by Jabazor

Hard Truth

Fluttershy knew that the world she lived in was quite nice. That's how it could be put in simple words, but there was something more than that; something that could not be described because ponies couldn't quite put their hoof on it. The time in which the inhabitants knew now, at least in Ponyville, was a time in which elements of harmony weren't just in six ponies, but all throughout the land.

Ponies could expect helping hooves and care and random acts of kindness. There were still flaws in society and some folk that were considered to be impossible to befriend. But this generation only saw that a pony or any other being may only be impossible to befriend for a small amount of time until lessons were learned and friendship was shared. Hard times were simply just solved because all had a wish for peace and practically every situation could be solved peacefully.

That being said, fear is an ever-lurking power that can be good or bad. The ponies of Equestria saw their society as perfect, and none were able to make an argument against that. However, even the ponies of Equestria knew that they were only "perfect" for certain periods of time. Throughout time, something will come that doesn't knock on your door, but rather tears down your walls, just to make you open and weak and scared. When that happens, it is up to you and all that are around you to determine whether or not your safe-place will continue to be torn down until a fortress of maliciousness is built or if the wall will slowly be fixed with time and care. Some ugly things, however, come knocking on your door in hopes of a place to stay. Some things will tear down your walls because they would have been killed if they were outside any longer. Whether or not you care for these things is up to you, but they will always force decisions upon you.

Fluttershy came back into town knowing that the ponies of Ponyville would not accept the monster immediately, if at all. The monster was enormous, horrifying to look at, and seemed virulent. The ponies would initally be scared of him because they did not know him and they would hurt him and/or kill him however they could. But they would stop caring for him as soon as he was out of their sight.

So for a few weeks, Fluttershy would take some of the fish from her food storage (originally only to be used for the animals she owned) and she would also get whatever fruits and vegetables that she learned the monster liked. Obviously, Fluttershy wanted to carry fruits and vegetables out mostly, so as to make it that she did not have to be within the vicinity of dead fish so often nor buy them so often, but the monster did not enjoy too many other foods that he could be provided and fruits and vegetables were never enough to fill him. That being said, he did often have himself be hungry so as to not force poor Fluttershy into always doing what she did not want to do.

Fluttershy's house, being in the forest, was not hard for the monster to sneak to. It was a short trip and he could carry the food back to his home in the mountain with ease. All that it took was Fluttershy carrying three or four loads of food out during the night and he was good to go.

But the monster saw the forced pain in her eyes. Even if it was for only 15 minutes of her night, Futtershy still had to wake up at two in the morning and carry dead things out to this monster who gave her nothing back. She spent much more on food, she lost sleep, and she was around the thing she disliked most: death. Fluttershy used to greet the monster and have small chats with him when they met out in the woods, but, as the weeks went on, Fluttershy had a harder time remembering where their meeting spot was and the monster could sometimes find her standing perfectly still while looking at the ground with a sad stare on her face. The monster would shake her back into reality and take his food, but Fluttershy, without a word, would turn around and go back to bed, often crying. The monster knew that he was hurting her, but either he lived through the pain of starvation or she was sad and tired for, possibly, the rest of her life.

Fluttershy's friends took notice. Fluttershy was just not herself throughout the day. She was even more secluded and her animals, which she also got by secretly, worried for her and convened to try to figure out what was wrong, but no gifts or appearances of friends made her feel better. Her friends suggested pills for depression; lost sleep, sadness, and loss of weight were, almost always, depression. But Fluttershy refused to see a doctor. Not only that, but now she seemed to be refusing to see her friends.

It was not until one day that Rainbow Dash took it upon herself to spy on Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash, as soon as it was nighttime, got out of her home in the clouds and sped away to Fluttershy's house. When she got there, she silently peeked in the windows and saw that all was at peace in her home. But Dash was not content with her findings and she decided to stay vigilant atop Fluttershy's house. Dash, with nothing to do, stayed awake for hours and, every now and again, checked on Fluttershy. It was quite the boring task, but it was one that she was adamant on doing. To Dash's surprise, one of her trips down resulted in Futtershy no longer being in bed. Now being more quiet than ever, Dash flew back to the roof and peeked over the sides of the house while she was down on her belly.

Peeking over the house, Dash saw Fluttershy slowly and seemingly painfully going to a small shed near the chicken coup. Fluttershy was there for about two minutes until she came out wearing a double-basket (a device in which looked like a saddle but had a basket on either side) and then she walked off into the forest. Dash saw that the basket was full of fish and fruits and vegetables and she was, as is to be expected, going mad with curiosity.

Dash was standing on the roof pacing back and forth debating to herself what it could be that Fluttershy was doing until she forced herself to quiet down and be belly-down on the roof when she saw Fluttershy come back with both baskets empty. Fluttershy went into the shed and came out with more food and slowly walked off again in the same direction.

Dash followed as silently as she could, often flying high above the trees. Dash made sure to be able to see Fluttershy, but it was a rather dark night. Darker than most nights seemed to be. Ever since Fluttershy fell into her sad state, it was like the Sun decided to give off less light to the world. It was indescribable and most ponies avoided the subject in conversation, yet they all knew that it had definitely gotten darker.

