• Published 8th Feb 2013
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Harmony's Warriors: Flutterhulk - Avenging-Hobbits

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Act III - 14 - Movin' Right Along

Act III:
Naqoyqatsi (Life as War)

Chapter 14:
“Movin’ Right Along”

Fluttershy remained in the hug with her mother for what seemed like hours, until a gentle tap on her shoulder caught her attention.

“Fluttershy, I think we should keep moving,” Tree Flower said quietly, letting Fluttershy go to reach for her backpack. Fluttershy nibbled her lip slightly as she sat to the side, looking around worriedly. Tree Flower noticed this and kept her arm on her shoulder in support.

“Fluttershy, what’s worrying you now?” she asked.

Fluttershy sighed. “Well, I’m just worried for you. I mean, when I lose control, those ponies who were chasing us before always seem to find me again...” she sighed again, shifting slightly and running a hoof through her mane slightly. “and I don’t want them to hurt you.”

Tree Flower smiled gently. “I see. But I promised I wouldn’t leave you. I promised I’d get you to Manehattan safely, and I’m not about to let you down again. Now,” she stood up, dusting herself off. “Let’s go then shall we?” she said, starting towards the exit, beckoning for Fluttershy to follow. “Ready Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy nodded meekly, and slowly stood to her hooves, quietly walking up to Tree Flower. “Um...I guess,” she replied, looking out towards the dense forest outside the cave. “I guess we have to walk through that don’t we?” she said, looking towards Tree Flower.

Tree Flower nodded. “Yes, it seems we do. But don’t worry,” she then put a hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder. “We’ll get through this, just watch.”

And with that, the pair started to trot out of the cave, and into the forest.

/////////////////////////

Fluttershy and Tree Flower now trudged through the thick underbrush. Thankfully, it seemed that the Everfree had caught up with the rest of Equestria weather wise, so it was a relatively crisp 75 degrees in the forest, if somewhat more muggy then the pegasi-controlled weather of the rest of Equestria. As they walked, they would occasionally make a comment on either the weather, the plant life or the bugs, but for the most part, remained silent, both having temporarily exhausted any conversation topics.

As they walked, Fluttershy had another chance to better get a look at the fabled Everfree Forest. Maybe it was just the situation she was in before, or the fact that she was now walking through the forest with her mother, or just the simple fact that they were in a different part of the Everfree, but now the forest looked considerably less threatening than it had when she was walking with Zecora. Instead of the dark and threatening vines and swamp like environment around Ponyville, this part of the forest looked more like a dense forest of pines and oak trees, with scarcely a vine to be seen, and above all, lots of light coming through the branches above, giving the ground a wonderful patchwork pattern of light and shadow. The more Fluttershy thought about it, the odder and less like the Everfree this forest seemed.

I’m not even sure this is really the Everfree, she thought. Who knows how far New Fluttershy took us...

“Well, fancy that! We must be nearing some sort of civilization,” Tree Flower said, pausing as she pointed towards a dirt path that emerged out of the underbrush of ferns. Fluttershy cocked an eyebrow at this.

“But that makes no sense,” Fluttershy said, trotting up next to her mother. “I mean, this is the Everfree right? Why would their be a dirt path in here?”

Tree Flower rubbed her chin for a moment, “No idea. But, the good news is that this path has to lead somewhere right? I mean, might as well follow it right?”

Fluttershy shrugged. “I guess so,” she said, not sure if following the path would be the best idea. “But what if we get spotted?”

“Spotted? By what? I think deer are the only ones who live in these parts-” the sharp sound of a twig snapping caught their attention and Fluttershy instantly found herself cowering behind her mother.

“What was that?” she asked fearfully, looking around in a panic. Tree Flower herself looked somewhat spooked, and was scanning the forest around them as they heard more rustling in the bushes around them.

“No idea...” Tree Flower said, her voice low. Fluttershy could feel her heart rate climbing as Tree Flower then cupped her hooves to her mouth and called out.

“Hello? Who’s there?”

There was some more rustling, louder and closer this time, and Fluttershy could feel another panic attack coming on as hundreds of potential monsters that could possibly be lurking in the forest around jumped to the forefront of her mind as her heart rate pounded in her ears. Just as she feared she might snap and lose control, out emerged a tall and somewhat stocky stag. Fluttershy practically fainted.

“What are you two ponies doing here?” he said, his eyebrow cocked and eyes narrowed slightly. Tree Flower let out an audible sigh of relief and relaxed.

