• Published 17th Jan 2021
  • 3,073 Views, 171 Comments

A Person of Her Own - Elu

A Russian girl wishes to have a different life where her own choices matter. Her wish is granted in an unexpected way - she becomes an alicorn and is transported to Equestria straight into the morning court at Canterlot Castle.

  • ...

Prologue: A Wish Fulfilled

"You should start thinking about having a family, dear."

Maria couldn't help but groan and roll her eyes to the point where it physically hurt. It wasn't the first time her mother insisted on her finding a boyfriend, moving out, and starting a family. Week by week, her mother's demands became more and more incessant to the point where not a single conversation could happen between the two without her bringing this 'issue' up. Not that Maria didn't want a boyfriend, but her mother's constant, unending nagging about it made her wish she liked girls instead just to spite her.

"Now, dear, that's not a good way to answer your mother," she said in her sweet yet stern voice, "As a young lady, you should think about your own future, especially now that you're becoming eighteen."

"Mom..." Maria sighed, "I don't want to start a family yet. I'm not even out of school."

"By the time your grandma was your age, she already had me," her mother reminded in the same way she did it countless times before, "So what if you've not finished school yet? God willing, everything will work out."

"But I don't want kids either," the girl said in the same tired tone, "You know how I was, and I don't want a young me."

"But everything worked out in the end, didn't it?" her mother insisted.

Maria couldn't help but groan and roll her eyes once more. Her mother was divorced, and the two were living in a two-room apartment in an old typical soviet housing block that hasn't seen repairs since the day it was built. Not only that, but they lived on the outskirts of a small city. The girl shuddered thinking about the awful-smelling and bumpy public transport ride she had to take for no less than twenty minutes - which was far more than she ever hoped to spend there - to get to an underfunded overcrowded district public school.

"But it didn't..." Maria almost growled, "We live in... in crap!"

"Language!" her mother said strictly as her frown deepened, "I've worked long and hard for us to afford it, and I will not have you disrespect my efforts."

Something in that tone and in the words of her mother made Maria's eye twitch as a wave of anger came to her.

"You know what, mom?" the girl snapped, standing up from the dining table in the tiny kitchen, her eyes afire, "I don't care about having a family, much less having kids! I don't want a husband, I don't want to be a housewife, and I, I don't want to hear any more of this crap!"

Shocked, her mother went completely silent, and the girl took this moment to storm back into her room, leaving her meal unfinished. She almost made her way there when her mother stood up.

"Now you come back here this instant!" she bellowed after she came to her senses, but by then Maria had opened the door to her room.

"Shut up!" she shouted back, slamming the door shut behind her and sliding the deadbolt, an addition she made herself despite her mother's protests a few months back, to the locked position. Then she sighed heavily and shakily, tears of anger streaming down her cheeks. She put her back against the door and slid down.

"You won't have breakfast tomorrow if you don't come right back out and apologize!" her mother continued, her voice barely muffled by the old wooden door.

"I don't care!" Maria yelled back, making her mother choke on her words, completely flabbergasted.

The girl put her head between her knees and hung her head, shaking from the adrenaline. It was the most she had ever talked back to her mother, and she felt both scared and proud of herself. Finally, she let at least some of her steam out, yet she knew something bad was going to happen next time she opened that door. No matter how much she shouted, no matter how hard she tried to convince her mother to change her mind about something, nothing worked, and she knew nothing would work.

Tomorrow, she would wake up and receive her punishment. Maybe her mother would forgive her on the account that it would be her birthday, but she wasn't going to count on that. Even worse, she would still have to go to school - a place she loathed with all her mind. Girls gossiping annoyingly about anything and everything, horny idiot boys hitting on her and other girls, and uninterested teachers just collecting their meager paycheck. She knew where it would end, too - she would graduate, but no one would care about her diploma. Her future was simple - she would likely end up as a cashier in one of the supermarkets around the city or in the service industry somewhere. She would then rent an overpriced apartment which she would only sleep in, and then it would be eight-hour workday for the rest of her life.

