"We all are on the verge of extinction. Survival is but a futile attempt to avoid that which can not be escaped."
"Maybe if you actually listened to what those advisors said..." I hissed.
The gruff looking stallion before me grunted and turned his head away annoyed. He just ran a hoof through his blue mane and gave an annoyed expression. "You know your mother wasn't going to listen to me. She followed her heart, and it mislead her." He replied.
Feeling fire ignite, I growled as I took a step forward. "How dare you!" Getting right in his face, I met his eyes with my own. "How dare you blame this on her!"
His patience with me had finally worn out. "How dare me? You are blaming this tragedy on me! Something I had no control over!" He looked over to the box next to us containing the mare we both spoke of, then back to me. "You think I don't miss her too? She was my wife."
"Maybe you should have watched her a bit more closely then..." I pouted as I turned around.
"She's not property, she can do as she pleases. I did tell her that I didn't feel it was safe to get in that plane. I didn't think she'd actually try jumping... I thought she'd chicken out at the last moment..." He leaned over her casket and brushed a single lock of her pink mane out of her face. His expression very solemn. "Earth ponies weren't made for the sky... That's why I thought skydiving was a stupid idea… If Earth ponies were meant to be in the sky, they would have been given wings..."
I lowered my head, cringing as I thought about what had actually transpired. I could still imagine her jumping out of that plane, and her parachute failing. They said it was an incredibly unlikely scenario, but that didn't stop it from happening.
"You could have stopped her..." I reminded.
"And how do you propose I could have done that?" He turned to me again, his hoof still on his dead wife.
"Just save it... I never want to speak to you again..." I was fighting tears as the words left my lips like thorns. I knew he felt their sting like I did.
"So what? You just want to blame me for this and keep that thought in your head forever?" He seemed annoyed.
"Good bye, father..." I took a few steps out of the room. Once I stepped out of that funeral home, I stepped out of his life.
"We are all slaves to the machine. Why run from it?"
I know where this all began. I know how things came to be. I know better than I think I do, and I certainly know better than I'd like to admit. The cruel irony of it all still stings. Part of me is still in disbelief that the events that put me where I am did just that. It's hard to imagine being saved from a fire just to be thrown into hell.
I suppose I should start with my name. Fluttershy.
At this point that's probably the only important information that anypony needs to know about me. It's the only thing that is relevant to anypony.
My father and me have not spoken for years since that incident. Five by my count to be exact. I don't have any siblings, just me and my father, so without him I am more or less alone in the world.
No coltfriend either, it wasn't ideal in my situation, not to mention no colt could stand to be with a pony like me. A creature so timid, so shy, so weak…
With a bow in my mane, I attempt to make my mane look like it was presentable. I hoped to give the illusion that I was somewhat sophisticated, even though I knew that was a lie. Playing the part was all I could do. No matter what you did though, you couldn't make a simple girl into a lady just with some fancy clothing and jewelry.
Adjusting my dress, I checked myself over in the mirror to make sure I looked appropriate.
As good as I'm going to get I suppose. Still hideous though, I thought to myself.
I sat back down at the small desk in my room with a quill in hoof, trying to think of words to write. Aimlessly, I hoped that words which explain how I feel would just appear on the page and make it easier.
To be honest, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say beyond, "I can't take this anymore."
You're probably still confused. I should back this up a bit more, considering you're not ready for this part of my story yet. See it actually began about a year after my father and me had that spat.
Long before this place, and when my problems were less complicated, but still quite dire.
"Always waiting, all of life is simply that: waiting."
That office was probably the scariest place in the whole universe. It was where I waited for the test results that would change my entire life. It was the place where I lost complete control of my life. It was when my existence was first owned by somepony besides myself.
I remember my legs shaking as I sat there waiting for the doctor to return. My nerves were reacting to even the slightest cool breeze, I was so panicky. My whole life could rest on these results.
The stallion who owned the office trotted in with his signature lab coat as he sat down. With a sigh, he looked over a clipboard as he turned in his stool to face me.
My heart started racing. Sighing was never good.
"What is it doctor...?" I lowered my head, already expecting the worst.
He bit his lip, clearly trying to find a way to let me down easily. He decided to start by explaining from the beginning. "Well Ms. Fluttershy, you came here originally because we told you that if you fell over again like you did two months ago to come back, correct?" He checked over his charts to be certain.
I nodded. "Y-yes... I haven't been able to balance in the slightest..."
Sighing, he pulls out some x-rays and places them in front of a cabinet. "These are your x-rays. We have been observing them over the past few months."
Not certain what I was supposed to be seeing, I squinted at them, and turned my head a little, thinking maybe there was something I would see better if I looked at it from another angle.
"Your condition has been declining..." He pointed out. "Your bones are very weak, and we are also noticing a decline in muscle tissue. However, what's more puzzling, is that we've never seen it like this before.."
My heart was pounding at this news. "W-what is it...?"
He shook his head. "We don't know. Its not like other conditions, but its advancing quickly. This is something new, but..." He bit his lip again.
"But what?" I leaned in.
He grew quiet. "We will need to operate."
I didn't want to hear that word.
He quickly assured me that it was under control. "See, we are going to place metal plates in the offending areas, then we'll get you on some steroids." He circles a few places on the x-rays. "With some therapy, you'll be able to walk again."
I closed my eyes. "And if it fails...?"
He shakes his head. "The results could be fatal."
I nodded, accepting what was to come. "How much is this going to cost?" I asked.
"Well, you don't have insurance... So it's going to be fairly pricey... Experimental treatment and all." He spoke.
Sighing, I fell back onto the examination table. "I guess I can take out a loan." I replied.
He nodded and scribbled on his forms. "Being alive and in good health is worth every bit, am I right?"
I shrugged as I stared up at the ceiling. "Whatever you say, doctor."
"Reality is negotiable."
For several months I spent all my time in the hospital. Their experimental procedures were extremely risky, however they kept assuring me it was the only way to save my life. I obeyed because they had me convinced that living was the most important thing in the world. After all, there is no price too great for life, right?
Once the painful surgeries ended, the arduous physical therapy began. The doctors said I'd never be 100% again, and flying would be impossible, but I'd be able to walk again and carry out my day to day life.
The metal plates in my hip and legs made movement stiff. Not to mention that months in a hospital bed had made me grow weak and feeble. The weight difference in my backside was certainly noticeable.
"Alright, come on Ms. Fluttershy. One step at a time." My trainer stood next to me, holding my hoof as he guided me.
My walking was less balanced than before. He was always patient with me, considering I was a lot slower than his other students.
"I... I'm trying..." I remarked as I tried to keep my balance.
"It's not a race, Ms. Fluttershy." He reminded.
I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, well I'd really like to get back to feeding my own animals and my life. No offense, but I'd rather be back to doing what I was before this all happened."
He helped me take another two steps. "You're lucky to even be alive. Its amazing that your surgery was successful."
I nodded. He was right, they had told me there was a great chance that the surgery wouldn't even help. Since my condition was new, they determined there was no surefire way of knowing. It was anypony's guess.
"You're a brave mare, that's for sure." He added.
I wasn't sure if brave was the term I'd use. If anything, I was afraid of dying, and that was what made me live. If I didn't accept the help, I'd have been dead anyways more than likely. Either die now, or die later; those were my choices.
Looking back, my mentality about the situation certainly has changed. I recall a writing from Dr. Spin, whom had authored many philosophy books in the recent years. His ideas became of interest to me during my illness, as I sought answers to the universe. His writings were strange, but spoke without prejudice.
He writes: "Death holds the stigma of a dark mystery."
Wise words, unfortunately, that stigma hadn't worn off for me.
"Denial is imperative to existence."
Sometimes things go exactly as one planned; this was one of those times. The only unfortunate part about that was the parts of the plan I overlooked.
Physical therapy had taken its toll on me, but I had made it to what they considered an "acceptable" level and I was permitted to return home finally after months of therapy. That first day when I didn't have to wake up and go right to therapy felt like freedom. The fact that I could spend the morning taking care of my animals was the best feeling I had experienced in a long time.
I spent an additional twenty minutes just watching my dear Angel eat. Normally a fussy eater, he chowed down without much care that day. I imagined the reason was because he was just glad I was back and a stranger didn't have to come in and care for him anymore.
By his side, I gave a gentle caress with my hoof. "Mommy's back for good now..."
Or so I thought.
Not even a day later I finally got the bill from the loan company. I had expected it, but not quite that quickly. Then again they didn't care in the slightest why I even borrowed the money in the first place. They saw it as they had an investment and they were ready to collect on it.
My heart sank when I ripped open that envelope. Pulling that paper out and unfolding it, I couldn't believe how much I had actually borrowed. Those surgeries weren't cheap, and my health wasn't about to come for free.
They wanted over a quarter of a million bits, more than I made in almost ten years. Being an animal caretaker certainly didn't pay much, and up to this point I only got by because I didn't spend much. I would need a real job if I was going to pay that much, and I knew it. That kind of money came only from professional work, which I wasn't even capable of.
Angel merely hopped to my side as I trembled holding that paper. He looked up in confusion. I only sighed and set my rear back onto the floor. "There's a lot of changes that are going to have to happen, Angel..."
"Hell is in our imaginations."
