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The Sincerest Form (Finished)

By MisterAnon
Created: 25th June 2021 06:57:44 AM
2nd September 2021 09:18:46 PM

  1. >The location, Canterlot Castle
  2. >The scene, Princess Celestia is on her throne as she addresses the legendary Elements of Harmony, heroes to all
  3. >Their next mission: Explore the frozen north and rescue a royal expedition led by the world renown Huntsmare, a wilderness expert and tamer of ferocious teddy bears
  4. >The royal expedition has been gone for two whole days now and anxiety in the capital has grown
  5. >Some worry that their rations of cookies have run out while others speculate that they forgot to pack their compass
  6. >In any case, Princess Celestia has charged her most trusted agents to rescue the expedition
  7. >Twilight Sparkle, foremost of all unicorns, rallies her friends
  8. >”C’mon girls, we got ponies to save!”
  9. >Rarity radiates her elegant glow, mane glistening off of the sun that streams through the stained windows
  10. >”But wait Twilight, this adventure sounds particularly dangerous. I’ve heard that northern Equestria is even colder than a juice pop! Perhaps we should obtain additional help?”
  11. >A trail of rapidly fading rainbows fill the air as Rainbow Dash speeds this way and that
  12. >”Yeah, Rarity’s right! For this mission we’re going to need the most super cool pony to ever exist!”
  13. >Twilight regards the wisdom of her friends
  14. >”You both are right, but who could it be?”
  15. >Her friends brainstorm and shout out ideas
  16. >”They have to be brave enough to sleep without a night light!”
  17. >”Strong enough to carry an entire set of building blocks!”
  18. >”And tough enough to get a boo-boo on their knee without crying!”
  19. >Finally they all come up with who this special pony is and shout her name in unison
  20. >”LILY VALLEY!!”
  21. “Someone call me?”
  22. >The doors of the throne room swing open and Celestia makes it a really dramatic entrance by briefly making the sun brighter so that your silhouette is dark, just like in the movies
  23. >You step inside the room in a really save way and you also have on one of those saddlebags that adventurers wear, along with your trademark lily that you keep in your mane
  24. >Twilight is delighted to see you as she trots up to you in excitement
  25. “We’re glad you’re here, Lily Valley! But how did you know that we would need you?”
  26. >You smile and look at her in a calm manner, similar to how Daring Do does in her books after she escapes from a trap
  27. “I didn’t, I just got back from saving the Crystal Empire”
  28. >Suddenly Princess Cadence peeks through an open window
  29. >”It’s true, I was there when she stopped King Sombra from trying to steal the Crystal Heart again. She’s my hero!”
  30. >The entire room erupts to cheers and praise for you
  31. >”Wow, you’re so awesome Lily!”
  32. >”Yer welcome to get a drink at Sweet Apple Acres whenever you want, ya hear?”
  33. >”Ooh ohh, I should throw a party for you later! How about two minutes from now?!”
  34. >”There’s no way a scaredy pony could have done that!”
  35. >The Elements of Harmony surround you and continue to compliment you as they slap their hooves on your back in congratulations
  36. >Princess Celestia herself speaks to you
  37. >”Are you willing to join this adventure, my little pony who is definitely not a scaredy pony?”
  38. >Your hooves firmly plant themselves on the ground as you stand in triumph
  39. ”For truth, justice, and the Equestrian way, I’ll save the day!”
  40. >Everypony cheers even louder this time
  41. >”I can’t say how grateful we are that you’ll join us. You ‘re a real hero!”
  42. “Thanks Twilight, you’re a real hero too”
  43. >”But Nopony thought you had it in you. You proved them all wrong, Li-“
  44.  
  45. >“-ly!”
  46. >You hear the shout emanating downstairs as the front door creaks open loudly
  47. >Oh no
  48. >They weren’t supposed to be back home so soon!
  49. >You are currently laying down on the floor of your room, splayed out on your belly
  50. >Your attention turns back to what’s in front of you
  51. >Your Castle Canterlot playset is open as your carefully arranged plastic ponies, that are about the size of your hoof, mill around the throne room area
  52. >In one of your hooves is your Twilight Sparkle figurine
  53. >The plastic mold is pretty well done and it even had a special edition glow in the dark horn
  54. >In your other hoof is your homemade doll of yourself
  55. >It’s...well you’re not exactly a professional toy maker
  56. >You had taken one of your extra Applejack figures that you lost the hat for and used markers to cover over the orange and blonde with your own pink and amber
  57. >You hear hoofsteps go up the steps as once again your sisters call your name
  58. >“You doing alright up there?”
  59. “Just a mi-“
  60. >You stop mid sentence as you realize you still had your Twilight impression on, clutching your mouth to halt yourself
  61. >”...who’s there?”
  62. >The hoover steps continue closer and closer
  63. >There’s no way you can let them see what you do in your spare time, they’d just tease you about your fantasies!
  64. >You quickly get up and your hooves brush Princess Celestia and Cadence along with the Elements of Harmony into the castle
  65. >Your grasp the plastic snap of the castle to shut it as your steps rush over to your toy chest, flinging it open and throwing your play castle into it and slamming the lid shit
  66. >Not a minute too soon as your sisters Daisy and Roseluck open up the door and peer in
  67. >They see you, panting heavily from exhaustion and grasping the top of your toy chest
  68. >They blink a few times
  69. >Daisy speaks first
  70. >”You...okay, Lily?”
  71. “O-oh yeah, just fine!”
  72. >Their eyes scan your simple bedroom of a single bed, posters of various flowers, writing desk, and shag carpet
  73. >Rose addresses you curiously
  74. >”We thought we heard somepony else”
  75. “You both must be pretty tired working the flower stand today. Just uhh, me and my thoughts!”
  76. >”Riigghttt”
  77. >Rose seems to be ready to accept your hasty explanation but Daisy still lingers suspicions
  78. >Suddenly, she catches sight of something by your bedpost and points a hoof at it
  79. >”What’s that? Looks kinda funny”
  80. >You follow the invisible trail of her hoof and your eyes go wide
  81. >Laying on the wooden floor is one of your dolls
  82. >Specifically, the figurine of you
  83. >You must have swept it into the castle with too much power and it went through one of the tiny windows
  84. >Daisy starts to walk to you but you’re quick enough to scoop it up into your hoof so that she doesn’t see the cutie mark you drew on with a pen
  85. >She raises a brow
  86. “Oh hey, you find my-my-“
  87. >Quick, come up with a good fib!
  88. “Cherry Berry figure!”
  89. >They stare at you in silence before Daisy asks the questions
  90. >”Why do you have a toy of Cherry Berry?”
  91. “Oh you know, we’ve been friends for years now”
  92. >”I didn’t know that. How come she never comes over to play?”
  93. “She’s...shy, just really shy and afraid of meeting you two”
  94. >”She doesn’t seem shy to me at all, I always see her around town talking to everypony”
  95. “She’s a really good actor. And funny. And knows how to make a good almond salad. And-and is really generous too! That’s why she gave me this!”
  96. >”Why don’t you ever talk about her?”
  97. “W-we’re secret friends! It’s like having a regular friend except extra special”
  98. >You give your best smile to your sisters as a single bead of sweat drops from your head
  99. >Rose is willing to just continue on with the day
  100. >”Okkayy, I hope you two have a lot of fun together. So are you ready to get going?”
  101. >You nod eagerly in a mixture of wanting to end this conversation and genuine anticipation
  102. >Today was the day Mayor Mare was going to open the new playground!
  103. >Your sisters file out of your room and soon you’re left standing with the toy in your hoof
  104. >You sigh and look glumly at the figure that has uneven marker coverage over the body and a tangled mane that has badly dyed hairs
  105. >No matter how much you tried to hide it, it’s just Applejack
  106. >Afterall, scaredy ponies don’t get toys made of them
  107.  
  108. >Your sisters and you wade into the crowd of ponies that have gathered outside of town and sit down on some soft grass
  109. >You’re feeling nervous
  110. >Crowds make you scared
  111. >You can’t help but imagine if a stampede happens then you might get serious ouchies if they step on you
  112. >Then again, being alone makes you scared too
  113. >What if you need help getting something that’s really high up?
  114. >You don’t like heights
  115. >What if you fall?
  116. >Then you’d get boo boos and have to go to the horsepitals
  117. >Horspitals are scary too, all of those really sharp pointy things and that cold thing thing they put on your fur to listen to your heart...
  118. >Imagining all these frightening things is starting to have an effect on you
  119. >You feel yourself panting and shifting your eyes all around you
  120. >Your sisters look at you in concern and start to rub your back
  121. >”Lily, it’s okay, there’s nothing to be scared of. We’re going to have a super fun day today”
  122. >”Yeah, we’re here with you. Take deep breaths”
  123. >Their reassurance always comforted you and this moment is no different as you slow your breathing again and with one deep breath into your nose and out of your mouth you finally calm down
  124. “Thanks”
  125. >They nod in unison before you spot Mayor Mare heading up on the stage as she moves behind the podium
  126. >“Good afternoon, Everypony”
  127. >The crowd of thirty or so reply in unison, you following along as well
  128. >”Good afternoon”
  129. >”I hope that Everypony is doing well today and certainly has plenty of energy to play!”
  130. >A general cheer is called out from the crowd with plenty of whoos and yeahs
  131. >Also a no from Cranky Doodle before Matilda shushes him playfully
  132. >”It’s such a splendid thing to see my fellow citizens come out and enjoy time with each other. I hope with all of my heart that this newly opened civic facility will continue to foster good relations between neighbors for years to come”
  133. >You can tell that most of the crowd are at a loss for what her words mean
  134. >It’s okay though, the Mayor is smart and knows how the government works even though it’s really complicated
  135. >She’s also the only one who votes
  136. >Voting looked hard since you have to fill out bubbles neatly with a pencil and try not to draw things on the ballot like flowers or animals
  137. >So every year on Election Day the Mayor would open up the ballot box in front of everypony, pick up the only slip of paper in it and then declare herself mayor for another year with a victory speech
  138. >It’s fun wearing her reelection pins and looking at the pretty posters she puts around town though
  139. >A shadow suddenly looms over the mayor
  140. >You gulp loudly as a being of pure Mali open eyes encroaches the stage and carries with it blades that shine
  141. >The mayor continues her speech as the giant ever so slowly creeps closer and closer, footstep pounding heavily one after the other
  142. >You can feel your front hooves shaking
  143. >Mayor Mare stops her speech and peers up into the fiery eyes of the giant
  144. >For you, he is a creature from nightmares
  145. >”Ah there you are, I was growing worried that something might have happened to you”
  146. >”Sorry ma’am, had trouble finding the safety scissors”
  147. >To others, he is Anonymous, Mayor’s Aide
  148. >”Well no matter, I’m sure that my speech is keeping some excited ponies from trying out the new equipment. Let’s cut to the chase as it were!”
  149. >All around you are happy yelps but they’re hard for you to hear, your own heartbeat keeps pounding in your ears
  150. >You just couldn’t help it, Anonymous terrified you
  151. >It wasn’t his fault, he seemed nice enough from what you could tell
  152. >What you could tell far, far away enough from him that is
  153. >He hasn’t hurt anypony since he came here a few months ago
  154. >But, well, just look at him!
  155. >He’s tall enough to block out the sun!
  156. >He can fit an entire cookie inside his maw!
  157. >You’ve never seen him take a nap at the park like any other pony!
  158. >He gives the safety scissors to the mayor who then walks over to a long strand of ribbon tied between two poles at the entrance
  159. >”And so without further ado I declare the Seasaw Memorial Playground...“
  160. >With a snip of the safety scissors, the ribbon is parted into two and falls
  161. >”Open!”
  162. >The stampede you feared is happening
  163. >Except it’s not too bad
  164. >Everypony is polite enough to power trot around slower ponies as they rush to their favorite spots
  165. >Your own sisters are rushing ahead of you as you struggle to keep up, your eyes having to struggle to snap away from Anonymous
  166. >Your heart neary skips a beat as you walk past him and the Mayor, afraid that he’ll grasp you in his fleshy talons
  167. >Once inside the park, Daisy and Rose look around ecstasy
  168. >You notice that the new stuff is so shiny, not like the other playground in town
  169. >They’re also a lot bigger
  170. >Which means the risk of injury is much higher
  171. >Rose is the first to asks the question
  172. >”What should we play with first?”
  173. >”The Jungle Gym?”
  174. “I don’t know, what if we hit our head on the bar?”
  175. >”How about the Merry-Go-Round?”
  176. “It might get kinda fast and make us sick though”
  177. >”...swings?
