Aegis Shield’s Scrap Basket
Part 1: Mare Do Well vs. Super Stallion
Aegis Shield was a Lunar Stallion, a dark-armored Pegasus pony who served Princess Luna. Though he was a soldier and ever vigilant to the protection and welfare of the Princess of the Night, he had other talents. One of which was writing. Standing stoically and perfectly still for hours on end sometimes gave him the spare time he needed to brainstorm brilliant story ideas and work out just how he wanted them. Then at the end of his shift all he had to do was sit down with some moon pies and a glass of orange juice, then pick up a pen.
His brother Lunar Stallions encouraged his gift and tried to get him to publish his works, but he was very shy about them and very mysterious about their origins. After all, a lot of his ideas ended up in his scrap basket file. It was a place where all of his dead-end ideas and stories that just wouldn’t work went. Whether he lost interest in something, didn’t want to finish it, or simply wrote himself into a corner—he kept everything he could, and stuffed it in the little file. He kept it in a box under his bed for the memories, perhaps to pluck them up at a later date and make use of them.
Reaching and touching the eye on his breast plate, Aegis Shield retracted his magical armor. His grey fur twinged over to brown, and his purplish mane exploded into a bright blonde. The armor wiggled, melted like water, and rushed towards his breast to press itself into a medallion. One couldn’t be a Lunar Stallion all the time, after all, and he could hardly sit and concentrate on his writing while in his armor. His golden eyes flickered with fading magic, turning a beautiful ocean-blue color. Sighing in relief as the weight of his vestments melted off of him, he flopped into a waiting stool at his writing desk. “Hahh, let’s see…” he mumbled, scratching himself in a rude place and chewing on his upper lip a little. He reaching, noisily unwrapping his night’s first moon pie. Chewing idly and letting the chocolate melt over his mouth, he gulped at the orange juice and eyed the blank page in front of him. Mumbling softly and pushing his mane out of his eyes, he picked up a quill in his mouth and dipped it gently in an inkwell. He liked using funny colors, and tonight’s ink was forest green. A soothing and rich color that would help him write a calming scene in some story or another. Taking another bite of his moon pie, he began to write.
The room vanished around him and he stopped seeing his words on the page. His mind slowly expanded into the great beyond of his imagination. Any true writer would tell anypony that writing was not a conscious thing until the editing stage. Putting pen to paper was like going into a trance, for Aegis Shield. The only thing that would stop him was running out of ink, or running out of moon pies. Having secured a box of eight for himself that night, he knew he wouldn’t be moving anytime soon.
He’d recently finished a time-travel piece involving a stallion from the classical Greek era of Equestria. Before that, he’d written about a pony challenging death incarnate by foreseeing and preventing deaths before they happened. Before that, he’d even composed a fictional trilogy about the Lunar Stallions, of which he was a part. It was a fun and soothing activity to calm his sharp mind at the end of his nights working for Princess Luna. She was a demanding Princess, after all, and letting stress pile up was not healthy for anypony.
As Aegis’ quill danced feverishly across the page, the hours went by naturally. He often started past midnight and didn’t stop until 2am or later. Then he would collapse exhausted and happy into bed. Writing was a joy to him.
He shared his works with his friends and fellow Lunar Stallions, but you already know about those. We’re here to see some of Aegis’ rejected works, so come along now, while Aegis Shield is sleeping. We’ll paw through his rejected story basket and see what he’s been up to lately… hmm, this one looks interesting! “Mare Do Well vs. Super Stallion”, let’s have a look...
The Mysterious Mare Do Well vs. Super Stallion
Mare Do Well peered out over Ponyville, her cape flapping gingerly in the early-evening sun. Ever since the initial Mare Do Well incident, she’d kept a much lower profile for the sake of peace for the town. Though she was a masked vigilante, it didn’t mean she couldn’t take a more subtle approach than before. She ventured forth only occasionally, when the sun touched the mountains of Canterlot, until she was tired in the night.
There weren’t exactly any super villains in Ponyville, but there was a certain thrill that came with running around in a mask and cape. Occasionally stop a falling terracotta pot from creaming somepony. A runaway baby carriage, or some such thing. Even small things seemed to justify her night time crusades, like if a mare was receiving the wrong sort of attention from a stallion on a particularly dark part of the night.
Mare Do Well spotted the pair of them in an alleyway between Sugar Cube Corner and the shop next door. She was backed into the wall, looking fearful. Who was that? Mare Do Well squinted at the grapes and strawberry on her flank. Berry Punch. She did not recognize the stallion menacing her at the moment. His grizzled chin and mussed mane told a roguish tale, and he was reaching for her bits purse when Mare Do Well arrived on the scene. Both of them looked at her. “Who’re you supposed to be?” He said with a snarl, hoofing at the ground like he was ready to charge at her.
The shadowy form of the black and purple clad mare melted forward, her cape hiding her movements. It took a supernatural grace, making her seem to glide across the ground rather than walk upon it. Her eyes narrowed at the mugger. Mare Do Well said nothing, but Berry Punch gave a rather high-pitched shriek that earned her a back-hoof across the mouth. She fell with a yelp and crashed into a dumpster, crumpling with a whimper. Her purse fell, golden coins spilling out. The ringing of the precious metal drew the eyes of the thug for a moment too long, and a trash can SMASHED into him seemingly of its own accord. But not so. It was magic! Mare Do Well’s hat floated back down to cover her horn. She’d not even parted her cape, it was so effortless.
The robber stallion rose with an angry snort, hooved the ground a few times and charged head-on! LEAPING over another projectile he slammed into Mare Do Well full-force and they crashed into a wall. She grunted in pain, then rammed her forehead into his. Trashcan lids raised themselves up and slammed onto either side of his head like cymbals. Disoriented, he staggered with a cry. Mare Do Well turned quickly, bucking him right in the jaw! His head snapped back and he fell with his eyes in swirls, defeated. The masked mare lifted a hoof as though to pose triumphantly, then went to Berry Punch’s side. Leaning down, she nosed the mare a few times.
“Wh… who…?” she shook her head to make her eyes focus, but all she saw was a shadow melting around the corner with the flutter of a purple cape. Berry Punch looked around, alone in the alleyway. It was then that the rather round face of Mrs. Cake came around the corner, trying to find out what all the racket was outside her shop so late at night.
It was quite late when Mare Do Well arrived at her home. She nursed her bruised forehead, brushing her mane more lightly than usual. If anypony saw her injuries they would ask questions. She needed to be more careful. Stretching gingerly to work the muscles before they knotted into bruises, she hid her costume and slid into bed.
Aegis Shield had been wanting to write a Twilight Sparkle and Big Macintosh romance story, but with a flair of super heroes. Twilight would be Mare Do Well, and Big Macintosh Super Stallion. Since Big Mac was one of the only named stallions in Ponyville at the time, the idea was quickly scrapped. There’s only one stallion in Ponyville, after all, that can move a house with his awesome strength. The secret identities would’ve meant nothing in the story, so Aegis had never finished it.
Aegis Shield had hobbies other than writing. Why, some nights he would sit and read books while enjoying the serenity of a moonlit evening. We was a big fan of things like Forgotten Realms, The Wheel of Time, and certainly Harry Trotter and World War Z. He had a meager little bookshelf in his apartment, not full of books but certainly lovingly cared for.
Once, while getting ready to take a break from writing for a little while, the Lunar Stallion wrote a story about taking a break. It involved the famous flyer from the Wonderbolts, Spitfire. He had a pinup of her on his wall (him and several hundred thousand other stallions), and thought she was pretty hot stuff. But surely the celebrity life could get to a pony now and then, right...?
Looks like Aegis is still sleeping, let's have a look at this next one:
Enjoying the Quiet Life
Spitfire walked out of the manager’s office, a massive weight having been lifted off of her shoulders. She stared around, quietly, feeling the open air on her fur. She’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be outside that blue and yellow suite. Spitfire, Captain of the Wonderbolts, had just quit her job.
She was sick of it. Sick of it all. She was tired of the flashing cameras. Tired of the random fan that snuck in to watch her shower that one time. Tired of being stared at, of being asked for autographs and filmed everywhere she went. The yelling crowds that always wanted more and were never satisfied. The endless stands of brainless ponies that thought she was hot stuff because she was the famous leader of the Wonderbolts. Half of them had never even seen her face, or even looked into her eyes.
She walked slowly down the hall of the Canterlot stadium, looking around like she was seeing it for the first time. Sure, it had been fun at first. The money was excellent, she had her face on T-shirts and posters and mugs… mares wanted to be her and stallions wanted to be with her. She was treated like a high-flying movie star, neigh, a princess! And all she had to do was give up every ounce of privacy or intimacy she’d ever had. She knew it had turned bad when she looked forward to being on the toilet more than most things. That was one of the very few places that the cameras and screaming fans wouldn’t follow (the shower was certainly not safe, these days).
The mare was in her prime but she felt so very, very tired. Emerging out into the practice field, she saw Soarin’ stuffing his face on a sideline. He looked up, sensing her eyes on him. He blinked a couple of times, chewing—what was that, pie? The stallion ate like a pig, Spitfire had no idea how he stayed so slim and trim. She sighed a little. There was something else she could never have as a Wonderbolt captain; a stallion. There was no dating allowed amongst the team and, being Captain of the Wonderbolts, she was also a sexy symbol of male fantasy. So, there was no hope for a legitimate relationship anywhere. It wasn’t like she could go out to a bar or something and flirt. It’d be twenty minutes tops before the first camera showed up and she’d have to flee back to her private rooms with the rest of the team.
Soarin’ came over while she was thinking. “Hey Spitfire.” He said cautiously. “You look… off.” He said, leaning to eye her up and down. “Is something wrong?”
“I quit today.” She told him softly. He gasped, eyes widening. Leaning into her saddlebag, she produced the golden goggles. The symbol of the flight captain, only ever worn by the leader of the Wonderbolts. “You’re in charge now, Soarin’.” She smiled apologetically. “I’m getting out while I still have my sanity.”
“But what about your contract?! All the merch that’ll go to waste?!” Soarin’ said. “The legal department will eat you alive!”
Spitfire smiled gently. “They already did. My bank account’s been practically cleaned out, and pretty much all my stuff is gone except what I’ve got here.” She gestured to the bulging saddlebag. “All I’ve got is my retirement stuff and a little mound of bits.” She smiled in a more strained way as she said it. All the dedicated years of service, and they were turning her out inside out for all she was worth. So much for company loyalty.
“But what’ll you do for a living?! Where will you go?!” Soarin’ had draped the goggles around his neck, but he was following her across the field.
“Someplace peaceful…” Spitfire smiled dreamily. “Someplace where I can hear myself think and the cameras won’t find me.” Just the thought made her shiver. “Someplace… green.” She said, chuckling a little.
“You mean like the countryside?” Soarin’ tilted his head. “But there’s nothing out there! We live in Canterlot, Spitfire! The capital of Equestria and the home of the royal sisters!” he trotted as she increased her pace. “Anyplace you go, noplace is as good as this!” he gestured wildly to the sweeping towers and giant stone buildings.
“That’s exactly why I’m going.” Spitfire smiled in a tired way. “Someplace quiet, and out in the middle of nowhere. Someplace I can rest…” she trailed off. “Who knows, maybe buy a little house and settle down, y’know?”
“What about us?” Soarin’ said in a hurt way, stopping. “What about the Wonderbolts? You’ve always been our leader, as long as I’ve been here…” he tilted his head down and looked at the golden goggles around his neck.
“Most Wonderbolts leave when they’re too old, or when they get injured.” Spitfire smiled painfully. “Me? I’m the smart one. I’m leaving while I’m still on top.” It was her ego talking and they both knew it, but it was true. The price of Spitfire merchandise would shoot through the roof. Ponies would wonder where she’d gone. She’d become an urban myth, the Wonderbolt that vanished in her prime. She smiled, reveling in the idea. Stopping in an alcove on the edge of the practice stadium, she stepped into shadow. Soarin’ heard a series of unzipping, wiggling sounds that could only mean she was getting out of her Wonderbolts outfit. He stared at her like a stranger when she emerged. He’d honestly never seen her completely naked. Her yellow fur and fiery mane complimented each other, and the lightning bolt that was on fire on her flank complimented her. “Yes Soarin’, I have a cutie mark too.” She teased him for staring and he blushed, looking to one side.
“I’mma miss you, Spitfire.” He said a little meekly, looking down at his hooves and scuffing the ground a little. She playfully tossed her old outfit over his head. “Hey! You should keep this! You’ll want it for the memories!” Soarin’ pulled it off and tried to give it back to her.
“Uh uh. I’m starting fresh, remember? I’m not taking any Wonderbolts stuff with me. Just give it to the mare that takes my place on the team.”
“It’s tailored to your body, though.” He tilted his head, cocking an eyebrow.
“Then just sell it or something! Some collector will go gaga for it.” Spitfire laughed, then threw her arms briefly around him. He smelled of burnt rubber and stallion sweat. “I’ll miss ya, Soarin’. I know you’ll make a good team Captain.”
“Goodbye, Spitfire…” he said, wilting at her as she turned to go. He looked down at the outfit in his hooves, then slowly hugged it to his chest.
“End of the line, missy!” said the old train conductor, poking the sleeping Spitfire. She’d fallen asleep riding the train ‘wherever the tracks took her,’ and soon discovered the grand circle that the thing went in. She’d seen the same towns twice now, and if she didn’t get off now she’d end up back in Canterlot all over again. “Need help with any bags?” the mustached stallion asked, helping her onto her hooves while she rubbed her eyes.
“Nah thanks.” Spitfire said, stepping off of the train and onto the station. She peered about blearily. The town looked small, rustic, and perfectly picturesque. She’d been here before to supervise a wing-powered water transfer to Cloudsdale. This was Ponyville. Spitfire found herself smiling just a little. It was like some foal’s fairy tale, or something you saw on a post card. Everypony smiled at everypony, the market was small and busy… it was perfect.
The former Wonderbolt stepped off of the platform and onto the dirt road. Birds. She could hear birds! No cameras. No screaming crowds or shouting reporters or creepy stalker fans. No pony on the street stopped to stare at her. She was completely anonymous. Spitfire didn’t fight the slowly growing smile on her face, not one bit. She heaved a great sigh of relief, and cantered down the street.
What did she want? She could do anything, be anything! She could go where she wanted, eat where she wanted, talk where she wante--- whoa, he was big! Spitfire stopped and stared at a crimson stallion selling apples on a market stand. Curious, she approached and his big expressive eyes moved to her. She smiled in awe, for he was almost a head taller than she. Not that she was desperate to flirt with the first stallion she saw with her new-found freedom, but he wasn’t half-bad looking. “Hi there.” She said. “I’m—I’m… new in town!” she would need to be careful with her name, she decided. The barrel-chested pony smiled politely, bobbing his head into an informal bow. Well then! Tall, dark red and silent type wasn’t he? “How much for an apple or two?” He cast his eyes skyward, and Spitfire tilted her head back. But then he lifted his hoof and tapped the sign on the stone. “Oh.” She said embarrassedly. It was three bits for an apple, and ten bits for a set of four. Not bad pricing really, considering small fruits like cherries went for one bit each. Spitfire opened her saddlebag with a curl of her wing, producing said bits. She bought two apples, and after he’d hoofed the money into a strong box he gestures so she could pick whatever she liked from the display. Spitfire peered into the labeled baskets. Granny Smith. Golden Delicious. Red Delicious. Big Macintosh. What was the difference? The city pony had only ever had red apples before, so she knew the red delicious sort well enough. Heh. Here she was only a few hours out and her biggest problem was picking what sort of apple she wanted to eat. She giggled, jittering a little. She pulled a Big Macintosh and a Red Delicious from their baskets, putting one in her saddlebags and keeping the other out to eat. “Thanks big guy.” She winked a little flirtatiously.
“Eeyup.” said the massive stallion stoically, smiling and bobbing his head once. Spitfire smiled at his deep and burly voice. It vibrated like a great bronze bell—it was comforting. If all the stallions around here were like that, she could certainly see settling into Ponyville.
Spitfire started away, crunching idly into her apple as she admired Ponyville on the whole. Straw roofs, rustic architecture, normal-looking ponies milling about and minding their own business—“I think I’m gonna like it here.” She smiled slowly, seating herself at a picnic table to finish her apple and pony-watch. When she was done and the core yielded no more deliciousness, she decided to head to the nearby park.
The park was filled with frolicking foals, laughing picnickers and shy couples enjoying themselves on the edges of the lake. Maybe she’d died, she wondered briefly. This place, Ponyville, was like a little paradise. If Spitfire had ever been asked to describe heaven, she imagined it would be something like this. Quiet, peaceful, green—she fell asleep sunning herself on a park bench, a happy smile on her face. This was gonna be a great new start for her.
Having written that piece and then gone on vacation from writing, Aegis Shield couldn't really bring himself to continue on it. He thought it was an interesting concept, but he just didn't have the desire to keep going with it. After all, if the story was all about settling down and taking it easy, it wouldn't be very interesting for very long, would it? Sure, mellowing out and relaxing was great for anypony, buuuut... it didn't make a very good story idea to put a lot of effort into. He never finished that one.
End of Part 2
Aegis Shield was a heavy sleeper, but very much like a sunning puppy when he did so. Sleeping on his back, occasionally one of his hooves would kick a little. With his wings spread out like he was expecting a lover, he would sometimes flap idly in his sleep and turn his head like a rudder. Sleep-flying was a past time he'd thankfully never taken up, but he did find himself atop his refrigerator once-- that had been a rough night for his back.
The sleeping Lunar Stallion snuffle-snorted, turning and laying on his side. "Mmhhh-oh Princess, I luff youuuu..." he hugged one of his pillows, then without warning sank his teeth into it and tore it a little. Was he having a romantic dinner in his dreams? Who knew. His face did, however, turn a nice shade of pink as the dream continued into darker realms of romantic fantasy. Luna was such a beautiful, delicate thing, mhhh----hmhmhm! He drooled a little onto his shredded pillow.
Aegis' dreams sometimes spawned interesting incarnations of Luna. Some of them were cruel and powerful, others delicate and demure. In one such story, the night time Princess was a delicate night flower with barely any voice and a tender body devoid of strength. He'd conjured a story from the Asian era in which ninja's had roamed the shadows of Equestria. Thennnn.... well, he'd realized he knew nothing about Asian culture and had stopped.
I think I see the forgotten pages of that story there in one of his half-open drawers. Let's have a look, and see what he came up with, huhm?
A/N: One point of canon I must uproot it about Ponyville. According to canon Ponyville is maybe 100 years old at most. In this story, Ponyville is much, MUCH older than that. Nothing else is different, just the age of the town itself.
Applejack and the Ninja
Part 1: Tree-Pulling
They called him Ninja Star, for none knew his name. His face and body was always covered with a skin-tight black suite, with a tie around the waste for a slender sword and pouch of other nasty goodies. The fur around his dark blue eyes was brown, but that was the only identity he had. Who even knew what his cutie mark was. He was pledged in shadow and dark to forever serve her Abyssal Black Majesty, Princess Luna. Silent. Deadly. Stealth perfection.
It was hard to believe he was an earth pony, for such stealthy skills made many think he was a Pegasus. Or, surely a unicorn. How else would he have such borderline supernatural abilities? Sure, sleight of hoof could go a long way, but only so far. Even those at the Palace of the Royal Sisters were wary of him. That is where we join him now…
Princess Luna sat, garbed in a beautiful black-flower kimono that was flecked with stars and swirls of navy-blue clouds. Eyes closed in meditation, her hooves shifted at the tiny ceramic cup she held. A pair of Lunar Stallions stood at either side of the door, at the far end of the room. The paper balcony door held the wind out, but little else. The night was deep, and the dark was soothing to her poor sensitive eyes. She was a delicate flower who wilted in the day, and as such had to be kept from the elements to maintain her spotless eternal beauty.
Princess Luna’s cool, soothing gaze lifted her eyelids slowly at the slight tickle of wind on the back of her knee. “Who comes?” she asked in a soft whisper without turning her head. The two Lunar Stallions jerked back to reality, out of their daydreams, blinking at the open balcony door. Had somepony come in and not alerted them?! Panicking briefly, both of them rushed past Luna and onto the balcony.
Ninja Star, who was pressed up against the balcony door, slipped past them when they dashed out onto the balcony and looked around for a rogue Pegasus. Surely only a winged pony could get up so high without the aid of loud teleporting magic? The black-clad pony slid into the Princess chamber and closed the rice paper door behind him. Both Lunar Stallions gave a start when they saw they’d been locked out, and came CRASHING back into the room with twin roars of fury. When they’d blasted through the delicate doors into the room beyond, they found Princess Luna splayed out over the table, her head buried in her ethereal mane and her tea splattered across the floor. OH FAUST SHE’D BEEN ASSASSINATED! Across from her sat, rather regally, a slender stallion with a scowl in his eyes. “Princess Luna!” one of the Lunar Stallions gave a feral whinny of fury and charged forth to take the ninja’s head off. Luna giggled whispily, raising herself back up into her seated position and the Lunar Stallion skidded to a halt, and almost careened over his own hooves. Just then the door burst open and four more guards rushed in, all of them wielding spears and long, slender swords.
