• Published 12th Dec 2023
  • 2,763 Views, 100 Comments

Gamophobia - RunicTreetops



Chrysalis is supposed to thrive at weddings. Today, she ran from the most important one of her life: hers.

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Flood Warning

Anon grunts as he carries a large bucket full of water up the flight of steps. There are quite a few buckets in the basement right now, and each one is slowly filling with disgusting, brownish water. After making it to the living room, he saunters over to a nearby window, opens it, and tosses the bucket’s contents onto the ground outside. A loud splashing sound can be heard as water hits water.

He shields his eyes to protect them from the rain as he closes the window. Amidst the chaos that occurred on what was supposed to be his wedding day, he completely missed the big news. There was a malfunction in the Cloudsdale weather factory causing the surrounding area to be pelted with rain. It was supposed to storm that day anyway, so nopony noticed at first, but things very quickly got out of hand. The clouds combined with those of the Everfree Forest, which the weather team has a much harder time controlling.

Long story short, it’s been raining for almost two weeks as the weather team has been trying to clean up miles upon miles of storms. They’ve gone so far as to enlist a few unicorns to help, and even Princess Twilight has been getting her hooves dirty to try to protect Equestria from the flash floods.

Ponyville, for instance, has a thin bubble protecting it from the worst of the rainfall. The bubble is still semi-permeable though, something about all of the rain being redirected to a smaller area on the bubble’s outskirts being an even worse idea than letting it through or something. In truth, Anon has been having a hard time keeping up.

What Anon does know is that in the two weeks since the planned wedding day, nopony has heard from Chrysalis. Also, his basement is leaking.

He sighs as he slumps down on a nearby sofa. No matter what he does, he can’t seem to get Chrysalis out of his mind. Did he do the right thing? Was he too harsh with her? Should he have just reassured her and given her the answer she was desperately asking him for?

He’s been languishing over that conversation in his head ever since he made it out of the Everfree. What is she doing now? What is she thinking? What will she decide to do? Will he ever see her again?

…He misses her.

Suddenly, his thoughts are interrupted by some kind of sound. He perks his head up and looks around the living room. It’s a bit difficult to hear anything in particular over the sound of the rain and water outside, but he could have sworn he just heard some kind of knocking.

Knock knock knock.

Anon shoots to his feet. There’s someone knocking at the door. He quickly shuffles across the living room to greet whoever is outside. They’d have to be crazy to come visit him now of all times.

There’s only one mare with the motivation to do that right now.

Despite his conflicting feelings, he is unable to hide his smile as he throws the door open. It’s a good thing he has a small porch out front, otherwise rainwater would be flooding into his living room.

His smile almost immediately disappears. A mixture of disappointment and confusion makes its way to his face as he is greeted by none other than Princess Twilight Sparkle, the ruler of Equestria and one of his closest friends. She’s absolutely drenched, and her coat and mane are drooping towards the floor, water dripping off of her onto the porch. She can barely see past her waterlogged bangs that cover her eyes.

“H-hi, Twilight. What are you doing here?”

“Oh, you know. I was just in the area and I thought we could talk for a little bit.”

“Is something the matter?”

“I should be asking you that.”

“O-oh! Have you heard anything from–”

“No. That’s part of the problem.”

“Huh?” Anon tilts his head at the sopping-wet mare, taking in her shivering form for a moment before his eyes shoot open as he remembers his manners. “C-come inside, please. I’ll grab you a towel. …And maybe a hair dryer.”


Twilight sits across from Anon in a comfortable recliner. A combination of towels and a convenient spell allowed her to dry off pretty quickly, but Anon still offered her a blanket and some hot tea. She’s cold, dry or otherwise.

The bundled-up ruler of Equestria sips at her tea before a contented smile makes its way to her face, her expression so warm it almost hides her apprehension.

“So, what brought you here?” Anon asks with crossed arms. He speaks flippantly, but his furrowed brow tells a different story.

“The girls told me you haven’t been getting out much,” Twilight says, her eyes drooping to the floor. “I just wanted to see how you were holding up.”

“Well,” Anon says with a sigh, “I’ve been better. Just trying to stay occupied, I guess.” His gaze turns to the nearby window, as well as the bucket he set down beneath it. “The leaking basement has been helping with that, especially since I can’t work in this.”

“So, you’ve just been throwing water out the window?”

“Eeyup. If you’ve got a better solution for the leaking problem, I’m all ears. Can’t exactly patch the leak while the water is–”

“That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it.” She snaps her head upwards, locking eyes with a surprised Anon. “C’mon, let’s stop beating around the bush. What happened with Chrysalis? You still haven’t told anypony.”

Anon shifts uncomfortably on his sofa before responding.

“Sh-she ran away. That’s not exactly a secret.”

“Anon.” Twilight stares daggers into her human friend, her serious tone making it clear that she is demanding an answer. She’s gotten surprisingly good at that since taking the throne. “I know you. If that was all there was to it, you wouldn’t be here right now. You wouldn’t be able to sit still until you found her, flooding or otherwise.” She leans forward in her recliner. “What happened?”

“...” Anon returns her stare, but he says nothing. Twilight opens her mouth to press him further, but stops when she sees his shaky, unfocused eyes. Finally, he speaks. “What difference does it make?”

“Hm?”

