• Published 14th Jun 2012
  • 3,222 Views, 47 Comments

The Studies of Equestria: The Pony, the Brother and the Everfree Forest - Typewrittensoul



Kevin Costern makes his way back to Equestria to learn what happened to his brother.

  • ...
6
 47
 3,222

Pilgrim's Progress

Chapter 1

What is "friendship"? A "relationship"?

Without using any examples, how would you define either of those terms?

It's hard to imagine either of those two basic human connections without the word "share" popping up. Sharing interests; likes and dislikes; offering something for another thing of more or less equal value; doing a favor or giving something while eventually expecting something of the same kind sometime in the future.

Movies, television shows, books and songs all delve into the theme of friendship on quite a regular basis. But friendships aren't limited to us humans. Go onto the internet and one can find a multitude of videos featuring animal friendships as well. Nature documentaries will show the relationships struck between insects and plants; sharks and smaller fish; humans and animals.

Of course it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to say that humans and nature have had a relationship for pretty much our entire existence. The Nile, the Amazon, the Tigris and Euphrates, the Danube, the Ganges, the Yellow River and the Mississippi River are all important topographical features that human civilization has developed along whether for agriculture, transportation or commerce. In many older civilizations rivers play a huge role in mythology and religion. Take for example the word "Mesopotamia", Greek for "between two rivers." As early as elementary school we've learned (or at least should have learned) that it is a large tract of land within what is known as the Fertile Crescent, nicknamed the "Cradle of Civilization"...

--

As soon as Kevin and Rainbow Dash stepped out the door, the tension in Fluttershy's body immediately evaporated, causing her to flop face-first onto the table with a thud.

Hearing the loud slam and the shake of tea cups that followed, Twilight rushed into the room from the kitchen with eyes wide and ears pointed stiffly upward. "Fluttershy, are you alright?" She called out in grave concern as she hurried to her friend's side.

"Huh? Oh...it's just you, Twilight..." The yellow pegasus turned her head over while still on the table to observe the confused and anxious unicorn. "...I thought you left together...with Kevin and Rainbow..." Fluttershy heaved her words out in two exhales of breath.

"No, I volunteered to stay behind to help you out." Twilight responded carefully as she observed the haggard-looking pegasus. She shook her head and pouted sadly at the sight, going so far as to brush a stray pink forelock out of the other pony's face. "Oh, but looking at you now, I should've realized that you were exhausted! I'd seen that look in my mirror on more than one occasion whenever I do all-night study sessions...why are you working so hard on this, Fluttershy?" Twilight's eyes drifted over the papers strewn over the table, their order messed up slightly and spread out from where Fluttershy's head was now resting.

Fluttershy pondered on the question for a moment before no longer being able to restrain her true emotions—in front of her friend she could shed away her pretend-collected persona she tried to put on in front of Kevin. In order to seem reliable. "I...did an awful thing, Twilight..." Fluttershy bemoaned and looked like she was on the verge of tears, "I'm such an awful host and an awful friend...just awful in every sense of the word 'awful'..."

Twilight gulped and she became even more concerned by the pegasus' comment and sounded more offended than she meant to be in her reply. "No, Fluttershy! You could never be any of those things!" The purple pony rounded the table corner and sat next to her lethargic-looking friend, placing a supportive hoof on Fluttershy's drooping shoulder. "What happened?"

"I, um...poisoned Kevin's girlfriend..."

Twilight froze in place, too surprised by that sequence of words for the comment to fully register at first, then after a moment she finally asked, "Girlfriend?" then blinked. Her brain managed to process that new bit of information first, then moved on to the next relevant piece of data. "Is that who [Fiona] is?" Then she became silent when the most important part finally dawned on her, and the unicorn felt as though a cold splash of water had just hit her face, shocking her system and causing her to do a double take. "Wait...why would you purposefully-?"

