“Have a pleasant day, Fluttershy! Thank you once again for the wonderful tea!” Rarity said as she left Fluttershy’s cottage. Fluttershy stood in the doorway, quietly calling back.
“Thank you for coming, Rarity! It was nice to catch up!”
Fluttershy watched as her platinum friend trotted away down the path towards Ponyville. Inhaling the cool outdoor air, Fluttershy looked around her yard as her pets frolicked about and played. Smiling, she began to go back inside her cottage, but was stopped by impulse.
She looked at the Everfree Forest. As if searching for something, Fluttershy looked across the border of the trees. Slapping her forehead, Fluttershy closed the door and went to sit on her couch.
‘Oh, Fluttershy… It’s been a week! You need to let it go!’ the pegasus thought as she glanced out the window behind her.
‘Yes, it was…. Quite the experience… as Rarity puts it. But I haven’t seen the stallion ever since I saw him at Zecora’s…’
Fluttershy tried to push away thoughts of the stallion and get on with her life, but a single sentence repeatedly came back into her head.
Anxiously, Fluttershy began to pace around her living room as her train of thought pressed forward, regardless of her attempts to think of something else.
‘It was like he wanted me to help him… He disappeared after I blinked and left me alone! Almost like he turned good…’
Fluttershy shook her head back and forth at the outrageous thought. She began to debate against herself.
‘Fluttershy, not everything out there is nice and happy… That thing almost killed you and your friends! You should just be grateful that you can use that… stare… that you have.’
Fluttershy’s stomach growled; her thinking had made her hungry. Trotting towards the kitchen, Fluttershy couldn’t help but look out the window as she passed it. The shadowy forest beckoned more thoughts of the stallion. Reaching into the cupboard, Fluttershy pulled out lettuce and a loaf of bread. Setting them gently on the counter, Fluttershy flew to the other end of the room for a knife.
Fluttershy pulled open a drawer and retrieved a knife from within. She flew back over to where the bread and lettuce were as she shook her head.
“NO!” Fluttershy yelled, stabbing the bread with the knife. She began to pant, the words refused to disappear from her thoughts. Talking to some invisible pony, Fluttershy released her anger and stress the entire scenario had caused her.
“You’re gone! This is over! I gave you the stare and told you to leave! So leave me alone!”
Fluttershy looked around her kitchen, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. She drooped her head in frustration.
“Help me? Help you with what?”
The pegasus calmed her nerves and began to cut a few slices of bread from the loaf.
‘Help him… He wanted me to help him. He sounded like he was in trouble… or pain… oh my…’
Fluttershy’s mind wandered as she placed pieces of lettuce between the slices of bread and took it outside. She sat on the ground and began to munch on her healthy meal. Fluttershy smiled at the sounds of the birds chirping and the squirrels playing. One squirrel caught her attention. She climbed swiftly up a tree and leaped from branch to branch. It was River.
The memories of River’s sickness came rushing back to Fluttershy. The blood, the potion, but one thing blared in her mind: When River came downstairs able to walk, and when Angel reminded her of her most valuable quality.
“Sometimes everypony just needs to be shown a little kindness.” Fluttershy spoke aloud in realization.
‘He asked for my help... I don’t know what that thing is, or if it meant it; but what if it doesn’t want to hurt others? Like that manticore? I…’
Fluttershy stood up and looked at the Everfree Forest. A single drop of sweat rolled down her face, which looked more determined than ever.
‘I’m Fluttershy: The element of kindness. I can’t just ignore his cry for help! I’ve got to try to end this once and for all!’
Approaching the forest, many of Fluttershy’s animals looked at her curiously. With a gulp, Fluttershy went into the gloomy forest to ‘help’ the stallion.
Fluttershy had been wandering along the path for about a half hour, looking for the stallion. Dim sunlight made its way through the trees, but it was still dark none the less. Trotting carefully, Fluttershy pondered on the words of Zecora.
“Dangerous creatures roam around all during the day.” She spoke to herself.
Nothing had happened yet, but Fluttershy kept careful watch and remained quiet, as was her timid nature. Suddenly, she heard a twig snap. Frightened by the sound, but curious as to what it was, Fluttershy slowly turned around.