“She’s gone. She left. She’s not here. Isn’t that enough for you?”

“A-and what is that supposed to mean?”

“You don’t like her, Twilight. You might have ‘accepted’ her, but let’s not pretend like you were on good terms.”

“You’re right. I don’t like her.”

“Then stop hiding your intentions.” Anon leans forward, his expression cold. Twilight recoils, but her icy glare doesn’t fade. “You just want to make sure she’s not going back to the way she was.”

“First of all, I’m not a big fan of your accusations. That’s some way to talk to a friend.” Twilight huffs, not daring to break eye contact. “Second of all, I’m allowed to have more than one reason to be curious. You’re right, I do want to know what she’s up to. But that’s not because I’m afraid of her going back to her old ways.” Twilight discards the blanket she had been wrapped in. “I just want to know why she hurt you.”

“She didn’t hurt me,” Anon mumbles as he finally looks away from Twilight.

“Bull. How long did you stand under that gazebo? How long did you spend looking for her before you got your answer?”

“...”

Twilight stands from her seat, gingerly setting down her empty mug on a nearby coffee table as she makes her way to the couch Anon is sitting on. She carefully takes a seat next to him, but he doesn’t look up at her. Her glare slowly fades as she realizes what’s going on.

She says nothing. After a long, awkward moment, she reaches forward. Her horn quietly glows with magic as she gently tugs on his arm, pulling his hand toward her before placing her hoof in it. He finally turns to look at her, immediately recognizing the concern on her face.

Tears form in his eyes.

“Twi…” He tilts his head as he tries to hold it in, but ultimately fails. He refuses to sob, but he cannot stop the dampening of his cheeks. Slowly, and with a shaky voice, he recalls the conversation he and Chrysalis had in that Everfree cave to Twilight, who politely listens without saying a word.

When he finally finishes, Twilight pulls him toward her and wraps him in a comforting hug, doing her best to use her wings as leverage. It’s still awkward considering the size difference, but neither are too concerned by it.

“For what it’s worth,” Twilight says in a quiet voice, “I think you did the right thing.”

“H-huh?” Anon sniffles as he pulls away from her. “T-Twilight, you realize that she might go back to being a villain, right?”

“You yourself said that it’s her decision to make. Besides, didn’t you say you’d love her regardless?”

“W-well, yes, but what about you?”

“What about me?”

“Doesn’t that idea worry you? I mean, the last time you thought she was a villain, you put a hole in my chest.”

Twilight sheepishly rubs the back of her neck.

“Hey, we called it even after you lied to Ponyville. A-anyway, that’s not important.” She shakes her head before locking eyes with him again. “Look. You trust her, don’t you? That’s why you left her to figure things out on her own?”

“Of course I trust her!”

“Even after she fled your wedding?”

To Twilight’s surprise, Anon doesn’t hesitate to respond.

“Yes.”

“...Hm.” She smiles. “Then even if I can’t trust her, I can trust you. She’ll come back,” Twilight says with a wink.

“Th-thank you. That means a lot.”

“Besides,” she says with a grin, “if you were the only thing preventing her from being a villain, your relationship probably wasn’t that healthy to begin with.”

To her surprise, her remark that she meant as a lighthearted joke causes Anon’s brow to furrow. He turns away from Twilight, his gaze directed toward a photo collage hanging on a nearby wall. On it are plenty of photos of himself with Twilight and her friends, but she notices that there are also a fair number of pictures of himself with Chrysalis.

“...The only thing preventing her villainy?” Anon slumps back and tilts his head towards the ceiling.

“What’s on your mind now?”

“I just…” Although he’s hesitating, he’s in a noticeably different mood than earlier. He’s not upset so much as he is distant. “I wonder if I really would still love Chryssi if she was evil.”

“What kind of a hypothetical is that? I thought you already said that you would?”

“I did. I-I just wonder about what... ‘we’ really mean.” He takes a deep breath. “Ever since we met, she’s been doing all of the changing. I’ve been encouraging that, trying to get her to act less like… well, like Queen Chrysalis.” He turns once more to look at Twilight yet again, but now with a blank expression. “Meanwhile, I haven’t had to change one bit for her sake.”

Twilight falls silent. She looks into his distant, emotionless eyes. She can tell that there’s a lot going on in his mind. She wants to speak up, to reassure him. She wants to say something. But she can’t. She doesn’t have an answer for him.

After a few long, quiet moments, Twilight stands up.

“Don’t forget,” she says as she stretches herself out a bit, “Chrysalis caused a lot of trauma for a lot of ponies. She did arguably worse to the changelings, too.” She gingerly makes her way to the door. He stands up as well, but she beats him to the door regardless. “She deserved being turned to stone, Anon. If she was going to remain the changeling she was, she would still deserve it.”

“But–”

“Chrysalis had to change. Both for our sakes, and for her own. You didn’t. I know you love her, but that doesn’t change anything. You just pushed her in the right direction, that’s all.”

Twilight turns back and gives him one final, gentle smile.

“See ya later, Anon.”

Without another word, she steps back out into the storm and takes to the sky, magically closing the door behind her in the process.

Anon stands wordlessly in his living room, unable to muster up any sort of response. Eventually, he shuffles over to the window, picks up the bucket, and heads back to the basement, his movements methodical and robotic.

“...The ‘right direction,’ huh?”