Day in, day out, her life was all the same, even making months and years feel like they never changed. Sure, the seasons changed, her classmates and herself grew up, but the rest was so monotonous she sometimes wondered whether it would - or could - ever end.

Sometimes, when she was feeling down, she imagined she was somewhere else. She could never properly imagine what it was, but she thought it would be a nice place where she could just be herself and, most importantly, be free. She wanted a place where no one demanded anything of her, where she could choose for herself who she wanted to be, where what she wanted actually mattered.

Unfortunately, she also knew it would never happen. So far, her only glimpse into that world was the online - her father, as distant as he usually was, gifted her a personal computer on her fifteenth birthday and paid monthly for the internet for the apartment. This allowed her, however briefly, to escape into a place where many other people existed, people she would have never met otherwise. Of course, not all of them were nice to her - there were plenty who wanted nothing more than to upset others. There were also people that were simply assholes - for that reason alone, she rarely used voice chat in the games she played.

However, her escape into that different reality was always temporary - she always had to return to her boring and predictable life at the end of the day. And, many times, she wished she didn't have to.

"My dear, don't look so down," someone said in perfect English from her bed. She swiftly raised her head and then stood up, startled. Right on her bed, a man in his forties sat, dressed in an impeccable blue suit and, most weirdly, a top hat. His eyes twinkled from under thin rectangular glasses, and a smirk played on his bearded face.

"Who are you and why do you say English?" she said, her Russian accent still thick after years of learning English.

"It is 'speak English', not 'say English'," the mysterious man calmly corrected, "As for me, it doesn't matter who I am, it matters what I do, as cliche as it may sound."

The girl slowly moved to sit on a swivel chair at her table, keeping her eyes on the stranger.

"Don't be afraid," he said reassuringly, "I didn't come here to harm you. In fact, quite the opposite. I am granting you one wish and one wish only."

"Is it... some sort of joke?" Maria said cautiously, her hand slowly inching towards a pepper spray she stored behind her monitor when she wasn't carrying it outside.

"Please, that won't be necessary," the man pointed at the can, "I am not some burglar or robber. Besides, think about it - how would I have entered your room? Your mother certainly wouldn't have let me in. You live on the fifth floor, and the window is closed from the inside. This should prove my supernatural authenticity."

"...Alright," the girl nodded, admitting he had a point. However, she decided she still had to be careful despite the seeming honesty of the stranger, "So... you grant wishes?"

"Certainly," the man nodded, the smile never leaving his face, the defining characteristics of which seemed to never register in the girl's mind, "One wish. Of course, it goes without saying you can't wish for more wishes in any way nor can you ask to be granted the ability to grant wishes. And one another important rule as well - you can make only personal wishes, so no 'world peace' or other such things. I'm terribly sorry, but they are... out of my expertise, shall we say."

"But what if I wished to be rich or become a president?"

"I would certainly be able to fulfill such a wish," the man nodded, "However, let me ask you this - what do you truly desire, young miss? What is it that you want more than anything else?"

"Who are you, really?" she blurted out.

"Is that your wish?" he raised his eyebrows.

"No, just asking."

"Well, in that case, the important answer is that, as I said to you initially, I grant wishes," the man chuckled, "I understand your curiosity, but I can't satisfy it. Oh, I can say one thing, an answer to a question certain people behind a watcher's wall might ask. The answer to that is no, I'm not him. That mismatched creature can stay where it does."

"Uh..." the girl blinked slowly in confusion.

"No need to concern yourself with that, my dear," the stranger said softly, "Now, I believe I asked you a question."

Maria nodded, then swallowed. Was it her chance? Was it... real? She pinched herself to make sure, and there the pain was.

"Yes, it is all quite real," the man confirmed with a nod, "However, did you know dreams can trick you into believing you feel pain in your dream when you actually don't? It's quite fascinating. But I do assure you it's not the case here."

She nodded nervously, unsure of how to reply to that. However, it wasn't important - what was important was her wish. Was it really about to be fulfilled? Despite her excitement, she still decided to be careful.

