• Published 14th Jan 2013
  • 26,294 Views, 1,588 Comments

The Monster Below - Greenback



An earth pony seeks to transform himself into an Alicorn, but how far is he willing to go to get what he wants?

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...Come Great Things

‭What's it like to see a dream die? I always thought there would be tears, anger, and the desire to die. But it's not like that at all. Instead of hate, there's numbness. Instead of grief, there is nothingness. It's as if a part of your soul is ripped away, leaving a great emptiness that can never be filled.

It's like you'll never feel happy again.

That emptiness stays with me as the doctors release me from the tube.‭ I'm operating on automatic as I dry myself off, listening to the doctors explain how I need to take it easy for a while,‭ ‬and to keep taking pain medications so my muscles can rest and recover.‭ I especially need to be careful about my head: my brain is still in delicate condition after having the horn removed, and any injury, or even a bump, could have disastrous consequences.

Because the anesthesia is still in my system, I'm taken to Luna's carriage in a wheelchair. She's waiting for me, and suggests that I use the next two or three days to recover and prepare for my journey to Canterlot.‭ Her tact is appreciated,‭ ‬but we both know she's telling me to prepare for my prison stay.

The ride to my old apartment building is uneventful, but my landlord is unnerved to see me escorted inside by two of Luna’s unicorn guards,‭ ‬who assure him that I'll only be here for a few days.‭ We head up to my apartment,‭ ‬where I'm told to stay until the trip to Canterlot.‭ ‬Should I need any food or drink,‭ ‬a courier will be dispatched to pick up supplies.‭ Then the two take up positions in the hall and shut the door,‭ ‬leaving me to myself.

Any other pony would have sat down and wept,‭ ‬overwhelmed by everything that's happened in the past twenty four hours.‭ ‬But not me.‭ I don't feel anything as I take a long,‭ ‬hot shower,‭ ‬and then collapse in bed,‭ ‬letting the remnants of the anesthesia push me into sleep's embrace.‭

Perhaps there I can find rest from a future that's never been more empty‬.

***

When I wake,‭ ‬a glance at the clock reveals that I've been asleep for ten hours. Yet, melancholy still grips me. Perhaps I'll feel different when I'm on my way to Canterlot, but for now I’m now in limbo,‭ ‬unable to go back to my old life,‭ ‬yet not able to go on to what’s next. But while I was spared from spending decades behind bars,‭ ‬I feel no relief.

Two years is a long time.

I crawl from bed and head into the kitchen.‭ I should be making the most of the time I have left,‭ ‬but getting drunk would bring only headaches and hangovers. No book will satisfy me, and and to watch television would only expose me to pleasures and wonders that I’ll be unable to experience. None of those will make me happy.‭ ‬Nothing can.

Well, that’s not true. There is one thing that can lift my spirits.

Beakbreaker.

Taking a blank piece of paper and a quill,‭ ‬I write her a letter. Or rather,‭ ‬I try to,‭ ‬because I'm not sure what to tell her.‭ All my experience in doing speeches and query letters seems like a joke as I ponder what to say.‭ Should I try for something elegant‭? Heartfelt‭? ‬Poetic‭? None of those feel right,‭ ‬not after what we've both gone through.‭ ‬

Perhaps... perhaps being honest would be best.

Putting the quill to the paper,‭ ‬I write that I'd like to see her again before going to Canterlot.‭ Sealing the letter inside an envelope, I attach a stamp that will ‬ensure same-day delivery ‬and send it down the mail chute.‭ ‬Beakbreaker will probably get it by the afternoon,‭ ‬and reply by sundown. Even if the answer is no,‭ ‬she has to reply.

She just has to.

***

The day rolls on.‭ I watch the view beyond the window while keeping an ear turned towards the door.‭ Eventually, I tire of watching towers and ponies flying past them, and seek something more intellectually stimulating. Heading towards my small library in the sitting room,‭ ‬I spot a newspaper near the door. It's the morning edition, probably slipped in by the guards after they had read it over.‭ Unfolding the paper,‭ ‬I find the cover page plastered with photos of devastation throughout Manehattan,‭ ‬the biggest focusing on the Medicomp plaza.‭ It's been a week since the Mangus' rampage,‭ ‬and the final extent of the devastation has only just been tallied: five skyscrapers were destroyed ‬and two hundred ponies have died,‭ ‬with a further five hundred injured ‬and over a hundred missing their horns‭.‭ The Manehattan library has lost a quarter of its collection due to the destroyed wing,‭ ‬and the head librarian still lingers in the hospital,‭ ‬the staff unsure if she will survive her injuries.‭ ‬

By all accounts,‭ ‬Mangus' rampage is the worst catastrophe in Manehattan's history.

