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[AiE] Anon's Forty Eight hours

By ArchiveAccount
Created: 2023-09-19 02:25:28
Expiry: Never

  1. Written by That_Happy_Guy
  2.  
  3. Premise:
  4. >"Anon..."
  5. >"When you first came here, you talked to me of tales of your world."
  6. >"Astonishing tales of technology, amazing feats your race had surpassed and achieved."
  7. >"And then as we began to learn of your world's incredible traits, you learned of ours."
  8. >"But something is wrong now, anon."
  9. >"Something terribly wrong."
  10. >"It is... strange to explain anon."
  11. >"Something is going wrong with our magic."
  12. >"And I don't mean our magic, the princesses."
  13. >"Magic in general."
  14. >"Anon... You are a hole."
  15. >"You are a hole here, in this universe."
  16. >"Sucking magic in it, polluting it."
  17. >"A disturbance."
  18. >"At first, it was so small, so miniscule that Luna, or Twilight or I could not sense it."
  19. >"But it's... Growing stronger."
  20. >"And I fear it is a threat to us."
  21. >"Not just us, but Equestria as a whole."
  22. >"Anon... We can send you back home."
  23. >"I had found a way to do it just last night."
  24. >"It will take the combined magic of all the Alicorns to do it..."
  25. >"And I'm afraid anon... You don't have a choice in the matter."
  26. >"You have to leave, anon."
  27. >"..."
  28. >"But I understand, anon."
  29. >"You have made... Attachments. Special attachments."
  30. >"Strong friendships, and something more..."
  31. >"They haven't been informed of this situation."
  32. >"You can tell them yourself... Or I could."
  33. >"But you must make the decision soon."
  34. >"All you have now is 2 days."
  35. >"What will you do in these last 2 days on Equestria, anon?"
  36. Story:
  37. >"All you have now is two days."
  38. >Your heart sinks.
  39. >Two days.
  40. >You thought you could deal with this, given a little time, a week or so.
  41. >But two days?
  42. >Practically nothing.
  43. >It is a long ride back to Ponyville, your friends will be busy, and you will have to get ready.
  44. >... But it's all you have, isn't it?
  45. >So much unsaid.
  46. >So much you wanted to do.
  47. >You made plans here, you've lived here for a couple years now and Equestria...
  48. >It's your home.
  49. >And now you are forced to leave again.
  50. >It is either that or take the magic that this world needs to survive.
  51. >Condemn a planet or give of yourself.
  52. >You would have to be a gutless, heartless monster to even think of doing the former.
  53. >Sighing, you fight your tears and look to Celestia.
  54. "I'll miss you all..."
  55. >Her lip quivers, but quickly returns to its stoic form.
  56. >"I know you will."
  57. >Bringing you hand to your forehead, you don't bother to meet her gaze.
  58. "So do the forty eight hours start now or... When?"
  59. >"They start tomorrow, exactly at midnight."
  60. >You nod, turning away from the Princess and beggining to walk for the door.
  61. "Thank you."
  62. >You don't know exactly what you'll do with your time, but you have an idea.
  63. >First things first, you'll need a list.
  64. >Day one: Forty Eight Hours Remain.
  65. >As you sit at your desk, finishing up your "bucket list", you wipe some sweat from your brow.
  66. >This list should utilize the most of your time, bits, and... Happiness.
  67. >You plan to ignore the time limit set before you until the very end.
  68. >First item is a brief five hour nap.
  69. >Both to make sure you get SOME sleep, and so you'll be up at the same time as one of your greatest friends here.
  70. >Applejack.
  71. >Heading to bed, you set your second list under your bit pouch.
  72. >This will be a hell of a ride...
  73. >But you'll make it count.
  74. >Pulling out some cold medicinal powder you got from Twilight, you sprinkle it on your face.
  75. >Before the medicine can take effect, you set your alarm.
  76. >Your time starts...
  77. >Now...
  78. >Day one: Forty three hours remaining.
  79. >*Beep. Beep. Beep.*
  80. >Groaning, you slap at the alarm, trying to shut it off.
  81. >Jesus, why did you even set your alarm?
  82. >It's Saturday.
  83. >...
  84. >Panicking, you quickly jump out of bed, scrambling to look at your alarm.
  85. >5:05
  86. >Phew, just one snooze.
  87. >An acceptable loss of minutes.
  88. >Relaxing, you keep yourself awake, continuously reminding yourself these are the last days in Equestria.
  89. >Going to your wardrobe, you get on some "old" clothes and ready yourself for what is to come.
  90. >AJ is one of your best friends, the first one to find you when you were lost.
  91. >She has a habit of overworking herself.
  92. >Today, you are going to help with that, just a bit.
  93. >Putting on your boots, you sigh and go down to grab a quick breakfast, something you can eat on the way.
  94. >An apple with two slices of bread.
  95. >Reaching your front door, you pause.
  96. >You run back and grab your second list, the one you need to give to Pinkie.
  97. >With everything you need at the moment, you head downstairs.
  98. >The sun is barely rising.
  99. >"COCK A DOODLE DOO!"
  100. >Perfect.
  101. >Taking a light jog, you head for Sweet Apple Acres.
  102. >Arriving at the Apple family estate, you let yourself in past the gate.
  103. >You hear a growl followed by a series of high pitched barks.
  104. >Smiling, you head for the Apple clan's home.
  105. >Winona is running out the front door, looking ready to attack.
  106. >That quickly changes once she sees you.
  107. >She runs up, jumping at your legs as you pet her.
  108. "Hey girl! Heyeyeye."
  109. >She's a sweet dog.
  110. >You hear the familiar accent of a certain cowmare.
  111. >"Ugh, Winona! What'd ah say about rushin' out tha-"
  112. >As she exits the house, Applejack immediately turns her attention to you.
  113. >"Uh, Anon, what're ya doin' here? It's gotta least a few hours before ya usually wake up.
  114. >You chuckle, nodding.
  115. "Yes, yes, but I'm here with reason."
  116. >The cowmare chuckles, rolling her eyes.
  117. >"Uh huh. No offense Anon, but ah know farm work ain't yer specialty. Remember when ya tried workin' with us fer the fall harvest?"
  118. >You sigh, nodding.
  119. "Yes, but this is different... I won't be getting the chance again."
  120. >Your words hit the cowmare like a bag of bricks, shattering her friendly jabbings.
  121. >"Wh-What? Why not?!"
  122. >Her ruckus gets the attention of her siblings.
  123. >Applebloom and Big Mac step next to their sister, looking as confused as the orange mare did when she first saw you.
  124. >You throw the big lug a nod and wave to the filly.
  125. >She waves back as Big Mac chews his stalk.
  126. >The filly hops down.
  127. >"Heya Mr. anon! What're ya doin' here?"
  128. >You chuckle, placing your hands on the back of your head.
  129. "Heh, as I was telling Applejack, I wanted to help out. Today is my second to last day in Ponyville."
  130. >The filly looks shocked, tearing up.
  131. >"Wh-What?"
  132. >Applejack places a hoof over her sister, looking to you.
  133. >"Anon, yer gonna tell us what's goin' on right now. Ya don't just show up on our property and throw around vague prospects. Why're ya sayin' yer leavin'?"
  134. >Chuckling, you look the mare straight in the eyes.
  135. "Because I am. I'm moving. I leave for Canterlot the day after tomorrow."
  136. >You hold your ground, knowing that what you just said isn't technically a lie.
  137. >The pretty filly sniffles, tears running down her cheek.
  138. >"Why? Why can't ya stay here?"
  139. >Now comes the tricky part...
  140. "Well, Princess Celestia made me an offer. I have a new job waiting for me, one I would be... foolish to refuse."
  141. >There was a small lie of omission there.
  142. >You hope that the orange mare didn't catch it.
  143. >Applejack sighs, still stroking her sister.
  144. >"Consarn it Anon... is that why ya went ta Canterlot yesterday?"
  145. >You nod.
  146. "Yes."
  147. >Applejack accepts that, too busy comforting her sister.
  148. >You've played a big role in her life the past couple years.
  149. >It is no surprise she is taking this hard.
  150. >"A-Ah'm gonna miss ya."
  151. >You grit your teeth, looking away.
  152. "So will I..."
  153. >Taking a deep breath, you look back.
  154. "Which is why I'm here. To spend some time with my friends before I go."
  155. >The filly runs up to you, clinging to your leg.
  156. >You pet her head, looking to Applejack.
  157. "Still think I can't handle it?"
  158. >The mare's ear lower as she looks to her brother.
  159. >Big Mac just looks to her and nods.
  160. >Applejack sighs, throwing you a weak smile.
  161. >"Well, if yer offerin' ta help, n' ya want ta spend a lil while here. We'll be glad ta have ya."
  162. >Nodding, you pet the filly once more before walking up to the pony siblings.
  163. "So, mind if I stick with AJ while I help? Can't exactly buck those trees with these."
  164. >You give a weak kick, showing your inferior human lower body strength.
  165. >The mare chuckles.
  166. >"Sure. Ya can be mah go between. Sound good?"
  167. "Very."
  168. >Big Mac looks to Applebloom, who is once again clinging to your leg.
  169. >For a big filly, she sure is affectionate.
  170. >As she finally lets go, she walks to Big Mac.
  171. >"Can ah go with em too?"
  172. >He shakes his head.
  173. >"Eeenope."
  174. >He points to the western fields, then the eastern.
  175. >Her ears lower, lip trembling.
  176. >"O-Oh... right."
  177. >You would ask what is going on, but you are wasting valuable time.
  178. "So, shall we get started?"
  179. >Pulling the wheelbarrow, covered in sweat, you pant, dumping the apples as gently as you can into the pile.
  180. >With the wheelbarrow empty, you run back to Applejack, wheezing.
  181. >You are NOT meant for manual labor.
  182. >But it's needed.
  183. >As you near the cowmare, she bucks a tree, dropping every ripe apple into the buckets below.
  184. >Your can't help but notice the sheen she has, sweat running down her flanks and legs.
  185. >You have had some attraction to ponies for a while now, but you never acted on it, assuming you would have time.
  186. >If things were different, you would ask Applejack out.
  187. >But they are not.
  188. >They are what they are, and you know what you're going to do.
  189. >Starting to unload the buckets into the wheelbarrow, you take breather when you notice AJ huffing.
  190. "You know... you could always *Cough* take a water break."
  191. >She blows a raspberry.
  192. >"Uh huh."
  193. >Furrowing your brow, you unload the next bucket.
  194. "I mean it."
  195. >She just keeps going.
  196. >"Anon, ah'm fine. If yer tryin' ta find an excuse ta stop, ya aren't bein' forced ta help. Not that ah don't appreciate it, ah just know ya can't handle it."
  197. >Groaning, you walk up to the mare and place a hand on her back.
  198. "Applejack, I want to talk with you, but not while you're working."
  199. >She wiggles free, looking somewhat annoyed.
  200. >" N' why can't we talk here?"
  201. >You sigh, taking a knee.
  202. "Because, you can't get into the deep stuff while working, while your mind is in two places at once. I want your full attention while we talk about... what I want to talk about."
  203. >The mare freezes up, cheeks turning red.
  204. >She looks away before turning back to face you, a worried expression on her face.
  205. >"Uh, A-Anon, ya aren't... confessin' ta me, are ya?"
  206. >You chuckle, laughing at how close she is.
  207. "No, I'm not. This is different."
  208. >She sighs, relaxin'
  209. >"Oh thank Celestia."
  210. "Oh? Why thank Celestia?"
  211. >She freezes again, not looking at you.
  212. >"No reason."
  213. >You stand, crossing your arms.
  214. "No no, please, tell me."
  215. >"Uh-"
  216. "And remember, I don't have time to waste."
  217. >She groans.
  218. >"It's just... yer a human n' ah'm a pony. N', well, ah like ya Anon, ah do... but, ah'm not... IN ta that sort of stuff."
  219. >You nod, accepting that.
  220. "Okay. Still, if I was interested, would you feel the same way?"
  221. >She looks confused, not getting what you are trying to imply.
  222. "Think about it. Old friend wanting to be with his closest friend in a foreign world. Saying species be damned, he has feelings. Butterflies in the stomach."
  223. >She looks down, lips scrunching.
  224. >"Well, when ya put it like that..."
  225. >Petting her, you motion for the house.
  226. "Good thing that's not the case."
  227. >Applejack passes you, and you swear you caught her glimpsing back.
  228. >"Yeah... so, if that ain't what ya wanted ta talk about, what is it?"
  229. >You follow her, trying to find the right words.
  230. "Well, first... thank you."
  231. >She looks back, a humble smirk on her lips.
  232. >"Ah beg yer pardon?"
  233. "Just that. Thank you. For being a friend. For accepting me, giving me a helping hand, or hoof, and for... well, making me feel wanted in this world before many others."
  234. >She blushes, not out of intimacy, but embarrassment.
  235. >"Ah, shucks, it was nothin'. Just bein' a kind mare is all."
  236. >You nod, watching as she reaches the hose at the side of the house.
  237. "Yeah, but that mare is who I've grown to trust... it's who I'm going to miss."
  238. >She is about to take a sip when you spoke.
  239. >Stopping, the mare looks down before turning to you.
  240. >"Well, ah'm gonna miss ya too, but it ain't like we're never gonna see each other again. Ya'll be in Canterlot, n' me n' that girls visit there all the time. We'll still visit."
  241. >If only she knew how bad she was twisting the knife inside you.
  242. "Y-Yeah... if we can, have the time and all... that."
  243. >You sigh, looking to the sun.
  244. "Hey, AJ, what time do you think it is?"
  245. >She walks to a nearby window and peeks in.
  246. >"It's about nine ten right now. Give or take a couple a minutes."
  247. >Now is as good a time as any.
  248. >You walk up, grab the mare and hug her.
  249. >She squeals, struggling to escape before relaxing
  250. >"Ya sure ya ain't confessin'?".
  251. >Chuckling, you shake your head.
  252. "In another time, another life."
  253. >Letting her down, she hugs you.
  254. >"Ah meant it. Ah'll miss ya, ya big goof."
  255. >Nodding, you go for broke and peck her forehead.
  256. "Hey, tell your Big Mac and Applebloom I had to book."
  257. >She nods, smiling as her eyes look weak.
  258. >As you jog for the gate, you stop.
  259. "Oh! and there's going to be a party tomorrow."
  260. >Applejack quirks her head.
  261. >"Party?"
  262. >You nod.
  263. "Yeah, you're all invited!"
  264. >With that, you make your way to Sugarcube Corner.
  265. >A quick stop, but a necessary one.
  266. >As you enter the bakery, the early crowd the only ponies present, you head for the counter.
  267. >Mr. Cake flashes you a smile, holding his business etiquette in high regard.
  268. >"Welcome! What can I get for you Anon?"
  269. >You smile back, pulling out your bit pouch.
  270. "Blueberry tart, also, can I speak with Pinkie?"
  271. >The orange stallion nods, giving your pastry.
  272. >You find a seat and wait.
  273. >It doesn't take long for the pink pony to show up.
  274. >As usual, she is all smiles and sunshine.
  275. >One of the things you admired about the mare.
  276. >"Hiya Nonny! What'd ya wanna talk about?"
  277. >Pulling out your paper, you slide it to the mare.
  278. >She looks to it, then you, still smiling wide.
  279. "Lookie."
  280. >She peeks under it, eyes stretching a bit.
  281. >The pink pony gasps.
  282. >"Ooooooh, this is gonna be a big one!"
  283. "Mhmm, which is why I'm trusting it to you."
  284. >Her smile widens, tearing up again.
  285. >"I Pinkie Promise to make this the best, super dooper, most fun party EVER!"
  286. >Nodding, you know you can trust her.
  287. >"I just have oooone teensy weeensy question."
  288. >Taking a bit fro your tart, you wait for it.
  289. >"What's the occasion, huh? Is it like a human thingy? Will I need special balloons? Oooh! Oooh! Can I make a banner?!"
  290. >You smile weakens as you look to the table.
  291. "It's, uh, my going away party."
  292. >The pink pony's smile fades.
  293. >"... But that's... not a fun occasion."
  294. "Right, which is why I'll need to make it fun, so nobody is sad."
  295. >Your cheek fidgets a bit, feeling bad about putting Pinkie in this position.
  296. >You know she hates saying goodbye.
  297. "So, I need the best party mare to plan it. Can you do that for me?"
  298. >She nods, frowning a bit.
  299. >"Where are ya going? Will we see you again?"
  300. >You steel yourself.
  301. "I'm going to Canterlot, and maybe. I-I don't know."
  302. >Pinkie bounces back, giggling.
  303. >"Well, if you're going to Canterlot, then of course we'll see you again!"
  304. >Let her believe that, you'd rather the last hours with your friends be good ones, not pulled down by the horrid truth.
  305. "Right... So you'll do it?"
  306. >She nods.
  307. >"Uh huh! It'll all be ready by tomorrow!"
  308. >Letting off a sigh of relief, you relax just the smallest amount.
  309. "Good, cost isn't an issue by the way. Oh, and Pinkie?"
  310. >She looks to you, innocent eyes and all.
  311. >You stand up, walk over to her, and giver her a big old bear hug.
  312. >Unlike Applejack, she doesn't fight it.
  313. >She just returns it.
  314. >"Hee hee, what's this for Nonny?"
  315. "For being my friend."
  316. >The pink pony nuzzles in, cuddling up.
  317. >Sighing, you enjoy the hug before releasing her.
  318. >You're going to miss her smile.
  319. >Stretching, you pet her head.
  320. "I'll see you tomorrow Pinkie.
  321. >She follows you as you walk through the bakery.
  322. >"Where are you going no, Nonny?"
  323. "I have a long day ahead of me, and I plan to make it count."
  324. >She stops, causing you to look back and see she is saluting you.
  325. >You just chuckle, shaking your head.
  326. "Later Pinkie, and thanks again!"
  327. >Out the door, you plan to make a quick stop home for a shower and change of clothes, then you're stopping by Twilight's.
  328. >She has asked you many questions over the years, many invasive ones.
  329. >Now, you think you will finally answer them.
  330. >No matter how bad they get.
  331. >She deserves it.
  332. >As you sit across from Spike, teaching him a few more card tricks so he has something to remember you by, Twilight continues giggling, writing in her notepad.
  333. >"Hn-hehe, o-okay! So that's dating and courting out of the way, can we finally get to... you know?"
  334. >Sighing, you knew this was going to come up eventually.
  335. >Placing your cards back into the deck, you hand it to Spike, getting ready to ask him to leave.
  336. >He looks confused, holding the stack of fifty two.
  337. >"Wait, what?"
  338. "Keep them, why would I teach you all this if I didn't plan for you to use it?"
  339. >He grins, looking at his gift.
  340. >As he does, you see a small glimmer in his eyes.
  341. >"Thanks!"
  342. >It soon goes away as Twilight smacks him on the head with a rolled up paper, causing him to drop the cards.
  343. >"Ow!"
  344. >You glare at the purple mare, about to speak when she interrupts.
  345. >"Anon, Spike can't have things."
  346. >This only aggravates you more.
  347. "Why not?"
  348. >She sighs, using her magic to stack the cards back and placing them on her nightstand.
  349. >"Dragon greed. If he starts getting things, he'll get this insatiable need to hoard things."
  350. >Oh.
  351. >Looking back to Spike, you see his little heart breaking before your eyes.
  352. "Can't he keep this one thing, please?"
  353. >Twilight sighs, placing her notepad down.
  354. >"Fine, but they stay with me."
  355. >She looks to her number one assistant, whose smile has returned.
  356. >"Okay Spike?"
  357. >He nods.
  358. >"Sure, that's fair!"
  359. >You and Spike have very different definitions of fair.
  360. >Still, this "dragon greed" doesn't exactly sound harmless.
  361. >Besides, he'll still have them in a sense.
  362. >... Right?
  363. "Spike, you mind if Twilight and I speak alone for a few minutes?"
  364. >He looks to you, then to his deck.
  365. >"Is it all right if I take the cards with me?"
  366. >Twilight sighs, levitating the dragon's gift to him.
  367. >He grins as he grabs them, walking for the door.
  368. >"Thanks again Anon, I owe ya one."
  369. >As the dragon leaves, you hear Twilight's giggle fits go off again.
  370. >She is as giddy as can be.
  371. >Biting her lower lip, blushing, looking away as she goes off like a schoolgirl.
  372. >Heh, you'll miss this purple dork.
  373. >She tries to calm down, collect herself.
  374. >"O-Oh kay. so, ummm... mating?"
  375. >You find yourself smiling as you think of ways to explain this.
  376. >Not some pervy smile, brought on at the thought of teaching this mare sexual things.
  377. >A smile you have, knowing you can finally give her what she wants without fear that there will be a lot of awkward moments to follow.
  378. >Because you won't be here...
  379. >... And the smile is gone.
  380. >Sighing, you sit down and rub the back of your neck.
  381. "All right, well. Guess we'll start with the basics. Males of my species are horny almost twenty four seven. Females are somewhat the same, but they don't get nearly as frisky as men."
  382. >She nods, notepad back in front of her as she writes.
  383. "Humans don't go through a period of heat like you ponies do. We procreate whenever we want."
  384. >She looks confused at this.
  385. >"Huh, that doesn't seem very efficient, if your species is always distracted by sexual thoughts."
  386. >Twilight is actually turning this into an actual discussion?
  387. >Here you thought she was going to be flirting with you the entire time, it's the only reason you never talked with her about this in the first place!
  388. >Of course, what did you expect?
  389. >You knew she was interested, but you were never able to tell if it was scientific interest, or sexual.
  390. >Now you know.
  391. "Not really. My species needs to be able to adapt to any circumstance, having a set period of breeding kinda ruins that adaptability."
  392. >The purple mare furrows her brow.
  393. >"I don't get it."
  394. >Leaning back, you try to think of a good example, make things as clear for your friend as possible.
  395. "Let's see... Human's have conquered nearly all of Earth. Hot climates like desserts, tropics, and places near volcanoes. Cold climates like the arctics, we found ways to survive."
  396. >She is hanging on your every word.
  397. >Your smile is back.
  398. "Right. So, we had babies whenever we needed, ate whatever we needed, and did whatever we needed to survive. I think Celestia already sent you copies of what I told her researchers."
  399. >Twilight's ear flicks, eyes going wide.
  400. >Her horn lights up, searching through her bookcases.
  401. >After a moment she pulls out two thick binders.
  402. >She just stares at them before looking to you, confused.
  403. >"But, these are all about technology, how does that tie in to mating?"
  404. >You sigh, a little disappointed at how bad she is limiting herself.
  405. "Think about it, why would we need things like planes and cars?"
  406. >Her response is almost immediate.
  407. >"To get where you want to go."
  408. "Right, and why would we want to go there?"
  409. >She looks to you, slightly annoyed.
  410. >"Because you want to."
  411. >Chuckling, you lean in, eyes locked with the mare.
  412. "Yes, because we want to. Tell me, if you wanted to go to Cloudsdale, could you?"
  413. >She is about to respond with the obvious answer when it hits her.
  414. >Only with the help of magic.
  415. >She ponders for a second, really thinking critically.
  416. >In the end, she just sighs and shakes her head.
  417. >"I still don't get it. Your species mates whenever it wants so therefore it can adapt?"
  418. >You want to give her a better explanation, but you are no biologist.
  419. >All you know is that the human race has done something the pony race hasn't.
  420. >Taken nearly every frontier and claimed it.
  421. "I don't know what else to tell you. My species is because it is. Nothing its done has been without reason. Theory of evolution Twi."
  422. >As the last word leaves your lips, you see her eyes sparkle with realization.
  423. >She then smiles, giving a soft giggle.
  424. >"Right, that probably should have been a good enough answer."
  425. >She shows you her notepad, scribbling little drawings of humans on it.
  426. >"Evolution dictates that only the fit survive.Because humans have adapted to every environment they've encountered, it must have SOMETHING to do with your weird mating"
  427. >Smiling, you nod.
  428. >This is one of the many reasons you like this mare.
  429. >You can wax philosophy all day with her.
  430. >Scientific studies, theories, even just opinions.
  431. >She always has something intelligent to add or a counter analysis to bring to your attention.
  432. >Twilight is way smarter than you, but she still is able to hold very intelligent conversations with you, on your level.
  433. >Relaxing, you sigh.
  434. >You're going to miss these talks.
  435. >You never had someone like this back on Earth.
  436. >The purple mare sighs, a soft, yet tired smile on her lips.
  437. >"I still don't fully understand it, but I can see some correlation there... Heh, I think I'd like Earth."
  438. >Cringing, you briefly give the thought of you and Twilight on Earth together some thought.
  439. >Just you and your friend, still holding these same talks.
  440. >Still smiling, arguing, studying.
  441. >You press your feelings just a bit too hard, tearing up.
  442. >Twilight takes notice, bringing a hoof to wipe away your tear.
