• Published 23rd Jun 2017
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The Ones Who Returned From Stone - Skijarama



Equestria has fallen. The Crystal Empire is all that remains of organized pony society, and the survivors want their home back.

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Chapter 13 - Flurry Heart

Finally, after what felt like an eternity of trying to comfort her big brother, Twilight stood before the large, ornate double doors that would take her to the throne room of the Crystal Castle… and to meet Flurry Heart. Unless something had changed in the last hour or so, Luna, Drifter and Wonderboom would all be in there with her, discussing the current situation and getting Luna up to speed. Maybe they were already discussing what they wanted to do about Horizon. With a deep breath, Twilight reached out with her magic and slowly pushed the doors open.

Any discussion going on beyond those doors immediately went quiet, the last syllables echoing into silence in the massive crystalline room. Drifter and Wonder stood off to the left of the throne, while Luna stood to the right. They were all looking to Twilight with a varied range of expressions on their faces. Drifter initially wore a warm smile, but it swiftly faded to a sympathetic frown when she saw the remnants of Twilight’s earlier misery. Wonderboom seemed to miss this, wearing an anticipating, yet uneasy, expression.

Luna wore an expression that, for lack of a better combination of words, said ‘brace yourself.’

And then there was Flurry Heart herself. Right now, she was about as tall as Twilight, maybe an inch or two taller. She was noticeably skinnier, but the closer Twilight came, it seemed to be less from a lack of food and more that the alicorn was simply in very good physical condition. Her eyes bored into Twilight, wide open. Her jaw hung wide open and her wings twitched sporadically on her back. The silence was so profound that the subtle clip-clop of Twilight’s hooves on the long red carpet sounded almost deafening. Twilight came to a stop a few feet away from Flurry, trying to process everything she was seeing in the mare.

Now that she was this close, she could see the little, adorable alicorn infant she had once played with behind those eyes. She could see a giggling and joy-faced baby playing with a stuffed bear. But that was all hidden deep behind those wide-open eyes… the eyes of a full-grown alicorn mare that had grown up in a world with little more than a crimson circle for a sun.

Twilight felt her breath hitch in her throat. She coughed slightly to clear away whatever was preventing her from speaking before locking eyes with Flurry Heart once again. “...Flurry?” she finally managed to utter in less than a whisper.

There was a moment of silence.

“AUNTIE TWILIGHT!” Flurry Heart suddenly squealed in delight, her wings snapping to full attention before, with a startling speed, she lunged and tackled Twilight to the floor with shocking strength.

“OOF!” Twilight grunted in surprise before her back slammed hard into the floor. Sparks exploded across her eyes while the breath was practically squeazed out of her by a very tight constriction around her torso. Her vision swam from the impact before refocusing on the incredibly ecstatic grinning face of Flurry Heart, who was only inches away.

“Oh my gosh, it’s really you, isn’t it?! Wait, let me check...” The princess spewed out so quickly that even Pinkie Pie in her prime would have been proud. Flurry’s horn lit up with golden light, consuming Twilight’s vision due to the proximity. Twilight, still confused and dazed, only grew more so when Flurry lifted her by the base of her tail with magic and held her upside down in the air. Flurry looked Twilight over with an incredibly criticle eye, tapping her chin before, at last, smiling and nodding. “Uh huh, yup! It’s you!” She declared. She then dropped Twilight rather unceremoniously to the floor.

The lavender alicorn crumpled to said floor like a sack of wet (and partially smashed) potatoes, the sound she made being eerily similar. “Ugh…” Twilight groaned in discomfort and tried to get up, looking at Flurry, who was now bouncing in excitement while giddily giggling like a school filly that had just been given a box of chocolate and told to ‘go nuts.’

“You weren’t kidding! You actually found her!” she then turned back to Twilight, grabbed her in her magic again, and dragged the helpless lavender alicorn into another very tight hug. Then everything went still and quiet. For several seconds, Twilight just tried to process everything that had just happened.

She was failing.

Luckily, somepony decided to come to the rescue. “Like Wonder and I said,” Drifter remarked mirthfully from the side, a hoof held up to her mouth. “Excitable.”

Twilight groaned dizzily before Flurry pulled back. The excited look in her eyes was still burning brightly, but she was swiftly getting some self control over herself. Now she looked into Twilight’s eyes, not with glee or euphoria… but with sympathy and sorrow. “You saw mom… didn’t you?” she asked quietly, her ears drooping a bit.

Twilight finally returned to reality at that remark. She sighed and looked down at the ground. Her own ears fell flat against her head and another tremble worked its way through her. “Yeah… Shining showed me. I’m so sorry, Flurry… that must have been horrible.”

“It still is,” Flurry nodded slowly, letting go of Twilight and getting back to her hooves. “But it was worse when it happened…”

Luna then politely cleared her throat, drawing Twilight and Flurry’s attention. “I think the rest of us should go for now and let you two catch up. You are family, after all.”

“Thank you…” Flurry nodded her thanks.

“I’ll go and get Luna up to speed on the Empire’s fortifications,” Drifter said while the three of them began to make their way for the door. “Then we’ll probably all go and get some sleep.”

Twilight and Flurry didn’t say anything. The double doors closed, leaving the two of them alone in the large room. For several long seconds, the two were completely silent. Gradually, Twilight raised her eyes back to Flurry Heart, hoping to say something. All that came out, however, was a grimace and the sagging of her entire body.

“I remember you, you know?” Flurry suddenly said in a hushed tone. Twilight’s ears perked up and she looked at Flurry in surprise. “I mean, the memories are kinda hazy. I was only a baby after all, but…” Flurry shook her head. “...it’s nice to see you again. So nice.”

Twilight gave a tender smile, gradually getting some life back into her eyes and posture. “It’s good to see you, too, Flurry. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting you to greet me like that.”

Flurry blushed while getting back onto her hooves rather quickly. She brushed herself off and chuckled sheepishly. “Ahem. Yes, well, I ah… it’s how I cope, I guess. Sunburst said that my emotions are, uh… oh, what was the word…?” she tapped her chin for a moment. “Ah, right! Magnified, he said. Like, I feel them the same as any other pony, but I express them a lot more enthusiastically. His words, not mine.”

Twilight nodded while standing back up herself. “I can see that…” she then looked Flurry up and down for a moment, a proud smile gradually appearing on her face. “Wow… look at you. You’ve really grown into a beautiful mare, you know that? I couldn’t even recognize you when I came in.”

Flurry waved a hoof dismissively. “Pshh! I mean, yeah, maybe, but that’s hardly something I really focus on. I kinda gotta focus on making sure everypony in the empire isn’t eaten alive by teethy thingies, you know?” she said with a playful grin. She then stopped and slapped a hoof over her mouth with her eyes going wide. “Right… you aren’t used to that.” she mumbled sheepishly while lowering her hoof.

“Uh… used to what?” Twilight asked with a raised eyebrow.

Flurry sighed and lowered her hoof back down to the ground, where it poked at the carpet uselessly. “I have something of a morbid sense of humor. Comes with the times I grew up in, I guess…” she sighed and looked away.

Twilight winced a bit, but otherwise made no comment. Instead, she chose to step forward and wrapped a foreleg around Flurry’s shoulders. “Hey… you remember all of the books I used to have back in Ponyville?”

Flurry nodded, smiling back at Twilight. “Uh-huh! You lent me some of your foal’s books before the shit hit the fan.” she proclaimed rather bluntly.

Twilight nodded, even if she inwardly cringed at the language. “Well, if you know me, you know how much I like books. Do you have a collection, by chance? I think it’d be a good opportunity to catch up, you know?”

Flurry grinned. “Oh, do I!”

“Bramble! Grapes? You here?” Blackberry asked in a slightly raised voice while moving through the halls of the hospital. There were a few other ponies here, sitting around while they waited for proper housing and work calls. Most sat off to the side or in the emptied rooms that lined the hall, minding their own business. Some of them shot Blackberry annoyed looks from his raised voice, but remained quiet as he continued the search for his family.

He had been over the first and second floors already, and was now on the third and final floor. He called out again, half-expecting their to be no answer like all the other times he had called out to them so far. He felt a small spike of worry and fear in the back of his head. What if they never made it? What if they were attacked by fiends before reaching the empire? He knew they could fight and take care of themselves, but anypony would be hard-pressed to walk out of a well-planned fiend ambush in any condition to travel.

He bit his lip anxiously and rounded a corner. Then he stopped. Up the hallway, maybe thirty feet, were Grapes and Bramble, who both looked back at him with a curious mixture of shock and relief. For a second, the three stood perfectly still, as if they were afraid to move. At last, Bramble bravely took a step forward. Then another, and another. At last, he broke into a gallop right for his father. “Dad!!” he cried out in relief, tackling Blackberry with a tight hug, sending both of them to the ground.

Grapes was quick to follow, sliding to a stop and lowering herself onto the ground so she could look her husband in the eyes. “You made it… oh, thank goodness…” she whispered while reaching out with a hoof.

Blackberry smiled and removed one of his hooves from Brambles back to touch it to Grapes’s. “I said I would, didn’t I?” he whispered back, fresh tears of joy staining his eyes.

Grapes choked down a sob before chuckling under her breath. “Yes you did…”

Blackberry looked down at Bramble and smirked. “It’s great to see you too, champ, but are you going to let me up? Your mom needs hugs, too.”

“She can wait her turn.” Bramble replied without taking his face out of his dad’s chest fur. He then looked up and met his father’s gaze. “Don’t you ever scare us like that again! We thought you were dead!”

“Whenever have I been that easy to kill?” Blackberry asked with a small grin before shifting so he could sit up a bit. “Besides, how could I die when I have you two to come back to and live for?”

“Exactly. Now shut up and kiss your wife.” Grapes ordered before reaching out to wrap one of her hooves in Blackberry’s mane. He yelped in surprise when she pulled him in, then hummed in contentment when their lips met in a passionate kiss.

“Mom, dad, there are ponies around!” Bramble wined upon seeing the open display of affection. “Can’t it wait til we’re back in private?”

His parent’s, for the first time in their time together, decided to ignore him for a minute. They needed this and they were going to savor the moment. I made it… and we’re safe. Blackberry thought to himself, joyfully leaning further into the kiss.

Around the reunited family, the ponies lining the walls looked on and could no longer suppress their genuinely happy smiles.

Author's Note:

Holy shjt this took longer to write than I would have liked. Sorry for the delay, peeps! Little Choices is just so... engrossing to work on.

/excuses