Brat's Dark Side

by Darkie 09

First published

She's my Brat. She always has been, she always will be. No matter how far across Equestria she is, she will forever and always be... My Brat.

Light and dark balance out one another the same way the good and the evil balance out each other. They cannot be destroyed or created. Without light, darkness cannot exist and without darkness neither can light. They balance each other out.
The same could go for my Brat and me. Without her, I'd be a pessimistic nightmare and if she didn't have me with her all the time, she'd be too hyper. We balance each other out and if one leaves... the other is doomed.
I am the Brat's Dark side.

Chapter 1: A Broken Beginning

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Brat… You know, it’s weird. Until you showed up, I’ve never called someone by that name before. Even this name has meaning. I’ll explain the things I promised I would, starting with this name.

“Tch, can you not? It’s too early to deal with your shit.” I tell her in a gravely voice. She bounces up and down as she keeps up with my pace. “Why are you following me around school?” I ask, glancing over to her from the corner of my eye.

“Because why not?” She giggles and shakes me around. “I have so much energy, what am I going to do with it all?!” She smiles as I frown lifting her up with my magic and slam her into the lockers.

I flick my tail and walk away as I hear her hit the floor. “That’s for being a brat, Brat.”

She lets out a loud huff and gets up, her hoofsteps clatter on the tile floor of the school beneath us. “That hurt Darkie!”

I keep walking not giving any thought to her comment. I walk into the Cafeteria with Brat by my side, we sit down at a table as we wait for the rest of our friends to come. Black braided, well groomed hair frames her fresh, friendly face. Her gentle brown eyes, watch over all the ponies at Hoofington High. This is my friend, Tigris Avalon. Or to me, simply, Brat. Sometimes, she’s almost too happy for me, and maybe that’s just me. Perhaps, it’s her energetic attitude or simply her friendly demeanor.

“Darkie!”

I look over to her with the same boring expression. “Yeah?”

“You should try smiling.” She suggests, smiling from ear to ear. “It’s fun. Maybe people won’t think of you as grumpy and-”

I send her a cold stare and she shuts up immediately. “One, don’t question me. Two, shut… up.”

She pouts and gets up from her spot, “Hey, Darkie! Show me some magic!” She jumps up and down with a big grin on her face. “You know, you probably wouldn’t even have your cutie mark without me being here.”

“As if.” I retort, giving her an unamused look. “So, you’re really going to move all the way to Califoalnia, huh?” I question her, trying to start conversation of a different topic. She nods and looks down. I know I’ve made her sad. “Ah, this again…” I mumble under my breath.

“What’s wrong, Darkie?” She looks up concerned at me.

I hesitate for a moment before I answer. “Nothing, Brat.” She smiles and goes back to whatever she was doing before she talked to me.

Moonrose and NightGlimmer come and sit down at our table. Brat gets up to greet them as I stay where I am, sipping my tea.Nightglimmer gets her homework out and start filling it out. Time passes and soon the bell rings signaling all ponies to go to Homeroom. “Let’s go Brat.” I throw my backpack on and begin walking to class with Brat by my side. I reach my class and stand outside for a moment. “Hey Brat… Want to do something fun this afternoon? You’re always asking for my story, so later today do you want to go to my old hometown?”

Her smile grows wider and wider until I think her mouth is going to break. “Yes! Yay! I finally got something from you!”

“When you go to the library today… You can read up on it, it’s called StarSpell.” I walk into the classroom, giving her a nod before the door closes.

I take my seat and wait for class to start… Another pony walks in and it’s not the teacher. I glare at him as he walks around the classroom and sits down at his seat.

He glares over at me with the same expression, He chuckles lightly, “I find it amusing that you’ve never smiled once this year.” He takes out his binder and laughs again.

I turn to face him, “I would entertain your comment, but that’s too much energy.” The door opens, I look over and the teacher is standing in the doorway.

The day goes by slowly and it’s only eighth period. I sit outside my former Biology class and take out my sketchbook. I start drawing a picture of StarSpell, home to some of the most powerful unicorns in the world.

The bell rings and Brat is the last to walk out as always. Her energetic attitude always been seen in the way she walks. “So, I read up on StarSpell and I can’t believe the ponies there are so powerful! I could never have that much power…” She jumps up and down with excitement in her eyes.

“Tch. It wasn’t all happy times.” I tell her, with a stoic expression.

“Aw! Darkie, you’ve always been so cheerful.” She jokes, “Look at me for a second?” I turn my head halfway and glare at her. “No, no. Face me fully.” I sigh and shift my position, soon coming face-to-face with Brat. “Yahoo!” She exclaims happily. She raises her hoof and extends it towards my horn, stopping right before she reaches it. “Can I touch it?”

I make a deep growling noise in the back of my throat. I frown and open my mouth to say something. “No.”

“Aww, please?!” She begs, her smile growing wider by the second, I ignore her various attempts to get me to agree and continue walking. “It’s almost the end of the year and not once have you let me touch it. Also, another thing I realized is I’ve never seen you smile once this entire year.” I scowl at her as we walk down the street. “Darkie?”

I look over to her with the same boring expression. “Yeah?”

“You should try smiling.” She suggests, smiling from ear to ear. “It’s fun. Maybe people won’t think of you as grumpy and-”

I send her a cold stare and she shuts up immediately. “One, don’t question me. Two, shut… up.”

She pouts and gets up from her spot, “Hey, Darkie! Show me some magic!” She jumps up and down with a big grin on her face. “You know, you probably wouldn’t even have your cutie mark without me being here.”

“As if.” I retort, giving her an unamused look. I look around us for any signs of somepony watching us. “Let's go.” I grab ahold of her hoof and look up at my horn now glowing a dark emerald green. A green flash emerges around us and we reappear in a forest.

“Woah! Teleportation feels weird!” I roll my eyes and gallop a few feet away from her. I looked around me at the large forest.

The forest was large, crowded, and flourishing. Its canopy was contested by cypress, hazel, and linden, and ample openings let enough dancing beams of light through for scattered sprouts to rule the sloping and slanting ground below.

Swooping vines drooped from many trees, and a range of flowers, which claimed remnants of light, looked almost out of place in the otherwise amber terrain.

I glance around nervously, for a few seconds. “I try to use my magic as little as possible but I’ll show you a few things.” I activate my magic once more and a twisting stream of green crackling magic appears around me. As the the snapping electric energy circles around me, Brat rushes forward. “Stop!” I shout, she shortstops in her tracks and backs away. My mane whips violently through the wind as the magic continues to circle around me for a few seconds. I deactivate my magic and the energy falters, dissipating into thin air.

“That was really cool!” She yells in excitement, running over to me. She ruffles my mane and jumps around in circles. “Show me more! Show me more!”

“Tch, why don’t you use your own magic, you’re a unicorn too.” I tell her, putting a hoof through my mane and taming the unkempt locks of hair sticking up. Her mouth drops open and she throws herself onto me, toppling me over in the process. “Brat! Get off of me!”

“I know, but it’s fun to have other ponies do spells. Squee, yay! Do a spell on me!” She hugs me harder, nearly snapping my neck in the process. Her eyes glisten in the sunlight as she beams with happiness. “Make me smaller!”

“Okay, okay. You've had your fun. Now get off of me.” I demand in a harsh tone, pushing her off to the side. I stand up and brush myself off of dirt and dust.

She sits innocently on the grass, overjoyed that I’m performing a spell on her. I gather my energy and focus on transferring it to my horn. Suddenly, a dark green surge of waves hits Brat. I watch as her figure grows smaller and smaller in size. The green waves fade away as I make my way over to her.

“You’ll crush me!” A tiny voice shouts, I look down and right in front of me Brat. Still sitting in the same position she was a couple of seconds before my magic hit her. “You look scary from all the way down here. You look like one of the giants.” She giggles.

I lean down and pick her up with my magic. “Wanna see things from a different view?” I ask monotonously, dropping her on the top of my hair.

The shadow of the trees loom over us as the sunlight fades to a dark orange with a tint of magenta. The once pure white clouds become stained with yellow and orange. My horn flickers again as I step onto a green, flat surface floating in the air.

“What is this?” Brat questions, tugging on a strand of my hair. She inches forward readjusting her grip to a strand of hair falling in front of my face.

“It’s something I created with my magic, I can move it around… Even with us on it. So, my plan is to fly up in the sky and show you around.” I move us upwards as we ascend into the sky, I look down at all the ponies down below us.

“You’re going too slow! Let’s go faster!” Brat’s tiny voice pipes us. I can hardly hear her with the wind though.

It takes a while to get to know Tigris, but above all else know that she's sweet and kind. Of course she's also energetic, caring and happy, but these are in a way balance by being impatient as well.

“You really are really impatient, Brat.” I say, glancing over to her tiny form. As I turn my head back to look in front of me, my bangs swish in front of my eyes. In the corner of my eye I can see Brat, hanging down on a piece of hair. “What are you doing in my bangs? I told you to stay on the top of my head!”

“Wow! The trees look so tiny from up here.” She laughs, ignoring my previous comment. “Where should we go?” She asks, turning her head and looking at me dead in the eye.

“Want to see where I used to live?” I ask in a dull tone. “It might be a bit… How do I put this… A bit destroyed.” I warn.

She nods and we set off towards my old home town. It’s not too far from Hoofington. Five minutes tops probably.

As we ride over the plains of green grass and shrubs, nearing my village; a familiar dark navy blue pony with black curly hair catches my eye. I stare at her for a moment unable to avert my gaze or focus on anything else.

I stare down at her as she continues walking the same way we’re going. “Tch.” I reroute upwards on our hoverboard platform and plummet through the clouds. I cough out a puff of white cloud and continue onward.

“Wait! There was a pony down there.” Brat exclaims, I feel her tiny hooves against the edge of my forehead, where my forehead and hairline meet.

“We’re not going to meet them.” I say bitterly.

“Why not?”

“Because you don’t want to meet them. She’s a bad pony.”

She slides down on a strand of hair and lands on my nose, studying my facial features carefully for a long period of time. “You’re eyes are really narrowed. So are your eyebrows. The rings under your eyes are really apparent too. Are you mad?”

“No.” I argue, “Look, we’re here.” Hoping she’ll drop the subject. As we near the ground I jump off the green platform and land on the lush grass. I bend my head down near the grass and shake her out of my hair lightly. I hear a small thud on the ground and step back a few feet. “I’m going to return you to normal size.”

I focus my energy once more and the green transparent color comes back. I direct the beam at Brat and it goes off. The beam hits her and she slowly grows larger. The magic fades and I look at her with a stoic expression.

“This… Is your home?” She asks in a confused state, walking behind me. “And what about that pony we saw coming here. Who is she?”

