• Published 2nd Jan 2021
  • 621 Views, 168 Comments

Retcon - Beige Monkfish



A pony with no memory awakens in a strange facility.

  • ...
1
 168
 621

Epilogue Five - End

“How’s it going?”

Retcon glanced up from her hot chocolate to see Sparkler making her way through the crowded café, a croissant held in her magic. Smiling, she waved a wing in greeting as the unicorn took the seat opposite. “Hey Amethyst Star.”

Sparkler rolled her eyes. “D’you have to be so formal all the time? I told you, call me Ammy.”

“Aww. But it’s a nice name.”

Sparkler snorted. “Thanks. So how’re you settling in?”

“Oh, well I guess. I have a fruit bowl now. I make sure there’s at least three different types of fruit in it at any time,” Retcon said proudly. “I also got some house plants, so the inside of the house looks like outside.”

“Hah, sounds good.” She paused a moment to glance away, taking a bite of her croissant, then leaned closer slightly. “You eating well?” she asked, her voice lowered.

Retcon nodded lightly. “I’m getting by well enough.” She tapped the sides of her forehooves together absently. She had already noticed the spread of warmth in her chest. “Mostly from what, y’know… you and Roseluck can get me, but I talk to a lot of ponies who are kind enough to offer snacks. S-small bit here and there, but it keeps me… comfortable.” A slight knitting of the brow. “Does it… Are you-”

Pfft.” Sparkler waved a hoof dismissively. “I have one evening a week where I have two double hay burgers for dinner while lying on the couch. Okay, sure, helping you makes me a bit worn-out, but it’s way more productive than getting wasted and waking up with a hangover. Less unpleasant, too.” Her emotions tasted earnest. “It’s fine. Seriously.”

“Uh huh.” Retcon averted her eyes downward to the table. “I just… I like to be sure…” She lifted her drink with a hoof.

Sparkler rolled her eyes. “You worry too much. Look, if it becomes a problem I’ll tell you, so stop your mithering.”

“Mhmm. …You understand why I worry though, right?”

“…Yeah,” relented Sparkler, her expression fading. “I get it. Well, as best as I can, anyway.” She held eye contact. “But you understand it from my perspective too, I hope?”

Recton sighed. “…To be honest, I try not to.”

“Ah. Well there’s your problem.” She took another bite of the croissant. The busy sounds of the café washed over the two of them for several seconds. “Bet it’s tasty though,” Sparkler abruptly said with a smirk.

Retcon frowned. “What.”

“The hot chocolate,” the unicorn nodded at the mug. “Bet it tastes like it’s made with love.”

Retcon’s expression soured, and she held her mug closer.

“Come on, I’m just messing with you,” Sparkler chuckled. “Am I right, though? What am I missing out on?”

Retcon huffed, turning away. After a moment, “It tastes warm.”

“That’s not a flavour,” said Sparkler, raising an eyebrow.

“Fine…” Shaking her head, she steadied her breathing. “It’s raining. You’re home. You have a blanket over you, you’re holding a hot drink. There’s a fire in the hearth. And… someone’s thinking of you. You’re wanted.” She looked Sparkler in the eye. “That’s what it tastes like.”

Sparkler blinked. “…Woah…”

“All of that just means it tastes warm, though,” Retcon shrugged, taking a sip.

“If that’s what it’s like… I dunno, it’s weird that you fight it so much.”

Retcon drew a short breath. “I understand, but… it’s hard. There’s always that voice at the back of my brain saying I’m doing something wrong. It feels-” …This isn’t going to sound right, but I can’t think of any other way to put it. “…It feels like I… I don’t deserve it, if that makes sense.”

Sparkler paused mid-chew, her emotions souring. “…What?”

“Well, like-…” After a pause, Retcon shook her head. “Forget it.”

“No, come on.” The sensations were muddy. “You can tell me.”

