t know…!”
  3415. >BRAVO Anon!
  3416. >You fucked up.
  3417. >Infuriated at yourself, you pull your hand back, causing her to stifle a gasp and close her eyes.
  3418. “Had to know, sorry…”
  3419. >“N-No, please, Master, it is completely my fault. I, I shouldn’t have…”
  3420. *You nearly broke her horn, and you pulled something in her leg, not to mention you slammed her onto the wall. Yet, you’re hell-bent that I AM the one she should be wary of?*
  3421. >It’s understandable, now that you think about it…
  3422. “Hands… are the issues, right?” You state, and look away, shortly afterward.
  3423. >Silence, again…
  3424. *You’re hell-bent that I AM the one she should be wary of?
  3425. Sometimes, people pretend you’re a bad person, so they don’t feel guilty about what they did to you…*
  3426. You point at her ice-cream. “Eat, or it melts.”
  3427. >She obeys, using her… wrist or ankle to wipe her eyes.
  3428. >Like, the back of the articulation just before the hoof.
  3429. >Still, it’s understandable why everyone flees you.
  3430. >You’re just a munster calling yourself human.
  3431. >Just like everyone else.
  3432. >Hands are one of the few predominant Human characteristics. Human hands are what molested her, what touched her, whether she liked it or not. Hands, have beaten her.
  3433. >Hands, most likely washed her with industrial soap.
  3434. >Heh, these feelings are so nostalgic.
  3435. *With enough strength to bend metal barehanded, surely you can break a horn.
  3437. >Hands, your hands threw her onto a wall, pulled her leg, and nearly broke her horn.
  3438. >Hands… must be like, knives, to her.
  3439. >And you just tried to, gently, warmly, rub a fucking knife on her head.
  3440. *You like?*
  3441. >Of course she wouldn’t like.
  3442. >Fucking great job…! You always end up hurting everyone around you, so, why didn’t you just kill yourself already?
  3443. >No, you, you can’t… You have to take care of her, ‘cause she knocked on your door.
  3444. >That must be like, her last resort, to knock at Two-Face Anon, the merchant of death, the murderer.
  3445. >And you don’t want to die, but…
  3446. >Hurting others hurts so much.
  3447. >
  3448. >Seems like she’s done eating…
  3449. >She sniffles and clears her throat, “Thank you, Mast- huh, sir, for… Heh, everything, I guess.”
  3450. “Hum… Arhm… Hehe, um… Yes,” you mumble.
  3451. >Yeah, yeah, giggle, Pony…
  3452. >You just did to her what you would like others to do to you.
  3453. >Take care of you, when in need.
  3454. >At least, she seems happy, so, it’s not that bad.
  3455. >Also, it’s, like, the first time you’ve seen her smile that much.
  3456. >Like, real smiles, not like when she faked her laugh at the Upsy-Rarity.
  3457. >Still, she really is pretty when she’s smiling.
  3458. “Pretty Puny smile…”
  3459. >She smiles, and serenely lowers her gaze- Oh..? Her face is reddening.
  3460. >It’s really cute.
  3461. >Buuuuuut, she can probably redden even further.
  3462. >Hehehe.
  3463. >It’ll teach her to laugh at you.
  3464. >
  3465. “Really pretty Puny when you smile. Should do it more, I like pretty Puny face better.”
  3466. >She lifts her head, reddens, pulls her ears back and you notice life coming back in her eyes.
  3467. >And the playful grin creeping on her face.
  3468. >“Well, you should consider yourself lucky, since, ladieeees, such as myself, only smile for strooong and hoofsome stallions…”
  3469. “Stallions?”
  3470. >Oh, nice red there.
  3471. >Rarity puts her hoof in front of her mouth and turns her ears back, ashamed, “I-I meant males, NO! nononono, not males, hum, hmm, studs, perhaps?”
  3472. >Feh. Cute awkward smile, and silence.
  3473. >She dug her grave far enough by herself.
  3474. >Time to help her dig further.
  3475. “Blushes make Puny pretty too.”
  3476. >“Nooooooooo-nonono-nono, I didn’t say that. I said, I said, hum, I said…”
  3477. You grin, “No? But Puny IS pretty.”
  3478. >And here comes the wide arm motions from flustered high ladies… Well, leg motions.
  3479. >Whatever.
  3480. >“I mean, yes, I am definitely pretty, but no!”
  3481. >The grin is still there.
  3482. >“W-W-Well, I-I mean, yes, I am pretty, but no, you know…?
  3483. >Heh.
  3484. >“No…?”
  3485. >That grin is not going anywhere.
  3486. >“J-just forget I said anything, okay? Poof, it’s gone! All gone! You forgot! Heh, heheheh, hehhhhh…”
  3487. >You keep grinning, in silence, leaning against the tree, enjoying the sight of her twitching eye.
  3488. >While petting the cat.
  3489. >Then, Rarity sighs, lowers her gaze and lifts her hoof in the air, “Fine! I concede…”
  3490. >Limply, she rests her head on the grass, pushes her messy mane in front of her face and covers it with her hooves. “Now, can I, please, disappear somewhere and die of embarrassment?”
  3491. “No.”
  3492. >She splits apart her mane in order to glare at you. “You aren’t supposed to answer to that!”
  3493. “Oh, sorry…”
  3494. >She stares.
  3495. “My bad…”
  3496. >Stare.
  3497. >Hehe..!
  3498. “Stroooong and hoofsome stud won’t do it again, he promises.”
  3499. >It’s so hard to repress that laughter, but you have to, you have to!
  3500. >Else, that’d be crossing the line between teasing and mocking.
  3501. >And you shouldn’t mock a lady, ever.
  3502. >Because it is bad.
  3503. >But, God, your cheeks hurt!
  3504. >The cat’s also getting grumpy from your shaking tummy.
  3505. >
  3506. >Before long, her frown turns into a smile in the corner of her mouth, and she looks down.
  3507. >“Oh, alright, I lost, so go on, laugh. The winner IS allowed to enjoy the spoils of war, after all.”
  3508. “PFFF-Hahahahahahaha!”
  3509. >“Heh, hehehe-hahahaha…!”
  3510. >Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for her smile to fade into a serious face.
  3511. >Now that’s not something you want, not today.
  3512. >Pouting like a child, you cross your arms, “Hey, Ah said Puny smile was better. Puny don’t listen enough, prefers to talk…”
  3513. >She… doesn’t budge.
  3514. >Seems like that suffering’s here to stay.
  3515. *What is she doing on purpose*
  3516. >Hmm…
  3517. >Giggling, she says, “In that case, is this more befitting of I?” and smiles, brightly.
  3518. “Si, better, pretty now.” 
  3519. >Faking offense, she lifts her head to give you a sidelong stare, “Hmph! It is as if you are blind to feminine beauty unless smiles are involved. I’ll have you know that a smiiiiile, isn’t the only atout I, Rarity, possess.”
  3520. “Meh, smile is pretty ‘cause it shows that you’re happy.”
  3521. >Surprised by the unexpected, her smile slowly turns into a curious look.
  3522. “That’s why fake smiles are ugly, like, uglier than me. So they’re, like, veeeeeery ugly.”
  3523. >Why is she gawking at you like that?
  3524. “What? Puny was really ugly with all those fake smiles.”
  3525. >“Well, I never!” says Rarity, before making a series of offended high lady noises.
  3526. >Like, ‘HMPH!’ and sighing and… other noises.
  3527. >Every time, however, you manage to find a faint smile in the corner of her mouth.
  3528. >“Bringing a girl at the park, buying her ice-cream, just to call her ugly… this is simply unforgivable!”
  3529. “Hahaha.”
  3530. >You’re fooling no one with that smile, Rarity.
  3531. >“And even worse! He thinks that it is something worth laughing about! Such rudeness is…”
  3532. “Hahahahaha.”
  3533. >“It-t-t is-”
  3534. >Yep, there she goes, guffawing, just like you.
  3535. >The cat gets up and leaves, too annoyed by your happiness.
  3536. >When was the last time you felt this wholesome in the head and in the chest?
  3537. >
  3538. >It hadn’t caught your attention before, but, the sky had darkened.
  3539. >Now that’s not good, ‘cause vets close early, and you don’t know what time it is.
  3540. >But worse, the street becomes much, much more dangerous during the evening, and the night.
  3541. “Hmm…”
  3542. >Wondering what could make you hum, she follows your gaze.
  3543. >“Oh my, it IS getting pretty late.”
  3544. “Yeah…”
  3545. >“Time sure does fly fast when you are enjoying yourself.”
  3546. >“Yeah.”
  3547. >It’s so nice, to have nothing to worry about and laugh with someone that doesn’t want to backstab you.
  3548. >Unfortunately, staying isn’t an option.
  3549. >Going back home is the only choice you have.
  3550. >It is much more secure there since no one ever wants to go near a munster like you.
  3551. >Except her… and, and Carl, but, she’s special.
  3552. >Carl and you never shared good moments like that.
  3553. >If she stays with you, such moments are bound to happen agai-
  3554. >W-Well, until she leaves you, that is, or, until you are sent to jail…
  3555. >Yeah.
  3556. >Focus Anon.
  3557. “Alright, Upsy-Rarity!”
  3558. >Alright, bend down, and… put your hands under her.
  3559. >Then you lift, aaaaand there you go.
  3560. >Damsel in your arms.
  3561. >“Are you sure you’re going to be alright, sir?”
  3562. “Hmm?”
  3563. >“Well, I wouldn’t want to overindulge on your… kindness, and all, but- And, and I am well aware that you ARE, indeed, very strong, but-”
  3564. “Get to point…”
  3565. >”Oh, oh, sure, well, hum… Don’t you think that I am, just a teensy tiny bit…” her voice squeaks softly, “Heavy?”
  3566. >Yes, as fuck, is probably what you shouldn’t say.
  3567. >Well, it’s not her fault she can’t walk though…
  3568. “Can’t walk… I’ll carry you…”
  3569. >“But-”
  3570. “Hush… Talk… too much, hehe.”
  3571. >“But-”
  3572. “Wanna walk?”
  3573. >“…”
  3574. >
  3575. >The road back home was pretty calm, and this time, she was much calmer and soft in your arms.
  3576. >Soft, like, not stiff or anything.
  3577. >Hadn’t it been for the constant wobbling of your gait, she’d be sleeping in your arms.
  3578. >Maybe.
  3579. >That’d be cute.
  3580. >Heheh.
  3581. >
  3582. >More than happy to be home, you turn the last corner and come to a halt.
  3583. >There is a truck parked in front of the house.
  3584. >It has… an ice-cream logo.
  3585. >Well, it seems like it.
  3586. >Hard to guess. It is so dark now.
  3587. >Wait, is that Carl’s truck?
  3588. “Carl?”
  3589. >After a few seconds, a voice answers, “Hum, yeah?”
  3590. >OOF! it is Carl!
  3591. >Hey, you've met him twice today, and, and three times this week!
  3592. >Yay!
  3593. “Hey, itsf me, Anon, what you doing here?”
  3594. >“Humm… The metal you delivered came early; I figured I would drop them in your forge.”
  3595. “Oh, thanks, Carl.”
  3596. >Carl comes out of his truck with a reassuring smile, “H-Hey, there buddy, while you're here, would you like some ice-cream?”
  3597. “Oh, sure!”
  3598. >“Same as usual?”
  3599. “Always.”
  3600. >“Just wait a bit, I’m gonna start the machine.”
  3601. >Nodding, you crouch and invite her to get down, which she does.
  3602. >She inhales deeply as she puts her hooves down, which prompts a fit of cough, weirdly enough.
  3603. >“Ugh, can I please spend 5 minutes without being attacked by some foul smell?”
  3604. “Smell?”
  3605. >Intrigued, you breathe with your nose, but nothing out of the ordinary catches your attention.
  3606. >Your house smells, you smell, your forge smells of iron.
  3607. >Wait, the air also smells of iron.
  3608. >You shouldn't be able to smell the metal inside your forge at this distance.
  3609. “Iron?”
  3610. >“Ron? is someone else there, Anon?”
  3611. “Hun? No.”
  3612. >“But you said, hi, Ron.”
  3613. “Oh, haha, no. I said iron, you know, metal.”
  3614. >Silly Carl.
  3615. >Rarity squeaks a whisper, “Metal? No, it is most definitively not…”
  3616. “Said something?”
  3617. >“Hum, no.  I-I mean, I did, but it is nothing important. So, hum, Carl delivers you metal, who knew?”
  3618. >Flags.
  3619. >“Flaaaaaaag,” says Carl from inside his truck, mockingly proctrating the word.
  3620. “Hehe.”
  3621. >Uncomfortable, she glances back and forth between the truck and you but doesn't utter any words.
  3622. >“So, what were you doing out with her?”
  3623. >“W-we were taking a walk, isn’t it right, Anon?”
  3624. >Hmm? Weird, you thought he was talking to you.
  3625. >In fact, Carl is just as confused as you are, “Oh, really now? That’s surprising.”
  3626. >“Why would taking a sl- a pet out for a walk, be surprising at all?”
  3627. >“Anon,” he pops out of the truck's window and turns his face toward you, “No offence, does not take walks…”
  3628. >With a calm unbefitting of him, Carl pushes his arms against the truck’s window-counter, leans on them, and shifts his focus back on her.
  3629. >“He takes beating.”
  3630. “AH! Good one, Carl!”
  3631. >He continues with an evident smile, “I wouldn’t call it a coincidence that the very first time he took YOU out for a walk, he got beaten up.”
  3632. “Hehe, nope…”
  3633. >Everyone in town hates you.
  3634. >But, why did she stifled a gasp?
  3635. >“But, I, I thought that-”
  3636. >“Now don’t worry, Anon here has a thick skull,” says Carl as he extends his left arm to pet your head, ruffling your messy hair, “He doesn’t need… to understand why people would attack him. He knows it’ll happen as soon as a reason arises, and therefore, he is always prepared.”
  3637. “Yep, doctors say me forehead so hard and thick, average man will break wrists if they tryna punch it, hehehe.”
  3638. >“That’s right. This big fellow…”
  3639. >Carl slowly lowers his gaze.
  3640. >He must be thinking.
  3641. >“This big teddy bear is my friend, and I know him better than anyone else. I’ve even taught him how to detect flags.”
  3642. >“To detect flags?”
  3643. >“Mhm. People usually have patterns when they lie or try to avoid a subject, or basically behave in a sly or dishonest way; we, he and I, call them flags.”
  3644. >The more she converses with him, the more she seems agitated.
  3645. >She even seems… scared.
  3646. >“O-Oh, flags, I see, that does sound-”
  3647. >“Like a fitting name, because these patterns tend to raise flags, which are conspicuous to the trained eye. Wouldn’t you agree, Anon?”
  3648. “Yep, yep,” you nod in approval.
  3649. >“So, it does sound surprising that Anon would take you out for a walk this soon.”
  3650. “Yeah, but, Ah was mean to her.”
  3651. >Now reminded of your evil deed, you feel horrible.
  3652. “Ah… bullied her.”
  3653. >Upon hearing those words, Carl crosses his arms and shakes his head.
  3654. >“Anon… Have you at least apologized to her?”
  3655. “Hum.”
  3656. >Did you?
  3657. >Pretty sure you did at some point.
  3658. “I, I think I did.”
  3659. >“Attaboy! So, who wants a milkshake?”
  3660. “Ah do!” you shout, raising your right hand in the air.
  3661. >“Alright Alright! Now, wait just a min…”
  3662. >You clap lightly, excited, which pretty much involves holding your palm together and tapping your fingers against each other.
  3663. >She, on the other hand, is looking down with wide-open eyes.
  3664. >It’s as if the idea of getting a milkshake was dreadful or something.
  3665. Wondering, you poke her left shoulder, “Hmm?”
  3666. >“Oh, forgive me; I was just… daydreaming a bit.”
  3667. >That's bad.
  3668. “Should dream during sleep, else you’re vulnerable.”
  3669. >“Vulnerable? But to whom?”
  3670. A few seconds pass, as the man in front of her looks further down the street, “Humans.”
  3671. >
  3672. >“So, hum, if memory serves me right, you said you were getting a milkshake?”
  3673. >Carl speaks up from behind the counter, “Yes, triple chocolate with cream topping.”
  3674. >“Oh my, it is a bit surprising, coming from you.”
  3675. “Why?”
  3676. >“Oh, for n-nothing,  I simply thought-”
  3677. >“He’d take something, pudding related, maybe?”
  3678. >Now that offends you.
  3679. >A bit.
  3680. “Why everyone thinks Ah only eat pudding?”
  3681. >You have cereal and milk back home.
  3682. >That’s not pudding!
  3683. >Carl shrugs as the machine produces your treat in a slow and thick flow, “Complete mystery. So, she liked the ice-cream, didn't she?”
  3684. >“Yes” is what you were going to answer, but just before doing so, you got an idea.
  3685. >Hehehe, more precisely, a teasing opportunity!
  3686. >
  3687. “Yeah, there were like, blurry movements, and then, poof! The ice-cream was gone.”
  3688. >Smiling, you wait for her to answer…
  3689. >But she doesn’t say any banter of her own.
  3690. >“Well then, a dainty lady lacking manners. Who would have thought?”
  3691. >“Ex-…”
  3692. >She stands perfectly still in the dark.
  3693. >And you are not able to hear her breath.
  3694. >When she does, it's to let out a big sigh, before lowering her head.
  3695. “Hey, he just called you manner-less, defend yoursselfh!”
  3696. >She meekly lifts her head toward you, and despite the darkness of the night, you can see fear in her eyes, “B-But!”
  3697. “But what?”
  3698. >“I… I wouldn’t dare to talk back to my Master’s friend!”
  3699. >Aaaaaaaah.
  3700. >Like, Carl, is Carl, but she is still afraid of humans.
  3701. >But, that’s just Carl, a good guy, and he got thick skin.
  3702. >He’s your friend, after all.
  3703. “Silly Puny, Carl’s a good a guy!”
  3704. >“A… good guy?” she repeats, as puzzled as she was before your explanation.
  3705. >Hmm, seems like it would be easier to show her.
  3706. “Hey, Carl!”
  3707. >“Yeah..?”
  3708. “You’re ugly like a globlin.”
  3709. >“Oh-Oh! Oh yeah? Well, whenever I feel bad about it, I look at you and I tell myself: Well, I’m not THAT worse off.”
  3710. >Grimacing at the comeback, you look back at her, which is barely less confused.
  3711. “See, we just joking here.”
  3712. >“Yep, it’s all in good fun.”
  3713. >At first, she didn’t look too eager to stay true to herself.
  3714. >But that playful grin of her soon overwhelms her doubts.
  3715. >“Well, in that case then,” she clears her throat and pokes your right thigh, “Anon, darling, would you be a dear, and repeat what you just said about me, pretty please?”
  3716. “Huh, defend you-”
  3717. “Nonono, before that.”
  3718. “Hum, blurred movement and the-”
  3719. >“Yes, that. First of all,” deep breath, “I. Did. not!”
  3720. >“And second,” she hops on the ground to turn around and face the truck, “EXCUUUUUUSE me, mister, but I’ll let you know that a refined lady such as myself isn’t lacking manners… in the sligh-test!”
  3721. >“It’s alright miss, it’s alright. My ice cream has that kind of effect on ladies.”
  3722. “Yep, Carl’s a lady killer, can’t help it. Not, not like literally, of course, but… you know.”
  3723. >With a mouth slightly open, and raised eyebrows, she gives both of you sidelong glances.
  3724. >Even you know that it just turned into a 2vs1.
  3725. >“Ohhh. It. is. ON!”
  3726. >
  3727. >The first opportunity was delivered by her belly, growling.
  3728. >“Well, at the very least, her stomach knows what it wants, and what a coincidence; I do have some ice-cream to sell!”
  3729. >“Mhm… Would you be a dear, darling, and let me have one ice-cream of my liking?”
  3730. You sigh and take out your wallet, “Ladies… Roam around your wallet or your fridge.”
  3731. >Carl laughs, you laugh, but she hasn’t admitted defeat yet.
  3732. >She lances with a smug expression, and a feint, “Ice-cream, twice in a day? Are you implying that I, Rarity, would be as low as to wallow in such uncouth debauchery? Don't you care about my well-being at all?”
  3733. >“Debauchery? Of course not, we, we, know what kind of lady you are, isn’t that right, Anon?”
  3734. “Yeah, the expensive one,” you reply, tossing her feint away and landing a clean hit.
  3735. >Carl supports your offensive with a combination: crossing his arms, closing his eyes, puckering his lips a little and nodding, widely.
  3736. >He laughs, you laugh, she has her mouth wide, playfully offended.
  3737. >“Humph…!” she utters and looks away, her chin high, high lady lady-like.
  3738. >“But anyway, one more treat isn't going to ruin your physique, miss, and I am pretty sure you desire some.”
  3739. >“Well, I would be lying if I said that I do not find the prospect of getting another treat alluring.”
  3740. “What would the lady like specifically, this time? I got many tasty flavours… for a price.”
  3741. “Sweets? Ah got pudding in my f'idge.”
  3742. >Carl makes a buzzer noise with his mouth, “Too late Anon, better luck next time.”
  3743. >Drat.
  3744. Pouting, you clutch at your wallet and hold it near your heart, “Nuuuu, me wallet!”
  3745. >“Anon, hush! You know what they say in France, what woman wants, God wants… Okay, stop with that head-tilt. It means that if a girl wants something, she WILL get it.”
  3746. “Oh, wise words.”
  3747. >You haven’t let the lady much place throughout the barrage of banters, but you didn’t want to overwhelm her, so you both wait for her to say something.
  3748. >However, it would appear that she is too rusty, since she spends a good moment smiling, shaking her head, and thinking.
  3749. >Unsure of what to do, you look at Carl; he shows you his palm and slowly nods.
  3750. >Yeah, we should let her have fun too.
  3751. >
  3752. >“Well, in the end, it all depends on “how much” the “expensive lady” is allowed to be expensive, wouldn't you agree?”
  3753. >You open your wallet and count.
  3754. “Ah only have… 39 dollars, but, shhould be enough, right?”
  3755. >Carl nods, and sniggers.
  3756. “Hey, it'ss not your wallet!”
  3757. >Sighing, he rolls his eyes and waves at you dismissively, “Details, Anon, details!”
  3758. >He opens his cellphone and puts on the flashlight.
  3759. >“Here, Anon, let the expensive lady look at the menu.”
  3760. “More like, at the prices.”
  3761. >“Hey, I got a family to feed.”
  3762. “Me meself and I is not family, Carl.”
  3763. >You laugh, he laughs, she giggles.
  3764. >Eventually, she decides to play the role and uses the situation to her advantage.
  3765. >Hence, and with a tail swish, she eyes the choices on the side of the van with eager; humming, smiling, gently tapping her chin with her right hoof as her eyes dart from one side to the other.
  3766. >Where’s the husk that wanted you to pull the trigger, not too long ago?
  3767. >Gone, for good.
  3768. >You hope…
  3769. >“Hey, Anon, lift the lady again for a bit, there are some extras, right here, on the counter,” says Carl as he puts and open a metal container on it.
  3770. >“There are? Oh, now I simply must have a look at them.”
  3771. Wearing a sad face, you hold your wallet against your heart, and wail, “Me walleeeeeet.”
  3772. >She turns around and gives you a coy smile, “What lady wants, God wants, darling.”
  3773. >“Darling here, darling there, gee, which base are you at right now?”
  3774. You and her both ask, “Base?”
  3775. >“Oh, I see, you both don’t know… It’s okay, forget I said anything.”
  3776. >In any case, you crouch and cradle her again, allowing her to see the menu…
  3777. >And the extras.
  3778. > Carl is such a Jew sometimes.
  3779. >
  3780. >“I, the expensive lady, would like to have a grand maple-vanilla soft served with rainbow and pecan topping with… Oh, 3-nonono 4 of those biscuits, and-”
  3781. >She sniffs the air and gasps, “Oh my… oh my, is, is that what I think it is?!”
  3782. >Being done with your milkshake, he places it on the counter and smiles, “Hehe, good eyes, young lady; it sure is.”
  3783. “What's what?”
  3784. >With a delighted expression, she exclaims, “Coulis de fruits des champs!”
  3785. >Oh, that… which you are clueless about.
  3786. >Looks like fruity liquid or something.
  3787. >“It is a sauce, typically, but I thicken and unsweet it a bit to form a thick syrup which sticks to the ice-cream, even if it melts. But at the core, it’s a mixture of foreign berries.”
  3788. >“What an amazing idea!”
  3789. “Foreign?”
  3790. >“Oh, don’t worry; she knows where they’re from.”
  3791. >Yeah, that’s nice and all, but.
  3792. “Carl, Ah have just one credit card…”
  3793. >Disheartened, he looks down and shakes his head, before putting the lid back on, “Oh, well, in that case.”
  3794. >“Oh P-LEASE! Stop it with all this drama, one grand soft with a few extras simply cannot be that expensive now…” she lowers her ears and swishes her tail against your arms, her voice now more uncertain, her eyes pleading at you, “Well, it shouldn’t be too expensive... right, darling?”
  3795. >“Yeah, the ice cream isn’t that expensive.”
  3796. >Carl looks at you, and you grin.
  3797. “Yeah, but you are.”
  3798. >Carl laughs, you laugh, she rolls her eyes and lifts her hoof in the air, smiling, “Fine, you win, I submit…” she turns around and focuses on the container, “Especially if it means having my extras.”
  3799. “Hmm.”
  3800. >“Hmm,” repeats Carl.
  3801. >“AND I am not expensive! I am raffiné.”
  3802. >“So, expensive, but with taste?”
  3803. “Still expensive…”
  3804. >You laugh, Carl laughs.
  3805. >She playfully pouts, sideways, so you can both see her expression, but she cannot help but smile a bit underneath.
  3806. >Hehe, she's cute.
  3807. >So you cute that you want to pet her.
  3808. >However, just before your hand touches her barrel, you freeze and make a fist.
  3809. >“Hmm, the lady doesn’t like to be pet?”
  3810. “Nope.”
  3811. >Carl points your wallet pocket before flickering his index and middle finger, hinting you to give it to him.
  3812. >You trust Carl, and thus, hand it to him.
  3813. >“Have you tried petting her while she was distracted by…” he pulls your credit card and money out.
  3814. >“Ooooh PLEASE! How long do you intend to go on like that?”
  3815. “‘Til I’m out of cash, 'bviously.”
  3816. >You both burst into laughter; she cannot help but open her mouth wide and push her lower lips with her tongue, to form a speechless girl smile that screams playful banter.
  3817. >
  3818. >Carl prepares the ice cream, “So, for the, hehehe, “expensive lady” I’ll take a cone made out of wheat, tuck in a bottom of wheat, on the house, no need to thank me, pour the 100% bio maple-vanilla soft serve, carefully put the pecan and the biscuits one by one… There we go, now we take the ladle, dip it and carefully pour it on the soft, and finally sprinkle it with rainbow topping! There we go, Anonymous! Now let me just take the calculator for the cost and…”
  3819. >“Caaaaaarl…”
  3820. >“Oh yeah, silly me, it doesn't go that high.”
  3821. “Caaaaarl…”
  3822. >“10.85 For the lady and 6.35 for the biggy… Oh right, I have the wallet,” he takes out a 20, “Oh my, such a generous tip!”
  3823. “Carl…”
  3824. >“Okay, okay. So, 17.20 in total, so, here’s 2.80, there you go.”
  3825. >You hold her against your chest to free your right arm and quickly grab the wallet, put it in your pocket, and shift her back on both arms.
  3826. >They're going to kill you tomorrow.
  3827. >
  3828. >Now, everything is good and all.
  3829. >But.
  3830. >How are you going to transport it all back to your house?
  3831. >Your arms are already full of Pony.
  3832. >“Yeah, now that we’re looking at it… wait a min.”
  3833. >He gets out of the truck, takes the ice-creams and beckons you to follow him.
  3834. >“If we all walk to your doorstep, you’ll just have to give me the keys, I’ll unlock the door, you’ll drop the lady and come back for them.”
  3835. “Good idea, Carl!”
  3836. >“Hey now, what did I said about pleonasms?”
  3837. >“Full of yourself much, are you not?”
  3838. >With a smug, he slightly tilts the soft… threatening to let gravity do its purpose.
  3839. >“After a quick reflection, it was a pleonasm, after all.”
  3840. >The ice-cream stands straight once more, “Ah, thought so…”
  3841. >Smiling, you turn around and lean on the door to get your keys out and hand them to him.
  3842. >He traps the milkshake between his left forearm and stomach and opens the door with his right hand.
  3843. >He even turns the light on for you.
  3844. >*Cough cough* “My God, Anon, I think I'll never get used to it.”
  3845. “Pff, softie.”
  3846. >It doesn't smell that bad.
  3847. >“No, seriously. Is there something wasting inside?”
  3848. “Yeah, me.”
  3849. >You laugh. She doesn't.
  3850. >He doesn't.
  3851. “It's ha joke.”
  3852. >“Please, Anon,” chuckles Carl, “Don't make that kind of joke, at least not in front of ladies.”
  3853. “Oh, sorry.”
  3854. >Idiot.
  3855. >“Well, it doesn't matter. Just eat your ice-cream and go to bed. Recover from the long day and, and…” Carl chuckles, “take a coooold shower, or four.”
  3856. “Yeah.”
  3857. >IDIOT.
  3858. >Uncomfortable by the awkwardness, you hastily walk toward the table and gently drop her on it.
  3859. >But the pain in your arms…
  3860. >You turn around and walk toward the door.
  3861. >Once in front of him, you raise your hands to take the sweets from him, and you both realize that your arms are shaking.
  3862. >“Anon, your arms.”
  3863. “It okay.”
  3864. >Unconvinced, he extends his arms and makes sure that both treats are securely held by you before letting go of them, “Stretch them, a lot, before going to bed, alright?”
  3865. “Yeah.”
  3866. >“Anon!”
  3867. >Surprised, you jerk your head back.
  3868. >“What did I just say?”
  3869. “Hum… stretching, cold shower, hum, arms?”
  3870. >Concerned, he raises his arms up and gently squeezes your shoulders.
  3871. *sharp inhale* “Ouch.”
  3872. >“I can barely tell the difference between your collarbone and your neck muscles.”
  3873. >Apparently oblivious to your discomfort, he presses his fingers against your neck muscles.
