• Published 10th Apr 2013
  • 1,728 Views, 174 Comments

Libera Mé - EZTP

Set just after the events of season 3, Twilight Sparkle and her friends must rise to a challenging beast the likes of which will test her not only as an alicorn, but as the Princess of Friendship.

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14 Weakness


Rarity worked quick and efficiently, all the fabrics neatly cut into their shapes and sizes. She enjoyed creating garments but this one was special to her. It was an end to the conflict, an end to Twilights pain. As she worked on she could construct more and more reasons that the creature would stay and talk to her friends. If they could sit down in a civil manner it might resolve everything, all the turbulence. It was a difficult beast to persuade, every action she did drew suspicion. It had in the very least allowed her to be near it, more than it did in the cell. The hatred she felt for this monster became less prominent in her mind. It stood to reason this creature was not an enemy to them. She caught herself thinking her highest hope that by the end of this night she would be able to be friends with it.

She could still smell its musk in the air and opened a window. The cool night air rushing in and refreshing her. It was a strange circumstance she stumbled across it that badly injured. After all she had seen it was invincible in her mind, seeing it like that however shattered that idea.

The fabrics merged neatly under the sewing machine becoming one piece, she went three times over the same stitches to give them extra strength. The needle was very temperamental today and had a tough time going through the thicker materials, the effort on her part was straining her. As the night was growing older and she could feel the fatigue setting on the muscles.

She went to the kitchen and fetched herself a cup of tea. Leaving the pot full so she could offer some to the creature when it came down. She was slowly becoming nervous it would leave, run out the window or disappear. Its form was truly like the monsters in her novels, demonised giants of tremendous girth rampaging across the land to be slain by the noble knight to save lady and kingdom. Yet it had managed to defy the description, bering the form of the antagonists while porting the person of the protagonists. Her memories of the battle kept intruding, she saw those terrible eyes choking her, the sense of relief that washed over her when the the golem knocked back by the creature. At that moment she did not feel afraid of it, did not question why it was free, she was happy at that point to see it. It was something the creature had about it, a fury burning in its eyes, a concern, no fear.

She turned around and jumped, the creature was standing behind her with two towels neatly wrapped about its bulk. It was a normal thing to be without an outfit in equestria but she could not help feel slightly embarrassed by its presence. All the contours on the body had been neatly hidden by the old garments, now the form was visible, the cuts and bruises, missing clumps of its light fur coat only illustrating its struggle.

“My apologies Miss, I did not mean to startle you.There were only two towels.”

“Oh no it’s quite alright, you are already done?

“Indeed. Much needed thank you.”

“Would you like some tea?”

“No thank you.”

“I’ll drink from the same pot, and I will even go first.”

“You are learning.”

“It is not difficult, you are after all very paranoid.”

“Plain please.” She poured out a cup and offered it to the creature. It did not take it. “Why don’t you sip from my cup first Miss.”

“Is that not unsanitary?”

“I am not worried. Are you?”

She smiled and took a sip large enough to notice and made extra effort for the creature to hear her swallow the beverage. Without another word it took the cup and raised it high, “To paranoia.” They drank deeply enjoying the beverage, she could see it’s face soften.

“How are you feeling?”

“Much better thank you Miss. That bath of yours was refreshing. The tea is excellent and from what I glimpsed the outfit looks marvellous.”

“Would you like to come sit down while I finish?” The creature nodded and Rarity took her cup into the workstation. The creature followed carrying its cup with the hot teapot by its base, unflinching to the heat. It was remarkable to her when it took her empty cup and saucer in its left claw, and filled it three quarters full. Normally a hostess or a friend would perform the task for a guest but this was an unusual situation.

“Would you like sugar, milk?”

“How would you know where they are?”

“I watch and learn.”

“Thank you but today I would enjoy a plain cup.” It handed her the cup, taking one for itself. The monster did not sit but stood on the opposing side of her desk watching. She felt her energy returning and began to work again, the creature following her process, its head darting around trying to observe her movements.

“Why are you doing this?” She stopped working and focused on the creature feeling nervous now to find an adequate explanation, “I know you said it was to repay my service but I find that hard to believe. You are going through a lot of effort and risk for such a simple reason.”

“It is also fun for me. I have never made an outfit for a whatever like yourself. What are you exactly?” She returned to her work knowing the creature would no doubt try to deflect her inquiry.

