• Published 24th Jun 2018
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The Fishbowl - Shrink Laureate



Vinyl remembers the doll. It's unmistakably hers. Except it's in Octavia's closet. Why do they have the same doll – and the same memory?

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7. Dreams of Vinyl

“Wake up, Vinyl.”

Vinyl Scratch mumbled something indecipherable about more minutes as she was gently rocked.

“Come on, wake up.”

“Is it morning already?”

“Actually it’s afternoon. I just got back from school.”

The voice gradually filtered its way through to her brain. “Tavi?” she murmured. “What are you doing in my house?”

“I’m not. You’re in my house, Vinyl. You’re in my room. You’re in my bed.”

Vinyl peered at the blanket she was clutching. Sure enough, it looked like one of Octavia’s. “Huh.”

Octavia picked up Vinyl’s jacket from the floor and hung it on the back of the chair. “Have you been asleep here all day? Is that why you weren’t in school? And how did you even get in here? I know that Mum locks the door.” She jangled her keys to illustrate.

Vinyl bobbed her head. “Your window’s open.”

Octavia looked at her bedroom window. “It’s also upstairs. Quite a lot of stairs. Did you really climb all the way up here?”

“Seemed easier. ’S closer than my house.”

“Only by four streets.” Octavia shook her head in bemusement. She sat lightly on the side of the bed and slid a lock of Vinyl’s bright blue hair aside. “Oh, Vinyl. What am I going to do with you?”

“You could feed me?”

Octavia sighed and rolled her eyes. “Mum will be home in an hour or so. You can join us for dinner. Is that good enough?”

Vinyl poked one hand out in a big thumbs up, while using the other to pull the blankets closer.

“So tell me, were you out at a concert all night? You know the school doesn’t approve of you working if it’s going to interfere with your studies.”

“Nah, I was at the library.”

“The library? That doesn’t sound much like you. And doesn’t the town library close in the evenings?”

“Yeah, but the records bit isn’t really open in the day anyway. It’s all behind this heavy blue door upstairs, and the staff watch you like vultures if you get close to it.” She yawned. “So I had to wait for them all to go home.”

Octavia was concerned. “Are you telling me that you broke into the town library at night to get at the private records?”

“I didn’t break in. I just… stayed in. Is it my fault they don’t check the cupboards when they lock the place?”

“And you stayed there all night?”

“Their photocopier’s really slow. Got some good stuff, though.” She waved a hand in the direction of Octavia’s desk, where a bundle of papers sat on the keyboard.

“We’ll look at all that later,” sighed Octavia, getting up. “I have homework to do. And so do you, by the way.”

Trixie laid a few photos on the bed, showing Sunset Shimmer hanging out with the Rainbooms, and others with her lifting bags of sand. “As you can see, the demon queen of Canterlot High is now best buddies with the girls that defeated her so publicly. When she isn’t stuck at the building site.”

“You can’t carry on calling her a ‘demon queen’ because of what happened at the Fall Formal,” said Octavia. “The school asked us all to give her a second chance, remember?”

“Yeah, we’re supposed to forget it ever happened, right?” said Vinyl. “Tia and Woona gave that whole speech, that was totally not saying, ‘Don’t tell anyone about magic or they’ll shut us down’.”

“I called her that long before the Fall Formal,” defended Trixie. “She’s been a bitch for years. Anyway, don’t you think it’s odd behaviour for girls who were so recently enemies?”

Octavia picked up a photo of Sunset and Fluttershy laughing as they left the pet store. “It is certainly a stark turnaround. Are you suggesting that the magical battle was all an act, and they were working with her all along? It was quite a show they put on that night.”

“I wouldn’t know. I was all zombie, remember?” said Trixie bitterly.

“And she did tear off the front doors of the school,” pointed out Vinyl. “And drilled that big hole in the ground in front of the statue. We didn’t imagine that, they only just finished filling it in. Sunset Shimmer is still helping them rebuild the doors.”

Trixie continued, “They all still talk about Twilight Sparkle as a ‘pony princess’, whatever that means, from some place called ‘Equestria’. Sunset Shimmer is in on that too, whatever it is, and they’re happy to talk about that and the magic thing with her around. And also around Fluffle Puff, but that’s probably just because they don’t think she’ll tell anyone.”