Retcon sighed, turning her head away. “…You know… Do you ever get compliments, and it makes you uncomfortable? Like, it’s nice, but, at the same time, it doesn’t feel right. It feels like it’s not for me, like it’s supposed to be for someone else but I’m taking it. It feels dishonest to accept it.”

“…Yeesh…” Sparkler muttered. “…Retcon, do you trust me?”

Retcon nodded slowly. I kinda rely on you to live. Yeah I trust you.

“Alright…” Resting both forelimbs in the table, Sparkler leaned forward with an intent look in her eyes. “Then trust me when I say that you mean a lot to me, okay. Nah-ah, I don’t wanna hear it,” she cut off Retcon’s attempted response. “I mean it. We may not know each other all that well, but you’re my friend. I care about you, and I know for certain the others at work feel the same. More than you give us credit for, apparently. When somepony is offering something to you, like a compliment or whatever, it’s yours. You can have it, okay?”

Retcon nodded numbly. “O-Okay.”

“Right, because if we weren’t okay with it, you wouldn’t be able to get anything anyway.”

“Okay. Okay, okay, I get it.” …That kelpie business really stuck with you, didn’t it.

“Good.” Sparkler crosses her forelimbs, grinning lightly. “So, do you think you could maybe chill just a bit?”

“Hmm,” Retcon pretended to ponder. “I’ll think about it.”

By her expression, Sparkler seemed to approve. The busy ambience of the café filled the lapse between them as Retcon returned to her drink, and Sparkler finished her croissant.

“You know,” Sparkler started abruptly, “the fact that this worries you only shows that you’re a good person.”

“Oh stop that, please,” Retcon grumbled loudly, holding her head in her hooves. “I just said I don’t like compliments.”

Sparkler giggled. “Alright, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Her levity sobered. “So… do you not feel like you should be called a good person?”

“…I dunno. It just… It makes me uncomfortable to think about it… A bit, I guess.”

“Mmh…” Sparkler gave her a long look.

“So, how’s things at work?” Retcon asked quickly. “Everyone good?”

“Yeah, they’re all good. It’s been a bit quiet lately.” Sparkler smirked. “That suits me fine of course, but it does make me… antsy. Like something’s going to happen.” She snorted in amusement. “I think Shower feels the same way to be honest. She’s been a bit restless lately, y’know? I guess an ex-Guard doesn’t like being too idle.”

“Huh. Do you think she’d want to come visit Ponyville, if she’s not busy?” Retcon asked hopefully. “I haven’t seen her since I left.”

Sparkler gave a wry smile. “You do realise you can drop by the office whenever you like, right?” She shook her head at Retcon’s expression. “No, don’t start. You know you’re welcome to visit.”

“But I don’t want to intrude, you do important stuff there.”

“Sky offered you a job didn’t she?”

Retcon huffed. “Yeah.”

“Well then,” Sparkler concluded. “By the way, have you thought about that?”

Retcon rested a cheek on her hoof. “I’m not sure. It’s a great offer, but… I’ve only been living in the outside world for a few months. I want to learn more about it first.” She rolled her eyes. “I had too many silly questions when I was with you guys. Still learning.” She allowed herself a small smile. “Maybe though.”

Sparkler smirked. “You did good in Canterlot. You’d be a great asset to the team.”

Retcon hid a blush. What did I say about compliments…

“Hah, Gurney’s had his claws full though,” the unicorn continued, her voice dropping. “The kelpie’s been acting… weird.”

“Weird?” Retcon frowned, lifting her head in concern. “You mean aggressive?”

“Hmm, not really, no. In fact, the opposite.” Sparkler dropped her tone. “She’s been… kinda reclusive. Talking less, not even resurfacing for food.”

“She’s not eating?”

“Oh no, she’s still eating. I think she waits until Gurney leaves.” Sparkler bit the inside of her lip. “…She’s been… polite.”

“Oh.” Retcon blinked. “…That’s a big change.”

“Yeah… I dunno, I reckon she’s been thinking about things lately.”

