• 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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Interrogation

The first thing Anon feels is a throbbing pain in his head.

He grunts as he clutches at his skull, feeling a noticeable bump towards the back. It stings to the touch, made even worse by how darn cold he feels. He slowly opens his eyes, and it takes a few moments for his blurry vision to clear up. Before he can get a grasp on his environment, he hears the distinct sound of hooves getting farther away, followed by a stallion’s voice.

“Sir, he’s–”

The stallion’s voice is cut off by a door closing somewhere out of sight. With the hand not gingerly clutching his wounded head, Anon attempts to rub the blurriness from his eyes.

Gray.

The room he is in is dim, and basically everything in sight is gray. The ceiling, the walls, the floor, even the cot that he sits up on. It’s all gray. And cold. To make matters worse, the far wall is missing, replaced with several evenly spaced iron bars. As realization slowly dawns on Anon, he feels his blood run cold.

This is a cell.

Suddenly understanding the gravity of the situation, his head quickly clears. It still hurts, but if nothing else, the shock has forced his thoughts to get in order. First and foremost: himself.

A quick once over shows that, aside from his head injury, he appears mostly unharmed. On top of that, he’s still clothed in what he wore to work, though his house keys and wallet appear to have been confiscated. He isn’t cuffed, and headache aside, he feels pretty okay. Having confirmed his own status, the next most pressing issue makes its way to the forefront of his mind…

“Where am I?”

He attempts to stand from the cot, but immediately stumbles upon trying to get on his feet. His knees feel wobbly, and if it weren’t for the wall right in front of him, he would have fallen on his face. Just how long was he unconscious?

With more difficulty than he was expecting, he trudges towards the bars. Strength gradually returns to his weak legs, so the fatigue doesn’t seem permanent, at least. Wrapping his hands around a couple of the bars, he looks out into a concrete hallway. He doesn’t see any other cells. Just blank, cold walls. A single, flickering light bulb illuminates the hallway, and it certainly makes the area imposing.

“Hello?”

Anon’s voice echoes through the hallway. He feels a shiver run down his spine despite the lack of response. This is like something right out of a movie, and he’s not sure if he wants to see the ending.

He knocks on the bars themselves. They’re sturdy, all right. In fact, the whole cell is sturdy. It was made to contain more dangerous convicts than himself, that’s for sure.

Before he can question his circumstances any further, the distinct sound of a door opening echoes through the hall to Anon’s left. He stares in that direction, but can’t get his head through the bars far enough to see more than a dozen or so feet down the hall.

Luckily, the new arrivals are coming to him. Two distinct sets of hooves march down the hallway, their owners eventually making themselves known to Anon.

The first pony to arrive is an older stallion. He has an off-white coat with a well-groomed, silvery mane. His eyes are a crimson red, and they match his equally red tie. Speaking of, he is adorned in a well-tailored, jet-black suit that covers most of his body. His cutie mark is hidden by said suit, and his short-cut tail has a convenient hole to slide through in the rear. He has a stocky build that suggests peak fitness, but it’s unclear if age has slowed him down somewhat.

The other pony is a middle-aged mare. She wears an identical suit, though her tie is a sickly green color. That color matches her eyes, but they conflict a bit with her shoulder-length auburn mane and faded-gold coat. Her build is much more lithe than her stallion associate, but even at a glance, Anon can tell that this is due to planned conditioning. She may be small, but she’s hiding a fierce strength underneath that suit.

Anon’s expression hardens as he watches the pair approach the bars. The stallion gives him a polite smile, but Anon simply gives him a crooked glare in return.

“A fine day to you, sir. You must be Anon, correct?”

“...” Anon eyes the stallion up and down before carefully selecting his words. “That’s my name.”

“Excellent. First and foremost, I would like to apologize.” The stallion gives him an apologetic bow, but the smile doesn’t leave his face. “We had to apprehend you without anypony noticing, you see. A quick blow to the head was the easiest method of going about this, and with your back turned and no one around, our agents decided to take the opportunity presented to them.”

“Well, that explains why the last thing I remember is being lost in thought.”

“Quite.” The stallion clears his throat. “Here, it must be uncomfortable in there.” He stomps his hoof on the concrete floor three times, a clear method behind the rhythm with which he does so. After a moment, the cell begins to rumble. A few seconds later, the bars start to sink into the ground, cutting away the barrier between Anon and the two ponies. “I am deeply sorry about the cell, we don’t exactly have a lot of accommodations for our… guests.”

“Who are you?” Anon demands as he folds his arms across his chest. He remains tense and prepared, ready to react at a moment’s notice to any strange behaviors.

