The city was bustling in the morning sun, as Seb climbed out of his abandoned dumpster that hadn’t been used in years. He had slept there all night and was now rubbing the kinks out of his back and neck. He ran his fingers through his long, unkempt, brown hair and shook out the dirt. With a bright smile on his face, and making sure his trusty knife was safely in his jeans pocket, Seb stepped out into the city streets. University Avenue was packed with students rushing to morning classes, while street vendors struggled to keep up with the demands of hungry students. It was perfect for Seb. He walked up to a vendor that was selling hot waffles and quickly snagged a fresh waffle the cook wasn’t paying attention to and walked off, stuffing his face quickly. He smirked as he heard a voice call “thief” behind him and began running, disappearing into the crowd of students. It was like a badge of honor to be called ‘thief’ like that, and he wore it with pride. After vanishing into the city, Seb began his rounds. He spent his day walking around town looking for jobs, not the typical jobs like construction or janitor or whatever. See, he was a professional thief. Well, he wasn’t on the grid, but he liked to consider himself a professional. He would, and could, steal just about anything.
Seb finally made it down town after an hour of walking and found a client. His “office” in down town was a lonely park bench under a tree. People from the underworld of the city, mostly other crooks, knew if they wanted to commission Seb to steal something, they’d have to wait on the bench until he arrived. This time, Seb was a little unsure of his newest client. The old man wore a tight, three piece suit and held a very expensive looking cane as he looked at a very expensive looking pocket watch. Seb looked at his own clothes. Nothing special, just some jeans he found in a dumpster and a shirt he had taken from a previous job. He shook his head and walked over to the bench, sitting down beside the old man. Maybe he was just lost and didn’t know what the bench meant to most people in the city.
“Seb is fine,” he said, cutting the old man off.
“I have a job for you,” The man said. He spoke very slowly and deliberately, which made Seb feel a little uneasy.
“How big of a job?” Seb asked, crossing his leg over top his other one.
“Nothing major.” The old man pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Seb.
Seb briefly touched the old man’s hand. It felt cold and covered in baby powder, the scent of scotch briefly crossed Seb’s nose. He unfolded the note and saw a picture of a disk in a case with strange writing on it. Under the picture was an address. Seb looked up at the old man, confused.
“What the hell is this, gramps?” Seb asked, reaching into his pocket for his knife. The old man didn’t seem right.
The man reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a folded up envelope and handed it to Seb. The thief opened the envelope and looked at the money inside. He didn’t stop to take time and count the $100 bills but he guessed there were 10 or more inside. He quickly closed it up and looked at the old man.
“Where do you want me to drop it off at?” Seb asked. The old man sighed and leaned heavily on his cane to lift himself up into a slouched position. He looked as if the simplest of breezes could push him over.
“Just bring it back here when you get it,” he said and turned back towards the entrance to the park.
“Wait, Gramps,” Seb said. The man stopped. “You’re paying me a grand to get a DVD, and bring it back here? I’m not an idiot, what the fuck is this?”
“That money is just an advanced payment; I have much more if you succeed. That ‘DVD’, as you call, is the future,” The man said and started walking off again.
Seb was going to stop the man again and ask him more questions, but after looking at the money again, his greed and pride got the best of him, and he headed towards the address on the paper.
The address led him to a simple laboratory that was once an ice cream shop in the 70’s. He waited until nightfall to return and stake out the place. The next evening he returned, enjoying a burger he had stolen on the way there. As soon as the last man left the lab, Seb’s job began. The street lights provided just enough shadows for him to slink through. The only door into the lab was, of course, locked tight, but that wasn’t an issue for Seb. He grabbed the handle with his right hand and, with a simple twist, broke it off completely. His strength wasn’t something he’d practice before or even trained for; it was just a talent he’d always had. He tossed the broken doorknob into the nearby bushes and stepped back so the door could swing open. He slipped inside and wandered down the hallway, looking at the doors for any indication his prize might be there.
“God, this is so simple. These people don’t even have cameras. I’ve been in houses with more security than this,” Seb said to himself. He even dared to whistle a tune while he wandered the halls.
He finally came to a room with the title “Test Room A” and opened the door. It wasn’t even locked for heaven’s sake! Seb chuckled and walked in, turning the light on as he did. The room was typical for an experimenting room; it had gadgets and computers and other stuff Seb couldn’t even begin to understand, but that wasn’t what caught his eye. Sitting across the room from him on a table was a glass box with the disk sitting inside. It was all prettied up for some type of show or something. They were just making this way too easy. He’d take the disk, box and all, and give it to the old man like a gift wrapped up in a box on Christmas day. If he was lucky, the old man would pay him double. He walked over to the box, made sure it wasn’t hooked up to anything, and picked it up. Sirens blared, scaring Seb half to death making him nearly drop the box. The door he had come from locked itself and bars rolled down from the top of the door frame and lock into the floor below.
“Well fuck,” Seb muttered. He heard laughing from the other side of the door and walked over to it. The door had a small window which was filled with the face of a man.
“I knew Cornelius would try and take the disk, but I didn’t think he’d hire some petty street thief., The man behind the door said. He was actually having a hard time keeping himself from laughing too hard.
“Some petty street thief? Dear sir, I am insulted!” Seb said, laughing a bit to keep himself from panicking.
“Oh look, it does know how to speak to a superior,” The man said and stepped away from the window to unlock the door.
Seb braced himself to bolt through the door once it opened but was blocked by three very large men who looked like they had been pro wrestlers for years. One of them grabbed Seb around the chest while another took the box from him. Seb seemed to get lost in the man’s grasp. He was half the width of man’s arm, and probably a good foot shorter him too. He looked like a stick bug being squeezed by a bear, and felt like it too. He was actually finding it hard to breathe. The third man stood by the door, blocking off his only escape.
“I think, my fair thief, you will be the perfect test subject for what this disk actually does,” The man from behind the window musingly said. He had long orange hair, pulled back in a short, tight pony tail and a gray three piece suit with pinstripes. Seb thought he kind of looked like a used tampon, if his hair was a little redder.
“You don’t even know what it does? You’re a smart one aren’t you?” Seb said. The tampon man smirked and walked over to him and lifted his chin up with his fingers.
“Anyone ever tell you, you look a little girly?” he asked Seb. Seb twisted his head away and sunk his teeth into the man’s hand, drawing blood. The man hissed in pain and tore himself away while Seb spit out the blood.
“Anyone ever tell you, you don’t mess with a cornered animal?” Seb asked as a drop of blood rolled down his chin. The man held his hand close to his chest, glaring at Seb.
“Take him to the other room and hook him up. And for God’s sake, why isn’t anyone getting me a damn bandage or something!” the man yelled and stormed out. Seb couldn’t help but chuckle to himself, even as he was dragged out of the room.
He was taken down the hall to another testing room, where what appeared to be an MRI machine sat like a coffin at a funeral. Seb was slammed onto the bed of the machine that rolled into the giant tube of the machine and latched in. The tampon man came back moments later with a disk and his hand bandaged. He walked over to the bed while Seb struggled. The man leaned over and moved Seb’s hair out of his face.
“Sleep tight, my prince,” The man said with a bright smirk. Seb spat in his face and was promptly punished with a harsh punch to the jaw by the man.
“Get this damn machine up and running! If we’re lucky it’ll kill him,” The man said, and walked over to a control console on the other side of the machine.
He loaded the disk into the disk drive on the console and turned a key that started the machine. The bed began to slide into the machine and a loud whirring sound began to fill the room along with a constant beeping. Seb struggled as best he could, but even his grand strength failed him as the bed locked in place. The whirring got loud but the beeping stayed constant.
Seb’s eyes rolled back in his head, nauseated by the constant high-pitched monotone of the beeping. His thoughts became clouded, impossible to decipher. His body felt heavy and finally, he passed out.
Seb’s eyes opened to see a bright, clear blue sky above him. He groaned and sat up, running his fingers through his hair. He felt a bump on his head, and then felt warm ooze flowing between his fingers. He pulled his hand back and saw blood dripping through his fingers. He looked around and saw nothing but the dirt road he had woken up on, and trees surrounding him.
“What hell happened?” he muttered as he pulled himself to his feet. He wobbled a little but caught himself.
He looked up and down the lonely road he was on and shrugged, picking a direction and walking down the road. After walking for about half an hour, Seb could just make out what looked like a farm in the distance ahead of him.
“What the hell did that machine do? Am I dreaming or something?” Seb asked himself. He shrugged and decided if it was a dream, he might as well make the most of it.
He continued along his path and finally came up to the edge of the farm. He walked along the fence, looking at a vast orchard of apple trees. He felt his stomach growl, which he found odd for being in a dream, and thought about how he could so easily take a few of the apples. He looked around, saw no one, and jumped the fence. He walked up to one of the trees and grabbed onto a branch to pull himself up. There was an apple fairly close to him and he could just barely reach it until a voice startled him, causing him to fall back on the ground.
“What in the hay is that!?” a southern female voice said. He looked around trying to find the voice and explain himself.
Finally, he found the source of the voice and he couldn’t even try and explain to himself what he saw. What appeared to be a small horse was standing to his left. She was an orange color, with a blonde mane and tail and a cowboy hat on her head. She was pulling a cart full of apples and had a look that was a mixture of confusion, concern, and a touch of fear.
“Wha…what are you?” She asked, looking at Seb. She was looking at him like a kid at the zoo looking at an animal he’d never seen before. Seb, on the other hand, simply screamed.
“You can talk!?” Seb yelled, trying to scramble away from the pony.
“Never mind me talkin’. You can talk!?” she asked, taking a step back as well.
“You’re a horse!” Seb yelled. “Horses can’t talk!” He was trying hard to rationalize the situation. As much he tried to convince himself this was all a dream, the pain in his head and the feeling of hunger was telling him otherwise.
“I am not a horse. I’m a pony,” The pony said. “What are you? Ya look like a monkey or summin,” she added, tilting her head.
“I’m a man. Er, human, kinda like a monkey, I guess,” Seb replied. Seb, you’re talking to a talking pony, I think you’ve finally lost it old friend, he said to himself as he rubbed the back of his head.
“Well I don’t know what a human is but you look mighty hungry to me, and you don’t seem dangerous. Why don’t y’all come inside, n’ get a bite to eat?” the pony said, walking up to Seb.
Seb sighed and stood up, towering over the pony. She was about abdomen height, making her have to look up to see his face. He started walking, and then wobbled a little as his balance failed. The pony pulled up under him, letting him use her for balance.
“So, y’all walk on two legs like a bird?” She asked. Seb nodded, which only made his head hurt more. The pony laughed a little. “Well I’ll be…Say, you got a name?” She asked.
“Seb,” he replied, as they began walking towards the farm house on the other side of the orchard.
“I’m Applejack. Pleasure ta’ meet ya Seb,” Applejack said proudly.
Author's note: I'm so glad you're all enjoying this so much. I hope you continue to enjoy it as well. Thank you-BlueHibiscus
Seb sat at the table, hugging his bowl of soup close to him and slurping it out of a spoon. He was fairly surprised to see that the ponies had things like stoves, chairs, and dinnerware, but then again they could talk, so it wasn’t too strange. Applejack had left Seb in the care of probably the oldest and most frail creature he’d ever seen. Granny Smith sat in her rocking chair, fading in and out of sleep while Seb ate. She was an apple green color, with a white mane and tail, and Seb couldn’t stop looking at the image of an apple pie on her hips. He had noticed Applejack had three apples on her hips, and was starting to get the idea that apples were a big thing with this odd family of ponies.
“So…Grandma….” Seb began. Granny Smith didn’t respond. “What’s with the pie on your side?”
“What’s that sonny? You want some pie?” Granny Smith asked, and got up to slowly walk over to the kitchen. Seb stopped her.
“No, no. The pie, on your hip,” Seb said, a little louder, and pointed to her side.
“That’s mah cutie mark sonny. Why, I’d say I was no older than you when I first got my cutie mark. Mhhh, yes sir those were the days-“
“Fascinating,” Seb jumped in. “So, what is a ‘cutie mark’? Sounds like a diseased mole or something that looks like a heart.”
At that moment, Applejack and a slightly taller stallion walked in. The stallion had a deep red coat, and a dark blond mane and tail. He carried a large harness around his neck, and was chewing on a sprig of wheat. His cutie mark was an apple half with a couple of seeds on it.
“A cutie mark represents yer special talent,” Applejack said, smiling brightly.
“Yup,” the taller stallion said, and nodded. Seb cocked an eyebrow at this new pony. He seemed either really slow, or perhaps merely indifferent.
“So, it’s like a tattoo?” Seb asked. The three ponies looked at each other in confusion. Seb lifted his shirt up over his head to show a tattoo on his upper chest near his right shoulder. It was a pair of angel wings going up in flames. Applejack couldn’t help but notice a scar on his side as well.
“What kind of cutie mark is that?” A young voice asked from behind the big red pony. A smaller tan pony with red hair and a big pink bow came in. Unlike the others, she didn’t have a cutie mark on her flank.
“Back home from school so soon Apple Bloom?” Applejack asked as the little filly walked up to Seb.
“What is it?” she asked, tilting her head to one side.
“Don’t be rude Apple Bloom. He’s called a ‘human’ and his name is Seb.” Applejack explained.
“What’sa human?” Apple Bloom asked.
The other ponies looked at the human. He didn’t really have an answer for them. He knew humans evolved from monkeys, although some people thought they were created by a god, but he didn’t quite know how to explain what a human was.
“Well, let’s just say I’m not from around here.” Seb replied. Apple Bloom was caught off guard by the fact that he could talk, but before she could say anything, Applejack shoved an apple in her mouth and started pushing her along.
“Don’t ya have some homework or something to do?” Applejack asked. Apple Bloom pouted a little and went up to her room, regardless if she had homework or not. Seb chuckled. Apple Bloom reminded him of the kids that played in the park he used as his office.
“I’m sorry about her. She’s just so curious,” Applejack said, smiling nervously.
“It’s alright,” Seb replied. His head began throbbing again and he felt sick. He rested his elbow on the table and then let his head drop into his hands.
“You alright there sugar cube?” Applejack asked, walking over to Seb.
“Yeah…just a little…tired,” Seb replied, breathing heavily. His head began spinning and soon, so was the room. His eyes rolled back and he fell off the chair, crashing onto the floor.
Seb’s eyes opened again, this time he saw a ceiling instead of the sky. He was in a bed that seemed to be too small for him, since he was forced to let his legs rest on the foot board. His head throbbed again and he reached up to touch it, but felt a damp cloth instead of skin. He clutched the blankets with his other hand, closed his eyes, and tried to sit up, only to find a hoof pushed against his chest, forcing him down. He laid back down and looked up to see a yellow pony with a long flowing pink mane hovering above him, flapping her wings. He was shocked at first, but then had to laugh to himself.
“Oh, please, you have to stay in bed,” The yellow pony said in a soft, quiet voice.
Of course they can fly, they can talk can’t they? I bet they also have unicorns or something here, he thought to himself. Just as he finished thinking that, a purple pony walked up with different shades of purple in her mane and, of course, a horn.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” She said, staring at Seb.
“Uh, I’m a male,” Seb said. His voice had gone raspy and weak. The purple pony smiled a little.
“Right, I’m sorry. Oh, my name is Twilight Sparkle, and this is Fluttershy,” the pony said, pointing to the hovering one.
“Twilight Sparkle? Seriously?” Seb asked. Twilight simply beamed; obviously, and obliviously, proud of her name. Seb rolled his eye and sighed a little.
“Do you have any idea what could have made you so sick? You have a terrible fever.” Twilight explained.
“Could be anything…” Seb said, coughing a little. He knew very well it wasn’t, but he felt they didn’t need to know that yet. “Might have been something that guy did to me,” he said, unsure if they had seen the man at all. It all flooded back to him. The man in the gray suit, the old man who paid him a thousand dollars to steal the disk, and the machine just before he blacked out.
“What guy? What happened to you?” Twilight asked as Fluttershy and Applejack, who had been downstairs earlier, joined them around his bedside.
Seb tried to explain what had happened to him in the past few hours. Of course the ponies understood none of what he said, but they did understand that he was a thief and also that he’d been injured. Mixed feelings filled the ponies as they listened to the strange newcomer. The fact that Seb was a thief was gnawing at their minds. On the other hoof, he hadn’t tried to hurt any of them, and as far as they knew, nothing had been taken. When Seb finished his story, the three ponies were speechless for a while.
“So, you steal things? For a livin’?” Applejack asked, tilting her head.
“Well… yeah,” Seb said, sitting up in his bed. Fluttershy placed a pillow behind his head to rest against.
“You know stealing is wrong don’t you?” Twilight asked.
“Is surviving wrong as well?” Seb asked. He coughed again and winced at the pain in his chest. Fluttershy’s ears laid back as she watched him. Thief or not, she hated to see any creature suffer.
“You could always find work somewhere.” Twilight said.
“You don’t know my world, Twilight Sparkle. You need to have an identity, and if you want to work anywhere, you need experience. But in order to get experience, you need that job. It’s a vicious world that will chew you up and spit you right back out,” Seb replied bitterly. He began coughing again and felt dizzy. He forced himself to lay down and took in deep, uneasy breaths. “May I just…lay down….for a while…?” he asked weakly, and fell asleep almost immediately.
The three ponies looked at each other in concern.
“What are we going to do about him?” Applejack asked.
“We can’t just send him back in his condition.” Fluttershy said softly.
“We’ll let him heal for now. In the meantime, I’ll do research on how to get him back home.” Twilight said.
She walked over to Seb, and her horned glowed purple, as items began to lift out of Seb’s pockets; the envelope with the money, his knife, and a picture of a woman with long blond, bouncy hair and a happy smile. Other than that, he had no belongings on him. Twilight set the items down on a nearby table, and rearranged the damp cloth on his forehead. Fluttershy floated over and tucked Seb in more and smiled when Twilight patted her on the back for a job well done.
“INCOMING!!!!!!!!!!!” a voice shouted. The ponies looked up, and a flash of blue and rainbow crashed through the ceiling and onto the hard floor. Surprisingly, all Seb did was cough and shift a little in his sleep, as the blue and rainbow pegasus stood up and shook herself free of dust and debris. The other ponies coughed and Twilight used her magic to disperse the cloud of dust.
“Rainbow…Dash,” Twilight coughed. “What are you doing?”
“Sorry, I was just working on a new move. The Wonderbolts are coming to Ponyville for a show next week,” Rainbow Dash said proudly. She scanned the room and saw Seb sleeping in the bed. “Woah! What in the hoof is that!?” she asked, flying over top of him.
“His name is Seb. He’s called a human, and he’s very sick,” Twilight explained.
“Hang on, I’m gonna go get Rarity, she’ll want to see this!” Rainbow Dash said, and chuckled, dashing out the window before Twilight could stop her.
Only a small while passed, before Rainbow Dash came back with the white and purple unicorn pony known as Rarity, and a bright, all pink pony with a bouncy personality they called Pinkie Pie. All the same questions were asked and answered as far as they could tell. While Rainbow Dash messed with Seb’s hair and poked him in his sleep, Twilight and the others sat and tried to talk about what to do.
“Should we tell Princess Celestia about him?” Fluttershy asked.
“No. The princess has too much on her plate right now,” Twilight replied.
“Well, he could certainly do with a proper wardrobe.” Rarity said, looking at the old, tattered shirt lying on the table.
“Well I know one thing; we’re gonna need lots and lots of balloons!” Pinkie Pie said, bouncing around the room
“Why would we need balloons?” Twilight asked, watching her.
“Duuhh, for his party of course!” Pinkie replied. Twilight smiled and shook her head.
“A party wouldn't be so bad actually. It would be a great way to show him how to be a part of a community instead of stealing from it,” Twilight said.
“Well that’s a great idea! We can hold it here at the farm,” Applejack said, standing up.
“Oh, and I have the perfect new line of outfits we could all wear! I’ve been dying to see what they look like on somepony,” Rarity said, beaming.
“Alright then, we’ll hold the party when he gets a little better, and can move around on his own, deal?” Twilight asked. The group nodded in agreement.
“Trisha…” Seb mumbled in his sleep. The ponies stopped their talk and looked back towards Seb. Sweat was dripping from his brow and his breathing was heavy.
“Who’s Trisha?” Rainbow Dash asked, crossing her hooves.
“Might be a friend,” Applejack said.
“Tri,….sh….ah...” Seb panted. A single tear streamed down his cheek as he squirmed beneath the blankets.
“Fluttershy, is there anything you can do?” Twilight asked.
“It’s a fever dream; we could wake him up or let him dream through it,” Fluttershy said as Seb’s panting and sweating became worse.
“Hold on. I’ve learned a new spell that can let me see into somepony’s heart,” Twilight said walking over to Seb. “I did quite a bit of research after that changling invasion and wanted a spell that would help me be prepared, in case something like that happened again. Maybe I could....”
She lowered her horn to Seb’s chest and concentrated, casting her spell. Her and her horn glowed as Seb started slowly glowing as well. When Twilight opened her eyes again, she was sitting on a paved street looking up and down two rows of houses on either side of her.
“Where am I?” she asked herself.
She looked to one side of the street and saw Seb climbing out of someone’s backyard. He strolled across the yard and into the street. The thief stepped onto the road just a few feet from Twilight.
“Seb! Oh thank goodness, I think my spell has gone horribly wrong.” Twilight said, running towards him.
Seb took no notice of her and continued across the street. Twilight watched him step onto the sidewalk and tilted her head. She then heard a strange, metallic roaring noise and looked to her left. She screamed as a car came driving down the road, straight for her. She had no time to move and the car rammed right into her. She clenched her eyes, waiting for the pain but when none came she opened her eyes and saw the car driving down the road on her right. She was unharmed and more confused.
“You are only a visitor in this dream, nothing can harm you,” A voice said from behind her. Twilight gasped and spun around quickly to see a tall man in a gray suit and long orange hair.
“Who are you?” Twilight asked.
“A friend,” The man replied, smiling coldly. “My name is Nathan.”
“And are you a ‘visitor’ here too?” Twilight asked. She didn’t like the feel of this man.
“You could say that,” Nathan grinned. He then opened his arm and held an open hand in Seb’s direction. “Would you like to see a little of your friend’s past?” He asked.
“What do you mean?”
“This dream is more of a….terrible, memory of Seb’s,” Nathan explained, and put his hand on the back of Twilight’s head, leading her towards the house Seb had already gone to.
Screams of a woman filled the air, and a few moments later, a gunshot and another scream. Twilight ran towards the house and over to a window. She put her hooves up on the sill. She peered inside through the decorative glass and gasped. Seb was covered in blood, holding a woman close to his body, his face buried in her chest and neck while blood poured from her abdomen. Under them, was a pool of blood along with the same knife Twilight had taken from Seb. The woman had the same long blond hair as the woman in the picture she had found, but her body was a little different. Instead of the skinny, strong body Twilight had seen, the woman’s stomach buldged out like she had just eaten a huge meal.
“She was…pregnant?” Twilight asked. Nathan walked up behind her.
“Yes, due in only a few months,” Nathan explained. Tears formed in Twilight’s eyes as she continued to watch Seb hold the woman close to him.
“I’ve seen enough…” Twilight said and turned away from the window. Nathan smirked a little and watched the purple pony walk off.
Twilight stopped as the world around her began melting away. She felt like something was grabbing her and pulling her backwards. She struggled but the power was too great and she was flung out of the dream. Her eyes flung open and she was back in Applejack’s room, with Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie watching her. Seb was starting to wake up as well, but Twilight couldn’t look at him. All she could see was him covered in blood and a dead woman below him. She ran off down the stairs, crying.
“Twilight wait!” Pinkie Pie called after her. She chased after her, leaving Rainbow Dash with Seb finally waking up. Seb opened his eyes and sat up slowly to see Rainbow Dash next to him with a scowl on her face.
“Oh... are you a friend of Applejack’s?” Seb asked weakly.
“What’s your game?” Rainbow Dash asked, flying up to hover above Seb and look him in the eye.
“Game?” Seb asked, leaning back.
“What kind of dream did you have to make Twilight cry?” Rainbow Dash demanded.
“What kind of dream? What?” Seb asked, even more confused than before.
“Twilight used a spell to see into your dream, I guess, I don’t know, but you made her cry somehow...” Rainbow Dash growled, crossing her hooves while she hovered above him.
“She was in my dream? Then she saw….” Seb trailed off a moment and slammed his fist onto the bed. “Damn it!” he yelled and pulled the blankets off and started running down the stairs, with Rainbow Dash hot on his trail.
Seb stumbled down the stairs to see Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Applejack trying to comfort Twilight while she cried on a pillow. He used the wall for balance and began walking towards her.
“Twilight I can explain,” Seb said, holding his hand out. Twilight looked up and glared at him. He couldn't figure out why he was trying to explain himself; he didn’t have to as far as he was concerned.
“You’re a thief and a murderer!” Twilight yelled. Anger flashed in Seb’s eyes.
“I would never kill anyone!’ he yelled.
“I saw you! You were covered in blood and that pregnant woman!” Twilight yelled back.
“Why would I kill my own child and his mother!?” Seb screamed, and then stopped yelling. He had shared more than he ever cared to. Twilight froze too.
“She was carrying your baby?” Twilight asked. The other ponies looked on, thoroughly confused.
Seb didn’t answer and merely walked out the front door, slamming it behind him.
Seb had found a tree in the middle of what seemed to be a local park. He was sitting under it and shivering a little. He hated to admit it but he was terrified of being in a new place, especially one so strange. He was beginning to worry about how to get home or if he could get home. And if he couldn’t get home, could he survive? He thought about it for a while as he looked out over the strange little town he had been forced into.
“I bet they don’t even have security systems.” He muttered to himself. He then chuckled. He could probably steal easier in this rural town than in the big city.
He got up and began walking to the town. He knew It would be risky to try and steal in the daytime. However, if he couldn't do it then he wouldn't be able to do it at all. He moved to the back of the town and pressed his back up against a building. He looked up to find that the building he had chosen seemed to be a jewelry store. He put his head in his hand and started to laugh to himself.
“How cliche.” He thought shaking his head still chuckling. “ A thief stealing from a jewelry store.”
He slid to the back door and carefully opened it. The was no one in the backroom protecting the jewelry but Seb knew better; the more expensive jewelry was always in the front. He saw the pony who owned the store standing behind the front counter with a magazine. No one else was in the store. Normally, Seb would have waited until the owner left or closed up shop for the day, but Seb only needed to prove himself able to steal anything he wanted when he wanted. And he wanted a diamond necklace that was just next to the store owner. Seb waited just down the hall that led to the back store-room of the store but the owner wouldn’t move. Seb was actually starting to get annoyed but he was determined. He tried to wonder why he was doing this, but he was too focused on his prey. His fingernails scratched at the wall in anticipation and his breathing became light and slow. He remembered that feeling from the other times he began a job. He had a theory he actually didn’t even breath during the time of a job but now he could feel his breath leaving him then coming back in. Finally the store owner moved and began cleaning the other side of the store. It was Seb’s only chance. He ducked behind the counter while the owner dusted the other shelves with his back towards Seb. The glass door that protected the jewelry was unlocked so he easily slid it to the side. It made a slight noise but the owner didn’t seem to notice. Seb took the necklace and then dashed out of the store through the back. He hadn’t gotten far before he bumped into a body. He grunted and fell flat on his back; the necklace skidded through the dirt. He looked up and a first saw a bright flowing mane and a dazzling white coat. The brilliant white unicorn stood over him, her wings spread a little and one hoof raised. She looked down at him with confusion but with an understanding smile. The expression confused Seb.
“Well, hello there.” She said. She was just a bit taller than Seb and that made him feel a little uneasy.
“And who the hell are you?” Seb asked. He didn't really care what her name was, he just wanted to buy time to calculate an escape. He wouldn't be able to pick up his catch as well as escape so he picked a route and tried to ease towards it. The strange pony seemed shocked at first but then smiled.
“My name is Princess Celestia, Ruler of Equestria. These are my lands.” The pony replied. All of Seb’s plans to escape shattered.
“Princess?” He asked. Yep, he was in a little girl’s fairy tale
“Yes. And who might you be?” She asked. Seb turned his head and spat as he stood up.
“Why do you care?” He asked.
“I care about all who dwell in my realm.” Celestia said. He choked a little and felt his chest tighten. “Not now...” He thought to himself.
“I see, you just like to keep an eye on everyone.” Seb said. He tried to hold back a cough but it slipped through his lips. Celestia pretended not to notice.
“I just want everypony to be happy.” Celestia said. She looked him up and down. she noticed the speck of blood forming at the corner of his lips.
“Damnit don’t look weak. Don’t do it Seb don’t look weak.” Seb told himself over and over again. He was so focused on thinking he didn’t notice how coldly he was looking at Celestia.
“Are you alright?” She asked cautiously. Seb began to speak until the store owner ran out and yelled.
“Thief!” He yelled. Seb almost smiled.
“Is everything alright?” Celestia asked turning to the pony who was racing towards them.
The owner skidded to a stop and bowed quickly to the princess then turned to Seb. He was stunned by confusion when he saw him. Celestia cleared her throat a little and it snapped the pony back to her.
“This, uh....thing... stole from me!” The pony exclaimed. The princess turned her head towards the necklace that still lay on the ground. He horn glowed for a moment, then the necklace glowed and lifted into the air and over the to store owner. Seb watched in awe but tried to conceal it.
“No harm done.” The princess said. The store owner grumbled and turned back to his store. He was still unsure of Seb and didn’t trust him an inch; he merely wanted to get as far away from him as possible.
“Hey I found him!” A voice over head said. Seb and the Princess looked up just in time to see Rainbow Dash landing beside them, then jumping back in surprise and bowing.”Princess!” She called out quickly.
“Hello, Rainbow Dash. Do you happen to know where Twilight Sparkle is?” Celestia asked.
“She should be right behind me, Princess.” Rainbow Dash replied as she stood back up. She then glared at Seb.
Seb turned away from her and crossed his arms over his chest. He heard hoofbeats approaching and could hear Applejack talking about what she was going to do with Seb once she found him. Seb tried to choke back another cough in the process but a few drops of blood escaped his lips and ran down his chin. He quickly wiped it away.
“Princess Celestia!” Twilight Sparkle squeaked. She dashed behind Applejack.
