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Taken In

By aMondayMorning
Created: 15th January 2022 01:21:22 AM
26th January 2022 11:28:15 PM

  1. >You are Anonymous, and you find yourself sitting in the den of your cozy cottage on the outside of Ponyville, reading whatever random books you decided to check out from Twilight's library.
  2. >You are halfway through "Astronomy: A Laypony's Guide To The Night Sky"
  3. >You gotta say, not impressed. Lots of Princess fellatio going on in this book.
  4. >You can't help but think a certain purple bookhorse princess wrote this thing.
  5. >The same one that took you in after you somehow found yourself in this world of ponies.
  6. >The same one that helped build you a place of your own to live.
  7. >You will pay her back, someday.
  8. >You stare out your window, pensive, lost in thought.
  9. >The sound of pitter-patter of rain on glass and the crackling of fire in the fireplace is interrupted by three, rather pathetic knocks at your door.
  10. >You nearly dismissed them as just the wind blowing something onto your door, until you heard three more, equally pathetic knocks.
  11. "Geez, it's storming out, who could that even be?" You think to yourself.
  12. >You don't really want to keep them waiting out there, so you rush to answer the door.
  13. >The sight that meets your eyes when you open the door, in all honesty, upsets you.
  14. >Before you stood a sopping wet, muddy, shaking Starlight Glimmer.
  15. >She's covered in a camo poncho and wearing a frazzled beanie, barely covering her matted and grimy mane.
  16. >She barely has the energy to look up at you with her bloodshot eyes, like she's been crying for hours.
  17. >"Anon…" Is the only thing she could barely mutter before she hangs her head back down, defeated.
  18. >You have never seen a pony so downtrodden and lifeless.
  19. >You can't say anything.
  20. >There's nothing to say.
  21. >The only thing you do is usher her into your cottage.
  22. >She hesitates, but she shakily steps hoof forward and onto your doormat.
  23. >You shut the door behind her.
  24.  
  25. >She is shaking and dripping water everywhere, trying in vain to keep herself contained to just your doormat.
  26. "Stay here, let me get a towel."
  27. >You rush to your bathroom and grab one of your towels.
  28. >Ah shit you grabbed your favorite by accident.
  29. >Whatever, this is more important.
  30. >You rush back to see her sitting on her haunches, sobbing and sniffling.
  31. >Jesus, what a mess.
  32. >Amongst her crying, you help her get the wet clothes off and throw them into a soggy pile near the door.
  33. >She doesn't really do much to help, but she doesn't try to stop you either.
  34. >It's like she's been out there for weeks...
  35. >You begin patting her dry, starting with her mane and working her way to the tail.
  36. >Your towel picked up a lot of the mud and grime, so that's going to be a bitch to wash.
  37. >But Starlight is at least dry enough to stop violently shaking.
  38. >The sobbing continues.
  39. >You can tell she's trying desperately to choke them back but can't.
  40. >What in the fuck happened to her?
  41. >You kneel down to her level, and bring her face up to meet yours.
  42. >Before you can ask, she nearly startles you as she lunges forward to hug you.
  43. >She cries even harder into your shoulder.
  44. >The only decipherable words you can understand amongst her sobbing is "Thank you".
  45.  
  46. >You let her cry it all out.
  47. >You hate to see any pony like this.
  48. >It just absolutely breaks your heart.
  49. >You never really interacted much with Starlight. Not out of any sort of distaste for her, but just happenstance. You just don't see her often, and when you do, conversations don't go past smalltalk.
  50. >But she was never rude, or even unpleasant. She was quite charming, which makes seeing her like this suck even more.
  51. >Against your better judgment, you speak up.
  52. "Is it safe to assume things aren't okay?"
  53. >You feel her head nod while buried in your shoulder.
  54. >She's still sobbing heavily, but it's slowly starting to lessen.
  55. >You wrap an arm around her and pat her back in an attempt to console her. Her breaths are shaky and erratic.
  56. >She feels so cold…
  57. >You have a terrible feeling she might have been a goner if you didn't answer that door.
  58. >You really, REALLY don't like that feeling.
  59. >You honestly don't know what to do. You've never encountered a situation like this before.
  60. >Her sobbing has subsided, for the most part.
  61. >You take that as a good thing.
  62. >You back away from her deathly embrace.
  63. "Here, let's go sit by the fire. You're freezing cold." You gently coerce her towards the den.
  64. >Without a word, she slowly shambles over to the fireplace. She's limping on her hind leg.
  65. >Jesus…
  66. >Her disheveled appearance deeply upsets you in a way you can't describe.