Retcon quirked an eyebrow. “Do you think…”

“…Yeah.” Sparkler’s emotions were muddied. “I don’t know what it is, but after you spoke… Tch, sorry to bring that up.”

Retcon shrugged. “It’s cool.” Glad she can’t read emotions too. “How’s Gurney doing though?”

“He’s fine, as always. He’s been scratching his head over all this, but you know him. Always doing well, never complains about anything. Heh, too stoic for his own good. I just don’t think he’s the type to tell his problems to other people. He doesn’t like getting serious about things. I don’t think he likes talking about himself much.”

“He’s very hard to read,” Retcon nodded. “…He told me he had a sister once.”

“Wait, really?” There was a jolt in Sparkler’s emotions. “I never heard him talk about his family. What did he say?”

“Oh… Umm…” It felt so long ago… “I think… he was giving me advice on something, said his sister gave him the same advice…” Oh! “It was about-” Retcon suddenly felt very self-conscious, glancing awkwardly up into the unicorn’s eyes. “Uhmm, it was about… predator advice stuff…”

“Oh…” The notes in Sparkler danced briefly, before her expression resolved on a wolfish grin. “Oh really? You two forming your own little clique, are we? Sharing notes?”

Retcon shot her a sour look.

Sparkler sighed. “Well I hope you don’t forget about us prey creatures when you-”

“Stop it.”

Sparkler giggled. “Oh come on! I’m just messing with you!” She rolled her eyes at Retcon’s grunt in response. “Look, I’ll take it back if you lighten up, yeah?”

Looking away from the table, Retcon snorted. “I don’t think of you like that…”

“I know. And I wouldn’t care if you did.”

“Mmh…” she grunted noncommittally.

“Oh, Lemony’s moving house,” Sparkled piped up before a silence could settle.

Retcon blinked at the sudden shift. “Huh?”

“Yeah. Got her stuff packed up, she’s had the last week off work to pack. She’s lived in Canterlot… basically since college I think? As long as I’ve known her.”

“Oh. Huh.” I wish we’d been able to say goodbye properly. What was that…

“So do you know Farrier’s Croft?”

“Umm…”

“You’re on Narrow Street, right?”

Retcon frowned. “Yeah?”

Sparkler nodded. “Hm. Farrier’s Croft isn’t far.”

“Right…” I don’t…

“Anyway…” Sparkler lifted a napkin to her mouth and stood abruptly from the table. “It’s nearly three, I need to go pick up my sister from school. It’s been fun catching up though!”

“Oh! Umm…” Awkwardly Retcon stood too. “Y-Yeah. Uhh, thanks.” She managed a genuine smile. “I like talking with you, Ammy.”

Sparkler grinned. “Aww! You too!” She glanced briefly to the side. “Oh, before I go…” Her horn lit up, and an envelope appeared in her magic aura and floated gently towards Retcon. “You might want to take a look at this.”

In her surprise, Retcon felt herself reaching for her own magic for a short moment to take the letter, but caught herself. “Umm, what’s this?” she asked.

Sparkler’s eyes darted to the letter, then back to Retcon. “Someone you might be interested in talking to. Up to you though. Don’t feel like you have to.”

Retcon looked down at the letter. “Okay…”

“Think about it.” Sparkler smiled warmly. “Take care, Retcon. I’ll see you around!”


Retcon stalked down the twilit streets of Canterlot. She kept a cautious eye on the groups of ponies she passed by. They were often in groups, chatting and laughing. Some of them were loud, and she dreaded the thought of one of them talking to her.

Thankfully, nopony paid her much attention, looking for all the world like just another pony enjoying their evening. That suited her fine.

Just as the letter had stated, she spotted the sign for The Black Horse on her right halfway down the street. A bar, where other ponies gather when the sun went down to talk with one another. A place she would never have thought to visit ordinarily.

Gently pushing open the door, she glanced warily around, taking in the place. There were no more than a dozen ponies inside. Most were seated in small groups around tables, some seated at the bar.