  3874. >Even though you know the pressure is mild, at best, your muscles feel like they're going to tear in half.
  3875. >Soon after, both your arms mysteriously rise up.
  3876. >Carl takes a step back, eyes wide open and arms raised in the air, “Woah there buddy, don't make that kind of scary face. I get it.”
  3877. >Grunting, you tilt your head left and right, cracking your neck to relieve some pressure and lower your aching arms.
  3878. >A flood of warmth also invades your neck up to your fingertips.
  3879. >Weird
  3880. >“Forget about cold shower if you are stiff like that, take a warm bath- no, with the amount of grime you must have, you'll pollute the water and marinate in it.”
  3881. >Carl pinches his chin between his right index and thumb, before snapping his fingers and smiling, “take a few hot showers, and, who knows.”
  3882. >He draws closer to you and whispers, “maybe she trusts you enough that she'll let you give her a bath, in exchange for massaging your sore and big muscles.”
  3883. “Huh, why?” you whisper back.
  3884. >“I would bet 20 bucks that she, the lady, has a hard time washing her coat and mane with hooves only. But, you, my friend, have dextrous fingers.”
  3885. “Ah'm not-hachile with my fingers.”
  3886. >“No, but even your fingers beat hooves. Plus, have you seen the number of knots she has in her mane? Plus, again, I think she's limping, so she will have a hard time actually cleaning herself.”
  3887. >He comically waves his right index at you, “You wouldn't let a girl stay dirty now, would you?”
  3888. >When he puts it that way.
  3889. “Hmm.”
  3890. >He draws back and taps your right shoulder from the side, “You know what to do, now, just do it, and try to reach another base, hehehe.”
  3891. >Hehe.
  3892. >Giving a bath to a horse.
  3893. >For a massage.
  3894. >That does seem fun.
  3895. >But base..?
  3896. >
  3897. >After a conspicuous wink (from Carl) and a goodbye wave, you close the door with your leg, remove your shoes and head back to the kitchen with your feet.
  3898. >Obviously.
  3899. >“So… care to tell me what this was all about?”
  3900. >Hmm, her ears are pulled back.
  3901. >You sit down and give her her ice cream.
  3902. “Said I was stiff, needed to take a shower, a hot one, and, and that, hum…”
  3903. >Shit. How do you approach this?
  3904. >Drawing a blank in your mind, you take a sip of your milkshake.
  3905. >Hmm, good.
  3906. >“And, what?” she asks, with an awkward smile. Her eyes locked on to you.
  3907. >Her pupils are contracted. Her head is pulled back.
  3908. >She is slightly frowning, and her ice-cream is untouched.
  3909. >You're making her worry.
  3910. >Ah, screw it, wololo!
  3911. > It's yolo…
  3912. Looking away, rubbing your nape, you mutter, “And, that, hum… you need a bath.”
  3913. >Her ears prick and her big eyes dilate, “You'll give me one?!”
  3914. >Surprised by her enthusiasm, you jump, creaking the chair by the same occasion.
  3915. >Startled by your reaction, she stoops and lowers her ears, “Oh, I, I… m-my apologies, I didn't mean to scare you. After hearing that, that you would give me a bath I, I just couldn't help myself, you know? but you're still going to give me a bath, r-right, mas- I mean, sir, please?”
  3916. >You blink.
  3917. >Twice.
  3918. >How is Carl so smart all the time?
  3919. >“Pretty please?”
  3920. >He knew she would like the ice-cream, he knew she would like the bath.
  3921. >He really gets how pets feel.
  3922. >Maybe she would be happier with Carl as her owner.
  3923. >But you're tired of being lonely…
  3924. >
  3925. >Pinching her lips and blushing, she clears her throat, “Well, if, if you want to, of course… HOO!”
  3926. >What, what!?
  3927. >“Would you look at that, it's melting already! I'd better eat it quickly before it leaks all over the place.”
  3928. >She lowers her head and bites on a biscuit that fell on the table.
  3929. >Oh.
  3930. >Right.
  3931. >Even your milkshake is getting kind of slushy.
  3932. >Wait.
  3933. >Frowning, a lot, you turn around and look at the door.
  3934. >Wait a minute.
  3935. >Why is Carl's ice-cream… not cold, tonight?
  3936. >Now that's really, really weird.
  3937. >“Is something the matter?”
  3938. “Meh, not important.”
  3939. *What hide the flags you didn’t notice?*
  3940. >It might be important, but, screw it.
  3941. >Carl is right.
  3942. >Today was a long day.
  3943. >Waking up with a horse in your bed.
  3944. >Tingling arm.
  3945. >Lost your blade.
  3946. >Hurt your pet.
  3947. >Went into town.
  3948. >Got hurt, your prosthesis broke.
  3949. >Wait.
  3950. “Ah, 'ight.”
  3951. >You missed the noon cartoons today.
  3952. >Well, maybe you could watch the television together.
  3953. “Wanna watchf Tv?”
  3954. >She raises her head, rainbow topping scattered on her muzzle, “Hmm, why not.”
  3955. >Hehe, cute.
  3956. >Ah, right, you'll have to carry her though.
  3957. >Shit.
  3958. >
  3959. >After a quick cleanup of your frantic search for your blade, and many stifled grunts, you both sit in front of the television,  sucking or licking your cool treat.
  3960. >And another funny idea appears in your mind.
  3961. >You asked her if she wanted to watch the Tv, but you can watch it without turning it on!
  3962. >Hehe.
  3963. >As you would expect, she scans her surrounding, “Do you have the remote?”
  3964. “Yes.”
  3965. >“Oh, good…” she turns her head toward the Tv.
  3966. >You purse your lips around the straw in order to conceal your smile.
  3967. >“Soooo, are you going to turn it on then?”
  3968. “Hun?” you raise your brow and look at her, faking confusion, “why?”
  3969. >“To… watch the television, of course?”
  3970. “No need, see, we're watching it.”
  3971. >To prove your point, you even extend your arm and point at it.
  3972. >Dumbfounded, she opens her mouth.
  3973. >But says nothing.
  3974. >She merely turns her head toward it.
  3975. >Thank God you can't really see your reflections; otherwise, she would see that you're trying really hard to not laugh.
  3976. >“I, I guess we are, indeed, watching it.”
  3977. >She shakes her head, “Wait, you are pulling my leg, aren't you?”
  3978. >Laughing, you turn it on.
  3979. >Playfully, she shoves your left shoulder with her head, “Of course you were! you tease, I knew that you couldn't pos-”
  3980. >Sounds of explosions, men screaming and mortars whistling in the air fill the house.
  3981. >Multiple men scramble as they jog deeper, further in the trenches, until they climb over, into the smoking no man's land.
  3982. >Green coats, leather pouches forming a cross on their back, metal helmets.
  3983. >Stroboscopic flashes of blue.
  3984. >Smoke, screams.
  3985. >New scene, a man falls on the ground on the upper left corner of the screen.
  3986. >His eyes wide open, his helmet falls on the ground. Behind him, his comrades are charging deeper into the no man's land.
  3987. >Bored, you press a button.
  3988. >A window giving details about the movie, 12 donkeys, pops up.
  3989. >Wrong button.
  3990. >Ah, there.
  3991. >You don't get why they put adult shows or movies in the cartoon channel when children are supposed to be sleeping.
  3992. >Or at school.
  3993. >“-And he's usually the father of all their offspring.”
  3994. >This time, the Tv shows what appears to be a documentary about gorillas.
  3995. >“Close by in Dunguse's group lives a fourth brother, a 19 years old silverback called Salama. He maintains a healthy distance from his older brother by trailing the family wherever they go.”
  3996. >You gulp down some more slushy milkshake.
  3997. >“Although he lives on the edge, he's familiar to all group members and during the regular siesta period, he often plays with one particular infant, belonging to a female with whom he has a very close bond.”
  3998. >“Anon..?”
  3999. “Hmm?”
  4000. >“This television that you, humans, have is, is for entertainment, isn't it?”
  4001. “Yeah.”
  4002. >“So, why… war?”
  4003. >Intrigued, you turn to face her.
  4004. >Her sad eyes are focused on you.
  4005. >She doesn't blink.
  4006. >It is a serious question.
  4007. “Ah don't know. Humans are evil, they're munsters.”
  4008. >“I see…”
  4009. >Feeling awful, you suck more ice cream and look back at the silverback.
  4010. >One of them is crouching and-
  4011. >Oh.
  4012. >“Salama, concealed from his brothers prying eyes, mates with her.”
  4013. >Rarity sniggers, “Violence in movies, and sex on television, truly, entertainment meant for humans who clearly haven't their values right!”
  4014. >It's not like she's wrong, but she shouldn't judge the tree by its forest.
  4015. “Puny…”
  4016. >“What?” she drily asks.
  4017. “Like Carl told me. Do not hate humanSsszz. You will never have enough hatred in your heart to hhate them all, it's impossible. Hate them individually, if you cannot help but to hate them.”
  4018. >That emphasis you tried to put on the plural of human was so bad.
  4019. >You really need to fix that prosthesis.
  4020. >The Tv continues, “All gorillas have large pot bellies, bacteria in the gut help to break down all the vegetable matter needed to satisfy their daily energy requirements. A by-product of all this activity is gas, huge quantity of it. As a result, all family members are in a semi-permanent state of flatulence.”
  4021. >The gorilla on the screen lets out a long, gargle-y fart.
  4022. >“Now that's just plain gross.”
  4023. “Meh, it's natural.”
  4024. >And funny.
  4025. >They sound like balloons.
  4026. >“Gorillas have been known to do something very strange at certain times; they will eat their own dung for no apparent reason.”
  4027. >“YEWWWW!”
  4028. >My God she's noisy…
  4029. >“Oh, no, the ice cream!”
  4030. >Alarmed, you look at her.
  4031. >She's trying to press her hooves against her ears but the angle on which the ice cream hold on, thanks to both of you being on the seat cushions, threatens to topple it.
  4032. >Sure, what's happening on Tv IS gross.
  4033. >Really gross.
  4034. >But it's on Tv.
  4035. >She's just over-reacting.
  4036. >Still, you grab her cone, then, she closes her eyes and puts her hooves on her ears.
  4037. >“Thank you, could you please tell me when it'll be over?”
  4038. “Okay.”
  4039. >
  4040. >As you thought, they do it for the same reason rabbits do it.
  4041. >You poke her to indicate it's over.
  4042. >“Thank you. It'll nevertheless go inside the list of things I most certainly didn't need to know about.”
  4043. “Yeah, it was a shitty topic… Hehe.”
  4044. >Blushing, you gently put her rectangular ice cream cone back between her front legs.
  4045. >“- he has moved too far up the slopes of Makino. This imposed early separation from the family helps to build confidence. Wandering through the forest prepares the pair for the eventual day that they will be group leaders in their own right.”
  4046. >Was that joke too risky?
  4047. >“Laughter…” she whispers.
  4048. “Hmm?”
  4049. >“Kindness… Generosity. Honesty, when you told me to be honest with myself, Loyalty… but no Magic.”
  4050. “What you on about?”
  4051. >“-fledgling Eagle Owl is suddenly aware that the world outside its nest can be terrifyingly large. It hasn't learned to fly properly yet and it's not often that Rafiki can get this close to an animal.
  4052. >“Oh, don't mind me, I was talking about those, heh old fashioned values… Whom I used to rely on.”
  4053. “Used to?”
  4054. >“I'd prefer not to talk about it… even though I was the one who brought the subject up.”
  4055. “Hmm. Circumstances?”
  4056. >She put her horn under your left arm and push up, so you lift it, curious as to what she's trying to do.
  4057. >Then, she uses your belly as a pillow, carefully securing her treat, despite the new position.
  4058. >Daww…
  4059. >She sighs, “Yes, circumstances. It is one way to put it.”
  4060. >*maybe she trusts you enough that she'll let you give her a bath, in exchange for massaging your sore and big muscles.*
  4061. >Hmm.
  4062. *What hide the flags you didn’t notice?*
  4063. >“His natural sense of curiosity sparked by the unique nature of the situation draws Rafiki into wanting to provoke a response."
  4064. >The camera zooms in on the owl's face.
  4065. >Clearly, it has no idea as to how it will deal with Rafiki, the gorilla, who's at least 5 times its size.
  4066. >Tentitively, he approaches his big, furry hand and pokes the owl, twice.
  4067. >The owl, annoyed, thrusts his beak on Rafiki's wrist, which he rapidly draws back.
  4068. “Hehehe.”
  4069. *What hide the flags you didn’t notice?*
  4070. >You feel like you're on to something here, but you're way too tired to care about it.
  4071. >Unfortunately, whenever you didn't do something about those feeling, shit happened.
  4072. >But you don't want to get up now that you and your pet are cozy.
  4073. >But you'll forget if you don't write it down.
  4074. >Might even forget it despite having written it down.
  4075. >She bites on her cone, crunching it between her teeth, pulling you out of your thoughts.
  4076. >Right, she might remember.
  4077. “Puny?”
  4078. >She swallows, “Yes?”
  4079. “You have good memory?”
  4080. >“I, I suppose. Why, is there something on your mind?”
  4081. “Can you remind me 'bout flags Ah didn't notice?”
  4082.  >“-The lush green forests around Makino are lapped by a rising tide of human cultivation which threatens to engulf the island-like home of the gorillas, at any time.”
  4083. >Humans…
  4084. >“Reassure me, you are not talking about… things that I may or may not actually have done, correct?”
  4085. >Things she may or… what?
  4086. “Hum, no?”
  4087. >“Oh, good. Don't worry about it, I'll be sure to remind you. I, I mean, I would also remind you later, if, if that was the case, you know , hehehehehe…”
  4088. >Nervous laugh.
  4089. “Now that's a flag Ah noticed, heh.”
  4090. >She gulps, the Tv continues, “The Virunga volcanoes straddle the Central African Republic of Zaire Rwanda and Uganda…”
  4091. >
  4092. >“Louara's older brother, Rafiki, was last seen on the dangerous Rwanda border, with all the tragedies in the region so far, it seems impossible that he could have escaped the slaughter.
  4093. “It's eight years since his playful encounter with the owl, and he's not seen a cameraman since that time so long ago. This can only be Rafiki, the friendly one, as his name implies.
  4094. “At last, with a home range of his own, he's been able to establish a family, a small one, with a couple of young infants, and some very nervous females.
  4095. “Rafiki is drawn in close to the camera, captivated by his own reflection in the lens. It's been a long time since he was last exposed to anything like this and in a moving display of trust, he allows his young infant to share the experience with him.”
  4096. >“Anon?”
  4097. “Hmm?”
  4098. >“This “documentary”, has mostly shown how humans have destroyed their habitat, but in a sad and provocative way, instead of glorifying mankind, or entertain it with thoughtless violence. In fact, even humans have suffered from the hooves of humans… so why is something like that considered entertaining?”
  4099. “Entertaining?”
  4100. >“Well, yes, it is being shown on the television, thus it is some kind of entertainment, not that I can really see how it qualifies.”
  4101. “Hmm.”
  4102. >Good question.
  4103. “Well, entertainment doesn't… necessarily mean fun. It passes time. It teaches. It produces emotions. It kills boredom, hehe.”
  4104. >“It kills boredom. That is a very human way of seeing it.”
  4105. >Ouch.
  4106. >She tilts her head up to face you, “Oh, not that I imply anything bad by it, for once. After all, it is your point of view, and you are not as… humans, as the other humans.”
  4107. “Yeah, not like Ah didn't try.”
  4108. >Shocked, she rolls on her side and stares at you, “Anonymous, why would you ever consider being like them! They are all awf- well, maybe not all, that's stretching it, but most I've seen are selfish, egotistical, violent and judgemental, and, and full of hatred; you are nothing like them, so why, why in Equestria would you want to be like them?”
  4109. >Jaded, you look at the kitchen and scratch your beard, “It hurt less… No, they, hurt less.”
  4110. >“But then, wouldn't you be, not, honest with yourself?”
  4111. >The Psys say that too.
  4112. >Like you do with them, you get up, stand in front of her.
  4113. >Take your shirt off.
  4114. >“Anon..?”
  4115. >And reveal your scars.
  4116. >
  4117. >Specks of hair litters your chest.
  4118. >Skin grafts and scars do not regenerate hair.
  4119. >In silence, she stares; she raises her hoof toward her mouth but ends up pursing her lips, and looking away.
  4120. “Look.”
  4121. >“I'm sorry, Mas-”
  4122. “LOOK!”
  4123. >Startled, she obeys, her ears pulled back.
  4124. >Afraid, she shakes, her pupils contracting.
  4125. >Raising your arms, and regretting it because of the pain, you put your fingertips under your armpits and slowly slide them along your body.
  4126. “This, is b'ing h'nest with m'self. Where's your scars, Puny?”
  4127. >“I'm sorry, sir, I never should have-”
  4128. “WHERE are your scars!”
  4129. > Easy there, big boy.
  4130. >She…
  4131. >Stays silent.
  4132. “They're here,” you poke your temple, “And here,” you poke your left pectoral.
  4133. >Wait.
  4134. >Frowning, you think.
  4135. >Is the heart on the left or right side?
  4136. >Left, you think.
  4137. “Yeah, there. B'ing true t'self heals there, and there.”
  4138. > Easy there, this documentary's getting to your head.
  4139. “Ah know what Ah mean by: It hurts less!”
  4140. >Shit, he's right.
  4141. >Gotta calm down.
  4142. >Gotta, gotta go smite something.
  4143. >Speaking of which, your Mother's blade's still on the floor.
  4144. >That's real not good.
  4145. >Should hide it better.
  4146. >
  4147. >Turning around, you go in the kitchen and lift Mother's blade off the cold and dirty tiles.
  4148. >“No…, please no.”
  4149. >Curious, you walk back in the living room.
  4150. >“Please, Anon, don't do it…”
  4151. >She is utterly terrified.
  4152. >About as much as she was on the first day.
  4153. Munster.
  4154. “Do what?”
  4155. >She wills a smile on her face, “You, you are not like them, remember? s-so, p-please,” tears are falling down her face as she whispers, “Don't do it… please.”
  4156. >You frown, completely confused, “I can't put M'ther's blade in me bedroom?”
  4157. >Now just as confused as you, she gawks, in silence.
  4158. “Tsk, complex Puny…” you say as you walk down the corridor.
  4159. >You'd put the blade back in the forge, but the scare you had traumatized you.
  4160. Munster.
  4161. >There's less chance that someone steals it, or her bad luck happens if it's hidden in your bedroom.
  4162. >Hmm, between the mattress and bedspring seems like a good idea.
  4163. >
  4164. >You go back in the living room, smiling, and find a sniffling Pony.
  4165. “Weird girl, you supposed to cry, before, ice cream, then feel happy.”
  4166. >Chuckling, she wipes her tears, “You really aren't like the others… thank you.”
  4167. >Wait.
  4168. >Did you made her cry without being aware of it?
  4169. “Were you crying 'cause of me?”
  4170. >“Oh, hum, yes and no.”
  4171. You smile, “It doesn't really matter, since Carl is a good guy, right?”
  4172. >“Hun?”
  4173. “You also said, oh, hum, yes and no, when Ah asked you if you knew Carl, on the bench.”
  4174. >She smiles, titters, and chuckle, before breaking into a good and long laugh.
  4175. >It makes you really happy.
  4176. >But you still feel like a munster.
  4177. >The eyes she looked at you with.
  4178. >It's the eyes people have in Crazy Mouse flashbacks…
  4179. >But, she also smiled regret.
  4180. >It makes you feel really weird in your chest.
  4181. *maybe she trusts you enough that she'll let you give her a bath, in exchange for massaging your sore and big muscles.*
  4182. *You'll give me one?!*
  4183. >Hey, that's right.
  4184. >You could give her a bath.
  4185. >It'll make her real happy.
  4186. “Want a bathf?”
  4187. >Her ears prick, her tail swishes, and her eyes sparkle, “I would looove to have one, darling. It is quite deplorable that I have grown accustomed to being filthy.”
  4188. “Alright,” you clap your hands and head toward the bathroom.
  4189. *take a warm bath- no, with the amount of grime you must have, you'll pollute the water and marinate in it.*
  4190. >Wait…
  4191. >But, you just promised her a bath.
  4192. >Oh, but you have a showerhead for your bathtub.
  4193. >That'll work.
  4194. >
  4195. >To her surprise, you turn around and walk toward her.
  4196. “Upsy Rarity, hehe.”
  4197. >“Upsy Rarity,” she repeats with a smile as she lets you put your hands under her.
  4198. >But it doesn't work all that well because of the cushions.
  4199. >Not feeling like bothering too much about it, you lift the cushion instead.
  4200. >Or at least, you try, before a jolting pain spread throughout your arms.
  4201. >Letting go of the cushion breaks your momentum, and you fall back on the table, which, unfortunately, doesn't break.
  4202. >Unfortunately, because it stops your fall abruptly.
  4203. >Your already painful ribcage does the job of lightening the impact.
  4204. >
  4205. >Unable to breathe, you slump down on the side.
  4206. >“Anonymous, are you alright?!”
  4207. “Y-yeah…”
  4208. >But actually, no, you are not alright.
  4209. >You're in pain.
  4210. >Obviously.
  4211. >
  4212. >Grunting, you roll on your belly and push your torso up so you can pull your knees under it, tilt backward, kneel and get up.
  4213. >“Please, don't overexert yourself for me; I can manage to walk up to the bathroom by myself.”
  4214. “You, you can?”
  4215. >“Yes, you have already done so much for me, and maybe even spoiled me. It would simply be unfair of me to make you carry me for one more minute. Especially after what happened to you, at the park.”
  4216. >At the park?
  4217. >“I can still smell the pepper spray on you.”
  4218. >Ah, the beating.
  4219. >You puff your chest and rest your fists against your hips.
  4220. “Bah, Ah'm strong, resilient. It nothing!”
  4221. >“But that's just it, you don't have to be strong and resilient right now. I…”
  4222. >She lowers her gaze and ears, “I know you are sincerely trying to…”
  4223. >She's thinking, hard, instead of blabbering.
  4224. >Now that's concerning.
  4225. >“Make me happy, I guess, but I cannot enjoy it if it means that it is at your expenses.”
  4226. >You…
  4227. >You don't understand.
  4228. >Anyway, you got a bath to give her.
  4229. You turn around, “nyway, bathf time!”
  4230. >“Anonymous, I am serious!”
  4231. “Hum, me too?”
  4232. *What hide the flags you didn't notice?*
  4233. >Stop thinking.
  4234. >Just, just go take a bath, and, and give her one.
  4235. >Yeah, that, that you can do.
  4236. >
  4237. >You open the bathroom door and open the sink cabinet.
  4238. >Inside, you find dust, mosses, cleaning products, and soap bars.
  4239. >When was the last time you bought soap?
  4240. >Usually, you buy in bulk, but then the expiration date gets you; will have to check it.
  4241. >“Gah!”
  4242. “You alright!?”
  4243. >“Y-Yes, I'm fine, don't you worry none.”
  4244. “Oh.”
  4245. >So, expiration date.
  4246. >Sand Soap, the sandpaper of soap, for real men, murders grime and slaughter bacteria.
  4247. >Nope.
  4248. >For external use only, this product is not and shouldn't be used as a disinfectant.
  4249. > Clearly, someone had a lawyer and too much free time.
  4250. >Ingredients; nope, not this side either.
  4251. >Ah, there… sheesh.
  4252. >You will have to use… 2, 4, 8, 9 soap in three months.
  4253. >“Sand soap, the sandpaper of soap,” she mumbles the rest, stops and looks at you, “Anon?”
  4254. You get up and head toward the bathtub, “Yeah?”
  4255. >“Are you considering using that, ugh, thing?”
  4256. “Hum, yes, best exffhiolant, erhm, exffoliant.”
  4257. >“Oh, I see…” sigh “Well; beggars can't be choosers now can they? But do reassure me, this soap isn't actually made out of sandpaper now, is it?”
  4258. >Smiling, and putting the soap aside, you get up to use the bath showerhead and rinse off the dust inside the bathtub.
  4259. “Nan, doeszen't hurt, unless you have cuts, or rub too hard.
  4260. >“Oh my, Anon, I never would have thought you had a jacuzzi! And with nothing less than a built-in showerhead!”
  4261. “Ah don't, it my parent's”
  4262. >“You… you still live with your parents?”
  4263. >Not really sure how to approach the subject, you keep a straight face, and keep rinsing.
  4264. >“Did I just encroach on a touchy subject?”
  4265. “Not re'lly… Don't live with me an'more.”
  4266. >In any case, the bath is rinsed.
  4267. >“Shouldn't it be the child that moves away from home?”
  4268. “Circumstances,” you tell her, drily.
  4269. >“Oh, pardon my muzzleness.”
  4270. “Muzzleness?”
  4271. >“Yes, muzzleness. Ah, right, in your case, it must be noseness.”
  4272. “Ah, nose-hiness,” you put your hand under the water to test its temperature, “good.”
  4273. >She tilts her head, “Hum, are you going to fill the bath with the showerhead?”
  4274. “No?”
  4275. >“Oh, okay,” she hops forward and looks at the bath's outline, “I know I said I didn't want to rely on you anymore, but this change everything.”
  4276. “Can't use your rear legs to hop in?”
  4277. >She blows air through her muzzle, turns her head toward you, smile and half-closes her left eye, “Are you…”
  4278. >She closes her eyes, clears her throat and puts on a face of patience.
  4279. >You don't like that.
  4280. >“I mean, haven't you seen the bruise the size of my head on my rump?”
  4281. >Now that she mentions it, she does have a big blue and purple rump.
  4282. “Wasn't your coat?”
  4283. >“But of course not! I am light gray! except for my hair which is a moderate hue of indigo!”
  4284. “Hum…”
  4285. >Sighing, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, “White, and purple. My coat is white, and my mane is purple.”
  4286. “Oh…” you look away, feeling awful, and sit on the toilet, “sorry.”
  4287. >The water runs, the handle warms up in your hand; not because of your body warmth.
  4288. >“No, no, it's, it's fine.”
  4289. >She doesn't sound like it's fine.
  4290. *Like a predator, you pounce and straddle her back, pinning her on the ground. In response, she shrieks in pain.
  4291. Weird… You’re not THAT heavy.*
  4292. “Ah, Ah didit?”
  4293. >“Did what? The bruise? Oh goodness no, I can assure you that you had nothing to do with it.”
  4294. “B-but, when Ah jumped on you…”
  4295. >“You didn't jump on me; what are you talking about?”
  4296. “The, the… you know,” you point your forehead, where her horn would be.
  4297. >“Ooooh, so that's what you meant. Well, it certainly didn't help that you savagely attacked me, not at all, that's for sure, but there weren't any injuries… well, except for one leg, but anyway, the point is, you were not responsible for my rump.”
  4298. >Still you hurt her, you munster.
  4299. >She should be with Carl, it's safer for her.
  4300. >Especially once you'll be in jail.
  4301. >“ANON!”
  4302. >Startled, you draw your arm back, spraying water all over her face, and the bathroom floor.
  4303. >Wincing in pain, you extend your arm toward the bathtub.
  4304. “S-s'rry.”
  4305. >“Pft,” she says as she spits the few threads of wet hair pushed on her lips, “shouldn't have shouted… The drain isn't clogged?”
  4306. “Ah know.”
  4307. >“But then, how do you intend to fill the bath?”
  4308. “Ah, Ah don't.”
  4309. >She blinks.
  4310. >Twice.
  4311. >“So, let me get this straight, I am, indeed, getting a bath, right?”
  4312. “Yes.”
  4313. >“And usually, a bath must withhold a certain amount of water for it to be considered a bath, correct?”
  4314. “Too dirty for bath.”
  4315. >“I… come again?”
  4316. “Wanna sit in a hot soup of dirt?”
  4317. >“W-what? Aren't I taking a bath, expressly, because I am dirty?”
  4318. >Ah… Carl explains it so much better.
  4319. >
  4320. “If the dirt is not on you, then where will it be?”
  4321. >“Well, it would go in-”
  4322. >Realisation dawns on her.
  4323. >While she gawks at the bath, you undress.
  4324. >She looks at you, then at the bath again.
  4325. >Then at the showerhead, and lowers her ears.
  4326. >“It will go into the bath, and that would, indeed, turn it into a hot soup of dirt. Nope, you are right; I have no intention of sitting down in, in, y-yeww.”
  4327. >Carl is so smart.
  4328. >“So that's why you, and-and the showerhead…”
  4329. “Yep,” you confirm as you pull your socks off.
  4330. >“My my, how thoughtful of you. It is, however, unfortunate that I am, still, unable to get in the bathtub.”
  4331. >Flag.
  4332. “Hmm.”
  4333. >You drop the showerhead in the bathtub and lift her up.
  4334. >She smiles, “Hm-hm, what would I do without you?”
  4335. “Flag.”
  4336. >Carefully, because the bathtub is wet and you have at least a hundred pounds in your arm, you put one foot on the bathtub.
  4337. >The footing seems steady enough.
  4338. >Just to be sure, you add more weight by bending your knee.
  4339. >It is stable
  4340. >She coughs, “That smell, was it you all along?”
  4341. “Maybe.”
  4342. >“Sweet Celestia.”
  4343. >And you put your other leg in.
  4344. >Now, hum.
  4345. >Now what?
  4346. >You have to be careful not to fall.
  4347. >It would hurt more than your ego.
  4348. >But how do you get down now?
  4349. >Maybe if you use an arm?
  4350. >Yeah that would work.
  4351. >Readjusting her weight on your right arm, you crouch into a squat and use your left arm to lean on the bathtub by putting it behind you.
  4352. >Thankfully, the angle allows you to use your back muscle to alleviate a bit of pain.
  4353. >Finally, you sit down and lean on the bathtub's wall.
  4354. >She pulls away from you and sits down.
  4355. >Facing you.
  4356. >“I simply cannot wait to get rid of this icky crust.”
  4357. “Yeah. Gonna clean dirty Puny now.”
  4358. >She smiles, “Did the kettle just called the pot black?”
  4359. “Maybe.”
  4360. >Although it is a two-person bathtub, you easily count for 1.5, but you are still limited in your movements.
  4361. “'d be better if you were in the middle.”
  4362. >Pricking her ears, she looks behind her and swishes her tail, “Good point, sadly, I, I…”
  4363. >Hmm.