It’s to be expected that the death and destruction get top billing,‭ ‬but there’s a sizable article about how Princess Luna was seen leaving the Manehattan prison with me,‭ ‬while Mangus was reportedly taken to the train station,‭ ‬and is en route to locations unknown.‭ Picture after picture show me at my impromptu press conference,‭ ‬as well as me leaving the Medicomp tower via a wheelchair without my horn or wings. The article doesn't hold back on describing how Mangus and I are responsible for the damage.‭

Turning to the opinion page,‭ ‬I'm not surprised to find numerous editorials and letters blasting both Mangus and myself.‭ ‬Some ponies suggest that the two of us be turned into statues and put on display for all to see as both a punishment,‭ ‬and a warning for others not to follow in our footsteps. Others think we should be publicly executed, and others still believe we should be imprisoned in the moon, never to be released.

The world, it seems, won’t forgive or forget this anytime soon.

***

Evening comes and I still keep an ear turned to the door,‭ ‬waiting for something to slip through the mail slot.‭ But the hours pass ‬and nothing comes through.‭

My hope begins to dim.

Why hasn't Beakbreaker written back‭?

***

I wake. Rushing to the door, I... yes! There's a letter waiting for me! I grab the envelope and tear it open, yanking out the letter and... and my hope is crushed.

The letter isn't from Beakbreaker; it's from Luna,‭ ‬informing me that I will be heading to Canterlot tomorrow morning at six AM sharp,‭ ‬and that I should use the day to put all my affairs in order.

I drop the letter,‭ ‬struggling to hold back the sobs threatening to rise up.‭ No. No, I can't let despair overcome me. Perhaps Beakbreaker did get my letter and wrote back,‭ ‬but her reply hasn't reached my apartment yet. Yes... yes, that has to be it.

I spend the next few hours tidying up my apartment ‬and putting my belongings in boxes for storage... not that I know where to send them,‭ ‬or who would take them.‭ Medicomp‭? My former co-workers at the grocery store‭? I suppose I can always mail them to my parents. It can probably all fit into my old room, anyway.

There's not much else to manage‭; ‬my bank account is all that's left,‭ but ‬I'll leave it alone.‭ By the time I get out of Canterlot's dungeons,‭ ‬there will be quite a lot of extra money accumulated from the interest,‭ ‬probably enough to help me get off to a good start in my new life...but it doesn't feel right‭ ‬having it all to myself.‭ Checking yesterday's paper,‭ ‬I find several listings for charities that have sprung up to aid those affected by the disaster.‭ Taking my checkbook,‭ ‬I write out a check to the biggest one,‭ ‬using half the money in my account.‭ It won't undo all the damage Mangus and I caused,‭ ‬but I hope it can help those who need it the most.

Putting the check inside an envelope,‭ ‬I send it down the mail tube.‭ ‬Packing up my checkbook,‭ ‬I put my apartment keys on the table,‭ ‬figuring that I'll turn them in to the landlord tomorrow.‭ And with that,‭ ‬I have the rest of the afternoon to myself.‭ ‬By tomorrow evening,‭ ‬I'll be inside my new home in the Canterlot dungeons.

As noon comes and goes,‭ ‬I stay in the sitting room,‭ ‬waiting for a letter that may or may not come.‭ But as mid-afternoon comes around,‭ ‬a gnawing fear rises in my chest. My letter to Beakbreaker must have reached her by now. Because I haven’t gotten a reply back, there ‬are only two logical explanations:‭ ‬she hasn't sent out a reply yet... or she's ignoring me.

I try to dismiss the thought, but it won't go away.

There's only one individual in the world that I want to be with,‭ ‬and for all I know, she doesn't want to be anywhere near me.

***

My mood remains bleak well into the afternoon.‭ I can't muster the strength or the will to do anything but sit at the table, listening to the ticking of the clock, and the pitter-patter of rain against the window.