I keep my cold demeanor as a bitter taste fills my mouth and my throat becomes dry and scratchy. “Many hateful words can be said about Lunar Shade, but the fact she's insufferable and argumentative is just the start of it. That's without even saying she's also unstable, impatient and hostile, She has no good qualities whatsoever. Trust me, I’ve looked. In fact, plenty of relationships came to a halt because of this and her prejudices, much to the annoyance of others.”

I motion Brat to follow me and we walk around, The now quiet road that led to Starspell was unrecognizable as nature had begun reclaiming the now unused area. Dust and debris littered the roads within town while unkempt gardens are cluttered with forsaken possessions.

Some doors are collapsed or perhaps destroyed by looters or animals as time passed. Either way they left a welcoming entrance for animals. Many roofs collapsed and in some cases had taken the entire building with it. Others look in decent shape and were simply dirty and filled with bird nests.

Starspell, once a pleasant quiet town and home to friendly unicorn folk is but a hollow shell of its former self. Silence had taken hold and would've been deafening were it not for the many animals that have made this place their home. Bird songs, rustling bushes and the occasional howl filled the air.

The public pool is still full of water. Green, algae filled rainwater. It was big enough to become a new home to several families of ducks, but it was eerily abandoned by even them.

The more time would pass the more the traces of those who lived here will disappear. Even now there were only remnants left, it'd be only a short while until there was nothing left. But even with all the animals that lived here now and made this town their new home I couldn't escape the feeling that so much had been lost forever.

“It used to be an old unicorn village. But it was destroyed and made into a industry town on the outskirts of Equestria.” I say, breaking the silence between us. She glances over at everything in awe.

“What happened that made it look like this?” She asks, trotting back over to me and hugging me.

“A band of looters and thieves came here. But they weren’t looking for valuable possessions. They were looking for land. This ancient village was a sacred place passed down to us from our ancestors. It always had a magic barrier around it to protect the town and the ponies within. The barrier made it look as though there was nothing on this plot of land. When they stumbled upon this land, they broke the barrier. War raged out against the unicorns of Starspell and the thieves. In the end, two thirds of our population was lost, the rest had nowhere to go. We became slaves to them and helped them build this industry town next to it. Not because we wanted to, but because we had to.”

She stares at me in disbelief. “I’m so sorry. Why do you act as though it’s not affecting you? You know it’s okay to have emotion, right?”

“No it’s not.” I snap. “I already told you the story of my kin. Don’t make me tell you my life story too.”

She nods and walks around some more. “Why did they have a magical barrier around this place anyway?”

“Because a lot of powerful unicorns lived here. We used be the most powerful unicorns in all of Equestria besides the Princesses. Ponies generally wanted to use us for bad purposes. Some wanted us for war, others wanted us for slavery, many just wanted to sell us and make a profit.” I say walking in front of a small house.

“Oh. I’m sorry.” Her footsteps draw closer and she puts a hoof around my neck, pulling me in for a hug. “Is this your house?”

“Was.” I correct, the large pile of debris and dust at my feet. From the outside my house looks snug and comfortable. It has been built with oak wood and has sandstone decorations. Large, octagon windows allow enough light to enter the home and have been added to the house in a fairly symmetrical pattern. But now, the homey feeling has faded and so has the light.

I walk up and move the unhinged door, shoving rubble out from behind it. I walk in with Brat by my side as we step over stray planks of wood with dust kicking up everywhere we go. The interior of the house is done is in dusky colors. As we walk around the shattered window glass and splintered floor boards, we walk into the main room. I bit my lip as a shiver runs down my spine, my eyes scan the place I used to call home.

My Father had black, short hair always pulled back to reveal a furrowed, frowning face. Woeful black eyes, set far within their sockets, as they watched attentively over the ponies they've defended for so long. Wherever he went, he’d always be wearing his military uniform. When he wasn’t working to defend our town, I’d helped him in the backyard as he built bookshelves. Then, after that we’d both go inside for a glass of apple cider. When it was time for bed, he would read my favorite book to me until I fell asleep.

The thing is… I used to be a very lively child until the theives came. My Father was a great pony and in many ways I greatly aspired to be just like him. He was strong and courageous, he never believed in Lunar Shade’s lies or deceiving stories. And he always fought back for what he believed was right.

I look through the shattered glass of a window, out back, the garden once full and lively is now home to weeds and other dead plants.

“Follow me.” I walk carefully up the stairs, taking great care where I step. Light creaking can be heard from the floorboards beneath my hooves as I walk quickly up the stairs.

As we near the long hallway at the top of the stairs. I stop and glance around, trying to remember which room was mine.

I walk down to the end of the hallway and lightly push the door to reveal my old room. Little dust particles float through the air as the light shines through the cracked glass of the window. One wall that used to be the divider between the outside and inside of the house has collapsed, leaving nothing but crushed glass, crumpled papers and a nice view of the outside world. The once turquoise walls of my room, now chipped and stained in many places. Dirt, dust and peeling paint now lines all that’s left of the walls. Although still standing, the room itself smells horrible.

I walk deeper inside the room, an eerie feeling washes over me as I look at a collapsed bookshelf that I recieved for my fifth birthday. Torn pages of books were sprawled out around it and markers, pencils, and old drawing of mine cluttered the floor. “Hmm.” I walk away over to a mattress lying on the ground. Dirty, white planks of wood, probably the bedframe scattered near it.

In the corner of my eye, something glints and catches my eye. I walk over back towards the bookcase to see Brat inspecting the rotting wood of the bookshelf.

As I come up behind her, she spins around and gasps. “S-Sorry!” She says nervously moving out of the way.

I ignore her apology and sit down in front of the pile with a blank expression. I activate my magic and lift up the small, wooden beams looking for the glint that caught my eye. As it glints again I shove the beam out of the way with my magic, dropping it harshly on the ground and pick up the object.

As I pull it up closer to my face, the metal glints again as the sunlight reflects off of it. “Always Together. Love, Dad.” I whisper quietly to myself. “Dad…”

Flashbacks race through my mind. I can’t move, I can’t speak as my body goes numb and the pain in my ear comes back.

“Dad! There’s a whole world out there and you’re going to keep me cooped up in here?!” I ask. “In this… this fish bowl?”

“Yes! Because I love you, I don’t want to see you hurt by that sister of mine.” He yells outraged.

“Dad!” I argue back, “That’s so stupid! I can protect myself. I’m nine years old already! And what about Mom?! She would want to leave too!” I state, getting snippy with him. “One day! One day I’ll see what’s outside this barrier! I swear it!” I slam the front door and take off, leaving a trail of dust in my wake.

As I gallop through the streets of Starspell, I look around at ponies buying crops and watering plants until I knock into a pony. “S-Sorry!” I stutter, glancing up to see who I bumped into. As I look up, I glance into the eyes of Onyx.

“It’s okay.” He smiles kindly and walks next to me. “What’s wrong, you look down.”

“Yeah! I am.” I rant. “He’s not letting me go outside! We promised each other we’d go see what’s outside these barriers one day… right?”

“Yeah, we will. Don’t worry. He can’t keep you here forever. One day. I promise. Besides, he just being a concerned Father.” We walk next to a river and sit down on the bridge, dangling our hooves out over the edge. “It’s just a matter of time.”

“Well, time is stupid.” I say, standing up and flicking my tail.

Suddenly, a force pounces on me and knocks me over. “You’re not going anywhere until I see a smile!” A golden beam lifts me if to the air as feathers fly towards me.

I gasp and look over at Onyx in shock. The feather lightly stroked my fur and I bite my lip. A small smile appears on my lips and I let a few small laughs escape.

“Yes! I got you to sm-” A loud crash sounds and the ground shakes like an earthquake just erupted throwing us up into the air.

“Ah!” The golden beam shatters and I fall to the ground, tumbling off the bridge into the water.

I swim up towards the surface and shake myself off. “You okay?!” Onyx aks, rushing by my side.

“What happened?” My sopping wet hair sprinkles the dirt, making it a dark brown.

“I have no clue. Let’s go!” We rush off towards the barrier of town.

As we near the barrier, a bunch of other ponies are stopped in their tracks gazing upon something. I turn my head and look over to see what all the commotion is about. I stand there dumbfounded and frozen, not knowing how to respond. Instead of blue and shiny, all I see is land and sky. Everypony starts panicking and soon enough I realize what happened. The barrier has fallen.

“Dad… Dad? Dad!” I gasp in terror. “He’s near the barrier of town! He’s at home! When the barrier fell, he could be crushed.” I began sprinting towards my house but before I can get any further a strong force holds me back.

“Don’t!”

Fury fills my eyes and fire burns in my soul. “Onyx! Let go of me!” I shriek, wiggling out of his grasp.

I run back in the direction of my house, knocking into ponies left and right of me. “Dad! Dad!” I turn the corner and run up the street. As my house comes into view, I take longer strides. As I reach my house it’s barely still standing. The roof is collapsed and windows are shattered. Underneath the pile of the fallen roof my Father lies there with his eyes closed.

“Dad!” I run up to him and shake him. Tears brimming in my eyes. “Dad! Dad!” He opens his eyes and stares up at me. “You’re okay!” I say happily. I run over to the roof laying on top of him and activate my magic. As I try to push it off of him, he struggles to get up.

He squirms out from under the debris and limps over to me. “Thanks, sweetheart. You saved me.”

He runs off towards the fallen barrier of town as I chase after him. “Dad!” I scream out. “Don’t run! You’re hurt!”

He ignores my pleas and continues going. The Military is already taking care of the situation at hand. And as the Commander of the Military he has a job to do. I rush next to him and stand by his side. Gun shots ring out and screams pierce the air. “Find the enemy and kill it! Fight to the death!” He screams, charging at top speed.

As he runs off, somepony catches my eye. A pony wearing a dark, navy blue cape with the insignia of the pegasi on the bottom of the cape, running down the other side of the street. “Dad! Over here!” I shout, he stops and turns around.

I point to the pony in the cape and he gallops after them. I tag along galloping by his side. “It’s not safe! Go find Onyx and leave!”

“But Da-” I screech as he pushes me behind him

“They’ll kill you!” He booms. More tears streamed down his cheeks as he stood up. “I promise, I’ll meet you again. If not after all this, surely someday.” He pulls out a gun and aims in at the figure. A large shadow lurks over me as I turn around, “Move!”

I gasp as Dad lurches forward towards me and bites my ear. I feel a sharp tug on my ear as he picks me up and tosses me off to the side. I swing through the air as the force on my ear becomes stronger. He lets go of me and my ear courses with pain.

“Ah!” I feel myself falling through the air, “Tch.” I land harshly on my side. Warm liquid drips down the side of my ear. I put a hoof up to my ear and wipe it. My blood is smeared all over my hoof. I put my hoof back on my ear and and feel teeth indents where my Dad bit me.