Fluttershy immediately sensed the alarm in her friend's voice, jumping to her hooves and stood up with her front legs atop the table. "NO! Not on purpose! I could never do something like that!" She yelped in panicked defense of herself, but when she realized her overreaction, Fluttershy sharply reigned herself in and sat back onto the floor next to Twilight with her voice a more managed, whispered tone. "But...I can't deny I didn't feel a bit happy seeing her with a silly face at first ...but then I realized that it was really dangerous for her..." Fluttershy admitted as her ears lowered until finally her head was once more on the table, face down and mumbling her voice from Twilight. "...aren't I just awful for even thinking something like that in the first place?"

Twilight calmed down somewhat when her greatest concern was answered, however too many questions remained floating in her head to alleviate all of her anxiety. There were still too many variables and sets of information missing for her to make any sort of suggestion. If anything, she knew at least not to jump to any conclusions and immediately decided to give one of her Pony Friends Forever the benefit of the doubt. "Maybe if you recounted what the events were, we could settle once and for all whether you're really to blame or not."

"Well...ok." Fluttershy's voice mumbled against the table and she nodded at the idea, appreciating Twilight's rationality in this situation. Before going over the series of events she sat up to take a sip of her now-chilled tea then began to speak. "It all started just a few hours ago. I was washing my friend, Squirrelly, when Kevin just showed up and then..."

---

"Fluttershy? Fluttershy!" Kevin lightly patted the yellow pegasus' cheek with his open palm. Resting her head on his lap, he looked on in concern at his friend while Fiona watched curiously over his shoulder.

"[Is...is she...?]"

"[I think she's just overstimulated by our sudden unannounced visit.]" He replied, glancing over his shoulder at Fiona before looking back toward the still-frozen Fluttershy.

"[And, um...this is normal?]"

"[Er...kinda sorta...]" Kevin admitted to his chagrin and attempted to pull Fluttershy out of her shocked stupor with a few more light taps against her cheek.

"Huh? What?" Fluttershy quickly blinked and gasped. Her eyes quickly darted about to reflect her confusion before focusing on Kevin hovering just over her. She "eeped" and shrunk slightly under his gaze.

"Oh, thank goodness." Kevin sighed in relief.

Noticing how close their faces were to one another, Fluttershy shrunk even more. She made an effort to roll out of his arms, and realizing what she was doing, Kevin let her down to the floor so she could stand up on her own accord. "What happened?" The yellow pony asked meekly while brushing back a pink lock of her mane out of her face.

"I dunno. You just sort of...froze there for a second. Are you alright?"

"Alright? O-of course everything's alright! You're here! One of my dearest..." Fluttershy paused as she felt the other hue-men's eyes watching her and she unconsciously took a step back when she noticed the stranger's presence. "...friends...came back to visit and brought someone new...hi, I'm, um...Fluttershy."

About to chastise her for not responding, Kevin scratched his scalp when he realized that he would have to play the role of translator for the two of them. "[She's saying hi to you, Fiona.]"

"[Really?]" The blonde said taken a bit off guard then turned to greet the pony in return. "[Nice to meet you...um...]" She laughed in embarrassment and brushed back a lock of blonde hair behind her ear.

"Fluttershy." Kevin said in a patient tone.

"Fla....[I'm sorry, I'm such a ditz...what was it again, honey?]"

"[You're not a ditz. You got the first part down, now press your tongue against your pallet.] Fluh-ter-shai."

Fiona rolled her eyes and pouted in thought. "Fuh...lut...tershee?".."

"Fluttershy." Kevin said slowly once more.

"Fluttershy." She repeated in both speed and tone as Kevin had instructed her.

"See? You did it."

Fluttershy nodded, smiling awkwardly as she silently watched the exchange, taking for granted that she could understand what was being said between them all the while. Then of course, she averted her eyes in embarrassment when the girl nuzzled Kevin affectionately while saying her thanks for helping her out.

"Um..." Fluttershy gulped with a raised hoof shielding her eyes and hopefully blocking her faint blush while turning her head slightly askew. From where she stood she saw the dining table and an idea popped into her head. "Oh, you two must be thirsty. Why don't you two head to the table while I get us some tea?"

--

A few moments after Kevin brought in several suitcases into the living room, the three of them were sitting around the table with cups and saucers and spoons placed in front of them as the tea steeped in its kettle.