“A mistake, not meant to be here, take your pick. Species on the other hand, I will avoid mentioning, as I said my kind are truly not meant for this land.”

“Why is that?”

“We are too destructive, excelling in combat and war.”

“Is that why you can fight so well?”

“You think I can fight well?”

“Well yes, after what we saw at the castle you certainly can.”

“I appreciate the sentiment, a real warrior would have not been touched.”

“You are too hard on yourself, Rainbow Dash is still upset you showed up the Wonderbolts.”

“The faction with the shields?”

“No, those were the royal guards, The wonderbolts have-” She stopped herself hesitating to say it.


“Yes. She cannot believe you single hoofedly beat the whole changeling army!”

“Well they were far tougher than me, they stood their ground in an hopeless battle. Such loyalty to their cause is commendable, but we still haven’t answered why you are doing this...”

Its observation was correct, Raritys attempt to redirect it’s thought had failed. She could only imagine one reason would satisfy its curiosity. “You helped Pink Hair too.”

“Miss Fluttershy? Are you referring to that incident with her remedy?”

“Was it really as painful as what I saw tonight?”

“Today was nothing, that day though it was surprising. That level of pain I have never felt before.”

“Why did you ask them to pour it on the second arm?”

“Honestly? I did it for Miss Fluttershy. Imagine the worry and concern I saved her brewing a new remedy. I also had to show her the pain was not that bad, that I could take it. Such a display of weakness though was pathetic on my part.”

“It is not weak to seek the comfort of somepony, it shows courage.”

“Is she alright?”

“She’s more than fine darling. Your actions left quite an impression on her. From what she confided in me you did your best to comfort her. It has been bothering me why you would do that, after what you did to Twilight why would you care what happened to her?”

The creature sat in silence and Rarity tossed the completed top half to the side beginning on the leggings. Her accurate cuts and preparations brought the outfit quickly together. The clasps and velcro were not temperamental today, being easy to stitch.“There was a familiarity in her, I did it because she needed it. I don’t know how much she told you but when she held my head to her I could hear her heart beating, her rapid breathing, I could feel her tears falling. Despite all my actions she still cared enough to feel remorse when she caused me harm. Looking back that is the first time I felt remorse for my actions. My enemy was nothing more than a frightened young lady with the sweetest heart.”

Rarity was stunned, “You are strange.”

“I know. She earned my respect for her love that day. Such a heart does not deserve to suffer. Was she that shaken up?”

“She did not sleep that night. I stayed up with her and tried to pass the time.”

“I am sorry to have caused so much...distress.”

“Oh she is perfectly fine. I could invite her over if you like?”

“No other individuals please. Let us savour the moment alone.”

“You still don’t trust me...”

“I never regretted not trusting an individual.”

“Well I trust you. Even after all you did I honestly feel safe with you.”

“Now we both know that is a lie. I saw your panic earlier with your sister.”

“Well I suppose. Now though I don’t think you are the monster I thought you were. Your softer and kind. Like a teddy bear!”

“I will admit the metaphor is intriguing but the symbolism is offensive.”

“You are too serious,” she giggled, “I would like to check the fit, please try this on.” The creature wore the top, it served only to enhance the build. Every muscle and contour neatly covered, from the large chest to its robust stomach. As it flexed them and stretched she paid close attention to the stitching to see if it would hold. “Very nice Miss.”

“Very nice indeed, the bottom is almost done.”

“Take your time.”

As she stitched away at the shapes she glanced to the creature, quickly looking away to her hoof.

“Something wrong dear?”

“I cannot understand you.”

“Why whatever do you mean...?”

“You are the first one to here leave me confused. Your motives are unknown, you refuse to be honest and above all you effectively have me trapped here and have made no efforts to capture or imprison me.”

“Why are you so convinced I want to trap you?”

“It is what I would do. My enemy would not survive long enough to recover. Time is the worst thing you can give an enemy. It allows them to get stronger.”

“So you are stronger?”

“At the moment not really, better than at the spring though.”

“Well shall we say...you are not my enemy?” No reply came, “Well then, leggings if you please.”

It donned the garment, neatly slipping it under the towel to let it fall to the floor. It was as amusing as the colts whose mothers brought them in for fittings. It stretched once more and she enjoyed seeing the fabric neatly glide with every movement. This thing was fascinating to watch. Glancing to the clock she took pride seeing only a few hours had passed. She gestured to a full mirror and the creature examined the reflection.