That was when months of hardship began. One job became two full time jobs, then two full time jobs along with a part time job. I remember that I mostly got three hours of sleep most nights. I couldn't even afford to take sick days unless I was truly ill enough to where I couldn't get out of bed.
There were many times when I got a cold and forced myself to go to work anyways. Work became my whole life. My social life vanished slowly, to where eventually nopony even noticed I was gone. My friends all had their own lives to worry about and my problems were the least of their concerns. They didn't even know I was sick in the first place. I imagined they were all off living full lives, so full they couldn't bother with a simple pegasus like me.
My caretaking of animals came to an abrupt end. I couldn't afford to care for them, nor did I have the time. Giving up my animals to another caretaker in Ponyville was the hardest thing I ever did. I'll never forget how betrayed Angel looked. I'm sure they are getting the attention they deserve though.
The time between my shifts was short, but enough to take a moment to breathe and re-energize. Coffee and me had become very close, as it made up for the lack of sleep I got.
Sitting at the local cafe where I worked my second job, I sat there with a look of anguish. I was tired and in pain that day. Traveling from Canterlot to Ponyville every day was a taxing experience. See I got a small apartment in Canterlot to save money; the train rides were exhausting however. Almost 90 hours of work a week didn't help either.
Sipping from my foam cup, an azure unicorn came by and took a seat at a table nearby. Checking her face in a hoof mirror, she took notice of me in my work uniform and looked over to me. "Excuse me, how's the coffee here?" She spoke very politely.
I recognized her, but I didn't recall where from.
"Its alright.. I'll drink anything to stay awake to be honest though..." I replied, hiding behind the cup.
Clearly interested she stood up and re-positioned herself at the chair opposite of me. "Why's that?" She asked.
I shrugged. "Three jobs takes a lot out of you."
She blinked and leaned in. "Why do you work three jobs?"
I lowered my head. "I... I got sick... Long story short, I owe a lot of money..."
She nodded and smiled. "At least you're alive, right?"
"Sometimes I don't think of it that way... I think of how I was saved to be bought by the loan company..." I took another gulp.
The mare leaned back. "That's not a good way to think about it. Everypony catches their break sooner or later. You'll get yours soon, I'm sure..." She stood up.
"Did you get yours?" I rudely asked.
She grinned and winked. "Sure did."
"Oh and my name is-" she cut me off.
"Fluttershy, I know." She winked.
"How did you know...?" I tilted my head.
She laughed. "You must really not be getting enough sleep, darling. It's on your name tag." She pointed with her hoof.
I looked down to my work shirt, she was right, on both accounts. I was so sleep deprived that I had not remembered I was even wearing that shirt.
"What's your name?" I called back.
She gestured to my shirt pocket. "It's in your pocket."
I reached in and sure enough, there was a card there. Clearly she was a skilled magician.
"Call me when you get some time off." She winked again and trotted off.
I scanned over the card:
Sugar Cube Corner
Then it was followed by her communicator number which was scribbled down below it in pen. I didn't even have a standard communicator, let alone these new models that were being advertised all over the place.
I did remember where I knew her from though. She was the same mare who came to Ponyvile years ago and more or less got ran out of town for being a big show off. It was strange to see her here again, but stranger because she was nothing like I remembered her.
Her arrogance was gone, and she seemed far more approachable. Either way, I saved that card regardless if I could call her or not. I wasn't sure why at the time though. Maybe I just liked the idea that some pony out there actually cared.
"Our lives are but a fraction of a second."
My apartment was very small. It essentially was a flat with a bathroom. My bed and everything I owned was all huddled into a corner in a single room. Not that I owned much.
My normal neat and tidy nature was overruled by my lack of time. As a result, I often threw clothing all over without much care. Most nights when I finally got home I was so exhausted anyways that I couldn't even muster enough energy to take care of chores.
Recreational time fell down to about twenty minutes a day or none at all. Having fun was an activity I had more or less completely cut out of my day to day life.
I was listless, lifeless. I often questioned if this would be my existence from now on. If this was going to be what I had to look forward to every day.
Collapsing on my bed, I sighed as I rolled onto my stomach. My eyes fixating on a business card sitting on the night stand. I picked it up and examined it again. It was strange to think that another pony actually reached out to me. Part of me wanted to call her, but I lacked any way to do so, even if I wanted. Not to mention I was too nervous to do so.
For some reason though, I wanted to believe that this mare could help me. I knew it was impossible, but I wanted to believe that.
I must have spent over an hour that night thinking about her and her kind words to me, and wondering if I'd ever see her again.
Finally I decided it was time to either take a chance or stop tormenting myself. Pulling myself off the bed, I slipped on a simple jacket and skirt and made my way downstairs.
I approached the door of my neighbor on the bottom floor and tapped on his door eagerly. Standing outside with my hoof close to my mouth, I tried to figure out how I was going to word this.
I heard stirring from inside, but it took another minute or two for a very exhausted looking pony to answer. His red mane a mess, as he fiddled with a communicator on his ear. "Hey... Fluttershy... What's up?"
"Techno, err... Can I come inside?" I looked around as I bit the sleeve of my coat.
His face lit up as he brushed his mane back a bit. "Ummm, yeah of course." He stepped aside and gestured for me to come in.
I did just that and took a seat on his couch which was covered in wires and cables. He cleared off a bigger spot for me and grabbed a nearby shirt, slipping it over his head.no doubt to try and hide the fact that he hadn’t showered.
"So uh... What brings you here? I usually don't get visits from you." He smiled as he picked up a cup of coffee he had been sipping from.
Techno was the building's local computer wizard. Also the youngest pony living here. At only 19 he was already out on his own. It also was quite obvious he had a crush on me.
"I was wondering if I could use your communicator actually. I have a call to make." I nibbled my sleeve nervously.
He blinked and took the one on his ear off. "Sure, I'm surprised you don't have one. How do you stay in touch with work without one? I mean you work more than anypony in this building."
Taking it from him, I fastened the odd contraption. "Money doesn't grow on trees." I replied.
"It does when you work all those jobs." He joked.
"My money is spent before I even get it." I replied as I started dialing the number from the card. I had stared at it enough times to remember it off the top of my head.
I paused as I waited for an answer. Sure enough I heard that same soothing voice. "Sugar Cube Corner, this is Trixie speaking."
I gulped and almost choked on my words. "T-Trixie... This is Fluttershy."
I could hear her giggle a little. "Oh, hey darling, what's up?"
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "Would you mind meeting me at the cafe this Friday? I have a few hours between shifts. Around 3PM."
I wanted to hit myself for wording that so formally.
She giggled yet again. "I'll be there."
I smiled and nodded. "Okay, great. I gotta go."
"I'll see you then, darling." She replied.
I nodded before hanging up. I wasn't sure why I was so nervous, I guess it was because I had gotten so used to solitude that approaching someone who acted like a friend was very nerve racking.
I looked over to Techno and offered his device back. Taking it in hoof, he smiled. "Everything alright?"
Nodding, I gave a sheepish smile. "I just wanted to tell my friend to meet me."
"Well, have you had dinner yet?" He rose a brow.
It was obvious he was hoping I'd dine with him. Unfortunately, I knew humoring his request would only make him think I was interested in him.
I placed a hoof on his shoulder. "Techno, you're a very sweet stallion... But... Well... I don't have room for romance in my life... My life is very complicated, and well... I'd only cause you more trouble than I'm worth."
He looked to my hoof, then up to my face. "What's so complicated about it?"
"That's a story for another day, I have to get some rest..." I let my hoof return to the floor as I turned to the door. "Thanks for letting me make a call... And sorry..."
He shook his head. "I will be here when things improve for you."
I nodded. "You may be waiting a while."
"We claim this world as ours, however ownership is transferred without our consent. The champions of today could just as quickly become the losers of tomorrow."
I had thrown on a simple shirt and shorts combination to cover myself. I picked up wearing clothing almost every day after I had gotten out of the hospital. The scars left from the surgery left me quite embarrassed to reveal my body. I got tired of the looks I got as I walked around.
The weather had been getting colder slowly anyways, so I doubted I'd draw attention to myself by wearing clothing.
Sitting at the cafe, I kept my mane tied back in a ponytail so I could see better for when the unicorn did show up. I kept in my spot before, right outside sitting at the same table. I had used my employee discount to grab a cheap coffee while I sat there. It was annoying to imagine that a simple coffee was even out of my budget.
I thought I was going to sit there forever and get a no show. I'd been let down so many times before that I was almost ready to instantly accept it and head home.
I was wrong that day though; there in the distance, a elegant looking unicorn pranced to my direction, sunglasses covering her eyes, and a simple T-shirt sporting some kind of band logo on it draping over her figure approached me. I took note of the newly acquired earrings. Two little crescent moons hung from her ears.
Sitting down adjacent to me, she smiled as she lifted her sunglasses. "Sorry I'm late, dear. I had band practice, and Scoots can be quite the slave driver sometimes."
I blinked in disbelief. "Y-you're here..."
She giggled and set her glasses on the table. "Of course I am, I told you I'd be here didn't I?"
"I... Er... Yes... Yes you did." I shook my head, trying to figure out what it was that I even invited her here for in the first place.
She placed a hoof on my cup. "May I?"
I froze for a moment, trying to figure out what she was requesting. "Unless you're afraid of germs." She winked.
That made it more clear what she wanted. Unable to talk, I just nodded.