“Well, me and my daughter here were wondering if you could show us which way to the nearest town,” she asked, smiling warmly and giving Fluttershy a comforting smile. The stag put a hoof to his chin, thinking for a moment.

“Well...I think Tree Branch is about a mile down this path here, I was actually on my way there right now, do you want me to lead you there?” he asked. Tree Flower nodded.

“That would be wonderful,” she said warmly, beckoning for Fluttershy to follow her as the stag nodded and started down the dirt path. Fluttershy shook her head meekly and stayed put, making sure to hide herself behind her mane and not speak as much as possible as her mind processed the strange turn of events.

Does this deer know me? Maybe he saw a poster? Why is he helping us? she wondered, not noticing that she was actively muttering slightly until Tree Flower walked up to her and gave her a gentle nudge.

“Don’t worry dear, we’ll be fine,” Tree Flower whispered, giving Fluttershy an encouraging smile. Fluttershy bit her lip slightly.

“I know...but still...” she whispered back, “I mean who's to say he can be trusted? I mean he’s just a random deer walking in the woods.”

Tree Flower shrugged slightly. “Well, we’ll just have to give it a shot then Fluttershy. Remember, you can’t let fear rule your life like it has. Just let it all go.”

Fluttershy let out a troubled sigh, giving the deer in front of them, who apparently hadn’t heard a word of their conversation. He looked honest...but so did that griffin back in the motel, and look what happened there. But her mother had a point. Fear had controlled her life long enough. Time to break free from it and take at least one leap of faith.

Anyways...you’re going to Manehattan anyways...not exactly a small town. she thought, swallowing and finally nodding.

“Alright then Mother...I’ll try.”

Tree Flower smiled. “Okay then,” she then turned to the deer, who was still patiently standing there, tapping his hoof on the ground slightly. “We’re ready mister.” she said, as both her and Fluttershy started to follow him along the dirt path and, hopefully out of the forest.

/////////////////////////

Night had fallen, and the large full moon loomed in the sky as the odd looking trio emerged out of the forest, the deer still in the lead.

“Well, here we are,” the deer said, “Welcome to Tree Branch,” he motioned towards the small town that greeted them on the edge of the forest. Fluttershy herself cocked an eyebrow slightly at the name of the town as she heard it, her attention focused on the well lit, yet modest sign that was facing towards them.

Welcome to Tree Branch Township;
Population:
1,965

What are the chances of that, she thought, recalling the incident at the train station when she bumped into Firefly. She had honestly just used the first two words that popped into her head, and had had honestly no idea that there was an actual town by the name of Tree Branch at all.

"Thank you very much Mister...?" Tree Flower asked, looking up at the stag.

"Oh, my name is Will," he said, extending a hoof which Tree Flower shook gratefully.

"Well thank you very much Will," she answered, starting to feel for her purse. "Now, do you know the way to the nearest motel so we can stay the night?" She asked, still trying to find her purse. Fluttershy bit her lip. Would they be even able to afford a night in the motel? Fluttershy had had her fair experience with those places, and she knew for a fact that they tended to be expensive.

"Oh dear," Tree Flower murmured, her voice concerned. "I don't seem to have my purse with me...weird I could have sworn I had it when we left home."

Fluttershy felt her heart once more drop. No purse meant no money, and that meant no shelter for the night. What were they to do? Would they be forced to hunker down under a bridge like Fluttershy had been forced to do many numerous times in the past. Fluttershy couldn't bear the idea of her mother being forced to live like a homeless pony, let alone in the middle of October, when she knew the nights were always cold.

"Wow that's terrible, you sure?" Will asked, his face concerned. Tree Flower and Fluttershy nodded simultaneously, with Fluttershy's expression looking noticeably hopeless.

"It seems so, yes." Tree Flower said, her own expression worried. She paused, sighing slightly. "But don't worry yourself, we'll find somewhere we can stay, you can be assured of that." She added, putting on a self-confident smile. Will, however, shook his head.

"Nonsense. I mean I can't just let you two strangers wander around town at night, its too dangerous."

Fluttershy raised an eyebrow. Was he seriously offering what she thought he was offering? Because that would be wonderful.

"Oh no need to worry yourself. Like I said, we can probably find somewhere, we don't want to be a burden." Tree Flower countered, smiling.

"No, but I insist," Will pressed. "I mean I helped you through the woods, the least I could do is let you have a safe place to sleep. Come on, my house is this way," he said, beckoning them to follow.

Tree Flower seemed to think about the proposal for a moment, before giving Fluttershy an inquisitive look. "Well dear, what do you think?"