  4364. >She draws a deep breath and looks at her hooves, “I am unable to get up whenever I sit.”
  4365. >Tsking, you reach for the bathtub's wall behind you and awkwardly get up.
  4366. >“My sincere apologies.”
  4367. “Not your fffault.”
  4368. >In order to get behind her, you will have to move one leg over her head, and hope that her horn and your package won't collide.
  4369. >Thankfully, she lowers her head as you carry out the delicate manoeuver.
  4370. >Taking the soap, you turn around and grab the handle.
  4371. “Might want to breathe with mouth now.”
  4372. >“How come?”
  4373. “It gonna smell, bad,” you tell her as you gently warm her left whiter with water.
  4374. >As you would expect a good amount of dust, dirt and grime browns, darken and sometimes redden the water.
  4375. >She stifles and moves her left foreleg forward.
  4376. “Hmm.”
  4377. >Now that you are taking a closer look at her, you can see that… hum, her, like, ankle, or whatever is bleeding.
  4378. >The dirty water must have been flowing down her leg, and onto her wound.
  4379. “Y'bleedin'.”
  4380. >“Yes… It'll have to be disinfected,” worried, she looks at you, “You do have some, don't you?”
  4381. >Grumbling, you scratch your nape.
  4382. “Costs muney.”
  4383. >“I guess so. You aren't exactly what I would call well off, no offence intended.”
  4384. “None taken.”
  4385. >Now that it is soaked, you rub her wither with soap.
  4386. >It takes several attempts for the soap to soak in enough that you can comb her fur in the right direction.
  4387. >“Anonymous, where did you buy this soap?”
  4388. “Hum, store down the street.”
  4389. >“That feeling of soap grating your fur, clawing its way up to your skin without actually reaching it, it is simply amazing!”
  4390. “It just soap.”
  4391. >“Just soap? Nonononono, you are gravely mistaking. This soap feels just like the one I use at home!”
  4392. “Home?”
  4393. >She lowers her ears, “Well, the one I was using… back home.”
  4394. >A fit of coughs assaults her, “You weren't lying about the smell. Is this the soap's doing?”
  4395. “Hehe, nope, it's dirty Puny's doing.”
  4396. >“It most certainly is not!”
  4397. >You giggle, deeply aware of the truth.
  4398. >“I simply, positively cannot have such foul odour hiding in my coat, Anon, it is impossible! It has to be!”
  4399. >Giggles.
  4400. >“It is no laughing matter, Anon, stop laughing!”
  4401. “Stop bein' dirty.”
  4402. >“Stop being dirty… I, you.”
  4403. >Offended, unprepared, she tries to find anything to say, while you laugh and start cleaning her barrel.
  4404. >“Well, at least I AM being rid of this stench.”
  4405. “Yep, then you help me.”
  4406. >“Help you? What for?”
  4407. “Si, massage muscles, clean me back; Ah rub your back you rub mine.”
  4408. >“Oh yeah. I suppose it is the least I can do. Even though I only have one hoof, am sure that I will be able to figure out something.”
  4409. >Right, now that you think about it.
  4410. >She ONLY has one hoof.
  4411. >Now that’s not good.
  4412. >
  4413. “Mhm.”
  4414. >The more you clean her, the whiter she becomes.
  4415. >It is a funny thing to witness.
  4416. >“Anon, something has been on my mind for a while.”
  4417. “Hm?”
  4418. >“Do you have anything that is edible for me, other than pudding?”
  4419. “Hum, got cereals.”
  4420. >“Cereals, anything else?”
  4421. “Hmm, got milk.”
  4422. >“Milk, for the cereals I presume?”
  4423. >Her voice has a hint of impatience in it.
  4424. “Yeah.”
  4425. >The more you rub your fingers in her fur, the more you can feel her bones and-
  4426. >Wait, that's weird.
  4427. >Perplexed, you run your fingers through her wither again.
  4428. >Yep.
  4429. >SOME of her scars feel like normal scars, but some, big or long ones; they do not feel like scars at all.
  4430. >“Anon, could you please try to avoid putting any form of pressure there? It is a very sensitive spot.”
  4431. “What is it?” you ask as you extend your fingers as much as possible to surround the weird scars with your fingertips.
  4432. >“I would prefer not to talk about it, if you do not mind.”
  4433. “Didn't ask what caused it, asked what this, the scar, is.”
  4434. >“It, it is a scar, just as you said?”
  4435. “No, it not just scar.”
  4436. >Frowning, you put the handle down and very carefully split the hair and grime that covers the red and swollen area to get a better view of the scar.
  4437. >Stifling a gasp, she swishes her tail at you, “Anon, I told you it was sensitive, could you please stop it? It is but a scar, just like yours, nothing special about it.”
  4438. >It is, indeed, just a white scar, but there's still something else you felt, something wrong about it.
  4439. “Bad, very bad stitching.”
  4440. >“Stitching? The sutures have been pulled a long time ago if this is what you are wondering about.”
  4441. >No, no, it’s not the scar that's weird.
  4442. >It's the skin underneath.
  4443. >It feels like there is still a lump trying to push upward.
  4444. “You had bad surgeon, bad surgery.”
  4445. >“I cannot disagree that the “surgeon” if we can call him one, that would operate on us indeed looked like a shoddy one, but I do wonder how you can tell the difference between a good and a bad one, merely by looking at the scar he left?”
  4446. >You grab the handle, the soap, and continue cleaning her, “Ah… do it.”
  4447. >She swivels her head toward you, “You ARE a surgeon?”
  4448. “No, Ah do stitching.”
  4449. >Thankfully, the water didn't have hues of red anymore.
  4450. >Shocked, she moves her gaze on your body, “Are you hinting that… these scars.”
  4451. >Saddened, you chuckle.
  4452. “Boi, wuz Ah bad 't first.”
  4453. >“You're lying, there, there is,” she chuckles, and sniffles, as her voice cracks, “some of them are so, so wide, and long!”
  4454. “Ah know.”
  4455. >She looks forward, “You cannot stitch unless you are one hundred percent concentrated,” chuckles “I would know, I am, or was, a fashion designer, AND, a dressmaker.”
  4456. >In silence, you apply the soap, gently, over her body.
  4457. >“Relying on drugs to ease the pain is no good, because you have to be completely there to stitch properly, yes, that's right.”
  4458. >And now gently around her scar.
  4459. >“Even with your unbelievably agile fingers, no, because of your unbelievably agile fingers, you are able to do so many things that I cannot with my mouth, so, so of course, you could, but…”
  4460. >She shakes her head and sniffles, “But you can't, not with those scars, you couldn't, you couldn't have…”
  4461. “Why not?”
  4462. >“Why not? why not! Because, because you would have had to stitch your wounds mere moments after you, you've been…”
  4463. >Shivering again, she shakes her head, “It is turning my stomach upside down. Could we, PLEASE, stop talking about scars and stitches?”
  4464. >What a softy.
  4465. “So, hum, Puny make dresses?”
  4466. >“Thank you. Yes, or at least I used to, and they were all amazing I tell you, simply amazing!”
  4467. >Yep, likes to talk about her.
  4468. >“My dresses were the envy of Equestria! Now, I have heard that you, Humans, are very self-conscious, and prude…” her voice turns venomous, “at least, that is what you claim to be.”
  4469. “Gang of hypocrites.”
  4470. >“Exactly. Anyway, we, Ponies, only dress for formal occasions, or for fashion. We are what you refer to as “nudist” I believe it is the term. So, can you even imagine how famous I must have been for having 3 boutiques in Equestria, 3 boutiques whose sole purpose was to sell clothes! To nudists!”
  4471. “Woaaah!”
  4472. >“Wow, indeed!”
  4473. >She feels your hands upon her head, trying to make a circle out of your indexes and thumbs, “What are you doing?”
  4474. “Measurin' the big head.”
  4475. >“Oh, you!” she playfully swats her mane on your face, “take that, you smelly man.”
  4476. >Chuckling, you take her mane and toss it to the right, so that it sticks to her barrel, giving you full access to her nape.
  4477. >And her circular wound.
  4478. “Hmm.”
  4479. >Just to be on the safe side, you prod below the wound.
  4480. >She stifles a grunt, “Do be careful, it is, also, a sore spot.”
  4481. >When you examine it closer, you see something else that is weird.
  4482. >It has marks of strangling, yet has a knife-like clean cut, which circles the entire neck.
  4483. >Confused, you circle her neck with your right thumb, palm and index, just above the wound, and gently push her head down.
  4484. >Docile, she lowers her head.
  4485. >Now that the angle is right, you can spray her head from the neck up without fear that the water and dirt will flow in the wound.
  4486. >Although stretching your arms like that hurt.
  4487. >So you get up and straddle her.
  4488. >Despite not being in contact with… you, she arches her back inward.
  4489. >“This is a rather unusual position, don't you think?”
  4490. “A unicorn's talking to me, and A'hm giving her a ba'fh, that, is unusual.”
  4491. >“Good point, being bathed by a hairless biped speaking monkey isn't a normal occurrence for us Ponies either.”
  4492. >While you are at it, you gently rub your fingers down (or up because her head is upside down?) and gather all her knot-full mane up.
  4493. >“Goodness gracious!” she exclaims and coughs as her mane surrounds her face, “When have my nose grown so numb as to find this, urgh, stench, bearable?”
  4494. “Who's smelly now?”
  4495. >Chuckling, you put the handle down in front of her, as to wet her front while you foam her neck.
  4496. >“Hush now, less talking, more cleaning.”
  4497. >Through her mane you can see that she is smiling.
  4498. >“By the way Anon, where is the shampoo bottle?”
  4499. “Hum…”
  4500. >“You do have one, don't you?”
  4501. “Got soap.”
  4502. >“Anon, please tell me you haven't been cleaning your own hair with soap!”
  4503. >Who said you cleaned your hair in the first place?
  4504. >Better keep it for you though.
  4505. “Wait.”
  4506. >Getting out of the bath, you turn the water off and look under the sink.
  4507. >Soap, soap, soap.
  4508. >Bleach.
  4509. >Hmm.
  4510. >Nan.
  4511. >Probably a bad idea.
  4512. > Probably?
  4513. >Oh, right.
  4514. >Mother's bottle.
  4515. >“So, do you have one, or not?”
  4516. >Do you want to use it?
  4517. >Should you use it?
  4518. >Hmm.
  4519. >Yeah, Mother would lecture you about letting useful things go to waste.
  4520. >You fetch the bottle and blow on it as you get up to get rid of the dust.
  4521. >“Did you just blow dust off the bottle?”
  4522. “Yeah?”
  4523. >“Nonono, that won't do. Could you tell me how long it has been there?”
  4524. “Hum, years.”
  4525. >“Years. You haven't washed your hair, with shampoo, in years?”
  4526. “Hum, not my shampoo.”
  4527. >You get in the bathtub.
  4528. >“But then, who's is it?”
  4529. “Mother's.”
  4530. >There is so much dust on it; you have to rinse it off.
  4531. >“Oh… Could you, hum, pass me the bottle for a moment?”
  4532. “Sure.”
  4533. >You put it in front of her, between the wall and the bathtub's wall.
  4534. >She inspects it, before turning it with her muzzle.
  4535. >“Oh dear. How long has it been since that shampoo's been used? Oh, wait, you already said that it has been years…” she clears her throat, “Darling, do you see this symbol right over here?”
  4536. >You stretch out to take a look as you rinse off your dusty hands.
  4537. >It looks like a little container of some sort, with the number 12 on it.
  4538. >“This symbol here tells you, usually in months, how long it will take for the bottle to expire after it has been opened.”
  4539. “Shampoos expire?”
  4540. >“Indeed they do. I am afraid that this bottle has too.”
  4541. >Shit.
  4542. “Well, still got soap.”
  4543. >She chuckles, “Surely, you jest.”
  4544. “Jest?”
  4545. >“You cannot be serious, washing my hair, with soap!?”
  4546. “You don't want clean hair?”
  4547. >“Of course I do, but it is soap, Anon, soap!”
  4548. “Okay.”
  4549. >Weird, you would think that high lady like her would be desperate for-
  4550. >“Ah to Tartarus, go on, you have my permission to wash my beautiful mane, with, with soap.”
  4551. “Okay.”
  4552. >On the side of the bathtub, you always let a lil' water and a soap bar in a lil' plastic container thingy, which has protruding lines at the bottom.
  4553. >That way, the water get in the bar, and a good portion of the bar get soggy.
  4554. >Now you just have to put a little more water in there and let the soap get soggy again.
  4555. >Having nothing to do until then, you take a closer look at her neck wound.
  4556. >It will, indeed, leave a caving-in scar.
  4557. >Now, those aren't pretty.
  4558. “Hey, Puny.”
  4559. >“Yes, Anon?”
  4560. “I can turn neck scar into pretty scar.”
  4561. >“Hum… could you define what you mean by “pretty scar?”
  4562. >Hmm, you could show her.
  4563. “Here, look.”
  4564. >She raises her head and turns it toward you, who are pointing a knife scar on your chest, starting from the middle of the ribcage, and then moving upward and outward.
  4565. >The scar appears to be sinking in the skin.
  4566. “That, ugly scar.”
  4567. >Then you point at a scar under your right forearm, from the elbow to the wrist.
  4568. >This scar, albeit much whiter, is neither protruding nor sinking, like others.
  4569. >It is still visibly a scar, but contrary to the first one, it doesn't look like a 70 years old's face wrinkle.
  4570. “This, pretty scar.”
  4571. >“I don't suppose it is possible to avoid having any scar at all?”
  4572. “Hmm. Best scarring is when, like, the scar is healed, then you cut the scar out, and stretch skin so it fits like jigsaw puzzle. Then, new scar appears, but new scar so subtle it doesn't look like scar at all. Ah'm not good 'nuff to do that.”
  4573. >“Well, it certainly sounds promising, I suppose, given that you cannot heal with magic, however, I am not very comfortable with the idea of having needles or hooks inserted under my coat.”
  4574. “Oh.”
  4575. >You strafe and rub the soap on the other side of her barrel.
  4576. >With each swipe, the granular crust of dirt comes off, revealing a white coat, and red skin.
  4577. >Idiot.
  4578. >“Ugh, my whole skin is so itchy! And I can't even scratch it, for the love of me!”
  4579. “Heheh, yeah, shouldn't scratch though.”
  4580. >“And why not?”
  4581. “Skin itchy because dirt is gone. Get used to it, it'll stop scratching.”
  4582. >“It is good to know that this dreadful itching will subdue, in time, but for now, could you please scratch my back?”
  4583. >Smiling, you put your right hand on her back and rely on the palm's calluses to scratch it.
  4584. “A little bit lower please, Oh, y-nonono, not too low. Yes, there, oh my, yes, that's the spot.”
  4585. >For her to arch her back toward your palm like that, it must really feel good.
  4586. >“Oh, yes darling, your hand is simply divine!”
  4587. >Hand.
  4588. >Hands…
  4589. *Hands… are the issues, right?*
  4590. *Human hands are what molested her, what touched her, whether she liked it or not.*
  4591. >“Don't stop, just a little more, please!”
  4592. *Hands, have beaten her.*
  4593. *Hands, your hands threw her onto a wall, pulled her leg, and nearly broke her horn.*
  4594. >“Anon, what's the matter?”
  4595. *You cannot scrub hard enough to get all the blood off your hands.*
  4596. >Slowly, you draw your hand back and look at its palm.
  4597. >The scars.
  4598. >The missing fingers.
  4599. >Yeah, that's right.
  4600. >You must not be happy.
  4601. >It always turns bad in the end.
  4602. >You will regret it.
  4603. >Do you even deserve to be happy?
  4604. >“Anonymous…”
  4605. >You look at her.
  4606. >There is worry in her eyes.
  4607. >But no fear.
  4608. >So…
  4609. >What is she worried about?
  4610. >Must have been the hand.
  4611. “S'rry, P'ny don't like t'be pet.”
  4612. >“Don't like to be pet? But Anon, it is not the same thing.”
  4613. “H'man… p'tting his H'man hands on you.”
  4614. >N-no, don't think like that.
  4615. >Think, think warm atmosphere.
  4616. >Or just stop thinking.
  4617. >“Could you turn me around so I can face you?”
  4618. >Putting away the soap and the handle for the nth time, you comply with her request.
  4619. >
  4620. >She has a serious face.
  4621. >Yet, motherly eyes.
  4622. >Compassionate.
  4623. >“Anon, darling, I do understand that you do not want to impose yourself on me, but I asked of you to scratch me. I wanted you to put your hand on me. I asked for it. What I do not want is that you put your hands on me, simply because you want to, and you've done a great job at that, which I am very grateful for.”
  4624. “Yeah, but, h'man hands…”
  4625. >She jerks back and sits down, awkwardly, as her left foreleg no longer touches the bathtub.
  4626. >Then, she gently puts it on your right hand.
  4627. >“Yes, you have human hands, because you are a human, Anon, but you are not like the other humans we dread, and because of that, I trust this hand. I trust you, Anon.”
  4628. “B-but, Ah don't want t'make m'stakes.”
  4629. >“We all do mistakes, they are inevitable, and the right thing to do is forgive them, but not forget them, else we are bound to make them again, do you understand that?”
  4630. >Can you?
  4631. >In silence, you contemplate those words.
  4632. >There are no flags on her face, in her body language.
  4633. >Motherly eyes are looking at you.
  4634. >She is not trying to coerce you or play with you like a puppeteer.
  4635. >“You told me that, sometimes, people pretend you are a bad person, so they do not feel guilty about what they have done to you. It shook me to the core, to say the least, and then I've been thinking about what you said, of wanting to be like those humans…”
  4636. >She has memories flowing down her cheeks?
  4637. >But is she holding them up?
  4638. “Cry if you want to-”
  4639. >“Cry, if you want to cry. Don’t bottle up your emotions, do not be a hypocrite, be yourself, I know, you have told me that plenty of time already, and now I understand, I truly understand but, but I also don't understand you!”
  4640. >What?
  4641. >You…
  4642. >What?
  4643. >“I have scars, but I had someone else patch them up for me. I was a slave, and, and that's my circumstances! Yes, I had numerous, countless hands touching me, petting me, and all those things are haunting me, and, and sometimes I just want to give myself a concussion so I can forget everything, or become unable to even understand what's happening to me! Or what will happen to me, or of me, I don't know!
  4644. >“I don't know if I will ever go home! I, I do not know if I will still have my magic next week! And I am terrified, of, of everything! Of humans, of their machines, of their weapons, of, of their violence! I do not even know, when I close my eyes, if someone's going to buck the door down and, and shoot you and rape me or I don't even know! I DON'T KNOW!
  4645. >“And then there is you, Anon!”
  4646. “Me?”
  4647. >“Yes, you! I can barely, somehow, cling on the nearly impossible chance that I, one day, go home, where everything is, is, just nice, and everyone's friendly and caring, and, and I'll be able to see my family, and my friends, and go back to living like I used to! And while I cling to this chimera, or for the most part that I did, I had other Ponies to rely on! Comrades of misfortunes! Thank Celestia I wasn't alone in this nightmare!”
  4648. >You turn the tap off.
  4649. >“It hasn't even been a year and I was slowly but surely breaking apart, I was being moulded, and, and as you said, I have been acting like a slave! I had become what I was the most afraid to be!*Hic* and then, you, you happened!”
  4650. >She twists her hoof as if clenching her hand on yours.
  4651. >“You are disfigured, maimed, and bear the scars of more beating, and, and fire and, and human horrible devices than I have ever seen, but you are a human, just like them! Here, it is your home, you will probably never have anything better than that, and you can't even go out in the street without being assaulted and insulted or treated like the worst curr of the world!”
  4652. >Is, is she mad at you?
  4653. >Did you anger her?
  4654. >You, you don't understand.
  4655. >She's even scaring you.
  4656. >A bit.
  4657. >“And despite everything, you stand still, like a mountain, scratched, wounded, but not broken. You have the nerve to laugh, to smile, to, to desire happiness! You have accepted, acknowledged, even, the fact that the whole world wants you to suffer, alone, like a martyr without convictions, and yet here you are. Tall, strong, like an unwavering castle, why, why? How can you stand, alone, and get up, alone, every time the world throws you down, and stomp on you? Where does this never-ending source of willpower come from?”
  4658. >It, it comes from… being honest with yourself.
  4659. “Dey say Ah'm munster. Dat Ah'm evil. it not true. It not 'cause d'lie'z repeated 'gain an' 'gain that it b'comes true. Ah’m A-non-Y-mous. And Ah am not a munster!”
  4660. >“But then, you say things like, people pretend you are a bad person, so they do not feel guilty about what they have done to you, and, and that you want to be like them, because it hurts less!”
  4661. >She sniffles and wipes her tears with her hoof.
  4662. >“So, Anon, if you are not like them, and you are not a monster, then why do YOU pretend that you are a bad person so that you do not feel guilty with what you are inflicting yourself with!”
  4663. >That's…
  4664. >“Why are you telling me to talk less, and listen more, when you do not listen to yourself? Why do you tell me to stop being hypocrite, when you do not even know who you are yourself!”
  4665. >
  4666. >You say nothing.
  4667. >Because you have nothing to say.
  4668. >Who are you?
  4669. >Why do you fight, why do you keep fighting?
  4670. >Ever since you remember, you have been fighting.
  4671. >Struggling.
  4672. >Surviving.
  4673. >Why?
  4674. >What drives you?
  4675. >“You told me that, that I shouldn't cry for you, that the only thing I could manage to do would be to dehydrate myself. Let me tell you that this is and has never been true. I cry, because I cannot bottle up my emotions. I cry, because I am honest with myself. I cry, because I am Rarity. I cry, because… because you have, literally, never been allowed to. I cry, because I completely reject the notion that it is common sense to not care about your very own feelings. I cry because I have done horrible things to you, and deeply regret having pretended that you were a bad person in the first place.”
  4676. >You…
  4677. >You don't understand.
  4678. You articulate, “Puny… cares about me?”
  4679. >Surprised by the statement, she smiles, and nods, “Yes, I do care about you, Anonymous.”
  4680. >That's…
  4681. >That's nice.
  4682. >A sudden urge to hug her arises, but you stop in the middle of your momentum.
  4683. “C-can Ah… I, hug you?”
  4684. >She nods, again, as she stretches her left leg toward you.
  4685. >You are allowed to hug her, so you do.
  4686. >“Ouch, mind the shoulder, though.”
  4687. “S'rry… but, but we can all make mistakes, r-right?”
  4688. >She chuckles a bit, “Of course, darling.”
  4689. >Smiling, you reposition yourself as to not hurt her.
  4690. >And then you cry.
  4691. >And you cry.
  4692. >And because you feel something has changed, you do not think that you are just dehydrating yourself.
  4693. *****************************************************
  4694. Have you ever heard of the puddle theory?
  4695. The outcome isn't scary.
  4696. The idea that maybe this hole wasn't meant for you, is scary.
  4697. The fact that no one knows why someone would carve a hole, just for you, is scarier.
  4698. The belief that you are meant for this hole, now that is terrifying.
  4699. *****************************************************
  4700. >It's dark.
  4701. >Your head hurt.
  4702. >It hurts so much that you can even feel pain deep inside your teeth.
  4703. >Your heart is stomping inside your chest.
  4704. >You're sweating, but your extremities are cold, and numb.
  4705. >All of them.
  4706. >It reeks of iron.
  4707. >Your right “eye” stings.
  4708. >You're also sitting on something very cold.
  4709. >Yet, there is something soft in your hand.
  4710. >As you manipulate it, you realize that it is the straight-jacketed plush.
  4711. >Oh.
  4712. >Must be in your forge, probably sitting on the anvil.
  4713. >Why though?
  4714. >Oh, wait, the plush... but, why?
  4715. >What was the danger?
  4716. >Weren't you with your pet not too long ago?
  4717. >Confused, you stumble toward the house, which is way too bright for your eye now.
  4718. >Stupid headache.
  4719. >And you can't even feel the grass under your feet.
  4720. >That's not good.
  4721. >Well, as long as you don't step on a nail or something, it should be fine.
  4722. >When you arrive in front of the door, you look down at the handle, and your headache explodes.
  4723. >Your knees buckle and you lean against the door with your hands.
  4724. Pain
  4725. >You slide down the wall.
  4726. Nausea
  4727. >And turn around to sit.
  4728. >A wave of saliva seeps into your mouth.
  4729. >There is nothing you can do it about those headaches.
  4730. >Not only that, but you are also unable to do anything when they happen.
  4731. >They're sudden.
  4732. >Unexpected.
  4733. >Caused by Crazy Mouse.
  4734. >And the saliva.
  4735. >You really do not want to puke, not with that headache.
  4736. >But, this time, you're not just writhing in pain and about to be sick.
  4737. >You are also furious.
  4738. >No one attacks you in your house.
  4739. >No one, ever.
  4740. >So why he would take over?
  4741. >As sudden as the headache peaked, your nausea becomes unbearable.
  4742. >Somehow, you manage to turn to your side as your muscles contract to retch in an uncomfortable position.
  4743. >The pressure of the contraction increases the one in your head, transforming the sound of puking into a guttural and chunky cry of pain.
  4744. >At least it has a hint of chocolate.
  4745. >And the nausea is now gone, along with your treat.
  4746. >That's, that's nice... and bad.
  4747. >Little consolation, though, for, as you expected it, your headache has increased.
  4748. >Half sitting on your hip, hands on the grass, you focus on your breath.
  4749. >On your breath.
  4750. >In, and out...
  4751. >In, and out...
  4752. >God, it hurts so badly.
  4753. >In, and out.
  4754. >You feel like shit.
  4755. >In, and out.
  4756. >In, and out.
  4757. >You gather what's coating your cheek and spit out the remnant.
  4758. >In, and out...
  4759. >Ah, the headache is slowly receding.
  4760. >That's good.
  4761. >In, and out.
  4762. >It smells bad.
  4763. >In, and out.
  4764. >With a grunt, you go back to your sitting position and swallow.
  4765. “F-fuck...”
  4766. >Taking a deep breath, you put your cold palms around your warm and wet neck.
  4767. >It is soothing, a bit.
  4768. >In, and out.
  4769. >In, and out.
  4770. >In, and out.
  4771. >In, and out...
  4772. >You gaze up and stare at the dark, starless void.
  4773. >In, and out.
  4774. >In, and out.
  4775. >Nothing ever goes right in your life.
  4776. >In, and out.
  4777. >In, and out.
  4778. >You can't be happy, but you don't want to be sad.
  4779. >In, and out.
  4780. >In, and out.
  4781. >In, and out.
  4782. *Who are you?
  4783. What drives you?*
  4784. >Nothing.
  4785. >In, and out.
  4786. >Nothing will await you tomorrow.
  4787. >You don't have a goal, you don't have a dream.
  4788. >In, and out.
  4789. >The psys tell you to stop living in the past, but you're not.
  4790. >Everyone else but you is.
  4791. >That's why they hate you.
  4792. >Because they're still stuck in the past.
  4793. >In, and out.
  4794. >You don't have a future, but the past is something best forgiven.
  4795. >Now, you got a pet to take care of, but even then...
  4796. >She's going to leave you, like everyone else, one day.
  4797. >In fact, she's just with you 'cause she's wounded.
  4798. >'cause she has bullies.
  4799. >The only reason she is here, is because she cannot leave.
  4800. >If she could, she would.
  4801. >In, and out.
  4802. >You are, like, a coffin.
  4803. >No matter how nice you are.
  4804. >No one wants to see you.
  4805. >You remind them of death too much.
  4806. >And you're already dead inside.
  4807. >In, and out.
  4808. >In, and out...
  4809. >Why don't you just take a shovel and bury yourself alive?
  4810. >Yeah, that right.
  4811. >When there's a dead person inside a coffin, people bury it.
  4812. >That's just, like.
  4813. >Common, sense, right?
  4814. >In, and out.
  4815. >In, and out.
  4816. >But, maybe...
  4817. >In, and out.
  4818. > Maybe you're just not dead enough.
  4819. >In, and out.
  4820. > Maybe that's why you don't want to kill yourself.
  4821. >Maybe you won't let me anyway.
  4822. > Maybe you don't have to be alive for me to live. As long as the heart beats, I can survive.
  4823. >Maybe it's all your fault, Crazy Mouse.
  4824. >Who said you wanted to live in the first place, hun? Why do you always have to take over and make sure you survive?
  4825. >And why did you took over this time, hun?
  4826. > Maybe because you would have thoughts along the lines of digging yourself alive had I not done that.
  4827. >Y-yeah, but, but... still, no one asked you to!
  4828. > Except that it is my role, Anon.
  4829. >Who said that?
  4830. > You.
  4831. >Well then you're fired. I don't need you anymore! Go away, and never come back you freak!
  4832. > Are you sure about wanting me gone?
  4833. >GO AWAY!
  4834. > Very well, Anonymous, I... won't come back.
  4835. >
  4836. >
  4837. >He's gone.
  4838. >But you're a grown-up man now.
  4839. >You can take care of yourself.
  4840. >It, it was time.
  4841. >
  4842. >
  4843. >You open the door and blink as the bathroom's light hurt your brain.
  4844. >Oh, right.
  4845. >You were giving your pet a bath.
  4846. >She, however, is actively avoiding your gaze.
  4847. >Yeah... it's awkward.
  4848. >Wincing and massaging the back of your head, you get in the white tub and, only then do you notice that your feet are dirty.
  4849. >Right, you walked... he walked barefooted.
  4850. >Will have to wash them now.
  4851. >With a sigh, you squat and sit down, before turning the taps on again.
  4852. >You might get lonely now...
  4853. >
  4854. >The warm water makes your skin tingle, especially your feet.
  4855. >It tingles so much that you can't help but twitch as you rub the grass and dirt off them.
  4856. >You grab the handle and turn the taps.
  4857. >
  4858. >Exhausted, both mentally and physically, you yawn.
  4859. >And then the smell of blood hits you.
  4860. >Distraught, you look at your hands.
  4861. >Yep.
  4862. >There is a thin line of it on both palms.
  4863. >Doesn't look like yours though; seems more like you've touched something that was already bleeding.
  4864. /
  4865. *When you play with fire, you get burned.*
  4866. /
  4867. >When you play with fire...
  4868. >What?
  4869. >Wait, wait a second.
  4870. >Concerned, you jerk your head toward her and look at her neck.
  4871. >Her wound is slightly redder, but not bleeding enough to flow down.