“Halt.” Luna never raised her voice, merely a hoof, to freeze them all in place. “Ninja Star comes by invitation, it is not thy fault such a pony can sneak past you.” She dismissed the hallway guards, and ordered the two room guards to start fixing the door they’d broken down. They would need new rice paper and rigging, but they could at least keep out the cruel evening breeze. The poor, delicate Princess of the Night got ill so, so easily these days.
Ninja Star placed the weight of his belly on the table they sat at, putting his front hooves together and bowing low. He was reverent of his Princess, closing his eyes with a mask-muffled purr of adoration. He never spoke, as ninjas were silent things, but Luna knew the sound was a pleasant one. Luna shifted forward into a shallower bow, closing her eyes for a moment, then righting herself. She looked at the pony across from herself. He was a slender thing, lithe and built for stealth and flexibility. Not like any stallion, that’s for sure. Though she could see little of his actual body, she knew those eyes when she saw them.
The silent pony straightened when Luna did, seating himself on the sitting pillow at the short table. “Thank you for coming, Ninja Star.” The Princess of the Night had a quiet, silken voice like a child’s. Her tender body had never known hardship, being a mare, and it made her soft-spoken and innocent-sounding. He knew she was far from it, but it was his business to know about looks being deceiving. “We trust thou art well, after coming home from thy mission?” she said in a low, sensual voice. There was no energy to the Princess, she was a quiet creature of divine grace and effortless power. A true goddess.
Ninja Star nodded three times, reaching into his pouch to deliver his objective to her majesty. The folded cloth was stained with dried blood, saturated and crusty as he pressed it to the table and then slowly across to her. Luna’s horn lit as she undid the bundle. Inside was a griffin’s toe. It had a wickedly curved, eagle-like claw on the end and the entire thing was stained red. The Princess’ muzzle wrinkled lightly at the smell. “The owner is dead, yes?” she wanted to confirm. Ninja Star nodded three times once more. “Very good, Ninja Star. We art pleased.” She smiled serenely at him. “With Blackclaw Poisonfeather gone from the Continental Senate, the vacuum of power will quickly be filled by Equestria since it is land locked against us and the sea. One less warring state to worry about in our efforts.” She spoke casually of the great coup she’d just secretly enacted. The region they spoke of would be absorbed by the equine nation of Equestria within a few years, easily. With no leader they would look to the nearest source of power for dominion and protection.
The Princess of the Night tried not to smile wickedly, and thankfully succeeded. She and her sister were benevolent leaders, but wars were still paid with blood. Sometimes for the greater good, quick and surgical sacrifices had to be made. If the madness of the warring state era was ever to come to an end, every state would have to be united under one banner. While her sister Princess Celestia tried diplomacy with the pegasi, earth pony, and unicorn tribes she was silently assassinating all of the other beast races’ leaders. It was not hard, with skilled ponies like Ninja Star at her command.
“Thou has our favor.” Luna said, smiling in a pleased way as she wrapped up the bloody digit and pressed it into the breast of her kimono. “We thank thee for a job well done.” While she was securing the dirty evidence in the folds of her clothes, she shifted to the other side and drew out a small silken bag. She pushed it across the table to Ninja Star, who peeked inside. Ten platinum coins, as promised. That was ten thousand bits, enough to live on for months and months on end. At least a year, if he was frugal. Assassinating a griffon king was no small task, after all. The ninja gingerly took the bag and tied it, shoving it into the little pouch at his hip. He bowed again, grateful for her praise and coin. “We already have thy next mission ready, if thou wilt accept it.” She said in a whispery voice.
Ninja Star cocked his head to show he was listening, eyes lidding into a serious expression. Luna bade her guards to leave them for privacy, and then lowered her voice to give the stealthy pony his next mission.
1,002 Years Later (Post Royal Wedding)
“Keep on a’tuggin’, Big Mac!” Applejack coached her big brother, holding a thick rope steady to aid him. The lightning storm last night had struck one of the orchard’s four eldest trees, scorching the poor thing and killing it. “We’ve almost got it!” the orange mare had strapped herself in as well, a mare’s yoke around her shoulders and chest. Big Mac gritted his teeth, laboring hard to pull the massive dead tree down.
Applebloom jittered on a nearby fence, watching her siblings pull their hardest. They’d let her climb the tree to attach the ropes, but they weren’t about to let the little filly help pull it down. She covered her muzzle a little with a hoof, for the stench of burnt apples and wood was strong. It must’ve been a heck of a lightning bolt, to strike down one of the Four Big Trees! The Four Big Trees had been around for ages, and had marked the compass corners of Sweet Apple Acres when it had originally been created. Sure, the farm was much bigger and more prosperous now, but it was sad to see the big thing go.
Big Mac strained against the weight, drips of sweat going down his face and flank as they strained to pull the whole thing down.
Truth be told, Aegis Shield just couldn't figure out how to write a character that didn't talk, who didn't have a face, and would be fully characterized by body language. That and a complete lack of knowledge for the culture he'd be emulating, he didn't want to be disrespectful to the source material. Ninjas were a thing of folklore, and after a little bit or research, he found out that the real thing just wasn't very interesting compared to the Hollywood versions. Ah well. One more for the unfinished pile.
Part 1: Crysalis’ Victory
Our story begins most of the way through the season 2 finale, when Cadance is bringing Shining Armor back to his senses…
“Wh… what? Is the wedding over?” Shining Armor blinked the evil magic out of his eyes. Princess Cadance’s spell had worked. He wasn’t a hypnotized zombie anymore, whew! The Princess’ eyes lit up and she nuzzled him eagerly, so happy to have her stallion back in his right mind.
A set of hooves filled with holes slammed down onto the carpet runway with a crash, cracking the tile beneath them. The not-yet-wed couple flinched, looking up fearfully. Queen Crysalis! “It’s ALL over!” she gloated in her strange synthesized voice.
“Your spell!” Twilight shouted from among the changling guards. “Perform your spell!” She coaxed her pale brother to cover Canterlot in the massive magical shield once more.
Crysalis threw her head back in uproarious laughter, hovering into the air with the sound of locust wings. “Hahaha! What good would that do?! Even now my changelings roam free!” she gestured out the window. Everypony looked, terrified at what they might see. Below, there were changelings all over the city! They were clinging to walls, menacing guardsponies, chewing through solid material to get the ponies inside, chasing them down the streets. Wild blasts of magic were going back and forth while the royal guard fought fiercely, but it was no good. They were just too out-numbered.
“No…” Shining Armor said, horrified. He screwed up his face and bowed his neck a bit, trying to conjure the spell forth. No other unicorn could make such a massive shield, it was his trademark ability! But… but… his horn fizzled out and he panted. He was just too tired. “My power is useless now.” He said glumly, his ears turning down in defeat. “I don’t have the strength to repel them.”
Cadance came forward, pressing her muzzle into his shoulder. “My love will give you strength.” She told him. She was tattered, half-starved and looked like hell—but she was still an alicorn. A power transfer would be easily done, to super-charge her stallion. The Princess leaned into him with a forlorn expression of exhaustion, her horn igniting with some effort.
Queen Crysalis laughed, going to lean out the window. “Muh-hahaha! What a lovely but absolutely ridiculous sentiment!” she watched her forces terrorize Canterlot, but was secretly watching the betrothed couple. She just needed to wait for the right moment. Clearly they’d forgotten how powerful she was already, and HOW she’d become so powerful. She rolled her eyes. Ponies, such predicable, love-laden creatures. They were like big fat turkeys coming to a pack of ravenous timber wolves.
Sure enough, Cadance and Shining Armor looked into each other’s eyes. Their horns came together and a subtle arc of love magic connected them. The Princess reached deep down into her very being to bring forth as much as she could, anything and everything that would help repel the changling invasion.
It was then that Queen Crysalis struck. Turning and launching herself across the room she grabbed Cadance by the mane and SANK her fangs into her neck! The mare whinnied, front hooves flailing wildly. The changling queen moaned in extacy. Love! Raw, alicorn-grade LOVE! It was orgasmically delicious! The arc of raw magic spiraled dangerously across the room, blowing out the balcony arch to expose the mid afternoon sky. The magic crackled, sputtered, and then went out. Cadance’s eyes rolled into her head and she fell slowly to all four knees… then onto her side. She looked deathly pale.
“Cadance, no!” Shining Armor threw himself down to catch her before she hit the floor, but was suddenly seized in a magical aura. He flailed his four legs, trying to fight off the firm grip the sickly green aura had on him. But no, his strength was drained. He’d never received Cadance’s power transfer. Queen Crysalis had.
Twilight and the rest of the mane six rushed forth to help, but a sudden swarm of changling guards buzzed around them and they were repelled. Twilight shouted wildly and Pinkie seized her mane, turning it like a crank. A gatling gun of purple fury sprayed back and forth, mowing down the beasts wherever it turned!
Turning with a flourish of her long, jagged horn Queen Crysalis pointed it at Shining Armor. “So, are you gonna come quietly, honey?” she said playfully. The stallion stared at her, aghast and held in her gaze while the battle went on in the background. He caught himself at last and glared at her, throwing out his chest and stepping up to the challenge. Snorting, the queen back-hoof’d him so hard he fell with a yelp. Weakened and already at the end of his strength, he fell with a heady moan. “Alright boys!” she bade her soldiers. “Phase two!” she held up a hoof, putting one of the odd holes to her lips. She blew, and it was a shrill whistling sound. All over Canterlot, the changelings jolted to a halt in what they were doing. The queen called! As the cloud of dark bodies and emerald eyes gathered, the buzzing grew louder and louder.
“Take your hooves off my brother!” Twilight shrieked, growing closer and closer to panic.
Crysalis smiled at her from across the room while the battle raged on, pulling Shining Armor from the floor and slinging the entire stallion’s body onto her back. “Sorry Twily, you weren’t quick enough to stop me. Shining Armor has something I need,” she lowered her head until she was smirking from under her eyebrows. “If you know what I mean-nnnnn-nyah-hahaha!” she threw her head back in a grand villainous laugh. A special squad of changelings gathered behind her, igniting their horns. A neon green glow covered the remains of the archway that led the balcony. Changlings started swarming wildly into it, buzzing louder. Turning with her prize, Crysalis wasted no more time. She wasn’t a comic book villain. She would not stand and gloat until something went wrong. “Tata!” she called over her shoulder, stepping into the portal.
“It’s a portal! Shining Armor, nooo!” Twilight finally burst through the defensive line, galloping as hard as she could. The changling queen stepped through with an audible slurping sound. Sloppy and borrowed alicorn magic, but quite powerful. Soon following were the changelings holding the portal open. They hissed, but didn’t linger. As soon as the last one was through the portal snapped shut with a crack of parted air. Twilight threw herself forward, but slammed into a wall and stunned herself with a yelp. “Shining Armor!” she yelled, righting herself and then staggering. “Shining Armor!” she bucked against the wall, tears rushing to her eyes.
Fluttershy and Applejack were at Princess Cadence’s side. “This is a sedative bite.” Mumbled Fluttershy, pointing out the lack of breathing. “Predators use them sometimes to run, or to… to feed.” She said, wilting in a frightened way behind her mane.
“Is the Princess gonna be okay?” Rainbow Dash leaned over the pale mare worriedly. Fluttershy nodded quietly, and they lifted Cadence’s head onto the hem of her dress for comfort. “Where did they go?! We gotta go get Shiny Butt back!” the cyan Pegasus declared, struggling out of her dress and rearing up to box at the air.
“The Badlands.” Celestia was righting herself with some effort, the end of her horn scorched black. Twilight rushed to help her to her hooves. “I’m alright.” said the solar alicorn daintily, aching in the head and face. “She only stunned me long enough to grab Shining Armor.”
“She stole my brother!” Twilight shrieked, her hooves rushing over her face. Her eyes were soft and tears began. “She stole him!” the purple mare shouted. Everypony wilted. What horrors awaited Shining Armor… wherever he’d been taken?
Thousands of Miles Away…
“My loyal subjects!” Queen Crysalis was on a dais in front of literally hundreds of thousands of Changlings. “We have come home in victory!” She thrust a hole-filled hoof into the air. There was wild-cheering, a strange chittering sound of many wings and happy hissings. The room was massive, like an arena, lit by glowing mushrooms and hanging crystals. It looked like an underground gladiator arena, if one were frank. “And now, I bring out our prize!” There was INSTANT silence. The point of the entire changling invasion of Equestria, finally they would get to see him! “Behold!” she tossed her mane, turning to stand sideways and folding her gossamer wings. On her back was the unconscious form of a white unicorn pony. There were coos of adoration and curiosity, at which the queen grinned.
What a beautiful creature she had brought home! He was a milky white pony with a handsome face and streaked blue mane. He was soundly built, and certainly dressed for the occasion. The massive crowd jittered and pointed, nodding their approval and grinning at each other with fang-filled smiles. He was perfect! He looked strong, finely-groomed, and certainly not bad looking all in all.
“He is the brother of Princess Celestia’s protégé, Captain of the Royal Solar Guard in Canterlot, and master of mass shielding spells!” The queen continued when they were calm enough for her to be heard again. She showed him off to the crowd like the fine stallion he was, turning about so they could get a good look at him from all sides. There was more positive murmur-chittering, and she chuckled. “His name is Shining Armor, and he shall be our new Progenitor!” She reared up and accidentally dropped him on the floor in a heap, thrusting her hooves into the air. “For the Hive!” she shouted. “A victory, for the hive!” The crowd roared in response, jittering and buzzing their wings.
Shining Armor moaned, shifting slowly and turning over. “C… Cadance? Is that you?” he squinted blearily at the tall form standing next to him. Colors moved and swam about, and the figure turned to look down at him.
“Not quite, Prince charming.” Queen Crysalis tittered, smirking down at him and batting her eyelashes. “Surely I’ll do, though?” there was scattered laughter, and the stallion looked around fearfully.
“Changlings!” He threw himself to his hooves, then staggered a little. Shining Armor was still weak from holding the city-size shield for so long. He could barely stand, and Crysalis could see the quiver in his powerful back legs. “Th-there’s so many!” he turned in a slow, wide-eyed circle until he landed on the queen again. “Where have you taken me?!” he demanded.
“Home, of course!” Crysalis said, gesturing grandly. The changelings jittered in their seats. He arched his back, overwhelmed by their sheer numbers. “I stole you, Shining Armor, you belong to the hive now!”
“I don’t belong to anypony!” Shining Armor shouted savagely, scratching at the ground and making ready to charge. The queen rolled her eyes a bit. “No scratch that, I belong to Cadance! Now take me back or I’ll… I’ll…!”
“You’ll what?” Crysalis threw her head back into a bellowing laugh. “Strike me down, fight past a couple of million changelings and out of the hive, survive the badlands for a couple of thousand miles without food or water… THEN make it home to fair Equestria?” Shining Armor’s face became more and more pale with each word, and he wilted. Even at full strength he could do no such thing. Even if he managed to get out of the… what did she call it? Hive? If he was in the bad lands… that desert was nothing but tar pits, quick sand, and jagged canyons as far as the eye could see. He would die out there. He felt a hoof on his face and flinched back, growling angrily. “See now? It’s much nicer here than it is out there.” The queen snickered. “Besides, it is TECHNICALLY your wedding night. That’s cause to be excited.”
“I didn’t get married, you stopped that!” Shining Armor said, clenching his teeth and pointing his horn at her stubbornly. The changelings chattered at each other, a nervous murmur of what such an impressive-looking stallion could do to the poor queen if he got the opportunity.
“Well there was MOST of a wedding to be had, if not for Twilight Sparkle’s interference.” The queen admitted with a smirk. “Otherwise, I could’ve had you halfway to the border in a wedding carriage by now. But now, we had to take the ‘flashier’ exit.” She smiled knowingly at the crowd, who laughed with her. “I think that counts, how about you?!” she called to the crowd. They roared their approval, shaking the foundations of the massive cave.
“What’ve you done with Cadance?!” Shining demanded, staggering qeakly forward to poke the queen with his horn. The innuendo of the situation at hand was not lost a single changling in the crowd, and they roared with laughter. The queen had the good nature to blush and make a show of backing up before his powerful ‘length.’ It was playful, though still evil. “Tell me now!”
“I bit her.” The changling queen smirked, lifting her lips to show off her fangs. “Sedative changling bite. Not deadly, but she won’t wake up for days.” Shining Armor looked horrified at her. Why was his memory so fragmented?! His memory of the past week or so was so broken up and hard to see straight, why? “Now then! To business!” she came close and threw a long leg over him, pulling him close. “We have royal…. Duties to see to!” Crysalis said it like it was something scandalous, and there was more laughter and jeering. “Come along, honey!” she suddenly threw herself on his back, wrapped her legs around his undercarriage like a claw machine, and opened her wings.
“Hey! Put me down!” Shining roared, wiggling. She held him firmly and, with surprising strength, took off! The buzz was loud, but she steered about perfectly, carting her prize with her. “Hey! Not so high! Not so highhhh!” Shining Armor’s very secret phobia of high places reared its ugly head and he covered his eyes with his hooves, “Put me down!” They whizzed through long hallways that went from straight to chimney-like at a moments notice, spiraling back and forth through narrow passageways and vast open halls. The changling hive was one massive hole in the ground, lit with giant ornate display crystals, reflective mirrors and glowing fungi. It was beautiful in its own sick way, but Shining was starting to turn green. “Urghhlee…!” he moaned, putting his hooves over his mouth. Crysalis bowed her head to look at him, upside down, and grew a little alarmed.
“None of that!” said the queen, flying closer to the ground and passing long tunnels of changelings going about their business. Shining kicked all four of his legs like he was running along the ground, but it did no good to quench his vertigo. He moaned again, but finally—sweet Faust finally, she came to a stop and set him down. The stallion quavered back and forth, holding his head and trying not to be ill.
“Urghh…” Shining Armor said, putting his hoof on the wall to steady himself. The wall scree’d, and a changling that had been clinging to the wall there skittered away. He recoiled, crashed into Crysalis, and fell flat on his back. Moaning softly, he held his face.
“Mhmhmhm, oh my Progenitor, it’s alright. You’ll have time to get plenty of rest soon.” Crystalis stroked his face for a moment, which he flinched away from. Lighting her horn, she opened the ornate door she’d stopped in front of. Grabbing him like a sack of potatoes, she hauled him inside. “Out!” she commanded. Instantly, five camouflaged changelings appeared out of thin air and galloped out, tittering like the almost-insects that they were. Crysalis rolled her eyes, shutting the door firmly and locking it. “There we are!” she said, sighing aloud and folding her wings into a more relaxed position.
“Where are we?” Shining wanted to know, looking around warily. It was an oddly-shaped room to say the least. It was dome-shaped, armed with an armoire and table, a vanity and bookshelf… and what was that hanging from the ceiling.
“Let me make some adjustments…” Crystalis chuckled with all of her fangs out. The horn lit itself, and the room began to mold and change shape. Shining gasped in grand claustrophobia, rushing to stand next to her so the room didn’t decide to crush him. “There we are!” in the center of the room, dressed with hole-filled sheets, was a giant bed. Circular and covered with rune-like designs, it invited anypony who dared its changling-brand of comfort.
“Bedroom.” Shining said, backing away. “You can’t mean-!”
“Oh I do.” Crysalis smiled at him in a predatory way, her forked tongue emerging briefly to taste him. She hmmm’d at the taste of his cheek, then tried it again. He shoved her away, more than a little creeped out. She smiled, fangs extending.
“Back off! Back off, I’m telling you!” Shining Armor backed up warily, eyes wide. “And don’t try any of your weird magic on me, I’m prepared this ti--” his sentence died in his throat, for his eyes were already glowing green when she zapped him with a charming spell. The white stallion stopped where he was, a stupid and content smile melting across his face. His eyes pointed in slightly different directions, and all the tension left his body. He stood there like a bump on the log, quite docile now.
“Good boy.” She patted his head, all of her jagged teeth in a changling’s smile. “Not half-bad, I must say, mother.” Crysalis turned to regard the portrait on the wall, that of the changling queen that came before her. “I mean, I don’t think he’s good for more than a million eggs or so, but he’s a royal guard Captain so he might be endurant.” She grinned wryly at her prize. Shining Armor’s head tilted a little, the same goofy smile on his face as he stood there mutely. She nipped his neck with her fangs and his legs failed him. Gathering him up like the object he was, she took him to her bed and tied him down. “Now then, let’s see what we can do with you, huhm?” the changling queen smirked, making double-sure the door was locked and they were alone. Now she could truly feast on him. “C’mere, you big stud.” She laughed at her own joke, descending upon the helpless stallion.
