Raindrop hid in the supply closet, blocking out the world with her hooves. She needed to think. She needed time to ponder on where her life was heading.
There she was, entertaining ideas about Sentinel when her entire existence at that moment was focused on finding the Elements of Harmony. And the only reason she was chasing those was because they would fix her, so she could be with Shine again.
But if her and Shine were through, then where did that leave her and her quest for the elements? What was the point of it in the first place?
When it came right down to it, she needed to talk to Shine. Needed to see him, to sit down and figure things out with him. And she knew where he would be.
Stardancer whined faintly in the back of her throat, grinding her hooves against her temples in an effort to keep out the mindbreaking possibilities. It had been too long since her last dose of meds, and she was at breaking point. Her mind simply couldn’t handle the influx of information. There was no filter, no reprieve. Everything she looked at, everything she touched. She saw it all.
The bee buzzing in the tree, the scent of a flower on the breeze, the sound of a dog barking in the distance. It all had ramifications for the future of Ponyville. No one understood just how much the things everyone took for granted shaped the world around them. Small events could snowball into large events, and a small event diverted or caused at the right time could either shape, increase, or eliminate a large event entirely.
The butterfly ahead of her, Stardancer had already seen. She knew what it was. It was the herald of the dooming of a couple. She could see how each flap of its wings interacted with the air around it, how it changed them. The possibilities spiked off in an endless cacophony that filled her mind with incomprehensible white noise. She could see it would somehow affect the relationship of Mr and Mrs Iron, the two Ponyville blacksmiths. But she couldn’t see what eventualities would be prevented if she destroyed the butterfly before it reached them.
Indecision ate at Stardancer’s mind, and she bit her bottom lip hard enough to draw blood, trailing after the butterfly, trying to focus her muddled mind on what would happen if the butterfly broke up the marriage. White noise of air currents intruded on her senses. She could see where the air currents would change, how that would change how a sparrow dipped his wings and aligned his feathers. How that one small shift in air pressure would snowball into a larger shift that would cause a storm over the everfree.
It was all causality, and she couldn’t escape it now. Her life was the butterfly. She had to concentrate.
The butterfly would land, and cause the breakup. But what if the butterfly didn’t land? What lineage would be reproduced if the two ponies stayed together?
But that line of thought was moot. The two were destined for a falling out sometime. But their arguments had weight in the immediate future. Should she destroy the butterfly, or allow it to live? Would it cause more suffering if she destroyed it? If the fight caused a meeting between two ponies, she could destroy the butterfly, and destroy the event that led to two ponies meeting and giving birth to a brilliant foal. Or she could cause two ponies to meet whose genes would result in a child who caused as much harm as possible.
Stardancer paused, grinding her hooves against her temples again, wincing in pain. Her mind was tearing itself apart trying to keep up, and failing miserably.
“Are you okay?” a voice was asking, seemingly from far away.
A billion possibilities trailed off from her possible answers. She was going to affect so many things no matter what she did.
“T-the A-Asylum...” Stardancer choked out, before falling to her stomach and covering her head with her hooves, feeling tears starting to fall from her eyes. Her head hurt so much.
The unicorn lapsed into a trance-like state, and all anyone could get out of her was ‘medicine’ and ‘butterflies’.
A butterfly flitted through Ponyville, chased by a unicorn. Uncaring, the butterfly continued on its way, fluttering past a tree, and then settling down on an anvil, flitting its wings once or twice.
The blacksmith’s hammer paused in its motion, holding steady above the anvil, while its owner peered down at the butterfly, canting her head to the side. She was a strong earth pony, and was one of the finest blacksmiths in all of Equestria.
“Why’d you stop?” her husband of a year asked, his tone short. They had a deadline to meet.
“There’s a butterfly,” the mare responded with a shrug.
“It’s a damn butterfly!” the stallion snarled, sweeping a hoof across the anvil and sending the butterfly spinning off it, wing crushed.
The earth pony mare stared at her husband coldly for a long moment, “You know...I’m sick of this, you’re just a dumb brute!”
Raindrop lowered her ears as she heard a pair of ponies yelling at eachother, and ducked down a side street to avoid seeing the confrontation. She was heading for Shine’s workshop, where he blew the glass and made his little lights by hoof. It was really quite amazing to watch, but Raindrop had never gotten the hang of glassblowing, no matter how much she tried.
With her head lowered, she didn’t see him until it was too late, literally walking into his chest and bouncing off. Raindrop ended up on her rump, and blinked, looking up.
“S-Shine?” she asked, staring for a long moment.
“Uhhh...Hi Raindrop,” Shine said, looking down at her and inching away just a little bit.
“I found you!” Raindrop breathed, quickly standing up and then wrapping her hooves around the unicorn.
Shine didn’t return the hug, standing there in stony silence, his eyes hard.
“Shine...?” Raindrop asked uncertainly, drawing back, ears splaying.
“What do you want?” Shine asked flatly.
“I wanted to talk to you,” Raindrop said softly, looking down at her hooves for a moment, and then back up at him.
The unicorn stared at her for a long moment, and perked a single ear. “Well? Spit it out, then.”