“Is Sunset Shimmer as surprised as us by it?”

“Not at all. If anything they seem to treat her as an authority on all the weird stuff.”

“We could certainly do with one of those, we seem to be stumbling around in the dark here,” said Octavia.

“Anyway, good stuff, Trix. What about you, Tavi?”

Octavia cleared her throat. “The Pinkie Pie that attends Crystal Prep goes by the name Pinkamena. She’s seen as a loner by the other students, but still contributes to school events in her own way. I’m told she can play the acoustic guitar, accordion, harmonica and theremin all at once, which is an impressive feat, though her choice of song isn’t always popular. At their recent Shadowbolts Got Talent event, she did a one woman rendition of ‘Creep’ followed by ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’.”

“Eek, cheerful,” said Vinyl.

“That confirms what Vinyl saw at the bakery then,” said Trixie. Vinyl nodded her head in deference, then turned back to Octavia.

She continued, “The one known as Diane doesn’t attend any school I can find, but she is a regular performer at local amateur dramatics groups, appearing in the role of the Nun’s Priest in their recent production of The Canterlot Tales. She typically likes to wear period clothing of some sort, even when she’s not performing, and changes her mode of speech and body language to match the period and character.”

“You said local,” said Trixie, “but local to where?”

“Mostly to the north and east sides of town. Griffonstone and Crystal Town. She performed at the Manehattan Theatre once.”

“How about the politico one they mentioned?” asked Vinyl.

Octavia shook her head. “I haven’t heard anything about her from my arts or music connections.”

“I might be able to find out something through my mother’s connections?” volunteered Trixie. “No promises though, it’ll be hard to do without blowing our cover.”

“That would be cool, Trix.”

“Now, how about you, Vinyl?” asked Trixie.

“Yes, come on, Miss Scratch. Do tell us where you’ve been all week.”

Vinyl suppressed a smirk. Taking her time, she unrolled six large sheets that she assembled on the bed into a table-sized black-and-white map of the town. It looked more like a schematic than a consumer map, with the city limits clearly marked. Red marks dotted the edges at various points.

“I’ve been to see the end of the world,” she said calmly.

The other two exchanged a frown. Octavia asked, “I beg your pardon?”

“The end of the world. Right here.” She indicated a red mark to the north of Crystal Town, followed by others. “And here, here, and here. All the way around.”

“In what sense are these points the ‘end of the world’? They each look like ordinary roads to me.”

“These are the official city limits, but they’re also where the world ends.”

Octavia asked in concern, “Vinyl, are you feeling alright? I’m starting to think this whole affair may be getting the better of you.”

“I’m feeling great, Tavi. Never better.”

“What do you mean, ‘the end of the world’, though?” asked Trixie. “Is this like the Mayan thing a few years ago?”

“Nope. It’s simple, if you walk up to the line here you’ll find there’s no more world. That’s the edge. The limit. The boundary. The horizon. Everything past that point is an illusion, and a pretty shaky one at that. I’ve checked all these other points round the edge,” she said pointing to the red marks, “and they’re all the same. No more world past the city limits, just a fake painted landscape and a fake sky.”

She looked into their concerned faces.

“What, you don’t believe me?”

Octavia replied hesitantly, “I’ll admit we’ve encountered some strange things in the last few weeks, but even so, this does test our credulity somewhat.”

“Ow!”

“I told you it was there.”

Trixie rubbed her nose and glared at the smug Vinyl.

Octavia stepped up to the horizon and lightly touched it, captivated by the concept. “And you’re saying this barrier goes all the way around the city?” she asked in awe.

The sun was setting, throwing shades of pink and orange across them. Their shadows were long, but where they fell through the boundary they became simpler, like the shadows of crude cardboard cutouts.

“Yup. I spent all week checking it, right around. It lines up perfectly with the city limits, from what I can see. That’s why I wanted a copy of the plans. It’s a really big area actually, like twenty miles across, and a lot of what’s inside isn’t buildings or anything.”

“Incredible.” Octavia slid her fingertips across the invisible wall.

“Yeah. I mean, this thing goes all the way down to Fillydelphia by the river, across to Las Pegasus, and up to Crystal Town. The only bit of the boundary I’ve not checked is along the west edge.”

“Why not?”

Vinyl shrugged. “’Cos it’s in the middle of the river.”