End of Part 1
Aegis once wrote a pair of very, very successful stories called "Seeing the Pattern", starring a NOT serial killer Pinkamina Diane Pie. She used the powers of the Pinkie Sense to save lives, had a semi-lustful relationship with a stallion that owned an ice cream shop, and kicked lots of ass. He tried to extend it into a third story, but he just couldn't figure out how to keep it going and keep it just as good as the first two... so he scrapped it.
Seeing the Pattern 3: Stopping Destiny
Part 1: Prologue
Deep Under the Crust of Equestria…
The long tunnel in front of him led to the outside world where the living led their lives, and the passage behind him led to Tarturus and the rest of the underworld. It was the ‘space between spaces’ where the good and the evil met their judgment before going towards their final horizon.
A blood red stallion lay crucified on a circlular disk of lunar steel. A massive, jagged trident was impaled over his front-left leg, and a long wing-sword over his front-right. The two weapons held him spread-eagle while his back legs and head hung down. He’d been sleeping, sleeping for eons. Or was he dead? Half-dead? It was hard to know. But he’d not known consciousness for an age. His black mane had grown and grown, passing way past the length of his body, covering his face and all of his front. It helped to weigh his head down. Upon his head was a thick, silver helm with a pair of giant horns upon it. Despite its age the relic gleamed and sparkled as though made new only minutes ago.
His crotch was a bloody mess of disfigurement where he’d been flayed open and tortured, only to be sewn back up again when his assaulter saw it did no good. An entity such as he could not be ‘killed’, as much as he could be simply placated or stopped. Three red lines of ever-flowing blood issued from his two front legs (at the wrist, where the weapons impaled him), and from where his stallionhood was. He’d not stopped bleeding since he’d been pinned there centuries ago, yet he’d not died. Merely slept. The ground around him was more than soaked in his blood, it was moist with it. Jagged, red plants that should have never existed grasped at the edges of his imprisonment.
Occassionally, a ball of fluffy cloud would pass through him, at the belly, and out the other side. A recently dead pony had just met his end, and the ball of cloud was his soul, heading towards the other side. The stallion’s innards quivered, but he did not stir. They kept him fed.
The raw energy of a soul passing between worlds soaked through the stallion’s body, keeping him dormant and alive. But, the souls of the living had become a bit more scarce as of late. Not as many ponies had been dying as of late. He didn’t sleep as deeply, and occasionally his nostrils would move, or one of his back hooves would move ever so slightly.
This small amount of movement terrified Princess Luna, for she was standing there looking upon the prisoner. Clenching her teeth and trying not to let panick take over, she startled back when his head moved just a little. Breathing quick and heart thundering, she tore open a portal to the mortal plain and leapt through.
Lickity Split curled to one side, purring happily in the sweaty, salty scent of post-coitus bliss. Pinkamina lay next to him, clutching at her pillow and still shivering in satiation. Long strands of her hair went in every direction, but she still turned her head to look at him with misty approval. She regarded her lover with a heady smirk of delight. While it was true that Pinkamina wore the pants in their relationship, in the bedroom the stallion still did the work. “Mhmhm, call me studly?” he said softly, pulling her happily to him.
“Not a chance.” She chuckled, scrubbing his mane with a hoof as they shared each other’s warmth. Pinkamina knew the stallion had been trying like mad to give her foals, but thus far it had been no dice. Her husband didn’t know she was literally Death incarnate, and she wasn’t sure that she could produce such fruits from her womb. She frowned in a troubled way, and he immediately noticed.
“Hey… whassamatter?” her stallion asked, looking up at her from where she held him at her breast. “Honey?” he whispered, reaching up and stroking her cheek a little.
Pinkamina stroked her lover, trying not to let her face betray her thoughts. “Nothing.” Her coy and dangerous smile returned. She ran her hoof and golden marriage hoop along his cheek. The cool touch of metal seemed to placate him, and she smiled a bit wider. She was still getting used to smiling without being so scary about it. She petted him until he purred softly.
Lickity leaned into her with a smile, slowly coming down from the bliss that was their lovemaking. His white fur was mussed and his mint green mane was off in every direction. “I love you…” he offered softly, kissing her cheek. She kept stroking his mane silently, and he rested his head between her front hooves. The stallion didn’t mind being the homebody, which he was, nor the submissive in their marriage. He liked strong mares like Pinkamina, he’d found, and he felt well cared-for. Nothing bad could happen to him so long as she was around.
Pinkamina pressed her muzzle into his mane, nuzzling quietly while they rested. The curtain that was her mane fell over her beautiful face, hiding it from the world so she could close her eyes in darkness. Her stallion squirmed a little, getting a better position until they were spooned up together as married couples should be. She rubbed his underbelly, which made him chuckle happily. “Lickity…” she sighed, content and relaxing down at last. There was a sudden CRACK of parted air and the far wall of their bedroom became a portal! Pinkamina jolted upright with a string of swearwords, covering Lickity’s eyes with her forehoof. “Don’t look!” she roared over the phantom gusts of wind coming from the Great Beyond. Any normal mortal who looked upon the Great Beyond would instantly go mad.
A massive dark pony jumped into the room with a thunk of weight on carpet. The portal snapped shut behind her. “Pink One!” Princess Luna demanded. “We must have words!” The Princess of the night herself had just appeared in the couple’s bedroom.
“P-Princess!” Lickity sat upright and then put his forehead onto the bedspread. Luna’s nose wrinkled, for the salty stink of sex lingered in the room.
“Do you MIND?!” Pinkamina roared, jumping out of the bed and making sure to cover Lickity with the comforter. “I have a front door for a reason!” she gave her long, stringy mane a toss so she could see better.
“Coitus interruptus is not our concern!” Luna snapped, ready to grab the pink mare and wring her neck for her insolence. “Thine presence is mandatory—NOW!” Both of them suddenly vanished in a spark of molten lunar magic.
Lickity wrestled his way out of the comforter his wife had thrown over him. “Pinkamina?” he called the to the empty room. “P-Princess Luna? Pinkie? Honey?” he wandered into the next room, but they were gone. He hung his head, sad they’d vanished so suddenly without taking him along—or saying where they were going.
Celestia, Princess of the sun was sleeping quietly, late in the night. Or rather, seeming to. Being a goddess and the rough equivilant of an equine fury, she didn’t really need to sleep. But, it brought her closer to her mortal subjects, so she would often lay in bed for hours and contemplate her plans—governmental decisions, events, ruling-a-nation-type-things. If one displayed natural habits like eating and sleeping, ones subjects would find you more relatable too. While her sister acted upon all her power and moods, Celestia preferred the more subtle touch. Ponies referred to her shining immortal majesty as a chessplayer of a ruler, but it was only because she was always ten moves ahead. After all, if one had eight hours a day to quietly contemplate one’s next move, they’d be an excellent chess player too. The white alicorn heard her bedroom door open, and the mild clank of armor in the archway. Her guards tended to check on her now and then. Smiling kindly under her mane, she shifted a little and made the appropriate string of sleepy noises, and soon the curious guard was gone.
“Hmm.” Celestia turned over, eyeing her bookshelf. Maybe she could read something this evening to pass the time, and continue her thinking on the morn. The sun was not due for another six hours, so perhaps she could get in a few chapters of--!
CRACK! Her sister and a pink mare with a straight mane popped into existence with a roar of lunar magic. “Sister! Rise!” Luna’s voice bordered the Royal Canterlot Voice. “War is upon is!”
“Luna!” Celestia sat up quickly, her eyes wide and shushing her ever-furious sister. “Do not say such things, you’ll panic our little ponies for no reason.” she rose, lifting her wings to their full span. A guard threw the door open, but she kindly dismissed him with a look. When he was gone, Celestia frowned at her sister and spoke more quietly. “Start again, what’s happened?”
Luna took her by the shoulders, and her voice cracked with geniune panic when she spoke. “War is upon us! The fourth Aspect awakens!” Pinkamina didn’t want to know what could bring fear into the eyes of a goddess, but she knew she was going to find out very soon.
Celestia’s startled gasp didn’t help either. “We sealed him up, sister.” She said, easing Luna down to all-fours again. “Surely it’s not that bad.”
“He twitches in his slumber.” Luna insisted, looking angrily over at Pinkamina. The pink mare cocked a reproachful eyebrow, frowning. “The pink one’s recent prevention of so many deaths has starved the spell that holds him! Without enough soul energy to keep him dormant, the stallion War stirs!”
Celestia closed her mouth, then opened it, then closed it again. Her mind raced. This was bad. This was very, very bad. Equestria was only a utopia as long as War slept. She licked her lips a little, and then raised her voice. “Guard.” She called towards her door. The guard leaned in again, eager to do her bidding. “Muster the Solar Guard.”
“Er, how many, your Majesty?” he asked politely, his brow furrowing in a hieroglyph of worry. The solar guard were many, the Princess would have to name a number to produce a fighting force.
Celestia drew herself up to her full height, taking a deep and quiet breath. “All of them.” she whispered.
End of Part 1
Aegis had promised over and over to never write about war and, well, it was a little ironic that that is what the entire fic was going to be about, so he backpedelled hard to get out of it and stay out of the stereotypes of things like that. Two Seeing the Pattern Fics were enough to tell a complete story, and end themselves on a high note.
My Own Worst Enemy
Part 1: Prologue
The ceiling was beginning to give, and the mountain of Canterlot was shaking on her foundations. The blinding evil had finally broken through the barriers, and her first stop had been the castle itself. “C’mon! Hurry up, let’s go!” Dusk Shine shouted, galloping down the narrow stairs into Princess Luna’s hidden laboratory. His hooves sent little rivulets of old stone this way and that. “The castle’s been compromised!” Dirtied and covered with soot from recent battle, the hardened stallion turned and yanked his companion along with him.
“What about the others?! W-we can’t leave them behind!” The mare following him whimpered, the speed of their fleeing bannering her mane wildly. She staggered down the winding path as he roughly tugged her along, shrieking now and then when she stumbled. An old injury was slowing her, but Dusk Shine was not about to leave his love behind.
“They’re dead!” He shouted over the rumbling off the passage. Tossing his multi-hue mane to look back at her. “It’s just us now, we have to go while we still can!”
“But the others! All the citizens of Canterlot!” she begged him, tears sprouting from her eyes even as they emerged into the great room. She held her bleeding shoulder as Dusk Shine rushed about the room. “We were all that’s left!” The ground shuddered hard, and both of them knew a great many ponies had just died. The enemy knew nothing of tact, it was all massive explosions with that unstoppable force. Blood and death and explosions.
He threw a sheet off of a strange, cobbled together sort of machine. It was ugly, misshapen, and had no rhyme or reason to its design. Only it’s function. Little knots stuck out on long iron poles this way and that, arcing electricity back and forth as soon as Dusk Shine charged it with magic. There was a platform to stand on, levers to throw, and a strange spot for a potion to be put in. The purple stallion rushed to a rusty, sorry-looking locker and wrenched it open. Grabbing a blood-red potion in a phial as tall as his legs were long, he rushed back and shoved it into the slot, securing it with two screws as best he could. Using a turn crank, he slowly turned it upside down and watched the syrupy liquid begin to glug its way slowwwwwly down into the more sensitive parts of the mechanism. Gears began to turn. Sparks and cracks began to shake the machine. It was barely holding itself together.
Dusk Shine chanced a smile, hoping the machine wouldn’t shake itself apart. “The red matter is going in. C’mon…. c’mon! Faster!” he said, watching a kettle begin to shriek with green smoke as it turned another series of gears and diodes. A long string of hearth-swarming eve lights began to explode one after the other like firecrackers, unable to take the power surge. “C’mon… c’mon dammit!” he would’ve kicked the machine, but it may have broken into a thousand pieces.
“She’s coming! I can feel her!” the mare whimpered, fidgeting back and forth while the machine powered up. “How long?!” There was a warmth radiating down the passage, and she looked over her shoulder fretfully. The beast wasn’t far now, it had obviously found their secret passage.
“Thirty seconds, tops!” Dusk Shine said, busily adjusting dials that looked like kitchen timers and stove temperature readers. Leaning up, he watched a golden sort of liquid pour into a waiting globe of hollow glass. It collided with some of the green smoke and ignited into a contained fireball, which began to swirl animatedly in its cage. A star, perhaps? It was beautiful. “We’ve got critical mass!” he said over his shoulder, turning left so he could see her with his one eye (the other was covered with a patch, hidden behind a scraggly mane). “Just a few more seconds!” He leapt from the console up onto the platform. “C’mon! Now’s our chance!” he reached with a hoof as his beloved began to smile, hope dawning in her eyes.
“It’s all so beautiful, Dusky.” She whispered, wiping her eyes briefly. “It really does work. We can go?” She approached slowly, watching her stallion’s genius invention finally come to fruition.
“Yes! We can go! Come on!” Dusk Shine waggled his hoof at her and she came forward, entranced by the whining, hissing, moaning machine. Behind him on a wall of pure, polished lunar steel, a portal was beginning to form. A portal to another world untouched by the ravages of the beast that had destroyed theirs. They could live peacefully there. “We don’t have much ti--!”
Just then, Daymare Sun exploded into the room, tackling Dusk Shine’s love to the ground with a feral roar. Her massive, spiraling horn blasted through her withers, spraying blood across the floor as it blossomed from the base of her neck in the front. “Uck?!” was all the poor mare managed to get out, her eyes going wide.
“NOOO!” Dusk Shine shouted, mouth wide in horror.
In the throes of her death, the poor mare shifted her weight and clamped onto the monster’s body with all her might. The golden armor on her enemy dug into her wounded body as the massive horn that had gored her was wrenched free. She felt ice in her spine. She didn’t have long to live. Daymare Sun shrieked, massive shark-like teeth digging into her shoulder. She began to tear the pony limb from limb, sprays of blood going back and forth. “G-gooo!” she shrieked in agony. She gave a throat-tearing cry as her saddle-bag fell open. A glass mana bomb tumbled out. One need merely break it and--!
“No!” Dusk Shine began to rush down the stairs and off the platform as the portal ripped open behind him. Tiktiktiktiktik, his hooves danced down the rusty, cobbled-together stairs. He would NOT leave her to such a gruesome fate!
“Dus-*gargle*-Shi*glack*!” she said, tears going down her face. Daymare Sun savagely tore off one of her legs with a roar of frustration. The splintering of bone and flesh was heart-wrenching. The monster didn’t want her! She wanted Dusk Shine! The splatter of blood was like a fountain, for it touched the low-hanging ceiling. “Uck! Auuh-HAUUUGH!” The poor mare still clung to the golden-armored beast that used to be Princess Celestia. “*garrrgle* I lugghghgh you!” she said as blood splattered from her mouth. She grabbed the mana bomb by the long stem of its glass container and, with the last of her strength, broke it on Daymare Sun’s face.
It seemed to happen in slow motion. The tinkling bits of glass came away from the whole, and white light streamed forth in little beams. The world turned into stark black and white, no greys. The light was too much for mortal eyes. Daymare Sun shrieked as her armored helm blew off of her head into a million little golden shards. Her fur burned off. The muscles of her cheek came undone like so many little strands of spaghetti. The blood from the mare under her exploded and her body was reduced to red and ash.
The implosion of air, magic, and fire sent Dusk Shine flying like a rag doll across the room. He tumbled with a doggish yelp as his world filled with flame and pain and whiteness. The stallion tumbled end over end, up the stairs, and through the portal. Just as the tip of his tail vanished through it, the explosion hit the machine and it shook apart like a set of precariously stacked books. The portal snapped shut with a crack of parted air.
There was dark… and quiet…
Daymare Sun stood mere minutes later, half of her face missing and one eyeball dangling out by its stalk. Snarling in pain and lighting her horn, she repaired herself with primitive healing magic. She sniffed animatedly, like a great dog. Dusk Shine was gone. She looked to one side, at the red smear of blood and ash on the floor. Hmph. All of them were gone now. Every last one. She threw her head back in a great and feral shriek of victory. The world was hers.
It was a good thing Dusk Shine had been thrown into another world entirely.
End of Part 1
This project got aborted because I very suddenly realized it was just a bloodier, more hardcore version of Twilight and the Spartan Stallion. I don't want to write the same "fish out of water" story over and over. Dusk Shine was just going to end up being a soldier that distrusted Celestia, wanted to seduce five of the mane six to rebuild his herd, and would come to grips with his female counterpart, Twilight Sparkle. So... I'd already written about 90% of this story before. Sorry folks.
Fluttershy and the Wild Stallion
Part 1: Meeting Mossy Mane
Fluttershy wandered about the edges of the Everfree Forest, picking mushrooms and flowers as she went. Like a modern-day druid, she knew what was good to eat and what was not. She had little deals with ponies all across the marketplace and even with Zecora the witch-doctor for various items. Keeping so many pets and adopted animals cost a lot of bits, after all! Humming the usual innocent theme, she stuck her head over a log and smiled when she spied some mushrooms clinging to it. Leaning gingerly, she plucked them from the root so they would stay in one piece. “My, you’re a big one!” she giggled a little, opening her wings for balance as she leaned further. Pluck. Into her herbal bag it went. Not only was Fluttershy a pretty good vet, but hunting for herbs and such helped her financially.
Fluttershy’s herb bag was inlaid with the softest of materials so nothing would moosh together or mix up on accident. It had plenty of extra little pockets for items that were poisonous when eaten raw, and even had a supply of little zip-baggies for things that tended to excrete juice when squeezed. It was embroidered with her cutie mark to show it was hers, of course, and she took it out with her whenever she went herbing.
“Oh my, hullo there!” she leaned, pushing her mane out of her eyes when she saw a purple mushroom with black spots on it. “Deathcaps are no good for this area, I’m afraid!” turning, she got out a little zippy bag. Turning it inside out with her hoof, she used it like a glove to pick the poisonous mushroom and zipped it closed. “There.” She chirped, stuffing it in a special pocket. “Oh wow, mint leaves! They’re early this year!” she trotted along, smiling wide. The Cakes over at Sugarcube Corner and the chefs at Ponyville’s resturaunts loved mint leaves. Gently, oh-so-gently, she pulled at the vines so that their removal wouldn’t harm their host trees too much.
The butter yellow Pegasus trotted gaily back and forth in the early-morning mists of the forest. It was still mostly dark and cool, but the edges of the forest were perfectly safe and friendly. She fluttered her wings a bit, kicking up the layer of mist and peering along the ground. Oh my! A Ghost Mushroom! She lay down on her belly, staring at it intently. Ohhh, she would have to mark this spot somehow. She peered around, and got a little stick with a leaf on it. Ghost Mushrooms were pale, brittle things that came apart like icicles in a wind-chime if mishandled. She would have to come back and get this when her rounds were over for the evening.
Trotting along and coming to the edge of the river, she peered about some more. Special mosses could be used by medical ponies like nurse Redheart and such… were there any around? The shy pony wandered along, her eyes fixed intently on the edge of the water. The rocks that made up the edges of the rushing waters were often home to mushy, furry mosses that would rake in quite a few bits for her. “Hmm… not much here this morning…” she murmured with a little sigh. Ah well. She’d gotten a nice haul of mushrooms and other little things. She would package each thing, weigh it, and go about the marketplace when it opened this morning to make some money. “I just wi…!” her sentence died in her throat, for she saw something she only saw once in a blue moon. “Mare’s Blush.” She whispered reverently. Opening her little wings, the Pegasus flew under the Ponyville arch bridge (it connected the park to the main part of town, crossing the rushing river).
There it was. The rarest moss in the area. Fluttershy recognized it right away because it was a rare and rather bright pink hair moss. It fluttered a little in the moving waters, but was soft and furry up on the rock it was growing on. Hovering in place, Fluttershy wondered how best to get it. Should she scrape it off? Oh no no, that wouldn’t do. If it got mixed with mud, the purity of it would be tainted and she wouldn’t be able to sell it. Should she… oh dear, what should she do? She fretted, staring at it. It was worth its weight in gold, she couldn’t just LEAVE it there! She flew in slow, worried circles around the little rock. She’d only ever found one patch of it per year, if that. This would pay for a month’s wages when sold to the proper ponies. (Truth be told, Mare’s Blush was usually used to ‘help’ in the bedroom when consumed, but it did have several other medicinal qualities… yeahhh…)
“Maybe I can just take the whole rock!” she smiled, leaning down and sticking her hooves in the chilly water. The current pulled at her, but she beat her little wings as hard as she could. “Hynn!” she heaved at it with all the strength her fragile little frame could muster. Groannnnning with effort, she dislodged it from its resting place with a sucking sound of mud. “You’re gonna--MYEEP!” she yelped a little, almost falling into the water. She beat her wings faster. “You’re gonna help pay for a bunch of new bird houses! And some deer feed! And maybe a new quilt!” she giggled a little, sweating with exertion.
