• Published 19th Jun 2012
  • 1,757 Views, 155 Comments

Cutting Ties - fic Write Off

  • ...

His Other Self

It wasn’t far now.

Sweet Cakes peeked her head above the bushes, her eyes locked on the house the unicorn had walked into. Her bright green coat meshed well with foliage, but her purple mane stood out horribly. If the unicorn turned around, he would have, at the very least, become quite suspicious. The evening sun fell slowly behind the house, moving out of Sweet’s eyes and giving her a clear view of the area. There wasn’t much to hide behind in his front yard; she would need to dash across it to avoid being seen. The wind fell over her and her cover, tainting the silent air with the sounds of rustling plants. Now was her chance.

She would know what he was up to, and soon.

A grin appeared on her face as she slinked along the yard, keeping low and quick. Soon she was up against the outer walls of the house. She maneuvered underneath a window and slowly raised her head to look inside. Her mark was nowhere in sight. Sweet figured he had gone out back. Ducking down again, she ran along the wall toward the backyard. Once it came into view, she spotted him.

He was looking at a pile of rocks.

Sweet frowned in confusion, but continued to watch. She had expected something more eloquent, or perhaps devious. The unicorn had been moving rocks from his old burned-down home for years now, one a day, without magic. He had even whipped up a special sling to hold the rocks in on the journey. He never spoke to anypony while carrying a rock, though some had tried to strike up conversation. For somepony to put that much work and time into something, and be so secretive about it, he must have some sort of plan. All Sweet could see right now, though, was a pony staring at rocks.

After considering the pile for a moment longer, the unicorn picked up his daily burden (no magic, still) and walked part way around the pile. He picked out a spot and deposited the new rock. Taking a step back, he inspected his work and nodded. When he turned back to the house, Sweet ducked back behind the wall. She shook with nervousness, listening closely for hoofsteps that may be getting too close. At that moment, she realized exactly how creepy it was that she had followed a stranger all the way to his home. Perhaps it wasn’t the straightest of ideas, but she was really curious! It wasn’t like it was an option for her to simply sit at home and wonder what he was doing anymore. At least, not with as much cider in her as there was. She made a mental note of that: curiosity could be suppressed indefinitely until cider is added. Then the crazy comes out. It was crazy to be out here, right?

The sound of the back door closing made Sweet jump. It was time to leave, now that he was back inside. For a single moment, however, Sweet considered confronting him. Just to say ‘hi’, or maybe ask what he had been doing all this time?

No, now that was the crazy talking.


“Huh?” said Sweet Cakes, jolting up in her chair.

Her friend sat down next to her and put their order on the table. “That unicorn you’ve been obsessed with. His name is Glass.”

She sat up. “Oh? Where’d you come across that nugget, Bon Bon?”

“Just asked around a bit.” Bon Bon paused to take a sip of her milkshake and pushed Sweet’s toward her. “Turns out quite a few ponies know who he is, though most don’t know much more about him other than his name. Well, that and what happened to his house.”

“Thanks for looking it up for me.” Sweet drank up some of her milkshake as well.

“You know, I’m a little concerned for you, Sweet. That stallion’s been bugging you ever since you first laid eyes on him lugging a rock around. He’s been keeping to himself for years and hasn’t told anyone what he’s up to ‘cause there’s no reason to ask about it. Then you suddenly decide it’s a great idea to follow him home just to see what the deal is? You do realize how much older than you he is, right?”

Sweet waved Bon Bon off. “I’m not blind; I know how old he is. I’m not looking for a stallion, I just, well, I had to know! Aren’t you the least bit curious about what he’s doing with all of those rocks? And why hasn’t anypony bought that land where his house used to be? It’s in a prime spot; he could make bank off of it! All he has to do is clear out the debris!”

Bon Bon leveled her face at Sweet. “You know why nopony has bought that land and why he hasn’t sold it. The poor thing must be as sentimental as they come. And as for being curious: no, hun, I couldn’t care less what Glass is doing with all that stone. He can build a house out of it for all I care. It’s his business; that’s the understanding everypony has had with him for the last three years and I don’t see why you gotta be the one to change it all now.”

“Ugh!” Sweet rolled her eyes. “Fine! I’m the loopy one here. Me and my crazy ideas about some strange pony who won’t say a word to anypony about a project he’s been working on every day and without magic. I can’t imagine even one day without magic! I don’t see how you aren’t wildly interested in it, but I get the message. I’ll stop going on about it.” She sat and sucked on her straw with a vengeance. She wanted the milkshake drunk as quickly as possible; she didn’t know if she could sit here much longer without bursting.

“C’mon, Sweet, you know I don’t mean it like that. I’m just looking out for you. He’s strange, that one. I don’t want you getting involved in something—or somepony—weird like that.”

“Maybe that’s what he thinks of us. Ever consider that?” Sweet stood up. “I know you’re only concerned for me, but I just cannot get this out of my head! I swear, if I just leave it alone I’ll explode!” She started trotting in place. “Even talking about it gets me wound up. You know what? I’m just gonna ask him. Gonna walk straight up to his door, knock on it, and when he answers I’ll spill it out.” Turning back to Bon Bon, Sweet thanked her for the milkshake and ran off.

“I swear, that unicorn is going to get in over her head one day, and I’ll be the one who has to drag her out of it.”

‘Gonna walk straight up to his door...’

Got that part down.

‘...knock on it’

Still working on that.

Sweet fidgeted on Glass’ front porch. She felt a little odd knowing she had only learned the way here during her escapade the night before. Would he be annoyed there was a complete stranger on his porch? Did he even like visitors?

