X~ ~ ~ ~ ~X
“What are we here for again?” Spike asked as he looked around at all the old books. He and Twilight were in the Canterlot library where they used to stay before they moved to Ponyville. Spike was feeling overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia.
“How many times do I have to tell you this?” Twilight said with a slightly irritated tone. Twilight was feeling nostalgic as well. But not nearly as distracted as Spike. She then motioned for him to follow her into a closed off passage, “Do you remember a few years ago when I was working on a project with one of the students from the Cloudsdale Institute of Robotics and Technology?”
Spike followed the lavender unicorn into the passage that she opened up with her magic, “Oh yeah. I remember now,” Spike said as the memories came back to him, “What was his name again? Wasn't it Dork Angel, or something like that?”
“And ponies have always wondered why I never liked that 'innocent baby dwagon',” a voice said sarcastically from the room that the passage way led to. As the two entered, they saw a black pegasus with dark red eyes and a slightly scruffy fiery red mane and tail to match. His hooves were dark red and his wings had a dark red lining. On his flank was a pair of black angel wings for a cutie mark. He wore a sly grin as he sat on his haunches in the shadows and looked at the two, “So Twi, you finally managed to potty train your 'number one' assistant?”
“STOP CALLING ME THAT!” Spike shouted. Then under his breath in an embarrassed tone, he said, “...It was just that one time...”
“I see you haven't changed much, Angel,” Twilight said with a sly grin that mirrored the pegasus, “Still the foalish pegasus who never takes anything or anypony seriously and is a complete technogeek.”
“And I see you haven't changed much either,” Dark Angel replied with an equally sly grin, “Still the bookworm unicorn who would prefer to study about the life cycle of the dragonweed than to go out and be social.”
“As a matter of fact, I have too become social,” Twilight said with pride in the fact that she was knocking her old friend down a few pegs, “I have made many friends since I moved to Ponyville. And I have been more social as well.”
“She is still a bookworm though,” Spike said with a grin.
“SPIKE!!!” Twilight shouted. When she turned back to Dark Angel, he was holding a piece of paper...a diploma
“As a matter of fact, I have too been taking things more seriously,” Dark Angel said with pride in the fact that his old friend failed in knocking him down a few begs, “I have been taking my studies very seriously. And I've even graduated top of my class. And I've always taken you seriously. I just never show it.”
“He is still a foalish technogeek though,” a young feminine voice said. From behind one of the tables came a female gryphon who was no older than Spike. Most of her body was a forest green. Her beak, talons, and tail were an earthy brown. Her talons, instead of having a scaly appearance, instead had a more rocky form. Her eyes were a golden orange color, like the color of a sunset, “Hi, my name's Ferra. I'm Angel's 'perfect little helper'!”
“Well, it's nice to meet you, Ferra,” Twilight said with a warm smile, “My name's Twilight Sparkle. And this here is my 'number one assistant', Spike... Spike?” Twilight saw that Spike was just looking blankly at Ferra. Spike seemed to be entranced by Ferra.
Dark Angel giggled when he noticed a slight blush on the baby dragon's cheeks, “I think he likes her,” Dark Angel said to Twilight, making sure that the two children didn't hear. Ferra saw how Spike looked at her. She couldn't help but let out a giggle. Because she liked him too. But they didn't actually realized that the others liked them.
“It seems that she likes him too,” Twilight whispered to Dark Angel, noticing how she giggled at him, “Maybe this will help Spike to get rid of his crush on Rarity.”
“Isn't Rarity the fashionista that put on that fashion show that amazed even Hoity Toity himself?” Dark Angel asked in amazement, “You're actually friends with a celebrity?! ...I'm gonna need proof. If you really are friends with Rarity, then you're gonna have to prove it to me by introducing me to her.”
“Come on. Rarity isn't that famous,” Twilight said in disbelief of what Dark Angel said, “...is she?”
“Trust me. If you can impress Hoity Toity himself, you're known all throughout Equestria,” Dark Angel said.
“I'll introduce you then. But right now, I would like to ask you a couple questions,” Twilight said almost accusingly, “First of all, what are you doing here?”
“I'm here for what I assume is the same reason you're here,” Dark Angel said, “I'm here to get the prototype design of the project we were working on. I figured it might be a bit much for just one pony to carry. Besides, you didn't think I would let you continue the project without me, did you?”
“I suppose that's a fair enough answer,” Twilight said, “Second, how did you get in here?! When we put out project on hold, we sealed off this room so that only I could reopen it with my magic! There is no way...”
“Do you remember that eccentric pony, Doctor Whooves?” Dark Angel said, interrupting Twilight, “Well he helped me develop a time travel device. I am actually from the future at a time after you opened up that passage way. I came in while it was open, and traveled back in time to wait. However, I miscalculated and went back fifteen hours instead of fifteen minutes. So technically, me and Ferra aren't even here yet.”
“But I was gonna close the passage off again when I left,” Twilight said. “So if in the future, it's still closed off, how did you get in?”
“...You'll see...” Dark Angel said cryptically, “So now, since I answered your questions, would it be alright if you did something for me, 'Princess'?”
“So...you've heard...” Twilight said sheepishly.
“You were made a Princess. Of course I heard about it,” Dark Angel said with a grin, “So, why don't you show me your 'new additions'.”
Twilight glared at Dark Angel at the request. Not because she didn't want to, but because several ponies have asked her to show them. But Dark Angel was a good friend of her's, and they were in private. Plus, she knew him well enough that he wouldn't start bugging her about it...that its unless he wanted to play one of his foalish games with her.
“I'll show you mine if you show me yours,” Twilight countered.
Dark Angel then released a spell he had cast, revealing that he had a horn on his head, “So how did you know?”
“My specialty is magic. So I sensed the aura of magic around your horn,” Twilight pointed out, “You'll have to tell me about that later. But for now, I believe it's my turn.” Twilight then released the spell she had cast on herself. It was an image spell, the same that Dark Angel had on his horn. Once the spell was released, Twilight unfurled her wings.
“Impressive. Very impressive. But knowing you, you probably don't use them that much,” The black pegasus teased as he turned around, “So, shale we get this tin can out of here then?”
“Uh...sure...” Twilight said in a bit of confusion. She was still trying to understand what Dark Angel meant by 'you'll see'. Twilight than recast her image spell, hiding her wings once again. Dark Angel also recast his image spell around his horn. Then Twilight followed Dark Angel to the metallic pony-shaped statue.
Dark Angel lifted the statue onto his back while Twilight used her magic to lighten the load. Spike and Ferra followed them as they headed back down the passage way.
“I see that you don't use your horn that much either,” Twilight teased, countering Dark Angel's comment.
But on their way through the passage way, they came across...Dark Angel and Ferra?! Twilight looked back and forth between the two Dark Angels. The Dark Angel that was carrying the android lifted his hoof and said, “Hi.” While the other Dark Angel replied by also saying, “Hi.”
As the new Dark Angel and Ferra passed by, the two Ferra's looked at each other in confusion, not sure what to think.
A few moments after they passed by, they heard a sort of grinding noise. When Twilight looked back to see the other Dark Angel and Ferra, they were gone as if they were never there.
“Time travel is confusing,” Ferra said as they left the passage way.
Twilight then sealed it up again. She now understood how Dark Angel did what he did. She just didn't understand how it was possible. “How is it that meeting yourself didn't cause a paradox?” Twilight asked.
“It was planned,” Dark Angel said, “I had that meeting planned since before...that Dark Angel and Ferra came through, and staged it in a way that basically avoided the paradox factor. And before you ask about Ferra being confused, she was prepared for this as well. She was just confused because, like she said, time travel is confusing.”
After a long trip back to Ponyville, the four of them went to the Golden Oaks library...Twilight's home. Dark Angel put the pony android down and looked around, “So, you live in a library. No surprise there I suppose,” Dark Angel said sarcastically, “But being in a tree and the wooden surroundings gives the place a nice touch. Not exactly what I'd expect of a princess though.”
“I assume you would've preferred a computer lab?” Twilight asked rhetorically, “Let's get this prototype down to my lab in the basement...before...”
“TWILIGHT!!!” a young silver filly cheered as she suddenly tackled Twilight, knocking her over and causing her to lose her focus and release her image spell on her wings.
“Angel, I'd like you to meet Daxelia. Dax, this is my old friend, Dark Angel,” Twilight grunted as she lay pinned on the floor, “Dax here has just officially become a Cutie Mark Crusader.”
“How did you know that?” Dax asked curiously, “I only just became a member today while you were gone.”
“When somepony becomes a Cutie Mark Crusader, everypony knows,” Twilight said.
“For being such a little village, you certainly picked an interesting one,” Dark Angel said.
“Now I'm gonna have to put up with Dork Angel again,” Spike whined.
“As much as I used to tease you...and as much as I'm certain to continue teasing you, the fact is that it's just that...teasing. If you want my honest opinion, it's good to see you again, buddy,” Dark Angel said, giving the baby dragon an honest grin before turning back to Twilight, “Well, if you're gonna just lie around and do nothing, I guess I'll have to take the android down to the lab myself,” Dark Angel teased, seeing Twilight pinned. Dark Angel then released the spell on his horn so he could focus on picking up the android with his magic.
Later that night...
Dark Angel was working on a computer, getting everything all set, “Everything's ready to go Twi,” Dark Angel said as he got off the computer, “Are we ready to begin?”
“I'm as ready as I'll ever be, Angel!” Twilight exclaimed as she stood over the android, “And it's good to see you again.”
“It's good to see you too,” Dark Angel replied, “Now let's get this started. Let's continue...”
Twilight and Dark Angel then spoke in unison...
~Chapter 1: System Activated~
X~ ~ ~ ~ ~X
3 months later...
“WOW! I can't believe we're almost finished!” Twilight exclaimed as she was putting on the finishing touches to the new model for the Cyba program. She was wearing shaded goggles and was using a welding torch, “Back when we were first working on Project Cyba, it would've taken us at least a year to have finished. And with technology how it was back then, it wouldn't have even been as good.”
“Well if it wasn't for the work I put into my studies, I'd probably only be a quarter of the way done with the programming by now. A third at best,” Dark Angel said. Dark Angel was in front of a computer screen making the finishing touches on the AI program. He was wearing what appeared to be a pair of robotic boots that had talons on them that resembled that of a gryphon or a dragon, “Then again, part of that would be no more than a speed issue. Without these neurogloves, I'd still only be about half way done...maybe two thirds.”