  443. >"Hey, come on. I told you that we'd see each other again. My family will be around, you can meet them! Impress them. You'll still be my friend."
  444. >Damn this mare and her unintentional knife wrenching.
  445. "I-I know... but it won't be the same."
  446. >Sighing, you force yourself to calm down, putting your emotions in check.
  447. >No tears Anon.
  448. >Not until you are gone.
  449. >Taking a deep breath, you look for a clock.
  450. >Just past noon, closer to one.
  451. >You still have things to do...
  452. >Things you have to do if you want to leave with no regrets.
  453. >Sitting up, you give Twilight a hug.
  454. >She returns it, patting your back.
  455. >"Heh, you're always giving hugs, why is that?"
  456. >You didn't think yourself one who gave hugs THAT often.
  457. >Maybe she is just counting today?
  458. "Because I want to treat my friends right. I want you all to know how much you mean to me."
  459. >She accepts that, leaning into the hug.
  460. >Feeling you have given her enough affection for now, you let go.
  461. "Listen, Twilight, I have to go."
  462. >She nods, looking over her notes.
  463. >As you head for the door, you hear a small gasp.
  464. >"Wait!"
  465. >You stop, turning around.
  466. >Twilight's cheeks are once again burning red.
  467. >She hides behind her notepad, stuttering.
  468. >"U-Uhhhh, there was... one more thing I wanted to ask."
  469. >Now THIS is what you were expecting the entire time.
  470. >You think you would have been disappointed if she didn't act like this once before you left.
  471. >Hiding your actual feelings, you give her a curious look.
  472. "What is it?"
  473. >She takes a deep breath, looking up.
  474. >"Nothing big... just, canIseeyourpenis?"
  475. >... This won't be weird, right?
  476. >You are the only human in Equestria after all.
  477. >And you're sure this is for science only.
  478. >... You hope.
  479. >Sighing, you steel yourself and unzip your fly.
  480. "Look, don't touch."
  481. >She nods, still not looking at you.
  482. >With your wang out, you wait.
  483. "... Well?"
  484. >"L-Look away."
  485. "What?"
  486. >She gulps.
  487. >"I can't do it with you looking!"
  488. >Letting off a slightly annoyed groan, you look away.
  489. "If this were anyone else Sparkle..."
  490. >*Click-click*
  491. "..."
  492. >You turn back to face her, seeing her horn still softly glowing as her eyes gaze at your glorious monkey dick.
  493. "Did you just take a picture of my cock?"
  494. >She blinks, still staring.
  495. >Her head turns to the side ever so slightly.
  496. >"N-No?"
  497. >It's always the quiet ones who are most horny.
  498. >Sighing, you redo your fly and turn back to the door.
  499. >If this were any other day, any day before you knew what was going to happen, you would have tackled her against the bed and made sure to get that picture.
  500. >But this isn't any other day.
  501. >You'll let her keep her little dirty pic.
  502. >Besides, it's kind of hot knowing an alien chick find you sexy enough to want pics.
  503. >Go human phallus.
  504. >As you grab her door handle, she calls out once more.
  505. >"W-Wait!"
  506. >You already showed her your dick, what more could she want?
  507. "Yeah Twi?"
  508. >She coughs.
  509. >"Well, you showed me yours... shouldn't I show you mine?"
  510. >... Go human phallus.
  511. >Chuckling, you shake your head.
  512. "It's fine Twi. I'm happy to help my little nerd friend."
  513. >She scoffs, hopping off her bed.
  514. >"Hey- I'm not a-"
  515. >Laughing a bit more, you whistle loudly.
  516. "Would you look at the time! gottagobye."
  517. >You rush out the door, the purple mare yelling for you to get back there.
  518. >As much fun as that would be, you'd rather not end up staring at Twilight flash herself at you.
  519. >She's your friend, not your girlfriend.
  520. >And aside from not wanting to hurt her anymore than you know you will when this all comes to a head.
  521. >You've heard about the ponies winking clits...
  522. >It took you years after you saw your first vagina to stop thinking they looked gross.
  523. >You'd rather not relive your awkward teenage days.
  524. >Besides, you still have to bury the hatchet with Dash.
  525. >Looking around the park, you are following the trail of clues that Dash is nearby.
  526. >Lots of clouds in the sky.
  527. >It's past midday, perfectly warm.
  528. >And there is a rainbow colored tail sticking out of the tree opposite you.
  529. >Taking a deep breath, you ready yourself for some possible shit endurance.
  530. >You know how petty Dash can be.
  531. >And you WON'T let her try and prolong this stupid animosity you two have had.
  532. >You should have done this long ago, but you're only human.
  533. >Walking up to the tree, you whistle.
  534. >No response.
  535. "Rainbow?"
  536. >The tail flicks itself at you.
  537. "Come on, we need to talk."
  538. >A loud snoring fills the air.
  539. >Subtle, she is not.
  540. >You shake the tree.
  541. "Dash, I'm serious!"
  542. >She clings to the branch, accidentally rolling so she is holding it upside down, back towards the ground.
  543. >"Whoa-oa-oa! Hey! Okay! Enough!"
  544. >She is now clinging for dear life to the branch.
  545. >Bad move, Anon.
  546. >Sighing, you get underneath her.
  547. "It's okay, I'll catch you."
  548. >She scoffs, trying to shimmy back right side up.
  549. >"Yeah right, you'll probably drop me."
  550. >Something about this mare always rubbed you the wrong way.
  551. >Maybe it was her undeserved overinflated ego.
  552. >Maybe it was her habit of showing off at the expense of others
  553. >Or maybe it has to do that she once got over three dozen ponies convinces you were a talking monkey Twilight experimented on.
  554. >You don't know, all of the above sounds good.
  555. >But now isn't the time to be human.
  556. >Now is the time to be the bigger man.
  557. "I'll catch you. If I don't, I'll..."
  558. >Fuck, what does she like again?
  559. >You know she hates books, she's always calling Twilight an egghead.
  560. >Oh, another option to add to the list, she makes fun of her friends.
  561. >She doesn't care too much for sweets, preferring stuff like hard apple cider.
  562. >Alcoholic.
  563. >And she is always ranting about the Wonderbolts, even if someone is trying to speak.
  564. >Self centered.
  565. >... Wait, that's it.
  566. "If I drop you, I'll buy you two tickets to see the Wonderbolts perform."
  567. >She looks to you in her possum like state.
  568. >"... In Canterlot, the week before the Grand Galloping Gala."
  569. >You don't know why the week before the Gala is so important, but you do know the importance of Canterlot.
  570. >So it'll be niiice and expensive.
  571. "Deal."
  572. >She sighs, letting go of the branch.
  573. >As you reach out to catch her, she lets her wings out and flies off, landing next to you.
  574. >Manipulating.
  575. >"I want them front row."
  576. >You cross your arms.
  577. "I said if I dropped you."
  578. >She thinks for a moment, face contorting into one of angered annoyance.
  579. >Cheater.
  580. >"So you're NOT going to get me a pair of tickets?"
  581. >You shake your head.
  582. >The blue pony blows a raspberry, about to take off.
  583. >Groaning, you bear hug her, keeping her from flying off.
  584. >"H-Hey! Get off of me!"
  585. >You grunt as she kicks at you.
  586. "Not until you listen to what I have to-"
  587. >"Help! Help! Rape!"
  588. >Your eyes shoot wide, clasping your hand over the mare's mouth.
  589. "Rainbow God Damned Dash, I am leaving!"
  590. >You pull your hand away and she spits out.
  591. >"Ptewy! Good! Go then! Just let me go first!"
  592. >Groaning, you clarify.
  593. "I meant I'm leaving Ponyville!"
  594. >She stops kicking, looking back at you.
  595. >"Huh?"
  596. "Yeah, day after Tomorrow."
  597. >She finally kicks herself free.
  598. >"Geez, just cause I mess with you you're going to run with your tail between your legs? Man, I didn't think you were such a wuss."
  599. >It takes all of your willpower not to just turn and walk away.
  600. >You do NOT want to leave things to fester any longer.
  601. "Trust me, I can put up with YOU. I'm leaving because... well, I don't have much of a choice."
  602. >She sits on her rump, crossing her front legs.
  603. >"Uh huh."
  604. "I mean it."
  605. >She raises an eye brow, giving you an apathetic stare.
  606. >You just meet it.
  607. >"... So, you're really going?"
  608. "Yes."
  609. >"And you came to see me... why?"
  610. >Sighing, you calm down a bit from the anger this mare built up in you, collecting yourself.
  611. "Because I don't want this to go on anymore. This little hatefest we keep feeding."
  612. >The mare rolls her eyes.
  613. >"Coulda fooled me."
  614. >Ignoring her comment, you go on.
  615. "I came here to bury the hatchet. To say I'm sorry for all the crap I've done and I don't hate you. You just really annoy me at times."
  616. >After a couple quiet moments, you see her wings lower a bit.
  617. >"So, you really mean it then? You're sorry?"
  618. >Nodding, you offer her a hand.
  619. "Yeah, I am."
  620. >She just looks at it, then you.
  621. >"For what specifically?"
  622. >Of course she wouldn't make this easy.
  623. "For those times I avoided you."
  624. >Dash rolls her hoof, signalling for you to go on.
  625. "For when I went out of my way to let you know how I felt."
  626. >The mare nods, ears flicking once.
  627. "Eugh, for making fun of your mane."
  628. >She snorts.
  629. >"You think I care about my mane?"
  630. "You did when I had Pinkie replace your shampoo with honey."
  631. >The mare snorts again, chuckling.
  632. >"That's only because it bucking hurt to get out!"
  633. >Well, she's laughing.
  634. >You're making progress.
  635. "Right, sorry about that too."
  636. >She sighs, giving a half smile.
  637. >"Well, I guess I'm sorry too."
  638. "... Fooor?"
  639. >She looks lost for a moment.
  640. >"Uhhh, having the town chase you during Nightmare night?"
  641. >Finally got an apology out of her for that.
  642. >You wonder what else you can get her to apologize for.
  643. "Anything else?"
  644. >She brings a hoof under her chin.
  645. >"How about that time I buried your house in snow?"
  646. >You force back a guffaw.
  647. >Truth be told, you forgot about that.
  648. >Probably because it got you three days off of work while they "rescued" you from your warm bed.
  649. "Okay, I'm sorry for being an ass."
  650. >She smirks.
  651. >"Same here."
  652. >Sighing, you feel good.
  653. >If she means this, then you won't feel bad leaving things the way they are.
  654. >... However, this also implies that you were petty and could have dealt with this at any time.
  655. >Kind of bittersweet.
  656. "So, compliment time then. You're a great flier."
  657. >She scoffs, rolling her eyes.
  658. >"No, duh. Already knew that."
  659. >You give the mare a weak stare.
  660. >"Buut, I'll take it. Uhhh, you clean up well."
  661. >Softening your gaze, you sigh and hold your hand out again.
  662. "You are a great friend to Twilight and the others."
  663. >She takes it, letting you pull her off her ass and onto all fours.
  664. >"Thanks, you too."
  665. >Standing there, you tap your fingers against your arm.
  666. "Soooo... I guess that's that?"
  667. >Dash just shrugs.
  668. >"I guess? Uh, thanks for actually settling this?"
  669. >Now comes the awkward.
  670. >You've become so used to being confrontational with her, that you don't know how to actually interact with the mare.
  671. "... Uhhh, there's going to be a party tomorrow."
  672. >"Oh yeah?"
  673. >You nod, clicking your tongue.
  674. "Yeah, uh, you're invited. If you want to come."
  675. >She sighs, looking away.
  676. >"Uh, sure... sounds fun."
  677. >Whistling, you turn to face the road.
  678. "So, I'm going this way."
  679. >Taking a couple steps, you hear the mare sigh and wings flap.
  680. >She hovers next to you.
  681. >"I really am sorry for giving you such a hard time. Just used to ribbing my friends, figured you would take it."
  682. >Smiling a bit, you turn to face her as you walk.
  683. "Oh, so you considered us friends back then?"
  684. >She nods, still at eye level with you.
  685. >"Yeah, until you got all sensitive about it."
  686. >You shrug.
  687. "I don't treat my friends bad. Figured you had something against me."
  688. >Dash sighs, taking to the ground and walking.
  689. >"I didn't."
  690. >Walking silently, you now feel bad.
  691. >All this bad blood over a misunderstanding.
  692. "I'm sorry I didn't try to fix this sooner."
  693. >The mare just walks with you as you near the park's exit.
  694. >"Me too."
  695. >Petting her head once, you turn to face your next destination.
  696. "Glad we finally fixed this. Hope life treats you well Dash!"
  697. >As you are about to walk off, the mare pulls on your pants.
  698. >"Agh, wait. I need to apologize for one last thing."
  699. >You stop, curious about what she is going to say.
  700. >"I'm... sory... about... uh, mdrerder."
  701. "What was that?"
  702. >She takes a deep breath.
  703. >"I'm sorry about emmberdereher"
  704. "Dash, you're mumbling."
  705. >She nods, bringing a hoof to her face.
  706. >"I'm sorry for embarrassing you in front of Fluttershy all this time."
  707. >Pantsings, calling out, and many many pranks.
  708. >All in front of the one mare you felt happy just being around.
  709. >And she is apologizing.
  710. >You wanted to get this done just to tie up your loose ends.
  711. >... This...
  712. >This is better than that.
  713. "O-Oh... Thanks Dash, really."
  714. >She sighs, giving a legitimate look of guilt.
  715. >"Yeah."
  716. >Petting her once more, you give her a quick hug.
  717. >As you let go, she groans.
  718. >"Don't do that. Save the mushy stuff for Shy or Pinkie."
  719. >Chuckling, you nod.
  720. "Sure, see you later Dash."
  721. >Now onto the next big thing you have planned.
  722. >You'll need your good suit, a large amount of bits...
  723. >And all the courage you can muster.
  724. >Standing outside of Rarity's Boutique, you sigh.
  725. >She is the only one you know who can help you prepare for this.
  726. >However... navigating this will be difficult.
  727. >For several reasons.
  728. >Still, you have to do this.
  729. >No regrets!
  730. >pushing the door in, you see the Unicorn in question with some customers.
  731. >"Ah, Anonymous! You're rather dressed up. Is there something you need?"
  732. >You nod, looking to her customers.
  733. >They look back, more than likely feeling that awkward feel of being in the middle of a conversation between two people you barely know.
  734. "Uhhh, can we talk in private?"
  735. >She gives you a stern look.
  736. >"Anonymous, I am working. Even though you are my friend, my customers must come first."
  737. >Yeah, you figured as much.
  738. "True, true. Sorry. When will you be free?"
  739. >She sighs, looking to her clock.
  740. >"Well, six o' clock should be good."
  741. >That's almost three hours from now!
  742. >Wasted time!
  743. >Dammit, you will have to reschedule everything then.
  744. >Prepare your Earth things tonight instead of tomorrow.
  745. >Which also means instead of having plenty of time before you left...
  746. >If you want to go through with your plan, you'll be cutting it incredibly close.
  747. >Still, you can't force Rarity to drop what she is doing for you.
  748. "A-All right. I'll, uh, be back at six."
  749. >She nods, smiling as she gives you a wave.
  750. >Leaving the boutique, you groan.
  751. >Now you have to kill three hours, three hours you need, waiting for Rarity.
  752. >Looking around, you wonder how best to use this time.
  753. >Out of the corner of your eye, you see Lyra looking towards you, smiling.
  754. >... Of course!
  755. >You only planned to spend time with your closest friends, and Dash, but with three hours, you could also give a little of it back to your other friends as well.
  756. >But it would HAVE to be quick stuff.
  757. >You can't just run up to them and ask them what they would want to do though...
  758. >Could you?
  759. >You don't have time to spend thinking too much on this.
  760. >Running up to the minty mare, you take a hood and look her dead in the eye.
  761. "Lyra."
  762. >She gives off an awkward chuckle, smiling as she looks you in the eye.
  763. >"Uh-um, yes Anon?"
  764. "If you could do anything in the world right now with me, what would you want to do?"
  765. >The Unicorn looks shocked, eyes wide as a blush runs over her cheeks.
  766. >"What?"
  767. "Anything in the world as friends, what would you do?"
  768. >She blinks, looking down before staring back into your eyes.
  769. >"U-Uhhh, a kiss?"
  770. >Planting a quick peck on her cheek, you can feel the heat coming off of her.
  771. >She squeals.
  772. >"Another?"
  773. >Sighing, you do it again.
  774. >The mare now has the biggest cheek to cheek smile you've ever seen.
  775. >Letting her hoof go, she holds it out.
  776. >"Wait! Um, what's the rush?"
  777. "Have to let everyone I have a friendship with know I appreciate them."
  778. >Lyra lets off an "oh", looking a bit disheartened.
  779. >"Well... if you need help, I could, you know... help?"
  780. >Thinking on it, you nod.
  781. "Could you help me find the following ponies?"
  782. >The minty Unicorn nods, looking up to you.
  783. >"Of course~"
  784. >Groaning, you take a seat and look at a clock from a window.
  785. >Five to six.
  786. >Relaxing a bit, you suddenly feel like your original plan was lacking.
  787. >Spending time with only six ponies would actually seem quite selfish.
  788. >With your impromptu "free time", you just filled out your schedule MUCH more efficiently.
  789. >You helped Octavia restring her cello.
  790. >Helped Derpy deliver a couple letters to houses with big dogs.
  791. >Gave Aloe and Lotus Blossom a male's opinion on scented oils.
  792. >Helped Cranky break down a wall.
  793. >Fixed Timer Turner's loose door.
  794. >Gave Bulk Biceps a pep talk that basically amounted to you and him shouting yeah at each other.
  795. >Gave Cloudchaser and Flitter a confidence boost by helping them get revenge on another pair of Pegasi twins who broke up with them to, ironically enough, date a different pair of Pegasi twins.
  796. >And last, but not least, helped Blossomforth get her groove back.
  797. >You fitted more friendly interaction in three hours than you have ten.
  798. >Your schedule was a shit.
  799. >Looking back at the clock, you groan once more as you stand.
  800. >Six o' clock on the dot.
  801. >Making your way to the boutique, you see a diamond dog running out of it as a scream is heard within.
  802. >As he passes you, you pounce him.
  803. >He drops a bag of gems.
  804. >"Agh! No! My geeems!"
  805. >You just lay on top of him, enjoying the brief break as Rarity runs up to you.
  806. >"Rover, you fiendish thief! Did you learn NOTHING from our previous encounter?"
  807. >The dog opens his mouth, letting off a prolonged "Uhhhh".
  808. >"Y-Yeees?"
  809. >Rarity groans, magicking a pair of cuffs that keep him stuck to the ground.
  810. >Getting up, you sigh.
  811. "Sit boy, sit."
  812. >The white mare gives off a chuckle before looking at you.
  813. >Upon seeing you, she frowns, letting off a whimper.
  814. >"Ooooh, Anonymous! What have you been doing?"
  815. "... Lots of stuff."
  816. >Rarity sighs, picking up her gems before walking up to you.
  817. >"Your suit, it's soaking in sweat and covered in dirt!"
  818. >Looking down, you see she is right.
  819. >The only good suit you have in all of Equestria.
  820. >The cornerstone of your big date plan.
  821. >Ruined.
  822. >Feeling your jaw tremble a bit, you almost yell out.
  823. >Rarity sees this and sighs, getting up on her hind legs and hugging you.
  824. >"Oooh, I can see that something is on your mind. Come come."
  825. >She magically grasps the cuff of your sleeve, dragging you into her place of work as the diamond dog whimpers.
  826. >You hope she doesn't forget him there.
  827. >Rarity sets the bag down, sighing as she switches her open sign to closed.
  828. >"I am sorry about shooing you off as I did, but I am a business mare."
  829. >You just nod, looking around.
  830. "It's fine, I can respect your priorities."
  831. >Rarity turns to face you, a soft smile on her lips.
  832. >"Well, I am free now. So, what is it that you wanted to talk about."
  833. >Sighing, you run a hand over your wet face.
  834. "I... want your help with something."
  835. >She quirks her head.
  836. >"Well, what specifically darling?"
  837. >Gulping, you are about to say what when a you cough.
  838. >Your words catch in your throat.
  839. >Sighing, you shake your head, trying to find the courage to admit something you've wanted for a while now, but figured you could work with at your own pace.
  840. >Aaand you can't say it.
  841. >Well, might as well admit the actual help you need.
  842. "I... want to... learn to dance."
  843. >Rarity looks quite confused at your statement.
  844. >"Is... that all? I mean, surely there are more suited ponies who could teach you something-"
  845. >The prospect of Rarity denying you her immediate help sets something off in you.
  846. >Where you were struggling to speak before, words now flood past your lips.
  847. "No! I want to learn to dance, learn to flirt with a mare, learn to make her feel beautiful."
  848. >Taking a breath, you keep going with the sudden foolish bravery.
  849. "I want to romance, to make one of those fantasy dates people or ponies only hear about a reality, to leave a mare speechless!"
  850. >Feeling your bravery slipping, you throw your head back, hands on your head as you make the last statement clear.
  851. "I want to ask Fluttershy out!"
  852. >Panting, struggling to breathe, you lower your head and see Rarity paralyzed.
  853. >In shock of everything you just said, the last part, or the fact you are admitting to being interested in ponies, remains to be seen.
  854. >"Oh-Oh my. That is quite... Um, well. W-Why come to me?"
  855. >Taking a deep breath, you shut your eyes.
  856. "Because you're the only mare I know who can pull this off."
  857. >Keeping your eyes shut, you hear Rarity giggle.
  858. >"Oh, Anon. You're wrong."
  859. >Opening them, you see she has walked in front of you, her hoof pressed against your leg.
  860. >"You can prepare this at your own pace, there is no need to rush this. Find a proper dance instructor, study what you wish to do with Fluttershy. You have time."
  861. >... Every time.
  862. >Always with the knife, and the twisting, and the wanting to cry.
  863. "I'm leaving the day after tomorrow."
  864. >The Unicorn's sweet smile is gone, replaced with a look of worry.
  865. >"Wh-What?"
  866. "I'm leaving for Canterlot... this is my last chance to do this."
  867. >She stutters, tripping over her own words.
  868. >"Anonymous! Why are you just now telling me this?"
  869. "Because I just found out myself."
  870. >Rarity sighs, looking to you with concern in her eyes.
  871. >"Anon, we are friends. So let me tell you, as a friend, that you might not wish to pursue a relationship with Fluttershy."
  872. >Before you can react, she raises a hoof.
  873. >"I am not trying to hurt you. Quite the contrary, I am trying to keep you from getting hurt. If you pursue our dear friend in a romantic way now... a long distance relationship will only end up hurting you both."
  874. >Lips trembling, you gently toss your hands down.
  875. "Don't you think I know that?"
  876. >She just looks to you, listening.
  877. "I know she and I won't go anywhere. I know nothing long term will work. That isn't going to stop me though."
  878. >Closing your eyes once more, you just speak from the heart.
  879. "I wasted so much time, trying to figure out how I felt, that I'm running out of it. Now, I lost my chance for something long term, but I still want to give it a shot!"
  880. >Your lip stops trembling.
  881. "I want to see if anything is there, I want to at least try and see if she and I COULD have been something..."
  882. >Opening your eyes, you see Rarity tearing up, a hoof to her lips.
  883. "I want closure... knowing that either we wouldn't have worked, or that we could have been something."
  884. >The mare nods, understanding.
  885. >You release a sigh, shaking your head.
  886. "I was going to ask her out tonight, get your help at three... but... well, life came up."
  887. >She chokes up.
  888. >"I-I am so sorry."
  889. >You smile, soft, vulnerable.
  890. "Don't be. You had priorities... but, please, help me now? Teach me to give Fluttershy a... well, a date she'll never forget?"
  891. >The mare runs up to you, hugging your waist as she nods.
  892. >"Ye-he-heees! I will do everything within my power to help you! Oh, Anon, you helpless romantic! Let us get you ready to show our dear friend Fluttershy the best time of her life to this day!"
  893. >You're the helpless romantic?
  894. >Rarity is the one who dreamed of getting married to a Prince!
  895. >You just want to see if you and Fluttershy are just friends.
  896. >... Like the story to all those chick flicks.
  897. >Shhhhit.
  898. >You ARE a helpless romantic.
  899. >Sighing, adjusting your new tie to your pristine fresh suit, you stand outside of Fluttershy's cottage.
  900. >It is now or never Anon.
  901. >Stepping up to her front door, you knock.
  902. >As it opens, you steel yourself.
  903. "Fluttershy I-"
  904. >You blink, seeing nothing.
  905. >A small, almost inaudible throat clearing has you look down.
  906. >Angel is there, looking quite annoyed.
  907. >He points to his wrist.