  178. “There’s the chance we might fall off and get scrapes”
  179. >They both are getting annoyed at you
  180. >You hate it when this happens
  181. >Because it’s going to be your fault if they don’t have fun
  182. >Daisy tries to give you confidence
  183. >”Everything will be alright, Rose. Even if something does happen just look over there”
  184. >You see Mayor Mare and Anonymous standing by the side of a sandbox as the two of them chat idly
  185. >Bulk Biceps tries to get Anonymous’ attention to show off a really tall sand castle he made
  186. >The human smiles and claps for him, telling him he did a good job
  187. >”They’re the playground monitors today and I heard Anonymous is certified by the Horsepital to kiss away BooBoos”
  188. >You’re still unsure and they both sense that
  189. >Rose sighs
  190. >”Lily, you can’t continue to be scared of everything, that’s no way to enjoy life. You can’t keep being a-.”
  191. >Dread overcomes you
  192. >You know she’s going to say it
  193. >It always hurts when they say it
  194. >”Scaredy Pony”
  195. >Your heart feels like it’s caught up in your throat as you let out a little whimper
  196. >You try to hide how much her words stung to no avail
  197. >Your sisters know you too well and Rose knows she went too far
  198. >She moves beside you and puts a leg over your shoulder
  199. >”I’m sorry Rose, please don’t cry! I’ll be your best friend forever if you don’t. I didn’t mean what I said”
  200. >Daisy moves to your other side tries to pat your back
  201. >”How about we go to the other park? C’mon, it’s a little crowded here anyways”
  202. >You don’t want to ruin this day, like other days that you spoiled for them when you were too chicken to go somewhere or do something
  203. >Like that one time when you all were at the water park but you didn’t want to go into the pool since you might have gotten water up your nose
  204. >Or that time when your family went camping but you were too scared to spend a night in a tent in case a bear came by
  205. >Or that other time when a bee got inside the greenhouse and you accidentally broke a few pots trying to run away from it
  206. >You shake your head slowly as your eyes refuse to leave the ground
  207. “No, it’s okay. I’ll be fine”
  208. >”You sure?”
  209. “Yeah. How about you two go ahead and play together, I just need to get my mind prepared is all. Maybe I’ll even go to the sandbox first”
  210. >Rose and Daisy hesitate leaving your side before resolving to go on ahead, Daisy saying something before they go
  211. “Well alright, Lily, just tell us if you want to go home, okay?”
  212. >You face her and nod with a small smile
  213. >As soon as they leave, you drop your smile just as quick as you put it on
  214. >Rose’s words still echo in your mind
  215. >Scaredy Pony
  216. >Everypony thought the same thing about you and they were right
  217. >You’re so sick and tired of being afraid all the time but you just can’t help yourself, your mind always goes to the worst case scenario
  218. >Your gaze goes over to the sandbox
  219. >Sandboxes are generally pretty safe
  220. >But then your eyes go over to the giant who is still standing by it, his spider hooves grasping the head of Junebug as he shakes it wildly, the poor little pony shrieking in laughter
  221. >No sandbox for you
  222. >All around you are ponies laughing and playing as they play games and chase each other around
  223. >You even spot your sisters climbing the jungle gym, having a good time as they swing around the poles
  224. >Why can’t you be like them?
  225. >Why can’t you go out and enjoy a picnic without worrying about ants like they do?
  226. >Why can’t you go to the playground with your sisters and just have fun like they do?
  227. >They all laugh behind your back
  228. >At least they do in your mind...
  229. >Well you’ll show them!
  230. >You’ll show them all that you’re not a scaredy pony!
  231. >You look around for the tallest slide and finally it catches your eye
  232. >It’s easily four times your height and the ponies that you can see sliding down it are going pretty fast
  233. >With newfound determination you trot over to it
  234. >Would a coward now be waiting patiently in line for such a dangerous slide?!
  235. >Would a wimp now be climbing up these steep stairs?!
  236. >Would a chicken now be looking down the...the h-huge drop to the b-bottom that has really sharp gravel that could cause a really bad ouchie for you and send you straight to the horsepital…
  237. >Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all
  238. >You’re scared stiff as you sit and look down the slide to realize just how out of your league you really are, your whole body starting to shake
  239. >There’s two paths for you to take
  240. >The first is that you can actually try to slide down
  241. >But you might get hurt!
  242. >The second is that you could try to climb down the ladder again
  243. >But you see that there’s already a line of ponies gathering behind you, waiting for their turn to ride the behemoth
  244. >If you climb back down then everypony will know for sure that you’re a coward
  245. >You feel invisible walls closing in on you as it becomes harder to breath
  246. >Eyes stare at you, their leers boring into you
  247. >Your breaths become faster and faster
  248. >Then HE turns his head towards you
  249. >His huge stride will take him here in a matter of moments
  250. >This just keeps getting worse and worse
  251. >What if he yells at you to go down already?
  252. >The thought alone makes you sniffle, tears threatening to pour out as droplets start to form around your eyes
  253. >Anonymous stops before the slide, his head only a couple feet away from your tummy
  254. >What he sees is an absolute wreck
  255. >A sad looking pony that’s shaking, holding back tears and hyperventilating
  256. >He opens his mouth as you cover your head with your hooves and close your eyes
  257. >Here comes the barrage of mean words
  258. >”Hi, I’m Anonymous. You can call me Anon, all my friends do”
  259. >You peek out with one eye at the surprisingly gentle voice
  260. >His face is smiling and his lips hide his predator teeth
  261. >He almost looks friendly to you
  262. >”What’s your name?”
  263. “L-Lily Valley”
  264. >”It’s nice to meet you Lily Valley. I really like that flower in your mane. Reminds me of what my little sister used to wear”
  265. “Thanks…”
  266. >You can feel your heart calming down as the beats turn from drums to dull thuds
  267. >The hooves that covered your head also go down
  268. >There’s still a fair amount of apprehension in you however as your tears from earlier are still wet on you, along with your frown
  269. >”Did you want to get down?”
  270. >You nod at him in silence
  271. >He nods back towards you
  272. >”Alright, get ready for upsies”
  273. >He gives upsies?!
  274. >His tree trunk like arms reach out for you as you sit frozen at the spot
  275. >His warm hands wrap around your torso as he lifts you up without any effort and you can feel weightlessness overtake you as you go up
  276. >He then walks away from the slide, the next pony quickly taking over your spot where you were previously, and gently places you down on the ground, sitting down on your flank
  277. >He kneels down on one leg so that the two of you are at eye level and scratches behind your ear
  278. >It feels really nice
  279. >”There we go, safe and sound again”
  280. >You tilt your head so that his fingers can get at your ear at a better angle and you can feel yourself smiling with your eyes closed
  281. >He lets out a nice laugh
  282. >”Feeling better now?”
  283. >You nod again at him as this time you return his smile with your own
  284. >Cherry Berry approaches him and taps his back
  285. >”Anon, Lyra and Filthy Rich aren’t sharing the swings and it’s my turn now!”
  286. >To your disappointment Anon stops scratching your ear and stands up as he pats gravel off his pants
  287. >”Looks like we’ll have to talk about sharing again today”
  288. >Before leaving with Cherry Berry he looks back down at you
  289. >”I’ll see you later, Lily, promise me you’ll have some fun today, Alright?”
  290. >He lowers his hand in front of you and it takes a few seconds for you to process what he wants
  291. >You raise your hoof and pat the palm of his hand, giving him a hoofslap
  292. >He lets out a small cheer before walking away with Cherry Bomb
  293. >You let go of a breath you didn’t even realize you were holding
  294. >The human rescued you
  295. >He’s like one of the heroes from your stories!
  296. >You watch him help out ponies around the playground some more as you sit on a bench
  297. >He’s so brave, going up jungle gyms and helping out stranded ponies like it’s nothing
  298. >At one point he even went up Paprika who had a scraped knee and didn’t even flinch when he kissed the ouchie away
  299. >Most ponies you knew would have fainted when they saw the blood coming out
  300. >An idea starts to form in your mind as you work out what sort of materials you would need for it
  301. >Eventually Rose and Daisy are ready to go home and you walk with them, stealing one last look at Anon before turning back to them
  302.  
  303. >Ponyville, a quiet and peaceful town inhabited by quiet and peaceful ponies
  304. >But this day is not a day like any other day
  305. >A solitary voice yells in alarm
  306. >”Run, the changelings are here!”
  307. >A black cloud comes over the horizon, one propelled by hundreds of flapping insectoid wings
  308. >The residents of Ponyville panic and scatter as the swarm lands, terror spreading out as the changeling start to shout out mean things and kick dirt onto unsuspecting ponies
  309. >Mayor Mare stands outside of Town Hall, horror writ on her face
  310. >”@ho will come at our hour of need?!”
  311. >From the roof of Town Hall two figures stand
  312. >One grabs the other and holds her in his arms as he jumps down and sets her back on the ground
  313. >The human and pony don’t look back at the mayor since they’re cool like that but instead glare at their enemy
  314. >”Leave it to us, Mayor!” the mare shouts
  315. >You and the human start to run super fast at the Changelings as they hiss at you
  316. >But you aren’t afraid, cause you got your best buddy Anon by your side to fight with!
  317. >You slide into a group of chitinous bugs like a bowling ball and knock them out of the way, your hooves sliding in the dust and creating an improvised smokescreen to blind others
  318. >Anon takes advantage of your impressive quick thinking to hit your foes with bug spray that he kept in his utility pants pockets for such an occasion
  319. >”Anon look out behind you!”
  320. >One bug tries to sneak up on him but your reflexes are too quick, running next to Anon as you turn around and give it a good buck to the chest which causes the bug to then crash into the water fountain
  321. >The changeling emerges from the fountain as it flails in the water
  322. >”Oh no, I hate getting wet!”
  323. >Anon turns to you as his can empties
  324. >”Thanks for the save partner. I owe you another one”
  325. “Think nothing of it, I owe you at least three!”
  326. >The battle continues as Anon pounds his fist at a stand for pies which causes the pies to fly into the air
  327. >You buck the pies in mid air into the faces of bugs that charge at the two of you as he does the same, round house kicking the treats as quick as marbles hitting each other
  328. >Soon the swarm falters to the barrage of pastries
  329. >”It’s going to take me forever to wash off this sugar!”
  330. >”Retreat!”
  331. >The swarm runs away now that heroes have arrived
  332. >But Anon has one last surprise for them
  333. >He uses his laser eye beams to cause an explosion behind them, the shockwave expanding out and causes them to fly away even faster to race away from the flames
  334. >When all is said and done, the dust finally clears away and the two of you stand triumphant
  335. >He raises a hand
  336. >You jump up and give him a hoofslap
  337. >With that, the terrified residents of Ponyville come out and cheer for their saviors
  338. >”Whoa that was so awesome!”
  339. >”You’re definitely not a scaredy pony, Lily!”
  340. >”Can you sign an autograph for me?”
  341. >Princess Celestia drops from the skies and approaches you and Anon as every pony bows, including yourself
  342. >”Rise Lily Valley, for this moment is yours”
  343. >You look up at the Princess as she levitates two golden medals with ribbons for them to be wrapped around your neck
  344. >Her aura goes around your neck as your medal gently lands on you, the same happens to your human friend
  345. >”It is my honor to bestow the Equestria Medal of Not-Scared-Of-Anything to the brave Lily Valley and Anonymous”
  346. >You take the medal and unwrap some of the foil around it to take a bite
  347. >Yum, milk chocolate!
  348. >”Are there any words you would like to tell Everypony?”
  349. “There’s no way I could have done it without Anon”
  350. >Anon gets on his knee and scratches your ears just like the way you like it
  351. >”Likewise Lily, you’re the bravest pony I know”
  352. >Confetti suddenly rains from the sky and Pinkie Pie wheels out a six level Cake she bakes while the Changelings were attacking
  353. >The crowd cheers again as they chant both your name and Anon’s
  354. >”Li-ly! An-on! Li-ly! An-on! Li-“
  355.  
  356. “-ly! An-on!”
  357. >Your words are barely at a whisper to prevent your sisters from waking up
  358. >It’s the middle of the night as you are once again on the shag carpet of your room
  359. >A single lamp from your desk illuminates the town market playset with figures of ponies surrounding the two dolls you have in your hooves
  360. >One is the toy that you created to represent yourself
  361. >The other is a new one you made
  362. >The body is made out of green pipe cleaners that you shaped into a torso along with two legs and two arms
  363. >At the top of it is a bouncy ball that you also colored green with a marker as you glued it to the pipe cleaners
  364. >A black napkin with holes cut through it acted as a nice form fitting suit for it
  365. >And finally to top it all off is a red paper clip around the neck to act as a tie
  366. >You’re quite proud of how well your Anonymous doll turned out
  367. >It’s definitely a lot more fuzzy than the real Anon but that just makes it easier to nuzzle with
  368. >You let out a small yawn as you get ready for bed
  369. >Princess Celestia says to always put away your toys when you’re done so that nopony trips over them!