Dark Angel then copied the program onto a computer chip which he picked up with one of his talons. He carefully held it as he carried it over to the 'body'. They put allot of work into this program, and this one little chip was the final piece. This one little chip was the AI program itself, the part that would make the system, for lack of a better term, self aware.
Just a little further and...
Dark Angel and Twilight stared at what was now the shattered remains of three months of hard work, “SPIKE!!!” the two shouted in unison.
“DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH WORK WE PUT INTO THAT PROGRAM?!!” Twilight raged at Spike, “THANKS TO YOUR SURPRISE ARRIVAL, THREE WHOLE MONTHS OF HARD WORK WAS JUST DESTROYED!!! I...”
“Hold on, Twi,” Dark Angel said as he covered Twilight's muzzle with a wing, “I prepared for something like this. I made copies of the program for when something like this was gonna happen. After all, how could I expect any less from your 'number one' assistant?”
“STOP CALLING ME THAT!!!”
“Really?! You did?!” Twilight cheered as she began to hop up and down in a similar fashion of Pinkie Pie's hopping. With each hop, she flapped her wings a few times to give her some extra hang time.
“That was one of five copies to be exact. I always make copies in case of situations like this,” Dark Angel said before going back and grabbing another AI chip.
“I'm sorry about that though,” Spike apologized, “What if you didn't make copies? I would've ruined all of that work.”
“If I didn't make copies, Ferra wouldn't have let you in here to surprise us,” Dark Angel pointed out.
Spike furrowed his eyebrows at that comment, but chose to just shrug it off, “Well, I came down here to ask if you wanted to take a break and get lunch,” Spike suggested, “This is a big thing. I think your friends would want to witness it.”
“What do you think Twi? Your friends would probably like to see this. And we could certainly use the break,” Dark Angel said before a rumbling was heard from his gut.
“It sounds to me that you're more interested in the lunch, Angel,” Twilight teased before a rumbling came from her gut as well.
“And it sounds like you agree with me,” Dark Angel said.
“Well in my defense, these wings burn up more energy,” Twilight said as she held out one of her wings strait, “And so that means my metabolism was also increased. I'm eating twice as much as I did before I became a princess.”
“Of course being a princess now must mean that ponies give you discounts,” Dark Angel teased, “And are you sure it's your wings, or are you secretly pregnant and that's why you're eating more?”
“I think I now have a new use for my wings,” Twilight said smugly. She then extended one of her wings, then used it to slap Dark Angel in the face.
“For being just a joke, that seems to be a touchy subject for you,” Dark Angel said as he rubbed his cheek, “Anyways, I guess it's off to lunch we go! Oh, and to see your friends too.”
The three of them left the lab. Twilight cast her image spell on her wings, and Dark Angel cast his on his horn. And with Ferra, they left the library on their way to Sugarcube Corner.
“...And so then...then Twi got her horn stuck in...stuck in the wall! And with her horn stuck, she couldn't...she couldn't release the gravity spell she put on me! So I was stuck laying flat on the floor weighing over...over a thousand pounds! HAHAHAHA!!!” Dark Angel reminisced, cracking up as he finished the story. The entire group was there laughing hysterically at the story. Pinkie Pie was laughing so hard she was in tears, barely even able to breath from how much she was laughing. Then again, she was the element of laughter after all.
“And this was all just...just a trip to the museum?!” Rainbow Dash laughed, “Way to go, Twi! I never knew you had it in ya!”
“Well if Angel hadn't of pulled that switch in the first place, none of it would've happened!” Twilight laughed. It was in fact an embarrassing situation for both her and Dark Angel. But the way he told the story made it so she couldn't help but laugh as well.
“I think...I think we need to get Pinkie some help!” Rarity laughed, unable to keep a straight face, “I don't think...I don't think she can breath!” When the others looked down at Pinkie, sure enough she was trying to gasp for air. But her laughing fit was preventing her from getting any air into her lungs.
They couldn't believe what they were seeing. Pinkie Pie was in a laughing fit...but she was no long happy. The look on her face was telling them she was agony. And none of them knew how they could help.
That's when Dark Angel stepped up. He got Pinkie onto her belly and carefully placed his hooves at two different points on her back. Then he wrapped his wings around her and lifted her up onto her hind legs. Then with one quick jolt, Dark Angel lifted Pinkie squeezing tightly with his wings while pushing his hooves against her back. This caused her to yelp in pain as the last of the air was squeezed out of her lungs. She then fell limply to the ground, but no long laughing. She was just laying there gasping for air.
Pinkie didn't even try to get back up. That laughing fit had exhausted her.
“What happened?” Fluttershy asked nervously.
“I think when she fell over laughing, she somehow hit a nerve,” Dark Angel said, “This caused her diaphragm to lock into a spasm. In this case taking the form of a laughing fit. I hit certain nerves while simultaneously squeezing the air out of her lungs. These combined actions caused her to go into a shock that paralyzed her for a brief moment. That moment of paralysis caused the spasm to stop, ending her laughing fit.”
“In English,” Rainbow Dash grumbled.
“He did things that helped Pinkie,” Ferra said, “I think Angel was saying that Pinkie had the laughing version of the hiccups.”
“Is she going to be alright?” Rarity asked.
“She's gonna need a few hours of rest. But after that she'll be fine,” Dark Angel said with a soft grin, “Then she'll be back to her old self before you know it.”
Pinkie opened up her eyes and spoke, her voice still horse from laughing, “I never thought I'd be happy that I stopped laughing,” Pinkie said with a grin.
“Did ah jus' hear her right?!” Applejack exclaimed.
“I guess there's a first time for everything,” Twilight said.
Pinkie's smile faded and sadness filled her eyes as she looked toward Dark Angel, “If you weren't here, I would've died, wouldn't I?” Pinkie whimpered.
Dark Angel's sigh told her and the others what his answer was. But then Dark Angel replaced his serious expression with a foalish grin, “Well, I could think of allot worse ways to go,” Dark Angel said, “I could just imagine the headline now; ELEMENT OF LAUGHTER DIES LAUGHING.”
Dark Angel's little joke made Pinkie laugh weakly. But then it was followed by a groan, “Don't make me laugh right now.”
“Alright,” Dark Angel said. Then he turned to the others, “Come on. Let's get her inside so she can get some rest.” The group did as told and helped Pinkie Pie up to bring her inside. They took her up to her room, then laid her on her bed and watched as her eyes slowly closed as she drifted off to sleep.
They all headed back out. “Well, Pinkie Pie's out of commission, so she won't be joining us for the activation,” Twilight said.
“Ah don' mean ta be rude or not'in. But I'd rather not go either,” Applejack said honestly, “The idea of a life form bein' made from all that technowatzits don' sit right with me.”
“Well it's not really a life form. It's only an artificial intelligence program,” Dark Angel explained, “Technically, Cyba is not much more than a walking talking computer.”
“Well, Ah still don' like it. It jus' ain't normal,” Applejack said, “Ah hope ya don' mind if Ah don' join ya fer the activation.”
“It's alright Applejack. We understand,” Twilight said, “Does anypony else prefer not to attend?”
“I think this is gonna be AWESOME!” Rainbow Dash cheered.
“I wonder if it will let me make outfits for it,” Rarity said, going off into her own fashionista world.
“Well...uhm....no, I'll watch,” Fluttershy said in her usual apprehensive manner.
Dark Angel only knew Fluttershy for three months. But he knew about how shy she was. And maybe he was just imagining things, but she seemed a little more apprehensive than usual. As they were heading back to the library, Dark Angel walked next to Fluttershy, “Is something wrong, Flutters?” Dark Angel asked, calling her by the nickname he had given her, “Is something bothering you?”
“Well...it's just that...I'm just a little nervous, that's all,” Fluttershy said.
“You're more than a little nervous,” Dark Angel pointed out, “Then again, that's not really anything new. You're afraid of Cyba, aren't you?” Fluttershy's lack of an answer was proof of his claim, “Don't worry, Flutters. I promise that Cyba will be friendly. There's nothing to be afraid of.”
Although her thoughts didn't really change, Dark Angel did help to calm her nerves. Since she met Dark Angel, she felt as if he helped to calm her nerves and even make her feel more confident. There was also something else that she felt. She didn't know what it was, but she's never felt this way before.
DATA PROCESSORS ONLINE...
AUDIO SYSTEM ACTIVATED...
Rainbow Dash: You two didn't mess this up, did you?
Twilight Sparkle: No, of course we didn't!
Rainbow Dash: Then why's it taking so long?!
Dark Angel: Just be patient. It's a large complicated program. It'll take a little while for it to fully load.
VISUAL SYSTEM ACTIVATED...
The android opened up it's eyes to see a group of eight watching them. Two fully grown pegasi, one fully grown unicorn, one unicorn filly, one alicorn, one pegacorn, one baby dragon, and one gryphon child.
The android had a child-like form. He was a polished silver. He had a mane and tail that resembled rows of blades that were colored gold, silver, gold, silver, gold, silver. His 'hooves', like his mane and tail blades, were made out of pure gold. His eyes were gold. His 'wings' were long curved golden bars that connect to his back. The gold bars extended outward into long silver blade-like protrusions. On his flank was an image of a computer chip cutie mark.
“YES! It's working!” Twilight cheered, “Let's see if everything is in working order. Do you know what you are?”
“I am Cyba,” the 'mechapony' said in an emotionless robotic voice, “An artificial intelligence created by the combined works of Twilight Sparkle and Dark Angel.”
“Nice, nice,” Dark Angel approved, “What is your function?”
“My function is to learn through experience,” Cyba said, “To achieve this task, I am to interact with other ponies and learn to live as they do.”
“Do you have any...friends?” Dax asked curiously and shyly.
“Accessing... Friend... A pony attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard,” Cyba defined as he accessed his database, “I have not been activated long enough to make... friends. Therefor, to answer your question, no. I do not have any friends.”
“Well if you want to live like other ponies, you have to have friends like other ponies,” Dax stated, “Do you want to be friends with me?”
