You awaken with a scream, shooting upright. There are multiple reasons as to why this may be the case.
First of all, you were recently falling to your death. That beautiful night sky still burned into your memory, along with the velocity and direction it was leaving you. Surely the fear would be in the forefront of your mind.
Secondly, it could be the pain you were in. Your injuries were adding up, for sure. Hooves, no matter how round and strangely soft they look from a distance, hurt when being shoved into your chest.
And third, the most likely reason, is that you were waking up in Celestia's private study. You've known quite well, ever since you were a child, that if you're in here...you're in trouble.
"You're awake." Turning your head, you notice a tall white mare, a veil of the doorway's light surrounding her. This fades, of course, as the door closes behind her, a distinct locking noise heard as her horn glows.
"Celesti-" You start, not even sure what to follow it up with. But you're interrupted by her head leaning into your shoulder, feeling her sigh against you.
"You had me worried, Anon..." She states, breaking her normally stoic nature. You can feel the warmth emanate off of her. A mother's love? Or simply being the princess of the sun, you can't tell which. Either way, you bring an arm up to hug her, though it pains you a bit. Not nearly as bad as before. You must have had time to recover...
"How long have I been asleep?" Is the first coherent thing you manage to say. She pulls away, looking down at you. "It's been nearly a day. You're safe now." Safe?
"What happened to Shining? Cadance?" A natural reaction. After all, they were the only things endangering your safety.
"They're okay. The guards apprehended the intruder, and it was dealt with. I'm sure Cadance is quite antsy to see you again!"
Your heart sinks, as your mind remembers the gravity of your situation. The last you saw of your bugfriend, she was being dragged into a window. The 'intruder', they call her. Keep a straight face.
"Yeah, I bet..."
How little she knows. What Shining did to your body. What Cadance did to your mind. What the 'intruder' did to your heart. But you have to play along, now. This goes beyond her being revealed, it's far too late for that. You know Celestia, you've seen her rule. She'll do anything to protect her beloved Equestria.
You hope she didn't go too far.
"You rest as long as you need to, Anon." She gets up, smiling down. "I'll be sure to have dinner brought to you!" To which you wave an arm.
"No need. I'm not very hungry..." You are. But you'd prefer no intrusions. Celestia's a tad smarter than that.
"You need to eat something. It'll be up shortly." She says firmly, leaving the study, closing the door. Notably, no locking noise. That's comforting. As you hear her hoofsteps fade to nothing, you stand. Painless, amazingly. There's still a pressure, a bruising at your chest. Pressing it hurts. A lot. So let's not do that again. Walking to the door, you open it, looking out to the hallway. There's a guard next to your door, who turns to you.
"Ah, hello young one. Feeling better, are we?" A grunt, no one recognizable. One of the many guards sent to chase you through the royal gardens. You nod in reply, stepping out. "Try not to strain yourself. I'll let the royalty know you're up and about." As he goes to move, you stop him with a hand to his shoulder.
"No no...I'm, uh, heading there myself. You're relieved for the night." You amaze yourself at your own quick thinking...amazed at the stupidity, that is. You just gave an order. To a guard.
"...sure thing. Take it easy, champ." The guard nods, heading off in the direction of the barracks. The amazement settles in once more, not at the thinking, not at the stupidity...but at the fact it worked. You head the opposite way, but instead of moving towards the dining hall, you have more pressing locations to be. The palace's halls are no secret to you, and it's not long before you're at the entrance to the dungeon. Down the staircase you go, making it to the guard on duty.
"Ah, Anon. Glad you're up and at 'em, it looked like that thing roughed you up good." Keep it cool.
"Yeah. I'd like a few words with it." You say, walking more forwards. The guard shakes his head.
"Sorry, no can do." It hits you hard, enough to break composure.
"Why the hell not?! I need to talk to her!" You say, quite angered. For reasons, of course, the guard is unaware of. Luckily for you, he can fill in his own blanks with what he knows.
"It's not here. The Princess had it taken away." He sneers a bit. Not at you, of course. Just at what he 'knows'. "After what it did, it's probably dead." The dungeon guards tend to keep their minds open, as well as their mouths. After all, how often does anyone come check on them? Saying nothing, stewing in his words, you turn, heading back for the staircase. He's left with a single lingering thought.
Moving back to the staircase, you take the steps up, beginning to climb. No. She's not dead. There's no damn way it's all over just like this. All that work, everything you've been through...everything SHE'S been through. Shaking your head, you look to the doorway, heading into the hall. A bit more pink there than you remember.
"Anon..." A solemn, soft female voice is heard. It's her. Who else would it be? She stays there as you cross the final step to the hallway, looking at her with your sunken eyes. "I'm really glad you're okay..." It's really, really hard to believe. But sincerity is dripping from her lips with every word. She sounds sad. Guilty even.
"Me too." You respond, gauging the situation. You have a hatred for this mare. A seething, deep hatred. But with the news you just received, is it even worth it? She walks towards you.
"Look...I..." She bites her lip, holding back her words. Her gaze is even averted to the side. "...I just want..."
"What?" You say, quite a bit indignant. You've been dealing with enough shit, her stuttering isn't something you need. Swallowing her pride, or something else that's impeding her speech, she takes another step.
"I just want you to come to dinner...I want to forget...and just...move on..." She looks up to you. A well practiced pity stare, you're sure. "Can...WE...move on?" Her necklace twinkles for a moment, her now cutiemark's inspiration. The crystal heart you begrudgingly gave, adorned on her neck. Clearly she's proud of it.
"..." It takes you a moment to still your swirling thoughts. The bug that you had your being set on is...well, gone. Dead. You mentally shiver as you come to terms. Dead. And this mare was willing to do whatever to have you. Would it be so bad? She steps forward once more, very close to you now. Inches. Remaining silent...you nod slowly, resigned to your fate. You bring a hand up to her head as she leans forward, pressing into you. Lightly caressing the thin chain that is now her necklace, your crystal gift the centerpiece. You sigh a sigh of relief as the embrace occurs.
You saw it.
The small smile. Not of pleasure, of contentment, of simple loving joy. Of victory. A devilish smirk you've become all too familiar with. Your fingers grip around the necklace.
She had to convince you.
She raced to see you. She had to talk to you first. There was no way she could let anyone else say anything. Using her soft words and actions, lulling you into submission. You tug against the light gold chain, beginning to turn.
She was afraid she would lose you.
Your other hand presses into her neck, hard, as you turn, still gripping the necklace. She's thrown off balance, literally, and is sent behind you. Which wouldn't be so bad, had you not been standing in front of the entrance to the dungeon. The crystal heart snaps off her neck as she falls backwards, out of your reach.
She knew something.
The sound of the pink mare toppling down the dungeon staircase would have been music to your ears, had you stuck around to savor it. As soon as she was out of your sight, and thus out of mind, you bolted down the hall. Crystal heart in hand, you clutch it tightly. Cadance never gives up until she's sure she's won. From the pettiest of games, to the harsh reality that is your life. You know this from experience. If she had not yet won, that means there must be another player.
Chrissy is alive.