  908. "Hi Angel. Yes, I know it's late, but if I could just-"
  909. >He tries to slam the door, but you stick your shoe in the way.
  910. >It slams against it, sending a sharp pain up it.
  911. "YOW!"
  912. >Yelling out, you hop, grabbing your foot.
  913. "DAMMIT!"
  914. >It stings like hell!
  915. >It must have hit a tender spot!
  916. >As you continue to hop, the rabbit finished closing the door.
  917. "Angel!"
  918. >He hops up to the window, blowing a raspberry at you.
  919. "Angel, you get back here!"
  920. >As your pain subsides, you put your foot down and yell.
  921. >The front door opens again, this time, the mare you want to speak with behind it.
  922. >"Oh! Anon! I'm so sorry! Angel is just fussy because he's sleepy, I hope-"
  923. >Once again, that foolish courage returns.
  924. >And you are glad it's back, else you might have let this chance have slipped by.
  925. "Fluttershy, will you go on a date with me!"
  926. >She stiffens up, unblinking.
  927. >As the moments pass, her not answering, more and more worry builds inside you.
  928. >She continues to stare, not blinking, moments growing to minutes.
  929. >After so long,s he closes the door.
  930. >You rush to it.
  931. "Fluttershy, wait!"
  932. >She whimpers behind it.
  933. >"I-I'm so so so sorry Anon! I-I'm just not looking for a colt friend at the moment!"
  934. >Pressing the underside of your fist against the door, you look to the ground.
  935. "I get it... I just... I wanted to take you out. Fluttershy, I know this seems out of nowhere, but my hand is being forced. I could have either never said anything and left things up in the air... or, as I'm doing, risk it all..."
  936. >She is silent, leaving you with your thoughts.
  937. >"... Why is your hand being forced?"
  938. >You think of telling her the truth, letting her be the only one to hear it from you.
  939. >But you don't want to hurt her.
  940. "I am moving the day after tomorrow, and we'll probably never see each other again."
  941. >Silence is once again her response.
  942. >After a few tense moments, she opens her door.
  943. >"Do you... do you really to take ME out on a date?"
  944. >You look her dead in the eyes.
  945. "I could have asked Applejack, Twilight, Lyra... so many others... but no, I want you."
  946. >She looks to the ground, thinking.
  947. >"Well... I-I suppose... a little date couldn't hurt."
  948. >Stepping back, you let the smallest of smiles find its way to your lips.
  949. "So is that a yes?"
  950. >Fluttershy nods, smiling at you.
  951. >"S-Sure. Oh, but... um... I've... never been out with anyone before. S-Sorry if that'll be a problem. I-It's why I didn't want to say yes... I didn't want to disappoint you."
  952. >You chuckle, shaking your head.
  953. >Makes sense, given how introverted she is.
  954. "It's fine, Fluttershy. I'll make sure your first date is a good one."
  955. >Your statement seems to calm her, she opens the door a little wider.
  956. >"I-If you want, we could have a drink right now. If that's okay with you."
  957. >You shake your head, taking steps backwards.
  958. "I would LOVE to, but I have a couple things to take care of."
  959. >She nods, kicking at the floor.
  960. >"Okay then... see you tomorrow?"
  961. >As you are about to answer, you make sure to make the mare aware.
  962. "Actually, yeah, but before the date. Pinkie's helping me throw a going away party... see you there?"
  963. >She nods, rubbing her leg.
  964. >"Mhmm."
  965. >Chuckling, you stop, rubbing the back of your neck.
  966. "Cool... I-I mean, great, yeah... see you there?"
  967. >The mare giggles, nodding.
  968. >"See you there. Bye bye Anon."
  969. >She slowly closes her door, peeking at you the entire time.
  970. >Sighing, you relax.
  971. >It's finally happening.
  972. >With joy in your step, you get ready to head back home and pack.
  973. >As you do, you pass a clock in the streets.
  974. >Day two: Twenty four hours remaining.
  975. >As you lay in bed, getting your brief five hours of sleep again, you feel a small shake.
  976. >Nothing too serious, certainly not enough to wake you up, but what follows...
  977. >*BANG!*
  978. >Eyes shooting wide, you fall out of bed and struggle to get your bearings.
  979. "H-Hubuh?"
  980. >Panting, shocked, and shaking, you look for your clock.
  981. >As you do, your alarm goes off, signalling that it's 6 am.
  982. >Many groans and moans fill the air.
  983. >"Whazzat?"
  984. >"Who set off that explosion?"
  985. >"Oooh, pretty colors."
  986. >As you stand, finally calming down, another set of explosions go off.
  987. >*BANG! BANG BANG BANG!*
  988. >"AAAAAAAAAAHH!"
  989. >Covering your ears, you wait for the screams to fade, they are soon replaced by parade music.
  990. >Confused, you look out your window and see ponies marching through the streets, carrying banners.
  991. >Looking at their destination, you see stalls upon stalls being set up.
  992. "What in the-"
  993. >*BANG!*
  994. >Having lost it's initial surprise, you just cringe.
  995. >Looking at the still darkened sky, you see fireworks going off.
  996. >You chuckle, looking back outside to see pony families filling the streets.
  997. >Many are still in their sleep wear.
  998. >As you wonder what is going on, a knock comes from your door.
  999. >As you head towards it, the frame suddenly bursts open, Pinkie Pie on the other side.
  1000. >She is wearing insanely large sunglasses, is blowing several noise makers at once, and has the strangest costume you have ever seen on.
  1001. >You'd have to describe it as a mix between a Las Vegas showgirl outfit and a Carnival one.
  1002. >"Nonny! It's Sun Celebration day!"
  1003. >Still unable to form full coherent thoughts, you scratch your head.
  1004. "Sun what day?"
  1005. >The pink mare giggles, showing you a flyer.
  1006. >Apparently there is an ancient holiday that hasn't been practiced for centuries that the royal family wishes to bring back.
  1007. >As you are about to speak, Pinkie jumps at you, clinging to your back.
  1008. >"This is great! Everyone gets the day off of work, and there's a big fair, and we can have your going away party WITH the fair!"
  1009. >Struggling to keep your balance, the mare still holds you in a bear hug.
  1010. >You eventually wiggle free, sitting on the bed once you can.
  1011. "Um, wow. Sun Celebration day, huh? That seems... uh-"
  1012. >As you struggle to find the right words, you hear a knocking from your FRONT door.
  1013. "One sec Pinkie."
  1014. >As you go to check out who is knocking, the dressed up mare takes a seat on your bed.
  1015. >Arriving at the front door, you open it and see Derpy standing there with a large box.
  1016. >She is struggling to hold it.
  1017. >"Nnn, sp-special delivery."
  1018. >Rushing to the mare's side, you take the box and set it down.
  1019. >"Gah! Whoo! Thanks Anon."
  1020. >She flashes you a smile, eyes cutely cross eyed.
  1021. "No problem Derpy. Isn't it a little bit early for you to be making runs though?"
  1022. >The Pegasus nods, reaching back and pulling out a letter.
  1023. >It has a gold wax seal on it.
  1024. >"Normally, yeah, but a set of instructions from Princess Celestia said that this package NEEDED to be delivered before the sun fully rose."
  1025. >Looking to the sky, you can see she is just barely on time.
  1026. "Oh, well then. Thanks Derpy."
  1027. >She smiles again, pulling out a clipboard.
  1028. >"Signature here please!"
  1029. >You sign the paper and the mare is quickly off.
  1030. >Curious as to what is in the box, you push it inside and close your front door.
  1031. >Placing the letter on the floor, you take a knee.
  1032. >This box must have been half of Derpy's size.
  1033. >How did she get it all the way here by herself?
  1034. >Trying to lift it, you struggle a bit before giving up, not wanting to risk any back injuries.
  1035. >Pulling at the tape, you open the flaps and your eyes shoot wide.
  1036. >The box is fulled with bits.
  1037. >Gulping, you run a hand through your hair and shake your head.
  1038. "What in the..."
  1039. >Hoping the letter will have some answer, you carefully release the wax seal and unfold it.
  1040. >This is definitely Celestia's handwriting.
  1041. >Hoof-writing.
  1042. >Magic-writing?
  1043. >This is definitely from Celestia.
  1044. >Looking it over, you brace yourself for any level of good to bad news.
  1045. >"Anonymous, I hope this letter finds you well. Perhaps that is wishing a bit much given what is going on, but it is still what I hope. If this letter arrives on time, you should just now be hearing fireworks go off and music fill the town. This is due to a fake celebration that I have orchestrated."
  1046. >So Sun Celebration day is fake?
  1047. >You had no idea.
  1048. >Sarcasm.
  1049. >"Consider this my final gift to you, a day to celebrate with your friends. I know it is not easy asking you to give them up, even if you were compliant with leaving. I saw the pain in your eyes, that you were giving up a lifetime of possibilities. I hope one day you can forgive me, for what I am making you do. For now, please, enjoy the celebration. Use these bits how you see fit. Yours truly, Princess Celestia."
  1050. >Chuckling, you look back to the box.
  1051. "Thanks Princess..."
  1052. >Looking at the box, you weigh your options.
  1053. >You can do a lot with these bits.
  1054. >Have an amazing day.
  1055. >Donate them to help the less fortunate.
  1056. >Even give Fluttershy the dream that girls and fillies can only dream of!
  1057. >... In fact, if you add in the meager addition of your own savings, you can easily do all three.
  1058. >Spend what you want with your friends, give the mare of your eye an extravagant date, and give the rest away.
  1059. >Money in and of itself can't buy happiness...
  1060. >But the things you can do with it sure can!
  1061. >Chuckling once more, you stuff your pockets with bits, planning to use what you can for the fair.
  1062. >... That Pinkie first told you about.
  1063. >Who is up in your room alone.
  1064. >Pushing the box away, you head back upstairs.
  1065. >Pinkie is laying back on your bed, reading a book of some sorts.
  1066. >"Tsk, I don't care what anypony says, I'm a party animal."
  1067. >What?
  1068. >Walking to her side, you see that the book is actually a book sized magazine.
  1069. >You are about to question why any magazine company would print in book sized issues, when you decide it doesn't really matter.
  1070. >Looking to Pinkie, you see her staring back, smiling.
  1071. >"Hi."
  1072. "Hey."
  1073. >"I like your room. it's nice and roomy."
  1074. "Thanks."
  1075. >Thinking on it, you have a question for the mare.
  1076. "How did you get into my house?"
  1077. >She continues to smile.
  1078. >"Huh?"
  1079. "Yeah, how did you get in here? My front door was still locked and all my windows are closed."
  1080. >Pinkie Pie politely closes her magazine, sits up, and looks you dead in the eye.
  1081. >"I picked your lock."
  1082. "... That's disturbing."
  1083. >She scoffs, looking hurt.
  1084. >"Uhbu-What? I just wanted to make sure my bestest friend with two feet and no scales who is leaving tomorrow got to be the first one I told about the super duper good news!"
  1085. >Right, leaving.
  1086. >No need to stress over the little things like your friend breaking and entering.
  1087. >...
  1088. >That was weird to think.
  1089. "Right, right. Sorry Pinkie."
  1090. >She glomps you before hopping off your bed.
  1091. >"Apology accepted. So! What do ya wanna do?"
  1092. >With everything you are taking packed and your date with Fluttershy later in the day, you have quite a few hours to yourself.
  1093. >Looking outside your window, you hum.
  1094. "Well, I guess first I'll do what I can with my friends."
  1095. >"Uh huh!"
  1096. "Probably have my party at noon or so."
  1097. >"Okay!"
  1098. "Then... err, did I tell you I have a date with Fluttershy?"
  1099. >Your pink pony pal gasps.
  1100. >"No way!"
  1101. >Nodding, you look further out the window, hoping she doesn't see you blushing.
  1102. "Y-Yeah. I'll probably take her out at fiveish."
  1103. >Giving you plenty of time to dine the mare, romance her, and see if you two click or not.
  1104. >"Sounds like a plan to me!"
  1105. >Pinkie grabs your hand, about to drag you out of your house.
  1106. "Whoa-Pinkie-Pinkie!"
  1107. >She stops, looking back to you.
  1108. >"Yeah?"
  1109. "Kind of have to get dressed."
  1110. >She gasps, bringing her hooves to her mouth.
  1111. >"Oh! Right, right."
  1112. >The pink mare sits.
  1113. "... As in undress."
  1114. >"Of course."
  1115. >She continues to sit there, giving you a neutral expression.
  1116. "... Alone."
  1117. >She gives you a silent *ohhhhh*, failing to realize the taboo of nudity for humans.
  1118. >Makes sense though, you've only ever told Twilight and Rarity.
  1119. >No one else really questioned why you wore clothes.
  1120. >As the pink mare makes her way out, excusing herself the entire time, you sigh.
  1121. >Closing the door, you begin to strip.
  1122. >Lifting your shirt over your head, you hear a thud.
  1123. >Rainbow Dash currently has her face plastered against your window.
  1124. >Confused, you open it up and let her in.
  1125. >She flops and the floor and rubs her head.
  1126. >"Eugh, ow."
  1127. >You squat, offering the mare a hand.
  1128. "You all right?"
  1129. >She nods, taking it, letting you help her up.
  1130. >"Yeah, I'm cool."
  1131. >Looking to her wings, you see them still fluttering.
  1132. "You can stop that now, you are on the ground after all."
  1133. >She groans.
  1134. >"I know, but I can't."
  1135. >The rainbow maned mare tries pushing her wings down, keeping them from buzzing about.
  1136. >She finally relents, pulling out a folded up piece of paper and giving it to you.
  1137. >"Apparently Rarity had a stroke of genius and -insisted- I deliver this to you."
  1138. >That seems unusual for her to do.
  1139. >Taking the letter, Dash's wings stop buzzing.
  1140. >She gasps, smiling as she takes to the air of her own volition.
  1141. >"Aw yeah! Back in control!"
  1142. >She chuckles before bolting out of your room, pulling everything you haven't packed onto the floor.
  1143. >Clothes, books, pictures.
  1144. >Sighing, you just shake your head and unfold the paper.
  1145. >"Eeeh! Anonymous! I have just had the most perfect, perfect, PERFECT idea for your evening with our dear friend Fluttershy! Please meet me when you can for further details. - R"
  1146. >She wing-jacked Rainbow Dash to let you know ahead of time that she has an idea for YOUR date?
  1147. >... Yeah, you can see that happening.
  1148. >Pocketing the letter, you jingle the bits in your pocket.
  1149. "..."
  1150. >*Jingle jingle*
  1151. >Heh, money.
  1152. >Looking at your room, you see the only things not pulled from their place are your suit and a casual outfit.
  1153. >Either someone is trying to tell you something or these two pieces of clothes are incredibly stubborn.
  1154. >Stripping off your pajama bottoms, you grab the casual outfit and head for the bathroom.
  1155. >Can't go out unclean.
  1156. >"Ooh, what about that one?"
  1157. >As Pinkie points to another food stand, you shake your head.
  1158. "Nah, fried foods don't seem like a breakfast type deal."
  1159. >She hums, scanning for another stand.
  1160. >"That one?"
  1161. "Popcorn? Really?"
  1162. >The mare brings a hoof to her chin.
  1163. >"That one!"
  1164. >She is now pointing at Sugarcube Corner.
  1165. "Yeah, that works."
  1166. >Following Pinkie as she trots into the bakery, you can see it is all but empty.
  1167. >Only the cakes and their toddlers are present.
  1168. >You remember when they were just babies.
  1169. >Evil evil babies.
  1170. >Mr. Cake looks to you, chuckling as he sets his son down.
  1171. >"Well, hi there Anonymous, what can I do you for?"
  1172. "Hey Mr. Cake. Pinkie and I are just looking for a bite to eat."
  1173. >He sighs, giving you a weak smile.
  1174. >"Well, we'd love to help you, but we're closed for the day."
  1175. >Mrs. Cake nods.
  1176. >"Mhmm, we were just about to take these two out to enjoy the fair. Weren't we? Weren't weee?"
  1177. >She Eskimo kisses her daughter, causing the young child to squeal in delight.
  1178. "Oh, well then, guess we'll just-"
  1179. >Pinke hops over the counter, carrying a brown bag.
  1180. >"Done!"
  1181. >Looking to your side, you cast your gaze back to Pinkie.
  1182. "When did you leave?"
  1183. >"When you weren't looking."
  1184. >She takes a cupcake from the bag and hands you the bag itself.
  1185. "Isn't this stealing?"
  1186. >Looking to Mr. Cake, you see he has a blank expression on his face.
  1187. "Uh, hello?"
  1188. >He snaps back to reality.
  1189. >"Uh- no, actually, those are Pinkie's. It's just, she's been saving them."
  1190. >Looking to the pink pony, who is gobbling away at her sweet, you give her a confused look.
  1191. "Were you saving these?"
  1192. >She nods.
  1193. >"Uh huh! But I figured I could spare two since my bestest friend on two legs who doesn't have scales is moving."
  1194. >Feeling touched, you just hold the bag, smiling.
  1195. "Uh, wow. Thanks Pinkie. Really."
  1196. >You hear Mrs. Cake gasp.
  1197. >"Oh, Anon! You're moving?"
  1198. >You nod, getting sympathetic looks from the couple.
  1199. >"Why didn't you tell us sooner? We could have-"
  1200. >Pinkie interrupts, raising a hoof.
  1201. >"We already have a going away party! Everypony is invited!"
  1202. >You are about to interject when that little voice telling you not to stress these small things today goes off again.
  1203. "Eh, yeah. Everypony. Hope to see you all there!"
  1204. >The twin frowns are replaced with relieved smiles.
  1205. >The lanky orange pony picks up his son.
  1206. >"Well, so long as we get to say goodbye."
  1207. >He just nods, looking back to you.
  1208. >"Have a great day Anonymous!"
  1209. >Smiling back, you wave, hand on the door.
  1210. "Thanks, you too!"
  1211. >Heading out, the bag still in hand, you and Pinkie walk all of ten feet before she clears her throat.
  1212. >"Weeeell?"
  1213. "Well what?"
  1214. >She points to the bag.
  1215. "Oh, right."
  1216. >Reaching in, you pull out a bright pink cupcake topped with a sharp yellow frosting.
  1217. >Smacking your lips, you briefly wonder if this is still good.
  1218. >Before you can ask, your hand is shoved upwards, forced to take a bite from the cupcake.
  1219. >As you chew, your tongue throbs in pleasure.
  1220. >You can feel your pupils widen.
  1221. >Everything seems to slow down.
  1222. >Colors are more unique.
  1223. >The laughter of children is more concentrated.
  1224. >And everything just feels amazing.
  1225. "Oh my goooood."
  1226. >Pinkie giggles.
  1227. >"The ultimate cupcakes. Made of the purest ingredients EVERRRR."
  1228. >You almost regret biting this, taking away from what could very well be a work of art.
  1229. >Looking back, you take another bite, a single tear rolling down your face.
  1230. "Pinke, thank you so much."
  1231. >She just hugs you.
  1232. >"From me, to you, with love. Ooooh, I'm gonna miss ya Nonny!"
  1233. >She glomps you again.
  1234. >Even hugs feel better!
  1235. >Returning the hug, you feel something latch to your leg.
  1236. >Looking back, you see a familiar red mane atop a yellow coat.
  1237. >Chuckling, you pet the Apple filly.
  1238. "Hey Applebloom."
  1239. >She continues holding your leg.
  1240. >"Hi."
  1241. "Any particular reason you are holding onto my leg for dear life?"
  1242. >She nods.
  1243. >"Ah saw a hug n' wanted in."
  1244. >Petting her once more, you sigh, coming down from your perfection high.
  1245. "You're a sweet kid."
  1246. >Where Pinkie has already let go, the filly continues to hold on.
  1247. "Uh, Applebloom?"
  1248. >You raise your leg, Applebloom with it.
  1249. >"Ah'm not lettin' go!"
  1250. >You shake it a bit, the filly still gripping like a vice.
  1251. >With the kid a couple foot off the air, you watch as her siblings walk up, confused by the display.
  1252. >Applejack just quirks her head, a caramel apple in her hoof.
  1253. >"Uh, any particular reason mah sister is goin' possum like on yer leg?"
  1254. >You shrug.
  1255. "She just said she wasn't letting go."
  1256. >The filly whimpers.
  1257. >"N' ah mean it!"
  1258. >Applejack sighs, passing her apple to Big Mac.
  1259. >"Ohhh, Applebloom, come on now. ah now yer sad Anon's leavin', we all are, but ya can't just hijack his leg like this."
  1260. >After a couple relatively quiet moments, the filly sighs.
  1261. >"Can ya please put me down Mr. Anon?"
  1262. >Setting your foot gently on the ground, Applebloom lets go.
  1263. >She walks up to AJ, who drapes a hoof over her little sister.
  1264. >Applebloom just sighs, rubbing her head against her sister's side.
  1265. >Taking a knee, you pet her once more.
  1266. "You know I'm going to miss you all like crazy, but I'm here now, right?"
  1267. >She nods, looking up at you.
  1268. >You smile, offering her a bit of cupcake.
  1269. >She takes it, going through the same transition you did.
  1270. >Shock, wonder, joy.
  1271. "Heh, come on, let's have some fun, yeah?"
  1272. >She looks to the cupcake and you decide to give her what's left.
  1273. >You know it was a gift from Pinkie, but she would approve giving it to a sad filly.
  1274. >It only takes a glance at the mare to know you are right.
  1275. >As Applebloom gulps down the last of the sweet, she sighs.
  1276. >"A-ahhhh~ Sooooo sweet!"
  1277. >She brings her hooves to her cheeks and shakes it lightly left to right.
  1278. >Looking at the adorable display, you look around.
  1279. "So! Fun. What to do first?"
  1280. >A horn blares behind you, causing you to cringe.
  1281. >"Well now, how about you win a prize for the filly?"
  1282. >Looking back, you see two pale yellow Unicorns sitting in a stand.
  1283. >It's a simple game stand, one of those baseball tossing ones.
  1284. >The mustachioed one balances a ball in his hoof.
  1285. "Four bits, three balls One ball in the hole, win a prize!"
  1286. >Smirking, you take a step forward before Applejack raises a leg to block you.
  1287. >"Anon, don't waste yer bits! These two ain't nothin' but a couple a conmen."
  1288. >The Unicorns looks shocked by her words, quickly glaring.
  1289. >"Well now! We are in no way conmen. All we did was offer a cheaper alternative to your flawed method of making apple cider! You just started yelling shenanigans when we were gaining a footing in town."
  1290. >The bare lipped Unicorn nods.
  1291. >"That's right brother oh mine! We are anything, but conmen. In fact, now we are reduced from business men to simple game ponies all because you ran us out of town."
  1292. >You can swear someone is playing a violin right now.
  1293. >The Unicorn brothers looks distraught, leaning in, eyes wide.
  1294. >The one who you are assuming is the older one wipes away a tear.
  1295. >"So true Flim. Forced to make a living on the road, by the kindness of strangers who wish to try their luck and win an adorable plush toy.
  1296. >He reaches down, pulling a bunny up and squeezing it.
  1297. >Looking to Applejack and her family, all you see are glares of disbelief.
  1298. >Pinkie is just sitting on her rump, looking unamused.
  1299. >You think you may be the only one who actually thinks they deserve a chance.
  1300. "AJ, are they telling the truth?"
  1301. >She scoffs.
  1302. >"Only partially. They left out tha part where they wanted free use of mah families apples!"
  1303. >The bare lipped one composes himself, raising a hoof.
  1304. >"Untrue, we were willing to split the profits fairly."
  1305. >Applebloom jumps out, taking an aggressive stance.
  1306. >"A seventy five, twenty five split ain't fair! Are ya dense as a rock or somethin'?!"
  1307. >The brothers just look to each other, then to you.
  1308. >The mustached one leans on his counter.
  1309. >"Tell me sir, do you think doing all the work, only asking for the materials, is worth a fifty fifty split."
  1310. >And now you're being pulled into their past.
  1311. "Uh, well... I mean... Errr."
  1312. >All eyes are on you.
  1313. >You need to think of a good answer, quick!
  1314. "... Well, I mean, it WAS their supply of apples, right? No apples, no cider."
  1315. >Did that work?
  1316. >Looking back, you can see the Apple siblings sporting looks of approval.
  1317. >Saved!
  1318. >Turning your attention to the Unicorn brothers, they just sigh.
  1319. >"We're sad to hear you say that chum, but we guess it doesn't really matter."
  1320. >The younger one leans on his hoof.
  1321. >"Yep, we're still stuck working this game. Day in and day out."
  1322. >And now you feel bad.
  1323. >... Fuck it.
  1324. >Walking up, you place four bits on the counter.
  1325. >Their frowns are soon gone, both of them sporting smiles.
  1326. >"Thank you very much sir!"
  1327. >You honestly can't tell these two apart, but at this point, does it really matter?