Trixie was less enamoured with the discovery. She kicked the horizon, slammed her hands against it. “So we’re trapped in here? Like prisoners?”

“Are we?” asked Octavia. “We’ve all been outside before. We’ve visited other places. I don’t remember this being here before.”

“Have we?” asked Vinyl. “When was the last time you went somewhere?”

Octavia stopped to think. “Well, not recently, I’ll admit. We went camping in the Everfree Woods a few years ago…”

“Yeah, but the whole Everfree Park is inside the city limits, for some reason,” pointed out Vinyl.

“How long has this been here?”

Vinyl shrugged. “I dunno. Just like I don’t know what it’s called or why it’s here.”

“All right then, how do other people get out?”

“They don’t.”

“Don’t be silly, Vinyl. People go in and out of the city all the time. I think we’d hear about it if we were all locked in here.”

“I mean it. Sure, people and animals cross through it all the time, but when they do they just get all… simplified.”

“Simplified?”

“Yeah, like they’re just placeholders for real things. I’ve seen it. Then when they come back in, they get turned back into full people again.”

“That’s ridiculous,” chided Octavia.

“Stick around here long enough, you’ll see it for yourself. People can leave easily enough, they just give up their reality when they do it.”

Octavia prodded the horizon more cautiously. “Why would that happen for other people and not for us?”

Vinyl shrugged. “No idea about that either.”

“So you haven’t found any way to bypass it?”

“No. Ah…” She hesitated. “Thing is, I don’t think whatever’s out there—” she indicated the counterfeit landscape beyond the horizon “—is real. I mean, not properly real. If there’s anything outside Tartarus, I’m fairly sure it’s not whatever’s the other side of that horizon.”

“And I thought your alien ponies idea was crazy,” muttered Octavia. “What did Chrysalis say, about guests?”

Vinyl nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that too. She said she was a prisoner here, and she made a distinction between ‘guests’ and ‘locals’.”

“So if we’re all prisoners here, who’s the jailor?” asked Trixie.

“And is ‘prisoner’ even the right word?” asked Octavia. “This whole arrangement feels a bit too… impersonal for a prison. Even if we are trapped here by this horizon thing, I’ve never seen anything like a jailor.”

“Unless we’re supposed to be the jailors?” wondered Vinyl.

“Surely we’d know about it if we were,” said Octavia. “What sort of prison keeps its staff in the dark?”

“Ugh. This whole thing is giving Trixie a headache,” said Trixie. “Ambiguous hints and nonsensical walls. Why can’t we just get a straight answer?”

She glared at the sign reading, ‘Welcome to Tartarus,’ but it told her nothing useful. She already knew what the name of the city was.

Vinyl leaned her back against the barrier, seemingly resting on air, and crossed her arms. “You know, I’ve seen a whole bunch of films where all the trouble would have been avoided if people had talked to each other. Like, ‘Why didn’t you just ask him that right at the beginning?’ You know?”

“I suppose so,” said Octavia cautiously. “Go on.”

“And we aren’t getting many answers just by looking at this thing.” Vinyl indicated the wall behind her. “I’ve been thinking about this all week. But somebody inside this city must know more about it.”

“Trixie would rather not go back to Chrysalis,” said Trixie with distaste.

“Me either. But what about Rainbow’s crew? They seem to know something about all this.”

Octavia stood next to Vinyl; she couldn’t quite bring herself to lean on the horizon. “And you think they’re going to tell us? Isn’t this some sort of big secret?”

“They didn’t seem to care about Rainbow doing that magic guitar thing in the music shop with us watching,” said Vinyl, “so maybe they just don’t think it’s much of a secret. So I’m thinking, y’know, maybe we could just ask them? Save ourselves an hour and a half of bad acting and explosions.”

Trixie spun around, a wide smile suddenly plastered on her face. She strode up to Vinyl and, in an unnaturally cheerful voice, she asked, “Hi, Rainbow Dash? I just wanted to ask if you know anything about an invisible wall around town, or the fact that this whole city is actually a secret prison. Oh, and we think a couple of your friends are alien ponies. Would you and the girls happen to know anything about that?”

“She’s got a point,” said Octavia. “We’d sound pretty crazy, asking them about any of this.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Vinyl acquiesced. “We need a way of asking without playing our hand.”