  67. >She sits (more like falls) down to the floor in front of the mantle.
  68. >You sit down cross legged next to her. She's staring blankly into the fire.
  69. >She's pale, and has heavy bags under her eyes. She's covered in numerous cuts, bruises, and scuffs.
  70. >Her breathing slowly starts coming around to being normal and controlled.
  71.  
  72. >Not even expecting an answer, you decide to ask anyway.
  73. "What happened?"
  74. >After a long while, she lets out a shaky sigh, and mutters one word:
  75. >"Banished."
  76. >Starlight? Banished?
  77. "What? Banished? By who?"
  78. >She could barely talk.
  79. >"Myself."
  80. >Wha-...
  81. >...
  82. >You don't know what answer you were expecting, but it certainly wasn't that.
  83. >There's no way this was all self-inflicted…
  84. >Right?
  85. >...
  86. >You are really at a loss for words.
  87. >Of all of the things you thought you'd do today, preventing a suicide was NOT one of them.
  88. >The thought of that happening, in Equestria of all places…
  89. >...
  90. >The waterworks have all but stopped. She continues to stare into the flames, expressionless.
  91. >Her eyes are fluttering, like she's struggling to stay awake.
  92. >Her head bobs slightly, and she catches herself.
  93. >You don't know how long she's been awake, it looks like it's been years, judging by her appearance.
  94. >You can't stand this.
  95. >By some divine intervention, or just some intense need to protect this mare, whichever it may be, you scoop her up gently.
  96. >She's startled, but she's losing consciousness too fast to really do anything.
  97. >You take her to your bedroom, and gently lie her on the bed.
  98. >She is out cold, she nodded off in your arms.
  99. >If you didn't see and feel her still breathing you would have thought she died.
  100. >You cover her in your bedsheets. You don't care how dirty she is. You need to do laundry anyway.
  101. >Your mind is just racing at the speed of sound.
  102. >You have no idea why all of this is happening. Your curiosity is screaming at you, racking your brain at the possibilities.
  103. >Fuck.
  104. >Despite the situation, you do know one thing…
  105. >...she's safe now.
  106.  
  107. =====
  108.  
  109. >The blackness of the void
  110. >All-Consuming
  111. >Undulating
  112. >Cold
  113. >Dread
  114.  
  115. >An image appears before you
  116. >Blurry, but your mind's eye knows better.
  117. >A hallway. Monolithic. Stretching to infinity.
  118. >Pure white. Light shining in from the windows. Almost angelic.
  119. >The feeling of dread overwhelms, and you charge forward into infinity.
  120. >You cannot look back. You dare not look back. You aren't ready to face what's behind you.
  121. >The sound of your panicked hoof clops reverberate off of the pristine walls.
  122. >You feel it grow ever closer.
  123. >You strain yourself as much as you can to gain distance.
  124. >The hallway begins to fracture, the cracks chase you.
  125. >You must get to the end.
  126. >You have to try.
  127. >You always try to reach the end…
  128. >The ground crumbles beneath you.
  129. >...but you fail.
  130. >You fall, and are swallowed.
  131.  
  132. >You jolt awake, flailing.
  133. >You try to scream, but nothing escapes your mouth but a dry wheeze.
  134. >All of your mental faculties switch on as your heart rapidly slams in your chest, coursing adrenaline through your body.
  135. >Your brain processes it all at once.
  136. >You are in a bed. The last thing you remember is Anon taking you in and you passed out in front of his fireplace.
  137. >Anon must have carried you here.
  138. >You look down at the sheets.
  139. >They're thrown everywhere and are covered in dirt.
  140. >YOU are covered in dirt.
  141. >All of this almost made you forget about the searing pain in your stomach.
  142. >You are quite literally starving, you can't remember the last time you've eaten.
  143. >Without thinking much more about it, you use the slight amount of energy you have to crawl out of Anon's bed and limp out into the den.
  144.  
  145. =====
  146.  
  147. >Your overnight slumber on the couch wasn't as bad as you thought.
  148. >You feel fine. Rejuvenated, even.
  149. >Revitalized, if you will.
  150. >You still can't believe that Equestria has an IKEA.
  151. >Those equine Swedes know their stuff.
  152. >You sit upright on the sofa, and stare out of the window by the front door.
  153. >The mourning sun pours light through the circular windowsill, illuminating your den brilliantly.
  154. >Stacks of books sit atop your coffee table. You were going to return them to Twilight today, but I guess you have other plans now.
  155. >You really should check on Starlight again.
  156. >Hours after you laid her to rest in your bed, you've been feverishly checking in on her.