“Perfect fit Miss Rarity, you even managed to hide the hindquarters!”

“Are we not a satisfied customer?”

“Not at all, we are very satisfied.” It walked up to its tattered bag and removed the contents to slide them into the new pouches on the arms and legs. A particularly beautiful amber sphere caught her attention and she picked it up holding it to look through to the dim light.

“What is this thing?”

“That Miss Rarity is a last resort. I will not bore you with the details but the stripped one tells me it will frighten off any attacker. I have...modified the structure though. It is very volatile so please be careful.” She cautiously returned it to the table and it quickly disappeared in the pouch. It searched around to be sure nothing was forgotten and sealed them all neatly. “What would you like to do with the old clothing. That fire looks inviting.”

“Oh no, I want to study it a little first.”

“If you want but there is a lot of blood there.”

“Some sort of stick then is required.” The creature chuckled at her comment. She looked down to the paws now, “Would one such as yourself consider the manufacture of shoes?”

“One might, one will be requiring one cup of tea though. Could one interest one such as yourself to partake in another?”

She giggled, “Not at the moment thank you.”

It quickly took another portion of tea and went to Rarity's workbench, “The station here is very neatly laid out, it will be no problem. Please stand back.” She did so and sat down eagerly to get a good view. The creature pulled out its knife and rested it on the table. It felt around the materials sometimes biting it and pulling to test its strength. Rarity was over its shoulder examining what it was doing, trying to maintain a respectful distance. It turned and beckoned her close, She reluctantly approached and winced as its claw came close to her face. She felt her glasses being gently lifted off and she sighed with relief.

“What a lovely coincidence,” It sported the pair now on its own snout, they were a rough fit but they did the job, “You and I have the same visual defect.”

“Really?” Rarity was normally embarrassed about her glasses but seeing this monster wear them made them seem less ridiculous on her.

“Almost, very slight difference. I like coincidences like this, nice ones that work out.”

“I didn’t realise you had problems.”

“Hardly a problem, but now I need precision.”

“What if they did not work?”

“I would have made something less elaborate than what I will do now.” It raised the arms and stretched out the claws like a conductor. Grasping the knife it began to cut the fabrics and stretch them across. Rarity had never seen the strange patterns and as more pieces were cut she became lost on how they would fit together. The knife was very sharp, gently slicing through he strongest of materials. An unsettling thought came if the armour of a soldier could withstand the piercing, she hoped that curiosity would never be answered. She could see the initial shape to fit over the form but as more and more smaller and strange components formed the puzzle became a mess to decipher. They were all neatly spaced out and Rarity was anxious to see it come together.

“As far as adhesive goes, what would you have to offer?”

“Well normally I would use a spell if I needed to join something.”

“No, magic will not do. I have something...” out of the arm pouch the creature pulled out a bag of small seedling plants. Taking one in the digits it gently squeezed out the contents in neat line placing the adjoining component on. The smell was strong, fading in moments when the solution dried. It grasped both ends tightly and pulled, the seal was very strong and it smiled satisfied with the work. Pushing the glasses back up the snout with a sniff, it took another seedling and proceeded to construct the shoe. To her amazement she could see the pieces stuck together very easily and tight. The level of detail was astounding, these creatures were far more complex with footwear than any pony. The arches and paws digits needed to be supported, the bones and claws had to be worked around. Rarity was now in the middle of an event, this creature was modest about its skill and she felt overjoyed to be able to see this craft from other lands. She tried to follow the blurred motions as the claws danced around the table, not a single digit was without use. They weaved around another and the form grew more apparent. Each layer falling on and making it seem more like she imagined.

The first shoe came together and it placed it neatly to the side. There was no lacing or straps, the shoe would fit the paw without problems and all the intricate weaves and shapes gave it a strong appearance. It finished the second and placed it in the centre of the table. Removing two small stones it rubbed them together and a spark set fire to them instantly. When the flash died down Rarity was amazed to see the areas where the sap was were now melded together. She came closer and it offered a shoe for her to see, replacing the glasses on her muzzle. The shoe was strong and sturdy while flexible and well protected. Holding this strange new thing she wondered how the creature had managed without it this far.