“Ahh, Twilight. How lovely to see you again.” Celestia said walking up to her and Applejack as Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinkie Pie showed up. Twilight slowly creeped out from behind Applejack.
“H-Hello Princess.” Twilight said. She was visibly shaking, nervous of what Celestia would say about Seb. Seb turned around. His heart jumped a little. He couldn’t explain it; the way he felt seeing that these strangers came looking for him. Was he happy? No, he couldn’t be. He hadn’t been happy to see anyone or anything since...her.
“I see you’ve made a new friend here.” Celestia said, winking to Twilight. Twilight grinned sheepishly.
“We’re not friends.” Seb said quickly. Applejack shook her head in annoyance.
“Oh? Then what are you?” Celestia asked.
“Leaving.” Seb replied and began to walk away but was stopped by Pinkie Pie.
“You can’t leave yet! I haven’t given you a party yet and you’re still sick and-” Pinkie Pie was cut off when Seb pushed her aside.
Twilight sighed and looked up at Celestia, who simply smiled at her.
“I’m so sorry Princess.” Twilight said.
“It’s quite alright Twilight.” Celestia replied. “What is he exactly?”
“He’s called a Human.” Twilight replied.
“I see. He doesn’t seem to be very trusting.” Celestia said. Twilight felt the princess was deliberately not telling her why she was there or why she had been talking to Seb.
“Uh, no I suppose not.” Twilight said, trying to find the right words
“I think he seems.... fascinating.... You should get to know him.” Celestia with a quick wink. Twilight caught it and smiled, nodding in return.
The princess walked away, then the group turned to Pinkie Pie who was still watching Seb walk away. Twilight walked up to her and put a consoling hoof on her shoulder.
“Don’t worry Pinkie Pie, he’ll come around.” Twilight said softly.
“I know he will.” Pinkie Pie said. Twilight looked confused for a moment.
“What?” Twilight asks looking at Pinkie Pie who was suddenly wearing fake glasses with an attached moustache. Twilight backed away in surprise. Pinkie Pie then ran off towards Seb leaving Twilight and the others to look on in confusion.
It took a while, but the group found Seb and Pinkie Pie. They were in a brightly colored bakery that Seb came to learn was called Sugar Cube Corner, and that Pinkie lived and worked there. Seb was propping his head up with his hand using the nearby counter as Pinkie Pie danced around him, going on about what she was going to do for the party. When Twilight and the others arrived, Rainbow Dash and Applejack couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
“What kind of cake do you like?” Pinkie asked him, not noticing her friends were there. “My favorite is chocolate. No, vanilla! Oooo, I can’t decide. No wait, I know! All cake! I love all types of cake. Oooh maybe we can make a cake with a bunch of layers of all types of cake!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. Seb dropped his head on the counter and groaned. “Maybe we can make a chonilla cake.”
“Pinkie.” Twilight said. Pinkie Pie skidded to a stop from her bouncing around and turned to Twilight.
“Oh good, you guys are here.” She said happily. “I wanted to ask you guys what kind of punch I should make.”
“Can ya’ll make that punch from Gummy’s party?” Applejack asked.
“Applejack.” Twilight said, cutting the conversation short. She then returned her attention to Pinkie Pie. “Why don’t we let Seb rest for a bit.”
“Okay! I need to figure out how to make chonilla cake anyway.” Pinkie Pie replied, and trotted upstairs. Twilight shook her head then walked up to Seb.
“Is she always like that?” Seb groaned as he lifted his head up. They all nodded.
“Why were you and the princess behind that jewelry store?” Twilight asked.
“She caught me stealing.” Seb explained. “First one to do it too.” He added.
“You were stealing?” Rainbow Dash asked. She was beginning to get angry.
“What are you going to do about it if I was?” Seb asked.
“Whatever I feel like.” Rainbow replied, flying over to him to look him in the eyes. Seb stood up, grabbing his chair tightly to hold himself back
“And what would that be exactly?” He said calmly. His voice was so harsh and cold, Rainbow Dash briefly felt the hairs on her neck stand on end.
The sounds of something straining and cracking broke their focus but not before Seb’s hand had ripped off a piece of the back to the wooden chair he had been holding. He let go of the wood and let the splinters drop from his hand quickly. Rarity squealed dramatically while the others backed away from him. Seb stared at his hand and the broken chair for a moment.
“Why did I do that? I didn’t have to do that..” Seb thought to himself as Twilight cleared her throat.
“There isn’t any reason to get angry.” Twilight said sternly
Seb began to speak but as he opened his mouth only blood dribbled from his lips. This time, Seb couldn’t hold back his coughing as he clutched his chest. His chest tightened as he felt his lungs collapse and expand with each harsh cough and wheeze. His spine ached from the constant moving of his lungs as they seemed to push his heart into his throat. He leaned against a wall for support as he caught his breath and the coughing eased away. He began shivering as if he were cold and slid down to the floor, his legs too weak to hold him up any longer.
“Damn it.” Seb thought to himself. “They saw that. I’ll look weak to them now.”
“You alright there, sugar cube?” Applejack finally asked after a long pause of quiet.
“I’m fine.” Seb choked out. “How long will this one last?” He asked himself while the others gathered around him. Fluttershy went to his side and tried to tend to him but he shrugged her off.
“Can we get you anything?” Twilight asked.
“Just a place to relax for a bit.” Seb replied.
“I’ll see if Pinkie Pie has a place for him to rest.” Fluttershy said quickly and flew upstairs.
“Here, drink this.” Twilight said levitating a glass to a nearby sink and filling it with water, then handing it to Seb.
Seb took it and started drinking. As he did, some water spilled and mixed with his blood turning his skin a pink hue. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie came down the stairs and led him back back up to relax in her room while she set up the party.
Fluttershy stayed beside him.
Hi everyone, thank you so much for still reading, I hope you enjoy this chapter. Also, my boyfriend has written a story of his own called Fire and Brimstone, please do read it it is on my page. Thanks! -BlueHibiscus
Pinkie Pie had managed to throw together a huge party at the town square in a little over an hour. Almost half the town was either already there or arriving. Seb was actually impressed, though he didn’t dare admit it. He stayed toward the back of the party and sat on the edge of the fountain. Pinkie Pie had set up several balloon arches that encircled the party area and had also set up a long line of buffet tables where cake alongside other food items were displayed. Seb was munching on an apple as he watched the ponies talk, dance, and play various games. He smiled a little; no one had really even noticed him and the party had been set up to introduce him to the community. He liked being left alone.. Apple Bloom walked up to him followed by two young ponies around her age. One was a white unicorn with pink and purple hair and the other was an orange pegasus with a rockstar purple hair cut.
“See, I told ya.” Apple Bloom said, lifting her chin up. The two little ponies stared in awe. Seb lifted an eyebrow at them.
“He’s so...so...” The orange one began.
“Weird.” The white one finished.
“Alright kids what do you want?” Seb asked and took another bite of his apple.
“These are ma friends, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle.” Apple Bloom explained. “I told em about yer cutie mark. Can we see it?”
“It isn’t a cutie mark, Apple Bloom.” Seb replied. He didn’t feel like taking off his shirt in the middle of the town anyway.
“Pleeeaaasssseeeeee” The gaggle of foals begged.
“Why?” He asked, taking another bite of the fruit.
“Well, ya see, we don’t have our cutie marks yet.” Apple Bloom explained
“And we want to get all the information we can on them.” Sweetie Belle added.
“How’d you get yours anyway?” Scootaloo asked.
“I paid for it.” Seb replied. He was starting to get annoyed, the line of questioning was irritating to say the least.
“You can pay for a cutie mark?” Sweetie Belle asked with a slight smile growing on her eager face.
“It isn’t a cutie mark!” Seb snapped.
They all stared at him, pleading with their eyes. It was almost guaranteed they weren’t going to go away unless he showed them his tattoo. He sighed and tossed the apple away, then began slipping his shirt off. They all gazed in amazement at the wings on his chest.
“Why do you have a pair of wings? You don’t even have wings on you, you can’t fly.” Scootaloo said. Seb groaned.
“For the tenth time, it isn’t a cutie mark. It’s a tattoo.” Seb explained, aggravation slipping subtly into his voice. The trio of fillies looked beyond confused. “Alright, what happens is, you go to a tattoo parlor, pay a guy and show him the artwork you want. He’ll set up a special machine with a bunch of little needles in it that move back and forth very quickly, dip them in ink, and pushes the needles in your skin and basically draws on you.” Seb explained. The girls looked horrified as he described the process.
“Doesn't that hurt?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Yes, it does.”
“Why would you do that?” Scootaloo inquired.
“It’s in remembrance.” Seb replied with solemness
“For what?” Sweetie Belle asked. It seemed the farther along the conversation went along the more annoyed Seb managed to get. His saving grace came in the form of a pink and yellow pony approaching.
“Alright girls, I think that’s enough.” Fluttershy said as she walked up to them. Seb sighed in relief. The three fillies muttered amongst themselves for a second before making their departure.
“You saved me.” Seb said quietly as Fluttershy sat beside him on the fountain.
“They would have been here for hours.” Fluttershy replied with a soft giggle.
Seb put his shirt back on and watched the ponies before him. Fluttershy seemed quite content in simply sitting beside him and being quite, which Seb appreciated very much, the silence allowed him to gather his thoughts. He felt a sense of calm around the pegasus. Maybe it was the fact that she didn’t pose a threat or maybe it was a case that she didn’t walk on eggshells around him. For the first time in a long while, he could actually feel himself relaxing.
“Um, may I, uh, ask you something, if that’s okay?” Fluttershy asked after a long period of silence between them.
“Sure.” Seb replied.
“Why are you so sick?” She asked. It was just a feeling but somehow he knew that was coming.
“It’s none of your business.” He shot back. He instantly regretted it. She hadn’t tried to force him to say anything, he didn’t have to snap like that.
“Oh...okay...” She said quietly, lowering her ears sadly.
“It’s not very interesting anyway.” Seb said, trying to recover the situation.
“Oh, no really, I don’t mind.” Fluttershy replied in her eternally soft spoken voice.
He huffed a fragile sigh.“I’ve been like this since I was a kid. It has something to do with my strength I think. Most of the time it’s only when I use my strength like that do I get terribly sick. Just as often i’ll do nothing at all and get sick though. I don’t know why I get sick really.” Seb explained. “I do know that I’m not long for the world though, mine or this one.”
“What do you mean?” Fluttershy asked, the depressing mood of the conversation permeating her speech.
“I’m living on borrowed time Fluttershy,” Seb replied matter-of-factly. “I could go any day now and there’s nothing that can be done about it.” He spoke about it so easily, almost happily, and that gave him no small margin of fear.
Before Fluttershy could respond, Twilight walked over to the pair. Seb glared for a moment before turning his head to refuse her eye contact.
The unicorn let out a shallow breath. “Seb, I wanted to apologize for before... about calling you a murderer.” She said, with her ears hung back. ”I jumped to conclusions and I didn’t stop to think that maybe you just happened to be there.”
Seb let his silence hang in the air, an unspoken rebuttal.
“Can you please forgive me?” Twilight asked, hope beaming in her eyes. Fluttershy looked anxiously at Seb.
“You were right Twilight...” He said finally. Twilight and Fluttershy looked at each other, fearing that maybe he had actually been a murderer, that he was still free at that moment. “I might as well have killed her. I should have been there... to protect her, to save her.”
Tears began to form in his eyes. He had shared too much and the emotions were beginning to come out. He cursed himself for letting all this information be known and stood up to leave. That is, until Pinkie Pie dashed between them and put a party hat on Twilight and Fluttershy.
“Come on party poopers!” She exclaimed in her usual Pinkie Pie manner, but the thief was having none of it. Seb looked at her for a brief moment then left, walking slowly towards the river nearby. “Doesn’t he like party hats?” Pinkie asked, watching him leave.
Seb sat on the river bank next to the stone bridge that lead out of Ponyville proper. He let his feet dangle in the slow moving waters, the current drifting them slightly as he thought. He barely noticed as Twilight walking up and took a seat next to him and waited for him to acknowledge her.
“What do you want now?” Seb inquired with overall sadness and depression taking wake in his voice, like the currents sweeping over his feet.
“Nothing.” Twilight replied in a tone barely happier than his. They sat in silence for what seemed to be an eternity, neither truly willing to commit on starting the conversation.
Seb finally gave in. “I forgive you.” Twilight merely nodded in acceptance and another eternity passed as the sounds of the water occupied the gap left by the absence of the two voices.
Twilight kicked a stray rock into the water and sighed as she watched her reflection ripple. She could see Seb’s reflection as well, especially his bright green eyes. She hadn’t noticed them before but now, now their bright green color shimmered with tears in his eyes. They glistened like perfectly cut emeralds set into his face like portals set to see into his saddened soul. Rarity would have fallen in love if she had seen. Twilight couldn’t only see the tragedy behind them and could almost see the memories playing out in Seb’s mind. A sudden splash of red in the water made Twilight jump. She looked up and saw blood dripping from Seb’s lips. His eyes had dulled and he had gone pale without her even noticing.
“Seb?” She stood up but he didn’t answer. His eyes closed on instinct, his body sliding partially into the cool waters as unconsciousness greeted him with open arms.
Seb opened his eyes to find himself in a bed. He looked around and saw Twilight, her magic enveloping a feather duster to clean the shelves around them. He let out a soft groan as he tried to sit up and Twilight turned around.
“Good morning. You gave us quite a scare yesterday.” Twilight said cheerfully, levitating a glass of water towards him as he fully sat up. He took the glass in his hand before taking small and easy sips.
He pulled the drink from his lips. “Yesterday?”He croaked, his voice was hoarse once more.
“You passed out on the river bank and managed to sleep through the whole night.” Twilight explained, turning away. He nodded, slowly remembering what had occurred the day before. He vaguely recalled Twilight calling for help and the others dragging his wet body out of the water. After that, everything was a dark shadow.
“I was just wondering, who was Trisha?” Twilight asked in her ever curious nature.
The sound of glass creaking and straining made Twilight turn around suddenly. Seb’s glass was starting to crack as small fractures covered the front of the glass before shattering along the lines. Water and broken glass splashed all over Seb’s pants. Twilight gasped before realizing the question she had just asked. She walked slowly over to his side once more.
“I shouldn’t have said anything, I’m sorry.” She said before picking up the various shards of glass that had found their way onto the floor and onto Seb himself.
“I’ll get it.” He muttered in a small voice.
“I don’t mind.” Twilight replied.
“I said I’ll fucking get it!” Seb snapped angrily. His fist clenching tightly, pushing the glass shards in his hand deep into the skin.
Twilight gasped and jumped back. She let Seb slide out of the bed and start cleaning up the glass. She watched him as his legs shook, fighting to hold up his body though they were weak. She thought about pleading with him to lay back down but he seemed too angry to even attempt that sort of feat.
“... She was my Fiance.” Seb said with finality, dumping the last of the glass into a trash can close to the bed. Twilight listened with considerate silence. “I was stealing some jewels from a family that lived down the street from Trisha. I was hopping fences when I got one of my attacks. I crashed into her backyard while she was watering her Irises.” He gave a traitorous sigh. “They were her favorite flowers. She could have called the cops on me, I would have personally... but she didn’t.”
He took a desperate glance at the unicorn’s face before continuing. “She took me inside her home and gave me a place to sleep. She fed me and took care of me until I was better. By that time, I was completely taken by her. She was beautiful, gentle, and far too kind for her own good. She had fallen for my charm as well and I began going to her house almost every day. Her father hated it but she didn’t care in the least. I went to her house one day and she told me she was pregnant. The idea of settling down and becoming a father seemed like a distant dream but the possibility was in my grasp.” He felt a hoof rest itself on him but he didn’t truthfully care to acknowledge it much.
“After a few months I had stolen enough money to buy a ring and ask her to marry me. She said yes and told me we were going to have a boy. We use to have little fights over what to name him. She would just take the moment aside, shake her head and smile. She would kiss me and tell me that we had time and would think of a name later.” He let out a wavering breath as tears began swelling in his eyes.
“ It was after that, when I went to her house while her dad was away that I found someone who shouldn’t have been there. I didn’t even have time to even say a word before the bastard shot Trisha. I tried to fight him, to bring any small justice to his crimes but he shot at me too. The bullet grazed my side but the wound was enough. He escaped and all I could do was hold the love of my life’s dead body in my hands. Even my unborn child couldn’t be saved.” Seb choked back tears as he finished his story.
Twilight was fighting a desperate battle to keep the tears in her eyes from spilling out but it was ultimately in vain, her face was already stained with tears. Seb finished cleaning off the bed and sat back down on it. Between his story and his weak legs he couldn’t stay up any longer than he had already managed to. He couldn’t understand why he had told Twilight all of that, he only knew if he hadn’t she’d have kept asking about it.
Twilight left the subject alone for the rest of the day and allowed Seb to relax in peace while she finished cleaning.
Author's Note: hey everyone, sorry i've been taking so long to post these, i'm trying to Thursdays and Mondays but so far it seems to be Fridays and Mondays. Hope you enjoy this installment and have a happy Thanksgiving
Seb woke from a small nap to see a short, purple, and green scaly dragon staring at him. He nearly jumped out of his bed, but when he saw the little dragon meant no harm he settled back into the warm covers.
“Sorry about that, I didn’t scare you too bad did I?” The little dragon asked. Of course he could talk too, everything could talk. Why not a multi colored lizard?
“No, just surprised.” Seb said. He yawned and sat up slowly, for all instances feeling like utter crap. It seemed every bone in his body was aching and his head felt like heavy metal concert was well underway inside. His neck and back hurt too, not to mention his chest. The whole thing felt like a furnace.
“My name is Spike.” The little dragon said in a low voice.
“Ah, you’re that little assistant Twilight told me about.” Seb said, trying to hide his pain.
“And you’re that human. What are humans like?” Spike asked with childlike curiosity.
“I hope you never find out.” Seb’s answer wasn’t greeted with much enthusiasm. Spike looked on in confusion. Before he could ask what the human meant however, Twilight decided to come up the stairs to check on them.
“I have to do some shopping today. Would you like to come along?” Twilight asked. “The fresh air could do you some good.” Spike walked over to her side, knowing he’d be tagging along if nothing but to carry groceries.
“I think I should stay here.” Seb replied steadily. He was still fairly weak on his feet and the thought of being in the public view didn’t sit well with him. Twilight nodded and went back down the stairs with Spike close behind.
The dragon and mare made their way to the market place and began shopping around immediately. Twilight picked up quills and parchment as well as a few ink bottles, taking her time on trying to decide which ones were the best quality for her writing. No time at all had passed before Spike’s boredom set it. They hurried along after their purchase to the food stands, Fluttershy was there buying a few heads of lettuce.
“Hello Fluttershy.” Twilight said walking up to her.
“Oh, hello Twilight.” Fluttershy responded in her ever quiet voice, putting her lettuce in her saddle bag as she did so. “How is Seb doing?”
“He’s doing much better.” Twilight said with some small measure of excitement. She tried to sound cheerful about it, but her wavering voice betrayed her.
“He’s still very sick though, isn’t he?” Fluttershy asked, getting right to the center of the subject. Twilight nodded sadly.
“I’m hoping I can find something in the market today that would make him feel better. He hasn’t eaten much since he got here either. I’m starting to worry.” Twilight responded.
“I was thinking, maybe Zecora would have something that would make him feel better.” Twilight’s ears perked up instantly.
“You’re a genius Fluttershy!” Twilight exclaimed, hugging the shy yellow pony. Fluttershy beamed in a rather subdued manner, glad that her advice would help Seb.
“I can go with you if you want, I don’t mind.” Fluttershy offered. Twilight agreed heartily and the pair started off toward the zebra alchemist’s home.
“Spike,” The young dragon snapping to attention at Twilight’s call of his name. “can you go back to the library and keep an eye on Seb? Don’t tell him I told you to, or where we’re going.”
“Why not?” Spike asked.
“Seb is too full of pride. He’ll never let us go if he knew what we were doing.” Twilight explained. Spike nodded and began racing back to the library while Twilight and Fluttershy rushed towards the Everfree forest.
Twilight and Fluttershy made their way through the forest. It was dark inside, and the ground was damp with moisture. The pair knew their way though, and tried not to let the forest get the better of them. They arrived at a familiar tree, decorated with a multitude of masks, and knocked on the door. A moment later, it opened and a striped black and white pony appeared at the door. The zebra smiled when she recognized her guests.
“Twilight Sparkle, and Fluttershy too. Welcome, welcome, and how can I help you?” The zebra asked as she stepped aside for the pair to come in.
“Hello, Zecora. We were wondering if you could help us with a problem. You see, we have this... uh, friend, and he’s very sick. Do you have anything that can help?” Twilight explained vaguely, trying not to let very much information pass from her mouth.
“Hm, I may be able to whip up a brew. For your friend, something new.” Zecora said walking to her cupboards and shelves of potions and ingredients. “What seems to be his trouble? I will work on a potion on the double.”
“Well. He coughs up blood a lot, and he does it until he can’t breath. After that he passes out.” Twilight explained. Zecora seemed puzzled, she searched her shelves before she took down a painted clay bottle with a cork in the top and passed it over to Twilight.
“Make him drink this before he goes to bed, then come back later for another potion to use instead.” Zecora said. Twilight nodded and put the bottle in her saddle bag.
“Thank you Zecora. We’ll come back tomorrow.” Twilight said. The zebra nodded and the pair returned to the darkness of the forest.
“Do you think we should have told Zecora what Seb was?” Fluttershy asked once she and Twilight were a great distance into the forest, and away from the quirky zebra.
“Maybe, but let’s wait before telling her.” Twilight replied. “Seb might get angry.” Fluttershy nodded in agreement.
The forest seemed to get darker and darker as they walked. Had they been gone so long it was becoming night? A twig snapped in the distance causing Fluttershy to squeal and hide behind Twilight. Twilight gave her a reassuring smile and kept walking Fluttershy staying close behind. Another twig snapped and footsteps sounded behind them. Fluttershy couldn’t take it any longer and began running and crying at the same time.
“Fluttershy!” Twilight called after her in vain.
She began running but something tripped her and she fell flat on her face. The clay bottle shattered in her saddle bag on impact. When she looked up, the man from Seb’s dream was standing above her, a gun pointed directly at the unicorn’s face.
“You!” Twilight gasped as she recognized him
“Well well, we meet again my dear.” Nathan said coldly. Twilight shuddered as if the coldness in his voice had turned into an arctic wind and blew past her.
“Wh...What do you want?” She asked. Nathan cocked his gun and aimed it at her face.
“I want your world.” He said calmly.” And Sebastian.”
“Sebastian?...Seb?” She asked, only now putting the name together.
“Yes, Seb. I suppose it’s a neat little nickname for him.” Nathan replied as he chuckled menacingly.
“Fluttershy!” Twilight called out. “Hel-!” She screamed in shock when a loud explosion cut her off and rang in her ears.
Her head spun and she could hear a loud pitched whine but nothing else. Searing pain exploded from her shoulder and she screamed in agony, closing her eyes. Her shoulder became hot and the rest of her body numbed. Slowly her hearing came back to her and she heard the thunder of a bunch of hoofbeats. Was it her friends? She opened her eyes and at first could see only blurs of blue, yellow and orange, then the blurs took the shapes of Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and Applejack. Nathan fired at them. He missed and when he tried to fire again the gun only clicked. He cursed and ran into the depths of the forest. Applejack rushed over to Twilight.
“You alright Twi?” She asked, kneeling beside her friend. Twilight couldn’t respond, the pain was too much. “Rainbow, go get some help. Fluttershy, go find Seb. Tell him there’s another human here.” Applejack ordered. The pegasi nodded and flew off as quickly as each of them could.
Seb had fallen asleep again when Fluttershy came in to wake him. He rolled over and opened his eyes to see her hovering above him. For a brief moment, he saw Trisha’s face. When he blinked it went back to Fluttershy’s.
“Hey.” He groaned as he sat up. He then noticed she was crying. “What’s wrong?”
“I-it’s Twilight. W-we were leaving the Everfree forest a-and another h-human came out and attacked us. I-i ran but he hurt T-Twilight somehow.” She said, hugging Seb and crying into his chest. Her hugged her instinctively as he tried to make sense of what she had said
“What do you mean he hurt her somehow?” Seb asked, once he made sense of it all.
“There was a loud noise and Applejack and Rainbow Dash came running and I led them back to Twilight and the top of her shoulder had a large cut on it, like yours.” She said, holding back tears.
“Like mine..?” Seb had to think for a moment then it hit him, she’d been shot.. “Where is she right now?”
“She was still in the forest when I left. They’re sending help for her right now.” Fluttershy answered.
“Will they take her to a hospital?” Seb asked. He couldn’t remember seeing one in town but then again he hadn’t explored the whole thing. Fluttershy nodded. “Take me to it.”
Fluttershy led him out leaving Spike, who had heard the whole thing, to begin furiously writing a letter. Seb followed Fluttershy to the hospital where they met Applejack and Rainbow Dash watching Twilight being hauled in. Rainbow Dash saw then and flew over to Seb, tackling him to the ground then standing on his chest.
“What in the hay is going on!?” Rainbow Dash barked. Seb took in a hard gulp of air.
“I...I don’t-” Seb coughed as Rainbow Dash choked him. “I don’t know!” He choked out.
“Now hold up there sugar cube.” Applejack butted in. “He’s been cooped up since yesterday. I doubt he’d know what;s goin’ on.” Rainbow Dash lifted off of Seb. She was still angry and took her anger out on one of the columns of the hospital, bucking it hard enough to make a slight crack. Seb slowly stood back up with Fluttershy’s help and dusted himself off.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, but I have my ideas. Humans don’t normally run around and shoot ponies. Humans are scared of what they don’t understand, and like to eradicate it.” Seb explained. Fluttershy let out a soft squeak.
“What do ya mean? We ain’t done nothin’ to them.” Applejack protested.
“Welcome to the world of Humans. All you have to do is look at them the wrong way and you’re dead.” Seb replied.
“So let’s attack them before they attack us.” Rainbow Dash said. Seb shook his head.
“They have guns, you’ll never be able to fend them off.” Seb replied.
“Then what do we do?” Rainbow Dash asked. Seb could only shrug.
They stood in silence for a few moments. Rainbow Dash fumed and dug at the ground, constantly looking as if she was going to charge at the wall. None of them wanted to go inside until someone came to tell them Twilight was alright. Rarity and Pinkie Pie had joined them not long after they had arrived and were just as worried. Even Pinkie Pie couldn’t find words to cheer everyone up. A doctor finally came out, searching for the injured unicorns friends, and found them waiting.He removed his mask and smiled softly.
“Your friend will be fine.” He said. “She was only grazed and the worse damage was going to shock.” the group breathed a sigh of relief at the same time.
They followed the doctor inside and to Twilight’s room where she was curled up in a bed and out like a light. Applejack was the first to leave, she had to get back to the farm and her family. Fluttershy left next to tend to her animals, Pinkie Pie had to go home and tend to Mr. and Mrs Cake’s twins, and Rarity had to put Sweetie Belle to bed. Rainbow Dash left sometime in the middle of the night, leaving Seb alone with Twilight. He had refused to leave Twilight alone until she woke up and had fallen asleep himself. He woke up to the sound of hoofbeats and looked up to see something standing over Twilight’s bed. Seb could just make out the horse-like figure and the long waving mane and horn. the curtains blew a little and he could make out Princess Celestia’s face. He let out a sigh of relief. He had been worried it was the other human. He leaned over and flipped the switch on the lamp and the soft glow illuminated the room. Twilight was still asleep with her front leg in a sling. Seb began to get up but Celestia pushed him back down with a hoof.
“No, Don’t get up.” She said quietly.Seb sat back down. “Spike sent me a letter about what happened.” Seb nodded, Twilight had explained the mail system between her and Celestia but he still didn’t quite understand it. “Can you explain to me what is happening?”
“I’m not entirely sure actually.” Seb replied weakly. he was still tired.”It’s hard to understand the human mind and why it does certain things.”
“This begs the question, what are you doing here anyway?” Celestia asked, almost accusingly. Seb looked up at her with a glare.
“I didn’t choose to come here. They forced me here.” Seb growled.
“Why would they force you here then come as well?” Celestia asked. Seb could only shrug.
Celestia turned to Twilight as she stirred a bit and mumbled something about getting quills and settled back down into her dream. Seb smiled a little, but it quickly faded when Celestia cleared her throat.
“I must return to Canterlot. Farewell.” She said and left the room rather quickly.
Seb shook his head slightly then turned back to Twilight. He pulled the covers over her shoulders and tucked her in gently, before sitting back down and closing his eyes.
“Stupid pony.” he whispered as he began drifting off to sleep.
His dream had been disturbing to say the least; He was running and jumping over fences like he had two years ago when he had met Trisha. He jumped over a fence and found Trisha there, in her backyard, pregnant and holding her arms open for him. He went to hug her but a gunshot sounded and he dropped to the floor of her living room where he had held her. He looked down and saw his wound, fresh and bleeding. He stared at it, then looked up to see a child standing where Trisha had been. The boy looked just like him as a young boy.
“Why did you let us die daddy?” The boy asked. Seb’s heart jumped into his throat.
“I..I didn’t.. I couldn’t-”
“Daddy, why did you let mommy die?”
“I couldn’t save her.”
“You killed us daddy.”
“No...I-” He looked down and saw a gun in his hand and the child was gone.
He dropped the gun and began crying until he heard strange footsteps walking towards him. He looked up and saw Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Rarity standing in front of him
“You killed Twilight.” Rainbow Dash said coldly.
“How could you?” Pinkie Pie asked.
“I didn’t kill her.” Seb said. “She’s fine.”
“If she’s fine then why are y’all holding a gun and she’s dead?” Applejack asked.
Seb looked down, the gun was back in his hand and Twilight was laying in a puddle of blood.
“No!” Seb yelled. Fluttershy walked up to him and glared. “Fluttershy, I didn’t..”
“You lied to me. You’re just a murderer.” Fluttershy said and left.
“No! Fluttershy!” Seb yelled out. he kept calling out as they left.