  157. >You kept fearing the worst, and you're still even a little anxious now.
  158. >You stand up, stretch off the post-sleep rigor mortis, and head to your bedroom.
  159. >You slowly open the door and enter. She's still sound asleep.
  160. >Her breathing is calmed and relaxed now, and she no longer feels like a corpse.
  161. >The relief you feel knowing she made it through the night was palpable.
  162. >Poor girl.
  163. >But you're glad she's alright.
  164. >You don't know when she'll wake up, so you decide to just go about your day normally.
  165. >You don't even bother grabbing fresh clothes out of the closet. You're not going anywhere today, so PJs it is.
  166. >You close the door gently behind you.
  167. >You stand there, looking out at the floorplan of your quaint little cottage, unsure of what to do next.
  168. >Hm.
  169. >Maybe she'll wake up once she smells breakfast?
  170. >You are pretty famished.
  171. >And you went to the market yesterday.
  172. >Good thing you stocked up.
  173. >You rifle through your pantry and fridge.
  174. >You end up settling on pancakes, eggs on toast, and hash browns. May as well go big, you have company, after all.
  175. >You light the burners on your stove and get to work.
  176.  
  177. >Your morning ritual goes by without interruption.
  178. >She never woke up for breakfast, sadly.
  179. >You ended up checking in on her a few more times to make sure she was alright.
  180. >The thought of waking Starlight up and getting her day started felt rude.
  181. >You have no idea how long she's been out there, and considering she's been asleep for nearly, what, 24 hours now? Jesus...
  182. >You figured she could use the rest.
  183. >You're just chillin' on your sofa reading any literature from the pile of books strewn about on your coffee table, killing time until she wakes up.
  184. >And lo' and behold...
  185. >A clicking of the door handle behind you knocks you out of your train of thought.
  186. >You turn to see your bedroom door slowly creek open and Starlight step out into the den.
  187. >You can't tell for sure, but she was probably asleep for at least 16 hours, you estimate.
  188. >She still seems out of it like yesterday, but at least she isn't shivering and crying.
  189. >Her matted and grimy mane, once flattened by the rain, is now frizzed and all over the place.
  190. >She looks like a disaster.
  191. "Hey, uh, you sleep okay?" You say sheepishly.
  192. >All she can do is close her eyes and half-heartedly nod.
  193. "I made breakfast for you. I would have woken you up, but you really looked like you needed the rest. I didn't want to be rude."
  194. >She stands in the doorway motionless for a few moments, before looking toward you and saying "Thank you."
  195. "I'll go heat it back up." You jump off of the couch and head to the kitchen.
  196. >I guess you have to remake that eggs and toast. No big deal, takes like 5 minutes.
  197. >Starlight slowly limps her way to the kitchen.
  198. >You're trying to hustle.
  199. >All you hear is the squeaking of the dinette chair on tile and Starlight sit in it. You're too focused to make eye contact.
  200. "I made pancakes, hash browns, and eggs on toast. I hope that's okay."
  201. >You hear an ecstatic "Great" from her. Well, as ecstatic as one can be in her state, anyway.
  202. >You crack an egg into the hot pan, it crackles viciously.
  203. >You can barely hear Starlight speak over the egg sizzling in the pan.
  204. >"Thank you so much, Anon." You barely make it out.
  205. "It's no problem, really. I'm glad you're alright."
  206. >"I don't deserve any of this…" Her voice trails off.
  207. "Hey now…" You turn to face her, she's hanging her head. "That is utter nonsense. I couldn't just leave you out there." You start to get slightly indignant at her, against your better judgement.
  208. >She mutters something under her breath you can't make out, but it sounded something along the lines of "You should have".
  209. >You would have asked her to repeat herself but you decided against it. You don't want to hear her say what you think she said.
  210. >Starlight speaks up again, her voice is shaking again.
  211. >"I messed up really bad, Anon…"
  212. >Her eyes begin to water and she sniffles.
  213. "Look, Starlight…" She looks up at you.
  214. "You don't have to tell me what happened if you don't want to. Conserve your energy."
  215. >Starlight looks back down as you finish up preparing her plate. She doesn't say another word.
  216.  
  217. "Enjoy." You say with a smile.
  218. >You place the meal in front of Starlight and she doesn't hesitate to dig in.
  219. >With her face.
  220. >Sure, you guess.
  221. >Wait, she's a unicorn. She can just levitate silverware-Oh.
  222. >Oh…
  223. >You didn't notice it until just now.
  224. >A chunk of her horn is missing out of the right side. You can see red, exposed tissue, like it's a chipped tooth.