Fluttershy was grateful it was only just past dawn. Nopony would see her flying through the air with her head down and her rump up like she was expecting a stallion to pounce on her. But, so heavy was the rock she could barely stay aloft! Pulling slowly out from under the arched bridge, she gritted her teeth and whimpered fretfully. If she could just get to shore, she could rest there for a minute. Whimpering again and gritting her teeth as sweat went down her face, she gave a yelp when a salty droplet went in her eye. The loss of concentration sent her rock into the rushing waters and it took her with it! She hit the bottom hard, and her face connected when her prize so swiftly she was knocked out.
Limp and drifting like a corpse, Fluttershy was carried away by the river’s flow. By chance her body hit a rock and she slowly turned end over end until she hit the surface. On her back with her wings limply open, she drifted while the world was darkness around her—deep into Everfree.
Mossy Mane trotted along, enjoying the brand new day. Stopping in his favorite field, he set to grazing for a bit. It was a warm, sunny day and he was glad for it. Rainy days were no good, and he had to spend the entire thing under the canopy of trees.
He was an earthy-brown thing, a stallion with a muddy-green mane and tail. His eyes glittered with intelligence, though he did not speak as he bent his face to the ground to pull grass from the ground. Crunch-crunch-crunch. He stood idle, enjoying the sun on his back and the taste of grass in his mouth. The endless wood that was his home was ever-inviting, ever-bountiful with food, and ever-free for a stallion like himself to do whatever he pleased. Cocking his head and standing there with a bored expression, he leaned and got another mouthful of grass. Hmm, maybe he would try more yellow grass today. That tended to be crispier. He liked the crunch in his mouth.
Turning about, he spotted some clover. Oh, clover was nice too. He leaned and pressed his face into it. Mossy stood with his ears perked for predators while he ate. He wasn’t in a herd, per say, he’d never seen any other creatures like himself, but he did get lonely sometimes. However, being alone meant he had to be alert, even when he was eating. Crunch-crunch-munch. His ears turned this way and that was he trotted along through the open field and towards the river. Yellow grass grew in the brightest sunlight, near the river. His morning eating was like a ritual to keep, though he had no such word for a thing like that.
Kicking leaves for fun, Mossy bucked at the air a few times, nickering with laughter. Flailing his hooves about to stretch his muscles, he gave his mane a toss as he found himself at his destination. Ah, yellow grass, so crunchy. Mmm…
Standing about and watching birds move along the branches, he stopped to stare at them. The birds were acting oddly today-- and the squirrels too. They were all running towards a certain spot at the riverbank, pointing and chittering. Curious as to what his little forest friends were so upset about, Mossy got another mouthful of yellow grass and crunched at it as he went to go see.
There was a yellow creature with wings and yellow fur laying splayed out on the sandbar. She (he knew it was a she, for she was splayed out on her back) was a mess of mud and sand particles and looked dead. He wrinkled his muzzle. Dead things attracted scavengers. He didn’t want to be around when that happened. Ohh, what was that? She seemed to have something attached to her body, and it was giving off a heavenly scent.
Wandering close and with caution, the stallion poked the yellow creature a few times. Poke. Poke-poke. When she didn’t move and he was sure she was dead, he stuck his muzzle into the little sack attached to her hip and rooted around. Yummy leaves! They tasted like the cold season in his mouth. He loved yummy leaves! She had whole vines of them, too. Well, waste not want not. He shoved his whole head into her bag. Why, she was carrying all sorts of goodies! Mossy ate noisily. It wasn’t everyday that a whole pile of edible goodies just landed in front of him in the morning. In fact, that never happened. Chewing on the mint leaves and slurping up the vines like spaghetti, he favored the dead mare with a second look, leaning over her. He held up his hoof, near hers. Huh. She must’ve been a female of his species. Too bad she was dead, he did wish he had a companion. Maybe even a mate. Other forest creatures got mates every year. Why not him? Ah well.
“*Cough*!” Fluttershy suddenly gagged with consciousness, curling up and breaking into a coughing fit. Mossy reared up, spooked, backing up and stamping his hooves animatedly. Stamping his hooves made some predators run, after all. But no, she lay there and coughed, holding herself. “Ohhh…” she said weakly as her beautiful eyes slid open. Mossy was entranced. She stared blearily at the sky, her vision sliding in and out of focus while her brain tried to restart itself. “What happened… ?” Fluttershy whispered, holding her head. Mossy backed up, intimidated by the strange creature as she rolled over and opened her wings with a weak little flutter. He didn’t like it. Didn’t like it at all. He spooked a little, tromping up and down on his front hooves and stirring the dust of the earth a little. The yellow Pegasus slowly looked up, and the stallion came into focus before her. “Oh my.” She said, wilting shyly behind her mane. She turned to look at the river, then at herself. Had he saved her?
Mossy jittered a little, but didn’t quite bolt yet. She wasn’t rising to come at him, just laying there on her belly. Cocking his head, he tossed his mane and gave her a firm snuffle-snort. Huffing steam from his nostrils to assert his dominance, he stomped his front hooves a bit.
She wilted back a little, looking up at him with big soft eyes.“Oh my!” said Fluttershy. The Pegasus studied the stranger. He was big. Not as big as Big Macintosh, but still big. Not a lick of fat on him, though he did look well-fed. His mane was moss-green, tangled with twigs and leaves. His coat was brown like mud, and his eyes of the deepest shining emerald. “Did you… save me?” she asked softly, leaning at him.
Mossy leaned back at her until their muzzles were almost touching. She smelled nice. Like flowers and sweetness. He honked his nose against hers in a friendly gesture, then backed up a bit. Fluttershy turned pink, easing slowly onto her hooves and holding her head. He backed up more, as though she might spring at him.
Fluttershy stood there awkwardly, and the silence between them stretched on. “H… hullo?” she tried again. He stared at her silently, blink-blinking. He had lovely eyes. She’d never seen such deep green eyes before. Though he seemed mute for the moment, and quite dirty, he hadn’t done anything super-agrerssive. “I’m… Flutter-*mumble*…” she introduced herself, looking to one side and hiding her face behind her mane. He didn’t ask her to speak up, only kept staring at her intently, like she was the most interesting thing he’d ever seen. “What’s your name?” she wanted to know who the stallion who’d saved her from the river was. At least his name.
Mossy’s response was to nonchalantly lift his tail, poop, and then flick leaves over the mess with his back hooves. All the while he was idly chewing on some grass. He liked this female, her mouth-sounds were soothing to his ears.
Fluttershy stared, a little slack-jawed. Little alarms started going off in her head, and she began to back away. He lifted a hoof, leaning at her like he was about to follow. “A-anyway, th-thank you for your help goodbye!” she spread her wings and labored off the ground, still a little woozy from her trip down the river.
Mossy cocked his head in awe, his eyes growing large. He couldn’t fly! How come she could?! He took off at a full gallop to follow her. Fluttershy was too focused on finding her way back to Ponyville and getting above the trees to notice him. One had to get quite high in order to get above the canopy, but now and then Mossy would see a fleck of yellow flapping through the sky. The yellow mare spotted the Ponyville clock tower in the far distance and made her way towards it. Thank goodness. It would only take an hour or two as the crow flies to get there. It was a good thing she hadn’t drifted too far into the Everfree Forest. The wild land had no borders if you went in too deep, and you could get lost forever! She’d been very, very lucky indeed.
...Little did she know she was leading a wild stallion back to civilization.
End of Part 1
Fluttershy and the Wild Stallion
Part 2: Reaching Roseluck's Roseary
Roseluck was an off-white mare, with a streaked red and pleasant-pink mane. The rose on her rump spoke of her vocation as a gardener of flowers, and she was proud of it. Humming happily to herself, she watered her babies with a watering can clenched in her teeth. Ah, what a beautiful day for rose-raising. She swung her head back and forth, making sure all of her precious plants got the love and attention they deserved. After all, she was the premiere rose-selling pony in Ponyville. She grew other things, yes, but the main thing was roses. Roses meant love, roses meant passion… roses also meant a good snack, now and then. Daisy sandwiches did get old, after all.
The lightly-colored mare was delighted to see she had her first customer waiting before she’d even opened the shop-front of her little home. Her house was IN the Ponyville market, so she just used her front yard as a sales area. “Morning stranger!” she had set the watering can down to speak in her usual pep. A stallion had emerged from the end of the street, and had wandered onto her front yard. He was looking around as though dumbfounded and overwhelmed, mouth agape and eyes wide. Brown in fur and dark green in mane he… didn’t have a cutie mark. Oh, the poor thing… a late bloomer. Those still happened, you know. Sad. He suddenly spotted her and cocked his head, wandering over and getting a good look at her like she was the most interesting thing in the world. “Oh uh, haha, hi there!” Roseluck leaned back a little, wary of her personal space.
Mossy stared at her, a little open-mouthed. Why, it was another creature like him! He leaned to one side. She didn’t have wings like the first did. She was shaped like him, just smaller. He nickered a little, tossing his mane and offering his best friendly smile. If he’d stumbled onto a herd (instinct told him the word, herd), it was best to make friends as soon as possible. “Pb-b-b-t.” he said, shuffling his lips about with a puff of air through his lips.
“Can I help you? Did you want to buy some roses?” Roseluck smiled a little. She’d never seen the stallion before, he must’ve been new in town. There was silence between them and he kept staring at her. “Hullo?” she asked, tilting her head with a troubled frown.
Mossy tilted his head at her, mimicking her body language until the bed of roses nearby caught his interest. Ooohhh, he’d never seen flowers like that before. He wandered up to them with interest, eyes wide. He wondered what they tasted like. Leaning, he nibble-nibbled at one.
“Hey hey hey! No free samples!” Roseluck grabbed his withers and hauled him back. Mossy spooked, backing up and whinnying as he was mare-handled back. “Well don’t try to steal something that’s not yours!” the mare growled at him. Her angry face sent him back a step or two. Those must’ve been her flowers, he decided. He sank to his belly, a submissive position, wilting his ears at her. Roseluck just didn’t know what to make of the mute stallion. Was he being silly? Trying to see how long he could go without talking? “Are you mute?” she asked him with a frown. “I mean it’s okay if you are, but you can’t eat flowers that aren’t yours to eat.” Roseluck turned around to address her babies. “It’s okay, I won’t let that big hungry stallion eat-choo… without paying first.” She added with a giggle. She touseled the nearest rosebush, smiling.
Mossy stared at her rump. There were flowers on it. She had flowers nearby and flowers on her. He wondered if he could get just one, just to taste it. They were such bright reds and pinks and whites. He just wanted one. But, she’d not let him get any from the bushes in front of him. Hmmm. Her back was turned, and she did have two right there on her flank. Maybe he could sneak one of those… “H’omph.” He said, leaning forward.
“ERK!?” Roseluck’s eyes bulged out of her head and her pupils shrank into dots. She whipped around to see the strange stallion had grabbed her cutie mark in his lips and was slobbering on her! His ears perked when he saw her see him. He smiled innocently. “Get off me you pervert!” she shrieked, red-faced and bucking wildly. The stallion’s mouth hung on to her rose cutie mark and he whinnied back and forth. He just wanted a flower! Just one! Finally she caught him in the face and he yapped in pain, backing off. “I’ll give you such a THRASHING!” the assaulted mare rushed forward with her watering can and beaned him over the head with it. The brown stallion cried out, turning tail to run. She followed him across the yard and all the way a little past her fence, beating him. Clank! Clank! Clank! Clank! “Get lost! Get outta here!” Roseluck shouted angrily, waving it at him. “And don’t you come back!” she turned, bearing her flank to one side. “Eww, he slimed me!” she cried, rushing to find the watering hose and get the stallion slobber off of her. “What a freak!”
Fluttershy arrived home in a fluster, shutting the door less than gently behind herself. Going quickly to her kitchen table, she put her saddlebag on it and opened it up. “Oh no.” she sighed, wilting pathetically. “All my herbs.” The river had not been kind to the herbs inside her bag. She would have to wash it all out, and she had nothing to show for her long trip. Not even the Mare’s Blush.
That and, oddly enough, a good portion of the herbs looked like they’d been chewed on by something. Big chunks of a little bit of everything was missing. Why, if a pony had eaten all of that, they would’ve been sick as a dog for days! She hoped no poor little woodland creature had gorged itself while she was unconscious, it would spell disaster for them (or death!). It was particularly worrisome that the baggy with the Deathcap mushroom in it was ripped and a chunk of it was missing as well.
The butter yellow Pegasus leaned on her elbow, moaning at the wasted time and effort of her herbing run. “Now I’ll never have the money for that deer feed, or the bird houses… or the new quilt.” Her eyes went soft and she gave a little whimpering sound. She would not cry. She woul… she woul…. She would. She began to cry aloud. She’d needed that money, and she’d worked so hard for all the herbs and vines she’d gotten! What did she have to show for it? A messed up saddlebag, a need for a long shower, and the trauma of a strange pooping stallion fresh in her memory.
Fluttershy sat there with her head on the table, whimpering loudly as the tears flowed. Woe was her. Money was tight as it was, for a mare with so many animals. She’d had such a productive morning too. She’d found mint leaves, a Deathcap, plenty of herbal mosses, the Ghost Mushroom, so much that she could’ve… wait. The butter-colored mare sat up suddenly. She’d found the Ghost Mushroom, but she hadn’t picked it. She’d only marked the spot. Her face suddenly lit up. “If I could get back to it before anypony found it, I could still sell that!” Ghost Mushrooms were a very rare thing indeed, it could be worth a few bits to the right pony. Smiling grandly that the morning was not a complete loss, she trotted for the door right away.
Opening her wings, she sailed skyward and to the edge of the Everfree forest. Peering around for her little marker and starting from the bridge where she’d fallen into the river, she retraced her steps. Wandering about for awhile, she finally found it. The Ghost Mushroom glittered like icicles in the new morning light, a silvery thing that could come apart at the touch if she wasn’t careful. Looking about, Fluttershy got a large leaf to put it on so she didn’t touch it too much. Holding her breath, the mare very… very… carefullyyyyy…. Pulled it from the earth. She turned it on its side, feeling the crystalline structure start to give, and placed it down. Whew! It was like surgery, so delicate was it. This would have to go straight to Zecora, as soon as she could get it to her. Until then, she could keep it in her icebox. Not daring to fly, Fluttershy took the leaf into her mouth and used it to carry the Ghost Mushroom like it was on a little tray. Puffing herself up and feeling proud of herself, she turned to head back home on hoof—
Mossy Mane slammed right into her, having been running and bucking wildly to get away from the shouting flower mare. Their connecting faces smashed the Ghost Mushroom, and the two of them tumbled over each other to the ground. The stallion’s eyes were in swirls and he lay there on his back, stunned.
“Oh no, my mushroom!” Fluttershy squeaked, looking at the mooshed remains of the delicate plant. “Oh my!” she turned skittish when she saw it was the stallion from earlier. “It’s you again! Uhm… h… hullo.” She hunched a little, like he might glare her into submission for their collision.
Mossy’s hooves bicycled through the air for a few moments before he righted himself. The shouting mare, the running, and the crashing had really taken it out of him. His face felt hot, and to be honest he looked a little green in the face. “P-b-b-b-bhht.” He shuffled his lips, trying to ignore the rising pain in his belly. Hunching a little, he looked at Fluttershy. His face lit up. It was the yellow winged creature! He beamed at her in delight, but his face fell when he saw her expression. She looked so timid. Leaning and trying to be friendly, he shoved his muzzle into her mane to try and find her face in there somewhere.
Fluttershy eep’d, jittering backward and red in the face. “W-w-w-well hello there to you too! I uhm… I think you squished my mushroom.” She gestured to the ground. The stallion looked down, cocking his head, but didn’t seem to understand what he’d destroyed. “I was out herbing and mushroom hunting you see and… uhm… hullo there, yes, hi.” He’d come close again, and his nostrils were working themselves animatedly.
Mossy liked this yellow mare. She smelled nice, and her voice was pleasant. Not angry and rawr-awr like the other one he’d seen. Leaning, he nibbled on one of her wings to check it out. The feathers were pretty, he decided.
“MEEP!” Fluttershy jittered back again, blushing. “D-don’t do that, please!”
“*BELCH*!” Mossy said animatedly, a skull and crossbones of purple smoke issuing from his mouth. His eyes went derpy for a few moments, and he wavered on the spot. He was feeling a little hotter than before. Beads of sweat were going down his face. Shaking his head to steady himself, he licked his chops to get the odd and inky taste out of his mouth.
“Ahm tellin’ you it was a shortcut, Big Mac!” voices were coming up the path from across the way, along with the sound of a heavy cart.
“Nnnope.” said a stallion’s voice. Fluttershy turned just in time to see Applejack and Big Macintosh come around the corner, pulling a cart full of apple barrels for that day’s market.
“Yes-huh!” Applejack said stubbornly. “Iff’n we cut across the park instead of using the long-way-road, we could shave off some minutes in the mornin’ and be set up jus’ fine by the time market starts!” The Stetson wearing farmer mare was arguing with her sibling about travel time. She saw Fluttershy on the road ahead and smiled. “Oh hey, its Fluttershy!” she pointed as they trotted along.
“Eeyup.” Big Mac smiled a bit as they neared.
“Mornin’ sugarcube!” Applejack called as they neared, both siblings pulling the cart. “Who’s your friend there?” she said as they approached, slowing to a halt. Mossy perked his ears at them, unable to ignore the trembling pain rising in his belly. He didn’t feel so good, suddenly…
“I-I…. uhm…” Fluttershy took another timid step to put a little more distance between herself and the strange green-maned stallion. “He’s not… I mean uhm…” she didn’t know how to word it, really.
“Oh, well, I’m sure he can inner’duce himself.” Applejack smoothly moved the pressure of the conversation off her timid friend. “Howdy partner. I dun think we’ve met. Mah name’s Applejack, what’s yours?” she put on her most winning smile to meet the new pony.
“BLERRRRRRGHHH!” Mossy Mane suddenly vomited violently, and then pitched over as though struck dead. Applejack’s eyebrows launched into her bangs, and there was a very awkward silence.
“…You killed ‘im.” said Big Mac sagely, nodding shamefully at his sister.
“Ah did NOT!” Applejack snapped angrily, rushing forward to see what had happened.
Fluttershy spotted the problem in the pool of vomit without evening going to examine the stallion. “Oh my! He must’ve chewed through the herbs in my herb bag!” Fluttershy raised a worried hoof to her mouth. So that was why everything had looked nibbled on. “I had raw Deathcap in there! And lots of other things! Oh my!” she pumped her wings open, rushing forward to turn the ailing stallion. “Turn him over, he might drown in his vomit.” Suddenly she was vet Fluttershy. Though she knew little about how to take care of ponies, she did know about poisoning and such, being an herbalist.
“Oh mah stars!” Applejack panicked. “Big Mac! He’s been poisoned, toss the barrels off! We gotta get him to a hospital!” Big Mac had already unhitched himself and was busily unloading the apple barrels to make room for the unconscious stallion. Tightening her Stetson on her head, the orange mare helped him turn the cart around and they quickly loaded Mossy into it.
The brown stallion moaned loudly, his world twisting and spinning around him. Green in the face and achy in the belly, he whimpered aloud. Fluttershy hopped up into the cart with him, putting his head in her hooves so it wouldn’t bounce around during the fast ride to the hospital. “I’ve got you.” She mumbled softly, nodding to the Apple siblings when they were ready to go. “We’re going to the hospital, just hang on.” She tried to soothe him, stroking his mane just once. Her hoof came away with flecks of leaves and a couple of burrs. Wow, he was really filthy.
Mossy moaned again, pain and confusion in his stomach and head. He could smell colors, and the sounds around him had a funny taste to them. Ohhh, his belly! He felt hot and shivery at the same time. Why was he so cold? Brr! He could feel himself sweating, then something gargling up into his mouth. He felt a firm hoof turn his head to one side, and he threw up again as the cart he was in kept rolling along. He clenched his teeth, for every bounce of the rolling cart made his belly do flip-flops.
“Hang on partner, we’re almost there!” Applejack called over her shoulder. Ponies shouted and jumped out of the way as the two Apple siblings raced through the streets of Ponyville towards the medical building. “Gangway!” shouted Applejack. “Sick pony! Outta the way!” she shouted over and over as they went. Ponies gave them a wide berth, and a pair of solar guards even joined them on the way to make civilians move faster.
“One side citizens!” A golden-helmed mare shouted as they rushed down the lane. “Emergency!” she parted the crowd with her sheer presence, making way for the make-shift ambulance. “Emergency, out of the way!”