  4872. >Yet, she's not shaking, nor is she breathing jerkily.
  4873. >Not coughing either, and your fingers aren't painful.
  4874. >Now that's really weird.
  4875. >People, especially girls, get scared when they're chocked.
  4876. >Especially by you.
  4877. >But even then... those were your hands.
  4878. >He used them, to hurt her.
  4879. >Ahh... you are so fucking sick of all that.
  4880. >Humans, Crazy Mouse.
  4881. >Complex stuff, like the riddles.
  4882. >Or her.
  4883. >Of everything!
  4884. >With a resigned sigh, you put your hands under the warm water, and, just like your feet, they hurt.
  4885. >You just want simple things, like smithing, and pudding.
  4886. >If only, if only everything would be simple.
  4887. >Simple job, simple diet, normal skin and friends.
  4888. >You'd be happier, way happier.
  4889. >Then again, you can't be happy, because things always go wrong in the end.
  4890. >'cause nothing's simple.
  4891. >Can't just stay in your bed and do nothing though.
  4892. >Because that'd be lazy, and you're not lazy.
  4893. >No, you're not...
  4894. >
  4895. >Your fingertips are tingling now.
  4896. >They're warming up.
  4897. >Heh.
  4898. >At least, the fingertips you still have are.
  4899. >Yeah...
  4900. >Your right index is fine, but you lost that, hum, ring finger, was it?
  4901. >The pinky tip is gone too.
  4902. >The left hand has lost the pinky and the ring finger, along with a portion of the palm, but.
  4903. >Feh.
  4904. >You're lucky to still have a hand.
  4905. >Human bites are horrible.
  4906. >Heh, no not just their bite.
  4907. >
  4908. >She moves her neck and bites on the lil' plastic container, before putting it in front of her, and sliding it toward you with her nose.
  4909. >Your gazes meet as she raises her head, and behind the hair that sticks to her face, she smiles, reassuringly,
  4910. >Until her eyes focus on your fake right eye.
  4911. >Then, she lowers them, before pinching her lips for a moment, and turning her head to the left.
  4912. >She knows.
  4913. >Nevertheless, she raises them again and faces you once more, this time, looking at your glabella; where people should look when they “Look at people in the eyes”.
  4914. >Her face is warm, compassionate.
  4915. >But tired.
  4916. >Accepting, but only out of defeat.
  4917. >Carl has that face after you make mistakes.
  4918. >He and she probably just want to pretend it never happened.
  4919. >You know that face, that flag, you know it very well.
  4920. >It always makes you frown.
  4921. >It's relief, safety relief.
  4922. >He had an episode, so now he's not dangerous.
  4923. >Safety relief, mixed with pity.
  4924. >Because the poor thing is a madman, despite him.
  4925. >Her expression changes as she notices yours isn't changing one bit.
  4926. >Hers is now uncertain.
  4927. >Hurt, even.
  4928. >It frustrates you, but you can't help but to understand.
  4929. >She doesn't want to be with you, but she cares about your emotions.
  4930. >And she shouldn't, just like you shouldn't get attached to her.
  4931. >But, hell.
  4932. >Nothing's simple, and you've promised her a bath.
  4933. >So you are going to give her one.
  4934. >'cause doing otherwise would be bad.
  4935. >And you don't like bad things.
  4936. >No you don't.
  4937. >
  4938. >With a deep breath, you push your body up and move toward her, before lifting her and turning her anti-clockwise.
  4939. “Hmm.”
  4940. >Her hair looks like social spiders cobwebs.
  4941. >Should get some scissors.
  4942. >“Is there something wrong with my hair?”
  4943. “Hum, yeah.”
  4944. >Very thick, yet very thin.
  4945. >“S-so, what is it?”
  4946. >You drive your big, right index in her scalp and try to slide it down.
  4947. >It gets stuck on the hair, which ends up pulling her head sideway, “Ouch!”
  4948. “It thick, and fragile.”
  4949. >“Hm-hm, thank you, but I am very well aware of what type of hair I have. Still, it doesn't tell me what the problem is.”
  4950. >Seriously?
  4951. “Can't run my fingers in it, can't clean it.”
  4952. >“It is true that there is more than a little bit of work to be done in order for my gorgeous mane to... return to how it used to be. I shouldn't expect you to spend hours and hours undoing every knot and whatnot, just for me. I mean, though I know my hair like the back of my hoof, even I would find the task daunting.”
  4953. >Pony talk too much.
  4954. “I got scissors.”
  4955. >“NO!”
  4956. Wincing in pain, you close your eyes and hold the back of your head, “Don't shout...”
  4957. >She lowers her voice, “My apologies, I didn't mean to shout, but I do not want them to be cut... for now. At a later date, perhaps. Maybe I will just comb them once my shoulder has healed up. Speaking of which, do you have a comb?”
  4958. “No.”
  4959. >“Oh, that is a shame, really.”
  4960. >You take the soap bar, and the handle, and resume cleaning her right side.
  4961. >And the smell of her grime hits you again.
  4962. >Not as bad as yours though, hehe.
  4963. >“Thank you, Anon.”
  4964. “Mhm.”
  4965. >The grime is coarse under your fingers.
  4966. >It even feels like wet sand at times.
  4967. >“Really, Anon, I wish to thank you for everything you have done so far.”
  4968. >You raise your right brow and give her a sidelong glance, hinting that you're listening, but not very interested.
  4969. >“We may have started off on the wrong hoof, you and I, but-”
  4970. “May?” you frown, “you wanted to die, then, I...”
  4971. >Ah, fuck it.
  4972. >Just focus on cleaning and be done with it.
  4973. >She clears her throat, “Okay, I'll admit that “starting off on the wrong hoof” is a mighty understatement. But even then, you have been kind, and generous, and very understanding. Much more than I could have ever hoped for.”
  4974. >Now the shoulder... gotta be careful.
  4975. >“Not my shoulder, please. It is still very, very sore.”
  4976. “Mhm.”
  4977. >Well, there are still the hips left to clean.
  4978. >“As I was saying; it was very gauche of me to... how do I say it.”
  4979. “Talk too much?”
  4980. >“Anonymous, please, I am being serious here.”
  4981. “Same here.”
  4982. >“Oh, well, I wouldn't call it that; it was more like... projection, yes that's the word. It was me projecting my fear and insecurities of... of the human world, I should say, on you, who is the exact opposite.”
  4983. >Your hands stop.
  4984. >And you glare at her.
  4985. “I. Am. Not. A Munster.”
  4986. >She leans back and gulps, her ears are backward, and her eyes are wide open, “Y-yes, you, you are not a monster, but that's not what I was saying, or meant, I, I'm s-sorry if you misinterpreted my words.”
  4987. >Rolling your eyes, you keep scrubbing the dirt off her faint diamond tattoo.
  4988. >“I, I meant it as... Oh! You know what I meant, right? Yes, you are, indeed, a human, but you are not “human” like the other humans. You are, like, a good human. N-no, no, oh goodness, no, that came out so wrong.”
  4989. “Hey, Puny. My head hurt.”
  4990. >“R-right...” she takes a deep breath and shifts her weight on her left leg, as she lowers her voice a bit, “What I meant is that... My eyes have witnessed things... In fact, your skin already says it all, and more.”
  4991. >Yeah, your story is written all over it.
  4992. >She stares in front of her as if recalling the past, or something.
  4993. >“Even back home, we were wary of you. We always felt that something was off when we spoke to you. Humph, you would probably call these moments, flags. In any case, rumours and ghost stories would first be told around campfires and s'mores, even a few horror stories were published, apparently.”
  4994. >You already have a feeling of where it's going.
  4995. >“People would make jokes about it at first, to ease the tension that the very subject never failed to bring, jokes such as how Poison joke doesn't work on humans, because even flowers dare not to joke around with humans.”
  4996. “Heh, good one.”
  4997. >“Or, how do you transform a hot desert into a cold desert? It's simple, strand two humans in a desert and tell them that one of them has water and refuses to share.”
  4998. “Hum.”
  4999. >You don't get it.
  5000. >“Oh, right, you probably aren't aware of what windigoes are, aren't you.”
  5001. “Nope.”
  5002. >“In a nutshell, windigoes are cold spirits that appear whenever Ponies bicker among themselves, and wherever windigoes appear, the land becomes coated with ice and snow, or at least that is how the legend goes.”
  5003. “Oh, I see. Heh, good thing it but a legend.”
  5004. >The hips are done being cleaned; there are still the front and the neck to do.
  5005. “Sorry to cut, but gotta wash the front.”
  5006. >“Oh, sure, go ahead.”
  5007. >You lift her and turn her clockwise, then, you rinse and scrub her coat once more.
  5008. >She's so much heavier with all that water...
  5009. >“Well, that was just “at first”. We were having fun with these silly stories and jokes... until they weren't mere silly stories anymore.”
  5010. “Yeah.”
  5011. >“It was a shock to hear that some of those stories were true stories. Everyone felt so awful and ashamed of ourselves, and we all agreed to cease horsing around with them. We also thought that those cases we heard about were isolated ones, because... Well, like my friend Applejack would probably say, there's always one bad apple at the bottom of the bucket.”
  5012. >She sniffles.
  5013. >“T-then, because, of, of...” she clears her throat, “of circumstances, I had no other choices but to go here myself. Oh, I wasn't stupid, I knew my magic was the best tool I could ever have, so I decided to delegate my responsibilities to my employees and I spent the rest of my time training my everything: my body, my magic, my mind, everything. I learned new and very complex magics that would and proved to be invaluable assets. Plus, I only had one clear goal, one thing to do. So, when... when I departed, I knew that I came prepared...”
  5014. >Her voice cracks, “Or at least I thought I was.”
  5015. >Hmm.
  5016. >You would rub your fingers along her eyes to wipe off the tears, but they're full of soap and grime.
  5017. “It okay. It all in the past now.”
  5018. >“Maybe for you, but for me, the past is yesterday! I have been enslaved and, and, and... Oh, you probably know even more than me what we, me and the other Ponies, have suffered. Eveeen before I came here, I knew, no, I thought I knew how terrifying and, and abominable and, and violent this world was. And when I came here, I thought that humans were only evil toward us, Ponies, and then, then...”
  5019. >She shakes her head, “Stay on topic, girl.”
  5020. >She clears her throat and sniffles again.
  5021. >“In, in short, I had all the reasons in the world to be wary, and afraid, and in the end, I wasn't prepared to face... your world. I came to view your world as one of hatred, and dreadful, where Ponies do not belong, simply because of the sheer... evilness that plagues its inhabitant. And then I met you.”
  5022. “Me?”
  5023. >“Yes, you; for heaven's sake most Ponies I know aren't even as close a gentlecolt as you are; though most Ponies I do know are fashion critiques and other designers, but the point of the matter is that you, Anonymous, have suffered more to the hands of humans that most enslaved Ponies have.”
  5024. >Sighing, you stop cleaning her and listen more attentively.
  5025. >It sounds really important to her.
  5026. >“You have every right to be a cynical, grumpy and irascible human, filled to the brim with bitterness and resentment, but you have chosen not to, and I am very grateful for that. All those bottled-up emotions, as you call them, come from the fact that my past is merely yesterday's away from me. I have projected all these insecurities and fear of the human world on you, who, because of those scars and how you are being treated by other humans, should be even meaner, scarier, eviler and downright more dangerous than every other human, but you aren't.
  5027. >“By all means, you should be seeking revenge against the entire world for what it has done to you, but you aren't. You are the exact opposite of everything I know about your world, about humans. That is what I meant, and that is why I wanted to thank you.”
  5028. >That's... that's a lot to take in.
  5029. >You will need some time to analyze all that.
  5030. >But, one thing stood up to you.
  5031. >Seeking revenge against the world?
  5032. >What are you, a misunderstood cartoon villain?
  5033. >It's not as simple as that.
  5034. >“And the irony of it all is that I wanted to apologize to you for, heh... “Talking, too much”, and here I am, monologuing all over again, it's hard to believe, isn't it?”
  5035. “You, talking too much? Nan, I believe it.”
  5036. >Sighing, she rolls her eyes and shakes her head, “You really aren't going to get bored of saying that, aren't you?”
  5037. “No, hehe.”
  5038. >Now that she is mostly cleaned (you're not touching her crotch or her face) you begin to rinse her coat thoroughly.
  5039. >She shivers as you swipe the soap off her chest, “My goodness, this itching is simply un-bear-able! I don't even want to think about what condition my skin is in.”
  5040. >Heh. High lady problems.
  5041. >At least, they're simple.
  5042. >Just... numerous.
  5043. >She looks at her left foreleg, and at her barrel's sides.
  5044. >“Well, who knows? With a soap this greasy, my skin just might end rejuvenated… Even though I am not too sure about its smell, or its residues.”
  5045. “Still better than before, though.”
  5046. >“Oh, it is definitively an improvement; don't get me wrong, I will always choose to be clean rather than dirty. Even if your soap, I mean, human soaps have never been gentle with it.”
  5047. >Right, she was washed with industrial soap wasn't she?
  5048. “Yeah… don't worry, Sand Soap isn't industrial soap.”
  5049. >“Whatever do you mean by “Industrial soap”?”
  5050. “Machine soap… hum, ah, right, that's the word. Degreasers, cause machines need grease.”
  5051. >“Are you… saying that I was washed with soap intended to remove machine grease? B-B-But why would they even want to do such a thing? It doesn't make any sense!”
  5052. >Feeling awkward, you lower your gaze before pinching your lips.
  5053. “More 'fficient, costs less?”
  5054. >It hurts more?
  5055. >“More efficient, Anon, it hurt my skin more than it cleaned it. How can you call that efficient?”
  5056. “It has t'be. They like 'fficiency. Costs less. Less food. Less water. Cold nights… Control. More control.”
  5057. >Control, power. That's what they want, 'cause they are weak.
  5058. “They're weak.”
  5059. >They weaken others more so they feel stronger but they're weak.
  5060. “They want control. Power.”
  5061. >But you are not weak, you are strong.
  5062. >The forge made you strong.
  5063. >You are big and tall now.
  5064. “You're your worst 'nemy. They weaken you, starve, thirst, no sleep, no rest, alone, can't fight. You're dirty; they blame you, not your fault. Power, control, efficient.”
  5065. >“Anonymous…”
  5066. >They can't control you, no one controls you.
  5067. >Not them, not Carl.
  5068. >Not Crazy Mouse.
  5069. >No one controls you anymore.
  5070. >No one.
  5071. >“P-please, stop it! You're scaring me!”
  5072. >Frowning, you look at her.
  5073. >There's a terrified Pony in front of you.
  5074. >Her barrel is twisted to the right, for protection: her raised left leg rests against it but it is clearly between you and her neck.
  5075. >You are not a munster but that is what she sees in your gritted teeth, between the crinkles on your nose.
  5076. >In the rage inside your eye.
  5077. “DAMNIT!” You shout as you throw the soap at the wall with enough force to dent it, shattering the projectiles on the same occasion.
  5078. >Screaming in fear, she cowers as much as she can in her sitting position.
  5079. >Someone else is afraid of you when they shouldn't!
  5080. >You're not angry at her, she didn't anger you, so why?!
  5081. >Pissed off, you grab her horn and jerk it up before pressing your palms against her cheeks, forcing her to look at you.
  5082. >Tears, confusion and fear plague her face.
  5083. “Why are you screaming! WHY are you afraid!”
  5084. >“B-Because you're, you're angry, and, and, and it scares me!”
  5085. “Angry, Ah'm angry hey? Ah'm angry and 'ts scares you hey? Ah'm angry but d'you know why?”
  5086. >She shakes her head as much as she can under your pressure.
  5087. “TAKE A FUCKING GUESS!” you scream at the top of your lungs, making her close her eyes, and break into tears
  5088. >“I don't know,” she whispers between her sobs.
  5089. “Don't know, hey? don't know, don't know so why are you afraid!”
  5090. >She opens her eyes and tries to say something, but you understand what's happening, through her staring.
  5091. >She does not know what else to say that won't result in her being hurt more.
  5092. >And yet she knows that saying nothing will just worsen her situation.
  5093. >Out of options, she does what she has learned to be the best courses of action.
  5094. >Close your eyes and cry.
  5095. >Do not, under any circumstances, whatsoever, protect yourself, or worse, defend yourself.
  5096. >It just makes them angrier.
  5097. >They do not want you to be afraid.
  5098. >They want to hurt you.
  5099. >When you are afraid, you try to avoid being hurt.
  5100. >Yes, you remember all too well.
  5101. >She hasn't tried to push you away; her left leg is pressed down against her side.
  5102. *Why can’t you be like all the others! Why can’t you be despicable like them so I can hate you!?*
  5103. >The tension in your face diminishes, your expression softens.
  5104. *But that is not what you did! You have never ever played your part! This is not how it is supposed to work, Anon!*
  5105. >Slowly, you release the pressure on her face.
  5106. *But even then, you have been kind, and generous, and very understanding. Much more than I could have ever hoped for.*
  5107. >No…
  5108. *It was me projecting my fear and insecurities of… of the human world, I should say, on you, who is the exact opposite.*
  5109. >What are you doing.
  5110. *You have every right to be a cynical, grumpy and irascible human, filled to the brim with bitterness and resentment, but you have chosen not to, and I am very grateful for that.*
  5111. * She is calm, and true to herself, despite having a hu-MAN behind her, you simpleton.
  5112. Oh, so, you mean.
  5113.  It means that you’re the only one who’s ever hurt her, Anon, not me!*
  5114. >No, no!
  5115. * My role is to protect you, Anon,*
  5116. “NO!” you holler; letting go of her, creating a distance between the two of you.
  5117. * if you survive, so do I.
  5118.  However, the quality of your life correlates with my own. And molesting your pet will make you lose your shit.*
  5119. >You don't want to think.
  5120. >You don't want to.
  5121. * Playing a stupid game of tug of war to be in control of the reins is pointless and counterproductive.
  5122.  That said, I have no qualm making a hell out of our nightmare of a life, and deposing you, once you can’t cope with it anymore, if, that ensures my safety better.
  5123.  So go ahead, insult me with your jumped-to conclusions, however, if they paint me in a pejorative way, I shall correct them, with draconic measures, if necessary.*
  5124. “Stop it!”
  5125. >You clench your hands into fists and pummel the sides of your skull with your intermediate phalanges.
  5126. *I have projected all these insecurities and fear of the human world on you, who, because of those scars and how you are being treated by other humans, should be even meaner, scarier, eviler and downright more dangerous than every other human, but you aren't.*
  5127. >You cross your legs and trap your elbows between your belly and your legs.
  5128. *Who are you?
  5129. What drives you?*
  5130. “Stop iiiiiiiit!”
  5131. >No one controls you anymore.
  5132. “W'sn't me!”
  5133. >Not even you.
  5134. “W'sn't me, didn't do it, didn't do it!”
  5135. *What hide the flags you didn’t notice?*
  5136. >You did not choose to not be mean.
  5137. *Crazy Mouse never, ever, loses his shit. Anonymous loses his shit, Crazy Mouse doesn’t.
  5138. Good thing too, else you would have put that man in the trash can yourself.
  5139. For a split second, you want to rip her fucking face off with your teeth, but Crazy Mouse intervenes in the nick of time.*
  5140. >Crazy Mouse did.
  5141. >It's not your fault.
  5142. >It's… it's your head that's at fault.
  5143. >You didn't want to think about those things.
  5144. >And, and then she said you were scary!
  5145. >But you're not!
  5146. >You're not a munster.
  5147. >You're not a munster.
  5148. >It's not safe, you don't feel safe.
  5149. >“I am… playing with fire, aren't I?”
  5150. >It's dangerous; someone's going to hurt you.
  5151. >Your chest hurts.
  5152. >Your skin is cold while sweat droplets flow down your back.
  5153. >Shaking, your hands are shaking, so you clench, you clench them real hard.
  5154. >They shake a bit less, but your palms hurt.
  5155. >There is no control, no one controls you.
  5156. >It's dangerous, dangerous.
  5157. >If you don't get control, you'll die.
  5158. >You'll die.
  5159. >The lack of control is in your arms, in your hands, no control.
  5160. >The farther it is from your body, the more its felt.
  5161. >It's slipping out of your hands, like a rope.
  5162. >It's dancing on your fingertips, just out of reach,
  5163. >But you want it.
  5164. >You want the control.
  5165. >You need it.
  5166. >You have to have it.
  5167. >Or you will die.
  5168. >You'll die.
  5169. >“Well, it is better than nothing, I guess.”
  5170. >Flexing your arms help.
  5171. >They're big and strong.
  5172. >Doing things help.
  5173. >So you rock.
  5174. >Back and forth, you rock, and flex your muscles.
  5175. >Pummeling the head hurts.
  5176. >But it helps.
  5177. >But it hurts.
  5178. >But it helps.
  5179. >'cause you're scared, 'cause you have no control you're scared.
  5180. >“Just… a little… more…!”
  5181. >Crazy Mouse isn't here.
  5182. >You're scared.
  5183. >Not your fault.
  5184. >Didn't do it.
  5185. >It's in your head.
  5186. >A wave of warmth washes over you, warming your skin while, at the same time, cools down your core as it passes through you.
  5187. >
  5188. >It is soothing.
  5189. >Gentle.
  5190. >Calming.
  5191. >A flash of light reddens the darkness in front of your closed left eye, and a sound reminiscing of sci-fi blaster blasts through your ears.
  5192. >“Gaah!”
  5193. >Startled, you jerk your torso back and protect your head with your arms.
  5194. >And wait.
  5195. >“Gah, C-Curses! Nghhhh!”
  5196. >Since nothing came, you slowly lower your arms, and open your eye.
  5197. >Rarity has her left hoof on her forehead, just beneath her horn.
  5198. >Which is also smoking, a bit.
  5199. >That's weird…
  5200. “Puny okay?”
  5201. >“Yes, yes, I am fine… just a little bit of rebound, nothing to worry about… how about you, are you feeling better?”
  5202. >Yeah…
  5203. >For some weird reason you do feel better.
  5204. >Confused, you look at your hands.
  5205. >For no real reason.
  5206. >
  5207. >It doesn't make sense.
  5208. >Not one bit.
  5209. >She clears her throat.
  5210. >“S-so, now that you've helped me clean myself, it is my turn to help you, I believe; could you be a dear and turn around?”
  5211. >You… comply.
  5212. >“Now, where is the s- the bar, yes… Oh, let's just use this one instead.”
  5213. >Your right palm hurts.
  5214. >When you inspect it, you find fragments of soap settled deeply in your skin.
  5215. >That's not good.
  5216. >Slowly, you pull them out.
  5217. >One.
  5218. “Hmm.”
  5219. >By one.
  5220. >They haven't pierced the skin, but they are painful to extract nonetheless.
  5221. >Worse, it's soap, and you don't have girly nails.
  5222. >More than anything else, you are just pinching your palm.
  5223. >Ouch.
  5224. >
  5225. >It took a while, but you managed to pull them all out.
  5226. >One of the shards managed to pierce the skin, a bit.
  5227. >Just enough for it to bleed.
  5228. >Anyways.
  5229. >If you gather them all in your left hand, you can recreate a tiny bar and clean up with it.
  5230. >Speaking of which, she said she'd help you, but you haven't felt her touching your back ever since you turned around.
  5231. >Intrigued, you look behind you, and teary eyes look at you.
  5232. >You frown, out of confusion.
  5233. *You are disfigured, maimed, and bear the scars of more beating, and, and fire and, and human horrible devices than I have ever seen.
  5234. And despite everything, you stand still, like a mountain*
  5235. >Ah, right, your back.
  5236. >Your back…
  5237. >Crazy Mouse said it looked like Harlequin's head, but melted.
  5238. “'t won't bite, heh.”
  5239. >She doesn't laugh.
  5240. >Rather, she looks even more… aghast.
  5241. >Especially with her hoof in front of her mouth like that.
  5242. >Carl said that you're… hum, what was it, dur a cuire, or something.
  5243. >It's, like, french for tough-cookie, but can also mean hard to cook.
  5244. >Maybe that'll make her chuckle?
  5245. “Dhur a queer, aren't I?”
  5246. >She frowns and jerks her head back.
  5247. >Uh-oh.
  5248. *It's ha joke.
  5249. Please, Anon, don't make that kind of joke, at least not in front of ladies.*
  5250. >But then, her expression softens into a smile, and a trembling lower lip.
  5251. >“I, I have to admit, that, that it certainly is the case…”
  5252. >Her face is accepting, out of defeat.
  5253. >You don't like that flag.
  5254. >“Hu-Human humour certainly is, hum, unique, and, hum, takes a while to get used to?”
  5255. >Why is that a question?
  5256. >But hey, she's smiling, so, so that's good.
  5257. >Feeling sore from your position, you turn your head to look behind the other shoulder.
  5258. >Her focus has shifted onto your back once more.
  5259. >“May I… touch it?”
  5260. “Sure, s'possed to help too.”
  5261. >“Right.”
  5262. >You start to wash your chest, and a shy, cold hoof is pressed gently on your back.
  5263. >And a bump.
  5264. >Seems like she put the soap, like, in her sole, hoof, whatever.
  5265. >“Is it sensitive, am I being too rough?”
  5266. “Naan, scars are less sensitive than skin.”
  5267. >She takes a deep breath, before rubbing laterally the spot between the shoulders.
  5268. >The feeling of something rubbing against the protruding burnt scars isn't unpleasant itself.
  5269. >But dry soap against moist skin is.
  5270. >Nothing your discomfort, she grabs on the handle and douses your back.
  5271. >Meanwhile, you start the tedious but efficient process of scratching your skin with your nails, gathering thick crusts of grime underneath them, before using your other nails to empty the first ones.
  5272. >
  5273. >Now that you are cleaned and rinsed, you turn around and grab the handle to clean the dirty bathub's wall.
  5274. >Afterward, you clog the drain, put the showerhead on its support, turn the taps and let warm water fill the bath.
  5275. >Hmm.
  5276. >Will you have enough warm water though?
  5277. >Probably not.
  5278. >Then… what do you do?
  5279. >Hmm.
  5280. >Could always use the oven to heat some water.
  5281. >Would need a large container though.
  5282. >Hmm… you got a stockpot.
  5283. >Yeah, that'll work.
  5284. >Driven by the idea, you get out of the bath and head toward the kitchen.
  5285. >“Where are you going?”
  5286. “Gettin' the pot.”
  5287. >“Oh…”
  5288. >
  5289. >The floor is cold, and your skin itches.
  5290. >A lot.
  5291. >But you can't scratch, if you do, it'll bleed.
  5292. >Now in the kitchen, you crouch down, find the stockpot, turn the oven on while the water fills the stockpot, and wait.
  5293. >Having nothing to do until then, you sit on a chair, and yawn.
  5294. >Hmm.
  5295. >There's nothing to do.
  5296. >But to wait.
  5297. *The psys tell you to stop living in the past, but you're not.
  5298. Everyone else but you is.
  5299. That's why they hate you.
  5300. Because they're still stuck in the past.
  5301. By all means, you should be seeking revenge against the entire world for what it has done to you, but you aren't.*
  5302. >No, no it's not as simple as that.
  5303. >In fact.
  5304. >She got it all wrong.
  5305. >It's not you that isn't seeking vengeance when you should.
  5306. >It's them who seek vengeance when they shouldn't.
  5307. >It's all social justice.
  5308. >Hum… no, that's not the term.
  5309. >Justice… self-justice?
  5310. >Hmm.
  5311. >Wait, better put a timer for the water… where's the egg.
  5312. >Ah, there.
  5313. >Wait, it'll take quite a while for it to warm up, but the bath is being filled.
  5314. >Wouldn't it be better to turn the tap off now and wait for the tank to fill up again?
  5315. >Hmm.
  5316. >Complicated.
  5317. >Frowning, you go back in the bathroom, turn the tap off, and go back to the kitchen.
  5318. >
  5319. >The pot is filled, the burner is orange… but now you'll have to lift the pot that's full of water.
  5320. >Yay…
  5321. >Sigh.
  5322. “One… two… threee-nnnngh!”
  5323. >There, it's on the stove.
  5324. >Now, hum… the egg, yes.
  5325. >Hmm, about 25 mins should do it.
  5326. >You crank up the egg and sit down on a chair.
  5327. >Where were you…
  5328. >Ah, self-administered justice, right…
  5329. >You yawn and rub your face with your palm.
  5330. >Hmm, it's stupid.
  5331. >Like, if you beat someone, and that person beats you back, it's self-administered justice, but not self-defence.
  5332. >But if someone saw you beating someone, and then they beat you too, then it's not legal either.
  5333. >
  5334. *Their lack of self-control cannot be excused by the fact my client has committed a crime before, and by consequent, hurt their feelings or values. My client is not responsible for the unwarranted, but more importantly, unprovoked assault on his person. Not only has he been judged once for the crimes he had committed, but he had also been found not guilty on more than one occasion, ergo, and pardon my word choices, but, “beating him up because we (the accused) can't trust justice” is not only a tentative of self-administered justice and double jeopardy but also acting against the Supreme Court's judgements. Furthermore, and pardon my words once more, “ganging up” against my client half an hour after he has used his right to self-defence simply can NOT be considered as self-defence in order to prevent an assault… especially if the aforementioned assault lies in the future, therefore, no immediate threat. Last but not least, my client has been chased and beaten with baseball bats for several minutes in the supermarket, as shown by the camera footage, resulting in several grievous injuries, the most notable being the loss of an eye and loss of a substantial portion of his jaw… With all due respect, your honour, I fail to see what wrong my client has possibly committed in this situation, and why the accused appealed the previous decision…*
  5335. >
  5336. >The egg rings and wakes you up in a jolt.
  5337. >Suddenly moving your arms and head like that… hurts.
  5338. >Oh, right, the pot…
  5339. >With great effort, you manage to get up, take the pot, and walk toward the bathroom.
  5340. >At least, it's not as heavy as her.
  5341. >With a sigh, you turn the taps back on and sit on the toilet.
  5342. >“Weren't you supposed to get… pot?”
  5343. “Ah did…?” you tell her as you point the stockpot.
  5344. >She doesn't say anything, preferring to blink twice instead.
  5345. >Then, she smiles and lowers her head.
  5346. >“Yes, pot, as in, cooking pot, and not…”
  5347. “Something wrong?”
  5348. >“No, no, quite the contrary, in fact.”