  225. >Oh my god.
  226. "Starlight holy shit your horn! Are you okay? What the fuck happened?!" You're starting to panic.
  227. >Your outburst startled her.
  228. >"I'm fine, Anon." She says, monotone.
  229. "Clearly not! First the limping and now your horn! Let me find the bandages-"
  230. >"I said I'm FINE!" Starlight slams the table, making the china violently clang.
  231. >You freeze, staring directly at her.
  232. >She rescinds her furious demeanor as horror washes over her, like a realization just hit her hard.
  233. >She hides her face in her arms on the table, shaking in fear.
  234. >She's uttering "I'm sorry" over and over again, trying not to incur your wrath.
  235. >Jesus fucking Christ...
  236.  
  237. "It's okay, it's okay! I'm not going to hurt you!" You hold your hands up in a disarming manner, attempting to reassure her.
  238. >Her outburst genuinely startled you. You didn't expect that from her.
  239. >You've never seen a pony act like this before.
  240. >It's… kindof scary, to be frank. So many emotions all at once.
  241. >She's still hiding her face, her shaking stopped.
  242. "Do… do you need to be alone?" You hesitate to ask. She's been a handful, to put it lightly.
  243. >You see her shake her head, but say nothing.
  244. "Alright then."
  245. >You stare at her for a few moments. She sighs and sits back upright, staring at her food.
  246. >Hm.
  247. "You want something to drink? I have some OJ."
  248. >She nods, and slowly begins to eat again, still seemingly afraid to make eye contact.
  249. >You open the fridge and grab the jug of Sunny D to pour her a glass.
  250. >You take it to her and sit down at the dinette with her.
  251. >You sit in silence as she gingerly grabs the glass with both hooves and takes a sip.
  252. >You just sit there and watch her eat. She seems lost in her own little world, chowing down on those pancakes faster than the rest of your cooking.
  253. "Geez, just how hungry were you?"
  254. >"Very." Is all she muffles out through a full mouth.
  255. "Well, I'd slow down if I were you. No point in eating if you're going to vomit it back out."
  256. >She still refuses to make eye contact, but she seems to take your advice.
  257. >Just how long was she out there?
  258. >It really is just surreal how something like this can even happen here in Equestria, of all places.
  259. >Starlight seems like a normal pony. You don’t know much about her, but something about this situation seems wrong.
  260. >Very wrong.
  261. >Something about her seems… wrong.
  262. >You can’t pinpoint exactly why, and you don’t think you’re going to put much effort into trying.
  263. >You push the feeling down.
  264.  
  265. >She gulps down the last of her beverage and sets the empty glass on the counter.
  266. >She already looks a lot better after having had a meal.
  267. >You take the plate and glass from her and take them to the sink.
  268. >”Thank you so much, again.” Starlight speaks up from behind you. There still isn’t that much life in her voice, but she definitely has more energy than before.
  269. “It’s no problem, you should get cleaned up.”
  270. >”Oh, uhm, about that…”
  271. >You raise a brow.
  272. >”I can’t use magic because…uhm…” She pauses, unwilling to finish her sentence. “I-I can use your help…”
  273. >She’s clearly embarrassed, but she’s also desperate.
  274. >Nonetheless, the request caught you by surprise.
  275. “Oh, uh, alright.” You grab a chair from the dinette and you lead her to the bathroom.
  276.  
  277. >You turn the knob on the tap, the squeaking of the valves reverberates off of the white tiled walls.
  278. >Fresh water squirts from the showerhead. You aim the head to the center of the tub.
  279. >Once the water is sufficiently warm, Starlight carefully climbs into the tub, carefully minding her lame leg.
  280. >You place the chair next to the tub and get your brushes and soap ready.
  281. >Already you can see the water turning a muddy brown just from Starlight standing under the stream.
  282. >She shifts positions to make sure she gets her mane and coat thoroughly soaked.
  283. >She swings her head under the stream and yelps in pain, startling you.
  284. >”OW OW OW THAT HURT OW.” She holds her head and groans, in a sort of frustrated agony.
  285. >She sits still under the stream of water, very gently stroking her horn, trying to soothe the pain, hissing every time she pokes slightly too hard.
  286. >After a long while, she stands back up in the tub, and looks at you, with a concerned look.
  287. “Don’t worry, I’ll be as gentle as I possibly can around your horn.”
  288. >You squeeze the bottle of soap onto her back and tail and begin lathering.
  289. >The suds start turning a brownish-gray.
  290. >How is this much dirt coming out of her coat? The water was running mostly clear.
  291. >This pony’s state of being has shocked you at every turn. It’s quite impressive, actually.