I wonder if I can go to the train station and head to Canterlot right now. Perhaps it would be best to get this all over with. It's preferable to just sitting here, waiting for what I can't escap-

There's a knock at the door.

I rush to the door. Is it Beakbreaker?! Oh please, let it be her!

I open the door and... it's not Beakbreaker.

It's my parents.

The three of us stand where we are,‭ ‬unsure what to do.

I don't know what to say. The last time we saw each other, I shot them with a stunning spell. Are they here to slap me? To disown me and say that they never want to see me again?

“Silverspeak," Mom says quietly, "May we come in?”

I don't want a confrontation. I want distance, and time to let everyone's emotional wounds heal. But the two don't seem hostile or looking for a fight.

I step aside. The two enter, and I close the door behind them.

“‬How are you feeling‭?” Mom asks.

I shrug.

She gets close to me.‭ “‬Princess Luna told us everything. She showed us your memories. We... we know why you attacked us. Why you were so angry."

I turn away.

A hoof takes hold of my chin, gently pulling me back. "I know you're angry at us, Silverspeak. We don't blame you. If we were in your position, we would have been angry, too."

Dad nods.

"We know what's going to happen," Mom says, trying to smile. "I'm sure it won't be so bad. The Princesses-”

“‬We weren't going to talk about that,” Dad says.

“Oh. Oh yes,"

It's quiet again for a long moment.

The clock continues to tick.

“I... I know this is hard for you,‏ ‎Silverspeak,‭” ‬Dad says,‭ “‬but your mother's right. It won't be as bad as you think.‭”

“I’m going to prison,‏ ‎Dad,‭” ‬I say.‭ “‬How can it not be bad‭?”

Dad struggles to find an answer. “You could have gone there for life.”‭

‏He’s right, but I’m not in the mood to hear it.

“You won’t be alone in there. We’ll visit you when we can, and when you get out, it'll all be behind you.‏ ‎You'll have a clean start.‭”

‏Despite my attempts at keeping a straight face,‭ ‬my parents have the ability to realize when their child is hiding something.‭

"What's wrong‭?” Mom asks.

Do I tell them the truth‭? ‬That I don't care about public opinion or being cleared of wrongdoing any more‭? That there's only one thing in all the world I really want‭?

“It’s Beakbreaker,‏” ‎I say.‭ “‬I sent her a letter about how I want to see her before I leave,‭ ‬but she hasn't replied.‭”

My parents flinch. They try to disguise it, but even an uneducated simpleton could see they’re hiding something.

“What?” I ask. “What is it?”

Reaching into his bag, Dad takes out the morning paper and opens it to a small article about halfway through. It's an update on Medicomp, including a note that their stocks are starting to inch back up.

“What does that have to do with-‏”

Dad indicates for me to keep reading.‭

I come across a small paragraph near the article's end.‭ It says that Beakbreaker,‭ ‬the inventor of Medicomp's legs and wings,‭ ‬hasn't been seen since the battle on the Manehattan bridge.‭ When asked about her,‭ ‬Coin Counter revealed that she's heading to another Medicomp branch.

‏“We tried to find her,” Mom says. “But by the time we found the hospital she was staying in, she had already been discharged.” She bites down on her lip. “I'm so sorry, Silverspeak.”

I can barely hear her as the paper falls from my hooves, but there are no tears or anguished sobs.

The only thing I wanted more than anything in the world is gone.

I half-sit, half-fall onto the sofa. My parents look at each other,‭ ‬unsure what to do.‭ They've never seen their son so defeated,‭ ‬so empty of life and vitality.‭

‬Eventually,‭ ‬Dad comes over and sits beside me.‭ “‬Silverspeak,‭ ‬I'm sorry about Beakbreaker.‭ ‬But... well,‭ ‬times change.‭ ‬Ponies change-‭”

I turn away. I don’t want to listen to him. I don’t want his lectures.

‭“‬Silverspeak,‭ ‬I know you're not a fan of my stories,‭ ‬but do you remember what I told you when you left home‭? About how we're all seeds meant to become trees‭?”

‏I say nothing.

‏“Well, I didn't tell you what else my father told me, that the seed's journey is never easy. It has to fall in the right spot, get the right support, and obtain plenty of water and sunlight. But it also has to contend with winds, storms, floods, and everything else nature throws at it. It might run into a few snags along the way, but it still keeps growing. And it's often the tree that endures the most, and is battered about the most, that becomes the strongest.” He lets the words sink in before continuing. “You might think there’s nothing for you after all this, but you’re wrong. You’re upset, but that will pass. And one day, you just might look back and see this as the beginning of an even greater stage of your life, one where you don’t need to get wings and a horn to prove yourself. Or to impress us, for that matter.”

