by Jabazor


It was certainly no rarity for Fluttershy to go out and about in the woods. That was, in her heart, her true home, and she would not have it any other way. Like a truly loving parent must take care of their child at all costs, Fluttershy had to take care of the forest at all costs, no matter how scary. So deep was her love for that the forest that it was ranked the cleanest forest Equestria had to offer, a title that most, if not all, town-folk of Ponyville accredited to Fluttershy.

The forest was a dangerous place. No other way to put it, really. Just as one would not go into a country where war is happening because they wish to be safe or have no business there, the same went for going deep within the forest. Where the mountain was signified where danger truly began, and the mountain was pretty easy to see from Ponyville. From that point on, the woods got thicker, the animals got fiercer and more numerous, poison plants and berries could be come by more frequent, and it seemed to be a hauntingly lonely place. The monster, even though his home was now the mountain, never noticed this, though, even though the mountain signified the start of the danger. He thought it all too beautiful to even take notice that land on one side of the mountain differed from the other. To the monster, all seemed bright, except far, far off in the distance, farther than any pony, even with the best eyes, could see. But the monster could see it. An unfriendly darkness seemed to lurk and boil in anger as it waited for something. But the monster found it easy to disregard.

Fluttershy often checked the "border" that was at the middle of the mountain. An invisible line, town-folk called, between the good and the bad. Fluttershy often cleared this line, and a decent ways beyond it, of any disgusting and unfriendly plants and weeds. The plants she removed dulled the light of the area, cut like knives if not careful, and provided poisonous berries capable of a good bed-ridden week and a few checkups if one was not careful. But here, as she hummed a tune to the line, she saw the monster, sitting on a rock as the sun bathed his face.

A thought occurred to Fluttershy, amidst all of her sudden fear, that it would be rude to be afraid. It was quite a big step for her, slowly walking a small distance up the side of the mountain to where the monster sat, but her feet seemed to carry her forward, and even though it frightened her, she just accepted that she would talk with him and make the best of it. The monster noticed her, smiled, and then bathed his face in the sun again.

Fluttershy took a seat rather close and, though nervous, acted as if she was not. She too bathed her face in the sun. It was quite the feeling, even if she had experienced it numerous times before. The warmth hit her face and the wind was not there. With her eyes closed, she heard all. She heard, somewhere, a small acorn drop and a squirrel scampered to pick it up. Somewhere, a leaf was stepped on by quick feet. Somewhere, the trees seemed to yawn and say good morning. With all of these beautiful somewheres around her, Fluttershy wished to stay exactly where she was. As did the monster.

Then Fluttershy noticed something. She was at first curious and then amazed and even happier. just as Fluttershy controlled her breathing to not let it get in the way of the sounds around her, the monster did the same. Fluttershy opened an eye and looked up and to her left. The monster's ears were up and straight. Where a sound came, his ears shifted direction, but his smile never changed. When Fluttershy had first encountered him, she thought him rather grotesque, but not now. The only thing she could see was happiness.

The monster, suddenly seeming to have noticed Fluttershy's stare, said quietly, "I hope that it is because I am so pretty that you stare." The monster chuckled.

Fluttershy smiled, but did not look away. "I'm just curious, is all. My name is Fluttershy."

"My name is...well, I don't have one, really. At least, not in this day and age. The leaves are no longer grey. The trees no longer thin. It is a marvel to me, the day and age that I am in. Oh so fair is the breeze that blows upon my saddened face, for this world, so beautiful, to my death I would chase. It would not be a sad death, my last breath, because I would see the most beautiful thing ever, even if just a trace." The monster opened his eyes and looked at Fluttershy with a smile. "Tell me, young girl, what has happened? Do not regard it as a sad question or that I am worried, but the place used to be so bland and dreary and sad. But no longer."

Fluttershy, thinking on the question, but not knowing the time period of which the monster was from, could only think of one answer. "Harmony has come to the land."