“Thank you, I have had time to perfect it.”

“Perhaps one day you could make some for me.”

“I would like that Miss Rarity. I would try now but I do not understand enough about your...hoof wear?”

“Close enough,” she giggled, “I think we have both had our fill of work tonight.”

“Very wise.”

“Try them on then!” she enthusiastically encouraged it.

It stood proudly sporting the shoes it had made, they were simple but effective, tightly packed and strong. It shook each leg and stomped on them testing their craftsmanship, it seemed happy. She could feel the thuds travel through her floor and had to laugh inside at the weight of the creature.

“How about a twirl dear?” The creature bowed and obliged in slowly rotating around, the outfit was complete, it looked every inch the creation she had envisioned. Perhaps it was time for another push.

“Its the most perfect outfit yet! A marvellous suit for a true warrior knight of the highest caliber. Strong, bold, subtle and daring you will ride to battle proudly!” Her fawning only seemed to embarrass the creature and it chuckled at her performance. It motioned to bow again but fell backwards to land with a crash that reverberated around the house. Rarity tried to withhold her laughter as is righted itself. It had fallen over a basket of fabric flowers and was trying to brush them off with little luck, the velcro on them sticking to the outfit. She tried but failed and laughed long at hard at its attempts to neaten itself. After her laughter eventually subsided she came to help it, forcing it to sit down and gently pulling the flowers loose.

“Sometimes force is not required. Have a little finesse.”

The creature looked embarrassed at its ridiculous accident, a stubborn grunt its only response. As she pulled each flower away she admired her fabric and the design. Overall it was simple yet marvellously made, already proving already it could survive a fall. She began to notice the creatures form differently now. It was hard to believe this was the same beast responsible for defeating the dark crystal army. It had proven itself thoughtful, patient and skilled this evening, not the vicious monster she once imagined snarling and spitting away in the cell. She had grown to empathise with its difficulty being thrust in a strange land with strange creatures and forced to fight for its survival. It would not be an ideal way to first see Equestria. The creature turned to her.

“I said are you alright Miss?”


“You’ve been silent for a while.”

“Oh. My apologies. I was lost in thought.”

“Miss Twilight again?”

“No. We have sorted that one out hopefully. I was actually thinking you may enjoy a tour of Equestria one day.”

“Ha! That I fear is wishful thinking. As soon as I am able I’m heading back to my land and I’m going to try to forget.”

“It hasn’t been all that bad here has it?” She went to the creatures other side to tackle the flowers there.

“Oh no, I loved my accommodations, very spacious. The food was excellent, my favourite flavour of bland. Oh, and lets not forget the delightful exercise I have had, my figure never looked more trim!”

Rarity laughed at its sarcasm, “Depends on how you look at it. Try it this way; you had the underground castle suite to yourself with a team of maids to tend to your every whim, you sampled some of the finest dietary food made, specially crafted with the hooves of the Canterlot Castle Chefs, you saved some damsels and a kingdom, earned a brand new uniform, and probably upset those poor wolves’ stomachs.”

The creature laughed at her spin on its complacency. “Besides you are forgetting my kind is too strange for this land.”

“Really? I find we are quite similar.”

“Oh yes. I’m very colourful and good natured. See my flowing locks and velvet coat cascading over my deep, big eyes.”

“So you think our coats are velvety?”


“And you like our flowing locks and deep eyes?” She stood in front of the creature watching it grow more embarrassed as time went on.

“Not really no.”

She giggled, “You can be good when it suits you. However what I meant is the similarities. For example we both come from different lands as you say, yet we can speak the same languages and write in the same manner. We have two eyes, two ears, a mouth.” She hesitated a moment but decided she needed to push a little more to convince this creature to see the beauty in Equestria and look past the unfriendly welcome, “We both have families and friends,” she reached down and took its claw resting the palm on her chest, “We both have hearts.” The claw widened and pressed against her coat, it was cold and rough, she felt very nervous and her heart beat faster. The creature placed its other claw on its own neck and was counting the beats out with a look of shock.


Rarity smiled as its claw drew away. “It is easier to find differences than to find things in common.” Something changed in the creature, it was drawing away quickly from her trying to close off. She was afraid the push was too much.

“Maybe some day...” The creature was more solemn, the good nature fading. It stood up quickly and cleared its throat, “Thank you Miss Rarity for a wonderful evening.”