“You said I was a disappointment to you both,‏” I say.

Dad hangs his head in shame.‭ “‬Yes... Yes,‭ ‬I did.‭ But your mother and I... We learned that you weren't a disappointment at all.‭ Heaven only knows it took too long,‭ ‬but we learned to see you for what you really were... our son.‭ Our beautiful,‭ ‬precious little boy who we loved more than anything in the world.‭” He breathes deeply.‭ “‬We knew you had it rough in school.‭ All those birthday parties when no one came.‭ But you have no idea how much we loved you.‭”

He puts his hoof under my chin,‭ ‬raises it up.

“Or how much we still do.‏”

I've never heard Dad talk like this before.

I don't know what to say.

“You may think you’re alone, that you'll always be. But you won't.‭ ‬We'll be there. We'll help you get through, and everything else life throws at you, because..."

Dad hesitates, then slowly leans in and puts his legs around me. It’s such an alien gesture that I can’t remember the last time he did something like this.

"Because we love you.”

I feel Mom sitting beside me, and then her legs go around me as well.

It may not be for long, but the darkness in me seems to grow a little smaller.

I close my eyes and put my legs around my parents as we embrace each other.‭

None of us speak.‭

There's no need for words.

***

It’s not long before I notice a change in the apartment. Things don’t seem quite as foreboding as they once were. When I ask my parents if they have somewhere to go, they refuse to go, insisting to stay with me for the rest of the day. They even insist on cooking dinner, making it as extravagant as possible. We take everything I have left in the cupboard and whip up a hodgepodge dinner of noodles, broccoli, oranges, and cheese. It’s amusing to toss everything together and witness the birth of our culinary catastrophe, but it’s even more fun to bite into the finished result and try to see who can create the longest strand of melted cheese.

For a few hours, at least, I forget about everything that's coming.

I’m happy.

Eventually, the sun goes down, and once we calm down and clean up the sticky remains of dinner, we talk about what we’ll do with my things. Mom and Dad agree to take my things and keep them in storage, where I’ll then pay to have them shipped to Canterlot after being released. All that’s left are what I want to take with me; I settle on a few sets of clothes that I won’t wear for another two years, a tie to wear for the trip, a few books, and pack them all in a saddlebag.

With that settled, all my affairs are in order.

All that’s left is to wait for the dawn.

Eventually, the three of us tire. I set up the sofa to act as an impromptu bed for my parents, while simultaneously putting blankets and pillows on the biggest chair. I could sleep in my normal bed tonight, but I don’t want to spend my last night of freedom alone. And as I turn out the lights, Mom decides to do something a little special, remembering a little thing she did when I was little, and we lost power during a storm. After turning off all the lights, she arranges all my candles around the room, casting warm, dancing flickers upon the walls as we settle down.

I relax in my chair, watching the lights dance, and wish that this perfect evening can go on forever, and that dawn will never come. But even as I drift off, I know it's a dream that will never come true.

All things, whether good or bad, must come to an end.

***

I’m woken by a loud knock at the door.

Feeling unusually calm, I glance at the clock. It’s five in the morning, early enough that it’s still dark outside. Trudging to the door, I’m not surprised to find four royal guards waiting outside. Without a word, I nod, put on my tie, and gather my saddlebags. As the guards go through them, I wake my parents. Like me, they’re quickly up and about, and gather their own bags. Once those are inspected as well, we all leave, my parents staying close to me.

It's bitterly cold as we exit the apartment building (leaving my keys at the front desk).‭ Luna’s ‬armored coach is waiting for us,‭ ‬and we quickly get in.‭ I had wondered if the Princess would escort me to the station, and I’m not surprised to see her inside. I can't say the same for my parents, as they're in awe at being able to ride with Luna, and in her own carriage, no less. But that doesn't last long, as my mother launches a barrage of questions, mostly pleas that I be treated well in the Canterlot dungeons.‭ Luna assures her that I will be given the same treatment of any other inmate, and not singled out due to my notoriety.