HIs eyes snapped opened and he was in the hospital. He breathed hard and looked around. Everything was the same as he left it. He breathed a sigh of relief and leaned back. His eyes closed again but only for a moment before a hand clasped over his mouth. He struggled at first until he felt a gun press against his throat.
“Shhhh” Nathan whispered. “Listen closely, Sebastian, I want you to steal something for me. These ponies have a weapon they call the “Elements of Harmony”, I want it and you’re going to get it for me.”
“Or what.” Seb growled as Nathan removed his hand.
“Or your little purple friend here is dead.” Nathan said, removing his gun and aiming at Twilight, who was still sleeping peacefully.
“She isn’t my friend.” Seb snapped. Nathan grinned.
“Oh? then I don’t suppose you mind if I just....” He walked over to Twilight and prepared his gun and began pulling the trigger.
“No!” Seb yelled, jumping up. Nathan smirked. Twilight stirred weakly and began waking. ”Fine...I’ll do it.”
Nathan pulled his gun away and slid out of the door slowly.
“Until we meet again Sebastian.” Nathan said and closed the door.
Twilight opened her eyes as the door shut and turned to see Seb standing over her, glaring at the door.
“Seb?” she asked weakly. Seb looked down at her and for the first time, smiled at her.
“Hey, kid.” He said and dragged his chair over to her bedside. “How you feeling?” He asked gently.
“What’s wrong?” She asked.
“Nothing.” Seb lied. “Just, thought I saw a mouse.” She took his answer, being too weak and tired to care.
“What time is it?” She asked.
“Midnight.” Seb replied, fixing her sheets.
“Why are you still here?” She asked, wincing as her shoulder began to ache.
“Well, I guess I fell asleep.” Seb said. At least he could tell one truth.
“You should go back to the library. Spike can’t be home alone.” She said and winced again. Seb had almost completely forgotten about Spike.
“Alright Twilight, I’ll go watch over Spike.” Seb said, fussed with her blankets again and then made his way to the door. Twilight fell asleep almost immediately and he walked back to the library.
Morning broke over the horizon and Seb woke up to find himself in a bed at the library.It had been nearly 3 days since Twilight was shot. Spike was just waking up as well and began getting breakfast started. There was an usual tension between the two, and Seb felt weird for being tense around a dragon that only came up to his knee. He followed the dragon to the back of the library and found a small kitchen. Seb put his hand on Spike’s shoulder and moved him aside.
“Go relax Spike, I’ll make breakfast.” Seb said.
Spike couldn't find any words and simply sat down on a stool near by and watched as Seb began making pancakes. He started up the stove and placed a skillet on one of the burners before preparing the batter. As the batter sizzled in the pan Seb turned to Spike.
“How come you always push everyone away?” Spike asked. Seb kept his silence. “Twilight and the others care about you, you know.”
“I never asked them to.” Seb replied, listening to the sizzle of the pancakes behind him.
“Does someone really need your permission to care?” Spike asked, crossing his arms.
“It isn't so simple.” Seb said. He turned and flipped the pancake.
“I think you’re just scared.” Spike replied.
“Scared? Of what?” Seb asked.
“You’re scared that if you let them get too close they’ll get hurt, like Twilight.” Spike said. Seb was using all his strength to keep himself from punching something.
“What do you know?” He asked, taking the pancake off the skillet and setting it on a plate for Spike.
“You don’t have to feel like you don’t need friends anymore.” Spike said. “You don’t have to feel alone.”
“Just eat your breakfast.” Seb said and left the room, heading outside.
As he stepped outside, he saw Rainbow Dash and Applejack walking down the road with Twilight in a wheelchair. Applejack was pushing the chair while Rainbow Dash walked beside her. Seb met them halfway.
“Should you be out and about?” Twilight asked weakly. Her front right hoof was in a sling and her shoulder was bandaged.
“Should you?” Seb asked.
“Very funny.” Twilight replied. “The doctors said the best thing I can do is get some rest at home.”
“We’ll be checking in on her every once in awhile.” Applejack said. Rainbow Dash simply glared at Seb. Seb glared back. He knew she blamed him for her friend’s injury and he couldn’t really blame her; it sort of was his fault that humans had entered this realm.
“I figured you’d say that.” Seb responded.
They wheeled Twilight into the library and Seb began setting up a bed downstairs for her. Applejack and Rainbow Dash left after staying as long as Twilight could stand them. Seb, like any other day Twilight hadn’t been there, spent much of his evenings sitting on the balcony on the second floor. He liked watching the stars and the towers on the mountain in the distance. The moon was already high in the sky when he heard hoofsteps coming up the stairs. He finally noticed the cold of the night as a stray snowflake fell onto his hand. He turned his head to see Twilight limping up the stairs. She made it to the last one and limped over to him.
“You should be in bed.” Seb said.
“So should you.” A soft smile crept over Seb’s face. Twilight sat beside him and looked out into the distance with him.A few more snowflakes fell between them.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She asked quietly.
“What is it?” Seb asked.
“Canterlot,” Twilight said “The princess lives there in her castle.”
Seb didn't respond. He simply kept watching the city and the stars around it. He could just make them out as the snow clouds began moving over head. Seb began to enjoy the quietness he could share with Twilight. It was a silent conversation they could have where they both knew what each other was saying without even opening their mouths. The snowflakes had begun to fall down steadily and Seb noticed Twilight shiver.
“Go back inside Twilight, you’ll catch a cold.” Seb said. She looked up and smiled at him, shivering.
“You first.” She said. Seb chuckled and stood up slowly.
He felt his bones creak and strain in protest but he ignored it. He then bent down and grabbed Twilight, picking her up, being careful of her shoulder. He carried her down the stairs and plopped her, gently, back into her bed and tucked her in before she could get up and complain. He dropped down beside her and leaned against the wall, his body language saying ‘I’m going to stay right here until you fall asleep and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ Twilight pouted.
“Do you always do that?” She asked.
“What? Carry purple ponies downstairs against their will? No, not often.” Seb replied, smirking. Twilight laughed.
“I meant, do you always go onto the balcony at night?” She asked.
“When I can’t sleep yes.” Seb replied.
“And how often is that?” Twilight asked.
“Every night.” Seb smiled.Twilight shook her head at him then rested against the pillow.
When Twilight had finally fallen asleep again, Seb went back to the balcony and watched Canterlot again. He ran his fingers through his hair and tried to sooth a rising headache by rubbing his forehead. He walked over to the rail of the balcony to lean against it. When he took a step he heard a crunch under his foot and looked down to see a piece of parchment under his foot. It had originally been held but a rock, that Seb was surprised he hadn’t noticed before. He picked up the paper and began reading.
A simple note, unsigned but Seb knew who had sent it.
“What’s only the beginning?” Seb asked aloud. A soft glow caught the corner of his eye and he looked up.
Down the road and towards the edge of town he could see a small house being consumed in flames as the embers rose into the night sky. He dropped the note and rushed down stairs. Spike woke up to the thudding of his footsteps and watched Seb open the front door.
“What’s wrong Seb?” He asked sleepily.
“Fire.” Seb replied simply. He rushed out the door and down the street towards the burning house.
The fire had already drawn a crowd and fire-fighting pegasi and unicorns were trying to tame the flames. Everything seemed to be under control, or going to be, but Seb couldn't shake the feeling of something bad about to happen. The feeling was what had initially brought him there, otherwise he would have just let the authorities take care of it.
“Cherry Pie? Cherry Pie, As anyone see my baby?” A mare asked.
She was an earth pony, a strawberry red color with a light green mane and a glass of lemonade as her cutie mark. Her name was Strawberry Lemonade and her daughter was missing. Seb turned to the burning building. He knew where she was. Seb ran up to the porch of the house and slammed into the door with his shoulder. He moved out of the way just as a wall of fire burst from the door, a warning not to enter. Seb ignored it and forced his way into the collapsing building. Smoke spilled into his lungs like a ghost taking over his soul. He coughed hard and his eyes began to water. The heat from the flames licked at his back as he searched through the house. He heard a cry for help and looked around. He could barely see anything through the smoke and fire but he could see a small filly, a softer red than her mother and sported a short, frizzy golden mane that reminded Seb of a pie crust. He could tell instantly how she got her name.
“Cherry Pie!” Seb called out.
He coughed hard and backed out as a plank of wood fell from the roof and caught on fire. He jumped over it and walked over to the little filly. She had found a small corner in the room that hadn't yet been consumed fire but was getting close to it. The little filly was crying and shied away from Seb, not knowing what he was.
“It’s alright kid.” Seb said, coughing hard again. He could feel blood creeping up his throat. He cursed his disease then held out his arms for the little filly.
She walked over to him, cautiously at first, but another burning plank of wood fell too close for comfort and suddenly the strange creature became her savior. She climbed into his arms and Seb stood up. Their little haven was now completely surrounded by fire. Seb jumped over a beam and began making his way towards the door. He ripped off a chunk of fabric from his shirt and wrapped it around Cherry Pie’s muzzle as he made his way through cloud after cloud of smoke. Outside, Rainbow Dash and her weather team had dragged several rain clouds to the scene while a few earth ponies below used hoses. Strawberry Lemonade stood nervously in front of her burning house while neighbors consoled her. Rainbow Dash landed before her and sighed.
“I’m sorry Ma’am, your house won’t be saved.” Rainbow dash said. She was sweating from the heat.
“I’m not worried about my house, I’m worried about my baby. She’s in there and that human that lives at the library went in after her.” Strawberry Lemonade said.
Rainbow Dash furrowed her brow then gasped. She flew into the building, through a hole in the roof and hovered above the flames. She looked around and saw Seb laying under a flaming support beam. The house was standing only on luck at the moment and Rainbow knew it wouldn’t last long. She flew over to Seb and hovered just above him. He was laying face down, but forcing himself to stay above the ground, something was under him. He looked up when he heard the flapping of wings above the roar of the fire.
“Rainbow?” Seb asked with a harsh cough.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of here.” Rainbow Dash said, coughing too.
“No.” Seb choked. He shifted and moved over as best he could, pushing Cherry Pie towards Rainbow Dash. “Take her.”
Rainbow Dash’s eyes widened. The house creaked and groaned as a few splinters of wood fell above them. Cherry Pie was crying again and coughing though she held the strip of fabric over her mouth and nose.
“I can move the beam.” Rainbow Dash said and began to try and lift the wooden beam where it wasn't on fire.
“No! Take the kid.” Seb yelled.
Rainbow Dash ignored him and kept trying to move the wood. Seb reached back, grabbed one of Rainbow Dash’s wings, and pulled hard, sending her flying into the air. She flapped her wings vigorously and stayed aloft in the air. The creaking of the wood caught Rainbow Dash’s attention. She groaned and grabbed Cherry Pie. She flew out of the same hole in the roof she had come in, leaving a trail of rainbow as she did. Just as she left, the building collapsed and sent a last gasp of fire into the air. Rainbow landed next to Strawberry Lemonade and handed Cherry Pie over to her. The mare took her baby while Rainbow Dash walked up to the collapsed house. The snow had begun to fall more heavier and Applejack, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight, with the help of spike, had made their way to the building. Rainbow Dash informed them on what had happened and they watched as the weather team and ground team tried to put the fire out. The snow helped and finally the fire had died down quite a bit. Spike kept Twilight in her wheelchair, though she wanted desperately to go and search for Seb. Rainbow Dash and Applejack had begun their search with Pinkie Pie’s help. Rarity, who was in her robes and her hair in curlers, stood next to Twilight, looking bored and angry about the dirt. Fluttershy was trying not to panic but not doing a very good job of it. Rainbow Dash sighed and stopped sifting through the rubble while Applejack wiped the sweat off her brow.
“I aint findin nothing.” Applejack said in a huff. She kicked a loose piece of burnt wood.
“He’s gotta be in here somewhere.” Rainbow Dash groaned.
There was a rustling behind her in a rather large pile of wood. Applejack and Rarity whirled around and the others made their way up to the devastation. Rarity tried to avoid the dirt as much as possible while Fluttershy flew over to Rainbow Dash. A plank of wood shifted and fell down the hill of the rubble and Seb’s hand and arm wormed it’s way out of the opening. He pulled his head and chest out and coughed up a decent amount of blackened blood. He was covered in soot and burnt in a few places but nothing terrible. He dragged the rest of himself out. His legs and back were burnt and scratched up quite a bit. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Fluttershy ran over to him as he flopped over on his back, gulping in air.
“Seb!, Oh my, oh my, Are you okay?” Fluttershy asked. Seb replied with a cough.
“Ugh,” Seb groaned “That was the dumbest thing I've ever done.”
“He doesn’t look too bad actually, nothing looks broken.” Rainbow Dash said, looking him over.
“How’d you manage that?” Applejack asked.
“There was a small space I managed to move into. The beam hadn’t landed too hard on me either.” Seb replied. He coughed again and groaned.
Aside from a very long night in the hospital, Seb turned out to be fine other than some smoke damage to his lungs and multiple bruises and scratches. His worst injury was his shoulder being popped out of socket and the doctors called it a miracle he wasn’t dead. Seb thought it was too, many times he thought he was going to die. They released Seb the next afternoon after lunch time. He had dropped the sling that was suppose to keep his shoulder still while it healed. He didn’t need it; he’d done that before and it barely bothered him now. He made his way back to Twilight’s library and opened the door. Twilight and the others were there. None of them wanted to be alone that night, it was rare a fire started but even more rare that someone else started it. Seb had told them about Nathan’s letter while they waited for someone to take him away and it spooked them all. Twilight was finishing up a letter to the princess when Seb walked in. Fluttershy’s heart broke into a thousand pieces; He looked exhausted and so fragile that the wind from a single beat of her wing would send him crashing to the floor. She found a chair for him, he thanked her and sat down. Rainbow Dash was on him in an instant.
“What’s your deal? I thought you didn’t care about anypony, and what else do you know about that fire?” Rainbow Dash asked. Applejack groaned and shook her head.
“I only know Nathan started it.” Seb replied weakly and avoiding her first question.
“Why would he start a fire and send you a note saying he did it?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“I don’t know Rainbow Dash do I look like Nathan to you?” He said. His patience was wearing thin and his voice portrayed that.
“I still don’t understand why you went into that building.” Applejack said. It was obvious they weren’t going to get anymore information about Nathan from him.
“I don’t know, just being stupid I guess.” Seb replied. In truth, he wasn’t sure why he had raced to the building in the first place, perhaps it was because he felt guilty for it and wanted to see if he could help or badly it was burning but at the moment he couldn't say.
“You saved that little filly’s life though.” Twilight said while Spike sent her letter.”Her mother was so grateful.”
Seb said nothing.
“Why did you go in there anyway?” Rainbow Dash asked. “I didn’t think you cared about anything or anyone but yourself.”
It got the whole room quiet as they waited for Seb’s answer. Seb’s lips parted for a moment, as if he were about to answer, but then they closed and he stood up and left.
“I’ll go talk to him.” Twilight groaned, Applejack stopped her.
“You stay here and rest Twi, I’ll go talk to him.” She said and walked out after Seb.
Seb had gotten as far as the park before Applejack finally stopped him. He sat down in the grass, that was blanketed with snow from the night before, and laid on his back, watching the clouds overhead. Applejack sat with him.
“You can’t just keep on runnin' away from yer problems Seb.” Applejack said. Seb didn't reply. “Why is it so hard for you to tell everyone why you saved a life? You did somethin wonderful and y’all should feel good about it. What? Are you embarrassed?”
Seb let out a hard sigh and closed his eyes.
“No, I’m not.” He replied. “I wouldn’t just let some kid die.” He wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince Applejack or himself. His dream about the little boy and Trisha still haunted him and he wanted so badly to prove to the boy he wasn’t a killer.
“I knew y’all had a heart ‘o gold.” Applejack said nudging him with her hoof. Seb couldn’t help but smirk.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for kids.” He was doing it again, telling everyone his life story with no rhyme or reason.
“I was abandoned on the steps of an orphanage. They took me in and did what they could to adopt me out but my odd strength pushed people away. After a while, the orphanage began to run down and they started treating the kids worse and worse. We were fed some type of slop they called oatmeal day and night and we never got to go outside. There were even rumors one of the adults forced himself on the older kids. I finally left but I hated leaving the others behind. There was nothing I could do until I got into the thieving gig. When I got good enough to let people pay me to steal things, I would take a few dollars here and there for myself and leave the rest on the door steps of orphanages and half-way homes so they could renovate and feed the kids properly. I never left any at the homeless shelters because I figured it was the adult’s own fault they were homeless and didn’t deserve anything. It was ironic really, after a year of me doing that, a legend rose about me, though they said I was an adult half the time. I was only 16 when I did it.” Seb couldn’t help but smile. He didn’t care so much that legends were being made about him, he just enjoyed the fact that everyone tried to speculate who he was and what he looked like but they never got anything right. Except for his eyes. He recalled at one point a little girl in an orphanage caught him leaving money but the only thing she saw in the night were his green eyes. From then on, every depiction of him had green eyes and it made him laugh.
Applejack took her hat off and smiled.
“That’s a mighty noble thing you've done.” She said. Any thoughts of him possibly being evil were blown away by his story. Seb ignored her for the most part and rolled over, putting his back to her.
Applejack turned when she heard someone’s high pitched complaining. She knew right away it was Rarity.
“I can’t believe how utterly rude he is, storming off like that. I ought to give him a piece of my mind. Ugh, and a new wardrobe. I mean please, he’s been wearing the same clothing since he arrived here, I bet he’s simply filthy.” Rarity droned on and Seb groaned. He knew he was going to get an earful in a moment. Applejack chuckled and started walking away.
“Good luck sugar cube.” She said as she left. She passed Rarity, who was glaring down at Seb worse than any mother could glare at their child.
“Alright mister ‘I’m too good for all you’ you listen here. I will not tolerate such rude behavior, especially since you’re only a guest here. Twilight opened her home to you and you were completely rude to her an-”
“You right Rarity.” Seb cut her off.
“You’re right, I was rude.” Seb replied he really just wanted her to shut up, but she was right. Rarity Lifted her chin up proudly.
“There, you see, how hard was that?” She asked. Seb got up and walked past her.
“You going to stay out in the snow?” Seb asked.
Rarity looked at him and then looked up. A snowflake hit her nose, followed by a sludgy mix that fell from a tree. She glared at Seb after brushing it out of her mane. Seb laughed and made his way back to the library where Twilight and the others were standing outside. They were all surrounding Twilight, who was levitating a letter before her. Rarity came up behind Seb as he leaned into the crowd.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“I wrote a letter to the princess about the fire. She wants us to see her in Canterlot right away.” Twilight replied, rolling up the letter. “All of us.” She looked at Seb.
Author's Note: I hope you enjoy this one everyone.
“Why does she want me?” Seb asked. Twilight shrugged as best she could and handed the letter over to Spike.
“Spike, watch over the library for me okay?” Twilight asked. Spike nodded and the unicorn turned back to her friends.
“Pack your things everyone, and meet me at the train station in an hour.”
“You can’t go Twilight, you’re still hurt.” Pinkie Pie said, pointing to Twilight’s shoulder.
“I can handle a train ride to the princess Pinkie.” Twilight replied curtly.
“Come with me if you would please, Seb.” Rarity said, starting to make her way towards her boutique.
“Why?” Seb asked with hesitation.
“I will not let you go to Canterlot to see the princess in those rags you’re wearing.” Rarity said in her usual manner. Rainbow Dash and Applejack snickered to each other as the fashionista dragged him along by his shirt with her magic.
In her boutique, Rarity had Seb stand on a pedestal while she took measurements. She hummed softly while she dragged out her fabrics and sewing materials.
“What color are your eyes?” She asked suddenly.
“Green.” Seb replied in no uncertain terms.
“Oh I hope I have something that matches green.” Rarity whined.
“How about you just make me a simple shirt, like the one I had. That seems to work for me.”
“Good heavens no!” Rarity exclaimed dramatically. “You must look your absolute best and I’ll accept nothing less.”
“But I-” Seb was cut off almost immediately.
“Please stop talking darling. Now that I have your measurements go take a bath.” Rarity ordered, shooing him with a hoof.
“A bath?” Seb asked, being ordered around wasn’t exactly in his style.
“Yes, a bath. I’ll not be putting brand new clothes on you while you’re filthy. Now go on, shoo shoo.” Rarity said, pushing him towards the back room where a half bath half shower was lying in wait. Seb shut the door as soon as he was thrust in the room. Looking around he shrugged and turned the faucet on, getting undressed as he did so.
The hot water felt good on his skin, especially on the areas that still ached. His mind wandered again as he closed his eyes. He remembered that fateful day, the one where he had first met Trisha...
He took a job from some rich kid to steal his parents jewelry to make some point about getting a dog, it was a dumb reason to say the least. He knew he should have turned it down and rested that day; he could feel one of his attacks coming on, but he was hungry and took it anyway. The theft wasn’t hard to pull off; no one was home, no security system and the safe was unlocked. He got the jewels and left lickity-split. He jumped a few fences before his chest tightened and blood spurted from his mouth in the middle of a jump. He had tripped over the fence and crashed into a backyard. He heard the scream of a woman and looked up. Trisha was there, in a yellow sundress a pink bow wrapped around her waist with matching hat and sandals too boot. She was holding a watering can and standing in front of a whole garden of Irises. His heart skipped a few beats and his throat felt dry. She was beautiful and the light caught her bright blue eyes just perfectly so they shimmered. He felt a little embarrassed, her beauty reminded him of how ugly he must have looked. His hair was long, scraggly, and greasy without having had so much as a brush run through it all. A light beard trying to appear (he never grew a lot of facial hair, but it was still a lot for him), and his filthy clothes. His shame was interrupted by another spurt of blood and some harsh coughing.
“Oh, you poor thing.” Trisha gasped and knelt down beside him, putting her watering can down. “Here, let me help you.” She helped him up to a sitting position as he coughed and choked on his own blood.
“Get away.” Seb barked. He coughed again and blood dribbled from his lips.
“Don’t you talk to me like that mister.” Trisha scolded, almost mother like in her tone. Seb looked at her confused.”Come on lazy bones, up you go.” Trisha said as she forced him to his feet.
He dropped the jewelry as she dragged him inside. She laid him down on her bed. Seb tried the best he could not to touch the plush, pure white sheets but his blood and filth got on them anyway. Trisha didn’t even bat an eye at maring of her covers. She walked over to him and mopped up the blood from his mouth with a wet rag and sat next to him, smiling softly. He would never forget that smile.
“I’ll call an ambulance for you.” She said and stood up. Seb grabbed her arm. both of them were surprised at how gently he had grabbed her.
“Please, don't.” Seb begged in a hushed voice. It was the first time he had ever begged for anything. Trisha seemed to have realized that and nodded. That night, she had fixed him up, given him a bath, some fresh clothes, and trimmed his scruffy hair.
“There, now don’t you look handsome?” She said softly. That alone did it, she had stolen his heart and would never give it back.
A knocking on the door dragged him out of his memories like being ripped from a wonderful dream. He turned his head to the door and sighed weakly.
“I’m almost done with your clothes. I’m putting some towels outside the door for you.” Rarity shouted from behind the door.
“Thank you.” Seb replied.
“Oh, and feel free to use the shampoo and conditioner.” She added.
He heard her hoof-steps as she left and looked down at the hair care products. He shrugged and began washing out his hair. It had been so long since he felt this clean. Normally in order to wash up, he would visit public pools that had free hair care products and showers to rinse out chlorine. He would sneak in, take a quick shower, then leave. He didn’t do this often because police were often hanging out at public pools to catch people doing what he did. He turned the water off and stepped out of the tub, flipping his wet hair out of his face. He let out a relaxed sigh and looked at himself in the mirror. He ran a finger over his scar on his side, it was soft and a little tender from the warm shower. It still hurt every once in awhile. He thought it was because it wasn’t treated by a proper doctor, or maybe Trisha’s ghost wouldn’t let it stop hurting so he’d never forget. He wasn’t very superstitious but it was still a possibility. He stepped out of the bathroom, wrapped a towel around his waist and used the smaller towel to start drying his hair. Rarity stopped him in the hallway. He grabbed his towel to make sure it stayed on and looked at her.
“Good, you’re out. Try these on please.” Rarity said. She levitated a white, collared shirt over to him with a black tight fitting jacket, and a pair of matching fine pressed midnight black pants.
He went back into the bathroom, put on the clothing, and looked at himself in the mirror. The clothing wasn’t a tailored fit, more like a fit you’d get from a regular clothing store that sold expensive looking clothes. The ensemble was a good fit all together but not what he expected. He was surprised at how well she did, considering she never made human clothes before, it was superb work. The jacket showed enough of his shirt to break up the all black of said jacket. The pants fit just as awkwardly as he thought they would, but he could make it work out. Rarity beamed when she saw him all dressed and clean.
“Oh you look absolutely dashing. Now, let’s fix up your hair.” She said, pushing him into a chair with a mirror. She picked up a brush and began brushing his hair out and drying it with a blow dryer, using her magic. Seb winced from the tension of having the knots being brushed out of his tangled hair. When she was finished, Seb looked in the mirror and tilted his head. She hadn’t really done much to it; moved his bangs out of his face and put a little styling gel into it to make it stay in place, but he did look better.
“There, now don’t you look handsome?” Rarity beamed.
Seb’s heart jumped and he turned away from the mirror. It didn’t mean the same from Rarity, but just the fact it was the same words made his heart ache from the memory. He could feel a tear trying to force it’s way out.
“What’s wrong? don’t you like it?” Rarity asked.
“No.” Seb replied with a shaky voice. “I like it, thanks Rarity.” Rarity beamed once again before they headed off for the train station. The pair were a touch late, but the others didn’t seem to mind.
Seb kept busy watching the snow outside during the train ride. The others had noticed his transformation and complimented him on it, but he didn’t seem to care much for talking. They took the hint and congratulated Rarity on the feat of making clothes for a human. Seb had easily fallen asleep to the inane conversation and to the steady fall of snow. He had the dream again, of the little boy and woke up to them arriving at the Canterlot station. He followed the group outside and looked around at the large city and couldn’t help but laugh. It looked a lot like home the only difference being there was no rundown or abandoned buildings. Twilight and the others led him through the many avenues up to Celestia’s palace. He got quite a few stares along the way but he couldn’t care less, he was clearly an oddity to them but couldn’t care in the least. They made it to the palace and the guards let them in without hassle. They made their way through the elegant hallways and rooms of the palace to the throne room where Celestia and a dark blue Alicorn were talking. They turned to see the group enter and the six ponies bowed quickly. Seb simply crossed his arms. Celestia smiled genuinely.
“Twilight Sparkle, how good to see you again. How is your shoulder?” She asked thoughtfully. The darker mare walked up to Seb and looked him up and down.
“Hello Princess Celestia. My shoulder is doing much better, thank you.” Twilight replied, an easy smile shining brightly from her face. Celestia nodded and turned to Seb, who was being visually assaulted by the dark mare’s gaze.
“Seb, I’d like you to meet my sister, Princess Luna.”
“Charmed.” Seb said.
“Why do you not bow to your princess?” Luna asked.
“Simply put, you’re not my princess to begin with.” Seb snapped. Luna looked up at her older sister, who simply smiled and chuckled.
“Luna, Could you go to Manehatten and over look the election of their new mayor please? I must stay and speak with Twilight Sparkle and her friends.” Luna nodded.
“As you wish sister.” Luna replied and walked out of the room. Once she was gone, Celestia took on a more serious expression.
“I received your letter Twilight, and it has me concerned. Not only because the fire itself was strange, but other strange things have been happening here in Canterlot as well. Ponies have been going missing all across the city.” Celestia said with dire pensioning. The elements gasped. “Another disturbing trend seems to be that many, if not all, of the victims are unicorns. I’ve placed a curfew under the city that Shining Armor has been enforcing nightly. This seems to be working for the moment.”
“Who could be doing this? Is Discord back?” Twilight asked, clearly in a panic.
“Does this sound like the work of Discord?” Celestia asked. Her question wasn’t meant to be harsh, it seemed more like she wished it had been Discord behind the trouble. “I fear there is a new threat to Equestria, something we’ve never seen before.”
“Nathan.” Seb said, in a low voice. He sounded angry.
“Nathan?” Celestia inquired hesitantly.
“A human from my world.” Seb explained. “He’s the one who brought me here, he’s also the one who shot Twilight, and probably the one who set that house on fire.”
“And you suspect he may be behind these disappearances?” Celestia questioned with more authority in her voice.
“I think so.” Seb knew damn well he was behind it, but he couldn’t risk revealing he’d spoke to Nathan. That may lead to mistrust and he could ill-afford that.
“Then it is as I feared.” Celestia said. “Twilight, I want you and your friends to stay here and help investigate this predicament. Shining Armor and his guards are busy keeping the streets safe and I trust you six.”
“What about Seb?” Twilight asked.
“I wish to talk to Seb alone.” Celestia replied. Twilight and the others looked nervous but Celestia smiled. “Don’t worry, it’s just a talk, no harm will come to him. I promise.” The six nodded and smiled in return.
They left Seb alone with the princess, who turned and sat down on her throne. Seb glared at the white mare and waited for her to speak while she got comfortable. He had time to look around the room. It was elegant of course, with majestic tapestries and stained glass windows depicting various scenes from Equestrian history. There were also two guards standing on either side of the princess’s throne, which made him doubly uneasy.
“Guards, please leave us. I wish to speak to Seb in private.” Celestia said sternly, once she understood why Seb was so tense. The guards left hesitantly but followed their orders dutifully. Seb and Celestia stood in a thick silence.
“What do you want with me?” Seb finally asked, breaking the silence.
“Humans are unknown to us,” Celestia explained. “and we cannot defend ourselves against something we do not understand.”
“What about your magic? Humans have never seen magic before.” Seb replied curtly.
“Don’t you think we’ve tried that?” Celestia asked sharply, the reply made Seb feel dumb for just asking.”It seems Shining Armor’s protection is useless against these humans. I feel that it may be because of the different world you come from.
“Twilight can use her magic on me no problem, and Rarity too.” Seb said.
“Twilight and her friends seem to be special cases. In truth, I don’t really know the answer to either of these questions. I’m asking you as not only a princess but as a another living being with every right to live, to please help us against this terrible threat.” Celestia had lost the grip she normally kept on her emotions, her words pouring with sorrow. Seb could see the fear and desperation in her eyes.