“Want... To feel a need or desire for,” Cyba defined again, “I am incapable of feeling need or desire. I am incapable of feeling anything. Therefor, I am incapable of wanting friends.”
“Well deary, you don't have to want friends to have them,” Rarity pointed out, “Having friends just... happens. Sometimes even when you don't expect it.” Rarity looked toward Twilight when she said that last sentence.
“So, would you like to be my friend?” Dax asked.
“I cannot like to be... Correcting... Yes. We shale be friends,” Cyba said, receiving a 'squea' from Dax.
“He's already making progress!” Twilight exclaimed, “He's already learning!”
“Since we're all already friend in here, that makes you one of our friends too!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
“Why is the yellow pegasus vibrating behind Dark Angel?” Cyba asked.
Fluttershy was hiding behind Dark Angel, trembling in fear of the mechapony, “This is Fluttershy. She's just scared,” Dark Angel explained, “What she's doing is not vibrating. She's trembling.”
“By definition, are they not the same thing?” Cyba asked.
Dark Angel couldn't help but facehoof at Cyba's comment, “This is going to be one interesting experience.”
~Chapter 2: Flutters' Folly~
X~ ~ ~ ~ ~X
“This one slight modification to the programming should do it,” Dark Angel said as he took out a USB connector to the computer, “It should allow Cyba to understand basic things, so we won't have to answer one of his questions every five seconds.”
Cyba was still activated while Dark Angel was uploading the updates to the AI program, “So, Cyba, how are you functioning?” Twilight asked.
“I now understand that even though vibrating and trembling are, by definition, the same thing, they are commonly used in different context,” Cyba explained, “And when something is spoken out of context, it can be viewed as inappropriate. For example, the phrase 'Fluttershy vibrating behind Dark Angel' could be misinterpreted as a s-”
“No need to go into detail, Cyba,” Dark Angel said sheepishly as Twilight held the mechapony's mouth shut. Fluttershy bashfully hid in a corner to try to hide the blush that was quickly spreading across her face.
“M-Maybe it's about time that I go home,” Fluttershy said shyly, moving as if she was trying to sneak away.
Dark Angel noticed Fluttershy's actions and trotted over to her, “Are you feeling okay, Flutters?” Dark Angel asked with concern, “You look like you might be about to pass out.”
“I'm not exactly sure,” Fluttershy admitted, “I think I need to go home and rest.”
“Maybe I should come with you to make sure you get home safely,” Dark Angel said, “After all, if you're not feeling well and something happens before you get home, it's best that there's somepony there to help.”
“Oh, I don't want to be of any trouble,” Fluttershy said in her signature non-assertive way. But then something in the back of her mind clicked, making her change her mind, “On second thought, thank you very much. That would be very kind of you.”
“It's my pleasure. After all, even 'the element of kindness' herself needs to be shown kindness,” Dark Angel said with a warm smile that made Fluttershy suddenly giggle. Dark Angel then called to Spike, “Hey 'number one assistant'!”
“STOP CALLING ME THAT!!!”
“Can you come here for a sec?” Dark Angel asked, motioning for the purple dragon to come to him, “While I'm taking Fluttershy home, can you keep an eye on Ferra for me? She doesn't want to admit it, but she's been feeling lonely lately. Maybe you could go and talk to her to keep her company. Maybe give her some tea with a dash of Redvine oil. That should make her feel better.”
“Will do!” Spike said without question. He then headed off to check on Ferra. Then Dark Angel lead Fluttershy out and walked her home.
“Why'd you ask Spike to put Redvine oil in Ferra's tea?” Fluttershy asked, “Redvine oil is very bitter in it's natural state.”
“But for some reason, Ferra loves it,” Dark Angel point out, “She seems to enjoy bitter things for some reason. But Redvine oil is also good for keeping her immune system in check.”
“But doesn't Redvine oil weaken the immune system of gryphons?”
“Exactly. Ferra has a hyperactive immune system,” Dark Angel explained, “Redvine oil keeps her immune system at a relatively normal level. But without it, her own immune system would end up attacking her. The fact that she has survived as long as she had before I found her was a miracle in itself.”
“That's horrible!” Fluttershy exclaimed.
“If I hadn't have found her when I did, and if I didn't happen to have Redvine oil with me, then I wouldn't have my perfect little helper with me now,” Dark Angel said with a grin, “I've actually grown very protective of Ferra.”
“That sounds allot like Twilight. She's very protective of Spike,” Fluttershy said warmly. But then something came to mind, “Wait, how did you know to give Ferra the Redvine oil when you had no way of knowing what was wrong with her?”
“It's complicated. I'm not even sure if I understand it myself,” Dark Angel tried to explain as he motioned toward his cutie mark, “My angel wings cutie mark is supposed to represent that of a guardian angel. When something is wrong with somepony, I can somehow sense the problem. Then, if it can be fixed, I instinctively know how to fix it.”
“Wow!” Fluttershy said in amazement, “What kinds of problems can you fix?”
“Well, when I saw Ferra, I could almost see her insides being attacked. Then Redvine oil suddenly popped into my mind. And almost by instinct I gave it to her,” Dark Angel explained, “I can sense injuries that can't be seen from the surface. Like in Pinkie's case earlier. I could sense what was wrong. I could sense the injured nerve and knew exactly where it was. Then I just knew what to do to fix it. I don't know how I know these things, I just know. I can't cure a broken bone, but I can quicken the healing process down to as little as one week just by positioning the bones correctly. I could even make a broken bone no worse than a sprained hoof.”
“That's amazing!” Fluttershy cheered...well, as much of a cheer that you could expect from Fluttershy, “You could probably do things that could out do even the best doctors! And it was a good thing you were there to help Pinkie. Without you...she would've died.”
“Perhaps,” Dark Angel said, “But if I wasn't there to begin with to tell that story, Pinkie wouldn't have gone into that laughing fit in the first place. So if I wasn't there, Pinkie would've been fine.”
“I never thought of it like that,” Fluttershy commented, a slightly confused look on her face.
“Even kindness needs kindness? That's the cheesiest thing I've ever heard!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed soon after Dark Angel and Fluttershy left.
“Why are you comparing a statement that somepony made with a food product?” Cyba asked.
“What she means is that Dark Angel's statement was unoriginal,” Twilight pointed out.
“Then why does she not just say that?” Cyba asked.
“Look up 'slang',” Twilight instructed.
“Accessing... Slang... An informal usage of vocabulary that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, and vivid than ordinary language,” Cyba defined, “So you were just using a... playful comment?”
“Yeah... Let's go with that,” Rainbow Dash said as she tried to understand what Cyba just said, “Hey Twi, did you have to make him into a walking dictionary?”
“Don't blame me. Dark Angel is the one who designed the programming,” Twilight explained, “Besides, it's so that he can access information if he needs to understand something.”
“Personally, I thought it was sweet what Dark Angel said to Fluttershy,” Rarity said, “I think they look cute together.”
“And that's another thing I wanted to mention,” Rainbow Dash continued, “Aren't you worried that Fluttershy is gonna steal away your coltfriend?”
“What are you talking about, Dash? We are not a couple or in any kind of relationship,” Twilight explained, “We are just good childhood friends. Nothing more.”
“Stop trying to deny it, Twi. You two are perfect for each other,” Rainbow Dash argued, “I mean, you two are like mirror images of each other.”
“I must admit that Dark Angel is your male equivalent,” Rarity agreed, “In every aspect about you, Dark Angel has his own version; he's top of his class where you're princess Celestia's number one student, he has computer smarts where you have book smarts, he has Ferra where you have Spike, he's a pegacorn where you're an alicorn. It's almost like you're the same pony.”
“And that's exactly why it would be so weird for us to be together. We're too alike,” Twilight pointed out, “But our similarities do make us good friends, and help us to work together well. Without him, I wouldn't have been able to finish Project Cyba. And without me, neither would he. But I agree with Rarity in the fact that Fluttershy and Angel do look cute together.”
“Twilight, is it okay if I go play with Cyba?” Dax asked, looking up at Twilight with puppy dog eyes.
“Well... I suppose...” Twilight said, trying to think over if it was a good idea.
“YAY!!!” Dax then grabbed Cyba and lead him outside. Cyba had a confused look as he was being dragged. He was having trouble comprehending what was going on.
“If little Daxelia continues to rough house with Cyba in that manner, Cyba will be in need of allot of maintenance,” Rarity pointed out, “I do hope that you and Dark Angel are up to the task. However, if he ever is in need of a good suit, or perhaps just a polishing, you can count on me to make him look as good as new, and looking stylish as an added bonus.”
“I'm just curious. Why did you design him as a pegasus?” Rainbow Dash asked, “Not that I'm complaining or anything. Making him a pegasus just makes him 20% cooler. It's just that I would figure that you would've made him as a unicorn.”
“It's simple really,” Twilight said, “What good is a unicorn that can't use magic? Being a machine, Cyba is incapable of using magic. So if I were to give him a horn, it would be for nothing other than for show.”
“I guess you got a point there. What good is a unicorn that has no magic?” Rainbow Dash repeated, “But then again, what good is a pegasus that can't fly?”
“Actually, he can fly,” Twilight pointed out, “I've installed jets into his wings, giving him the ability of flight.”
“Now that's cool!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, “But I gotta get going. I'm late for my nap.”
“I'm afraid I must be going as well,” Rarity said, “It's getting near dinner time. And Sweetie Belle tends to get a little cranky when she's hungry.”
“Well alright then,” Twilight said, “I'm glad that you two and Fluttershy were able to see Cyba's activation.”
“It was our pleasure, deary,” Rarity said, “See you again soon.” With that said, Rarity and Rainbow Dash went on their way.
Spike was just finishing preparing a cup of tea for Ferra. He was about to add in the Redvine oil when he realized something, “Isn't pure Redvine oil bitter?” he asked himself. Then he came up with an idea, “I think we might have some sweetened Redvine oil! I'm sure Ferra would like that much better!” Spike then went over to the cupboard and searched around, “Ah! Here it is!” Spike then took out a jar labeled 'Sweetened Redvine Oil'. He opened the lid and put a dash of the sweetened Redvine oil in the tea.
After putting away the two jars of Redvine oil, Spike went up to the guest room where Dark Angel and Ferra were currently staying in. He opened the door and saw the young gryphon laying in her bed, which just happens to look just like his own basket bed...other than being decorated to be a little more feminine.