After a few taps of her hooves, Fluttershy gradually felt the need to fill in the silence as their tea was brewing just nearby at the center of the table. "So, um...how long have you two been...together?" She mostly asked Kevin as she began to pour each of them tea but made eye contact with Fiona to be polite as she started to fill her cup first.

Kevin began to answer as soon as Fluttershy had moved past his cup and began filling up her own. "I guess it's been...[what, about a year now? Wow.]"

Fiona narrowed her eyes at him from hearing Kevin's surprised tone. "[What do you mean, 'wow'?]" She asked with a raised eyebrow.

Her reaction earned a small chuckle and smile from Kevin as he explained in a playfully disarming manner, "[I mean that time sure did pass by. To me it's sort of hard to remember life before you.]"

"[Oh.]" Fiona said and looked downward to hide her blush. She caught a strand of hair that got loose in her finger and pushed it back behind her ear.

After placing the kettle back to its spot at the center of the table, Fluttershy took this pause in the conversation to sip some of her tea. Her face scrunched up from how bland it tasted. It seemed that she didn't let the leaves steep long enough. Swallowing down what was essentially boiled water, the pegasus hurried to fill in the silence. "Where did you two meet?"

"[Where did we meet?]" Kevin asked out loud to himself and scrunched his face in thought, unaware that he was holding a cup of colored boiled water.

"[In our dreams.]" Fiona said with a knowing smile. Kevin chuckled. Fluttershy smiled awkwardly. Fiona spat out in surprise as soon as the boiled water touched her tongue mid-sip and she set her cup back down onto its saucer. She smacked her lips in dismay and gulped down the taste that had gotten into her mouth, looking warily toward a concerned Kevin but remained quiet while the host was still present.

Biting her lower lip in worry, Fluttershy glanced toward the kitchen from her spot at the table and was reminded of an excuse to give them some space from seeing the oven. "S-scones! I have, um...scones, in the oven right now. I'll go check on them." With a simpered smile, Fluttershy hurried out of earshot.

"Really? Let me help you!" Kevin leaned forward to stand up when he was held down by Fiona's hand on his shoulder.

"[Kevin, where are you going?]" She asked him rhetorically and only succeeded to keep him in a squatting position as he eyed her with confusion.

"To help...uh, [I mean, to help her get the scones.]" Kevin replied as though it were a matter of fact.

Fiona sighed and tilted her head with eyebrows raised. Adding a warm smile, she had a guess as to why the pony had excused herself. "[Honey, she's trying to be a good host for us. Let her go, I think you're being a bother.]"

"[What? No way.]" Kevin laughed softly in disbelief. "[It'd be rude of me not to help her out.]"

Seeing the unamused gaze Fiona was sending him while she stood in front of the open oven, Fluttershy cleared her throat and put on a polite smile that was a dash chipper than normal. "That's okay, Kevin, [Fiona]'s right." She called back, "I do want to be a good host. Please don't mind, just sit down and relax."

"Sure, Flutter..." Kevin began to say but then his smile melted away as a befuddled appeared, much to Fiona's own confusion as to what they were saying. "...hold up," he began with eyebrows furrowed, then with a single brow raised in surprise, "you understood what we've been saying?"

Just about to grab the baking pan with the help of a rag to protect her mouth when she would hold it between her teeth, Fluttershy replied guiltily from the kitchen, "Um...yes..." With a heavy sigh, she quickly took hold of the pan and placed it onto the stove top to begin placing the scones onto a prepared serving tray. "I'm sorry that I've been eavesdropping and didn't tell you! I thought you noticed that I knew when I first greeted you but, um...you didn't notice it...""

"You did?" Disbelief laced his voice as she timidly returned to the table to place the serving tray next to the kettle. She stood opposite him in a tense pause as Kevin's face remained neutral for a moment, then suddenly brightened with a great big smile. "No way, Fluttershy! That's great! Amazing, even!"

"It is?"

"[What's going on?]"

"Well, of course it is!" Kevin said with happy chuckle. "Though I shouldn't have expected less from a pony that really understands me."

"Um...thanks..."