  370. >You do make sure to keep Anon out though, you like to keep him close to you when you take naps
  371. >After you shut and lock your toy chest you trot over to the lamp with your Anon toy in your mouth and bump the switch with your snout to turn it off
  372. >You walk back over to your bed nd curl into the snug blankets as your mouth lets go of Anon and he falls into your snuggling hooves in total darkness
  373. >Wait...
  374. >Total Darkness?!
  375. >You forgot to turn on the night light!
  376. >Frightening imaginary shadows swirl in the moonlight that streams through your window
  377. >Your closet door was also left open, now a gateway to unimaginable horrors that peer at you from a shroud of black
  378. >The night light with the face of Daring Do is so close yet so far away for you
  379. >You could try to make a mad dash at it to turn it on and chase it away the shadows, but what if a monster under your bed catches your leg?
  380. >Should you call out for your sisters to rescue you?
  381. >This wouldn’t be the first time they’ve had to turn on the lights for you
  382. >But no, you don’t want them to think you’re even more of a scaredy pony
  383. >You hide under your blanket
  384. >Monsters can’t get you if you’re underneath your sheets, it’s the law!
  385. >You shiver, scared
  386. >You can feel the fuzzy anon doll tickle your arms as you try to look at it
  387. >What would the real Anon do?
  388. >He’s brave, courageous, and fearless
  389. >Things you aren’t
  390. >You wish that you could be like him
  391. >Your doll has his form and in your mind it is just like Anon since it acts like him
  392. >If your doll can be Anon by doing things he would do…
  393. >Then wouldn’t the same be true for you?
  394. >As you continue to hide yourself, your brain hatches ideas and schemes
  395. >Starting tomorrow, you’ll BE Anon
  396. To Be Continued...
  397.  
  398. >Following Anon around town isn’t hard at all
  399. >All you have to do is tilt your head up and he’s the tallest thing that moves around
  400. >But you do have to make sure that he doesn’t spot you
  401. >You want to surprise him with how cool you’re going to be
  402. >And then he’ll become your best friend, just like in your fantasies!
  403. >His first stop of the day is the local coffee shop, Starbits
  404. >You carefully get in line about three ponies behind him
  405. >You can’t hear what he’s ordering even when you turn an ear towards him and lean forward on your hooves
  406. >You nearly fall on the pony in front of you though, but manage to catch yourself before you tip over
  407. >The stallion turns his barrel briefly to inspect you but catches you only whistling innocently
  408. >Soon Anon grabs two cardboard cups with lids from the mareista and walks towards the exit, you continuing your act and turning away from him as he leaves
  409. >The line continues on until you’re at the front
  410. >”Hi! What can I getcha?”
  411. >You see from the name tag of the mareista that her name is Frappe
  412. >You’re not one for coffee normally, but if Anon drinks coffee then you’ll drink coffee
  413. ”Hello, could I get the same thing that the human gets?”
  414. >Frappes demeanor turns from joy to concern instantly
  415. >”Are...are you sure about that? He always orders the same drink and it’s not like anything else we make here. Maybe I could interest you in a Campfire Smore Blend? It has three floating marshmallows in it!”
  416. >Her words make you briefly pause before your conviction comes back as you nod at her
  417. >”Well, alright then. I just need you to sign this”
  418. >Her head goes below the counter before she takes out a piece of paper in her mouth
  419. >She lays it in front of you and also takes out a crayon for you to use
  420. >A quick peruse through the terms and conditions give you a rundown of what it all means
  421. >No one is double dog daring you to drink this
  422. >Starbits is only giving you this drink because you asked nicely for it
  423. >If you get a tummy ache from drinking this, then Starbits is sorry but you can’t tattle on them
  424. >Just what is Anon drinking?!
  425. >A familiar hesitation creeps into you
  426. >But you can’t give up on your first step in becoming Anon
  427. >After the grasping the crayon in your mouth and scribbling your name onto the paper, Frappe turns around and starts your drink
  428. >You can’t see anything that she’s doing but she quickly gives you your cup and lid
  429. >You can see steam coming out of the lip opening and it smells...strong somehow
  430. >Like an old sweater that hasn’t been washed in a while
  431. >You drop the bits on the counter for Frappe
  432. >As you turn to leave you can hear her giving a farewell
  433. >”Thanks for stopping by, come again...if you’ll be able to”
  434. >A slow trot to make sure your coffee doesn’t spill takes you back home and up to your room
  435. >You sit down and place the vessel upon your desk to stare at it for a good while
  436. >Just how bad could it be if Anon drinks this everyday?
  437. >Ponies need sugar to function, so you suppose a human probably just needs a little more or a little less as well
  438. >You gulp loudly before taking your cup and taking a sip from it
  439. >As soon as the liquid hits your tongue, you swiftly slam the cup back down on the desk and cough hard for several seconds
  440. >This is poison!
  441. >ANON DRINKS POISON!
  442. >The lid comes off with a snap and you see nothing but pure darkness stare back at you
  443. >Your confusion slowly gives way to grim realization
  444. >There’s no marshmallow in here
  445. >No vanilla extract
  446. >No chocolate syrup
  447. >Not even a single teaspoon of sugar
  448. >The human doesn’t have any sort of sweetener in his drink at all
  449. >The madman
  450. >Thoughts of dumping the concoction down a drain go through your mind until you shove them out with a shake of your head
  451. >You promised yourself you’d be brave like Anon
  452. >And if he drinks this…
  453. >Then you’ll drink this
  454. >The cup is once again brought up to your mouth as you eye it warily
  455. >Down the pie hole, Lily
  456. >With that, you begin your first trial of courage
  457. >The slightly cooled liquid starts to pour down your mouth and into your throat
  458. >Oh Faust, it’s like drinking sand
  459. >Why couldn’t he at least put whipped cream or gummy bears in this?!
  460. >Your eye starts to water from just how strong the taste is and you have to shut them right to prevent yourself from crying
  461. >Finally you take in all the coffee that you can and slam the cup back down on your desk again as you pant, the scent of ashes drifting out of your maw
  462. >You must be nearly finished with this, right?
  463. >Your eyes drift back to your drink
  464. >There’s still about nine tenths of it swirling inside your cup
  465. >It’s going to be a long morning
  466. >The process of taking small sips of the coffee, resisting the urge to spit it out, finally swallowing it, and prevent yourself from retching, continues on and on until finally the cup is empty
  467. >It only took you a few hours
  468. >The clock above your desk reads cleary that it’s nap time now, the big (and only) pointer pointing to a picture of Luna sleeping on a cushion as a sun smiles above her
  469. >You stand back up, wobbling on your hooves as your body tries to process the liquid gravel that you just drank
  470. >Time to see where Anon takes his naps
  471. >If you’re lucky, maybe you can nap near his spot without him noticing
  472.  
  473. >Once again you exit your front door and tilt your head up
  474. >Oh hey
  475. >There he is!
  476. >You can see him walking through the park with what looks to be a suitcase he uses for his job
  477. >Tippyhooves make sure that he can’t hear you follow him as he sits down at a bunch, you yourself hiding behind a tree a fair distance that gives you a clear view of him
  478. >All around you are ponies that are picking nice soft spots on the grass to take their naps in the afternoon sun
  479. >Cherry Berry approaches Anon on the bench and lays down on it next to him as he combs through her mane
  480. >She lets out a sigh of contentment as her head goes down in her hooves, eyes closed
  481. >Faust, you wish you were her
  482. >Throughout the park you can hear snores of various volumes as everypony starts to take their nap
  483. >Everypony except Anon that is
  484. >You’re surprised, normally at this time the entire town is playing with Luna right now
  485. >Maybe he just has something on his mind?
  486. >Anon continues to scratch Cherry Berry a few moments after she drifts to sleep and opens his suitcase
  487. >A binder is taken out and a black crayon, the most official of colors
  488. >He opens the binder and starts to read through them, making marks here and there
  489. >You have to tilt your head downwards and nearly get caught by him before you can read the title of the binder
  490. >”Important Government Paperwork- Pretty p lease return to Mayor Mare and Anonymous if found, cookie and sticker will be awarded”
  491. >It looks like he wanted to do some work outside today, but how is he staying awake so well?!
  492. >Surprisingly you’re doing pretty well too and you suspect the coffee you drank today has something to do with it, yet the pull of nap time is taking its toll
  493. >Your eyes are starting to drool as you force yourself to stifle your yawns
  494. >No!
  495. >If Anon stays awake, then you stay awake!
  496. >Your willpower is tested to its fullest extent as your body starts to betray you with further fatigue
  497. >Your teeth grit while you fight to keep your eyes open, your eyelids twitching
  498. >Your breaths stay frozen in your lungs, otherwise a torrent of yawns would pour out of you
  499. >You shift your attention from your own struggle to see how well Anon is doing
  500. >He’s eating a banana as he cloud gazes
  501. >...
  502. >You’re starting to think humans don’t sleep
  503. >You’ll have to check tonight
  504. >Your Head suddenly feels heavy as it drops lower and lower
  505. >The rays of the sun feel so nice right now and makes you comfortably warm
  506. >The grass is especially nice and bouncy today, just like your bed…
  507. >No, you have to keep awake!
  508. >Anon is brave and he doesn’t take naps so that means not taking a nap is a brave thing to do
  509. >You just have to do things that will relax you but not make you fall asleep
  510. >Like humming to yourself
  511. >Or admiring how sturdy this tree is
  512. >Maybe...just closing your eyes a little to rest them
  513. >And putting your head on the nice bouncy grass
  514. >And then you could…
  515. >You...could…
  516. >...
  517. >Zzzzzzzzz
  518.  
  519. >Your eyes flutter open as you suddenly raise your head again
  520. >Huh, what, where?
  521. >You look over to the bench again
  522. >Anon is missing!
  523. >Just how long were you knocked out?
  524. >You stand back on your hooves and brush the sleepys away from your eyes as you trot over to the clock tower
  525. >You’re in luck though, you spot Anon walking out of the Golden Oaks Library with a small pile of books
  526. >After ducking into an alleyway to hide as you observe him heading towards the outskirts of town, you trot over to the library
  527. >As you slowly crack the door open, you peer straight ahead inside while crouching down
  528. >The coast seems clear
  529. >Twilight Sparkle lives here and she’s kinda a librarian too since there was no prior librarian before she moved in
  530. >You just know that you’d panic if you actually got to meet he-
  531. >”Hi there, anything I can help you with?”
  532. >Your body shoots up and slams into the door, opening it wide open
  533. >A glance to your side reveals that she was there the entire time
  534. >The one who is foremost of all Unicorns
  535. >The national hero herself
  536. >The one, the only-
  537. >”Twilight Sparkle at your service! Have we met before?”
  538. >Only in your stories
  539. >And normally you’re the one voicing her
  540. “N-no. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Lily Valley”
  541. >You can feel your head shaking slightly as you look at her with nervous eyes
  542. >Twilight for her part is too polite to say anything, but you do notice she furrows an eyebrow briefly before speaking again
  543. >”Nice to meet you too, Lily, welcome to Golden Oaks. Any sort of specific book you’re looking for? I could recommend some if you want new reading material”
  544. “I just saw Anonymous with some books and I was hoping to read the sort of things he reads”
  545. >”I don’t know if that’s a good idea. He’s about the same reading level that I am, yellow, and I have to warn you that not a lot of ponies really like the kind of books in that area. Could I maybe interests you in some new additions we have now? The new Daring Do book just came in and The Ferrests of Fairyland is pretty popular”
  546. >Oh mare, they got Daring Do and the Great Ball of Yarn?!
  547. >You’ll have to ask to borrow it
  548. >Wait
  549. >You have to remember your mission
  550. “No thanks, I uhh, am hoping to...improve my reading level! I’m just a green level right now so I was thinking since the two of you are so smart I’d get smart too if I read the books you two do”
  551. >The unicorn’s eyes light up as she excitedly trots in place
  552. >”Really?! Oh it’ll be so nice to have somepony else to talk about great works of literature with! Don’t get me wrong, Anonymous is a good conversation partner but he reads sooo slowwww”
  553. >Twilight doesn’t wait for you as she walks over to a bookshelf and taps one of the shelves in the middle with her horn
  554. >Suddenly you hear a rumble as the ground vibrates
  555. >”I can’t wait to hear what your thoughts on Trotwell are! He along with H.P. Lovecrafter are some of the most underrated contemporaries we have right now. I do have to warn you that Trotwell has a preference for dry prose over dialogue but the dialogue is well worth it when you get the exposition out of the way”
  556. >You slowly approach the ecstatic purple pony as the bookshelf she tapped slowly starts to hinge away from the door, revealing a small dark passageway that reveals stairs
  557. >A sign is displayed above the newly revealed corridor
  558. >Grown-Ups Only
  559. >You grimace
  560. >Twilight starts to walk down the stairs, her horn glowing to provide light
  561. >”Now if Trotwell is dry then H.P. Lovecrafter is the queen of tell don’t show, but her tell is just really good. I can imagine the sea ponies in her stories just watching and waiting below the waves as they wait for their chance to make friends with us and give us tours of their undersea kingdom”
  562. >You follow Twilight as close as you can, somehow afraid that you might get lost on a stairwell as the two of you go below the earth deeper and deeper
  563. >Dust is prevalent and you can see on the steps only two unique prints, those of a pony wearing hot shoes engraved with silhouettes of books and canterlot, the other matches the shoes that Anon wears
  564. >Is that…
  565. >No, no it can’t be!