Hearing the door open, Ferra lifted her head to see who it was, “Oh, hey Spike,” Ferra said with a smile before laying her head back down.
“Hey, Ferra,” Spike said with worry, “Are you feeling okay? You seem kinda down.”
“It's boring being alone,” Ferra said.
“What makes you think you're alone?” Spike said as he gave Ferra the tea.
“Can you even imagine what it's like being the only gryphon in a world of ponies?” Ferra asked. Spike gave her a look that made her realize what she just asked, “Oh right. Only dragon.”
“Well, it's not like you can't go back to your own kind,” Spike said, “I could go back to dragonkind whenever I want. But the reason I don't is because that would mean leaving the friends I've made. Dragons may be my own kind. But these ponies are my family, and Ponyville is my home.”
“I've only considered Angel as my family,” Ferra said, “I've always been kinda afraid of others. But Angel has always been protective of me, so that helped me. But ever since he started his project with Twilight, he's been paying less attention to me. So I've been feeling alone because of it.”
Spike then gave Ferra a hug, “You're not alone here,” Spike told her softly before releasing the hug, “So what do you think of the tea?”
“I think it's great...” Ferra said after taking a sip. Though she wasn't really thinking about the taste of the tea. Then something came to mind, “Spike, why do you hate it when Angel calls you 'number one assistant' when that's Twilight's nickname for you?”
“It's not the name, it's the meaning behind it. When Dork Angel says it, it's a play on words,” Spike said bashfully, “Back when they were first working on Project Cyba, they spent allot of time working in their lab. At the time, I was to young to be alone.”
“Aren't you too young to be alone now?” Ferra asked.
“Well...maybe in dragon years,” Spike said, “But now Twilight trusts me to be on my own. When she goes out, she leaves me in charge of... Wait, I was talking about why I hate it when Dork Angel calls me number one assistant.”
“Anyways... One day while they were working on the Cyba prototype, I had to go pee. And I needed Twilight to come with me to the bathroom,” Spike said, “But she said I could hold it until they finished what they were doing. But...”
“But you couldn't, could you?”
Spike's purple face went red, “They didn't even know I went until they finished...and Dork Angel stepped in a certain yellow puddle,” Spike grinned at that last statement, remembering the look on Dark Angel's face when he realized what he stepped in.
“Let me guess. His face was something like this?” Ferra asked as she made a comically disgusted face.
“Actually, it was more like this,” Spike said making a similar face. The two of them began laughing at the memory. But then Spike's face went sad again, “It wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that every time he says it, it reminds me of my little...accident. And I know he's purposely doing it to get under my scales too.”
This time, Ferra was the one to hug Spike, “Like what Twilight said back in that old lab. Angel was never the type to take anypony seriously...unless it was imperative,” Ferra stated, “I'm guessing that your nickname for him, 'Dork Angel', is your way of retaliating?”
“More or less,” Spike said, “But it's just so easy to do anyway.”
“You do know that he's just teasing you though, right?” Ferra asked.
“It doesn't make it any less hurtful,” Spike pouted.
“Have you told him how much it bothers you to be called that?” Ferra asked, “Because if not, then you probably should. Angel would never intentionally hurt somepony...physically or emotionally. So if he knew, he'd probably stop calling you that...or at least stop meaning what it means.”
“I guess you're right,” Spike said, “But you should know how hard it can be when you're alone.”
“If you're gonna tell me that I'm not alone, then you have no right to even think that you are alone.” With that said, Spike then smiled as he talked some more with Ferra about random things to pass the time.
Dark Angel and Fluttershy continued to talk as they reached Fluttershy's cottage. Fluttershy invited Dark Angel in to rest before he headed back to Twilight's tree house.
“Are you feeling any better, Flutters?” Dark Angel asked as he sat down on the couch.
“Yes I am, thank you,” Fluttershy said with a smile, “I guess what Cyba said just got me a bit flustered.”
“You mean the implication of...” Dark Angel stopped mid sentence when he noticed Fluttershy's face going red again and trying to hide behind her mane, “I see what you mean. Hopefully he doesn't get into situations like that when we send him to school.”
“Y-You're actually gonna send him to school?” Fluttershy asked.
“The intention of this project was so that he could learn and interact with others,” Dark Angel explained, “What better way to do that than to send him to school? It'll also be a good way for him to make friends as well.”
“Do you think he'll even care about making friends?”
“He understands the basic concepts of friendship. So he'll be accepting of the idea and will respect his friends as expected.”
“Do you think he'll become one of the Cutie Mark Crusaders?” Fluttershy asked. After a moment of thought a chill went up both of their spines at the thought.
“I'm not sure if he'll be a candidate, considering that we already gave him a cutie mark,” Dark Angel pointed out, “Twi probably gave him a cutie mark specifically so that he wouldn't join them. But he probably will become friends with him nonetheless. But could you imagine? The Cutie Mark Crusaders are destructive enough as they are already! But imagine if they recruited an android.”
“With that kind of power, Ponyville would become nothing more than a smoking crater,” Fluttershy joked, causing to two ponies to laugh.
“Well, I'd better get going now,” Dark Angel said as he got up.
“Oh...right. Well then, I hope to see you soon,” Fluttershy said, “You can come by to visit anytime you like... if that's okay with you that is.”
Dark Angel smiled at the timid nature of the creamy yellow pegasus, “I'll do that,” Dark Angel said, “See you later!” With that said, Dark Angel headed back to the library.
“I am so thrilled that Cyba allowed me to take his measurements before I left!” Rarity exclaimed as she headed back to the Carousel Boutique, “I can't wait to get started on making him a suit!”
~Chapter 3: Making Friends~
X~ ~ ~ ~ ~X
The next morning was like any other...more or less anyway. Spike was the first up, making breakfast for the five of them, himself, Twilight, Dark Angel, Dax, and of course Ferra. He didn't think to make breakfast for Cyba however, for obvious reasons.
The next one up was Ferra. Considering that Ferra has been feeling down lately, the fact that she was up and in a cheerful mood managed to put a smile on Spike's face. “Did you remember to put lavender in Angel's omelet like he likes it?” Ferra asked Spike.
“No, I didn't,” Spike admitted as he put on a sinister grin, “I happened to run out of lavender before I got to making his omelet.” Ferra giggled at Spike's little prank. Even though she would've happily made sure there was enough lavender, or else give him her's, she still found humor in Spike's antics.
Next to wake up was Twilight...that is, if she even got any sleep. A loud snoring could be heard from the guest room, “Uh... How can anypony get any sleep with Angel snoring like that?” Twilight groaned, brushing out her bedhead and neatening out her wings.
“Consider yourself lucky,” Ferra said, “He's only hear visiting. I actually have to live with him.”
“How do you get any sleep, living with that snoring?” Spike asked.
“Sleep? What's that?” Ferra said sarcastically, causing the three of them to laugh.
“Well, I'm going to wake up Angel before his snoring blows our eardrums out,” Twilight said in a semi-sarcastic tone, “Then I'm going to wake up Dax and reactivate Cyba to get them ready for school.” Spike then got some tea going...the same tea that Dark Angel told him Ferra likes.
While they were making breakfast, Twilight went up to...for lack of a better term, end Dark Angel's snoring. And she planned on having some fun in the process. As she passed by a room, she noticed Dax sleeping soundly. It was as if to her, there was no snoring. If Twilight didn't know any better, she would've thought that she was deaf...then again, with Dark Angel's snoring, maybe she went deaf.
Suddenly, Twilight's logic center in her brain kicked in and she refused to believe that Dark Angel's snoring was actually loud enough to cause hearing loss. But she still couldn't understand how Dax could sleep through that snoring.
Twilight then shook the thought from her head for now and went to the guest room to wake Dark Angel up...and have some fun in then process. She walked into the guest room...
Dark Angel was snoring extremely loudly. But she ignored it and decided to have some fun, “Oh Angel...” Twilight said in her best seductive voice, “I want you! And I intend to take you! With force if necessary!”
Dark Angel's eyes shot open as he jumped out of bed and away from Twilight, “AHHHH!!! WHAT THE HAY ARE YOU THINKING, TWILIGHT?!!” Dark Angel shouted in terror at what Twilight had just said to him.
Twilight then giggled at Dark Angel's reaction, “I'm glad to see that you're awake now,” Twilight said, “Your snoring was preventing us from getting any sleep...well accept with Dax. If she can sleep through your snoring, I'd think that she was in a coma...” Suddenly, that thought got her thinking. And that made her worried, “Oh Celestia! Something must be wrong with Dax!” Twilight then ran out of the room to check on Dax.
“Wait! Twilight?!” Dark Angel called, still trying to recover from Twilight's prank. Then he said to himself, “I'm sure Dax is fine.” He then followed Twilight to her room...the same room Dax slept in.
“I wonder how Twilight will be able to wake Angel up,” Ferra wondered, “He tends to be a heavy sleeper.”
“I have a feeling I know how,” Spike said with a smug grin. That's when they heard shouting from upstairs.
“AHHHH!!! WHAT THE HAY ARE YOU THINKING, TWILIGHT?!!”
“What did Twilight just do?” Ferra asked.
“I have a feeling she decided to act seductive with him,” Spike said, “It really freaks him out when Twilight acts a little too friendly with him. And she has so much fun teasing him by acting friendly.”
Dark Angel saw that Dax was awake...and apparently confused. Then he saw Twilight apparently calming herself down. It looked like she had just had a heart attack.
“Angel, is something wrong with Twilight?” Dax asked.
Dark Angel gave the silver filly a glare, but then returned to his usual carefree expression, “She was just worried because of how you were able to sleep through my snoring,” Dark Angel said with a smile, “She actually thought you were in a coma. But that's silly.”
“Well being able to sleep through something that loud just isn't natural,” Twilight said as she wiped some sweat from her brow.
“Princess Tia taught me to block out the sound of snoring,” Dax said, “She had to train herself to do it too. Princess Luny is a loud snorer too. Thanks to her royal voice, her snoring is louder than Angel's.” Dax then giggled at the thought.
Dark Angel once again gave Dax a glare, “Would you please not call me 'Angel'?” Dark Angel asked calmly.