  1328. >Applejack runs up to you, jabbing your leg.
  1329. "Ow!"
  1330. >"Anon, are ya crazy? Yer supportin' conmen!"
  1331. >Rubbing your leg, you give the mare a disapproving look.
  1332. >She soon looks from you to your leg, ears lowering as she steps back.
  1333. "Relax, it's just one game. Four bits won't hurt anyone."
  1334. >Looking back, you noticed the mustached brother gone.
  1335. >The remaining one nods.
  1336. >"Right you are!"
  1337. >The back of the stand soon shoots up, showing a hole at the top of it.
  1338. >"Get the ball in the hole, win a prize!"
  1339. >... And suddenly you feel like Applejack was right this entire time.
  1340. >Sighing, you take your first ball.
  1341. >Chucking it up, you miss by a mile.
  1342. >"Ooooh, so close."
  1343. >Unamused, you grab your second ball.
  1344. >You manage to hit the rim of the hole this time.
  1345. >"Hey now! Almost got it!"
  1346. >Taking your last ball, you give it just a pinch more toss.
  1347. >It looks like it is about to go in when it over hits.
  1348. >Squinting, you can see a bit of yellow glow run off it as it falls.
  1349. "Hey! You cheated!"
  1350. >Taking your words a t face value, not even bothering to look, Applejack and Big Mac slam their hooves down on the counter.
  1351. >The Unicorn lets off a nervous chuckle.
  1352. >"W-While I'm sure he is mistaken, how about a free ball, to show there is no hard feelings?"
  1353. >He rolls you another ball.
  1354. >Glaring, you look up and try the same throw.
  1355. >Keeping a sharp eye on it, you see it begin to glow.
  1356. >As you are about to yell out, the ball actually stops glowing and shoots straight into the hole.
  1357. >You speak in a low whisper, confused.
  1358. "What the...?"
  1359. >The stand's back wall falls back into place, a plush landing on the counter with it.
  1360. >The Unicorn looks surprised as well.
  1361. >"Uh I-I guess we have a winner. Congratulations sir."
  1362. >He passes you the toy, still looking quite shocked.
  1363. >You cautiously hand the bunny to Applebloom.
  1364. "Right... thanks."
  1365. >She squees, hugging it.
  1366. >"Thank ya Mr. Anon!"
  1367. >Applejack chuckles, placing a hoof on your side.
  1368. >"Yeah, thanks. Huh, ah guess they weren't connin' after all."
  1369. >She looks to the Unicorn.
  1370. >"Ah'm sorry fer bein' so quick ta assume. Forgive me?"
  1371. >She offer her hoof and gets a shake.
  1372. ."Um, all is forgiven ma'am?"
  1373. >With that, Applejack walks to her sister, who is excitedly inspecting her gift.
  1374. >Big Mac and Pinkie seem to be discussing something amongst each other.
  1375. >As they do, you can hear a whisper behind you.
  1376. >"Why did you do that? You weren't supposed to give him the win!"
  1377. >"I-I'm sorry! It was like my magic was just... gone for a second there, and when I go it book, poof! It worked against me."
  1378. >Like his magic was gone?
  1379. >... Oh no.
  1380. >Stepping away from the stand, you feel your hand shake a bit, worried.
  1381. >Was this what Princess Celestia was talking about?
  1382. >Are you some sort of blackhole for magic?
  1383. >Before you can break out into a panic attack, you feel Pinkie grab your hand.
  1384. >"Hey, Nonny, you feeling okay?"
  1385. >Forcing a smile, you chuckle.
  1386. "Heh, yeah. Just, overhead those two and I know they are cheating. Was wondering if I should do something."
  1387. >The problem with lying, it is never just once.
  1388. >You need to create lies to cover up or strengthen the lie's believability.
  1389. >It's either that or admit everything now.
  1390. >Your worry, why you're leaving and where, and that this really is the last day you'll ever spend with your alien friends.
  1391. >...
  1392. "Pinkie, can you warn everyone about their rigged game?"
  1393. >The pink mare giggles, saluting you.
  1394. >"Already on it Nonny! Big Mac said he'd go tell everyone he could. then they'll tell everyone they can, and so will they, and so will they and-"
  1395. >You place a finger over Pinkie's lips.
  1396. "Yeah, I know how the system works. Like a virus, just keeps spreading around."
  1397. >Sighing, you place your hands on the back of your head.
  1398. >You have a few more hours of fair time.
  1399. >Lightening up, you wonder what you can do.
  1400. >Leaning over the short metal fence, you watch as AJ, Pinkie, and Applebloom ride the spinning teacups, hooting and squealing the entire time.
  1401. >You would have joined them, but you were way over the height limit.
  1402. >Like with the Ferris wheel.
  1403. >... and the roller-coaster.
  1404. >Haunted house.
  1405. >That weird spinning swing set thing.
  1406. >Basically every ride possible.
  1407. >The only downside to being a human at a fair for ponies.
  1408. >As the ride ends, you see Applebloom walking a bit funny, stuck in a giggle fit.
  1409. >"Eheheh, why'd ya two go so fast?"
  1410. >She leans on her sister, trying to regain her sense of direction.
  1411. >Smiling, you look around.
  1412. "So, what now?"
  1413. >You get your answer in the form of a certain rainbow maned Pegasus divebombing in your direction.
  1414. >"ANOOOOOOOON"
  1415. >Cringing, you grip the gate and feel your heart skip several beats.
  1416. >The mare stops right in front of you, smacking you in the face with a gust of wind.
  1417. >She chuckles, pulling out a tag with a number on it an placing it on your chest.
  1418. >"We've been looking all over for you, you know?"
  1419. >Still in shock, you just look to the Pegasus, wide eyed.
  1420. >As you do, a certain baby dragon walks into your field of vision and waves.
  1421. >"I think you broke him Dash."
  1422. >Whimpering, you let off a muffled yell.
  1423. >Afterwards, you take a deep breath and look Rainbow Dash dead in the eye.
  1424. "Don't. Do. That. Ever again."
  1425. >She laughs a bit louder.
  1426. >"Geez, you really think I can't control my landing?"
  1427. "I'd rather not risk it!"
  1428. >Body shaking as you relax, you slide down the gate.
  1429. "Guuuuh, I saw my life flash before my eyes..."
  1430. >Another giggle, more feminine, fills the air.
  1431. >"Was it good?"
  1432. >Opening your eyes, you see Twilight sitting next to you.
  1433. "It was pretty good."
  1434. >Looking back to Dash and Spike, you see another familiar face.
  1435. >One who is hiding behind both her friend and her own mane.
  1436. >Smile softening, you sigh.
  1437. "It'd be better if my date wouldn't shy away from me."
  1438. >She eeps, hiding further behind her mane.
  1439. >"Sorry."
  1440. >Dash groans, moving out of the way so she is in plain sight.
  1441. >You can see her cheeks burning red, eyes shut.
  1442. >She is stood still, almost like a statue.
  1443. >Spike and Rainbow just stare at her.
  1444. >The dragon even tries to poke her.
  1445. >Despite her stance, she is still flesh.
  1446. >His claw causes her to yelp and jump high in the air.
  1447. >Very high...
  1448. >She isn't opening her wings.
  1449. >She's falling!
  1450. >Panicking, you stand and outstretch your arms, trying to position yourself under her fall.
  1451. >She plops into your arms.
  1452. >You assumed it would be a hard fall, but Fluttershy is lighter than she looks, the hit is much lighter than you assumed.
  1453. >Sighing in relief, you feel your arms getting hotter.
  1454. >The mare in looking at you, hooves shaking.
  1455. >"H-hi."
  1456. >Smiling, you just make sure she won't fall.
  1457. "Hey."
  1458. >Setting her down, she quickly back tracks until her rump hits another pony.
  1459. >"Eep! Sorry..."
  1460. >She takes a couple steps forward and shrinks.
  1461. >Chuckling, you sigh.
  1462. "Ah, Shy."
  1463. >As a comfortable silence fills the air, you are met with a throat clearing.
  1464. >Applejack is looking from you to Fluttershy.
  1465. >"Ah get tha feelin' the rest of us are missin' somethin'."
  1466. >Dash sighs, pointing to you.
  1467. >"This doof."
  1468. >She then points to the blushing mare.
  1469. >"Asked Fluttershy out last night."
  1470. >And the comfortable silence is deaded.
  1471. >Twilight and AJ look shocked while younger hearted members of your group seem excited.
  1472. >Pinkie whistles, nudging your side.
  1473. >"Well, looks like our big lug here is finally putting himself on the market!"
  1474. >Applejack furrows her brow.
  1475. >"Yeah, apparently. Now why'd ya tell me all that stuff Yesterday if ya didn't mean any of it?"
  1476. >Twilight nods.
  1477. >"Right! And why did you-... do that thing, if you didn't feel like going out with me?"
  1478. >And now you've started something.
  1479. >Better stop it before it gets out of control.
  1480. >Looking to Applejack first, you raise a hand.
  1481. "First, we were speaking in hypotheticals. Second, we were only speaking that way because you acted like me asking you out would have been gross."
  1482. >She opens her mouth to object, but quickly shuts it, looking to the ground as she rubs her chin, looking a bit concerned.
  1483. >"Well, that is true..."
  1484. >Casting your gaze to the purple Unicorn, you can nip this one in the bud right away.
  1485. >You just need to avoid hinting that Twilight has a dick pic from you.
  1486. "As for what I did yesterday, you asked me for that. Besides, wasn't that for scientific purposes?"
  1487. >Twilight's jaw drops, a hoof half raised as she is dumbstruck, discreetly caught in her perversion.
  1488. >Spike looks to his big sister figure, confused.
  1489. >"Wait, what did Anon do yesterday?"
  1490. >Dash chuckles, smirking as she nudges Fluttershy.
  1491. >"Yeah, what DID those two do?"
  1492. >The blushing mare is now calming down, looking worried.
  1493. >She just looks to you, eyes crestfallen.
  1494. >And now you're back to square one, the shit square.
  1495. >You hate this square.
  1496. >Lying about why you are leaving is one thing, you just don't want to hurt your friends.
  1497. >Lying about this?
  1498. >This would just be to cover your own ass.
  1499. >With a heavy sigh, you shake your head as you rub the back of your neck.
  1500. "Twilight... asked to see my dong."
  1501. >The mare around you look shocked, even Twilight.
  1502. >The children, however, still look confused.
  1503. >Applebloom pokes her sister.
  1504. >"Sis, what's a dong?"
  1505. >The orange mare lets of an "uhhh".
  1506. "Well, ya know ah stallion's twig n' berries?"
  1507. >The not as young as you would think filly's eyes widen, yellow cheeks turning as red as Fluttershy's were.
  1508. >"O-Oh. Wow."
  1509. >Spike on the other hand...
  1510. >"Wait, what about twigs and berries?"
  1511. >Fuck you running...
  1512. >Twilight comes in for the save.
  1513. >"You'll find out when you're older."
  1514. >As he is about to object, Twilight raises a hoof.
  1515. >"Older."
  1516. >This silences the dragon.
  1517. >Worried, you look to Fluttershy, who is just staring at the ground.
  1518. "Fluttershy?..."
  1519. >She just whimpers something out.
  1520. >Taking a knee, you lean in.
  1521. "What was that?"
  1522. >The mare mumbles more.
  1523. "... Please?"
  1524. >She sighs, looking up at you, eyes surprisingly dry.
  1525. >"Was it just because she asked?"
  1526. >You nod, hoping she won't hate you for this.
  1527. >Fluttershy goes quiet for a second, nodding to herself.
  1528. >"Okay."
  1529. >Confused, you repeat her statement.
  1530. "Okay?"
  1531. >She nods.
  1532. >"Okay. This happened before you asked me out, right?"
  1533. >Now it is your turn to nod.
  1534. >"Yeah... and... I did reject you at first... so..."
  1535. >Sighing, you still feel off.
  1536. "Doesn't exactly make it right."
  1537. >Rainbow Dash butts in, flying up to your back.
  1538. >"Maybe if Shy got to see your package, she'd feel better."
  1539. >Burning up, you feel your body stiffen as the rainbow maned mare breaks out into laughter.
  1540. >Spike groans as the laughing fit continues.
  1541. >"Now there's packages?!"
  1542. >Twilight speaks a bit louder, embarrassed.
  1543. >"Older!"
  1544. >As the mare continues to (metaphorically) lose her shit on your back, you see Applejack hop up and smack her on the back of her head.
  1545. >"Ow! What the hay?!"
  1546. >The orange mare points to you and Fluttershy, who is in as bad of shape as you are.
  1547. >"Apologize!"
  1548. >The Pegasus just looks confused.
  1549. >"Ya heard me. Apologize. Yer makin' fun of Anon fer somethin' he did in confidence than even admitted ta doin', then ya drag it out by jokingly tossin' it out when he's clearly embarrassed n' Fluttershy is obviously upset!"
  1550. >The laughing has stopped, a few ponies around you awkwardly walking away.
  1551. >"Yer supposed ta be her best friend, right? Then why are ya messin' with her?"
  1552. >Feeling a bit more confident having AJ to back you up, you nod.
  1553. "Right. I know you said you like to mess with your friends, but there is a fine line that you're crossing Dash."
  1554. >The mare hops off your back, wings deflated.
  1555. >She hums, rubbing her leg.
  1556. >"Geez, sorry. It's just, well, you have to admit it's kinda funny."
  1557. >You just shake your head.
  1558. "Not to me."
  1559. >Fluttershy walks to your side, looking up at you.
  1560. >"O-Or me."
  1561. >Your purple perverted friend raises her hoof.
  1562. >"Me either. This is a trust issue Rainbow."
  1563. >Dash sighs, groaning.
  1564. >"Didn't mean to ruin the day."
  1565. >With your own mood better, you decide to lift Dash's.
  1566. "You didn't. You just went too far on one thing."
  1567. >She looks up to you.
  1568. >"Really?"
  1569. >You nod, throwing her a soft smile.
  1570. "Really really."
  1571. >Feeling relieved of any guilt, the mare is back to her usual self.
  1572. >"Well all right then! If we're done with this talk then-"
  1573. >You kind of aren't.
  1574. >"Then we can get going!"
  1575. >Dash grabs your arms, dragging you.
  1576. >Your posse of ponies(and dragon) follow behind.
  1577. "Wait, going? Where?"
  1578. >She points to the tag she slapped onto your chest.
  1579. >"Pie eating contest! I signed us both up."
  1580. >You pull back, stopping the mare.
  1581. "You signed me up for a pie eating contest?"
  1582. >She nods.
  1583. >"Yup."
  1584. "Did you think maybe I would mind?!"
  1585. >She just shrugs.
  1586. >"Nope."
  1587. "..."
  1588. >Sitting on a stool, ponies to either side of you, you watch the crowd.
  1589. >Your arms are tied behind your back, making sure you can't cheat.
  1590. >The host of the contest is taking his laps back and forth from one end of the stage to the other, eyes on the audience.
  1591. >"Well now, isn't this a fine turn out? Tell me folks, how're you feeling?"
  1592. >The crowd cheers, their voices filling the air.
  1593. >"That's great! Now, we're just moments away from watching these hungry hungry contestants compete for our amusement! Before that, how about we give them a preview of what they're expected to demolish?"
  1594. >Serving mares dressed in tight white t-shirts come out from behind the stage, carrying pony sized pies with them.
  1595. >They expect you to eat THAT?!
  1596. >"Hoooo boy! I do not envy our contestants folks. Something tells me they'll be giving up their lunch AND dinner just to finish off those pies!"
  1597. >Fuck that noise.
  1598. >You are not going to ruin your stomach just to sate Dash's competitive nature.
  1599. >You'll fake it, get SOME pie in you, then leave plenty of room for lunch.
  1600. >.. And dinner.
  1601. >With Fluttershy.
  1602. >Which you are looking forward to very much.
  1603. >Looking at the mare in question, you can see her and the rest of your group watching you happily.
  1604. >Dash is a few seats down, more than likely laughing her ass off.
  1605. >You may have settled things between you and her, but that doesn't mean you have to approve of everything she does.
  1606. >This is one of those times you do not approve.
  1607. >"Now then, are you all ready?!"
  1608. >The crowd yells out, showing much vigor.
  1609. >"Hmmm, I don't think I quite heard that."
  1610. >The pies are placed in front of you and the others.
  1611. >"Are. You. Ready?!"
  1612. >The yells are louder, causing you to cringe.
  1613. >"EAT!"
  1614. >As ponies slam their faces into pies, you do so as well.
  1615. >Slower, not smashing the treat all over you.
  1616. >As the hungrily gobble away, you take controlled bites.
  1617. >It's pretty good.
  1618. >Continuing your comfortable pace, you hear a couple burps and wretches.
  1619. >"Ooooh! And we already have our first disqualification."
  1620. >Wait, they were expecting someone to throw up?
  1621. >What the fuck is wrong with these ponies?!
  1622. >Lifting your head a bit, you not so sneakily check in on your friends.
  1623. >Twilight and Fluttershy are both looking away, expressions as blank as can be.
  1624. >Spike continues to stare, unable to stop.
  1625. >And Applejack is doing the sisterly thing, covering Applebloom's eyes as she endures the sight.
  1626. >They are good ponies.
  1627. >Wait, where's Pinkie?
  1628. >As you take another bite, enjoying the flavor, you hear multiple airhorns go off.
  1629. >Turning to look, you see a very thick and pudgey yellow coated Pegasus stallion hop up to the table.
  1630. >"Yeaaaaaaaaaaah!"
  1631. >He starts whooping it up, throwing his forelegs into the air.
  1632. >As he does, two of the tight dressed mares come up and hand him a belt.
  1633. >He puts it on, his guy sloshing back and forth.
  1634. >You turn away before you throw up.
  1635. >"Looks like we have a winner folks! Number 13: Gut Gastric!"
  1636. >The stallions grows louder as the host walks up to him.
  1637. >"Tell me Gut, any words you wish to share?"
  1638. >She calms down, looking to the crowd.
  1639. >"Uh, yeah, I just want to say, I didn't do it alone folks! I had the love of my ma and dad, even my little brother supported me, even though he hates what I do. This is for you Bulk!"
  1640. >A thick white rock in the back of the crowd pops up.
  1641. >"Yeah!"
  1642. >The yellow stallion sniffs, rubbing his nose.
  1643. >"Dang, I'm getting all teary eyed."
  1644. >Continuing to watch, you see a familiar blue mare take wobbly steps off the stage, one hand clenching her stomach.
  1645. >"You know, I actually have a little speech I'd like to share, about having a healthy appetite and-"
  1646. >Okay, you're done here.
  1647. >Fake clenching your stomach, you exit as well, making your way to your friends.
  1648. >Once you are past the crowd, Gut Gastric still going off about whatever he was talking about, you see Dash leaning over some bushes, Fluttershy and Applejack by her side.
  1649. >You step behind her, peeking to the side to see just how not all right she is.
  1650. >She has her mouth agape, eyes squinting as she groans.
  1651. "You've never been in an eating contest before, have you?"
  1652. >The mare just groans, dry retching once before whimpering.
  1653. >Sighing, you shake your head.
  1654. "You might want to go to see a doctor... or, you know, infirmary tent."
  1655. >Blinking, you don't even know if Equestrian fairs have those.
  1656. >Looking to Applejack, you scratch your chin.
  1657. "You guys do have those, right? in case someone gets hurt?"
  1658. >She nods, having Dash throw a hoof over her neck.
  1659. >"Don't worry, ah'll handle this. Y'all just watch my sister fer me, okay?"
  1660. >You look to the filly in question.
  1661. >She is just watching all this, giving Dash quizzical looks.
  1662. "Sure, we'll meet up later?"
  1663. >AJ nods, starting o walk as Dash protests.
  1664. >"B-But I'm fi-HRGH!"
  1665. >She shuts her mouth, cheeks bulging.
  1666. >After a few tense moments, she gasps and groans.
  1667. >"... Just take me to a nurse."
  1668. >Sniffing, you can smell the distinct scent of hot vomit.
  1669. >Gross.
  1670. >As the two mares walk off, you do a head count.
  1671. >Two mares, a filly, and a dragon.
  1672. >You're still one mare short.
  1673. >As if on cue, Pinkie pops out from the crowd, a plate full of cake on her back.
  1674. >"Hi everybody! What'd I miss?"
  1675. >Looking to the stage, the pudgy stallion is STILL talking.
  1676. "Not much."
  1677. >Turning back to Pinkie, you see her nomming on a slice of cake.
  1678. "Where'd you go?"
  1679. >She giggles, swallowing her food.
  1680. >"Well, watching all those ponies scarf down on pie like pigs was making me sick, so I decided to get some cake to help!"
  1681. >Blinking, you just look to the mare.
  1682. "You were feeling sick, so your solution was to get food?"
  1683. >She rolls her eyes.
  1684. >"Not just any food. Cake. Caaake. The opposite of pie!"
  1685. >... You're going to miss this mares messed up logic.
  1686. "Sounds like a good plan. What kind of cake?"
  1687. >She offers you a slice.
  1688. >"Leeemon."
  1689. >You raise your hand, smiling a bit.
  1690. "No thanks, don't want to ruin my appetite."
  1691. >The pink mare just shrugs, continuing to eat away at the slice she has.
  1692. >As you are about to suggest what to do next, you feel a hoof press against your butt, almost like a slap.
  1693. >It gets a bit invasive and you look behind you to see Rarity and her sister.
  1694. >Sweetie Belle runs up to Applebloom, excited to finally catch up with her friend.
  1695. >The groping mare however, walks up to your friends, wearing a smile of innocence.
  1696. "Did you just-"
  1697. >Rarity interrupts you, looking to her friends.
  1698. >"Hellooo everypony! Where have you all been? Why, I have searched up and down this fair looking for you!"
  1699. >Twilight looks to you.
  1700. >"Well, we've been with Anon this whole time, so we shouldn't have been that hard to find."
  1701. >Spike chuckles, looking up to tip of your head.
  1702. >"Yeah, just ask somepony where the biggest guy in town is."
  1703. >Rolling your eyes, you decide not to blatantly bring up the fact Rarity, the most controlled mare you have met, just felt your ass up.
  1704. "Yeah, what Spike said."
  1705. >The white Unicorn giggles, looking to Sweetie Belle.
  1706. >"Well I am glad you all are well, just wanted to check up on you all."
  1707. >The mare suddenly looks to Applebloom, confused.
  1708. >"Hmm, strange, I did not think Applejack would let you roam the fair unattended."
  1709. >The filly just chuckles.
  1710. >"She ain't. She was here a second ago, but she left ta take Rainbow Dash ta the nurse's tent."
  1711. >Rarity's eyes shoot wide.
  1712. >"Ooh! Is she all right?"
  1713. >Fluttershy nods.
  1714. >"Mhmm, she just has a teeny tiny tummy ache."
  1715. >The little dragon chuckles, chiming in.
  1716. >"From eating a pony sized pie like a madmare."
  1717. >Rarity looks confused once more.
  1718. >You place your hand on her head and turn it to the stage.
  1719. >"And pacing! Never forget to pace!"
  1720. >Jesus, what a windbag.
  1721. >The mare clicks her tongue, mouth open, letting off a silent "ahh".
  1722. >"I see, an eating contest. My, how uncouth. Trying to consume a large amount of food as fast as possible... ugh, messy."
  1723. "Mhmm, SO! How mind if I ask you all a question?"
  1724. >The group doesn't seem to have any objections.
  1725. "Great. What would you do if a friend, say, grabbed your butt. Maybe on accident, but maybe not."
  1726. >Not the subtlest way to get an answer out of Rarity, but at least you didn't out right way the fashionista played a game of grab ass.
  1727. >Everyone falls silent.
  1728. >Spike looks to you, squinting an eye.
  1729. >"Why would someone want to touch my-"
  1730. >Twilight's head shoots to the dragon's direction.
  1731. >"OLDER!"
  1732. >Applebloom looks somewhat grossed out.
  1733. >"Call tha cops?"
  1734. >Sweetie Belle nods, looking to her friend.
  1735. >"Yeah, calling the police sounds good."
  1736. >Pinkie Pie giggles.
  1737. >"Well, lots of poines like to grab my butt. So long as they ask first, I don't mind."
  1738. >That's...
  1739. >Too much info for your liking.
  1740. >Fluttershy squeaks, eyes widening as she looks to the ground, blushing.
  1741. >"I-I guess it depends on who grabs me. I-If it's a stranger, I might scream... oh, but you said a friend... Um, I guess I would ask them why they grabbed it?"
  1742. >Nodding, you look to Rarity.
  1743. "Hmm, and you Rarity? What would you do?"
  1744. >She giggles, bringing a hoof to her lips.
  1745. >"Why, Anonymous, I know my friends. If one of them grabbed my derriere, I would know they had a reason. Like, say, perhaps I had something sticking out of my pocket."