It stepped into the living room and looked over at Sweetie Belle tucked neatly up against the wolf like her own pup, sleeping peacefully.

Rarity trotted over the couch and took a seat, placing her glasses on the side table and patting the space next to her. The creature did not move, there was a serene calm around them that evening and it was with a heavy heart she realised it would not last forever. Here she was, sitting next to the creature who just yesterday she hated for hurting her friend. It had chosen her, for whatever reason, to try to make its peace with them. She gazed proudly again at her work, it was truly one of her best creations, strong and subtle. Perhaps she would design for other creatures in Equestria, more business and more fun. The creature moved to the wolf.

“You could stay.” She found herself speaking words without forethought.

The creature pulled up the blanket for Sweetie Belle, she nuzzled it enjoying the warmth. It did not face her but sighed.

“Miss Rarity. I am afraid I cannot.” It spoke gently so as not to wake the filly.


“When morning comes, and it will, I will loose the cover of darkness. I cannot remain here.”

It had mentioned this before and while there was truth in what it said Rarity could not help feel that it was hiding behind an excuse. After all it had negotiated the town with ease earlier, although in a less than subtle manner.

“Why not leave early morning then?”

“It would not be as simple.”

“The guards would change then, it would still be dark. You could make it without difficulty. Not to mention the dangerous animals in the forest that are out now.”

“Perhaps, but I prefer certainties.” It tapped the wolf on the head and the ears flickered, but the head remained lying. “Besides, I have Crystal here.” The large purple beast opened its eyes looking up out of the corner of them to the creature. Ignoring it she closed them again and drifted back to sleep.

“It looks like she wants to stay.” Observed Rarity, “It would be no trouble, the couch is very comfortable, covered with the finest satin. A little cushion here and there and it could fit even you. The forest is very dangerous as you said. Would it not be safer to wait until the nighttime predators are gone?”

The creature shuddered a moment looking at its worn claws, most likely remembering the wolves. It had not responded immediately, and Rarity knew it was considering. It spoke to her but could not face her.

“Miss Rarity...” it began, “Do you remember what I told you all about my memory? Cognitive lapses with extreme aggression and loss of control.” she could remember the creatures description and claim to amnesia.

“That was the truth...” she said realising it for herself.

“I appreciate what you have done for me, even more what you are trying to do. These lapses, blackouts, I don’t know what happens then but I loose control. I don’t expect you to believe me, but I cannot stay here.” It paused a moment and Rarity thought about how observant the creature was. It was insightful and intelligent yet it could not see the truth about this evening they had together. “If I fall asleep here, it could happen again.”

There was a dark truth in the creatures words. This whole time it was afraid to go to sleep, not to protect itself, but her and Sweetie Belle.

“If it does happen again, I could not allow it to hurt any...pony else. You and your sister have been kind to me today, I will not see it end...badly as long as I have that control. No...pony deserves that.” Rarity smiled as it tried to reference their language again. The monster from Canterlot castle was afraid of itself.

“I don’t believe it shall be a problem,” she said confidently. The creature looked at her confused and she knew she was close to reaching her goal. “Would it not be nice to sleep somewhere safe for just one night?”

“It is always safe for me. Not for those near me.”

“What about Crystal?”

“She can take care of herself.”

“Also you.” the monster looked at the wolf again, it had fallen back into sleep and was breathing deep and slow.

“She does.”

“I do not see a reason to not allow you to stay.” The creature clearly wanted to speak but it quickly pursed its lips to subdue whichever thought wanted to climb to the surface. “Besides, I have Crystal.” she teased and was happy to see the creature smile, even if it was slightly. It walked over growing larger with each step. It kneeled beside her place on the seat, so close to her she could smell the salts from her bath.

“May I have your...hoof please?” She hesitated but gently placed it in its extended claw. Now was the moment to show she trusted it enough. It pulled her gently closer, resting her hoof on the centre of its chest, to her horror there was no beat. It slid her hoof to her right and looked into her eyes. She was transfixed in them, now feeling the gentle rhythms of its own heart. Its gaze was hardened and there was no trace of a smile.

“Here,” it said flatly, “Remember where your hoof is.”