Taking the cup in her hoof, she took a sip and smiled. "I see you really like sugar in your coffee." She commented as she placed the cup back in front of me.
"I... I just don't like the bitter taste..." I replied.
"You don't really like coffee at all, do you?" She giggled.
"How'd you know?" My brow rose in astonishment at how she guessed.
She leaned back in her chair as she adjusted her shirt. "There's enough sugar in there to give a pony diabetes. Something tells me that is because you hate the taste and you are trying to drown it out."
Nodding, I sat silently.
Placing her hooves on the table she grins. "You know you can tell a lot about a pony by how they drink their coffee?"
Part of me wanted to know how she had knowledge of these subjects. "What does mine say about me...?"
She took the cup back from me and took another sip. She looked up in thought as she swallowed. "Hmmmm..." She scratched her chin. "You're a pony who likes calmer things. Not an aggressive bone in you. You're also a creature of duty. Despite being exhausted you keep pushing yourself." She set the cup back down. "You should give yourself a break before you burn out." She added.
I laughed. "I wish that were possible..."
She scanned my figure over and smiled. "Well, at least the work is keeping you in good shape." She complimented.
I blushed at her words. "I... I guess..."
"Your name is quite fitting." She spoke.
She grinned. "You really are very shy. A very timid girl. There's no reason to be nervous around me though, darling. I don't bite."
"I'm just naturally jumpy..." I lowered my head.
She lifted my face back up with a hoof on my chin. "We'll have to work on that then, hun."
I nodded, not sure what else to say.
"Tell me about yourself." She changed the subject.
I shrugged. "Not much else to say, I told you that I work three jobs and my name is Fluttershy."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh come on, I'm sure there is more to Fluttershy than a name and being a workaholic."
"Well, I'm not a workaholic by choice, just obligation. I actually really love animals, but I had to give mine all away..." I frowned and sunk in my chair as I remembered that fact.
She leaned forward. "Falling on hard times, then?"
Trixie placed a hoof on mine in comfort. "We all have to make sacrifices, but they only make you stronger. It takes a lot to give up things you love for things you need."
I looked to her hoof and then to her face. "I don't really feel strong..." I admitted.
"You should have more confidence. You're better than you give yourself credit for. A lot of ponies wouldn't be able to make the sacrifices that you have." Trixie smiled.
Blushing I looked away. "You give me too much credit."
"Maybe you don't give yourself enough." She lifted my hoof up in her own and squeezed.
"Its been so long since I've had a close friend..." I admitted.
Trixie grinned. "Then let us make a pact today." She slipped off one of her earrings and offered it to me. Without thinking, I leaned in and offered my right ear. With a quick poke, I winced, but allowed her to pierce my ear.
"Let this be a charm to represent our friendship." She said.
I placed my hoof on the charm. "I... I..." I couldn't get myself to talk properly.
She placed a hoof on my lips. "You don't need to say anything, darling. Friends till the end, right?"
All I could think to do was smile and nod.
"We all live, we all die. Why do we accept one, but deny the other?"
The nature of my relationship with Trixie stayed like that for some time. She was always playing mysterious, and me playing the role of a curious filly uncertain of her actions. She even ended up getting me a brand new communicator; the new C2 model that just came out a few months ago. Apparently it added a bunch of new innovations to the last model.
She insisted I get that one so I could text her in my free time. This new feature apparently allowed one to send messages comprised of all text to friends. It worked apparently by displaying text messages in front of a holographic screen in front of one's eye. To send messages, one needed only to think of what to type and the device used a magic sensor to determine what it is you were trying to send.
It was very advanced stuff, almost a bit too overwhelming for me to be honest. I couldn’t tell you in the slightest how the stuff worked.
I had explained I could not afford the bill, but she insisted she would pay it. When I protested she only said it was worth it so she could talk to her best friend every day. I couldn't bring myself to argue any further when she said that.
It was true too, Trixie had slowly become my best friend, and somepony I could rely on. So many days I'd get home feeling exhausted and worthless and she'd send me a message to cheer me up. Without even knowing it she improved my life so much.
I had gotten sick enough once to where I needed to skip two days of work. The doctors stressed that I should have just quit and that I shouldn't be working anyways. I remember texting Trixie about it.
Flutters: Hey, I just wanted to tell you if I don't respond its because I am sick. Had to miss work and everything. :(
It had been only two minutes before I got a response.
TGAP: I'm coming right over.
I didn't even get a chance to object. She must have packed her things and headed out of the house as quick as she got my message.
In just thirty-five short minutes, I heard hoofsteps outside of the door. Before I knew it, I saw a mare slip in through the front window. Grunting as her jacket got caught, she freed herself and brought her bag in behind her.
Trotting to my bedside, she smiled as she set down and began removing her jacket. "You should just give me a spare key for when you get sick."
I shook my head. "You didn't have to go through the trouble of coming here..."
She grinned. "Well who was coming to take care of you?"
"Nopony. I was going to take care of myself..." I admitted.
Trixie shook her head and pulled out a bowl from her bag. Levitating a spoon into the mixture, she offered it to me. "I made sure to cool it off a bit."
I opened my mouth and allowed her to feed me. It was minestrone, and it had an interesting flavor. I could tell it was home made. I wondered how she managed to whip it up so quickly. Perhaps she already had some made.
"Is it alright?" She asked.
I nodded. "Its perfect... Thank you..."
She offered another spoonful.
"So, why don't you have anypony coming to take care of you?" She changed the subject.
I sunk down in my bed. "Well... My friends are all back in Ponyville, and I've lost touch with them a long time ago... Me and my father have not spoken in years either..."
"What about your mom?"
"Dead." I replied.
Trixie's ears lowered. "Oh... Sorry..."
"Its okay... It was years ago." I smiled to try and cheer her up.
She remained silent as she continued to feed me. She must have felt she made the conversation too awkward.
"What about you? Where's your family?" I asked.
"Don't have one." She replied very plainly.
"Really?" I sat up a bit at this news.
She nods. "I was an only child, and my parents abandoned me. Mother died when I was four, but she gave me up to a foster home anyways. She stopped visiting when I was too young to remember her anyways. I spent most of my childhood running away from group homes. We used to tell this old urban legend of a place called Haven. Some sort of paradise for runaways." The mare fed me another spoonful of soup.
"I never found it though, didn't actually exist. Just another fairy-tale us runaways told each other to make ourselves feel better." She shrugged.
"So you're a lot like me then... Nopony out there who is looking out for you..." I frowned.
She nodded. "Not until recently. I used to run with anypony who'd offer me protection and refuge. Life as a runaway isn't a very fun one, and it certainly isn't easy. Many nights you'd just wonder when the next time you'd eat was."
She fluffed my pillow as I listened to her story. "How did you eat?"
She shrugged. "Begged mostly, what I couldn't get through that I stole. I spent most of my life running and stealing. I never really considered the consequences of it. When I was older I tried to make an actual business out of magic, but... Well you know that turned out. When that flopped I hopped right back on the bandwagon."
I found her story sad but interesting at the same time. It was amazing that she came from such a life, yet shows little bitterness towards it.
"But, I gave all that up when I came back here. I wanted a real life. One that didn't revolve around having to take what I had from others. I wanted to know what honest work is... I got tired of running away from my problems. I was nothing more than a thief, and well... I hated myself. I came to Ponyville for a better life." She explained.
"I know how you feel..." I smiled.
"Its not that bad though..." She grinned.
She scooted out of her chair and came to the side of the bed lifting the comforter. I shimmied to the side allowing her room. Crawling in next to me, she smiled as she laid her head on the pillow.
"I got to meet you. I may have never noticed a pony as sweet as you if I was still out there stealing everyday. I opened my heart, and I started listening to other ponies, and I am glad..." She yawned and turned to me. "Your second chance is coming soon too."
I nodded. I hoped she was right. I could really use another chance.
"Get some sleep, Fluttershy. I'll be here when you wake up." She placed a hoof under my neck, allowing me to rest.
Closing my eyes, I nodded with a simple "thank you."
At the grocery store where I worked my second job, I actually had an encounter from an old friend who recognized me.
She was a white unicorn with wild curls in her mane. Elegant and gorgeous, she was turning into quite the young lady. Almost a spitting image of her elder sister. I hadn't seen the two of them in so long. It must have been close to four years now.
With a young stallion at her side, she trotted in casually.
They took notice of me stocking a shelf and approached. "Fluttershy?" She said.
"Sweetie Belle, it's been so long..." I faked a grin.
"It has..." She paused and just stared for a moment, however she shook her head and turned to the white stallion next to her. "Oh, this is my coltfriend, White Star."
The young buck bowed his head. "Its a pleasure to meet you."
He was exceptionally well mannered for a young stallion. Far better than half of the kids that came into this place.
"Likewise." I replied.
White Star turned to his lover and smiled. "I'll give you two a chance to catch up. I'll meet you at the register."
"Alright." She nodded.
With a peck on her cheek he took his leave.
Turning back to me, Sweetie Belle grew far more serious and gave me a solemn look. "Your pain... You're letting it control you."
I cocked a brow in confusion. "Huh?"
She looked me in the eyes when she spoke. "If you don't learn to control your pain... It'll consume you. You've already escaped death once... It would be wise not to tempt him a second time..."
"How did you...?"