“Perhaps not,” said Octavia. “There’s another aspect to this. You said you don’t know why we’re stuck behind this barrier and other people aren’t.”

“Yeah,” said Vinyl cautiously.

“What if the only difference between us and them is that we know it’s there? What if just knowing about the horizon is what traps you inside it?”

Vinyl frowned. “That sounds familiar.” She paused, trying to remember the words Chrysalis had said to them. “Er… How did it go? Little mice can scurry in and out of the cage, and never even know it’s there… but as soon as they see the bars, they’ll be trapped inside forever.”

“Exactly,” confirmed Octavia with a nod.

Trixie looked sour. “That’s what the creepy shopkeeper said to us, right?”

Vinyl nodded. “Yeah. I guess she was warning us about this. She did ask if we really wanted the answer.”

“And she couldn’t have just told us about this?” asked Trixie. “Wouldn’t that have been easier than all the cryptic messages and breadcrumbs?”

“How could she tell us, without trapping us in here anyway?” asked Octavia. “Not that we’d have believed her.”

“So,” said Vinyl, continuing the chain of logic, “if we think that just knowing about the horizon really is what traps you inside it, I guess we have to avoid telling anyone about it, right? At least for now.”

“It’s a pretty nuts idea,” said Trixie. “How are we supposed to tell if it’s true?”

The three of them stared at the horizon, but it gave them no answers.

Octavia couldn’t sleep.

It was too hot, so she kicked her covers off. Then it was too cold, so she pulled them back. It was too dark, so she opened her blinds. Then the street light was shining in her eyes, so she closed them. She was thirsty, so she got up for a drink. Then she needed the toilet, so she got up again. Then she was too cold again. With no sign of approaching sleep, she lay on her back and stared at the familiar details of her ceiling, going over the day’s encounters.

The other two were fixated on the thought that their memories were fake, and that this invalidated who they truly were – especially Trixie for whom those memories, that one memory in particular, was so important. Vinyl was driven by simple curiosity, unflinching in her desire to get to the bottom of the mystery.

That wasn’t what drove Octavia. She was strong. She wasn’t just a product of her memories, of what her parents and society had taught her, of a roll of the world’s dice. From a young age she’d taken charge of her own development, sought out her own path, built her personality the way she wanted it. She wasn’t anyone’s achievement but her own. Taking away one childhood memory now wasn’t going to change who she was.

Still, she found herself inescapably perturbed. She kept returning to something else the woman had said.

‘There’s barely a whiff of love in the three of you.’

That mocking dismissal grated in Octavia’s ears, ringing through her mind again and again as she lay there. She’s wrong, she thought. That just isn’t true. She doesn’t know anything about me!

She turned over, bunched her blankets up like a person and wrapped herself around them. She clung tight, her leg hooked around the make-believe partner, her face pressed into the fabric. She clutched it tight with a trembling hand.

She breathed out through her mouth and took a deep breath in through her nose. Though aware that it could be her imagination, she felt certain that the sheets still held hints of Vinyl.

Octavia spent Saturday morning strangling a growing collection of neighbourhood cats.

She would normally have found cello practice relaxing, but nothing was flowing right. She laid down her bow with a frustrated sigh and slouched through to lunch when called.

“Honeybun, what’s happened to your cello playing?” asked her mother incredulously. “Just last week you were doing so well.”

She dabbed a lump of bread in her soup halfheartedly. “I guess I’m just not in the mood for it today, Mum,” she sighed.

“Is it the audition? I told you, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t accepted straight away. Nobody ever succeeds at things like that the very first time, you’ll just need to keep trying until they recognise your talent.”

“It’s not…” Octavia trailed off and left it at that. Honestly, it was easier if her mother thought it was just nerves bringing her down. That was easier than explaining how she really felt. And it wasn’t like the audition didn’t make her worried.

“I’ll tell you what, why don’t you go for a walk after lunch? That’s sure to clear your head. You’ll need some nice new clothes for the audition, right? You can go shopping.”

“I guess. Yeah, sure.”

So she spent the afternoon idly browsing racks of similarly boring clothes, waiting for some sort of sartorial inspiration to strike. As she was on the verge of admitting defeat, buying the same thing as usual and turning for home, she caught sight of a black shape: one of Chryssi’s assistants, slipping quietly through a nearby aisle of boots. She couldn’t tell if it was the boy or the girl, they looked so alike and both wore mainly black. She hurried round the corner to get a better look, but only found an older woman checking out the floor plan by the elevators.