“I say you just give them what they want.” Seb replied.
“You give up very easily don’t you?” Celestia asked. That sparked Seb’s anger.
“Yes Princess, I do give up very easily. It’s how I survive. I don’t have a fancy castle and guards to keep me safe, I live in a dumpster and eat scraps and whatever I can steal to survive.”
He didn’t wait for her to throw any formal speech back at him to rebuttal. He simply walked out of the throne room. He walked down the hall, running his fingers through his well groomed hair as he did. What had he gotten himself into this time? He owed nothing to these ponies and didn’t have a need to save them. He made his way through the castle and into a tower. He hadn’t stopped to think of where he was going or why, he simply wanted to think. He quickly found himself in a secluded area with not a guard around. He thought it was odd that there weren’t any guards but figured the area must not be all that important if it didn’t warrant a single guard patrolling it. He found a double door at the end of the hall and opened them. there was another hall like the princess’s throne room, filled with stained glass of heroics and history and at the end of the room was another set of double doors. He walked over to them and noticed that one of them was slightly cracked open. His curiosity got the best of him and he opened the doors. Inside, there was a case. He looked around and saw no one around. He opened the case and inside were six necklaces and a large crown, perhaps a tiara. He recognized the charms on them as the cutie marks of Twilight and the others. Were these the weapons he was meant to steal? Why did they have those symbols on them? Was it possible they belonged to Twilight and the others? He closed the case and turned around, walking down the hall. He stopped. His heart was pounding and his breath seemed to escape him. Why couldn’t he just walk away with it? It was so easy; no guards, no Twilight, not a pony in sight. He bolted, carrying the case down the hall passing a guard on the way. He didn’t stop when the guard told him to stop, he just kept running. He ran outside into the snowy air and finally stopped.
As he caught his breath, Seb felt his chest tense up, another attack? He dropped to his knees, grabbed a handful of snow and shoved it in his mouth. He needed to cool the fire in his chest and the snow wasn’t helping. He heard the snow slush and looked up to see Nathan in front of him. His gun was aimed right between his eyes.
“Good boy, Sebastian.” Nathan said calmly. He tilted his head towards a couple of men who were holding chains, after taking the case away from him.
Seb stood up and walked over to them. They forced his hands behind his back and tied them up with the chains. They then began leading him out of the city through deserted streets. Once they were a decent ways away from the castle, the two men tied a blindfold around Seb’s eyes.
Seb couldn’t figure out how long they had walked or where they had walked to, but the familiar scent of water and stone told him he was somewhere underground. He was forced to his knees and the blindfold was removed. He saw a stone wall and knew he was in a cave of somewhere. A blade rested against his chin.
“I was surprised at how quickly you responded to my letter.” Nathan began. “I was wondering when you’d figure out where the weapon was.”
“How did you know?” Seb asked coldly.
“Research.” Nathan said simply. Seb heard a cry of some pony off in the distance. It was a larger cave than he thought.
“You torture innocent ponies just to get information?” Seb asked.
“Well they didn’t exactly know about the “Elements of Harmony” or whatever, but I pieced together the legends they told me about.” Nathan replied matter of factly. “Speaking of which, How do you use these?”
“I don’t know.” Seb growled. A foot made contact with his chin, sending him flying backwards. His head made contact with the stone floor and bounced a little. Nathan pressed a knee against his chest and Seb felt the blood forcing it’s way through his lips.
“That isn’t what I wanted to hear.” Nathan cooed. He pressed the knife against Seb’s cheek. “how, do, they, work?”
“I, don’t, know.” Seb replied in a similar fashion. Nathan ripped the blade diagonally across Seb’s face. The knife dragged across his skin, under his left eye, across the bridge of his nose, over his forehead and ending at his right temple.
Seb let out a painful hiss as blood spurted from the wound and into his eye and mouth. Nathan threw the knife away and stood up, nodding to a very tall gruff looking man. The man had dark brown hair and a five o’clock shadow and a tattoo of a snake around his neck. He was carrying a sledgehammer while two other men walked up to Seb and picked him up. They pressed him against the wall, making sure he was flat against it as possible.
“Hank and his brothers were arrested four years ago for torturing in the military. They’ll take good care of you until you tell us how these weapons work.” Nathan said and ruffled Seb’s hair before walking to a table where papers awaited his attention.
Hank walked over to Seb and moved a lock of hair from his face. He grinned and spat at his feet. Hank then took a few steps back and pressed the blunt end of the sledgehammer against Seb’s right shoulder and then pulled it back. With one hard swing, Hank slammed the hammer against Seb’s shoulder. Seb heard the bones in his shoulder crunch like potato chips in a bag. He let out an agonizing scream and would have dropped to his knees if Hank’s brothers weren’t holding him in place. He screamed and cursed against the rock wall of the cave. He was dropped to the floor and laid down on his back. One of Hank’s brothers ripped off Seb’s jacket and shirt while the other moved out of Seb’s line of sight. He could hear a fire sizzling in the background that he hadn’t noticed before and understood what was coming next.
“Alright pretty boy, are you going to tell us what you know?” Hank asked as his second brother came back with a red hot branding iron. Seb couldn’t see what the writing on it was. He turned his attention to Hank but couldn’t respond; his shoulder was in too much pain and he felt woozy. “Do it.”
Seb felt the heat from the iron hover over his stomach for a moment then, the searing hot burning against his flesh. Hard as he tried, Seb couldn’t hold back the scream. His back arched in pain as the smell of burning flesh reached his nose. Hank’s brother pulled the iron away and Seb’s body relaxed in a shaky spasm.
“You’re a stubborn one, I’ll give you that.” Hank said cruelly.
He dragged a poorly built wooden chair over and grabbed Seb’s right arm. He lifted him up by it, causing Seb to cry out again and plopped him down on the chair. He untied him, but re-tied him to the chair, making sure his arms rested on the arm of the chair. He left and came back with a regular hammer and a box of nails. He took out a nail, handing the box to a brother and walked over to Seb.
“I know you have some type of information in that little brain of yours.” Hank said, resting the end of the nail on the back of Seb’s hand.
Seb’s vision was blurry and he felt seconds from throwing up, but he managed to bring up enough of his saliva to spit at Hank. It landed on the man’s arm and the torturer’s eyes went red. He lifted the hammer and rammed it against the head of the nail, sending it through Seb’s flesh and into the arm of the chair. Seb threw his head back in an agonizing scream. Hank moved to Seb’s other hand and pressed another nail against his flesh. Seb groaned and tilted his head back, ignoring Hank’s harsh stare. Hank shook his head and lifted the hammer again, driving the second nail in. Seb’s scream turned into a weak whimper as a tear streamed down his cheek. Nathan walked up to the group and looked at Seb.
“Leave him for now, we’re not going to get anything out of him today.” Nathan said. “I want you to go out and get me more unicorns. Those stupid horns don’t last long after they die.” Hank and his brothers nodded and ripped the nails out of Seb’s hand in one quick yank then dragged him to the back of the cave.
They passed at least forty men as they went down the tunnels of the cave. They had turned the entire inside of the mountain into a network of tunnels and caves like termites working their way into a house. He was taken to a small cave that was blocked by makeshift iron bars they used as a type of cell. Seb landed on his injured shoulder and cried out again. He was locked up and left alone in the darkness. He shivered against the cold and the pain as it surged through his body. He could have just told them about Twilight and the others. It was true he didn’t know how to use the elements, or even if what he gave Nathan were the elements. He couldn’t think anymore, had to sleep. No, can’t sleep, in shock, can’t sleep. He tried to sit up but his shoulder throbbed. He fell back down and huffed in pain. He heard the sound of hoofbeats walk up to him. He didn’t care anymore. It could have been anyone, Twilight, Fluttershy any of them could be walking towards him and he wouldn’t care. He looked up and saw a pink unicorn with wings, like princess Celestia. She had a multi-shade of purple and pink mane and tail and a blue heart as a cutie mark. She looked like she had been handled fairly roughly but was otherwise a beautiful mare.It took him a moment to realize she was actually inside the cell with him.
“Are you alright?” She asked. She helped him roll over onto his back. He responded with a weak groan and coughed up blood. “What have they done to you?”
“Who are you?” Seb asked weakly.
“My name is Cadence.” The mare replied. “I’m actually a princess, though you wouldn’t think it if you looked at me now.” She said, and smiled softly. She laid down beside him. “What’s your name?”
“Seb.” He replied, coughing again.
“Have you come from Canterlot?” Cadence asked. He nodded. “Do you know anything about my husband? Shining Armor? I don’t think he knows i’m missing.” Seb shook his head. “Then, Twilight Sparkle, do you know her? She’s my new sister-in-law” Seb’s eyes opened quickly.
“I know her. She took me in when I came here.” Seb replied.
“How is she? Is she alright?” Cadence asked. Seb nodded. He was shivering from both pain and cold and wanted so badly to just sleep.
“How did you get in this predicament?” Seb asked. He had to keep the conversation going to keep himself awake.
“I went outside of my husband’s barrier. I was hoping to see if there was anything I could do. I left my crown at home so no one would recognize me as a princess right away. These creatures caught me instead.” Cadence explained. She obviously meant their captors as “creatures” Seb was actually surprised she wasn’t afraid of him, but then again he didn’t look all that threatening. In fact, he looked pitiful. Seb winced and coughed up some more blood. Cadence maneuvered herself so Seb’s head rested on her front legs.
They talked well into the night, keeping Seb awake until the shock wore off. They talked about Cadence’s wedding, which made Seb remember Trisha all too much. He asked to talk about something else so they began talking about what Cadence had seen. She told him about the unicorns being kidnapped and taken into the caves behind them. She only ever saw them go in. The men who took the unicorns down there would come out again with only the horns of the unicorns. It made Seb shudder. Cadence then explained that the magic in the unicorn horns disguised the humans as civilians in Canterlot
“It’s how they’ve been getting in and out of the barrier Shining Armor put up,” Cadence explained. “I can’t figure out why they haven’t killed me yet though.”
Seb finally couldn’t take it anymore and fell asleep.
Seb was then rudely awakened the next morning by one of Hank’s brothers, grabbing his arm and dragging him out of the cell. Cadence tried to run after him but the cell doors were closed on her before she could escape. Seb looked like a child being dragged out of a toy store by his father. Hank pulled him over to a large bucket filled with ice cold water. It looked like they had just grabbed a bunch of snow and let it melt in a bucket, complete with chunks of ice. They knelt him down in front of the bucket and tied his hands to it so he looked like a drunk preparing to throw up in a toilet. His shoulder creaked and strained against the tugging and pulling. It had stiffened last night and the broken bones had worked their way into his muscles. Hank stepped in front of him and crossed his arms.
“Well, you’ve had a whole night to think on it. What do you say? You want to tell us how these things work?” Hank asked. Seb was still dizzy and felt even more sick than the day before.
“I keep...telling you...I don’t...Know....” Seb breathed. He felt like he had just run 10 miles.
A hand grabbed the back of his head and forced into the icy cold waters of the bucket and held it there. It didn’t take long before Seb couldn’t hold his breath any longer and he was pulled out of the water. He took in a hard gulp of air before he was dunked back in. At first, the only thing that bothered him was the constant back and forth motion that bothered his shoulder. Then his lungs began burning from not getting decent amounts of oxygen. His only relief was when they stopped long enough to ask him the same questions over and over, then dunk him back in when he didn’t answer. They finally stopped when the majority of the ice had melted. They untied him and Seb finally got his breath. His lungs burned and he shivered from the cold water and the chilled wind coming in from outside.
“You are an extremely stubborn man.” Hank finally said once Seb had finished taking in huge gulps of air. “I’m starting to run out of ideas” No he wasn’t. It was a little ray of hope he gave to his victims just so he could shatter it. Seb knew better. He himself could think of numerous other ways to torture him. Nathan walked up to the pair and lift a few locks of Seb’s wet hair out of his face, then smiled.
“He’s getting there.” Nathan said. He kicked Seb down to the ground, hitting his broken shoulder.
The cave was filled with screaming for the next three hours while Hank used various methods of torture. He repeated his favorite torture; nailing someone to something a few times, putting nails through Seb’s feet and arms, even missing a little and pushing a nail through a bone. He ended the day with another round of dunking and then tossed Seb back into the cell. Water and blood flooded the cell floor as Cadence emerged from her sanctuary in the darkness. Seb shivered and whimpered against the pain. Tears even formed in his eyes but he blamed it on the water that covered his body. Cadence lifted his head back up onto her front legs and wrapped a wing around his shoulders to try and provide some form of warmth.
“Why don’t you just tell them what you know?” Cadence asked.
“I...really don’t...know....what the elements....work, or...even if...they are...” Seb panted.
“The elements? Do you mean the Elements of Harmony?” Cadence asked. Seb nodded.
“But, the humans can’t use them. Only Twilight and her friends can.” Cadence said.
“I don’t...know if...I gave them...the elements...” Seb whimpered.
“There should be five necklaces and a crown, with gems on them.” Cadence said. Seb’s heart sank; he had hoped what he gave Nathan weren’t the true weapons.
“Then he does have them.” Seb muttered.
“He can’t use them. Just tell him that.” Cadence said. She started to get up but Seb grabbed her.
“No. He can’t figure out he can’t use them.” Seb said. He groaned as another surge of pain shot through him.
“The longer he focuses on me, the more time Twilight and the others have to stop him.” Seb explained. “He can’t move until he knows how to use them. Which makes his chances of being caught higher.”
“You can’t keep this up forever.” Cadence said. “What if Twilight and her friends don’t get here in time? What if you-”
“Cadence,” Seb interrupted. “you have to promise me not to say anything. No matter what.” Seb demanded. Cadence sighed and nodded.
Seb closed his eyes and fell asleep, cringing in pain constantly.
Cadence woke up to Hank opening their cell door. He had the branding iron again. It hadn’t been fired but he looked like he was ready to. He also had a strange grin on his face that made Cadence worried.
“Please, he can’t take anymore. Give him a days’ rest, please.” Cadence begged. Hank ignored her and grabbed Seb by the arm again, waking him in the process. He groaned, but made no attempt to get up or put up any amount of resistance.
“Time for your morning bath.” Hank chuckled cruelly. By bath he really meant another dunking session. He dragged Seb away and closed the cell door, leaving Cadence in the cell once again.
After the dunking session, Seb was tied to the chair he’d been nailed to and branded a few more times before Nathan walked up with his hands behind his back. He watched as Hank performed another branding on Seb prior to waiting for him to stop screaming. Nathan stepped forward and brought a fist against his face. Seb grunted from the punch and spat out some blood on the floor.
“What? you’re out of ideas so you resort to punching?” Seb asked. The wound across his face was bleeding again as well as his hands and his other wounds. Nathan looked down at the scar on Seb’s side.
“This,”Nathan said, jamming his thumb into the tender scar. Seb winced and hissed in pain “This still hurts, doesn’t it? You know, you looked so pitiful back then.”
Seb panted then stopped. How did he know?
“You... you were..” Seb looked up at Nathan, who was trying desperately not to laugh.
“I suppose you wouldn’t have recognized me, I was covered up pretty well.” Nathan said as he turned away from Seb. “I never really meant to kill Trisha, though it was an added bonus. I really wanted you but that stupid woman just had to get in the way. Oh well, I guess this is just as good.”
“You...Bastard....” Seb growled. He started pulling against the chains that held him down. His shoulder cracked and creaked against him. One of the links on the chains broke and flew off. Nathan actually began to look scared. An elbow crashed down on the back of Seb’s head. The world became blurry for a moment then slowly faded to black as passed out.
He woke up to find himself back in his cell with Cadence trying to tend to his wounds. He groaned and went to get up. His body felt like a thousand tons were standing on it and he dropped back down. Everything felt so heavy and his head throbbed in pain.
“Stay down Seb,” Cadence whispered. She was keeping a scrap of cloth she had taken from Seb’s shirt (whatever was left of it) and was using it to wipe up his blood.
“He...he killed her....” Seb muttered.
“What?” Cadence asked.
“He killed her... He killed Trisha.... He killed my fiance... My family....” Seb whimpered. Tears started streaming down his face. “He... killed... her...”
He couldn’t take it anymore and started crying. He buried his face in Cadence’s mane as he choked out his tears. Cadence tried to comfort him as best she could. When he couldn’t cry anymore, Seb sat up and leaned against the back wall of the cell. His face was wet from his tears and blood from his still bleeding wound. Cadence stood up and walked over to the bars of the cell. She turned around, lifted her back legs and started kicking the bars. They clanged and shook against the force but never gave an inch.
“What are you doing?” Seb asked. He held his shoulder to keep the pain down.
“I’m getting,” She kicked again. “Us out,” Another reverberating blow. “Of here.” She kicked one last time, and one of the bars fell to the ground. Seb stood up and heard a group of men running. The opening in the bar was just enough for Seb to get through. Cadence wouldn’t be able to get through without another bar being broken and they were running out of time.
“Go Seb, You can make it.” Cadence said, nudging him towards the bars.
“I’m not leaving you.” Seb said, hanging on to his shoulder.
“Go, tell my husband where I am.” Cadence begged.
Seb nodded briefly and slipped through the bars. It had been three days since he walked on his own, and now he was trying to run... It was clumsy at first but he finally got his footing and started running towards the cave entrance. He took advantage of the chaos that had been created and managed to sneak to the front of the cave where no one was in sight. It was Hank who found him trying to run away. Hank had a large hunting knife that was covered in blood. Other men had figured out what was going on and were piling into the front of the cave. Seb backed out slowly as Hank approached.
“Where you going, little man?” Hank asked mockingly.
Seb’s foot touched the outside of the cave. There was a small trail that lead out of it, but otherwise it was a quick drop into a forest below. The brightness of the sun blinded Seb for a moment. It was Hank’s chance. He was still too far away to run up and grab Seb, so he tossed his hunting knife. The blade sliced into Seb’s collarbone area and stuck. He screamed, stumbling backwards until the heel of his foot caught the edge of the cliff and he fell backwards.
The wind whistled in his ear as Seb watched the cave get smaller and smaller. He landed on a tree branch,slid off and landed on another branch, breaking it and continued down until he met the ground. Hard. The knife had fallen out on the first branch and landed beside him. He was sure his leg must have been broken or at the very least fractured heavily. The branches had actually cushioned his fall, and the snow on the ground took in a lot of the impact. It was probably the only reason he wasn’t dead or unconscious. He took a moment to catch his breath and for the pain surging through his body to subside at least a bit before getting up. His leg buckled under him, it was definitely fractured.
He wasn’t even sure if he was heading the right way but, he knew it was away from Nathan and that was all he cared about at that moment. He stumbled through the forest, walking in whichever direction seemed the easiest to maneuver. All he could think of was what Nathan had said and it distracted him. He stumbled down a hill and landed on a pile of fresh snow. He finally gave up, his body was broken and his mind seemed so far away. His heartbeat was in his ears and whole body seemed to throb. He heard the muffled sound of someone approaching but he didn’t care anymore. He closed his eyes and waited for death or rescue, whichever came first.
He hadn’t realized he’d passed out until he opened his eyes again and found himself on his back behind a set of bars. He hadn’t escaped at all. He waited for Cadence to walk up to him, but when he didn’t hear her, he tilted his head to look around. He wasn’t in the cave, he was on a stone floor but there was a hay bed all around him and the stone around him had been carved. He could see torches lighting up a long hallway filled with other cells. He was in a prison. a pegasus guard was standing in front of his cell. He was almost happy to see the pony outside and not a human. He tried to get up but he couldn’t move. When he tried to speak, he only let out a soft groan. It still caught the Pegasus's attention. He turned around and tapped the bars with an armored hoof.
“Hey,” he grunted,” You finally awake?”
“where...am I...” Seb asked weakly.
“Canterlot Prison.” The guard replied.He kicked a plate through a slot at the bottom of the cell. It had some bread on it with a little bit of butter. Seb didn’t need to ask why he was in prison, a guard had seen him stealing the case.
He tried to get up to eat the bread but he couldn’t move an inch. The guard simply turned around, not seeming to care that Seb couldn’t move or even eat. He gave up trying to get to the bread and simply focused on the pain in his body. He hadn’t been bandaged up or anything and was trembling from the cold. Two hours later, (or so he thought, he couldn’t tell what time it was,) another armored guard with a blue mane and tail and a cutie mark of a shield on his hip, took the position of the previous guard. Seb didn’t bother trying to talk to him. Another hour or so passed and Seb heard a familiar voice. At first, he thought it was a dream, but when he moved his neck, his shoulder made a popping noise and he decided he wasn’t dreaming. Twilight Sparkle stepped into the light.
“Twily!” The guard said happily in a low voice. “What are you doing down here?”
“Shining Armor,” Twilight hugged the unicorn. Seb tilted his head slightly, that name sounded familiar, was he suppose to tell him something? “We want to see Seb.”
Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash were all behind her. all of them but Fluttershy seemed to be glaring at Seb, even Twilight.
“I can’t let you in there.” Shining Armor said, once he figured out what she meant.”It’s dangerous.”
“Look at him, he can’t even move. I hardly think he constitutes a threat.” Twilight argued fervently. The stallion sighed and turned his horn to the lock on the cell. A magical aura surrounded the lock and it unlocked, causing the door to open. Fluttershy entered first, floating over to Seb’s side.
She was the only one who didn’t seem to angry with him. Rainbow Dash stomped over to him and snorted in his face.
“What is wrong with you!?” She demanded. Seb just winced in the face of her fury.
“Yeah!” Pinkie Pie chimed in, “Wait, what are we angry about?”
“He stole the Elements of Harmony.” Applejack said. She walked up to him as well. “You got some nerve, you know that?”
Seb couldn’t answer. He didn’t want to answer them.
“Do you even know what you stole?” Rainbow Dash asked. He looked away.
“Rainbow..” Fluttershy whispered. She took a step towards her, but felt something warm and gooey on her hoof and looked down. It was blood.
“No, Fluttershy, He stole from us and he put everyone in mortal danger. Ponies are disappearing and he helped that along.” Rainbow Dash growled. Something in Seb clicked and he started sitting up, wincing as he did.
“Cadence...” He whimpered as he dropped back down. Shining Armor was inside in an instant. He slammed his hoof down on Seb’s broken shoulder, causing him to scream out in pain.
“What did you do to Cadence!? Where is she!?” He demanded, grinding his hoof in.
“N...Nathan...C..Cave...” Seb whimpered behind the pain. Twilight rushed up and pushed her brother off of Seb.
“Shining Armor wait.” She said and turned back to Seb.
“H..He’s got her...in a cave..she...helped...me..” Seb coughed and winced as he forced his story through the pain.
“Tell us everything.” Twilight said.
Seb told them about being taken to the cave and being tortured, explaining his injuries, and how Cadence had kept him company. He also told them she had told him about the humans killing unicorns and somehow using their horns to get through Shining Armor’s barrier. She also told them how she helped him escape and that she was still there. When he had finished, Shining Armor ran out of the cell with Twilight close behind.
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“To get my wife.” Shining Armor replied strongly. Twilight’s shoulder prevented her from chasing him down as he left. She then turned back and limped to Seb and the others. Seb was under attack from Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Applejack scolding him while Fluttershy tried to tend to him.
“Girls, leave him alone.” She said. Seb was hardly paying attention anyway, he was fading in and out of consciousness. He was holding on to Fluttershy’s hoof weakly as he closed his eyes. His hand dropped and the crowd fell silent.
“Is he...” Pinkie Pie began to ask as she walked up to him.
“No, he’s still breathing but barely.” Applejack replied, after pressing her ear on his chest.
“He needs medical attention.” Fluttershy said. She seemed close to crying.
“Rainbow Dash, you’re the fastest, go to the princess and tell her everything that just happened” Twilight ordered. Rainbow Dash crossed her hooves as she floated in the air.
“Why should I?” She asked.
“Because if you don’t you, you’re no better than he is.” Twilight explained curtly. Rainbow Dash groaned and flew off. Twilight turned her attention back to Seb.
“I’ll go see if I can’t find some water.” Applejack said and trotted off. Fluttershy rested her head down on Seb’s chest, listening to the weak thump of his heart.
After a while, a guard came down and simply turned around, guarding the cell. Twilight looked to her friends and they shrugged in response. She walked over to the guard and cleared her throat.
“Excuse me sir, but is someone coming to help our friend?” Twilight asked.
“Not that I know of. Captain Shining Armor just told me to take his shift.” The guard replied. he seemed either annoyed or bored by her question.
“I’ll deal with this.” Rarity said, pushing past Twilight. She looked straight into the guards eyes. “Excuse me sir, but could you please go and have a few ponies come down here and help out our friend?” She asked. Her voice had gone soft and silky as and it made the guard quiver.
“I can’t leave my post.” The guard replied. “The prisoner may try and escape.”
“Oh but darling, look at the poor dear. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.” Rarity said, pushing her mane back with a flick of her head, her perfume wafted over to the guard and he shuddered.
“Fine I’ll see what I can do.” The guard said and left. Rarity walked back over to Seb’s body, prancing proudly.
“And that girls, is that.” She said, her voice filled with confidence. The others shook their heads and chuckled a little.
Fluttershy was doing her best to keep Seb warm. He had begun to shiver and that made the rest of him hurt so he whimpered. Fluttershy was actually crying as well.
“Oh Fluttershy, he’ll be okay.” Twilight said, walking up to her and hugging her gently.
“He looks so weak. He hasn’t eaten in days either.” Fluttershy said between sobs.
Pinkie Pie moved over to Fluttershy to console her while Twilight talked to Rarity and Applejack.
“I don’t think he’s going to make it unless he do something.” Twilight said solemly.
“He may have done somethin’ terrible but he don’t deserve to die.” Applejack said. Rarity nodded in agreement.
“We’ve all seen his gentle side. If you ask me, he keeps up that rough and tumble act so this sort of thing doesn’t happen.” Rarity said. She had no idea how right she was.
“I just didn’t think any creature could be so cruel as to do that, especially to one of their own.” Applejack said, looking back at Seb.
“Humans seem to be a very complicated breed. They’ll steal and murder and torture each other, then turn around and run into a burning building to save the life of a child they don’t even know.” Twilight thought provocatively.
“They do seem complicated.” A voice suddenly agreed. The three ponies turned to see Celestia standing over them. They all bowed quickly, except for Fluttershy, who flew over and looked at her princess with tear filled eyes.
“Please, Princess Celestia, he won’t make it down here.” She begged. Celestia nodded.
“He still needs to stand trial for his crime.” Celestia said.
“Stand trial? he can’t even stand right now!” Applejack protested. Twilight raised a hoof to calm her.
“Applejack is right princess, you won’t have much of a trial if he doesn’t survive.” Twilight said.
“I’ll have my personal doctors treat him. He’ll go on trial when Shining Armor has returned. He seems to have gone missing.” Celestia said.
“No, he went after Cadence. Seb told him she was in a cave somewhere, being held prisoner by Nathan.” Twilight explained.
“I might have known.” Celestia replied. She stomped a hoof against the stone ground. “They’ve declared war on us as well.”
The six ponies froze in silence and fear. Celestia instantly regretted telling them that.
“I’ll send some guards after Shining Armor. I’ll also get a medical team down here as well.” She said simply and walked away, leaving the ponies to ponder her words.
“War?” Twilight asked the group. They had no answers for her.
An entire team of doctors and guards came down not long after. They pulled Seb onto a stretcher and carried him off with haste. Fluttershy followed after them, determined to stay by his side, until they took him to an emergency room. They told the crowd of ponies where they could go to wait for him and Rainbow Dash met them there. She had, apparently, talked to all the guards she could and in the end found Celestia and a guard talking.she had told Celestia what the guard had been saying and decided to personally visit. Hours went by and night crept over the royal city. Twilight was frantic with worry over Seb as well as her brother. As far as she knew, he hadn’t returned. Fluttershy had fallen asleep on the bench in the waiting area and Pinkie Pie had made rounds throughout the hospital, cheering up ponies as she usually did. Applejack and Rainbow Dash had taken one of the board games and were in the middle of an intense game while Rarity watched boredly. A doctor came out of the E.R after another twenty minutes. His scrubs and mask had bloody stains on them and he looked tired. Applejack woke Fluttershy up while Twilight stepped forward.
“We’ve done all we can. His shoulder was basically destroyed and he’s lost quite a bit of blood we have no way to replace. It’s pretty much up to him now. We’ll know by morning.” He explained.
“What do you mean?” Fluttershy asked.
“If he makes it through tonight he should make a full recovery. As I said, it’s up to him. If he wants to live then he should, but it rests on what’s left of his shoulders.” The doctor said grimly. Twilight nodded and the doctor took them to the recovery room Seb was asleep in.
He was hooked up a machine that was helping him breath and various I.V’s that were pushing fluids into his damaged system. His arm was in a cast and he had bandages all over him. Fluttershy floated over to him and put a gentle hoof on his bandaged hand. He didn’t wake or respond to her touch. Twilight put an understanding hoof on her shoulder.
“Don’t worry Fluttershy.” She said gently.
“Yeah, he’ll pull through.” Rainbow Dash said, trying to keep the vibe positive. In truth, she still didn’t like Seb, no matter how small and weak he looked in the bed.
“Don’t you fret yer pretty lil’ head Fluttershy, Seb’s a fighter, he ain’t gonna go down without a fight.” Applejack reassured her.
Fluttershy didn’t pay any attention to them though. They took turns staying up with Seb, talking to him. They didn’t know if it was helping or not, but they felt better talking to him and telling him about stuff they’d done. Fluttershy stayed up the longest, she only took quick naps to sustain her exhaustion before returning to Seb’s bedside. She talked to him about her critter friends and her cottage. When morning broke, Rainbow Dash woke to find Fluttershy still beside Seb. She walked over to her and nudged her awake.
“Oh, hello Rainbow Dash.” She said softly. Her mane was in tangles and frizzy from they way she had slept.
The others woke up one by one as Fluttershy put her ear to Seb’s chest. it took a moment for her to quiet her breathing down to hear the gentle and slow thumping of his heart. She smiled. He had survived through the night. She was so happy she didn’t say anything, only smiled. It was, however, enough for the others to know he was alive.
“See Fluttershy? He’s a fighter.” Applejack said, hugging the shy pony.