“Ferra, why do you and Twilight call Dark Angel just 'Angel'?” Spike asked.
“He has his reasons,” Ferra said.
“When has he ever had a reason for anything?” Spike asked.
“Why? Twilight and Ferra call you 'Angel',” Dax pointed out, “And so does Futtershy.”
Dark Angel couldn't help but snicker at Dax's mispronunciation of Fluttershy, “I'm sorry for laughing at you. But I just thought that sounded so cute,” Dark Angel giggled, “But...I have my reasons why I only let a few ponies call me Angel...”
“...It's because he considers it as a sign of affection,” Ferra told Spike, “Twilight calls him that because they're childhood friends. I can call him that because he's officially my guardian. So we have a special bond...”
“What about Fluttershy?” Spike asked.
“O-Oh, well...I don't know,” Ferra wondered
“I...uh...I think she's cute...” Dark Angel said, a blush spreading across his face.
“You have a crush on Fluttershy, don't you?” Twilight said with a smug grin.
“Oh...well...I...uh...maybe,” Dark Angel stuttered, his face going a deeper red, “B-But...can you please not tell anypony? What would Flutters think if she knew I actually had a crush on her?”
This is the first time Twilight has seen this side of Dark Angel. And she was liking it, “Flutters? You actually have a pet name for her already?” Twilight giggled, “I think that's so cute! But because you're my friend, I won't tell anypony. But I think the two of you would make a cute couple.” Then Twilight whispered to herself, “Flutters.”
“Do you...uh...what was it? Do you...Pie promise?” Dark Angel asked, trying to remember that special promise that Pinkie Pie invented.
“...Pie Promise?” Twilight questioned.
“Yeah, you know. That promise that Pinkie invented,” Dark Angel said.
“Oh...right...” Twilight said, purposely not telling him the actual name of the 'Pinkie Promise', “Sure, I'll...Pie Promise.” Since she didn't actually make an official 'Pinkie Promise' thanks to Dark Angel's misinterpretation, Twilight didn't have to keep that promise...at least she wouldn't have to worry about Pinkie Pie suddenly popping up out of nowhere and warning her. But to respect her friend, she wouldn't just openly give out Dark Angel's secret.
But if somepony were to notice and they asked Twilight if Dark Angel liked Fluttershy, she wasn't going to lie about it. Especially if it were Fluttershy herself who came to ask.
“Come on, Angel,” Twilight instructed Dark Angel to follow her, “We have to go reactivate Cyba.”
“...Uh...right!” Dark Angel said, snapping himself out of his bout of embarrassment.
Twilight and Dark Angel went downstairs with Dax following behind. The three ponies went down into the lab where Cyba was recharging. A big grin spread across the silver filly's face as Dark Angel went over to reactivate Cyba. Twilight smiled as she noticed the silver filly's joy, “It looks like Angel isn't the only one here who has a crush,” Twilight said as Dax looked up to her. Dark Angel looked back to see Dax's now reddening face.
“Well... What's wrong with me liking Cyba?” Dax asked a little shyly.
“Well, nothing...I guess,” Dark Angel said, “It's just that...nevermind.”
“After breakfast, it's time for school,” Twilight said. And with that said, the four of them went up to have their breakfast, save for Cyba, who doesn't eat. Cyba just waited patiently in the other room for them to finish so that he and Dax could go to school.
Dax looked in the other room and saw Cyba just sitting there, “Why doesn't he come in here to eat with us?” Dax asked.
“Because he's an android,” Twilight said bluntly, “He doesn't eat.”
“But he could still come in here to have some company,” Dax said with a sad look in her eyes, “He just looks so lonely sitting in there by himself.”
“He's incapable of feeling emotions, therefor he's incapable of feeling lonely,” Dark Angel said just as bluntly as Twilight.
“But how do you know he can't feel lonely?” Dax asked. Before anypony could respond, Dax took her food and went to go eat with Cyba.
“Doesn't she know that emotions are just too complex to be programmed into an AI of that level?” Dark Angel asked out loud.
“As much as I want to agree with...wait. Of that level?” Twilight questioned, “That implies that you could actually program emotions into an artificial intelligence if it had enough memory. But that's just not possible no matter how powerful the AI's internal processor is.”
“True, you can't really program emotions,” Dark Angel said, correcting himself, “But what I meant was that I think I could write a program that could mimic emotions. They wouldn't be real emotions, but they would allow the program to react to certain stimuli in a way that could mimic the correct emotional response.”
“Did you understand anything he just said?” Spike asked Ferra in a whisper.
“I never do,” Ferra replied with a giggle.
“Well like I was saying. Dax has an ability to see things that other ponies can't,” Twilight said, “I think it has something to do with her silver eye. But maybe she can see something in him that we can't see.”
“You mean like Pinkie Pie's 'Pinkie Sense'?” Dark Angel asked.
“I wouldn't dare go as far as saying it's like the Pinkie Sense,” Twilight said, “That is Pinkie Pie after all. But Dax's eye...I don't know how to explain it. It's like there's something otherworldly about it.”
“I think I know what you mean,” Dark Angel said, “When I first saw her and she looked at me, that silver eye of hers gave me the creeps at first. It felt like she wasn't looking at me, but more like she was looking into me with that eye.”
“I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't see you as somepony with a talent for technology, but as what your cutie mark represents...a guardian angel,” Twilight said.
“Hopefully that's all she sees from me,” Dark Angel said to himself.
Dax had walked into the main library area where Cyba was sitting and waiting, carrying her breakfast with her, “Hi, Cyba,” Dax greeted.
“Shouldn't you be eating your breakfast in the dining area like the others?” Cyba asked in his signature emotionless monotone expressionless way.
“I guess I should. But I just saw you sitting out here all alone and thought that you seemed lonely,” Dax explained.
“I don't feel emotion. Therefor, I don't have feelings such as loneliness,” Cyba explained to Dax, “So perhaps you should go back to the dining area.”
Dax then felt hurt by how Cyba said that, “Even if you aren't lonely, I still want to stay and keep you company.”
“If you insist,” Cyba said, completely oblivious to the fact that Dax was upset with his reaction.
Dax quickly shook off her disappointment and finished her breakfast. Then she and Cyba left to go to school. Dax was excited to show her friends at school her newest friend.
“Hey Twi, do you also have a bad feeling about this?” Dark Angel asked as he watched Dax skip down the road while Cyba just walked in no particular fashion.
“What do you mean?” Twilight replied with her own question, “Do you think it's wrong that Dax has a crush on an android?”
“It's not that, Twi,” Dark Angel said, “It's just that...I don't know. I just have a bad feeling. Maybe I'm just over thinking things...I must be hanging around you too much.” Dark Angel gave Twilight a goofy grin.
Twilight responded to Dark Angel's remark with one of her own, “Oh, ha ha. Very funny,” Twilight responded sarcastically, “Weren't you going to go looking for your own place to stay so you wouldn't have to mooch off of me anymore?”
“That's right!” Dark Angel exclaimed, “But when I do find my own place, who gets to keep Cyba?”
“Well, all of the equipment is here,” Twilight explained, “And it would be too much of a hassle to move it. Also, Dax might be upset if you were to take him away from her.”
“First of all, I could always easily rebuild the equipment at my new place,” Dark Angel pointed out, “And don't you think it would be a little awkward to know that the pony Dax loves is living with her?”
“Maybe we should think about this later. Maybe after you've already found a place to stay,” Twilight said, “And besides, what about Spike and Ferra? Ferra doesn't even have an option.”
“I'll let her come to visit whenever she wants,” Dark Angel said, “And Spike will be welcome to come to visit when he wants as well. And if I do end up with Cyba, he and Dax can visit each other as well. But let's think about that later. I'm gonna see what places are available for somepony like me!” Dark Angel then left the library and took flight to search for a place of his own. He already knew somepony who could possibly hook him up.
Dax and Cyba were already nearing where Dax usually met up with Sweetie Belle. Cyba was curiously observing the way Dax was skipping down the street.
Scanning subject: Daxelia...
Body language: Skipping...head held high...upright posture...apparently light on her hooves...
Facial expression: Large carefree grin...
Analisis: Subject appears to be quite joyful at the moment...Reason unknown.
“Daxelia, you appear to quite joyful for some reason,” Cyba stated after he examined the silver filly, “May I ask why?”
“Well Pinkie Pie has always told me that you don't always need a reason to be happy,” Dax explained, “But right now, I'm excited that you're gonna be able to meet my friends! I'm sure you'll like them just as much as I'm sure they'll like you!”
“I am incapable of emotion, therefor I am incapable of liking...” Cyba suddenly stopped what he was saying, “I'm sure your friends are very likeable.” Cyba made sure to choose his words carefully. He couldn't say that he would like her friends, since he was incapable of doing so. So he instead said that he was sure that they were likeable in general. However, that in itself was partly a lie, since he has never met her friends, and therefor doesn't have a basis to go by.
“And I've already told you before to just call me 'Dax',” Dax explained, “Oh, here comes Sweetie Belle now!”
Subject: Sweetie Belle...
Relationship to Daxelia: Friend
“Hi, Dax. Who's your new friend?” Sweetie Belle asked Dax.
“I am Cyba. An artificial intelligence created by the combined works of Twilight Sparkle and Dark Angel,” Cyba said.
Sweetie Belle listened to the robotic sound in the mechapony's voice as she thought over what he said, “Cyba...artificial intelligence...Twilight and Dark Angel...,” she said to herself as the gears were turning in the little filly's head, “Now I remember! Rarity told me about how Twilight and Dark Angel had made an android pony!”
New Data for Sweetie Belle...
Relationship to Rarity: ...Unknown
“Sweetie Belle, may I ask how you know Rarity?” Cyba asked.
“Didn't anypony tell you? She's my big sister,” Sweetie Belle said, answering the mechapony's inquiry.
New Data for Sweetie Belle...
Relationship to Rarity: Little sister
After the introductions were over, the three little ponies went to meet up with the second of their friends, Apple Bloom. As they arrived at the pathway leading to Sweet Apple Acres, Apple Bloom came running, “Dax! Sweet!” the little yellow filly called as she ran and hugged her friends. Then she walked up to Cyba, “Hi, mah name's Apple Bloom! What's yer's?”