End of Part 2
Fluttershy and the Wild Stallion
Part 3: Daunting Doctor Dictations
Mossy awoke in a strange, non-smelling place. It didn’t smell like earth, or water, or fire either. He couldn’t hear birds, or the sound of trees. It had a sterile, nothing-smell that made him uneasy. His eyes slitted open and he moved his head a bit to toss his mane. But, it gave him a wave of dizziness. The earthy-brown stallion whimpered in confusion as he peered around.
The hospital room was a pleasant, muted green color with a lamp, a side-table, a bed, and a window to look out of. The tile floor was shiny and spotless, and the little radio to one side of the place was off. Fluttershy was seated next to the bed, her muzzle in a magazine at the moment. She heard him whimper, and looked up with interest. “Ohh, hello there. You’re awake?” she smiled in a gentle and motherly way. Her large, expressive eyes seemed to soothe the stallion, and he lay his head down again. Right away, sleep took him again.
Someone was handling his mane. He didn’t… his mind was fuzzy. He blink-blinked rapidly to try and see who it was. “Burrs and leaves and tons of gunk, how’s this guy ever taken care of himself?” Mossy wanted to protest and the tugging, pulling, brushing that his mane was enduring. It didn’t feel good, not at all. He could feel hair being pulled out of knots, and excess that was already loose coming out. He liked his big long mane, thank you very much! It didn’t need to be pawed at. He nickered angrily, bicycling his hooves a bit. But no, he was too weak to fend off his attacker.
“Nurse Redheart, how’s the patient?” a male voice made Mossy startle a little. Another stallion! What if he was the alpha? What if he decided to bite him until his throat closed? Mossy hid his muzzle under the flap of the sheets, squeezing his eyes shut and whimpering again.
“He’s a lot dirtier than I thought. His mane must have years of extra hair in it. It’s like he’s never brushed!” the female voice said while Mossy looked up at her glassily. He couldn’t quite bring her into focus, but she was a white thing with a pleasant voice. Woozy still, he closed his eyes again.
“And then after I asked him his name he… uhm… well…” it was the yellow mare again, this time with a gaggle of other females. He could tell they were female by their shapes and faces. Mossy blink-blinked a bit while his favorite kept talking. “Well I ran off, I guess, before he could answer.”
“Y’know, come to think of it he is kinda a blank slate.” Applejack said, looking down and smiling when she saw Mossy’s eyes open. “Hey thar partner.” She said, sympathy in her tone. “Yer in the hospital, don’t worry. Nurse Redheart and Doctor Pain are takin’ good care’a you.”
Mossy eyed her, then the yellow mare, then the four others that had gathered in the strange place he was lying in. A herd? Had he been accepted into a herd? His heart swelled with joy. He nickered a little, nosing up and down at them. He leaned with his head to get at the yellow mare first. She saw him trying to leave the bed and quickly sidled over so he wouldn’t. She put a dainty hoof on the end of his nose, and he stopped struggling. He seemed content when she touched him, even just a little.
“There there,” Fluttershy smiled in a quiet way. “You’ll be okay.” Rainbow Dash glanced at Rarity, making a head-gesture at Fluttershy and waggling her eyebrows. Rarity cocked an eyebrow, studied the two, then glared sharply at Rainbow. How dare she make such insinuations! Rainbow grinned silently. Twilight glanced over, catching the silent conversation. She cocked her head, then shrugged.
Content in the silent bliss of a mare paying him some attention, the stallion lifted his head just a little. His long, now clean mane waterfall’d down about him. His mane had been scrubbed and trimmed, lending a rather handsome look about him. The dark green hair moved like a silky curtain laying down by gravity, free of burrs and other debris. “Pb-b-b-b-bht.” He shuffled his lips a little, blinking at the gathering curiously. He wanted to know them all. He wanted to know them and smell them and play with them too. He’d been alone for so long, now he was surrounded by lots of his own species! And he was… he was tired still…
“Patient ‘Blank Flank’ seems to be steadily improving, despite the heavy poisons that were imbibed into his system he seems fairly resistant.” A stallion was pacing back and forth, speaking as a pencil wrote on a clipboard for him by magic. The brown stallion leaned and checked the medical chart, flipping back a few pages. “We’ve been keeping him on strong vitamins and a few other supplements while the rest works its way out of his system. Having approached day five in our search for his identity, we’ve found nothing so far.” The doctor stopped, turning to look at Mossy. “Oh, hello! Good morning!” he stepped forward and smiled in a friendly way.
Mossy turned his ears back, afraid of being bitten or something. The stallion before him had a big chest, he was probably strong. Weak as he was, mossy wouldn’t be able to defend himself if he decided to attack. He lowered himself submissively, hoping for mercy from the big strong pony.
“Er,” the doctor saw his frightened expression. “It’s alright, I’m a doctor. You’re in a hospital.” He came close and settled next to the bed. Mossy hunched a little like he was expecting to be struck. “Hey.” The doctor said in his most soothing voice, cocking his head. “You’re fine. You’ll be fine. You don’t have to be afraid.” He whispered softly. Mossy looked at him, blink-blinking expectantly. “Here, try one of these.” He leaned to the bedside table, producing a mint candy from a little dish next to him. He unwrapped it and pushed it gently at Mossy.
Mossy Mane sniff-sniffed at the offering. It smelled like yummy leaves! He worked his lips and wrapped it up into his mouth before long. Crunch-crunch-crunch. Why, it tasted like yummy leaves and it crunched like yellow grass! That had to be the best thing ever! He found himself smiling. This strange stallion wasn’t so scary after all, if he had such nice-tasting things. Mossy’s ears turned into a friendly forward position, and he cocked his head.
“Do you have a name?” the doctor asked. “I saw you have no cutie mark, and the ponies that brought you in said you never spoke to them before you vomited and passed out.” He pushed his small glasses up his muzzle, looking at Mossy critically. “If we could get your name we could look up your medical history and help you more.” There was a long, awkward silence between the two stallions. “Hello? Maybe you’re mute… or deaf…” he rubbed his chin a little. Leaning, he made a snap-snap-snap motion with his hoof every which way. Mossy’s eyes followed the sound. “Not deaf. Open your mouth, say ahhhh!”
Mossy saw the stallion open his mouth , and jittered back a bit. He was gonna bite him, he knew it! He pulled at the sheets, hiding himself.
“Oh hey now.” The doctor chuckled a little. “No need to be shy.”
“Sorry?” a new, smaller voice came from the doorway, and both stallions turned to look. “Oh, I th-thought you meant me. Sorry…” Fluttershy stood in the doorway, a book under her wing and a saddlebag at her side. “I was just coming to visit, b-but if you’re in the middle of something I can come back later.” The poor mare hunched a little, looking to one side and half-hiding behind her mane.
“Actually, I think I could use your help!” the doctor’s expression brightened. “He’s kind of shy, you see, maybe you could coax him out for me?” he gestured to Mossy, who was hiding his head under the blanket and shivering a little in fear.
Fluttershy’s pupils dialated, “Ohhh, you poor thing.” She mumbled, coming forward and setting her book down. “You must be terrified, waking up in a strange place surrounded by strangers…” she tugged gently at the sheet, trying to make him emerge.
Mossy’s ears turned at the sound of the soothing mare’s voice. His face and nose slowly emerged, and he looked up at her. He beamed. The yellow mare had returned! He almost didn’t notice the doctor rather forcibly pressing his lips open and checking his mouth, then his ears, and some of his other body parts. The soothing presence of the yellow mare entranced Mossy, and he felt very docile. He lay his head down, ears perked, looking up at her like he expected to be petted.
Fluttershy chuckled just a little, pinkening in the cheeks. “Ohh, well you’re not so bad, are you?” she cooed, patting the top of his head.
“He’s not said anything yet, but I don’t think he’s deaf. I’m also puzzled about his lack of cutie mark as well.” The doctor backed up when his little examination was done. “I’m a little concerned, to be honest. Maybe he hit his head, or suffered some other injury?” he looked at Fluttershy like she might know.
“I’m not sure.” Fluttershy said softly, looking to one side. She related everything that had happened since they’d met, even the… the pooping bit.
The doctor took it all in thoughtfully, stroking his chin. “Well, with no name or information it’s going to be hard to keep him here. Not even a cutie mark for the Equestrian database. Insurance, and all that.” He sighed, looking sympathetically down at Mossy. “I’ll have to show him out when he’s all the way better.” He flicked his eyes to one side. “Oh speaking of which, it’s time for his medicine. We’ve been flushing his system out for days now, I’m glad you’ve been so dedicated to visit him—we’ll need a distraction since he’s awake.”
“A distraction?” Fluttershy wondered aloud, stepping up to the bedside. Mossy smiled, laying his head down again in a submissive way.
The doctor went to the nearby cabinet, producing a syringe with something in it. “Yes, just a quick something to keep his system strong while he waits out the poisons.” Fluttershy gulped at the needle, then looked down at Mossy. “Just keep him focused on you, it’ll be fine I promise.” He smiled his most winning bedside-manner smile.
The yellow mare looked down at Mossy. Well, he had saved her from the river and all that. The least she could do was help him recover from his own calamity. “Uhm… hi there.” She said conversationally. Extending a wing like a curtain between him and the doctor, she coo’ed softly. “Who’s a… uhm… good patient?” it came out like a meek question. “You are, that’s who.” She smiled lamely, red in the cheeks.
The brown stallion moved stealthily, syringe in his mouth and going around behind Mossy. The patient was content with the mare next to him, and very calm when she was nearby, it seemed. He watched the green-maned mute streeeeeetch out over his pillows, then look adoringly up at his visitor. Now was his chance, right when the muscles went slack. “This’ll be quick.” He took the protection off of it, putting it in his doctor’s jacket. Checking the needle’s use by spurting a bit of medicine from it, he nodded his satisfaction. Lifting the sheet a little---
When the needle touched him Mossy whinnied in panic at the sting of pain, striking out wildly with his back hooves! The doctor caught the assault in the face with a shout, sprawled out on the tile floor. The nurses stared at their boss for the next week, for the stallion had the most beautiful black eye any of them had ever seen.
Mossy fidgeted in his bed, not yet strong enough to leave but still very active. He peered around with interest and wonder. He could see the sky outside through the portal in the wall. Cocking his head, he leaned and tugged on the sheets a bit. He liked the sheets, they were soft and smelled nice. A nice white-clad mare came in now and then to change them, and he certainly didn’t mind seeing more ponies. It was so odd, he’d been alone for ages and now there were ponies all around him.
He nickered a little, looking at himself. They’d been doing things to him while was asleep or knocked out. His mane was gorgeous, and he’s fur had been brushed quite a bit as well. Tilting his head and inspecting his hooves, he found them clean and even-feeling. Sure, he’d jumped in a fiver a few times to get clean, but nothing beat one’s own natural scent and the scent of whatever one had been doing. Shoving one’s head into a berry bush did make one smell sweet for awhile, after all. He wasn’t sure what he smelled like right then, but it was sweet and reminded him of the color white. He nibbled on his leg a bit to see to an itch, then peered about some more.
Mossy looked at the end table, at the lamp. Leaning, he sniff-sniff-sniffed at it until his nose pressed against the switch and the light flicked on. He spooked, rearing up and out of bed until he crashed to the ground with a shriek. A nurse rushed in, “What?! What’s wrong?!” she swept around the bed to help him, but he was staring at the lamp. “You don’t like the lamp?” she asked at his back-turned ears. Leaning with a huff, she flicked it off. Mossy smiled at his savior, clambering back onto the bed with her help. “Don’t worry, big guy, we’ve got you covered. Nothing bad will happen while you’re here.”
The doctor soon came in, this time with Fluttershy at his side. “I’m so glad he’ll have somewhere to go until his situation comes to light. Thank you, miss Fluttershy.”
“Oh, well, he saved me first, at the river.” Fluttershy said softly, blushing. “If he’s got amnesia, or something, it’s only right that I take care of him until he remembers things.” They’d had a long, detailed discussion and they’d arrived at the scenario of amnesia…. That made him mute… and forget about technology like electricity… it was sketchy at best but one thing was certain. The green-maned stallion was the most calm when Fluttershy was nearby. She could care for him for a bit while they got all of this mess sorted out. “Come along uhm… you.” She said softly, smiling in embarrassment that she didn’t have name for him yet. Hopefully he would remember that first… if he had amnesia. She gestured a little, and he worked his way to his feet.
Hobbling along, the mute stallion stared at her. Was it time to go someplace else? His alpha mare had come to take him someplace else, so she was in charge. Mossy followed her closely, and they left the hospital with waving nurses behind them. He nickered a little, walking close side-by-side with Fluttershy. She was safer than them, and not all white. The whiteness of the place he’d been in scared him a little—so the mares that were there did the same.
“Oh, yes, you’ll be fine.” Fluttershy widened the gap between them a little as they walked down the path. Personal space, and all that. She looked at him a little curiously out of the corner of her eye. He seemed perfectly content to follow her wherever she went, for his smile was wide and his steps long. “I really should think of a name for you, until we find your real one.” She said softly, looking over at him. “Can you say my name?” she asked him when they stopped at a decorative fountain.
Mossy looked at the flowing water and the statue above it. He was really thirsty. But no, the alpha mare had not stopped to drink. The water must’ve been bad. She must’ve sensed it, and not drunk to show him it was bad. What a good herd leader she was, this yellow mare! He adored her all the more for her wisdom. Heeding the female leader’s warning, he avoided the innocent water like the plague and even put her between himself and the bad water.
“Huhm?” Fluttershy looked at him, and tried to speak a little more firmly. “Fluttershy.” She put her hoof at her breast, holding his gaze with her own. “Flutter. Shy.” She said slowly. The stallion cocked his head at her. “Fluttershy.” She tried again.
Mossy worked his mouth. She was communicating, and gesturing to herself. It meant something, he knew it did. He perked his ears and listened while she spoke, tilting his head. His intense eyes watched her beautiful lips move, and he tried to emulate the sound. “Flutter-butter-butter flubber…” he spilled out of his mouth, eager to impress her. It wasn’t right, but it was close. Fluttershy startled a little. So he did have a voice! She smiled at his innocent attempt at her now. “Flubber-bubber-flutter-ubber!” He shook his head up and down a bit to toss his mane, looking proud of himself. He tossed his muzzle up and down while flapping his lips, making wet flopping sounds. Fluttershy stared, but he liked the attention. See? See? He could make good mouth sounds too!
End of Part 3
Fluttershy and the Wild Stallion
Part 4: Mare’s Mishandled Mumblings
“I know you must be kind of scared and disoriented,” Fluttershy said softly as they walked from the hospital to the street. Ponies wandered by to and fro, which Mossy Mane watched with interest. “But you can stay with me for just a little while, you know, until you get better…” she trailed off, smiling gently. She’d never shared her home with anypony before, but it was the least she could do to repay him for saving her from the river. “We’ll do a bit of shopping, and then head for home.” She told him.
Mossy looked around at all the ponies going up and down the street. Surely they weren’t all one herd? This was lots and lots of ponies! He felt a little overwhelmed, and walked closely next to his yellow alpha mare.
They approached the marketplace, where everypony was selling exactly one thing (whether it be apples, boxes, tools, etc.) and making their daily rounds in the town’s healthy economy. Fluttershy purchased some daisies for eating, lettuce, three tomatoes, some hay bacon, a long list of little things she needed to help keep her guest fed. But there was always one food stand she dreaded.
Rocksum Boxsum’s stand. The stallion had an ugly mug, grey with scraggly hair and a cigar sticking out of his mouth. His cutie mark was a cardboard box, but for some reason he sold cherries. He’d taken advantage of Fluttershy’s lack of bargaining skills many, many times and gouged her with his prices. He knew a fat purse when he saw one, and the yellow mare’s confidence was easy pickings for him. “Ey there, liddle lady.” He said around his cigar, munching on it a little. “Here for some cherries I guess?”
“Oh, yes…” Fluttershy hunched just a little, looking at the display table where all of the cherries were laid out in neat rows. “Uhm… your sign says one bit each, right?” she asked, looking at him hopefully.
“For you, missy, I can go as low as ten bits!” he chuckled, throwing his head back to laugh. Fluttershy wilted. That wasn’t low at all, that was outrageous. But she didn’t have the confidence to haggle with him properly. Rocksum grinned around his cigar, he knew she was such a cash cow, it never failed.
“But but… your sign says…” Fluttershy said, looking at the ground meekly.
“You want cherries or not?” he said, firing another perfect arrow of aggression into the meek mare’s heart. She wilted back more, not knowing what to do.
Mossy saw the exchange, watching back and forth. He didn’t like it. Not one bit. He didn’t know what their mouth-sounds meant, but his alpha mare seemed sad and wounded in spirits. This would not do. Growling savagely, Mossy sauntered up to the counter, stomp-stomping his hooves in aggression.
“What? You want cherries?” the stallion behind the counter asked, raising his brow on one side.
“Ph-h-h-ht!” he said, tossing his mane and rearing up a little. Mossy’s hooves clopped noisily on the counter, startling the shopkeeper.
“Hey now, off’a my counter!” Rocksum said angrily. Mossy growled back at him, matching aggressive mouth sounds with louder growling. “Shoo! Shoo!” he said, shoving Mossy off the countertop.
“*whinny!*” Mossy said loudly, raising his upper lip and showing off his teeth. Threaten HIS alpha mare, huh?! This stallion would get his come-uppin’s! Clambering right over the counter Mossy reared up and flailed his front hooves wildly. It was suddenly fisticuffs!
“Oh my!” Fluttershy dipped forward to peer over the counter. “Careful now!” she called, trying to end the madness. “I mean, I mean--- uhm!” she fretted back and forth. She let out a fretful squeaking sound, trying not to watch.
“Okay okay! You can have them for one bit each!” Rocksum called, pulling back before Mossy hit him in the face for his price-gouging. “I-I’m sorry okay! I won’t do it anymore!”
Mossy instinctively recognized the yielding position, his enemy's ears turned back and fear in his eyes. He threw his chest out, victorious. Clambering back over the counter, he took a cherry in his teeth and brought it to his alpha mare. He smiled, tilting his head up and throwing out his chest again as though expecting praise.
“Oh dear…” Fluttershy mumbled, blushing. Had he just jumped over a counter to defend her honor from that price-gouger? Oh my. Leaning over the counter, the yellow mare apologized profusely. She brought twenty cherries, a nice big load of them, as an apology to the shopkeeper. He did seem less shaken when he spotted the pile of money and the absence of the two customers. “What else is on my list…?” Fluttershy tried to study her grocery list and not look over her shoulder at the cherry stand… or at Mossy. A light twinge of pink was in her cheeks. “Oh, just apples.” She looked over at her charge, mumbling to herself a little. She’d seen the way he’d acted around stallions bigger than himself. And if she knew the market right, that meant Big Macintosh would be running the apple stand. Not wanting anymore trouble that day, the butter-colored Pegasus rolled up her list and stuffed it under her wing. “I think that’s all for now.” She smiled kindly at Mossy, who emulated her expression.
Mossy cantered along beside his companion, peering around with interest. So many, many ponies around this area. Where was their herd? They’d had a group of five mares in the non-smelling place, right? Were they around someplace? Hm, probably grazing, he decided. Maybe only alpha mares walked among the other herds and got things like his did. Clearly, she was brave for taking food from so many other ponies—how high in equine rank WAS she? He glanced over at her, unsure. She caught him looking out of the corner of her eye and smiled a little. Mossy felt very lucky, suddenly.
Twilight Sparkle walked along the path, her saddlebags full of books and scrolls. At her side were Applejack and Rarity. Fluttershy’s house was moving into view as they rounded the bend, and they went up the little hill to get to her home. “Fluttershy!” Twilight called with a smile, knocking firmly on the door. She was met with a blasting shatter of glass. “Whoa!” she jumped back, as more noise shook the house.
“What in tarnation?!” Applejack backed up as well, afraid the door might blow off its hinges or something.
“Fluttershy?!” Rarity called. “Come on, she might be in trouble!” lighting her horn, she forced the door in a rather unlady-like fashion. The three mares piled in to find the most bizarre sight they’d ever seen:
A brown stallion was sitting in the middle of the ruins of what had once been a coffee table. Wrapped around his FACE was Angel Bunny, Fluttershy’s pet. Scowling angrily the little beast wriggled and clung to him. Mossy was tossing his head, whinnying and kicking wildly back and forth. “Oh my, oh my! Please stop it you two!” Fluttershy said from under the couch where she was hiding. “There’s no need to be mean!” she whimpered.
“Ah got the critte--OOFPH!” Applejack was launched off her hooves while Mossy bucked and flailed about, tossing his head. His back hooves caught her in the chest and sent her flying to the ground. A vase of flowers tumped over and exploded on the hard wood floor. Twilight and Rarity winced, trying to take the scene in.
Mossy whinnied wildly, bucking back and forth while the cruel little fuzzball clung to his muzzle. He’d made a mean face at the alpha mare, so of course he’d gotten in the offensive creature’s face to show him what for. But instead of getting stomped on the rabbit had jumped up, bitch-slapped him, and then clung to his FACE like a vice. The resulting panic was destroying Fluttershy’s living room.