I look up and see my Dad fighting off the cloaked figure. It reaches inside her cloak and pulls out a sharp, shiny, metal blade. “Dad!” I scream out.

The blade has a large, straight cross-guard, offering plenty of protection to the owner's hooves and thus his or her life. The cross-guard has an elaborate orb on each side, this weapon was clearly a custom order, probably by an important figure.

A thick pommel is marked with the symbol of the Gang this sword belongs to, a symbol many would never want to see in their life.

The blade itself is fairly simple from what I see. No markings, no decorations and no engravings. While the hilt is as elegant as its owner, the blade has to be as strong as its owner.

The sword slashes into my Father's shoulder and leaves a nasty gash. The pony jumps away as my Father stumbles backwards. “I can always be replaced. If I die… A new Commander can take over my place! I told my Stallions and Mares to die fighting for us. If that includes me, then so be it!” He jumps forwards and tackles the figure to the ground. He punches the pony beneath the cloak a few times while they struggle to throw my Dad off of them. He looks over to me with determination in his eyes. “Run!”

I run up to the pony in the cape ignoring the pain in my ear and bite the cape, trying to rip it off the pony. I clench my teeth around the fabric and tug on it. The figure looks back and me and extends their hind leg. As their leg clashes into my chest, I fall back and stumble head over heels.

I get up, activating my magic to stop the pony, the sword plunges into my Father's neck and he falls limp to the ground as blood oozes out of his neck staining the green grass. I back away from the figure and stand there for a few moments not knowing what to do. I’ve always had my Dad by my side. I glance over to his lifeless body, still dripping fresh blood from his wound.

“Let’s go!” A golden beam lifts me up off the ground and I’m carried further and further away from my Dad.

I look at the gold shimmering around me and down to the pony. “Onyx.” He looks up at me and keeps running. “Stop!” I scream out at him. “Stop! I- I could’ve saved him!” I reply meekly as I extend a shaky hoof trying to reach out for him.

“What’s done is done. Just focus on getting out alive. It’s what he would’ve wanted.” Onyx replies, galloping full speed ahead. “He gave his life, to save you.”

I stare at the figure with nothing but hate. I panic as I watch the pony pull out a bow and arrow. “No!” As she loads the bow, putting the arrow into place I stare wide-eyed in disbelief. “Onyx! Swerve!” I shout, she pulls back on the string. “Onyx!” I plead, the arrow hurls towards us. “Onyx!”

A ear-grating scream emerges as Onyx falls to the ground. I tumble out of his magical grip and roll across the rough terrain. I quickly get up and run over to Onyx. I look down at his leg and right where his cutie mark should blood seeps out of the arrow wound. He hisses in pain and looks at me. “Keep running. Don’t stop until you find somepony to help you. You may not see anypony soon but just keep running… I’m sure there will be someone to help you.”

“No!” I protest. “We’re leaving together, getting you to a hospital and we’re all going to be fine!” I nudge his arm and signal him to get up. “I’m going to carry you.” My horn glows and I lift him up, carefully placing him on my back.

When we made it to a hospital, they treated the wound. But it ended up being worse than I anticipated. Even after he was put on medication and physical therapy, a few weeks later an infection took ahold of his body and killed him. I open my eyes and look around confused at my surroundings but it wasn’t anything I recognized. “Darkie?” A gentle voice calls out. “What were you dreaming about? I was looking through some old, ripped books and then I turn around and you’re curled up on the floor asking for Dad.”

I sit up, I wasn’t on the floor, I wasn’t even inside at all. I gasp inaudibly. The wind swooshes quietly around us as we sit under the shade of a tree. The leaves rustle and sway in the wind. “How’d we get here?” I ask, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and trying to avoid her question.

“That pony… Lunar… Helped me get you back here.” I look down in dismay, “She was very nice.” She adds. “Maybe she’s changed since you last made contact with her.”

“No, she hasn’t. She used you. What else did she say to you?”

Brat glances over with a worried look spread across her features. “She didn’t say much. Why?”

“Because…” I stop, thinking carefully about my next words. “One day, I’ll explain it all to you. One day. But… I think it’s better if you don’t know about me, right?”

She shakes me violently. “No! Whatever pain you’ve gone through in the past… It’s over! It’s done! You can’t go back and redo anything, you just have to keep moving forward!” She hugs me and strokes my mane.

I light rub my ear, feeling the little indents that my Father left. “It may be over, but the scars are still there. They always will be.”

Chapter 2: A Futile Fight

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The day was long and the sun was beating down on me through the window as I sat outside my former Biology class. She’s in there, I wish I could be in there too. We could be lab partners. The door opens and Lost Legend walks out, giving me a nasty look as he passes me.

“You know why they call me Lost Legend?” He questions, walking closer to me.

“I don’t care why they call you Lost Legend. In fact, the only lost legend around here is my village.” I state, giving him a cold stare. “Leave me alone, all I want to do is draw.”

He chuckles quietly to himself. “Yeah, right. That village in the folklore books? What was it called again?”

“StarSpell. Home to some of the most powerful unicorns in all of Equestria, ya dimwit. Read up on that history textbook of yours. It’s very real.”

He snickers and slips away without saying another word, only nodding his head in a very obnoxious manner.

School was always like this. Then ponies ask me why I act so cold, stoic and selfish. As he passes by me again, this time ignoring me completely I stand up and block his path. “I forgot to ask you this last time but… Is your head as hollow as that trashcan?” I deadpan, staring him straight in the eye.

“Omigosh, why you so nasty to me?” He complains, reaching for the door of the classroom.

“Tch.” I eye him carefully as he slinks away like a sly fox after a fresh kill.

I gather my things and throw them in my saddle bag, as all the fillies and colts exit the Biology Classroom. Brat is the last to leave, as always. She jumps over to me excitedly, “So where are we going today?”

“Well…. I’m not sure, I really don’t have anything planned for today.” She turns and smirks from ear to ear, drawing in a great breath of air. “Don’t.” I say, already knowing what she’s going to do. “If you do, I will punch you so far, you will go all the way back to the beginning of this year.”

She squeaks weakly and doesn’t say anything for a few seconds. “If you’re happy and you know it… CLAP YOUR HOOVES!”

“No.”

“If you're happy and you know it, don’t smile!”

“No.”

“If you’re happy and you know it act like Darkie!”

“Could you go any louder? I don’t think the ponies in the middle school heard you.” I say sarcastically. She reaches out at the top of my head. “Stop.” I say, gripping her hooves with my magic and dragging her closer to my face. Her eyes widen as she stares straight at me with a nervous look. I throw her back and release her from my magic as she crashes into the lockers. “Do it again and I won’t spare you.” I tell her in a cruel voice, walking away.

She catches up to me and walks by my side as we exit the building. “That hurt.” She whines rubbing her head.

“You think I give a rat's behind if that hurt you or not?” She shoves me lightly, I stumble over my own hooves but regain my posture rather quickly. “Tch.”

“I know you care, you just don’t show it.” She says happily. “Will I ever get to see you smile before the end of the year?”

“How should I know? Only time will tell.” I state, pointing out the obvious to her oblivion. “I don’t really know why… But one day I’ll explain it to you.”

“Oh, mysterious! Spooky, spectacular, lovely!” She claps her hooves together and smirks. “I’m going to miss you when I go to Califoalnia.”

“I bet you will.”

She gasps and looks at me teasingly. “Won’t you miss me?”

“Eh, I don’t know. Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe I just don’t care.” I tell her as we walk down the stairs and out the door.

She gasps again and hits me playfully. “That’s not what you’re supposed to say! Darkie.” She giggles, jumping up and down.

“Brat.”

“Hey Darkie… I need to ask.” She stops in her tracks and gives me a serious look, “Why are you… So… dark?” I open the door and we walk out together, the fresh air makes my mane flow lightly in the wind as we walk. I keep my eyes in front of me, not bothering to even so much as glimpse at her. “There’s clearly more than meets the eye with you. Especially about what happened in your past… before I met you.”

I look up into the sky keeping my bored expression as we keep walking, “Yeah, there’s a lot you don’t know about me. And if you knew, you probably wouldn’t want to be friends with me. Which I don’t mind… Because, you’re moving anyway. You’ll forget about me, probably for the best if you do. But yes, there are a lot of things I’ve kept secret. From you, from Nightglimmer, from Moonrose, from all of them.”

“You’re always so cold and mean. It’s like you want ponies to hate you. Were you always like this?” We walk into the Music wing and stand beside the band room.

“Tch, get to band practice Brat. I’m not answering anymore of your stupid questions.” I say walking away from her.

“Okay, bye… Darkie!”

“Tch, Brat.”

I let out a heavy sigh as I walk away from the band room. “I hate you for making me this way.” I mutter as I begin the journey home.

As I walk down the hill, I take a different route from what I normally would. I enter the woods and continue walking under the shade of the trees. I notice a few colts from my former Biology class just a little farther away from where I am. I’m just going to ignore them. I think to myself as I come closer to them.

They turn their heads and look at me as I pass the four of them. I give them a harsh look from the corner of my eye. “Oh, look how pissed she is.” I ignore his comment and keep walking not bothering to get involved.

“Omigosh, we didn’t even do anything to you. We’re sitting here talking.” I stop, as I hear him get up from his spot.

“Don’t you have any decency?” I ask, turning around to face him. “Never mind. I’m not going to get into it with a child who won’t even be able to comprehend it.”

“Wow, you are so bitter.” He says strutting over to me. “I remember in Kindergarten when you were a sweet little filly. Always smiling, laughing, happy, and cheerful. Now you’re just… Boring, detached, stoic, apathetic, cold, harsh. I could go on and on with this list.” He chuckles lightly to himself.

“I could care less about what you think of me. There’s a reason I do the things I do, there’s a reason I am the way I am. Besides, you didn’t even know me in Kindergarten.” I state, making it very clear that I am pissed. I begin walking away from them.

“That boring expression of your’s is so old. The rings under your eyes are too. How many times have you have you done the same thing… How much has this costed you?”

I tense up and turn back around. “What… Did you just say?”

He lets out an amused smirk. “Sorry, did you not hear? I asked how much this has costed you?” He walks over to me and taps my horn. “How many times have you used this trinket?”

“I bet she doesn’t even know how to use it!” Solar Comet adds in with a laugh.

“Haha, I bet you’re right. If you really are from that… so-called all powerful, sacred, unicorn village, why don’t you show us how to use it?” He says in a doubtful tone of voice, tapping my horn again.

“I know how to use it, I do not have to prove it.” I say, pulling away from him. “Don’t touch my horn again. Now get out of my way. I want to go home.”

“No, first prove it.”

I growl under my breath and walk around them, before I can get too far a strong force pulls me back with great force and slams me on the ground. “Tch.” I shut my eyes tightly as the pain in my ear comes back. I stand up with great care and rub my ear trying to sooth the pain.

