• Published 12th Dec 2023
  • 2,779 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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“One, two, one, two.”

Anon pants as he carefully tracks his movements. Sweat coats his body while he strikes the “bucking bag.” It’s a bit wider and heavier than a punching bag made for humans, but considering the Ponyville Gym wasn’t designed with humans in mind, he’ll take what he can get.

He dodges and weaves between his punches despite there being nothing to avoid. His hands and arms are wrapped while the rest of his body is adorned in loose-fitting workout clothes. He doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with this sort of thing and he didn’t have much interest in it, but that changed after his near-death experience in the Everfree Forest.

He glances down, noticing that the large, circular scar adorning his chest is barely peeking through his low neckline. His eyes slowly rise back towards the bag, and he grunts as he doubles down on his assault.

He doesn’t want that to happen again. For his own sake and for Chrysalis’s, he’s been trying to improve himself. Bit by bit, he’s been getting stronger. Faster. More comfortable in his own skin. It’s not like he’s ever been in a real fight, nor does he really plan to, but with the type of antics that occur in Equestria coupled with the company he keeps, he figures it’s a good idea to remain prepared.

As he continues his workout, however, a pair of voices in the direction of the changing rooms catches his attention. The gym isn’t very popular, so more ponies showing up is difficult to miss. He doesn’t turn around, as the voices don’t sound familiar to him in any way. Under ordinary circumstances he would simply ignore them. However, it isn’t their presence that draws his attention so much as their hushed words.

“Didja hear what happened to Queen Chrysalis?”

“Kristalis? You mean that witch that that one guy was harborin’ for a while?”

“Yeah. Apparently she ran away. Ponies are saying she’s plannin’ to attack Canterlot again!”

“What? No way!”

The two mares gossip with hushed-yet-excited voices, and it takes everything in Anon’s power to not interrupt them.

“They say she’s gonna bring back that T-Rex guy and that Costly Low gal!”

“Oh, dear. Remember what happened last time those three were togetha?”

“Half of Canterlot got blown up! How could anypony forget?”

Well, you forgot their names, so…

“Oh, well. She’ll get what’s comin’ to her when Princess Twilight steps in. Didja see how she stopped all the rain?”

“Course I did! She’s incredible!”

The two mares laugh as they finally step into the room properly, but their conversation immediately ends when they notice Anon on the far side of the room. He doesn’t turn to look at them, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize that he heard them. There’s an awkward cough before the mares begin a workout of their own.

Moments later, Anon leaves without a word.

If only that were the last of it.

A sense of uncomfortable familiarity washes over him as he walks down the street days later. Ponies give him a wide berth, side-eyeing him or whispering to each other as they pass. It’s just like when he first took her in.

All he can do is sigh.

The sun is setting as he walks home from work. As bright orange hues wash over Ponyville, he feels a wave of conflicting emotions wash over him. In a way, he understands why the rumors are flying. It’s difficult to have faith in someone after they’ve done the things she has. Even after their non-stop efforts to restore her image, all it took was her running away from home to bring everyone back to square one. He just wishes he didn’t have to hear such judgemental things about the mare he loves.

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, enjoying the clean, not-rain-filled air that eluded the town for so long as he gets lost in thought.

I guess when nothing more important is happening, ponies will turn just about anything into the boogeyman. One of these days, it’s going to be their downfall.

Well, if there’s one positive about this situation, it’s that he’s finally realized something about himself. He’s finally been able to sort out his own feelings. In the face of Chrysalis once again being the talk of the town, he’s realized–