“That’s fine and all but there’s still one problem.” Rainbow Dash said. She was obviously still angry, and couldn’t contain it any longer.
“What’s wrong Rainbow?” Pinkie Pie asked. “Why is Seb being alive bad?”
“That part isn’t; we’ll need him for questioning. I’m talking about the Elements of Harmony here. How did he steal them?”
The room grew silent. The only noise was the sound of Seb’s breathing machine as it pumped air into his lungs. Before anyone could speculate, an armored guard stumbled into the room. His armor was dented and scruffed up. He was bleeding from a gas on his head and few other scrapes along his un armored parts.
“Twilight...Sparkle...” The guard grunted as he used the wall for balance. Twilight stepped forward. “It’s....Shining Armor...He’s been...injured..” Twilight’s heart stopped and she began shaking.
Applejack and Rainbow Dash helped the guard out of his armor and let him sit down in a chair so he could explain.
“Captain Shining Armor gathered a whole squad and we started to take a cave where Princess Cadence was being held prisoner and humans were slaughtering unicorns. They had turned the horns into armor and used it to upgrade their weapons. It completely negated our magic. Captain Shining Armor and I were the only ones who got away.” The guard looked at the ground solemnly. It was obvious had lost a few close friends in the battle.
“Where is he? where is my brother?” Twilight asked. She hadn’t let the fact that unicorn horns were being taken from unicorns and used in such a manner sink in yet.
“On the other side of the hospital.” the guard replied.
“Come on, we’ll get you some help first.” Twilight said, helping the guard up with the help of Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Pinkie Pie bounced out along side them, trying to cheer the guard up. It wasn’t really working.
They made their way through the hospital, dropping the guard off to a nurse at one point to be treated, and found Shining Armor’s recovery room. Twilight walked over to her brother, who had woken up just as she entered and hugged him close to her.
“I missed you kid.” Shining Armor said softly. He sounded weak but otherwise alright.
“Why did you do that?” Twilight asked. She actually knew why, but she had to hear it from him.
“I had to do something Twily. I couldn’t just let the love of my life waste away in a cave...again.” Shining Armor looked down. Twilight finally understood; this was too similar to his wedding day; his wife trapped somewhere and him powerless to do anything about it.
“We’ll get Cadence.” Twilight said, placing a reassuring hoof on his leg.
“They’re power is unreal. It's like nothing i’ve ever seen.” Shining Armor said. He left his left leg up a bit to feel the sting of a wound. “They had these weapons that made a loud noise and hit you with a rock so hard you died or were seriously injured. and our magic was powerless against their armor.”
Shining Armor sighed and turned back to Twilight and her three friends.
“We’ll figure something out.” Twilight said and hugged her brother again.
Fluttershy and Rarity had stayed behind when the guard came for Twilight. Fluttershy mainly because she hadn’t truly noticed. She was focusing on Seb and watching him, hoping he’d stir. Rarity had stayed behind for Fluttershy’s sake alone. She walked up to Fluttershy and stood beside her. She was so close she could smell the blood on Seb and it sickened her. Especially the wound on his face that was only just starting to heal.
“Fluttershy, darling, you should rest. He isn’t going anywhere.” Rarity finally said.
“I’m just so worried Rarity.” Fluttershy replied in her usual soft spoken manner.
“I know darling, but you have to realize what this...man...has done. He’s not only stolen from the princess he’s stolen the one thing that can protect it.” Rarity said.
“I know. I just can’t stand seeing any creature in pain.” Fluttershy replied. Rarity nodded.
“Will you be alright by yourself? I have to get back home to Sweetie Belle.” She asked. Fluttershy nodded. They hugged and Rarity left.
Fluttershy began humming softly as the clock on the wall ticked away. She wasn’t sure if the humming was helping Seb, but it helped her. Nurses came in and out of the room, checking Seb’s vitals and making sure his heart was beating at least. Much of their conduct was done on pony anatomy and hoped it worked for humans as well, at least somewhat. They hoped he would wake up soon and maybe tell them what his temperature should be and maybe even heart rate or at least something that would help. Seb’s doctor came in at one point and took the breathing apparatus off, saying he was breathing on his own finally. It was a very good sign that put everyone on edge. The doctors and nurses mostly wanted Seb to wake up and get out; they had heard what he had done and weren’t pleased. Some of them, however, didn’t care. a life was a life and they had taken an oath to preserve it as best they could and that was exactly what they were doing. All the while, Fluttershy stayed by Seb’s beside, humming a song or telling him stories. as the hours passed by, Twilight and the others never returned. She had asked doctors and nurses about them as they came in but they had no information about them. They did know where Shining Armor was, but couldn’t say for Twilight and her friends. Fluttershy assumed they had gone back to their rooms in the palace. In the midst of her thinking, she felt a warm, soft flesh cover her hoof, which she kept on his bed side constantly. She looked up and saw Seb’s hand weakly gripping her hoof. He began groaning softly as he willed himself awake. His eyes fluttered open to the blurry visions of the recovery room and focused on Fluttershy, who was smiling brightly. His lips curled upward as he recognized her.
“H...Hey..”He whispered. His voice was quiet and weak, but it was all Fluttershy needed. She hugged him tightly, and squeaked as she flapped her wings in joy. Seb let out a weak laugh. She pulled away from him and smiled again.
“We were very worried.” She said softly.
“Worried?” Seb asked. “About me? I’ve been through worse.” Fluttershy crossed her arms and stared at him, a knowing look in her eyes that said she knew he was lying. “Well...almost.”
“How are you feeling?” She finally asked.
“Like shit.” Seb replied. He tried shifting around and sitting up but his body was too weak and collapsed on him.
“You should stay down and rest.” Fluttershy said, fixing his bed sheets.
“Where are the others?” He asked after relaxing again.
“I don’t know. A guard came in and told Twilight about Shining Armor being hurt and they left. Rarity stayed but she left a little while ago.” Fluttershy explained.
“I see.” Seb winced as his shoulder made a cracking sound.“How long have I been out?”
“Nearly two days.” Fluttershy replied. He nodded weakly. He couldn’t believe how exhausted he was already and he’d barely done anything at all.
“Can I get you anything?” Fluttershy asked. She was purposely not telling him that the others were angry at him and how much trouble he was actually in. She wanted him to just rest.
“I’m fine for now.” Seb replied. He was closing his eyes slowly but every time he tried to fall asleep, pain would keep him awake.
“I’m going to tell a nurse you’re awake, okay?” She asked. Seb nodded and she made her way to the door.
Seb nestled into his bed sheets and closed his eyes, trying to ignore the pain. He hadn’t closed his eyes for two minutes when he felt a hand wrap around his throat. He opened his eyes and saw Nathan standing over him. Seb choked a little as Nathan kept his fist closed around his throat.
“The wars have begun Sebastian, and the poor little ponies’ only hope has been accused of theft and waiting to stand trial.” Nathan whispered harshly with a snide grin on his face.
“You...set this...up...” Seb choked out with a gasp.
“You seriously thought they’d just leave that vault open? A mystical all powerful weapon and they just leave it open? You’re dumber than I thought Sebastian.” Nathan remarked snidely.
Nathan pulled out a blood stained, white unicorn horn from his back pocket and played with it, twirling it around in his fingers. “These creatures are quite fascinating. When they die their bodies still hold some magic in them. I’m having scientists back home look at them and so far, it appears that when these horns come in contact with something not from their world, it turns into something even more extraordinary. I can fight fire with fire now and magic is useless.”
Nathan pressed the tip of the unicorn horn against the begining of the wound on Seb’s face and dragged it along the line, opening the wound again and letting it bleed. Seb winced and tried to struggle but he was too weak. The horn soaked in the blood and started turning black as night and sizzling. He let go of Seb’s throat, letting him breathe again, and held the horn up to the light, watching the black consume the white horn. He then turned back to seb and smiled.
“I won’t kill you just yet, I want you to live knowing that the demise of this world is your fault and there is nothing you can do about it. I hope the ponies don’t kill you before you can see the end of this war. Farewell Sebastian.” Nathan said and left through the window on the other side of the room, probably the same way he had entered.
Seb forced himself to sit up.He rested his hand over his face and lifted it away to see the blood. He was having a hard time realizing what had happened. Cadence’s words finally made sense; the harvested unicorn horns provided a sort of key to the humans to continue to kidnap and slaughter ponies. Seb remembered smelling meat cooking in the night in his cell and figured it must had been the meat of the dead unicorns. He wondered how many families Nathan had destroyed, how many fathers he took away from children, how many children he took away from mothers. Then, the feeling of guilt crept over him and the idea it was all his fault sunk into his mind. He snapped. He held his head in his hands, despite the protest from his shoulder and screamed. He could almost hear the voices of the dead pleading with him, yelling at him, crying to him. His screams brought doctors and nurses running, along with Fluttershy who previously couldn’t find a nurse that would listen to her gentle plea for help. It took an entire team of nurses to simply hold Seb down as a doctor administered a sedative. It took a minute but Seb finally passed on on his bed, letting blood from his wound drip down to his pillow.
“I don’t like him here.” A nurse said after Seb had finally fallen asleep. “He terrifies me.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, he wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Fluttershy said quietly. No one seemed to hear her.
“I’ll have him transferred to a different hospital.” A doctor said, trying to calm the nurse down.
“Oh no, please, he won’t...”
“I say we just kick him out period.” Another nurse chimed in.
“I agree, when he wakes up we’ll just release him.”
“I’ll start on the paper work.”
The staff left Fluttershy alone with Seb as they walked out. She whimpered and tears swelled up in her eyes. She had nowhere else to go, so Fluttershy simply waited beside Seb for either him to wake up or someone to come get her.
The sedative didn’t last long, only an hour or so. Seb was waking up, groaning.His head spun and he felt sick. whenever he moved the world spun around. He gave up and simply stared at the ceiling, even though that spun too. Fluttershy nuzzled his hand and he turned towards her. it took a minute for the rest of the room to catch up but he finally focused his eyes on her.
“What happened?” he asked. his voice echoed in his own ears.
“You started screaming. the nurses and doctors had to put you out because you wouldn’t stop.” Fluttershy explained. She wanted to ask ‘Why were you screaming?’ but just couldn’t find the words.
“Oh...” It was all Seb could say. He had realized what had happened when Fluttershy began to speak. He sighed and closed his eyes again. He couldn’t look at Fluttershy, all he could see was her covered in blood and his hands stained with it.
“Are you okay?” She asked when Seb didn’t open his eyes for a long time. He nodded, then opened his eyes again. Should he tell her about Nathan? He grabbed a one of her hooves weakly and looked her dead in the eyes. “Fluttershy, promise me something.”
“O-o-okay.” The shy mare shuddered. she didn’t like the look in his eyes.
“If something happens to me, if something happens period, I want you to get Twilight and the others far away from here, as far as your legs will take you, alright?” Seb said. He was starting to shake as fear, pain, and guilt crawled up his spine and into his heart.
“Wh-what do you m-mean?” Fluttershy asked.
Author's Note: hey everyone, sorry i'm late some things came up. I hope you enjoy this short chapter, I can't wait to read your comments! -BlueHibiscus
Fluttershy waited before telling the nurses Seb was awake again. Seb hadn’t screamed again yet and was simply staring off into space. Fluttershy stayed quiet as she sat beside him. Seb absentmindedly began running his fingers through her soft pink mane. She tensed at first, but then let Seb continue petting her. She looked up and watched him as he stared at the wall. She saw a tear run down his cheek and her heart ached. Seb was lost in his thoughts, trying desperately to figure out what to do about Nathan. Before he could come up with something, a pair of royal guards came bursting into the room. Fluttershy backed away silently but Seb didn’t seem to care, or even notice really, that the guards had entered. He didn’t even put up a fight as they dragged him out of the bed and cuffed his hands behind his back, undoing any healing his shoulder might have done. Fluttershy shivered with anxiety as they took Seb away. They had said nothing to her, and nothing to Seb. When they left, she ran out to find Twilight. She ran out of the hospital and into the city of Canterlot. She rushed through the streets, having lost track of Seb, and called out Twilight, even as her voice was muffled not just by usually quiet voice but also by the rumble of a crowd near the Canterlot Town Square. She galloped towards it and found Twilight standing at the back of crowd along with Spike, Rarity who had found Twilight on her way out of the hospital, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and Applejack. She panted and walked up to Twilight.
“Twilight...” Fluttershy panted, “They’ve... taken... Seb.” She huffed, taking in deep breaths.
“I know Fluttershy. They’re preparing to bring him here, so the princess can sentence him in front of everyone.” Twilight said. She was obviously worried for the safety of her friend.
“I think it serves him right.” Rainbow dash exclaimed furiously. She was floating in the air above all of them.
“Rainbow!” Applejack snapped. The crowd burst into a mix of cheers, boos and screams as Seb was pushed onto a stage in the middle of the square. Princess Celestia and Luna stood on the stage as well.
“He looks so weak.” Fluttershy whimpered. Seb could barely stand on the stage as Celestia stepped forward. The crowd grew silent.
“I have chosen to conduct this trial in public, because my subjects deserve the right to know who you are and what you have done.” Celestia began, “You are accused of terrorism, and theft. How do you plead?” Seb remained quiet. He was lost in his mind and thinking about days long ago.
“Look at the wound on his face.” A pony whispered.
“His face? What about the other wounds?” Another asked.
“Does he even know he’s being tried?”
“Did the guards beat him?”
“What a terrible creature.” Someone in the middle spoke up.
“I wonder what the princess will say.”
“Do you think she’ll kill him?”
“The princess? No way, she’d never kill anypony.”
“He isn’t a pony.” One pony pointed out astutely.
“That’s right, he isn’t one of us.”
Fluttershy tried to drown out the chatter and listen to the trial, but it wasn’t working in the slightest. Celestia cleared her throat and closed her eyes, spreading her wings wide for all to see.
“Then, I have no other choice. For the good of Equestria, I, Princess Celestia, cast you in stone forever.” Celestia said simply and bowed her head, her horn aimed at the defenseless human’s chest.
Her horn glowed and Seb’s body slowly turned to stone. Seb hardly noticed, he felt it of course, but he didn’t seem phased at all. As the spell reached Seb’s neck he tilted his head slightly. He could see Fluttershy, flying next to Rainbow Dash, her hooves covering her mouth and tears streaming down her face.
“Don’t cry...” Seb whispered to her, despite the distance between them. The spell covered his lips right after and the rest of his body.
He had completely turned into a statue. Celestia sighed and turned to her subjects. Her legs wobbled a bit, but she kept her stance. The ponies in the crowd cheered and reared up happily as guards took Seb’s statue away. Fluttershy cried out and flew off towards the edge of the city. Her friends watched her leave while Celestia finished her speech behind them. Twilight looked to her friends and sighed.
“I don’t know girls. This doesn’t seem right.” Twilight admitted, turning her head to the ground.
Twilight and the others found Fluttershy at the train station, holding back tears as she waited for the next train. Rainbow Dash was the first to fly up to her and start talking.
“What is with you? He just turned to stone.” She groaned. Fluttershy turned her head away from her. “Listen, Fluttershy, he was just a bad guy that’s all there is to it.”
“That does it!” Applejack snapped. “I am tired of your attitude Rainbow Dash. You’ve done nothing but bad mouth Seb since he got here. I know he ain’t perfect, but who is?”
“I’m pretty perfect.” Rainbow Dash replied proudly.
“Your pride will get the best of you one day Rainbow Dash.” Rarity warned coldly.
“And your vanity won’t?” Rainbow Dash shot back.
“How dare you!” Rarity gasped.
“Girls, stop it!” Twilight snapped angrily. She walked over to Fluttershy and sat beside her. “Why are you here anyway?” She asked.
“I promised Seb, if anything happened to him, I would get as far away from here as possible.” Fluttershy replied, her voice lost to depression.
“Seb needs you here Fluttershy, he needs all of us.” Twilight replied. She nudged Fluttershy to the group and smiled.
Before they could start walking away, the train began to roll into the station. They watched it for a moment as it pulled up then began making their way back to the city. They had all only taken a few steps before there was a loud explosion. The force pushed the group down to the ground and fire spread out. Their ears rang from the sound, the air reverberating around them. Twilight looked up from the shock wave and saw the train on fire and in a heap of twisted metal. At first, Twilight couldn’t hear anything, just a buzzing and a beeping but her hearing slowly came back and the buzzing was replaced with screaming. Survivors of the explosion were running away from the train while mares called out for their foals and stallions called out for their families. Rainbow Dash helped Pinkie Pie and Rarity up as they were slowly gaining their hearing back as well. Applejack helped Fluttershy up and they both turned to the carnage. It was chaos, Discord would have been proud in his own messed up kind of way. The girls stood and watched for a moment then began helping ponies find each other or just relax until help arrived. They had no way of knowing what had happened or why, all they could do was help as much as they could.
When help finally did arrive, Twilight and her friends made their way back to Canterlot Tower where the Princess was fussing over documents and orders that were flooding in because of the train station. Twilight entered the throne room.
“I’m sorry I can’t speak with you right now Twilight Sparkle, I have much to go over.” Celestia said in a hurry, her voice teeming with stress.
“Princess Celestia, I have to talk to you about Seb.”
“My sentence is final.” Celestia replied.
“We need him.” Twilight exclaimed. Celestia stamped a hoof down, making Twilight flinch.
“I did what is best for my subjects Twilight Sparkle, whether or not it was fair. I have to think about Equestria’s safety and well being, not the fate of a creature that has wronged us.” Celestia boomed.
“But he can help us.” Twilight pleaded.
“I asked his help once before, and he betrayed me.” Celestia replied in a sterner voice. It made sense now, why Celestia was so angry. She was more upset about Seb’s sentence than anyone else. Seb had betrayed her and she was angry, if not hurt, by it. Twilight sighed and walked out of the room in defeat.
She made her way towards the palace labyrinth where they had taken Seb’s statue. They had placed it next to the statue of Discord, which disturbed Twilight. When she arrived, Fluttershy was already there, looking into the stone eyes.
“You’re right Twilight.” Fluttershy said as Twilight approached. “He needs our help, and so does Equestria.”
Twilight waited for the explosions at the edge of the city to stop before speaking.
“Come on Fluttershy, we better get somewhere safe.” Twilight said and nudged her. She nodded and followed.
In the two weeks that followed Seb’s sentence, bombings were a constant in Canterlot. The humans continuously threw grenades and planted explosives everywhere. It was their way of invading without losing any men in the process. The explosives were new to the ponies and didn’t understand how to avoid or counteract them. By the end of the first week, the humans had taken over the lower half of town. Most of the citizens had either fled the city, joined the army, or barricaded themselves in their homes. Twilight and her friends had been invited to stay in the palace. Rainbow Dash had joined the army almost instantly. At first, Shining Armor didn’t like it, but when she beat one of his best soldiers in a duel, he let her in. Applejack wanted to fight but she and Pinkie Pie felt more comfortable in the kitchens, keeping the citizens of Canterlot fed. Twilight, of course, poured over books on warfare, battles, magic, anything and everything she could get her hooves on to help in the war, but she couldn’t find anything the humans didn’t counteract. Rarity and Fluttershy helped out in the hospitals. None of the six friends really talked to one another, there was either not enough time to, or nothing happy to talk about. Rainbow Dash hadn’t been seen in days and they all feared something terrible had happened. Even Pinkie Pie couldn’t make anyone smile. Yes, she would get the odd smile from people who just thought she must be crazy to be happy in such a crisis, but it was something. It did help them forget, even for a moment. Twilight stepped out of the Canterlot Library and looked around. Homes and buildings were boarded up and or abandoned.
“Ponies shouldn’t live like this...” Twilight said to herself.
Coupled with the human’s ability to convert the unicorn magic and their war methods, the humans were becoming harder and harder to fight back and had begun working their way into the east side of the city. The humans had also made it impossible for anyone outside Canterlot to come to their aid; they had every road and railroad blocked and protected. Air raids seemed to be their only weakness; with no air force of their own there was nothing they could do to defend themselves from the air. This created another problem however, Unicorns and Earth ponies alike were angry that it appeared the Pegasi would be their only hope and that many Pegasi were gloating. The war wasn’t just tearing the earth apart, they were tearing the bonds the ponies had with each other apart as well. Twilight made her way to the palace where Celestia was pouring over documents and trying to appease those who were clamoring for her attention. Twilight patiently waited while she attended to everyone. Finally, it was just them. Celestia sighed.
“Nice to see a friendly face.” She said softly as she approached Twilight. Twilight bowed quickly then looked her princess in the eyes.
“Princess, I need to talk to you.” Twilight said, she didn’t wait for Celestia to answer. “It’s terrible outside, and we’re on our last legs. We need Seb.”
Celestia said nothing at first. She looked out the windows and saw a fire being started and another explosion. She then sighed and nodded. She turned around to a guard and nodded to him.
“Get the human statue.” She said simply. Twilight smiled happily,
It took a few hours for the guards to carry Seb back in, they had to avoid bombs traps and attacks along the way and it wasn’t easy. Finally, they made it to the throne room, where Twilight had the majority of her friends there. She had gone out when they did to find them and bring them there. The only one missing, was Rainbow Dash. They surrounded Seb, with Celestia aiming her horn at the statue. Slowly, the spell melted away and Seb’s natural body emerged from the stone. He opened his eyes, and smirked.
The room was silent as the spell melted from Seb. Fluttershy stepped forward to greet him. His first image, however, was Celestia and his anger started to cloud his vision. He made like he was going to start screaming at her, but his shoulder began hurting. It hadn’t done any healing at all while he was imprisoned, but it hadn’t gotten worse either.He clutched it and stumbled a little as his began losing his balance. Fluttershy kept him steady.
“What do you want from me now?” Seb asked through the pain.
“Tells us why you stole the Elements of Harmony.” Celestia said. Twilight looked at her confused, weren’t they supposed to be asking for help?
“Why should I?” Seb asked through gritted teeth.
“It may be the difference between life or death for you.” Celestia said sternly. Twilight and her friends exchanged confused looks. Was their princess really threatening someone?.
“What do I care? Go ahead your highness, do what you want.” Seb replied with a slight crack in his voice. His voice had gone soft and sorrowful. He had all but given up now. With his body broken and his mind longing for the days when he had Trisha safely nestled in his arms, he didn’t care what anyone did to him anymore.
“You really do give up easily.” Celestia said. Seb turned his head away from her.. Celestia considered what she could say to the young soul in front of her in order to allow him to speak to her in confidence, but nothing seemed to work.
“Would Trisha want you to give up?” That caught Seb’s attention. It was shy little Fluttershy who had spoken.
“What do you know?” Seb asked.
“If Trisha was the wonderful woman you made her out to be, and cared about you as much as we do, then she wouldn’t want you to give up.” She knew she was pushing his anger, and knew he could lash out at her if he wanted. Seb stole a quick glance at her, then looked away sadly.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Seb said sternly and began walking away. Before he could make it to the doors, a familiar voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Sebastian.” He turned and saw Trisha standing before him, glowing with a slight ethereal aura standing in front of him. “You can’t keep running from your past Sebastian.”
“You’re dead.” Seb said simply.
“Yes, I am, and it isn’t your fault.” Trisha replied. Seb noted she was wearing the same dress he had met her in and shuddered. It was creepy, but it was her image and it was her voice, just as he remembered it. Maybe it really was her ghost that made his scar still hurt.
“I should have protected you.” Seb said, turning away. He had forgotten all about his pain.
“There was nothing you could do, but you can still protect those you care about.” Trisha told him sweetly. Seb looked up, confused. “These ponies need you, Sebastian.”
Seb looked down at first then turned back to the others. He scanned the expressions of the ponies surrounding him but suddenly noticed one thing. He couldn’t see Twilight. He couldn’t figure out why it bothered him, she was probably just out of his line of sight, but he still searched for her. His heart nearly stopped when he finally figured it out. He turned to Trisha and went to touch her, but his hand simply slipped through her body. In a fit of rage, he burst through Trisha’s image, and tackled Twilight to the ground.His shoulder popped and cracked and whined in protest of his actions but he his anger numbed him to all pain.. He held the frightened unicorn down to the ground,staring menacingly at her and squeezing her leg with his left hand.
“Don’t you EVER fuck with me like that again.” Seb hissed.
Twilight was more frightened that he had spoken so calmly than the fact that he had her pinned. He lifted his left hand, clenched a fist and brought it down as hard as he could. He punched the floor inches from Twilight’s face, breaking a few tiles in the process. He stood up, letting the purple unicorn get up on her own accord and tried to walk away. His shoulder wouldn’t allow it and he dropped to the ground, far too exhausted to go any further. Celestia turned to Twilight.
“I...thought he would listen to her...” Twilight said. She hadn’t meant to upset Seb, but she figured he would listen to Trisha so she had conjured her up out of memories and masked her voice with what she thought Trisha would sound like.
Fluttershy walked over to Seb and tried to help him but he simply shoved her away. Celestia stepped forward instead.
“Last time, you told me you’d help for Fluttershy’s sake. Has that changed? Will you let Fluttershy be killed because of this war?” Celestia asked.
Seb began shaking, tears were forming in his both from pain and heartache. The screams of the dying ponies he had heard in the hospital were back and the voice of the child from his dream was screaming at him, asking why he killed Trisha over and over again. Suddenly, they vanished as Fluttershy hugged him, her gentle wings wrapping around him like a comforting blanket. He returned her hug and stayed there for a moment. It seemed all his demons went away when Fluttershy touched him or spoke to him. Maybe it was because no one had touched him so gently in years, or maybe it was just her calm demeanor. Either way, he didn’t want it to stop and he didn’t want it to die. He managed himself onto his feet with Fluttershy’s help and turned back to the crowd of ponies.
“Fine..” He muttered. “I’ll help... I don’t know what good I’ll do, but I’ll help.” The ponies breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. Now, they had a chance.
It took another week for Seb to heal to a point where he could walk decently and give out orders. With his arm in a sling, he was sent to Shining Armor, who was hiding out in a stronghold they had crafted from a few damaged homes and a barricade which was guarded day and night. It was one of the few bases that were keeping the humans at bay. At first, Shining Armor was reluctant to have Seb there but after he received the orders from his princess he had no choice.
“What kind of weapons do we have?” Seb asked, finding a place to sit.
“Spears and catapults are our main weapons. Our magic is useless but we’ve been able to hit a few unarmored scouts.” Shining Armor replied. “We’ve also been focusing on hoof-to-hoof combat as well, which seems to work until their guns arrive.”
“I figured as much.” Seb replied and ran his fingers through his hair. It had become tangled and messy since Rarity had fixed him up. He still had blood caked in it as well. “Get me every Pegasus you can find willing to fight in Canterlot, and bring me Rainbow Dash.”
Shining Armor reluctantly saluted and set a few soldiers to fetch recruits while he set out for Rainbow Dash. It didn’t take long for Shining Armor and Rainbow Dash to return. Rainbow Dash had been at a barricade on guard duty. She was shocked to see Seb at first but then glared.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, stomping her hoof.
“Your princess wants me to help.” Seb replied.
“Yeah right! The princess would never ask for help from scum like you.” Rainbow Dash said. Shining Armor showed her the orders. She pouted and snorted.
“You’re part of the weather team in Ponyville, aren’t you?” Seb asked, trying to recall what Twilight had taught him.
“Captain.” Rainbow Dash corrected.
“I have a plan, but it’ll only work once. When the pegasai come, I want you to split them up into squadrons and meet me in town square, alright?” Seb asked.
Rainbow Dash grumbled a little but nodded and flew off into the sky to wait for the others. Seb relaxed a little in his seat before he suddenly doubled over and began coughing into his palm. Shining Armor looked at him, a little confused and with a possible hint of concern. Seb took in a deep breath and pulled his hand away from his mouth, it was covered in blood.
“Tik Tok Sebastian....” He muttered to himself. Shining Armor approached him.
“You should try and rest some, I can handle the forces by myself.” Shining Armor said.
“Thanks,” Seb began “But I’m alright. I need to talk to the earth ponies.” He stood up weakly and began walking away but as he nearly collapsed, Shining Armor stepped forward and stopped him.
“You’re in no condition to go anywhere right now. I’ll bring the earth ponies here.” Shining Armor said, pushing Seb back down to his seat. Seb tried to fend him off but he arm ached and his chest was on fire once more.
“Fine.” Seb muttered.
Shining Armor placed a soldier in charge of protecting Seb while he set out. Only moments later, a young stallion came galloping towards Seb. He skidded to a stop and raised a hoof in a salute. His name was Wind Chaser, a light blue male Earth pony, with an image a leaf in the wind for his cutie mark. He hardly seemed affected by the long run he most certainly had.
“Captain, sir, we’ve caught a human.” The young stallion said. Seb stood up quickly.
“Which one?” He asked.
“Not the leader sir, but a big one. He’s in the fourth barricade’s holding cell.” Wind Chaser replied.
Seb walked over and motioned for the soldier to relax. “Take me to him.” He said simply.
Wind Chaser took Seb to the fourth barricade that lay to the east of the city center. It was the closest to the forest beyond the city and the strongest. It was nearly a city in it’s self, supporting nearly 80 soldiers. Ponies saluted Seb as he wandered through the crowds, some even cheered. They were happy they had managed to catch a human. Seb nodded to them and made his way, with Wind Chaser’s help, to the holding cells. Seb nearly busted out laughing when he saw the man behind the bars. Hank looked up when he heard Seb snicker to himself.
“Well, look who’s still alive. How’s that arm of yours doing?” Hank asked. His arms were tied behind his back with ropes, so when he tried to stand it was awkward.
“Just peachy.” Seb replied, with a cruel smirk forming on his lips. “Open the bars.”
A soldier opened the bars and Seb grabbed a spear head that been broken off from a previous battle and, without skipping a single beat, rushed into the cell and drove the spear head into Hank’s shoulder. The blood squirted on to Seb’s face and neck as Hank dropped down in agony. The ponies around him seemed confused and a little worried about Seb’s sudden actions.
“An eye for an eye eh?” Seb growled into Hank’s ear as the man’s blood dripped down his skin.
“I bet your mother wouldn’t like her boy doing this.” Hank groaned.
Seb forced the spear deeper into Hank’s skin. “I dare you to say another word about her.”
“She was too foolish for her own good.” Hank replied through gritted teeth. “I wasn’t surprised when she fired me.”