“Why are you rubbing your ear?” Lost Legend asks in a confused manner, walking towards me.

“None of your damn business.” I retort, my hoof is once again dirtied with blood as it dribbles down my ear. I look back to where I fell and see dark, crimson red on a grey rock. “See what you made me do.” I ask, pointing to the rock.

I charge towards them forcefully and knock heads with Solar Comet. I squint my eyes and focus on my strength as he pushes back with equal strength. I back away and charge again like an angry bull. Before he has time to react I headbutt him and he goes flying back into a tree.

I look around at the remaining three of them, waiting to see if they would make any sort of movement. Not a single one of them moves. I make a break for it and run out of the woods down to the main road of Hoofington.

As I walk into the house, I drop my bag in the entrance hallway and dash upstairs. The house is quiet and peaceful. I make my way to the bathroom and grab a cloth to wipe off the now dry blood, after I clean myself up, I put the cloth in the laundry basket and sit down at my desk.

My small, quaint room always reminds me of my bedroom at StarSpell. Although this room was a bit smaller, it still has the same turquoise walls and a warm feeling when you walk inside.

Malachite Sketch and I have our ups and downs, but she still loves me like a Mother. There are certain ponies in this family that don’t like me as much. Lunar Shade, for example.

Lunar and I have never gotten along. From a young age, when Mom was still alive, I remember I was always scared of her. Lunar Shade always pushed ponies around. She still does. She’s done terrible things… She stirred up drama in the family and forced her beliefs on other ponies. If anypony dared to speak out against her, she would make mountains out of molehills about it. And the battles she couldn’t win, she made me fight.

Malachite already told me she wouldn’t be home for the next two weeks, she has a business trip all the way in Saddle Arabia.

The doorbell rings and I rush downstairs to get it. I open the door and in the doorway stands… Lunar Shade.

I glare at her, remembering all the trauma she’s put me through. “Ugh, don’t give me that look. Malachite’s not home, is she?”

I continue glaring at her, she shoves me off to the side and walks in the entrance hallway. “She’s not and I don’t recall inviting you into my house…” I retort with a snippy tone. She gives me a disapproving look. “Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten anything…”

She turns around and looks me dead in the eye. “What did I ever do to you?” She asks, playing dumb.

“Get. Out. Of. My. Home Don’t--”

“Malachite is such a hoarder, she can’t keep anything clean. Don’t you ever get tired of living here with all of her junk.” She says walking closer to me. “If you came with me you could live in a neat house, without her abuse.”

“Don’t start that with me. I already know what you tried to do… I’ll admit, it was sly and clever but I’m older now and you’re bag of tricks is running out.” I say opening the front door for her. “Leave.”

She looks at me for a moment before walking out the door. “Tell me when she gets back home.”

I close the door, disregarding her comment and walk back up the stairs. “Ah, this again…”

I watch as the pony get out of the carriage. “Aqua? Why is she here?”

“I don’t know…” A second woman steps out of the carriage, her daughter, Rose Quartz, They walk up the gravel path leading to the backyard. Aqua stands in front of me and holds me close as they near. Lunar Shade, breaks off the path and goes in the house.

They meet in the middle of the yard and walk over to us. “Hello Aqua.” I look away from them,not daring to speak.

“What do you need?” Aqua asks in a harsh tone taking a step away from them.

Lunar Shade steps closer and grasps my shoulders. “Why don’t you come with me.” I shake my head, to afraid to speak… “You have to come with me.” She repeats louder. Aqua pulls me closer and puts me on her back, not letting me go for even a moment.

Tears build up in the corner of my eyes. “I-- I don’t want to go with you!” I yell holding tightly to my sister. Lunar grabs my waist and pulls me away from Aqua. Aqua holds tighter to me. “Aqua! P-- Please!” Tears stream down my cheeks. She pulls me harder trying to get me to let go of Aqua but to no avail do I let go. I can feel myself slipping from Aqua’s grasp. “Aqua!” I cry out. I dig my nails into Aqua’s shoulder in a desperate attempt to stay with her.

She shrieks in pain, “Lunar! Let go of her!” I dig my nails further into her skin as Lunar Shade continues prying me away. I’m slipping, she’s winning, Aqua’s crying, I extend my left hand and dig my magic into her back creating a hold on her. She screams again in pain, she winning. Not only is Aqua’s grip slipping so is mine. I grip tighter making her back bleed as my magic drags further across her back. Aqua’s grip tightens and she pulls me away from Lunar Shade with all her might and tosses me away on the ground. “Leave my Mother’s house. Now!” Her breaths are shaky and her tears are still slipping down her cheeks. “Stop tormenting this poor kid!” They walk away back to the carriage defeated and empty - handed.

“A- Aqua… I’m sorry about your back.” She hugs me close and strokes my hair.

“It doesn’t matter. Just remember, she will always be apart of our lives. No matter how much we don’t want her to be. But if you get so sick and tired of something. Confront it! Otherwise, everything will remain exactly the same, nothing will change and we’ll always be stuck in this hell.”

I joined her when I was nine, after the fall of StarSpell. My Father wanted me to be with her, after he died. I’m not sure why though… This is Hell. All this for the past six years and nopony has noticed a thing.

Chapter 3: A Crushing Truth

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The ear - grating beeps of my alarm clock go off and I roll out of bed. I walk over to the mirror and grab my brush, taming the messy rats nest that I call a mane. The rings under my eyes are darker and more visible but, when you have to get up at six - thirty in the morning everyday and run on two to three hours of sleep… I suppose that’s what I get for being the way I am.

I run into the kitchen and grab a yogurt, along with my backpack and rush out the door. I gallop down the street and running up the hill.

As I burst into the cafeteria, Lost Legend passes by me. He opens his mouth to say something but before he can I give him a strong don’t ‘get-lost-don’t-start-with-me’ look and he shuts his mouth immediately. See, I don’t even need to say anything to be sassy.

I walk over to a table after spotting my friends and sit down beside Brat. “I’ll be back. I need tea.” I make my way to the tea station and brew myself some tea. As I look into the silver tea machine I see a familiar pony, I can barely make out a pony coming up behind me. “Don’t.”

“Wh- How did you know it was me?” Brat asks walking around beside me.

“Because, you’re not quiet and I saw your reflection in the tea machine” I state bluntly while mixing my tea in the water.

“What tea are you making? Can I try?” We walk back to the table and sit down, she sticks her straw in my cup and sips, almost immediately she tenses up and swallows it reluctantly. “What kind of tea is this? It’s almost as bitter as you!” She says in a joshing manner.

“It’s Black Tea. It has nothing in it. It’s pure.” I say taking a sip and swallowing.

“How can you drink that? It’s all eh, meh…” She makes a choking sound while wrapping her hooves around her neck to show me. “It’s like death.”

“Well, maybe to you. But I like my tea… Dark, untouched, pure. Sugar is too sweet-”

Sugar is amazing! It’s all yum and mmm and yay!”

“Listen little Brat, you need to take it down about thirty notches. You're too happy and it's too early.” I say taking another sip of my tea.

She looks over with a confused look. “How can you not be happy-”

“It seven twenty in the morning!” I point out.

“Well yeah but it’s so warm and sunny and bright and there are people out and about, who doesn’t like that?”

Nightglimmer and I both raise our hooves in the air and Brat lowers her head. “Look, that’s just how it is. I’m a pessimist, you're an optimist. You’re always looking to the ‘bright’ side of things. Us pessimists, we don’t do that.” I say stoically. I take a sip of my tea and continue talking. “I hate the sun, I hate Ponies, I hate warmth.”

“Well, you hate everything, so it’s okay.” Nightglimmer interjects, looking up from her homework.

I glare at her and turn back to Brat. “She has a point though.”

“Wh- You are the most pessimistic pony I’ve ever met.” Brat exclaims. “We need to fix that.”

“We?” I ask. “We are not going to do anything about me.” I state. “I never have been an optimist, I never will be. I’ll explain it to you one day. But, I think it’s better that you don’t know about me, right?” She giggles and claps her hooves together. “Hey, Brat? You don’t think badly of me because I’m a pessimistic introvert, do you?”

“Nah, I know you seem complex, but you’re really not. You built up barricades and made a maze out them, hoping to lose the ponies who try to get close to you.”

“Interesting. Is that how all ponies see me?” I ask, slightly intrigued.

“No, most see you ask a grumpy, stoic, apathetic, emotionless, heartless pony.” She answers in a cheery voice. “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hooves!”

“Not this again.” I groan, taking a long sip of my tea.

“If you’re happy and you know it, don’t smile.” I let her continue screaming her ‘song’. “If you’re happy and you know it act like Darkie!” She jabs my side and I scrunch up into a ball and close my eyes tightly. “I wasn’t actually going to.”

I clear my throat and get up, “Tch. Of course I know that.” I sneer, walking over to the trashcan and throwing away my empty cup. “We should get going, it’s seven fifty now. So let’s go.”

As I sit in Homeroom, all I can think about was this weekend. How she confronted me and tried to use me again. No one in Homeroom spoke to me, we all kept quiet as the teacher sat at her desk and scribbled on sheets of paper.

The bell rings, I pack my stuff and head out to my next class, taking my customary place next to Brat upon entering the room.

“Hi!” She says cheerfully. I give her an unemotional look. “Still grumpy as ever, I see!”

I nod my head and grab a packet laying at the center of the table. “Still a Brat, I see.” I reply, scanning over the packet. “The Crystal Empire. Why are we learning about this?”

“Well, it is called Global Studies for a reason, Darkie!” She smiles and takes a packet from the center and turns the page.

“Tch, I know that Brat.” I begin to fill out some of the information, most of it being on The Crystal War from Sombra’s rule.

The teacher goes on and on about the War, I slip away in my thoughts, blocking out her and everypony else around me. Once again, I find myself thinking about Lunar Shade. Why does she hate me? Why did she do the things she did? Why did I listen to her? Why did I hurt them?

No, I had no choice. I was put on this Earth to fight. To destroy. Without her command, I serve no purpose in being alive. But… How many ponies are going to get in the way? How many ponies will I have to hurt to complete my mission?

“Darkie!” I turn around, flustered and completely out of it. “Did you hear what the Teacher said? You’re wanted in the main office.” I pack my things and stand up, “So, what’d you’d do? Skip Leadership Training again with Nightglimmer?”

I flick her forehead and leave the room, as I walk down the corridor a familiar pony comes into view.

I walk closer and stand next to her. “Why are you here?”

She signs the paper at the desk and escorts me out. As the door of the school closes softly behind me she stops and grips my mane. “It wasn’t a matter of missing school… I need you for something.”

“You are a sick pony.” I hiss as we walk back home. “It should be you that’s dead. Not Mom.”

“This is why the school thinks you need help.” She retorts back. “Because… You’re the one that’s sick…” She whispers, lowering her gaze. I glare at her, giving her a nasty look of disgust.

“You… You’re wrong…” I reply, thinking about how much hate I have for her. “How many… How ponies will I have to hurt?” I look up at her angrily, I stop walking and face her. “How much before you’re happy?!” I scream, “How much before I can stop fighting and being tortured?!”

She clicks her tongue and continues walking down the street. “I’m not sure.” Her words tell me one story but her eyes say another. “You don’t think I have any feelings? I do. But remember, I only took you in because I needed you. I couldn’t get my revenge being a meer pegasus, but the prodigy of the two most powerful unicorns in that village…” She clicks her tongue again and smiles as she leans down to my height. “You have so much potential. Your Mother and Father were both strong… The strongest there was. A powerful leader such as your Father and a natural at magic such as your Mother.”

“So, they were the most powerful in the family?” I question to myself.

“Yes. They created you! My deceased Brother was always a leader. Such a shame he had to die. He served well during his time. But you surely will carry on for him… Won’t you?” She looks down upon me out the corner of her eye.

“Yes, of course I will.” I say.

“Lovely. Remember, you will take responsibility for what is lost.” She says. “You are now the most powerful pony in this family… You always were. You hold a lot more power then you know.”

We come up to a building. I read the sign, Adoption Center. “W- What are you doing here?!” I raise my voice.

“Don’t ask questions child.” She says walking inside. I back away and make a run for it. Mom, Brat, Dad, where are you? “There wasn’t one thing you felt sorry for…” I say to myself…. “Not one thing you regret making me do. Am I right?” I say furiously.

“I have no regrets!” She spits back, laughing maniacally. “Now get back here!” She chases after me, I give up on running and teleport to her house. Not the safest place but there's a hunch I need to prove.

I run into the basement and go to the corner of the room where a cabinet that belonged to my Mom stands.

I never bothered with it, I never touched it. But every now and then it would catch my attention and I’d find myself wondering over to it. Always unable to open it due to the electronic code you had to enter.

I walk over to it and tinker with the lock. Entering different combinations every time. Lunar always avoided the topic of what was inside of it. I look everywhere in the room for some sort of code and stop at the bookshelf. I scan the shelves for a small piece of paper or something, taking the time to look inside each journal for something useful. I look over the bookshelf once more, making sure I didn’t miss anything before moving onto the desk. I check all around, and underneath it before checking the drawers.

I lift up stacks of paper and folders, frantically looking for anything. To me, it always seemed weird how she would avoid the topic. Every since I was little I’ve wondered what was in that chest. Besides, I’m locked in the basement, I might as well try to do something productive, who knows when she’ll let me out.

I walk back over to the bookshelf using my horn as a flashlight. As I scan over the books again, six books look out of place.

I pull over a chair and climb on top of it to get a better view. Sure enough, six books belonging to her favorite series are there. It looks like they haven’t been touched in quite some time. I stare at the books for a while before getting off and taking a seat on the chair. “Where are the other five books in that series? Why does she only have six of them down here?” I walk over to the lock on the cabinet and count up the numbers needed.

I climb back on the chair to the books and take a closer look at them. Nine, seven, seven, three, two, five.

I walk back to the cabinet and punch the numbers in as a thought forms in my head. The cabinet unlocks, stunned that I even figured it out I rip open the cabinet doors eager to see what inside.

At first, I can’t see much, due to the darkness. I squint my eyes and can barely make out some sort of thin, shiny, hard structure. On the next shelf, I see the outlines of a tablecloth or some other form of cloth. On the last shelf, is a piece of paper neatly folded and in the center.

I pick up the note and unfold it with care. As I read it, it doesn’t say much. Just a clothing size and a clothing store along with a number, a date and time to pick something up.

I shine some light on the items and pick up the shiny object on the top shelf. A blade. Not surprising considering she has all types of torture weapons down here. As I look closer, there are no markings, no engravings or anything on the blade. I turn the blade over and look at the hilt.

My breathing goes shallow as I stare wide - eyed in disbelief. I drop the weapon, it makes a loud clang as it hits the stony floor of the basement. I pull out the next thing on the middle shelf, at first it just looks like neat, folded clothes. I carefully inspect the neatly folded clothing and turn over the end of the cloth. My eyes lay upon a pegasi insignia sewn on to the bottom.

My mind goes blank and my breathing is shaky. I remember what happened six years ago.

The sword slashes into my Father's shoulder and leaves a nasty gash. The pony jumps away as my Father stumbles backwards. “I can always be replaced. If I die… A new Commander can take over my place! I told my Stallions and Mares to die fighting for us. If that includes me, then so be it!” He jumps forwards and tackles the figure to the ground. He punches the pony beneath the cloak a few times while they struggle to throw my Dad off of them. He looks over to me with determination in his eyes. “Run!”

I run up to the pony in the cape ignoring the pain in my ear and bite the cape, trying to rip it off the pony. I clench my teeth around the fabric and tug on it. The figure looks back and me and extends their hind leg. As their leg clashes into my chest, I fall back and stumble head over heels.

I get up, activating my magic to stop the pony, the sword plunges into my Father's neck and he falls limp to the ground as blood oozes out of his neck staining the green grass. I back away from the figure and stand there for a few moments not knowing what to do. I’ve always had my Dad by my side. I glance over to his lifeless body, still dripping fresh blood from his wound.

I glance down at the fabric again and more memories come flooding back.

A pony wearing a dark, navy blue cape with the insignia of the pegasi on the bottom of the cape, running down the other side of the street. “Dad! Over here!” I shout, he stops and turns around.

A thick pommel is marked with the symbol of the Gang this sword belongs to, a symbol many would never want to see in their life.

The blade itself is fairly simple from what I see. No markings, no decorations and no engravings.

I run back in the direction of my house, knocking into ponies left and right of me. “Dad! Dad!” I turn the corner and run up the street. As my house comes into view, I take longer strides. As I reach my house it’s barely still standing. The roof is collapsed and windows are shattered. Underneath the pile of the fallen roof my Father lies there with his eyes closed.

“Dad!” I run up to him and shake him. Tears brimming in my eyes. “Dad! Dad!” He opens his eyes and stares up at me. “You’re okay!” I say happily. I run over to the roof laying on top of him and activate my magic. As I try to push it off of him, he struggles to get up.

He squirms out from under the debris and limps over to me. “Thanks, sweetheart. You saved me.”

I reach up and wipe my cheeks, tears pour out of my eyes. “Why? Why would you…” I sob. “What’s wrong with you? No, you wouldn’t… You were so close.” I stuff the things back in the cabinet and lock it.

Chapter 4: The Pessimist And The Optimist

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Four days ago, I found out something horrifying. But I still haven’t said anything. “This is where I’d come to get away.” I say, looking over the edge of the tall building. “She doesn’t bother to look for me, so I’ll sit on the edge and look down at all the tiny ponies that are below.”

“Interesting.” She laughs and sits next to me, peering down on everypony. “This makes me feel so tall and big in comparison.”

“Hey, Brat?” I ask, getting up again and looking out over the horizon. “If I… Did something stupid, would you try to stop me?”

“Depends on what you mean? In what way stupid?” She asks looking slightly concerned. “You don’t mean suicide or something, do you?”

I shake my head. “I would never be able to go through with that. But maybe running away I could do. You don’t know why, but I’ll explain it to you one day. It’s not that I don’t think I shouldn’t explain it to you… I just wouldn’t know how.”

“Hm, I would… Follow you.” She says, patting my head. “Running away from Hoofington sounds nice. Although, I’m only here for a couple of more weeks, all three of us should. Besides, weren’t you and Nightglimmer planning on it anyway.”

“Yeah,” I respond shaking my head again. “But we would never do it. I already know. I have one more question, Brat.”

She looks over to me and leans over the railing. The only thing stopping us from falling down. “What is it?”

“Will you forget about us… When you move? Or at least me?” I question.

“No. I don’t think so.”

I put a hoof up and silence her. “It wasn’t a question. It was a demand in the form of a question.” I state putting my hoof down on the ground. “I’m not going to have you remember me for the pony I am. No, for the monster I am.”

“That’s silly, we all have a dark side, some of us keep it tame but some of us… Some of us can’t I don’t care what you did in your past. I don’t. But, I can tell that you’re traumatized. I won’t ask you to explain, but you don’t have to be shackled to the past.”

“You’re wrong. She won’t let me go. All I want… Is a way out.”

She puts a hoof on my shoulder and takes a deep breath. “Darkie, I advise you to think about this…”

I nod my head and sulk, trying to get my mind off about my depressing mission. I teleport us back to town, upon our arrival it was very quiet. “How are you always so happy?” We walk down the street.

“I don’t know, I just am! I can teach you how to be happy!” Her smile grows by the second. I look down at the pavement, thinking about what she just said. “It’s fun!

“No.”

Her mouth drops open wide and her brown eyes stare at me sadly. “W-Why? You don’t want to be happy?”

“No.” I say monotonously.

“Why not?” She tilts her head, staring at me with wide eyes.

“Because… I said no.” We sit down on a bench together and stare at the sky. “So, you’re leaving, huh?”

She squeals with happiness and delight. “Something tells me… You’re not happy.”

“I’m fine, Brat.” I just have to keep lying. I think about all the time I spent with Brat, all the times she’s helped me, all the times she’s been happy for me and explained to me the optimists side of life. “In fact, I wouldn’t say I'm happy… But I’m better, and I’m proud of you.”

“Why are you proud of me?” She quizzes, looking over to me and grinning wide.

“You’re different. You never felt the need to be depressed, you never put on a fake smile, or pretended to be happy when you really weren’t.” I boop her nose and stare at her with my normal glare and frown.

“You need to lighten up, besides I’m sure you can smile!” Her smile is gentle, her eyes are a warm shade of brown and her features could light up at a room.

“Tch, quite the optimist you are. When Nightglimmer told me about you… I thought she was joking. There’s no way a pony could be that optimistic, from her description. I guess I judged too soon, though.”

“Yeah! And I can be your personal mentor on ‘How To Be Happy 101 With Brat’!” She giggles and turns to me. “How does that sound?”

“That sounds absolutely... “ I pause, watching her grin spread from ear to ear and wanting to create a dramatic pause for effect. “Revolting.” She gasps and laughs more nearly falling off the bench. “Is there something funny, Brat?”

She struggles to catch her breath and get up from the filthy ground. “Y-Yeah!” She snorts, making herself laugh even harder and fall back to the ground.

“What is so funny?” I ask again, tapping my hoof on the sidewalk impatiently, waiting for an answer.

“You are!” She snorts again, banging her hood on the ground. “It’s funny how… You’re never happy!” She gets up with tears in her eyes from laughing so hard and puts on a boring expression. “Oh, look at me. I’m Darkie and I’m never happy. I call Tigris a Brat because that’s what she is!” I roll my eyes as she continues imitating me. “You know what we should do?!” She yells excitedly. “We should dress up as one another for Nightmare Night and pretend to be the other pony! You would so fail at being me!” She giggles.

“And you think you would do any better trying to be me?” I ask, questioning her logic. “Do I have to remind you of the time you laughed at something so hard you cracked up in class, fell of your chair disturbing the lesson and the video the teacher was showing us?”

“Well, I know! But that pony was so funny! It wasn’t just me that laughed.” She claims.

I roll my eyes once again and stand up. “Well, I have eight other things to do today and you are not one of them.”

“Oh, but I am.” I turn around at the sound of the voice and Moonrose walks up to us bouncing her eyebrows.

I sigh. “You dumb moron. You aren’t one of-”

“Are you sure?” She asks again, giving me a seductive look and chuckling to herself and putting a hoof over my shoulder.

“I’m completely positive. You think you are so discreet, don’t you?” I carefully remove her hoof from around my shoulder. She smiles and winks at me. “Wow, very classy.”

“Hehe, I heard we were talking about history. Well, I may not go down in history but I can go down on you.” She says, giving me another wink. “You know you want me.”

“To go away. Yes. Well, I’ll see you two later.” I deadpan, walking away from them. I stop and turn around, looking at Moonrose. “Oh, by the way Moonrose… Don’t act so hot, you can’t even turn on the microwave.”

I get home and flop down on my bed. “Pessimistic, optimistic. I guess opposites attract. What a shame she’ll be leaving soon.” I say to know one in particular. I walk to my bookshelf and pull out a binder. “I guess it would be nice to have something to remember her by.” I grab supplies and lay them out in front of me. Scissors, glue, tape, binder, paper, dividers. I set the binder up accordingly.

A bolt of green energy circles around me and in an instant I’m outside my old house. “Dad… I know who it was.” I say sadly, “I’m not sure why… I don’t know what to do. I’m living with a murderer.” I choke out, I go into our old backyard, now infested with dead plants and weeds. I find a stick and begin drawing out a plan in the dirt.

“Didn’t expect to see you here.” I spin around, afraid for my life. But all I see is Brat.

“What are you doing here?” I ask as she kneels down next to me.

“I’m here taking some photos, this place may be old and abandoned but it’s still beautiful. Why are you here? What are you drawing in the dirt?” She leans closer, as I continue drawing in the dirt.

“I’m making a plan.” I say plainly.

“For what?” She looks closer at the drawing in the dirt. “Those are good sketches. Do you mind if I take pictures of your house and town?”

“Knock yourself out.” I tell her. She smiles and skips around the yard happily, taking pictures of trees and other things. “The pessimist and the optimist. The light and the dark.” I say to myself.

“Hey! Darkie! Let’s take a picture together!” She prances back over with her camera in hand and a big smile on her face.

“Tch, fine.” I tell her getting up and dusting myself off.

She holds the camera up and smiles brightly. She puts her hoof around me, I look into the lens as she clicks the button and the camera shutters. She looks down at the camera and frowns. “You didn’t smile!” She exclaims, outraged.

“I-Uh, I… Didn’t have time.” I say sheepishly.

“That’s a lie!” She claims, putting the camera around her neck and chasing after me. “I trusted you to smile!”

“A horrible decision to even trust me at all.” I say, looking behind me. “Really.” I run through the bushes and the grass hoping to lose her but to no avail does she stop nor get lost. As she chases behind me, I run faster seeing her gain on me. “Geez, Brat!”

“Get back here and smile!” She yells after me playfully. I run around to the front of the house and stop for a breath. A strong force pins me down on the ground. I look up and sure enough Brat is on top of me, feeling very pleased. “I’m not getting up until you smile.”

“That’s fine….” I pant, out of breath. “I can get back up with or without you on me. You’re dead weight.”

She gives me a look of displeasure and gets up off of me. “I was only joking. I did want you to smile. But I won’t force you too.”

“Thanks for the- Uh, generosity. I suppose.” I reply, looking away from her. “So you leave in two weeks? Considering school ends tomorrow?” I ask trying not to show any emotion in my voice.

“Yeah. I’m going to miss you guys so much! I don’t really like to think about it, but you better send me lots of letters while I’m in Califoalnia.” I nod my head and look down at the ground.

“I will. Thanks Brat.” I tell her, ruffling her mane. “You’ve kept me quite entertained this past year.”

She pouts for a moment before returning to her bright and sunny exterior. “Thanks? For what?”

I look at her, trying not to show my sadness. “Tch, I’ll explain it to you all one day. I promise. But I need to get home.” I flick her forehead and mess up the sketches in the dirt before teleporting home.

I arrive home and take out a piece of parchment paper and a quill, I sit down and begin to write.

To My Insufferable Brat Tigris,

Brat… You know, it’s weird. Until you showed up, I’ve never called someone by that name before. Even this name has meaning. I’ll explain the things I promised I would, starting with this name.

Chapter 5: Conviction

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Who knew I could cry over something so stupid. I’ll miss them, sure I will. But I didn’t think it would take this much willpower to overcome it. It’s been a couple of days since I saw Brat at my old house. I really should continue her letter, but I think if I do… I might cry.

It’s been confirmed that my Aunt killed my Father. I confirmed it. I have proof and evidence to back it up with.

I teleport over to her house and wait for her in the kitchen. I hear the door and tense up. I have to do it now. I walk outside as casually as possible and stop right in front of her. “What do you need?” She’s asks, setting the grocery bags down on the table.

“I have a question. Do you know… Who killed my Father?”

She looks at me in confusion. “Why is this of the utmost importance?”

“Tell me. Do you know who killed my Father?!” I ask in a brash voice.

“No!” She yells back. “I do not know who killed him!”

I teleport down to the basement and call out to her. As she lands on the ground I start again.

“Really?” I ask. “I’m not stupid! I can put two and two together. Hopefully you can too and you come up with four.” I state, she rushes forward and grips my mane.

“Do not… Raise your voice at me!” She scolds and throws me to the ground. I point open to the open cabinet and laugh weakly.

“I didn't want to believe it at first.” I say getting up. “I wanted to be wrong, I wanted to be wrong, I wanted to give you a chance and I waited months to voice my concern.” I take a shaky step towards her.

“I didn’t want to hurt them. If Mom and Dad were here, they’d be so saddened to know that you put a child through six years of hell, to get revenge on those who did you wrong!” I tell her. “At first, I was just defending you! Through words, that was fine! But hurting them that way… I broke! You, broke me!” I say. “It’s like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. If anypony tries to get close to me or tries to get me to open up, I shove them away! Until somepony finally diffused that ticking bomb! I’m done playing your game!”

“I have done nothing to you! I didn’t want to take care of you and yes, I did kill him! And yes, I did try to sell you! I was put through so much pain being kicked out of StarSpell because I wasn’t a unicorn like the rest of my family!” She continues, “Until… I couldn’t bare it anymore! I broke the barrier six years ago, I killed him, I took you, I changed the will!”

“What Will?!” I scream, demanding answers. “Are you saying you changed my Mom’s Will?”

“No, that was all you… My dear. She knew I wanted you for your magic. In her will, he asked Malachite Sketch take the responsibility as the guardian. She didn’t want me anywhere near you. But I needed you for much bigger things! You changed it at my command.” She says. “I know it was selfish and cruel! But I got what I wanted!”

I sit down on the floor with tears pouring out of my eyes. I did this to myself and I couldn’t even comprehend it. I changed Dad’s Will at her command, I did everything… All at her command. My heart races and my breathing hitches remembering all the things I’ve had to do.

“I-I’m so sorry!” You don’t have to continue this.” She pleads “It was wrong of me, to use a meer child. I can’t get rid of your pain, I can’t go back and erase it.” I stare down at her. “I traumatized you and I’m sorry. Please. Don’t. Go live with Malachite and have a good life.”

I bite my lip as I stare down at her. “I’m sorry, there is no other choice. This is what I was put on this planet to do. If I cannot hurt someone with a few words… What am I then?” I ask emotionlessly.

I don’t care, but whatever you do… You don’t have to do this!” She begs with tears in her eyes.I take her hooves off of me and remove her. She continues to cling to my leg. I step away and she hugs me. “Don’t do this. It was wrong.”

“You should’ve never had the power to hurt me the way you did, or use me the way you did. But I will fight, for you. There is no other option for me.” I state firmly. I walk away and leave her in the dust crying. Other than her sobs only silence fills the air.

“Tell me… What happened to my Mother? How did she die?”

She looks over at me. “I didn’t kill her. She died of Cancer when you were seven, your Mother was a very powerful pony… She was the daughter of a very famous and powerful unicorn in StarSpell. She loved you and wanted to protect you from anything bad. Including me.”

“Mom! Mom! Why are you crying? It’s okay.” Tears stream down her cheeks, I can barely see her in the dark, the only thing I’m able to make out is her tears glistening in the light of moon pouring through the open window. “Sit down.” I take her hoof and guide her from the doorway to my bed, she props herself up on my pillow and cries some more. “Mom.” I look at her with worried eyes as I hug her lightly I shift my weight and pull my hoof away from hers but she grasps it tighter, as she shakes her head. “I-- I was just going to get your water from your bedroom.” She shakes her head again and tugs lightly on my arms motioning for me to sit down with her as she cries harder. “I’m sorry you had a bad dream again.” I wrap my hooves around her neck and lean my head on her chest. Light droplets of water land on my head, her breathing is ragged and her heart thumping a hundred miles a second.

“She was… Dying.” I realize, “She was scared… Dad was always at the Military Base and Mom… She had no one, Dad was never there when she needed him most. She woke me up… Because she knew she was dying. She already knew what was coming next, she didn’t think she could protect me if she wasn’t here. She tried… Her best.”

Chapter 6: The Letter

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I sit down at my new, clean desk and take out the parchment paper I’ve been working on for days.

To My Insufferable Brat Tigris,

Brat… You know, it’s weird. Until you showed up, I’ve never called someone by that name before. Even this name has meaning. I’ll explain the things I promised I would, starting with this name.

It’s simply because you are one. I don’t care for many ponies. When I do, they don’t stay for long. I was taught from a young age that ponies will leave you. I was taught you shouldn’t let ponies close enough to hurt you. Quite honestly, I tried. I didn’t mean to let you get close to me at all. But I failed at that. When I met you in November, I knew you were going to be insufferable so I’m not exactly sure what caused me to form a friendship with you, to be honest. But, I’m really happy I did.

I suppose… In a way I am jealous of you. One could say. You smile and laugh, you’re a great mare with a lot of nice (And annoying) quirks. I wish I could be like you. (Yes, you have that in writing, now shut it.) But, I do envy you, for being so happy. The only reason I think I was mad when I was around you was because I can’t be like that. I can’t put on a smile, a real one. You came in everyday and you always had a smile. I don’t think it mattered if you were having a good day or a rough day because you still smiled anyway. Please, don’t lose it. Don’t lose your smile.

I hope you realize how nice of a person you actually are. When we sat in Global Studies that day, you told me your dreams and how you didn’t want to see people suffering. You care about people, even me. Which, I’m still quite confused on. Why do you care about me anyway? Being mean to you like that was supposed to drive you away. It was supposed to make you mad and not want to be friends with me. But you didn’t seem to mind it, so eventually I gave up trying to push you away. Remember, you are a nice person with a lot of potential and if anyone denies that I’ll punch them. Even you. So, don’t go and say you’re not. Because I’ll punch you so far, you’ll get sent back to the beginning of ninth grade.

Even though this whole year, I’ve been in pain. You made it so much better, even if it didn’t seem like I was in pain. And I appreciate you. I want to apologize the most of all for that. Because now you’re all the way across the country and I can’t do that. I reminisce the time we spent together and I look forward to spending more time with you in the future. I don’t care how far away you are. I know I’ve mostly been a short, pissy, cold pony towards you, but I’m like that to everypony. There’s a reason for that too but I’ll get into that later. I’m so glad you were there, because I never said much about it. But, thank you for being there, even if you didn’t realize you were. Even if I didn’t say I was in pain, there were times when you came to my rescue and didn’t even realize it. Just promise me, you’ll remember one thing from this letter. And it’s this: Not all wounds show, not all hurt heals, you can’t always see the pain someone feels. Don’t judge someone for the choice they made when you don’t know the options they had to choose from, and whatever you do, never assume someone sees two roads.

My family mostly, assumes things so these are just a few things I’ve learned. The first one you’ll have to figure out on your own… Because I’ll only go into that one a little bit.

The second one… You may think you know the full story, but maybe you don’t. So please, never judge somepony for the choice they choose, because you never know the circumstances of the situation they were in so sometimes it’s hard to tell what their options were. When I was young I had to make a choice. You can be sensitive and be hurt by others or you can be heartless and hurt others. I had to choose one, and I think you know which one I chose by how I act. But I think it’s better if you don’t know about me, right?

The third one, is a bit hard to explain. Lunar Shade, she always asks why I choose to take the hard road, I bite my tongue and tell her I don’t know. But I want to know why does she assume I see two roads? Do you understand that? There are so many thing I want to say to her but I always kept quiet. And yet, at the end of the day… I have bite marks on my tongue from all the things I didn’t say.

The first one is hard to answer. I’ll only go into it a little bit, and maybe one day I’ll find the courage to explain the whole story to you but that’s a story for another time. 2AM, that’s when it happens. That’s when everything comes crashing down all too quickly for me to pick it back up and put it into place. I think of everything I’ve messed up in life, everypony I’ve had to hurt. It keeps me up at night. So please, don’t judge me, when you don’t know the demons I fight every time the sun goes down. I’m mad all the time because it feels like I’m in this constant loop.

A lot of traumatizing things happened to me as a child, from the time I was three to even now as I write this letter to you. I can’t remember a lot of it. But if I hear a song or a smell that I recognize from my childhood it’ll instantly bring me back to wherever I remember it from even if I don’t recognize where it’s from consciously. Does that make sense? Most of my pain is mental, and I keep all bottled up to myself, waiting for the right time to release it, for me that’s alone at night in the dark, where no one can hear me crying. But everyday when I wake up, I try to keep it covered with a tough exterior. Especially when I’m around others because I don’t like people knowing I’m weak.

The reason I act so cold, distant, stoic, and whatever other words you described me as is because I go through this pain, I’m actually really emotional. I just can’t show it. Lunar, she is my Father’s sister. Otherwise known as my Aunt. Before my Father left, he wanted me to be placed in her care. Not knowing just how emotionally abusive she was, Lunar only agreed to take me in so she could use me as a chess piece basically and after she was done with me, she wanted to pawn me off to an orphanage or family friend.

The only thing on her mind is loyalty. She wanted to place a lot of trust and power in me to finish her fights with the people who disagreed with her morals. She started to use me before my only when my father died. She used me for years, my grandmother begged her to stop, because I fought every one of her battles. Not just with family but with friends too. She made me despise a lot of people because I didn’t know what was going on, I was only nine. I’m scarred from the things I had to do to my family.

The things I had to do to my family, the things I had to say, I had to rip my family apart with only words. That’s part of the reason I feel I have no choice but to be the way I am because she did use me to get her revenge on the ponies who disagreed with her. She taught me to fight, fight fiercely, and never give up until your opponent is crushed with nothing left to even defend themselves with. She taught me that I was and still am responsible for knowing every answer to every problem without any guides or anything, that’s something I can’t go to anyone for help.

Everyday for the past six years, I would come home from school and train in our basement from dusk to dawn. No breaks, no food if my training wasn’t satisfactory.

This is why I was scared, to get close to you, to form a friendship. I didn’t want to get hurt again.

Then I told a lie, I was nine when I first lied to myself. From then on, I convinced myself I never had a choice. I fought more battles, not my Aunt’s but anyone who wanted to use me. They all taught me different things but the one thing that stuck with me was that I didn’t have a choice. There’s still more to this story, but it’s a story for another time. I promise I’ll tell it all to you one day. But I think it’s better if you don’t know about me, right?

You have many ponies who love and care about you, you are bright, energetic (Too energetic for me, but whatever.) young, mare and you have so much love around you! I hope you’ve learned something from the above.

Moving on, don’t let ponies get to you. Ponies are morons, and if they can’t see you for what you’re worth, that’s not your fault, that’s theirs. If they don’t like your attitude, that’s their problem. Not yours. A lot of ponies don’t like me for my attitude, because usually I look like I’m about to punch somepony. So, no one wants to get near me.

Never harm yourself, physically or mentally, indirectly or directly. Because, I promise you it will stay with you for the rest of your life. Don’t abuse someone’s kindness. Not that I think you’d do that anyway and vice versa. Don’t let ponies abuse your kindness either, because even the nicest ponies have their limits. I’m not sure what I’d do if you lost your smile or yourself. High school is going to be hard, I guarantee it. But you’ll make many friends wherever you go and you’ll go many places. So don’t try to be depressed, don’t try to be like Nightglimmer or me, because I like you for what you are. Don’t replace your smile with a pissed expression like I do, don’t pretend to be happy when you aren't like Nightglimmer. Don’t be us.

I wanted to say sorry though. That was a big point of this letter. I’m sorry, for being a mad, stubborn pony. I’m sorry that I told you to shut up, I’m sorry. You’re a great friend and I didn’t appreciate that while you were here. I know a letter won’t make up for all the times I‘ve said hurtful things to you. But I really wasn’t sure how to react.

Next. Whenever you're going through a bad time. An argument with friends or family, a break up, or whatever else it may be. I want you to come back here and reread his letter as many times as it takes for you to get the memo in your head. I state it at the beginning and at the end of each paragraph. The point of the paragraph. So, please… Always come back and read this letter again and again until you know that you are a brat, you are a nice person, appreciate people and the time you have with them because one day, your forever will collapse into numbered days, know that I appreciate you, never think badly of yourself, don’t let people get to you, never harm yourself, never try to act like someone else, know that I am sorry.

The little thing actually really matter. I think you know this already but I’m going to write it anyway. How rich you are, what size your house is or how big your family is won’t matter. Things do add up though, enjoy walking through the woods and hearing the birds, get up early and eat a good breakfast, and everything else. I don’t eat until my training is complete. But if I had the chance, I would take it. I don’t eat lunch and I don’t eat breakfast. But please, do what you can to keep yourself healthy.

Please remember that you can handle this, you are strong… and for whatever purpose it is that you opened this letter I think you’ll get through it. You’re really strong and I hope you’re not too sad, angry, or mad. I simply wrote this letter to remind you of all the little things that I find interesting about you, I think I covered almost everything that you asked me to. The reason behind your nickname, and the other things you asked about. I even shared some of myself, but that’s not what this letter is about.

Hopefully, I reminded you of some reasons people like you and I hope you learned some things too. We haven’t know each other for too long and I’m sad you left. But I never showed it. At least not in front of our friends. Again, it was one of the things that happen in the dark when I’m alone at night. But I’ll never say anything, because I don’t want you to see me like that.

You’re incredibly strong, and I’m not saying that to make you feel better, I’m saying that because you are. You came in everyday to school with a smile upon your face and bright eyes. Something the rest of us didn’t have. When all of us were depressed and having terrible days, we ranted and went on about how bad it was. You’d sympathize for us but you never let our unhappiness and misery drag you down.

I will never be happy, I already know that. There will only be days that I am a little less mad than others. But, I will never be happy without you, Moonrose, NightShade or Nightglimmer here. While Nightglimmer still will be here, it’ll feel weird not having you guys pester us. I won’t be happy, not without my friends. I learned that I should try to smile, even though it won’t happen much. Not without my friends. I learned I need to try and see things from a different point of view and appreciate what I have because one day… I’ll wake up full of regrets to see everything gone. I learned I need to try and see the good in the terrible. I’ve learned a lot more from you but if I were to keep going… this letter would never end.

So I’m not going to make a commitment to try smiling more often or try to be happy. Even after you leave I’ll still have ups and downs, good days and rough days, there will be nights where I am curled up on the floor crying my eyes out having a break down at one in the morning without anyone to hold me. I can tell you know that I can bear any pain, as long as it has meaning. I will make a commitment to appreciating what I have, like you do. I didn’t know you could lose things you cared about so quickly until it happened to me the first time when I was six. Truth is you knew you had it. You’d just never thought you’d lose it. So, I promise you, even when everything around me is crashing to hard and too quickly to fix, I’ll will try to see the good in it.

I hope I taught you many things during the time you were in Hoofington. You are nice, and kind and smart and I hope you never lose the light inside you.

Brat… You know, it’s weird. Until you showed up, I’ve never called someone by that name before.

Love,

Darkie

I put the letter into an envelope and write ‘To My Insufferable Brat Tigris’ on the front in metallic gold pen.

I put the letter inside my satchel and throw it over me, I teleport over to StarSpell and run through the old streets kicking up dust behind me. “Brat?!” I yell, hoping to see her pop out.

I walk around some more looking at all the old and worn down building. “Darkie?!” I spin around, feeling agitated and see Brat. “Yeah? I heard you calling me.”

“Oh yeah, right.” I take a look at her, she has her camera around her neck, “So you’re here taking pictures again?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty here and I want to remember this place along with all the ponies I made friends with.” She replies, taking a photo a purple flower.

I nod my head and open up my satchel, take out the letter and look at her. “Hey Brat, I have something for you.” Like a child she shoots up, rising to her full height and looks at me with eagerness. “Don’t open this until you really need me and I can’t be there for you.” I hand her the letter, she puts it in her bag and topples me over engulfing me in a hug.

“I know you don’t like it when I hug you. But… Now that I’m moving on Friday, will you let me touch your horn?”

I roll my eyes and try to get up off the ground. She continues to pin me down and I pretend to struggle. “Since I have no other choice, go for it.” She squeals with delight and gently boops my horn then gets off of me.

“Thanks Darkie.”

“Brat.” I say, walking away from her. “I’ll see you at the party.” I teleport back home and arrive in my bedroom.

Chapter 7: The Party

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“Who wants to do the Ouija Board?” I ask, taking it out of the box.

Nightglimmer and Brat walk over, “Let’s do it.”

I place the planchet on the board and we all put one hoof on it. Brat speaks up. “How did you die?”

“Brat!” I facepalm. “You’re not supposed to ask that first! You need to say: Is anypony there?” I sigh, knowing this will only end in the most disastrous of ways.

“Sorry, sorry! Um, anypony there?” She asks, nervously. The planchet begins to move to yes. “Did one of you move it?!”

“No,” I say rolling my eyes. “Besides, this stuff isn’t even real. Ask it another question.”

“When will I die?” She asks happily.

“Brat?!” The planchet begins to move again. One and six. “Sixteen.” She looks over to me happily. “Are you happy because of this or…” She ignores me and opens her mouth to open another question. “You better not ask anything stupid.”

“When will Darkie die?” The planchet moves again going to one and then moving to six. “Hey! We both die next year!”

“Lovely,” I say sarcastically. “When does… Nightglimmer die?” I ask it.

“Stop dude! I don’t want to know!” But it’s too late, the planchet begins to move once more landing on the two and moving on the six afterward. “Oh, cool.” She sighs in relief.

We continue to ask more and more questions to this spirit but all I can think about is how when Brat leaves, I’m going to have to push the restart button and pretend everything is fine. Even though it’s not.

We find out that the spirit's name is Rover and he died of a heart attack, I can’t believe they are actually entertained by this though. After we’re done, I put the Ouija board away back in its box. “Lovely... Are you happy Brat?”

She nods with a big smile, Crystal Harmony, Nightglimmer's Mom walks up to us holding a tray with mason jars. Inside the mason jars is root beer with vanilla ice cream on the bottom and whipped cream topping them off. “Would you girls like one?” She asks, handing us each a rootbeer float.

“Thank you, very much,” I tell her, taking a sip of my float. I look over at Brat, she stares back at me with crazy eyes and a wild grin. “Sugar… Just what you need.”

“Yeah!! Best. Party. Ever!” She screams in my ear, practically chugging the whole mug.

“Tch, you’re already really hyper as it is, why would we give you more sugar so you can become even more hyper. Logic.” I look down at my drink and take another sip. I love slurping the foam off the top first, then drinking it.

We gather in a circle… Me, Nightglimmer, Brat, Mythic Haze, Moonrose and other others. We each take six M&M’s out of the bowl and go around in a circle playing Never Have I Ever.

“Time to go eat. We have pizza and salad.” Nightglimmer says to me. I look over then back at Brat. “What will we do? Next year?” Everypony else rushes into the dining room while we stay in the living room and watch them.

“I don’t know, Moonrose is leaving… Tigris is leaving. I don’t know.” She tells me honestly.

I watch Brat take a bite of her pizza. “Neither do I. We’ll have to learn to make it without them, why to get close to people when you know in the end, they’ll leave,” I state.

“I guess, but I’m having some serious anxiety about next year… It only seems to get worse and worse.” She lowers her head and kicks her hooves on the carpet.

I take a deep breath. “Cherish these moments, because one day, these are the days you’ll want back…” I say walking over to the table, leaving her in the living room.

I take some salad, dump it on my plate and sit down next to Brat. She smiles and takes another piece of pizza. “I love you, Brat.”

“I love you too, Darkie.” She says, shoving the pizza in her mouth.

We all finish eating and resume the games for two more hours. I walk out the door thanking Nightglimmer and Crystal Harmony for the spectacular party. I walk down the stairs and close the door to the apartment building. I begin walking on the sidewalk, I’m almost to the guard gate when I hear the door open again. I ignore it and keep walking.

“Darkie! Wait!” I whip around at the sound of my nickname and see Brat holding something. She runs over and stops in front of me, panting harshly from running so fast and far. “Here, open it when you get home, here’s the apple juice too.” She hands me an envelope and the apple juice. “By the way Darkie, apple juice is my favorite.” I’m left stunned as she runs back the other way to meet her mom. “Love you, Darkie!”

Speechless and left standing at the curb, she fades out of my view. “Love you too, Brat,” I reply quietly.

Chapter 8: Goodbye

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Friday, June 23, 2017, I received a letter from Tigris via teleportation. She left it at my door at five thirty in the morning.

“See you in a couple of months, Brat,” I say, ruffling her hair. She glances up at me with a sad look and smiles.

“Yeah, definitely. You’ll visit me, won’t you?” She asks with a small smile.

“Tch, yes,” I respond, she jumps on me and topples me over as she squeals with delight. “Just be quiet. It’s five in the morning and my neighbors are sleeping.” She nods and a few tears escape her eyes. “Oh, gosh. Don’t cry…”

“Why? Will it make you cry?” She sniffles and hugs me tighter.

“Tch, no of course not. It’s just weird and sappy.” I answer stoically, stroking her mane. She cries harder into my mane.

“I-- I have to go, we have to make it to the airport… I just wanted to say goodbye until next time.” She smiles and hugs me again. I hug her back, not saying a word.

I watch as she walks away from me, I walk back into the house and lay on my bed, saddened by my friend and her sudden leave.

“How many more will leave me? How many?” I speak to no one in particular. “When will the pain stop? Mom, Dad, Onyx, Sapphire Quill, Moonrose, Brat." Soon I find myself crying. I shove my face into my pillow and tell myself to stop being so emotional. I chose to let her be my friend… What was I expecting to happen when she left? I know I shouldn’t have gotten close to her. But yet again, I opened myself up to yet another pony who in the end will just leave me.

I can stop the river flowing from my eyes, I can keep it in anymore. All my past mistakes, all my friends are fading, next year what will I do without them? Even Nightglimmer seems to be more detached.

Last night Nightglimmer woke me up because she was having an anxiety attack about next year and all of our friends leaving us.

“I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about it. All I know is I just want to leave. This is hell. Living in this world, is it really a privilege? Everyone’s leaving and I don’t blame them but I can’t take much more.” She says, looking at me. “What do you think?” She shifts her weight and sits upright on my bed.

“Me? I don’t know. I’d like to think they won’t forget about us, but it depends, I want them to forget about me. They shouldn’t have known me for the monster I am.” I tell her honestly. “Nightglimmer, How much more pain do you think we’ll take? Would you be able to do it?”

“Probably not. Sometimes I just want to through with it, to see how the people that ‘care’ about me would react.” She sits up and looks at me with a stern gaze.

“My sister once told me something. She said: If you get so sick and tired of something. Confront it! Otherwise, everything will remain exactly the same, nothing will change and we’ll always be stuck in this hell. Maybe we should try it. Next year, let's change, if we want to stop being hurt then we have no choice but to be mean and detached. Since everyone’s gone… Why do we want to make more friends that will hurt us and leave? We don’t have to live the way others want us to. I just want the people I care about to stop hurting me. But, to be able to do that, we have to confront it. Nightglimmer, remember… I will stay by you. Forever. If you need someone to tell you every day that they love you and care for you, I will do that everyday. For you. I promise. I don’t ever want you to think that even for a second you're alone in this world. When you leave this town so will I. But until then I’ll protect you. I promise.”

“I don’t want you to feel that you have to protect me though…” I look at her with the sternest gaze I can muster up.

“This is not something that I am choosing to do because I don’t care. If you leave, what happens to me? I’ll be more broken than I am now. Nopony needs to feel this pain and guilt, not you of all ponies. Please…”

“But protecting me and telling me you love me and care about me… That just shows your sensitive and not heartless.” She says looking down and playing with my comforter.

I look at her shocked. “You’re the only one I have left… What am I supposed to do? Sit back and watch as the world breaks you like it broke me? No. I will do the best I can to protect you and love you. I know it won’t make up for our other friends. But, I can’t lose you too.” I ruffle her hair and kick her out of my bedroom. I open the window and she climbs out, flying into the air. “Glimmer,” She turns around and stares at me. “I promise.”

She gives me a saddened look. “Thank you. I’ll try to do the same for you.”

“No.” I protest. “When you cry, I’ll wipe your tears. I’ll hold you and help you. I’ll save you.”

“Wh-- Then… who saves you?” She asks flying back over to me.

“I save myself, I always have, there’s so much that time cannot erase but I’ll make sure you never feel lonely, I will always protect you and love you. I will hurt anyone who hurts you. You and I will be just fine on our own.” I tell her. “I promise.”

Just thinking about how depressed she made me cry even more. Maybe I can't protect her. What if I fail in being her guardian? What if she gets hurt over and over and over and one day it drives her to the edge? Even if I’m on the edge, I can’t say goodbye because then no one will be there to tell her she’s loved and cared for. She reminds me of a tiny child that needs to be cherished and protected the way I wasn’t.

After ninth grade, I made a decision. I need to protect the only one I have left. I can’t and I won’t take the risk of losing her too. I’m so tired of being this way, my childish fear that they’ll all leave and forget me. This pain I’ve kept inside of me.

After ninth grade, everything changed because so many ponies left. I closed myself off and became even more distant and detached. Every night, I’d cry myself to sleep, thinking about everyone’s who I’ve lost, how every friendship I’ve created has faded. Thinking about it makes me cry and the pain is unbearable.

After ninth grade, I hated everyone and I only kept one expression on my face. A resting bitch face. During school, all I could think about how different it is. I wonder what classes I would have with them if any at all, I think about the only pony I have left and if I don’t protect she’ll fade away too.

The only ponies I cared about was Nightglimmer, Midnight Force, and Star Chaser.

I only showed emotion to Star Chaser. Star Chaser and Midnight Force were my rock, my protectors. They care for me the way I care for Nightglimmer. Everypony else, I’d either flip off, tell them to shut it, or walk away if I didn’t feel like dealing with them. But the only pony I cared, for now, was Nightglimmer. Without her, I’d have no one and I’d be a mess.

All I know is that after ninth grade, my smile became a memory.