Raindrop stared up at the unicorn for a long moment, feeling tears beginning to well up in her eyes. “Y-you don’t care, do you?”
Shine shook his head slowly. “No. I care. But what you are...I can’t look past that.”
“So that’s it, huh? you’re just going to...to just leave me?” Raindrop asked, feeling anger rising in her.
“I thought I made it perfectly clear already,” the unicorn stated bluntly. “You’re a changeling. Maybe other ponies would look past that, but not me.”
Raindrop’s hooves began to slowly grind against the ground as she resisted the impulse to strike him over the head with a hoof.
“Move on, Raindrop. We’re over. That’s all there is to it.” The unicorn snorted once, and then moved to step past her.
Raindrop’s wing extended, blocking his path.
“So after an entire year...this is it?” Raindrop asked, slowly lifting her gaze to focus on him.
“Yes. This is it. I’m not sugar-coating it. I want a pony, not some half breed who’s going to suck me dry and kill me. I don’t love you that much.” And with that, the unicorn brushed her wing out of the way and stepped past her, calmly walking away.
Raindrop began to breath harder and harder, her hooves slowly grinding into the ground even further. Her eyes flashed green, and she rounded on the unicorn, a snarl in her tone as she roared after him: “That’s not it!”
Shine paused, peering back over his shoulder nonchalantly.
Raindrop leaped at him, and smashed a hoof across his cheek with a lightning-fast blow, causing the unicorn to stagger and then stumble, dropping onto his side, blinking in confusion.
Moving to stand over him, Raindrop stared down at him, breathing hard in her anger, every muscle in her body tensing and relaxing in ripples of anger.
“Sentinel is a better pony than you will ever be!” she snarled, resisting, with difficulty, the temptation to lift her hoof and strike him again. “His parents died because of changelings, and yet he found it in himself to not hold that against me. While you, my coltfriend of a year won’t even give me the time of day!”
Shine was too stunned by the blow to his to answer her sufficiently, and Raindrop growled her anger at the unicorn. She hated him in that moment, hated every single little thing about him. She wanted to hurt him, to abuse him and leave him bleeding on the side of the road.
A quick smash of her hoof against the unicorn’s brow finished the job of sending him unconscious, and she spat on him before rising and stalking away.
Raindrop didn’t even know how she got there. But when she finished fantasizes about tearing Shine limb from limb, she realised she was panting. She had walked a very long way. And Evergreen’s cottage was in front of her.
The entire black marble cottage lay there, nestled amongst the trees, eerily quiet. Raindrop was too far in her anger to even care at that point.
A quick kick of her hindhooves smashed the marble door inwards, causing it to bounce off the bed and to the floor with a loud clatter. For the first time in many, many years, Raindrop stepped into Evergreen’s cottage.
It was a very simple setting. Everything was how it was when the two of them had died. There was a pair of mugs on the table, a large book, a kettle next to the fire, some wood stacked next to the fireplace, and the bed itself. Various tools and the like were hung up on hooks along the wall. But other than that, the cottage was bare. They had lived a simple existence.
Raindrop ignored it all, striding over to the bed and staring down into the closed eyes of her grandmother, her own narrowing as she whispered vehemently, “I hate you.”
“I hate you for what you did to me, you bitch,” she whispered, her hooves resting on the covered form of Evergreen. The small smile on Cee’s muzzle seemed to mock the pegasus, gleeful at her misfortune.
“Why did you do it? Why did you do it?!” Raindrop demanded of the cold black marble. “You ruined my life!”
Raindrop wanted to grab Cee’s marble head and twist it off her shoulders, and then grind it into the ground. She actually tried to, but the marble was cold and slippery, and her hooves couldn’t get a grip.
Frustrated, Raindrop pushed away from the bed, and then just collapsed onto the floor in the middle of the cottage.
Lying on the floor next to the bed holding her grandmother and grandfather, the source of her cursed blood, and the direct reason for everything in her life having gone wrong, Raindrop began to cry.
There was no more anger. No more hiding behind rage to get away from the hurt.
No more Shine, either.
Her entire life had been derailed by what Cee had done. By what Chrysalis had done. Why had it to be her who bore the brunt of the misfortune? She had no friends, too focused on her duties on the Weather Patrol, and spending time with Shine to make any friends. She hated her father for leaving her mother, and her mother was in the griffon state. She had no shoulders to cry on. There was no comfort to be found. Just cold, empty loneliness.
The Element of Generosity rolled away from Raindrop as her wing relaxed its hold on it. She didn’t even care any more. There was no point to it. No point to any of it. Her hunt for the elements went from one failure to the next. From the tunnels with Discord, barely escaping, to their fight with the Hydra. They had two elements, no bearers, and no way to find them.
Raindrop hiccuped softly, trying to dry the tears that never seemed to stop, before snarling in anger and knocking the Element of Generosity away from herself, burying her head in her hooves. She just wanted to go back to what it was, before she was a monster, back to when the world was simple and happy.
But the harder she tried for it, the harder it was to attain. The entire world was conspiring against her. And she was done.
No more hunting for the elements, no more pining after Shine.
Raindrop was done.