“I am Cyba. An artificial intelligence created by the combined works of Twilight Sparkle and Dark Angel,” Cyba said, repeating his introduction to Sweetie Belle.
“Wha...?” Apple Bloom questioned.
“In other words, Cyba was built by Twilight and Dark Angel,” Dax interpreted.
Subject: Apple Bloom...
Relationship to Daxelia/Sweetie Belle: Friend
Additional Information: Has a strong southern accent...perhaps native to Maretanna
“Ah think ah r'member mah sis sayin' somethin' 'bout them makin' a faker pony,” Apple Bloom mentioned, “She also said that she didn' like the ahdea of a faker pony. She said it jus' ain't right.”
New Data for Apple Bloom...
Additional Information: Has a big sister who is unhappy with my existence
“Your sister seems unhappy with my existence,” Cyba mentioned to Apple Bloom, “Do you feel the same way about me?”
“Applejack told me that ah should stay away from ya,” Apple Bloom said, “But Big Mac told me that ah should choose fer mahself. An' ah will say that ya are a bit strange. But ah don' see no reason why we can't be friends.”
With that said, the four of them headed toward their next destination, the meet up with Scootaloo. And it wasn't long before they met up with the orange pegasus filly. “Hey, who's the newbie?” Scootaloo asked bluntly.
“I am Cyba. An artificial intelligence created by the com...”
“Yeah, yeah. I don't need to hear your life story. My name's Scootaloo,” the orange pegasus filly said.
Relationship to Daxelia/Sweetie Belle/Apple Bloom: Friend
Additional Information: Impatient...has a remarkable resemblance to Rainbow Dash...possible relation to Rainbow Dash
Scootaloo then pointed toward the wagon that was connected to her scooter, “Alright everypony. Hop in!” The four did as instructed. Once in, Scootaloo started flapping her wings quickly, pulling the wagon with her.
As he rode, Cyba observed Scootaloo's skills on her scooter...
New Data for Scootaloo...
Additional Information: Has impressive, though reckless skill on the scooter
“Has anypony ever gotten hurt while you were riding your scooter?” Cyba bluntly asked.
As Dark Angel was flying, he decided to go see Fluttershy before he went to see the pony who could help him get a new home. As he left the borders of Ponyville, the surrounding environment became more peaceful and quiet. Soon he saw a little cottage in the distance with several little animals around it. There was no mistaking, that was Fluttershy's home.
Dark Angel landed and walked up to the door before he lifted his hoof to knock. But before he could, the door opened, “AHHH!” the pastel yellow pegasus screamed in fear before she realized who it was, “Oh...Angel! I-I'm sorry. You startled me. I wasn't expecting you to come over.”
“Perhaps if I were just a few seconds earlier, we could've avoided this awkward confrontation?” Dark Angel asked, “Sorry for startling you, Flutters. I just wanted to come by to visit for a little while.”
“Oh, you're always welcome to visit,” Fluttershy said as she invited the dark pegasus into her home, a slight blush forming on her face, “So how is Cyba doing?”
“He's already left with Dax to go to school,” Dark Angel said. But then a more serious expression formed on his face, “But something doesn't feel right.”
“Oh? What's wrong?” Fluttershy asked.
“That's what I can't quite figure out,” Dark Angel said, “But I feel like there's something wrong. I sense it whenever Dax acts affectionate with Cyba. I don't think there's anything wrong with her having a crush on a mechapony. But I just feel like something is wrong. I told Twi that maybe I was just over thinking things. But I can't shake that feeling.”
“What does it feel like?”
“It's hard to describe. But it feels like it's far away...like it will be a while before whatever I'm sensing happens,” Dark Angel said, “But I also feel like whatever will happen can't be avoided. One thought I had was that the other foals won't accept Cyba for who...and what he is. But he can't feel emotion, so I don't have to worry about how he feels. He's strong enough to resist damage if the other foals become violent with him, so I shouldn't worry about that.”
“I don't think you have to worry about the other children hating him for what he is,” Fluttershy said comfortingly, “Children aren't born to be prejudice. So any problems he has will only be general bullying...although, that isn't pleasant to experience either.”
“You always know just what to say Flutters,” Dark Angel said, “But I only feel it when Dax is being affectionate with him. I wonder if she will be rejected because of a love for a machine.”
“I think anypony has the right to love who, and whatever they want,” Fluttershy said, “Besides, Dax is still young. Maybe this is just a phase that will eventually just pass.”
“Maybe,” Dark Angel said, “But I think it's cute how much she cares for his non-existent feelings.”
“Maybe that's what you're sensing,” Fluttershy mentioned, “Maybe it's that she loves him, but he is unable to return the feelings that she has for him. Maybe she'll be emotionally hurt because he can't love her back.”
“But what I sense seems to strong to be just from somepony not returning the feelings,” Dark Angel said, “I'm sensing that this will happen in future after all. The last time I sensed something from the future like this was...never mind. I'd rather not talk about it.”
“Don't worry about how much it upsets you,” Fluttershy said, “You can talk to me about it.”
“Actually...no I can't,” Dark Angel argued, “It's not an emotional issue, it's just personal in general...very personal.”
“Well...okay. You don't have to tell me if you don't want,” Fluttershy said. Then a blush formed on her face, “Angel...have you ever been in love?”
~Chapter 4: Several Lives to Live~
X~ ~ ~ ~ ~X
Dark Angel had returned to the library. He had finished getting the deed to his new Ponyville home. “So, you're gonna be owning a computer shop?” Twilight asked, “Why does that not surprise me?” Twilight was putting away some books while she was looking at the deed.
“It's about as surprising as you owning a library,” Dark Angel said with a grin, “Why are you acting so disappointed? I would've figured you'd be glad to be rid of me.”
“Well, your snoring maybe,” Twilight countered with a sly grin, “But I do enjoy your company. So knowing that you'll be leaving is disappointing. But I have a question. Who is Cyba gonna stay with?”
“In my opinion, Cyba has every right to choose for himself,” Dark Angel said, “So he can decided for himself who he wants to stay with. And either way, it won't be a big situation. My new place is nearby.”
“Alright class. Today we have a new student,” Cheerilee said out loud to the class, “This here is your new student, Cyba. Cyba, would you like to tell a little about yourself?”
“I am Cyba. An artificial intelligence created by the combined works of Twilight Sparkle and Dark Angel,” Cyba said to the class.
“Great. Now we got more freaks to deal with,” Diamond Tiara said.
“Or perhaps he could make a good friend,” Silver Spoon added.
“He's friends with those blank flanks,” Diamond Tiara said, “What gives you the idea that he'd be our friend?”
“My daddy was friends with one of his creators,” Silver Spoon said, “And since my daddy and his daddy were friends...”
“Then maybe we can be friends too,” Diamond Tiara finished. Then she raised her hoof to ask a question, “You said your da...uh...creator was Dark Angel, right? Well, did you know that Dark Angel and Silver Spoon's daddy used to be friends?”
“Don't believe them, Cyba!” Dax said, “They're just trying to trick you into being their friend!”
“Perhaps that may be their intention. But whether that's their intent or not, Silver Tongue and Filthy Rich were in fact good friends with Dark Angel,” Cyba pointed out.
“Were they really good friends?” Dax asked.
“Affirmative,” Cyba said, “And like with his other friends, Dark Angel enjoyed teasing them. Knowing how Filthy Rich hated being called by his first name, Dark Angel always called him by his first name. And knowing how Silver Tongue used to be mute before somepony fashioned an artificial tongue for...”
“My daddy would never be friends with somepony who always called him 'Filthy',” Diamond Tiara shouted.
“Why don't you ask him yourself?” Cyba asked.
“I will,” Diamond said, “And when I prove that I'm right, then you'll...”
“If you prove me wrong, then I was given the wrong information,” Cyba said.
“Spike, can you get the door?!” Twilight called down.
“Just give me a couple minutes!” Spike replied.
“Don't worry! I'll answer the door!” Ferra called before she answered the door. When she opened the door, Fluttershy was standing there, “Hi, Fluttershy!”
“Oh...uh...hi, Ferra,” Fluttershy stuttered, “I was just wondering if Dark Angel was here.”
“Well, actually he's...”
“He's here now,” a voice said from behind Fluttershy.
Fluttershy spun around to see Dark Angel standing behind her, “Oh h-hi, Angel,” Fluttershy stuttered with a nervous grin, “I was just wondering if you wanted to go for a walk today.”
“Sure...I guess...” Dark Angel said in a slightly confused state, “Where did you have in mind on taking a walk?”
“How do you feel about taking a walk through the Everfree Forest?” Fluttershy asked.
“That sounds fine with me,” Dark Angel said, “I could also show you the new place I bought here in Ponyville. I bought a tech store.”
“I've been getting the feeling that you're into tech stuff,” Fluttershy said.
“I wonder why you would've gotten an idea like that...” Dark Angel said sarcastically, “It couldn't have been the fact that I was so fascinated with creating a 'mechapony', could it?”
“Was that sarcasm?”
“Yeah. But don't take it personally,” Dark Angel said, “I'm often sarcastic. Just ask Twilight, or my perfect little helper, Ferra. They'll both tell you that I'm rarely serious.”
“So Apple Bloom, why doesn't Applejack want you to be around Cyba?” Scootaloo asked as the Cutie Mark Crusaders left the school with the other children. School had just let out.
“Ah don' know,” Apple Bloom wondered, “She's actin' like Cyba's some sorta machine or some...thing...” Apple Bloom looked toward Cyba.
“But I am a machine,” Cyba said.
“Oh...yeah...right...” Apple Bloom said.
“You may be a machine,” Dax said to Cyba, “But that doesn't mean you're just a machine. There's allot more to you than what meats the eye.”
“Dax, I don't think you're thinking clearly,” Scootaloo said, “I mean, why would you convince yourself that an android is more than just a machine?”
“Scootaloo's got a point,” Sweetie Belle added, “A computer's processor is only as powerful as the ponies who programmed it. And an android is basically just a walking talking computer.”
“So what yer tryin' ta say is that Cyba is only as smart as Twilight and Dark Angel?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Did you three forget that I have the special ability to see these kinds of things?” Dax asked the other girls.