It isn't long before we reach the train station,‭ ‬where several more royal guards have set up a barricade,‭ ‬ensuring that there are no threats to the Princess as we emerge from the carriage. We’ll be riding on an ordinary commuter train to Canterlot, the last two cars having been commandeered for for Luna and her entourage. As we start towards the train, Luna takes off into the sky, ‭probably heading off to lower the moon.

My parents rush inside,‭ ‬wanting to get out of the cold air, along with numerous other ponies boarding the cars further ahead. I’m the only one who lingers, turning to look back at the city. I don’t have any sentimental attachment to Manehattan, but despite everything that’s happened, this was still my home.

The guards fidget. A few step towards me.

I watch the towers for a moment longer, then step inside the train.

It’s warm inside the car, and the decor is a perfect fit for royalty, with giant sofas, elegant carpeting, crystal chandeliers, and even a fireplace. My parents are surprised to be traveling in such style, and plop down on one of the luxurious sofas. I’m not caught up in the elegance and glamor. This is an elegant train, but I have no delusions about where it’s taking me.

As a grandfather clock signals the top of the hour, the car jerks as it pulls out of the station. I head to the windows and watch as we head down the tracks. It’s only a few minutes before we’re crossing the Manehattan Bridge, which, while half-collapsed, is still safe enough to allow passage.

We roll onto the mainland. And from here, I have an unparalleled view of Manehattan, which still glows in the last fragments of the night. I watch the city as long as I can, musing that when I first arrived, I was a nobody. Now, as I leave, I'm one of it's most notorious residents.

The train continues on, and Equestria’s easternmost city stands tall and proud as it fades into the horizon.

***

It isn't long before Princess Luna flies down and enters the car, her wings folding back as she sits by my parents. Two aides roll a food cart inside, loaded with warm, steaming pastries, cake, and all manner of foodstuffs. At Luna’s invitation, my parents help themselves, taking advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of having breakfast with a Princess.

I don’t join them. It isn’t long before they notice, and Dad asks if I’m hungry. I shake my head, and say that I just want to be by myself for a while. But as I head to the next car, Luna motions for me to wait, and pulls a set of saddlebags from a drawer. I recognize them: they’re the bags I left at the Medicomp tower. Luna seems quite insistent that I take them.

Slinging the packs over my back,‭ ‬I enter the last car. It’s as regal as the one behind me, meant for gatherings and socializing, complete with giant windows that provide panoramic views of our surroundings. We’re currently traveling through the fields between Manehattan and the surrounding communities, giving the impression that I’m riding through a sea of grass. The sun is starting to rise, its rays creeping over the horizon.

I take a seat on the closest sofa and lean back, content to enjoy the peace and quiet for several minutes. I may not have many such moments in the years to come, and I want to enjoy it while I can.

Eventually, my mind wanders to the saddlebags Luna gave me. There isn’t much inside them, just the food and the clothes intended for my solitary journey to Canterlot. There’s no reason to hold onto them. I take the stuff out, but as the last clothing scrap comes out, I stop. Little Celestia... my gosh, I’ve forgotten about her. She looks up at me, her ever-present smile still there. I look her over, hoping that she wasn’t damaged. There’s a small crack in her side, but other than that, she’s none the worse for wear.

Relieved, I pull her out of the bag. I can let go of pretty much everything else, but I want to keep little Celestia. She’s a reminder of why I got into all this in the first place, and that wish is still good. It was just my methods that-

Wait... There’s something between her legs. A... scroll? It’s fancy, the parchment crafted from the finest materials. But most curious of all is the wax seal holding it shut,‭ ‬and the royal insignia pressed upon it.

A chill goes through me.

With shaking hooves, I break the seal and unroll the scroll. And with trembling legs, I begin to read.

Dear Silverspeak:

When my sister and I reviewed your memory,‭ ‬I saw that you wrote me a letter when you were a little colt, which I never received due to circumstances beyond our control. I hope you’ll forgive me for my late reply.

Silverspeak,‭ ‬you may think that you are useless,‭ ‬but everyone in Equestria, whether they’re an earth pony, a unicorn,‭ ‬a pegasus,‭ ‬or even other species,‭ ‬like griffons,‭ ‬dragons,‭ ‬and donkeys, are needed to help make our world such a beautiful and friendly place to live. The only way they can do that is to be true to themselves, and to use the gifts they have. You too, have a wonderful gift, and one that can change the world for the better, if you use it wisely.