She placed a hoof on my lips. "Don't ask questions. Just heed what I have just told you."
All I could do was nod in understanding. She took this response with a smile.
"Good luck, Ms. Fluttershy." She removed her hoof and began to walk off.
There certainly was something mystical about that girl.
"Some believe fear is necessary for self preservation. Such an attitude is merely attempting to accept that which one cannot escape."
Despite Trixie and I being close, Pinkie Pie never seemed to become aware of my existence. Trixie had always come to visit me, and apparently never mentioned me to the baker. Trixie kept her personal life pretty guarded when she was at work, however she was almost an open book to me.
I say almost because there was still a lot she wouldn't talk about, even to me.
She was pretty secretive, but I didn't mind. I'd rather not make her relive the harsher times she endured.
I tried my best to make her feel like family with me, considering the girl didn't have one of her own.
Often times I'd come into work and she'd stop by for a coffee when she could.
Nopony really knew how close we were. Mostly because nopony asked. We both were noponies and that meant it never looked strange. No questions were ever risen because nopony cared.
When she asked me to come to dinner with her one evening, I was ecstatic. I would finally see her apartment instead of my own.
I accepted as casually as I could and before I knew it I was picking out what to wear.
I ended up deciding on a simple white dress. Upon arrival I noticed she had a white dress shirt and rolled up sleeves. Casual, yet still formal somehow.
That was probably the first time I had food that didn't come out of a box or can in months. I had forgotten what "real" food tasted like. It was absolutely fantastic. I was practically drooling.
"This is great." I commented.
She giggled as she swallowed. "Well I do work in a bakery remember. I cook all day."
I nodded and rubbed my neck embarrassed that I had forgotten that fact. "Yeah... Well I forget stuff a lot... Sorry..."
She shook her head. "No need to apologize, darling."
Trixie levitated a bottle of wine from under the table and winked. Two glasses came behind it as she placed them on the table. "You need to relax more."
I blushed and shook my head. "Oh... I don't really drink..."
"Come on, live a little. You only live once, darling." She started pouring some into my glass.
With a sigh I gave in and nodded. I supposed a little couldn't hurt.
I lifted the glass and held it towards her. "To you," I toasted. "The best friend I've ever had..."
She grinned and lifted hers as well. "I can drink to that."
Dinner advanced with conversation of work and when I was going to take more time off. We also spoke of Trixie's home and of when I was in the hospital. I had told her more or less the entire story and why my life revolved around work.
After dinner we hung out in her living room. The television was on, but we mostly were still talking. Before I even knew it, it was almost eleven.
"Damn... I better get home.. I have work in the morning..." I sighed.
Trixie looked at the clock then back to me. "This place is closer to your job than your apartment, why not spend the night here?"
I thought about it for a moment. I already had a uniform at my locker at work, and I had a set of clothing I could wear on my way there to cover up my scars. Plus a night with my friend sounded inviting.
"Where would I sleep?" I asked.
She giggled. "Right next to me, unless you're afraid I'll bite."
"That sounds alright..." I admitted with a blush.
Trixie's expression changed. Her innocent smile turned to a grin of confidence. Leaning in, she pushed me onto my back on the couch. I blushed as I felt my heart racing with her crawling over top of me.
"I'm not coming on too strong am I?" She asked very softly.
I shook my head. "P-proceed..."
She gave a familiar sugary smile as she planted a kiss on my ear. I could feel them burning up as she began to work her way down to my neck where she placed a few butterfly kisses down it. I could feel my whole body tingle.
"I really like you, Fluttershy..." She said between kisses.
"I r-really like you too, T-Trixie..." I was gasping as I felt her lips on me.
She smiled and placed a hoof at the waistband of my skirt. I quickly stopped her. She looked up in confusion as my face turned red. "I... I don't like ponies seeing my scars... From the surgeries... I'm a little self-conscious about them..." I admitted.
Trixie just locked eyes with me as she slid the skirt down. After she had it off, she looked down right at the scars on my hips. She leaned in and placed her lips over top of one and kissed. "You're beautiful." She smiled.
My heart could have just stopped beating at that moment. She was sweeter than any pony I had ever met. She may have even rivaled me for the element of kindness.
"Oh, Trixie..." I smiled as I extended my hooves.
Crawling up to my face, she allowed me to put my hooves around her neck. When I had her in my grasp she touched her forehead to mine. "I've been waiting a long time to do this..." She whispered.
I felt a knot in my throat, but I spoke through it. "Then stop waiting..." I was almost inaudible, but no doubt she heard me.
Her lips closed in and locked with my own. Not only was it the first kiss I had ever experienced, but it was also perhaps the greatest feeling I had ever felt at that point. I wouldn't say the greatest feeling I had ever felt period, because well... That came not too long after. It was probably the best night I had spent in years, maybe even my whole life. Trixie made it that much better.
"Death is when experience ends, and is lost."
The nature of my relationship with Trixie took on a new shape from that night on. From then on, I'd wake up to a cute text message from her, or even flowers being delivered to me at work.
Despite that though, we kept our romance fairly on the down low. Trixie didn't brag too much about me, but she made sure to tell me how wonderful I was when she was around me. She was very mysterious, and difficult to read. I think that's partially what I liked so much about her is that she wasn't predictable.
When we did get the chance to be together between work shifts, we didn't waste a second. The moment the doors were closed, she would have me pressed back up against it while whispering how cute she thought I was.
To be honest, I never really considered my sexuality. It was a topic that never came up too often. My unbearable shyness usually pushed stallions away from me. I had never really had an attraction to mares, but Trixie somehow knew how to get me going. It was interesting that according to her, I was her first time. She however was my first kiss, my first romance, my first everything. I felt so inexperienced sometimes. She had kissed a few stallions before, and even gone on a few dates in her time.
One night her and I just laid there together in her bed. I allowed my head to rest atop of her stomach and I closed my eyes with a smile on my face.
"So, you ever plan on talking to your dad again?" She asked while stroking my mane.
My eyes opened at her question. "I don't know... The fight was so long ago... I don't really want to dig it back up..."
"Well, he is your father, Butterfly." She said.
Butterfly was the pet name she gave me. I loved it actually.
"Yeah, and?" I asked.
"Well... I never knew my dad... He ran away. My mom abandoned me after that and went off on her own. I would have loved to have one of them in my life... And I'd love for your dad to be a part of our life..." She explained.
Our? My heart was racing at that comment. I loved the idea of us sharing a life together. "Why are you worried about this now?" I purred as I felt her rub under my cheek.
"We only live once, and we don't always get the amount of time that we want. Sometimes it becomes too late to take things back. I've had to learn that the hard way." She explained.
She was right, and I knew that. The only problem was that I wasn't ready to face him. It had been five years and I was no stronger than I was before, if anything I was weaker.
"I'll try..." I smiled.
"That's my butterfly." She smiled.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm cursed..." I admitted.
"That's a silly thing to think..."
"You think so?" I looked up.
She nodded. "Once we start humoring the idea of curses, we'll only ensure we live in a world of misery."
She had a good point.
I snuggled into her.
"I love you." She spoke.
It caught me off guard, but I just looked up and met her eyes with my own. "I love you too."
"When it ends, we won't even care."
I stood outside of Trixie's apartment waiting as she was trying to scramble together inside to let me in. I has forgotten my key at home.
As I waited, I took note of a familiar couple approaching; Sweetie Belle and White Star.
"Hello, Miss Fluttershy." White Star bowed.
I nodded and returned the smile. "You can call me, Fluttershy you know?"
He shook his head. "That would be disrespectful."
I sighed and nodded. "Very well then... How are you two?"
Sweetie Belle decided to answer for him. "Fine, we just came by because we saw you and wanted to know how you were doing."
Trixie opened the door at that exact moment. "Oh hey Sweetie Belle and White Star. You two can come on in if you want. Me and butterfly were just going to make some cake." Trixie rubbed under my chin as she said that last part.
Sweetie Belle and even White Star turned expressions quickly. "No thank you." They said in unison.
Trixie shrugged. "Alright, I'll be in the kitchen, butterfly." She winked as she trotted off, making sure to tap my cheek with her tail as she went inside.
Taking a step to follow her, both Sweetie and White stopped me with a hoof on each shoulder. I turned to the two in confusion. Sweetie spoke quietly into my ear. "This is not what I was talking about before... You're only going to cause yourself more pain."
I turned to her. "B-but... I love her..."
She nodded. "That much I don't doubt. However it wasn't meant to be, Fluttershy. You and her that is... I would break away now before it's too late..."
I snatched my shoulder away from her. "You don't know anything about me or her." I scolded.
"I know things about you that you don't even know about yourself." She kept her eyes locked on me.
White Star sighed and gestured for her to follow. "Come on, Sweetie. She has made up her mind."
Sweetie nodded. "You'll regret not heeding my warning, Fluttershy."
Her and the young colt wandered off after that, leaving me in complete confusion.
All good things always came to an end. That's what everypony tells me. That nothing lasts forever and that we should count our blessings. Well that reality hit me pretty hard. This next part of the story I don't know the specifics because I wasn't there, but I can speculate from the police recordings of what happened. Apparently they had cameras in the house at the time.
Trixie placed a letter in her mailbox with a sigh. Pulling the flag up she smiled as she talked to herself. "You have an important message my friend..."