  566. >It’s a spider web!
  567. >Oh nononono you're going to go insannneeeee
  568. >You have to use all of your strength to prevent shouting out to Luna to help you
  569. >Finally the two of you reach a large wooden door that’s twice your height
  570. >Once again Twilight taps the door with her horn and you can hear a low groaning sound again as it slowly opens for the two of you
  571. >”Not a lot of ponies know about this section of the library and for a good reason…”
  572. >The hero of Equestria turns around and looks at you, the glow of her horn casting a dark shadow over half her face as she grins widely at you, baring her teeth
  573. >Her eyes pierce right through you as you contemplate running back up the stairs
  574. >Of course you’re scared that you’d end up tripping over your own hooves in total darkness
  575. >The door opens wide enough for you to see inside
  576. >And get blinded by a perfectly well lit room that has nothing suspicious about it at all
  577. >It looks like any other section of the library, wooden bookshelves cover the walls and there’s even a rocking chair in the corner that has some comfortable looking pillows around it
  578. >”Sorry for the dark walk, I’ve been meaning to ask Spike to fix the lights for the stairs”
  579. >Your hooves meet the comfortable wool rug of this new room as Twilight follows behind you
  580. “Why don’t more ponies know about this?”
  581. >”They wouldn’t be interested in the books here”
  582. >Your eyes rummage through the bookshelves as you read the spines
  583. >A complete History of Gryphon and Minotaur diplomatic Relations Vol. 4 collected by Canterlot University Press
  584. >Equestrian Tax Law and Collection by Penny Pincher
  585. >Treaties on the Right to Rule and Celestia’s Divine Mandate by Volty of Prance
  586. >Wow
  587. >They sound boring
  588. >A few books around the room are enveloped in a magical aura as they float around the two of you
  589. >”So I’d recommend some basic history books to get your bearings on how the world is established in context. From there we can have you explore political theories and division of power which will open up exploration of character relations in advanced novels for you”
  590. >You try to tell her that maybe getting into a higher reading level for yourself isn’t such a good idea after all but you can’t get a word in with her as she continues on with her fawness for literature
  591. >Eventually she makes a pile of eight books in front of you
  592. >They’re massive volumes and those eight books combined are about your size
  593. >Just as you did with your coffee this morning, you eye them wearily
  594. >Twilight smiles at the pile she gathered for you and into your wide eyes as you continue to sit there in silence
  595. >She blushes slightly
  596. >”Oh sorry, how silly of me. Looks like I got a little carried away again”
  597. >She walks over to a corner of the room and uses her magic to levitate a large burlap sack
  598. >”Let me give you a bag so you can carry these home!”
  599.  
  600. >The sun is starting to set as you drag along your sack of books on the ground with your mouth
  601. >Never before have you been so glad for your Earth Pony strength
  602. >And your healthy teeth
  603. >Celestial says to always brush twice a day and floss!
  604. >Right now you’re making your way on the path that you saw Anonymous take earlier
  605. >You know he lives outside of town so he’s likely home right now
  606. >Even with your impressive strength, you struggle at times getting your newly checked out books over the occasional hill
  607. >Eventually you reach a lone cabin at the end of the path
  608. >It’s somewhat far from town but when you look back the view is quite stunning
  609. >As the sun goes below the horizon, Ponyville is bathed in golden light and contrasting shadows as the two dance with each other
  610. >There’s a multitude of familiar faces heading home for the night and families at the new playground that you can spot from here having fun with each other
  611. >Is this the view that Anon wakes up too each day?
  612. >It’s nice
  613. >You try to move your sack along with you as quietly as you can to the cabin and stop at the front door
  614. >You freeze
  615. >Just why did you plan to do it from here? Knock on his door and ask what he does at night so you can copy him?
  616. >No, that’s be weird
  617. >Instead you’ll spy on him through his window
  618. >Once you reach his windows you realize you have a problem
  619. >You’re too short to actually look into them
  620. >Even with standing on your tippyhooves only the tip of your snout would reach the opening if you looked up
  621. >C’mon Lily, what would Anon do? He’s come up with some clever plan
  622. >You look over to your dusty bag of books
  623. >You hope Twilight would forgive you for what you’re about to do
  624. >You open the sack and take five of the large books out, stacking one over the other below the window
  625. >After that you hop onto the pile and slowly raise your eyes up to make sure Anon doesn’t spot you
  626. >As your body tenses up for the moment of truth you wonder what kind of toys Anon plays with
  627. >Maybe some Guard figurines with special standing around action?
  628. >Could it be that he might even have the ultra exclusive Luna Moon Palace playset?
  629. >That one even came with some of the rocks that Luna used to make her moon house with
  630. >Or maybe Anonymous is doing some training right now
  631. >He lifted you up pretty easily so maybe he spends his time lifting boulders up and then putting them back down again
  632. >You’re careful to only peek as far as you need to look inside
  633. >Looks like he’s…
  634. >Reading a book
  635. >In a really barren living room from the looks of it
  636. >The only illumination he has is a candle on a table he keeps next to his couch, his home being too far away for an electrical connection for now
  637. >The book he’s holding in those hands of his read “My Time in Pone Prison: A Story of how one inmate lasted Five Whole Hours in TImeout”
  638. >Sounds horrifying
  639. >You place your hooves on his window and try to lean in further
  640. >But then you feel your hindlegs shaking below you
  641. >You miscalculated, your little pile of books is starting to wobble below you
  642. >You want to scream out for help but then that would alert Anon to your presence
  643. >Your eyes go from Anon to all around you
  644. >Then you spot the burlap sack again
  645. >Time to make a leap of faith
  646. >Your hindlegs burst forth for your jump and it’s enough to cause your tower to tumble as you fly through the air
  647. >And gently land on the sack with a pomf
  648. >The pile of books on the other hoof make a racket when they land in the dust as pages flip open
  649. >You can hear Anon getting up
  650. >You try to scramble to pick up the books and place them against the wall as you yourself also lean right below the window
  651. >The window above you open as he undoes the lock and speaks
  652. >”Anyone there?”
  653. >You keep your breath still in the hopes that he won’t notice a frightened pink and blonde pony below him
  654. >Your heart is racing as you look up and hope he doesn’t look down
  655. >Finally, after what seems like an eternity he shrugs his shoulders and leaves the open window
  656. >You can hear the creak of his couch as he sits back down
  657. >You let out your breath and elect to leave for today
  658. >Course you’ll have to spend a bit of time gathering up the books again and dragging them away without him getting suspicious…
  659. >And it’s getting dark now…
  660. >Best not to think about that
  661.  
  662. >An hour later and you’re back home
  663. >Where your sisters are waiting for you in the kitchen as they have dinner
  664. >Rose gets off of the chair and rushes to you in a hug
  665. >”Lily, there you are! We were getting really worried about you”
  666. >Daisy comes up right after Rose and embraces you as well
  667. >”You didn’t tell us you were heading out today”
  668. >They both notice the sack that you’ve dragged into the house and look back to you
  669. “Yeah, I decided to visit the library and pick up some books to read”
  670. >”You were gone all day though”
  671. “The library is a really big place. I had to...look at all the books to decide which ones I wanted!”
  672. >You reach into the sack and pull a random one out to show your sisters as they gaze at the title, one of them reading it aloud
  673. >”A Memoir of Hours: An Abridged History of the Rise and Fall of the Day Dynasty 3rd Edition by Lady Alabaster, Introduction by Book Mark”
  674. >”Wow, that sounds...really exciting, Daisy”
  675. >They try to smile for you
  676. >You nod a little too quickly, eager to get this conversation done
  677. “Mmhmm, excuse me, I gotta get up to my room and get reading now”
  678. >You drag your sack of dusty books up the stairs until finally you’re safe in your own room and you can breathe lightly again
  679. >You don’t like lying to your sisters but you don’t know how they would react to you saying you want to be just like the human
  680. >You turn on your desk lamp and look through the bag of books that Twilight have you
  681. >You take out the smallest one you can find
  682. >Bit by Bit: Personal Finances for Little Ponies by Gold Standard
  683. >There’s no illustration on the cover so maybe they just saved it for the inside
  684. >You open the book
  685. >That’s a lot of words
  686. >But where are the pictures?
  687. >You flip through some more pages
  688. >More words
  689. >There’s some graphs with a lot of numbers on them
  690. >But still no pictures
  691. >You decide to flip through the entire book for just one bit of color
  692. >Nothing
  693. >How can anypony read this?!
  694. >There’s no pictures to show what’s going on or drawings to make it exiting!
  695. >You sigh
  696. >Well, no one said being Anon was going to be easy
  697. >He reads books without pictures in them
  698. >He and Twilight do anyways
  699. >So that means all heroes must read things that aren’t picture books
  700. >You strain your eyes on the small text on the page
  701. >”It is a universal principle that ponies want stuff but there is a finite amount of stuff in the world”
  702. >Your eyes follow words which turn into passages which turn into pages
  703. >Throughout it all, you’re just bored out of your mind
  704. >Gold Standard talks a lot about this thing called the Economy
  705. >You still have no idea what she means
  706. >When it comes to bits you and your sister grow pretty flowers and other ponies pay you bits for them
  707. >That’s simple and easy to understand
  708. >But the author keeps talking about really complicated things like budgeting and savings interest
  709. >What’s a bank?
  710. >Eventually you can’t take it anymore and have to take your eyes off the book as the black text start to blend with each other
  711. >You look at your wall clock
  712. >The big pointer is about to move to the picture of Luna on a bed with the moon outside
  713. >That means it’s almost bedtime
  714. >After brushing your mane and teeth, you open up your toy chest and take out your snuggle buddy, Anon
  715. >After turning off your lights and lamp you get under your covers again and hold Anon close to you, his fuzzy wire arms tickling your fur slightly
  716. >You giggle slightly before looking around your dark room
  717. >Uh-Oh
  718. >You forgot to turn on your night light again!
  719. >You hold Anon even tighter as you retreat underneath your blanket again
  720. >You didn’t do a very good job pretending to be him today
  721. >But as you hide from the imaginary monsters you make a promise to your little pint sized Anon
  722. >That tomorrow you were going to be braver
  723. >Just as soon as you can down his coffee without wincing
  724.  
  725. >it’s been a rough few days
  726. >You’ve been keeping up your schedule of copying Anon’s every move
  727. >Eat what he eats
  728. >Read what he reads
  729. >Try to stay awake when he’s awake
  730. >At least you’ve gotten used to black coffee
  731. >...well, the first few sips of it anyways
  732. >It still taste like drinking lint
  733. >Your sisters are getting suspicious though
  734. >You can only make so many excuses to them that you can’t help watch the flower stand
  735. >This will be the third time in five days that you’ll be “organizing the snacks cupboard”
  736. >This was supposed to be so simple
  737. >Step One- Do what Anon does
  738. >Step Two- Be as brave as Anon
  739. >Step Three- Become his bestest friend forever since you would both be super duper brave and not scaredy ponies at all
  740. >Where did it all go so wrong?
  741. >Well, it’s morning already and you have to get ready for your new daily routine
  742. >You rise up from your bed, a few of the books that Twilight gave you falling down from your blanket down to the floor with dull thuds
  743. >Oh, that’s right
  744. >You tried to read three of the books at the same time in the hopes of finding something interesting
  745. >You in fact found nothing fun at all
  746. >Not even a magical ferret that takes young ponies on adventures through Ferryland
  747. >You let out a small sigh
  748. >You get out of the blankets and stretch your legs and flank out, hearing creaks here and there
  749. >It would probably be a good idea to stop napping on the hard ground by the tree in the park
  750. >But how else are you going to keep an eye on Anon?
  751. >You put your saddlebag on and carefully put your anon doll inside of it, fit snugly between your emergency safety blanket and some juice boxes
  752. >Your hooves take you downstairs and into the kitchen, where your sisters are currently enjoying bowls of Ponie-Os
  753. >Ponie-Os The best part of a complete breakfast! Now with 14% more sugar!
  754. >You’re nervous about any questioning your sisters have, but it’d be more suspicious to skip breakfast with them entirely
  755. >Daisy is the first to look up from her bowl and smiles at you
  756. >”Morning!”