After a minute or two of following Fluttershy, Dash saw her stop and stay put. It was then that Dash decided to slowly go down and hide in the top of a tree. She placed her hoof over her mouth so as to not let out a loud scream of horror. Dash saw the monster come out of hiding. How he had hid so well, she could not guess. But Dash didn't care for that; her mind was running wild with thinking of whether or not swoop in there and grab Fluttershy or to sit in the tree and hide. Dash decided to stay.

Dash saw the monster take the double-basket off of Fluttershy, remove the food, and put it back on her. He then placed the food where he had been hiding and came back out to Fluttershy, who had already started walking back.

The monster stared at her sadly until he spoke up. "No! Wait! Please, do not go back to bring me more. I would rather it be that I, a monster who can not die by any ailment, live in pain rather than bring suffering to yourself so that you may help me."

The monster's eyes suddenly showed through in the night. Dash was initally scared, but there was no fire in those green eyes. Instead, they looked sad. In that moment, Dash thought of him as a lost, pitiful dog. But he was so selfless that he would rather not have Fluttershy care for him and he himself would suffer rather than having her be tired and sad and weak. That was something that only a truly understanding and loving dog would have their owner do, if the owner was ever poor enough to be in the situation.

Fluttershy slowly turned around with eyes that seemed like they would have taken all the sadness and pain in the world just so that others did not have to experience it. She knew the monster to be kind and loving and full of care. In some cases, Fluttershy would have had a hard time doing this, but the living being she had come across was almost just like herself and she never viewed herself above any other thing in the world.

"I would rather that I be tired and sad than you have severe physical pain for the rest of your life. Your life has known little joy, and I would have you know joy longer than for a few weeks. I would rather you know what I have known: years of joy," said Fluttershy with a smile that seemed forced.

"But this is no joy for you...nor is it for me. I see you as you are now and you have changed from when we first met. Kind, kind lady, don't let the days be as dark as they are. Surely it is your sadness that has dimmed the world." The monster stared at her with pleading eyes and trembling lips.

The monster sat down and Fluttershy came to him and sat on his lap. Fluttershy's comfort to the monster was like that of a cat who was always there at the right times and always friendly. A cat who would lick your wounds and stay at your bedside, comfort you and feel your sadness and only search for ways to make you happy again.

"I know that I can find a way to be happy and lively. You, however, can not be happy and lively with such a pain in your stomach."

"No pain in my stomach can compare to the pain in my heart when I see you as you are now."

"Trust in me." Fluttershy gently held a hoof to the monster's face as he looked down at her. He was close to bursting into tears. "I can find a safe way, you can not. If it takes years, I will make you happy. You will no longer know hunger. You will no longer know sadness. You will be happy with us in Ponyville."

The monster could not find words to continue to argue with. And so it was that selflessness seemed selfish: if he didn't accept her food, she would bring it anyway. If he went away so as to not force upon Flutteshy the pain and sadness of being around death so often, she would only be more sad and she would become restless, perhaps weeping because she thought she failed. The monster had no reasonable choice but to accept her offer and hope that she could find a way.

"Please do me one favor, kind lady," said the monster to Fluttershy as she was beginning to walk away. "Do not bring me any more baskets of food for tonight. I am good for now."

Fluttershy nodded and slowly went back to her house. The monster stayed silent and he looked at her for as long as he could see her, almost crying as he did so. But then a change came to his face. He became suddenly aware of the presence of another.

Dash, when she had first seen the monster, thought of him as a horrid, wretched being that would harm Fluttershy. But now she could only feel saddened by Fluttershy's kindness and the monster's. It is a terrible fate that such kindness can bring such sadness, but that is the way it is. But it was because of this that Dash no longer saw him as a monster. She saw him in finer detail. The features of him that she could barely make out in the dark now seemed crystal clear. The monster may not have looked "socially acceptable," but he was a living being as all other things. Dash was faced with the question that she had thought up: Why is he any more deserving of life than I am? Surely he would be judged wrongly by all but the kindest, and the kindest being alive is his only friend, so all others will judge him wrongly. Poor thing.

Dash was going to fly away, but the monster never moved. Instead, he looked about the trees until he began to stare in Dash's general direction, which would have, had she not gotten to know him from the brief conversation, scared her to death and she would have left immediately. But instead, she simply stopped peeking and waited.

"If there is another being out there, I do hope that you do not find me to be cruel, even though I may look the part." The monster then looked down and started to walk away. Dash was about to fly off, but the monster then stopped. "I only wish for a chance," he said silently. Dash took a moment to think on what he said and then she took off while he was still fairly close.

The monster looked up in the sky and saw the pegasus fly through the air. Throughout his life, the monster had seen many pegasi, but here was a pegasus that he knew in his heart bothered to take the time to listen to him carefully. But he couldn't help but think, as he saw her flying, that there had never been a faster or more magnificent flyer in the world.