Heading back inside she left her door unlocked and sat down in the kitchen of her apartment. She had gotten dressed up and was wearing the same dress shirt she wore on our first "date". I assumed it was because she wanted to be close to those memories.
The mare stared at photos of the two of us she had hung on her fridge, a gentle smile playing her lips, probably remembering the happy memories attached to them.
Trixie didn't pay any mind to the noises behind her. The sound of her door opening and hoofsteps entering her kitchen was blocked out of her head.
She didn't even turn around to speak as she greeted the intruder. "I was wondering when you'd make it here."
The voice of a male returned her conversation. "You knew I was coming?"
"I may have been tipped off that a stallion was looking for me. Not many ponies come looking for me, so that narrowed it down." She laughed as she turned her head.
He nodded as he stepped closer. "Then you know why I'm here?"
Trixie turned around to face him, her expression unchanged, a smile still on her lips. "To kill me. We both know how much of a coward you are, Wildy. The fear of getting caught for what you did consumes you. You want to tie up any loose ends to ensure your own safety."
He grinned. "You always struck me as a squealer and I am not about to take any chances."
She returned the smirk. "That's your problem, you don't trust anypony."
Wildy brandished a knife in his right hoof. "What made you so bold?"
Trixie laughed and looked to her fridge. "A little butterfly..."
Wildy looked to the fridge and grinned. "I guess I better rip that butterfly's wings off."
The unicorn just giggled. "You'll have a hard time doing that."
Wildy stepped closer. "Why's that?"
Trixie's smile grew. "I'm wearing a wire."
Wildy's eyes dilated. "You're lying..."
“Afraid not, in fact this entire place is bugged.” She added.
Outside sirens could be heard as if to prove him wrong. Quickly Wildy grabbed the mare and placed his knife to her neck. Trixie didn't even struggle.
"You can't escape, Wildy. I already ratted you out. We're both going to pay for what happened one way or another. I knew you were coming, so I got the police involved." She spoke.
"Snitched on me to get a plea bargain? I always knew you were a rat!" He growled.
She smirked. "No plea bargain. I'm getting the same deal as you. I'm not enough of a coward to do that."
Outside the police called out to the two struggling inside. "Surrender, Wildy. We have the entire place surrounded."
Wildy growled as he held Trixie tighter. "I'm not going to prison."
Before she had a chance to respond, he ran his knife across her neck and dropped her to the floor. Hearing the police banging the door, he began to panic. Realizing his fate, he put his blade to his own neck.
Only seconds later the police broke in and saw him with the knife.
"Take him down!" Yelled one of the officers.
Before he had a chance to use his knife again. They tackled him and restrained him.
This is the part that I was actually involved in. I heard about the whole thing on the news at work. I left early without giving an excuse to my manager. I had to get to her as fast as I could. I had no clue what was going on, only that there was a hold up with her inside.
On arrival, the police didn't let me get any closer. I waited impatiently until I saw them bringing a stallion out in cuffs. I tried to see over the crowd to see if I could see Trixie.
Sure enough, I took note of the paramedics entering the building. My heart sank.
I pushed through all the ponies in the way and explained my situation. Once they knew who I was, they allowed me to stand next to them in the front while I waited. Before we knew it, a paramedic came out and shook his head. "I'm sorry..." He said.
"Life is a constant free fall."
That news report crushed me the next day. I was reliving it all over again, just like when my mother died.
The television was still covering the story. I listened only halfheartedly.
"Police arrived on the scene for the struggle. Trixie Lulamoon had been working with police for a trap they had set for Wildy Thorn. He was wanted for the suspected murder or four year old Melody Moon."
I was disgusted just to hear his name.
"Police had been tipped off by Lulamoon a few days ago when she admitted her involvement in the crime. She stated they had originally planned a large robbery of Melody's home and a panic came about which ended the child's life. Police were unable to find any records on Lulamoon. Apparently she had been living off the grid for a long time. Her birth certificate had been destroyed long ago, and any records of her had long since been lost. Lulamoon had been going by a number of different fake identities to get by all these years."
It turned out my love was a master con-artist. I was impressed, though I didn't hold it against her, as I could see she did it to escape a terrible life. The mare of many different names, I suppose.
"Unfortunately, Lulamoon was mortally wounded during the struggle. The paramedics on the scene announced her dead on the scene. Strange enough, Lulamoon had agreed to be arrested after police apprehended Thorn, with no plea bargain. More on this story as it unfolds."
I switched the TV off. I couldn't take anymore. Dragging myself out of bed, I trotted downstairs to check the mail.
There standing at the mail area was Techno. The moment he saw me, he lowered his head. "Oh... Hey Fluttershy..."
I nodded to acknowledge I heard him. He frowned and took a step closer.
"Hey... I've seen you with Trixie a few times and I wanted to say I'm sorry... She was a great girl, and she didn't deserve that." He smiled weakly.
"You're right, it should have been me." I lowered my head as I opened my mail locker.
"Don't say that." He frowned.
I scoffed at his statement as I dug through my mail. A particular letter stood out. It was from Trixie. I turned it around to see a kiss mark from some lipstick on the back. I ripped it open there and then and began to scan it over.
My dearest Fluttershy,
I know I've told you that you're butterfly a million times, but really, you're more than that. You're my reason for living. You gave me the strength to face my past rather than run from it.
I told you before that I spent a lot of my life running away. I ran from everything, but the truth is... You can't run forever. Eventually the past catches up with you. By the time you're reading this, I'll probably be dead. Wildy wouldn't go to prison without taking me down first. I'm not sad though, I welcome it; killing me won't bring him any release, nor will it bring me any pain. It'll be like slipping away into a pleasant dream.
Though I'm leaving you behind, I don't want you to be sad. The last month or so with you has been the greatest time of my life. I learned that even an old crook like me can still get a chance at love. It's amazing to think that I was a con-artist and a thief for so long, yet there are ponies who actually will mourn for my passing. I was blessed with a fantastic life despite being dealt a bad hoof. I made something out of what I had and it made me harder and stronger.
I love you, Fluttershy and I never said it enough. I would have said goodbye in person, but circumstances didn't allow it. I want you to be happy though. You're a beautiful mare, and you've been blessed with life despite your condition. Somepony was looking out for you and wanted you to live. You're going to move on eventually, and I want you to be happy and take care of yourself. You're an amazing girl and you deserve the very best. Don't let anypony tell you otherwise. You're going to make somepony very happy one day. You'll always be my butterfly though.
I pulled the letter close and sighed. Even in her goodbye she was as sweet as ever. Though I knew I could never move on. There was far too much invested in my short time with her to just carry on.
I excused myself before Techno could comment. I went upstairs and locked the door behind me. When I got inside, I looked at the mirror by the dresser. I could see a tired mare staring back at me. For some reason, the sadness quickly turned to anger. I could feel every vein in my body tense up as I started to let my anger build.
With a grunt, I knocked everything off of the dresser, smashing several items. "No!" I screamed.
I pulled the drawers out and threw them aside, breaking a few. On my tirade I made my way into the bathroom and knocked all of the items by the sink to the floor and smashed my hoof into the mirror.
Looking back at my own reflection, I sank to the floor and curled up. Then, as I expected, I sobbed more than I ever had in my entire life.
"Love is but an illusion we create to fabricate happiness."
The world shut down to me. I didn't want to feel anything anymore. Any time I experienced great happiness, it was quickly followed by more extreme pain.
I was cursed, no doubt about it.
I wish I could say that this is the end of my story, but unfortunately I'd be a liar then, on top of other things.
Times got harder, and I stuck to work. Work once again became my whole world. I had to cancel the communicator that Trixie had gotten for me, however I held onto her earring as long as I could. When times got hard, it was the one thing I refused to sell. Eventually though, I had no choice. Losing everything else was a much more dire matter than keeping an earring to remind me of her.
I told myself I'd come back for it, but that never happened. Chances are somepony else is wearing it now that got it from the pawn shop. I felt rotten, I hoped Trixie could forgive me.
One day at work, I took notice of two young ponies. I knew exactly who they were. Racing to catch up to the female, I grabbed her and turned her around. Sweetie Belle gave a shocked expression as I pinned her to the wall.
"You knew!" I growled.
"Of course I did." She replied plainly.
"Why didn't you tell me!?" I barked.
"You wouldn't have listened." She said.
I held her tighter to the wall. "You don't know that!"
"Yes I do." Her answer was so to the point. It was very convincing.
"How did you know?" I loosened my grip a little.
The young mare looked up above my head. What was she looking at? It couldn't be the work visor I was wearing.
"Let's just say I know things about you that you don't even know about yourself. Like I said before." Sweetie looked me in the eyes.
I released her. "W-what now...?"
She shrugged. "It's not like I can see your whole future or something. I can only draw inference."
"How did you know about Trixie though?"
She smiled. "Call it a hunch."
I knew that was a lie, but I also knew there was no way to find the truth.
Months had passed since Trixie passed, and I had gone into a deeper depression. I wanted to die, I wanted to just fall down and not get back up. I was broken, alone and afraid. I knew the definition of being truly alone now, the meaning of not having anypony.
I had a drink in hoof as I sat at a bar. Alcohol was the only thing that soothed the pain for even a minute.