  757. >You nod and reply in kind
  758. >After using your teeth to get your own bowl of Ponie-Os started, you dig in by shoving your mouth into the bowl as well
  759. >Small talk is inescapable on any family dinner table, yours not excluded
  760. >Roseluck is the one to ask
  761. >”Any plans today, Lily?”
  762. >You wipe some milk from your snout before replying
  763. ”Just organizing the snack cupboard again!”
  764. >”...really?”
  765. >You can feel a tinge of nervousness
  766. “Yeah...really”
  767. >Both their eyes narrow
  768. >That tinge just got upgraded to a ping of fear
  769. >”Really, really, really?”
  770. “Really, really, really!”
  771. >”Lily, you’ve been kinda...off lately”
  772. “What, me? No way! I’m not off at all, I’m perfectly turned on!”
  773. >”You’ve been organizing the snacks cupboard around a lot”
  774. “Oh y-you know, we just kinda keep throwing hay chips and bags of cookies in there so it’s a complete mess is all! It’s a big job but I don’t mind at all!”
  775. >”Lily...the night before you said you were going to sort out the cupboard, I put Sir Bearington the Third inside there to keep you company while you cleaned it out. You didn’t mention him at all the other day and he’s still in there since I checked this morning”
  776. >That ping of fear has morphed into a full blown anxiety attack
  777. >Your breath shortens as your mind scrambles for an excuse
  778. >You can feel the walls closing in on you, the stares of both your sisters transforming into piercing daggers
  779. “I-I…”
  780. >You want to desperately look at anything besides the eyes of Roseluck and Daisy
  781. >And then you see her outside the window
  782. >Cherry Berry is walking along with Fruit Punch, chatting about something that doesn’t matter to you whatsoever
  783. >She worked as an excuse once before, so maybe…
  784. >You try to still your beating heart and gather your nerves before stomping one foot
  785. “Alright, you two caught me. You see…”
  786. >You point a hoof out of the window and their gazes follow it towards the morning sunlight
  787. “I’ve been goofing off with Cherry Berry everytime I said I was going to be cleaning around the house. We uhh, we’ve been visiting the new playground together”
  788. >You bow your head and face the floor in mock shame
  789. >Secretly, it’s so that your sisters can’t see just how panic stricken your features are right now
  790. >Seconds click by until Daisy puts a hoof on your shoulder
  791. >”It’s okay, Lily, we can’t stay mad at you, we’re sisters afterall. We’re just mad with each other most of the time!”
  792. >Roseluck giggles before joking in with a quickly developing group hug
  793. >”We’re just happy you’re finally enjoying the new playground, we thought maybe you were too scared to play there”
  794. “W-well with my best bud Cherry Berry there, it’s no issue at all”
  795. >They hug you tighter before finally letting go
  796. >”Here’s an idea, how about we all go to the park together and play!”
  797. >You quirk a brow
  798. >Wouldn’t one of you have to watch the flower stand?
  799. >Then it hits you
  800. >Today Is Saturday
  801. >The flower stand is closed, as is most things on Saturday but more importantly…
  802. >You have no idea what Anon does on the weekends!
  803. >Is..is he maybe at the park supervising Everypony again?
  804. >That’s the best thing you can think of, otherwise he’s reading a book at his own home and there'd be nothing new to learn today!
  805. >Reluctantly, you nod to Roseluck’s idea for the afternoon
  806. >And pray to Celestia that your sister’s don’t call your bluff
  807.  
  808. >Surprisingly, the park isn’t too crowded for a weekend today
  809. >Which is nice, since there’s less ponies to push and shove into each other which can possibly lead to boo boos which could then lead to a trip to the horsepital, which turns into a nightmare of being surrounded by all those sharp needles, and then if a nurse were to trip and accidentally spill an entire tray of those needles on you…
  810. >WAIT
  811. >NO
  812. >LILY
  813. >STOP THINKING LIKE THAT!
  814. >You’re supposed to be brave like Anon since you act just like him now, and he’s a cool human who doesn’t afraid of anything
  815. >And now you’re supposed to be a pretty cool pony. Eh drinks black coffee and doesn’t afraid of anything
  816. >As the three of you hop up to the front entrance, Daisy is the one to ask
  817. >”So what do you want to do?”
  818. >Before you have the chance to say “Go home and follow Anonymous around town”, Roseluck speaks her mood
  819. >”How about the slide?”
  820. >Dear Celestia
  821. >Please swoop down from the sky and take me far, far away from here
  822. >Or send Luna if you’re busy
  823. >Signed, a pony you’ve never met before but likes using you as a plot device with her action figures
  824. >Your sisters turn their heads at you and smile expectantly
  825. “S-sure!”
  826. >The walk to the slide is about twenty meters away, but for you if feels like a good long walk to your doom
  827. >You all line up and it’s not long until the three of you get your turns
  828. >Roseluck goes down
  829. >Th Daisy goes down
  830. >Now it’s time for your trip to go down
  831. >All the way down, down into the cold hard ground
  832. >Your legs wobble as you climb up
  833. >Your vision starts to blur and the familiar feeling of your lungs inflating and deflating rapidly fills your chest
  834. >M-maybe it won’t be as bad as last time?
  835. >You get to the top
  836. >Ahh, you were right
  837. >Or rather
  838. >ARGHH, YOU WERE RIGHT
  839. >It’s even worse!
  840. >The slide is like a metal snake, waiting to detect you upon its smooth scales and coil around you as your lungs choke for breath
  841. >But what’s even worse is that your sisters are watching you now, and expectations are high
  842. >You look around from your vantage point in a desperate search to no avail
  843. >There is no Anon this time
  844. >No savior to wake you from this nightmare
  845. >It’s just you and this slide
  846. >And all the other ponies ready to call you a scaredy pony
  847. >Once again you grasp your head and get ready to let out a scream
  848. >But before your instincts can take over, one final thought comes to you
  849. >Anon
  850. >You are Anon now, after all you’ve done so many of the things he’s done
  851. >Drink coffee
  852. >Read books without pictures
  853. >Skip nap times
  854. >And if Anon is brave
  855. >Then that means you’re brave now too
  856. >What would Anon do?
  857. >He’d go down this slide without any fear
  858. >And that’s what you’ll do now
  859. >You jump and your flank hits the slide as you speed down it
  860. >You can feel the air rush pass your mane as it blows on you wildly, as if telling you to stop
  861. >But nothing can stop you now, not this slide, not other ponies, and especially not the side of you that’s a scaredy pony
  862. >You grit your teeth as the ground starts to jump at you
  863. >But before you reach the end of this steel anaconda, you leap in the air and do a flip as the crowd gasps
  864. >You land on your two hind hooves and rear up to strike a pose as you neigh majestically
  865. >Everypony at the park stops what they’re doing and stares at you in awe
  866. >Many of them start to approach you in shock and that also includes your sisters
  867. >Rosebuck and Daisy start to speak wildly, making it hard to differentiate the speech of the two of them as they meld their words
  868. >”Whoa, Lily, we didn’t know you had any of that in you!”
  869. >By now the crowd is cheering at your magnificent display
  870. >You smile
  871. >You just wish one particular human had seen you finally go down the slide
  872. >But then your ears finally pick it up
  873. >A sharp clapping noise
  874. >From behind a tree emerges Anon, who must have been watching you the entire time
  875. >Did...did he know all along what you’ve been doing?
  876. >His smile tells you much and you detect a certain feeling from it
  877. >Like a teacher proud to see his student succeed
  878. >The ponies surrounding you start to clip their hooves and give you compliments on how brave you are
  879. >Rosebud yells out “Congratulations”
  880. >Daisy hops up and down as she says “Congratulations”
  881. >Even Twilight Sparkle is stomping her hooves as she gives you a “Congratulations”
  882. >Anon starts to slowly approach you, the ponies starting to part away so that he can be next to you as he kneels and speaks
  883. >”Congratulations!”
  884. “I owe all of this to you”
  885. >”No Lily, you’re the one who went down the slide all by yourself. You deserve all of this”
  886. >”But week ago I wouldn’t believe that any of this could happen”
  887. >Anon lifts up his hand and scratches behind your ear gently as you relax into his grip
  888. >”Well you’re right”
  889. >He stops his scratches and boops your snout with his finger
  890. >”Because none of this happened”
  891.  
  892. >You utter the last of Anon’s lines as you slowly sink even further down your shag rug
  893. >In front of you is your Ponyville Playground Playset, populated by your cast of action figures
  894. >In one hoof is your customized Applejack doll that looks like you
  895. >In the other is your homemade Anon doll
  896. >You wanted to play pretend with your action figures
  897. >But more importantly, you wanted to play pretend with reality
  898. >You wanted to pretend you didn’t scream in anguish when you were at the top of the slide today
  899. >You wanted to pretend you didn’t rapidly climb down the ladder again with tears in your eyes
  900. >You wanted to pretend you didn’t run away from your sisters when they tried to approach you
  901. >You tried to pretend, to escape into your fantasy again
  902. >But the truth always comes back
  903. >You drop the action figure that’s supposed to be you and grasp the Anon doll in both hands
  904. >And then start speaking to it nervously
  905. “Y-you’re right, b-but maybe one day it could?”
  906. >Then you put on a more gruff voice with a lower tone as you speak for Anon
  907. >”Just like how one day you’ll be brave like me even though you can’t even finish an entire book or a cup of coffee?”
  908. >You try and fail to suppress a sniffle
  909. >”Or how one day we’ll be friends?”
  910. >Even if he’s a doll, you can’t stand to look him in the eyes
  911. “Y-yeah…”
  912. >”Who would ever want to be friends with…”
  913. >Your voice cracks and you can’t focus enough to maintain the Anon impression
  914. >Subsequently, it’s now just your own voice saying your own thoughts again
  915. “...a scaredy pony”
  916. >...
  917. >...
  918. >And that’s it
  919. >It’s over
  920. >Pretend time is done and your story has its ending
  921. >There was no twists to it
  922. >Your story was always going to end like this
  923. >Alone
  924. >Afraid
  925. >A pony scared of the world
  926. >But even though you always saw this conclusion coming a mile away, it never hurt less to think about it
  927.  
  928. >But then your door opens and your isolation ends
  929. >You wish it didn’t
  930. >Oh Celestia you wish it didn’t as your eyes go wide
  931. >In your tears and self-pity, you didn’t notice the front door of the house opening and three sets of hooves going up the stairs
  932. >At the doorway stands Roseluck and Daisy, staring at you dumbfounded with their mouths agape as they look at your Anon doll, then you, back at the Anon doll again , and then finally at you again with your red and puffy eyes stinging from tears
  933. >Behind them is your dear friend that you never mentioned until a week ago, Cherry Berry, who is standing around as the most confused pony of all
  934. >Nopony knows how to break this silence
  935. >You especially just want to crawl under your bed and never come back out
  936. >Roseluck is the first and only one to gather her courage
  937. >”H-hey Daisy! We were worried about you and thought we’d bring your best friend to cheer you up”
  938. >Daisy and and Roseluck step aside and it takes a nudge from them to break Cherry Berry out of her stupor to speak to you
  939. >“Uhh, hi? You’re...Lily, right?”
  940. >She tries her best to smile but her nervousness is evident and it’s far too wide of a grin
  941. >Like a foal that’s been caught doing something naughty and just wants to leave before the punishment escalates
  942. >She looks at your little Anon
  943. >”I Umm, like his hair?”
  944. >Your fight or flight instincts finally kick in
  945. >Flight
  946. >Always flight
  947. >You burst through a gap between Roseluck and Cherry Berry as their shock roots them in place, your Anon doll firmly in your teeth
  948. >You reach the bottom of the stairs and the front door as you hear the shouts of your sisters to stop
  949. >But it’s too late, you’ve made up your mind
  950. >You’ll never be like Anon
  951. >It doesn’t matter how many cups of coffee you order, books you read, or naps you skip
  952. >Your legs kick up dust as you keep your rapid pace onto the main road
  953. >You have to get out of here
  954. >You don’t care where or for how long
  955. >Maybe forever
  956. >You’re going to go over the horizon
  957. >You don’t know what you’ll find there
  958. >But one thing is for certain
  959. >You’re scared
  960.  
  961.  
  962.  
  963. >You pant and heave
  964. >Your hooves can take you no further
  965. >You don’t know how long you’ve ran for, but it looks like this Saturday is reaching its end as the sun starts to crest over the horizon
  966. >It’s going to be dark soon
  967. >All around you are the tall trees of the evergreen forest, claws of the earth jutting out and waiting to claim you
  968. >Normally you would be terrified right now
  969. >But the shame and embarrassment you feel is somehow overriding your fear
  970. >Is this what bravery is? To have so many things to worry about that you forget what you're scared of?
  971. >You don't know if you like it
  972. >What you do know though is that it's lonely out here
  973. >At least there's nopony to call you a scaredy pony
  974. >Except you
  975. >You just want to go to a place where no soul knows who you are
  976. >Maybe then somepony might mistake you as brave for running so far away
  977.  