Retcon resisted the urge to grimace. Bit busy, isn’t it?

She shook the thought from her head. Brushing her curled auburn mane from her eyes with a sandy-furred forehoof, she stepped inside, giving each stranger a quick once-over as she made her way to the bar.

“Ah, welcome!” called a voice.

Her heart leapt to her throat, but she managed to keep herself from jumping. Her attention was drawn to an orange earth pony behind the bar who was looking at her. “Uh-”

“Your’s must be a new face unless I’m very much mistaken!” the earth pony said, his emotions twisting towards the upbeat. “What can I get ya?”

Oh! He must be the place-owner and vendor of drinks. Forcing her nerves to calm, she took a seat at the bar and smiled disarmingly. “Good evening! I’m sorry, I’m kinda new, what would you recommend?”

There was a spike of pride. “Hrmm… Have you ever tried pear cider?” Retcon shook her head. “How about a half of Bramble’s Finest? It’s sourced from a lovely couple’s farm at the base of the Canterhorn. Top notch stuff, but kinda unknown ‘round here.”

Retcon nodded. “I like the sound of that, yes please.”

The earth pony grinned goofily. “One half pint of Bramble’s, comin’ up!”

Retcon paid, and turned on her seat to glance around at the bar. Holding the glass in her hoof, she tasted it cautiously. The drink was odd; sweet, though not as sweet as the canned drinks, and with a strange if not unpleasant aftertaste, feeling oddly warm despite the coolness of the drink.

Well my opener worked. Glad I figured that out ahead of time. Saying I’m new would’ve worked better if he hadn’t said that first, but I couldn’t think of anything else…

“So, night out on the town?” the earth pony asked, shuffling empty glasses around behind the bar.

Retcon shook her head. “I’m meeting someone here.”

“Oh?” He raised a brow. “Newcomer too?”

“No. I believe they’re a regular.”

“Oh indeed?”

She took another sip of her drink, nodding. “This is rather nice.”

“Well that’s good to hear,” the earth pony replied happily. “You just give me a shout if you need anything.”

Retcon smiled politely as he turned, retreating to the other end of the bar. She returned to her drink, sampling it contemplatively as she tried to marshal her nerves. The unknown location, the conversation with an overbearing stranger, no one for her to hide behind and do the talking for her, the situation was grating.

Losing herself in her thoughts, she almost jumped at the sound of voices nearby. Glancing up, she noticed a large unicorn stallion settling into a seat at the bar, a few spaces down from her. He had the white coat, blue mane and tell-tale golden armour of the Guards, but despite the uniform he was instantly recognisable. She watched out of the corner of her eye as he spoke in familiar terms with the orange earth pony and ordered a drink. Taking a larger gulp from her own, Retcon waited until the earth pony moved away before she got up with her glass, and took a seat next to the Guard.

The Guard gave her a side glance as she set her glass down. “Mind if I join you?” she asked. Her heart was hammering in her chest as the question.

The Guard set his untouched drink back down, his magic sparking out as he looked at her. “Ma’am?”

“It’s Cobalt, isn’t it?” she asked, managing not to stutter.

A light frown played at his face. “That’s right ma’am. Corporal Cobalt Storm.”

She nodded, smiling lightly. “It’s nice to meet you again.”

Concern. “I… I apologise, I’m afraid I can’t quite… Can you remind me?”

Recon glanced down at her pale forelegs. “Yeah, you won’t recognise me. Name’s Retcon.”

“Nice to meet you, Retcon,” he replied. “That’s… an unusual name.”

“Yes,” she said weakly. “It is.”

Cobalt’s expression hid the sudden flash of emotions that flared up within him. Retcon nodded along at the recognition, “Yeah, I looked a bit different at the Institute, didn’t I? Sorry I didn’t recognise you.”

Cobalt’s eyes arrowed almost imperceptibly. “…How can I help you, ma’am?”

