Chapter Four: Late Night Revalations.
Phantom and Fluttershy had already walked around most of Ponytown by now, as Fluttershy showed Phantom around town. Neither of them had yet spoken about the earlier unpleasantness at the party. To be perfectly honest, neither of them had even thought about it at all, they were too wrapped up in each other.
The late night moon rose higher over Ponyville as they walked and talked. Their conversation went all over the place, from the wonderful things to do in Ponyville, to Fluttershy’s friends, to the adventures she’d had, and Phantom asking questions. He hadn’t really been sharing all that much about himself yet, he wasn’t sure how to bring up the fact that he wasn’t originally a pony, so he kept quiet, more than content to let Fluttershy do most of the talking.
As they came around the different homes of her friends, Fluttershy started elaborating about each pony who lived there. Applejack was the honest hard worker, Pinkie Pie (As he’d already learned) was the loud and outgoing partier. It was as they approached the library and Fluttershy explained about Twilight’s amazing abilities with magic that his face lit up…
“And here’s the library,” Fluttershy said in a voice that was far more confident than usual. She couldn’t quite put her hoof on it, but for some reason she was starting to feel more comfortable around this particular Pegasus, even though she barely knew him. “That’s where Twilight lives with Spike, the baby Dragon. She’s a unicorn you know, so she’s good with magic. But Twilight is more than just good with magic, she’s like really good.”
Phantom started to think, if this Twilight person was good with magic, maybe she knew what had happened to him, and how he’d gotten here. The thought of returning home hadn’t crossed his mind this night. The last few weeks he’d thought of nothing but getting back home, but since he’d met Fluttershy and really come to know her, he’d forgotten all about returning home. They walked side by side for a while in silence as they both thought.
Phantom was deep in troubled thought, wondering if he should tell Fluttershy the truth, and whether the truth would cause her to look at him differently, or even leave him. Fluttershy was wondering why Phantom seemed so distant. She wasn’t used to ponies being shy around her, it was usually the other way around. Actually, she wasn’t used to being this assertive at all, it was a rather different change for her.
Phantom decided to ask a question that would change the mood of the night. “Fluttershy, do you think Twilight would still be awake?”
Fluttershy looked over at the library and saw lights on throughout the converted tree. She knew that Twilight often studied late, and didn’t think she’d mind visitors. “I think she is, did you want to go visit?” Phantom nodded, hoping to find answers to the questions that had been foremost in his mind for the past few weeks…
Twilight was deep in study, reading up more in Olde and Forgotten Magicks about a few kinds of spells that she’d never even heard of before when she heard a gentle knocking at the door. “Spike, could you get that please?”
Spike walked over to the door, grumbling a bit since he’d been getting ready to head to bed, and opened the door to see Fluttershy and a pony he’d never seen before waiting patiently outside. Twilight looked over and smiled slightly seeing her friend outside. She thought this might be a good time to tell her what she’d figured out about the spell they’d all cast, or at least she did until she saw the mysterious stallion with her.
“Hello Twilight, my friend Phantom and I thought we would stop by and say Hello….That is if you don’t mind….”
Phantom thought that this was a rather odd way of talking to a friend, thinking that even thought Fluttershy seemed a little shy around him, he thought it was just how she was round ponies that she wasn’t familiar with, however it seemed that she was like this all the time. Twilight had welcomed them both, and invited them in, and he realized that he had to look odd, still standing outside, rather lost in thought. He tentatively stepped in to the library and the light, as both Spike and Twilight stared in his general direction.
Twilight had seen him before at the party for just a few moments, but she had thought he’d left very early on since she hadn’t seen him there afterwards at all. Spike didn’t really care about this new pony, and started up the stairs mumbling about his blanket calling his name. The one thing that definitely struck Twilight as odd was that Fluttershy seemed to be absolutely beaming. She knew that Fluttershy couldn’t have known this pony long since she’d been out with Rarity a lot recently, and when she wasn’t with Rarity, she was with Twilight In the library, helping her work out some of the complicated answers to the questions they’d all had.
Either way, Phantom couldn’t tell any of this, being as oblivious to other ponies thoughts as anypony else, and walked in slowly, as if he was afraid of doing something wrong. He looked for a moment at the purple unicorn, his mind still racing with all the thoughts and questions he’d had since he’d first come to Equestria.
“Ummm, Hello….” Phantom’s voice had dropped to a low and quiet whisper once again, no longer filled with the confident
tones that he’d been using when talking with Fluttershy. Twilight cocked her head at him quizzically, as if to motion him on to finish the sentence that he hadn’t and didn’t want to say. “I was, umm, wondering if maybe you could help me figure out a few things….”