Seb took a step back from Hank, leaving the spearhead in Hank’s flesh. “What do you mean, fired you?”
Seb had no memories of his parents, he barely remembered what they looked like and no idea what they actually did.
“I use to work for your parents after they brought the city out of a depression. Your father was a scientist trying to find some type of cure or something for your mother. Your grandfather hired me to help in the lab but your mother didn’t like the way I treated the test subjects.” Hank winced and clutched his shoulder, trying to fight against the pain.
“What else do you know about them?” Seb asked. He had actually planned on questioning his prisoner on Nathan’s advances, but the mention of his parents and his story had caught him off guard.
“Why should I tell you anything?” Hank asked.
Seb brought a powerful kick to the side of Hank’s head, sending him to the ground. He then dropped down and grabbed Hank by the neck and pulled him close to his face.
“Tell me everything you fucking know or I’ll show you the meaning of torture you pathetic fuck.” Seb whispered cruely.
Hank suddenly seemed so fragile without his brothers and some poor sap nailed to a chair at his mercy.
“Your mother was sick with some type of disease. When you were born, your grandfather thought he found a cure, instead of risking it on his daughter, the old fool tested it on his little grandson.When you picked up the vacuum cleaner at two years old, your parents freaked out and dropped you off at the nearest orphanage. Your mother died of her disease not long after and your dad commited suicide.” Hank smiled at the end of his story. He seemed happy about the death of Seb’s parents.
Seb’s anger swelled up inside him and brought a fist against Hank’s face, knocking out a tooth or two. He turned away from the unconscious heap and started walking away. Wind Chaser started after him, but after a harsh glare he stopped in his tracks. Seb made his way back to the main base to see Shining Armor standing there with a mass of pegasai. He quickly explained that he couldn’t break up the earth pony forces because of an attack. Seb didn’t seem to care. When Shining Armor tried to talk to him, Seb simpled slammed his fist against a nearby table, breaking it in half. Rainbow Dash stepped out of the crowd with a furious look in her eyes.
“Hey!” She snapped. “Get your tail in gear and get back to reality Seb. We’re in a war, and you’re suppose to be helping us.”
Seb kept his back turned to her. “Go away Rainbow Dash.”
Rainbow Dash groaned in annoyance and turned around, lifting her hind legs and bucking Seb into the wall. Seb’s eyes nearly changed color as he whirled around. She was right there to counteract him. They were nose to nose and their eyes were locked. Before Seb could do anything else his chest began tightening and blood spilled out of his mouth. He coughed and choked as he doubled over. Rainbow Dash didn’t go to him or pity him at all, she just waited.
“Fine...” Seb choked out. He was too weak to argue, and she was right; he needed to get his head back in the game. He gathered himself up and cradled his arm and he addressed the pegasai awaiting his command.
“Alright, “ Seb began “We’re only going to have one shot at this plan so listen up. We’re going to need the biggest storm Equestria has ever seen. I need all of you to bring all the snow, rain, lightning and wind you can get your hooves on and turn this whole area into ground zero.”
“But, won’t that destroy Canterlot as well?” A pegasus asked from within the crowd.
“Is the thought of rebuilding some city enough to stop you from living?” Seb asked. His question kept the others quiet.
“Um..e-excuse me...” A soft voice said from the crowd. Fluttershy wriggled her way through the crowd and squeaked as she found herself in the front. Fear, crept into Seb’s mind. “I’m with you all the way Seb.”
The soft-spoken little pony smiled brightly and saluted. It seemed she had worked up enough courage to help, but she was still shaking uncontrollably. Seb managed a soft smile. He suddenly felt dirty when he remembered he was still covered in blood and shuddered. He wondered why no one had mentioned it, or even Fluttershy.
“Fluttershy, how about you just stay here with me.” Seb said. He knew if she didn’t get scared during the mission, she’d probably get hurt. Fluttershy was actually happy and nodded.
Seb sent his pegasai army back to their posts until he called on them and made for the nearest bath. He found one in his base and started stripping off his clothes. He found it more difficult that he thought. With his shoulder, it was hard to get his pants off but even worse to get his shirt. Fluttershy had followed him and started helping him take his shirt off. He was shocked at first, and a little unsure about it, but he needed the help. Fluttershy looked away quickly but her curiosity about his wounds got the best of her. The brandings on his body were healing but not very well. One even looked infected. The wound across his face was mostly a scar and the holds in his body from the nails had either turned to scars or would still occasionally open and bleed. Seb caught her attention when he ran a finger across the bullet wound on his side. It was something she noticed he did often since coming back to them. She wondered what was going through his mind when he touched it. Seb finally slipped into the warm water of the bath and tried to relax. He hadn’t even realized Fluttershy was still there. She watched as Seb began shivering in the tub and began crying. His tears mixed in with the bathwater that was beginning to turn red from the blood pouring out of the wounds on his hands. Fluttershy couldn’t take it anymore, she ran over to him and hung her front hooves over the edge of the tub.
“Oh, please Seb, don’t cry.” She begged in her typical shy voice. Seb looked over at her and used his wrist to wipe his tears away.
Fluttershy smiled softly and put her hoof over Seb’s hand, despite the blood pouring from it. His other arm quivered in it’s sling as pain ripped through it. Seb leaned against the edge of the tub, resting his his head against Fluttershy’s body as she hugged him. He looked like a scared child. Fluttershy nuzzled his cheek gently, getting a tear on her muzzle, and hummed gently. Fluttershy wanted to ask what was wrong, but Seb was obviously not in the right mind to answer.
“He killed her...” Seb whimpered
Fluttershy looked down at him. “Who?”
“Nathan killed her...He killed Trisha.” Seb clutched her as best he could but his shoulder prevented him from being able to hang on. Fluttershy rubbed his back with a soft hoof.
“Oh Seb, I’m so sorry.” She whispered.
“I’ll kill him...I’ll fucking kill him!” Seb cried out he kept muttering that he’d kill Nathan until his tears ran out. Fluttershy said nothing and simply comforted him as best she could.
When Seb finally got himself together, Fluttershy helped him get dressed in fresh clothes and walked with him as he made his way back to Shining Armor and his soldiers. When they arrived, Twilight and the others were waiting for him. Celestia was beside them. He did a quick bow and found a seat, cradling his arm.
“I understand you have a plan forming.” Celestia said when Seb was comfortable. Seb didn’t have time to wonder why Twilight and the others were there; it was most likely to help.
“Yes, it’s a one shot and risky plan but it’s the best chance we got.” Seb replied. He showed no evidence that only moments before he was bawling like a child in the arms of a pink and yellow pony.
“I intend on leading an attack on the northern human troops. They are close to breaking through and if we don’t attack now, they’ll get through and destroy us all.” Celestia said.
“That’s foolish.” Seb replied.
“We must. I’ll be leading them personally, please hold off your plan until we’ve succeeded.” Celestia responded and turned away, not even waiting for Seb to argue.
“I think we should trust the Princess,” Applejack began. “I’m sure she knows what she’s doin’”
“I agree Applejack.” Twilight said and turned to Seb. “Now, tell us about this plan of yours.”
Seb stood up and walked over to a table, spreading out a map of Canterlot and the surrounding area. The ponies surrounded him. Seb had marked the known whereabouts of Nathan’s horde on the map and grabbed a quill pen.
“This is my plan, it’s simply, but it’ll work.” Seb said. “Humans haven’t seen magic before. These humans are using it now but that doesn’t mean we can’t catch them off guard. Humans are also pretty weak against the forces of nature and storms can devastate us.”
Seb shuddered at the memory of a particularly harsh winter he struggled through one year. He had lost count of how many dead animals and homeless humans he found, frozen to the streets. He’d been lucky; He had found an old woman who opened her home to the homeless and crashed there in the night. The woman had tried to get him to go to an orphanage at one point, and even tried to adopt him (he was only 16 at the time) but every time she brought it up, he’d leave.
“So, you’re just going to make a big storm?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Yes, Rainbow Dash, in a sense at least. My idea is that this will level the playing field; if we can’t see then they can’t see either.” Seb explained.
“But won’t that hurt us in the long run?” Twilight asked.
“Like I said, this is a one shot deal. While it’ll hinder us, it’ll hinder them as well. Humans don’t do well in battle when they can’t see and it makes them make poor choices and they can panic. If we can keep our cool we’ll be able to take them.” Seb explained.
“If this type of thing confuses humans so much, won’t it confuse you too?” Rarity asked.
“Probably. I may not be much help in this battle but I can help with numbers.” Seb replied. There was another thought going through his mind, however. He would be useless in more ways that one. Not only would the storm disorient him, his injures would hold him back and make it nearly impossible for him to fight, and even worse it would make him a sitting duck. He was not expecting to live through this battle.
“Come on then! Let’s put this plan to use and kick some butt!” Pinkie Pie yelled, grabbing her party cannon. Seb couldn’t help but laugh.
“We’ll give the princess a day. Rainbow Dash, prepare the pegasai. I’ll be relying on you to make this the biggest storm ever.” Seb said. Rainbow Dash saluted and flew off.
Shining Armor, who had only been listening the whole time, stepped forward. “What can I do to help?”
Seb felt honored to have Shining Armor offer to help. “Tell every pony that when they see the storm clouds forming, to let the humans come into the city. Make them feel like they’re winning. This is will catch them off guard even further, and they’ll also be in our territory when the storm comes.” Shining Armor saluted and left to give out orders.
“Y’all said ‘every pony.’” Applejack announced. Seb looked at her confused. “Y’all are starting to sound like one of us.”
The others smiled brightly at him and he returned their smile. He then turned away quickly as he began coughing and wheezing. Fluttershy went to him but he recovered quickly.
“I’ll be there soon Trisha... Wait for me.”
Rainbow Dash rushed into Seb’s room of the base. She left a trail of rainbow behind her as she rushed past the various soldiers and guards. She panted as she rushed up to Seb, who was relaxing for the evening as best he could. It was a rare treat, the sounds of war had quieted enough for him to sleep and he knew it couldn’t be good but he took advantage of it when he could. Rainbow Dash, confirmed his suspicions of bad news.
“Seb! It’s the princess!” Rainbow Dash blurted out as she caught her breath. Seb stood up from his chair and walked over to her.
“Calm down Dash, what happened?” Seb asked. Rainbow Dash’s mane was messed up and her wings were missing a couple of feathers.
“The humans...c-captured the princess!” Rainbow Dash panted.
Seb nearly lost his balance. “They what!?” He yelled, his face a beacon of astonishment.
“The human who’s leading them plans to put a saddle on her and ride into the battle on her back, tomorrow.” Rainbow Dash said, stomping a hoof angrily.
Seb snorted and clasped a hand over his mouth, trying to hold back the laughter he was experiencing.
“This isn’t funny!” Rainbow Dash yelled in exasperation.
“It kind of is actually.” Seb chortled. “A grown man riding a unicorn princess into battle? That’s fucking hilarious where I’m from.” His explanation did little to assuage the pegasus.
Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes in annoyance. “What are we going to do?”
“Move the plan ahead. Call in the pegasi and tell the soldiers to start feigning retreat.” Seb ordered. Rainbow Dash saluted and zipped off while Seb rushed out to call the troops. He ran into Applejack rushing through the crowd of soldiers.
“Applejack, get Twilight and the others. The plan is starting, NOW.” Seb explained hurriedly.
“What, why?” Applejack exclaimed, the announcement throwing her for a loop.
“The princess has been captured and is being held prisoner.” Seb replied. His shoulder started aching something awful.
Applejack pulled her hat off her head and pressed it against her chest. “The princess? what’ll we do now?” She asked with stress.
“We’re going ahead with the plan,” Seb replied. “We’ll either free her in the confusion or free her when we win. Now, go tell the others.” He ordered
Seb rushed away without waiting for Applejack’s answer. His body begged him to stop running but he ignored it. He found Shining Armor commanding a troop at the front of the barricade. He looked up and saw Seb.
“What’s wrong?” He questioned.
“Celestia’s been captured.” Seb explained quickly. He dropped to his knees as a familiar pain surged through his body.
“Stay down, I’ll get the plan moving.” Shining Armor sounded back quickly.
“I’ve already set it in motion.” Seb said, wincing through the intense pain. “You need to get your end moving. We need to get all the humans in the same place.”
Shining Armor nodded, he knew he wouldn’t be able to convince Seb to stay down or even try and get some assistance so he turned back to his troops, barked a quick order to get moving, and called out for Twilight. She came galloping in, followed by Rarity and Pinkie Pie.
“The princess has been captured, we’re setting the plan in motion.” Shining Armor announced, letting Seb recover quickly.
“The princess?” Twilight questioned nervously.
“We’ll get her back.” Seb said once he caught his breath.
“They still have Cadence too.” Shining Armor said, scratching at the ground.
Seb didn’t reply to that. He hadn’t forgotten Cadence’s sacrifice for him and he was still determined to rescue her. He said nothing else however and decided walking to the center of the city where everything was meant to go down would be better. Once he had found his position the storm clouds were already moving in. The wind blew harshly and Seb’s frail frame was having a hard time fighting against it at first. Then, the snow came, and a blizzard was quickly underway. Seb shivered against the cold but he looked to see his plan was slowly working. The first wave of humans were already in the middle of the city and all around him the sounds of war were quickly sounding around the area. When the first gun shot ripped through the air, Seb flinched. He was joined by a young soldier who had been wounded by the gunshot. It wasn’t a deep wound, the colt would live, but it was still traumatic. The colt said nothing, but his eyes said everything; he was scared and hurt.
“Come here son.” Seb said, pulling the colt into safety. More gunfire exploded over them the storm overhead was beginning to build as well, and snow was falling down in torrents. It wasn’t becoming a hassle yet, considering the snow was packed down by the running hooves of panicked soldiers and royal guards.
“Captain,” The colt began earnestly. “Are we going to die?”
“No, we’ll be fine.” Something in Seb told him he’d just lied to a child and that didn’t sit well with him.
Seb listened to the death wails of various ponies and cringed when he heard dead flesh thump against the snow covered ground. Suddenly, the gunfire and war cries stopped. Seb almost wished the death cries would come back. He didn’t like the silence. The only noise was from the growing storm, the wind had picked up and a small blizzard was forming.
“Sebastian!” Nathan called out. Seb bit his lip. “Come on out boy, I’d like to make a deal with you.”
“Fuck off!” Seb called back, not daring to bring his head above his hiding place.
“I suppose you don’t want your princess back then!” Nathan yelled over the storm.
Seb looked up and could see Shining Armor easing out of his hiding place as well. His previous injuries were hurting him and he’d been injured once again.
“Oh wait, Which princess is yours again?” Nathan asked. Shining Armor’s eyes flashed with anger and Seb knew Cadence had been brought into view.
“Hold your position soldier!” Seb snapped at Shining Armor. It seemed to bring him back to reality. Seb was almost disturbed by his new speech patterns, he wasn’t a military man, he was a low-life thief for heaven’s sake! Either way, he had a new problem; Princess Cadence and Celestia were in danger now, and it was possible that when the storm got to it’s full strength they could get killed in the confusion.
“Come on out Sebastian, let’s make a deal.” Nathan called out again.
“What’s that saying back home? I don’t negotiate with terrorists or something like that?” Seb called out. It was the only military like quote he knew and he probably butchered it but it would probably buy him some time.
“You’re a funny man, Sebastian,”
“Thought I was a boy!” Seb interrupted. Nathan cleared his throat, though Seb didn't hear it.
“How about I sweeten this deal even more?” Nathan asked. Seb her heard a squeal and his heart sank into his gut.
He stood up, holding his uninjured arm in the sky in surrender and looked at Nathan. He held Fluttershy by the mane. Her wings were tied up and her hooves were tied together. behind him, Celestia and Cadence had so many ropes and chains around them he could hardly make out their coat colors. Cadence looked worse than when he left her and he could see that Celestia had some major wounds on her.
“Alright Nathan, I’m listening.” Seb said. Fluttershy was crying and trying to run over to him but she kept being pulled back. Seb saw Twilight and Applejack coming out of hiding out of the corner of his eye. He couldn’t tell where the others were.
“I want a trade, I want my torture master for this little pegasus here.” Nathan said, obviously referring to Hank.
“Throw in a Princess and you got it.” Seb replied. Nathan thought for a moment then motioned for the trade to happen. They, of course, sent Cadence forward. Seb knew it was obvious which princess they’d give, but he wanted it that way. As long as Cadence was in danger, he couldn’t rely on Shining Armor to keep his head and stick to the plan.
Hank was brought out after a while and the trade began. Shining Armor was the one who walked Hank over to the trade point. once Hank crossed the threshold, Shining Armor and Cadence hugged quickly and rushed back with Fluttershy close behind. Seb knelt down and hugged her and she flew into his arms.
“Easy now... don’t cry.” he whispered as Fluttershy bawled into his chest.
He bit through the pain of her pressing against his shoulder and sent her back to Twilight and the others, who had come out of hiding. Rainbow Dash was still flying high, building the storm further as the humans below negotiated.
“Now what, Nathan?” Seb asked, paranoia playing along recklessly in his mind.
“Turn yourself in and we’ll let most of the ponies live, the ones that don’t fight back at least.” Nathan said with a sly and cruel grin on his face.
Was that the best action? No, it was an obvious trap. Was there a way he could turn the tables on him? Maybe.
“How do I know you’ll keep your word?” Seb asked.
“Isn’t there another of those little sayings back home? There’s an honor among thieves?” Nathan asked, smirking.
“I don’t think that means what you think it means.” Seb said. He actually chuckled a little.
“I don’t think it matters anymore. Now come along Sebastian, I want you kneeling at my feet.” Nathan said, becoming cold once again. Seb looked behind him to see Fluttershy and the others. Fluttershy was crying once more and Twilight had the darkest pits of hatred in her eyes..
“See ya... everyone.” He murmured. It wasn’t loud enough for them to hear, but they all seemed to understand.
He walked over to Nathan’s side of the battle field slowly, taking his time as he calculated his plan. If he took three steps too quickly, he’d be off his mark and he’d have to use more energy to do what he wanted, it also put him in danger, and left his arm vulnerable. On the other hand, if he walked too slowly they’d suspect he was planning something and throw him off completely. There was a gamble to his plan as well, would his gesture be taken the right way? He nodded, ever so slightly, to the young colt he had taken shelter with. The colt was holding a poorly created knife. As he passed the colt slipped it in Seb’s back pocket and Seb breathed a sigh of relief. He took easy steps towards Nathan.He got close enough to smell Nathan’s cologne. Celestia tried wiggling out of her bindings but one of the men tugged on her, putting her back in place. She had a bridle, reins and a saddle on and was obviously not pleased. Seb almost laughed at her but he had to keep his focus.
“On your knees and hands behind your back. I want you begging for your life.” Nathan said calmly. Seb slowly knelt down while Nathan took out his gun and pressed the barrel against Seb’s forehead. “Sebastian James Crawford. The son of the mighty James and Rebecca Crawford. You probably didn’t know your full name did you?”
Sebastian looked up and glared at Nathan. He was slowly sliding his fingers into his back pocket, trying desperately to reach the knife. It had cut it’s way through the pocket and was trying to slide down the pant leg, cutting his thigh as it went down.
“I’ll admit, when my brother married that whore I was against it at first, and then I heard she had a disease and a baby on the way I wanted to see how it would go.” Nathan cooed. Seb forgot all about his knife and stared at Nathan in shock.
“You mean you’re...”
“Your uncle? Did i forget to mention that? hah! i’m terribly sorry I’m so forgetful. Getting old you know.” Nathan said, grinning widely while he pushed some of Seb’s hair out of the way with his gun. “You really should do something with your hair.”
“You asshole.” Seb growled angrily.
“You look so much like your father. He’d be proud to see the man you’ve become. By that, I mean a pathetic thief terrorizing the streets. I wonder what James would say if he could see you now.” Nathan laughed throatily. Seb had heard enough.
His fingers finally gripped the knife and he ripped it out, taking some of his own flesh with it. Instead of lunging straight for Nathan, he dodged left and cut the one strip of rope holding Celestia down. The man holding it fell backwards as a few of the other ropes melted away. Celestia reared up, pushing more ropes off of her. Seb fought off all he could while she freed herself. A blade sliced through Seb’s left bicep and a few bullets whizzed passed him. He’d caught them all off guard and their weapons were clumsily out of reach. He heard Nathan screaming at his crew to kill him but he managed to at least stab whoever came close. He fell back against Celestia’s body as she bucked the last chain off and spread her wings.
She began galloping away, if anything to get out of the mass of humans. They began tackling Seb and trying to pin him down. Hank, stepped forward and pressed a foot against Seb’s injured shoulder. Seb screamed out in agony, catching Celestia’s attention. She returned and used her magic to try and push some of the men away but the only ones she hit were the four un-armored ones and that did little to help. She finally decided on kicking and bucking, catching a few men in the face or other sensitive parts. Seb’s vision was clouded by pain and a mass of human bodies, so he barely saw Celestia’s form stand over him. She dragged him to his feet with her teeth and started running with him.
Her pulling hurt and he twisted around to grab the saddle on her back. He lifted himself up into the saddle and gripped a reign with one hand, all in one swift motion.Celestia spread her wings and shot easily into the air as bullets whizzed past them and snow dumped down. Seb shivered as the cold bit into his skin as he clutched the reign before feeling another one of his attacks coming on. He began coughing and wheezing harshly as blood worked it’s way out of his lungs and into his throat. Blood spattered from Seb’s mouth and onto the saddle beneath him.
“Not now...” He pleaded to his body, but it ignored him wholly.
Having no experience in a saddle, Seb had a hard time staying in it, especially with Celestia flapping her wings and not being use to a saddle herself. He slid out of the saddle and began falling towards the earth. His sling unraveled in the harsh winds and flew off of his arm, letting it freely be battered by the wind and icy snow.
“I didn’t think it’d be like this...” Seb thought to himself.
He could see the ground getting close and closed his eyes. He slammed into a hard body, instead of the ground, and opened his eyes to see Celestia had dive bombed after him, and caught him on her back. They landed in the middle of a waiting crowd of ponies who cheered and surrounded them. Seb slid off her back again, this time landing on soft snow, and used her body to steady himself while Fluttershy ran forward. Twilight, Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie all pushed their way through the crowd, following Fluttershy. There was a confusion on who to pay attention to first, but when Seb shooed them away while he hacked up blood, they focused on their princess.
“Princess Celestia, are you alright?” Twilight asked quickly.
“I’m fine Twilight. Someone get this horrible thing off of me.” She said, motioning to the saddle and bridle. Two soldiers took the human made bindings off of her and she dropped down, far too weak to stand any longer.
“Get the princesses out of danger!” Shining Armor ordered. He turned to Seb.
“Stick to the plan.” Seb coughed. “Someone get Rainbow Dash to hurry the storm up.”
“I’ll go.” Fluttershy said nervously. Seb nodded to her and covered his mouth, choking harshly.
Seb heard the sounds of men beginning to march forward. as Fluttershy flew off into the sky. He looked up to see a whole army of ponies, waiting his command. He straightened himself up, holding back a cough as he began to speak.
“I’m no Captain or General. The fact you’ve all followed me into a war is amazing, and I’m honored. There is no more I can tell you, no more commands to give except to follow through the plan I provided and when this is done, go home to your families. I’ll see you all on the other side.” Seb said, yelling so he could be heard all the way back. At first, he thought his speech was stupid and not necessary, but when he saw the confidence in all the pony's eyes, he realized they needed to hear it more than he needed to say it.
He turned to see a mass of human bodies rushing them. They were still far off, giving Seb and the ponies the upper hand as far as preparing for it. The initial impact of the war masses made a huge boom as bodies hit bodies. Seb was in the middle of the chaos and he cradled his arm, trying to keep it from being hit. The storm had worsened and visibility was down to being lucky to see your hand in front of your face. Seb wandered through the chaos slowly. He bumped into a body and turned around to see Nathan, standing in front of him and holding a gun, poised to shoot. Seb’s only choice was to body slam him with his poor shoulder. When Nathan stumbled to the ground, the storm suddenly began disbursing. Pegasi were being shot down or becoming too tired to hold the storm up, it was something Seb hadn’t accounted for. With visibility becoming clearer, Seb could see Twilight and Applejack fending off a crowd of men while Rarity, surprisingly, nagged one off to the side. For a moment, Seb was trying to figure out how amidst the blood and violence, Rarity had time to scold an enemy. He was more confused on why the man was standing there and taking it like a child. Before he could ponder that for too long, he noticed Pinkie Pie firing a canon of confetti over a crowd of men. While he was being distracted, the butt of a gun made contact with the side of his face. It forced him down to the ground on his bad shoulder and he spat out more of his rapidly diminishing supply of blood.
“You shouldn’t turn away from your enemies.” Nathan scolded childishly, pressing the gun against Seb’s head again. “Beg.”
“Go to hell you sick bastard.” Seb groaned in open defiance. Nathan pressed his foot against Seb’s shoulder and dug it into the ground, making Seb cry out in putrid agony.
“I said beg, you little fuck!” Nathan screamed.
Seb’s vision began to blur and he felt like throwing up. He started to beg but before he could get a word out, Nathan’s foot suddenly pushed off as Nathan grunted. Seb winced from the agony of the push but looked up to see Rainbow Dash standing over the cruel human.
“Thought you didn’t like me.” Seb said through gritted teeth.
“I don’t, I just don’t like him more.” Rainbow Dash replied, grinning widely. Seb chuckled and forced himself up, easing himself through the pain.
He tried hard to block out the death cries that were buzzing around him. The pools of blood at his feet sickened him, though he couldn’t make out if it was pony or human. He saw a blade that had been broken off of some type of weapon and picked it up. The sharp blade sliced through his skin easily. He briefly wondered how easily it could go through someone’s neck or chest if it cut the skin so neatly. A fine, thin red line of blood traced out the cut then raced down his wrist. He then turned to Nathan who not only had Rainbow Dash on him, but Applejack as well. Twilight, Rarity and Pinkie Pie had all found their way to the group and despite the chaos that still reigned around them, they calmly waited for Nathan’s surrender. Nathan, tried to get up and struggle against the two ponies but they were stronger than they looked and kept him down. Seb walked over to him and motioned for the ponies to step aside, then knelt down pushing a knee into Nathan’s throat to keep him there. He raised the broken piece of blade above his head and stared his victim straight in the eyes.
“You don’t deserve to die so quickly, but Trisha’s peace is long overdue.” Seb growled, only loud enough for Nathan to hear. Nathan’s eyes went wide with fear for his own life.
Seb exhaled as a tear ran down his cheek as he plunged the blade down.
“STOP!” a voice called. Seb’s muscles froze in place so that the tip of the blade barely scraped Nathan’s exposed throat. A single drop of blood fell from the knife onto Nathan.
Seb couldn’t figure out why he stopped; his rage and agony drove his body more than his mind did. Perhaps it was the voice itself that stopped him. Celestia maneuvered her way through the now silent war zone. Seb could almost feel Nathan’s heart rapidly pounding, telling his body to resist it’s entrapment and run.
“I’ll have no more bloodshed this day.” Celestia stated, her voice shaking with anger and grief. She had watched her beloved subjects die before her and it broke even her heart to see it.
Fluttershy appeared beside Celestia and began to make her way to Seb but the sight of him holding a bloodied blade, poised to kill, stopped her. Seb didn’t realize she was there. His focus was fixed on Nathan, his body trembled with the urge to avenge his love. He stabbed the ground with the blade and stood up, still shaking as blood dripped from his palm. Nathan scrambled away from Seb, but only managed to run into a group of soldiers who had successfully won their end of the battle. Celestia approached Seb and lifted a hoof to touch him, but Twilight stopped her. Celestia looked at Twilight as the young unicorn shook her head. Twilight could see that one touch, even a word to Seb would make him explode. Too weak and broken to stand, Seb crashed to the ground and began pounding a fist into the blood stained dirt. He was unable to hold back his tears and as they mixed with the dirt below to form a concoction of blood tears and mud, he screamed.
“Why damn it!? He deserves to die! He fucking killed her! HE.KILLED.TRISHA!” Seb cried out. He doubled over as blood spurted from his mouth to mix in with mess below him.
To keep himself from damaging his fist any further he hugged himself and simply continued to cry while the group of ponies surrounded him. He was embraced by a gentle hug from Fluttershy, which made him take in a quick breath.
“My chest hurts...” Seb whimpered through his tears.
“It’s alright Seb, go ahead, cry it out.” Fluttershy said in her usual gentle voice. Seb hiccuped a few times.
When he had finally calmed down enough to stand up, Fluttershy pushed him to his feet and Twilight began crafting a temporary sling for Seb’s arm from some cloth. He could hardly feel it any more and wondered if it would ever heal properly. The soldiers focused on putting Nathan and the other captured humans in irons while Celestia watched over them. other ponies and soldiers around them began searching for injured ponies that hadn’t been helped in the battle or covered the dead with white blankets. Celestia walked up to Seb after she felt comfortable with the capturing of the humans and smiled.
“Well done Seb.” She began. Seb bowed his head in shame.
“I failed.” Seb muttered.
“You defeated a mighty enemy and saved an entire world, how is that a failure?” Celestia asked.
“I failed my Trisha. I couldn’t kill Nathan. She’ll never know justice for what that monster did.” Seb replied, feeling that those words alone would tell the whole story.
Celestia smiled and her wisdom mixed in with her words. “If you ask me, I think that was your biggest accomplishment today. Taking another life even in revenge isn’t justice, he’ll stand for what he’s done, and face the consequences. Trisha will know justice, as well as the countless others Nathan’s actions have impacted.”
Before Seb could reply, soldiers began yelling and struggling against something. Seb turned and saw Nathan standing in front of a small group of pony soldiers, ready to pounce on the unrestrained human. He was holding his gun again and Seb had just enough time to ask himself how before a loud report cracked the cold air’s peace. A flash of pink and yellow burst in front of Seb’s eyes before he clenched them shut. Everything was silent and still once more. Seb realized he hadn’t been shot, and opened his eyes again to see the world had froze. Nathan was still standing there, gun in hand and panting with a slight grin on his face. Seb looked down and saw the heap of blood, pink, and yellow as feathers floated down around Fluttershy’s fallen body.