Emerging from the shop, she caught sight of the assistant again in the crowd on the other side of the road, heading down a side street. She crossed over the road intending to follow him or her, but lost sight of them again, only to catch another glimpse at the far end of an alleyway.

Finding some of the motivation she’d been lacking all day, she set forth down the alleyway to track them down.

Octavia slipped into the wedding shop. She was surprised to find it unlocked this late, when all the other little shops around it were shuttered and sealed. It was dark inside, apart from odd little lights here and there illuminating displays of merchandise, some flickering or throbbing, and the dim green glow of the emergency sign over the door.

It was quiet as well. Her footsteps sounded louder, echoed further. Her breath broke the silence like an intruder. She brushed against a display, dislodged some of the merchandise and failed to catch it, and the whole shop reverberated for seconds. Mannequins and displays that had looked quite ordinary before now loomed eerily out of the gloom, deceptive angles making them seem to turn as she passed, the occasional soft rustling adding to the effect. Was that the air conditioning making the fabric move, or a rat hiding behind the stand?

Reaching the far side of the store, she slipped past the till. Behind it, the door to the office was ajar; she gingerly nudged it further open.

“I had a feeling I’d see you again soon, Miss Melody.”

How does she keep doing that? Octavia wondered in frustration. She sagged and pushed the door open fully.

It was even darker in the office, away from the street lamps and the shop windows. It took Octavia a few seconds to squint and find Chrysalis reclining in a big floppy couch covered in cushions. Her eyes gleamed bright in the darkness. The effect was like that of a wild beast in its lair.

Lounging in the same chair, practically on top of her, was a shorter, plumper girl with big eyes. She reminded Octavia of a shorter, dumpier Pinkie Pie, though she couldn’t imagine Pinkie being so languidly erotic. The girl had her arms wrapped around Chryssi, gripping her protectively; the older woman was idly running her fingers through the girl’s hair, tousling it with her long green nails. The colours all faded into a muted grey in the gloom, but she could vaguely make out the bright colour of her hair.

“Fluffle Puff?” asked Octavia incredulously. Fluffle Puff lifted a hand to wave at Octavia, keeping her arms wrapped around the older woman.

“You look troubled, little girl,” said Chrysalis. “Something distressing you?”

“You knew, didn’t you?” challenged Octavia.

“Knew what?” Chrysalis was keeping her cool, teasing her.

Octavia paused a moment to cool her head, then carried on. “We saw the horizon yesterday.”

“Horizon?”

“The wall around town.”

“Ah, I see. I suppose it’s as good a name as any. In that case, yes, I know all about it.”

“So in that case you must know… What is it?”

“What does it look like? It’s a wall that keeps all of us in here. Not just our bodies, but our minds as well. It was certainly a shock to see it when I first arrived here. I find the sight of the thing quite unnerving, even now.” She paused. “And all three of you saw it?” Octavia nodded. “Interesting.”

“You said you arrived – where from? Somewhere outside?”

“That’s right. Just outside of this stagnant little puddle is a magical land filled with sunshine and smiles and harmony.” She said this with a touch of venom, as of the idea was offensive to her. Fluffle Puff stirred, beating feeble fists playfully against Chrysalis’ stomach. “I know, dear, you don’t like it when I talk about the outside.”

Octavia sat against the edge of a desk. “So… what is this town? Why are we trapped here?”

“I’m afraid the answer to that is different for me than it is for you and your friends. I’m what you might call a visitor, whereas you’re all locals.”

Octavia asked, “A visitor. So Trixie’s right, is she? That this whole city is a prison?”

“Of a kind, yes. It’s the most ridiculous prison ever devised, built by a race so devoted to the concept of forgiveness that they threw all practicality to the wind.”

“Does that mean there’s a way out?”

“Many, but they’re all guarded. So for the time being I please myself with little distractions.”

Chrysalis slid a pair of fingers slowly down the girl’s body, playing her like a piano. Fluffle Puff wriggled as they touched her armpit, settled down with a sigh as they waved back and forth down her side, then shivered as they dragged down her leg. Octavia watched the display awkwardly.