"How do I know you won't trick me?" she asked.

"Would you believe me if I said I won't trick you?" the man raised his brow, "Well, there's simply no guarantee. However, if you do wish for me to be gone, just say so, and you won't see me again."

She bit her upper lip nervously - if she were to decline the offer, she would never know whether it was true or not. However, she would remain relatively safe - provided her mother didn't shout her ears off the following morning. If the offer was true, then perhaps she would finally be able to make a name for herself, to be out of her mother's influence, out of this city, out of this country. At this point, she was ready to go anywhere that wasn't as crappy as where she was now. It's not like there was much keeping her there - a couple acquaintances, some personal belongings, and a sense of familiarity. However, if she was simply able to have a new life... that would change everything.

"I... I wish I had a different life," she said slowly, "I want to have choices, I want to be away from... my life."

"That's quite an acceptable wish," the man said with a nod, "Now, my dear, be so kind and spin once around yourself then go to sleep. When you wake up, it will be fulfilled. Oh, and... happy birthday, young miss."

Without giving it much more thought, Maria spun around herself and stopped. She didn't feel anything change, but the man was completely gone without a single shred of evidence pointing towards him being there ever before. Her bed was perfectly done just like her mother always made her do it, the pillow was undisturbed, the window was closed, and everything else was in its respective place. It almost made the girl doubt the mysterious stranger was even real, yet there was a sense that he certainly was.

She sighed - too late, she realized she should've made her wish more specific. Maybe she could've wished for a life of... and there, she had to stop. She didn't even know what life she wanted - all she knew was that she wanted a different life, but she had never quite thought about what it would actually be. A supermodel? She didn't feel like being lusted over by millions across the world, so that was out of the question. A scientist? She wasn't sure she had a brain for that, and what would she even study or learn? A sportswoman? That seemed fine, but surprisingly disappointing as a life goal. An actress? Considering what she heard about Hollywood and other big places, she shuddered. There was no way she wouldn't get into some sort of trouble or experience an 'asshole moment' with some man, which she was sure would happen.

Maria hung her head again and opened her wardrobe to change into her much-hated yet very comfy plain pink pajamas. She decided not to bother with showering - the bathroom was across from her room, and her mother would surely catch her and... well, she didn't want to think about that even if the most she'd get would be a round of shouting.

She tiredly flopped onto her bed, not even bothering to go under a blanket - she was too emotionally drained for the day. Slowly, she drifted off to sleep, not knowing what she would see once she woke up.

Her dreams were quite chaotic - at first, she was sliding down a giant snow slope, laughing like a maniac as she flew up on every bump. There she was in the air, and then she was back on the snow, racing to the bottom of the slide like it was the best thing one could ever have. Then she was dancing with the mysterious wish granted among the stars, having no care in the world. Planets went past them, stars blinked in and out of existence, and brightly-lit enormously vast cloud of dust went around them. Then it was a confusing mess of lights and motion until, finally, it all faded to low and gentle rumble that pulsed pleasantly around her. It wasn't quite music, yet it also wasn't a sound of nature, yet it was soothing and gentle nonetheless.

A crash woke Maria up all of a sudden, and she sat up. She wobbled in place, feeling like her body wasn't quite right. She blinked a few times, getting the blur out of her eyes. When she was finally able to see clearly, she was shocked - in front of her, a tall horse, easily twice her size, with an alabaster coat and a multicolored flowing mane sat, looking at her in surprise. That same horse also had a pair of wings growing from her back as well as a long horn growing out of her forehead.

Murmurs sounded from behind her, and Maria turned around. Her eyes widened even more, threatening to pop out of her eye sockets - staring straight at her, there were many smaller horses in outrageous colors, and they had horns and wings too, but not at the same time. The room she appeared in was colorful and huge with the ceiling way above her head. In fact, it was less of a room and more of a hall with tall columns and decorated stained glass windows, as well as marble tile floor.

Before her brain completely overloaded, Maria managed to utter one word in her native Russian:


Author's Note:

"shto?" (что?) means "what?"