Twilight seemed to brighten visibly, glad to be able to be of any assistance to anyone. Her friends might call her an egghead (Well, mostly Rainbow Dash, but that wasn’t the point), but she was really just trying to learn as much as she could to help anypony that needed help. “Sure, I’d be glad to help you out, what seems to be the problem?”
“Are you sure, it’s awfully late, and I wouldn’t want to impose and….” Phantom fell silent as Twilight held up a hoof for him to stop. He was still learning pony body language but that was a sign that was as universal as a smile.
“It’s no trouble at all, I’d be glad to help. I usually am up late at night anyways these days, so I still have time to be able to help.” She smiled in his direction. Fluttershy took this time to walk over towards Phantom, subconsciously sensing that he needed a little support right at that moment.
“Okay well…” Phantom’s mind raced, trying to find another way to stall. He’d come here to get an answer to his questions, but now that he was here, he didn’t want to have to explain about them at all. He hated being so contradictory, but his fears got the better of him most of the time. He looked around in the silence for a moment, and he noticed Fluttershy close to him, her face filled with both curiosity and concern. He sighed inwardly and decided to just go for it. The worst that would happen is that Fluttershy would stop talking to him, and he’d be alone again. It wasn’t anything unusual for him, he was used to being alone. He didn’t want to lose his newfound friend, but he didn’t see any other way out of his current situation other than telling them the truth.
“You might want to sit down; it’s kind of a long story…..” Twilight and Fluttershy both looked at him questioningly before sitting down on their haunches, expectantly waiting for him to continue.
“You see, ummm, I’m not really a pony. Or at least I wasn’t until a few weeks ago, and now I’m wondering how this was possible,” Phantom paused. The look on Twilight’s face was one of curiosity, something he’d expect of a magic practicing librarian, but it was the look on Fluttershy’s face that caught him by surprise. It was a look of concern, of sympathy, of worry, a look that plainly said she felt bad for him. He sighed audibly this time, hung his head and continued. “It’s not that I want to go back, it’s just that I want to know if that could happen, cause I… ummm… well……” His eyes started to tear up with an odd mixture of sorrow and joy.
His brain was going a mile a minute as he tried to find the words to explain. He wanted to tell these ponies, no, mainly Fluttershy, that this past day in Equestria had been so much better than any day he’d spent back on Earth. He wanted to say that even though he wasn’t from here he wanted to stay so badly, more than he’d ever wanted anything before. He felt an almost indescribable compulsion to say these things; it was only his fears, his shyness that prevented him from doing so. When he found the ability to speak again, the tears still hovering on the edge of his eyes, several minutes had passed, and both ponies had waited patiently for him to finish.
“I don’t want to go back.” He said it. It was out there in the open, and he could keep the reasons to himself. Twilight and Fluttershy didn’t seem to be the type that would pry and ask questions of him until all his secrets were out in the open. A single tear escaped his eye and rolled slowly down his cheek as he thought of how much more these two ponies were his friends than any person on Earth had ever been. He hadn’t even known either of them that long, yet for some odd reason he felt he could trust them.
This sudden revelation, did not shock either Twilight or Fluttershy. Rather it peaked Twilight's curiosity, and Fluttershy felt sorry for him. Neither of them wanted to speak yet, and so an uncomfortable silence hung in the air as the ponies absorbed the information, and made up their minds.
Twilight was the one to speak first. “I think I can help you with that. I was reading about a spell that did something similar not that long ago, now which page was it on?” Twilight turned away from Phantom and Fluttershy as she started skimming through pages of the enormous book on the reading stand.
Fluttershy moved closer to Phantom slowly. “I’m sorry,” was all she said. To Phantom she looked like she truly meant it. Fluttershy did mean it, having once been through something similar when she first fell to the earth so long ago. Even though it was a wondrous place, it was still terrifying to be all alone in unfamiliar territory and she knew how that felt. She just stepped closer to him and stood there, not in direct contact, but close enough that if he moved at all towards her, they would be touching.
“Ah HA! I found it!” Twilight’s shout of triumph startled both Fluttershy and Phantom, and Twilight smiled sheepishly at the two of them. Twilight looked at the book again for a moment and had a sudden realization, and epiphany of sorts. She decided to keep that thought to herself at the moment, and instead started explaining to Phantom a rather selective version of what had happened…..