  978. >You try to catch your breath by sitting against one of the huge oaks and gathering your thoughts
  979. >You’re going to miss a lot of things now that you’re a pony on the run
  980. >Your greenhouse filled with bright cheerful blooms
  981. >Your nice comfy bed that protected you on cold nights
  982. >Your playset that you spent countless afternoon and bits on
  983. >But most of all, you'll miss your sisters…
  984. >The way Roseluck would do her flower arrangements with so much care and precision, worried that a messy bouquet would ruin somepony’s day
  985. >How Daisy was so particular and secretive on a recipe she made for Sunflower Seed salad, always making it for any special occasions or whenever any of her sisters was feeling down
  986. >”Never a gloomy day with Daisy’s Sunny Salad tray!” she would say
  987. >You smile at the memories
  988. >And just as quickly, you frown
  989. >Are they going to miss you?
  990. >Maybe it’s better that you went away, stopped being a burden on them
  991. >Now they can go to the playground without worrying about you
  992. >This was what it was all about, wasn’t it?
  993. >Right?
  994. >Your thoughts return to that day in the new park that started this mess
  995. >Stupid slide
  996. >Stupid fears
  997. >Stupid you…
  998. >You sigh
  999. >Nothing to do about it now, it’s over now
  1000. >You hear the hooting of an owl echo through the woods
  1001. >Wind rushes pass the branches and it causes the trees to creak and groan at you
  1002. >But still, you don’t feel afraid
  1003. >You don’t feel much of anything
  1004. >Just some sort of vague sadness
  1005. >It’s when you’re on the last page of a book and you know that you’re going to have to say goodbye to it after spending hours with it
  1006. >It’s Like when you say bye to a friend that’s moving away to another town
  1007. >It’s like when you’ve ran away from home and know you can’t ever go back
  1008. >Maybe one day you’ll have enough courage to explore the cold north, fight a Changeling, or do somersaults in the air
  1009. >But you know for a fact you’ll never be brave enough to face them again, not after today
  1010. >Your mind wanders off to other faces in Ponyville and inevitably it goes back to the idol you wanted to emulate
  1011. >Anon…
  1012. >You thank Celestia that he wasn’t there to witness your breakdown at the park
  1013. >You just wanted to be brave like he was!
  1014. >You’ve never seen him cry, cower, or back down from anything before
  1015. >Granted, the stallion could lift up at least three ponies and was as tall as five, but his courage still had to count for something
  1016. >You once even saw him drink two cups of black coffee!
  1017. >What would Anonymous do?
  1018. >Your brain racks to find an answer
  1019. >You hardly know the guy though
  1020. >You’ve been observing him for a while now, but you’ve never actually talked to him
  1021. >Maybe…maybe he’ll know what to do?
  1022. >You look down on a hoof
  1023. >You’ve been carrying around your Anon doll since you ran from your sisters
  1024. >He’s been silent this entire time
  1025. >You hold up your doll with his black fabric suit and bouncy ball head
  1026. “Anonymous, what should I do?”
  1027. >As expected, you’re met by a blank stare and the ambient noise of the forest
  1028. ”I-I don’t know if I’m scared, Anonymous. I don’t know what I’m feeling right now. I kinda wish I was scared. Then I’d know that I’m feeling something”
  1029. >Again, there is no reply
  1030. “Please, just talk to me. I don’t want to be alone…that’s what I was always most afraid of. That I wouldn’t have friends because I was a scaredy pony. That my sisters wouldn’t want to be with me anymore”
  1031. >You can feel your lips wobble and your vision Cloud as Anonymous refuses to talk to you
  1032. “Please…”
  1033. >The crickets start to play their song as the sun disappears beyond the horizon and darkness covers the land
  1034. >You can feel a sort of darkness cover you too, one that’s coming from your heart
  1035. >Until suddenly, you hear a familiar voice in the distance
  1036. >”Moon River, wider than a mile…”
  1037.  
  1038. >Your ears perk up as it catches a song in the breeze
  1039. >It’s Anon, and he’s…singing?
  1040. >It’s a slow tempo and it sounds faint, but you can hear it all the same
  1041. >You get up on your hooves again and cautiously follow the melody through the woods and onto a dirty path
  1042. >”I’m crossing you in style, someday…”
  1043. >The words feel like they’re coming out in a trance, he’s following a beat but no infliction to his tone as the song goes on
  1044. >”Oh dream maker, you heart breaker…”
  1045. >Eventually you reach a ravine with a large stone bridge connecting the two sides
  1046. >The weathered grey stone shines in the bright moonlight and you can see Anonymous at the center of the bridge, tossing small stones down into a river below
  1047. >You try not to focus on just how above the rapid currents the bridge is
  1048. >You gulp and begin to walk towards him inch by inch
  1049. >Your curiosity overtakes any hesitation you have as you approach
  1050. >You’ve seen him plenty of times from afar, in fact some would say you’ve been watching him obsessively
  1051. >You’ve never seen him like this though
  1052. >He’s hunched over at one of the ledges, his arms crossed as he leans over, a pile of stones he must have gathered next to him on the ledge
  1053. >”Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way…”
  1054. >He tosses another stone from the pile he has set up down to the river and you can see it impact the water, though the river is too strong to form any ripples around it
  1055. >You’re about halfway down to meet him when you see his face
  1056. >He seems apathetic, showing neither happiness nor sadness
  1057. >But then you see him smile without warning
  1058. >That’s good!
  1059. >He stands up and straightens his posture before lifting himself up to stand on the ledge of the bridge
  1060. >That’s bad!
  1061. >He could get hurt if he accidentally falls, just like one of those stones he was tossing!
  1062. >Your trotting takes you right behind him
  1063. >You’re not sure how to talk to him
  1064. >In your stories, you’d impress him so much with something cool you did that he would be the one to say hello to you first
  1065. >But this isn’t one of your stories
  1066.  
  1067. “H-hi there”
  1068. >You say it hardly above the level of a whisper, scared that you might startle him and make him trip off the bridge
  1069. >But he’s calm as ever as he turns his head to you
  1070. >”Oh. Hi to you too”
  1071. >His mouth gently smiles despite his situation, yet his eyes don’t follow along
  1072. >He turns his back to look forward and sits down, his legs hanging over the edge
  1073. >”How was your day today?”
  1074. >There’s a lot you can tell him
  1075. >You just don’t have the words to properly express it
  1076. >Where would you even start?
  1077. “It’s Uhh, it’s been okay, I guess. How about yours?”
  1078. >He nods sagely
  1079. >”Good to hear. My day has been good. I decided that I’m going to…go home today”
  1080. “But don’t you live on the other side of Ponyville?”
  1081. >He let’s put a small laugh before taking another pebble to cast it below the bridge
  1082. >”That’s just a house”
  1083. “Aren't homes and houses the same thing?”
  1084. >”Houses are just where you sleep. Home is where the heart is”
  1085. >Wait, do humans not have their hearts in their chest like ponies do? Maybe he keeps it under his bed on Earth but forgot to bring it with him!
  1086. “What’s your home like on Earth?”
  1087. >His words are honeyed and nostalgic
  1088. >”I lived in a small apartment. It was about a quarter of the size of the house I live in right now, but I thought it was cozy. I had a lot of books to read, I liked to read, you see. I’m sure nearly all those books would pique Twilight Sparkle’s interests”
  1089. >You listen intently to his words, and you realize that this may be the first time he’s talked in detail about his life on Earth to anypony
  1090. >”I had friends too. Friends I made back in school and some I made at work. They were nice, I could talk to them about anything and they’d listen to me”
  1091. “Did you play tag and nap with them a lot?”
  1092. >Anonymous chuckles before replying to you
  1093. >”No, I guess nobody ever suggested it. We had fun doing other things”
  1094. “What did you all do for fun then?”
  1095. >”Nothing too special. We ate at restaurants, watched movies, bowled, those sorts of things”
  1096. “Princess Celestia says that anything can be fun if you’re with friends, even things like clean up time or washing dishes”
  1097. >”And she’s right. I miss my friends a lot. But I miss my family even more”
  1098. “I remember you said my flower reminded me of your sister”
  1099. >He turns his head back to you and your mane catches his eye
  1100. >You can see him grin
  1101. >”That’s right, I met you at…the new playground, I think? Lily, right? Sorry if I got it wrong, I’m just no good with names”
  1102. >Stars form in your eyes and you smile wide
  1103. >He remembered your name!
  1104. “You got it right! I’m Lily Valley!”
  1105. >”It’s nice to meet you again, Lily Valley”
  1106. “So how far is Earth from here? Hopefully you don’t have to walk too far. My hooves ache if I trot for too long”
  1107. >”It’s pretty far. In fact, I’m not sure where it is really”
  1108. “But then how are you going to walk there?”
  1109. >”I’m not going to walk”
  1110. “I think running would just make you really tired”
  1111. >Anon takes the last of the stones he has and tosses them over the ravine, your eyes following them as they hit the hard surface of the water and get sweeped away
  1112. >”This is where I woke up. I remember thinking about how blue the sky was”
  1113. “Were you taking a nap here today?”
  1114. >”No, I mean when I woke up in Equestria. This-“
  1115. >He takes both his arms and sweeps them around
  1116. >”-is where I came from”
  1117. >You crane your neck around to look around the forest and the bridge
  1118. >But didn’t he say that Earth was far away? How can he be from the bridge if this isn’t Earth?
  1119. >His story is getting kinda confusing for you now
  1120. “If you’re from here, where’s your family?”
  1121. >You see his shoulders slump
  1122. >”Well, right now my dad is probably getting back from work after his shift, microwaving a pizza he bought and turning on the Price is Right. My mom is likely putting my sister to bed and reading her a story. What kind of stories do you like, Lilly?”
  1123. “I like making my own stories. They have a lot of action and the good ponies always win!”
  1124. >”Hehe, you really are like my little sister. She would have liked you. She really would have liked Equestria, I think. Maybe she’s changed. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen her”
  1125. “But Anon, you’ve only been here for a few months. I know that seems like forever but you haven’t even seen your first winter here yet”
  1126. >He sadly shakes his head as he still stares off into the rapids
  1127. >”I didn’t get to see her for a long time even before I got to come here”
  1128. “Why? I see my sisters everyday when we eat breakfast together. Like today we got to share some cereal”
  1129. >”My mom and dad…”
  1130. >You can see him think about his next words carefully
  1131. >”…decided that they didn’t want to live with each other anymore. So my sister lives with my mom and I used live with my dad before I moved out”
  1132. “Oh”
  1133. >You’re at a loss for words
  1134. >This is the first time you’ve heard about a mommy and daddy taking a field trip away from each other
  1135. >It doesn’t make any sense to you at all
  1136. >Anon doesn’t seem to be in the mood to explain though
  1137. >You try to make him think about something happier
  1138. “What did you and your sister do last?”
  1139. >”I took her out for a hamburger. She ordered a kid sized coke and a cheeseburger. She got to color the placemat and drew a picture some clowns and elephants since I promised her that I’d take her to the circus soon”
  1140. >You see a slight tremble come from him before he settles down
  1141. >”I never did get to take her to the circus. I will though. After I get back home”
  1142. >He turns his head and smiles at you
  1143. >You notice it again though, where his mouth is turned up but his eyes don’t follow suit
  1144. >It’s worrying, and you feel like something is amiss
  1145. >You just don’t know what
  1146. >You try to smile back at him but struggle to do so, your lingering feeling becoming apparent
  1147. “T-that’s nice, Anonymous. The circus sounds fun. I wouldn’t know though, I’ve never been to one”
  1148. >”Oh, why’s that?”
  1149. “We’ll I’m kinda scared of-“
  1150. >Everything
  1151. “-Clowns…and elephants…and crowds, and tents, and peanuts, and lions, and-and-”
  1152. >Oh no, you’re doing it again
  1153. >You’re just listing out everything that makes you apprehensive and nervous
  1154. >There’s no way Anon is going to be friends with you, he knows you’re a scaredy pony now!
  1155. >He chuckles
  1156. >You can feel your heart grow sad as he laughs at you
  1157. >But then he turns his body to face you as he continues to sit on the ledge, reaching up to your mane and scratching it in comfort
  1158. >”There, there, it’s okay to be scared of things. My sister was scared of clowns too but I told her how much fun we’d have at the circus. After that she started drawing pictures of them and was excited to meet one”
  1159. >You close your eyes and enjoy how his finger feels combing through the hairs
  1160. >You open them again after he takes his hand back, hiding how disappointed you are that it’s over
  1161. “It’s not just clowns or the circus though…c-can I tell you a secret?”
  1162. >He nods his head
  1163. “Do you promise not to tell anypony?”