Noticing the look on her face, Fiona glanced back toward Kevin and aimed her determined gaze at him a second time. "[Kevin, what just happened?]"

"Something amazing! You wouldn't believe it!" Kevin replied and shaking his head with an excited look on his face.

Fiona smirked, recognizing immediately that familiar look on his face as something related to his book must have just happened. The smile was contagious as always and she could never resist in following suit in seeing the gleam in his eye. "[Oh wow, this is really good!]" Fiona watched with expectation as he reached out and took a bite of one of the freshly backed scones. "[Fiona, you should try this. I don't think there's even butter but it's really savory and soft inside!]"

"[Really?]" Fiona said with a few blinks. Looking at Fluttershy, then the cup of boiled water then finally the tray of scones from which Kevin was obviously enjoying one, Fiona took a deep inhale and and recognized the fine baked scent of the bread and reached out for one herself. Taking a bite, she was greeted immediately with a sweet and tart flavor.

"Mmm, Fluttershy. Don't tell Fiona this but you really do understand me! I mean I didn't smell it and I don't think I ever told you last time I was here, but as soon as I tasted it I immediately noticed my favorite taste of blueberr-" Suddenly his eyes bulged and he spat out pieces of bread, then jumped to his feet. "OH NO!" He shouted as he leaped over to Fiona next to him.

At first Fluttershy let out a snort from the silly fish-like contortions Fiona's face made, but quickly could only watch frozen in horror as Fiona grabbed at her throat with her hands, crumbs falling out of her mouth as her whole body convulsed in shock. Luckily Kevin reached her in time and took her into his arms just as she fell over, carrying Fiona away from the table into a clear portion of the living room to lay her flat on her back.

Fluttershy couldn't even blink as her mind blanked at the still form of Fiona on the floor as Kevin deftly jumped to his feet. "Fluttershy! Keep [Fiona] on her back and make sure she doesn't choke on her tongue!" He shouted out.

"W-WHAT!?" The pony could only stammer out while dizzily following Kevin's instructions, leaning down toward Fiona while trembling but her concern did not stop Kevin from rushing toward the suitcases nearby and hurriedly opening up zippers and shuffling through the inside of the bags.

"She's [anaphylactic]! Deathly allergic to blueberries!"

Hyperventilating from hearing the "D" word, Fluttershy noticed how Fiona's eyes began to swell so much that her eyes were closed shut. In fact, her whole head had grown a bit larger before the pony's eyes and she didn't seem to be breathing as a result of her enlarged throat.

"KEVIN! I-I DON'T THINK SHE'S BREATHING! WHAT DO I DO?!"

"[Damn! Damn! Damn!]" Kevin bounded back toward them with heavy footfalls slamming against the wooden floor and a tube-like object in his hand. Without hesitation he lifted Fiona's shirt, bit off the cap of the tube to reveal a sharp needle-point on the end and without warning jabbed the object into Fiona's side. After a moment he removed the object and shuffled closer toward her head, bringing a hand to Fiona's mouth and opened it up with his fingers to inspect the inside as well as let air in. Dropping the object to the floor, he searched through his pants pocket and took out another alien item, also tube-like but flat on one end. He bit off the cap of this as well and pressed his index finger over the revealed knob to shoot several blasts of a misty spray into her manually opened mouth, mostly aiming toward the back of Fiona's throat.

The both of them were silent, and Fluttershy could only hear the thundering beats of her heart against her chest while she trembled at the suddenness of the whole ordeal. In a few short moments the swelling had gone down considerably but not completely. While Fiona's face still looked mostly inflated, her throat had returned to a normal looking size and her chest was slowly lifting up and down from weak, soft breaths.

In a calm voice she heard him ask, "Do you mind if she uses your bed?"

Her response was less restrained in its confusion and slight panic while she shook her head like she was trying to whip her mane back and forth. "Uh...no, no, I don't mind! Please do!"

He smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. Fluttershy's guilt skyrocketed when he looked at her with that warm smile and soft gleam in his eyes. "Thanks." She cringed inwardly while giving him a strained smile of her own as he lifted Fiona in his arms and carried her upstairs.