Fluttershy nibbled her lip again, awkwardly running her hoof through her mane. "Um...well..." Maybe this isn't such a good idea, she thought, before a cold breeze blew across them, giving Fluttershy a chill.

"I, um...okay then." She finally answered, swallowing. Tree Flower gave Fluttershy a warm smile, as if to say 'its going to be alright.' and she nodded towards Will.

"Alright then Mr. Will, we'll gladly accept your offer." She said, as the trio started walking in the direction Will had been heading.

/////////////////////////

"Here's the guest bedroom," Will said, leading Fluttershy and Tree Flower down the upstairs hall to the humble and homely looking bedroom and opening the door. Fluttershy was first to step inside, taking a moment to quietly take in her surroundings. The walls of the room were painted a soothing shade of light pink, with little cherub fillies holding ribbons that ran along the upper part of the wall near the ceiling.

"I like the walls," she said simply, smiling a little, the room giving off a very peaceful and calming feeling that she was greatly relieved to feel. Will nodded.

"Yeah it was my daughter's room back when she was a filly, but she's in college now." He stated simply, his voice carrying a hint of nostalgia. Tree Flower smiled warmly.

"Aw, that's sweet," she said, walking into the room as well, the carpet muffling her hoofsteps. "I really like the carpet," she commented, sitting on the bed and making herself comfortable. Will simply smiled.

"Yeah, will that be all? Do you need anything, like a drink or something?"

Fluttershy shook her head gently and Tree Flower waved a hoof. "Your welcome, but I think we'll make it." She said, as Will nodded and stepped out, closing the door behind him.

As soon as the door closed, Tree Flower let out a sigh of relief and laid down on the bed. Fluttershy looked around the room, noticing that, besides the bed, there was only a rather old, yet comfortable looking highback chair sitting to the left of the bed, and a small walk in closet. Outside the window, there could be seen the lights from the house next door.

Fluttershy started towards the chair, sitting down silently and trying her best to get comfortable. She hadn’t really noticed it until now, but her body still ached from yesterdays events, and she was in desperate need of sleep.

“Fluttershy why are you on the chair?” Tree Flower asked, getting up from the bed. “You should be here on the bed, you need the rest.” Fluttershy simply shook her head.

“No, I’ll be fine mother, really. I’m kinda used to not sleeping on a bed.” she said quietly, looking out the window absentmindedly.

“Fluttershy I insist. You need the rest more than I do. Here, take the bed and I’ll sleep in the chair.” Tree Flower said, getting out of bed and motioning for Fluttershy to get up. Fluttershy sighed and got out of the chair, walking over to the bed and laying down as Tree Flower walked over to the light switch, flicking off the lights and settling into the chair.

“Ah...” Tree Flower sighed, shifting in the chair again slightly. “Goodnight Fluttershy.” she said.

“Goodnight mother,” Fluttershy said, pulling the covers over her body and letting out a relieved sigh, as she rolled onto her back and looked at the ceiling, milling over the past few days. Could it be possible that her mother was indeed correct, and that, somehow, New Fluttershy might be able to be controlled? Fluttershy honestly wondered though what would she even do with New Fluttershy if she knew how to control her. Would she keep it bottled up and locked away permanently, never letting her alter ego come out and possibly wreak all kinds of havoc? Or would she set aside a day of the month to wander out to some empty place and just let it loose, see what happened? Or maybe find someway to pay back for all the pain New Fluttershy had caused, some kind of recompense? And if so, what? What kind of good could New Fluttershy even be? she let out a troubled sigh, her eyelids starting to grow heavy and she could already hear her mother starting to snore slightly as sleep descended over her.

Just as she was about to drift off into dreamland, however, there came an incredibly loud clash and what sounded like the yowling of a cat, jerking Fluttershy and Tree Flower awake. “What was that?!” Fluttershy asked, panicked. Tree Flower meanwhile, was quick to shush her, stomping over to the window and opening it brusquely. She leaned outside, cupping her hooves to her mouth and shouting at the top of her lungs.

“HEY! SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO SLEEP YOU JERKS!” she shouted into the darkness.

“Sorry!” Came a tired sounding voice from below. “That was me!”

“Me who?!” Tree Flower shouted back, obviously still very angry about being woken up. Fluttershy tentatively peaked out the window too, to see a rather disheveled looking stallion dressed in a pair of white nurses scrubs.

“Um, sorry I’m just on my way to work,” he said, obviously embarrassed.