  1746. >Is she trying to tell you something?
  1747. >As you reach back to see, you hear Rarity clear her throat.
  1748. >"Anon?"
  1749. "Yes?"
  1750. >"Could you be a dear and grab me a lemonade? This heat is quite discomforting."
  1751. >She gives you a look.
  1752. >Not a glare or a stare.
  1753. >Something that kind of says "trust me, you want to do this".
  1754. "Sssure. Be right back everyone."
  1755. >Walking off to find a lemonade stand, you wait until you are out of view from your friends.
  1756. >Reaching for your back pocket, you feel a note.
  1757. >That wasn't there before.
  1758. >Pulling it out, you give it a quick read.
  1759. >"Meet me at Carousel Boutique as soon as possible. - R Post script: you did not come looking for me! Post post script: I forgive you since you were more than likely enjoying the fair."
  1760. >Rolling your eyes, you repocket the note and look for a lemonade stand.
  1761. >As you approach one, you can't help think that at least you don't have to worry about Rarity trying to do naughty things to you without consent.
  1762. >Rarity rape.
  1763. >Rarirape...
  1764. >Eh, bad name.
  1765. >Buying the drink, you make your way back to your friends.
  1766. >The mares are standing in a circle as the kids gaze at the stage.
  1767. >Apparently they finally got the blowhard down, there is now a performing clown.
  1768. >Who is juggling flaming swords while riding on a giant ball.
  1769. >You look for a horn, but see nothing.
  1770. >You must admit, you are impressed.
  1771. >Walking up to Rarity, you tap her back,
  1772. >She turns to you, smiling as she sees the drink.
  1773. >"Ah! Thank you Anonymous."
  1774. >With a magical grip on the cup, she politely takes it from your hand.
  1775. "You're welcome."
  1776. >She takes a sip before humming, looking to her friends.
  1777. >"As much as I would love to stay and chat, I have a previous engagement to take care of. Come Sweetie Belle."
  1778. >The Unicorn filly whines.
  1779. >"But siiiis, there's a fair going on! Why do I have to go just because you have things to do?"
  1780. >Rarity looks to her little sister sweetly.
  1781. >"Because I am in charge of you today, I need to make sure you are safe."
  1782. >Applebloom interjects.
  1783. >"Well, we could keep her safe. There are six of us here after all. Six ta one, ah'm likin' those odds."
  1784. >Sweetie Belle, grins, looking around.
  1785. >"Yeah! Besides, it's not like me being here will hurt whatever you're doing, right?"
  1786. >The white mare sighs.
  1787. >"True, true... all right, you can stay."
  1788. >The fillies are about to jump when Rarity raises a hoof.
  1789. >"But only if you listen to everything one of the adults says, are we clear?"
  1790. >The marshmallowy filly nods.
  1791. >"Sure, no problem! Thanks sis, I love you!"
  1792. >The filly hugs her sister before running to Applebloom's side.
  1793. >Rarity sighs, smiling.
  1794. >"Well then, I will come to pick you up later. Have fun Sweetie."
  1795. >With that, she is off.
  1796. >You have an idea as to where.
  1797. >Figuring you should probably deal with this again(and not risk another ass grab), you look to your group of friends.
  1798. "I actually have to get going too."
  1799. >They look to you, worried.
  1800. >Twilight is the first to speak.
  1801. >"Why? I thought you were leaving tomorrow."
  1802. >Silently gritting your teeth, you nod.
  1803. "I am, but I have to take care of something first. I'll catch up with you all at the party. Which will be-... uh, Pinkie?"
  1804. >The pink mare points into the crowd.
  1805. >"Sugarcube Corner. You can't see it right now because of all the ponies, but it's that way."
  1806. >Chuckling, you nod.
  1807. "Right. See you there."
  1808. >You are met with multiple good byes as you make your way through the crowds, going to speak with Rarity.
  1809. >Finally making it to the boutique, you knock on the door.
  1810. "Rarity?"
  1811. >A singsong voice comes from inside.
  1812. >"Come iiiiin~"
  1813. >With an air of caution, you open the door.
  1814. >The boutique's natural light helps to make the place feel less empty.
  1815. >Stepping inside, you hear your friend humming, sewing machine going off.
  1816. "You wanted to talk with me?"
  1817. >You hear an affirmative hum.
  1818. >"Yes, yes. Come come."
  1819. >Following the sound of her humming, you find her in the back.
  1820. >There is a chalkboard, another new suit, and some sort of dress.
  1821. >You can assume who it is for, but you can't see any reason as to why.
  1822. >Stepping closer, you see Rarity finish the final touches on a frill, adding it to the dress.
  1823. >"Perfect~"
  1824. >You take a moment to admire the dress's beauty before speaking.
  1825. "So, you wanted to talk?"
  1826. >She nods, flipping the blackboard.
  1827. >"Yes! You see, I had many many many ideas after you left last night. Eeeeh, the thought of you and Fluttershy out, romance in the air... Eeeh!"
  1828. >She squeals, eyes closed as she raises her upper half of her body.
  1829. >Sighing, she relaxes.
  1830. >"My original intention was to just give some ideas, maybe a few suggestions, however, the situation has changed."
  1831. >Curious, you cross your arms and turn your head a bit.
  1832. "Changed how?"
  1833. >The mare's horn flashes, chalk lines that were on the board given a sharper appearance.
  1834. >"Why, the Sun Celebration of course."
  1835. >She floats a stick over, smacking it across the upper left corner of the board.
  1836. >You are forced to sit a down.
  1837. >"You see, due to the celebration, every restaurant, musical studio, and theater is closed."
  1838. >Realizing what she is saying, you feel your arms drop.
  1839. >"I can tell from your expression that you understand what I am saying. You can NOT take Fluttershy out."
  1840. "B-But, I-"
  1841. >she raises a hoof.
  1842. >"Tut! Do not fret, for your good friend Rarity is here to make and original plans you may have had... extravagant!"
  1843. >She turns back to the board, tracing it down.
  1844. >"You see, you have many friends, if not just ponies who owe you a favor. I have certain friends of my own calling upon these individuals. Octavia Melody, Cranky Doodle, the spa twins, and many more."
  1845. >She grins, a sense of satisfaction in the air around her.
  1846. >"Yes, you have been quite the local errand boy lately, but this is good! You see, due to these little drops of help here and there, I can arrange a date for you that would have put anything you had planned to shame!"
  1847. >You blink, just waiting for what Rarity just said to sink in.
  1848. >"Oooh, oh my, no offense, of course."
  1849. >You raise a hand, not even mad.
  1850. "It's good. Continue?"
  1851. >She clears her throat.
  1852. >"Yes, well, as you know, Octavia is a part of a musical troupe that is of quite the notable nature. She has agreed to play for you on the grounds she be able to meet the mare you intend to court, Fluttershy, and see if she is deserving of your time."
  1853. >Well, that is quite rude.
  1854. >Also, comes off as a bit jealous.
  1855. >"That takes care of musical entertainment. You plan to dine Fluttershy, yes?"
  1856. "Yes."
  1857. >"Excellent. Cranky may not look it, but his many years of travel have made him quite the chef. Almost a master connoisseur if you will."
  1858. >Clearing your throat, you give Rarity a doubtful look.
  1859. "Cranky Doodle."
  1860. >She nods.
  1861. >"Yes."
  1862. "The donkey."
  1863. >"Yes."
  1864. >...
  1865. >Well, stranger things have happened.
  1866. "All right, next?"
  1867. >The mare turns back to the blackboard, moving towards the center.
  1868. >"As all the weather ponies have been given the day off, the weather will be unpredictable... for everypony else."
  1869. "Not a pony."
  1870. >She sighs.
  1871. >"The point being that quite a few Pegasi have agreed to clear a section of the sky for you and keep it clear during your date. Just pick a spot, and voila~"
  1872. >She lowers her stick.
  1873. >"I have taken the liberty of marking several points around town that have a more... romantigue feel."
  1874. >She steps aside.
  1875. >The drawings are quite well done.
  1876. >Looking them over, there is really only one that grabs your eyes.
  1877. >It is by a lake, the drawing giving the feel that light shines off it in a very stereotypical way.
  1878. >Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
  1879. >Pointing to it, you are about to speak when Rarity interrupts you.
  1880. >"Excellent! I will let them know... now then... Hm, this next part may be a bit... sensitive."
  1881. >She is now at the other end of the blackboard.
  1882. >"I am no fool, Anonymous. I know that most dates will end in an intimate way."
  1883. >Your eyes shoot wide, cheeks burning hot.
  1884. "I'm not going to have se-!"
  1885. >Rarity turns to you, lowering her hooves.
  1886. >"Anonymous! I know you will not bed Fluttershy. She is far too reserved and you are a gentleman."
  1887. >As you are about to correct her, she taps your nose with her stick.
  1888. >"You are, in the common sense. Not the sense of superiority."
  1889. >Rubbing your nose, you scrunch it a bit.
  1890. >"Now, when I said intimacy..."
  1891. >She coughs, muttering before speaking.
  1892. >"I meant in ways that are nonsexual. Dance, massage, even a kiss."
  1893. >Your blush deepens.
  1894. >The thought of kissing Fluttershy is a bit much.
  1895. >She is a very close friend after all, one you wouldn't mind being intimate with...
  1896. >But she is so damn shy, you expect her to either make it the best kiss of your life, or one of the shortest.
  1897. >A few taps against the board bring you back to reality.
  1898. >"Now then. I have acquired several massaging oils, can have Octavia perform the piece we practiced to last night, or... provide some lip aid."
  1899. >She pulls out a stick of lip balm.
  1900. >"Which of these sounds most suited to your wishes, Anonymous?"
  1901. >Thinking on it, you decide to go for broke.
  1902. >If you're going to do this, you're going as far as you can.
  1903. "All... sounds good."
  1904. >Rarity pauses, nodding.
  1905. >"Very well then, all three it is. Is there anything you wish to add Anonymous?"
  1906. >You can't think of anything.
  1907. >Frankly, Rarity has made this date more fairy tale like than you could have imagined.
  1908. >The kind you know Fluttershy will remember.
  1909. >As you are about to speak, you see Rarity's stick fall to the ground.
  1910. >She gives off a confused murmur and attempts to levitate it once more.
  1911. >After three more failures, she finally succeeds in picking it up.
  1912. >"That is odd..."
  1913. >Feeling your heart sink, you just thought of something.
  1914. "No magic."
  1915. >She looks to you, confused.
  1916. >"Excuse me?"
  1917. "No magic. I- uh, want this to feel as natural as possible, you know?"
  1918. >She nods, smiling.
  1919. >"Ahhh, I fully understand. Now then, I will make the necessary preparations!"
  1920. >As she flips the blackboard once more, she walks to the suit and dress.
  1921. >"Considering how much I have already put into this date, I have decided to donate the proper attire as well."
  1922. >Furrowing your brow, you frown.
  1923. "Rarity, I-"
  1924. >She shushes you.
  1925. >"No no, you will accept these. If not simply because I wish for you to have them, then as a going away gift."
  1926. >Casting your gaze down, you feel.
  1927. >It is a feel you aren't used to.
  1928. >Pain from how much it hurts knowing you will never see these magnificent friends you have again, but joy from having them in the first place.
  1929. >Looking to Rarity, you feel compelled to ask something.
  1930. "Why are you doing this?"
  1931. >She just smiles.
  1932. >Soft, sweet, in a loving way.
  1933. >Not an intimate love, something more innocent.
  1934. >"Anonymous, we are friends, are we not?"
  1935. >You just sit there in silence.
  1936. >"You are making all these plans, leaving so soon... Heh, I will miss you so much. If I can help make our last time together as spectacular as possible, then I will."
  1937. >She sniffles, tearing up while still wearing her smile.
  1938. >"Bah, a lady can not cry."
  1939. >Smiling, you slump forward.
  1940. "Why not?"
  1941. >She giggles.
  1942. >"Simple, my make up will run."
  1943. >Shaking your head, you sigh.
  1944. >Before you do anything else, your body is telling you to do something.
  1945. >You walk up to Rarity, lift her up, and hold her tight.
  1946. >"Ah-Anonymous."
  1947. >You make sure she is held securely, hand on the back of her neck.
  1948. "Thank you... so much. Thank you for coming into my life."
  1949. >She sniffles more, wrapping her hooves around your neck.
  1950. >"Ohhh, stop it! No tears, none."
  1951. >Nodding, you just hold your friend a moment more before setting her down.
  1952. >She is still composed enough to keep to her word.
  1953. >No tears.
  1954. >Sighing, you take her example, forcing yourself to calm down.
  1955. "So, I was thinking I would take her out around five."
  1956. >Rarity nods.
  1957. >"I will have everything ready by then, I swear."
  1958. >Nodding, you shake your head.
  1959. "The party... what time is it?"
  1960. >Rarity looks to her clock.
  1961. >"Eleven twenty."
  1962. >Nodding, you look to the door.
  1963. "So, another forty minutes of fair then everyone will be at Sugarcube Corner. See you there?"
  1964. >Your friend nods.
  1965. >"I may be a bit late, but I will be there."
  1966. "Good. See you later Rarity."
  1967. >She waves, looking to you, then her suit and dress.
  1968. >"Heh, you will look rather dapper, you know that?"
  1969. >You just nod.
  1970. "Of course I will. it's one of your designs."
  1971. >The mare smiles, soft.
  1972. >"Flattery will get you everywhere Anonymous."
  1973. >Chuckling, you look to the mare.
  1974. "Don't you mean nowhere?"
  1975. >She continues smiling, not missing a beat.
  1976. >"No."
  1977. >Sighing, you look to the suit.
  1978. "Again, thanks."
  1979. >She levitates it and the dress away.
  1980. >"I am happy to help Anonymous. Now go, enjoy the fair while you can."
  1981. >Nodding, you are about to leave when you hear a soft thump.
  1982. >"Ooh! And if you see Sweetie Belle, do look after her. I would hate for her to get into trouble."
  1983. "Will do. See you later Rarity."
  1984. >With that, you head out of the boutique.
  1985. >Thinking on what to do, you figure it would take you far too long to catch up with the others since you have no idea where they may have gone.
  1986. >Plus, you still have two near full pockets of bits to spend.
  1987. >As you near the stalls, you can see that there are quite a few gifts your friends might like.
  1988. >Not love, but like.
  1989. >...
  1990. >You're going to win some prizes.
  1991. >Well, your pockets are nearly empty, you got a little something for everyone, and did it all with a couple minutes to spare.
  1992. >That counts as a win in your book.
  1993. >As you walk through the crowds, pushing the wheelbarrow you "rented", you can see Sugarcube Corner coming into view.
  1994. >Applejack and Big Mac are right outside the doors, shooting the breeze as you near.
  1995. >You whistle, grabbing their attention.
  1996. >Their expressions soon turns to ones of shock, looking at the container full of fair quality gifts.
  1997. >Applejack whistles as you step by.
  1998. >"Dang Anon, how much did ya spend?"
  1999. "Not too much."
  2000. >Relative to what you have at home.
  2001. >Pulling out a big fluffy and furry apple plush toy, you hand it to the orange mare.
  2002. >She *daws* and hugs it.
  2003. >"Well, aren't you bein' sweet."
  2004. >With a smile, you pull out a cute mare plush.
  2005. >The best way you can describe it is the pony equivalent of an anime chick.
  2006. >You hand it to Big Mac and he is his usual unreadable self.
  2007. >He stares at it for a couple moments and you are sure you fucked up.
  2008. >"Thank ya."
  2009. >Is that good?
  2010. >Does he like it?!
  2011. >Why does this stallion play mind games with you?!
  2012. "You're welcome."
  2013. >As you attempt to push the wheel barrow further, two problems present themselves.
  2014. >Doors and stairs.
  2015. >Doors are too small and the stairs are stairs.
  2016. >Humming to yourself, you turn to Applejack.
  2017. "So, who's already here?"
  2018. >She looks to you, still holding the fluffy toy.
  2019. >"Well, just Twi n' the others. Rainbow Dash got better n' came by too. No one else has showed up."
  2020. >Oh good, then you can be rude at your own party.
  2021. >Leaving the wheelbarrow where it is, you step past the doors and are met with a room full of ponies(and dragon).
  2022. >Clearing your throat, you grab most everyone's attention.
  2023. "If you all can step outside for a sec, have some things to hand out."
  2024. >After a small bit of murmuring the room empties.
  2025. >There are a couple of squeals, but most of your friends keep their cool.
  2026. >Like adults do.
  2027. >As you head out, you see Dash and Pinkie poking through the pile.
  2028. >The blue mare looks to you.
  2029. >"Fair toys, really?"
  2030. >Pinkie hops into your arms, hugging you.
  2031. >"Thank you Nonny!"
  2032. >After pecking your cheek, she cannonballs into the wheelbarrow.
  2033. >Which she should not physically be able to do.
  2034. >Again, you're going to miss Pinkie.
  2035. >After a moment, she surfaces, a pennant covering her face.
  2036. >Chuckling, you take it off and hand it to Dash.
  2037. >She peers at it before her expression drops.
  2038. >You look to her, waving it.
  2039. "I thought you liked the wonderbolts."
  2040. >She is quiet, coughing.
  2041. >"Sooo, fair toys! Thank you."
  2042. >Taking it, she tries to play off the fact she just mocked the gifts moments before.
  2043. >You just chuckle, reaching for a bookworm plushy.
  2044. "Yeah, I would have got better stuff buuut..."
  2045. >You hand the toy to Twilight then turn back to Dash.
  2046. "Everywhere is closed. This was my only option."
  2047. >The blue mare just nods, looking away and to the sky.
  2048. >"Eugh, looks like there'll be rain later."
  2049. >Looking to the sky as well, all you can see are a few lone clouds.
  2050. "Really? How can you tell?"
  2051. >The mare points to two of them.
  2052. >"When you've worked the weather as long as I have, you get an eye for this stuff. See those two?"
  2053. >You nod, still looking at them.
  2054. >"They have teeny tiny drops falling from them. Right now they're nothing, but when they start to pile together, it's gonna be one heck of a storm."
  2055. >You take a sharp inhale through your teeth.
  2056. "Damn... hope the fair doesn't get rained out."
  2057. >As you continue to look at the sky, you hear a cough
  2058. >Looking to Spike, you see him rubbing his arms.
  2059. >"Are, uh, any of these for me?"
  2060. >Feeling a soft smile form on your lips, you turn your attention back to the wheelbarrow.
  2061. >Digging around, you find a hat.
  2062. >Not just any hat.
  2063. >A drink hat.
  2064. >The most versatile of hats!
  2065. >Handing it to him, you see him grin.
  2066. "Remember, Twilight gets it when you aren't using it."
  2067. >As the purple mare is about to agree with you, Spike runs off, back into the building.
  2068. >She stomps, looking sternly to the double doors Spike passed.
  2069. >"Spike!"
  2070. >He comes back out a moment later, his hat set up.
  2071. >He sips, smirking.
  2072. >"I'm using it, right?"
  2073. >Chuckling, you look to Twilight, who is not too please.
  2074. "Technically he is."
  2075. >She scrunches up for a second before releasing it, sighing.
  2076. >"Yes, he is."
  2077. >She then looks to him, with a responsible sternness about her.
  2078. >"But if I see you acting greedy or growing, I'm taking it away for good, understood?"
  2079. >The dragon's smirk is soon replaced with a look of worry.
  2080. >"Understood..."
  2081. >Twilight nods, smiling before petting his head.
  2082. >"Good, now enjoy it. Personally, I don't see the use of it."
  2083. >You point to the mare's plush.
  2084. "Same use as your worm, it's a gift."
  2085. >She hugs it, looking hurt.
  2086. >"But he has a book and is soft."
  2087. >Chuckling, you return to handing out gifts.
  2088. >Most of them are plushes or pennants.
  2089. >The only real odd one was Spike's hat.
  2090. >Had to play that damn sharpshoot game.
  2091. >The kicker?
  2092. >Instead of a gun, you were giving a blowgun.
  2093. >Your mouth still feels dirty.
  2094. >Once you have given everyone already present their gift, you note that there are still quite a few left.
  2095. >If everyone you expect to come makes it, that'll soon change.
  2096. >Then you can return the wheelbarrow.
  2097. >Or you could be a dick and just leave it here, but you aren't a dick.
  2098. >With your little gift exchange taken care of, you hear speaker feedback.
  2099. >Almost immediately after, music blares from behind you.
  2100. >The fillies scream, covering their ears.
  2101. >After a moment of ear murder, the volume drastically drops.
  2102. >Your ears buzz, barely able to hear a chuckle from inside.
  2103. >"Sorry! Sorry."
  2104. >Rubbing your ears, you groan and step inside.
  2105. >Pinkie is sitting next to Vinyl Scratch,a local DJ of reputable mention.
  2106. >The pink mare waves to you.
  2107. >"Hi Nonny!"
  2108. "Hey Pinkie, when did you get in here?"
  2109. >She hops up onto all fours.
  2110. >"When you were buddy looking at clouds. Vinyl needed a hoof setting up!"
  2111. >The blue maned Unicorn nods.
  2112. >"Mhmm, Pinks filled me in on everything. Heh, I didn't think someone who was moving would have the bits to drop on booking me, but hey! Worlds full of surprises."
  2113. >Confused, you are about to speak when Pinkie hops to you.
  2114. >"Mhmm, now let's Paaaartaaay!"
  2115. >Vinyl just nods, her horn glowing as the music resumes.
  2116. >Taking a knee, you motion for Pinkie to come closer.
  2117. >She does so, leaning her ear in.
  2118. "What does she mean booking?"
  2119. >The pinke mare giggles.
  2120. >"Vinyl is REALLY famous. It cost a butt load of bits to get her here today!"
  2121. >Your eyes widen a bit, hands on your head.
  2122. "Pinkie, why would you book her then?"
  2123. >She quirks her head, looking confused.
  2124. >"But... you said price wasn't an issue."
  2125. >You did say that.
  2126. >And it isn't.
  2127. >You can drop your entire savings if need be and you still have that box full of bits.
  2128. >Sighing, you nod.
  2129. "It isn't."
  2130. >The pink mare smiles.
  2131. >"Good. Now dance!"
  2132. >She hops on your back, positioning herself so she is in control of all four of your limbs.
  2133. "Pinkie, what are you-"
  2134. >Before you can continue, the pink mare has you in the middle of the room.
  2135. >It's been cleared out for dance space, so you have plenty of room.
  2136. >Or rather, Pinkie does.
  2137. >She uses your body like a puppets, making you let off strange moans of discomfort.
  2138. >"Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur~"
  2139. >Shocked, you manage to turn your head as the mare works you like a toy.
  2140. "How do you know that song?!"
  2141. >She doesn't answer, continuing to hum that infamous song.
  2142. >Twilight walks up to you, giggling.
  2143. >"What do you mean Anon? It's dragon metal. We've had it for years."
  2144. >That raises many many questions.
  2145. >Pure coincidence or signs that Equestria has had contact with your world before?
  2146. >Doesn't matter, you won't have time to investigate anyways.
  2147. >Plus, if it was a sign the two worlds have crossed before, you're sure Celestia would have mentioned something.
  2148. >Sighing, you let Pinkie have her fun, having you dance like an eighty's fool.
  2149. >As she does, you notice more ponies entering the building.
  2150. >Many of them are strangers, but you recognize more than a few friendly faces.
  2151. >Pinkie has you stop, making you wave your hand like a hyperactive chimp.
  2152. >"Whoo hoo! More guests! I was worried I didn't get the word out."
  2153. >You chuckle, watching as more ponies file in.
  2154. >Soon your chuckling has stopped, guests still arriving.
  2155. "Pinkie, how many people did you invite?"
  2156. >She leans in, head next to yours.
  2157. >"Oh, just a few."
  2158. "Pinkie, please."
  2159. >".. dooozen?"
  2160. >... You ain't even mad.
  2161. "Welp, whatever. Walk the dinosaur?"
  2162. >"Walk the dinosaur!"
  2163. >With that, the pink mare continues to "dance" with you.
  2164. >There are more than a few laughs, but fuck it.
  2165. >So long as your friend is happy.
  2166. >After a few more moments of jolly laughter at your expense, a few of the braver and/or foolish ponies join you, mimicking Pinkie's strange movements.
  2167. >Once a large enough group is on the floor, Pinkie hops off your back, giving you a hug.
  2168. >"Thanks Nonny, it's always a pain to get ponies to start dancing when no one is."
  2169. >She then leans in and whispers.
  2170. >"They feel awkward."
  2171. >Giving a faux gasp, you look to her and shake your head.
  2172. "Noooo."
  2173. >"I know, right?"
  2174. >Chuckling, you pet the mare and decide to take a seat and watch others dance like fools.
  2175. >Although, looking at them move as a group, it seems less foolish and more fun.
  2176. >Still, you are NOT going back in there.