“H-hel- Oh my…”
Fluttershy looked in awe at three strange creatures who appeared to be following her. They appeared to be wolves, but made completely out of wood. Crouched, and poised to attack, the three predators moved closer to the pegasus. Their bright green eyes locked onto the pegasi's. Not knowing much about these new animals, Fluttershy slowly backed away and tried to befriend them.
“Now, now… There’s no need to be hasty. I’m sure you all just- Eep!” Fluttershy squeaked as one of the wolves pounced at her.
Leaping back at the last second, Fluttershy turned and ran into the depths of the forest. She could hear the wolves in hot pursuit as she leaped over rocks and fallen trees. Deeper and deeper she went until she reached a clearing. Sunlight shone down, lighting up the area.
‘Why didn’t I run to Zecora? I don’t know where I’m going! Oh dear…’ Fluttershy thought to herself as she galloped through the clearing. Knowing she had room to attempt a takeoff and fly away, Fluttershy made a quick glance behind her, only to see the wolves closing in on her. Turning her head forward again, Fluttershy collapsed onto the ground.
She saw the stallion. He had appeared in front of her, and she nearly crashed into him. Fluttershy covered her head and closed her eyes. Over the static, she could hear whimpering and running; then there was silence. Gathering the courage to speak, Fluttershy managed to squeak out a word.
There was no reply. Fluttershy slowly removed the hoof from over her eyes and saw the hooves of the stallion next to her face. Strangely enough, she did not feel the evil she had felt before upon seeing the creature. She covered her head again as a deep voice echoed in her head.
Fluttershy nearly began to cry in fear as she lay curled up on the ground. After nearly a minute of the cowering, Fluttershy heard the voice again.
‘So brave… So afraid…’
Fluttershy remembered her mission. He was communicating with her! Feeling a sense of urgency, she slowly sat up and opened her eyes. Staring down at her was the great and powerful stallion. His face emotionless, but terrifying none the less. Fluttershy was frozen, partially out of fear, but mostly out of discomfort. It was very different for Fluttershy: something that she had feared so much, now sitting peacefully in front of her.
“Mr. Stallion?” Fluttershy whispered. There was a moment of silence before the statue-like stallion replied.
A chill went down Fluttershy’s back. Even now, looking at the stallion brought her slight pain. She blinked. When she opened her eyes, it comforted her to see the stallion had moved farther away. He stood creepily, ten feet from the pegasus, but with a friendly aura about him.
“Oh, I’m so sorry… Th-thank you for saving me from the wolves…” Fluttershy began, with slightly bolstered confidence. Slender Mane did not respond, but only stood, staring at Fluttershy. She felt as if he were watching her soul.
“S-slender Mane…” Fluttershy spoke, feeling another chill just from saying the name. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything, b-but I was just wondering… If you don’t mind…”
Taking the words from Fluttershy’s thoughts, Fluttershy clamped her mouth shut and listened carefully. A voice appeared again, but it wasn't the same one. It sounded like a mare, proud and confident.
‘The only way to break the curse is to be shown kindness…’
The voice sounded identical to the princess herself. Fluttershy couldn’t seem to make sense of the situation. Slender Mane stood expectantly in silence.
‘Did Princess Celestia say that? Is Slender Mane cursed?! He needs to be shown kindness? I… I don’t know…’
“Are you… cursed?” Fluttershy inquired, only to have the voice immediately answer.
Fluttershy felt a sensation of pity for the stallion. He was like one of her sick animals. Fluttershy felt inclined to help him in any way she could.
“And… Kindness will break the curse?”
‘Help me, Element of Kindness…’
Fluttershy took a step back. After blinking once more to relieve her pain, she saw the stallion had turned around. It was the first time she saw him when he did not see her. Neither pony made any sound, neither pony thought. Fluttershy only acted upon instinct.
Slowly approaching the tall stallion, Fluttershy looked up at him. A once evil abomination, revealed to be a simple… mannequin! Fluttershy reached a hoof out, carefully touching Slender Mane on his side. She did not blink, and tried her hardest to not look away.
Fluttershy’s mind went blank, she didn’t think about anything she was doing. It was an act of kindness, as was her nature.
Upon touching the stallion, Fluttershy felt her blood rush and her heart beat. He was soft, like a normal pony; but firm, as if he were made of stone. Lifting her second hoof up onto the stallion, she stood on her hind legs. Her head barely became level with Slender Mane’s. She observed what would normally horrify her: The face of a pony, but as if the eyes or the mouth never existed.