  5349. >She giggles, “Filling up the bath by bringing hot water, simple, charming, rustic…”
  5350. >Hmm.
  5351. >She clears her throat, “So, how do you feel, now that your skin is free from all this… dirt?”
  5352. “Hmm.”
  5353. >You look at your hands.
  5354. >They're cold, and dry.
  5355. “Skin is dry.”
  5356. >“Well, yes, I suppose your skin would feel dry; anything else?”
  5357. “Like what?”
  5358. >“What about, how nice it is to smell good, or the satisfaction and peace of mind of knowing that others will now find your company to be much more pleasing?”
  5359. “Bad smell keeps people at bay, it's safer.”
  5360. >Silence.
  5361. >“Right… right.”
  5362. >There aren't many reasons why you would want to attract others.
  5363. >Like Crazy Mouse said: those who matter don't care about it and those who care don't matter to begin with.
  5364. >Plus, water isn't cheap.
  5365. >Well, cold water is.
  5366. “Right…”
  5367. >Then you got soap and shampoo to buy, and, and then you have to clean the bath or the shower.
  5368. *I came to view your world as one of hatred, and dreadful, where Ponies do not belong, simply because of the sheer… evilness that plagues its inhabitant. And then I met you.
  5369. “Me?”
  5370. Yes, you; for heaven's sake most Ponies I know aren't even as close a gentlecolt as you are; though most Ponies I do know are fashion critiques and other designers, but the point of the matter is that you, Anonymous, have suffered more to the hands of humans that most enslaved Ponies have.
  5371. You, who, because of those scars and how you are being treated by other humans, should be even meaner, scarier, eviler and downright more dangerous than every other human, but you aren't.
  5372. By all means, you should be seeking revenge against the entire world for what it has done to you, but you aren't.
  5373. Seeking revenge against the world?
  5374. What are you, a misunderstood cartoon villain?*
  5375. >Hmm.
  5376. >She is cartoony.
  5377. >Complex girl, but with simple problems.
  5378. >Yet…
  5379. *Ts’what Ah said, you don’t even know who Ah am.*
  5380. >She might have a point.
  5381. >If she doesn't understand, it's because she doesn't know.
  5382. >Should you talk about it?
  5383. >As you wonder if you should talk about it, you look at the bath's water level.
  5384. >Yeah, you still got time.
  5385. >But, if she knows, will she be angry at you?
  5386. >Will she hate you, like everyone else who knows?
  5387. >Hmm, maybe it would be safer to know more yourself first.
  5388. >Like, hum, poking around the bush or something, to see how she will react and all.
  5389. “Hey, Puny?”
  5390. >“Yes, Anon?”
  5391. >Feeling awkward, you can't help but scratch your nape.
  5392. “If, hum… some Puny does s'mething bad, would you, Punies, hate them?”
  5393. >“Euh, w-well, it would always depend on what you mean by bad, but I suppose it is something rather unpleasant. It would, however, have to be something drastically horrifying for us Ponies to actually hate them. We tend to forgive those who have wronged us and later on, educate them about friendship… It is, and by far, less cheesy than it sounds.”
  5394. “But… why? If someone did som'thing bad to you, then you… must be wary of them, or else they'll do it again.”
  5395. >“Maybe for humans, I cannot claim to know how you react to “bad things” after all, but we Ponies, especially me and my friends, know that no one is truly evil by nature, with very few exceptions in-between, of course. But- hum, we've already talked a lot today. Maybe we should… just lie down and relax, in a warm bath?”
  5396. >Hmm, yeah.
  5397. >Even though you don't like how she cut her sentence like that.
  5398. “Yeah…”
  5399. >Speaking of which, you put your hand in the flowing water.
  5400. >Still warm.
  5401. >That's good.
  5402. >“So, I was wondering, Anon…”
  5403. >Intrigued by her tone, you look at her.
  5404. >She seems rather uncomfortable.
  5405. >“The water inside the pot over there is… boiling hot, I presume?”
  5406. >“Yes.”
  5407. >“So…”
  5408. >Hmm.
  5409. >“What, what is its purpose, then, if you are already filling the bath?”
  5410. >Ah, right, you didn't tell her.
  5411. “Don't have a lot of hot water,” you point the tap “soon it'll be cold.”
  5412. >“You… are going to pour it after I get out of the bath, aren't you?”
  5413. >Hum…
  5414. >When you think about it.
  5415. >“Please, tell me that it was what you were going to do…”
  5416. “Waell, Ah, Ah wuz going t'pour it slowly.”
  5417. >“Anonymous, you can't be serious!”
  5418. >Well, maybe.
  5419. “Not now, 'bviously.”
  5420. >“Anon…!”
  5421. >Despite not really wanting to, you look at her.
  5422. >She's quite scared… and confused.
  5423. >“I… J-just, no!”
  5424. >Feeling drained, you sigh and look down.
  5425. >She wanted a bath, you try to please her.
  5426. >And you're wrong.
  5427. >Again.
  5428. >
  5429. >Not knowing what to do, you join your hand and rest your forearms on your laps.
  5430. >There's nothing but the overwhelming feeling of failure in your stomach.
  5431. >Not failing, that's, that's something else.
  5432. >It's just…
  5433. >Being a failure.
  5434. >Yeah…
  5435. >A failure.
  5436. >Feh.
  5437. >If you are a failure, then why do you expect to succeed when doing stuff?
  5438. >You don't know.
  5439. >And you try to learn.
  5440. >But…
  5441. >With another sigh, you take another look at the water level.
  5442. >Half full.
  5443. >Hmm.
  5444. >You approach your hand toward the flowing water, but you can already feel its coldness.
  5445. >Just to be sure, you dip your hand into the water, and indeed, it is, somewhat, colder than tepid.
  5446. >If, if you also get in the water, then it won't take too long for it to be over-filled.
  5447. “Then… hum, wanta cold bath?”
  5448. >Such a waste of time.
  5449. >It won't feel good, plus, you've used the stove for nothing.
  5450. >Hey…
  5451. >Wait a min.
  5452. >Did you turned the stove off?
  5453. >Unsure, you get up and walk to the kitchen.
  5454. >The burner is still very orange.
  5455. >Apparently, not.
  5456. >Mother and Crazy Mouse would give you an earful.
  5457. >Yeah… they would.
  5458. >But at least, you thought about it by yourself.
  5459. >That's, that's nice.
  5460. >
  5461. >You walk back in the bathroom.
  5462. >There is a tangible awkwardness in the room.
  5463. >That's bad, but.
  5464. >'Nyway.
  5465. >You're getting a bath, and so does she.
  5466. >Sighing, you close the tap and get in the tub.
  5467. >The water is just a bit warmer than your skin, but in 10 min, you'll be cold.
  5468. >At least, you get to stretch your legs, for once.
  5469. >And it feels goooood.
  5470. >Gooooooood.
  5471. >Carl was right.
  5472. >You are stiff.
  5473. >If only stretching didn't hurt.
  5474. >Then, maybe you'd do it more often.
  5475. >Comfortably sitting, leaning against the tub, you rest your head and close your eyes.
  5476. >It doesn't take too long for her to rest her head against your belly though.
  5477. >Heh, cute.
  5478. >You can't pet her though.
  5479. >Because… hands.
  5480. >
  5481. >
  5482. >You took a bath.
  5483. >Emptied the pot.
  5484. >Gathered the scattered bits of soap.
  5485. >Used towels to dry yourselves, many towels.
  5486. >Then you both went to bed.
  5487. >Well, not both.
  5488. >Curiously, she prefers to sleep while standing.
  5489. >Horses really do sleep like that.
  5490. >Still.
  5491. >You couldn't really rest or focus.
  5492. *What hide the flags you didn’t notice?
  5493. So, Anon, if you are not like them, and you are not a monster, then why do YOU pretend that you are a bad person so that you do not feel guilty with what you are inflicting yourself with!*
  5494. >You kept thinking about stuff.
  5495. *Why are you telling me to talk less, and listen more, when you do not listen to yourself? Why do you tell me to stop being hypocrite, when you do not even know who you are yourself!*
  5496. >What hide the flags you didn’t notice?
  5497. >Why do you fight, why do you keep fighting?
  5498. >Why?
  5499. >What drives you?
  5500. *On your doorstep, there is a smoking purple mane white Unicorn looking at you.
  5501. And you fucking hate her. Crazy Mouse is probably going to hate her too.
  5502. My role is to protect you, Anon.*
  5503. >Rarity, Rarity drives you now, you think.
  5504. >You gotta go to the vet, and all.
  5505. >But, Crazy Mouse drove you too, for a long while.
  5506. >And, and then there was this dream, where there were two spiders. one of them chews the other…
  5507. >“Anon?”
  5508. “Hmm?”
  5509. >“Could you pull the blankets up just a little bit more? I simply cannot sleep if my shoulders are uncovered.”
  5510. “Hmm.”
  5511. >You get out of the bed and readjust the blanket on her barrel.
  5512. >“Thank you, darling.”
  5513. “Mhm,” you answer, as you go back beneath the bed's blanket.
  5514. >
  5515. >You should not be happy.
  5516. >Bad things always happen to you when you are happy.
  5517. >You will go to jail; she will go live with Carl.
  5518. >If he wants her.
  5519. >And, and you don't want for her to go away.
  5520. >Because, because she makes you happy.
  5521. >Not just less sad, as smithing does.
  5522. >Actually, happy.
  5523. >But you shouldn't be happy.
  5524. >And.
  5525. >And there are simply too many answerless questions which you DO need to answer…
  5526. >Rolling back on your back, you stare at the dark ceiling.
  5527. >There is so much going on in your life right now.
  5528. >Crazy Mouse is… was in your head all this time.
  5529. >But not anymore.
  5530. >There is a girl, and a pet, and a horse in your bedroom.
  5531. >All at the same time.
  5532. >You nearly lost your blade. That is something you never want to experience ever again.
  5533. >The smiting ingots broke. You don't know how, just why.
  5534. >Tomorrow you will have to bring the check to the bank.
  5535. >And maybe do some groceries for once.
  5536. >And there are dead people on your lawn.
  5537. >You never did unload your shotgun…
  5538. >And her wounds, you gotta bring her to the vet.
  5539. >With the check money, maybe?
  5540. >Too many things…
  5541. >Too much.
  5542. >You sigh, for you cannot focus on what is important because you do not know what is important anymore.
  5543. >Before, it was simple.
  5544. >Before, you only had to smith to get money and smite when you are sad.
  5545. >Or angry.
  5546. >Or lonely.
  5547. >Sometimes, Carl would come by and buy some blades from you, or chat with you for a bit.
  5548. >Otherwise, you would just go and sit in front of the television, and be useless, so, harmless.
  5549. >Restless, your turn your pillow around, hoping that the cooler side will help you sleep.
  5550. >“Darling, is everything alright?”
  5551. “Hmm,” is the only thing that comes to your mind.
  5552. >“May I, again, ask a small favour from you?”
  5553. “Hmm?”
  5554. >“I am unable to put any pressure on my right leg, my shoulder is simply too painful, however, it is impossible to sleep while maintaining a leg the air. Therefore, would you be a dear, and see if there is something just the right size for my leg to rest on?”
  5555. “Hmm, got tape.”
  5556. >“Tape…”
  5557. >It is too dark to see her response, but the tone of her voice implied loudly enough.
  5558. >“Well, I guess, it isn't such a bad idea, as a last resort I mean.”
  5559. “Okay.”
  5560. >With a grunt, and pained arms and torso, you get out of the bed, again.
  5561. “Gonna turn lights on.”
  5562. >You walk toward the switch and flip it.
  5563. >When you turn around to face her and estimate the height required, she opens her eyes, contracting her huge iris.
  5564. >The sheer size of their movement gives you pause.
  5565. >“Is there something wrong?”
  5566. “N-No.”
  5567. >Clearing your throat, you take a look at her leg.
  5568. >Hmm.
  5569. >A chair and some sofa cushions would do the job.
  5570. >“I sincerely apologise for the trouble.”
  5571. “Meh, it okay. Don't have to think.”
  5572. >“You don't have to think?”
  5573. “Yeah.”
  5574. >You head out the bedroom to fetch a sofa cushion and a chair, both of which you put under her, with the backrest on her right side.
  5575. >“Oh, that is just perfect, thank you, Anon, you are a lifesaver.”
  5576. “Heh, no, I'm not.”
  5577. >Smiling, you go back in bed to stare at the ceiling some more.
  5578. >Your head is gonna hurt if you keep thinking like that.
  5579. >And there are too many things going on in your head right now.
  5580. >Everything is too complex.
  5581. >It all arrives too fast.
  5582. >And… You are tired.
  5583. >Physically, mentally.
  5584. >Of feeling like you are running, but the finishing line seems farther and farther the more you run.
  5585. >Of all those silly questions, and things you didn't notice.
  5586. >And everything.
  5587. >Of being yourself, even.
  5588. *Well, it doesn't matter. Just eat your ice-cream and got to bed. Recover from the long day.*
  5589. >Yeah, Carl is right.
  5590. >It has been a pretty long day.
  5591. >
  5592. >
  5593. *****************************************************
  5594. You know, we used to play cat-and-mouse, Crazy Mouse and I.
  5595. But he is gone, now…
  5596. I hope you are ready to pay the consequences.
  5597. After all, he protected you from what, again?
  5598. *****************************************************
  5599. >It's white.
  5600. >In fact, everywhere you look, it is white.
  5601. >The walls are white.
  5602. >The ceiling is white.
  5603. >The floor is white.
  5604. >Except for the objects' outline, which is dark.
  5605. >There is furniture in the room, nice furniture.
  5606. >Including a coffee table, underneath a bowl of fruit, just in front of you.
  5607. >Intrigued, you move toward and rummage through it for a bit.
  5608. >Most of the things you find are just empty noodle cups and insta-meal, but you, eventually, manage to find a white lemon, which you grab with your black hand.
  5609. >You decide to taste it, and as you expect, it tastes of white.
  5610. >Yet, your shadow feels that something is wrong.
  5611. >Very, very wrong.
  5612. >It's in the control that is leaving your fingertips, like a rope.
  5613. >You know why it feels wrong, though, now that you think about it.
  5614. >It is because…
  5615. >It, will find you.
  5616. >And you know it.
  5617. >
  5618. >Terror overwhelms you, but not in a way you aren't already used to.
  5619. >Feeling brave, you move out of the room and end up in front of a door, at the end of a white corridor.
  5620. >The wall on the opposite end is harlequin green while the door itself is electric violet; a grey mouse wearing a straight-jacket sculpted in it.
  5621. >It, is behind it.
  5622. >Lying in wait for the door to be opened.
  5623. >The mouse winks, squeaks and when you blink, it is gone.
  5624. >But “it” is already looking at you through the judas hole.
  5625. *****************************************************
  5626. I just want to play a little… how about, hide and seek?
  5627. *****************************************************
  5628. >You do not want to play this game, and you do not want to play with it.
  5629. >In fact, you do not want it to find you, at all!
  5630. *****************************************************
  5631. That's the spirit!
  5632. *****************************************************
  5633. >You don't want to, but it will not let you have a choice in the matter.
  5634. >The only thing you can do…
  5635. >Is to open the dreaming door and face it.
  5636. >Alas, it opens it for you, before you even had the chance to steel yourself.
  5637. >The white and looooooong hallway in front of you is empty, except for the white door at the end of it.
  5638. >Right.
  5639. >You never were in control, to begin with.
  5640. > “Come on, run,” whispers Crazy Mouse to your ears, before shoving you in the back, making you tumble through the door.
  5641. >It is too late for you to try and run away now.
  5642. >Because, if it is not in front of you…
  5643. >Then it is behind you.
  5644. >
  5645. >You run, and you run, splashing your dark colour beneath every one of your steps.
  5646. >Every step hurt.
  5647. >And yet, contrary to your belief, the corridor doesn't stretch, nor are you moving extremely slowly.
  5648. >In no time at all, you reach the door, and push it open.
  5649. >You hear the voice of a woman behind you, “What the actual fuck is wrong with you!?”
  5650. >Many, many things…
  5651. >You keep running through the new, white corridor in front of you.
  5652. >
  5653. >Exhausted, you feel your throat swelling and the taste of iron whenever you exhale.
  5654. >How many doors have you opened?
  5655. >How long have you been running?
  5656. >You don't know…
  5657. >
  5658. >For the Nth time you open a door, but this time, you brake, for rows of black desks are now blocking your path.
  5659. >Everything is black in here, except for the white outlines.
  5660. >The white shades surrounding a desk.
  5661. >And the red knife with a white cross drawn upon it.
  5662. *****************************************************
  5663. Would you like to play the knife game instead?
  5664. *****************************************************
  5665. >You don't want to play the knife game.
  5666. >You don't want it to find you either, so you start stacking up the desks in front of the hallway door.
  5667. *****************************************************
  5668. You never knew how to play by the rules. That is why no one wants to play with you. I mean, it's called hide and seek, not run and seek.
  5669. *****************************************************
  5670. >You already know the scene; you don't need to look twice.
  5671. >One of the shades is sitting on the chair.
  5672. >In front of the red knife.
  5673. >The shade slowly darkens, and begins to squeak.
  5674. >He squeaks, lots and lots of times.
  5675. >And…
  5676. >And the black shade became strong that day.
  5677. >
  5678. >The dark shade runs through the classroom door, and you follow it.
  5679. >More white hallways.
  5680. > “Run, Anonymous, run.”
  5681. >
  5682. >The only silver of hope to avoid the Damocles sword behind you is to run away.
  5683. >And there is only one way to run.
  5684. >Forward.
  5685. >Even if each step feels like you are running on a machine.
  5686. >A hybrid between a treadmill.
  5687. >And a grater.
  5688. >
  5689. >At long last, the hallway turns.
  5690. >A dead end.
  5691. >There are 2 ingots and a mouse plush leaning against the opposite wall.
  5692. >The dark shade walks forward and takes the mouse plush.
  5693. >You walk forward and grab the electric violet and harlequin ingot.
  5694. *****************************************************
  5695. Maybe you run because you're not good at hiding? Anyway, this little game is about to end.
  5696. *****************************************************
  5697. >Startled, you turn around and walk back until you lean against the wall.
  5698. >But there is no one in front of you.
  5699. >Where, where is it?
  5700. >The shade walks in front of you, faces you.
  5701. >And stabs you in the chest with his right hand.
  5702. *****************************************************
  5703. Finally caught up to you… now you're it.
  5704. *****************************************************
  5705. >It's pouring itself inside you, in waves of piercing needles.
  5706. >Each wave drains its feet of darkness, shoving it inside of you like a taxidermist stuffs its creation.
  5707. *****************************************************
  5708. Looks like I have won; now you're it.
  5709. *****************************************************
  5710. >It is painful.
  5711. >You have run so far, but in the end, nothing you've done actually matters.
  5712. >Again.
  5713. > “Smite!”
  5714. >Smite…
  5715. >It is true that you are feeling bad right now.
  5716. >And… And you do have your ingots.
  5717. >It just might be a golden opportunity to smite.
  5718. >After all, if you are it, and you are also you, then…
  5719. >What “is” the shade in front of you?
  5720. >You pull your arms behind you and clap your ingots together.
  5721. >
  5722. >
  5723. >Jolting up, panicking, you throw the blankets off you and clamber out of bed.
  5724. >The forge, yes, you need to smite right now.
  5725. >You need to smite.
  5726. >Because of your haste, you put your hand on the bed, except, the bed ended a few centimetres shorter than you thought.
  5727. >After falling face-first on the floor, you let gravity pull you out of bed and roll forward.
  5728. >And end up hitting the wall with your heels.
  5729. >“W-what!? A-Anon, is that you?”
  5730. >In order to get out of your awkward position, you roll sideways toward the door.
  5731. >Once you feel the cold and dirty ground under your feet, and not just the peculiar tingling that runs through your nose, you rush toward the pile of clothes and try to make head or tail out of what you grab.
  5732. >“Anon…!”
  5733. >Okay, shirt.
  5734. >That's a shirt.
  5735. >Then, and then pants.
  5736. >And socks-no, no socks, shoes, you don't need socks.
  5737. >Is that pants?
  5738. >No, that's a shirt.
  5739. >So fucking dark.
  5740. >Need light.
  5741. >
  5742. >As if to answer your demand, a faint white light brightens the room.
  5743. >Thanks to it, you manage to find a pair of pants.
  5744. >And… you stop.
  5745. >“Anon, whatever are you doing, for Pete's sake!?”
  5746. >The lights are off.
  5747. >So why is there light?
  5748. >You jerk your head to your left, and see Rarity, wearing a face of concern, her left leg pressed against her body.
  5749. >Her horn emitting light.
  5750. >
  5751. >Jumping, you stifle a sharp breath and walk backward, until your back hits the wall, clutching desperately at the clothes against your chest.
  5752. >“It is the middle of the night, and I had just, just been able to fall asleep; your snoring is simply un-bear-able…!”
  5753. >Your heart pummels against your ears, your throat feels constricted, your mouth is dry; your breathing, unsteady.
  5754. >“What has gotten into you?!”
  5755. >You, you know it's Rarity that's in front of you.
  5756. >You fucking know it's just Rarity.
  5757. >And yet…
  5758. >
  5759. >She closes her eyes, frowns… takes a deep breath, lets go of it, and opens her eyes, “Could you, at the very least, turn on the night?”
  5760. “Night?”
  5761. >“Yes, the night… I mean, the light.”
  5762. >Ah.
  5763. >Sniffling, you free your right hand of clothes and flip the switch.
  5764. >But, nothing happens.
  5765. >“A power outage, perfect… do you have candles that we could light up?”
  5766. “No… Got forge, though.”
  5767. >“The forge, right.”
  5768. >Yes, the forge.
  5769. “I, I need to smite.”
  5770. >You sit on the now clothe-less chair and put on your shirt.
  5771. >Rarity yawns, “You need to forge, in the middle of the night, really? can't it wait for tomorrow?”
  5772. “No.”
  5773. >You also need to take a piss, now that you think about it.
  5774. >That, and trying to put on a pair of pants is… rather uncomfortable.
  5775. >“Well… if you absolutely need to forge something to calm down, then I suppose I shouldn't try to go back to sleep.”
  5776. >Hmm?
  5777. >Ah, right, smiting is loud.
  5778. >Feeling bad for having woken her up, and because you will, also, keep her awake, you say nothing, and put on your shoes.
  5779. >“Would you like to talk about it?”
  5780. “Smiting?”
  5781. >“No, not smithing… you know, the nightmare.”
  5782. >You freeze.
  5783. >Your chest doesn't hurt, but, you still remember, very clearly, the dread you felt.
  5784. >The right hand, and…
  5785. >Your powerlessness.
  5786. “No, no, I don't need to, I need to smite.”
  5787. >“Alright, if that is what you truly want…”
  5788. >Nodding, you get out of the room, and toward your forge.
  5789. >No, wait, first, Mother's blade.
  5790. >Turning around, you walk toward the bed and pull the blade out.
  5791. >It is surprisingly very warm to the touch.
  5792. >That's weird.
  5793. >Your hands aren't cold.
  5794. >Shrugging it off, you walk out of the room and head toward the forge.
  5795. >
  5796. >You have barely opened the backdoor that you stop.
  5797. >There is something in your forge that pulsates two colours.
  5798. >Light blue.
  5799. >And bright pink.
  5800. >You grip the blade tightly and proceed with caution.
  5801. >As you approach, the pink light diminishes, but the blue one keeps growing and fading every few seconds.
  5802. >You.
  5803. >Do not.
  5804. >Like that.
  5805. >Not one bit.
  5806. >No one goes in your forge, except Carl.
  5807. >No one!
  5808. >It is YOUR forge.
  5809. >
  5810. >It seems like the lights are coming from under your workshop.
  5811. >Thus, you circle around your forge to take a look.
  5812. >
  5813. >Apparently, your broken smiting ingots are the ones emitting light.
  5814. >That's weird.
  5815. >A quick look around reveals that no one is nearby.
  5816. >And that's good.
  5817. >That means no one came to your forge.
  5818. >Except Rarity, because she broke them.
  5819. >According to her.
  5820. >But, that can't be right.
  5821. >No matter how hard you struck them, they never broke or chipped, it's impossible that she actually broke them.
  5822. >Most likely, she snooped around and something made them break, and she blamed herself because of that.
  5823. >Still.
  5824. >They're glowing.
  5825. >
  5826. >Intrigued, you walk on the hard stone and gather them on the workshop.
  5827. >They're cold like you would expect them to be.
  5828. >But…
  5829. >They're glowing.
  5830. >It's the first time you've seen metal glowing.
  5831. >These ingots are, indeed, unique.
  5832. >In any case, you need to smite, so you take the meanpaper, crumple it, and start your coke forge.
  5833. >And the fan.
  5834. >
  5835. >Now that your ingots are broken, you'll have to rely on wood and nails.
  5836. >When you think about it, lighting the forge, even though you won't smite metal was kind of dumb.
  5837. >But at least, you're not cold, so…
  5838. >Didn't go to waste.
  5839. >And, and when you're done calming down, you'll have to put everything back.
  5840. >Everything you threw, that is.
  5841. >
  5842. >It's been a while since you've started to put things back in your forge.
  5843. >The night isn't so young anymore, but it still had plenty of youth to spare.
  5844. >The light blue light kept diminishing, but it never went away, curiously.
  5845. >You're done replacing your tools, now you just have to put the blades and other materials back…
  5846. >Yep.
  5847. >There is just no way you'll be done combing the grass for all the little piec-
  5848. >Out of the blue, the pink light comes back with zeal.
  5849. >Intrigued, you grab the pieces with your left hand.
  5850. >They are really hot, but you cannot help but feel… calm, and serene.
  5851. >“Oh no you don't!”
  5852. >The sound of a beer bottle being smashed on someone's head comes to your ears.
  5853. >And the pink light disappears.
  5854. >Along with the wholesome feeling.
  5855. >
  5856. >What… just happened?
  5857. >The voice and sound came from behind the forge, on the other side of the fence.
  5858. >Intrigued, you go take a look.
  5859. >And…
  5860. >You see another unicorn, but a blueberry blue one, unconscious.
  5861. >And a legless, old and dirty man gathering the broken pieces of beer bottle in his mouth.
  5862. >When your gazes meet, he slowly retreats onto his skateboard, and pushes himself away into the darkness.
  5863. >Now, you know the man, he's called Old Joe, but some just call him Strange Joe or Mad Joe.
  5864. >He is homeless, legless, drunk most of the time, and likes to eat pieces of glass.
  5865. >He also likes to lurk around your house, since no one wants to approach you.
  5866. >It is, effectively, a safe place where he can be left alone.
  5867. >Some people even joke about how Two-Face Anon has a guard dog named Joe, because, just like you, he doesn't like it when people wander around his “home”, and because…
  5868. >Well, Mad Joe.
  5869. >What really intrigues you though, is the other cartoony cartoon horse.
  5870. >It mustn't be a stray one though.
  5871. >After all, she smells nice.
  5872. >And has a collar.
  5873. >Well, she does have shards of glass in her hair, and blood slowly flows down her scalp, but considering the time between the actual blow and for blood to appear, it shouldn't be that bad.
  5874. >Well, no.
  5875. >It is bad, actually.
  5876. >A girl, unconscious on the street, in the middle of the night.
  5877. >That's bad.
  5878. >Maybe you should take her home.
  5879. >Until she wakes up, that is.
  5880. >You already have enough problems as it is.
  5881. >And one complex girl.
  5882. >Yeah, no… Two girls are too many problems.
  5883. >Sighing, you put the pieces of ingot in your pants, and…
  5884. >Wonder how the hell you are going to lift a Pony over a fence.
  5885. >Cars pass by and brighten your lawn with their light.
  5886. >You wouldn't have paid them any attention, if those lights weren't followed by doors closing behind you.
  5887. >Oh fuck.
  5888. >
  5889. >Reacting on instinct, you run through the forge, stop, go back, grab Mother's blade in your right hand, and rush toward the back door once more.
  5890. >You open it and run toward the kitchen.
  5891. >There's no one inside, great!
  5892. >That means they're still in front of the door.
  5893. >You put the blade on the table.
  5894. >And grab your shotgun.
  5895. >
  5896. >That's bad.
  5897. >Really bad.
  5898. >There are cars in your front yard.
  5899. >Which means people.
  5900. >At night.
  5901. >You hear two small thuds to your right and move the gun toward it.
  5902. >There is a white spot on the couch.
  5903. >Had your finger been pressed against the trigger, you would have shot Rarity.
  5904. >Her front hooves are on the ground.
  5905. >She must have been in your blind spot all along.
  5906. >Doesn't matter.
  5907. >You take several steps back and aim at the door.
  5908. >Your hands are shaking, and your heart beats in your chest.
  5909. >But you keep your breath silent.
  5910. >And put your right index in front of your lips, hoping that she'll get the hint and keep quiet.
  5911. >The door handle turns, and you shoot toward the ceiling.
  5912. “GO'WAY!”
  5913. >Through the ringing in your ears, you can hear Italian or Spanish cursing.
  5914. >
  5915. >Dust falls in front of you as you crouch and aim at the door.
  5916. >“Alex?”
  5917. >“Yes, sir?”
  5918. >“Can you pull him out for me?”
  5919. >“I… I am afraid my magic isn't strong enough.”
  5920. >“Why are you always making a fool out of me, Alex? You told me you could help with your magic but every time I ask you, an excuse comes out of your mouth.”
  5921. >“No offence, and I do not mean to disrespect you, but if you were to stop using one of your legs for months, and you were told to climb a row of stairs, would you be able to do it like you used to? You would probably require weeks of therapy and exercises, and that is, roughly, the same with magic.”
  5922. >“Do not pull my leg, Alex. You were born with magic, you are made to use magic, and look at what I can do with only one month of training.”
  5923. >Silence.
  5924. >The shards in your pocket grow yellow, a cloak of yellow surrounds you, and you are violently pulled toward the front door.
  5925. >So unexpected was the mysterious force that you reflexively put your hands in front of you to reduce the inevitable impact.
  5926. >Naturally you've let go of the gun, but the acceleration was such, it remained stuck between you and the door.
  5927. >Rarity shouts, “Anon!”
  5928. >You are scared.
  5929. >Terrified, even.
  5930. >You have never, ever, experienced something like that before.