A shaking had taken hold of her legs. Goodness knows how she had mustered the courage to get this far. And how would she ask? Approaching the subject would be very difficult. Sweet was sure he wasn’t used to obsessed mares inquiring into the deepest secrets of his routine.

She wasn’t really obsessed with him, was she?

“You gonna stand out there all day, or are you gonna knock on the thing?” called a gravelly voice from inside.

Sweet froze. Oh no, oh no, oh no—he saw me!

“It’s easy enough, kid. Ya raise yer hoof, move it up to the door, then whack it a few times.”

She remained motionless. An observer could have mistaken her for a statue.

“Alright, if ya don’t wanna ya don’t hafta. I don’t mind ya stickin’ around, but eventually that sun’s gonna come down and it’ll be cold and dark out there.”

She looked up at the sky. Midday. She still had some time to stand around. It was a pretty nice view from up here. This was a very serene place, she realized. It lay just outside of town, not too much vegetation but enough for some eye candy and the occasional wildlife sighting. Sweet wondered if this was the kind of place she would like to live.

A cough came from inside the house. I wonder how sarcastic that last statement really was.

Seeing no other option, Sweet took a big breath and knocked on the door.

“One sec!” Glass called. Sweet heard hoofsteps steadily approached the door. It soon glowed grey and opened up. Sweet looked up at him.

An odd sort of age rested in his face, like he was an old young unicorn... or was he a young old one? It was an age that showed experience, but still held the fire of youth. Sweet wondered exactly how young he was; she had never bothered to find out. The grey in his eyes and coat clashed with her own bright green coat and purple mane.

“What can I help you with, ma’am?” His gruff voice brought Sweet back into the moment.

Okay, now, don’t go crazy on him.

“Well, I was just watching you the other day, and I saw you carry a heavy rock around. I wasn’t really sure why you were doing it and I got kind of curious about it so I figured I would follow you home to figure out where you lived and then ask you about it.”

Nailed it.

Glass looked at her with a raised eyebrow for a moment before replying, “I’m not sure whether I should slam the door in your face or invite you in for a cup of cider.”

Sweet gave him a meek smile. “I think last time I had cider, I made some pretty stupid decisions.”

Glass grinned. “You make a convincing argument!” He motioned her inside.

Blushing, she tentatively strode into the house. It had a rustic feel, lit mostly by candles and built of brick and wood. The air smelt of oak. Covering the walls were various photos, mostly of Glass and a mare, but there were some of a foreign house, as well. The atmosphere didn’t really help put Sweet at ease. Although Glass had just opened the door and invited her in, she felt she was intruding, trespassing in a domain never meant for strangers.

“Take a seat in front of the fireplace over there,” said Glass, pointing to a couch in the nearby living room. “I’ll get us some cider.” He closed the front door and walked to the back of the house.

An anxious sweat had broken out on Sweet’s forehead. This had to be one of the most awkward situations in her entire life. She shook her head, trying to regain control of her rampant emotions. Even though she was about drink cider with a stranger in his house, she knew she was only there because she chose to be. The mystery behind this stallion would bother her no longer! She swallowed and walked over to the couch, taking a seat and staring at the empty fireplace.

The couch is nice.

A shuffling of hooves and the clink of glasses announced Glass’ presence in the room. “So, ya wanna know a bit about me? Fair enough.” He sat down on the couch next to Sweet, placing the glasses of cider on the coffee table. “But first, you gotta tell me what inspired you to come down here, and why it’s pickin’ your brain so fiercely.” He pushed one of the glasses toward Sweet and took a swig of his own.

“Uhh...” Sweet was drawing a blank. How in Equestria was she supposed to explain the situation without sounding exactly as psycho as she had at the door? “I... was curious?”

I’m on fire today.

“Filly, you look like you got a cold and a half. You’re shaking, sweating, and ya can’t speak straight. Cider’ll fix that righ’ up. Go ahead before ya start convulsing.”

“Oh no, I don’t really think that’ll help.”

His tone went flat. “Drink your Celestia-damned drink.”

Sweet grabbed her glass and chugged half of it before realizing what she was doing. As soon as her senses returned, she put the glass back down and licked her lips. Tastes pretty good, at least.

“Now,” said Glass after another swig, “why don’t we try this again? I’m Glasswind, but everypony calls me Glass. What do they call you?”

“Sweet. But my full name is Sweet Cakes. I’m a confectioner.”

“Alright, alright, we’re getting somewhere now. Could you tell me why you’re interested in my haulin’ rocks ‘round? And ‘just curious’ won’t cut it.”

“I saw you,” she blurted out.

Wow, that cider sure does help.

“I feel we’ve established that.”

Sweet shook her head. “No, I saw you. I don’t know what it was exactly, maybe it was the look on your face, or the way you carried the rock, or the strain in your step, but I saw you. And I decided that was a pony I wanted to know.” She gave a nervous laugh. “My brain is weird like that.”

Glass threw his head back and barked a laugh. “Ha! You’re ‘bout as sentimental as my old man! Though, I su’pose I ain’t any better ‘bout it.” He frowned at Sweet’s reaction. “Oh, now, c’mon, Sweet.”

She was blushing furiously and looking down at the floor, one hoof covering her eyes. That’s it! The second I get back to town I am turning myself in! Straight to the psych ward!

“Hey,” said Glass. He touched the hoof covering her eyes. “I ain’t laughin’ at you, I’m laughin’ at the irony o’ the situation. I’m a little touched, really.”

Slowly lowering her hoof, Sweet peeked over it at Glass. “You’re not messing with me?”

He waved a hoof at her. “Nah. Though you look awful cute when you’re embarrassed.”

That did little to help her blush. “Okay, I ponied up on my end of the bargain. Now it’s your turn,” she yapped.

“Oy! Don’t be goin’ off on me, I’m a unicorn of integrity. I’ll tell you what you want to know, but it ain’t so simple. Gotta start at the beginning.” He drank deeply from his glass. “Ahhh, that hits the spot. So!” he said, turning to Sweet, “the beginning is four years ago, when I got myself hitched with the most lovely mare in all of Equestria. Meadowbreak was her name. We’d been going steady for two years before I mustered up the guts to pop the question. Shoulda seen me back then. I looked mighty fine in a suit.” He leaned in. “Probably still do.

“Anyways, the year after we got married was the best of my life, to be completely cliché about it. Love was bloomin’ between us in all of its seasons—though Meadow had bloomed in other ways, heh heh.” He nudged Sweet while winking at her. “Oh boy, she woulda right smacked me for that, but that was just one a’ the reasons we fit together so well. We were both from Ponyville, so I figured it made sense to settle down here. Meadow had other ideas. She always wanted to take a trek. She thought we should move to Fillydelphia for a year, then off to Manehattan or some other such big city. Was a bit of contention over that, but the discussion was ended when I got myself a fine job workin’ for the city. Ya see, I’m something of a sculptor.” He gestured to his cutie mark.

Sweet had never taken a close look at it. The image was interesting; a drop of water breaking over a rock. She didn’t see the connection with sculpting, but then again, some cutie marks were more cryptic than others. Her own, a cake with a single lit candle on it, was one of the simpler ones.

“I make all sorts a’ statues, but I specialize in fountains and water-crafting. Water-crafting is forming a statue from a single stone by using magic-infused water to speed up weathering to where the effect is pretty much instant. I admit I had a bit of ego about my abilities, but it seemed well-founded to some extent, ‘cause the city paid me well to make and maintain their fountains and statues. Ponyville don’t have a whole lot of them, but when it’s just one pony doin’ all the work, it can get to be a bit much.

“Now Meadow and I had been living together nicely here for a full year when somethin’ funny happened. We were both asleep in the house I had bought us when the fire alarms started yellin’ at us. I woke mighty fast, but the fire had already done quite a number to the building. There was nothing that could be saved ‘cept myself and my wife. So I shook her awake, blasted out the wall with the mightiest spell I’ve ever casted, and we got out of there just fine. At least, I thought we did. In retrospect, I think I saw it in her eyes as we watched the place burn down. The look she had; I ain’t ever seen it before. It wasn’t fear or relief, wasn’t determination neither. I woulda loved to see that. But all I saw was apathy.

“Next day, she was gone. Up n’ left. Haven’t seen her since.”

Sweet stared at him, her mouth absentmindedly open. There were words she was supposed to say here, she knew it. What those words were, however, was escaping her. Just leaving like that, no words, seemingly no reason—it was not something she easily comprehended.

“Glass,” she started, “I’m so sor—”

Glass cut her off. “You stop right there. I’ve cried a lot of tears for her, filly, and Meadow had her due. She ain’t gettin no more from me. I appreciate the sentiment, but she’s not here anymore. Made her own choices and stuck wit’ ‘em, I’ll give her that.” Looked down at Sweet’s half-empty cider glass. “You done with that?”

She nodded in reply.

Glass grabbed the cup and gulped down the remaining contents. “Hate to see good cider go ta waste.”

Sweet looked down at the coffee table. She felt bad for Glass, even though it seemed he had gotten over Meadowbreak—at least, he said he had. The empty cider glasses said otherwise.

He hadn’t answered her question, yet, though. She still had no idea why he was carrying those rocks around and what, exactly, they were doing in the back yard. It felt far too awkward to ask at the moment, though. Won’t get anywhere if you don’t try. Sweet opened her mouth, but Glass spoke up first.

“I know what you’re thinkin’. I haven’t told you ‘bout my businesses with all them rocks. You should work on your spunk, filly. It takes guts to knock on a stranger’s door but ya have the hardest time spittin’ out what ya mean to say.

“Back where my old house is, in the backyard, is a fountain. Now, bein’ the only stallion who knows how to make a fine fountain in this town, you’d a’ thought I built it. But that ain’t the case. Ya see, back when I bought that house, I had a mean streak of pride in me. I knew I could make myself a fountain, but I wanted to throw my money around, show Meadow what an upstart I was.” He chuckled. “‘Course, lookin’ back on it, I imagine I was doin’ quite the opposite. Anywho, I had some guys come down from Canterlot and whip me up something. It turned out lookin’ pretty nice, and I paid ‘em well.

“The rocks I carry are from that fountain. I’m building another one, different from the original but with the same rocks, in the backyard a’ this house. I ain’t usin’ magic ‘cause the stallions from Canterlot didn’t either. What’s going up in the back here is gonna be my work, and my work alone, done just like those stallions did. I know I’m good enough to do that.” Glass stood up, grabbing the cider glass with magic and walked back to the kitchen. His walking stance was very rigid, Sweet noticed. Something else was bothering him, something he hadn’t said.

Spunk, eh? Alright, Glass. I can have spunk, especially when I got a bit of cider in me.

“What aren’t you telling me, Glass? Why do you have to use the rocks from your old house? Why haven’t you sold that land your old house is on? Why don’t you talk to anypony while you’re carrying those rocks?”

A moment of silence passed before the answer came back from the kitchen. “Filly, you weren’t kidding when you said were curious, were you? Ya actually said what you were thinkin’, I respect that, but I think I’ve said enough for today. I’ll make you a deal: you come back, same time tomorrow, and I’ll spill the beans. But none of that shaky stuff. I won’t speak up if you ain’t got the guts to do it yourself.” He walked back into the living room, a smile on his face.

Sweet looked back at him, contemplating the situation. She could push the point here and now, while she still felt at least somewhat comfortable here. Maybe he would give up if she was relentless, maybe not. If she came in tomorrow, she would have to build up this rapport all over again, and she wasn’t exactly confident in her ability to do that. Glass was an honest pony, and seemed nice enough. It wouldn’t be very polite to throw that offer back in his face. Best just wait for tomorrow.

She nodded. “You got a deal. Just don’t forget about it in your old age.”

Glass let out a deep laugh. “Oh, filly, there’s hope for you yet. I ain’t as old as you take me for, but I sure ain’t young anymore. Let me walk you to the door. I haven’t forgotten how to be a proper gent.”

Sweet got up and walked besides Glass to the threshold. The cider was wearing off, she could feel it. Nervousness started to seep its way back into her thoughts, and she felt her face heating up. She didn’t forget her manners, though.

“Thank you for the cider and the chat, Mr. Glass. I know I may have come off as a bit, well, odd, but you let me in just the same.”

“You still messin’ with me, callin’ me ‘Mister’ like that? Sounds all wrong. But you’re welcome. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some rocks to move.”

Bon Bon was tending the counter of her candy store when the door burst open. “Welcome to—” she gaped at the pony who had entered, “Sweet Cakes?”

Sweet smirked. “What, you changed the name of the store on me?”

Bon Bon gave Sweet a dirty look. “What are you doing bursting in like that?” She gasped. “You didn’t—you didn’t actually talk to him, did you?”

“Aww, Bon Bon, I’m hurt,” Sweet said, faking a pout. “I thought you had more faith in me than that. I said I was going to ask him, so I did.”

“Forgive me, Sweet, but you are one to chicken out on occasion.” Bon Bon leaned forward and gestured for Sweet to come over. “But since you did talk with him, what did he say?”

Sweet came over, but eyed Bon Bon suspiciously. “I thought you weren’t curious.”

“Well, not curious enough to stick my nose in it, but if the information is readily available...”

With a heavy sigh, Sweet started telling the story. She may have left out exactly what she said to Glass when explaining why she had become so curious, but Bon Bon didn’t really need to hear that part. Everything else, she left in. When she finished, she looked at her friend with hopeful eyes. “Well?”

“I told you he was weird.”

“Gah!” Sweet threw her hooves up in the air. “It’s a sweet story! He’s building a fountain in his backyard by hoof just to feel like a stallion again because he blames himself for Meadowbreak walking out on him.”

“That’s what you got out of it?” Bon Bon raised an eyebrow at Sweet. “All I heard was a stallion who finally went off the deep end when his solitude got the best of him. Seriously, Sweet, what sane unicorn would build a fountain like that, especially when his talent is to use magic?”

“You said it before, Bon Bon, he’s as sentimental as they come. Don’t you think it’s at least a little bit touching?”

Bon Bon huffed, and reluctantly spoke up, “I suppose it is, just a little bit. I have to give him credit for sticking with it all these years. That Meadowbreak must’ve been something special.” Her tone took a more serious edge. “I’m afraid to ask: are you going back tomorrow?”

“Of course! He hasn’t fully answered my question yet! I don’t think he’s telling the whole truth about his motivations. He was walking funny after he gave his answer.”

“You think he was lying... because he was ‘walking funny’? You’re a confectioner, Sweet, not a psychologist.”

“Hmph,” spat Sweet, “I know what I saw.”

“Okay, okay.” Bon Bon’s eyes softened up. “Celestia knows I can’t stop you when you’ve got your mind hooked on something like this. Just be careful, okay? Maybe I’m the one not making sense to you now, but a little caution never hurt. You have a tendency to let your curiosity override that.”

Sweet nodded. He’s a danger to nopony, I wish Bon Bon understood that. She turned around and headed out the door, waving goodbye to her friend. Tomorrow couldn’t come fast enough.

Twenty-four hours can pass very, very slowly, Sweet realized. It felt as if the princesses were watching her, giggling to each other as they moved the celestial bodies excruciatingly slow. She ended up spending most of the morning and pacing around her apartment. She feared she may leave a permanent track on the floor where she’d been walking back and forth. About every minute, Sweet would check her clock, and, about every minute, it told her it wasn’t time yet. Knowing only half of the story was (almost literally) driving her up the wall. As soon as the afternoon did come, though, she sped down the path out of Ponyville to Glass’ house in the outskirts.

She was soon on the front porch, lifting her hoof up to knock on the door, when she thought, Shouldn’t I be nervous right now? I was a wreck last time I was here. What’s different? She paused and turned around, getting a good look at the surroundings. It was the same view as yesterday. They did have a nice conversation, she supposed. Maybe she just felt more comfortable around him. Although they had really just met, Sweet didn’t feel like they were strangers anymore. She had a hard time imagining they ever were. Shrugging to herself, she knocked on the door.

No answer.

Sweet waited a few moments before walking over to the porch window. Peering inside the house, she saw Glass was not there. Disappointment flashed across her face for a second before she considered Glass may be out back. That must be it. He said he’s a unicorn of integrity. She trotted over to the side of the house then turned into the back yard. Sure enough, Glass was there, though this time he wasn’t just looking at the fountain. He had a rock in the sling he had made and was on the fountain, about to carefully place the rock.

She smiled. “Hey, Glass! I’m back!” Sweet called.

The sudden noise, coupled with the weight of his load, caused Glass to lose his balance. He stumbled backward, rolling off of the fountain. The rock came soon after. It bounced off of the fountain and fell right toward Glass. His eyes went wide and he shouted, but the rock paid no heed. It landed on one of his back legs with a sickening crunch. Glass screamed in pain.

Sweet froze. Her legs locked up and her eyes shot open in shock. All she could do was stare at him as he yelled at the sky, writhing on the ground. Faced with a sudden decision, all Sweet had were two choices: fight or flight.

She fled.

The wind pushed back against Sweet as she galloped back down the path. Tears were streaming down from her eyes and flying off of her face from the force of her run. The scenery had become nothing but a blur. A million thoughts were running through her head, none of them helpful to her. All she wanted was to get away, to leave Ponyville and never be seen again. Glass most certainly hated her now, and she could only agree with him. Only a terrible pony would leave him like she did. She knew she should go back to help, but every time she considered it, all she heard was that terrible noise the rock made when it crushed his leg and the screams coming from his mouth. All she saw was the pain on his face and his pathetic squirming on the ground. It was the only thing she could think about, and the only thing she didn’t want to think about.

As she approached town, she wondered if she should talk with Bon Bon about it or not. She’d always given another good perspective on things, but this was so far out there. Bon Bon may have had Sweet’s best interests in mind, but she also happened to be close-minded at times. Sweet gasped. What if she turns me in to the police? I’m a criminal now! No, she would definitely have to go straight home and never leave again, lest the public mob her and drag her off in rage. Several ponies stopped to look at Sweet as she galloped by them, still crying, but she didn’t notice. She was in her own world of misery.

The moment she made it back to her apartment, she threw the door open, jumped inside and slammed it closed behind her. She threw all of the locks and even moved a chair up under the doorknob. As soon as she knew she was secure and alone, she walked over to the nearest corner and collapsed. The tears had stopped, but her face was still a mess. She sniffed and wiped her nose.

How could I have fallen so far? How could this have gone so wrong?

Sweet wondered what kind of punishment the law has for ponies like her. Would she need to go to jail for a year? Ten years? Maybe they had something special for degenerates like herself, like a public humiliation. She could see a crowd of ponies, all with anger in their eyes and hate in their words. They yelled curses at her while throwing rotten fruit. Sweet knew she deserved it. Bad ponies like her shouldn’t be allowed to walk around freely. What if Bon Bon hates me now, too? What frightened her most about the prospect was the fact that Bon Bon may be justified in her hate.

Doesn’t get any worse than this.

As the rest of the day progressed, she slowly became more willing to move around and her mind wandered to more neural thoughts. She wondered what the weather was like, so she walked up to the window. It was still clear, though the sun had fallen behind the horizon, giving way to the moon. A mild curiosity about the time motivated her to check the clock. The chair holding her door closed looked awkward where it was, so Sweet moved it back to where it was before. The bedsheets were messy, she decided, and tightened them up. She finally broke the mood when she got herself a glass of water. As she chugged it, she found it was pretty refreshing. And maybe, if this glass of water wasn’t so bad, then maybe other things could be okay too. A true leap of logic, by any means, but for a broken, scared, small little unicorn in her kitchen with nothing to hang on to, it was everything.

The next morning seemed rather bland to Sweet; the sun came up the same as any other day, the weather ponies had clear skies scheduled just like yesterday, and she was on her way to visit Bon Bon, just like so many days before this one. Sweet was unable to put her hoof on exactly was about this day that seemed so plain, but it helped, in a way. Terrible ponies like herself didn’t deserve nice mornings.

Arriving at Bon Bon’s place, Sweet knocked on the door. For the briefest of moments, she felt she should be nervous.

Bon Bon answered the door with a gasp. “Oh my goodness, Sweet! Your mane, your—you’re a mess! Come inside right now!” She ushered Sweet in, closing the door behind her.

“Who is it, Bon?” asked somepony from further inside.

“A friend, Lyra. We’re going to need some time, I think.” Bon Bon called back.


Bon Bon guided Sweet to the living room and sat her down on the couch. “I’m going to get you some water. Now, tell me what—or who—put you in this mess. I’ll be listening.” She walked off to the kitchen.

Sweet was still in a half-trance. She felt like she had just woken up and the feeling would never go away. “I’m a terrible pony, Bon Bon, that’s all there is to it. I’m a coward and the worst friend you could have,” she said flatly.

“That’s rubbish and you know it, Sweet.” She heard the sound of clinking glasses and water from the kitchen. “I’ve known you for quite a while and I can safely say, from a position of authority on the subject, that you are not a terrible pony.” Bon Bon walked into the room with a tray holding two glasses of water. She took a seat next to Sweet and set the tray down before continuing, “What could have possibly given you that idea?”

“Me. I ran away from a pony that needed me, and I don’t even know why,” Sweet said, staring forward blankly.

“What happened?”

“I... I went to visit Glass again.” She waiting for a comment from Bon Bon, but she remained silent, so Sweet went on. “He was working on that fountain. His footing was a little loose, and he was holding one of those heavy rocks. I called out to him, just to say hi, and startled him. I made him fall, and the rock fell on his leg. Bon Bon, it sounded so wretched. I swear I could hear his bones snapping. He started screaming in pain, and all I did, all I could do, was run. I just left him there.” Her lip started to quiver as the memories came back. That crunch, those screams...

“Hun, anypony would be traumatized by that. It sounds horrible. You can’t be so hard on yourself about it. I bet even I would have a hard time sticking around after witnessing that.”

Sweet turned to Bon Bon, a fire suddenly appearing in Sweet’s eyes. “But he needed help! I let him down. We were supposed to be friends, and I abandoned him. No, I didn’t just abandon him, I put him there. It’s my fault.”

Bon Bon shook her head. “Don’t say that, don’t even think that. It was an accident. You did not make him fall, he just lost his balance. Are you going to start accepting blame for every little trip and mess-up in town?”

Sweet became emphatic. “No, but you don’t understand, I was—”

“It doesn’t matter, Sweet. It’s not your fault. I know you too well, and I also know how interested you were in learning about Glass. You didn’t go there with the intention of hurting him, did you? You didn’t shout at him to cause him to fall, right?”

“I guess—I guess I didn’t. All I wanted to do was talk.”

“Matter’s settled then. You’re not a terrible pony.” Bon Bon smiled and nudged Sweet. “But one of us knew that already.”

Sweet sighed. “I still left him there, even if I didn’t make him fall. He’ll hate me forever for that.” Her head drooped down. “I guess I’ll never know the rest of his story now.”

Bon Bon coughed, causing Sweet to look back up at her. “Tell me, what do you normally do when you make a mistake that hurts somepony else?”

“You, uh, apologize?” Sweet said hopefully.

Bon Bon nodded. “So here’s what you’re going to do. Today, you’re going to spend the day with me and forget all about what happened with Glass. Tomorrow, you’re going to go find him, and you’re going to apologize the heck out of him. How does that sound?”

A grin slowly spread across Sweet’s face. “I can do that.”

Sweet took Bon Bon’s advice and spent a day with her, indulging in a range of activities carefully chosen to take the unicorn’s mind off of what happened with Glass. They went to a nice restaurant, took a stroll in the park, watched a terrible movie, and Sweet even got a chance to chat with Bon Bon’s roommate. It was all Sweet needed, and then some.

But now it was time to face her responsibility.

She had left her apartment and was striding down the road towards the outskirts of town when she ran into the very pony she had been seeking. Glass was in a wheelchair, using his hooves to maneuver down the road. Sweet presumed he was heading to his old house to pick up another rock. Not even a severely damaged leg could stop him. She imagined the doctors wouldn’t approve of his determination in this instance.

Glass was clearly straining to move down the road. His front legs were not used to rolling a chair, and Sweet could tell he was panting with effort. More likely than not, he’d be caught in the storm scheduled later today at the pace he was going. Smiling, she came up with an idea. She approached Glass, took a hold of the wheels on his chair, and began to roll him forward. As soon as Glass realized what was happening, he grabbed the wheels to keep them from moving and turned around to Sweet in order to glare at her. The anger in his eyes almost made her abandon her plan, but she held fast. She adopted a stern look, almost rivalling Glass’, before speaking.

“Okay, Glasswind, I’m going to be blunt here. I messed up two days ago when I left you after that accident. I’m here to apologize and make it up to you.” Glass’ glare only intensified. “You seem to be having trouble getting to your old house without magic, and that is partially my fault, so I will help push you there and back. I’m not going anywhere until I can help you with at least that. So unless you wish to test my stubbornness against your own, I suggest you move your hooves off of the wheels.”

Glass said nothing in reply, just as Sweet suspected. She smiled on the inside, but kept her face level. The fire in his eye refused to relent as he continued to seethe in his chair. Sweet could have sworn the chair was becoming hot to the touch. They remained that way, eyes locked in a fierce battle, for what seemed like hours. Sweet even thought she may end up losing; she had no idea how stubborn Glass really was. Eventually, however, he turned around and sat his front hooves in his lap, giving a snort in acceptance.

With a wide smile, Sweet grabbed the wheels of Glass’ chair with her magic and pushed him down the street, following closely behind. Their trek progressed silently. Sweet was still happy with herself for the small victory over Glass’ stubbornness, though she didn’t know what would happen when they made it back to his house. Would he accept her apology? Would he even acknowledge her? She craned her neck to the side took a quick glance at his face; all she could tell was that she wouldn’t have the answers until they actually got there.

Before long, the two arrived at the old burned-down house. Sweet tried to inspect the backyard through the debris, wondering what was left of the original fountain and how it looked, but she couldn’t see anything. Glass guided Sweet through the rubble with a series of grunts and gestures. It took some doing, but they finally made it to the backyard. Sweet frowned in confusion: it was empty. Had Glass been lying all this time? Where did those rocks come from? She was about to open her mouth and protest when Glass nudged her and pointed toward the center of the lawn.

A single rock remained.

Sweet covered her mouth in bewilderment. That’s the last rock? Today is the day he finishes the fountain? She didn’t know whether to feel honored or ashamed. A sharp poke brought her out of her reverie; Glass still needed her to push him up to it. Nodding, she grabbed a hold of the chair again and they approached the rock. Sweet held the chair steady as Glass reached down, sling in hoof, and brought the rock up onto his lap. He placed a hoof on it and sighed. Sweet gave him a moment, wondering what was going through his head. Maybe he was proud, maybe he was sad to see this part of his life end. He nodded and Sweet grabbed the chair again.

The voyage back home was eerily quiet.

Unable to hold on to any thoughts of her own, Sweet merely made guesses as to what Glass was feeling. He kept a hoof on the rock on the way back, looking at it attentively at times. His eyes wandered around the scenery for most of the trip, however. Perhaps he was thinking he’d never walk this route again, never look at these houses and landmarks the same way. It could be his way of saying goodbye. All Sweet could do was speculate.

Houses gave way to trees, trees gave way to open fields, and soon Sweet and Glass arrived at his house. Sweet moved to take Glass around back, avoiding the house, but he gave a grunt in objection. Sweet raised an eyebrow at him but wheeled him inside all the same. Once they crossed the doorway into his house, Glass leaned his head back into the chair and let out a drawn-out breath, relaxing for what was probably the first time in a long while.

Sweet remained outside. “Well, it looks like you’re back alright. I—well, I guess it’s time for me to go.” She began to turn around but Glass’ rough voice stopped her.

“Get in here, and sit down.”

Sweet merely gaped at him.

“I ain’t repeatin’ myself.” He wheeled himself toward the kitchen, leaving the door open for Sweet.

She stared at the open doorway. This was what she wanted, wasn’t it? Besides, she had come to apologize, too, and she hadn’t actually said ‘sorry’ yet. The decision wasn’t really hard at all. She stepped inside, walked over to the living room and took a seat on the couch. She set her hooves in her lap and rocked gently back and forth while waiting. A familiar anxiousness started to settle in.

Glass soon appeared with two glasses of cider. He floated them over to the coffee table and then rolled himself opposite Sweet. He pushed one glass toward her. “Drink.”

“I’m not sure—”

“Consarnit, mare, that ain’t a suggestion!” he barked.

She meekly picked up the glass and took a few sips, hoping that was enough to please Glass. He was absorbed in his own drink, however. Once he finished, he slammed it back down on the table and looked at Sweet intently.

“I’m runnin’ into all sortsa conflictin’ emotions with you. First, I think you’re more than a little odd, then I invite you in for cider. Next time I see ya, I think I hate ya, but here we are again, huh?”

Sweet just looked away. His eyes were so intense, and that iron stare wasn’t helping at all.

“I said I wouldn’t answer no questions if you didn’t have the spunk to ask ‘em, and right now you look as spunky as a foal suckin’ on her momma’s teat!”

Her eyes slowly moved back over to Glass. It almost seemed as if he wanted her to ask that question. She knew this was her only chance. If she left now, he’d probably never speak to her again. Bravery by necessity is better than none at all, I suppose.

“Why do you have to use those rocks? Why haven’t you sold the old property? Why a fountain? How come it has taken so long? Why are you really building it?” she blurted out.

“I ain’t Mare-do-well, Sweet, you’re asking a lot all at once. One at a time.”

Sweet took a deep breath. “Okay. Why haven’t you sold the old house?”

“Simple. Cause I wasn’t gonna let anypony else move those rocks, and I wasn’t planning on movin’ more than one a day.”

“So it’s really nothing more than sentimentality?”

He nodded. “Always knew I took after the old man in more ways than one.”

“You’ve been doing this for three years, every day. Are there really so many rocks to move?”

“Nah. I sometimes move ‘em back. I wasn’t ready to finish the fountain—in more ways than one.”

“So then, tommorow...”

Glass put a hoof to his chin and considered the implication. Sweet saw his eyes go blank and he enveloped himself in a world of his own. He held the pose for only a moment, though. “No. I’ll finish it today.”

“Why are you so attached to those rocks, then?”

“Cause of what they represent.”

Sweet leaned forward. “Do you still feel guilty about Meadowbreak? Is that it? You miss the time spent with her, and you feel you could have done more to—”

“No!” He slammed the table, causing Sweet to jerk backwards. “This ain’t got nothin’ to do with her! She’s gone and that’s all there is to it!”

“Sorry, Glass, but your reaction kind of says otherwise.”

“No, it don’t! I’m not mad ‘cause I ain’t over her, I’m mad ‘cause nopony ever considers that I might be! Every time, their mind is already made up about it, and they’re dead wrong. All my actions these past few years have no bearin’ on what happened with me an’ Meadow.”

“Then, that fountain really is just an object of pride?” Sweet asked, a bit dejected. She had thought Glass wasn’t that thick-headed.

“No, I’m makin’ it for somepony else. Somepony you may have met, even.”

Sweet’s brain quickly ran through all the possible ponies both herself and Glass may know, but nopony came to mind. “Could you tell me who this pony is?”

Glass grabbed her cider glass in response and chugged it. After letting out a contented sigh, he said, “I got a better idea. I’ll show ya. Wheel me out back, we got one last leg of this trek to go.”

Getting up and walking over to Glass, Sweet couldn’t help but let a small smile escape. She’d been looking forward to this for a long time. Although, now that she thought about it, she couldn’t nail down exactly what spawned her curiosity in the first place. What was it about Glass she found so interesting? Time to find out, I guess.

She wheeled Glass, rock in lap, out the back door and up to the rough construct of a fountain in his backyard. Now that she was getting a close look at it, the thing seemed fairly unpolished. It looked like little more than a basin with the back wall section coming up much higher than the others and leaning slightly over the basin. The rocks clearly were not in their intended positions, and at some spots the fountain looked outright dangerous with sharp rocks sticking out at odd angles. Sweet estimated it was about as tall as two full-grown ponies, and could hold a fair amount of water, perhaps a couple troughs full. She held the chair steady as Glass placed the final rock in its spot. He held his hoof there for a moment before letting go.

“Take me back a few steps. I want to see the whole thing before I finish it,” said Glass.

Sweet brought Glass back beside her, and they both beheld the result of his past few years of work. It was an odd thing, for sure. Sweet couldn’t quite make out where the water was supposed to flow from, or how it even functioned. There was no water line feeding it, as far as she could tell, and she wasn’t even sure if the basin was watertight. It made Sweet question whether Glass had ever been a sculptor at all.

“It looks... funny,” she said.

Glass grinned at the statement. “That’s cause it ain’t done yet. Watch.”

He grabbed a hose hooked up to a sprocket near his house and set it in the basin. The sprocket glowed grey as his magic turned the water on. The basin slowly began to fill. Sure enough, cracks between the rocks began to leak small streams of water, but the hose was working faster than the leaks.

“What—” began Sweet.

“Just watch.”

Rolling her eyes, she refocused her attention on the fountain. After the basin was nearly filled, a small trickle began to drop from near the top of the back wall, feeding back into the basin. Once it was adequately filled, Glass turned off the water and removed the hose. He closed his eyes and his horn began to glow again, this time much brighter. The water matched his horn’s glow, and one by one, the leaks closed.

“Woah,” said Sweet.

The water began to come alive, sloshing over the entire construct. Everywhere it ran, the rocks slowly began to smooth out, refining the fountain’s shape. The sun reflecting off of the water gave the surface a fine sheen. Glass grunted with effort as he continued to smooth the fountain out. Once the outside was pristine, he forced the water into the hole that fed back into the basin, widening and rounding it, giving it a strong flow.

His work done, Glass exhaled sharply and slumped in his chair. He looked up at Sweet with a smirk. “Pretty cool, huh?”

“Yeah. Pretty cool.”

The two ponies admired the fountain for a moment in silence; the soft trickling of water the only sound that filled the air.

“Alright, Sweet, I sup’pose it’s about time I came clean with ya. I want to ask ya a question first, though. We haven’t known each other all that long, and I’m still not sure how I feel ‘bout ya. But after all I’ve told you, if you had to guess why I’ve done all this; who I’ve made this here fountain for, what would your answer be?”

He talks as if I haven’t been trying to figure that out the entire time. It was just a guess he wanted, though, right? “Well, the only person you’ve talked about besides Meadow is... your father. So that’s my guess.”

Glass nodded a few times, thinking the answer over. “Not bad. Makes sense, too—but it’s wrong. Remember, it’s someone I said you may have met, and I doubt you’ve met my old man, he ain’t around anymore. There’s someone else I’ve been talkin’ about quite a bit, though in only an abstract sort of sense. A pony that’s been ‘round as long as me. One familiar with all my faults and strengths, the pony that put me where I am now.

“I’ve done all of this for my other self. The old me. The one that dies today, for good. The reason I don’t speak a word while I’m fetchin’ rocks is ‘cause that’s the time I have to speak with him. I promised that time would be for nopony else. It’s for me to figure out the faults I used to have, reflect on the mistakes my other self made. I built a fountain of those rocks because the old fountain represented the blind pride I had back then, and I had to tear it down and rebuild it into something fitting. Something I could be proud of because I made it, not ‘cause I owned it. This fountain is a gravestone for him: a way for me to remember he existed, but also a method for me to leave him behind forever.”

“So, what made you decide you were ready today?”

“My other self never woulda accepted help from you. He woulda blamed you for my leg and never given it another thought. If you had offered him help today, he woulda just glared and held onto the chair ‘till the sun fell and he was blue in the face. When you rolled me all the way there and back, and I didn’t stop you: that’s when I knew he was gone, and there were no more conversations to be had between us. Today, I said goodbye.”

“What will you do now?” Sweet asked, but Glass wasn’t able to give an answer before the air was shaken with the roar of thunder. The storm was coming.

“I think it’d be best if we went inside,” Glass said, turning toward the house.

“Actually, I think I should get home. You know, beat the rain.”

“Nonsense. There ain’t no way you’re gonna stay dry if you head home now. Best you just stick around a while. In fact,” he paused, looking at the cloudy sky, “you should probably stay the night. Wouldn’t want a innocent lil’ mare such as yourself get caught out in the cold, wet and dark night. ‘Sides, you still got an apology to get around to.”

Sweet blushed. She’d completely forgotten about that. As two headed back inside, Sweet spoke up. “I’m sorry.”

“I know.”

“Really sorry.”

“I know that, too.”

The rain soon came down in buckets.

The sun breaking in through the window was what finally got Sweet up. She blocked the light with a hoof and looked around the unfamiliar setting. She sighed, realizing she had just been sleeping on Glass’ couch. Living out on his own, Sweet expected Glass to be more of a morning pony, but the sun was well above the horizon and he hadn’t woken her up. Maybe he had just let her sleep in.

“Glass?” she called, but there was no answer. Yawning, she got off of the couch and called out again, still to no response. Maybe Glass was still asleep. She walked over to his bedroom door and knocked.

It swung open.

Sweet’s eyes widened in surprise. Curiosity getting the best of her, she slowly opened the door and looked on Glass’ bed. It was empty. Frowning, Sweet began to search the rest of the house, considering perhaps Glass was playing a prank on her. Every room was empty, however. With the house clear, there was only one last place to look.

Sweet went out the back door, scanning the lawn for Glass. All she found was the fountain, but there seemed to be something attached to it, flapping in the wind. She trotted up to the fountain; it was still flowing, giving off the same calming sound as before. Taped to the basin was a note.


First and foremost, I forgive you. Sorry I couldn’t say that last night, didn’t have the guts to. Easier to do it through a letter.

I’m glad I got a chance to meet you before I left. Probably never would have finished that fountain if I didn’t have somepony give me a swift kick in the rear. For that, I thank you.

I’m afraid there ain’t nothing left in this town for me that I enjoy, just bits and pieces of memories that belong only to my other self. You’re excluded, of course. Maybe I’ll come back and look you up one day.

If you’re ever curious about me again, head down to Autumn Avenue, and look at the statue near Davenworth’s place. That one’s my favorite. Took me two weeks to get right, longer than anything else I made except for the fountain out back.

By the way, I’m goin’ by Wind now. Ponies used to call me Glass, but now they’ll call me Wind. Only seems proper.

As for that question you asked, ‘What will you do now?’ I can’t say I have a real good idea about that, but I’ve made a few decisions. I think I’ll see the streets of Manehattan. I think I’ll watch Celestia raise the sun on a Summer Sun Celebration. I think I’ll sit under the waterfalls of Neighagra. I think I’ll look at the stars for once. I think I’ll dance with a stranger.

I think I’ll go on a journey.-Glasswind

“Oh, Glass... you already have.”

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