---

When Fluttershy's story ended, Twilight sat quietly in thought, glancing toward the stairs where a second hue-men was surely sleeping in her friend's bed right now. But her attention returned to the pegasus sitting nearby.

"Well...while I can't really say anything about feeling happy about the situation, from what you've just told me, there's no other way to see it as anything but an accident."

"What if I secretly wanted to do it? Without me knowing? Like, my self-consciousness is actually mean and it made me-"

"Fluttershy, that's not how higher brain functions work."

"Oh. That's not?"

"No." Twilight sighed. "In any case, if you didn't know, how could you be responsible for getting her sick?"

"But I'm the host! I gave it to them to eat and...oh, I should've asked her...or at least done more to help! I've treated allergies before, but...it was so sudden...but I shouldn't have stayed still like th-"

"Fluttershy, stop being so harsh on yourself." Twilight interrupted the pegasus with a raised voice. Seeing her friend pause in anticipation for further scolding, the unicorn sighed and she placed a comforting hoof on her friend's shoulder once more. "While it's unfortunate that there is a victim in this circumstance it doesn't mean that there has to be someone at fault.

"Mistakes and accidents can and do happen! What's important is that we learn and take note from these types of situations and develop a ready-made contingency plan to..." catching herself mid-ramble, Twilight shook her head and cleared her throat to focus. "Uh, the point is, there isn't any mean part of you because you're the kindest, gentlest, most empathetic pony I know. And that includes the books I've read as well. Fiction and non-fiction."

"I wouldn't want to assume, Twilight, since I know that you love to read, but...is that a lot?"

"Heh, yeah." The unicorn smiled cheekily with some pride. "But even if for some unthinkable reason that weren't true, otherwise you wouldn't be the official Royal Animal Caretaker! Those palace animals used to be pretty infamous around Canterlot until you started to help taking care of them," Twilight laughed and shook her head but then was struck with the memory of their first Grand Galloping Gala. "Uh...I guess you of all ponies would already know that."

The pegasus nodded as she did the same as her friend, but remembered that dealing with the animals at the royal palace was only possible after arrived then disappeared from Equestria. It was a surprise to herself and her friends, not only at Princess Celestia's sudden invitation to Canterlot after she sent her last letter about her experiences with Kevin (especially since prior to that the Princess had done no such thing when Fluttershy sent her weekly report), as well as the relative ease for the pink haired pony to approach and pet the animals in the royal garden when just a few years ago they used to run away before she could get even close enough. "I'm still technically the assistant until the ceremony, though..." Fluttershy corrected and did her best to hold back the bit of boastfulness bubbling up inside her now that was sure to come at odds with her usual inclination to be modest instead.

Twilight saw the effect this topic was having on boosting Fluttershy's confidence and decided to egg her friend along. "Which is in a week! Speaking of which, why don't you invite Kevin to come along on your next trip? We told him our stories about that Grand Galloping Gala before, and I'm sure he'd be really impressed about how you've improved getting along with animals, especially the ones in the royal garden. Plus I'm sure that [Fiona] would be honored to meet a princess or two."

"Oh, I don't know..." Fluttershy's shoulders drooped against Twilight's expectations, lowering father and farther down until her head was resting on the table once more. "I'd have to tell him, first..."

Twilight slumped her shoulders and arched a brow upon hearing this and asked flatly "...you didn't tell him, yet?"

Fluttershy silently rolled her head along the table, which Twilight figured was supposed to be a her friend shaking her head. "Didn't really have a chance to, with...you know..."

"Oh. Well, listen. You have lots of options to impress [Fiona] once she gets better and I'm sure that Kevin understands that it was all an accident." Fluttershy raised her head from its wilted state and nodded softly in response. "Didn't Princess Celestia ask to see him if he ever returned in response to your letter about what happened?"