  2177. >Looking around, you notice many of your friends have been lost to the crowd, scattered among the herd of guests.
  2178. >A creaking of the seat next to you has your focus switch, looking to see Octavia next to you.
  2179. >Still wearing her "formal" bowtie.
  2180. >Honestly, you think she just likes to wear it for fun.
  2181. >"Well now, what are the chances of us meeting here?"
  2182. >Chuckling, you turn to face the mare entirely.
  2183. "Pretty high, considering it's my party."
  2184. >She giggles, sighing.
  2185. >"Hard to believe this is the last time I will see you in Ponyville."
  2186. >You lay your arms on the table, slouching a bit as your smile fades.
  2187. "Yeah... hard is right."
  2188. >She just giggles, placing a hoof on your hand.
  2189. >"Well, hopefully I will see you in Canterlot. I do frequent there for my performances after all."
  2190. >You internally cringe in pain, unsure how long you can keep up your lie.
  2191. "I don't know... I'm going to be pretty busy after all."
  2192. >The mare frowns, slowly pulling her hoof back.
  2193. >"O-Oh... I see. Um, I was not trying to be forward Anonymous, we are just friends."
  2194. >Did you even insinuate that she was making a move?
  2195. >As you are about to speak, you feel a tugging on your pants.
  2196. >Looking down, you see Fluttershy trying to hide.
  2197. >You just smile and scratch her ear.
  2198. "Hey Fluttershy, what's up?"
  2199. >She walks to your free side, taking the seat.
  2200. >"I-I lost everyone. Got a bit... nervous, being in this large a crowd. When I saw you, I kind of wanted to... stay nearby. If that's okay."
  2201. >Petting her head, you nod.
  2202. "Yeah, it's fine. It's no fun being a wall flower when none of your friends are nearby."
  2203. >She smiles a bit, nodding.
  2204. >"Thank you."
  2205. >Looking back to Octavia, you see her staring at Fluttershy.
  2206. >Not with malice or judging.
  2207. >More a curious stare.
  2208. >Still, it causes the mare to look around a bit before her ears flatten.
  2209. >"C-Can I help you?"
  2210. >Octavia just shakes her head.
  2211. >"No no, I'm fine. I was just... curious, is all."
  2212. >She looks to you, a weak smile on her face.
  2213. >"So, I take it you'll be at my next performance then?"
  2214. >You are about to ask what she means when the obvious hits you.
  2215. "Oh, yeah. I will. You sure you don't mind?"
  2216. >She just chuckles, standing up and walking next to your side, facing the crowd.
  2217. >"Why would I mind? It will be pleasant to perform for a friend."
  2218. >The grey mare looks to Fluttershy, giving her a soft expression and a smile.
  2219. >"It was nice to meet you Fluttershy."
  2220. >Your pink maned companion just gives her a confused look.
  2221. >"Um... you too?"
  2222. >Octavia just chuckles, shaking her head as she walks away.
  2223. >Fluttershy tugs on your shirt.
  2224. >"Have I met that mare before?"
  2225. >Smiling, you shake your head.
  2226. "No, but she was interested in meeting you."
  2227. >Your answer doesn't help the mare, still leaving her confused.
  2228. >Confused Fluttershy.
  2229. >Confluttershy.
  2230. >"Oh? How come?"
  2231. "Well, I think she wanted to know what kind of mares I am into."
  2232. >Apparently your answer was too direct.
  2233. >The mare's cheeks burn red, almost turning her coat orange.
  2234. >She mutters and mumbles, burying her head under her hooves.
  2235. >Feeling guilty for the mare's embarrassment, you begin softly petting her head.
  2236. "Heh, sorry."
  2237. >After a few minutes of petting your date as the party goes on in the background, you hear a cough.
  2238. >Turning to it, you see a familiar minty mare and her candy based companion.
  2239. >Lyra surprises you with a hug as Bon bon gives you a warm smile.
  2240. >Chuckling, you return it with one arm.
  2241. >"Sorry we're late Anon! Bon bon kept wanting to ride the tilt-a-whirl and she just happened to ride it one too many-"
  2242. >The beige mare's cheeks light up.
  2243. >She smacks her Unicorn friend across the flank.
  2244. >"Lyra!"
  2245. >The minty mare just laughs it off, rubbing her ass.
  2246. >"Ahahaaa, ow. So, how's your day been? Did you enjoy the fair?"
  2247. >You look to Fluttershy, who is still hiding under her hooves.
  2248. >Still, her face has returned to it's natural shade of yellow, so she's calming down.
  2249. "Yeah, I did. I mean, I mostly watched, but it was fun."
  2250. >Lyra just nods, looking to your Pegasus companion.
  2251. >"Sooo, are you two planning anything special for the night?"
  2252. >The shy mare shoots out of her "hiding" spot, looking to Lyra.
  2253. >"Wh-What do you mean?"
  2254. >Lyra leans on the table, looking to Fluttershy with a smile on her face.
  2255. >"The date, duh. Everypony knows about it."
  2256. >And if you had to guess, Rarity spread it around.
  2257. >Or ponies Rarity talked to.
  2258. >Idle gossip is bull shit.
  2259. >As you are about to speak, you see Fluttershy falling over.
  2260. >Panicking, you grab the mare, keeping her from falling out of her seat.
  2261. >"Every... pony..."
  2262. >You shake her a bit.
  2263. "Fluttershy? Fluttershy?!"
  2264. >Lyra smacks your hand.
  2265. >"Don't shake her, that'll just make things worse!"
  2266. >Continuing to hold the mare, you see Bon bon walk to her side, lifting her head.
  2267. >"Calm down little filly. Just because they KNOW about your date doesn't mean everypony is going to be there."
  2268. >Fluttershy's eyes flicker a bit before opening.
  2269. >"R-Really?"
  2270. >Bon bon nods as Lyra taps her chin.
  2271. >"Well, maybe like five or six ponies. Ten at the max."
  2272. >Fluttershy lets off a weak moan, fainting once more.
  2273. >Continuing to hold her up, you see Bon bon give Lyra a knowing look.
  2274. >"... Why? Why did you tell her that?"
  2275. >The Unicorn shrugs, looking guilty.
  2276. >"Well, I mean, what was I supposed to do? Lie?"
  2277. >You look to her, speaking in unison with Bon bon.
  2278. "Yes."
  2279. >"Yes."
  2280. >You are met with a soft stomp and scoff.
  2281. >"No!"
  2282. >Turning, you see Twilight next to Applejack.
  2283. >The purple mare magics Fluttershy so she is sitting up.
  2284. >Applejack shakes her head as she nears you.
  2285. >"Anon, ya should know better than ta lie ta a friend."
  2286. >You point to Fluttershy.
  2287. "The truth made my date pass out."
  2288. >The apple mare sighs, giving you a soft look.
  2289. >"True, tellin' tha truth may hurt a pony, but a lie can only help fer so long. Tha truth'll come out eventually. N' when it does... it'll hurt a lot more."
  2290. >Gripping the table a bit, you almost wonder if she knows.
  2291. "Yeah... but if you know there will be pain anyway, isn't it better to pretend for a little while that things will be fine?"
  2292. >She looks to you.
  2293. >Not in anger, or judgement.
  2294. >Not to tell you that you are wrong or she is disappointed.
  2295. >She looks to you as a friend who wants what is best.
  2296. >"No. It isn't."
  2297. >Her admission only makes you feel more guilt for what you are doing.
  2298. >Still, you can't tell them now...
  2299. >It would ruin everything.
  2300. >The mood, the happiness you've built up with them all day, and their trust in you.
  2301. >That last part will be gone no matter what, you know this.
  2302. >Still, that won't stop you.
  2303. >Your last memories will of Equestria will be of laughter and smiles...
  2304. >That's all you want.
  2305. >Looking away, you sigh and shut your eyes.
  2306. "I'm sorry..."
  2307. >You feel a hoof press against your side.
  2308. >Opening them, you see Applejack giving you a concerned look.
  2309. >"Anon, are ya feelin' all right? Ya look like yer carryin' tha weight of the world."
  2310. >Come to think of it, in a way, you are.
  2311. >Shaking your head, you force a smile.
  2312. "Just feeling a bit tired. it's been a long day."
  2313. >Twilight gives off a worried hum, looking towards a wall.
  2314. >"I hope you don't mean that. It's barely half past noon."
  2315. >Looking to the wall, you see Twilight was actually staring at a clock.
  2316. >You still have a little less than twelve hours left.
  2317. >You refuse to spend them moping around.
  2318. "You're right, probably just need some food in me. I'll be right back."
  2319. >Heading towards the snack table, you make a promise to yourself.
  2320. >Nothing will ruin these next, precious few hours.
  2321. >Leaning back on the outside of the bakery's wall, you sigh.
  2322. >So far, you've kept to your promise.
  2323. >You've made the most with your friends.
  2324. >Fluttershy woke up and you spent some friendly time together that in all honesty felt more than friendly.
  2325. >You've handed out the rest of your gifts and made good on your rental agreement.
  2326. >Rarity showed up, pulled you away to help hammer out some of the finer details of your date.
  2327. >Hell, you even joined Pinkie on the dancefloor when things were slowing down.
  2328. >Aside from those big things, it's been regular party activity after regular party activity.
  2329. >You could really go for a nap right now, but no luck.
  2330. >You have just less than half an hour before you're taking Fluttershy out, and you are NOT going to sleep through it.
  2331. >Continuing to lean back, you just stare up at the sky.
  2332. >It is getting much darker than it should, mostly due to the clouds.
  2333. >Looks like Rainbow was right.
  2334. >Rain.
  2335. >It's probably already raining in some parts of town, but it hasn't hit here yet.
  2336. >You briefly wonder if Rarity's spot has been hit yet when you are reminded she has ponies making sure that won't be a problem.
  2337. >As you continue to relax, leaning against the comfortable wall, the clip clopping of hooves catches your attention.
  2338. >Lazily turning, you see Rainbow Dash.
  2339. >She gives you a concerned look.
  2340. >"Hey, Anon, you okay?"
  2341. >You just nod, not feeling like opening your mouth.
  2342. >"Okay... you don't look it."
  2343. "Yeah?..."
  2344. >She sighs, waving in front of you.
  2345. >You just watch her hoof go back and forth.
  2346. >"Yoooo, Anon! You need to wake up. Pinkie wants to see you."
  2347. >Shaking your head, you rub your eyes.
  2348. "Pinkie?"
  2349. >"Mhmm."
  2350. "What for?"
  2351. >She shrugs.
  2352. >"Dunno. She didn't say. Now come one sleepy."
  2353. >She grabs your arms, pulling you up.
  2354. >"Uuuup and at em."
  2355. >Struggling, you finally get a sense of coherency.
  2356. "I-I'm up. I'm up! Eugh, I'm up."
  2357. >You rub your eyes again.
  2358. "Thanks."
  2359. >She just shrugs.
  2360. >"No problem. No c'mon. It's a bad idea to keep a mare like Pinkie waiting. Things tend to get messy."
  2361. >Following the blue mare, you head back into the bakery to see most of the guests gone.
  2362. >Looking around, you see all the ponies you would call a friend around a table.
  2363. >Along with them are Vinyl and some pony wearing a dress and what looks like a wig.
  2364. "Hey... what's going on?"
  2365. >Pinkie hops over to you, jumping up so that she will land on her back if you don't catch her.
  2366. >Your reaction is just fast enough to keep the reckless mare from hurting herself.
  2367. >"Hi Nonny!"
  2368. "Hey... don't do that."
  2369. >Putting her down, you stretch.
  2370. "Sooo... you wanted to talk?"
  2371. >She nods, pointing to the mare in the dress.
  2372. >"Nonny, meet Photo Finish!"
  2373. >You wave to the mare.
  2374. "Hello."
  2375. >She looks to you, judging before clicking her tongue.
  2376. >"No, I cannot work with someone so... lifeless!"
  2377. >The mare claps her hooves together and two more mares appear out of near thin air.
  2378. >One of them bends you over while the other pours iced coffee down your mouth.
  2379. >You barely avoid choking, caffeine being forced down your throat.
  2380. >once they are finished, you gag, spitting.
  2381. "What the hell was that for?!"
  2382. >The dress wearing mare smiles, nodding.
  2383. >"Ah, yes! Perfect. THIS, this is what I need! Life!"
  2384. >She circles you.
  2385. >"No more of the dreary being who walked in here, ready for a nap. Now, you are awake!"
  2386. >You scoff, shaking your head before looking to Pinkie.
  2387. "Is there any particular reason this mare just tried to have two other mares-"
  2388. >Looking around, you fail to spot them.
  2389. "... who are apparently ghosts, drown me with coffee?!"
  2390. >Pinkie giggles.
  2391. >"Mhmm! She's going to be taking our group photo!"
  2392. >Everyone present, minus Pinkie and the mare herself, looks confused.
  2393. >Rarity coughs, getting the pink mare's attention.
  2394. >"Um, Pinkie, dear, why did you get Mizz Photo Finish for a simple group photo?"
  2395. >Pinkie giggles, pointing to Rarity.
  2396. >"You were the one who said that she was a goddess with a camera!"
  2397. >The Unicorn looks shocked, leaning back a bit.
  2398. >"Pinkie, I said she made goddesses with a camera! She works with models! Why in all of Equestria would you assume she would be willing, let alone actually take a simple portrait photo?"
  2399. >Photo finish just laughs, shaking her head.
  2400. >"A SIMPLE photo? No."
  2401. >She looks to you, grinning.
  2402. >"This, will be magic! A photo of an alien being, my greatest work!"
  2403. >You squint a bit, scratching the back of your neck.
  2404. "Really?"
  2405. >She walks in front of you, expression blank as she looks up to you, eyes hidden behind a pair of overly large glasses.
  2406. >"Oh yah."
  2407. >Feeling just a bit uncomfortable, you whistle.
  2408. "Ooooh, okay! so, how about we just get this picture done, mkay?"
  2409. >Walking to your friends, you look around.
  2410. "So, should I just sit down, or-"
  2411. >A few murmurs of agreement and shuffling away and there is an open space near a table.
  2412. >As you are about to sit, Photo Finish yells out.
  2413. >"Augh! No!"
  2414. >Stopping, you look to her.
  2415. "Excuse me?"
  2416. >She shakes her head.
  2417. >"Sitting down? Phe, I refuse to take a picture with such a marvelous being as yourself -sitting down-."
  2418. >... This is going to be annoying.
  2419. >"Ah, marvelous! Hold it. Hooold it."
  2420. >Struggling to balance Applejack on your arms and Twilight on your lap, you can feel Spike about to bump into you, causing an avalanche of ponies.
  2421. >Taking controlled breaths, you hear a single click then a yell.
  2422. >The yell causes your fragile balance to crumble, having you fall back with ponies landing atop you.
  2423. >You are pretty sure someone's no-touch area is pressing against your lips.
  2424. >Groaning, you wait for everyone to get off before you sit up.
  2425. >The mare is smiling, packing her camera up.
  2426. >"Marvelous! Ah! An amazing photo! Truly, a moment captures in time!"
  2427. >You can see you are not the only one annoyed right now.
  2428. "Great. So, can we see it?"
  2429. >She giggles.
  2430. >"What?? No no no, it still needs to be developed! I will have the finished product to you in a week."
  2431. >As you are about to interject, explain you don't have a week, she bolts out the door.
  2432. "... Really? Really?! Did that really just happen?!"
  2433. >Applejack grunts, walking next to you.
  2434. >"Yeah, ah'm pretty sure it did."
  2435. >Pinkie lets off a weak chuckle.
  2436. >"Uh, not to add on... but she wasn't cheap either."
  2437. >Groaning, you sit up and walk towards the seat you originally intended to take.
  2438. >As you do, the rest of the seats are filled with your friends.
  2439. >Every mare, stallion, filly, and baby dragon.
  2440. >Once everyone has a seat, you feel Pinkie climb into your lap, looking content.
  2441. "Pinkie, what are yo-"
  2442. >A flash goes off.
  2443. >*Click, click*
  2444. >Looking around, you see a polaroid set up.
  2445. "... Is that..."
  2446. >Pinkie looks up to you, nodding.
  2447. >"Yeaaah, miss fancy pants was taking so long I set up my own camera."
  2448. >You feel your eye twitch as you let off a chuckle.
  2449. >Shaking your head, you look down.
  2450. "God... dammit Pinkie... heh."
  2451. >Standing up, you take the photo and wave it off, waiting for the picture to show.
  2452. >Everyone looks exhausted, tired, near dead.
  2453. >Humming, you look to Pinkie.
  2454. "Hey, how do I set this up to take another pic?"
  2455. >She points to the top.
  2456. >"First, twist that knob."
  2457. >You do so.
  2458. "Okay."
  2459. >"Then put a blank in the back."
  2460. "Done."
  2461. >"Now get in position!"
  2462. >Quickly walking back, you take a seat next to Pinkie.
  2463. >Fluttershy soon flies next to you.
  2464. >She meekly waves before looking to the camera.
  2465. >With a smile, you do the same.
  2466. >*Click click*
  2467. >Is that it?
  2468. >Will this one be good?
  2469. >Walking back up, you repeat the process, waiting for the picture itself to show.
  2470. "..."
  2471. >It's good.
  2472. "It's good!"
  2473. >With a few cheers, everyone seems to relax.
  2474. >Pinkie walks up and takes it.
  2475. >"Whoo! All right, I'll take this and get copies made for everyone. I should have enough ready by tomorrow."
  2476. >Sighing, you nod, forcing a smile.
  2477. "Great."
  2478. >You didn't really need a picture anyway.
  2479. >You have your memories, and that's enough.
  2480. >Looking to the clock, you take a sharp inhale.
  2481. "Yeesh, five to five."
  2482. >Rarity gasps.
  2483. >"Oh! Um, Fluttershy!"
  2484. >The yellow mare looks to her friend.
  2485. >"Yes?"
  2486. >Rarity walks towards the door, signalling for her to follow.
  2487. >"We need to talk about something very quickly. Would you mind?"
  2488. >Fluttershy looks back to you, then Rarity.
  2489. >"B-But I kind of-"
  2490. >Rarity just chuckles.
  2491. >"Do not worry. You will be done with PLENTY of time to spare."
  2492. >The Pegasus whimpers, but flutters off anyway.
  2493. >Smiling a bit, you have an idea of what Rarity has planned.
  2494. >As you are about to exit, you are stopped by Lyra.
  2495. >She looks you up and down then sniffs.
  2496. >"Hmm, you might need a shower."
  2497. >Feeling a bit odd, you step back.
  2498. "Uhhh, what?"
  2499. >Bon bon walks up to her friend, sighing.
  2500. >"Rarity asked us to help you clean up before the date. Probably would have been a little less creepy if Lyra mentioned that first."
  2501. >The minty mare realizes her mistake, blushing a bit.
  2502. >"Eheh, sorry."
  2503. >Chuckling, you wave it off.
  2504. "It's fine. So, shower?"
  2505. >She nods.
  2506. >"Yup. Our place. rarity dropped the suit off there."
  2507. >Fair enough.
  2508. >Lyra and Bon bon live closer to here than you do anyway.
  2509. "All right, lead the way ladies."
  2510. >As you watch Anon leave with his two friends, you can't help but smile.
  2511. >Also, you inadvertently get a glimpse of his ass.
  2512. >You quickly shake it off, reminding yourself he is interested in Fluttershy, not you.
  2513. >Sighing, you still feel bad about taking that picture of his... thing.
  2514. >Walking up to the punch bowl, you pass Vinyl, who is starting to pack up.
  2515. >Why she stayed this late, you'll never know.
  2516. >Trying to levitate the ladle, you drop it and splash yourself.
  2517. "Ah- damn."
  2518. >You try again, struggling to keep your hold.
  2519. >What is with your magic today?
  2520. >Finally pouring a cup, you let off a sigh of relief.
  2521. "There."
  2522. >As you sip, you hear a yell.
  2523. >A vinyl disc goes flying across the room, straight out the window.
  2524. >"Oh shit! is everypony all right?!"
  2525. >You are relieved to hear everyone is fine.
  2526. >Walking towards the origin of the disc, you see Vinyl rubbing her horn.
  2527. "What was that all about?"
  2528. >She shrugs.
  2529. >"I dunno. I was just setting my stuff up when BOOM! My horn shuts off then blows up when it turns back on. It was nuts."
  2530. >Whimpering, you remember hearing something similar from Rarity when she was talking with Lyra.
  2531. >You didn't mean to eavesdrop, it just sort of... happened.
  2532. >Worried, you head over to Spike, who is busy showing off his weird hat.
  2533. >Lifting him with your magic, he kicks his feet lightly in the air.
  2534. >"Wha-hey! Twilight, what the heck?"
  2535. "Spike, we have to go."
  2536. >He sighs, sitting on your back.
  2537. >"Why? It's not even late."
  2538. "I know, but I need to check some things and I need my number one assistant to help me."
  2539. >He lightens up a bit, glad to have his ego stroked about his role.
  2540. >"Heh, all right all right. So, what's going on?"
  2541. >Whimpering, you grab your stuffed worm and exit the bakery.
  2542. "Hopefully nothing... but given some research I've been doing... well, something bad could be coming to Equestria."
  2543. >You number one assistant goes quiet for a moment.
  2544. >"So, not that I'm scared or anything, but, uh, what kind of something are we talking about?"
  2545. >Thinking back to what your initial data and the Princesses has shown, you can only theorize.
  2546. "A magic sucking hole. Something that will take all the magic of this world. Not steal and use it against us. It'll just be gone... forever."
  2547. >Spike lets off a curious "huh"
  2548. >"Well, if it's just magic, that won't be too bad. Places like Ponyville and Cloudsdale get be."
  2549. >Groaning, you stop and look back to the baby dragon.
  2550. "Spike, you don't get it. EVERYTHING uses magic! Earth pony farming, Pegasi flying, even the Princesses raising the sun and moon!"
  2551. >His eyes shoot wide, expression blank.
  2552. "If this thing succeeds, Equestria is doomed..."
  2553. >He gulps, chuckling.
  2554. >"H-How long do you think we would have to prepare before this monster shows up?"
  2555. >Sighing, you turn back to the road and continue to walk home.
  2556. "It's not a monster, I don't even know if it's alive. All I know is that it's coming soon. I originally thought we had a couple weeks before anything major happened..."
  2557. >You pause, looking to the ground as you near your library.
  2558. "I think I'm wrong."
  2559. >Thinking, you haven't heard anything from the Princesses.
  2560. >And the rumors only started today.
  2561. >Whatever is happening, only seems to be in Ponyville.
  2562. >You don't THINK it will happen today, so that should give you plenty of time to hopefully find and deal with the problem.
  2563. >Anon'll be lucky...
  2564. >He'll be safe.
  2565. >And that's something you will be grateful for.
  2566. >Stepping inside, you realize something.
  2567. >Anon has no magic or any magical properties.
  2568. >Perhaps you could use that in some way against this hole...
  2569. >Or...
  2570. >No, he has been here for years.
  2571. >There is no way he could be related to this development.
  2572. >...
  2573. >You need to find out how long this hole has been present.
  2574. >Letting Spike down, you head up your stairs as you think on ways to find out just how old this hole is.
  2575. "Spike, get me several books on tracing and locating residual magic. I... I need to do some -hunting-."
  2576. >It's silly, stupid even.
  2577. >But you need to cover every possibility.
  2578. >Following Lyra through the wet grass, you step towards a clearing by the lake.
  2579. >You see a table, candles, seats, and a space that has been flattened.
  2580. >Lowering your umbrella, you notice that the rain has abruptly stopped in the area.
  2581. >Looking up, you see that there is a large circle cut in the clouds.
  2582. >If you had to guess, you'd say it has a hundred foot radius, maybe.
  2583. >Whatever, you aren't good at eyeballing.
  2584. >As you admire the view, a cough from Bon bon brings you back to reality.
  2585. >Looking to her, you notice you are not alone.
  2586. >Rarity is standing proudly next to Fluttershy.
  2587. >Letting off a silent "my god", you can't help but be in awe.
  2588. >You've seen Fluttershy hundred of times, maybe thousands, but something about this one feels different.
  2589. >She hides behind her mane, the dress Rarity made for her clinging to her skin.
  2590. >It looks to be form fitting, but comfortable.
  2591. >The Pegasus is clearly not used to wearing something so...
  2592. >You can't find the proper word for it.
  2593. >Extravagant almost seems insulting.
  2594. >Walking up to them, you see the mare take a step back, only stopped by Rarity.
  2595. >The white Unicorn giggles.
  2596. >"Well? Don't you two have anything you wish to say?"
  2597. >Chuckling, you nod.
  2598. "Hey."
  2599. >Fluttershy's legs shake, almost looking as if they'll give.
  2600. >"H-Hi."
  2601. >Feeling tension in the air, you decide to try and break it.
  2602. "Uh, you look beautiful!"