She glanced down at the place seeing its claw tightly wrapped around her hoof, squeezing it, trembling. It turned her hoof over so it was open and drew its blade. Rarity resisted the overwhelming temptation to scream and recoil. She was unprepared though as the creature rested the cracked hilt in it.

“I can’t explain why I trust you, but I am so tired. Listen very carefully, I do not care if you refuse to believe that I have lapses, I do not care what you are trying to achieve tonight. If I am to stay here, if Crystal at any point begins to growl at me, you will use this, for you will only get one chance. Do you understand?”

Rarity froze, it had just shared with her the weakness. With so few words it showed her where to strike to protect herself. Maybe it was the intoxicating aroma of the bath salts, the tea or the surreal night she had, but she could not see a monster kneeling before her anymore.

“You...must be joking.”

“If I stay you must be ready. Can I entrust you with this?”

“I cannot.”

“Then I cannot. Not if it means you or your sister will be hurt.”

The creature motioned to rise but Raritys other hoof clasped around its claw. She could not understand why she had moved, nor could she think of the right words to say. She nodded and took the knife slowly. It was very cold and heavy, the crude design strangely comfortable to hold. It rested on the side table and she hoped with all her heart it would stay there.

“Thank you my friend.” Rarity nearly teared up, she had won.

The creature rose and sat slowly on the other end of the couch, its bulk once again causing the furniture to groan complacently as it settled itself into a comfortable seating position. Rarity fetched some cushions and tossed them to the creature. It placed one behind its head and another under its knee. “Promotes circulation,” it explained answering Rarities confusion.

She shifted in her place on the couch, looking at the warm fire as it crackled gently in the eve. The creature exhaled a deep breath and rested its eyes. Its bizarre complexion softening. Rarity looked over at the knife again as the flames image danced around in the clear body. She felt the evening was incomplete in some way, missing a part she could not explain. Missing one more push. Operating on instinct, looking away from the creature, she quickly slid across the couch and leaned on the soft hide.

“Miss Rarity...what are you doing?”

“If I am going to watch you I would rather be here.”

“The knife is not in reach.”

“Do not worry about that, I am safe and so are you.”

She reached over and hugged it tightly squeezing it for all she could. It was too tired to fight back and slumped a little in its place. At this space the creature was less intimidating. It felt smaller without its full height, more inviting and friendly.

“Could you not do that please.”


“Excuse me?”


“Perhaps I haven’t made it clear-”

“You want me to watch you right?”


“Well my teddy is upstairs. I cannot sleep without her, she is so soft and warm. Since you are too, you will have to do instead.”

She used her magic to bring a blanket over to cover herself and the creatures legs, tucking it smoothly around the edge. She allowed her cheek to sink against the smooth fabric of its new outfit smiling and nuzzling the soft belly. She wanted more than anything to tell this creature how it did not need to feel so sad all the time. She felt pride in having seen its confidence and perspective grow so quickly that night before her. Instead she chose to remain silent feeling one of its claws gently rest on her back. They sat in silence staring at the fire as it faded.

The creature chuckled and shook her slightly, “Warm and soft... I hate that.”

“I know.” she replied bluntly, closing her eyes. There was still a nagging question in her mind, something it said to her in the springs. She had pushed a lot today, another could be too much.

“Are you alright Miss Rarity?”


“Your breathing is a little erratic. Is it still disturbing you that I am here?”

“Not as such.”

“I am still having trouble believing it.”

She giggled and decided on one more push, “We have talked a lot today.”


“No. It was nice. Dare I ask my teddy one more question?”

“Please do not call me that, you have me pinned so go ahead.”

“At the spring you said you’ve seen that look before.”

“Which one?”

“The one I had before...well.”

“Miss Rarity you tread on very unstable ground now.”

“You would deny me any clarity?”

“Alright. Let me say this, then you can decide if you want to hear the whole thing. The last time I saw that look the individual was not as fortunate as you.”

She felt slightly guilty now, “Its okay then. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, they went out fighting.”

She felt fatigue settle on her with the warmth of the creature. Truly it had been a strange day. She felt hopeful for the future, for Twilight and the creature, entertaining the notion that she could convince it to stay longer and meet her friends. It could maybe talk to Twilight and help her as it had her. The thoughts became slurred and visions cavorted with sounds in her mind. The creature began to breathe deeply and she relaxed feeling the warm breath sweep over her. Then sleep came at long last.

Author's Note: