• Published 6th May 2018
  • 997 Views, 27 Comments

Butterfly Stroke - SunnyDays



When Adagio Dazzle senses a sudden increase in Equestrian magic, she and her sisters rush to find the source. Said source isn't what they expect, though, as they find a little girl who claims to be lost, scared, and an Equestrian pegasus.

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Chapter 1

Fluttershy didn’t know how far her legs could take her. Tears blurred her vision and her body shook with each step. Even as the roars’ echoes became nothing but a distant buzz that repeated itself in her mind, the young mare didn’t stop running.

I don’t belong here. I can’t do this. It’s no different than Cloudsdale. I’ve already failed. I can’t do this!

She was so absorbed in her own thoughts that she didn’t notice the shouts of Pear Butter asking where she was headed. She didn’t care. She didn’t want to talk. She just wanted to find a place to curl up and drown in her own tears for a while. Mrs. Butter disappeared behind her in no time at all.

She had failed to do the thing she was meant to do. What did that mean for her? That meant a life of chasing herself in circles, and she didn't want that. So she kept running.

It wasn’t until it started getting darker that she finally slowed. The gaping maw of the deep Everfree stood right before her, and her body continued to tremble at all the horrors she perceived to be awaiting inside. When she looked behind her, Ponyville looked so bright and inviting on the surface.

Fluttershy knew better, though. Awaiting back in town were ponies that would be ready to laugh at her lack of a skill, her destiny that would never be fulfilled, and her life that would be spent living only half-full. What worth was a pony that couldn’t contend with the special talent fate had branded them with?

However, a half-full life was better than being dead.

She spun on her heel, running on the edge of the Everfree and into an area of the forest that wasn’t anything near as scary or dangerous. But even as these thoughts rushed through her head, she was still in a state of panic. She still had to get away. That’s what mattered.

She ran until the sun began to sink upon the horizon, and finally, she collapsed. Fluttershy was now as far from home as she could manage. And now, she was regretting it too.

“O-oh dear…” She gulped as she looked around. There was nothing around her but unfamiliar trees in an unfamiliar forest. There was no sound but the quiet whine of the wind and her own whimpers. Her hooves made quiet rustles in the leaves as she trotted along.

“Th-that’s okay, I’ll just k-keep walking in one direction. I’ll find a town eventually…” Each hoofstep trembled as she continued to walk along. The path before her became darker and darker as she followed it. Soon, the sun had set completely, and Fluttershy was wandering by dim moonlight. “Wh-what did I do to my-” Her side collided with something smooth, hard, and cold. She nearly lept out of her skin, letting out an ear-wrenching squeal of terror. Backpedaling hard, she got a look at her assailant…

A big rock.

“...heh.” She choked out a laugh at her own cowardice, “...excuse me, sir.”

Looking around, the stone wasn’t alone. Several other boulders circled another rock in a clearing of the forest. It looked like it was made by hoof, which luckily meant there was probably a town nearby here. Fluttershy let out a sigh of relief, spreading her wings and flapping just enough to land on top of one of the protruding rocks. As she peered over the treeline searching for signs of civilization all around, her back hoof gave out, and she fell. She screeched, attempting to claw back up with her front hooves as she slid.

Unbeknownst to her, her hoof had grazed the indentation of a line of spellwork carved into the great stone. Awakened, the stone lit an eerie green color throughout the indents.

Fluttershy slid to the ground, landing in a heap at the foot of the now green-lined bolder and panting heavily. It was before her adrenaline wore off, though, before she felt as if she were being dragged off by her back hooves. She looked up, staring straight into a portal of seemingly endless magic that was pulling her in rapidly.

Her shriek lasted only a moment before she disappeared, and the portal shut behind her.

---

Adagio Dazzle rapped her knuckles on the counter impatiently. She watched as her younger and older sisters all but wrestled for the blender in their apartment. Obviously, Aria had the advantage here, but Sonata was fighting back for once.

“Your stupid protein powder gets all over the blender! And you never clean it all off so I have to scrape it! Arrrriiiii!” Sonata whined.

“I don’t care how culinary you are, this is our blender, not yours!” Aria snapped back.

Adagio watched in annoyance as the two fought. Her eyes followed the blender back and forth as it traded sides. There was no point in doing more than simply watching the debacle fall apart in front of her. These idiots were going to bicker no matter what Adagio did, so why bother? Most of the time, these petty spats were entertaining enough. Today, though, it was just annoying.