  2603. >Smooth as low grain sandpaper.
  2604. >She giggles, still shaking and hiding, but a smile has found its way to her lips.
  2605. >"Thank you."
  2606. >The mare looks up, cheeks lighting up a bit.
  2607. >"You look quite... handsome."
  2608. >Giving off a happy sigh, you feel good.
  2609. >That you made the right choice risking this.
  2610. >Rarity walks between you two, smiling wide.
  2611. >"So! If you two would kindly take a seat, we will have your date going as soon as possible~"
  2612. >Your body twitches a bit, unsure what to do.
  2613. >You've been on dates before, but... pony.
  2614. >Do you react differently?
  2615. >Would it offend her?
  2616. >...
  2617. >Fuck it.
  2618. >Offering her your hand, she places a hoof in it.
  2619. >You don't care if this seems like some sort of fedorian neckbeard shit.
  2620. >If you only have one shot, you're going to damn well not waste it being worried.
  2621. >Besides, you've done this with woman like Fluttershy.
  2622. >The cute awkward ones.
  2623. >They usually like this stuff.
  2624. >... Usually.
  2625. >Leading her to the table, you do the stereotypical thing and get her seat.
  2626. >She hops in it and smiles, gaining some confidence in this.
  2627. >Once you are seated yourself, you are about to speak when a familiar donkey in a suit approaches you.
  2628. >"Good evening sir, ma'am."
  2629. >He pulls out a pen and notepad.
  2630. >"How are you two doing this fine evening?"
  2631. >Suddenly, things feel a lot more awkward.
  2632. "Uh, good. Good."
  2633. >Fluttershy nods, her confidence fading.
  2634. >"Yes, very good."
  2635. >He gives a soft nod and looks to the notepad.
  2636. >"I would ask you what you would like, but we only have a few dishes that can be prepared in the time you've given us."
  2637. >That would explain the lack of menus.
  2638. >"Now then, we have the usual fair. Soup, salad, all of that, as well as three entrees."
  2639. >The donkey looks to you.
  2640. >"For our resident human, we have a fine selection of local fish; that can be grilled, baked, steamed, of served raw. Aside from this, we have a vegetable stir fry."
  2641. >He shifts his gaze to Fluttershy.
  2642. >"And a large selection of local flowers that can be arranged as you would like."
  2643. >Fish in and of itself was expensive to eat, since there wasn't a large demand for it.
  2644. >You've never been an overly large fan of the vegetarian accepted meat, but it is still meat.
  2645. "A grilled salmon sounds fine, if you have it I mean."
  2646. >The old ass nods, jotting down your order.
  2647. >"That we do. And for the Miss?"
  2648. >She is quiet a moment, looking down before turning to the donkey.
  2649. >"Um. A daisy and rose salad, if you don't mind."
  2650. >He nods again, closing the notepad.
  2651. >"That I do not. I will have it out for you shortly."
  2652. >As he turns to leave, you are about to ask Fluttershy if she enjoyed herself when the air is filled with music.
  2653. >Classical.
  2654. >Mood setting music.
  2655. >It helps clear some of the tension and you briefly wonder why they didn't start playing earlier.
  2656. >Chuckling, you refocus on the mare.
  2657. "So, did you have fun at the party?"
  2658. >She seems embarrassed, rolling her fork around.
  2659. >"For the time I was awake, yes."
  2660. >You chuckle a bit more, leaning in.
  2661. "Hey, there's no need to be embarrassed. You fainted, so what?"
  2662. >She looks to you, eyes hurt.
  2663. >"What do you mean so what? I-I fainted in the middle of your party! All over the fact ponies knew about... this."
  2664. >Still smiling, you look her in the eye.
  2665. "Yeah, but a lot of much worse things could have happened instead."
  2666. >Her pain goes away some, leaving her more curious than hurt.
  2667. "You could have thrown up on somepony."
  2668. >Fluttershy's eyes shoot wide, shocked.
  2669. "Could have lost your nerve and ran."
  2670. >The mare's shock dies a bit, letting her give a soft nod.
  2671. "Hey, you could have tricked another Pegasus to dress up like you and take your place."
  2672. >She giggles at this, smile seeming more sincere.
  2673. >"I wouldn't have done that."
  2674. >Smiling back, you shrug.
  2675. "I know, but you COULD have. By comparison, fainting wasn't so bad. Was it?"
  2676. >She settles in, rubbing her foreleg.
  2677. >"No, not really."
  2678. >Taking in the night air, you relax.
  2679. "Hey, Fluttershy?"
  2680. >She looks to you, still feeling elated by your mini pep-talk.
  2681. >"Hmmm?"
  2682. "Thanks for trying this. I know there's probably a dozen other things you would feel more comfortable doing right now."
  2683. >She looks to you, giggling.
  2684. >"Yeah, but you had the bravery to push your fears away and ask me out... when you admitted all that stuff, I knew I should be brave too."
  2685. >He answer doesn't sit well.
  2686. >It almost seems like she is here because she has to be here.
  2687. "Let's put what I said aside for a moment, yeah?"
  2688. >She looks to you, confused.
  2689. >"Okay?"
  2690. >Letting your smile drop a bit, you tap your fingers against the table.
  2691. "Let's say I wasn't leaving and had asked you out. Would you have said yes?"
  2692. >She stutters a bit, looking worried.
  2693. "Honest answer?"
  2694. >She sighs, looking to you.
  2695. >"P-Probably not."
  2696. "... Oh."
  2697. >She quickly raises her hooves, shaking her head.
  2698. >"N-No no! Not at first! I mean, this is a big thing, and I get nervous, and I do like you, but I don't know if it's like that, and-"
  2699. >Chuckling at her mile a minute speech, you raise a hand.
  2700. "It's okay, I get it."
  2701. >Fluttershy whimpers, lowering her hooves and casting her gaze to the table.
  2702. >"Not the first time... or second... b-but the third or fourth time... I would have... might have... maybe said yes?"
  2703. >Truth be told, if she had said yes off the bat, you would have worried you didn't know Fluttershy as well as you did.
  2704. >Her answer about accepting a date after the third of fourth time asking seems much more... her.
  2705. >Brave when she needs to be.
  2706. >Meek when she doesn't.
  2707. >Just something about this combination appeals to you.
  2708. >With your smile back, you place a hand on her hoof.
  2709. "Again, thanks."
  2710. >She nods, sighing.
  2711. >"I'm sorry..."
  2712. "Don't be. Never be sorry for being you."
  2713. >The Pegasus looks to you, confused.
  2714. "Well, I like YOU, don't I?"
  2715. >She quirks her head, befuddled.
  2716. "The way you are, the way you act. Your kind, sweet, caring, shy self. Meek, humble... I mean, Fluttershy, we're on a date, right?"
  2717. >The mare nods, confusion clearing up.
  2718. "Which means I either wanted to get to know you better... or I do know you better and I like you."
  2719. >Fluttershy blushes a bit, eyes going soft, lower lip dropping a bit.
  2720. "I like you... plain and simple. We've been friends for a long time, and I just..."
  2721. >Sighing, you shake your head, realizing you are repeating yourself.
  2722. "I've said all this stuff before, it's probably getting repetitive."
  2723. >The mare shakes her head, placing a hoof on your hand.
  2724. >"Please... keep going?"
  2725. >Pausing for a second, you place your free hand on her other hoof.
  2726. "I like your Fluttershy... if I have one regret about all this, it's not asking you out sooner."
  2727. >Something you said must have spooked her, as she pulls her hooves back, looking away.
  2728. >"... I regret it too."
  2729. >Pulling your hand back, you place your elbows on the table, listening.
  2730. >"I know this'll probably be our only chance to see each other like THIS... and... honestly? I-I really don't... I don't want it to be."
  2731. >She begins to tear up, lips trembling.
  2732. >You reach out, placing a hand under her chin, leading it so she looks to you.
  2733. "Fluttershy, no tears, okay?"
  2734. >The Pegasus nods, fighting her tears back.
  2735. "We're here now... let's enjoy it while we can."
  2736. >Pulling your hand back, she follows it for a moment.
  2737. >She either enjoyed the touch... or you pulled too hard.
  2738. >You REALLY hope it is the first possibility.
  2739. >As you two begin to both emotionally calm down, Cranky returns with two silver platters on his back.
  2740. >"For the young mister."
  2741. >He places one of the platters in front of you, removing the top to reveal a grilled salmon, covered in a white creamy looking sauce and an assortment of cooked vegetables.
  2742. >"And the missus."
  2743. >He places the second platter down, removing its top to show a large salad.
  2744. >Typical salad fare.
  2745. >Lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, croutons, and the like.
  2746. >The only oddity is the addition of rose and daisy petals.
  2747. >Well, an oddity to you.
  2748. >You look to Cranky, giving him an appreciative smile.
  2749. "Thank you sir, really."
  2750. >The music seems to change, something softer.
  2751. >More... for lack of a better term, light.
  2752. >Chuckling, you look to Fluttershy.
  2753. >She has her eyes on you, body shooting back when she notices you caught her.
  2754. >"Oh! Um, I-I was just... looking."
  2755. >You feel a bit embarrassed Fluttershy was staring, but a good kind.
  2756. >A flattering kind.
  2757. "Thanks, hope you don't mind if I give you the same treatment."
  2758. >She nods, smiling as she looks to her food.
  2759. >"Um, we should eat before it gets too late."
  2760. >You couldn't agree more.
  2761. >Taking a fork, you softly stab the fish, having the meat tear off like cotton.
  2762. >It's light, but still has a thickness to it.
  2763. >Bringing the piece to your mouth, the scent is actually quite nice.
  2764. >You rest the fork on your tongue, expecting you will have to bring it out to cool.
  2765. >It is actually warm enough to enjoy, cool enough that it doesn't burn.
  2766. >And the flavor, by god the flavor.
  2767. >You were right, creamy.
  2768. >Almost like an alfredo sauce, yet certain distinctions work better to compliment the fish!
  2769. >Cranky made this?
  2770. >You have drastically misjudged him!
  2771. >Looking to Fluttershy, you can see she is in the same blissful state you are.
  2772. >Eyes closed, softly moaning as she smiles.
  2773. >She almost seems reminiscent of an angel.
  2774. >Relaxing, you continue to enjoy the first bite, flavor lasting throughout.
  2775. >Your date has only just begun, but you can feel it will be something Fluttershy, as well as yourself, will never forget.
  2776. >Panicking, your horn continues to light up a faint trail.
  2777. >This faint trail is surrounded by much brighter, -fresher- trails.
  2778. >Whatever is causing this hole has followed a routine pattern for... years.
  2779. >The brighter trails are weeks, even months old.
  2780. >As you exit the town, following the dimmest, oldest trail, you can feel Spike clinging to your back.
  2781. >"T-Twilight! Slow down!"
  2782. >Stopping, you feel your weight shift, slamming forward.
  2783. >You were running and you didn't even know it.
  2784. "I-I'm sorry Spike, it's just... I NEED to find the source of this trail."
  2785. >His claws are scraping your skin, but for some reason you don't feel the pain.
  2786. >Why don't you feel the pain?!
  2787. >You KNOW that he is stabbing hard enough he could almost draw blood!
  2788. >"Why? We know that it's around town! We should just follow the brightest trail, right?"
  2789. >You shake your head.
  2790. "No, no we shouldn't. All that would do is have us run straight for whatever it is! It-It could be a monster, or a nonphysical thing. We need to find out WHAT it is before confronting it."
  2791. >That's right.
  2792. >You don't want to see it right now.
  2793. >....
  2794. >Need!
  2795. >You don't NEED to see it.
  2796. >Want?
  2797. >Why would you not want to find out what this is?
  2798. >It's not like you are scared, you could easily handle it.
  2799. >...
  2800. >The pain is finally coming from Spike's stabbing.
  2801. >Continuing to walk, the trail leads off into the Everfree forest.
  2802. >Spike's claws are digging into your skin again.
  2803. "OW!"
  2804. >"Sorry!"
  2805. >He pulls away.
  2806. >"Sorry."
  2807. >Looking to the forest, you calm down again.
  2808. >Of course whatever this is came from the forest.
  2809. >It's full of creatures no one has ever seen before.
  2810. >Perhaps one escaped some time ago?
  2811. >An infant, too weak to be picked up at the time.
  2812. >Giggling, you sigh.
  2813. >If that's the case, you will just need to find where it came from and put it back home.
  2814. >Spike coughs, touching your shoulder.
  2815. >"Uh, Twilight?"
  2816. >Walking towards the forest, you follow the light.
  2817. "Yes Spike?"
  2818. >"Why are you giggling?"
  2819. >You stop, calming down.
  2820. "No reason Spike... just got worked up over nothing.
  2821. >As you carefully search for the light, you feel a bit safer knowing that all these possibilities exist.
  2822. >To think, you suspected Anon of being the cause of the hole.
  2823. >Spike shivers on your back.
  2824. >"Geez, this place is creepier than normal in the dark."
  2825. >Nodding, you focus on the light, your priorities back to solving this problem.
  2826. "Yeah, I've been here before, remember?"
  2827. >His teeth chatter a bit.
  2828. >"Yeah, but you always had somepony with you."
  2829. >Letting off a groan, you realize he's right.
  2830. "True, I guess. I can't imagine anyone would come here alone though."
  2831. >Spike lets off a nervous chuckle.
  2832. >"Heh, yeah, not by choice anyway. When we get back, we should ask Anon what it was like for him."
  2833. >Stopping again, your magic abruptly dropped.
  2834. >You don't attempt to bring it back up.
  2835. >Instead, you turn to look to Spike.
  2836. "What did you say?"
  2837. >He looks even more nervous than before.
  2838. >"Yeah, Applejack said that Anon's first memories are of being in the Everfree forest... didn't she ever tell you?"
  2839. >Panic resurfaces inside you.
  2840. >You force your magic back, making the weak trail shine with a solid light.
  2841. >Galloping, you follow it as Spike screams out, clinging to your back.
  2842. "Spike, do you know WHERE in the forest Anon was?!"
  2843. >He continues to scream, hands and feet gripping your body.
  2844. >"I don't know! Just that he broke a lot of branches near it!"
  2845. >Why did no one ever tell you this?!
  2846. >As you continue to follow the light, your mind loses focus, centering itself on the possibility Anon is the cause of all this.
  2847. >Sighing, you continue to lean into your chair, letting your food digest and conversing with the beautiful yellow mare sitting across from you.
  2848. >"And then it turns out that they were wrong. Their pup wasn't fat, she was pregnant!"
  2849. >Whistling, you lean in.
  2850. "Whoa, how could they not tell the difference?"
  2851. >Fluttershy giggles, batting a few strands of mane from her face.
  2852. >The first time you have ever seen her move her mane FROM her face at all.
  2853. >"Well, they never had a male dog, so it never crossed their mind."
  2854. >She bites her lips, smiling an adorably goofy smile.
  2855. >"When the puppies were born... Ohhhh they were so cute!"
  2856. >She shuts her eyes, bringing her hooves to her cheeks and shaking her head.
  2857. >"They were so little and sweet and they whined soooo much!"
  2858. >She sighs, eyes drifting open as she traces a hoof over the table, still smiling.
  2859. >"I love babies."
  2860. >Her focus is on the table, her stare miles away.
  2861. >You've succeeded in one respect at least.
  2862. >Fluttershy is having a good time.
  2863. >She wouldn't be this comfortable if she wasn't.
  2864. >Continuing to stare into the mare's lost eyes, a shift in the music pulls you back to reality.
  2865. >You had completely forgotten that you were being watched.
  2866. >Fluttershy's attention has shifted as well, eyebrows furrowing in a quizzical sense.
  2867. >"That... I've heard this song before."
  2868. >Looking to her, you see her listening intently, brows unfurrowing as she reminds herself.
  2869. >You too have heard it, just yesterday in fact.
  2870. >...
  2871. >Chuckling, you take Rarity's not so subtle hint.
  2872. >Standing up, Fluttershy jumps a bit in her seat.
  2873. >"Oh, Anon?"
  2874. >You walk up to her and offer her your hand.
  2875. "May I have this dance?"
  2876. >A cold shiver runs up your back.
  2877. >As if someone, somewhere, is tipping a hat in your honor.
  2878. >... A... fedora?
  2879. >You shiver again, somewhat disturbed you could tell what kind of hat.
  2880. >"Um, are you sure? You look a little cold."
  2881. >Focusing back on Fluttershy, you just chuckle it off.
  2882. "No, no. I'm fine."
  2883. >She looks from you to your hand, shifting her gaze a couple times.
  2884. >Fluttershy is unsure, worry in her eyes.
  2885. >Perhaps she is nervous?
  2886. >Or maybe she doesn't know how to dance?
  2887. >... Or maybe she thinks a dance we get her too involved with you when you're leaving so soon?
  2888. >You doubt it, but now that thought is pushing itself into the forefront of your mind.
  2889. >Dammit, stupid depressing thought.
  2890. >As you are about to pull your hand back, you feel something force the cuff of your shirt forward, placing your hand under Fluttershy's hoof.
  2891. >Holding back a bit of annoyance, you feel a bit betrayed Rarity went against your wish.
  2892. >You don't get to focus too much on it, as Fluttershy -grips- your hand.
  2893. >Looking down, you see her hiding behind her mane, mumbling.
  2894. >She is still moving her hoof around in your hand, using that strange pony invisible grip on it.
  2895. "You know, I learned to dance just so I could impress you tonight."
  2896. >Her hoof movement stops,
  2897. >A moment later and she begins to raise her head.
  2898. >"R-Really?"
  2899. >You nod, smiling.
  2900. "Really really."
  2901. >She is silent for a moment before taking two deep breaths.
  2902. >The yellow Pegasus nods to herself and looks to you, a shaky determination in her eyes.
  2903. >"O-Okay then. You may."
  2904. >Have this dance?
  2905. >Chuckling, you lead her from her seat towards the flattened space.
  2906. >All the courage you had suddenly leaves you as you step onto the area.
  2907. >Your legs stiffen a bit, becoming self conscious.
  2908. >Are you actually doing this right now?
  2909. >About to dance in front of a non-visible audience?
  2910. >Feeling a blush run across your cheek, you briefly wonder if you should just walk her back to the table.
  2911. >The moment is VERY brief, as Fluttershy places your hand on her side, she herself taking to her hind legs.
  2912. "Fluttershy?"
  2913. >She wobbles a bit, hind legs weak.
  2914. >You hold her side, helping her keep her balance as she places a hoof on your other arm.
  2915. >She has it touch her shoulder, her hoof sliding down so it is fully outstretched against it.
  2916. >Her position is exactly like Rarity's was last night.
  2917. >A multitude of possibilities run through your head.
  2918. >Rarity taught her as well, Fluttershy taught Rarity, or maybe they both just know it.
  2919. >Either way, the familiar positioning has your confidence slowly returning.
  2920. >"S-So, shall we... start?"
  2921. >Nodding, you make sure to be as gentle as possible, as if you were cupping a flower in your palms.
  2922. "I'll lead."
  2923. >Not that you assumed Fluttershy would.
  2924. >Taking the first steps, you make them a bit short so the mare can easily follow.
  2925. >You imagine it must look like two children dancing from the peanut gallery's position.
  2926. >As the dance goes on, your steps get longer, broader.
  2927. >Fluttershy easily follows them, her balance and weight shift evening out.
  2928. >As you two move across the flattened grass, you can sense your hands begin to heat up against her fur.
  2929. >You aren't alone, Fluttershy has a very visible blush upon her cheeks.
  2930. >Along with it, you can make out a smile, as well as a small lower lip bite.
  2931. >It shifts a bit, as if she is fighting back a giggle.
  2932. >Feeling lighter, brighter, and quite a bit happier, your steps become more -loose-.
  2933. >Less like you are following a pattern and more... enjoyable.
  2934. >Is this what actual dancing is like?
  2935. >No wonder people dance, it's fun.
  2936. >Fluttershy finally relents, letting her giggles out.
  2937. >You just smile, watching as her gaze finally locks with your own, the music somehow matching your heartbeat.
  2938. >... Sweet Jesus.
  2939. >Rarity was so right, you are a helpless romantic.
  2940. >... But if being a helpless romantic means you get to feel THIS, is it really so bad?
  2941. >Leading your date too and fro, you take a few precautionary steps, getting her into position.
  2942. >"Anon, what are you-"
  2943. >You dip her, letting her question hang as you slide her from her right to her left at an enjoyable pace.
  2944. >She gasps, the lake the only sight she can see.
  2945. >As you return her to her upright position, your steps slow.
  2946. >Fluttershy's face is burning red, front hooves fiddling with your hand and shirt.
  2947. >Still smiling, you continue, calming down quite a bit.
  2948. "Did you enjoy that?"
  2949. >She just nods, lips pursed inwards to form a tight seal.
  2950. >You do it again, letting her let off a soft, almost inaudible moan.
  2951. >A dip in proper hands must feel incredible.
  2952. >You're almost jealous.
  2953. >As you lift her once more, both of you slow down, coming to an eventual halt.
  2954. >The music goes on, letting you and Fluttershy just have a moment.
  2955. >In this moment, it is almost as if there is no one else.
  2956. >The sky, the land, the air...
  2957. >It is yours.
  2958. >As you return to reality, coming down from your -afterglow-, you notice petals falling from the sky.
  2959. >More than that, you notice twin baskets being carried by either a blue or hazel glow.
  2960. >Furrowing your brow a bit, you feel Fluttershy tug on your sleeve.
  2961. >Returning to your soft expression, she is looking at you, doe eyed.
  2962. >"A-Anon..."
  2963. "Yes Fluttershy?"
  2964. >Her weak, doe eyed expression slowly contorts into a smile, eyes watering a bit.
  2965. >"... Thank you for taking me out tonight. This... This has been one of the most amazing times I have ever had."
  2966. >With every word she speaks, your heart rises.
  2967. >You set out to see if you two had chemistry, and this feels like proof enough that you two do.
  2968. >Not only have you given her a wonderful time, impressed, and romanced her...
  2969. >You've... You've had fun.
  2970. >It has just been talking, dinner, and this dance...
  2971. >But it feels like so much more.
  2972. "You're welcome... and thank you, for giving me a precious memory."
  2973. >She lets off a few nervous giggles, looking away as she pulls back.
  2974. >Her feet are once more on the ground, still stepping backwards.
  2975. >"O-Oh, I didn't do anything. I mean, YOU, you planned all this, you're the one who... well, did everything."
  2976. >What you are about to say next feels like the biggest sin in puns, but it is so fitting.
  2977. "Fluttershy, it takes two to tango."
  2978. >She snorts, laughing.
  2979. >The mare tries to cover her mouth, but the laughs continue.
  2980. >It's beautiful to you.
  2981. >You are biased, yes, but it doesn't make your heart feel any less soft.
  2982. >As she continues to giggle away, your mind brushes over the one subject that could have ruined your lighthearted mood.
  2983. >The subject of your departure from this world.
  2984. >... It will hurt, a lot, but you will always have your memories.
  2985. >Memories of tonight, of every day that's preceded it.
  2986. >Memories of you and your extraterrestrial pony pals.
  2987. >More than that, you'll have the knowledge that they'll be safe.
  2988. >That Fluttershy will be able to keep going on.
  2989. >Celestia didn't outright say it, but you know that without magic, this world would crumble.
  2990. >They use it to raise the god damn sun!
  2991. >It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that losing control of THE SUN would be bad.
  2992. >But they won't have to worry.
  2993. >It will all be over soon...
  2994. >Not too soon though.
  2995. >Sighing, you notice that the music has stopped.
  2996. >Fluttershy has calmed down and is contently enjoying the night, eyes closed as she just holds herself.
  2997. >Walking up to her, you place a hand on her back.
  2998. >Her eyes shoot open as she jumps back.
  2999. >Letting off a soft chuckle, you throw your thumb to point behind you.
  3000. "Mind if we star gaze for a little bit?"
  3001. >She blinks, a soft smile on her lips.
  3002. >"Isn't it a little late?"
  3003. >You sigh, running a hand down your cheek.
  3004. "One second."
  3005. >The mare nods as you walk over to the bushes.
  3006. >As you pass them, more than a few shocked yells ring out.
  3007. >Looking around, you see that Octavia's troupe, Cranky, Rarity, Lyra and Bon bon are all huddled up near what looks like table.
  3008. >Atop the table are many papers, including a map, checklist, and what you assume is a meter of some kind.
  3009. >Rarity gives you a stern glare.
  3010. >"Anonymous! You are ruining the illusion."
  3011. >You just shake your head, looking around.
  3012. "What time is it?"
  3013. >Bon bon look to Cranky, who pulls out an old pocket-watch.
  3014. >"Well, looks to be about eight thirty, eight forty."
  3015. >You have time.
  3016. "Thanks, now if you'll excuse me."
  3017. >Exiting their little "base", you return to Fluttershy.