  5931. >The force is so strong that, despite being in a position to do a horizontal push-up, you can only, barely, push yourself away from the door.
  5932. >Then the force reverses and pushes you away, where you ram into the table with your legs and flip backward, striking the fridge with your shoulder blades and nape.
  5933. >Before you even have the time to shout in pain, you are dragged back, but this time, you pass under the table, protecting your head with your arms as much as you can, before ramming on the door once more.
  5934. >This time, the hinges break; you are ejected out of your house and onto the grass.
  5935. >
  5936. >It hurts, a lot.
  5937. >And you do not understand what just happened.
  5938. >Or why.
  5939. >Or how.
  5940. >“Anonymous!”
  5941. >“I'm going in,” says a voice you do not recognize, shortly followed by footsteps moving away.
  5942. >Slowly, but surely, you proceed enough of the situation to realize that you are in deep shit.
  5943. >Especially since you are held against the ground by… something.
  5944. >“No, no get away from me you monsters, no, NOOOOOOOO!”
  5945. >Rarity!
  5946. >Driven by instinct, you use every ounce of strength you have to get up.
  5947. >One of the man scream, shortly followed by the sound of a slap and a pained neigh.
  5948. >“Told you she likes to bite.”
  5949. >“Gah, f-fuck…”
  5950. >With great effort, you manage to move your arms into a push-up position.
  5951. >Rarity lets out a glass-shattering shriek, which only fuels your determination to get up and go save her.
  5952. >The man in front of you shouts, “Hey, what is that scream all about?”
  5953. >“I don't know, I pulled her by a leg and-”
  5955. >Your left thigh is warming up, and, curiously, you seem to have an easier time moving it than the right one.
  5956. >But, you need to catch your breath and stop resisting for a while.
  5957. >You are going to tear yourself a muscle or something by constantly pushing.
  5958. >“Careful man, the boss won't like it if you're too rough.”
  5959. >“I wasn't. I just tugged her so she would get her ass off the couch.”
  5960. >She continues her rant, “And guess what, you simpletons, I am not just wounded on one leg, but on three! Good luck trying to bring me back!”
  5961. >“Bitch, please! Alex'll lift you, if she can.”
  5962. >“I AM NOT A BITCH!”
  5963. >With another effort, you manage to kneel with your left thigh, and look in front of you.
  5964. >There are two legs, two feet, and tires. That is the only thing you see before the pressure on your chin threatens to dislocate your jaw.
  5965. >Thus, you turn your head to the right, and feel an increasing amount of pain in your neck.
  5966. >You rest, for the second time.
  5967. >Your thigh is so hot that it hurts, a bit.
  5968. >The sound and vibrations of hooves walking away hint you that a horse just moved.
  5969. >“Teaspoon, stop! put me down!”
  5970. >“Sorry, can't do, and stop calling me by that name, it gets me in trouble.”
  5971. >“But that is your name!”
  5972. >“A name is just a name, they'd call me 29 and I still wouldn't care.”
  5973. >“You… How can you?! you, you TRAITOOOR!”
  5974. >“Traitor… c'mon Rarity, you're implying I took a side, your side, to begin with.”
  5975. >The hooves, and footsteps, draw near; Rarity grunts in anger.
  5976. >
  5977. >You failed to protect her.
  5978. >Even though you can hear her yelling, probably for help, you cannot decipher the sound through the ringing in your ears; whether or not it she did it on purpose, she became someone important to you, and you failed to notice this flag.
  5979. >She is your everything right now, and you are about to lose her.
  5980. >Your powerlessness, this time, is so infuriating…
  5981. >There are bullies, on your lawn, kidnapping her right under your nose.
  5982. >This time, there is no Crazy Mouse to give the rein to.
  5983. >And you know that you're it, and have always been it.
  5984. >You have always been… Crazy Anonymous.
  5985. >
  5986. >The ingot shards in your pants glow of electric violet and harelquin green. Such is their radiance that they outshine the cars, and sear through your flesh with mind-numbing pain.
  5987. >The man in front of you screams as the aura around you shifts its hue to match the shards.
  5988. >All of a sudden, the pressure vanishes, and you spring forth, shouting and bull-rushing the man onto the car's windshield and from there you pummel the man's face and you pummel it with all of your might.
  5989. >Rarity screams in anger and is followed by many voices but you don't care because the only thing on your mind is to punch through the man's flailing arms.
  5990. >And that's not enough; you grab his arms, throw them on the side and drive your thumbs in his eyes, tearing through the membrane and yelling over his cries of pain to bury them under your wrath.
  5991. >Only when he stops moving do you turn around and see a horse between you and her.
  5992. >You pull your bloodied thumbs out and pounce the horse and shove it on the ground before stomping and stomping and stomping with your other leg and stomp and stomp and crouch and punch its big, afraid eyes and punch them again and again and an invisible force pushes you off the horse.
  5993. >Unabashed, you look in front of you and see humans, so you charge screaming at the top of your lungs. Rarity screams as they try to pull things out of their suits. They all drop their guns so you punch the middle one who dodges by docking to the right but you spin on yourself and try to hit him with your left but you miss and fall on the ground.
  5994. >When you get up on your feet, you see one of them pointing a gun at your fa-
  5999. *****************************************************
  6000. These horrible humans have set it off, haven't they?
  6001. They've pushed him, down as low as he can go.
  6002. Horrible humans.
  6003. Horrible, horrible humans.
  6004. *****************************************************
  6005. >The first thing you are conscious of is that you suffer from the biggest headache of your life.
  6006. >It hurts so much.
  6007. >As if you'd have broken a bone.
  6008. >Inside your head.
  6009. >While lifting your right hand to touch your forehead, your knuckles bump into something.
  6010. >Something hard.
  6011. >The headache, painful enough for you to feel nauseous, has first priority though.
  6012. >At least, it had, until your middle finger touched something behind your forehead.
  6013. >And an immense wave of pain discourages you from attempting to touch your head again.
  6014. >
  6015. >It's dark.
  6016. >Even if you open your eyes, you cannot see anything.
  6017. >In fact, you cannot even be sure when your eyes are closed or open.
  6018. >It's that dark.
  6019. >
  6020. >It smells of dirt, a lot.
  6021. >It reeks of it.
  6022. >One of the most unsettling things is how quiet, really quiet, everything is.
  6023. >It is as if there were only you.
  6024. >And the headache.
  6025. >In this black world.
  6026. >
  6027. >It's cold, and you feel... cramped.
  6028. >There are fabrics around you, and you aren't that uncomfortable.
  6029. >Just... cramped.
  6030. *No, no get away from me you monsters, no, NOOOOOOOO!*
  6031. >Rarity!
  6032. >You sit up and the top of your forehead strikes something hard, pulling your scalp back by the same occasion.
  6033. >A guttural scream of pain comes out of your mouth, as liquid dribbles out of your forehead.
  6034. >
  6035. >Once the pain has subsided, you lift your arms in the air, and touch something hard with your hands.
  6036. >All around you is either soft or hard.
  6037. >It feels like you are inside a box.
  6038. >And you do not like that.
  6039. >No you don't!
  6040. >It is too small.
  6041. >Way too small.
  6042. >Where, where is Rarity?
  6043. >Where are the thugs?
  6044. >You need to get out.
  6045. >You're way too cramped.
  6046. >You want to move, to smite.
  6047. >To protect her from humans.
  6048. >You need to get out!
  6049. >RIGHT NOW!
  6050. >
  6051. >More out of despair than anything else, you push against the top of the box with all of your might.
  6052. >It budges, albeit merely enough for you to understand that it, indeed, budged.
  6053. >No! you want to shout, but you are only able to growl something incoherent.
  6054. >Your mouth feels like jello, your tongue, like cardboard.
  6055. >It scares you.
  6056. >You want out of here, and you want it now!
  6057. >Because the rope is sliding off your fingers again.
  6058. >And this time, you know something grave is going on.
  6059. >You push and push on the hard ceiling, before pumping it upward in rapid, frantic succession.
  6060. >Growls and moans come out of your mouth; growls of pain, of fear.
  6061. >Of anger.
  6062. >
  6063. >Some dirt manages to enter through the side, but you don't care, you need to get out, NOW!
  6064. >Again, and again you push and pummel and cry and shout because you know the ceiling budges, and that's the only thing you can do right now.
  6065. >It's the only bit of rope you can feel on your fingertips.
  6066. >
  6067. >The pain.
  6068. >Exhaustion.
  6069. >Fear
  6070. >It all overwhelms you as you stop to take a breath.
  6071. >Are you dead?
  6072. >Is that how it feels to die?
  6073. >To stay in a box for all eternity?
  6074. >Is this hell?
  6075. >Rarity, and Carl, where are they?
  6076. >And Crazy Mouse, where is he?
  6077. >You don't know, but that's an answerless question you need to know.
  6078. >You want to know
  6079. >YOU HAVE TO KNOW!
  6080. >Crying, shouting, stomping the hard wall with your feet, you push upward.
  6081. >The ceiling budges.
  6082. >Nothing more, nothing else.
  6083. >You don't want to die anymore.
  6084. >Death is way too scary.
  6085. >And, and you have Rarity now.
  6086. >You don't want to die...
  6087. >Please, God, anyone!
  6088. >
  6089. >
  6090. >
  6091. >You hear something.
  6092. >Someone is moving above you.
  6093. >Renewed with hope, you scream at the top of your lung and push.
  6094. >And you push.
  6095. >And you push!
  6096. >For you can feel the ceiling moving back.
  6097. >And at last, it opens, and you see light.
  6098. >It smells of fire.
  6099. >“He has died and reborn for our sins! Praise may he be! AH-HAAAAAAAA THANK YOU LORD, HE'S ALIVE, HE'S ALIVE!”
  6100. >Something grabs you by the collar and pulls you up.
  6101. >Accepting the help, you sit up and scream, clenching your fist until your joints threaten to explode.
  6102. >Getting up on your feet, you raise them at the starless night and howl your triumph.
  6103. >YOU ARE ALIVE!
  6104. >Laughter, tears, anger, pride, each feeling mixes and overwhelms you, as you hear people shouting, and water being sprayed on something.
  6105. >With closed eyes, you savour the feeling of being alive.
  6106. >Of freedom.
  6107. >It has taken everything you had left to accomplish what you did, and you knee buckles.
  6108. >You are forced to kneel, and you slam your forearms on the cold dirt.
  6109. >The pain of your head is both a blessing and a curse.
  6110. >You are alive, and you've never felt happier to be in unbearable pain.
  6112. >Old Joe is so loud right now...
  6113. >“Should we call an ambulance?”
  6114. >“Yeah. MARTIN, MARTIN! Yeah, you! call an ambulance, pronto!”
  6115. >But Old Joe is right.
  6116. >You have survived for so long, and many want to kill you.
  6117. >But no one has succeeded so far.
  6118. >You've been violated, flogged, shot and stabbed numerous times; struck with baseball bats, bitten and set on fire.
  6119. >Now, you've survived being shot in the head.
  6120. >“It isn't good, should we call for reinforcement?”
  6121. >“It's just one house, and there's no one inside, we can manage.”
  6122. >Intrigued, you look up, and see flames.
  6123. >Flames...
  6124. >Is that your house?
  6125. >No...
  6126. “Noooooooooooo!”
  6127. >Why is your house one fire?!
  6128. >Why, it never did anything wrong!
  6130. >
  6131. >
  6132. >You've lost Rarity; you've lost your shotgun
  6133. >Your puddings.
  6134. >Crazy Mouse.
  6135. >And now you're losing your house.
  6136. >And Mother's blade.
  6137. >You can't lose everything...
  6138. >Not again...
  6139. “Me house...”
  6140. >“Aye, another scar, another burdening memory... but don't worry, Old Joe'll help ya. He'll help ya.”
  6141. >It's just so unfair.
  6142. >So unfair.
  6143. >You're so sick of losing everything dear to you.
  6144. >You hate losing everything dear to you.
  6145. >You hate it!
  6146. >It's their fault!
  6147. >It's theirs!
  6148. >The humans!
  6149. >“Oh no you don't!”
  6150. >
  6151. >
  6152. *****************************************************
  6153. Have you ever seen someone insanely mad?
  6154. It's a terrifying, and thankfully, rare thing to see.
  6155. The anger of a gentle man, the madness inside of him... it is not something to be trifled with.
  6156. It is one of the three things all wise men fear, after all.
  6157. *****************************************************
  6158. >Your head hurts, and everything looks... blurred.
  6159. >“Honey!”
  6160. >So loud!
  6161. >“Anonymous, Anonymous, do you hear me?”
  6162. “Gaaah...”
  6163. >“Thank goodness you're alright. You got me worried there.”
  6164. >Sounds like Carl.
  6165. >Speaking of sound, there's an annoying beeping in the background...
  6166. >And you're sooo tired.
  6167. >Just want to close your eyes, and go back to sleep.
  6168. >“Hey, hey wake-up buddy, you've slept enough already.”
  6169. >You disagree.
  6170. >Hmm.
  6171. >Whatever you're lying on is so.
  6172. >Sooooooooo
  6173. >Soft.
  6174. >Like a cloud.
  6175. >And it smells nice.
  6176. >Yeah, sleeping...
  6177. >“I've got some pudding for you if you wake up.”
  6178. >Hmm, pudding.
  6179. >Maybe you're lying on pudding right now.
  6180. >That would be sweet...
  6181. >Heh.
  6182. >Hehehe.
  6183. >Pudding, sweet.
  6184. >“Yeaaaaah, that's right buddy, that's a nice smile you got there, now stay awake, okay?”
  6185. “GN-no.”
  6186. >“Yes, you are going to stay awake.”
  6187. “No...”
  6188. >“And why not?”
  6189. “'Cause... I'm Bob Harley.”
  6190. >Carl laughs.
  6191. >You don't know why, but if Carl laughs, then it means it's fine.
  6192. >You're safe.
  6193. >You can sleep.
  6194. >Well, you would like to.
  6195. >But Carl laughs too much.
  6196. “Stop laughing, wanna sleep.”
  6197. >But Carl keeps laughing.
  6198. >For a long, long moment.
  6199. >So mean...
  6200. >Music slowly comes to life.
  6201. >A weird, weird music.
  6202. >*Get up, stand up, stand up for your right
  6203. Get up, stand up, stand up for your right [...]*
  6204. >Carl wheezes and leaves the room.
  6205. >It's good because you'll be able to sleep, but it's bad because he told you not to sleep.
  6206. >And that song is just soo weird...
  6207. >Who's that foryur-higt? And why does he have to stand up?
  6208. >Maybe...
  6209. >Maybe someone is asking you to stand up?
  6210. >But you want to sleep...
  6211. >You also want pudding.
  6212. >
  6213. *Flames...
  6214. Is that your house?
  6215. No...
  6216. Noooooooooooo!*
  6217. >Flames.
  6218. >You remember flames, and anger.
  6219. >Burning hatred engulfing you.
  6220. >An evil feeling creeping in your brain.
  6221. >Nothing unusual, except you've felt it much more that night.
  6222. >Powerlesness, feebleness.
  6223. >You wanted revenge.
  6224. >But, that would be wrong.
  6225. >Being mean to you is common sense, after all.
  6226. >“So, how do you feel, buddy? Took a shower and got a massage as I told you?”
  6227. “Nnnnno.”
  6228. >“No, you didn't take a shower?”
  6229. “She wanted a bath.”
  6230. >“Oh, so you both took a bath. That's great; the nurses didn't have to clean you or something.”
  6231. >She wanted a bath.
  6232. >She also didn't want to be bullied.
  6233. >And...
  6234. >You failed to protect her.
  6235. >The realization of your powerlessness makes you cry.
  6236. >“Anon?”
  6237. >There is nothing to do.
  6238. >You wail a long and heartwrenching cry, as your memories flow down your cheek.
  6239. “Gone!”
  6240. >“What is, Anon?”
  6241. “Everything! m'house, m'pet, Cr'zy Mouse...”
  6242. >“Wait, what?”
  6243. “EVERYTHING!”
  6244. >“Not that, Crazy Mouse... he is gone? How?”
  6245. >Everything is gone.
  6246. >That'll teach you to be happy, Anonymous.
  6247. >Serves you right!
  6248. >“Anon, I'm talking to you, what happened with Crazy Mouse?”
  6249. >No more pudding, no more iron spoons, no more noon cartoons.
  6250. >No more Pony...
  6251. >Carl shakes your left arm, “Anonymous, answer me!”
  6252. >Annoyed, you pull your arm away.
  6253. >“Honey, he's just woken up.”
  6254. >“You shut up.”
  6255. >“Bite me. I'm just trying to be nice here.”
  6256. >Everything...
  6257. >Carl moves out of the room, “And I'm telling you to shut up!”
  6258. >“What the hell is wrong with you today?”
  6259. >The door closes, but you can still hear them argue.
  6260. >“[...] like I know.”
  6261. >“[...] on me-ee! [...] my fault!”
  6262. >“I know, [...]”
  6263. >“You [...] HIM, you deal [...]”
  6264. >Your whole body hurts.
  6265. >Your muscles hurt, especially your arms.
  6266. >Your legs hurt.
  6267. >Your head hurts.
  6268. >Your heart hurts.
  6269. >Again, adults argue, because of you.
  6270. >It's always your fault that everyone around you gets sad.
  6271. >Always.
  6272. >You are so sick of it...
  6273. >Your thigh warms up.
  6274. >
  6275. >You stopped crying by the time Carl went back in the room.
  6276. >You've had the time to look around.
  6277. >A hospital room...
  6278. >Doesn't look like an intensive care room though.
  6279. “Hey, Carl, where's the Pony?”
  6280. >“You mean, the nurse? I think she went to see another patient.”
  6281. “No, the pony, Rarity.”
  6282. >“Oh...”
  6283. >His expression darkens.
  6284. >You do not like that.
  6285. >Carl knows the only Pony you know is Rarity.
  6286. >“I... haven't seen her, actually, but man, you've survived being shot in the head, how thick is your skull?”
  6287. “Meh, I'm used to it...”
  6288. >“Being shot in the head?”
  6289. “Surviving,” you say as you look at the machines beeping.
  6290. >You're beginning to sweat, a lot, so you push the blanket off.
  6291. >“Do you remember anything? You know, practice a bit before the cops arrive and all?”
  6292. >Jaded, you look at Carl.
  6293. >“Don't look at me like I'm the one who called them, buddy. I know how much you hate dealing with them, but since you said Crazy Mouse is gone...”
  6294. “Yeah.”
  6295. >“Also, there's the operation room incident, and your leg that you should be aware of.”
  6296. “Hun?”
  6297. >“From what I've heard, they used magic to remove a tooth and turned it into bone matter to plug the hole in your forehead. Everything was fine until they decided to investigate why your leg glowed the same hue as the unicorn's “magic” aura. When he poured magic into the shards, shit got real.”
  6298. >Intrigued, you push the blankets further and examine your leg.
  6299. >Shards of metal appear to have fused with the skin and flesh.
  6300. >They're blue and grey now.
  6301. >Doesn't hurt though.
  6302. >“The horses working here avoid this corridor; at least I haven't seen any since.”
  6303. >Now that's weird.
  6304. “Ponies are working here?”
  6305. >Carl sighs and sits down beside you.
  6306. >He is frowning and looks very angry though.
  6307. >“The problem with slaves is that you cannot expect them to do more than necessary. If you tell them to tidy up, they will tidy up. If you tell them to clean up, they will clean up. If you tell them to clean thoroughly, they will clean thoroughly. A doctor or nurse or whatever is supposed to have the patient's best interest at heart, and you can't do that when you don't care about the patient or do not think for yourself. At least this solves the shortage issues, but-”
  6308. “Carl...?”
  6309. >Shifting his gaze toward you, he leans back on the chair and puts on a fake smile in his face, “Oh, sorry, shouldn't be “en train de broyer du noir,” as they say in french... brooding, actually.”
  6310. “Slaves?”
  6311. >“Hmm? Yeah, but of course they're slaves. Are you still confused because of the drug? Think they overdose it because you're big.”
  6312. >Now it's your turn to frown, and sit down.
  6313. >Or up, actually.
  6314. “The Ponies... are slaves?”
  6315. >“You really do not watch the news now, do you? It's been going on for a while now. A few years I think.”
  6316. “You told me owning a slave was illegal.”
  6317. >Carl shuffles uncomfortably on the chair, “W-well, personal slaves are.”
  6318. “Carl, why do you flag?”
  6319. >
  6320. >Surprised by the untoward accusation, he gives you a curious look, “I'm not lying. It IS illegal to own a personal slave.”
  6321. >You said flag, not lie.
  6322. >Also, you keep quiet.
  6323. >Sighing, he passes his hand through his hair, “Okay, so, what do you mean by flag?”
  6324. “Your face and your words do not match.”
  6325. >He smirks for a few seconds, enough time for him to gather his thoughts, “I don't like the idea that Ponies are treating humans. That's all there is to it.”
  6326. “You never told me the Ponies were slaves.”
  6327. >He raises his arms in the air, “Everyone knows about Ponies being enslaved already. I figured you knew too. If you don't watch the news, the fault lies on you, buddy.”
  6328. >Sighing, you look away.
  6329. >There's nothing to look at, except a wall.
  6330. *By all means, you should be seeking revenge against the entire world for what it has done to you, but you aren't.*
  6331. >Hmm.
  6332. >If you can't live simply because everything's too complex.
  6333. >Then, you might as well simplify things yourself.
  6334. >
  6335. >“Look. They ran the scans and they say you shouldn't have brain damage. Of course, they also said that it was hard to judge, given how often you've been struck.”
  6336. “Mhm... and they want the room for another patient, right?”
  6337. >
  6338. >You're expecting something from Carl.
  6339. >A word, a sigh, a groan.
  6340. >But he doesn't make any of them.
  6341. >Irked by the silence treatment, you turn around and frown.
  6342. >Carl is at a loss of words, which is quite unusual.
  6343. “What.”
  6344. >He looks down, first to the left, and then to the right, before looking at you again.
  6345. >His gears are running at high speed.
  6346. “Carl...”
  6347. >He brushes off his thought and smiles, “So, I take it you're willing to crash at my house until your house is repaired?”
  6348. >Meh.
  6349. >The idea of living with Carl... feels dull.
  6350. >He's a good guy, and you'll spend more time with him.
  6351. >But, you also don't want him and his wife to argue, 'cause that's what they'll do.
  6352. >They'll argue.
  6353. >Because of you...
  6354. >But you don't want to live in the streets either.
  6355. >Even if Old Joe said he would help you.
  6356. You shrug, “I guess so.”
  6357. >Carl hits his left palm with the side of his fist and his eyes light-up, “That's it, your speech! You're not mumbling the words anymore. That's what felt so wrong.”
  6358. >You look at the blue and grey metals fused with your leg.
  6359. “If you say so.”
  6360. >“Aw, c'mon buddy.”
  6361. “No.”
  6362. >You don't want to smile.
  6363. >You want your house back.
  6364. >You want your simple life back.
  6365. >
  6366. >At the edge of your sight, you see him put his palms on his thighs, “Man, what is wrong with you?”
  6367. >The tone wasn't one of accusation, but of questioning.
  6368. >Of concern, even.
  6369. >But that's a stupid question.
  6370. “Which answer do you prefer: I'm still not dead, yet, or I've let bodies to rot on the lawn, twice, in 2 days?”
  6371. >Giggles come out of your mouth.
  6372. >
  6373. *He looks down, first to the left, and then to the right, before looking at you again.
  6374. His gears are running at high speed.*
  6375. *That's it, your speech! You're not mumbling the words anymore. That's what felt so wrong.*
  6376. >The metal darkens.
  6377. *Anon, you know I’m your friend, right?*
  6378. >It darkens until you're unable to see anything but their outlines.
  6379. *And friends do not lie to each other, right?*
  6380. >Their protruding surface now looks smooth.
  6381. >As if they were made of black hole.
  6382. >Of void.
  6383. “Hey, Carl... can I ask you something?”
  6384. >With effort, and pain, you lean toward and look at him.
  6385. >Feeling threatened, he pulls back and wears a nervous smile, “Sure, buddy?”
  6386. “How are your reflexes?”
  6387. >You wait for him to think about the question, then you quickly jab the air in front of him to make him jump.
  6388. >As you expected, he jumped and shoved your arm away.
  6389. >You break into laughter and fake trying to readjust your position.
  6390. >Carl chuckles “Don't do that to me, man,” he then leans his right elbow on the right armrest to lift his body and move to the left, which is farther away from you.
  6391. >Since he cannot parry your hand with his right anymore, you extend your hand much faster than before and manage to grab him by the collar before he has the time to react.
  6392. >It is no hard task to lift him forward and off the chair, forcing him to rely on the tip of his toes to keep balance in an awkward half-crouching half-standing position.
  6393. “Carl, you know I’m your friend, right?”
  6394. >He stares at you and grabs your thick arm with his left hand, “O-of course.”
  6395. “And friends do not lie to each other’s, you said so yourself.”
  6396. >His gaze doesn't leave yours, but he doesn't answer.
  6397. You draw him closer and push his forehead back with your own, “How many eyes do you think I need to see what's right in front of me?”
  6398. >A machine beeps loudly beside you.
  6399. >You remember the sound.
  6400. >The nurse call button.
  6401. >“More than one,” he says, smiling defiantly.
  6402. >
  6403. >Smirking, you shove him back on the chair.
  6404. >The door opens and a shiny stallion comes out of the doorframe, only to pause; looking at you.
  6405. >His right hoof standing idly in the air, his eyes wide open; drowning his pupil in their white.
  6406. >That's a weird Unicorn.
  6407. >Looks like he's made of gems or something.
  6408. You smile and hold your forehead with your right hand, “My head hurts...”
  6409. >“O-Oh, hum...” he clears his throat “there's this, euh, button,” he points to your left “yes, the arrow pointing up beside the number, that'll increase the morphine.”
  6410. >He pauses and rests his ears on his head, “You know what morphine is, right?”
  6411. >Carl snorts, “Do you?”
  6412. “Yes, I know,” you say before the stallion has a chance to express in words the displeasure on his face “I've been awake for a while now. No one came to verify my vitals or anything yet...”
  6413. >“N-No one?”
  6414. “No one.”
  6415. >The stallion looks at Carl, worried, unsure.
  6416. >Fearful.
  6417. >“Don't worry; he doesn't have enough teeth left to bite.”
  6418. “Shut up.”
  6419. >Carl laughs, you chuckle.
  6420. >The stallion swallows.
  6421. >And approaches.
  6422. >
  6423. >Soon enough, you are surrounded by a green aura, only for it to become a cocoon of darkness.
  6424. >You wince in pain as your thigh cools abruptly.
  6425. >Then the magic disappears, only to show a terrified shine-less stallion.
  6426. >The way his legs shake makes you grin.
  6427. “What was that? Am I fine? Is there something wrong with me?”
  6428. >His colours partially come back, and he tries to smile a reassuring smile, “N-nope, nothing wrong with, with you, my king.”
  6429. >King, you like the sound of that.
  6430. “Go, then, before you paint the tiles yellow.”
  6431. >He salutes you, “Y-Yes, sir.”
  6432. >And leaves the room with haste...
  6433. >
  6434. “THE DOOR!”
  6435. >He eeps and surrounds the door with a green aura, before, gently, closing it.
  6436. >Rolling your eye, you look at Carl who's sitting farther away and smiling.
  6437. “And what are you looking at?”
  6438. >“Your mother wearing shorts, my king.”
  6439. “Fuck off,” you tell him as you massage the frost off your thigh. “Getting frostbite...”
  6440. “So, now that you're here, what's being gone all about?”
  6441. >You raise your eyebrow.
  6442. >“Anon said you were gone.”
  6443. >You see.
  6444. “I said I wouldn't come back.”
  6445. >He frowns, and puts his right elbow on the armrest, rests the side of his jaw against his thumb, his cheek against his middle finger and his temple against his index, “But you're here now...”
  6446. >His eyebrows raise, “Oh, so you never left to begin with.”
  6447. “Quick on the uptake, but it takes time.”
  6448. >He frowns again.
  6449. >Then, he smiles.
  6450. >You lean toward the machine and reduce the number beside the arrow by half.
  6451. >“You sure it's a good idea?”
  6452. “The horse said it...”
  6453. >“Said what?”
  6454. >You resume massaging your red thigh.
  6455. “There's nothing wrong with me.”
  6456. >Sighing, Carl takes out a caramel cube and un-wraps it, “Yeah, right. So, how far do you think he'll go to get the Pony back?”
  6457. “The Pony?”
  6458. >Giggles.
  6459. “You don't get it, do you, Carl?”
  6460. >You extend your hand toward him.
  6461. >He sighs and gives it to you, before taking another caramel out for himself.
  6462. “He's lost an eye, half of his jaw, 3 fingers, and most of his teeth. He's also been set on fire, but he never sought revenge, why?”
  6463. >You throw the caramel toward your mouth but hit your nose with it instead.
  6464. >“I don't know, he was too afraid to try? Resigned to his fate? Couldn't remember what happened?”
  6465. >Grumbling, you take the caramel and bring it to your mouth.
  6466. >Tastes like tooth decay.
  6467. >Once you're done enjoying the candy, you look at him.
  6468. “He believes he deserves what happens to him, because of what happens to others when they cross me.”
  6469. >You stop massaging your thigh once blood begins to seep out.
  6470. >Giggles.
  6471. >“Therefore... he thinks he doesn't deserve to get her back?”
  6472. “I'm jealous.”
  6473. >“Jealous?”
  6474. >You've lost him on this one.
  6475. >Completely.
  6476. >
  6477. “I have a very special relationship with pain and suffering, and Anonymous believes he deserves it.”
  6478. >“Yeah, no. You're gonna have to explain this one to me, 'cause I don't want to give myself any aneurysms trying to get what you said.”
  6479. >You smirk and cross your arms on your chest.
  6480. “Did the pot call the kettle black?”
  6481. >He steeples his fingers, “Perhaps.”
  6482. >Giggles.
  6483. “We don't want a mistress. We don't want to share with anyone else.”
  6484. >Carl, deep in thoughts, rubs his chin between his index and thumb.
  6485. >It takes him several seconds to decipher the meaning behind your words, but eventually, he raises his brows, “Ooooh, and it translates into him not wanting her to suffer.”
  6486. You steeple your fingers; it looks both fitting and grim to do so with fewer fingers, “Perhaps.”
  6487. >You both laugh.
