The buzzing drowned out everything else. I couldn’t think over the sound of it blaring in my ear. I couldn’t see anything; it felt as if my eyes were sewn shut. My body felt heavy and slightly sore. The taste in my mouth was stale, but also didn’t seem to incredibly out of place. Lethargy had set in, and moving was excruciatingly difficult. If I had the energy to lift my hoof I gladly would have, but my exhaustion prevented me.
I tried to slip back into the pleasant oblivion I had been in before. When I had been nothing, and was content to stay that way. The buzzing would not allow me to however. Right next to me, the screeching continued to pull my consciousness from the black. I mustered all of the will power I could to lift a single hoof.
The alarm clock sailed off my table as I slapped it, aiming for the off switch. I hoped the damn thing would die, and leave me to sleep in peace, but unfortunately it continued to scream from where it laid on the other side of the room. With a sigh of defeat I rubbed a hoof across my closed eyelids to help them open.
Wearily I sat up in bed, and looked around my crummy one room apartment. A couple of shirts were strewn across the floor; some even had some dirty dishes weighing them down. The small table that I had sitting next to my bed had several stacks of books surrounding it. The Stand, the book that was currently dominating most of the space on the small table, was open to where I had stopped reading last night. The large blue book had been an interesting read so far, but I still had a long ways to go before I finished
I stretched out my hoof and clicked on the small lamp that was also resting on the table near me. Mixed with the natural morning light that was beginning to stream in through the window the small room seemed a little less sad. I started to stretch out my hooves before I got out of bed, just like I did every morning, when I was interrupted by a pounding that came from the room above me.
“Shut that damn thing of or Celestia help me…” My landlord screamed through the ceiling at me.
“Yea I know. I’ll get it,” I yelled back, as I got to my hooves and casually walked over to the alarm clock that was still going off. I gently reached down and flipped the switch to off.
I shook off a few flakes of paint that had fallen in my mane during today’s daily screaming match. Normally my landlord was a pretty nice guy, but for some unknown reason I had ended up on his bad side. I picked up the clock and tossed it back onto the table where it had sat before. The toss was great, but it couldn’t quite stick the landing, and fell onto the bed.
I walked over to the mirror that I had hung on the wall above my dresser, and picked up a comb that was resting in front of it. Just like every morning some flakes of paint had managed to survive my vigorous shaking, and had embedded themselves deep into my hair. Since I couldn’t show up to work with bed head, and paint in my hair I quickly combed my mane. Even though it seemed like a slightly girly thing, combing my mane always got me up in the morning.
I stepped away from the mirror; satisfied that my two toned yellow mane looked at least somewhat presentable. Now that my eyes weren’t heavy with half sleep, I hurried to the small fridge that marked the kitchen area of the apartment.
I opened the fridge and gazed into its depths hoping to find something to eat for breakfast, since I doubted I was going to have time to get anything on the way to work today. The only thing I had that didn’t stink like it had rotted weeks ago was a single carton of milk. I had heard somewhere that liquid diets were supposed to be good for you.
I quickly chugged down the contents of the carton, and willed my body to accept it as all the sustenance it would need for most of the day. I then tossed the empty carton into the trash that was just on the side of the fridge. From the look and smell of it, I would also need to empty the trash sometime tonight.
Satisfied that I had managed to get a few calories for the day I walked back to my dresser, and retrieved the toothbrush and toothpaste that were resting on top of it. With toothbrush and toothpaste in mouth I walked to the door, and exited the apartment. Happy that I saw no one else waiting in the hall, I quickly made my way to the shared bathroom only to find it locked. I cursed under my breath, and leaned against the wall as I waited.
The hall had seven doors along its sides that each led to a small one-room apartment identical to mine. The eighth door was for the shared bathroom, which everyony on the floor had to use. The walls of the hall themselves were covered in a beige paint that had begun to chip off long ago. The smell of cheese filled the hall, no doubt coming from room 803. Cheddar’s room always smelled like cheese, but surprisingly the flavor of said cheese would change on a day-to-day basis.
Bored, I decided to fill the time by looking out at the magnificent Manehatten coast. Sure there was plenty of trash lining the sidewalks of the streets below, and the water was so polluted that it would probably leave you bald if you were to take a swim, but seeing the ocean at sunrise made up for it. If I gazed off into the far distance, away from this crappy building, I could almost imagine being somewhere decent where I could breath the country air and actually like the ponies I worked with.
The bathroom door opened behind me pulling my attention away from the window. Out walked a mare still a little wet from her shower; she had a towel wrapped around her head. Her coat was a dark blue and her mane, which was hiding under the towel, was a lush indigo. Her name was Violet and I had been pining over her for the last year, ever since I first saw her.
“Good morning, Lucky. Sorry, I didn’t mean to hold you up,” she said, as she stepped away from the bathroom door so that I could use it.
“Drrn’t wrrry abrrt rt,” was all I could manage to choke out through the grooming supplies I had in my mouth. I quickly spat my toothbrush and toothpaste into my hoof so I could make another attempt at a greeting.
“Don’t worry about it. Waiting here gave me some time to enjoy the sunrise,” I said motioning to the window.
Violet looked to the window and smiled. “I’m surprised you could even see the sun through that grimy thing, or the pollution for that matter.”
“One can always see the light. It is looking for it that is the hard part.” I pushed myself off the wall and made my way over to the bathroom.
“Always the philosopher. I never really understood how important philosophy is to being a secretary.” She quipped as she walked to her room, and levitated her keys out of the towel that was on her head.
“Administrative Assistant,” I quickly shot back.
“Semantics,” she replied as she opened her door.
“Now who is being the philosopher,” I called to her as I set my toothbrush and toothpaste in the sink.
“You caught me. My dear, Lucky Star you have uncovered my secret passion. Please promise that you will not tell a soul.”
Smiling, I leaned out the door to the bathroom to get a look at her. She was standing there in the hallway smiling back at me. “I wouldn’t dream of it my lady.” I ducked back into the bathroom so that I could get my teeth cleaned before I took off for work. “How did that audition go by the way?”
“Oh yes! I haven’t told you about it have I?” I began to brush as she started to talk; I knew that these stories could run for a while. “ When I first showed up I saw that they had five other fillies waiting to audition for the same part. Naturally, this wouldn’t deter me in the least, but I recognized some of these other mares. They have been in some really big plays.
“Well perhaps not really big things, but definitely some Off-Broadway productions. Well I recognized one of them, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I was there, just a small town girl going up against these heavy weights. Needless to say, when they finally called me in I was terrified.” I spat the minty paste that was in my mouth into the sink, and began to put my toothbrush back into its protective casing.
“You got the part didn’t you?” I called from the bathroom, and heard her huff in response.
“I was not done with my story,” she called back.
“I’m sorry. Please continue.”
“Well, as I was saying,” she began, picking up right where she had left off. “When I was finally called I was absolutely terrified. I walked onto the stage and introduced myself like I always do, and I was about to start when one of the directors stopped me.
“I asked if I had done something wrong, and she told me that nothing could be further from the truth. She said that I was exactly what she had pictured for the role, and hired me for it right there on the spot.” I wiped some of the water from my mouth and walked back into the hall.