  3018. "The night's still young and I really don't want to say good bye... not yet."
  3019. >The mare's expression turns soft, almost like a motherly smile.
  3020. >She nods and offers you her hoof.
  3021. >You take it and lead her to a nearby spot near the lake.
  3022. >Chuckling, you can't help but remember.
  3023. >When was the last time you just stopped and looked at the stars?
  3024. >You never just take the time to look and remind yourself all that's out there anymore.
  3025. >Looking to the mare beside you, you are glad that you are doing it once more.
  3026. >Tightening your grip a bit, you just relax, letting time pass as slow as it wants.
  3027. >Continuing to gallop through the forest, you pant, running out of breath.
  3028. >The trail is coming near its end, you can feel it.
  3029. >As Spike clings to your back, you just make sure not to drop him.
  3030. >As you jump through a bush, the trail abruptly ends.
  3031. >Befuddled, you look around.
  3032. >As you turn to face behind you, you see that it shoots upwards.
  3033. >First at strange curves, then directly up.
  3034. >The line passes next to a tree with many of its branches either missing or growing new ones where the old ones were ripped off.
  3035. >Shaking your head, you try to rationalize the situation.
  3036. >This could mean anything.
  3037. >You just need to think!
  3038. >Spike taps your shoulder.
  3039. >"Um, Twilight?"
  3040. >Growling, you look to him.
  3041. "Not now Spike!"
  3042. >He looks to you, shocked.
  3043. >Collecting yourself, you shake your head and sigh.
  3044. "I'm... I'm sorry Spike."
  3045. >He hops off your back, looking at the light trail.
  3046. >"So... what does this mean?"
  3047. >You look to it as well, one last chance to show Anon isn't what's causing this hole presenting itself to you.
  3048. "Spike..."
  3049. >The baby dragon looks to you.
  3050. >"Yeah?"
  3051. "You'll... want to close your eyes and cover your ears."
  3052. >He does as you say immediately.
  3053. >Sighing, you charge up one heck of a spell.
  3054. >It keeps pulling from you, taking everything you have and pulling it to your horn.
  3055. >Gritting your teeth, you keep it up, counting out.
  3056. "One... two... three!""
  3057. >Letting it off, the immediate area is covered in a bright yellow flash.
  3058. >Falling to the ground, you pant and wheeze, feeling drained beyond all belief.
  3059. >You keep your eyes open though, needing to see this.
  3060. >The trail is gone, but in it's place you'll see just what made it.
  3061. >Looking up, you wait.
  3062. >It takes a couple minutes, but soon a thicker glowing form falls towards the ground, the trail you created following behind it.
  3063. >It stops, flopping slightly before it resumes falling, creating one of the curves.
  3064. >Then again, making another curve.
  3065. >It keeps going until each curve has been made.
  3066. >It sluggishly stands, reaching for its back.
  3067. >Tearing up, you can't deny this any more.
  3068. >Whatever is creating this hole is the same height, thickness, and shape as Anon.
  3069. >And if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck...
  3070. >Then Anonymous is the hole.
  3071. >Letting a couple tears fall, you immediately steel yourself.
  3072. >The glowing yellow dissipates, leaving the forest as dark as it was.
  3073. >It also leaves your eyes hurting quite a bit.
  3074. >Poking Spike, he opens his eyes and uncovers his ears.
  3075. >"Is it over?"
  3076. >Shutting your eyes for a moment, you look to him.
  3077. "Not yet. We need to get back to town... w-we need to go see Anon."
  3078. >You'll also make a small pit stop at Applejack's.
  3079. >Anon is a threat to all of Equestria, the entire world in fact!
  3080. >If he isn't willing to cooperate...
  3081. >He may be your friend, but you aren't going to let him run free because of it.
  3082. >Walking back, you have to take it slow, still drained.
  3083. >All that running probably didn't help.
  3084. >As you take the long walk back to Ponyville, your heart sinks.
  3085. >No matter what happens next, it isn't going to be good for Anon...
  3086. >"What about that one?"
  3087. >The yellow mare's hoof points to a collection of stars that, to you, looks like a hook.
  3088. "I'd saaaay no."
  3089. >She chuckles, leaning in so her head is resting on your chest.
  3090. >"Why not?"
  3091. "Well, it looks like a hook to me. I doubt ponies would make a constellation out of a hook."
  3092. >She hums, nuzzling her head against you.
  3093. >"Griffins and Dragons have claws. They're kind of like hooks."
  3094. >Thinking on it, you can agree.
  3095. "All right, fair enough. What about that little group right there?"
  3096. >You point to a small cluster that kind of reminds you of Applejack's barn.
  3097. >"Hmmm, yes. I think ancient ponies would have made a constellation for that. Earth ponies deserve respect too."
  3098. >You nod, sighing.
  3099. >Fluttershy is quiet for a moment before pointing to a gathering near the moon.
  3100. >"I don't remember a lot of constellations, but I know that one... it was made to celebrate Hearths Warming Eve."
  3101. >Listening, you let the mare continue.
  3102. >"Um... I... I'm bringing it up because I owe you a really really really big apology."
  3103. >Furrowing your brows, you look to Fluttershy, confused
  3104. "What do you mean?"
  3105. >She whimpers.
  3106. >"Um... last Hearths Warming Eve... when... when you got really drunk at Pinkie's party and had to get home... I volunteered to take you."
  3107. >Thinking on it, you wondered how you got home that night.
  3108. "Oh... and you're sorry for that?"
  3109. >She lets off a soft squeak.
  3110. >"N-No... when we got home, you looked so tired that the first thing I did was tuck you into bed."
  3111. >Listening, you aren't seeing why should would feel the need to apologize.
  3112. >"After you feel asleep... y-you looked so handsome and cute and... I... well... there was some mistletoe put up over your bed, i-ironically I think..."
  3113. >Ohhhhh, you think you know where this is going.
  3114. "I... may... may have took a small peck from you... j-just a peck!"
  3115. >Blinking, you look to the panicking mare and aren't sure how to feel.
  3116. >You don't... really feel anything.
  3117. >Not hurt, or shocked, or even nervous.
  3118. >You just feel...
  3119. >Well, you feel like that's something.
  3120. "Oh... well, I mean, it doesn't really count if I was asleep."
  3121. >The yellow mare calms a bit, looking to you.
  3122. >You look into her eyes, feeling a warmth in your chest.
  3123. >"It doesn't?..."
  3124. "No, I think I would have had to have been awake... I mean, you can't really have your first kiss with someone be while they're asleep."
  3125. >She gulps, sinking into herself ever so slightly.
  3126. >"F-First?"
  3127. >You nod, knowing exactly where you want this to go.
  3128. >You know there could have been something special between you and her, but you wasted too much time.
  3129. >No more.
  3130. "Yeah... a first kiss."
  3131. >Peering in with your binoculars, you can make out Fluttershy laying upon Anonymous' chest, looking into his eyes.
  3132. >As you do, you can feel somepony hint your front leg.
  3133. >You speak in a whisper.
  3134. "Ow!"
  3135. >They take a sharp inhale, whispering back.
  3136. >"Sorry! Sorry."
  3137. >Groaning, you refocus upon the couple.
  3138. >You did not put this much effort into planning this to miss a single moment!
  3139. >Two close friends, a romantic evening, so...
  3140. >Perfect~
  3141. >The kind of romance you live for!
  3142. >Watching, Fluttershy nod, you hear a couple of whispers.
  3143. >"Hmph, I bet he won't kiss her."
  3144. >A soft thump follows, followed by a familiar mint manes Unicorn speaking softly.
  3145. >"Shhh, you don't know Anon that well Octavia."
  3146. >Soon after, Bon bon joins the two rude mares.
  3147. >"And how do you know he'll kiss her?"
  3148. >After a soft giggle, Lyra replies.
  3149. >"Because when Anon wants a kiss, he gets a kiss."
  3150. >There is silence for a moment before Octavia speaks in a far too loud whisper.
  3151. >"How do you know that?!"
  3152. >Now all three of the mare talking over each other.
  3153. >Lyra trying to explain, Octavia prodding for information, and Bon bon to silence them.
  3154. >Gritting your teeth ever so lightly you silence them all with one quick spell.
  3155. >You then turn to them and speak in a loud whisper.
  3156. "Enouuuugh!"
  3157. >They look to you, mouths zipped shut.
  3158. "If you all will not silence yourselves, you can just leave!"
  3159. >The beige mare pokes your shoulder.
  3160. "What?"
  3161. >She points out and you look.
  3162. >Fluttershy is leaning her head in!
  3163. >GAsping, you retake your binoculars and look.
  3164. >Anon is tilting his head!
  3165. >Are they going to kiss?
  3166. >Will it be soft?!
  3167. >Watching with baited breath, you silently gasp as they lean closer to each other.
  3168. >Closer....
  3169. >Closer~
  3170. >Ahhhh!
  3171. >They touched!
  3172. >Their lips touched!
  3173. >Now he is wrapping his hands around her, and she is letting him hold her!
  3174. >They're still kissing!
  3175. >Oh Celestia, yes!
  3176. >It's soooo perfect!
  3177. >... For somepony else.
  3178. >Why do they get the perfect kiss?
  3179. >Is there something wrong with you?
  3180. >Pouting a bit, you just look back to the scene and feel your worry disappear for a moment.
  3181. >The heartwarming scene before you is too cute to let you be oh so selfish.
  3182. >Their lips are still held tight, more than likely sharing breaths!
  3183. >Ah~
  3184. >It's so... PERFECT!
  3185. >Sqeeing internally, you see them pull away, speaking.
  3186. >Fluttershy kisses him once more and they lay back, his hand upon her hoof.
  3187. >Ohhhhhhhh!
  3188. >So so perfect!
  3189. >Letting off a soft sigh, you nod, a single tear in your eye.
  3190. >Looking to your little team, you undo the spell.
  3191. "Good work everyone. I believe we are no longer needed here."
  3192. >A cough from the table draws your attention.
  3193. >Cranky Doddle is busy playing around with his watch, not even bothering to look at the beautiful scene!
  3194. >"Well, I could have told you that. A respectable gentleman doesn't need any help
  3195. to romance a mare when they are alone."
  3196. >He looks to you all, expression stoic.
  3197. >"Anon's no different."
  3198. >Nodding, you walk up to him and roll up your papers.
  3199. "Yes, well, I simply wished to insure we were around if Anon needed us."
  3200. >As you roll up the checklist, you mark the final box.
  3201. >Cranky scoffs.
  3202. >"Sure, and watching them kiss was just coincidental."
  3203. >You scoff, not giving him a response, too focused on cleaning your papers.
  3204. >When you get to the "romance in the air" meter... you finish shading it in.
  3205. >A little heart on a piece of paper, yes, but oh so true.
  3206. >Turning to leave, you look back.
  3207. >With a smile, you speak in a soft tone.
  3208. "Have a wonderful evening Anonymous, you magnificent man."
  3209. >With a sigh, you continue to walk.
  3210. >In another life, another time, perhaps you would have been on the one he was to kiss.
  3211. >But, he needed your help this life.
  3212. >C'est la vie.
  3213. >As the sun sets, you hold Fluttershy's hoof, smiling.
  3214. >She simply places her head on your shoulder, nuzzling up against you.
  3215. >Relaxing, you just enjoy the suns rays, warmth feeling quite nice against your skin.
  3216. >There is a small earthquake, causing the yellow mare to cling to you.
  3217. >"Wh-What's going on?"
  3218. >You hold her, unsure.
  3219. "It's just an earthquake, it'll pass so-"
  3220. >"ONYMOUUUUUUUUS!"
  3221. >Jumping to your feet, you look around, heart racing.
  3222. "What the hell was that?!"
  3223. >The world begins to blow away, like sand caught in the wind.
  3224. >Panicking, you look to Fluttershy who is tearing up as her entire body gets caught like dust in the wind.
  3225. "Fluttershy!"
  3226. >As you run to her, a large build up of dark blue dust jumps at you.
  3227. >You brace yourself and it passes you.
  3228. >Looking down, you are floating on nothing.
  3229. >Panicking even more, you are forcibly turned around.
  3230. >The Princess of the night is in front of you and she is not please.
  3231. >"Anonymous! What are you doing?!"
  3232. >Gulping, you continue to look at the endless black void surrounding you.
  3233. "I-I don't know."
  3234. >She groans, looking you dead in the eyes, worry in her own.
  3235. >"It is nearing the eleventh hour of the night! Sister and I are on our way as we speak. Princess Cadenza is in transit as well."
  3236. >Wondering what she is talking about, it all suddenly hits you.
  3237. >You fell asleep.
  3238. >You and Fluttershy were cuddling while stargazing.
  3239. >You have to leave!
  3240. >The world is in danger!
  3241. "Oh god-"
  3242. >Luna interrupts you, shaking her head.
  3243. >"Gah, we do not have much time."
  3244. >The void soon start to glow white in small sections, but the sections soon start to expand.
  3245. >"The train tracks, run along them! Towards Canterlot!"
  3246. >Luna begins to glow as well, a blinding white light filling your gaze.
  3247. >You look away, covering your eyes.
  3248. >"Hurry Anonymous, we are running out of-"
  3249. >That is all you heard before everything was engulfed by the blinding rays.
  3250. >Gasping for air, your body jerks up, crickets chirping.
  3251. >Your sudden jump stirs Fluttershy form her sleep.
  3252. >"Nnn, Anon... W-What's-"
  3253. >You lean down, kissing her once.
  3254. >Her eyes shoot wide, pulled form her sleep in a very rough fashion.
  3255. >You can tell she is still tired, her eyes looking quite heavy.
  3256. >"O-Oh my."
  3257. >Hiding your sorrow as best you can, you lean in and hug her.
  3258. "Fluttershy, I have to go."
  3259. >The mare looks to you, concerned.
  3260. >"W-What?"
  3261. >You stand, looking around and trying to shake off your exhaustion.
  3262. "Yeah, my train is leaving soon."
  3263. >Fluttershy lets off a mew of disappointment.
  3264. >"O-Oh..."
  3265. >Feeling awake enough, you sigh, looking back to Fluttershy.
  3266. "I'm sorry..."
  3267. >She tears up a bit, eyes slowly finding their way to yours.
  3268. >"Will... Will you write?"
  3269. >Gritting your teeth in pain, you look away.
  3270. >She sniffles, whimpering out.
  3271. >"Okay... I get it. I-It would be a dumb idea to try a long distance relationship anyway."
  3272. >She is breaking your heart so violently right now.
  3273. >Tearing up yourself, you look to Fluttershy and are about to speak when she looks to the sky.
  3274. >"W-Will you promise me something?"
  3275. >You gulps, swallowing your pain and finding your voice.
  3276. "Yes."
  3277. >Her voice quivers a bit.
  3278. >"W-When you look at the night sky... just remember that I'm looking at it too. The same sky, okay?"
  3279. >Pausing for a moment to take in her words, you think.
  3280. >it is possible that it will be the same sky, from her world and yours, right?
  3281. >Infinite possibilities...
  3282. >She sniffles once more, tears running down her cheek.
  3283. >"J-Just never forget me."
  3284. >You can't take it anymore!
  3285. >Approaching the mare, you lean in and kiss her once more, holding it.
  3286. >It can only last a moment, but that is all you need.
  3287. >Parting your lips, you lock your eyes with hers.
  3288. "I could NEVER forget you. I promise."
  3289. >She just nods, hic-ing.
  3290. >Rubbing her eyes, she wiggles free.
  3291. >"Go... Go and be happy... for me?"
  3292. >With a hint of despair, you nod.
  3293. "I promise, I will never forget you."
  3294. >Turning to the direction your house is in, you run.
  3295. >It is near or already past eleven.
  3296. >You still have to grab your things from Earth and tie up any loose ends.
  3297. >... Praying as you run, you hope you have enough time.
  3298. >Arriving at Rarity's house with Spike, Applejack, and her rope, you sigh.
  3299. >Knocking, you wait.
  3300. >Anon was not at his house, meaning he was probably still out.
  3301. >Rarity is the only mare you can trust who will tell you where they are.
  3302. >A fellow element of harmony... she'll do what's right.
  3303. >As the mare answer her door, you take note of the hair curlers atop her head.
  3304. >So that's how she does it.
  3305. >"Nnn, Twilight. Gah, it's almost eleven, what are you doing?"
  3306. >Applejack interjects.
  3307. >"Ah think tha better question is why're you sleepin' so early? Yer a grown mare, right?"
  3308. >The white Unicorn just fans herself.
  3309. >"A mare such as myself does need her beauty rest, darling."
  3310. >Groaning, you stomp your hoof.
  3311. "Rarity, where is Anon?"
  3312. >She blinks, lowering her hoof.
  3313. >"He should be at home. if not, he and Fluttershy are still on their date."
  3314. >You figured as much.
  3315. "Where?"
  3316. >Rarity gives you a look of concern.
  3317. >"Why do you need to know?"
  3318. >Applejack once again interrupts.
  3319. >"Rare... Anon is a danger ta all of Equestria. N he might not even know it."
  3320. >Feeling the need to clarify your friend's vague warning, you continue.
  3321. "He's a hole. He sucks magic just by being around and his area of suction is growing larger."
  3322. >Rarity just shakes her head.
  3323. >"That's impossible."
  3324. >The orange cowmare lower the brim of her hat.
  3325. >"Ah thought so too... till I remembered tha fair. Flim n' Flam were cheatin' ponies, but when they tried ta cheat Anon with their magic, it didn't work... well, the second time it didn't work."
  3326. >Rarity squints a bit.
  3327. >"I refuse to believe you."
  3328. >You take a step closer to her, giving her a stern look.
  3329. "Rarity, your magic failed today, right?"
  3330. >She shakes her head before stopping.
  3331. >"Well, yes, but it was just a flicker, a moments loss."
  3332. >Your lips quivering, wishing you didn't know what you did.
  3333. "Sure, it's only a flicker now... but it's growing, exponentially. Soon it will be a minute, then an hour. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. At some point in the near future, ALL magic will cease to exist!"
  3334. >Crying a bit, your voice shakes.
  3335. "We will all DIE if Anon doesn't help us. Help us by giving himself up and letting us figure out how to stop this hole."
  3336. >Rarity's eyes say it all.
  3337. >She wants to deny it, she wants to deny it so bad.
  3338. >But she can't.
  3339. >"I will show you where they last were."
  3340. >She throws her curls to the side, hair poofing up.
  3341. >As the mare gallops, you follow, praying Anon will come quietly.
  3342. >Arriving at your door, you notice that it has been busted open.
  3343. >Probably from Pinkie's earlier break in or something.
  3344. >You don't have time to focus on it.
  3345. >Rushing inside, you head upstairs and grab your suitcase and pull out your top drawer.
  3346. "Wallet... keys... cell phone... done!"
  3347. >Pocketing your belongings, you are about to run out when you remember the box.
  3348. >Taking only a moment, you rip out a piece of paper from the nearest blank book and slam it against the nearest surface.
  3349. >Grabbing a pen, you quickly write.
  3350. "Give... half... of... this... to... a charity... for... the homeless... and..."
  3351. >You stop, reminded of Fluttershy's harsh childhood because of her flight.
  3352. >You promised not to forget her... even when you are rushing, you are going to keep that promise.
  3353. "give half... to... a charity for troubled flyers. Done!"
  3354. >Running towards the box, you push it into plain sight, the not stuck between its folds.
  3355. >Now all you have to do is make your way to the train station.
  3356. >It's almost over.
  3357. >Fluttershy and the rest of your friends will be safe, they'll be happy.
  3358. >Just not with you...
  3359. >Galloping to the lake, you can see a pony walking in the dark.
  3360. >Once the pony sees you and your friends, they squeal, popping their wings out, and jump into a bush.
  3361. >Fluttershy!
  3362. >Running to the bush, you open it to see your pink maned friend cowering.
  3363. >She looks up and sees you.
  3364. >"O-Oh, hi Twilight."
  3365. >You sigh, looking around.
  3366. "Fluttershy, where is Anon?"
  3367. >The yellow coated mare climbs out of the bush.
  3368. >"He left..."
  3369. >Your heart sinks a bit in fear.
  3370. "W-What?"
  3371. >She nods, sniffling.
  3372. >"He went to the train station... he's leaving."
  3373. >You shake your head, looking at Fluttershy with more anger than you want.
  3374. "Fluttershy, there are no trains that run this late."
  3375. >She looks confused.
  3376. >"What do you mean?"
  3377. >You start to put two and two together, in ways you wish you couldn't see.
  3378. "Anon lied to you."
  3379. >Fluttershy gives a pained expression, shaking her head.
  3380. >"He wouldn't!"
  3381. >Applejack turns the pink maned mare to face her.
  3382. >"Sugarcube, he did... he might have lied to us all."
  3383. >Looking to Applejack, she nods to you.
  3384. "So I guess I'm not the only one who sees it then..."
  3385. >Spike looks around.
  3386. >"Sees what?"
  3387. >Sighing, you begin to grow angry.
  3388. >Anger directed at Anon.
  3389. "Think about it. Anon just so happens to get a new job and it's on such short notice? Then, the day before he is supposed to leave, Unicorn's magic starts to short out."
  3390. >Applejack continues where you paused.
  3391. >"N' ah heard a few Pegasi had trouble flyin' later in tha day as they passed Sugarcube Corner."
  3392. >Your anger subsides a bit, replaced once again with fear.
  3393. "What?! Oh sweet Celestia..."
  3394. >Fluttershy shakes her head, defiance in her voice.
  3395. >"Just what are you trying to say?!"
  3396. >Looking to her, you make your point very clear.
  3397. "Anon may know he's a hole in this world."
  3398. >Her defiance is now mixed with confusion.
  3399. >"Hole?"
  3400. >Nodding, you start to walk back to town.
  3401. "Yes, a hole. That is growing much faster than I expected."
  3402. >Galloping, you hear your friends following.
  3403. >Applejack runs up next to you.
  3404. >"What do ya mean Twi?"
  3405. >Continuing to watch where you run, you speak your fears.
  3406. "The hole shouldn't be able to take anything besides absolute magic like the kind Unicorns use. If it is already taking passive magic like a Pegasus's flight, we're in much, MUCH, more danger than I thought!"
  3407. >Quickly formulating a plan, you realize that Applejack's rope isn't enough insurance.
  3408. >Turning to face Flutter shy, you make it clear you are not asking.
  3409. "Fluttershy! Get Rainbow Dash!"
  3410. >She yelps, taking to the sky.
  3411. >Turning the other way to face Applejack, you speak in a softer tone.
  3412. "AJ, get Pinkie."
  3413. >She furrows her brow, frowning as she nods.
  3414. >As she starts to part from the group, Rarity runs up with Spike on her back.
  3415. >The dragon looks to you.
  3416. >"Twilight, what are you planning?"
  3417. >Looking back to the road, you sigh, feeling betrayed by one of your best friends.
  3418. "If he's absorbing magic this fast, we need the most powerful magic available..."
  3419. >The elements of harmony.
  3420. >Panting, you continue to run alongside the tracks, suitcase feeling far heavier than before.
  3421. >You have been running nonstop since you left your home...
  3422. >Your once home.
  3423. >Someone else will be living there soon enough.
  3424. >Running out of breath, you cough and wheeze.
  3425. >Stopping for a moment, you need to catch your breath.
  3426. >As you do, a train soon approaches.
  3427. >It passes you by at top speed before coming to a screeching halt just as the last car zooms by you.
  3428. >Not even a full minute after, two Alicorn Princesses run out, approaching you.
  3429. >Still gasping, you move one of your hands to wave.
  3430. "He-Hey... Kch, Luna... Ce-gh,-Celestia."
  3431. >You think you're going to throw up.
  3432. >Luna throws a hoof over your shoulder, hugging you.
  3433. >"We are sorry we must do this..."
  3434. >You return the hug with one hand, the other clutching your gut.
  3435. "It's okay... it... it needs to be... done."
  3436. >Holding a burp, you just groan.
  3437. >You never should have skipped gym.
  3438. >Celestia sighs, the train continuing on its way.
  3439. >She walks up to you.
  3440. >"Get on my back."
  3441. >You do so, hoping you aren't too heavy for the Princess.
  3442. >She soon groans, your signal to hop off.
  3443. "Sorry... sorry..."
  3444. >She sighs again, shaking her head.
  3445. >"It is not your fault. Not intentionally."
  3446. >Luna nods, looking to you.
  3447. >"We are not to use our Earth pony magic."
  3448. >Confused, you question the Princess.
  3449. "Magic?"
  3450. >She nods.
  3451. >"Yes, the strength to move land, to break boulders. That, is the magic gifted to Earth ponies."
  3452. >Nodding, another question arises.
  3453. "Why didn't you two fly here?"
  3454. >Celestia giggles.
  3455. >"No Pegasi magic allowed either... not if we want this to work."