"Yes." Fluttershy smiled despite her sour mood, appreciating Twilight's attempts to cheer her up. The bubble of pride inside her resumed a bit when she thought over being invited for an audience with the Princess without it being related to Twilight. Of course there was anxiety and a sprinkle of fear in meeting the Princess in a formal setting, but the ever thoughtful princess insisted on coming to Ponyville instead. And there was no doubt that even if Kevin was angry in any way, it was a given that he'd forgive her. However trepidation increased as the thought of following Twilight's idea to invite Kevin and his girlfriend to the palace as it came to the fore of her mind. It was one thing to introduce the visitors to royalty in a familiar and informal setting, it was another to bring a pair of hue-mens to Canterlot. "But what if something goes wrong?"

To this Twilight leaned close to Fluttershy and nuzzled her friend reassuringly. "Oh, Fluttershy, nothing's going to go wrong. That kind of thing only happens in fictional stories to add tension and drama! Nothing will happen that we can't laugh about it later."

While still unsure Fluttershy nodded, wanting to hope for the best. She wasn't particular fond of the tension and drama that a lot of stories seemed to push onto an unsuspecting reading, but was thankful to have a friend like Twilight trying to cheer her up. "Thanks," she said with a resurgent smile on her face and returned to doing what she could now with Kevin's book.

"Anytime, Fluttershy," Twilight replied. With that, the scratching of quills resumed.

Comments ( 17 )

oh wow its back!:pinkiehappy:

OH DAMN IT I ACCIDENTALLY THE FRONT PAGE

This actually updated? Well, I'll be.

I haven't read any of it, and don't intend to until it's completed (as I'm still less than confident it ever will be, especially since it's still marked On Hiatus), but I did like Prances with Ponies, so I've been keeping an eye on it.

4734204
No, I'm editing a lot of it before uploading the new chap.

4734229 What parts have you editted?^^

4734268
Need to edit 5 chapters before adding the new chap :applejackunsure:

A human in equestria story with an actual human girlfriend? Yes! I finally caught up with the story and i gotta say i love it, please, do continue.

4734229
Same difference, I'm just happy to see it's making progress.

4734284 lol How vague. XD

To this Twilight leaned close to Fluttershy and nuzzled her friend reassuringly. "Oh, Fluttershy, nothing's going to go wrong. That kind of thing only happens in fictional stories to add tension and drama! Nothing will happen that we can't laugh about it later."

DOOMED! Dooooooooooomed! :twilightoops:

When will Twilight ever learn? :facehoof:

I fully expect at least one pony tail on fire, possibly a princess' tail (somehow), and a squirrel attached like an alien facehugger upon Kevin's girlishly screaming face before the Gala is over.

4736153 I also foresee Blueblood being a jerk to Fiona and getting punched. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part... :twilightsheepish:

4751108

Assaulting royalty? Er, what's the worst that could happen?

:twilightoops:

If Celestia can't just give a pardon, she might be able to swing a 'house arrest' in an effort to keep up good relations with Earth. The more logical result would be banishment from Equestria but that means Kevin would also tend to want to leave as well and that would defeat the purpose of the story.

4751737 She's the head mare in Equestria, for all intents and purposes (I doubt that Luna will second guess her, IMO) so if she can do what she wants. That spans the spectrum from Pardon, to execution.

I recall the situation coming up before and being explained away that Celestia going against the will of the people (ponies) is difficult for her; mainly in a bad precedent kind of way. Yes, she is the supreme leader in what amounts to a duo-dictatorship but she is also constantly portrayed as a loving mother figure who will follow what her little ponies want, to a degree. And besides, in modern pony society, I doubt they would consider the option for execution. Banishment would be about as severe a penalty as they could come up with. Still, I bet they wouldn't think forced transmogrification would be as terrible as we would-- forced to live as a pony for X amount of time "so they may learn the error of their ways".

I'm pretty sure the unicorns can get real creative with magic when doling out the punishments. As a member of a species that has no defense against even a foal, that is a little terrifying.

4753588
4754345

Ok...this has strayed far enough from commenting on this fic. Please take it to PMs, peeps. Don't even apologize. Just...please don't unnecessarily raise the comment count, k? Danke.

4754576
I must say... I love your new avi. :pinkiehappy:

fluttershy seems agitated by fionas presence. could there be a love triangle in the works here?

Login or register to comment