An unexplainable feeling washed over Fluttershy. She felt kind and caring, but stronger: a feeling which could only be defined as Love. This thing, which had brought her the most horrible experience of her life, could change. She could help him become something new. Fluttershy's heart wanted to see him cured more than anything in the world.
Closing her eyes, Fluttershy leaned towards the stallion. She knew it was outright insane to do what she was about to do, and it was certainly out of her comfort zone, but it did not matter. Her mind was made up. She gently kissed him on the cheek.
Fluttershy’s mind seemed to clear as she opened her eyes. She fell back onto the ground with an “eep!” at the sight of Slender Mane. He had turned his head towards Fluttershy, and their mouths had met. Fluttershy sat in awe and watched.
Slender Mane turned his body to Fluttershy, as if he were a normal pony. His white fur glowed dimly, and the forest seemed to be cleansed of all darkness and evil. Moving gracefully, the stallion kneeled before Fluttershy.
‘Fluttershy, Element of Kindness, My friend. You have my eternal gratitude. Nopony alive has a heart as pure as yours, and there are none with the compassion to do as you have.’
Fluttershy sat, flabbergasted. She tried to say something, but no words came from her mouth. The stallion began to levitate into the air, his fur now beaming white. His suit tore off of his body in shreds, and the pure light blinded Fluttershy for a brief moment.
Fluttershy held a hoof over her eyes and waited for the display to come to a finish. When she opened he eyes again, she saw a tall, white stallion lying on the ground. Running over to him, she noticed that he had eyes and a mouth. His cutie mark was a black circle with an X through it. Observing the handsome pony, Fluttershy felt like she was going to cry.
‘He’s… he’s dead…’
Lying down by the cold stallion, Fluttershy watched his body as her vision blurred with tears.
“You poor, poor soul…” Fluttershy whispered.
Fluttershy sat up, baffled. Sitting next to her was the stallion, but he was very transparent. His body still lay in front of her as the apparition placed his hoof on hers.
“Don’t cry, Fluttershy. You have suffered so much this past week.” He began gently. His voice soothed Fluttershy as she looked up at him.“You are by far the bravest mare I have ever met, and only a fantastic embodiment of kindness such as yourself could break my curse. Do not be sad for me, dear one. You have freed me from a horrendous fate. I am eternally grateful.”
The spirit of Slender Mane stood up and began to walk away. Fluttershy quickly stood up and followed after him, calling out desperately.
“Please! Don’t go!”
The tall stallion turned his head and looked back at the pegasus. He smiled kindly.
“This is not my world, Fluttershy, I cannot stay here. Perhaps we’ll meet again, someday. Thank you for all you have done, kind one…”
With that, the Stallion leaped into the dark woods, and he evaporated into thin air. Fluttershy couldn’t hold back her tears as she lay back down by the body. It felt as if she lost a dear friend.
‘I did lose a dear friend…’
“I still find your story hard to believe, Fluttershy. It was a curse all along?” Rarity questioned.
Fluttershy, Applejack, Big Macintosh and Rarity stood in a clearing in the Everfree Forest, observing a finely polished grave stone sticking out of the ground.
“It all happened right here... He had been turned into a monster… Oh, Rarity! It was so sad!” Fluttershy softly replied, tears in her eyes.
“Well, ah’m jus’ glad y’all came to us so we could get him a proper burial. Ah doubt anypony else would be willing to come way out ‘ere to bury some stranger.” Applejack said, putting a hoof around her sad friend.
“Eeyup!” Big Mac added in.
“Thank you so much… It means the world to me…” She sobbed. Fluttershy couldn’t help but place her head on Applejack’s shoulder.
The friends stood in silence, giving their respects to the mysterious stallion. The shiny grave stone glistened in the sunlight. Eventually, Applejack insisted that she and Big Macintosh had to get back to the farm, and Rarity decided it was safest if she left as well. Despite their pleas, Fluttershy refused to come with them. She sat alone for hours in front of the stone. She felt safe, as if the clearing were some sort of sanctuary. Tears rolled down the pegasi’s face until she had none left. Time went by. When Fluttershy felt it was getting dark, she stood up and slowly began to leave. She turned one last time to read the stone, a final tear making its way down her cheek.
we all need to be shown
a little Kindness