“Fluffle Puff, what are you doing here?”

“She’s with me,” said Chrysalis forcefully. Fluffle Puff stuck out her tongue and blew Octavia an extended raspberry.

“With? As in...?”

“Oh yes,” she said, then added, “Often.”

Octavia suppressed a shudder at her lascivious tone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were, um, lovers,” she said.

“Lovers.” The older woman rolled the word around her tongue. “Such an interesting word. It implies very little love, yet plenty of lust.” She tenderly stroked the girl’s head. “Isn’t it strange how readily those two words are interchanged, even though they’re such different concepts?”

“That’s because they’re supposed to belong together,” protested Octavia.

“You’re so old-fashioned,” the older woman purred patronisingly. “The world just isn’t that… grey.”

Octavia found herself angry at the thought. She stepped forward and grabbed Fluffle Puff’s arm, meaning to pull her out of the chair and away. Fluffle Puff instead pulled her hand back, wrapping it tighter around Chryssi’s waist and burying her face in the woman’s hair. Chrysalis in her turn wrapped her arms around the girl.

“So it’s, what? ‘Friends with benefits’?”

“You wouldn’t understand the heart of a girl in love,” said Chrysalis dismissively.

“And you do?”

“Absolutely. You could say it’s something of a vocation for me,” said Chrysalis. “I’ve always had a great professional interest in love.”

“How can… You heard her, Fluffle Puff. She doesn’t love you, she’s just using you!”

Fluffle Puff shook her head emphatically. Chryssi wrapped a protective arm around the girl’s head as she said, “It’s alright, dear.” Turning to Octavia she said, “Don’t bother. She belongs to me.”

“You think you can just take what you want? Are you using the three of us too? Are we part of some sick plan of yours?”

Chrysalis gave her a patronising look. “Don’t worry, I have very little interest you. Without any love to be felt, there’s very little in you three to hold my interest.”

“How do you know I’m not in love?” Octavia was getting upset, nearly shouting now. “What do you even know about me?”

In a flash, Chrysalis was standing. She gripped Octavia’s chin and pulled her face close, eyes locked together.

“You don’t smell of love, dearie. Not one bit. You smell of frustration, resignation and fear. You’re not in love. You’ve surrendered.”

Octavia’s eyes were wide with shock and decked with tears, but she couldn’t pull them away. She couldn’t move at all. She was locked onto those haunting green eyes, unable to blink. “I… I don’t…” she whimpered.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve met your soulmate and you’ve given up. The barriers, the circumstances, the risks,” she wheedled. Her nails felt like claws digging into Octavia’s throat.

Pulling her head closer, Chrysalis whispered into her ear, “You had your chance and you blew it. You traded it all away for cheap fear. What you’ve got left now isn’t love at all. It’s closer to hate,” she snarled. “You resent the effect she has on you. You’re jealous of how much you adore her. You hate how she doesn’t love you back.”

Octavia couldn’t stop staring, couldn’t blink, couldn’t look away. She gasped, “No! She…”

“Tell me, do you really see the two of you happy together? As brilliant and pure as she is, and as tainted as you are? Do you see yourself serving her breakfast in bed, a warm smile on your face and subterfuge in your heart, clawing to get out? Do you really think she won’t ever notice?”

Chrysalis blinked, and Octavia was finally able to close her eyes. Chrysalis released her, letting the girl slide to her knees sobbing.

Fluffle Puff slid up behind Chrysalis and gently wrapped her arms round her. Standing on tiptoes to reach the taller woman’s level, she purred into her ear then gave it a little nibble.

“You’re right,” said Chrysalis. “I don’t need to be so mean.”

Chrysalis turned, wrapping her arm around the girl’s waist and pulling her up into a kiss. Absent-mindedly, she lifted a foot behind her and shoved Octavia’s shoulder with it, toppling her over onto the floor. Finally snapped out of her trance by the taste of carpet, Octavia scrambled to her feet, pushed through the door, stumbled through the darkened shop and out into the cool night.

Octavia took a bus home. She didn’t notice Sugarcoat walking a comfortable distance behind her along the dark street. She didn’t notice Apple Bloom sitting three seats behind her on the night bus. She didn’t notice Fleur de Lis walking past her house as she let herself in.

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