Seb pulled Fluttershy’s body into his arms. His hands were already stained with her blood as he gently pushed back the lock of her mane that usually hung over the front of her face. Soldiers moved in to immobilize Nathan while Twilight and the other rushed over to Seb and Fluttershy. Seb could hardly move, despite all his rage and bloodlust, he couldn’t move an inch. The image before him was too familiar for his mind to decipher. His memories began to take over his vision and the sight of Fluttershy continuously changed from her, to Trisha, as they both bled out in his embrace. It was the same agony, the same sense of loss, and the same inability to protect them. He rested his hand on Fluttershy’s belly, sliding his blood stained fingers through her soft yellow coat as he did. He could see the bullet wound near her chest, nearly the same exact place Trisha had been shot. He half expected to hear sirens in the distance but all he heard was a weak groan, nearly too quiet to hear. Fluttershy’s eyes opened slowly, even though the pain made her want to close them. Seb pulled her close to him.
“You idiot...” he whispered. Tears began streaming down his cheek and dripping onto hers, where a single tear met his and joined together then slide down her cheek.
“S...Seb...?” Fluttershy asked weakly. Applejack slipped her hat off.
“Ya silly filly, why’d you go n’ do that fer?” Applejack asked. Tears began welling up in her eyes.
“He...was going...to k...k...kill....Seb...I....h..ha...had to.” Fluttershy squeaked out. Seb placed two unbloodied fingers over her lips.
“Don’t talk.” Seb whispered gently. “You need your strength.” He looked up at Twilight and the others. “Take her away from here.”
The ponies converged on Fluttershy and eased her into a comfortable position while they trying to tend to her. Seb stood up and walked towards Nathan. The soldiers had managed to remove the gun and the unicorn horn protection he’d been hiding so now he was vulnerable to their magic and easily subdued.
“Let him go.” Seb said calmly. Shining Armor stepped between them.
“It’s done now, Seb, just focus on Fluttershy.” Shining Armor said, but with a single harsh glance from Seb he turned and nodded to his soldiers.
They released Nathan and before he could move, Seb had brought a hard punch down on his face that knocked him to the ground. Seb bent over, grabbed Nathan by the throat and with all his strength, picked the squirming man up keeping his feet from touching the ground. Seb had to look up to stare Nathan in the eyes, but his ice cold stare was enough to make Nathan tremble.
“You’re going to tell me how I get back home..” Seb grabbed Nathan’s gut and his nails began digging in through the cloth of his clothes and into his flesh. “Or I will make sure you stay alive long enough to watch me spill your guts all over the ground.” Seb said sharply, making sure every word was said with as much intensity and clarity as the last.
“A...sc...scientist b..back...we...we co..communicate..th..through an old..r..radio.” Nathan choked. Seb threw him against the ground and took the gun from one of the soldiers, aiming it at Nathan’s head.
“You’re going to send me and Fluttershy back home now.” Seb said.
“Only things from our world can go back.” Nathan said, rubbing his throat. He didn’t dare move while Seb still had the gun. He knew Seb could easily kill him and get the information from any of his men, so it wouldn’t be worth the risk. “Unless you decide to cut her open and hop inside, your little pony friend is dead.”
Seb gripped the gun, nearly breaking it. Once again, he would lose someone and there was no way he could save them. He looked away from Nathan and the ponies waited for him to say something. It was Nathan’s chance.
“You should never turn your back on someone.” Nathan said.
Seb turned just in time to see Nathan running a pegasus through with a spear. Nathan yanked the weapon out of the dead pony and charged Seb, avoiding soldiers trying to capture him at the same time.
“I’ll kill you my dear little nephew, just like I killed your precious little slut.” Nathan said with a wicked laugh.
Nathan began wildly swinging his spear, forcing Seb to duck and dodge as quickly as he could, although he still got a few nicks and slices from it. Seb was actually surprised at how quick the man was, but more surprised at how slow he himself had become. He managed to dodge his way back to the blade. He picked it up, slicing his skin again and dodged another thrust. Soldiers attempted to catch Nathan, but only caught the tip of his spear each time. A few unicorns tried to use their magic to restrain him. At first it seemed like they had him, until they were cut down as well. Seb panted, his body shook in pain and he could feel his heart thumping wildly against his chest as if it were trying to run away since Seb wouldn’t. A brilliant flash of white leaped in front of Seb. He looked up to see Celestia rearing up and aiming her horn at Nathan. Nathan’s spear met with Celestia’s body though the thrust was messy and weak so it merely hit her side and a bit of her front hoof. The spell that was attempting to form on her horn dissipated and she fell backwards, missing Seb by mere inches.
“Celestia!” Twilight called out. Seb turned his gaze from the fallen princess back to Nathan.
Nathan walked up to Celestia and aimed his spear at her, ready to deliver a final blow to her throat.
“I guess I can kill the princess first.” He said, trembling as he laughed. Seb let out a soft breath and clenched his blade. The scar on his palm where he’d been nailed to the chair sliced open easier than the rest of his skin and the blade imbedded itself in Seb’s flesh.
“I’m sorry Trisha...forgive me.” Seb whispered and rushed forward.
The sound of the spear slicing through skin made Twilight shudder in disgust. Seb shook as he grasped the blood soaked spear handle in front of him. His blood had made it slippery as it dribbled down the wooden staff from his gut. The spear head had gone straight through him with the combined force of his lunge and Nathan’s thrust, but he had accomplished what he wanted. Nathan tried pulling the spear out but he didn’t have the strength. He had lost all of it in that one thrust and now Seb was just inches away from him.
“Hah...Can’t move it...can you?” Seb asked weakly, blood spilled out of his mouth as he spoke. He lifted the blade up slowly, every inch he moved sent agonizing pain up and down his body like shocks of electricity. Nathan scrambled, trying to remove his spear but it only brought Seb close to him. Seb thrust his blade forward, slicing through Nathan’s neck until his fist touched the man’s skin. Nathan’s eyes grew dull and his skin paled as Seb twisted the blade then yanked it back out. Blood leaking out in generous amounts with his every movement. Nathan loosened his grip on the spear and fell backwards as death took him into its’ cold and unforgiving clutches. Seb began to fall but was caught. At first he thought perhaps Rainbow Dash or even Celestia had caught him but when he looked up, he was surprised to see one of Hank’s brothers holding him up. He had managed to free himself from the soldiers as the fight begun in a desperate motion to stop Nathan. Now that he was too late, all he could do was being working on breaking off the spear that was lodged inside Seb.
“Get a saw or something! Hurry up!” He barked as Seb rolled his head back. At first, the ponies were reluctant but as pools of blood formed under Seb they moved.
A saw was brought to the pair as Twilight and the others watched on. None of them dared leave Fluttershy’s side, though they wanted to go to Seb’s. The brother held Sebastian steady while a unicorn used his magic to move the saw back and forth across the staff of wood. He managed to get it close to the actual wound, though it made Seb scream behind a bit of leather that had been forced between his teeth. Another pony worked on loosening the head of the spear, which was fastened on a tapered end of the staff. after working at it, the metal head came apart and the wood was easily pulled from Seb’s flesh. They laid him down next to Fluttershy as he trembled. The brother forced as many rags as he was giving onto the wounds and wiped some sweat off his brow.
“I wouldn’t have pulled that out of you if he hit some vital organs but you got lucky. Nothing too major was hit, save a rib or two.” He said. Seb replied with a weak whine
Rainbow Dash flew over to him and crossed her hooves as she floated over his body.
“You idiot! what were you thinking!?” Rainbow Dash asked. Seb cowered back from her.
“He wouldn’t...stop moving....I had to...” He whimpered quietly.He was called an idiot again but by a much softer voice. He turned his head and saw Fluttershy smiling weakly at him.
“You idiot...” she repeated. Seb could only smile.The brother stood up and turned to Celestia, who did not look very pleased.
“He needs to go back to our world, both of them do if you expect them to live.” The brother said calmly.
“N’ why should we trust you?” Applejack asked sternly.
“You’re just going to have to.” The as-of-yet unnamed brother replied. He took a radio out of his belt case and started working with it.
“Why the change of heart?” Celestia asked with intrigue.
“That’s not your concern.” The brother replied curtly and static poured out of the radio before a voice appeared.
“This is home base.” The voice said.
“This is David, we’ve lost the battle. Tell the old man his grandson is alive but he needs help. Get Sebastian’s pod ready.” The brother ordered, turning the radio off before a reply could be given.
Seb could feel his heartbeat in every part of his dying body as he grasped Fluttershy’s shaky hoof. Twilight walked over to David and the bleeding pair.
“Nathan said Fluttershy couldn’t go back.” She said cautiously.
“The bullet inside her, that’s what’ll bring her back to our world.” David replied. Twilight looked back at her friends as if asking for one of them to translate.
“Remember when Nathan asked if Seb would crawl inside her? Well, that’s just it. Since something from our world is inside her and it’s impossible for the machines back home to separate the two, the bullet will just take her along for the ride.” David explained quickly. “Stop asking me questions though, you don’t have much time. Say your goodbyes.”
Twilight nodded and walked over to Seb and Fluttershy, the others followed immediately.
“You better bring Fluttershy back to us or I’ll come get her myself.” Rainbow dash said. Seb nodded weakly.
The others spent more time telling Fluttershy she’d be okay, and they’d see her soon, but that was just fine for Seb. He wanted the quiet so he could just focus on not feeling the pain that had so easily become inseparable from his being. He stared up at the pale blue sky above him and wondered how, amongst all the death and pain around him, the sky could look so calm and peaceful. His vision blurred a bit and he saw a human face appear above him. At first he suspected the man that had caught him, but the smell of Iris flowers and the bright yellow light that came from the sun shining through the woman’s golden hair made his heart thud.
“Trisha...” He whispered as the woman smiled down at him. Her lake-blue eyes shimmered with the light around her.
“Come home Sebastian.” She whispered back.
Seb tried lifted his arm, to touch her face, but it was so heavy. He continued to struggle until his arm was a few inches above the ground. He could feel his blood dripping down his arm as his fingers brushed Trisha’s face. Had he touched her? He thought so, and held the ideal close to his heart.
“Come home Sebastian,” Trisha repeated “We’re waiting for you.”
“We?” Seb asked, his voice cracked apart from the pain of his wounds. It wasn’t so much a word as a hard breath that escaped his lips and made a lock of hair move in the wind.
“Your son and I. We’re waiting for you; please come home Sebastian.” Trisha insisted further. Her image began fading and Seb tried to reach for her again ,but she seemed to be moving backwards.
“No, don’t leave me. Trisha!” Seb called out weakly.
“Come home Sebastian...”
Trisha’s image was gone. Seb suddenly realized that everything seemed so quiet and he was feeling drowsy. Everything was spinning and he closed his eyes tightly. He gripped Fluttershy’s hoof to make sure it was still there, and when he felt satisfied he tried opening his eyes. He couldn’t tell if he had opened his eyes but if he did all around him was pitch black and a distant beeping noise. It grew louder and louder then suddenly stopped. Everything was still and quiet again for a long time. At first he thought he’d just been hearing things but after a long time the beeping returned but it sounded different this time. It was a steady, quiet beep that went in time with his heartbeat. He tried to feel for Fluttershy’s hoof again but he couldn’t move at all. His body suddenly felt so heavy and a soft red glow was starting to take over his darkened vision. He tried to call out, but his lips felt like they weighed a thousand tons each. He suddenly heard other noises as well. At first they sounded like static, then slowly they turned into voice speaking an odd language. Finally he began understanding the words and could hear everything.
“He’s waking up, I’ll go get his guardian.” A feminine voice announced.
Seb realised he had never actually opened his eyes because now they were opening and a bright white light flooded his eyes. He clenched them shut at first, but when he felt he was getting use to it he opened them again. He was greeted by white walls and a white ceiling. He could see a curtain to the side and a few pieces of machinery but not much else until a face came into view. At first Seb couldn’t make it out but then his eyes focused and he saw a woman’s face leaning over him and removing a long feeding tube from his mouth, making him gag a bit.
“Well, well.” She said softly. “Look who finally decided to join the living.” She looked at her watch as she held a long tube with a bulb at the end. She pumped the bulb and Seb began feeling the pressure on his left arm. Slowly, feeling began to return to his body as he began trying to speak.
“Where am I?” He asked. His voice was weak and stressed as he spoke.
“The hospital dear.” The woman replied, removing the scratchy wrap of the blood pressure sensor from his arm.
“In Ponyville?” He asked. Wait, what was Ponyville? The woman looked at him with a questioning look.
“Ponyville?” She asked, chuckling. “What kind of drugs do they have you on?”
She didn’t answer his question as a new face appeared. Seb squinted a little, trying hard to recognize the old man staring down at him. The scent of baby powder and scotch reminded him instantly though.
“You... You’re that old man....” Seb began. “From the park...I...”
“Good to see you’re still alive Sebastian.” The old man said, patting Seb’s left shoulder. “You remember me right? Cornelius?”
“Yeah...” Seb replied weakly. He couldn’t figure out why it was bothering him everyone was only paying attention to his left side.
A month? what was a month? Oh yeah, a time period. He’d be out that long? Did he mean asleep? Yeah that’s what that means. What about Fluttershy?
“Flutter...shy...Wh...” Seb was cut off by Cornelius
“She’s fine.” He said suddenly. He looked back to see if the Nurse was even bothering to listen. She wasn’t. “Don’t you worry about your pony friend, she’s fine. Just rest now.”
Cornelius moved to get up from the chair he’d been evidently sitting on, but his old body was weak and it stopped it from standing. He was forced to use the side of the bed. Something felt off. Why couldn’t he feel Cornelius touching him on that side? His hand was obviously far enough in, to touch Seb’s arm by now. Was it just because maybe it was still numb? he tried moving it but nothing happened. He turned his head and looked at where his right arm should be but there was nothing there. His eyes moved towards the bit of shoulder that was there. His arm was completely gone from where it had been broken and down.Seb began shaking. Cornelius turned when he heard Seb whimper and frowned.
“You had a terrible infection. It completely destroyed your nerves from the shoulder down. They decided it was best to take the whole thing off to keep it from spreading further.” Cornelius explained with medical chill in his voice.
Seb wasn’t sure what to think or say. He began tearing up, but he couldn’t figure out why he wanted to cry. Was it because of his arm? The pain the rest of his body was slowly starting to feel? He couldn’t tell. Before he could cry out, a loud beeping noise distracted him as it rapidly beeped to a nurse that the patient was under too much stress and pain and a nurse rushed over to force an I.V. into his remaining arm. Seb’s body couldn’t take it and he passed out once again. The all too forgiving darkness accepting him openly.
Nurses flowed in and out of Sebastian’s room, giving him painkillers or feeding him, making sure he was comfortable. Seb met with a slew of doctors and surgeons that talked to him about his condition and no one was slow to tell him it was nothing short of a miracle he was alive. He was then moved to a more relaxing room that wasn’t washed in white. It was a calming blue color that reminded Seb of the sky in Equestria. The room had a window that let him look out above the treetops and watched birds and squirrels go about their days in peace. By the second week of Seb’s slow recovery, Seb began eating on his own but was still too weak to stay up for long. Every afternoon a nurse came in to check his temperature, which they did an awful lot of, and gave him some more meds before he was tucked in. Other than the nurses and Cornelius dropping by sometimes, Seb was left alone to think. Cornelius wouldn’t tell him anything about what happened to him, other than what the nurses and doctors had told him. He kept trying to tell himself that Equestria was merely a dream but every time he looked at his missing arm, well... tried to, he was painfully reminded that in fact it wasn’t a dream. He really did spend time with brightly colored ponies in a land of magic. He was sort of glad he had to keep it a secret, mainly because he was sure they’d lock him up in a mental ward if he told anyone. For weeks he tried to cope with the loss of his arm but nothing seemed to help. It was a devastating experience for a master thief; His hands were his main tools and with one gone he feared his survival in the world was impossible.
It was a late afternoon when Cornelius came in with a wheelchair to take Seb outside. Seb opposed it at first, but a few orderlies began picking him up. Not willing to be embarrassed as such, Seb forced them off and stumbled into the wheelchair by himself. His legs were weak and wobbly, but the chair was close enough he could fall into it while making it look like he was walking to it. Once in the chair, he turned to Cornelius, who had a large grin on his wrinkly face as he pushed the chair out of the room and down the hall.
“Mind telling me where we’re going old man?” Seb asked weakly. He was already out of breath from his mild exertion.
“We’re going to go see someone.” Cornelius replied. Seb knew he wouldn’t get an answer so he ignored him.
They made it outside and Seb was sure they were going to get trampled as a swarm of cameras and microphones rushed them. The flashing lights of the cameras made Seb’s eyes water as he tried to shield himself from them. The noise of people trying to ask him questions nearly drowned out Cornelius’s voice as the old man tried to get Seb to turn away. Of all the fights, blood, and war he’d been exposed to, nothing terrified him more than the scene before him. He wasn’t sure what to do or say about the people wanting so badly for him to simply say a word. Cornelius moved Seb to a limo and helped him inside before the reporters could chase him down. Seb threw himself against the opposite seat and panted as Cornelius leapt in, fairly nimbly for a man his age, and shut the door before anyone could get in with them. The limo sped off and Cornelius caught his breath, his exertion being much higher than Seb’s was.
“What is this blasted world coming to? You know in my day they would have had more respect, especially for the injured. Now these photo hungry ingrates chase you to your own car, and they have the gall to say you’re the bad person for not talking to them.” Cornelius complained with a gruff.
Seb lifted himself up in the seat and winced in pain. Cornelius tried handing him a soda but Seb declined. He hated this feeling of being weak and dependent. The whole thing made him sick to the very core of his being. He remembered the days he could out run every cop in the city and leap over fences that dogs could only dream of doing. Now he could barely get into a luxury car without having to stop and catch his breath.
“You can lay down if you’d like.” Cornelius said, seeing that Seb was in a great deal of pain and struggling.
“No... I’m fine.” He said, coughing as his lungs burned. He could feel an attack coming on. They always came at the worst possible times.
Seb looked out the window as the limo drove along. He was glad the tinted windows prevented anyone from seeing inside but as they went down a street, Seb wished he couldn’t see out. The houses that lined the quiet neighborhood began looking all too familiar to him. It was then that they slowly passed by Trisha’s old house. The limo didn’t stop and then turned the corner.
“Why did you take me down here?” Seb asked bitterly.
“Sorry, I didn’t know he’d take this route.” Cornelius replied without hesitance.
“Where are we going anyway?” Seb asked again, trying to quickly change the subject
“You’ll see, don’t worry about it.” Cornelius’ answer didn’t soothe Seb’s curiosity in the least.
One of the convenient things about about living in a big city is that things are almost always close by, so Seb didn’t have to wait long. He recognized the lab immediately. The limo stopped in front of the laboratory and the driver came around to help Seb and Cornelius out. Cornelius managed to get out on his own but of course Seb couldn’t move very well, he had to be eased out and on to a different wheelchair the driver had gotten from the back of the car. They wheeled him into the relatively deserted lab grounds and into the building. They passed the room where Seb had been captured by Nathan and he shuddered. They then passed the room with the machines that had taken Seb to Equestria. Inside, men were working on the machines and Seb looked back at Cornelius.
“When you came back the machines were broken. We can’t figure out how to repair them.” Cornelius explained.
They went to a room at the very back of the lab. Cornelius opened the door to reveal a room with a long couch and empty cages. The smell of multiple animals hit Seb like a brick to the face but he got use to it quickly enough. It was then he saw the soft pink and yellow form of a pegasus trotting around after a bird that was happily flapping around. Seb’s body felt like his very soul was melting as a smooth warmth built up in his core and spread. Fluttershy hadn’t noticed him yet so he stood up slowly. He tried to get use to standing, considering he’d only done it a few times in the path month and a half, then slowly began walking towards her. Fluttershy froze and turned slowly to see Seb using a nearby wall to walk himself toward her. He stopped and smiled weakly to her. Fluttershy started galloping at near full speed towards him and about half way through, spread her wings and flew up to dive into his embrace. Seb’s options were slim; let go of the wall and catch Fluttershy and fall on his ass or keep a hold of the wall and let Fluttershy miss him. He chose the former. Fluttershy hadn’t expected both of them falling to the ground and squeaked as she felt Seb’s body thud against the tiled floor.
“Oh, Seb, I’m sorry.” She whimpered as she quickly got off of him. Seb tried to hide the pain on his face and simply grabbed her and brought her back down on top of him, hugging her with his arm tightly.
“I missed you. I missed you more than you could ever believe.” He whispered quietly, just loud enough for her to hear. He finally let his tears come out in full force.
“I missed you too.” Fluttershy replied and buried her face into the point where his left arm and chest met.
The feelings Seb was feeling were so strange to him. He was so happy, happiest he’d felt in years and it scared him but at the same time he loved it dearly. He relaxed and let his guard down. It felt like tons had been lifted off of his body leaving him emotionally naked to everything around. The last time he felt that way was when his hands held Trisha’s slender and naked body on top of his, her soft lips pressed against his. If he concentrated, he could still feel his fingers running through her golden hair and her sporadic breaths on his neck. When he returned to his sense, Fluttershy was sitting up and smiling. Her smile wavered when she looked down at where Seb’s arm should have been. Seb sat up slowly and smiled awkwardly.
“It was infected I guess. probably from being broken so many times.” Seb tried to explain. Fluttershy seemed close to tears. He lifted his hand and ran his palm across her forward, flicking her lock of hair out of the way. “Hey, I’m alive alright? Don’t worry about me.”
Fluttershy squeaked softly and nodded to him. Cornelius took that moment to walk over and try to helping Seb stand up, but he could barely bend over himself. Fluttershy did what she could and Seb managed to somehow will himself to his feet, flopping into the wheelchair. He caught his breath and sighed. Fluttershy put her hoof on his leg as the door behind them opened. She squeaked and backed away as a man walked in. Seb turned his head and saw David, dressed in a three-piece black suit instead of the grungy blood soaked armor.
“Good to see you again, Sebastian.” David said, giving a nod to Fluttershy. Cornelius turned Seb around to face him.
“You again.” Seb said, almost a little shocked. David pulled out a badge and showed it to Seb.
“David Carraway, CIA. “ He put the badge back into his pocket. “You seem to be healing pretty well.”
“CIA?” Seb asked in disbelief. He rested his hand on his stomach where the stitches from the spear wound were starting to rip. The moving around and Fluttershy tackling him not only exhausted him but his wound was starting to re-open.
“Yes, you see I was ordered to go undercover and watch Nathan’s movements. Unfortunately, the CIA wasn’t expecting an.... undertaking, such as this. You did, however, assist us very well and the CIA would like to thank you for that.” David replied.
“Assist?” Seb asked, trying to stand up. “I ‘assisted’ you?! How the fuck did I assist you? I got tortured, stabbed, my arm was amputated and I killed a man, is that what you mean by assisting you?!”
David steeled his courage and stood his ground through the broken man’s words.
“To be completely honest, we didn’t really know you’d be there, and we are deeply sorry for your losses.” David replied, trying to find whatever words he could use to calm Seb down.
Seb began coughing harshly and blood began staining the light blue hospital scubs he’d been wearing, his wound opened up at the same time. He sat back down and coughed into his hand, but without another to contain his blood it simply spilled out onto his shirt. Fluttershy rushed over to him and tried to rub his chest, like she had done before to ease his pain, but once her hoof touched his blood she shuddered and pulled away. When Seb finally calmed down he gasped and swallowed, shivering as he swallowed his own blood. He looked down to see Fluttershy’s hoof covered in his blood. He took her hoof into his hand and wiped the blood away with whatever patch of his clothes were unstained, then let it go.
“Don’t ever let these hooves be stained in blood again. It doesn’t suit a gentle soul like you.” Seb said, wincing again.
“Come on Sebastian let’s get you back to the hospital.” Cornelius said.
“I want to stay here with Fluttershy...” Seb said weakly.
“I know, we’ll come back another time, she won’t be going anywhere for awhile.” Cornelius said. Fluttershy smiled and Seb noticed her stitchings for the first time. It would leave a permanent scar on her soft yellow coat. He frowned.
“Go ahead, Seb, you need you get some rest. I can’t go home until I’m fully healed anyway, and the machines are broken so even if I was better I can’t go home.” Fluttershy said softly. She had been told everything by Cornelius and had agreed to stay out of sight of other humans until they could get her home.
Seb agreed, though he had little choice. David and Cornelius took him back to the hospital, all the while David explained his story.
“My brothers and I were high ranking military officers a few years ago. We use to be in interrogations-”
“I can see that.” Seb interrupted. David cleared his throat.
“Anyway, my brother Hank snapped from seeing all the blood and destruction around him all the time and he started torturing our prisoners with the help from my other brother Chris. I never played a true role in it but I knew my brothers would kill me if I didn’t. We were finally found out and arrested. While my brothers escaped I felt content in serving my sentence as a repent for what i’d done. That was when the CIA made a deal with me; help me put my brothers behind bars, and they would lift my sentence. I did and they wound up making me an agent. I don’t know why or how, I wouldn’t have done it, but they never gave me a reason why. I don’t know how Nathan got a hold of them but when the CIA found out they were up to something, they sent me in. Thankfully, my brothers never put it together I was the one who brought them down again. I was ordered to take Nathan in alive, but thanks to you that didn’t happen.” David concluded his story as they reached the hospital’s driveway.
Seb didn’t say a word as he was taken to a doctor, given some medicine, and put to bed without a word of protest from him. Nightmares plagued him of the times he was tortured, sometimes he was replaced with Fluttershy or even Trisha and all the while David simply hung back and watch. He begged for help but he would never come and every night he woke up in the same manner; sweating and gasping for breath, calling Trisha’s name into the darkness that surrounded him in the empty room.
It was another week before Seb started walking short distances on his own. It was then that Cornelius decided to take him to see Fluttershy again, feeling he was well enough to go out. They managed to avoid the remaining crowd of reporters and jumped into the limo once more. It was around that time that Seb finally bought up his questions.
“Why do they want to talk to me?” He asked, resting against the seat.
“All in good time my old son, all in good time.” Cornelius replied simply.
“Why won’t you tell me?” Seb asked. Normally he would have crossed his arms to show his impatience but his actions made him look like a mental patient hugging himself.
“Don’t fret about it now, I want to take you somewhere else today too so don’t over exert yourself.” Cornelius replied with a coy smile that only reassured Seb’s suspicions he was insane. The old man then rummaged through the pockets of his overcoat before pulling out a bottle of small pills. “Here, it isn’t a cure, but it’ll help.”
Seb could see the pain in the old man’s eyes and tried to figure out why Cornelius seemed to be begging him to take the medicine. DId he know about his disease? Didn’t Nathan say something about him and his connection to it? He couldn’t remember. He simply nodded and took the medicine.
Seb reunited with Fluttershy, who had gotten her stitches removed and now running and playing about the laboratory. Seb was surprised to learn that they had given her a television to watch. She mostly watched animal shows or things that told her about humans but she was still fascinated by it. Seb was quite interested too since the last time he saw a t.v. he was watching a presidential election and he didn’t care much for that either. They were watching some type of drama that Fluttershy didn’t know the name of when Seb rested his head on her shoulder and closed his eyes. Fluttershy stiffened, which didn’t seem to bother Seb, and squeaked a bit.
“Thank you, Fluttershy.” Seb whispered.
“What for?” She asked, looked down at him.
“For reminding me what it’s like to have a friend.” Seb replied as he slowly sunk into a light sleep.
“I’ll always be your friend,Seb.” Fluttershy whispered back with a gentle smile.
Cornelius woke Sebastian up gently and helped him to his feet. He wobbled a bit but regained his balance quickly and said goodbye to Fluttershy as he left. The pair passed several rooms with even more machines in them. Seb noted that the machines didn’t look anywhere near finished. They exited the building and jumped into the limo with Seb resting his head against the window, immediately trying to relax. He was surprised at how much his arm actually hurt for it not being there. They had given him weaker painkillers to slowly wean him off them as he healed, but it did little to ease him. Seb hadn’t noticed he’d fallen asleep again until the limo stopped and Cornelius opened the door. Seb climbed out of the car and shielded his eyes from the bright sun. When he was able to focus, he saw that he was standing about 20 feet away from a grave with a headstone on it. The stone was surrounded by perfectly cut and green grass with flowers resting on the actual grave itself. Behind it was a young willow tree, its branches couldn’t quite touch the headstone. Seb’s whole body shook as he stepped towards the grave. He could just make out the writing on the headstone but he had already figured out who was buried there.
“Trisha...” He whispered sorrowfully as he approached the grave.
He dropped to his knees and rested his hand on the soil. It was a new pain, like he had just lost her all over again. It was one thing to see someone dead, but to see their grave was a whole other matter completely. It confirmed that they were no longer with you, and you would never see them again. Leaving only the memories of those who had known them to carry on. Seb’s fingers dug into the ground, as if trying to feel her through the dirt. Cornelius tried helping Seb up, but the thief wouldn’t move. He refused to get up. Seb moved his eyes next to a smaller gravestone that read,
“Michael Edwards. A young life that never lived.”
Seb managed a weak chuckle that sounded more like a sob, catching in his throat.
“She named him Michael... She wanted to name him James, and I wanted Michael... that little fox....” Seb sobbed a bit as he felt an old, weak hand rest on his back.
“I remember when they tried to save the boy. I suppose Trisha must have told her father because when the case went public and reporters asked about the child, all he said was Trisha wanted to name him Michael, and left. No one has heard from him since.” Cornelius said. It did little to ease Sebastian’s crumbling heart as it continued to break apart inside him as he sobs on the luscious green grass before them.
Seb began coughing and wheezing as another attack began taking hold of him. He collapsed onto the pair of graves and bent into a sort of awkward fetal position. Cornelius began desperately fumbling through his pockets before capturing his prize, and losing it again on the grass. The bottle of pills busted open on a rock and it’s contents spread out into the grass. Seb’s coughing was totally automatic by that time; he wasn’t even conscious as the air escaped him. Cornelius finally managed to snatch one of the pills up from the ground, taking a few blades of grass and some dirt with him, and forced it between Seb’s lips as he parted them to cough. The old man covered Seb’s mouth and worked his throat until Seb involuntarily swallowed the pill. It was an agonizing five minutes before Seb stopped coughing and began opening his eyes. He was, once again, covered in blood and exhausted.