“Oh. Kay. Cowpony.” Applejack rose slowly, angry, adjusting her hat down. Wading into the flailing violence again while the other mares watched—“OOMPGH!” she was bucked again and crashed into an end-table, destroying it. Fluttershy shrieked in distress, a squeaky little sound as she hid her face behind her hooves under the sofa. Applejack snorted steam from her muzzle, angrily charging in again. “Oh you think you’re so clev—ARRRGH!!” she went flying by again, Twilight winced when she slammed into the wall with little stars around her head.
Twilight coughed a little, “Uhhh, lemme try…” she ignited her horn not for Mossy, but for Angel Bunny. Gritting her teeth to focus and get past his iron grip, she finally wrenched the little beast off of the wild stallion’s face. The green-maned pony sucked in air like he’d been suffocating the whole time, staggered and fell. Angel Bunny writhed in the air until Twilight stuffed him in a nearby pot and put the lid on. Such a dangerous creature…
“Ah had it all un’ner control.” Applejack said crossly, looking at the floor.
“Fluttershy? It’s alright dah’ling you can come out.” Rarity had gone to the sofa and stuck her head down. She nosed under the skirts of the furniture, smiling kindly at the hiding Pegasus.
Fluttershy poked her head out, smiling embarrassedly. “Thanks.” She said softly when she was helped to her hooves. The brown stallion spotted her and threw his chest out. The bunny was no more! He sauntered over and nickered animatedly, tossing his head. “Yes, yes you’re alright. Just try not to break so many things…?” the yellow mare asked softly, looking at him with pleading eyes.
Mossy clambered over to the couch and lay on his belly, nickering a bit. The mares in the room stared at him, then began to speak amongst themselves. He studied how they interacted. The orange one talked the loudest, she had a funny thing on her head that seemed to compliment her face. The white one was very, very clean and smelled like… flowers? Was it flowers? He wasn’t sure. It wasn’t a female smell, it more artificial than that. The purple one was… purple. Very purple. He wasn’t sure he liked the purple one. She had heavy bags on her sides, who knew what was in them. They didn’t smell edible from where he was sitting. And if it wasn’t edible, what good was it? He did find more evidence, however, that his favorite mare was the alpha and the leader. When the mares talked among themselves, they always went quiet and perked their ears when the yellow mare spoke. She never raised her voice, never put much power into her mouth sounds—but all stopped to listen intently when the alpha mare spoke. That cemented it in Mossy Mane’s mind. She was of such high rank in her herd that she never even raised her voice, how impressive! He wandered over while they were talking, wanting attention.
Fluttershy smiled kindly when he settled into the circle of sitting pillows with them. “So, did we ever find out his name?” Rarity asked. “Or does he…?” she let the sentence hang a moment. Word had been passed around about both times Mossy had been asked his name. The quartet of mares looked at each other, and the fashionata drew herself up a bit. “Ahem! Can you tell us your name?” she said loudly to him, making sure he was looking at her. “What are you called?”
Mossy perked his ears at Rarity, tilting his head at her. She was addressing him, he knew she was, but he didn’t know what she was saying. Her smile said she was being friendly. Hmm… he stood from his sitting pillow, puffing out his chest. All mares looked on, impressed, for he looked ready to make an important declaration of some sort. He heaved a great breath, and then half-shouted at Rarity, “Flutter-bubber-blubber-ubber!” Everypony leaned back, startled, and he flopped down again on his sitting pillow. Smiling at Fluttershy, he nodded confirmation. Flutter-bubber-blubber-ubber, indeed.
“I… see.” Rarity said carefully, cocking her head. “Fluttershy, I’m a bit worried about our friend here. If he’s suffering amnesia or something, is it really safe to be alone around him?”
“I’m not sure he has amnesia, girls.” Twilight was popping open her saddlebag for an encyclopedia of mental problems and symptoms. “Ponies that experience amnesia aren’t mute, or really act out a lot.” She flipped to the appropriate page. “Severe memory loss can cause great stress, yes, but he doesn’t seem to be too upset most of the time. He just… reacts.” The purple scholar said carefully. Her friends looked at her curiously, so she went on. “Well look, he’s not really said a word so far, right?” she looked at Fluttershy, who nodded confirmation. “And he doesn’t have a cutie mark, so we don’t even know his special talent!”
“What’re you getting’ at, sugarcube?” Applejack wanted to know, glancing at Mossy.
“I’m saying I think his memories are fine, but… it’s not what’s wrong with him.” Twilight turned a few pages with a serious frown. “He may not have a name.” she finally said.
“No name?” Fluttershy looked over at Mossy Mane, tilting her head. “But why?”
“Well think about it,” Twilight said, lifting a hoof. “You said you met him in the Everfree Forest. He doesn’t talk. He doesn’t have a cutie mark. He’s frightened of larger stallions… he acts kind’a feral, to be honest.” She said, gesturing at him. Mossy perked his ears. He knew they were talking about him. “What if he’s from Everfree?”
“Nopony lives in Everfree, Twilight.” Applejack said, smiling a little nervously. “Why, with all the wild critters and the unpredictable weather and all that…” she listed them off. “Zecora lives there, but she ain’t a pony either.” There was murmuring agreement.
“That would explain his not having a cutie mark…” Fluttershy put in quietly. “If he’s from Everfree he’s… uhm… wild? A wild stallion?” she said it like a question. They all turned and looked at Mossy again, who stared back at them with an innocent curiosity.
“Well… t’ain’t spring yet so I guess we don’t hafta worry too much about his instincts.” Applejack said, making a slight gesture.
“Applejack!” Rarity scolded, elbowing her. Applejack shrugged. It was a fact of life, spring time and ponies. The farming mare had grown up around all manner of farm animals, it was just something that happened. Thankfully it was not quite fall yet, so such a thing wasn’t something to worry about.
“What else does the book say, Twi?” Applejack asked quickly before Rarity blew a fuse.
The conversation continued on and the mares tried to put the pieces together. Mossy grew bored and lay his head down, trying to pay attention. If this was the spot to lay and rest for the evening, then he could do that easily. He heaved a great breath, ears slowly laying down as his exciting day took its toll on him. He yawned, his tongue sticking impressively far out, squeaked, and then limpened nicely for rest.
Sometime in the Past…
Buzz-z-z-z-zz, a tiny personal aircraft was floating through the air, late in the night. A stallion, mare and foal were aboard the little plane, thankfully warm and dry inside. A storm grumbled and tossed the air currents a bit, but the stallion at the controls was an expert and e held the plane level. “This is echo-echo-two-three-five, en route over Ponyville and past Canterlot. Confirm, tower, over?” The stallion talked on the radio. Occasionally, he would flick his gaze back over his shoulder at his wife and baby colt. For fun, he’d decided to take them to see other family members in a town far away. But, as a pilot, he had a faster route than most ponies: his plane.
“This is tower seven-three, confirming your route EE-235, over. The weather’s pretty bad for flying, what’s the occasion?” the crackling voice on the radio asked.
“Family gathering.” The pilot laughed. The mare in the back unfastened her seatbelt when she was sure the foal in the basket was secure, and went over to nuzzle her husband in the pilot’s seat. Smiling, he kissed her gingerly. Rain beat on the windshield, and they felt it jostle a little. “Oop, gotta pay attention honey, winds a’coming.” He laughed a bit louder when she nipped him before returning to her seat. “This is EE-235 again, confirming visual on…” he leaned to look out the window. “…the Everfree Forest. That’s a lott’a trees, tower. Plenty to get lost in, eh?” he chuckled, looking over his shoulder as his mate buckled in again. Lightning split the sky to one side, and he clutched at the controls a bit tighter. “Confirm how far to Trottingham, tower?”
“As the crow flies, three hours flight time.” Crackled the radio. The pilot checked his fuel and gauges, all green.
“Thanks. Over.” The pilot set the receiver down. “How’s our little trotter back there?” he called to his wife.
The new mother smiled in a soft-eyed way. They’d only had him some months ago, the whole family hadn’t gotten the chance to meet him yet—that was the main purpose of the trip, really. “He looks just like you.” She said, leaning over the basket to coo at the little colt. The newborn pony squealed at his mother’s face, holding it in his tiny hooves as she wuzzled at his ticklish underbelly. Thunder boomed nearby and the plane jostled. The foal startled, clinging to his mother and whimpering some. “Ohhh-hoh-hoh,” she chuckled sympathetically. “You’re okay. Daddy’s behind the wheel, you’re okay.” She showered her son with little kisses until he started squirming and giggling as foals do. Rain beat loudly on the portal windows, and she looked forward to her husband. “We’re gonna be fine in this weather, right?”
The stallion was mare-handling the controls a little to keep the plane level. The wind was kicking up, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. “Oh yeah, we’ll be fine!” he said, tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth while he concentrated. “Hun do me a favor and hold Mossy? The wind’s jostling us a little, I don’t want him to get too upset.” He smiled comfortingly at his wife, who nodded.
“Who’s a good Mossy Mane?” the mare snatched up her little baby and nuzzled him in her seat. The foal squealed, wiggling at all the attention. “You are! You are!” she laughed, letting him nom-nom-nom on her ear while they played. The foal yawwwwned with a little squeaky sound, curling up to one side. “D’ohh…” his mother said, soft-eyed and loving.
End of Part 4
Fluttershy and the Wild Stallion
Part 5: Scary Stallion’s Shrieking
Mossy Mane awoke with a loud snort, for a piece of Fluttershy’s carpet was lodged in his nose. Snuffle-sneezing, he lifted his head and looked around. There were dozens of little animals perched around the room, peeking out of tiny houses and staring from their little angled resting places. He blink-blinked at them and slowly stood, but they didn’t flee. To them, he smelled of the wild earth and thusly was more trustworthy than the average pony. He felt a blanket slide off of himself and he turned to look at it. It was decorated with flowers and other mare-ish things. He liked it, it was warm. Taking it in his teeth, he flipped it up onto his back again and stood there content. Smiling and nodding to himself, Mossy explored his surroundings a bit more.
There was a little pile of wooden debris in the corner, and signs of company here and there—but no yellow mare. He cocked his head. Where had the alpha mare gone? He wilted with worry, separation anxiety setting in almost instantly. He was all alone. He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it at all. Whimpering loudly, he began to pace back and forth, tossing his head up and down. The little birds and squirrels watching him worry and fret. He nickered loudly, sniffing and snortling back and for—there was her scent. He stopped, perking his ears.
Following his nose, Mossy exited the den and moved towards the bedroom. Cocking his head, he pushed the door open with his face and peered around. The room was dark, and filled with milky colors and thick curtains to block out the rising sunlight. The alpha mare lay curled up on a raised nest of some kind with her own covers. Well of course. She was the alpha mare, she had her own sleeping space. It made sense. Smiling in delight and anxiety draining out of him, he cantered up beside the bed.
Fluttershy lay in the bed, breathing quietly in her gentle slumber. Her mane was halfway across her face, her beautiful long lashes accenting the quiet curve of her beautiful muzzle. The butter yellow of her fur was soothing to the eyes, and the slow rise and fall of her chest comforted Mossy. She turned over, murr-gurgling in a sleep language, curling up a little more. Her wings flexed open, then fell limp again. She looked so peaceful…
So of course his first thought was to shove his nose under her curtaining mane and nose at her. Neighing aloud, he nose-nose-nose’d at the sleeping mare. Wakie wakie!
Fluttershy startled awake with a shriek, an unfamiliar something rushing her out of her dreams. She pulled up her covers to cover her nakedness (even though she was a pony), peering around blearily. “O-oh, good morning…” she said nervously, leaning away from the affectionate wild stallion. He smiled grandly when she spoke to him. “Meep!” he’d leaned some more, putting his hooves on her bed and wanting more good morning nuzzles. “Y-yes, hello there. I’m awake.” She said shyly, turning pink in the cheeks. She rubbed the side of his face like she might an animal, and he purred in appreciation. Satisfied that she was up, Mossy jittered back and forth, making clip-clop sounds on the hardwood floor. “What is… *yawn*… what is it?” Fluttershy asked, looking at him with curious sleepy eyes. “Is something wrong?” He jittered again, tossing his head up and down. His back legs were pressing together. “Oh… oh!” she rose quickly, showing him to the door. He knew well enough not to pee on her floor (thank goodness he knew a dwelling when he saw one), so she let him outside. Mossy trotted a short distance, then stood in the middle of the yard to see to nature’s call. Fluttershy moaned a little, face-hoofing. This was going to take some getting used to.
“Oh hey there, Fluttershy!” Pinkie Pie saw the yellow Pegasus coming into Sugar Cube Corner… with a stallion at her side? “Heyyy, good to see you on your hooves, big guy.” She gave a brilliant smile to Mossy, who eyed her up and down curiously. Hadn’t he seen her before, in the sterile non-smelling place? He vaguely recalled something VERY pink being there. Maybe it had been her. “I came and visited you at the hospital when Fluttershy told us about you. You sure ate a lot of icky stuff!” she chuckled a bit. “But now that you’re here you can eat good stuff!” the pink mare leaned on the counter a bit, shifting her gaze back to Fluttershy. “The usual then, Fluttershy? A banana bread loaf and half a dozen blueberry muffins?”
“Yes, please.” Fluttershy said in her usual whispy voice, nodding daintily.
Mossy wandered away, since the alpha female was conducting mare’s business. She must’ve been powerful indeed if every day she simply received food from anypony she demanded it from. It occurred to him he’d never seen her fight, but she’d probably already established her dominance long ago and was reaping the rewards. Good stuff. Pausing mid-thought, the earth-brown stallion spotted another stallion on the far side of the room. Oh! Who was that?! He cantered quickly over to investigate before he came too close to his herd. He’d have to be stealthy.
Mr. Cake was an absent-minded stallion, going about his morning ritual of stocking the cases for display. Ponies could point to what they wanted behind the glass, and could survey just about anything they had for sale. He was a skinny, knobby-knee’d stallion, but he had a wife and foals and he was happy. Humming idly, he set a fresh tray of chocolate candies on the counter and bent to open the glass case. Adjusting his Sugar Cube Corner hat, he pawed around with a hoof until he got the clasp undone and slide the little door open. When he stood again, he noticed that one of the chocolates on the tray was missing. “I thought I made a perfect hundred…” he said, frowning. The square of ten by ten chocolates was missing one of their comrades.
Meanwhile on the other side of the counter, Mossy was crouched down and chewing on it. The skinny stallion was none the wiser! No threat was he, if he couldn’t even protect his food. Mossy decided not to attack him. Just steal his food. When the stallion leaned down again, he popped over the counter like a jack in the box and snatched another chocolate with his long tongue before ducking down again. Nom-nm-nm-nm…
Mr. Cake had prepared the little afkan for the display to sit on, and swept out yesterdays’ crumbs. When he stood erect again, he reached for the box of fresh confections. “There we g… what the…?” he frowned, leaning over the square of chocolates again. “Ten, twenty, thirty…” he counted the rows. Now there were two missing. He flicked his gaze over at Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, scratching his chin. They were some feet away, it couldn’t have been them… narrowing his eyes, the yellow stallion took a row of the chocolates and set them in the glass display case.
While Mr. Cake was focused on the shelving and making sure they were perfectly aligned, Mossy struck again. “H’omph. H’omph. Omph!” he took three that time, greedily chewing at the new food he’d just discovered. “H’omph!” when he saw the stallion rise again, he quickly hid at the floor again.
“Oh come on!” Mr. Cake gave a shout, seeing his perfect chocolate rows were all messed up now. Fluttershy and Pinkie looked over curiously. They saw Mossy ducked in front of the counter, his cheeks bulging guiltily with chocolate. Fluttershy gave a fretful squeak and Pinkie Pie covered her mouth with a hoof, giggle-snorting several times. “Do you girls know what’s going on?!” the long-necked stallion asked, leaning over the counter to try and catch whatever ninja was stealing his products. He couldn’t see all the way to the floor though, or he would’ve seen Mossy still chewing. Growling in frustration, he narrowed his eyes… “Hmm…” he squatted down slowly…
Mossy rose to take more…
“AH-HAH!” Mr. Cake jumped up like he was Spiderstallion, jabbing an accusing hoof at the green-maned stallion. “I caught you!”
There was a long silence, shop-keeper staring at wild stallion. Who would make the next move? The two mares stared. One could hear a pin drop there in Sugar Cube Corner… “OMPH-OMMPH-OMPH-OMPH!” Mossy used both front hooves to start shoveling all the chocolate he could into his mouth, cheeks bulging like a chipmunk!
“AHHHH!” Mr. Cake gave a whinny of rage and scrambled over the counter. “Give those back!”
Mossy took off running around the shop, bucking wildly and losing a chocolate here and there. The candy-maker chased him around, shouting obscenities and waving a broom to beat him with. Mossy reared and flailed his hooves, ready to fight for the sweet food he’d just stolen. Leaping up on a table he gallantly flew over Mr. Cake’s head, making the skinny stallion skid while he tried to turn.
Pinkie Pie was laughing so hard she had tears going down her cheeks, lying flat out on the counter while the two stallions rushed back and forth. Fluttershy watched them go. She knew she was going to have to pay for all this. Whimpering a little, she heaved a big breath and flared her wings a bit. That caught Mossy’s eye and he wheeled to gallop towards her. Finding solace under one of her wings, he was almost knocked down when Mr. Cake caught up to him.
“He stole my chocolates! And then he-- blehh?!” He had to stop speaking, for Mossy was in his face again. Leaning out from under Fluttershy’s wingspan, he gave a peace offering. Leaning and lifting one of Mr. Cake’s jowls, he stuffed a half-chewed chocolate into his cheek and then lowered it again. Then, he beamed at him like it was all square. “Hck!? Bleh! BLEH!!” The stallion squawked angrily, clenching his teeth and then spitting it all out.
“Oh, I’m sorry!” Fluttershy said, getting her bits purse out as quickly as she could with her shaking hooves. “H-How much?! I’m s-so sorry! He doesn’t know any better!” she actually spilled her money on the floor and gold coins went everywhere.
“Out! OUT!” Mr. Cake shouted, red in the face and roaring.
Mossy went full-defensive at all the mean mouth-sounds. The alpha mare needed him, he could see how she trembled. Turning with a neighing shout, he jostled Mr. Cake right onto his side with a grunt. The skinny, knobby-knee’d stallion went down hard. Herding the yellow Pegasus outside he pushed the door closed with his face. Time to flee! Pinkie Pie could barely watch the scene, could barely breathe, she was laughing so hard.
“Oh my…” Fluttershy stared forlornly at her empty bits purse. She’d spilled all of her money all over the floor in Sugar Cube Corner. Soft in the eyes and trying not to cry, she also tried not to think about what it meant. She had no money at all. Unless somepony came by with a sick pet, or she somehow came up with a way to get some bits, she had nothing! She sat on her haunches, burying her face in her hooves. She was broke! If only she’d kept a closer eye on her… guest!
Mossy cocked his head, not sure of what to make of it all. She looked so sad. He shuffled his lips a little in a horse-ish sound, plopping down next to her. Leaning, he set his chin atop her head. She looked up at him, eyes brimming with tears. Why was she so sad? He had the vague feeling it was because of all the hubbub in the sweet-smelling place. Maybe that other stallion had frightened her. The wild stallion sat there, firmly pressed to the yellow Pegasus, wondering how to remedy it all. Hmm. Well, his herd had six mares and one stallion (himself). Maybe he needed another stallion to help protect them. Then, she wouldn’t be frightened when an aggressor came by? Hmm… he didn’t like the idea of recruiting another stallion into his herd, but if the well-being of his leader was at stake he would have to stomach it. “Flutter-blubber-bubber…” he mumbled.
“Fluttershy.” Fluttershy corrected absently, looking into her empty bits purse still. Sighing in a depressed way, she leaned into him and pulled it closed, putting it in her saddlebag. “I didn’t even get the banana bread and blue berry muffins I wanted…” she sighed, wilting her wings. The brown stallion nosed under one of her wings and she giggled a little, ticklish. “I know, I know…” she said softly, looking at him. “I should’ve kept a closer eye on you.” Mossy took her ear into his mouth, nomming on her affectionately. “Eeek!” she squeaked, pulling quickly away with a blush. “N-none of that, now!” she scolded embarrassedly, flicking her ear a few times. He smiled at her innocently and she quickly looked away. “We’re going to have to do something for money…” she sighed. “And soon.” Mossy just then saw something amazing, and wandered off.