The monster turned and thought. "Harmony, eh? I suppose that it is only fitting and only right, seeing as to how harmony is composed of all things good and necessary for the world to be stable and lovely, as it is now. What I experienced, many years, possibly centuries ago, was true chaos and disorder. It was...unpleasant and unenjoyable. It...such words should not be used in the presence of such a wondrous sight as this."

The rock that the two sat on was just the perfect height to allow for a view over the trees and a perfect spot to see the Sun.

But then the monster felt it, and he knew that it would quite possibly be the end of him. The monster felt his hunger. It came to him as he started to think about the land as it was many years ago. The monster did not eat vegetables. He was a carnivore and as a disgusting an eater as could be. It came to his mind that he could not recall ever trying food that was cooked and he did not have proper table manners. He had seen ponies have cooked food before and he had also seen them be clean, but they ate very little, it seemed to him. But he would consume and consume, and surely no pony here wanted any animal to die and they probably didn't want anything as disgusting as he.

Fluttershy turned as she heard the monster's stomach let out a disturbing growl. "It is a pity, you know, that all living creatures here seem to be of divine beauty, as do the plants and the trees, but I hunger. I don't want to spoil such beauty." The monster's look was suddenly that of worry and sadness and aloneness as he looked down at his belly, "But I do not want to put up with the pains of starvation."

Fluttershy was in shock and in sudden realization that, wherever the monster had come from and whatever his situation before this time, it was all truly dire and dreadful.

"Oh dear me. Please don't be sad. There is plenty to eat here. It saddens me to see things...dead. I even have trouble with the word. And it is a pity that such beautiful things should have to be killed to save other things so beautiful, but that is how life goes. I always try my best to prevent such things, but..." Fluttershy looked off in the distance as though she was doing something wrong and wanted to leave, "but a few fish can't be too bad, right? And surely you can eat some of the berries and bread and vegetables that we have to offer."

The monster was in shock for three reasons. First, with food being on his mind, he was surprised that the little pony offered him such gifts and that she did not seem to care too much, or maybe she hid that care well from him. Second was that all food in Equestria during his time was horrid, even the animals and ponies themselves that he ate. But the food that came from the ground was, by far, the worst. But he considered that, with everything else seeming to have gotten better, perhaps the vegetables got better as well.

The third thing that he was shocked at was what Fluttershy had mentioned about killing others to save, what he thought to be, himself.

"You...are willing to sacrifice the beauty of others for me?" said the monster in eager anticipation for an answer.

"I don't want to, but, as I said, that's the way things must be sometimes. I have a bear that I tend to and he has to eat his meat or die, so I provide him fish. You wouldn't mind fish, would you? I've at least gotten kind of used to fish, but I don't want anything else to have to suffer death."

The monster was awed by the generosity and love shown to him. It was such love that he had never seen before, and it was offered by a complete stranger who owed him nothing and yet he asked for so much.

"I... I would not mind fish. But you said that you would have beautiful things die in order to have other beautiful things live. Are you saying that I, although certainly not on the outside, hold beauty within?"

Fluttershy saw an urgent need for care and love as she had never seen before. But it couldn't simply be put like that. There was pain to be healed and care that had never existed before for the poor monster. She saw, in him, that he was dead inside. Even though he saw the marvel of a world filled with love and care and light, he thought that he had none for himself and didn't deserve to take it from others. Fluttershy had become second on a list of living creatures who did not like to see other things dead. The monster, as she could tell, was now careful with his every step and move. He would be a being to move slowly down the mountain so as to not cause a rock to fall and hurt a flower below. He would sit next to a tree and leave at any sign or even thought that the uselessness and ugliness that he thought he held within himself dare spread.

Fluttershy looked down for a moment in thought, got up, and the monster turned his body to her as he sat. The monster was enormous compared to her, but she moved up to him and spread out her arms as wide as possible. He gently wrapped his arms around her as his eyes swelled with tears. Fluttershy gently moved, seeming to somehow rock him as she did, and she hummed a very quiet, beautiful tune.