  292. >Starlight noticeably relaxes as you rub the suds into her back and through her tail.
  293. >You really don’t want to ask again, but you feel it’s for her own good.
  294. “Is your horn something I should be concerned about?”
  295. >She takes a moment to respond.
  296. >”I-I just fell, is all. I-In the forest. I-I fell.” She says shakily, almost like she's trying to convince herself of that.
  297. >...uh huh.
  298. >Well then.
  299. >That would explain the limping.
  300. “Must have been quite a fall.”
  301. >The sound of rushing water out of the showerhead filled the room.
  302. >She seems despondent, now.
  303. >You finish lathering, grab the brush, and start scrubbing. Just really getting in there.
  304. “Will it, like, grow back?”
  305. >Starlight doesn’t respond, and you see her lower her head.
  306. >Oh.
  307. >Oh…
  308. >You lessen your scrubbing, pondering the implications.
  309.  
  310. >You feel her start shaking, like she’s struggling to stay standing.
  311. >You realize why once she speaks up once again, voice wavering like it’s suppressing a sob.
  312. >”I… tried to break it… my horn…”
  313. >You stop.
  314. >Your eyes widen, and you just listen.
  315. >”I tried to break it off… It hurt so bad…”
  316. >...
  317. >You…
  318. >Why would she…
  319. >The choking sobs come back at full force.
  320. >”I-I’m a fugitive…”
  321. >You drop the brush in the tub.
  322. >What in the…
  323. >What is happening?
  324. >”I-I can’t go back to Ponyville… I can’t see my friends again…
  325. >You lean back in your seat, stunned.
  326. >You have the palm of your hand pressed against your forehead, trying to wrap your head around this atomic bomb of information.
  327. >What the fuck, dude.
  328. “That… makes no sense. Aren’t you Twilight’s pupil? Don’t you work at the school?”
  329. >She slowly sits down in the tub, sobbing. You’re waiting for an answer.
  330. >She is trying her hardest to force words out of her mouth between gasps for air.
  331. >”We… had a fight… something about the school…”
  332. >You’re listening intently.
  333. >”Things kept escalating… then she said something to me… I don’t remember…”
  334. >She pauses briefly, gasping and sobbing.
  335. >”All I remember… is seeing red… then Twilight was on the floor… screaming… I think I hit her with my magic…”
  336. >She collapses into the tub, shaking even harder. She blocks the drain and it begins slowly filling with sudsy mudwater. Neither of you notice.
  337. >”There was blood… so much blood…
  338. >Jesus christ
  339. >”I-I-I heard hoofsteps… her friends were there, running… I ran away… I ran away like a pathetic coward…”
  340. >She continues to cry. You tune out the world around you, your mind is racing.
  341. >You can’t believe what you just heard.
  342. >She assaulted a princess.
  343. >Twilight Sparkle, no less. Your friend.
  344. >And in that moment, something in you snaps.
  345.  
  346. >You stand up from your seat, your hands are pressed to your temples, panicked.
  347. “Starlight what the fuck, what the FUCK!”
  348. >You can barely hear her begging for forgiveness between her gasps and phlegm.
  349. “So if I understand this right, you assaulted a fucking princess, and now I’m harboring a fugitive. Cool. Neat.”
  350. >You start pacing back and forth.
  351. “You know, I knew something was up. It took me a while, I know I’m a dumbass, but holy shit. I KNEW something was wrong.”
  352. >There are so many things running through your mind, you can’t process them all.
  353. “Oh my god and Twilight! How bad did you hurt her?!” You glare daggers at her
  354. >”I don’t know!” She yells back, shaking violently.
  355. “Oh my god… she-... she was the first pony that showed me any kindness when I came here. She gave me this life, and I can’t thank her enough. And this is how I repay her, by nursing her assailant back to health. This is the thanks I get from you? I get implicated in a murder scheme?”
  356. >You are out of breath. You can’t believe this is happening.
  357. “I have to go find Twilight. I have-...”
  358. >You just about storm out of the bathroom until a realization hits you.
  359. >You didn’t see anything about this in the newspaper.
  360. >There is absolutely no reason for you to know that Twilight was attacked and injured. She was fine when you got those books.
  361. >Fuck, you can’t just go find her, she’ll start asking questions.
  362. >What are you going to do?
  363. >You don’t know what to think. The walls feel like they’re closing in.
  364. >This can't be happening...
  365. >The sound of Starlight sobbing in the bathroom snaps you out of your headspace.
  366. >You hang your arms at your side and sigh, defeated.
  367. >You don’t know what to do.

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