Big Macintosh was the biggest stallion in Ponyville, a great barrel-chested thing with a gorgeous crimson coat and a messy mane that made mares swoon. He was delightedly single, the subject of more than a few female fantasies, and stoically silent most of the time. When he set up his apple stand in the market, he sometimes had the sneaking suspicion that mares would come to buy an apple or two just to talk to him. It was a liiiiittle prideful, but like any red-blooded stallion he kind of enjoyed the attention. Just don’t tell his sister that. Smiling stoically, he waved a little when Lyra and Bon-Bon wandered away with their weekly bag of green delicious apples. Humming and putting their bits in a tried-and-true strong box, he straightened so he could address the next customer.
A brown stallion with a mossy green mane had appeared in front of the apple stand, and he was eyeing up Big Mac like one might do with a piece of livestock. The crimson draftspony shifted a little uncomfortably. The stranger scratched his chin a little, his critical eye going from Big Mac’s massive hooves, to his big chest, to the broadness of his forehead and muzzle. His lips were pressed together and to one side in a classic expression of hard thought and consideration.
“Er…?” Big Mac ventured, a single syllable to question the stallion’s motives. The brown stallion stomped his four hooves animatedly in a running motion, making circles around the apple stand. Big Mac swerved his great head back and forth with a frown, watching the odd pony do his thing. The stranger bowed forward, then reared up and flailed his hooves. He made inviting gestures, hopping up and down on his back hooves a few times. Big Mac blinked at him. The brown stallion sighed loudly, growling and going up behind the crimson stallion. Using the crown of his head, he began to push. Big Mac dug his hooves in, but the momentum was already there.
Ponies stopped to stare while the apple farmer was pushed away by his butt by another stallion who looked positively determined to take him somewhere. A mare off to one side commented about maybe trying that on Big Mac herself some other time. There was giggling.
Fluttershy, still sad and forlorn, perked her ears a little when she heard somepony coming. She looked up with a startled little yap when she saw a growly-faced Big Mac being pushed her way. There were grooves being carved into the ground from the apple farmer digging his hooves in, but it did him no good.
Big Mac saw Fluttershy and his anger evaporated, though. Why was she so upset? A look of concern came across the mute stallion’s face, and he stopped struggling. Walking forward, he leaned over the butter-colored Pegasus. Was she hurt? He looked her up and down. “O-oh, hullo Big Macintosh…” Fluttershy said softly.
“Yup?” said Big Mac curiously, honestly wondering if the crumpled pony had twisted her ankle or something and needed assistance. No wonder the strange stallion had insisted he come with him, maybe Fluttershy needed aid?
Mossy Mane leaped out from behind Big Mac, gesturing grandly to him. A new stallion for the herd! Wasn’t he big? Wasn’t he impressive? Didn’t she like him for his big-ness? Now they would be safe, and the herd would prosper with two stallions instead of just one. Mossy threw out his chest and beamed at Fluttershy, who blinked in mild confusion. “U-uhm… yes, this is Big Macintosh.” She gestured with a hoof. “Why did you go get him?” she asked softly.
Big Mac looked back and forth between them. When the brown stallion didn’t answer, only looked happy to see him, he shifted awkwardly. Then, he felt himself being shoved forward. He grunted in surprise as he was rather unceremoniously shoved into Fluttershy—who squeaked aloud—and then left that way. “Er!” he said, trying to right himself and give her back her personal space.
Mossy appeared on Fluttershy’s other side, pressing up against her with great affection. Fluttershy went crimson in the face. She was now in the middle of a Big Macintosh and Mossy Mane sandwich. She seized up in feminine distress and was unable to move, her rising panic gripping her tightly. "Eep!" she squeaked. Mossy grinned wordlessly, nickering at the prosperity of their herd. And it had only been a day or two!
End of Part 5
Fluttershy and the Wild Stallion
Part 6: Humble Hereditary History
Sometime in the Past…
The plane bobbed, sagged, chugged along through the air. The storm was abusing the old vehicle and the stallion at the controls was having to manhandle the thing to make it stay even a little steady. The baby Mossy Mane whimpered in distress, shifting in his wrappings as his mother coddled him. He jarred when the plane landed and began to cry loudly. “Ohhhh sh-sh-sh-shhhhh… you’re okay, we’re okay see?” his mother nuzzled and laid kisses over his earthy-brown face. The baby colt pressed into her, hugging her muzzle with his tiny adorable hooves. She kissed the little curl of dark green atop his head before helping him into his chest-basket for her to carry.
“Hang on, this rain is making the landing a little rough.” The stallion at the controls said. Smiling back at his wife and child briefly, he steered the plane along the runway as they came to the proper stopping spot. Shadows came out of the darkness of the storm to greet them, and as soon as the engine was off the side door popped open.
“Hullo! Glad you could make it!” Three more members of the Mane family stuck their heads in, grinning from ear to ear. “Come on out to the barn, we’ll get ya settled!” A teenage colt grabbed the nearest piece of luggage after pecking his aunt on the cheek. He hauled it away quickly so it wouldn’t get soaked down.
Taking off his pilot’s gear and undoing his safety straps, Mossy’s father got out of the seat and grabbed his own luggage. After some struggling and dashing through the rain, every pony was safe in the nearby farm’s barn. The airstrip was thankfully near, so they’d not had far to go.
Mossy was fussy, whimpering and squirming about. The wind was cold, and the rain was weeeet! He didn’t like being wet. Why didn’t momma keep him dry? He began to cry again, and lamps were lit up as the barn door was pulled shut. It was warm and dry inside, and the barn had an inviting scent of old hay, dirt and dust. “Ohhh, is this him? He’s adorablllle!” the nearest mare said, leaning over him. “He looks just like his father, my goodness!” she crooned over the little colt. He stared up at the new face, not sure what to make of her just yet. When she leaned and smooched the end of his nose, he gave a little shriek of giggles and waggled his tiny hooves at her.
“He’s a hoof-full, that’s for sure.” Mossy’s mother smiled shyly. The little one was so new he’d not met most of his family yet. They’d come by plane over a section of Everfree to meet with one branch of said family, so the herd could have a nice look at him. “Here you go, Mossy, go ahead. Say hi to your aunt and cousins?” she gingerly set the bundle down.
Most foals learn to walk within hours of its birth, and Mossy was no different. He sprang up on his stubby little legs as soon as he could untangle himself from his warm blankie. Peering around with big soft infantile eyes, he toddled around much to the delight of everypony present. He walked under them, looking up curiously. Their big long legs were like trees to him, but he felt safe among the herd that was his family.
“So how long will you be staying?” Conversation started up right away. “We got the loft ready, just like you asked. I don’t understand why you like that makeshift bedroom over the house, but you’re the guest so…” one of the mares smiled a little embarrassedly. It was a farm family, they grew Hearthswarming Eve trees—they had enough room to house everypony that came to visit them. Mossy Mane’s parents smiled softly.
“Well, a few days if that’s okay.” said Mossy’s father, leaning to hug a pony here and there now that they’d all gathered. “We like the loft since, well, it’s nice and quiet and out of the way.” He smiled, his cheek puffing out and his eyes looking to one side. The real reason was that the loft had been where Mossy was conceived, and had been the site of plenty of romantic meanderings with his wife. Staying there openly was like a romantic getaway for them, even if they were staying near family.
“I got a little nest for the squirt there all set up.” said one of the male cousins, nodding a bit. “Dinner’s in a few hours, we’ll give y’all a minute to settle in and freshen up, huh?” The family departed, leaving the husband, wife, and foal alone.
“Don’t think there’s going to be any friskiness with little Mossy around, mister.” Said Mossy’s mother as soon as they were alone. “I know how you think.” She chuckled at his wilted expression.
“Not even a little?” he playfully gave her puppy eyes.
“Maybe a little, but just a little.” She conceded. The youthful couple giggled like the newly weds they still felt like. “Come on, Mossy, we’ll get you settled for a little nappie-poo while your father and I get settled… in…?” she trailed off, for Mossy Mane was not anywhere in sight. “Mossy?” she said, lifting a hoof with a tenseness in her voice.
“Mossy?” his father called, eyes darting around quickly. “Where did he go? I only took my eyes off him for a second!” he ran over to the little blanket they’d had their son wrapped in. “Mossy!” he called again, louder and a little panicked. He rushed about the barn, checking dark places and corners.
“Oh no!” the mare suddenly cried, pointing. Her husband wheeled around. Their family had left through the front of the barn, outside was the air strip and the family house… but the barn’s back door was open too. Just enough for a foal to get out. Beyond the back door of the barn? Everfree. “Mossy!” she ran and bucked the barn doors open, eyes wide and fearful. Rain was pouring like crazy outside. “Oh Celestia! Mossy----!”
Mossy was watching the big red stallion very, very carefully. He had something attached to him that was splitting the ground and turning the soil over. He was walking slowly back and forth, pulling it behind him. It sure looked heavy. The green-maned stallion turned to check on his herd. They were gathered around a red and white speckled sheet, having lunch some distance away. Mare’s business, it seemed. Leaning, he made to get a mouthful of grass, but then he noticed something.
At any given time, at least two of the six mares seemed to be watching Big Macintosh. Watching him pull the heavy thing around. Mossy eyed the alpha mare, wondering what she thought. Now and then the butter-yellow Pegasus would take a bite of her sandwich, listening to whatever conversation was going on, then flick her eyes at both of the herd’s stallions. When their eyes met he would smile broadly back at her.
He felt really comfortable in this area. The big red structure was roomy, there were lots and LOTS of fruit-bearing trees around… it was great! Curiously all the fruit-bearing trees had the same fruit on them, but Mossy was not about to complain about this. Food was a constant worry in the wild, so having a place that had so much food was a blessing. He marveled at the grand fortune his herd seemed to have. His eyes slid back over the barn for a long few moments. Hmm. Why did it look familiar? He’d not been here before, had he? The shape looked familiar. Mossy gave a loud huff and hunched when suddenly his head throbbed. He whimpered for a moment, rubbing his temple with one hoof. Owwie!
Fluttershy saw her strange friend suffering and went over to him. The rest of the group watched her go, but made no comment. Their Pegasus friend had been doing her very best to take care of the strange stallion—they weren’t about to poke fun. That is, until, Rainbow Dash caught Rarity’s eye and made a lewd gesture with both hooves, grinning. Rarity swatted the back of her head, very unlady-like. Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes.
“Are you, uhm, okay?” Fluttershy asked when she neared Mossy.
Mossy looked up, ears perked. He smiled grandly as the alpha mare approached. His throbbing, trying-to-remember headache vanished, and he came near to her. She yipped a little when he settled his chin on her shoulder. It wasn’t really nuzzling, but a sort of friend-hug with just his neck. “Pb-b-b-b-ht.” he ruffled his lips in a greeting. “Flutter-shabababab.” He tried.
“Fluttershy.” She whispered, a little pink in the cheeks from the close male contact. She backed up a little, looking out at Big Mac as he plodded back and forth in the field. His face had a far-away look on it, his thoughts elsewhere, she could tell. “Uhm, have you been watching Big Macintosh?” she said in a friendly way. “He’s nice, huhm?” she gestured with her head to him. “Maybe you two will get along, since neither of you talk very much?” the quiet mare said meekly, looking at his hooves.
Mossy looked over at Big Mac with Fluttershy gestured to him. He didn’t understand her mouth-sounds, but the ‘go on’ gesture was clear. She obviously wanted him to do something with the herd’s new stallion. Did they need to fight, for mounting privileges? Mossy didn’t know if he could win. Or oh, wait wait wait. He leaned around Fluttershy, looking at the other mares of his herd. They were watching Big Mac go back and forth with the heavy thing that split the ground. Ah! He understood!
Leaning, he nosed Fluttershy (who eep’d and turned red) and then hopped over the fence into the dirt field. Galloping over to Big Mac, he shouldered up to his new friend with a big grin.
Big Mac regarded him with a curious look, pulling his plow along. He watched the strange pony, who had been explained to him as a ‘wild stallion’, lean and take one of the leather straps in his teeth. He made to protest, but watched him pull it over his neck. The plow had straps enough for two ponies to pull it, though Big Mac was strong enough to do it alone—now he had a pulling partner apparently.
Mossy looked over at Fluttershy with a great big smiling face. She watched him from afar, tilting her head a little. What was he doing? Helping Big Mac? Ohhh, how nice. She favored both stallions with a shy smile, flapping her wings a couple of times.
Hah! Mossy knew it! The heavy thing that split the ground was a tool that stallions used to get approval from their mares! Look! Look how he could pull the heavy thing! Why, he could even pull it faster than the big red stallion could, just watch! He could impress the entire herd all at once.
“Whuhhh!?” Spilled out of Big Mac’s mouth as Mossy Mane suddenly jolted forward with a burst of strength. The farming stallion staggered forward as his plow hit him in the butt and he ran recklessly to keep up. With both boys pulling, the blade moved quite quickly.
The startled cry got the attention of all six mares, who turned and stared in shock as Mossy ran back and forth with the plow and Big Mac in tow. Vrooom! Vrrrrrooom! Vrrooom! Vrrooom! They arced back and forth, carving straight lines through the dirt as they went. Mossy understood the straight lines and making the whole field look like lines, he could do that. Vroom! “Well criminity, I think he’s trying to show up Big Mac!” Applejack laughed, stomping a hoof with laughter. The other mares nodded dumbly, watching the crazy pony go. A short time later, most of the field finished, Mossy slowed to a crawl, sweating and panting loudly. “Y’know, if he wants to help at the farm while he’s trying to get used to regular life, ah don’t see why we don’t just hire him on!” Applejack snickered behind a hoof, eying her brother. Big Mac was covered with blots of dirt, and looked just as miserable as Mossy. Both stallions flopped down beside each other, still strapped to the plow. “Just look’it how fast they got that field done!”
Fluttershy worriedly went out to see both stallions, and the rest of the group drifted that way too. Mossy glowed despite his misery. It had worked! Pulling the heavy thing meant mare attention, maybe nuzzles too! The alpha mare leaned over him, her mouth sounds soft and sounding concerned. He pulled himself to his hooves, throwing his chest out, still panting.
Applejack came, bearing a bucket of drinking water for both boys. Big Mac lapped and drank noisily, not used to such sudden strain. It was like sprinting, but for way too long. Mossy shoved his head into the bucket, drinking when it was his turn, sploshing water everywhere. When he righted himself the bucket stuck to his head. He whinnied a little, flailing about until it came off. Then he was all smiles again, water dripping down his front. “Uh-well listen!” Applejack smiled awkwardly, turning to Fluttershy. “Ah ain’t one to turn down extra help, so here’s some bits for his hard work. Ah don’t want him to try an’ eat them or somethin’, so I’ll leave ‘em with you, alrigh’?” the stetson’d mare leaned and presented Fluttershy with a tiny little bag of golden coins.
Fluttershy perked a little. Money! She was so strapped for bits she couldn’t help but look a little entranced at it. She looked over at Mossy, smiling gratefully. They’d be okay for a little while with this much. “Th-thank you.” She said softly to Applejack, nodding some from behind her mane. When the picnic was over and Mossy had recovered enough for the journey back to Fluttershy’s home, the two of them walked side-by-side.
He glanced over his shoulder at the barn, his mouth a neutral line for a few long moments. It really did look familiar, the shape of that building. He couldn’t understand why. He’d never been to that particular place before. Huh. He’d seen the rest of the herd wander off to their own devices. Perhaps they’d meet up later for grazing? He didn’t know. The new stallion he’d picked out looked tired, he’d catch up to them later, no doubt. Hmm… “Flutter-shabubub-bab.” Mossy said to her, smiling in his usual charming way.
“We’ll get you to say my name someday.” Fluttershy sighed, smiling. She then flinched and blushed at what she’d just said. Why, it sounded almost… dirty, to say it like that! Oh dear! “We got a little money thanks to you.” She quickly praised, changing the subject. “I’ll get you a blanket for tonight, so you’ll have your own little nest other than just the couch or the floor.” Her eyebrows bunched into a fretful little hieroglyph on her forehead. It wasn’t as though she could share her bed with him. He needed his own sleeping stuff.
Thunder and lightning exploded across the sky, making Fluttershy toss and turn in her bed. Her little cottage moaned and creaked in the harsh winds. Sighing softly and knowing sleep would not come easy, she lay staring at the ceiling. She still didn’t have a name for her friend. He didn’t have a cutie mark, and he never said anything so she could really think of a great one. His mane was dark green like the deepest of forest mosses, and his brown coat reminded the yellow mare of a rich and fertile earth. She could hardly name him after his colors, but that was really all she had.
Ka-boom! Thunder rattled the windowsills again, and the Pegasus became aware there was a figure in her bedroom doorway. It was Mossy, and he looked frightened out of his wits! Standing there shaking and trembling and looking around, he jittered on his hooves and made whimpering sounds at her. His eyes were big and soft, and his new powder-blue blanket was hanging in his mouth. He set it down on the floor, “Flutter-shabaaaab!” he whimpered, his eyes watering. He looked claustrophobic, looking at the ceiling and all the furniture and strange angles. He was used to open spaces, and bushes to hide under during such severe weather. Ka-boom! He flinched like he’d been struck. “Flutter-shaaaa!” he wailed louder, lower lip quivering. Unfamiliar place, scary loud weather, the poor thing was shaking like a leaf. Would his alpha mare not protect him?!
“Oh my…” Fluttershy whispered, eyeing the grown stallion. He was so frightened, he was like a foal. Her knowledge of animals told her that any shift in habitat combined with something stressful like a thunderstorm was enough to wrack the nerves of any creature—much less a wild pony. Looking around quickly, she spotted a little love seat sitting against the wall. Rising from the bed, she pushed it until it was lined up with her bed (not QUITE touching it). “Come on. Here.” She patted the loveseat a couple of times. He cantered close, inspecting it and sniffing a bit. “Up. Up-up.” She patted it a few times, encouraging him. He tested the soft surface with a hoof, then clambered up into it and settled onto his belly. Mossy looked around nervously as Fluttershy went to fetch his blanket. Draping it over him with a kind smile, she slid back into her bed. Hopefully being near her would soothe him.
Ka-boom! Mossy yelped like he’d been slapped, pulling the blanket over his head fearfully. He didn’t like it! He didn’t like the big noise in the strange place that he didn’t know where it was! He missed the forest! He missed the ferns he could hide under and be away from the rain! Fluttershy lifted her head a little bit when she heard him begin to start crying. Her expression softened sympathetically. Many animals feared loud storms, the poor thing… Sidling a little , sure the sheet was still over her and his blanket over him, she opened a wing to caress his back a few times. The stallion shifted so his nose was poking out and sniffled some. “Flutter-shahhh…” he mewled softly.
“There-there…” she whispered quietly in the darkness to him. “Fluttershy. Fluttershy is here.” She tried to coax him into her real name since he wouldn’t be sleeping anytime soon.
“Flutter-shabbab…” he whispered, perking his ears a little.
“Fluttershy.” She cooed softly, glad to distract him. They looked into eachother's eyes. She almost felt motherly all of a sudden, like he was her frightened foal—come to be safe with her from the scary storm. Fluttershy didn’t fear thunderstorms, she’d taken basic weather classes like any other Pegasus. But, he was an earth pony, the poor dear had every right to be frightened of the big noise and scary lights. She sighed, a quiet smile coming over her face. “Flutter?” she whispered.
“Fluttershy!” She tried to get him to put all the syllables together.
Mossy put it all together finally. How could he have been so blind at pronouncing the alpha mare’s name? Now he had it! “Fluttershit!” he belted proudly. Fluttershy gaped at him until thunder struck and he hid under his blanket again.
End of Part 6
After a long time of not writing on this story, I simply lost all interest in it to be perfectly honest. Anypony is perfectly welcome to steal the entire idea if they like, I've gone as far as I'd like to with it. It also smells a bit like Twilight and the Spartan Stallion . I've dropped into the rather bad habit of writing a different flavor of the same story over and over, so I decided to scrap this before I beat a dead... er... well, before I expose my limited views to a few too many readers. They deserve fresh new material, not the same basic idea over and over. So, this one comes to the scrap file as well. Sorry everypony. :(
Our Mom Princess Luna
Part 1: A is for Adoption
Princess Luna sat quietly upon her throne, looking about rather apprehensively. There was a certain nervousness about her, as though she were expecting somepony to jump out from behind a column with a torch and pitchfork to lynch her. Her return had been met with caution, odd looks, and even some fear. Nightmare Night had gone well in the end, yes, but things were still shifting with her in the public eye. She wasn’t sure what sort of image she should be presenting. If the Royal Canterlot Voice and the Royal We no longer existed, she would need to really work herself to modernize.
Oh sure, there had been some delightful pranks already involving a microwave, a phonogram, the electric light, and other things. Her sister Celestia had had more than her share of fun scaring, startling, and showing off all the modern inventions that ponies had come up with over the past thousand years. Why, only a few days ago Luna had sworn she’d seen a pink earth pony mare ride by in a hoof-powered flying machine. Who knew earth ponies would someday take to the skies like that?!
“Yes!?” Luna startled out of her thoughts, her wings snapping open and to attention.