“Well… I actually just wanted to say thank you.”

Confusion. “Huh?”

Retcon glanced around the bar. “We met here before, didn’t we?”

There were a few second before Cobalt’s eyes widened. “…Oh…”

Nodding weakly, Retcon returned to her drink, ignoring the furtive glances the orange earth pony had been surreptitiously giving them. “…You, uhh… You saved my life. I just… I wanted to say thanks.”

“I-…” Cobalt gaped. “I-… What…?”

Retcon rested her cheek on a forehoof, looking at him patiently. “I’ll give you a minute.”

Shaking his head, Cobalt turned to stare deep into his drink, brow furrowed. Wafts of various emotions sang from him, some of which were starting to give Retcon a headache. Eventually, “You were… We met here a few months ago?”

“That’s right.” According to the letter anyway. Not that I’d remember.

Cobalt frowned. “What do you mean, I saved you?”

“You listened.” Retcon lifted her head. “I was… At the time, I didn’t have much time left. You helped me, when you had every reason not to.” She glanced down at her drink, tracing the condensation with a hooftip. “I paid for this with my own money, this cider. I have a house now, and friends.” She looked him in the eye. “Friends who know what I am, and who still want to be friends. I have a life now. When we met… I didn’t. So…” She nodded idly to herself, unable to maintain eye contact. “…Thank you.”

Cobalt blinked slowly. “…Uhh…”

“Yeah. So uh, that’s all I wanted to say. Heh.” Retcon gabbed her glass and made to get up.

“…I always wondered what happened to you,” Cobalt said, halting Retcon as she stood. “…Just…” He sighed. “That was a weird night.”

Retcon snorted, after a moment settling herself back down. “I can imagine.”

Though still agitated, his emotions seemed to be levelling out at a more comfortable pitch. “…So where do you live, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Ponyville,” she replied, smiling. “It’s nice there. Quiet.”

“Heh, it certainly sounds it.” He took a sip of his drink. “The new Princess lives there, doesn’t she?”

Retcon nodded. “She does. In a tree house.”

“Oh really?” Cobalt smirked. “Not many palaces out in the sticks, I gather?”

Retcon shrugged. “Not her style.”

Surprise. “You spoke to her?”

“Mmhmm,” she affirmed. “She’s quite nice. Likes it when you treat her like normal, not like a Princess.”

“Hah. I’m a Guard. We don’t really do that. Formality is part of the job.”

“Still, I’m just saying,” she said, grinning. “Oh, she figured me out, by the way.”

A twist of alarm. “What?”

Retcon giggled. “She’s pretty smart. I didn’t stand a chance.”

Cobalt gave her a wary side look. “So… she knows? …What happened?”

“Well…” She cradled her glass. “We just talked. I was honest with her, and… we came to an understanding.”

Cobalt nodded along. “I see…”

Retcon smiled at him. “Thanks for not freaking out, by the way.”

He looked back at her appraisingly. “Thank you for being honest.”

“I’d be dead had I not,” she said wryly.

Cobalt hummed. “…Do you… find enough food?”

“I do, yes, thank you. I have friends who are… okay with helping.” She suppressed a grin. “You can relax, by the way, I’m getting nothing from you.”

“…R-Right.” Momentary sourness.

“…Have you come across anyone else like me?” she asked tentatively.

“…No. No one else yet.”

“Hrm…”

Cobalt gave her a look. “Have you?”

Retcon shook her head. “No.”

“It’s only a matter of time though, right?”

“Right.” She sighed. “…It would be nice to know what happened I guess.” Find out what a real changeling is like. Would we get along? …Would anyone know me? Who was I back then? I know it doesn’t matter, but… I’m curious about where I came from, even if it doesn’t define me anymore. She gave Cobalt a hard look. “You’ll let me know if you do though, right? Me or the Institute. If I can live here like normal, then… Well…”

Cobalt nodded, a smile gradually forming. “I can do that.”