Fate and chance decided to pay me another visit that day, for if he had not been curious enough to step in this old bar, and I had not decided to drink my troubles away today, my life may have taken a completely different path.
There at the entrance, a prestigious chestnut brown stallion stood. His coat shining with quality, his mane neat and dressed to match his well tamed facial hair. Then on the top of his head, an elegant gold crown, which may have only been rivaled in value by the diamond studded Rolex on his front hoof.
A suit covered his torso, and it certainly looked more expensive than everything I owned. This pony was made of money in every sense of the word.
There was no mistaking him, Prince Cog. The leader of the industrial revolution here in Equestria. The stallion who took his inheritance and turned it into a business empire. King Enterprises was by far the biggest company in all of Equestria thanks to Cog's genius and power.
He trotted through the bar and examined the structure as he had a pony next to him take notes. "Let's add a new sound system in the back there. Perhaps take away a bit of the depressing atmosphere in here?"
The bartender rolled his eyes. "Must be hard to have everything and be able to buy out whatever you want..." He commented sarcastically.
I looked to Cog and spoke quietly. "Maybe he's going to fix the place up..."
"You're a bit too optimistic for a pony that comes here every other night alone then drinks until she has to stagger home." He rose a brow.
"You don't even know a thing about my troubles." I pushed my drink back to the counter as if to spite him.
I was ready to take my leave, when I caught Cog looking at me. I made contact with his eyes, and he grinned as he approached. Clearly he saw that I saw him.
"Greetings, miss. My name is Prince Cog Turn." He bowed.
"I'm aware. You're all over the news." I replied, unsure of why he was wasting his time with me.
He stood back up with a masculine laugh. "My, my. Somepony has a bit of fire in her. What troubles you so much, madam?"
I rolled my eyes. "No offense, Prince, but I doubt you'd understand the problems of us little ponies."
"Try me." He grinned.
I shrugged. "Well, unlike you, I wasn't born into money. I owe almost half a million bits to a loan company to pay off medical bills. Money that I may never see, and a debt that is going to control my life forever."
Cog nodded in understanding as he reached into his jacket pocket. Pulling out a book, he scribbles in it and ripped off a scrap of paper and levitates it to the pony standing with him. "Which hospital is it?" He asked.
I rose a brow. "Canterlot National, why?"
He nodded again as he gave a gesture to his lackey, who scribbled onto the paper as well. Cog grinned and turned to me. "Done."
I couldn't quite process what was happening. "Done?"
Cog gave another nod. "Indeed. Send that check to the hospital, and let's take this mare to the estate."
"Wait, wait, wait... You're going to buy off my debt... Just like that?" I questioned.
"A mare as precious as yourself shouldn't have to concern herself with such trivial things like finance. Come, we'll get you in a proper dress, and out of these slums." Cog offered a hoof.
Was he joking? That was the only thing I could think. For whatever reason, Prince Cog took sympathy on me. Though it was clear he thought I was a gorgeous mare, and that may have helped in gaining his sympathy.
I hesitated. "What's the catch?"
He laughed heartily. "The catch is, you should accompany me from now on. I'll take care of anything you need, so long as you stay by my side."
It sounded too good to be true. But at that exact moment, all I could see was freedom. Cog was offering me a way out, when I had no others. My friends had long since left, my father no longer an option, and Trixie long gone, Cog was giving me a way to escape. Sure the rich life wasn't my style, but I could adapt. I could grow used to the upper class society if it meant I'd be free again.
Reaching forward slowly, I took his hoof in my own. His grip was firm. Walking gently, he began to guide me next to him. "What is your name, madam?" He asked as we walked hoof-in-hoof.
"Fluttershy..." I said meekly.
He smiled with shining white teeth. "I like that name."
I blushed in response. Maybe Trixie was right, maybe I was about to catch my big break.
"Why are you here? Simple; to perpetuate existence. Why is that a problem?"
Cog guided me to a mirror as I kept a blindfold on. "Are you ready?" He said as he kept his hoof on my shoulder.
"Take off the blindfold." He instructed.
Doing as I was told, I removed the piece of cloth and gazed into the mirror. I almost lost my breath as I saw the pony looking back at me. I turned to my side to get a better look at myself. I was sporting a rather attractive elegant dress. It was probably the most expensive thing I ever wore. It even looked like it doubled the price of Rarity's finest dress.
To go with it, a very lavish pearl necklace. The entire outfit was expensive and gorgeous. I was gasping at what I was seeing.
"It's amazing!" I exclaimed.
Cog smiled as he got closer and looked in the mirror with me. "This is the new Fluttershy. A fine lady. No longer will you have to walk with the peasants. You're an upper class maiden now. You walk with royalty."
"That doesn't really sound like a lifestyle for me..." I commented.
"Nonsense, you're perfect for it. We'll make you into a proper lady, you will accompany me to everything, you'll be the envy of every mare in Equestria. The star of the land." He grinned as he brushed my cheek with his hoof.
Looking back to the mirror, I turned and admired my outfit. I had to admit that it was very pretty. As much as I didn't like the idea of being a constant center of attention, I did like the idea of not having to work three jobs just to live in a run down old apartment. I missed my freedom.
As much as I hated to admit it, Cog could offer me the life I wanted. I could go back to tending to my animals, I could even enjoy time off.
"Is it alright if I keep some animals? It’s sort of a hobby of mine..." I lowered my head, afraid to ask him for anymore after he'd given so much.
He nodded. "Of course, we have a garden area where you may keep whatever creatures of nature you like. I'll have the butlers clean it up for you."
I smiled at him, which he returned.
This was the start of a new life.
"Lies, lies and more lies."
So often at parties or events I felt out of place. It was clear that I was a common street pony in a dress, but Cog would conceal that from the crowd by keeping me on his hoof. So long as I held his hoof, I commanded their respect, and they hung on my every action as if I was a goddess.
The upper class were as fake as they came. High society was all about ego stroking and affairs.
Everypony I met just wanted to boast about how important they were or how they were better than all those around them. It wasn't complete though unless they looked down upon the poor and less fortunate. Every event was just a bunch of rich snobs discussing how they would divide the wealth more among themselves a little more and make the poor squabble for the pennies they left behind.
And after all that, they would be saints, heroes to the lower class who they generously allowed to exist with them. It made me sick to think these were the same ponies who had owned me through debt before this, and they didn't even care. Lives would be ruined by them and it didn’t concern them in the slightest.
Cog walked me over to some rather ritzy looking ponies. The two of them turned to face us with plastic smiles. "Ah, Prince Cog... And a lady friend, I see..." The stallion in the group spoke as he leaned forward, adjusting his glasses.
Cog grinned and brought me closer. "Ah yes, this is Miss Fluttershy; a very special lady to me."
The male reached a hoof out and introduced himself, then his female friend for her. I noticed that was custom in the upper class, a lady does not speak when a male is accompanying her. "The name's Full House, I own the casino in Canterlot, and this is my wife, Sparkling Stone."
I shook his hoof and just kept a blank expression. I already knew that Cog would handle all the talking, so there was little for me to add.
"So, Prince Cog, have you noticed the increasing amount of homelessness in Canterlot?" House asked with a raised brow.
Cog let off a small laugh and shook his head. "A pony as busy as me has no time for such things, though I do think that some pony should buy those ghetto areas out and convert them into something useful so we aren't forced to see the patheticness that is the homeless in our streets."
Full House and his wife both nodded in agreement.
I could hardly believe what I was hearing. "Wait... Really!? Those ponies could use some help..." I protested. “And you actually have the resources to assist them!”
Cog laughed heartily and petted my hoof. "Miss Fluttershy, its not very lady like to yell." He reminded.
I sighed and nodded. It was clear what he really meant; "shut up, woman."
Cog definitely did not want me to get the impression that I was kept around for conversation, but instead to make him look good. My opinions not only didn't matter to him, but to all the ponies in this room.
That is when I first realized that my role was to be a dress up doll for him. I was nothing more than a toy he displayed to other ponies to show his prestige. A doll for him to put on display so he could look good.
That was my purpose, but if it meant freedom from my debt, I was willing to allow it. I could play the part if that was what was required for freedom.
That's what I thought then at least.
"The strong vs. The weak, that's our destiny for the rest of time. It'll never be a fair fight."
The longer you existed with the fake ponies that I was forced to exist around, the more you find yourself being rebellious. I think it was because I knew how much I hated it here, and deep down part of me didn't like being controlled. The only problem is that part is not the one that is winning out in the end.
Cog had prepared a dinner party for some of his business associates. He stood in the mirror adjusting his tie as I walked in with my usual emotionless expression. Cog peaked at me from the mirror and smiled as he turned back to attend to himself.
"Now, Miss Fluttershy, you should smile more it looks better on you." He commented.
"Maybe when I'm given something to smile over." I remarked.
He rolled his eyes and pointed to my hooves. "You should really wear the shoes that go with that outfit."
"I don't want to." I replied.
He stopped what he was doing and turned to me. "What was that?"
I already knew where this was heading, but I still tempted him. "I said, I don't want to."
He raised his hoof and with a swift movement, struck it across my cheek. My whole head turned on the impact. "You will do as you're told, do you hear me?"
I rubbed the red mark he left and nodded.
"I can't hear you!" He yelled.
"Yes... Sir..." I spoke with a sigh.