She rolled her eyes, turning away from the two and walking over to the couch. A human Christmas special was on the television at the moment. She mindlessly leaned against the back of the couch to watch it. At least it would drown out the argument behind her.

That was when it happened.

Her breath hitched as she felt a sudden flicker of Equestrian magic below her. It was like it suddenly exploded from nothing, then dulled to a power source that was smaller, but more stagnant. She gasped loudly enough to catch the attention of her two sisters. Aria was at her side at once, tossing the blender to Sonata. Without a second thought, Sonata put the machine on the counter, following behind Aria.

“Did you two feel that?!” Adagio gasped, panting a little as she looked over at her sisters.

“Uhhh, no?” Sonata blinked.

It’s Equestrian magic! And it’s close!” Adagio pulled herself up, away from Aria’s grasp. “Hurry! We can’t allow some idiot human to snatch it away!”

“...Is this going to be like the last time you sensed Equestrian magic?” Aria called as the other two ran ahead, stopping to lock their apartment behind them. “I don’t want another lake incident!”

“It’s not like that!” Adagio snapped back, “It’s actually here, and it’s close!” She ran into the elevator, Sonata right on her tail. Because Aria had stopped to lock the door, she was lagging behind.

“Keep the door ope-!” The elevator door shut right before Aria could get to it, and Adagio made no move to hold it open.

Sonata blinked, “Um, shouldn’t we have helped, Dagi?”

“She’s a big girl, Sonata. We’re on a tight schedule and it’s her fault she didn’t make it in time. She can use the stairs.” Adagio replied simply, rolling her eyes.

Sonata tapped her fingers together nervously, “I know this is important and all, but…” She sighed and trailed off, figuring Adagio was just going to be Adagio about it, “Nevermind.”

“She’s a soldier anyways, it’s her job to stay in shape.” Adagio continued, “I’m doing her a favor, really.”

“I guess.” Sonata sighed.

The elevator hit ground floor, and a hard-faced Aria was waiting for them. “It would’ve taken you two extra seconds, Dazzle.”

“Well, you beat us down here instead.” Adagio said, brushing Aria aside as she walked out of the elevator, “Now, power awaits, ladies~!”

Sonata frowned, looking over at her older sister, “...I’m sorry, Ari… I should’ve done something.”

“Yes, you should’ve.” Aria grumbled, following their ‘fearless leader’. With a sigh, Sonata did as well.

The three made their way outside, following the trail of magic that Adagio had felt. It had appeared suddenly across the street from their apartment block, in an alley between two of the buildings.

“Right here. It’s somewhere down this alley.” Adagio said, leading the way into the dark. It wasn’t a very long alleyway, so it shouldn’t have been that hard to find whatever artifact had been dropped here from Equestria.

“U-u-u-um, h-hello?” Squeaked the voice of a little girl. “P-Please, don’t hurt me!” She shivered, backing into a wall. Her big, wide eyes stared at the three sirens. “I-I just want to get back home!”

For once, Adagio’s voice died in her throat. This was the source of Equestrian magic. This girl was nearly bleeding it.

“Hi there! We’re not going to hurt you.” Sonata kneeled down in front of the girl, completely oblivious, “Where do you live?”

The girl mumbled something barely audible.

“Um, I’m sorry?”

“...ponyville…” She muttered a bit louder.

“One more time, I didn’t really get-”

“Equestria!” Adagio exclaimed finally, “She’s from Equestria, Sonata! She’s the source of the power we were looking for!”

The girl shied away even more at the loud exclamation.

“Don’t scare her, Dagi!” Sonata’s voice was surprisingly firm for… well, Sonata. “Sorry about her. Are you really from Equestria?”

She nodded hesitantly. Though the two strange women in the back were scary, at least the lady in front was nice. “I-I’m n-normally a pegasus. But, I have n-no idea what I am now!” She shivered, eyes going wide again at the sight of her own hands.

Sonata offered her own hand, “You’re what’s called a human, and Aria used to be a pegasus too! Well, sorta.”

“...What do we do now?” Aria asked Adagio after leaning into her, sour mood dropped for now.

“She still has power.” Adagio muttered back, “Power that we need. Give me some time, and I’ll figure out a way to take it from her. ...I’ll have to do it quickly, though.”

Aria gave her a sharp look. “She’s a kid, Adagio.”

“A kid who needs to get back home, just like us,” Adagio said simply. “Don’t look at me like that, I’m not going to hurt her. I’m no monster. We just have a common goal, and she’s useful.”

“So?” Aria raised an eyebrow.