“Dax is partly correct about her assumption about me being more than just a computer,” Cyba added, defending Dax, “For starters, if you take into consideration who programmed me, Twilight and Dark Angel, I'm sure all four of you know how smart they actually are. So that alone should prove how smart I really am. Secondly, Dark Angel added special programming that gives me the ability to learn through experience and observations, and also allows me to choose what I think from those experiences. I of course will make the logical decisions, since that is what anypony would logically choose. And finally...shut up!”
Cyba opened up his eyes in confusion when he realized he just had an outburst, “Cyba, is something wrong?” Dax asked when she noticed Cyba's confused look.
“It's just...my reaction just then wasn't logical,” Cyba said, “How can I claim to make logical decisions when my actions just now were illogical?”
“Well, it looked ta me that you were jus' sticking up fer yer friend!” Apple Bloom said, “You were treating a friend how a friend would treat his friends!”
“She's right,” Sweetie Belle agreed, “You were acting how a colt your age would logically act.”
“But that's my point,” Cyba pointed out, “I wasn't acting like how I was programmed. I wasn't acting...like a machine. And I think I experienced something that I can't possibly experience. I think I...felt.”
“Maybe we should talk to Dark Angel and Twilight about this,” Dax suggested, “Maybe there was something about how they programmed you that allows you to experience simulated emotions.”
“I suppose...it could be possible,” Cyba said, “But if I had that kind of programming, why wouldn't I be aware of it?”
“Well, when they're working together, Twilight and Dark Angel do tend to have more playful and childish personalities,” Dax said with an innocent foal-like grin, “Maybe this is just their way of playing a practical joke on you.”
“Unlikely,” Cyba said, “The intent of a joke is normally for humor and good fun. Since I am unable to have 'fun', nor do I have a sense of humor, I would be unable to appreciate this joke being played on me. And if the intent were to annoy me, I wouldn't...” Cyba paused for a moment when he saw the look in Dax's eyes. He then realized that he was talking like a computer again, and Dax wanted to help him sound like a normal pony, “...What I mean is, Twilight and Dark Angel should know better.” Cyba looked back toward Dax and saw the proud smile on her face, telling him that he did well.
Scootaloo glanced at Cyba with a look of curiosity, “Why did you talk differently when Dax looked at you like that?” the young pegasus asked.
“Daxelia has made it her own responsibility to assist me in sounding like a normal pony and less like a computer,” the mechapony said.
Scootaloo then started giggling at Cyba's explanation, “Well, you're gonna need some more help on that!” Scootaloo laughed.
“Stop making fun of how Cyba talks,” Dax said to Scootaloo.
“Normally I'd just say that Cyba doesn't care what others say about him, since he's just an artificial intelligence and all,” Sweetie Belle said, “But in all fairness, that was mean. Even if Cyba doesn't even realize he's being teased.”
Subject: Sweetie Belle...
Analisis: Subject appears to be disregarding my feelings since I have no feelings to be hurt.
“I believe pointing out that I don't have feelings to be hurt is counterproductive of what your original intent is,” Cyba pointed out.
“Oh...I'm sorry, Cyba,” Sweetie Belle said with her head hung low in shame, “I didn't hurt your feelings, did I?”
Additional Analisis: Subject may be unaware that what she had said may have caused hurt feelings.
“Well, since I have no feelings to be hurt to begin with, no harm was caused,” Cyba pointed out.
“Oh...yeah...right...” Sweetie Belle laughed nervously.
“But still, even if Cyba doesn't feel hurt, it was still mean what Scootaloo said,” Dax still insisted on pointing out.
“Perhaps. But it was unintended to be mean,” Cyba said.
“I'm surprised you're so comfortable with taking a walk through the Everfree Forest,” Dark Angel said as he and Fluttershy walked through the dark forest, “Even brave ponies can have trouble building up the courage to enter the Everfree Forest. And according to your friends, you're not really known for being that brave...uh...no offense to you of course.”
“No offense taken,” Fluttershy said, “I know it's true.”
“Whether it's true or not is beyond the point,” Dark Angel said, “Don't you feel hurt that your friends think of you as a coward?”
“Well, maybe a little,” Fluttershy said before giving Dark Angel an innocent grin, “But I'm glad that my friends can be so honest about what they think about me!”
“I do like how you think so highly of your friends,” Dark Angel said, “But don't you feel at least a little disappointed that they don't think as highly of you?”
“You know, you're starting to sound like Discord when he was trying to mess with my head,” Fluttershy said bluntly.
“And if I'm not mistaken, he failed,” Dark Angel added, “He gave up just trying to mess with your head and just used his magic.”
“How did you know about that?” Fluttershy asked.
“I...uh...I have my sources,” Dark Angel stuttered, “But having that strong of a will is something to be proud of. But the reason I'm asking if you felt hurt is because having some negative feelings is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I'd be more concerned if you didn't feel at least a little hurt. When somepony holds in their negative emotions, they tend to build up until they just explode. Like when Pinkie Pie went temporarily insane when she thought you and the rest of her friends weren't her friends anymore. Or when those animals weren't being your friends at the gala, that frustration combined with pent up frustration from the past caused you to lose it and you just became aggressive.”
When Dark Angel looked back toward Fluttershy, he saw her shocked expression about how he knew as much as he knew, “How did...”
“Like I said, I have my sources,” Dark Angel said, this time without stuttering and fully serious, “I have my own secrets about myself that I can't reveal. But I promise that the reasons I have to keep my secrets secret is a legitimate reason.”
“But why can't you tell me your secret?” Fluttershy asked.
“I have to be very careful about who I trust with my secret,” Dark Angel said, “Imagine if someone were to reveal that Pinkie Pie had an eating problem? Nopony would think anything of it...especially since it's Pinkie Pie and all. Now imagine if that very same news was revealed about princess Celestia? It would ruin her reputation. I don't know if that was the best example I could've used. But I have to be sure whoever I reveal my secret to is somepony I know I can trust with my secret.”
“So what you're saying is that you don't trust me enough to tell me your secret?” Fluttershy whimpered.
“Yes...I mean, no...I mean... What I'm trying to say is that it's not that I don't trust you. It's just that my secret requires an extreme amount of trust that I would trust very few with,” Dark Angel explained.
“Is your secret really that big?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yes. Well, it is to me anyway. Consider this the level of trust required to keep an average secret,” Dark Angel said as he held up a hoof at about eye level, “The level of trust I would require somepony to have to keep my secret is...” Dark Angel held his hoof higher before flying into the air, stopping at about twenty-five feet and calling back down, “...WAY UP HERE!”
“That really is allot of trust,” Fluttershy said as Dark Angel came back down.
“Other than me, there are only two other ponies who know what my secret is. And they only know because they witnessed the happened. And believe me when I say they wish they hadn't.”
“Let's just say that they're allot older than you are,” Dark Angel said with a grin.
“Is one of them Granny Smith?”
Dark Angel looked at Fluttershy and couldn't help but smile at her foal-like innocence. The first pony to come to mind when he saw her was Apple Bloom...although that may have been because of the mention of Granny Smith, “Older,” Dark Angel said.
Fluttershy thought for a moment to try to think who could be older than Granny Smith. Granny Smith was one of the oldest ponies in Equestria. The only ponies she could think of who were older were...
“You don't mean the princesses, do you?!” Fluttershy asked in surprise.
Dark Angel gave Fluttershy a look that told her “I won't tell you out loud if you're right or not. But yes, you're right.”
“Angel, how old are you really?” Fluttershy asked.
“That's hard to answer truthfully,” Dark Angel said, “And the answer...or rather answers...has to do with my secret.”
“'Answers?” Fluttershy repeated in confusion, “As in plural?”
“Yes,” Dark Angel said before sighing, “I might as well tell you the secret. Considering what you already know so far, it's at an unavoidable point. I was most likely gonna tell you eventually anyway. So really, I would've just been postponing what I was gonna do eventually anyway. The reason I said 'answers' in plural is because it's true. There is no one single answer. By definition, I am twenty-six, four years older than Twilight. Well technically, I'm four years, two months, two weeks, five days...no, four days, thirteen hours, four minutes...”
“Could you imagine Rainbow Dash's reaction to listening to that speech?” Fluttershy interrupted.
“You should be proud of yourself,” Dark Angel commented, “Nopony has ever made it that far into one of my ramblings without attempting to stop me. I think you belong in the Guinness Book of Equestrian Records.”
“Oh!” Fluttershy said in both surprise and shame, “I'm sorry! I didn't mean...”
“Don't be sorry,” Dark Angel interrupted, smiling at Fluttershy, “If you hadn't stopped me, I would've gone down to the very millisecond. As I was saying before, I am twenty-six. However, my memories exceed those twenty-six years. I remember events that happened to me in past lives just as easily as I remember events that happened just three months ago. I remember all of my past lives because...they were all technically the same life.”
“So...you never actually died?” Fluttershy asked confused.
“Not exactly. My physical body has died, and then I've been born into a new body later,” Dark Angel corrected, “However, my conscious mind stayed alive even after my body died. So in a way, I am...well...semi-immortal.”
Fluttershy was hanging on every word Dark Angel was saying. She was both amazed at the idea, and a little confused. There was a part of her that didn't know what to think, “So, how far back to your memories go?” Fluttershy asked.
“Let's just say that I knew the princesses even before they had their cutie marks,” Dark Angel said.
Dark Angel looked down to see that Fluttershy had fallen over. Fluttershy shakily got back to her hooves, “I'm sorry. I guess I just got a little light headed,” Fluttershy said.
“If it makes you feel any better, you're not the first one to have that kind of reaction,” Dark Angel said, “I believe you're the...thirty-eighth. Although my memory may not be what it used to. It's been over thirteen hundred years after all.”
“You're over thirteen hundred years old?!”
“Well, that's just when I started my...uh...body jumping?” Dark Angel questioned, “I can't believe it's been this long and I've never once actually thought about what to call it.”
“How about...extended memories,” Fluttershy suggested, “Since you're consciousness 'extends' after death. So it's fitting, right?”
“Yeah, it is fitting,” Dark Angel agreed, “I'm sure in another hundred years or so, I'll think up of something else. But 'extended memories' will do for now. But how about we take a break for now. I know for a fact that you falling over like that may not just be a single event.”
“No...it's alright. I'll be fine,” Fluttershy insisted.