“Work? What do you mean work? It’s midnight!” Tree Flower asked, her voice still angry, but less abrasive. The unicorn below shrugged.

“I work night shift at the local hospital,” he said, giving his watch a quick glance. “And I’m going to be late if I don’t leave now!”

Tree Flower’s shoulders sagged and she let out a tired sigh. “Oh...okay then...go on then.”

The unicorn nodded rapidly. “Thank you, I’m sorry for waking you.” he added, quickly galloping off into the night. Tree Flower simply muttered under her breath as she closed the window and locked it again, tiredly flopping back in her chair.

“Are you okay Mother, you seemed a little angry there,” Fluttershy asked, putting a hoof on her mother’s arm. Her mother simply gave her a tired look before laughing slightly.

“Yeah, I guess I did kind of overreact a little there. I’m sorry, you can go back to bed.” she said, shrugging slightly.

“Yeah I guess you did,” Fluttershy chuckled, laying back down in the bed. “Goodnight Mother.”

“Goodnight Fluttershy,” Tree Flower replied tiredly, once more quickly dropping off to sleep. Fluttershy smiled in relief, and quietly fell into a deep, restful sleep.

/////////////////////////

The next morning, after a filling breakfast, Fluttershy and Tree Flower bid farewell to Will, and started towards the train station. The walk was a quick one, since Tree Branch was a small town, and thankfully, they hadn’t seen any wanted posters of Fluttershy.

Fluttershy herself couldn’t wait to arrive in Manehattan, but the conversation with her mother had once more returned to what was going on in Ponyville and the like.

The pair now sat on board the train, with Tree Flower making due with a magazine she had found in their cabin, reading it quietly while Fluttershy now quietly looking out the window, focusing at her reflected image.

The first thing that struck her was how incredibly tired she looked. She had several dozen heavy bags under eyes, making her look like a raccoon. Her mane was full of split ends; in spite of the long shower she had taken that morning. Her coat’s normal bright yellow color scheme was now faded, and covered with scrapes. She could spot some bruises along her legs. She had never really had a chance to see how pitiful she looked. She looked like some sort of homeless bum who hadn’t had a full meal in weeks. She sighed sadly, her eyes now shifting focus to watch the horizon.

“Fluttershy?” her mother all of a sudden said, snapping Fluttershy out of her thoughts.

Fluttershy looked back towards her mother, who was looking at her with a gentle smile on her face, “Yes Mother?”

“Fluttershy, if you’re worrying about how you look, I think you look just fine,” Her mother said, looking at her own reflection in the window.

“Really?” Fluttershy asked, raising an eyebrow, “I look like a homeless pony.”

Tree Flower chuckled, “Well, don’t worry. When we get to Manehattan we can maybe visit a spa.”

Fluttershy smiled slightly. Even with her daughter looking utterly reprehensible, her mother still managed to find a positive aspect in all this. Her mind started to wander, moving from topic to topic randomly. Eventually, her thoughts settled onto the main subject they had been discussing since they left house. Ponyville.

A brief memory of when she bumped into Firefly passed through her mind. I wonder how’s she’s doing… she thought. A brief paranoid thought that Firefly might have been injured or something on board the train was quickly banished from her mind by the forces of logic.

Nonsense Fluttershy, she thought. She’s probably in Ponyville now…you’ve gotta relax.

But, she still couldn’t shake the gut feeling she had that something might be wrong. Her mother hadn’t mentioned Firefly at all in any of their conversations, and Fluttershy found that odd, considering how close she and Firefly’s family’s had been.

“Um...mother, can I ask you something?” she said, looking towards her mother.

“Of course, what is it?” Tree Flower asked, looking up from her magazine and nodding.

“Did I ever tell you that I bumped into Firefly a little while back?”

Tree Flower’s expression changed from the characteristic warm smile to one of curiosity. “Really? How did that happen?”

“Well, I was in a town at the train station, just trying to move to the next town, and I bumped into her. She said she was on her way back from some sort of country wide inspection or something and couldn’t wait to get home.” Fluttershy said, being careful to leave out the detail that at the time, she was trying to escape government agents.

Tree Flower’s face however, paled slightly at this, and she shifted in her seat, as if uncomfortable. “O-oh really?” she said. Fluttershy nodded.

“Um yeah. You never told me that she had a daughter. In fact you never mentioned her at all,” she added, raising an eyebrow at the way Tree Flower seemed to look. “Mother are you okay? You look worried? is something wrong?” she asked, becoming worried.