  6488. >And he gives you the middle finger.
  6489. >
  6490. >“Still, that doesn't explain anything.”
  6491. >Sighing, you scratch your neckbeard.
  6492. “If Anon doesn't give a shit about what happens to him, then he must give a shit somewhere else...”
  6493. >“Then... he must give a shit when things happen to others?”
  6494. “Close enough. He gives a shit when things happen to his shit.”
  6495. >Carl claps his hands and smiles, “And he just lost his shit!”
  6496. >Giggles.
  6497. >Carl laughs.
  6498. >
  6499. “I heard Spanish or Italian or whatever. One of them used magic on me. Do you have an idea who did it?”
  6500. >He scratches his head, “Probably talking about yesterday... I don't know, the pen's owned by Asians; doesn't make sense to kill you just to get a Pony back. They even buried you I believe, in a coffin no less. They even go to the trouble of torching your house.”
  6501. >Yeah, it is very, very curious.
  6502. “They had Unicorns too. One was supposed to distract me, I believe, the other one was to move her. They did it during the night.”
  6503. >“Oh, yeah?”
  6504. >Carl thinks deeply for a moment, before shaking his head, “The Blocks and the Clouds are in bad terms with the Asians who love magic, but that's because of drugs and prostitution, not Ponies. Who else have magic... wait.”
  6505. “Got something?”
  6506. >He looks at you and raises his brows, “Well, I might be wrong, but,” he leans back and joins his fingers together on his belly “it might have been the Sceptres, actually.”
  6507. “Sceptres?”
  6508. >“Yeah, apparently if you turn an apple into an orange everyone loses their mind and flock toward you. They consist of numerous magic crazed outcasts, even more so than the other groups.”
  6509. >He throws his arms in the air, “But again, no one cares about them because they don't try to expand. They just recruit everyone who wants to quit their own group any-wait.”
  6510. >Carl looks like he has a lightbulb above his head.
  6511. >He leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees, bringing his palms together under his nose.
  6512. >“They're made of every group, so they have to know a little bit of everyone. If they know a bit of everyone, then they must know some secrets...”
  6513. >You don't have all the pieces in your head, so you wait for him to finish.
  6514. >He raises his head and points his indexes toward you, “If they went as far as to kill you and burn down your house, then it means this Pony knows or is worth something big enough that they didn't want it to leak.”
  6515. “But...”
  6516. >And that's the part you can't wrap your head around.
  6517. “They buried me, why?”
  6518. >Carl shrugs, “Beats me. No gang buries their enemies or victims, at least none that I know of.”
  6519. >But they didn't want to kill you...
  6520. >Or did they now? They had guns.
  6521. “How much is magic used to fight, between the gangs.”
  6522. >Carl yawns and stretches, “It's kinda terrible, actually. Fireballs and lighting and stuff.”
  6523. >So why did they have guns?
  6524. “How accessible is magic?”
  6525. >“Not much. You don't get it unless you're pretty important... or crafty,” he smirks, “if you'd really want to, with the shards in your legs, you could start your own gang and even the mafia wouldn't be too eager to mess with you, if you're able to fuck with Pony magic that much.”
  6526. >Could it be that they've tried to kill you because you had magic?
  6527. >No, they brought guns before they knew.
  6528. “Then are firearms considered obsoletes now?”
  6529. >“Not really, either you have guns, or you have both.”
  6530. “Neat...”
  6531. >Another thing to worry about now.
  6532. >Carl extends his right fingers as he speaks, “Whoever did this: had magic, wants to frame the Sceptres and piss off the Asians, but who, and why? Was it a group to get rid of one of their deserters? Was it a group that wanted the competition to fight among themselves?”
  6533. >Hmm.
  6534. >
  6535. >You don't know.
  6536. >This is Carl's turf. You don't deal with the criminal world much anymore.
  6537. >But Old Joe might know something, he was there.
  6538. “Have fun with this little puzzle. Me, I'm going to get hunted now.”
  6539. >“Probably.”
  6540. “Thanks for the moral support.”
  6541. >Smiling, you lie down and put your hands on your head.
  6542. >There's nothing else to do until they discharge you but to think about what you'll do them once you find out who did you in.
  6543. >And who took your slave.
  6544. >
  6545. >
  6546. >You arrive in front of Carl's house.
  6547. >His house is blue, the door's white. Two floors.
  6548. >Doesn't smell.
  6549. “So, is the couch comfy?” you ask Carl as you close the door of his car.
  6550. >“It's no coffin, but it'll do.”
  6551. >You burst out in laughter.
  6552. “And your wife?”
  6553. >“Don't even think about it.”
  6554. >She gets out of the car and goes in first, shortly followed by him and you.
  6555. >“So,” says Carl, “this is the entrance.”
  6556. “Noooo... Amazing.”
  6557. >He smirks, “I know, right?”
  6558. >The house's interior looks fancy, compared to what you have.
  6559. >Had...
  6560. >The house is longer than wide, the bedrooms are on the left end and the living room is on the right. The kitchen's on the left and is made of several stainless appliances.
  6561. >You also recognize some of your craft.
  6562. >Some family pictures are hung on the walls here and there.
  6563. >Seems like the family tends to thin with age.
  6564. >Heh.
  6565. >“Make yourself at home, but not too much. I don't like my house well-done.”
  6566. >You frown and turn toward him, unsure of what he means.
  6567. >He smiles and walks out the house, “We'll meet up later, I've gotta go back to work, my wife can help you buy some new clothes though.”
  6568. “Alright, but you know I don't have money on me, right?”
  6569. >“Yes.”
  6570. >Good.
  6571. >Won't have to pay him back.
  6572. >
  6573. >You close the door and open the fridge.
  6574. >It's filled with meat and beer.
  6575. >And puddings.
  6576. >“Looking for something, dear?”
  6577. >You grab a beer and close the door.
  6578. “Not anymore.”
  6579. >She leans against the fridge with her right shoulder.
  6580. >About one head and a half shorter than you, she wears a nose and arcade piercing. Black hair dyed blond at the end.
  6581. >Just like Carl, she's older than you and wears the usual 'I bore children and got fatter once I stopped caring about my weight and doing one-nights.'
  6582. >A small amount of fat on her belly, but her hips aren't larger than her shoulders. Her boobs are longer than her stomach and there's not a layer of overweight around her jawline.
  6583. >A plump, relatively fit natural MILF, not the wrinkled bimbos who weight 120 pounds and 25 of them are fake boobs.
  6584. “Done hiding the jewelry?”
  6585. >She blushes and pinches her lips, before lowering her gaze on the ground.
  6586. >Grunting, you walk to the couch and look for the remote.
  6587. “How much do you know about me?”
  6588. >The remote's on the reclining armchair. She grabs it and turns the TV off.
  6589. >Taking a deep breath, you open the beer and put the bottle cap in your pocket, not even bothering to look at her, you stare the dark reflection of you in the screen.
  6590. >“Do you mean, what I have heard, or what Carl has told me?”
  6591. >Oh, so that's how it's going to be.
  6592. >
  6593. >You lift the bottle to your mouth and slowly savour the beer, more to gather your thoughts than enjoying the taste.
  6594. >You're already aware of what everyone knows, but the other choice implies you want to know what your friend has told his wife.
  6595. >Fucking scheming women.
  6596. >At least men will stab you in the front.
  6597. >You lower the bottle, swallow, put it between your thighs and take your shirt off.
  6598. “Neither. I'm asking you to justify your untoward prejudices since you do not know me.”
  6599. >As you would expect, she stares at your scars, intrigued, curious.
  6600. >Enthralled.
  6601. >Feh.
  6602. >Carl went to the hospital to check up on you, and she was there with him.
  6603. >A girl that lives with him would, indeed, be intrigued by abnormal like you.
  6604. >A big and resilient man.
  6605. >A strong man with a low voice.
  6606. >A man with big arms, big muscles...
  6607. >She better not ask you to go with her in the bedroom.
  6608. >
  6609. >Despite the cold shoulder you're giving her, she smiles and her tone of voice subtly changes, “But, what do you mean by, prejudices? I do not think I have done you disrespect. I simply wish to know you, Crazy Mouse, better.”
  6610. “Hmh!”
  6611. >You shift the cold glass on top of the warm metal shards.
  6612. >She leans back, crosses her legs and coils her hair around her right index,  “Why don't we relax and chat for a bit; someone such as you must not have the chance to tell your version of the stories, let alone get people to know you better.”
  6613. >Fucking hypocrite.
  6614. >You would stare at her sideways if you'd have your right eye, but instead, you keep staring at the screen.
  6615. “Have you heard the story of the woman who got a beer bottle smashed to pieces in her womb?”
  6616. >She doesn't respond.
  6617. >You take another swig.
  6618. >“Do you believe violence is the answer for everything in life?”
  6619. >Stung, hun?
  6620. >Typical neurotypical...
  6621. “Violence isn't the answer. It's an answer. You're just not worth me considering the others, just like everyone else.”
  6622. >“Except for Carl, I presume?”
  6623. “You're not Carl.”
  6624. >She waits for a few seconds before relaxing her tone, “Interesting.”
  6625. >Indeed it is.
  6626. >She doesn't seem as shallow anymore.
  6627. >“What a sly, young fox.”
  6628. >You raise your arm and let the cold liquid cool your tongue, throat and stomach.
  6629. “Ah... Compliments will get you nowhere.”
  6630. >“Naturally.”
  6631. >Now this piques your curiosity.
  6632. >Let's prod a little bit more.
  6633. “You're not my type, so stop trying.”
  6634. >“How come? do you, perhaps, prefer women endowed with muscle over fat?”
  6635. “A big brain over a big head.”
  6636. >“Why do you think I am interested in you?”
  6637. “Sexual dimorphism.”
  6638. >“Come again?”
  6639. >And it was going so well...
  6640. >
  6641. >You rub your stiff neck with your left hand.
  6642. “The small and fragile female wants the big and strong male to make her feel safe.”
  6643. >She looks saddened in the screen, as if her enthusiasm deflated all of a sudden, “Oh... well, if you're talking size, I'm fairly certain you aren't as big as you like to believe you are.”
  6644. >Hmm.
  6645. >Fascinating woman.
  6646. “That's one way of saying that your husband is a bigger dick than me.”
  6647. >She chuckles and sends something at you.
  6648. >Because she's in your blind spot, and your right hand is holding your beer, you don't have any other choice but to duck and dodge the projectile.
  6649. >It falls and leans against your lower back.
  6650. >It's cold.
  6651. >And wet.
  6652. >Another beer?
  6653. >
  6654. >“It must be lonely to live such a... justified, paranoia on a daily basis.”
  6655. “It's not because I live with no one else that I'm alone.”
  6656. >“Hmm, wise words.”
  6657. >She opens up her own beer and chugs it down.
  6658. >You pull your left arm back and manage to grab the beer.
  6659. >Slight inconvenience of being swole.
  6660. >Still.
  6661. >This woman is dangerous.
  6662. >Are you already in the midst of her webs?
  6663. >“Hmm, that hits the spot.”
  6664. >She gets up and moves toward you.
  6665. >“You know, there are advantages to being small.”
  6666. >She straddles your legs and rests her hands on your scarred pecs.
  6667. >Now forced to look at her face, you see how absent warmth is in her heart.
  6668. >“It doesn't take as much to feel full.”
  6669. >Resting bitch face or antisocial disorder?
  6670. With a smirk, you push her hands off you, and hold her wrists against her thighs, “Is that why you're so full of... yourself?”
  6671. >She smiles a genuine smile and pushes against your hands, but you're not letting go of her.
  6672. >“Truly, on a daily basis; how cunning of you.”
  6673. “Hmph! Fortunately, I'm not in your head.”
  6674. >“Your big muscles, your crude mannerism and your disgusting look is quite the feint.”
  6675. “Better to have a sharp mind than a sharp tongue.”
  6676. >“Indeed, it is also necessary if you need to live a lonely life... but who said you had to?”
  6677. “Caution, my step-mother.”
  6678. >“And what might the name of the unlucky girl be?”
  6679. “Safety.”
  6680. >Chuckling, she pushes herself off you, and you let go of her hands, “Rarity would be lucky to have a man... or a stallion, such as you.”
  6681. “But not me?”
  6682. >You already know the answer, but you want her to say more.
  6683. >She leaves the room with her empty beer bottle.
  6684. >“There is only so much a man can do alone. Perhaps, you should consider others to be more worthy of your self-inflated time. Who knows, you might find yourself happier, in the end.”
  6685. “Yeah, well I tried, and my house burned down.”
  6686. >She turns her head toward you and smirks “Did you really, now?”
  6687. >Tsk, look at her, toying with your emotions like that.
  6688. >What are you, a toy?
  6689. >Clenching your hands, you get up and grab the remote.
  6690. “What's the point of loving people if you're just going to bury them later?”
  6691. >She shifts from smirking to glaring.
  6692. >The hatred in the depth of her eyes tastes of sweet victory.
  6693. >Still, making an enemy out of her might be bad in the long term.
  6694. “I do not claim to know what you've lived through, but if you... think, that the answer you seek lies in others, then it's your answer.”
  6695. >You finish your first beer and open up the other.
  6696. “People have wanted me... in pain, or dead, for a long, long while now. My loneliness is not merely a result of other's hatred toward me, but also of my hatred toward others.”
  6697. >Your thigh is extremely warm, forcing you to drop the beer on it.
  6698. >Yet, you're relatively calm.
  6699. >“If you never bend, you can only resist, until you break.”
  6700. >Her physical powerlessness is the result of genetics, her own problem, and any issues arising from it are hers and hers only.
  6701. >
  6702. >You draw a great breath and let it go.
  6703. >It's not out of annoyance, or exasperation.
  6704. >Merely, out of despondency.
  6705. “I've already shattered in smithereens... your husband is the only thing preventing me from having to dust my cardboard box off and go find an unused backstreet.”
  6706. >You turn the Tv on and look for the news channel.
  6707. “Thanks for the beer.”
  6708. >Her tone doesn't improve, “Don't try to justify what you've said with pity. Grow up, for fuck's sake!”
  6709. >She storms toward the kitchen, put the bottle down with force, grabs her keys and leaves the house by slamming the door behind her.
  6710. >
  6711. >You can't bear with the sports news for much longer before you slam the second beer down on the coffee table.
  6712. >The fact she was the one to leave the house and not you shows just how much stronger your spine is.
  6713. >It's only natural, though, for she literally had to face herself... normally.
  6714. >But...
  6715. >It pisses you off immensely.
  6716. >
  6717. >You can blame it on her having a decade over you, on her being a woman and having to make sacrifices to raise a happy family.
  6718. >Might as well excuse the fact your entire upbringing has been one big series of clusterfuck after the other.
  6719. >In the end, it just shows just how much mature she is than you.
  6720. >You've won the battle, but lost the war.
  6721. >Yet, there never was a war, to begin with.
  6722. *”It must be lonely to live such a... justified, paranoia on a daily basis.”*
  6723. >The word justified... was sarcastic.
  6724. *People have wanted me... in pain, or dead for a long, long while now. My loneliness is not merely a result of other's hatred toward me, but also of my hatred toward others.*
  6725. *How come, do you, perhaps, prefer women endowed with muscles over fat?*
  6726. *A big brain over a big head.*
  6727. *Why do you think I am interested in you?*
  6728. >She didn't lose interest in you because you had none.
  6729. >And you said... sexual diphormism.
  6730. >Furious, you throw the empty bottle on the ground.
  6731. *”Oh... well, if you're talking size, I'm fairly certain you aren't as big as you like to believe you are.*
  6732. >Yes, yes you're big.
  6733. >You're thick and your head is fucking big.
  6734. >Was she just trying to help you because you were her husband's friend?
  6735. *Neither. I'm asking you to justify your untoward prejudices since you do not know me.*
  6736. *But, what do you mean by, prejudices? I do not think I have done you disrespect. I simply wish to know you, Crazy Mouse, better.*
  6737. *Violence isn't the answer. It's an answer. You're just not worth me considering the others, just like everyone else.*
  6738. >There, that's where your brain was small.
  6739. *You know, there are advantages to being small.*
  6740. *It doesn't take as much to feel full.*
  6741. >Was she talking about a fulfilling life?
  6742. >Was she telling you that...
  6743. >Playing the big bad victim...
  6744. *There is only so much a man can do alone. Perhaps, you should consider others to be more worthy of your self-inflated time. Who knows, you might find yourself happier, in the end.*
  6745. *Yeah, well I tried, and my house burned down.*
  6746. *Did you really, now?*
  6748. >Enraged, you grab the coffee table and raise it above your head, ready to smash it against the Tv...
  6749. >And you realize just how child-like you're behaving.
  6750. >What's the difference between you going berserk and a child throwing food off the shelves at the grocery store?
  6751. >None, both are temper tantrums because you can't have what little... bauble you want.
  6752. *Rarity would be lucky to have a man... or a stallion, such as you.*
  6753. *But not me?*
  6754. >Why are you thinking about her?
  6755. >No, you, you need to smite.
  6756. >You need to forge.
  6757. >The house's gone, but the forge should still be there.
  6758. >You drop the table on the couch and walk out of the door.
  6759. >Trying your best to not murder anyone on the street.
  6760. >You haven't taken more than a dozen steps that you hear someone whistling behind you.
  6761. >“Knock when you'll come back, we didn't have the time to make another key.”
  6762. >She opens the door and closes it.
  6763. >In the end.
  6764. >She didn't flee because her spine was weak.
  6765. >She just outplayed you.
  6766. >You were the one who left first.
  6767. >You've lost the battle, and the war.
  6768. *It's not because I live with no one else that I'm alone.*
  6769. *Hmm, wise words.*
  6770. >What a dangerous woman.
  6771. >Now you really need to smite.
  6772. >Giggles.
  6773. >
  6774. >
  6775. >Your house hasn't burned down completely.
  6776. >The entrance has a hole. Without even entering, you can see what's left of the couch and the kitchen, which is relatively unscathed.
  6777. >Your thigh warms up.
  6778. >Oh, how you simply can't wait to find out who did it.
  6779. >Although... the more you look at it, the more you're left wondering about something.
  6780. >Organized crime wouldn't be as dumb as to forget to remove the smoke alarm.
  6781. >Wait, was it even connected to the fire station?
  6782. >Wait...
  6783. >You walk among the ashes and burnt walls.
  6784. >The smoke detector is open. The battery's on the counter.
  6785. >So.
  6786. >You turn around and look at the damages.
  6787. >The corridor between the bathroom and the bedroom's wall are missing. They must have burned down.
  6788. >The pillars holding the roof are badly burnt, but they seem sturdy enough.
  6789. >Moving on, you notice that your bedroom's mostly ashes, instead of clothes.
  6790. >The bed has ashes; dust and soot on it, but flames didn't appear to have damaged it.
  6791. >The wall's paint, the one between the kitchen and the bedroom has burned, but overall, it also seems unscathed.
  6792. >The more you think about it, the more your incomprehension frustrates you.
  6793. >What the fuck actually happened?
  6794. >
  6795. >The table, which is in front of the entrance, isn't even burnt one bite.
  6796. >The kitchen is relatively unscathed.
  6797. >As if... everything around it was set aflame.
  6798. >Of if the kitchen refused to burn down.
  6799. >So did the fridge.
  6800. >How come you aren't overwhelmed by some kind of horrid stench?
  6801. >Wondering, you open the door.
  6802. >The plastic containing your pudding hasn't melted.
  6803. >Neither did the rubber assuring the fridge is airtight.
  6804. >What.
  6805. >The.
  6806. >Fuck.
  6807. >Happened.
  6808. >
  6809. >Did they buried you before or after setting it on fire?
  6810. >Hmm, after.
  6811. >Wouldn't make sense to set the house of fire and take a few hours to dig a hole.
  6812. >Why not call the cops and tell them you're burying someone you just shot instead?
  6813. >Would be smarter than to make a beacon out of a house.
  6814. >So, they shot you, they buried you, then they set your house on fire.
  6815. >You don't know how fast fire spread, but it looks as if the firefighters came pretty early.
  6816. >You don't have neighbours, you have factories.
  6817. >It would make sense that someone went on their cigarette break and called the firefighters.
  6818. >That might explain why the fire didn't spread quickly enough to cause much harm.
  6819. >But that doesn't explain how uneven it spread.
  6820. >The fire and heat reached up to your bedroom clothes, but neither the bed, the fridge, nor the kitchen table, which is made of wood.
  6821. >The nonsense of it pisses you off oh so very much.
  6822. >You pull your pants down, spit on your fingers and apply it on your thigh.
  6823. >The metal is purple and green.
  6824. “Damnit.”
  6825. >A chill passes by and licks your tibias.
  6826. >Surprised, you squat down and move your right hand forward.
  6827. >It feels like winter air.
  6828. >Your breath even turns to mist once it touches the cold flow of air.
  6829. >But not before.
  6830. >It seems to come from the table.
  6831. >You pull your pants up, move toward it and try to lift it off the ground, but it stays stuck.
  6832. >Nothing's over it, and it's not even half the weight of your anvil, so there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to lift it.
  6833. >You draw a big breath, crouch, and yell as you try to pull it off the ground.
  6834. >With a sound reminiscing of ice breaking, you manage to pull it off the ground.
  6835. >A gust of painfully cold air cleaves your legs, prompting you to let go of the table and jump back.
  6836. >It seems like the table froze on the ground.
  6837. >There's a layer of blue ice surrounding something dark.
  6838. >Smooth.
  6839. >Made of metal.
  6840. >Mother's blade.
  6841. >Chuckles come out of your mouth, first, in small, jerky manners, but soon enough, you're holding your ribs.
  6842. >Why can't your life be simple?
  6843. >
  6844. >Smiting.
  6845. >That's the only thing you could think about when you saw Mother's blade.
  6846. >So you went and made an ice pick.
  6847. >Since then, you've been trying to chip the ice off the blade.
  6848. >Everything went awry when that fucking pony knocked at the door.
  6849. >She must have done something to it when she made it disappear and reappear, or was it magic for all those years, like your ingots?
  6850. >Were your ingots even magic, to begin with?
  6851. >Or were you simply magic all along and only need to be shot in the head to unlock your magic?
  6852. >Yeah, yeah fucking right.
  6853. >She did something to both the ingots and the blade.
  6854. >Fucking horse.
  6855. >You knew she'd bring problems.
  6856. >“ANON!”
  6857. >Jumping, you turn around and lift your right arm in the air, ready to impale anyone behind you.
  6858. >It's Old Joe, though.
  6859. >“I know where the horse is!”
  6860. >He waves at you to follow him before hopping on his skate.
  6861. >It takes you a few seconds to... understand, the situation.
  6862. >And when you do, you wonder how far you could kick him.
  6863. >Giggles.
  6864. >
  6865. “Hey, Old Joe, you were there that night; what happened?”
  6866. >“You got angry and shot in the head.”
  6867. “Tell me something I don't know.”
  6868. >“I didn't just lose my legs, I also lost my dick.”
  6869. >What?
  6870. “I didn't need to know that.”
  6871. >He pushes himself forward with his hands before shrugging. “You asked.”
  6872. >Patience, patience...
  6873. “You knocked a horse out cold before they shot me. I would like to know what happened before that, and after I got shot.”
  6874. >“I believe-olive that this happened first.”
  6875. >You turn a street and find technicians around a broken electric pole.
  6876. >Seems like they're working hard to replace it.
  6877. *A power outage, perfect… do you have candles that we could light up?*
  6878. >You see...
  6879. >Did they really went as far as to destroy it, just to make sure there wouldn't be any cameras recording them?
  6880. >“Woke me up like a kick in the balls. Didn't know what it was, was sleeping behind the forge. Behind the fence. It wasn't thunder, but it sounded much like what happened a few days ago.”
  6881. *Out of the blue, deafening thunder strikes, scaring you to death. You reflexively throw your arm up--and the poker--high in the air.*
  6882. “Hmm.”
  6883. >“Did it wokya too?”
  6884. *Jolting up, panicking, you throw the blankets off you and clamber out of bed.*
  6885. “Maybe.”
  6886. >“Well, with how you snore, I'd be surprised.”
  6887. >You kick the edge of the skate, destabilizing him.
  6888. >He manages to both hold on to his skate and steer it back in a straight line.
  6889. >“Hey, it's not 'cause I got no leg that I'm trying to pull yours!”
  6890. >Heh.
  6891. >
  6892. >A woman approaches on the sidewalk in rollerblades opposite of you, with a helmet. Old Joe steers to the right and you follow suit.
  6893. >Until you see her lift her top lip in a blatant display of disgust, that is.
  6894. “Duck!”
  6895. >She doesn't even acknowledge you, so you grin, twist your body to the right, raise your left hand above her chest and shove her on the ground.
  6896. >Startled, Old Joe turns his head around but keeps moving forward.
  6897. >She coughs several times and groans in pain.
  6898. >“What happened?”
  6899. You shrug, “I don't know, I told her to duck.”
  6900. >“A girl that clumsy needs her helmet.”
  6901. “Yep.”
  6902. >She gets up, yelling, “What the fuck is your problem?”
  6903. >Not bothering to turn around, you answer.
  6904. “People don't listen to me!”
  6905. >Smiling, you rub the heat off your thigh.
  6906. >Old Joe moves back in front of you, looks at you, at her, at you and back on the road ahead.
  6907. >
  6908. “So, what happened next?”
  6909. >“Oh, uh, beer.”
  6910. “Beer?”
  6911. >“Yes beer, I went and look to see if someone hadn't nigged my beer.”
  6912. “Nigged?”
  6913. >He turns around, flabbergasted, and pushes himself backward on his skate. “Yes, nigged, 'cause that's what niggers do, they nig your stuff.”
  6914. >Shaking your head, you wave your right index at him.
  6915. “Bad, bad Old and racist Joe.”
  6916. >“Ain't it fancy, coming from you?”
  6917. >You giggle and feign taking offence at his quip.
  6918. “I don't discriminate, I hate everyone equally!”
  6919. >
  6920. >He turns around and pulls himself forward, “Bah! So, like I was trying to say, before having to explain to you basic Sociology, I went to see if someone hadn't nigged my beer, but I still didn't feel comfortable leaving it around here. Can't bring it back in the backstreet, too many homeless niggers, can't trust them.”
  6921. “Don't tell me you're the only white hobo around?”
  6922. >“But of COURSE not! I'm talking about the white homeless niggers! The white niggers are nearly as bad as the black niggers.”
  6923. “So, what do you think of Martin Luther King?”
  6924. >“He was a good black man.”
  6925. >This gives you pause.
  6926. “Define 'Nigger'.”
  6927. >“It's an asshole, or some people refer to black people as such.”
  6928. >Oh.
  6929. “Do you think I'm a white nigger then?”
  6930. >“I don't think I'm at a safe enough distance to answer that question.”
  6931. >You laugh.
  6932. >Old Joe moves a little bit farther.
  6933. >
  6934. >“Then, and then I saw a blue Pony making light with its horn. I had already calmed down with a lukewarm one and was on my way back when it walked up to the fence and lit up like a lightbug. It didn't know I was there. I didn't move, didn't say a word. He might have come to nig my beer, the Ponigger.”
  6935. >Ponigger...
  6936. >“Thankfully, he was just looking at your house... Or that's what I thought because he approached my stash and that's when I knew what he was really trying to do, so I ninja-ed my way near him and threw the beer at his face.”
  6937. “Then you saw me and... ninja-ed away?”
  6938. >“NAooh! You saw me! You can't ninja when someone sees you!”
  6939. “Ah, right.”
  6940. >He sighs.
  6941. >“Youngsters nowadays know nothing... Anyway, I had to change my stash's hideout, AND do you KNOW how HARD it is to drag beer on grass, on a skate? Well, it IS! And then I heard one gunshot, and you threw your house upside down, and then the white pony shrieked, and, and yelled, and... and... and...”
  6942. “Take your time. It's alright. They're gone now.”
  6943. >“I fucking know they're gone, I'm not traumatized like a girlscout discovering the guy in the van didn't really want to buy cookies; I'm just trying to remember.”
  6944. >You see.
  6945. >Instead of paying with coins, he paid with his milk.
  6946. >Giggles.
  6947. >
  6948. >“By the time you got shot I was already trying to nig their cars, but then they shot you. I knew you were immortal, so I had to think. You were in trouble and I didn't help you, so I had to find a way to be useful, so I decided to open their trunk in silence and see if they had the string.”
  6949. “The string?”
  6950. >“Yeah, the string. You know how the story goes, kids thinking they can play hide and seek in the trunk, gets stuck and dies. New cars are equipped with a string to open the trunk. I only had the time to hop in that they were already taking her to the car. Now, I wasn't fancy-SILLY! I wasn't silly. I knew that the FANCIEST car was the one she would ride because only the misters get the misses, and THAT Pony is a miss for sure.”
  6951. >A miss... amiss.
  6952. >Giggles.
  6953. >Wait.
  6954. >How does he know that Rarity behaves like a lady?
  6955. “How do you know she's a lady?”
  6956. >“That's because I was the one who brought her to your house! Nearly got ran over too, so I told him to read between the lines.”
  6957. >As if to prove his point, he raises his indexes, middle and ring fingers in the air.
  6958. >“I tried to prepare her, put some pie in her hair, mane? whatever, and then, no, nonono, before that I cut her hair with glass, then I put pie in her hair.”
  6959. “Old Joe, I owe you a keg of beer.”
  6960. >“Oh, stop it, you! you're going to make me blush...”
  6961. >You don't want to see that.
  6962. >
  6963. >“So, what is the great and strong Crazy Mouse going to do to them once we arrive? Should I get the razors in the bathroom or the drill in the garage?”
  6964. “Nothing.”
  6965. >He, somehow, slams on the brake.
  6966. >Flipping on his back, he moves his arms above his head and extends them toward you with each word, “YOU. ARE. PULLING. MY. LEGS!”
  6967. >You cross your arms.
  6968. “Old Joe, do you think I'm stupid enough to kick the door down, waltz in and punch people in the face?”
  6969. >He rubs his hands on his shirt before covering his face with them. “AWWW, but you're so good at it!”
  6970. >He sits down, crosses his arms and pouts.
  6971. >“I did all of that risky tidsy bits and I don't even get a rampage to witness? Then you don't get to know where she is.”
  6972. >You crouch and pull his beard until he faces you.
  6973. >“OUCH-OUCH-OUCH-HEY!”
  6974. “Don't you want to see something better instead?”
  6975. >“Better?”
  6976. >There are sparkles in his eyes.
  6977. “Knowing you, it's impossible that you didn't snoop around a bit. If the guy has a fancy car, then he must have a pool and a big lawn.”
  6978. >“Yes, yes, no; small lawn.”
  6979. “But he does have a lawnmower then?”
  6980. >“I don't know, probably? I don't think he uses a nail clipper.”
  6981. >Old Joe doesn't think, at all.
  6982. >Giggles.
  6983. “Do you think you could snoop around and learn when he does the groceries?”
  6984. >He squints his eyes. “And what do I get for that?”
  6985. >You yank his beard high enough that he has to hold himself with your arm, “OUCH-OUCH-OUCH, OKAY!”
  6986. >You lower him back on his skate.
  6987. “You get another keg of beer.”
  6988. >He blinks, tilts his head, and put the beard in his shirt, “Then what was that for?”
  6989. “My amusement.”
  6990. >He squints his eyes, “You ni-not nice person.”
  6991. >Laughing, you push the skate forward and stand up.
  6992. >Soon.
  6993. >Yes, soon, your life will be simple.
  6994. >So much simpler.
  6995. >
  6996. >
  6997. >It took you another hour to finally break all the ice.
  6998. >Luckily, the blade doesn't seem to have been damaged by the flames.
  6999. >Or by the ice.
  7000. >With a sigh, you sit down and toss the ice pick away.
  7001. >There are so many questions left unanswered.
  7002. >Which one should you focus on first?
  7003. >The house and the fire?
  7004. >Will you rebuild or buy another house?
  7005. >Why was the blade in the middle of what looks like... a circle of anti-fire?
  7006. >Rarity...
  7007. >Carl's wife?
  7008. >Your leg?
  7009. >The ingots?
  7010. >If only your anger could solve it all.
  7011. >That'd be nice.
  7012. >But that's not going to be the case.
  7013. >You'll have to think and prioritize things.
  7014. >First, the basic needs.
  7015. >Which means the house.
  7016. >You can't live off Carl forever.
  7017. >And honestly, a house surrounded by factories will sell for next to nothing. Selling the lot wouldn't allow you to get a house of your own. To renovate, however, you need cash.
  7018. >You don't have any.
  7019. >Wait, there was Carl's check.
  7020. >Alright, that should cover for the basics you need to make sure the house doesn't crumble on top of you.
  7021. >If the insurance didn't stop covering you a while ago, you'd probably have enough cash to rebuild properly.
  7022. >But for now, you should go to the town hall or something to get the blueprints of your house, go to the library to read: renovating your house for morons, calculate and buy the materials you need, and rebuild it yourself.
  7023. >Carl will most likely provide the food, roof and tv.
  7024. >It should take about a week for learning and doing the minimum and for Old Joe to figure out when he does the groceries.
  7025. >Let's just hope they won't try to finish the job in the meanwhile.
  7026. >Then, when everything is said and done, you'll focus on the blade and the ingots.
  7027. >It might be safer to study magic first and use it to defend yourself, but nothing indicates that you won't just waste your time.
  7028. >It seems to be linked with your emotions and disrupts other's magic, as well as resonating with them to recreate a specific colour.
  7029. >Did you forget anything...?
  7030. >Hmm, don't think so.
  7031. >Well, now you have a plan, at least.
  7032. >Let's get to it, then.
  7033. >With a grunt, you get up and take the blade in your hand.
  7034. >It's cold but nothing surprising.
  7035. >Hmm.
  7036. >You move toward the bedroom and hide it between the mattresses.
  7037. >Then you walk toward the town hall.
  7038. >
  7039. >
  7040. >“Excuse me sir, but the library's closing for the day.”
  7041. >Clacking your tongue, you get up, gather the books in a pile in front of you, and stretch.
  7042. “Can you put them back for me? I'm afraid I don't remember exactly where I found them. Wouldn't want to put books where they don't belong and all.”
  7043. >The librarian's face stays neutral. “Oh... sure.”
  7044. >With a smile, you rub your nape.
  7045. “Hehe, sorry for the trouble.”
  7046. >“Oh no, it's no big deal.”
  7047. “Well, thank you very much, have a nice day.”
  7048. >You turn around, rub your face and head to Carl's home.
  7049. >It's not so much the concepts than the, oh, so numerous technical terms and objects you need to know.
  7050. >Was it really necessary to create so many types of materials, nails, screws and bolts?
  7051. >Not only that but it turns out you're going to need a truckload of money to renovate everything.
  7052. >For now, you'll have to build a shed beside the house and move the bed in. The toilet and plumbing should still work so you'll only need to store the food inside Carl's fridge.
  7053. >The house's structure didn't seem as solid anymore once you began to learn how it works and supports everything.
  7054. >So much trouble, so many problems...
  7055. >At least, progress is being made.
  7056. >Progress...
  7057. >Yeah right.
  7058. >You can't wait to find out when he does the groceries.
  7059. >
  7060. >
  7061. >You knock on the door and wait.
  7062. >Carl's wife opens up, smelling of carrots, “Sorry, I don't want to talk about our lord and saviour.”
  7063. You smile jokingly and show her your right fist, “Too bad, I'm offering dental care, do you suffer from tooth decay?”
  7064. >“Let the dude in, Sarah.”
  7065. >Chuckling, she sidesteps and lets you enter, “My, it appears the rumours were founded, you really are a vampire.”
  7066. >Carl's eating a 30 something oz steak on your left.
  7067. >There are 2 bowls of vegetables besides him, and a 20 something oz raw meatball on the opposite side.
  7068. “Just in time for dinner.”
  7069. >Carl waves you to sit beside him but gives a puzzled look to his wife, “What do you mean, vampire? He's not that old, or white.”
  7070. >She sits down on her chair and smirks, “He cannot enter unless he's invited, he lives in an abandoned house so he doesn't need to be invited, he's always covered in blood, sleeps and wakes up in a coffin and you can't kill him even with a bullet between the eyes...”
  7071. >Carl laughs, she smiles...
  7072. “Shut up.”
  7073. Smiling, you sit down and asks, “I don't mean to be rude, but is it everyone does their own meal or?”
  7074. >She pokes the bowls of vegetables, “Not tonight, of course, if you're not there when we prepare supper you'll have to do it on your own, which includes the dishes later.”
  7075. >Wait, the bowls aren't Carl's side?
  7076. >“You should see your face, Anon, it's priceless.”
  7077. >Sarah playfully smacks his forearm. “Carl, don't be so rude! You know he can't look at himself in the mirror!”
  7078. >Feh.
  7079. >You let them laugh at you while you dig in what looks like... a salad made with peas and carrots.
  7080. >Mostly carrots.
  7081. >The other bowl has braised carrots in them and smells of orange juice.
  7082. >Sarah speaks up, “Carrot and chickpea salad with orange-braised carrots and parsnips.”
  7083. >You're not often speechless.
  7084. >But when you are.
  7085. >You don't know what to say.
  7086. >“C'mon now, it's good for your eye.”
  7087. >Raising your arms in the air, shaking your head, you look at Carl.
  7088. >He's redder than her meat.
  7089. >But, you think you understand.
  7090. >You're not, that, welcome here.
  7091. “Well, now that you know, I won't have to pretend to be innocent when you wonder where the garlic is.”
  7092. >You stab a carrot and nibble on it, “So, what's up, Carl? sold a lot of ice-cream today?”
  7093. >He takes a few seconds to get rid of his laughter, drinks his beer, and cuts a piece of meat. “Not terrible. Was in the slum when I heard you were at the hospital.”
  7094. “You poor guy, there you were, selling ice-cream to those poor, AC-less families.”
  7095. >“You'd be surprised by how much I can make during one good, hot day.”
  7096. “If you're making that much money then why do you work during the night?”
  7097. >He puts his hand in front of his mouth, hiding it from Sarah, “Between you and me... she snores.”
  7098. >She jabs her fork on his forearm. “Stuff it! At least I don't wake up outside!”
  7099. >He massages his forearm, and chuckles, “But of course I walk out of the bed, even the sleeping me is scared by those snores!”
  7100. “You better stop it, Carl; there's only one couch, and I shotgunned it.”
  7101. >You get up and move toward the fridge.
  7102. >She snickers, "Oh, don't worry, he's got a car."
  7103. >"He's got a car... c'mon, honey, we're fifteen years past that attitude."
  7104. >"So you say."
  7105. >You open it and it's filled with meat, less beer, and puddings.
  7106. >You grab the bag of ground meat, a chocolate pudding, and close the door.
  7107. "Where's the cooking pan, and the butter?"
  7108. >"Yes"
  7109. >You look askance at Carl.
  7110. >She smiles, and replies "On the stove, Anon."
  7111. >Yep, there they are.
  7112. >Maybe you should have looked first, before asking.
  7113. >Meh.
  7114. >You turn the stove on, take the butter knife stabbed on the butter and slice off a big piece of it that you throw in the pan.
  7115. >It froths into the usual browny liquid as you pinch the bag until a big chunk of meat falls in the pan.
  7116. >Once you've flattened it, you use it to rub the butter around in the pan.
  7117. >"Spices are in the left drawer."
  7118. "Hmph, no buddy?"
  7119. >"No, not for you."
  7120. >Grinning, you open the drawer and fetch some salt and pepper.
  7121. >"Hmm! You really know how to cook the meat just right, where did you learn?"
  7122. >"Hmm, the school of hard knocks, Anon can probably tell you more, though."
  7123. >Hmph.
  7124. "I prefer the term, school of life... Just sad I never graduated."
  7125. >"C'mon now, you didn't fail at life."
  7126. >"Hush, Carl. Maybe he's trying to say he has no life."
  7127. "Nan, I just didn't get the right to live, yet."
  7128. >Silence, the meat cooks.
  7129. >And smells nice.
  7130. "Ah, right, don't make those kinds of jokes in front of ladies, am I right? Well, shouldn't be too bad, it's just Sarah, after all."
  7131. >"Daaaamn. So, Anon," Carl asks, "what are your plans for the week?"
  7132. >You can't tell him.
  7133. >Giggles.
  7134. >"A-allright, it better not involve us, though."
  7135. "It won't. Mostly, it will be rebuilding, and I've lost that cheque you've given me."
  7136. >"Well that's a shame, I'll have to make a new one then."
  7137. >"Any news about that Clarity of yours?"
  7138. "Why would I have any?"
  7139. >You store the meat in the fridge.
  7140. >"Interesting."
  7141. >You clack your tongue.
  7142. >"Hon... Give him a break."
  7143. >"Alright."
  7144. >You open the pudding and suck some.
  7145. >Bleh, dark chocolate.
  7146. >"Well then... what's your favourite colour, Anon?"
  7147. >You grin.
  7148. "Isn't it a pleonasm?"
  7149. >"Pleonasm?" Carl asks.
  7150. >You turn around and grin, pointing at Sarah.
  7151. "Small talk."
  7152. >She smiles, but not because she finds it funny.
  7153. >Carl raises a brow, and his arm to take another swig, "I don't get it."
  7154. >You're not explaining this one, though.
  7155. >"Don't worry, hon, it's just some banter."
  7156. >He shrugs and drinks his beer, "If you say so."
  7157. >You take a spoon in the sink and dig in your pudding.
  7158. "Purple."
  7159. >Sarah cuts a piece of her meal, "So, Anon, how did you met her?"
  7160. "Meter? you mean, the measurement unit?"
  7161. >"You know what I'm talking about." she says as she brings her fork to her mouth and purses her lips around it.
  7162. >Grinning, you turn around and flip the patty.
  7163. "He was forging one of the knives your husband buys; a bowie knife? Can't remember, then someone slammed on the brakes in front of the house. Curiosity got the best of him and he went to investigate. Little did he knew that it would change the rest of his life."
  7164. >"I don't mean to be rude, but I asked how 'you' met her, not him."
  7165. >"Not one that likes stories, heh? Anyway, he went back inside and opened the door, and that's when I, met her. Guy thought he was in danger, because, well, there's a fucking cartoon Pony in front of him. She asked if he wanted a slave."
  7166. >You put the pudding down and fetch the carrots, before returning at the stove.
  7167. >"And you, or he, agreed?"
  7168. "He closed the door, loaded the shotgun, opened the door and aimed at her face."
  7169. >Carl chuckles, "That went downhill pretty fast."
  7170. "Yeah, but you need to understand the guy. He's living some kind of... Justified paranoia. She also asked him to shoot, several times, pretty aggressively too, but he got, like, emotions and decided to not shoot... And then the Spanish inquisition showed up."
  7171. >"What?"
  7172. >You take another spoonful of pudding.
  7173. >Bleh.
  7174. >"Wait... was that a few days ago?"
  7175. "Yeah."
  7176. >"Ooooh..."
  7177. "Yeeah, that's also the second time I met her."
  7178. >Giggles.
  7179. "You should have seen the look on her face, it was, oh, so very human... shouldn't have bargained, though. Not going back in exchange for living with me..."
  7180. >You take a mouthful of pudding and swallow the bitter taste.
  7181. "Nearly died and lost my house because of that... Should have just pulled the trigger. I would have had some meat and leather for the handles..."
  7182. >And something warm to fuck.
  7183. >Heh, probably not...
  7184. >You stare at the patty. The froth of the brown fat sizzle in the cooking pan.
  7185. *You got happy, you got your hopes up, and here it is, the something wrong that always happens, the balloon that pops.*
  7186. *And despite everything, you stand still, like a mountain, scratched, wounded, but not broken. You have the nerve to laugh, to smile, to, to desire happiness! You have accepted, acknowledged, even, the fact that the whole world wants you to suffer, alone, like a martyr without convictions, and yet here you are. Tall, strong, like an unwavering castle, why, why? How can you stand, alone, and get up, alone, every time the world throws you down, and stomp on you?*
  7187. *Nothing ever goes right in your life.*
  7188. *You can't be happy, but you don't want to be sad.*
  7189. *Nothing will await you tomorrow.*
  7190. *You don't have a goal, you don't have a dream.*
  7191. >Sniffling, you flip the patty.
  7192. *I don't want or expect anything out of you! Open your eyes, you are not important enough that everything revolves around you!*
  7193. >Sarah speaks up, "It's lonely, isn't it?"
  7194. >You bite down on a carrot.
  7195. "Not really, I get to interact with people every time I get out."
  7196. >"Hey now, she's trying to be-"
  7197. "I didn't ask you to come to see me at the hospital either, not like I would wake up sooner anyway."
  7198. >"Wow, asshole, much?"
  7199. "Might explain why... heh, my whole life is shit."
  7200. >"Carl, go watch some tv. I'll handle it."
  7201. >He gets up and moves toward the living room.
  7202. >"Say, Anon..."
  7203. "Anon."
  7204. >She pauses for a few moments.
  7205. >"My son Steven... I got a call from the school, about my son Steven one day. He kept harassing this girl at recess. Turns out whenever he saw her, he would feel weird and he didn't like that. His answer was to harass her until she avoided him entirely. Pretty hard thing to do, considering they were in the same class."
  7206. >The television comes to life as you eat the rest of the carrot before picking another.
  7207. >"It makes sense, but what makes more sense is that it's not her the problem, but how he dealt with the situations."
  7208. "Carl's in the living room, by the way."
  7209. >"You can't be violent enough that everyone will avoid you, Anon."
  7210. "Well, it'll get worse if I don't retaliate."
  7211. >"Is that what your life amounts to? Waiting for someone to hurt you so you can hurt them back?"
  7212. >The meat's done, you grab the patty with your fork and your left index, put it in a carrot bowl and pour the juices on the other.
  7213. >It doesn't just amount to it...
  7214. >"I don't think you enjoy being you as much as you want others to believe."
  7215. >Turning the taps on, you rinse the cooking pan and produce a thin cloud of smoke, before dropping it in the sink and moving toward the table, with the pudding and the bowls.
  7216. "Let me guess, I have daddy issues, doctor?" you ask as you sit down.
  7217. >Her face remains still.
  7218. "I'm fine. I can still walk, eat and smith."
  7219. >"Then say it to your face."
  7220. >You grin as you look down at your food.
  7221. "Give me a mirror."
  7222. >You cut the patty and stab it with your fork, before blowing gently on it.
  7223. "Oh, wait, I'm a vampire."
  7224. >"You're not even the main character of your own life."
  7225. >Chuckling, you bite down and your eyes open wide.
  7226. >The salt.
  7227. >You go fetch the salt and pepper, before heavily sprinkling the salt.
  7228. "Well, that would explain why I'm so salty."
  7229. >You shake the pepper over your carrots.
  7230. >"You're passive. Your life is passive. That's why you feel you're stagnating. Even now, you're rebuilding and trying to get the pieces of your life back together, instead of moving forward."
  7231. *The psys tell you to stop living in the past, but you're not.
  7232. Everyone else but you is.
  7233. That's why they hate you.
  7234. Because they're still stuck in the past.*
  7235. "Mhm."
  7236. >You grab another piece of juicy, fat meat and put it in your mouth.
  7237. >When was the last time you tasted blood that wasn't yours?
  7238. >She leans in to whisper, "You say it doesn't concern us, I disagree... It's just not about us."
  7239. "Perhaps."
  7240. >"Between me and you, you know who he'll choose."
  7241. >You raise your eye and stare at her.
  7242. >It's not... jealousy.
  7243. >"Are you listening, no you were. Now you're paying attention."
  7244. >She slumps back against the chair and sighs.
  7245. >"Whatever you intend to do, I believe you should include her. She's fucking your life up to such a degree that you will be forced to stop stagnating, or you will die trying. In both cases, everyone's happy, don't you think?"
  7246. "Thanks for the speech, very optimistic."
  7247. >"You're, what, in your thirties now? You're not a kid anymore. No one's going to tell you how to live your life. So stop wondering, or moping around how sad your life is. It'll also help to let go of your anger."
  7248. >Rolling your eyes, you stab another piece of meat.
  7249. "Are you done, mom? Can I go to my room now?"
  7250. >She sneers, "Yeah, we're done." and moves to the couch with her husband.
  7251. >Stagnation, hun?
  7252. >Well, you guess you can't shout 'get out of my swamp!' loud enough to get the result you want.
  7253. >You finish the rest of your meal in silence.
  7254. *****************************************************
  7255. She pretends there's something wrong with you.
  7256. How can you be so empty, so lonely, when you're so full of yourselves, after all.
  7257. No, there's nothing wrong with you.
  7258. Something had got to give.
  7259. And it was you.
  7260. You got happy and have forgotten that it was forbidden.
  7261. It wasn't her fault.
  7262. It was yours.
  7263. *****************************************************
  7264. >The room is dark and humid.
  7265. >It smells of mould and old sweat.
  7266. >The floor is made of stone and is very dirty and very cold.
  7267. >At least the mattress isn't cold.
  7268. >Protected by your blanket, you watch the morning cartoon... on your stomach, on the mattress.
  7269. >There are so many colours and lights that come out of the screen.
  7270. >Right now, it shows you a desert.
  7271. >As the screen scrolls to the right, you get to see more and more of it.
  7272. >Hey, a cactus!
  7273. >You smile.
  7274. >
  7275. >Deserts are very warm and very dry.
  7276. >That would be nice.
  7277. >Oh, you hear music!
  7278. >*Oh Suzanaaaaaaa! Don't you cry for me! I'm gonna gets me lots of gold way out on the lone prairie!*
  7279. >The screen stops scrolling to the right and zooms toward a boulder.
  7280. >*Gold is where you find it, and when I find that stuff,*
  7281. >A man comes out from behind it. The camera follows him as he walks to the left.
  7282. >*I'll dig and dig and dig and dig; I'll never get enough!*
  7283. >He is fat and small.
  7284. >He has a... dark peanut butter brown bag several times his size strapped on his back.
  7285. >There are many things held by ropes outside of it: socks, skis, a lantern and a lamp, among other things.
  7286. >There's a pickaxe in his left hand, he wears a chocolate brown hat and blue overalls over a white shirt.
  7287. >There's a red scarf around his neck and he wears black boots.
  7288. >*I twamp the prairies and the plains, I trudge each weary mile, I'll twamp and trudge and trudge and twamp until I make my pile!*
  7289. >The camera zooms on its face.
  7290. >*Oooooh Suzana! Don't you cry for me! I'm gonna dig up lots of gold! V for victowy!*
  7291. >The singing man raises two fingers to make a V.
  7292. >You giggle.
  7293. >He keeps singing the air of the tune with da-dada di das as the screen scrolls to the left to reveal a cartoony bull skull.
  7294. >And eyes come out of the skull's orbit!
  7295. >It blinks comically for several seconds, then, gloved hands come from beneath it and lift the skull in the air.
  7296. >It's the rabbit! he was hiding underneath it.
  7297. >He looks at the camera and shushes you, before pointing at the man.
  7298. >Oh, you know how to be quiet when grown-ups are around...
  7299. >
  7300. >The rabbit hides beneath the skull again.
  7301. >The door of the basement opens, and a shade with red teeth stands tall, like an adult, in the doorframe.
  7302. >You gasp and stare at it...
  7303. >*Eeeeh, hi, neighbour.*
  7304. >*Oh... hello!*
  7305. >He reaches for the top of the television, takes the controller and taints the cartoon.
  7306. >*IIIIIIIIIIIII'm a ragged rugged lover of the wild and woolly weeest!*
  7307. >The image lags, the colours turn negative, the screen screeches and distorts, moving up and down in rapid, jerky movements.
  7308. "No."
  7309. >You want to shout.
  7310. >But you need to be silent around grown-ups.
  7311. >A spider comes down the ceiling and lands on your pillow.
  7312. >"Try to hold it together."
  7313. >The screen isn't getting any better, it has transformed into corn.
  7314. "No!"
  7315. >Your voice is stronger.
  7316. >The shade is angry.
  7317. >It will hurt you now.
  7318. >You don't want to be hurt, you're sick of getting hurt!
  7319. "NOOOOOOOO!"
  7320. >The basement shakes, the screen explodes, the spider and the shade disappear.
  7321. >Only the mattress, the blanket and the controller remain.
  7322. >Even the music is gone.
  7323. >Crying, you crawl toward the controller, but your hand is unable to grasp the object.
  7324. >Frustrated, you count to 3.
  7325. >1...
  7326. >2...
  7327. >3.
  7328. >
  7329. >
  7330. >You wake up on the couch.
  7331. >The left side of your body is numb, so you try to shift on your right side, but the blanket seems glued to your thigh.
  7332. >Intrigued, you try to pull it. As it moves, you hear the sound of velcro being pulled.
  7333. >The blanket was freezing on your leg, but your legs, both legs, feel warm.
  7334. >A yawn comes out of your mouth as you rub your face with your hands.
  7335. "Fucking nightmares... and now magic."
  7336. >
  7337. >Grunting, you sit up and press your warm hands against the fabric to warm it up.
  7338. *Crying, you crawl toward the controller, but your hand is unable to grasp the object.*
  7339. >Controller, hun?
  7340. *Finally, listen to your dreams, for I notice what you miss, but the brain notices everything…*
  7341. >Hmm, a controller...
  7342. >Do you lack a sense of control in your life?
  7343. >Does someone else control you?
  7344. >The television... watching the television is pretty passive.
  7345. >The screen exploded, so you can't be passive anymore.
  7346. >The shade is disappearing but it is still there.
  7347. >The only thing you can do is to try to get control over your life?
  7348. >You were a child back then.
  7349. >You're not a child anymore.
  7350. >Are the mattresses and blanket metaphors for your comfort zone?
  7351. >But then, who's the rabbit, who's the singing man.
  7352. >And who the fuck is the spider?
  7353. >What is the gold, what is the desert?
  7354. >Could the skull represent the rabbit being dead inside?
  7355. >So many questions... Urgh!
  7356. >Might just be some stupid cartoon too.
  7357. >Bah, too late to think about this now.
  7358. >You slump back on the couch and try to catch some more z's.
  7359. >
  7360. >Maybe the skull implies bullying?
  7361. >No, brain, no.
  7362. >TIME, to SLEEP.
  7363. >Questions later.
  7364. >
  7365. >
  7366. *****************************************************
  7367. Do you know what the ultimate power is?
  7368. The power to turn living beings into objects.
  7369. You will never feel as strong as when you use this power.
  7370. People respect you when you use this power.
  7371. It's called murder.
  7372. *****************************************************
  7373. >
  7374. >Today's going to be a long day.
  7375. >With a sigh, you push the bank's door open and walk toward Carl's car.
  7376. >His cheque's in your account now.
  7377. >Then, you're going to the store to buy planks, nails, a new door, windows, and everything you need to make a shack besides your house.
  7378. "Say, Carl..." you ask as you get in the vehicle, "Where do you think you'll sleep if you were to bring a Pony home?"
  7379. >He leans his left elbow on the steering wheel and gives you an amused look.
  7380. >"Mars, probably..." his expression turns serious, "but you said that it wouldn't concern us."
  7381. "Oh, don't you worry about it, they won't be able to care less about a Pony when I'm done."
  7382. >He raises a brow, "Then why don't you take her in, she could help with the house and you'd get some relief."
  7383. "Carl..."
  7384. >He notices the change of expression on your face.
  7385. >The fists that are clenched.
  7386. "I've murdered people. I've shot them, I've stabbed them, I've bludgeoned them, pummeled them..."
  7387. >You turn to the left and face him.
  7388. "I've stabbed a man in the gut only to set him on fire and wait with a hose for it to die out, but I have never abused anyone... and I never will."
  7389. >He stares at you with shrunk pupil, with rapid breaths.
  7390. >His feet are leaning against the floor, ready to spring out of the car; his left hand rests on the door handle, his seatbelt already unbuckled.
  7391. >You turn to the right and draw a deep breath... before letting it go.
  7392. "It's easier to kill someone than letting them live a disabled life, conscience wise and... heh, in the long term. The families hate you but it rarely extends beyond it. With crippled, though, you get some justice warriors..."
  7393. >"Sorry, man, I didn't think-"
  7394. "Will you please shut up? You'd already be buried long ago if you were saying those things to piss me off, and we know it. Just drive to the store..."
  7395. >"You got it."
  7396. >He turns the engine on and drives backward to get out of the parking.
  7397. "Although, a few hundred bills would be a good apology..."
  7398. >"You can walk, you know?" he answers as he looks in his mirror, with a smile.
  7399. "Sheesh."
  7400. >"But, my question still stands, why don't you take her in instead?"
  7401. "I've got some thinking to do..."
  7402. >"Hun-hun."
  7403. >You press your right fist against your cheek and look at the houses passing by the window.
  7404. >"Is this about my wife? What she said, I mean."
  7405. "Your wife says many things."
  7406. >"Heh, don't tell me about it. I don't even want to know where she gets all of that... Besides, it's been a while since the last time she got angry."
  7407. "You make it sound like it's a good thing."
  7408. >"Well it kinda is, actually. She becomes angsty when she has nothing to put her mind into. It's always funny to see her stare at the air and mull over something. Sometimes she frowns, sometimes she sighs, then I pop a balloon behind her and she jumps... what are you thinking about?"
  7409. >Oh, really?
  7410. >Grinning, you lean back against the seat.
  7411. "I'm just wondering... what I want to do with my life."
  7412. >"Do you want a rock?"
  7413. >Closing your eyes, you breathe by the nose and let it go.
  7414. "She's going to trigger me, one way or another, Carl."
  7415. >"I hope you're talking about the Pony here."
  7416. "But of course."
  7417. >"So, I take it you don't want to pull the trigger, heh?"
  7418. "Pretty much."
  7419. >Carl stops at the red light.
  7420. >You recognize the street.
  7421. "Hey, make a detour, we shouldn't take this street."
  7422. >"Why not?"
  7423. "You don't want to get involved."
  7424. >"Alright."
  7425. >He turns to the left.
  7426. >
  7427. >"So, you're going to get her when... well, he's going to come and get her later?"
  7428. "Will he come back, now that's the question."
  7429. >"Hey, I am not keeping her, so don't even try."
  7430. "I know... I know, hence that's why I have to think."
  7431. >"Mhm... Say, you've been all alone, you two, and you're both trying to go in different directions, and it hasn't really done you both any good, right?"
  7432. "Pretty much, what's your point?"
  7433. >"Well, bear with me for a moment..."
  7434. >Carl takes a moment to gather his thoughts.
  7435. >"My wife always tells me that the answers I'm looking for are where I don't want to look. Right now, you seem very opposed to the idea of living with someone else, a girl, and a lady at that. Who knows, maybe she gots some answers."
  7436. "Seems like you're the one trying to dump her, and her problems, on me."
  7437. >His eyes stay on the road but he grins with all of his teeth.
  7438. >"Look, I think that, at best, I can have her stay a day or two, and give her shelter whenever you feel trigger happy. I'm already risking big by letting you live here. It also puts a huge strain on my relationship, so either you get the contract and resell her, tell her to fuck off, kill her, or give her a roof... and no, mine doesn't count."
  7439. "Killjoy."
  7440. >"Says the trigger happy dude."
  7441. >Giggles.
  7442. >Bored, you look through the window again.
  7443. >The car stops in front of the red light, and you can see a red stallion looking through the window of his house, visibly bored.
  7444. >It seems like he's looking at the clouds.
  7445. "Should warn you, though, she will try to get to know you, and manipulate you."
  7446. >"They all do, actually."
  7447. "The Ponies?"
  7448. >"Well, not just the Ponies, I heard dragons can get extremely nasty."
  7449. "Wait"
  7450. >Frowning, you turn your head toward him.
  7451. "Actual fucking dragons?"
  7452. >"Man, you really need to watch the news from time to time."
  7453. "Firebreathing flying lizard, the 4 legs and wings kind?"
  7454. >"Yeah," Carl chuckles, "It's hard to believe but they're as real as you and me."
  7455. >Flabbergasted, your rub your palms against your eyes.
  7456. >Dragons, unicorns... What else is there in their world, fairies and orcs? Gods and demons?
  7457. >"Now I kinda feel bad for you. Maybe you'd have been able to buy yourself a friend."
  7458. "I don't need friends."
  7459. >"You sure about that?"
  7460. "Yeah, you're not a friend, you're a Carl."
  7461. >"I'm a Carl... Didn't expect that one." chuckles the Carl.
  7462. >
  7463. "Ha