Author's Note:

And with that...

Thank you so much if you've made it this far, I really hope you've enjoyed reading Retcon!

This will be the final epilogue chapter, my apologies for taking so long to get to this. As mentioned in the Farewell blog, I don't really have the free writing time that I had when I was writing the main story. In the past few months since the story ended I've been focusing on a lot of other things (good things, just busy things writing other stuff) to the point that the drive I somehow managed to get while writing Retcon has pretty much dissipated. That's not a bad thing of course! More so, I think at this point I've said all I wanted to say and covered as much of the story points I wanted, so it's time to move on.

I did initially have other ideas for further epilogue chapters, but at this stage I don't think it's feasible that I'd ever be able to get to them. Still, where we left off with Epilogue Four was alright, but not the planned end for the story. The way this chapter ended was planned as one of the possible story closers for a long time. I'm much happier to be able to close the story out with this chapter and leave it here.

The only thing I feel wasn't wrapped up properly was how we saw Lemony last. Lemony was very rushed and distracted during her goodbye in the final chapter. The idea behind that was to intentionally have a slightly unsatisfying parting, but then for Lemony to show up in an epilogue and tie things off properly. Unfortunately I had a lot of difficulty trying to set that scene up and just had to drop it. The way her story ends in this chapter isn't ideal, but hopefully it's a little better now than it had been left in Chapter 29. Perhaps you can fill in the blanks as you see fit from there.

Oh, before I go, there are currently two ciphers remaining that are unsolved! The cipher in the Prologue is the last of the main puzzles that hasn't been cracked, and is actually my favourite one because of what's been under your noses this entire time. The above-linked Farewell blog also had its own meta bonus cipher, and there are hints to both ciphers in the comments of that blog.

Thank you all so much for coming with me on one last journey! I said all my proper goodbyes in the blog (and you can see where to find me if you're interested in following what I'm doing elsewhere), but since this is going to be the final chapter and update to this story, and most likely the final thing I post on this site at all, I felt I should say it again.

Thanks for reading! Take care everyone!

-Beige Monkfish
Stefan

Comments ( 5 )

was very, very surprised to see this one show up in my tracking. i hope you enjoyed writing this story as much as i did reading it. you have made it into "The Best Fics" and will stay there for the forseeable future, good job. good luck with your future endeavours and, if nothing else, have fun out there. <3

KMCA #2 · July 12th · · ·

now to update my e-reader and read it all from the beginning again.

Toast #3 · July 13th · · ·

Thanks for the update :)

This was a very nice end to a very nice story. I had honestly kind of forgotten about the guard that took her in at the beginning. What a surprise bookend that you brought him back up right at the end! It's always nice to see a side bit character revisited, and with a personality to boot.

The follow up with Sparkler was good as well. Her going out to visit Retcon leaves us with a pleasant taste in our mouths, knowing that she still cares just as much as the rest about Retcon.

I know full well how hard it can be to work a scene in where it doesn't seem to want to go. I think with Lemony, it works out okay. Sure, she was in a rush in her last chapter, but we saw more than enough of her to know she still cares for and would eventually meet up again with Retcon. A bond like theirs wouldn't just disappear, after all.

Well, what a journey indeed. While it is sad that I caught you at the end of your Fimfiction writing career, I'm glad I was here for it at all. Writing does take a great deal of time and energy, especially to write something like you've done here. Being busy with life and focusing on that should always come first. If you don't have time or desire to write, there's no use in forcing it. Especially if you already have other projects, like your YouTube channel.

You've done some great works and made an amazing accomplishment with Retcon. I truly hope you're proud with what you've managed to complete.

And with that, I shall bid you adieu, Stefan. Wherever it is you forge a path to next, I wish you the very best.

“Yeah, they’re all good. It’s been a bit quiet lately.” Sparkler smirked. “That’s suits me fine of course, but it does make me… antsy. Like something’s going to happen.”

Thank you!

Login or register to comment