“Don't say I didn't warn you,” Dark Angel said, “Did you know that I knew your mother when she went to school?”
“You went to school with my mom?!” Fluttershy gasped.
“I was your mom's teacher.”
“I told ya,” Dark Angel said as he sat down next to Fluttershy so she wouldn't have to get back up, “And Barricade was a real pain in the flank. She always took pride in her strength. But her pride usually got the better of her. You'd be surprised how often I gave her detention for her trouble making.”
“No I wouldn't,” Fluttershy said bluntly.
“But ever since I got my cutie mark over thirteen hundred years ago, my special talent was, for lack of a better term, a guardian angel. And that allowed me to see when there was trouble in somepony's life. On the outside, she seemed like any other trouble maker. But I could see that she was going through pain and suffering.”
“Pain and suffering?!” Fluttershy repeated, “Why wouldn't she tell me that she was in pain?!”
“Because not even she knew it,” Dark Angel said, “Her pain was pent up inside so that she could hide it from others' eyes. She did this because she didn't want to be seen as weak. But she hid her pain so much that she was no longer aware of it. Instead, it came out in the form of aggression. Have you ever known your grandparents?”
“No. Mom said that they died in an accident,” Fluttershy said. But something in her heart made her question what her mother told her, “That isn't what really happened, was it?”
There was a tear in Dark Angel's eye as he began to speak, “I think it's better that you talk to your mother about that. That would be going into another story anyway,” Dark Angel said, “But as I was saying about Barricade, she was in pain. I wasn't sure why it was. But I was able to see that it was family issues. It wasn't until one day when she came into class with a black eye when I knew what was wrong. Her father...your grandfather was abusive. And he often hit her mother. And the black eye was a sign that he even beat on Barricade as well. I'll never forget that day. You're mother used to be so prideful and basically radiated power, not even letting me overpower her. But that day, she was so withdrawn and shy.”
“My mom?!” Fluttershy questioned astonished, “Are you sure we're talking about the same pony?”
“Well, if you knew what your grandfather was really like...” Dark Angel said, cutting off as he thought of how to continue, “Honestly, I'm surprised she didn't break down long before then. I decided to keep her after school that day, but not because she was in trouble. This time, I wanted to ask her what happened. She resisted at first. But I was expecting that. But her resistance wasn't because of her prideful personality. Her resistance was what you would expect from anypony who has troubles at home. But after some time, she began to explain what happened.
“She explained how she's often seen her father beating on her mother,” Dark Angel continued, “This witnessing of her father beating her mother was where her trouble making stemmed from. But that day, she finally came to the realization that what her father was doing wasn't right. So she chose to stand up to him, using a certain stare that I'm sure you're very familiar with.”
“My mom told me that 'the stare' is a trait that was passed down the family line,” Fluttershy added in.
“Not only is it a family trait, it's a royal family trait,” Dark Angel pointed out, “You and prince Blueblood share a common ancestry about three hundred fifty years ago.”
“Well...at least you were laying down that time,” Dark Angel said as he helped lift Fluttershy's head back up, causing her to blush.
“Oh...uh...thanks...” Fluttershy stuttered.
“Any time,” Dark Angel said, “Anyway, since Barricade has never used 'the stare' before, she didn't realize what she was doing. And unfortunately for her, she got that trait from her father. So before her stare could take any active affect, her father countered with his own stare. And since he was so experienced with it, and since Barricade was still only a filly at the time, he easily overpowered her.
“You're mother was lucky she got nothing more than a black eye. Her father didn't hit her. He threw her across the room and through a thankfully open window,” As Dark Angel continued the story, Fluttershy covered her muzzle with her hooves as she gasped in shock, “Your grandmother never stood up to her husband for many reasons, the main reason being the submissive power of 'the stare'. But seeing what he had just done to her daughter infuriated her and she finally stood up to him.
“Barricade didn't know all the details since she was still recovering from the attack,” Dark Angel continued, “But when she got back up and looked through the window...”
“What is it?!” Fluttershy asked, not exactly sure if she wanted to know, “What did my mommy see?!”
Hearing Fluttershy say 'mommy' made Dark Angel realize that she was beginning to regress into a more foal-like mindset. And that kind of mindset wouldn't be able to handle what her mother witnessed, “I'd suggest that maybe you should ask your mother about that too,” Dark Angel suggested, “But I'm not sure if she'd be willing to relive those events. But after she saw what she saw, she ran to the Everfree Forest to find her friend. I believe you've met her too. Zecora.”
“My mom was friends with Zecora?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yes, she was. It was a strange friendship though. Your mother bullied everypony. But Zecora, the pon...er...zebra who was bullied by everypony, was the only po...zebra that your mother didn't bully. Instead, she protected her from other bullies,” Dark Angel explained, “But anyways, she ran to Zecora's home where she spent the night that night. In fact, Zecora is the only one other than me...well...the previous me...”
“Stop trying to correct yourself and just say 'me' when you're talking about your past self,” Fluttershy insisted uncharacteristically, “It's much simpler.”
“O...Okay,” Dark Angel said a little nervously, “While Barricade was telling her story to me, there was another pony who was secretly listening in on us. He thought we didn't know he was there. But I knew. But I didn't bring him out of hiding because he was in fact somepony I knew would be supportive of your mother. He was a shy pegasus colt who had a crush on your mother ever since he first saw her. But he was too shy to actually introduce himself to her.”
Fluttershy's eyes widened at the mention of this shy pegasus colt, “Dad?!”
“If personality is anything to go by, I'll assume that's a yes. I technically died before you were born,” Dark Angel continued, “I actually offered for Barricade to stay with me for a little while until FPS could do something about her father. But because of what happened, she didn't feel comfortable with any colts or stallions who could overpower her. So plan B was that she stayed with Zecora. The problem was that Vex and Xera, Zecora's parents, didn't approve of ponies who weren't zebras or at least had some ancestry of zebras. I talked with Vex and Xera and explained to them...that Barricade was orphaned when her parents were in an accident.”
“You made that story?” Fluttershy asked.
“I completely forgot about that,” Dark Angel said, “In a matter of speaking, your mother didn't lie to you about that story...I did.”
Dark Angel was caught off guard when Fluttershy suddenly hugged him, “Don't blame yourself,” Fluttershy said in a comforting tone before becoming a little more playful, “You're memory isn't what it used to be in your old age.”
“Well in my defense, I was old when I made that excuse,” Dark Angel said, both sarcastically and truthfully, “But in seriousness, Vex and Xera didn't exactly approve. But they agreed to temporarily take care of Barricade. For another week after the event, Barricade continued to act uncharacteristically shy. But what got my attention was that your father, Angel was becoming more and more confident with himself. He was pushing his shyness to the side to do what he needed to help Barricade. And since Angel was general a small and week pegasus...no offense to him...Barricade knew that he could never overpower her, so she wasn't nervous around him. As time went on, Barricade and Angel grew closer.
“One day Angel was walking to the bathroom when he was stopped by some bullies,” Dark Angel continued, “Zecora saw this and was about to try and distract them. But all she did was get herself caught. I don't know the details, so you may have to ask...”
“Mom skipped class that day. She happened to see the bullies about to bully dad and a zebra...Zecora,” Fluttershy said, continuing the story as she heard it from her parents, “Something clicked in mom's head. She's always protected Zecora from bullies. But it wasn't Zecora she had her focus on. It was dad. Well, it was both of them really. It was seeing them being bullied that angered mom.”
“I believe that anger came from being reminded of her father abusing her mother,” Dark Angel added.
“Probably,” Fluttershy continued, “Her general urge to bully was...transformed into an urge to protect. She got in front of the bullies to stop them. The bullies being bullies were about to attack mom. But mom being the powerful pony that she was, allowed her to overpower the bullies. But her brute strength alone wasn't enough. She remembered recently learning how to use 'the stare'.”
“Against her father,” Dark Angel added in.
“And so she used it,” Fluttershy continued, “At the time, it was still imperfect. But it was affective enough to make the bullies submit. After she stopped the bullies, she realized that it felt good to protect. Allot better than it felt to be a bully herself. Protecting others just felt right to her...it felt natural.”
“And if I'm not mistaken...which knowing my memory, I could be,” Dark Angel said sarcastically, “That was when your mother got her cutie mark. I remember that change in her. She went from being a bully to being a guardian. In fact, her special talent wasn't that far off from my own...a 'guardian angel'. And her cutie mark was a good representation of that talent. Of course our talents have their differences too. You're mother being a guardian angel is more on the side of symbolic, whereas me being a guardian angel is more in a literal sense. I also remember Angel going back to his usual shy self after that day. But he was allot closer to Barricade. I was proud of them both. It was actually about a month after that incident that I died of a heart attack.”
“Oh no! Are you okay?!” Fluttershy said as she began checking Dark Angel over.
“I'm fine. That was last life,” Dark Angel said, “Besides, I lived a long full life. In fact, the heart attack was self induced. I wasn't afraid of death because...well...I'm here now, alive and well!”
“My mom told me about when one of her teachers died,” Fluttershy said, “She was really upset when it happened. Mom thought of her teacher as a second father to her.”
Hearing this, Dark Angel began to lose his cool. He then broke down crying. Fluttershy pulled him into another hug, “It's okay, Angel,” Fluttershy said soothingly, “I'm here for you.”
“You do realize that your pet name for me is your dad's name, right?” Dark Angel sniffled.
“I can live with that,” Fluttershy said, “That is just a pet name after all. I did however name my bunny after my dad. Angel Bunny.”
“Are you sure you shouldn't have named him Barricade?” Dark Angel giggled, “He's got an attitude more like your mother than your father.”
“Well when he was first born, he was so shy...like dad,” Fluttershy said, “Besides, I don't think Angel Bunny would approve of being named after a mare...although, Angel has never met my mom before.”
“I think Angel Bunny and your mother would get along really well,” Dark Angel joked.
“How about we go back home,” Fluttershy suggested, “When I get the chance, I will go to see my mom and talk to her about what happened...on one condition.”
“And that condition is?” Dark Angel asked.
“If you come with me,” Fluttershy said, “My mom would love to know that I found somepony to be with. She had always hoped that I would make her a grandmother.”
“Okay, I'll...wait, WHAT?!”