Tree Flower bit her lip, and for the first time, seemed to not want to meet Fluttershy’s eyes. It was obvious that she didn’t want to talk about whatever it was that happened to Firefly. Fluttershy closed her mouth. Did she really want to know?

“You know what...forget it,” she said, looking back out the window. “We can talk about it later Mother...I mean it’s not that important and if you don’t want to talk about it, I’m not the one to force you to talk about it. Never mind.”

Tree Flower seemed to notice how worried Fluttershy looked, and she gently tapped her hoof. “That’s alright Fluttershy, you really have no need to be worried. Firefly is fine. We’ll be in Manehattan soon anyway and at Dr. Cheerilee’s. So let’s just focus on getting there right?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Yeah okay. I’m sorry for asking you.”

And with that, they fell silent again, with Tree Flower returning to her magazine and Fluttershy refocusing her attention out the window. The minutes seemed to blend into each other, as the sun descended closer to the horizon.

“Oh look, there’s Manehattan!” Tree Flower finally said, pointing out the window. Fluttershy raised an eyebrow.

“Really? Where?” she asked, scanning for the skyline of the city. She quickly found it, sitting to the east and facing the ocean. The setting sun glinted and reflected off the glass skyscrapers as if they were giant mirrors. It looked as if the entire city were carved of crystal.

“Wow…that’s beautiful…” Fluttershy whispered, her eyes widening at the sight. She hadn’t seen Manehattan in more than ten years, and it had certainly changed. There were at least a dozen new buildings that climbed towards the sky, mixing in with the older buildings that Fluttershy recognized.

Memories of her time spent with Posey flew across her mind. Of course, all those memories ended the same way. New Fluttershy released. She closed her eyes tightly and shook her head to banish the horrid memory from her mind.

“Well,” her mother said, gazing at the city with wonder. “We’ll be arriving at the train station soon, so be prepared, okay dear?”

Fluttershy nodded, doing her best to not look troubled. She wondered if maybe someone might recognize her. And then what would happen? Would that pony call the authorities? What would happen to her mother? Would she lose control? These and at least another one thousand paranoid thoughts attacked her mind and Fluttershy could feel herself start to panic.

Her mother’s hoof appeared on her shoulder. Fluttershy’s head whipped around to face Tree Flower.

“Fluttershy….” her mother said her voice warm and her eyes kind, “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. We’re going to go to Dr. Cheerilee and everything will be fine.”

Fluttershy nodded, “O-okay…I’ll try.”

Tree Flower smiled, gently tapping Fluttershy’s shoulder, “That’s my girl.” By then, the train had finally entered the city. The train steadily slowed down, it’s brakes squeaking and shrieking as it pulled into the train station. The doors opened, flooding the train with a thousand new sounds and smells.

Tree Flower grabbed their saddlebags from the overhead compartment and beckoned for Fluttershy to stand up and they exited the train. Fluttershy clung to Tree Flower tightly as they maneuvered through the mob of ponies, diamond dogs and griffins. Fluttershy made sure to hide behind her mane as much as possible, just in case someone recognized her.

“It’s okay dear, keep calm. We’re almost out,” Tree Flower called back towards Fluttershy, leading her out of the mob and into the main central area of the station. The mob thinned and Tree Flower led them to the front door, which opened up to reveal Central Manehattan.

Fluttershy whimpered slightly at the sight of the city before her. She hadn’t seen so many ponies in her entire life. It seemingly stretched forever, with the skyscrapers forming canyons that were filled with thousands upon thousands of ponies. Dozens upon dozens of bright yellow taxi carts darted back and forth, picking up and dropping off their passengers. On either end of the staircase leading down the street were doorways heading downwards into darkness. Fluttershy assumed that those lead to the subway. Fluttershy looked up at the sight of several large zeppelins flying gracefully through the sky, looking like beautiful silver whales. Tiny brightly colored dots fluttered about, which Fluttershy assumed were pegasi.

“Well, which do you want to take?” her mother asked, looking at Fluttershy expectantly. Fluttershy snapped out of her distracted state and shrugged.

“Um…I don’t Mother…which would you prefer?” she asked.

Tree Flower thought for a moment, putting a hoof to her chin, “Well, the subway is faster…”

Fluttershy thought about that option for a second. The thought of being crammed into a tight metal container underground and surrounded by dozens of grumpy ponies was a scary one.

“Um…how about a taxi?” Fluttershy finally said, pointing towards one of the dozens of taxi cabs darting about. Tree Flower raised an eyebrow.