“My name is Silver Bullet, and this is my associate, Miss Stake. We are part of… well, let’s just call it an agency that operates on behalf of the crown.”

“An agency that beats innocent people over the head and kidnaps them in broad daylight?”

“This is, admittedly, an unorthodox situation.”

“I’ll say. I know darn well Tw– er, Princess Twilight wouldn’t approve of this. Speaking of,” Anon huffs, “you can rest assured that she’ll be hearing about this as soon as I get out of here.”

“Of course, of course.” Silver bows again, but something about his smirk rubs Anon the wrong way. “I will take full responsibility for whatever you wish to disclose upon your departure. However, be that as it may, I ask for your cooperation in the here and now.”

“Cooperation?”

“The reason you’re here, Mr. Anon. If you would follow us, please.”

Silver pivots on his back hooves in the direction that the pair came from. Miss Stake, who has yet to say a word, allows her eyes to linger on Anon for a moment, her face otherwise completely expressionless. Then, she silently begins to follow her fellow agent. Anon glances in the other direction, only to see a dead end. Apparently, the way they’re going is the only exit. So, it’s not like he has much of a choice when it comes to following them.

Their trek leads them to a set of metal doors, which Anon identifies as the entrance to an elevator. There’s a tense silence in the air as the three of them begin to ascend. Anon glances at the buttons that Silver pressed, making note of two things. First, there are a lot of buttons. Second, none of them are labeled.

Whatever this place is, they’re definitely secretive about it.

Anon can feel the elevator moving upwards. Whether that’s into the higher levels of some sort of building or towards ground level, he doesn’t know. Without any windows or sense of direction, it’s hard to tell where exactly they are.

Eventually, the elevator comes to a sudden stop. The doors open with a hiss into another long hallway. Unlike the last one, however, this hallway is brightly lit. The walls are made of a snow-white material, and it feels more like a hospital than anything. Several unmarked doors line both sides of the hall, as well as the occasional window into an office or meeting room. A few other ponies wander the halls, all wearing suits and all giving Anon the stink eye.

Though, at this point, he’s used to that.

Nopony says a word as the pair of ponies lead him towards the far end of the hall. He briefly takes note of the fact that on the other end of said hall, an unassuming door leads into what appears to be a staircase instead of an elevator.

Rather than that staircase, the two ponies make a sudden left turn, not-so-subtly indicating where Anon should go. With his eyes sharp and his nerves at the ready, he steps through a steel door into a small room.

This room is more like the cell he was being kept in. Cold, bare, and made of concrete. The only things in the room are a rectangular table and three chairs, two on one side and one on the other. A single light illuminates the room from directly above the table. Turning around, Anon can see that the wall connected to the hallway they were just in has a foggy rectangular object built into it, and he realizes that it was a window looking into the room on the other side. As soon as this realization dawns on him, he understands what this room is.

“What, am I being interrogated?”

“Yes, Mr. Anon, you are. All we have are a few questions we need answered. Mind you,” Silver continues as he gives Anon a gentle pat on the back, “we are not accusing you of any wrongdoing. We believe you have some information that is vital to our organization. If you answer our questions openly and honestly, you’ll be free to go.”

“Is that true?”

“Absolutely.” Silver looks Anon dead in the eyes, his near-permanent smile making Anon more than a little uncomfortable. He doesn’t trust this guy as far as he can throw him, and he gets a strange feeling when he looks at him. There’s something else there bubbling beneath the surface, like a caged animal waiting to be set free. “Please, take a seat over there.”

Anon looks between Silver and the far side of the table. Although his expression reveals how unconvinced he is, he slowly trudges towards the lone chair and takes a seat.

“Miss Stake?” The stallion doesn’t turn towards his companion, choosing instead to keep his eyes locked on Anon. The quiet mare closes the door, which makes a strange whirring noise as it shuts. No doubt some kind of locking mechanism. “Thank you.” Stake takes a seat next to Silver before placing a clipboard on the table, which he quickly slides towards himself. “Now, then. Are you ready?”

“I still don’t know who you really are, where we really are, or what you really want.”

“Well, the first two items on that list are confidential. The third, less so. Either way, I’ll cut right to the chase.” His grin doesn’t fade, but Anon notices a slight change in atmosphere. The smile doesn’t reach his eyes, and a tensity quickly fills the room. “Where is Queen Chrysalis?”

Anon lets out a single, incredulous chuckle.

“Should’ve known that’s what this is about.”

“Please answer the question, Mr. Anon.”

“She’s not a queen anymore. You know that, right?”