“She cast you without even hearing you speak? That sounds a little far fetched.” I said as I also made my way back to my room and opened the door.
“However fanciful it may sound let me assure you that it is one hundred percent true.”
“Well I do suppose that they would have been hard pressed to find somepony else that has as much raw talent as you do.” I replied as I tossed my dental supplies onto my bed from the hall.
“That is one of the nicest things that anypony has ever said to me,” she said in mock surprise. I gave her compliments like that all the time. “We will have to celebrate the news. We can make a meal of it. What time do you get off work today?”
I nearly tripped as I started to walk into my apartment. Violet and I usually traded pleasantries in the morning, and I had secretly wanted to ask her out for a long time now, but I never thought that she would be the one to make the first move.
“Six!” I exclaimed. “I get off at around six this afternoon,” I repeated this time with more control.
“That is great to hear. You can pick me up around seven tonight then.” She turned away from me and went into her room closing the door behind her before I could say anything else.
“It’s a date.”
The subway was crowded like it always is. Ponies rushed past each other, not bothering to stop and apologize when they accidentally bumped into sompony. I was no different from everypony else as I hurried along my route. Every time that I stepped into the terminal I envied pegasi for being able to fly wherever they wanted and not having to deal with this. I am sure that there is something else that they probably envied about earth ponies that I never thought about, or at least I hoped there was.
My clock had told me, as I hurried to put on my work clothes, that apparently I was going to be late for work today. If I missed the train then there was no way I was going to be even remotely on time. Luckily, I had managed to get to the terminal just as it pulled in.
I rushed the last couple of meters to the open train door, and got inside as quickly as I could. The doors closed just behind me, almost catching my tail between them. I let out a sigh of relief, and looked around for a place to sit. As usual there was nowhere to rest so I got out of the middle of the walkway, and stood off to the side.
A lively cross section of Manehatten could be seen whenever you take the subway. Several business ponies sat in the train reading the newspaper, and avoiding eye contact with anypony. Several vagrants also occupied the car, most were sleeping, but some would go from pony to pony asking for loose change.
Some high school kids playing hooky were also on the train talking with one another in hushed tones. Their manes were spiked and they had leather collars around their necks. Their earrings and eye shadow was what really gave them away as being punks. They probably thought that they knew suffering, and were expressing it through the way that they dressed. Just wait until they had to get a real job, then they would really know what suffering was.
I sighed and leaned against the wall of the train, before I instantly recoiled as I felt something sticky on its surface. Upon closer inspection I noticed that I had leaned into some gum. Luckily, none of it stuck to my clothes, and I was saved from the nightmare of having to explain that to my boss when I showed up.
The train lurched, and caused some of the less experienced passengers to brace themselves against something so that they wouldn’t be thrown. The doors to the car opened, and the conductor said something unintelligible over the intercom. Having ridden the subway many times myself I could pick out a few words here and there. Knowing this to be my stop I quickly exited the car before the stream of ponies exiting and entering hit its climax.
I looked back at the train a moment before I remembered that I was very close to being late, and hurried to the exit. I quickly climbed the stairs leading out of the terminal and out onto the street. The building that I worked at was only a few blocks over.
I walked briskly down the sidewalk passing several vendors along the way. One even called out to me as I walked by.
“Lucky! What are you not stopping for something today?” he asked as I walked past.
“No time Herb. My boss will kill me if I’m late again.”
“You tell that boss of yours that he owes me for your breakfast then.” I heard him say behind me.
“Will do,” I called back.
I hurried along the Manehatten sidewalks to the giant office building that loomed in front of me. The building itself was over fifty stories high, which was not exceptionally impressive since it was sandwiched between two eighty-story buildings. The glass paneling did manage to catch a lot of the light that found its way through the maze of the city to strike the structure. At about two in the afternoon the entire building would shimmer as the sun beat down directly onto it.
I finally reached the doors, and let myself in. As usual the lobby was a buzz with excitement, but I couldn’t stop to pony watch. I quickly made my way to the Starbucks that was in the far corner of the lobby where my drink orders would hopefully be waiting.
“Cutting it a bit close aren’t you Lucky?” asked the mare from behind the counter as she pulled out the two coffees she had behind the counter. Her name was Chocolate Cream and I had also considered her as good marefriend material, though we would probably stay just good friends.
“Well aren’t you a life saver. One black and the other…”
“Two creams and one sugar. Just like every single day you come to pick them up,” she replied as she place them in a tray and passed them to me. I tossed a few bits onto the counter, grabbed the tray, and quickly hurried over to the elevator.
I managed to slide into one of the elevators, and the doors closed seconds behind me. I pressed the button for the forty-third floor, and sat down. I glanced at my watch over the tray of coffee in my mouth, and saw that I had two whole minutes before I would be officially late. I anxiously tapped my hoof against the floor as the elevator slowly rose to my floor, allowing ponies to exit every few floors.
Finally, we reached my floor, and I rushed out of the elevator so that I could make it to my desk before my boss walked in. As I raced to my desk I saw that my luck was holding out, and my boss had yet to arrive. I mentally sighed as I pulled out my chair, and set the coffees on the desk.
I triumphantly sat down and began to look over the papers that had been placed on my desk. Apparently, I was going to need to go all the way downtown this morning to pick up some dry cleaning. I just hopped I would be able to get off in time to make my dinner date with Violet.
Hardly thirty seconds later my boss, Gold Coin, stepped off of one of the elevators and began walking towards his office. The ponies that were walking the aisles between the cubicles gave him a wide berth as he passed by. Gold Coin was one of the vice presidents of the bank that I worked at, and was known to fly off the handle quite easily.
He was an earth pony like myself, but he had a rusty copper colored coat whereas mine was white with a slight blue tint. His brown mane was slicked down against his head and neck by an extreme amount of hair gel. I had never seen him out of a suit, but depending on how he felt any particular morning he would wear a different color tie. Today’s tie was green, which meant that he was feeling particularly good.
As he passed my desk I quickly stood up, and retrieved his coffee from the tray on my desk. I matched his pace as we walked to his office and entered it. Without saying a word he made his way around his desk and sat down. Like I did every morning, I quickly placed the coffee onto the desk in front of him and waited to be addressed.
It is said that you can learn everything you need to know about somepony by looking at the belongings in their home. The same could be said about looking at what somepony kept in their office. Looking around Gold Coin’s office you could tell exactly what kind of pony he was.
He sat in a very imposing black chair. The seat on the other side of his desk was small, and noticeably shorter. This meant that unless you were an unnaturally tall stallion, when you were in Gold Coin’s office you would always be looking up at him. This put him in quite literally the seat of power.
His desk was devoid of all clutter, and he had no pictures on it like many of the other vice presidents did. Anypony would tell you that in the office Gold Coin was all business, and this reasserted that fact.
Despite having a great view of the city from his office the blinds were always closed, and the only light in the office came from the harsh halogen lights overhead. Gold Coin had a few file cabinets behind him that he used to store his business papers and records, and a small briefcase sat beside his desk. Aside from these however, the room was completely devoid of furniture. In the office Gold Coin cut away all superfluous things, and never beat around the bush. It was really strange that he was taking so long to begin our daily briefing.
“Lucky, what do I have on my agenda for today,” he finally spoke after taking a long sip from his coffee.
“Today is mostly clear, Mr. Gold Coin. You have a meeting at nine with a potential investor,” I replied immediately.
“Remind me who I am meeting with.”
“Yes sir. She is a representative of the local farmer’s union, and I believe she is looking to invest a large sum of bits. This year the local crops over-produced, and the farmers made out quite well. The predictions for next season show that the same will likely happen,” I said, knowing exactly what information he wanted to hear.
“Meaning that if we can get them on our good side now there will be plenty of bits to make in the future.” He considered the information for a moment before he gestured for me to continue.
“At ten there is supposed to be a meeting upstairs, but I am not exactly sure what it is about.” He didn’t prompt me to stop so I continued. “After the meeting it seems that you had me clear your schedule.”
“Yes I have a lunch with some important ponies. I will need my change of clothes picked up for lunch. Please have that done by the time that I return from the meeting.” He pointed a hoof at me to show me how important it was that I ran this little errand.
“Of course sir. I will have it by the time you are out. Do you need me for anything else?” I asked as I slowly made my way to the door.
“No that will be all for now. Make sure you are extra polite to this farmer mare that shows up. I’ve heard that they really get off on common manners,” he said as I exited the office, and closed the door behind me.
I made my way back to my desk at a rather sedate pace. Since he didn’t have much to do today it meant that I also had an easy day. If I really rushed I might have been able to get off around four-thirty, and have plenty of time to prepare for my date later. With renewed vigor I dove into the stack of papers in front of me.
The time passed quickly, and I hardly noticed as a tall toned mare walked from the elevator, and made her way over to my desk. Luckily, my years of training at my position kicked in before she had to get my attention. I looked up and saw the red mare approach quickly.
“Hello, would you happen to be, Mrs. Cherry Blossom?” I asked as I stood from my desk.
“Mrs. Cherry Blossom is my mother. Please, call me Cherry,” she replied as she stopped in front of my desk.
“Well, Mrs. Cherry I believe that Mr. Gold Coin is waiting for you in his office. Please see yourself in.” I sat down at my desk, and waited for her to close the door behind her before I returned to my work.
I was about to start again, but stopped. I realized that right now would be the best time for me to go and pick up Gold Coin’s dry cleaning. If I left now then there was no possible way that I was going to be late coming back, and if I got it done then I could concentrate on other things and knock off early.
With my mind made up I stood from my desk, and threw my saddlebags back on. I quickly downed the rest of the coffee, and tossed the cup in the recycling basket. I looked into some of the cubicles as I walked by, and saw that everypony else was busy. Thinking about it, there wouldn’t be many ponies that I would have to rush past at this time of day. I smiled to myself, admiring the rewards I would get for doing this little chore early.
The ride down the elevator was uneventful, and I just listened as the plain music floated in. The trip was uninterrupted, and I soon found myself in the lobby. Compared to how things were this morning the lobby was a ghost town. I only walked past one other pony as I made my way outside.
The streets of Manehatten were still bustling with activity, but were not nearly as hectic as they had been on my way to work this morning. I deftly maneuvered my way in between ponies, careful not to run into anypony, and even managed to sidestep some gum that was on the sidewalk. There was a trashcan not one yard away from where the gum was on the ground. I shook my head at the apparent disregard for littering, and continued forwards to the subway terminal.
Unlike the streets above the subway was all but deserted. I had expected the traffic flow to have lessened somewhat, but not nearly this much. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I made my way to the platform, and waited for the train. I didn’t have to wait long as the train came speeding down the tunnel, and stopped in front of me.
The doors opened soon after, and I stepped inside the train. I found a spot to sit and claimed it for myself. Relaxing in a seat was by far better than standing, and I would not allow anypony to tell me different. The train rocked forwards as it began to move, but I had long ago gotten used to it.
I pulled a newspaper from my saddlebags, and began to read through it. I immediately turned to the sports page and was informed that our hoofball team had lost yet again. I don’t know why I was still even a fan after this abysmal twelve-game losing streak. Depressed at the news, I put the newspaper back into my bag, and patiently waited to arrive at my destination.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long, and I was soon standing in the terminal. This terminal was much busier than the other had been, but was still mostly empty. I watched as a drunk stumbled around asking ponies if they had any money or booze on them that they would give him. It was a sad sight, but one that I had grown used to.
I ascended the stairs, I was soon walking the familiar streets to the dry cleaners that I had dropped Gold Coin’s tuxedo off at three days prior. The store was only half a block away so it didn’t take long before I was standing in front of the door. The cleaner’s was small, and had a pawn shop right above it, but it was the best rate in the city. I had also known the owner growing up so she gave me a discount.
The bell above the door rang as I made my way inside. The elderly green mare behind the counter looked up at me as I entered; a smile graced her lips for a millisecond before it turned to a frown.
“You were supposed to pick this up yesterday. Why are you so late?” she asked as she sifted through the various clothes behind her.
“The ticket says today,” I replied as I pulled the stub from my saddlebags to show her.
She turned around, and grabbed the ticket away from me with her magic. She looked over it a moment before her scowl deepened. “Whatever.” She turned back to the rack behind her, and continued to look through it. After a moment she found the clothes that she was looking for, and levitated them over to me.
“So what lucky mare are you going out with tonight?” she asked as I took the garment.
“How do you always know?” I replied as I draped it over my back.
“It is so obvious. It is hard not to know.”
I rolled my eyes before replying. “You know that mare in my building, Violet. Well I finally got a date with her tonight.”
“Oh so you finally got the nerve to ask her out. It is about time you are always going on about her. I am glad to see that you have at least a little courage in you.” Her compliment made me avert my eyes, which didn’t go unnoticed. “You didn’t ask her out did you? She made the first move! Well I shouldn’t be surprised she is an actress after all. Hey look at me.” She got serious for a moment, and made sure that I was paying attention to her. “You treat this mare right. From the way that you have described her she sounds pretty special.”
“You know me, of course I will treat her right,” I replied, brushing away the advice.
“That is exactly my point. I know you. You will probably do what you always do and move way too fast with this girl. Try to take things slow for a change, and let her make the moves.” I turned away from her and opened the door so that I could leave.
“Whatever you say Mrs. Sweep.” I closed the door behind me, and laughed a little. Mrs. Sweep had been like a surrogate mother after I had lost my own when I was young. She was always giving me advice, and she was usually right about most things.
I trotted along the sidewalk back to the subway terminal. I had only been out of the office for forty minutes, and would arrive back with plenty of time to spare. The terminal was largely how I had left it. Ponies were milling about as they waited for the train to come along.
I found a bench and sat down so I could wait in relative comfort. Most of the lights that lined the ceiling in the terminal were out, probably broken, or burned out and waiting to be repaired. A few of the tiles along the ground were broken, and some of them were even missing. The air smelled of a variety of foul fragrances, but above all it smelled like bad body odor. Looking across the terminal I saw that there were a group of ponies standing around one spot on the line. I got up from my seat, and decided that I should investigate.
The crowd of ponies at the edge of the rail was pretty thick, but I managed to push my way past them so I could see what all the commotion was about. As I reached the front I had to stop myself as I almost fell off the edge, and onto the tracks. I looked down and saw what had happened to the unfortunate drunk that I had seen in the terminal earlier. He was laid out along the the track below half conscious, but clearly unable to pick himself up.
We all just stood by, and stared down at him. When it came to it I liked to believe that most ponies would help another that was in need, but standing in the terminal at that moment I realized that wasn’t the case. I am sure many like myself were worried for the stallion, but weren’t willing to risk their own lives to go down and save him. He was just some random drunk after all, and I had a job that I needed to get back to. Just then a blur of white shot past me and down to the tracks where the stallion was lying on his side.
It was a pegasus, and she looked vaguely familiar. She bent down and tried to lift the stallion off the tracks, but she was far too small to lift him. She was actually one of the smallest pegasi I had ever seen. I looked from her white coat to her green-blue mane, and in that moment recognized her. She was staring at me, no doubt recognizing who I was.
“Lucky! Help me out man. We gotta get this guy off the tracks,” she called to me from where she stood next to the passed out stallion.
Quick Flash, or just Flash as I had known here in high school was staring up at me expecting that I would come to her aid. She was even smaller back then, and would always get picked on by the other fillies. At some point I had decided to stand up for her since she couldn’t. I was not the biggest stallion by a long shot, and had gotten my flank kicked pretty good, but we managed to build a great friendship.
After graduation I had heard that she had moved away to Cloudsdale, but apparently she was back in town now. She was looking up at me hoping that I would help her out of a mess once again. The rest of the crowd had turned their eyes to me also, no doubt wondering what I was going to do. Before I knew it I had jumped from where I stood down to the tracks.
This was stupid. This had to be the single dumbest thing that I had ever done. Why would I risk my life for some stupid drunk like this? I mentally berated myself as I galloped to where Flash stood over the drunkard. Working together we managed to get him to his hooves, and walked him to where the other ponies were standing at the edge of the station. That was when I saw it; a light that was shining down the dark subway tunnel.
“Thanks, Lucky. I don’t know what would have happened if no pony came to help,” Flash said as we tried to lift the stallion up to the crowd above.
“Hurry you idiot the train is coming!” I screamed back causing her to redouble her efforts.
The ponies above grabbed the stallion, and started to pull him up. I realized then that there was no way that they could pull him up, and get me out before the train came. I was absolutely screwed. Without a word I took off running away from the train, and to my surprise Flash followed.
“What the hay are you doing, Lucky! The train is coming,” she yelled as she flew along side me.
“The trains slow down as they pull into the terminal. If I can get ahead of it maybe it will stop before it hits me. What are you doing here you idiot fly out of here,” I screamed back as I ran for my life.
“I got you into this mess. I am not just going to abandon you,” she replied. The light behind me started to grow brighter.
“Get out of here, Flash. I was the fastest runner back in Highschool so don’t worry about me. I will be just fine.” I turned to her and gave her the best smile I could muster. She looked really torn about it, but eventually flew to safety leaving me alone on the tracks.
I ran for my life, and heard the train barreling down on me from behind. It had been way too long since I had gone running, and my sides were beginning to burn. The rumbling behind me kept getting louder and louder as I raced down the tracks. I could taste copper in my mouth, but I was almost to the edge of the platform.
“Please stand behind the white line as the express pulls through the station,” a voice called over the PA system in the terminal. The express didn’t stop at this station! The train wasn’t going to stop!
I looked back and saw the subway just a few feet behind me. I did the only thing that my panicked mind could think to do at that point. I jumped for all I was worth, hoping that somehow I would be miraculously saved. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline pumping through my veins or some final thing that happens when you die, but the entire world seemed to slow down.
I saw the ponies standing on the platform looking down at me. Shockingly, many of them looked on expressionless. Some averted their gaze, not wanting to witness some stupid foal get killed by a train. I swear I saw at least two of them looking at me with a small smile on their faces.
The train behind me was still inching forwards at an excruciatingly slow pace. I wanted to keep running, to somehow get away from the piece of machinery that was undoubtedly going to end my life, but I couldn’t move a muscle. I just continued to float in the air as the train inched closer.
I looked back to the platform and saw Flash looking at me with tears in her eyes. She was probably going to blame herself for this, and a small part of me wanted her to. I knew that she had a massive part to play in my impending death, but she wasn’t the only thing that led to this.
That drunk had a much larger part to play; if he hadn’t fallen onto the tracks in the first place then I wouldn’t be in this mess. If I had stuck around longer to talk to Mrs. Sweep then I wouldn’t have even been in the station while he got run over. If I hadn’t been so eager to get my work for the day out of the way, and had waited longer to go pick up Gold Coin’s clothes then I wouldn’t be in this situation either. In the end this was probably all my fault.
The train collided with my outstretched legs. I felt it gently push against them, but for whatever reason my legs pushed back. I wish that they would just allow the train to push them forwards, but they refused to move. I could feel the bones in my legs grind against each other, and begin to crack. The pain shot through me and I wanted to cry out, but I couldn’t open my mouth.
The train continued to push, and eventually made it to my back. When my body still refused to move I felt the power of the train grind against my spine. The pain I felt redoubled before it suddenly vanished. I couldn’t feel anything as the train pressed fully against me, and I began to move again. Something red clouded the vision in my left eye as my body left the front of the train, and flew down the tunnel in front of it.
I fell to the ground, but never felt myself touch the floor. I still couldn’t move and was forced to look back at the instrument of my murder as it ground down the tracks. Slowly, the world gained its speed again. At first it was hardly noticeable, but the train in front of me began to pick up speed. I watched as the wheels sped towards me with renewed enthusiasm. The last thing that I ever saw were those terrible screeching wheels just inches away from my snout. Then everything went black.
It was difficult to describe exactly how I felt at the time. I actually wasn’t able to feel anything. My body had left me, and I was just free floating in a vast sea of color and emotion. It was by far the strangest thing that I could ever remember happening to me, but at the same time I wasn’t worried.
Without my eyes I gazed in every direction at once and found that I was alone. The loneliness that I thought would have enveloped me at the realization didn’t come as I floated through the expanse of color around me. All of the colors of the rainbow swirled around me in a dance that nothing else could possibly hope to capture.
My legs were gone, but I was able to navigate the swirling ocean of energy with ease. The colors that greeted me were warm, and when I approached them I felt safe. The soft reds and oranges reminded me of my foalhood, when I would play with friends without a care in the world.
A ribbon of light green cut through the reds and suddenly I was taken back to the monthly trips I took with my dad to the woods on the edge of town. At nights I would grow scared of the encroaching darkness outside our tent, but just one look at my father and I would feel safe again. We didn’t often get to spend much time together, but when we were out in the woods I knew that I was the only thing that mattered.
The green began to deepen until it started to turn blue. I felt my mind turning to the memory of my mother’s funeral. I was only eight at the time, and not able to fully understand what was going on, but the pain I felt was real enough. The memory changed to my seventh birthday where my friends and I sat around my birthday cake. It was such a great party, and mom had even managed to get out of bed to come and give me my present herself. If I still had my eyes I think a tear might have rolled down my cheek.
The blue continued to deepen until it became a rich violet. Suddenly, I was thrown back to my college years where I spent my first night with my marefriend. She had been a beautiful pegasus, and her fur was the most magnificent and alluring green that I had ever seen. I truly thought that I loved her, but fate it seemed had different plans for us. She ended up graduating, and enrolling in the military. I dropped out of school, and moved to the city so that I could find some way to support myself.
The memories changed once again, but the color continued to hold. I found myself in the worn out apartment building that I had been living in for the last couple of years looking at the beautiful mare that was my neighbor. She leaned in towards me as I did the same, and we passionately embraced each other.
The colors blurred and I found myself in a home I didn’t recognize, but felt welcome in all the same. I was sitting at a table reading the newspaper, while two foals ran around in the living room. One was a young unicorn colt that was chasing his older sister around the room. I called out to them, and they immediately stopped what they were doing, and scrambled over to me.
I gave a short speech before patting the colt on his head and ushering them off. I think I told the filly to look after her brother while they were at school today. Time flew by again, and I was in bed with Violet as she cuddled up beside me. Tomorrow was Hearth’s Warming Eve, and I had to make sure to get all of the presents set out tonight before the kids woke up in the morning.
I was sitting in a chair with my lovely wife on my right. It wasn’t often that she found time to break away from her rehearsals at the theatre, but today was a special day. To my left sat my daughter with a bored expression playing across her face. I found it funny, but my attention quickly turned away from her as my son’s name was called and he proudly walked across the stage to the principal that was holding his diploma. As he turned to look out to the crowd I waved to him, and caught his embarrassed smile as he looked off to the side of the stage. Embarrassing your kids is one of the best parts of being a parent.
The years flew by once more, and I was sitting on the couch with Violet. We were getting on in years, and the kids had grown up and moved out leaving us a big house all to ourselves. The quiet was a welcome change, and we just enjoyed each other’s company. She leaned into me and I held her close; this moment was enough to last a lifetime.
Something grabbed me and I was pulled out of the memory of things to come. I looked around me, and saw a black line reaching through the tempest of color and into me. I didn’t know how I knew that the black was seeping into me, but I did. I tried to pull away, but the dark line began to reel back to where it came from.
I fought with it, but it was no use. I was dragged through the ocean of emotion and peace as I tried desperately to get away. I didn’t feel any pain, quite the contrary actually, the line made me feel like I was beginning to have flesh again. Before I had simply been, but now I started to feel my chest again. The sensation continued to spread until I was aware of my hooves once again.
That was when I felt the pain.
The scorching tore through my body causing me to scream out. I cared little if anypony heard me in my throes of agony as I flipped about on the ground. The cold stone beneath me stood out harshly against the blazing fire that was tearing its way through every nerve I possessed.
I had expected the pain to kill me, but it might have had the opposite effect. I was feeling the life return to me, and it hurt worse than anything that I could ever imagine. It felt as if the very blood that pumped through my veins was made of dry ice, instantly sapping the heat out of any flesh that it passed by, and rendering it dead and black.
I continued to wail as the pain moved to my muscles. The same burning coldness that had been coursing through me before settled itself in my legs and chest, and began to throb with every beat of my heart. I felt as if my insides were going to explode as every beat of that damnable muscle pumped more burning blood into the aching tissue.
The cold finally reached my skin where it really began to go to work. I could practically feel my skin turn black and break open with every painful spasm. It tried to hold still as I realized that every turn I made only sent more pain coursing through my blackened decaying flesh. The exhaustion helped a lot, and soon I found myself lying on my side panting.
Each breath I took lessened the pain somewhat, and eventually it had subsided to a tolerable ache. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I knew that I should be dead right now. That train had definitely killed me so how could I possibly be here?
Hesitantly, my eye began to open little by little. I was lying on the cold stone floor of some eerily dark room. I couldn’t see my hoof that was lying on the floor in front of my face as I stared out into the darkness.
I don’t know how long I laid like that looking out into the blackness of the room around me, but eventually a small rectangle of light made itself known. I squinted, and realized that it was a slot in the side of a door, and stared at it intently. Two eyes passed in front of the slot for moment. They stared into the room, and narrowed on me for a second before the slit closed once again, bathing the room in shadow.
My mind began to slow, and I felt myself losing the tenuous grasp on consciousness that I had. I started to drift off once again to sleep that would hopefully allow me some small escape from the pain that I felt still pounding through my body. The last thing I saw before unconsciousness took a hold of me was the door that I had been looking at opening and a tall figure walking into the room.
I could have been asleep for hours, but it felt like it had only been minutes. I didn’t awake to the scorching pain that I had before or the intense throbbing that I had felt as I lost consciousness. Instead I felt as if electricity was racing through my body as every nerve sparked with energy. Wearily, I opened my eyes and noticed that I wasn’t alone.
Torches that lined the walls of the small stone room illuminated the grey background. The damp smell of the underground made its way into my nostrils as I took a deep breath. My eyes narrowed on the large figure that was seated across the room from me. It took a moment, but eventually my eyes finally adjusted and I was able to make out the pony across from me.
She was tall, far taller than anypony else that I had ever seen. Her mane billowed behind her in a breeze that couldn’t possibly have found its way into this underground room. She looked down on me with deep turquoise eyes that perfectly accented her deep blue coat. On her had sat a long spiraling horn, and on either side of her a magnificent wing held itself perfectly still. It took me a moment, but the realization of who was sitting next to me hit me, and I reflexively made to bow.
As my legs uselessly kicked to bring me to a standing position pain raced through me once again, causing me to cry out. A worried look flashed across the princess’ face, but it quickly turned back to one of mild curiosity. She continued to stay seated, not making a move to do anything. I tried once again to move, but the same pain as before blocked me and I found myself staring uselessly at Princess Luna from the ground. Seeing that I wasn’t going to do anything, she stood and slowly approached me.
“You should not try and strain yourself. One does not simply come back from death, and shake it off as if it were nothing,” she informed me as she stalked closer.
I tried to reply but found myself hacking instead. I took several more deep breaths before I tried again, and found my voice came out far raspier than I remembered. “What happened?”
Luna pondered this question for a moment, “From what we have been told, you were hit by a train. We brought you back to this mortal plane after we found your soul wandering through the aether.”
I remembered the train, there was no way that I could ever forget the feeling of having every bone in my body crushed. I shuttered as the memory came unbidden to the forefront of my mind. I pushed down the memory, and tried to focus on the situation in front of me.
“Why?” It was really the only question that I cared about at the moment.
“All will make itself clear in time. For now you need to rest.” Her horn began to glow a deep indigo as she extended it toward me. I wasn’t able to shrink away as the tip of her horn connected with my forehead, and I once again found myself wandering through the blackness of sleep.
Something metallic landed just inches in front of my face causing me to wake with a start. I found that my legs were working again, and I lifted a hoof to my eye to coax it into opening. I felt very well rested as I blinked the sleep out of my eyes and looked around the room I was still lying in.
The princess had apparently left me where I still lied, but a different mare had found her way into the room. She was big, at least as far as mares went, and her slitted eyes glared down at me with a predatory glare. I recoiled immediately and jumped away from her.
I landed on all four hooves, but instantly collapsed again as my legs were unable to support my weight. I found myself staring up once again at the mare in front of me as I began to study her. I noted that her fur was a harsh grey that clashed with her purple irises. On her sides massive bat wings were coiled, ready to spread wide in an instant. Her mane was short and a deep crimson color that had a line of black running through it. When I looked back to her face I noticed that she had two extended canines protruding from her lips.
“Are you okay?” her voice was much softer than I had expected. She took a hesitant step forwards, and I managed to stop myself from shying away.
“What is going on?” I asked as I managed to push myself into a sitting position.
“You are still getting used to your new body. It will take some time before you fully adjust,” she explained.
Her words struck me, and I found myself staring down at my hooves for the first time since I woke in this room. My previously white coat had turned to a light grey that still held its light blue tint. Fearing the worst I brought my hoof up to my mouth and hesitantly poked around my teeth. I found a sharp canine protruding from my lips that threatened to pierce my hoof if I poked it too hard. The mare must have sensed my horror as she immediately started fumbling for the right words to say.
“Oh my… did the princess not… calm down you are going to be okay.” I am not sure if she kept speaking or not as my mind began to reel.
I was dead. Of that I was one hundred and twenty percent certain. I had died in that subway terminal, but somehow I was here. The princess had said that she had brought me back, but why? I just couldn’t understand why I was still alive. Why? Why?
Something waving back in forth in front of my eyes caught my attention and broke me from my bleak ruminations. My eyes focused on a hoof waving back and forth in front of my face.
“Um… I brought you some food to eat since you are probably hungry.” She motioned to the tray that was set down a couple of feet away. That was probably what had woken me up. She walked back over to where the tray was lying and brought it back over to me.
A simple sandwich was set before me with a nice looking glass of orange juice beside it. It was at that time that my body made it known how famished I was, and I picked up the sandwich and began to devour it. It occurred to me that the meal might be poisoned, but I brushed the thought away since it made no sense. Why would you bring a pony back to life just to poison them?
I quickly finished the sandwich and picked up the glass of orange juice and began to inhale it. I drank too much, and was soon coughing up a lung as the mare in front of me looked at me with worry. I held up a hoof to show her I was okay before I finally regained control over my breathing.
“Are you feeling better?” she asked hesitantly.
I had to admit that the meal had actually done quite a bit to improve my mood. I had been in a great deal of pain before, but now I was actually feeling really good. Actually, I felt better than I ever had before.
“Yes, I’m feeling great actually. Like I could run a marathon in my sleep.” She giggled at my reply; it was actually rather cute if you could look past the scary eyes and teeth.
“You probably could. That will wear off in a couple of days though. Oh where are my manners I didn’t introduce myself.” She put a hoof forward, and I hesitantly shook it. “My name is Clarity.”
“I’m Lucky Star, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.” I lowered my foreign hoof to the ground and chuckled lightly at the irony.
“It does seem a little ironic given the circumstances,” she agreed.
…OH SWEET CELESTIA CAN SHE READ MY MIND! The thought soared across my consciousness in an instant, and caused the strange bat pony in front of me to take a step back.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to. I can’t always control it,” she explained as she continued to back up. I held out a hoof to show her that it was okay, and she immediately stopped.
“It’s fine I guess. I just don’t think that I have ever met a pony that could do that before.” Did she actually blush? “But if you wouldn’t mind could you please refrain from entering my sanctum.” I tapped the side of my head with a hoof as I gave her the most calming smile I could muster.
“I try not to go around reading other ponies thoughts since it is so terribly rude. Don’t worry I won't go spreading your secrets around or anything.” She took a few steps forwards and seated herself in front of me.
“So… why am I in this room in a new body?” Approaching the situation head on was probably the best way to proceed.
“Because the princess brought you back,” she replied simply like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Yes, but why?”
“Why did she bring any of us back?” I caught that the question was rhetorical and had to quirk my eyebrow to relay my confusion.
“What do you mean us?” I thought it was a valid question.
It seemed my inquiry only caused her to sigh as she began her explanation. “All of us were brought back by Princess Luna. We are her guard and do as she commands for the good of Equestria.”
I found myself hyperventilating, and started to feel dizzy. Clarity caught onto my plight and quickly moved to my side to stop me from falling over. We stayed like that for several minutes before I finally managed to regain control of myself again. A fit of manic laughter started to make its way from my mouth, and it seemed to put the mare beside me on edge.
“You mean that the princess brought me back from the dead for a job?” I completely broke down somewhere between sobbing and laughing hysterically. “No reason unemployment is so high. All of the good jobs are going to the dead.”
I fell over away from Clarity, and continued to laugh my head off. This situation was so messed up I didn’t even know where to begin. I had been dead just a couple of hours ago, but it had actually been pretty nice. I couldn’t remember anything specific, but I knew that I had been at peace in paradise after that train had hit me. Probably my reward for dying to save some loser.
“Are you done mocking me?” her words cut through my delirium and I stopped my laughter immediately. I managed to make my way back into a sitting position and looked at the mare that was glaring daggers at me. The scary eyes helped with that a lot.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to make fun of you or what you do it’s just that this situation is so insane.” I rubbed my hoof against my temple. I could feel a headache coming on.
“I understand that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but you need to understand what is going on. Are you feeling well enough to walk around.” I shakily made my way to my hooves, and was soon standing.
When I was standing I noticed that I was actually bigger than the mare in front of me, if only by a little. I actually thought that I was taller than I had been previously. I put an uncertain hoof forward which I followed then followed with another. As I continued to slowly walk forward the motion started to come back to me, and I soon found that it was exceedingly easy. How come I had thought it so hard to do before?
“I can walk it’s a miracle!”
I caused her to let out another giggle with my terrible joke, and noticed that I was starting to find that cuter every time I heard it. “That’s great. Earth ponies seem to take to the transition easier than the rest so I guess you have that going for you.” She made her way past me to the door that I just now noticed was standing wide open. She walked outside into the hall, and disappeared around the corner as I continued to watch her.
After a moment I saw her head pop back into view as she smiled at me, “Are you coming?”
“You bet,” I replied as I hurried after her.
The hallway I soon found myself in was made of the same stone that the room had been. I looked both ways, and saw the corridor extend for eternity until it finally tapered off into blackness. Clarity stood to my left waiting for me to get my bearings. Archaic torches were hung periodically along the walls shedding the only light that the dark hallway had.
“So where are we exactly?” I asked as I moved along beside her and we started to walk down the long hallway. I had noticed before that it smelled like we were in some underground cave, and the smell began to vanish the farther away we got from the room we had been in.
“We are at the home base. This is where we operate out of,” she said as she motioned to the walls around us.
“Okay… and where is that exactly?” I felt like I was going to get a lot of cryptic answers out of this mare.
“I’m not supposed to tell you actually,” she confided as we continued forward. We passed several rooms along the way that looked eerily similar to the one that I had been in. A few had a table bolted down in the middle of the room with chains fastened to them.
“Why would that be exactly?” I pressed.
“I can't tell you that either.” It looked like my questioning was starting to make her uncomfortable.
“Well what can you tell me then?”
“Not that much,” she replied. “Things will be made much clearer once we meet up with the others.”
“Yes, I told you that there were others here didn’t I?” I did recall her saying something about other previously.
“Okay, so we are going to meet up with more creepy ponies then?” I mentally slapped myself as soon as the sentence left my mouth. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that.”
Instead of being insulted as I assumed she would have been she threw her head back and started laughing. “I thought all sarosians looked really creepy too when I first saw them. You look a lot creepier than I do by the way.”
I stopped for a moment. “Do you have a mirror?” I asked as I began to feel around my mane.
“Oh yes, I forgot to show you didn’t I? I can really be scatterbrained sometimes.” She unfurled one of her wings, and brought forth a mirror that she had been holding with it.
I gave the leathery appendage a wide berth as I took the mirror from her. I held it up to my face to see what was so strange about my new appearance. At first glance I had to admit that I did in fact look a lot stranger than she did. All of my features seemed to be the same as they were before, but the colors were all wrong.
My normally two toned yellow mane had become long and black with two laces of gold running through it as it hung over the side of my neck. The two extended canines that hung out over my upper lip were almost twice as long as Clarity’s. My eyes had also changed colors and were now a brilliant shade of yellow as they stared back at me.
“Wow, I look like one of those vamponies from those terrible black and white movies.” My remark caused her to burst out in another fit of loud guffaw.
“You totally do,” she said between her laughter. She was laughing so hard I was afraid that she was going to fall over. I turned my attention away from her and back to the mirror where I continued to study my reflection. Something caught my attention, and I tore my gaze away from the reflective object and turned to stare intently at my own flank. It was completely bare.
“My cutie mark is gone.” I couldn’t actually believe something like that was possible.
Her laughter ceased immediately, and her expression saddened. “Yes, we all lost our cutie marks when we come back.” She lifted her wing and motioned to her own flank, which I noticed for the first time was blank.
“Why is it gone?”
“Can you remember what it was before?” she asked, and before I could reply immediately I found that I couldn’t. I couldn’t remember what the one thing was that was supposed to make me special, and set me apart from everypony else. I would have probably have gone into some sort of existential crisis if everything that had happened today hadn’t already braced me for more bad news.
I let out a calm breath, and preemptively stopped myself from breaking down again. “Okay, that is just one more thing that I will tack onto the insanity that I have been beaten with lately.”
She smiled at me, “That’s the attitude. Now come on we don’t want to keep the others waiting.” She turned and continued walking down the hallway, and I quickly followed after her.
It didn’t take too long for us to reach the end of the hallway where a large set of double doors blocked our path. Clarity put a hoof to the doors and pushed one open with a loud creak. I heard a conversation on the other side of the door come to an end as she stepped across the threshold. I took a deep breath, and followed her into the room.
Once inside the first thing that stuck out to me was just how large the room actually was. It was almost as big as the lobby in the building that I worked in. Or had worked in actually. Several chandeliers hung overhead casting a bright candlelight across the room that illuminated it quite well. There were no windows in the room, which I found as odd, but at the moment not much anything was going to throw me off.
Several couches and plush chairs formed a circle in the middle of the room, and a huge round table sat in the middle of the circle. The table held a map of all of Equestria, and I noticed several pieces were placed out all around the map. When I looked closer I noticed that two of the pieces was actually moving slowly across the map all on their own.
There were a total of five ponies in the room who seemed to have been waiting for Clarity and I. Three of them were lounging on the couches, and seemed to have stopped mid sentence as we came in. Another one was behind what looked like a fully stocked bar continuing to shake a drink mixer in his magical grasp as he lazily looked in our direction. The last was a mare that was not paying us the least bit of attention as she continued to play a game of pool.
“Everypony,” Clarity began, “this is Lucky Star.” She pushed me forward, and I found myself struggling to keep my balance.
“Umm… hi.” I managed to choke out.
One of the ponies that had been lounging on the couches, another batpony mare, got up from her seat and glided over to where we were standing. The trip was only about forty feet, but she landed in front of me in a split second.
“It’s nice to meet you, Lucky Star, I’m Silver Wing. Welcome to the Eternal Guard.” She smiled as she extended a hoof, which I hesitantly accepted. Silver Wing was an even darker shade of grey than Clarity was. True to her name her completely silver mane hung over the side of her head as she gazed at me with her deep scarlet eyes.
“We should get introductions out of the way as soon as possible shouldn’t we?” Without waiting for my reply she was already ushering me over to the group that was still lying on the couches. The stallion from the bar soon joined us with his drink in tow.
“This fine specimen over here is Ginger,” she said motioning to the earth pony mare that she had been lying next to a moment before. Ginger was actually a very light shade of black, and her perfectly styled red mane was held in the air but what I could only assume was an exorbitant amount of hairspray.
“This lazy bum here is Strafe,” she motioned to the light grey unicorn stallion that was also lying on the couch. His light teal mane was braided down his neck.
“I resent that,” he said, but didn’t sound that enthusiastic about it.
“Yea yea whatever.” She turned and pointed at the stallion who was taking a sip from his recently procured drink. “This here is Focal Point. Try not to talk to him about politics because once he gets going he just will not stop.”
Focal Point raised an eyebrow at the odd introduction, but kept his silence. He also had a dark grey coat, but strangely enough had a deep pink mane with a few black streaks running through it that fell over half his face.
“And that ball of joy over there is Melody. Try to stay on her good side if you want to keep all your limbs in working order.” The mare in question merely grunted in response as she continued to line up her shot.
Melody was a rich onyx unicorn with an electric green mane that was cut short to her head. I seemed to have noticed a distinct trend between all of the sarosians pertaining to coat color. Before I could ponder the implications I found my vision being taken up by Silver Wing.
“So you are one of those deep thinker types huh? You will get along great with Captain Nightshade then.”
“He is the leader of the guard, and reports to Princess Luna directly. He is out on assignment now, which leaves me in charge.” She gave me a hasty salute, which I didn’t know what to make of. “First Lieutenant Silver Wing.” I saw Strafe sigh and roll his eyes out of the corner of my vision.
“That’s great and all, but what exactly is going on here?” I found myself asking that question a lot.
“You mean Clarity didn’t tell you?” Silver asked looking at the mare to my right.
“She said she wasn’t allowed to tell me,” I answered for her.
“Oh yea I told her not to. It must have slipped my mind.” Silver Wing bopped herself in the head a few times as she continued to smile at me. I think this mare might be on some powerful drugs, and I was not afraid to admit that I might be curious to try them.
“So then can you tell me what is going on, and where we are?”
“Sure. First Princess Luna brought you back from the dead using her super powerful alicorn magic, and you have been lying in that room moaning and sleeping for almost a week now. She said that when you finally stopped we could go and check up on you. So I asked Clarity to bring you something to eat since I knew that you would be really hungry, and then she brought you out here.”
“Wait, you mean that I was in that room for a week?” There was no way it had been that long.
“Yea, I know it must have felt like years, but it was only a week. Go figure.” It took some strain, but I was finally able to put aside that comment for later.
“Okay, where are we exactly then.” Strafe and Ginger had gone back to their conversation, and Clarity had taken a seat on the couches and was talking with them. Focal continued to stand against one of the chairs watching events unfold with a detached expression showing across his face.
“We are at the home base.”
“Where is the home base?” This might take a while.
“In Canterlot of course,” Silver replied, oblivious to my rising agitation.
That one I had actually not been expecting. I had just assumed that we were in some underground bunker in Manehatten, but somehow we were over halfway across the country.
I was about to ask another question, but the mare in front of me made her own inquiry first. “Hey, what do you remember about the other side?”
The rest of the group stopped their talking and turned their attention to us. Even Melody had stopped mid shot and was glancing in our direction while still wearing a mask of indifference. I didn’t need any clarification on her question; it was obvious enough by itself what she was talking about.
“Well,” I began, “ I can’t really remember much. I think I remember seeing my parents, but that’s it.” I shrugged.
“That’s nice. Nopony else can really remember much of what it was like to be on the other side either, but it’s nice that you got to see your parents.” I was about to remark, but she once again stopped me before I could even begin. “Clarity,” she said, turning around to look at the pegasus mare that was lying on one of the couches, “why don’t you finish showing Lucky Star around.”
That mare in question excused herself, and stood up from the couch before gliding over it to stand in front of me. Silver Wing smiled before doing a backflip, opening her wings momentarily to give her increased lift, and landing on the couch behind her silently. It was probably the most graceful thing that I had ever witnessed. “If you have any more questions feel free to come talk to me any time.”
I soon found myself being pushed out of the room by Clarity as the three on the couches returned to their conversation that we had interrupted when we arrived. As we left the room through a different set of double doors I couldn’t help but notice that Focal was staring at me intently, while Melody watched me out of the corner of her eye.
The doors banged closed behind us, and I saw that we were once again in a long hallway lined with torches. I briefly wondered how many torches it took to keep this place running since it seemed to be their chief source of illumination.
“The torches don’t actually burn out,” Clarity informed me, and I was immediately reminded that the mare next to me was able to hear my thoughts.
“I thought I asked you not to do that.”
“Sorry, sometimes I can’t help it. Maybe you should try thinking quieter,” she suggested as she began walking down the hallway.
After rolling my eyes I saddled up along side her as we walked. “Are these some kind of magic torches then?”
“Yes actually. Artificial lights tend to hurt our eyes so we have torches and candles everywhere for illumination. At first we just used regular torches, but that started to become expensive so we had a unicorn enchant them to never burn out,” she explained.
“Is that also why there are no windows?” I asked, causing her to look at me surprised.
“You picked up on that pretty fast. Yes and no. The sunlight also isn’t very good for us since we are more suited to low light vision, but the reason there are no windows is because we are inside of a mountain.”
“Wait,” I stopped walking, “are you telling me that we are inside Canterlot Mountain right now?”
Clarity also stopped and turned back to look at me, “Yes, that is where our base is located. It is kind of the perfect hideout don’t you think.” She winked at me, a gesture that I couldn’t possibly hope to grasp the meaning of, and continued to walk forward once again. “Come on, we have a lot to see.”
Without bothering to protest I once again began to follow the mare through the dark tunnels. It wasn’t very noticeable at first, but little by little my eyes began to adjust to the harsh darkness, and before long I was able to pick out minute details on the walls we passed by. If I squinted I swore I could make out words carved into the rock of the hallway.
While distracted I almost ran right into Clarity as she stopped and opened a door that I hadn’t noticed before. “This,” she began, “is where we do all of our training.”
I peeked around her and the space that I saw laid out before me threatened to take my breath away. I had thought that the other room we had been in was large, but this was monstrous. The room, if it could even be called that, was the size of an entire hoofball stadium.
An enormous four hundred meter track ran the entire perimeter of the ovular cavern. In the middle of the enclosed space several different types of sparring equipment could be seen strewn about. There were actually bleachers on the far end of the track that were embedded into the natural rock.
When I gazed upward I saw that several stalactites hung ominously over our heads, some even had large metal rings fastened to them. The entire cavern was lit in an odd turquoise glow that came off of several massive gems that were embedded into the walls of the cavern.
I must have been gaping because the sound of Clarity’s light laughter broke me out of revere. I closed my mouth and turned my attention back to the mare beside me. “It is rather impressive isn’t it?” she said as she began to walk into the cavern. “We call this place The Green. Do you know why?”
I looked around the massive cavern once again, my eyes zeroing in on the soft glow of the crystals around me. “I could hazard a guess.”
She smiled and shook her head. “No, it has nothing to do with the lighting. We call this place The Green because it’s where the rookies come to train and become experts. This is where the real guards are made.” She quickly walked back past me and into the corridor behind us. “We have a lot more to see.”
The rest of the trip was pretty straight forward. We passed areas that were designated as the kitchen or the dining hall. Neither of them were actually that big, but compared to The Green it was going to be hard to even come close. Many of the rooms we passed were empty, and I asked Clarity about them, but all she replied was that they were rooms they hadn’t found a use for yet.
Soon we found ourselves standing outside a door that had a large yellow star emblazoned on its surface. “And this is your room,” she said, motioning to the door.
I had to do a double take as I was informed of the room’s purpose. I don’t know what I had been expecting, but having a room for myself already laid out was not it. I put a hoof to the door and pushed it open so that I might get a better look inside. The room was bathed in a thick black, and I was barely able to make out a rough shape of anything.
Clarity reached a hoof inside, and felt around for a moment. I heard a clicking sound as she slipped some sort of switch that was on the wall, and suddenly several torches and candles that were placed around the room lit up. “Fancy unicorn magic.” She shrugged as she walked past me and into the room in question.
I quickly shook off my confusion and joined her in what I had been told was my bedroom. It was a lot nicer than my apartment had been. A large plush bed sat against the far wall, and was outfitted with an exorbitant amount of pillows resting atop a magnificent looking red comforter. A desk sat against the wall to my left, and several sheets of blank paper adorned it along with a quill and ink.
The chandelier overhead provided most of the light, and held seven bright burning candles. When I looked closer I noticed that the flames were more yellow than they were red. A simple but extremely well carven table sat in the middle of the room. On it was a bowl of various fruits that tempted my mouth to start watering immediately.
What really drew my attention though were the bookcases that lined the left wall of the magnificent bedroom. Hundreds of titles stuck out to me as I slowly approached the tomes with reverence. Several of the titles I recognized immediately: Dante’s Inferno, Omeros, and The Dark Tower were just a few of the dozens of books that filled the bookcases.
“Well I can see that you like to read,” Clarity said from where she was standing behind me.
“I do enjoy a good read,” I replied as I started to scan over the titles.
“That’s good. I will come get you when dinner is ready okay?” I heard her move back to the door behind me as I grunted something noncommittal. The door behind me closed as she left, and with a smile of triumph I found the book that I was searching for. I pulled the large blue book from the bookcase and quickly flipped it open to the page I had been on before.
“Well at least I get to finish reading you.”