“Come on, let’s get you into bed.” Cornelius said, helping Seb to his feet.
“Grandpa...”Seb gagged out the words in a sickly manner. The old man stopped a moment, letting Seb lean against Trisha’s gravestone for support. It would be the last time she would help him.
“What did you call me?” Cornelius asked, Seb’s body shook as his eyes glossed over with exhaustion and heartbreak.
Before Seb could answer him however, he saw a man coming up the walkway carrying a bundle of flowers in his arms. The man made it up the walk way and saw Seb standing once again. Unassailable rage filled the man’s eyes and Cornelius went pale as a result. Seb couldn’t figure it out until a hard punch met his jaw. Seb was sure a tooth had be knocked loose as he plummeted to the ground. A rain of iris petals cascaded around him as the man dropped the flowers he’d been holding.
“You sick fuck.” The man said, his voice trembling with anger. It was the voice that made Seb begin to remember but also, he managed to get a glimpse of the man’s full face.
“Alan?” Seb asked rather obviously, wincing a bit at the still barely fettered pain.
“Good, you remember me. I’m going to fucking kill you for what you did to my little girl, you bastard!” The man exclaimed with conviction. Seb could see tears in the man’s eyes, even as a kick to the ribs sent him rolling down the negligible slope of the grassy field.
Cornelius grabbed the man’s arm quickly.
“Mr. Edwards, please stop.” He begged. The man ignored him and shook off the older man’s grip, stepping over to Seb, who had just managed, with his one arm, to sit up.
“You killed my daughter, murdered her. I thought you loved her. What? You got her pregnant just so you could kill them both? Was it some kind of sick game to you?” The man asked. He couldn’t even get a hard grip on Seb’s throat as he tried to choke him.
“Alan...please...” Seb winced.
“Don’t you ever say my name again!” Alan snapped with tangible rage. Cornelius tried to pull him off but Alan had some strength against him.
“Alan, please, he didn’t kill Trisha.” Cornelius begged.
“What would you know Cornelius? You weren’t there. You don’t know this bastard like I do.” Alan snapped.
“I do know him Alan, he’s my grandson.” Cornelius replied. Alan’s grip loosened and Seb’s body froze.
“Grandson... you mean all this time... he’s been your heir? To the Crawford estate?” Alan asked, sitting back.
“Yes, though he never knew.” Cornelius replied. Seb was trying to put pieces together. He remembered Nathan saying something along the lines of being an heir or Cornelius being related to him but he couldn’t remember.
“That doesn’t mean he didn’t kill Trisha.” Alan said, shaking a bit. “She was my only daughter...” The distraught father’s voice ebbing away near the end of his sentence.
“I know Alan, I know. Sebastian didn’t kill her though. You remember my son, Nathan, right?” Cornelius asked with all the empathy he could give to the grieving father.
Son... Nathan? Nathan said he was his uncle, didn’t he? Seb’s mind felt like it was being split in two as the new information was being processed.
“Yes, I remember him. He helped us with the funeral.” Alan replied, wiping a slowly descending tear from his, the men beside him pretending not to see. “And you helped us move, when my wife said she couldn’t stand living there anymore.”
“Yes... I remember. Nathan was the one who killed your daughter. He was after Sebastian for the inheritance, but he found Trisha instead.” Cornelius explained with a dark and somber expression on his face.
Alan stood up and walked over to Seb and reached into the front pocket of his shirt. He pulled out something and began handing it to Seb. For the first time in his life, Seb flinched at a fist coming towards him. It was an odd feeling and Seb felt so weak after he’d done it. When no pain breached him, he looked up at the outstretched hand to see a simple, gold wedding band in his hand. Seb couldn’t figure if he wanted to grab it or run away from it until Alan made the choice for him and rested it in Seb’s palm.
“She would have wanted you to have it. She wore right up to the day she died.” Alan’s voice was brimming with all the despair of a childless father. Seb looked at the ring in his fingers, taking a glance at the inside finding the engraving was still there. The words made him shudder as he remembered saying them to Trisha.
“You Saved My Life, Now Let Me Share It With You.”
Seb almost cried. He gingerly held the golden band between his fingers, as if Trisha’s very soul was inside it, and if he squeezed too hard he would break her. Alan wiped his face clear of tears again and sighed. Seb stood up slowly and lowered his head to Alan.
“I’m so sorry. It should be me in that grave.,” Seb said, then laughed a little. “or at the bottom of a river.”
“I can’t believe you’re Sebastian Crawford though.” Alan said, running a hand on Trisha’s gravestone.
“What do you mean?” Seb asked. Cornelius cleared his throat.
“You haven’t told him?” Alan asked the old man. His eye wandered over to Seb’s missing arm and cringed. Seb tried not to notice, he didn’t feel like telling the man the truth about it, though he didn’t want to lie to him either.
“No, I haven’t.” Cornelius said, almost like a child that had been caught in the act.
“Told me what?” Seb asked.
Cornelius didn’t answer, instead he invited Alan to come back with them. He agreed and said a quick goodbye to Trisha’s grave. Instead of going to the hospital, the limo took the trio to a large mansion hidden by pines and hills. Seb’s body felt like it was on fire. The pill Cornelius had given him stopped his attack, but it didn’t help the pain. They stepped through the parlor where a perky, petite maid dusted a vase for the third time that day.
“Ah, Good afternoon Cornelius, I see you have guests, I’ll make some tea.” She had a British accent or something. Her hair was done up in a tight bun and coupled with her thick, 80’s style glasses, she looked just a little bit like a librarian.
“No tea for me, Kitty, thank you.” Cornelius said, giving her a quick hug. She turned to the other gentlemen.
“How about you boys?” She asked, giving both of them quick hugs.
Seb seemed uncomfortable, especially with the awkward-missing-arm hug (which Kitty didn’t seem to notice) but he also had never had tea before. They offered it to him back in Equestria but he usually turned it down in favor of water or something else.
“Uh, sure.” He said quietly. Kitty seemed ecstatic that he said yes and practically ignored Alan as she rushed off to get the tea.
“We’ll be in the parlor, Kitty!” Cornelius shouted over his shoulder as he led Seb and Alan down the hall.
Cornelius welcomed them into the parlor, offering a seat for them. It was a lavish room with all white and gold colored furniture and cream colored walls, trimmed with golden paint. There was a dark cherry wood table with a crystal top a lounge cough off to the corner. Alan helped seb down onto the couch and watched as blood began staining the couch immediately.
Cornelius smiled humbly. “Don’t worry about it. I never liked that old thing anyway.” He said, sitting on a couch across from Seb. Alan sat beside the older man.
Seb suddenly felt very cold and shivered as Cornelius cleared his throat. Before he could say anything however, Kitty set down a silver platter with a tea kettle and three cups. Cornelius smiled slightly. He knew she’d simply ignore him and get him some tea anyway, but he didn’t mind. Seb stared at the tea set and frowned. He tried to calculate exactly how to pick up and pour out some tea with only one arm. Before he could think any further, Kitty began pouring the tea into the cup. Seb hated the dependence but was grateful she spared him the embarrassment. Thankfully, Kitty broke the awkwardness even more and grabbed another platter of small finger sandwiches and cakes.
“You must be starving, Mr. Crawford.” Kitty said to Seb. Seb felt extremely uncomfortable, no one had ever called him ‘Mr.’ in his life. “Those bloody hospitals never know how to feed a young man. Look at you, you’re skin and bones. Will this tide you over until I can get some lunch ready?”
“Uh, I’m okay. Thank you.” Seb said nervously. He hadn’t even touched his tea.
“No you’re not, young man. If there’s one thing I know it’s that a young man needs to eat, and with your injuries you need twice as much. Good food feeds the soul and heals the body as I always say.” Kitty said setting one of the sandwiches on a small plate.
“You’d better eat it, or she’ll force you.” Cornelius warned, leaning across the table. The old man was thankful for the interruption, though. He needed time to explain himself.
“Um... Okay...” Seb said as he took the plate.
It was a small ham sandwich with a bit of cheese and some mustard on some type of roll that had been cut to size perfectly. Seb took a bite quickly, considering Kitty was giving him a stare, as if it say ‘if you don’t eat it, I’ll make you eat it’. He almost felt something pop in his head as the taste hit him. It was a sharp, almost metallic taste, coupled with a wide range of tangy and smooth tastes. The thing he noticed most was the ham. It’d been so long since he had meat he nearly forgot it existed and the sudden shock to his system made him shiver. He couldn’t tell if he liked it or not. Kitty gave a satisfied smile and walked off to dust the vase one more time, just to be sure no spec of dust dared make a homestead on it.
“Sebastian, I probably should have told you about this earlier but I feared the stress would have gotten to you.” Cornelius began, rubbing his wrist anxiously “You see, your parents were very important people and single handedly pulled this city of out a depression the rest of the world was already deep into. With the money they had already earned and the business they started, they probably could have bought this city three times over. Before they died, they left all of that money to you. I suppose the simple way to say this is, you’re rich.”
Seb’s shuddered, but not from the cold this time. Rich? Him? He’d hated the rich all his life, stole from them, and lived off their waste. How could he possibly be rich?
“Nathan was your uncle. He wanted your money, as he most likely told you-”
“He could have had it.” Seb interrupted, Cornelius wasn’t sure how to respond. Seb tried to stand up but he was already exhausted and he felt heavy. He sat back down and Alan sighed.
“From what I remember of your parents, they were great people, and this city has been on the brink of another economic depression since the day they died and you turned up missing. You’re this city's only hope.” Alan said. He seemed to be pleading with Seb not only for forgiveness, but to save his city.
“What can I do? I’m no politician.” Seb replied. He actually had no intentions on helping but it seemed like he had no choice.
“Your mother and I started the Crawford Pharmaceuticals and Research Foundation and during the first depression, the company is what saved the city because we found a solution for the whole city to save money on energy. The solar panels you see on the houses and buildings today, which you’ve no doubt have become accustomed to, are not like typical solar panels because they take energy from the moon as well. and that is when it recharges all the electronics in the building, even cell phones and toys. This was a total accident however and before your father could figure out how it worked, he died.” Cornelius said, still rubbing his wrist. Sebastian thought he’d rub it raw.
“That still doesn’t explain how I can help. I’m no rocket scientist I can’t tell you the secret.” Seb protested. His shoulder was starting to ache and the bandages that covered his stump seemed to be tightening around it.
“Actually, it’s your....illness....that may save this city.” Cornelius said. This time it was Alan’s turn to be confused.
“Illness? You mean he’s still sick from two years ago?” Alan asked lamely. He hadn’t paid much attention to Seb’s sudden attack at the graveyard and thought little of it until now. Cornelius nodded grimly.
“You see, it’s my fault he’s sick.” Cornelius said and looked up at Sebastian with pleading eyes. “Your mother was sick as well, tuberculosis actually, but it was a strange type. It wouldn’t go away with typical medical procedures or medicines, and no one could figure out why. Your father spent hours looking for a cure in his laboratory and never came up with anything. Soon afterwards, an outbreak on the east side of the city began spreading. I began looking for a cure myself after my son had given up. I thought I had found the cure, but it was a dangerous substance. In my grief and determination to save my daughter I tried it on a week old baby.” Cornelius paused, letting out a deep and regretful sigh.
“ I should have gone to jail for it, especially since my little girl died anyway. You seemed fine for a while, though you began showing some incredible strength for a child so young. By the time your were seven your true strength showed and so did the nasty effects. I remember it so clearly, you were seven and helping your mother clean the house. She needed to move the couch for some reason or another, and you moved it for her. It was then that, with your mother dying , your parents decided to give you up. I can’t really explain why they would... but I think it had something to do with your father committing suicide, and probably keeping you away from me. They both died as soon as they came home from taking you to the orphanage. I’m afraid all your misfortunes are my fault. But that is where you come in. The city is suffering from a similar disease as your mother’s and-” Seb stood up as Cornelius ceased speaking. The one armed man was shaking from his anger.
“My parents die, you give me this wretched disease, my uncle tries to kill me, kills my fiance, and now you come crawling to me for help?” Sebastian said, gritting his teeth. Cornelius seemed to actually cower in fear. Alan seemed afraid too, especially as Seb shattered the teacup in his hand, sending tea and porcelain to the white, plush carpet floor.
“I am tired of this family. The legacy you worked so hard to maintain, ends with me old man. I renounce you, your name, and refuse to call you psychos ‘family.’ And if you come near me again, I will pay you ass holes the same respect you paid me. As far as I’m concerned, you no longer exist.” Sebastian said calmly. Alan shuddered. Sebastian’s voice was so calm and precise he thought the young man would kill Cornelius anyway.
Seb walked out of the parlor and over to the front door. Kitty ran up to him. She was quick despite her size and grabbed on to Seb’s arm. Seb whirled round and gave the maid a good slap, which rang through the hallway. He instantly regretted it, and rushed out of the mansion. When he got to the end of the driveway, he stopped and doubled over, trying to catch his breath and cry at the same time, he heard a ting and looked around to see Trisha’s ring bouncing down towards the gutter. He jumped at it and grabbed it as it fell into the dirty water, clipping his chin on the ground since he had no other arm to stop him. He held it close to his chest and shivered against the cold.
“I’ve doomed Fluttershy. Trisha... I can’t do this without you. You would have held me back.” Seb said to the ring. Drops of water dripped onto the ring and at first, Seb thought it was his tears, but as more drops fell into his hand, he recognized the rain.
He stood up again and stumbled away from the large mansion as the rain fell. He wandered the streets solemnly, shielding not necessarily himself but the ring from the rain and passing cars that hit puddles and splashed water onto him. Seb really had no idea where he was going. He seemed to be on autopilot. It wasn’t until he went down an alleyway and saw a lonely dumpster, tagged with graffiti and the bile of the homeless who took refuge there in his absence. He opened the lid to the dumpster, not realising how hard it was with only one arm, and dropped it. He made sure he still had his ring and moved around the dumpster to the side that blocked him from the main street, leaned against it and slid down into a puddle of murky water.
“I can’t even go back to the one place I could call home. I guess it seems I just don’t belong anywhere.” Seb said, confiding in the ring. He closed his eyes and let the rain drench him as he sat there.
Seb opened his eyes two hours later. He hadn’t noticed he’d fallen asleep and now he was freezing. He shivered and his body ached and he felt numb all over, probably from the cold. The rain had become heavier and he could barely see the road in front of the ally. He pressed his forehead against the icy metal dumpster and chuckled to himself.
“I can’t even get out of a storm.” He mumbled. He began coughing and slid to the watery concrete, his blood mixing in with the running water. He smelled the faint scent of Iris flowers and closed his eyes as he felt a warmth cover him like a blanket.
“Live, Sebastian.” Trisha’s voice wafted through his ears and through his mind.
When he opened his eyes again, he was in a plush bed. At first he thought he was back in the hospital but he looked around to see elegant floral wallpaper with a bay window and a bench underneath it. He was in a woman’s bedroom. He thought it maybe was Trisha’s, but he didn’t recognize the furniture. Right then, he felt a pressure on his chest and turned his head to see Kitty above him. She had a large bruise on her cheek, but was still perky as always. She was rubbing some type of gel on his chest, massaging it while she did and he felt all his pain melt away.
“I’m sorry...” Sebastian said.
Kitty smiled with every ounce of kindness in her being. “Don’t you fret a bit. I know you didn’t mean it.” Kitty replied and that was the end of that. They never spoke of it again.
It turned out, Sebastian was in the room his mother had lived in as a child. He could feel her all around him, though he barely remembered what she looked like. He felt something metal roll off his chest as Kitty continued to rub whatever it was on his chest. He tried to look for it but he couldn’t tell what it was. He soon felt the metal on his neck as well. Kitty held up Trisha’s ring on a chain around his neck.
“I figured you’d be wanting that.” She said.
Seb smiled hugely. “Thank you.” He replied before letting out a slight cough. “What is that?” He asked, nodding to the cup in her hand.
“Muscle relaxer.” She explained simply. “Just let it do it’s job, and get some rest. Mr. Crawford said you would need it.”
Seb looked away in disgust. Kitty frowned.
“You know, Sebastian,” She began, “Mr. Crawford went looking for you himself. He was the one that saved you in that terrible storm. He’s been repenting for what he did to you for years.”
With that, she left.
“What an idiot.” Seb muttered to himself and did, in fact, get some rest.
After a few hours, Seb made his way down stairs, wearing a collared, long-sleeved. shirt made of silk and some loose fitting dress pants. The clothes, along with real leather dress shoes, had been laid out for him by Kitty. The shirt fit awkwardly, considering his lack of an arm, but otherwise it fit fairly well. Cornelius met him at the bottom of the stairs. There was a long pause of tension between them. It was broken by Kitty bringing a small silver tray with a cup of water and some medications. Seb recognized the one pill that was the medicine Cornelius had given him. The other two he didn’t recognize.
“One is a pain killer, the other is an immune system booster.” Cornelius explained, taking an effort to use as few words as possible. Seb picked up the three pills and washed them all down with the cup of water. Kitty seemed pleased that Seb was somewhat cooperating.
They returned the the parlor, and Seb was surprised to find Alan there, along with a woman, who Seb recognized as his wife. She shot him a flash of anger though he remained unmoved by it, averting his eyes warily. Alan calmed her down as Seb took a seat, doing everything in his power to not peer within the woman’s harsh gaze.
“Sebastian, I’m sure you remember Carol.” Alan said, introducing his wife.
“Ma’am.” Seb replied, still not directly looking at her.
Carol did little to hide her anger with him. Alan had explained to her that Seb hadn’t been the one who killed their daughter but that hadn’t stopped her from hating him. In fact, the fact that he was suppose to die instead of her daughter made her hate him even more. Seb could feel her hate even from across the table.
“Sebastian, I had Alan and Carol come here so they could be reassured. Also, we still need to talk about your company.” Cornelius said. He figured it was best they got to business quickly.
Seb said nothing to Carol, there was nothing he could say. He merely offered an apologetic glance that did little to quell her anger.When Cornelius realized that nothing was going to be said, he spoke.
“Sebastian, you asked earlier how you could help this city. While your disease mimics the unusual strain of Tuberculosis, it just isn’t the same. But, perhaps if we could sample your blood, and use it to lock in the virus and maybe find a way to depress it, there may be a cure for the city.” Cornelius explained. Seb rested his fingers against his chest and, consequently, Trisha’s ring. He thought for a long while before answering.
“For the city, not you.” Sebastian said. “Then I want no part of this family, or it’s money. Do what you want with it.”
“Fair enough.” Cornelius said. “But let me do one last thing for you, besides a medicine to ease your illness.”
Seb didn’t reply. Almost as if it were on cue, the doorbell rang. Kitty rushed to answer it a few moments, a man with a briefcase entered the parlor.
“Mr. Taylor, everyone.” Kitty said and then returned to her seat.
“Ah, good to see you again Jeffrey.” Cornelius said, starting to stand.
“Please, Cornelius, stay down.” Jeffrey said, and turned to Seb, then smiled. “I suppose I don’t have to ask who my patient is.”
“Patient?” Seb asked, looking to Cornelius for an answer. Cornelius simply grinned.
“I’m Dr. Jeffrey Taylor. I specialize in prosthetics.” Jeffrey said, walking up to Seb.
“Prosthetics?” Seb asked, trying to lean away from the man, who was now using a tape measure to measure his remaining arm.
“Yes, I’ve been asked to see that you get a replacement arm of the highest quality. It won’t be like the one you lost of course, but you’ll forget you lost it sometimes when I’m done.
Seb wanted to say he couldn’t afford one, but it dawned on him that he could based on what Cornelius had told him. He let the man take his measurements and looked at the stump that was his arm.
“This may be difficult.” Jeffrey said, looking at the almost fully healed stump.
“Can you do it, Jeff?” Cornelius asked. Jeffrey smirked.
“Cornelius, are you questioning me again?” Jeffery asked. Cornelius chuckled and shooed him on as if to say “Please, continue your manhandling of the poor boy.”
Jeffrey left and Seb was exhausted. While most of his strength had returned, the night in the storm took nearly all of it.
“I want to see Fluttershy...” Seb said, not remembering Alan and Carol were still in the room.
“Who is Fluttershy?” Carol snapped quickly.
“Oh, no one. The painkillers must be kicking in.” Cornelius said hurriedly. Carol eyed him but she never brought up the subject again.
Two weeks passed and instead of taking Seb to Fluttershy, he was taken to the other side of town to get his new arm. They entered a hospital and went up three levels to what reminded Seb of a psychiatrist’s office you saw on television. Jeffrey was sitting behind a desk and smiled when he saw Seb.
“How are you feeling today?” He asked. Seb shyed away. It wasn’t that he thought the man was going to hurt him, it was the fact he was overly chipper.
“Fine...” Seb replied.
“Well, let me show you what we’re going to put on you then.” Jeffrey said and shoved a few papers and such off his desk and lifted a prosthetic arm onto it from below. It was something out of the future. It looked like any human arm aside from a few places where the mechanines showed and at the multiple joints. At the top of the shoulder was an opening that was meant to attach to a large bowl looking thing that Jeffrey brought out next. Seb could see the slots and protrusions where the two pieces were meant to attach as well as a thousand, tiny, string looking things in the cavity of the shoulder.
“They attach to your nerves and control your arm. With practice, it’ll move as easily as your real arm did. Actually, it was your father who invented this. It was his dream to make it so anyone could buy one.” Jeffrey explained. Seb looked over the arm. It even matched his skin tone. He was a little freaked out about it.
“The procedure will be quick, you’ll be out during the surgery as they attach the base to your shoulder.” Jeffrey said, motioning to the bowl looking thing. It didn’t really look like a bowl, now that Seb looked at it more closely. It seemed to be an optical illusion of the arrangement of the mechanics. Seb turned to Jeffrey and nodded slowly.
The surgery was quick, like Jeffrey had said, but when he woke up his shoulder felt like it was literally on fire. He looked down and saw the new arm attached and resting on the bed. He tried moving it, but it didn’t move.
“It’ll take some time.” Cornelius said as he walked into the door. Seb looked up and felt something scrape against his neck. He looked down and saw straps of leather and buckles on his chest, padded by cloth. “It’s a harness, to take some of the weight of the arm off. It’s got a lot of computers and gears in it.”
“How long until I can use it?” Seb asked.
“Depends on the person.” Cornelius replied. “Some people never quite get the hang of it.”
Seb turned to the arm and concentrated. He tried to think of various things like “move” or “now” but nothing seemed to work until he tried to remember what moving his arm felt like. One of the fingers twitched.
Seb was released and sent back home with a novel of instructions on how to use, clean, and store his new arm when he wasn’t using it. It was the incentive he needed. The next morning at Cornelius’s mansion, Seb woke before Kitty even did and rolled off his bed and onto the floor. He started pushing his body up down with one arm, breathing hard as he did and letting the ring around his neck tink and clank against the wooden floor. He was filled with a new determination that he’d only felt when he was in Equestria, and he couldn’t figure out why. He attempted to do crunches after his push-ups but the still tender scar on his stomach made it nearly impossible. He just resorted to other, simpler, exercises using what he could around him. He dressed himself in some clothes Cornelius had ordered be made for him and walked down the stairs, using them as an exercise as well. Kitty had just woken up and was preparing breakfast when he came down.
“Good morning, Sebastian.” She said cheerfully. Her bruise had finally disappeared.
“Morning, Kitty.” Sebastian replied. He couldn’t figure out why he liked her, but he did. Especially as she set down a fairly large stack of waffles and a cup of coffee on the table as Seb sat down.
It was his chance to see how well his arm would work with simple tasks. He lifted it up, something he had managed to learn the night before, and worked on grasping the fork. He managed to get the wrist to rotate but wound up simply stabbing the waffles. He passed the fork over to his left hand and began eating that way. He remembered the last time he ate a waffle. It was the day he first met Cornelius and Nathan when he stole one from a street vendor. Once he had finished eating, he went to the back patio and watched the city skyline in the morning fog. It was nice, just sitting for once. Seb couldn’t really remember a time when he did just sit and relax, not even in Equestria. He thought of Equestria often, and how different the easy going town of Ponyville was from the bustling city that sprawled out before him. The familiar sounds of busses breaking for passengers and sirens blaring in the distance seemed almost unreal to him compared to the silence of Ponyville. He watched a raven peck out worms in the damp lawn that declined down gradually before him and briefly imagined what it would be like for Trisha and him to sit there and watch their son play in the yard, perhaps with a dog. His daydreaming was cut short though, when Cornelius joined him in an adjacent chair. He sighed and groaned as he leaned back into the chair, his old body relaxing.
“Lovely out, isn’t it?” Cornelius asked. Seb simply nodded. “My old bones can’t take this cold anymore though, I’ve thought about moving.”
“I just want to sit still somewhere. Not move from place to place, I just want to.....” Seb couldn’t find the words he wanted to say. nothing he could think of seemed to work.
“Go home?” Cornelius suggested. Seb looked up quickly.
“Yes.” He replied. Why didn’t he feel like he was home? Sure he didn’t have one of his own but the city felt like home. At least, it use to.
“You know, Sebastian, I’ve been thinking..” cornelius said, turning the skyline. “The machines are nearly fixed, and your friend will be able to return home soon. have you thought about maybe...going with her?”
Seb looked at the old man, who hadn’t taken his eyes off the horizon.
“To Equestria?” Seb asked, almost as if confirming.
“There isn’t anything for you here. You’re not company president material, no offence.” Seb waved him on as if to say “I agree”. Cornelius continued. “You can’t be a thief anymore either. You don’t belong in the world of the rich and you don’t belong in the world of the criminals either. You don’t belong in this world.”
There was a long, very silent pause from Seb before he spoke again.
“I think you’re right. I have no idea how to run a company.” Seb said, standing up using his new arm. Cornelius seemed impressed. “I want you to use my money and open up an orphanage. Give as much as you can to charities throughout the city and use the rest for whatever this company does.”
Reporters flocked in from all over the city to Cornelius’s mansion. When the Crawford company/family had simply and suddenly poured over half it’s money into charities, and began building one with no warning or word of doing so, the media had a field day. Seb stayed locked inside, not daring to come out. Cornelius attempted to quell their questions but the hungry reporters didn’t seem to let go. One afternoon, after Seb had eaten lunch and finished his exercise, Cornelius walked in with a young reporter, about Seb’s age. She was a brunette with sharp hazel eyes and a giddy attitude which she tried to hide with a stern “I’m only here to do business” look. She failed. With her was a cameraman, who seemed indifferent to whatever was going on.
“Sebastian, this is Kelly from the local news, I figured you could at least say something to at least one reporter.” Cornelius said, a little worried Seb would be angry. Seb looked up from the book he was reading and sighed.
“Fine.” He muttered and stood up. Kelly’s eyes immediately went to Seb’s right arm Seb said nothing and they sat down in the parlor.
“Nice to meet you, first of all, Mr. Crawford.” Kelly said with a bright grin on her face. She stuck her hand out for a handshake but when Seb didn’t move she shied away.
“Nice to meet you.” Seb replied. He looked tired. Kelly couldn’t decide why, but didn’t ask. The camera man lifted his heavy camera onto his shoulder and Kelly made sure her hair and makeup was in order and picked up a microphone before turning to the camera.
“Just let me do most of the work and answer what you can. We’ll edit what we can.” She said and turned back as the camera silently counted down with his fingers.
“This is Kelly Johnston with Channel 15 news. I’m here with the heir to the famous Crawford Family, Sebastian Crawford. Now, Mr. Crawford” She turned to Seb. “You’ve been missing for 15 years, before we go into the details of your sudden charity donation, can you tell us where you’ve been all this time?”
Seb wasn’t sure how to respond. Should he tell them where he really was all this time?
“I was on the streets mostly.” Seb replied. It wasn’t the whole truth, but it wasn’t a lie either.
“For 15 years? That’s a little hard to believe, especially since you’re so famous.” Kelly replied.
“You’re no one on the streets.” Seb replied coldly. The young reporter recoiled a bit, like the man in front of her was a vicious animal. She’d never had a person react that way with her. She was, however, determined to continue considering that this story was one to make her career with.
“Well, that isn’t why I’m here anyway so let’s move on. About your sudden deposit into charity wh-”
“Is that so wrong?” Seb interrupted somewhat angrily.
“Well um, no. The people just wanted to know wh-”
“Do they really have to know? Is it such a big deal that when someone in my position shows some decent human courtesy that the people should demand a reason why?”
“Do you want to know?”
“I... well... Yes?”
“Does it matter why I did it? Does it truly matter why I gave the amount I did and began construction on the type of building I did? Does it matter that I gave out money I didn’t truly need?”
“I thought not. Have a good day Miss Johnston.”
Seb stood up and left the room, leaving Kelly, as well as her cameraman, speechless. Cornelius chuckled and had Kitty show the pair out. The next day, the whole, unedited, video was played across the world.
It was a chilly, frosty morning the day Cornelius took Seb to the laboratory for the last time. Seb rushed to Fluttershy’s room, a backpack full of books, medicines, and various treats for the others back home slung over his shoulder. Fluttershy flew over to greet him at the door way and hugged him tight. He hugged back and she noticed his new arm.
“It’s a prosthetic. It isn’t a real arm but it can do everything a real one can. Almost...” Seb explained, using it to push back her lock of hair. He couldn’t feel it, but he was glad to see that it moved more fluidly than before.
“Oh, it’s lovely.” Fluttershy said, though she didn't quite understand its workings.
“Ready to go home, Fluttershy?” He asked softly. She looked up at him with bright, shimmering eyes and a gentle smile.
Cornelius led them to the rooms with two, brand new looking machines side by side. Fluttershy looked back at Seb with a quizzical look. He simply smiled at her, and made his way to one machine, sitting down on the bed that was to send him back. Fluttershy beamed and floated over to the other.
“Should we destroy these machines when you leave?” Cornelius asked.
“No, you never know when I’ll need to come back.” Seb replied, and laid down. Fluttershy did the same and he smiled to her.
The beeping began and Seb felt the familiar drowsiness waft over him and he closed his eyes. The beeping grew louder and louder, then slowly disappeared. When he opened his eyes again, he was greeted by a pale blue sky.
He was home....
Hey everyone!!! Here is a link to the Sequel!!!!