  1164. >”Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye”
  1165. >You grow confident about this, there’s no way he’d break a sacred Pinkie Promise!
  1166. “I…I’m kinda sorta…you see, I…”
  1167. >You gulp a lump in your throat
  1168. >This is it
  1169. >This is where your story really ends
  1170. “I’m a scaredy pony””
  1171. >”Hmm, why do you say that?”
  1172. “It’s because I’m scared of a lot of things, things that other ponies aren’t scared of…”
  1173. >”Like the dark?”
  1174. “Yeah…”
  1175. >”Heights?”
  1176. “Oh yeah, definitely
  1177. >”How about strangers?”
  1178. “Yep”
  1179. >”I don’t think you're much of a scaredy pony then. Look around you”
  1180. >You do as he says, turning your head this way and that
  1181. >You’re at a loss to what he means before you face him again and quirk an eyebrow
  1182. “I don’t get it”
  1183. >”Everything I asked you about is right here. It’s night, we’re on a bridge over a tall chasm, and you hardly know me. But I don’t see you scared or anything like that”
  1184. >He’s...he’s right
  1185. >You don’t feel scared at all
  1186. “But that’s only because you’re here. And there’s more than just the things here that I’m scared of”
  1187. >”I still think you’re a brave pony. Sure, you might be scared of plenty of things but courage isn’t about having no fears”
  1188. “Really?”
  1189. >”Yeah, it’s about being able to face your fears. To not let them control who you are”
  1190. >Once again he takes his hand and pats your head
  1191. >”And if you’re scared of a lot of things, then that just means you have a lot of chances to prove just how brave you are”
  1192. >This is it, the true ending to the story
  1193. >Anon called you brave and is giving head pats!
  1194. >You can feel a huge grin overtake your face and a warmth spread from your heart outwards
  1195. “Thank you, Anon. Those are really nice words”
  1196. >”I mean every bit of it. You’re a brave and nice pony, Lily. Like I said, my sister would have liked you. I’ll tell her all about the brave little pony I met that kept a flower in her head”
  1197. >The human stops patting your head and puts both his hands on his thighs before slumping over again, his head tilted down to make his expression unreadable
  1198. >”I think there must have been a mistake somewhere. That my sister was supposed to go to this land of nap times, crayons, and innocent horses that like having their manes brushed”
  1199. “What do you mean? Don’t you like it in Equestria?”
  1200. >You frown, unsure how Anon is feeling
  1201. >He never seemed sad to you, and was happy enough to help everypony
  1202. >You search your memories for anytime when someone budged in line in front of him or maybe took his snacks without asking
  1203. >”It’s nice here, but this place would have been perfect for her. She’s at the age where she thinks her big brother is the coolest person in the world”
  1204. >He chuckles before turning his head down to the drop in the ravine
  1205. >”Maybe I’ll still get to see her outgrow that phase…”
  1206. >You open your mouth to reply back to him but he cuts you off with a grin and a sudden determination in his eyes
  1207. >But his gaze look empty to you, like a house that has all the lights on but nopony is inside to give each other cookies or hugs
  1208. >”I’ll be sure to tell her all about you”
  1209. “How? You said Earth was really far away and you didn’t know how to get there”
  1210. >He keeps staring at you with his smile and empty eyes
  1211. >”You should head back home, Lily. Your sisters must be waiting for you”
  1212. >You’re taken aback by his sudden suggestion and you feel like he’s trying to get rid of you for some reason, but for what?
  1213. >You’ve been here for a while so he’s not waiting to meet someone
  1214. >And you don’t see any bags with him, so he’s not trying to sneak away some snacks to eat privately
  1215. “O-okay, Anonymous. I’ll see you later?”
  1216. >You can feel the seconds pass by as he continues to stare at you, like the words are trapped in his throat but he’s not going to let them out of his mouth
  1217. >But then he nods at you
  1218. >You feel relieved as you let out a gentle breath you didn’t realize you were holding in
  1219. >You meet his grin with your own grin as you start to trot away from him
  1220.  
  1221. >Wow, you really are a brave pony if Anon thinks so!
  1222. >You can’t wait for you and Anon to start hanging out with each other and he’ll be so impressed that you can drink coffee without syrup, marshmallows, or sugar in it too
  1223. >You can't wait to get home and tell your sisters about this
  1224. >Getting home…
  1225. >You stop at the end of the bridge
  1226. >Things that Anon said made you confused about how he was going to see his own sister again, even if he didn’t know how to get home
  1227. >A strange queasy feeling starts in your gut
  1228. >You don't’ know how to describe it
  1229. >It’s...it’s like every bit of you knows that if you leave now, something bad will happen
  1230. >But not to you
  1231. >That’s a different feeling, a familiar freight that has often taken hold of you
  1232. >No, this sensation is telling you that something bad will happen to someone you like
  1233. >You turn your head
  1234. >Anon is standing tall on top of the ledge of the bridge again, looking out at the forest
  1235. >You can see him whispering to himself in the pale moonlight
  1236. >You’re not sure what to do
  1237. >Anonymous said to go home, and you’ve always known him as somepony that knew best
  1238. >He’s like a Princess Celestia that’s doesn’t know magic
  1239. >And what if he gets annoyed with you if you try to talk to him after saying goodbye?
  1240. >Then he won’t want to be your friend anymore and that’s all you wanted for the past week!
  1241. >Once again, your fear paralyzes you
  1242. >A voice that’s always been with you speaks in your mind
  1243. >The voice that always comes to you in your most sad moments of doubt
  1244. >The voice of fear
  1245. >”Just go home to your nice and soft bed and sleep the night away. Don’t bother Anon. He’ll be okay, he’s an adult after all”
  1246. >You turn your head back to the forest and away from the whispering man
  1247. >”He said that you’ll see him again soon. Maybe he just wants a better view of the river? There’s no way he’ll get ouchies. He’s just waiting for a chariot to take him home, probably”
  1248. >You star to trot away from the scene
  1249. >But your hooves are firmly rooted in place and you feel compelled to stay
  1250. >You can hear another voice speak out
  1251. >This one is new
  1252. >It is gentle and caring
  1253. >The voice of ear always kept you safe
  1254. >But this different voice wants to to see you grow
  1255. >It sounds just like Anon’s
  1256. >”Courage isn’t about having no fears…”
  1257. >You turn your body and start to clip clop your hooves back to the man standing on the edge
  1258. >”...it’s about being able to face your fears”
  1259. >And right now, Anon needs help facing something
  1260. >You get behind him and look up to the back of his head
  1261. >As you were getting to your spot, you could hear him click his heels and eavesdrop what he was whispering repeatedly
  1262. >“There’s no place like home”
  1263. >He makes no indication as to noticing that you’ve come up to him again
  1264. >You can see him slightly trembling as he’s up on the bridge
  1265. >In the faint breeze, you can also hear him sniffle and gulp lumps in his throat
  1266. >It reminds you of something
  1267. >Something that happened only just recently
  1268. >Of a mare terrified of the world, stuck on the top of a slide, paralyzed by the spell that fear held over her
  1269. >Of a being kind enough to say the magic words to break that spell
  1270. >Now it’s your turn to say them
  1271. “Did you want to get down from there?”
  1272. >Anon slowly turns towards you and you can see his face
  1273. >He is crying
  1274. >The tears are flowing freely as he looks at you
  1275. >You show the best concern that you can as you wave him over to you
  1276. >Slowly but surely, he kneels down and puts a leg on the part of the bridge that ponies are actually meant to stand on
  1277. >First one leg, and then the other, until he’s standing before you in silence
  1278. >You do the only thing that you can think to do when somepony is crying
  1279. >You hug him
  1280. >He’s a big guy so you can only really wrap your hooves around one of his legs but you can feel just how chilly he is and how much he’s shaking
  1281. >But he shakes harder and harder as time passes
  1282. >Did...did you maybe do something wrong?
  1283. >Before you can break off your hug, he kneels down and embraces you, his head buried in your mane as you can feel the hairs getting wet from the tears
  1284. >You don’t mind though
  1285. >Anon needs help, and you’re going to help him just like he helped you
  1286. >His arms are wrapped all around you and you can feel his body warming up, how you’re breathing life in him once again
  1287. >You both hug each other in silence, just two beings caught in their own part of the world
  1288. >This is much better than what you imagined it would be like in your games of pretend
  1289. >This is actually real
  1290.  
  1291. >You’re the first to break the silence
  1292. “Are you okay, Anon?”
  1293. >It takes time to regain his computer but sure enough, he takes on his calm voice again, but this time his words are unsteady
  1294. >”No”
  1295. “What’s wrong?”
  1296. >”I’m scared”
  1297. “What are you scared of?”
  1298. >”I just want to go home, Lily. I had my own life on Earth. I had friends and a family back there. A sister that looked up to me”
  1299. >He takes his head away from your blonde mane and looks at you, his eyes puffy and red and his frown pronounced
  1300. >”And now she probably thinks I decided to just run away or got hurt. I just want to tell her I’m okay. To go back home and hug her, and take her to the circus like I promised”
  1301. >This is the first time you’ve had to comfort somepny before, and you hope you’re doing it right
  1302. >Listening
  1303. >Just listening until they’ve told you their story
  1304. >”I don’t feel like I’m home. This place is great, but it was never meant for me”
  1305. >Anon finishes his thoughts and looks away from you
  1306. >You can see some tears going down his cheek
  1307. >You take a hoof and help rub it off of him, his eyes once again meeting yours
  1308. “I’m sorry that you’re not home, Anon”
  1309. >”It’s not your fault Lily. It’s not anybody’s fault really”
  1310. “But maybe I can still help you find a home here”
  1311. >He looks at you inquisitively
  1312. >You try your best to stay reassuring under his gaze
  1313. “You said that home is where the heart is and I’m sorry you left your heart back on Earth. I could help you make a new heart! I like making things. Things like this!”
  1314. >You take your Anon doll and hold it up to his face
  1315. >The real thing doesn’t quite know what he’s looking at, at first until he notices the similarities
  1316. >Pipe Cleaners to form a body
  1317. >A bouncy ball for a head
  1318. >And black napkins for a nice suit, complemented with a red tie paper clip
  1319. >He takes the doll in his hand carefully, afraid that somehow his touch will make your crafted interpretation of him shatter
  1320. >You’re nervous as he examines it closer from back to front, side to side
  1321. >But then he laughs hard, a genuine laughter from the gut that makes you happy
  1322. >He finishes his merriment and speaks to you
  1323. >”You made this, Lily?”
  1324. “Yeah! I can also make your new heart really pretty too! We could draw it on some construction paper and cut it out with some safety scissors! After that we’ll use some glue to put glitter on it and hang it in your house so that it can turn into a home!”
  1325. >”Having a new heart would be nice, and to have it made be made by such a sweet pony”
  1326. >Again Anon can’t help but laugh
  1327. >You don’t know why he’s laughing so much since he was crying just earlier
  1328. >Humans must change their moods really quickly
  1329. >Oh well
  1330. >If he’s happy then you’re happy
  1331. >Still, his new home isn’t going to be like the old one on Earth
  1332. >And you’re sure he’ll still miss his sister
  1333. >You know that you certainly would if you were the one sent to Earth
  1334. >You look at both the doll and the giant holding it and an idea forms in your head
  1335. “Anon, you said you wanted to send a message to your sister, right?”
  1336. >”It’d be nice to”
  1337. “How about we have your doll send it for you?!”
  1338. >You can tell by his confused look that he’s not following along with your idea
  1339. “It looked like you thought that the river would carry you back home, but I don’t think it can since it just goes to the ocean, I think. But if there’s maybe a portal then we could send the doll through it so our sister knows you’re okay!”
  1340. >You try to smile wide at the end of your idea presentation, hoping that he’ll find it worthwhile
  1341. “It’s your doll, Lily. I couldn’t ask you to throw it away for me”
  1342. >”I made it because…”
  1343. >You think about it for a moment
  1344. >Why did you make it?
  1345. >You gathered all the materials and thought that you’d create your new role model
  1346. >But you don’t keep it locked away in your toy chest or leave it on your study desk
  1347. >No, you play with it regularly and treat it like all your other toys
  1348. “...because I wanted to be friends with you”
  1349. >You move your head closer to him and nuzzle his cheek, just like you would to one of your sisters to show affection
  1350. “But now I have the real thing, so I don’t need it anymore”
  1351. >Anon is silent as he looks at you
  1352. >Your heart is pounding in your chest, afraid that maybe you just embarrassed yourself in front of him
  1353. >Then he whispers gently to you, to the point you can hardly hear it
  1354. >But you hear it regardless, for that’s what friends do
  1355. >They listen to each other and help them face their fears
  1356. “Thank you, Lily”
  1357. >You nod as you take the doll from his hands with your mouth and walk up to the ledge
  1358. >You raise yourself up with your front two hooves and put your jaws away from the bridge
  1359. >And then release
  1360. >The play thing down as you expected it to, straight down and once it splashes into the water, the river takes it away to parts unknown
  1361. >But as it leaves, you wave goodbye to it, making a wish to a star that it safely makes it to Anon’s sister
  1362. >You get down back on your four hooves and look at Anon
  1363. >He seems...relieved
  1364. >Like a weight he was holding on his back is finally gone
  1365. >You notice that as he stands up, he stands up straighter and more properly than you’ve ever seen him before
  1366. >The emptiness from his eyes are gone, now filled with gratitude
  1367. >You make a suggestion to what to do next
  1368. “C’mon, Anon, let's go home!”