"You will do as I say, and you will not back talk me. I have told you this before. I can throw you back on the street if I liked, and you should be grateful that any pony was willing to pick you up out of that peasant's life. Nopony out there cares about you, and you'd just wither up and die out there. So do not tempt me." He growled.
I wanted to respond, I wanted to say he was wrong, that my friends and family would rescue me. I wanted to say that just because he bought off my debt did not mean he owned me. I wanted to say all that, but I knew it would be a lie. I knew if he threw me back onto the streets that could be the end of me. No doubt he'd find a way to bring my debts back as well. The truth was, he was right. I was his property now, and I needed to accept that.
I nodded. "Yes sir, sorry sir."
He smiled and adjusted my dress. "Good, and please could you try not to make a scene at the party?"
With my head down I responded. "Of course, sir..."
The party itself was another usual phoney get together. I half thought that Cog didn't even like any of these ponies, but pretended he did just for appearances. I remember him complaining about many of his associates before behind their backs. He was pretty two faced.
I walked around the party casually, trying to act like I belonged. Cog pulled me into a conversation with his "friends", much to my dismay as I walked by.
"Miss Fluttershy, Mr. Roulette was just talking about his daughter who wants to be a veterinarian. You have experience with animals, right? Why not share with him your advice." Cog grinned.
I sat down gently with a fan in hoof as I tried to look as elegant as I was expected to look. I made sure to sit next to Cog. "Why is she dreaming of such pointless things? Such is not the place for a lady." I faked a smirk.
Cog let out a hearty laugh and petted my hoof as he nodded in agreement. "Right you are, you better check what is getting these thoughts into her head, Mr. Roulette.”
It made me sick to agree with him, but I already knew the consequences for doing otherwise.
"Many are a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Soaking in a bath, I sighed in relaxation. It was difficult to relax around this place, on the account of I was always expected to put on a performance. I was Cog's dress up doll, and I knew it. The worst part though was that I allowed it. What choice did I have? Baths were one of the few activities I partook in that relieved the stress.
So many times I wished one of my old friends would recognize me and take me away from this place. There was a time or two when I considered doing like Trixie did and run away. Maybe change my name and get some fake IDs and join a gang like her. It may have not been a magnificent life, but apparently it was better than being an orphan according to her.
Ultimately though I dismissed the idea because I knew two things; the first being that my body was weak and not cut out for that life. The second was that unlike Trixie, I had no skills to offer. She could pick a lock or solve a code in record speed, I couldn't even be useful for distracting ponies as others picked their pocket.
This was my place, and this was my fate.
I stepped out of the tub and dried my mane as I walked out of the bathroom to find something to wear. As I exited, Cog was standing in my room.
"Hmmm, I think this room needs a new theme. How do you feel about colonial?" He asked as he looked at the walls.
I was used to having no privacy, so I just continued to dry my hair as I answered. "Sure, why not?"
He turned to me and gave a disgusted expression. "Ugh... Why don't you get dressed in the bathroom? No one wants to see those disgusting scars. I give you dresses for a reason."
I nodded and threw the towel over me to cover my sides. "Yes, sir..." I replied with my head down.
The scars were ugly. I knew this, and if I forgot, he'd remind me. They were also the reason why I was only used for appearance purposes. Cog would dress me up so ponies would see him with a cute mare, but he would never consider anything beyond that. He said the scars disgusted him and he could never be aroused looking at me because of it.
Naturally it meant there was no physical part of our relationship; unless you counted the hitting.
"Honestly, medical science can't even cover up its blunders after it's finished?" He added.
I just shrugged. "I don't know, sir."
He nodded. "Yes, but do keep those eyesores covered."
"Of course, sir..." I replied meekly.
“Excellent, after all, why would you want anypony seeing those disgusting things?” He grinned.
“I wouldn’t, sir…” I lowered my head more.
"Faith is our answer when we know nothing."
I recall going to visit Ponyville after months of my time with Cog. The town had moved forward and forgotten about me. I went from being the little girl that no one remembered at the coffee shop to the spoiled rich girl whom no one paid any mind to.
I spent the whole time looking back on old memories and visiting places me and Trixie frequented. Every time though I could hear ponies chattering about how a rich girl like me didn't belong. It was funny because I didn’t have a bit to my name.
That same evening I stood on the edge of the marketplace where it overlooked the bottom part of town. Glancing off the cliff, I wondered if the fall would be enough to end me, or just enough to put me back in the hospital. The last place I wanted to go was back to the hospital. If I wanted to drop, I figured I'd need at least a hundred feet to make sure I was dead when I hit the ground. I stood there trying to determine if the fall would be enough, after all I didn’t want to end up needing more surgery and just being right back where I started. If the job was worth doing, it was worth doing all the way. Part of me wishes I could still fly just so I could get enough height to drop myself from and ensure death.
Behind me a very messy young stallion approached. I took note of the untidy mane out of the corner of my eye.
He stood next to me and looked off to the sunset.
"It’s beautiful isn't it?" He smiled.
"What is?" I looked around trying to determine what he was talking about.
He laughed. "The sunset."
"Oh..." My ears lowered. "I hadn't noticed."
He turned to me. "There must be a lot on your mind to not notice something like that."
"You could say that." I shrugged as I looked back to the ground over the edge.
"Well what are you thinking about?" He asked, turning to try and see what I was seeing.
"If you must know... I am wondering if this fall would be enough to kill me." I spoke plainly despite the subject matter. I guess I really didn't care anymore.
He sat down and grew a puzzled expression, his face contorting to one of confusion. "Why would you think about something like that?"
"At this point, I'm starting to think only about that. Its too bad I'm too much of a coward to actually do it... All I can do is dream..." I sighed.
"And you think that fear makes you weak?" He asked.
"Why's that? Dying is easy, living is what's the hard part." He grinned.
"Yeah, I'm sure you're looking at me and not thinking about how I'm a spoiled rich brat who doesn't even know what real pain is, right?" I rolled my eyes.
"Nope, I thought to myself "Fusebox, there's a girl watching the sunset" and when I came over I realized you were a troubled woman who just wants a pick-me-up." He stretched as he spoke.
"So you've got me all figured out then? That's all I want?" I gave him an annoyed expression.
"Well, you haven't jumped yet, so something tells me that you don't have a reason to jump yet. Probably because you still have a reason to live. A reason to keep trying." He stood up and patted my shoulder. "That's all it takes sometimes."
"To live freely is to not feel. It is to exist without the burden of emotion. That is why none of us are truly free."
There I stood at the headstone of my beloved Trixie. Despite her decent amount of finance her headstone was simple and clearly not customized at all. I assumed it had to do with the fact that she lived off the grid and thus had no life insurance of any kind. Part of me was fairly impressed with how crafty she was to elude the police for so long. The mare of many faces and names.
Despite not having any decoration of any kind, her headstone was still beautiful. They even let me add something to it.
I read it over and over.
That last line always hit me.
Reading on, I was almost in tears as I remembered what was carved on this stone.
Here a peaceful rest awaits you.
Let us sing you a lullaby so you can close your eyes and embrace the heavens.
You're free at last.
I finally spoke out loud with tears welling up in my eyes. "Its been a while hasn't it?"
I stood in silence as I looked up a bit. "I know, I know... I promised you I'd be happy. I promised I'd go and live my life, but the truth is... I can't be happy... Something inside my brain is broken... I'm too stupid to be happy... I'm too stupid to fix myself... Too stupid to improve my situation..." I spoke as if she could answer.
"It should have been me in your place... You didn't deserve to die... I should have died in your place... I'm the big waste of life… You actually had goals, you had dreams… Me… I’m nothing… I’m just a worthless mare who can’t do anything right." I was just letting my eyes leak at this point.
"Why can't I just go with you? You never told me why I can't just deliver myself to you... I want to be where you are so badly..." I asked to the silence.
Obviously, I was given no response. “Why do I have to continue to suffer!? I want to be with you again!”
Finally lowering my head in defeat I accepted that she was in no position to answer me.
"We escape nothing."
Cog and I sat on the balcony overlooking the city from his estate. He glanced down at the lesser developed areas with a scowl on his face. "Can you believe that, Miss Fluttershy? Ponies who live like peasants out there rough housing and fooling around." He shook his head. "The same ponies will complain that they need more money and can't make ends meet. Perhaps they should spend more time working."
I nodded in agreement as I watched. "Yes... It is a shame isn't it... Such a shame..."
"Don't worry though, by next month I'll be buying out that ghetto area and turning it into a shopping mall. This fine city doesn't need to look at the filth of the lower class. Wouldn't you agree?" He looked to me.
I didn't want to agree, but at this point I was hardly listening. "Of course."
"Miss Fluttershy? You seem off today..." He raised a brow.
"Yes... Well..." I didn't get a chance to finish that thought, as an overwhelming feeling to lay down overcame me. So strong that I fell right out of my chair and before I knew it, I blacked out.
I didn't wake up until hours later in the hospital. The nurses around me came closer and started making noises.
"Oh, she's awake!" One of them exclaimed.
"Well don't startle her..." Another scolded.
The two nurses came to my sides with smiles. I just leaned up a bit before speaking. "What happened...?"
One of the nurses started scribbling on her clipboard. "You passed out. More than likely overwhelming stress by the doctor's analysis. With your previous health conditions you should really stop living such a stressful life. Its not good for you."
If only it was that easy.