The stallion that had spoken leaned back a little fearfully, lifting a hoof like he might bolt. “Er, your mail?” he offered a silvery platter up at her from the bottom of the dais.
“O-oh.” Luna said, cocking her head. Taking it with a flick of magic, she set the stack of private mail next to herself. By private mail, one means the mail that had not been stopped by secretaries, petition-grabbers, other ponies that handled smaller things like that. The night time Princess, like any other pony, did in fact still get junk mail. Rolling her eyes with a little smile, she peered down at it with interest. “Oh! I may already be a winner?” she said, eyes wide at the red-striped envelope before her. “Nonsense, I’ve entered no contest!” she ripped it open and began to read. “Piffle.” She flicked the paper with alicorn magic, making it burst into flames. More than one guard flinched. She flipped through the others, mumbling down names and things she did not recognize. Then she saw a golden seal on a return address and it caught her eye. “What’s this?” she murmured. Taking it from the stack she opened it. It was a bank statement:
Dear Princess Luna,
We, the First Bank of Equestria welcome you back from your extended leave of absence and wish to inform you that your account is still active, open, and has been properly maintained by our finest accountants for the past thousand and one years. If you would like to review your funds or have any questions, please come and see us and we will be glad to discuss any details. Our interest-gathering rates have fluxuated with the economy over the centuries, but your sister Princess Celestia has seen to it that all your affairs were maintained and in order.
We also wish to inform you that your account has been switched from inactive savings to active checking, and bestow all benefits therein. We look forward to doing business with you in any and all financial pursuits you may have in the future.
Happy New Year!
Sincerely, Penny Earned, President and CEO of The First Bank of Equestria
Luna frowned thoughtfully, setting the rest of her mail aside. She would have to see about this. If her sister had been maintaining her coffers over the centuries, the interest was bound to be quite a sum. Perhaps she could refurnish her ancient bedroom, redecorate the Lunar Chapel, or something of the sort.
“Princess Luna, are you alright?” the banker across from the Princess asked with concern. She was a deep green thing with a money sign on her rump, a pearl necklace and stuff-looking vest on. “You seem… pale.” She said, pushing a little glass of water her way. Silence reigned in the bank office for almost a full ten seconds.
“Seven BILLION bits!” Luna exploded, shuddering the ceiling-high windows a bit. “Accounting for inflation that is still… still… outrageous! Our private coffers have never been so bountiful!” The dark alicorn leaned forward. “Art thou sure thy caculations are correct?” she squinted a little at the modern calculator sitting on the desk.
“Yes of course, your Majesty!” said the mare, cocking her head a little. “We have ledgers and ledgers of the private royal accounts, if you’d like to see them.” She rose from her desk, pressing a hidden panel. The portrait of a piggy bank on the wall swung on a hinge, revealing a safe. After some crafty hoofwork turning the dial this way and that, the thick steel door swung open as well. The inside was filled with drawers, and she pulled the top one. It was marked with the Lunar Royal Crest. Luna noted the Solar Royal crest was on the SECOND drawer down, interesting… Getting a thick, leather-bound ledger from the drawer, the banking president turned about and brought it to her, blowing dust off of it. “It all here, of course. Your compound interest rates over time, economic investments dating back to before you were away—” there was an awkward pause there. “Why, you bought most of the stock to a hay company that grew into the biggest in Equestria! That alone was enough to make you rather wealthy in your private accounts, Princess.” She turned the book about for Luna to scan.
The alicorn leaned, flicking her eyes back and forth over the numbers. A dozen or so calculations ran through her head. Turning a bit, she conjured a wooden abacus from nothing. The banker stared as the Princess worked, and opened her mouth. “Hush.” Luna said rather firmly, working back and forth with the beads. She flipped a page, her magic clicking back and forth with her device. The guards by the door looked at each other with wry smiles. Her Majesty was not only an artist but a mathematical genius, they’d learned in the short months since her return. She’d often spend hours looking out the window from her throne, moving singular stars until they were just so, because the angles were ‘wrong’. Click. Click-click-clickclick-k-k-click. This went on for a rather nerve-wracking amount of time, pages flipping as she went. When the banker was sure she was about to fall asleep, the alicorn suddenly SNAPPED the ledger closed with ghusto. “Commendable. Your margin of error is less than seven-eighteenth’s of a percent. Only approximately twenty-eight million of those bits are not mine.” She gestured to the abacus, as though that would tell the mortal mare everything. “But, very well done for a thousand year’s worth of book-keeping!” she smiled in praise, making everypony else blink at her curiously. “Make it a round twenty-nine million, and donate that odd money from my account to a worthy charity in my name, will you?” she stood slowly, vanishing the abacus with magic.
“O-of course…” the money-flanked mare looked a little pale. Twenty-nine million bits as a margin of error?! Outrageous! Then again, a thousand years was a long time. There was bound to be a one that didn’t get carried here, or a hooffull of bits that went unaccounted for there. But… but it was the Royal Private Coffers! She was so sure that everything had been perfectly maintained. It was a blow to her pride and to her bank.
“Be not sad, madam president banker.” Luna said, offering a comforting smile and folding her wings. “Ninety-nine percent accuracy is more than most ponies ever become in their life-long mathematics. What you’ve been working with is well over fifteen lifetimes. We art pleased with thou!” she emphasized, which seemed to make Penny Saved feel much better. “Please, maintain my account as thou has been, and we shalt do business together again soon!” she offered a kinder smile, rising and turning away.
“Y-yes, of course!” Penny said, heaving a sigh of relief. She could not imagine even one pony that would be pleased about a misplaced twenty-nine million bits, but leave it to an immortal alicorn to say it was okay and give it to charity. “See you again soon, Your Majesty.” She rose and bowed as the alicorn left. The guards nodded once in an official way, then turned to follow her.
Luna sat pensive on her balcony as the moon slowly slid towards the horizon by her will. The night was almost over, but she had much to think about and many things troubled her. Near the top of the list, however, was her sudden explosion of finances. What could she possibly do with over seven billion bits? Charities? Hospitals? Roads? Foreign trade?
The black alicorn stroked her chin a bit, then reached and plucked a star from the sky. Shining it on her breast for a moment, she put it back and watched it twinkle for a bit. Maybe she should do nothing at all? The money had sat perfectly fine in the bank for a thousand years. She was, in fact, a Princess. She had everything she could ever want and more. She lived in a palace with a grand library, a sister that loved her, a harem of stallions to cuddle her and feed her chocolates, a court that hung on her every word. “I don’t need it at all.” She said it aloud to taste the words. “Tia was kind to maintain our accounts for us, but such an outrageous sum is too much for anypony to handle wisely. Not even us.” She looked down at
her gilded hooves, deep in thought.
She spent the next twenty minutes wrapping her mind around the number itself. Billion. ‘Billion’ was a word she’d only ever used for stars. There were so many that was close to the correct word when it came to the ones that could be seen with the naked eye and telescopes. She plucked another star, shined it after breathing on it for a moment, then replaced it in the sky precisely where she’d found it. Cocking her head, she nudged it to the left a little. Perfect.
Luna sighed aloud, feeling the weight of responsibility weigh on her. The money was doing nopony any good just sitting there, and it was bothering her. The kind-hearted Princess entertained a number of scenerios. Charity, perhaps? Like she’d done with the money that had been conjured by bad math? The bank might suffer a bit for that, but they would rebuild if they were truly still the bank both Princesses brought their patronage to. Maybe she could give it all to education? To hospitals? Old folks homes? Homeless shelters?
She frowned a bit. Dumping seven billion bits into the economy so suddenly was probably not the best of ideas. Lop-siding the weight of money on any scale or set of businesses could spell economic disaster for years. She didn’t want to give it to struggling businesses, they were struggling for a reason. Not to larger companies either, they would not be obligated to spend it and might hoard it away for self-interests. Perhaps to the common pony? She chuckled a little, imagining sending a thousand bits to everypony in Equestria. But even then there would be billions left over, and a lot of citizens would scratch their heads and wonder if their night Princess was trying to buy friendship or something of the sort. The dark alicorn wilted at the thought. She was still under public scrutiny, sort of, since not many ponies could separate her from Nightmare Moon yet. The public spotlight was not kind, so she’d stayed out of it for the moment.
Sighing tiredly, Luna put her chin on the railing of her balcony. The cool stone soothed her worried, hot neck. She stared at the streets below, the ponies who had jobs before the crack of dawn stumbling about in their half-wakefulness. Night was a time for rest, relaxation, lovemaking and comfort. Quiet time and soothing bristles of the cold breeze. It was nippy in early December, after all, and she could see her breath. Mumbling worriedly, she made to turn away but gave a start when there was commotion below.
A trash can was pitched over, spilling its contents out into the street. Luna squinted, her alicorn magic giving her sight beyond sight to see the scene up close. A garbage pony had roughly revealed the hideout of a scrappy-looking homeless foal, who ran yelping from his little hovel-nest. “Git outta here, kid!” the grown stallion shook an angry hoof. “I dun need you, rippin’ bags open for scraps and makin’ my job harder! Its miserable enough bein’ out here ‘fore the crack’a dawn doin’ this!” Luna frowned at him, but yelling at a child was hardly reason for divine wrath and being struck with lightning. Instead, her eyes followed the little foal as he scampered up a fire escape, leapt from a roof and hid behind a chimney. There, he panted and shivered for a time. He’d left all his blankets behind, along with whatever else he’d had in his fear of the garbage pony. He had little black bags under his eyes, and his ribs were showing a bit. Who was that? Did he not have a mother and father to care for him? No home or family? Why did he look so pale and sickly? The Princess who had more than plenty watched him with interest as he found a new alley to stay in. Heaving open a dumpster and rooting around for a bit, he found one that was full of folded boxes instead of regular trash. His face lit up, and he leapt inside. Making a nice cozy hovel in there, he flopped onto his belly with what seemed to be a content sigh.
“Content among boxes and filth, little one?” Luna murmured sadly. “Why not run to a homeless shelter? An orphanage? Surely they would care for thee?” She opened her wings to go speak with him directly, but he’d already curled up and fallen asleep. The boxes insulated him nicely, and other than the growly sounds of his little belly he looked content. The dark alicorn watched his breath rise and fall for a long time. She could not bear it.
The Goddess turned her eyes to other alleyways, wondering if the foal was one of a kind. But no, there were others. Lost foals. Why no grown ponies? Who was casting out all these children? Why? It made Luna angry, and she scowled. There was something wrong here, very wrong indeed. Canterlot was a city of splendors and while no city was without its crime, violence or underbelly, homeless foals was too personal. Luna had been alone for a thousand years, and she’d be damned by her mother Faust herself if she allowed this to continue. “I know what I must do.” She whispered, her breath coming in a slow, hot stream of steam. “Boundless wealth before me, and endless misery beneath me. I know what I must do.” She nodded to confirm it to herself, then LEAPT from the balcony as her wings snapped open. The cold rushed by her, but it only made her feel the rush, feel more alive. “Won’t Tia be surprised?” she giggled a bit. Song rushed into her heart as she swooped back and forth between the buildings:
End of Part 1
Our Mom Princess Luna
Part 2: B is for Boys
Princess Luna looked out over the little herd. They were in various states of fear, revere, and curiousity. She’d found a rather staggering thirty of them after a flight over Canterlot. THIRTY abandoned foals sleeping in dark alleys, in boxes and in abandoned buildings in the middle of the cold season. The poor things, she couldn’t stand it! Scowling for a moment, she saw the ripple of fear in the group and quickly wiped her face. “Er,” she said, cocking her head. “We art Princess Luna.” She announced to them. “I have decided to adopt thee.” She told them officially. “Thou shalt all live with me in the palace, be fed and cared for, and kept from the cruel elements. I shalt provide for thee.” She gave them the short and simple version. The herd of foals, none of them more than twelve, looked at each other. A hoof went up. “Yes, little one?” Luna leaned.
“You talk funny!” said the little colt, blinking at her. “What’d you say?”
“Child!” Luna said, taken aback. “Mine dialect is merely… merely…” she frowned a bit. It was true, she was a little out of touch with the modern lexicon. “Er, forgive me. I’m not very good at the modern tongue.” She mumbled.
“Are you really gonna take care of us?” said another little colt, peering up at her in awe. Luna nodded some, her expression softening. “Wow!” he said, his face lighting up. “Wow! The Princess is gonna be our momma!” he scampered back into the gaggle of foals, who cheered and chattered amongst themselves.
Luna smiled more genuinely, cocking her head and watching them all talk amongst themselves. She did very suddenly notice something odd, though. Among the thirty of them, they were all colts, save one filly. She was orange with a magenta mane, and was looking around the room with a silent, thoughtful expression. The goddess did note that her ribs were showing a bit from malnutrition. Her heart ached a little. She would need to assemble a staff of ponies to feed, bath, and give medical attention to all her new… foals. Her foals. She liked the sound of it to be honest.
Closing her wings in a slow, nonthreatening way, Luna settled onto her belly so she could see some of them closer. The brave ones peered at her, came a little closer, and the more cowardly ones hung back in the middle of the herd. Most of them looked like they recognized each other—though they’d all come from the cruel streets of homelessness, so it wasn’t a stretch. “My children!” Luna called out over the crowd after a time. There was hush. “My children! You must first learn the face of your caregivers! Are you ready?” she told them. There was a smattering of nodding and some curious looks.
Luna stomped a hoof twice. Her double-doors sprang open and a pair of guards came in. Both stallions looked started at the assembly of foals. They’d not come in the bedroom door, how did they get in?! Surely not the balcony!? Both armored ponies came quickly forward. “Er, don’t worry Princess! We’ll get these little rapscallions out of here for you!” The pair began to herd them all in a pressed-together group.
“Neigh.” The Princess commanded, raising a hoof. “They are here by my hoof. They stay.” She told both her guards. They stared at her in confusion. “Lion Heart. Shield Breaker—these are my children.” She gestured grandly. Both stallions went slack-jawed, staring at the huge group. The foals stared back at them with a mix of fear and curiosity.
“A-all of them, your majesty?” Lion Heart said, pulling off his helm and staring at her in confusion. “But there’s… there’s at least two dozen of them!”
“A proper thirty, my charge.” Luna said, nodding with a regal frown. “And you shalt learn of them, for they are your responsibilities now too.” She saw the golden-maned stallion go pale with nervous revulsion, looking down at the tiny herd. They stared at him with big eyes, eyeing his shiny armor and big muscles. He was kind’a scary! “My children! This is Lion Heart, and Shield Breaker!” she gestured to one, then the other. “You may rely on them for safety if something bad happens. They are calm, gelded, powerful stallions and they—”
A little hoof went up like a shot. “What’s ‘gelded’?” a voice piped.
“Er, well…” Luna kicked herself mentally for describing her soldiers in such an adult manner. Foals didn’t need to know of such things, but she’d still used a protocol version of their description. “That is… eh…” she tried to find a foal-friendly way of putting it for them all. The group stared at her intently.
“It means he doesn’t have a peepee!” A foal in the back squealed. There was a massive GASP of horror. No peepee!? How could he not have a peepee!? Lion Heart and Shield Breaker both fidgeted uncomfortably as the mass of colts rushed to have a curious look at them. They pawed at their armor, pushed on their muscled legs and reared up to see if they could be pushed over. Both stallions peered back and forth as they were used as jungle gyms. Luna stared, a little slack-jawed. They were like a massive herd of puppies, not ponies. They crawled all over everything like a great mass, taking security in the size of the group. A ripple of ‘no peepee!’ passed repeatedly back and forth between them all, laced with concern and fearfulness. Would they lose their peepee’s too if they stayed with Princess Luna?!
“Enough!” Luna scolded the group, stamping an authoritative hoof. “There will be no more talk of peepee’s tonight!” she couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth, and she saw Shield Breaker trying very hard not to burst into laughter. The colts all giggled aloud, but were glared into submission when they saw her face. Some of them wilted down to their bellies, sinking down. The two stallions bowed to their Princess, carefully stepping out of the herd and to safety. “Ahem… we shalt have lessons on what is or is not appropriate in our new home, yes?” she tried to be more pleasant.
“Peepee envy.” Somecolt stage-whispered. There was giggling. The words rippled through the herd and there was louder laughter.
“It is NOT peepee envy!” Luna snapped. Then she caught herself and facehoof’d. Louder giggling. They’d been there all of five minutes and THIS was how they treated their new mother figure? “Alright boys.” She took a deep breath to steady herself. Her royal wrath would no doubt traumatize them, but she was not about to let them walk over her by the sheer size of the group. “It tiz late, and I’ve snatched thee from thy normal… er… lodgings.” It was the wrong word and she knew it, but she wasn’t going to say dumpster or box or anything. It was too cruel. “It is time for sleep, and we shalt work out food and such on the morrow.” They stared at her with blank expressions. She stared back. There was a long silence. Oh, she finally realized. “Ahem. We’ll have breakfast and play tomorrow.” She tried again.
“We get to EAT here?!” one of them gasped. The herd chattered back and forth again, joy in their faces. The single filly in the crowd didn’t look so sure, but she said nothing different from the rest of the herd. Luna saw she stayed near the middle of the crowd where it was safest. Some itching feeling told her the little orange Pegasus was special in some way. She didn’t know how, though. So many, many colts out on the street, and but one filly to be found? Though any foal in such a situation was sad… if she was some anomaly from the cruel ‘norm’, there must’ve been a reason. Well, therapy and such could wait until at least tomorrow, surely. The Princess knew none of her children yet, and they needed to know that she would care for them.
“Yes.” Luna confirmed with a smile. “You will eat here, three times a day. And sometimes snacks too.” She watched their smiles grow and grow, and for a moment she thought they might burst. She considered feeding them right away, but if she did they would be up all night. Starting them on a proper eating schedule to rebuild their poor little bodies would mean resetting their biological eating and sleeping clocks. Perhaps once those were molded back to the norm, other things could be worked on to help them. Until then, though, it was sleeping time. Lighting her horn, the Princess of the night closed the balcony doors and dismissed her two guards. When things were secure, she lit the hearth with magic to heat the place nicely. Opening her closet, she got blankets and began to pass them out. As a princess, she had a rather nice excess, and everypony got one. They began to cluster together, mostly around the fire, to settle down. Reaching, she turned the lamps down to make the room dark. “Good night little ones.” She said softly.
There was silence and darkness, but the Princess could feel eyes on her. She walked slowly to her bed, as not to step on any of them. Pulling the curtains open, she found no less than five of her children already curled up on it. She smiled a little tiredly, and turned to the couch. Four of them cramped together there. Her sitting pillow? No, that was taken up too. Where would she sleep? She turned a slow circle, and saw a set of pastel purple eyes looking at her from the left of the hearth. The singular filly of the herd. Luna’s expression turned neutral. There was vast, cautious intelligence in those eyes. She didn’t know why, but those eyes seemed so much older than they should’ve been. They were large, expressive, and a little reproachful. As if to say ‘how dare you’ something-or-another. There was strength in them. She respected anypony that could look her in the eyes and not tremble in fear or star-struck adoration. Slowly, the alicorn approached the filly who was settled by the fire. “There’s room.” The little filly said, gesturing. The boys were curled up this way and that in a nice semi-circle around the hearth, but there was a little space for one or two more bodies.
“Thank you.” Luna said, sinking to her belly next to her. “What is your name, little one?” she asked softly, as not to wake the others who’d already passed out in exhaustion. The orange filly studied her a little, as if unsure whether to answer or not. “Please tell us? We wish to know so we know our one daughter’s name.” she gestured gently, showing her the carpet of colts around the room.
“Scootaloo.” She said softly, sidling a little closer until she was side by side with the princess. “Are you really gonna be everypony here’s Mom?” she said, her voice whispery and unsure. She looked up at her Majesty with those big, soft eyes. Like she didn’t want to believe such a wonderful thing was true.
“Yes, little Scootaloo.” Luna extended her wing slowly, resting it on the filly’s back as they lay in front of the fire. “And I shalt be thy mother as well.” She leaned to nuzzle her, but Scootaloo shied away a little. The Princess smiled softly. “Forgive me.” She said guiltily. “I’ve always wanted children, merely never had any.” She stared into the fires for a bit, silent. She turned to check on the colts. They lay everywhere throughout the room, pressed together like so many adorable little warm bodies.
Scootaloo didn’t move away, merely laid down with her blanket and the Princess’ wing over her back. The weight of comfort and feathers was… nice, she had to admit. She was wary of the massive alicorn, but if she was going to feed and care for everypony, maybe she could stick around. “Well, now you have lots of us.” Scootaloo smiled quietly, turning and sticking her head under her blanket. Luna knew there was more to the child then met the eye. Why else would the colts consciously keep her at the center mass of their little street-herd? Odd that they already seemed to have some sort of foal-herd mentality when she'd picked them up from all over the city...
End of Part 2
A/N: This sat on the back-burner so long i lost interest in it. Sorry folks. :(