“Mr. Anon–”

“She’s also a free citizen, able to do what she–”

“Anon.” Silver slams a hoof onto the table without raising his voice. The slam is loud, and as Anon looks down, he sees a crack where his hoof made contact. A smile is still on his face, but his pupils are constricted. “I will ask you one more time. Where. Is. Chrysalis?

“...” Anon stares at Silver silently for a long, tense moment. When he speaks again, it’s slow and with clear intent. “That depends. What was the last you heard of her?”

“...” Silver returns the silent stare, the oppressive atmosphere not diminishing in the slightest. “She ran from your wedding into the Everfree Forest, where you found her and had some sort of conversation with her. Since then, rumors have been spreading, claiming that she intends to attack Canterlot and free her partners-in-crime from their stone prison.”

“You’re well informed. Good, that makes this easy,” Anon laughs through a cocky, challenging smirk. His grin rapidly grows into a sneer as he stares directly into Silver’s scarlet-red eyes. “She’s at home sipping on lemonade and reading the morning paper.”

“Don’t play dumb!” Silver slams on the table again, creating yet another crack in its surface. His smile finally disappears, replaced with nothing but rage. “There is a single creature in Equestria that knows where that monster went, and that creature is you!” Reaching across the table, he grabs Anon by the collar but is unable to lift him due to the angle and size difference. “TALK!”

“Alright, alright, fine.” Anon raises his hands to both sides of his head innocently, though his cocky demeanor hasn’t faded in the slightest. “The truth is, she’s gone back to being the evil changeling you all thought she was. She’s out there stealing love from an unassuming pony.”

“...Hmph.” Silver Bullet smiles again. “Now we’re getting somewh–”

“Specifically, she’s with your mother right now.”

A lot happens incredibly quickly. First and foremost, something snaps inside Silver Bullet. With the hoof not holding Anon’s collar, he throws a punch directly at Anon’s head. The force of the punch alone is enough to cause a change in the room’s airflow, indicating just how quickly the punch came out. However, despite this speed, Anon reacts just as quickly. Using the left arm that had been raised next to his head in a cheeky showing mere seconds prior, he tilts his head and brushes said arm to the side, using his forearm to redirect the punch being thrown his way.

The result is Silver Bullet’s hoof missing Anon’s head by a fraction of an inch.

Meanwhile, showing emotion for the first time since Anon met her, Miss Stake leans towards the table in response to the sudden violence, her eyes going wide as she watches her associate attempt to assault Anon. Her movements would have made little difference, as the entire scene plays out in less than a second, but it’s enough to catch Anon slightly off guard.

Just as time seems to resume, Anon takes advantage of the situation. Using his size to his advantage, he uses his right hand to grab Silver by his still-outstretched hoof before shifting his weight, pulling him across the rest of the table and throwing him into a nearby wall. Silver grunts as his back makes contact with the concrete, but he lands on his hooves with nothing but fury and adrenaline on his mind.

He leaps at Anon, who isn’t ready for such a speedy recovery. Just before he can close the gap, however, a bright green light flashes from Stake’s direction. The next thing Silver knows, he’s been struck by a beam of magic that Anon can tell is particularly potent.

Silver crumples to the ground in an unconscious heap, his suit singed from the display of power. Anon looks towards Stake, only now noticing the horn that had been hidden underneath her mane.

“Sorry about that,” she mumbles as she adjusts said mane. “He’s a real piece of work. I’d question how he still has his job here, but I guess it’s that ferocity that makes him good at what he does.”

“And what about you?” Anon raises an eyebrow as he stands from his chair, suddenly much less comfortable with remaining seated. “What do you plan to do with me?”

“You don’t know where Chrysalis is.” She glares into Anon’s shocked eyes. There’s a look of recognition in them, which catches her off guard. “I’ve known that from the moment we got a hold of you.”

“Yet you went through with the ‘arrest’ anyway?”

“I don’t have much power in this agency,” she sighs as she turns towards the door. “That said, I can get you out of here. Whatever you do, don’t draw attention to us. It’ll be like you complied with the interrogation and are now being escorted home.”

“O-okay, sure. Was that actually going to be the plan?”

“If you cooperated? Yes.” A half smile forms on her face as she looks back towards him. “But only after they wiped your memory of the last couple of days.”

“Tsk.” Anon shakes his head as he steps towards the door. “Figured there'd be a catch.”

“Stay close to me, don’t make eye contact with anyone, and move swiftly,” she whispers as she taps on the door in a specific pattern, causing the lock inside to undo with a click. “S.M.I.L.E. headquarters is a big place.”