"What of Prince Cog?" I asked.
"Oh, he came and paid the bill, but he left quite a while ago, he's a busy stallion." She said.
Part of me wanted to be mad for him abandoning me here, but another part was glad that he wasn't here, even if I was nothing without him.
"Am I free to leave then?" I started trying to get out of the bed.
"Why such a hurry?" The younger of the two nurses asked.
I slipped off the hospital gown and started putting my clothing back on that was laying on the counter. "I have too many bad memories of hospitals."
"Well that's understandable considering your record. You're a very lucky mare." The nurse with the clipboard commented.
"Yes, yes. I've heard that one many times." I rolled my eyes as I fastened my pearl necklace.
Ignoring the two I stepped out into the hall to see a stretcher getting rushed past me. I didn't even get a look at the patient before they bolted past me. Oh how it brought back bad memories. Some other poor unfortunate soul was about to experience the worst the hospital could offer, no doubt.
I sighed as I made my way down the hall trying to get out of this place as quickly as I could. I wasn't in a hurry to get back to Cog, but I definitely was done here.
When I finally got back to the waiting room, I took note of a younger mare arguing with the receptionist. Wild unruly magenta mane with black streaks sat on top of her head, and an annoyed expression on her face.
Approaching, I smiled. "Is there a problem, Scootaloo?"
The mare blinked and scanned me top to bottom. "Fluttershy? Is that you?"
"Wow... I don't think I've ever seen you all dressed up like that. Especially at a place like this." She chuckled.
"You and Trixie were in a band together weren't you?" I changed the subject.
"Oh, yeah... Sucks that she's gone. She was a great bass player and an even better friend..." Scoot lowered her head.
"Well, hopefully she's in a better place now..." I sighed.
Scootaloo nodded. "I didn't know you knew her."
I held my hoof to my heart. "She was... Very close to me..."
I think Scootaloo put two and two together then. "You were "Butterfly" weren't you?"
Part of me didn't want to tell her, but I figured she already figured out most of it up to this point. "Yes... I was."
She nodded but lowered her head in understanding. "I'm so sorry..."
"Its okay... I just still miss her is all..." I sighed.
"Things will get better, I'm sure." She grinned.
"Trixie always went on about getting a second chance... I thought I had mine, but I think I was wrong..." I admitted.
Scootaloo gave a gentle expression. "You'll get one, I know I got mine."
"And what did you need a second chance for?" I rose a brow.
She shook her head. "It doesn't matter anymore, the past is over."
She had an interesting attitude about it. Once our second Chance came, it didn't matter why we were asking for it in the first place. It's too bad I already felt like I lost my second chance.
"When we finally wake up, all that happened in this dream will mean nothing."
After all that has transpired, and everything I just told you, that brings us up to now. It brings us to this exact moment, and probably the end of this story.
I sit here now with a pen in hoof, trying to think of what to say. Finally though, after thinking about all that has happened I might actually know what it is that I want to tell, what it is that has been on my mind, but I've not wanted to have it spoken out loud or written down.
Bringing the pen to the paper, I begin to to write a letter that was long past due.
I know it's been years since we last spoke. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if you have forgotten I exist at this point. You've probably moved on with you life and started focusing on things that mattered. You may have even started a new family by now that I am not a part of. I wouldn't blame you, its my own fault anyways.
I guess I owe you a bit of an explanation, or at least some insight on what I've been doing. Well I hope you're prepared for a long story; I'll try and sum it up without skipping over too many details.
Right after we stopped talking, I got ill, very ill. The doctors weren't sure if I would even survive. I was scared, probably the most afraid I've ever been. More than the time I met a dragon face to face. I honestly thought I was going to die, even after they told me they could operate and bring me back to health after a few months. I remember staring at those x-rays for days before I finally came to grips with it.
The surgeries were painful and left me pretty weak. I had a hard time just learning to walk again, but I somehow miraculously managed to step on my own again. The only thing that got me through was my desire to get back home and take care of my animals again.
By some strange chance I was saved, but at a price. The medical bills were more than I could afford. So naturally I worked as much as I could to pay off what I owed. I was saved only to be in debt for the rest of my life. I'm not going to lie, there were times where I just wanted to let them take all I had and live on the streets. However I knew I wouldn't make it out there, I was never as tough as you or mom. All that would happen is I'd become a pathetic begger, and accomplish nothing.
So many nights I just curled up and hoped tomorrow wouldn't come. I just wanted the world to end while I slept so I wouldn't have to think about anything anymore.
Everything changed though. There was one thing that made the pain worth enduring, one shining star in the black of night that kept me going. Her name was Trixie Lulamoon. I didn't realize that first time she saw me at the cafe, but I was in love with her. I wanted her not only to be a part of my life, but to share my life with her. I know it sounds crazy, but I wanted to marry this girl, I wanted to be hers.
I know it sounds childish because it's my first love, but Trixie was more than a bunch of firsts to me. Trixie was my savior, my hero. I will never forget the way her kisses felt, or how she held me and made all the bad things in the world go away. Often I'd wake up in her hold to find her staring at me. When I asked her why she'd just say she was watching her precious butterfly rest. Maybe what she was really doing though was wondering how long she could hold onto this butterfly before she was forced to let it go.
I had never had a nickname before, but she made one that not only stuck, but one I loved hearing. I had never felt a word could be so beautiful. It was really something, father. You have no idea how it felt, a fleeting dream but within reality! I had even dreamed of us starting a family and making amends with you. I wanted to give her the life she deserved. Trixie wasn't fortunate enough to have a family. She grew up taking care of herself, giving herself everything she needed. She was so strong, and I was so weak, yet she showed love to me.
I could hardly believe I was deserving of her affection, and at first I wanted to stay away because I was afraid of being hurt. However eventually my heart won and let me pursue her. Those were probably the only happy days I knew. I figured I'd chase her and eventually that chase would get me far enough from my current life to where I'd be free again.
Reality is much crueler than that though, and I was just dreaming of an escapist fantasy. Trixie always went on about how running away was all she knew, and I am the same way, I always run away. Trixie however grew tired of running and decided to face her past. That courage of hers would be the end of her. Though she was right, eventually the past catches up to you.
I guess that's what I am getting at; I spent so long running from the past that I never really accepted it. I just locked the past out and pretended it wasn't there. I just wanted to escape it rather than address it.
As I write you this letter I found a way out of my debt: patheticness. At the time it seemed like a good idea to let this man bail me out, but his kindness was false. He saved me at a price, I will do everything he says and behave as his precious dress up doll. I am nothing more than an object to him, a piece of property that he can decorate as he sees fit.
So many times have I sat here in my room wondering why nopony has bailed me out of this place. Why have none of my friends come to me? Why have no kind souls like Trixie's offered me a second chance?
I used to ask those questions, but now I know the truth. I already had a second chance, many in fact. I ruined all of them. I could have called you and told you what happened years ago. I could have contacted my old friends and asked them for help. I could have asked Trixie to help me get my bills under control. I never had to accept this stallion's help.
I was too stubborn to bail myself out when I was sinking. I waited until I drove everypony away. I waited until I was in so deep that nopony could bail me out then. By the time I would have asked for help, all my friends have moved on with their own lives. I can't just call them back to rescue me now.
I'm getting exactly what I deserve. That's why I am here, it's where I belong. I really am just as pathetic as I thought I was. The voice in my head is just screaming how I am in the best place for myself. A place where I'll be controlled, because I can't handle control of myself.
I just wanted to say though... That I'm sorry. I didn't mean to blame you, I was mad at myself. I've always been mad at myself. I was mad that I didn't spend enough time with mom before she died. I'm mad that I'm so weak, that I never picked up her strength, or Trixie's for that matter.
The truth is, I don't hate you. I hated myself. A lot has changed over the past few years, but one thing has remained consistent: I still hate myself, but at least now I can admit it. I hate who I am, and I hate what I allow to happen to myself, but at the same time I know I deserve it.
I avoided telling you who I was staying with and putting a return address on this letter for a reason. I don't want you coming to rescue me from this. I can't burden another pony over my trivial troubles. I just want you to know that I love you and I'm sorry, sorry that I am the way I am, and sorry that I'm such a coward.
I don't know what lies ahead, but I know that I can't take much more of this. So this could be the last time you hear from me. If so, then I want to tell you to forget about me. Forget about the daughter that never called, that never tried to make amends after years. Forget the pain I've caused you and the worry I've give you. Just forget there ever was a Fluttershy. Forget my name, forget my existence, everypony else has.
Don't mourn for me, I died a long time ago.
I love you, father.
I looked the letter over a few times. I read it over and over again until I was satisfied. Words couldn't really encompass how I was feeling, but I supposed it was close enough.
As happy as I could be with the letter, I sealed it and wrote my father's address on the envelope. Part of me was surprised I even remembered his address. Trotting downstairs and out to the mailbox I took a deep breath as I dropped the letter in there.
I wish I could tell you this story had a happy ending, that things worked out, but really I am not trying to tell a fairy tale about some princess here. This princess never finds her knight in shining armor, he wasn't even looking for her.
From inside I could hear Cog calling for me. With one last look at the mailbox, I sighed and nodded. I took a step back towards the house and went back to my master. "Coming, sir." I replied with a fake smile.
It would all end eventually, and that was the only comfort I knew.