“So, we take care of her, clearly.” Adagio said, “Beyond the obvious ‘we can’t let her starve’, she could be our ticket out of here.”

“How do we tell Sonata that?” Aria asked, raising an eyebrow, “Something tells me she won’t like ‘let’s take advantage of a little girl’ as a plan she could get behind.”

Adagio smirked, “Leave it to me~” She turned from Aria, approaching Sonata and the girl, who were mid-conversation. “You poor, sweet child! Don’t you even worry, we’ll take you in and keep you safe. This is a big new world, and we can show you everything you need to know about it! We’re professionals.”

She shied away again at the sudden, bombastic exclamation. Sonata blinked as well.

“Oh, right, sorry.” Adagio kneeled down with one leg forward, not quite sitting as Sonata was. “What’s your name, little filly?”

“F-fluttershy…” She mumbled quietly.

“Dear, you really need to learn to speak up,” Adagio said.

As they attempted to communicate, Sonata looked over to Aria with a sudden doubting expression. She raised an eyebrow at her older sister, nodding her head toward Adagio. Aria responded by shrugging and rolling her eyes. When Adagio’s eyes settled on Sonata again, the woman was smiling.

“Oh! What was that? I toootally blanked there.” Sonata said, her voice chipper as usual once again.

“She’s shying away from me, did you happen to catch her name?” Adagio asked again.

“Fluttershy.” Sonata responded, “She’s a pegasus who likes animals.”

“Great, well, there are animals here too.” Adagio said quickly before standing up, “Come on, well! Let’s not sit here in the middle of a dirty alleyway, let’s get you set up in our apartment!”

Fluttershy grimaced, scooting back against the wall again.

Adagio turned around to see no one was following, “...Well, would you rather stay out here? Without food, or shelter?”

Fluttershy bit her lip, looking down at the clothes she was wearing. To say the least, she wasn’t wearing anything appropriate for the December weather. It was either follow these ladies or wander around in a world she didn’t know anything about. Sonata had said the mean-looking lady was a pegasus, so at the very least there was another pony here. And they all seemed to know where she was from, so they probably knew of a way back. All of it pointed to staying with these ladies.

“...N-No. I’ll come.” Fluttershy said at a level that only Sonata would hear.

“Ooooh! Yes! This is going to be great!” Sonata grinned down, helping the girl steady herself on her feet for the first time as Adagio began walking again. “We’ll get you whatever you want tomorrow! It’ll be a big celebration! Right, Adagio~?” She gave the back of her sister’s head a sly smile.

“Yes, yes, sounds great indeed.” Adagio waved a hand, not looking back.

“Woo! Great~!” She smiled down at Fluttershy, “We’re going to have a lot of fun!”

“Y-Yeah.” She nodded back, being helped into the apartment building by Sonata. “So you’re all lost p-ponies too?”

Sonata gave a sad, knowing smile, “Well, we’re not ponies, but we’re definitely lost. We were brought here a long, long time ago, and we’ve been lost ever since.”

“...You’re not ponies?” Fluttershy asked, “B-But you said-”

“We’re sirens. We used to cause strife among you ponies before we were banished here.” Aria cut in, not in the mood for 20 questions. Great, this filly was the inquisitive type.

Fluttershy shrunk away again. Sonata glared at the back of her head. “...That’s Aria, my big sister. The lady next to her is Adagio.”

“And you’re Sonata, right?” Fluttershy asked.

“Yep! I’m the youngest. Dagi’s in the middle.”

“Okay.” Fluttershy nodded, shying away from Sonata less, “...Miss Sonata, what is this strange place? A-And why did you cause… strife?”

“Right now? We’re in a place also called Cloudsdale. But humans can’t be in the clouds, so it’s a city on the ground.” Sonata said, “And the planet’s called Earth.”

“...Like Earth ponies?”

“Errr, sorta?” Sonata chuckled. “I dunno how to explain it, really.”

“You’re in a different dimension, some things linger.” Adagio shrugged.

“And the strife thingy?” Fluttershy reminded.

“It means cruelty. We spread cruelty.” Aria said.

Cruelty?!” Fluttershy gasped, “You’re all evil?!”

ARIA! You’re the worst!” Sonata snapped.

“What? There’s no need to sugarcoat it!” Aria exclaimed back, “We all know what we are now, Sonata. There’s no reason to hide it, and she has a right to know.” Her hard gaze set on the trembling girl. “No. We aren’t evil.”

“B-but you said-”

“Not evil. We do what we have to.” Aria said, “I know most of us would choose to change it if we could, but we can’t. Get used to it. You have no one else.”

“B-But why do you spread cruelty?! I don’t understand! You seem so nice.” Fluttershy croaked out.

“Later,” Aria said.

“But-”

Later,” Aria snarled. “We’ll still tell you, but not now.”

Fluttershy whimpered, and Sonata’s glare hardened. Aria shrugged, stepping into the elevator first this time, and holding it open for the rest of them. Adagio strode in like the diva she knew she was, and Sonata helped Fluttershy in. The filly stayed quiet for the rest of the short jaunt to the sirens’ apartment.

“Welcome to our abode!” Sonata exclaimed, giving Fluttershy a weak smile. The smile faded when she realized the young girl had tears running down her cheeks. Sonata let out a sigh, “Come on, you must be tired. You can take my room.”

“No.” Aria said, opening her bedroom door, “She can take mine. I’ll be on the couch.” Sonata and Fluttershy were equally confused, but Sonata was dumbfounded.

“You, uh, sure Ari?” Sonata asked.

“Yes. When you sleep on the couch, you get up early. When you get up early, you bang around in the kitchen.” Aria said with a frown, “It’s best for all of us that you stay in your own room.”

“...Right.” Sonata blushed, scratching the back of her head.

“Good. Now, tomorrow we’ll deal with everything that comes with having her around.” Aria said. “I’ll get the couch ready.” She disappeared into the bathroom to grab herself some sheets.

“Come on, Fluttershy, let’s get you tucked in,” Sonata said, leading the girl into Aria’s room and setting her down on the bed. Fluttershy said nothing, being tucked in by the siren up to her chin. “...Don’t worry,” Sonata assured, “They can be mean and all, but they’re good once you get to know them. And sorry about Aria, she’s a bit rough around the edges. Well… you’ll see. Just give us all some time to adjust. G’night, Fluttershy.”

“N-night,” Fluttershy responded quietly.

Sonata slowly backed out of the room, closing the door behind her. Behind her, she saw Aria and Adagio waiting for her patiently. Anger rose in her chest.

“Good work, Sonata.” Adagio nodded, “It’s important that she’s comfortable.”

“Yeah, that’d be a bit easier if Ari wasn’t so blunt!” Sonata’s eyes locked on Aria.

“Because I know you.” Aria grunted, “You would’ve sugar coated things for her.”

“What’s so wrong with that?!”

“What’s wrong with it is that she would’ve found out on her own if we hadn’t told her.” Aria said, “Then how do you think she would’ve reacted to it?”

Sonata bit her lip, “We could’ve waited, Aria!”

“And we would’ve forgotten before it was too late. Trust me, it’s better in the end.” She insisted, going over to the couch. “...Though I wasn’t going to tell her that she took my room because it’s better that I’m on watch tonight.”

“...Awful.” Sonata muttered.

“What’s up with you, Sonata?” Adagio asked, raising an eyebrow, “You’re suddenly very opinionated about all of this.”

“I don’t know… Maybe I actually have a heart about this kind of stuff.” Sonata frowned, crossing her arms. “Unlike you two.”

“What?” Adagio scoffed, “I do have a heart! Two, in fact!”

Sonata shook her head with a grimace, “...This is a lost filly, you two. Not a dumb teenager, not a human or pony to take advantage of. A little girl who’s scared, afraid, and probably stuck here with us. She has no idea what’s going on, and you two have been no help. Just think about that, ‘kay?” With that, Sonata went into her room, shutting her door.

Adagio let out a sigh, leaning herself against the wall. She and Aria locked eyes.

“It’s for our safety, Adagio. If we get home, maybe we can find others.” Aria shrugged the look away, and Adagio watched her fingers clench her amulet, “Do what you think we need.”

Adagio took in another breath, straightening her back, “Yes. Like you said earlier, this is what we are now. Sonata still just doesn’t understand. This is what’s best for us, and that filly’s our best shot back right now. I’m not going to risk throwing that chance away. ...Hurting her is out of the question, and I have all intention of bringing her back with us. But that means she can’t leave this house, though,” She looked over at Aria, “Understood?”

Aria nodded, leaning back on the couch. “Understood.”

Comments ( 27 )

Interesting premise but the beginning is a little confusing. Feels like we're missing some context.

8908860
I take it that you mean the very first scene, where Fluttershy is running?

This has all the makings of an intriguing story :raritystarry:

One thing I wasn't quite sure about though was why Fluttershy thought 'the mean one was a pegasus,' because at that point Aria hadn't said anything to her, and it had been Adagio kind of making a bad impression.