“Are you sure Fluttershy? That might take awhile,” she said, sounding rather reluctant.

Fluttershy nodded her head, “Well, I’m not sure I’d like to be around too many ponies…” she lowered her voice, “Just in case…New Fluttershy, you know?”

Tree Flower’s expression changed from one of confusion to understanding, “Oh…you’re right…a cab might be safer.” As she said this, her eyes started scanning the dozens of taxicabs that darted about., “Umm….” she paused, apparently trying to narrow down a potential ride. “How about that one?” she pointed to a rather new looking one that had just pulled up with the number 1646. Its paint job glinted in the sunlight and its driver looked like a reasonable fellow. Tree Flower gently lead Fluttershy down the steps and the two of them trotted towards the taxi driver.

“Excuse me! Taxi!” Tree Flower called out, catching the dark brown pony’s attention. The colt looked towards them and nodded.

“Yes ma’am?” he asked as they trotted up to him. Tree Flower smiled graciously while Fluttershy hid behind her mane.

“Hello there, we’d like to take go to…” Tree Flower paused, seemingly at a lost. The taxi driver raised an eyebrow.

“Go to….?” he asked, seemingly impatient. Tree Flower gave him a quick glare as if to say ‘hold a second’ as she tapped her chin. Fluttershy meanwhile, bit her lip, unsure of what to do. She didn’t know the address of this Dr. Cheerilee. All she knew was that it was somewhere in Manehattan. So, she decided to simply stand by. After a few more moments of thinking, Tree Flower nodded.

“Now I remember,” she chuckled, “Its 1973 SW 103rd Street, sorry for the inconvenience.“ She then fished out some spare change from her saddle bags and handed it to the driver.

The taxi driver simply shrugged, taking her money in hoof, “Whatever ma’am,” he said, as he stepped out the vehicle and opened the door for them. Tree Flower thanked him and the two ponies stepped inside. Fluttershy assaulted by the sudden burst of putrid odors and the sheer filthiness of the inside of the cab. The seats were coated with a disgusting film of dirt, crumbs and stains unknown origin. The floor was almost buried in its own distinctive array of stains, bits of moldy food and the like. Herds of dust bunnies hovered around the seat belts, and the windows could only be described as utterly and hopelessly filthy.

Fluttershy looked at Tree Flower weakly, “Um…I changed my mind, I wanna take the train.” Tree Flower looked at her sympathetically. She opened her mouth to speak but was cut off when the taxi driver suddenly glared at them.

"Oh no ya don't! Ya paid for a ride in my cab, so you're gonna ride in it. No take backs," he said, pointing towards the meter. Fluttershy's shoulders sagged.

She felt Tree Flower's hoof on her shoulder. "Do you want to go? We can still take the train," her mother said, her voice gentle. She then eyed the cab driver with disdain. "Because Celestia knows that a stallion should properly respect a mare." The cab driver simply scoffed in response.

Fluttershy paused. She once more considered the subway. It was tight and cramped, but if her memory served her right (and it had been quite awhile since she was last on one), any subway was better than this. She turned towards Tree Flower.

"Alright then," she said, stepping out of the cab, closely followed by her mother. Tree Flower gave the cab driver a dirty look as he slumped back in the driver’s seat, all the while muttering under his breath.

"You're lucky I don't report you," Tree Flower said, turning away. The cab driver simply cursed under his breath in response several incredibly vulgar words as the two mares departed.

Fluttershy simply hung her head low. She'd messed up again. And it had cost her mother at least twenty bits. A total waste. She sighed sadly. Of course things would go wrong, that's all that ever happened when she was around ponies.

"Mother...I'm sorry I made you waste your money like that..." she quietly said, all the while keeping her eyes fixed on the ground.

Tree Flower simply shrugged. "That's okay, dear. I've seen worse drivers. It wasn't your fault. He was a jerk, it couldn't be helped."

They quietly weaved their way through the crowd, with Fluttershy still hiding behind her mane. They reached the subway entrance and descended into the bowels of the subway station.

Author's Note:

Chapter title from the song "Movin' Right Along" by The Muppets

Well, here we are, a nice, laid back chapter without a lot of angst.

Of course, starting next chapter, things are going to get rather....hectic.

But yes, we're finally wrapping things up and everything is going to finally tie together for the finale.

And if you spotted the NBC Hannibal reference with Will the Stag...then congratulations, you're one heck of a nerd.

Also, Firefly's fate is related in Soar, so read that one to find that out.

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