  1369. >”Sounds good to me”
  1370. “It’s dark out and I’m scared of the dark, but I’m sure it won’t be too bad since you’re with me”
  1371. >You smile at him
  1372. >He smiles back
  1373.  
  1374. Later On…
  1375. >Frost and cold has taken Ponyville, like the winter wonderland that comes every year
  1376. >But the festive season isn’t what’s on everypony’s mind
  1377. >No, it’s the fact that it’s the middle of the summer and it’s snowing
  1378. >The weather Pegasui are not at fault, but rather a certain villain
  1379. >A villain that goes by the name of…
  1380. >”Discord!”
  1381. >The name is shouted out by a charismatic mare that goes by the name of Lily Valley
  1382. >”Hmm, something I can be of assistance with? I have a very busy schedule. I’ll have you know that I plant to win the snowpony contest, but I’m always ready to make time when the time comes”
  1383. >True to his word, Discord is bundled up in his winter gear, a single fuzzy hat, and is creating a snowpony out of the white flakes falling from the sky
  1384. >”But it’s not winter yet Discord, nopony has their list for Santa Claws planned out yet!”
  1385. >The two are in the middle of the town square as their debate rages on, just like the snowstorm around them
  1386. >”Don’t be a spoil sport, Lily. You ponies are always so used to the weather being controlled. Just let it be a little more chaotic for once. Enjoy yourself. Here, have some coco”
  1387. >Not once does Discord look to Lily as he focuses on shaping his snowpony with his appendages
  1388. >With a snap of his fingers, a palm tree sprouts out of the snow in front of Lily as she deftly dodges at least two coconuts that fall out of the tree
  1389. >Two!
  1390. >”You’re nuts, Discord!”
  1391. >”I’ll sweep up those shells later. Or maybe I won’t? All part of being the embodiment of chaos and all that, you understand”
  1392. >Lily growled
  1393. >Normally a swift buck with her legendary hooves would be enough to solve her
  1394. >But Discord’s magic was powerful
  1395. >He’d likely change her legs to gelatin before she could make the strike
  1396. >No, this problem called for her wits
  1397. >”I challenge you to a game of riddles!”
  1398. >Just as the Drconian was about to place the button eyes on the snow pony, he twisted his entire torso to face her with glee
  1399. >“Ooh, a game you say? What’s the prize? I always wanted an all expenses paid vacation to Manehattan. Oh sure, I could just teleport there but it’s so much more fun when someone else pays for it”
  1400. >”If I win then you’ll stop the snow and clean this all up!”
  1401. >”And when I win?”
  1402. >”Then you can take my vintage Castle of the Two Sisters play set”
  1403. >”Not something I’m terribly interested in, but we do have to move the plot along. Consider your challenge formally accepted”
  1404. >”I’ll ask you three riddles, Discord, and if you answer all three correctly then you’ll be the winner”
  1405. >”How about two?”
  1406. >”Three”
  1407. >”Two and a half?”
  1408. >”Three”
  1409. >”Oh why dost thou have to be such a party pooper? Fine. Go ahead and search through that dusty mind of yours for some real challenges”
  1410. >Discord summons a podium and graduate’s cap for himself to idly stand next to, his pose bored as he yawns
  1411. >Lily poses her first riddle to him, pointing a hoof dramatically at him
  1412. >This is it, time to be a hero again
  1413. >”What’s so fragile that saying its name breaks it?”
  1414. >Discord mouths his mouth but no sound comes out
  1415. >Confused, Lily approaches the Draconian closer and strains one of her ears
  1416. >The being of chaos puts on a smug look as he once again mouths his answer
  1417. >Lily sighed
  1418. >He definitely knew what the correct response was
  1419. >Before she could tell him he got it right, Discord suddenly starts having a coughing fit
  1420. >Or rather, it’s more like he’s trying to spit out a hairball like a cat does
  1421. >Eventually a full sized toad comes out of his mouth and it croaks in a dull tone before Discord discards it
  1422. >”Right then, sorry about that. Frog in my throat. As I was saying, the answer to your riddle is silence”
  1423. >Rolling in her eyes in annoyance, Lily simply nodded
  1424. >This was going to be difficult
  1425. >”If only my super cool friend Anon was here, he would know what to do”
  1426. >”Someone call my name?”
  1427. >Turning her head to town hall, Lily saw the man of steel wool emerge from the doors as he strides triumphantly to Discord and Lily
  1428. >”Sorry I’m late Lily, had to finish up some papers for the Mayor”
  1429. >”It’s okay Anon, everything’s going to be okay now that you’re here! You see-”
  1430. >Just then, Discord poofs right in between the mare and the human, him facing Anon
  1431. >”I made it snow, so Lily challenged me to a game of riddles to try and stop me. She struck out in her first swing and only has two more tries left. There, I just summed up the last five minutes in two sentences. Do I get my gold star sticker now?”
  1432. >Lily groans
  1433. >Undeterred by Discord’s antics, Anon is ready to pose his own riddle
  1434. >”Alright Discord, if you’re so good with riddles then answer this one. There’s a man that lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every time he leaves his home, he always takes the elevator to go the first floor, but every time he goes back home, he stops at the seventh floor and walks up three levels to get to his own apartment. Why is this?”
  1435. >Discord and Anon leer at each other in a really tense way that’s really dramatic
  1436. >But then Discord laughs
  1437. >”Easy. He’s a short, so he can reach the first floor button every time he leaves, but can only reach the seventh floor button when he gets back home”
  1438. >All anon can do is sigh
  1439. >”Yeah, yeah, you got it”
  1440. >”Oh ye of little brain. Please Anon, you wound me. I’m a being made out of the infinite potential of chaos and pure streams of consciousness. I invented lateral thinking. I AM lateral thinking. Well Lily, I dare say that your play set will soon be mine. Maybe I’ll color it with some markers and glue some doll heads on it or something”
  1441. >Anon and Lily looked at each other, hoping the other would have a plan of action
  1442. >But they both frowned
  1443. >This was truly their darkest moment
  1444. >Not when they had to save the Crystal Empire from the evil of King Sombra
  1445. >Or when they had to evacuate the Teddy Bear village before the stuffing monster attacked
  1446. >Or when they had to eat all the cookies that were overcooked at Sugar Cube Corner
  1447. >No, only a miracle could save Lily’s Vintage Castle of the Two Sisters playset from the 1986 Haspone Hearth’s Warming Eve Catalogue with special glow in the dark towers
  1448. >But a miracle came
  1449. >Two in fact
  1450. >”Everything all right here, sis?”
  1451. >”Rosie, Daisy!” Lily says excitedly
  1452. >Daisy and Roseluck trot slowly and cooly towards the two heroes as a beam of light shoots down and gives them a spotlight
  1453. >Discord puts a han to his cheek as he once again leans over his podium, uninspired
  1454. >”Don’t tell me I have to summarize the plot again. I hate it when new characters get introduced in the middle of the conflict that don’t have prior knowledge. This isn’t a moment for exposition”
  1455. >Roseluck is the one to reply
  1456. >”I think we can gather what’s happening here, and we have the key to defeating you!”
  1457. >”Oh really, now? And what is it, the power of love between family or something along those lines?”
  1458. >”No”, Daisy states, “It’s a riddle you’ll never solve”
  1459. >”Try me”
  1460. >”Why do they call it oven when you of in the cold food of out hot eat the food?”
  1461. >For the first time in centuries, Discord is stunned to silence
  1462. >The three sisters and Anon give brohoofs to each other
  1463. >Then, fire envelops DIscord’s head, hot enough to start melting the snow around the village but not so hot that it would burn marshmallows
  1464. >His voice screams in anger
  1465. >”That's not how these stories are supposed to go! There’s no theme or morality to take from this! All you did was ask a nonsensical question and call yourselves the victors!”
  1466. >Summer is returning as the lush greenery of the land comes back and the clouds part way, likely to get ready for Princess Celestia to swoop down and give our heroes their properly earned medals
  1467. >The man in the black suit takes out a pair of sunglasses from his pocket, also giving each mare around him their own sunglasses that match their coats as well
  1468. >”Yeah”, Anon says
  1469. >In unison, all four of them put on their sunglasses and cross their own limbs in a really cool pose as they stare at Discord
  1470. >”Deal with it”, Daisy says
  1471. >With all the snow melted from Discord’s headlamp, he gives out one last scream of anguish before disappearing is a puff of smoke
  1472. >And then every single pony came out of hiding from their homes and started to clap their hooves and cheer their names
  1473. >On cue, Celestia comes down with four medals in her mouth to bestow upon the three brave ponies and the really brave human
  1474. >She speaks in her regal and motherly tone
  1475. >”Daisy, Lily, Roseluck, and Anon. For valor and wits far above what is expected to perform in the line of duty, I give to all of you these milk chocolate gold foiled medals. Except you Daisy. I know you prefer white chocolate”
  1476. >The cheers of the crowd grow even wilder as each of the recipients are given their medal but quite down again when the Princess continues her speech
  1477. >”Thanks to all of you, the Equestrian way of life of peace, harmony, and friendship has been saved. May Ponyville forever be a home to all!”
  1478. >Home
  1479.  
  1480. >Home
  1481. >That's where you are right now
  1482. >Sitting on the floor of your wooden cabin just outside the village,
  1483. >Next to you are three sisters that you regularly invite for play time now
  1484. >Roseluck as she smiles and looks to her sisters
  1485. >Daisy as she idly listens to the pretend speech given and brushing the doll that represents her
  1486. >And of course, Lily
  1487. >Lily is using her best imitation of Princess Celestia as she wiggles it around to talk, her playset spread across the floor to use however the world of your minds see fit
  1488. >The four of you just saved the day again in your combined imaginations
  1489. >Just like how she saved you a few weeks ago
  1490. >You still have aches in your heart from time to time
  1491. >You still miss your old home
  1492. >You still want to see your sister again
  1493. >Lily has made things easier though
  1494. >She’s a pony that you can talk to, a part of your new support network
  1495. >Of course, you never get into the heavy stuff with her, it’s always about how you miss some things or how you feel sad sometimes
  1496. >But it’s enough just to have someone listen to you
  1497. >Now you have something to look forward to every time you wake up in the morning, instead of dreading a new day, alone with just your thoughts
  1498. >What you can be excited about is seeing Lily again, along with her sisters
  1499. >It’s like having a sister again
  1500. >Occasionally you get dark moments, times to when you want to go back to that bridge again and...try to go back to Earth
  1501. >But then you remember that night that Lily stopped you
  1502. >Maybe one day she’ll tell you why she was out alone in the woods too
  1503. >All you know is that you’re thankful that she was there for you, like an angel with a flower in her hair
  1504. >You felt scared, alone, and confused as to how you wanted to move forward
  1505. >But in trotted this sweet pony that chased your fears away
  1506. >You look over to a far wall at the only thing hanging from it, next to the front door
  1507. >A framed picture of a heart drawn with a crayon, red glitter covering the entire shape
  1508. >At the bottom of the picture is a single phrase written in shaky green crayon
  1509. >”Anon’s Home”
  1510. >This is your home now, and it’s filled with love and kindness
  1511. >You’re not going to go away anytime soon
  1512. >You turn your attention back to Lily as she’s about to wrap up her Celestia speech
  1513. >You told her that bravery is facing your fears
  1514. >You were afraid that you were going to be alone for the rest of your life, surrounded by little ponies that didn’t know just what a burden reality can be
  1515. >Like walking around a field of flowers and trying your best not to accidentally stop on any of the natural bouquets
  1516. >Subsequently, you were bottling every bit of sadness that was festering in you
  1517. >She listens to you though and always has an innocent idea to cheer you up
  1518. >Sometimes it’s naps, playtime, or just simple warm hugs
  1519. >You like the hugs the most
  1520. >Lily stops imitating the Princess and puts on a big grin that melts your heart as her sisters start to praise her storytelling abilities
  1521. >You clap your hands together too to compliment her
  1522. >There’s plenty of reasons to give her praise
  1523. >After all, She’s the most courageous pony you know
  1524. >You hope that maybe one day you’ll be just as brave as she is
  1525.  
  1526. The End

From Stalliongrad with Love (Updated 10/5/21))

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