So they still have their necklaces, but Adagio sensed (or thought she sensed) Equestrian magic once before? Was that CHS, and they tried to investigate but found nothing?

I have some... concerns... about where the characterisation might be going, with Sonata being that protective and the other two being more callous, but I'm definitely interested to read more :twilightsmile:

8908866
yeah, I figure it's meant to be a mystery but the way we are just thrown right into it is a little disorienting and the timeline is unclear.

8908896
Mmm, thanks for the feedback. The rocks are supposed to be the mystery, not the timeline.
1. Pear Butter is still alive/around.
2. Equestria Fluttershy is a filly and on the ground. She also has her cutie mark.
So, not long after getting her cutie mark.

8908927
Ah OK that would have been my first guess but you might want to get rid of this bit:

She had failed to do the thing she was meant to do. What did that mean for her? That meant a life of chasing herself in circles, just like her brother. And she didn't want that for herself.

Zephyr is her younger brother so this shouldn't be an issue yet if its shortly after she got her cutie mark.

8908879
Thank you! As usual, there are always kinks to work out in a new story. :twilightblush:
- The first was more of an implied thing that I need to make clearer. "Mean" is more in reference to Aria's more intimidating look than anything that was said. (Aria's always shown to be frowning and crossing her arms, for example.) That's simple line for me to add in to clear the confusion.
- The "lake incident" is sort of a noodle incident. As far as the portal goes, it's simply a coincidence that they'd never thought to look thoroughly there. The few times they've passed by, the portal was closed.
- As far as the characterization is going, it's all purposeful. Aria and Adagio have been ramped up to be just a little more indifferent/callous than in most fan depictions for the sake of the story. I hope that Sonata's stayed Sonata, though.

Before I read this, I must know: Is the filly Fluttershy or whoever the other tag is for?

8908985
No; that is for a character later on who will come into play. They don't have a tag, and I'm actually somewhat grateful for that.
EDIT: Oooorrr maybe they do. Whoops. Forgot about the recent tag update. I think I'll take that off for now.

Hmmm...this is definitely an interesting premise, but this was really fast. Like, Fluttershy just accepted everything immediately and is along for the ride fast. Hmm....I don't know.

8909019
Thanks for the feedback. I understand that Fluttershy accepting this was a bit fast, but she felt as if there was nowhere else to go. I'll try expanding on that as things go along.

8909040
Sounds good to me.

8908966 I quite understand the needs of the story on characterisation - it wouldn't be much of a story without drama, conflict and one or more antagonists. I just hope it doesn't make the characters less enjoyable.

Regarding Sonata, it probably depends how you see her and stuff. I don't think there's anything in canon to suggest she has any shred more decency and compassion than the other two, she just gets excited about lunch :twilightsheepish: But it certainly fits that she'd be more likely to care than the other two. The thing that really stood out was that if Adagio is half as clever and quick to adapt here as she was in Rainbow Rocks, she should have realised that immediately and let Sonata do all the befriending while she and Aria kept their distance, because it's more of Sonata's strength. Which she kind of did do, but the fact that she then interrupted it sort of suggests she hadn't meant to or wasn't really thinking.

Nice start to a fic! Hope to see more soon!:yay:

Nice start.
I'm wondering when this exactly takes place though.
5$ say they are all going to fall in love with her.

Canon MLP just got screwed to nine kinds of Tarturous now. I’m eager to see this progress.

and yet another great premise left for dead...
edit: it's also a greatly written piece. damn shame it's about a year dead

9611894
I think "left for dead" is a bit too quick a judgment. While my priorities are on other subjects for the moment, there's a good reason this story isn't canceled or on hiatus. This will still see updates soon!

9611916
i sure hope so
and i apologize for jumping to conclusions
i've just seen that song and dance way too many times and thought i was in for another tired rehash

9611954
It's alright. The reason that I jumped onto the comment as quickly as I did was that I know that you aren't the only one thinking this.
I'm used to authors dropping things and disappearing on other stories as well, and I totally get it. I don't plan for any story of mine to truly go on hiatus like that.

(Plus, the next chapter's already halfway done, lol)

9611964
>next chapter's already halfway done
dank
eta on the release?

9611972
Within the next week or so.

9612029
noice
expect me there

9612029
where's the next chapter

Interesting... the strength of the Dazzlings' characterization is quite promising. I'll keep my eyes on this one.

10156546
Pretty sure the stories dead. Especially if they don't answer back in some time. Damn shame too it had promise

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