You may fear that you will never find your place in Equestria,‭ ‬but I promise that if you follow what you love, you will find your purpose, even if it turns out to be different than what you expected. But don’t forget those who can help you along the way:‭ ‬your parents,‭ ‬family,‭ ‬and friends.‭ Friendship is Equestria's greatest strength, but it is the love we share that truly makes our lives beautiful.

Despite your mistakes, and some of the choices you’ve made, I've seen that you have a good heart,‭ ‬Silverspeak.‭ When the time comes,‭ ‬I look forward to meeting you,‭ ‬and I hope we can become friends.

Sincerely,

Princess Celestia‭

I read the letter again.‭ ‬And then again.‭ And then once more.

Princess Celestia... ‭She wrote me a letter‭.

I can barely keep my composure as I clutch the letter to my chest, never wanting to let it go.

***

I don’t know how long I sit there with the letter, but I don’t care. Princess Celestia herself wrote to me. She took time out of her busy schedule to write a letter specifically for me. Never in a million years did I imagine that the leader of all Equestria would do such a thing.

Eventually, I release the letter for fear of crumpling it too much. I want to hold onto it in the days and months to come, to re-read it whenever I need encouragement and hope to get me through the tough times ahead. It’s more valuable than the shiniest diamond, and to that end I carefully fold, and place it inside my saddlebag.

Just as I finish strapping the buckle down, there’s sound from the next car. I recognize it as the raised voice of Luna’s captain. He’s not happy about something. I could care less, but then I hear Luna’s voice as well. Her voice isn’t raised, but it silences the Captain. Then she says something else, and her tone sounds encouraging. But who’s she talking to? My parents? Someone-

There’s movement at the door. The handle turns, and it swings open.

Beakbreaker stands in the doorway.

For a moment, time goes still.

I can’t breathe.

Beakbreaker looks at me, and her face is like a mask, revealing neither happiness nor sorrow. Without a word, she walks to the sofa and sits beside me.

Thoughts swarm through my mind; how can Beakbreaker be here? I thought she had already departed Manehattan for parts unknown. Or is this her train, and she wants me to apologize before she leaves? Or does she just want to see me on my knees, begging for forgiveness?

Scarcely able to move, I steal a glimpse at Beakbreaker’s face. She looks... conflicted.

I turn away, unable to look at her. She probably doesn’t want to see at me. And why would she? Yes, I saved her life,‭ ‬and she knows that I was willing to sacrifice everything for her,‭ ‬but there's the manipulation,‭ ‬the nudging,‭ and ‬using her for my own purposes.‭ ‬How could she ever forgive that‭?

Wait... I remember reading, once long ago, that Medicomp has a division in Canterlot. Perhaps that’s where she’s transferring to, and this was her train. She wanted to see the observation car, and Luna let her in, but didn’t tell her that I was here.

‏I breathe deeply, my heart pounding. I need to leave. No need to make things worse by-

Something touches my hoof.

Oh great, her saddlebags fell over. I move to push them away... but it wasn’t the bags. It was Beakbreaker.

She’s touching my hoof.

I look up. Beakbreaker’s looking back at me, but through the hurt, the uncertainty, and the weariness, there’s a longing in her face. A wanting...

A need.

For the longest moment, my heart stops. I wait for her to pull away, to turn her gaze from mine.

She doesn’t.

Did... Did Beakbreaker learn that I was going to Canterlot, and asked to be transferred there as well? Did she intentionally wait for this specific train before leaving?

Did she specifically ask Princess Luna if I was back here?

Beakbreaker waits, her hoof on mine.

My lip quivers as I take Beakbreaker’s hoof in my own, and squeeze it ever so gently.

A moment passes.

Beakbreaker squeezes back, a tear sliding down her cheek.

A tear slides down my cheek, too.

Hoof in hoof, Beakbreaker and I sit together, bathed in the light of the rising sun.

Author's Note:

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

A big shout-out to my proofreaders, who so generously donated their time and effort to help catch errors before the chapters were posted:

*Citrez_Skitz
*JackShine
*JDC
*Night_Shade

The picture for this chapter was done by the talented Stasushka! Check out her DA page here! (http://stasushka.deviantart.com/)

Though the story itself is now completed, stay tuned for some bonus material later this week!

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