Zephyr Part 16

Oct 20th, 2012
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  1. It's barely an hour before Master leads the three of you indoors, but the exercise has done you good. It'll be a few days yet, but you're going to be flight-capable soon, and you can't wait to get back in the air. It's a shame, but you don't think Opal's wings are big or sturdy enough to get airborne. Her frame is similar to yours, the both of you looking downright dainty compared to Autumn's full figure and larger muscles, but those little bat wings just aren't going to cut it. You should probably tell Master he's making a big mistake- every single pegasus he creates would jump through hoops on command if it meant getting to fly afterwards. You know you would, though you probably shouldn't tell him that lest he start demanding you do tricks.
  3. What's incredible is how good Opal seems to feel after going out. On the way back in she and Master were chatting about what she used to do for work before all of this. Apparently David had been working night shifts at a convenience store- Pretty much the only people you'd felt sorry for in comparison to your crappy job.
  5. "Yeah, it was just me and all of the oddest people you'd ever met. The average night owl type, y'know, just there for coffee or a soda, were fine, but then there's the total nuts and the hobos buying cigarettes."
  7. "So would you call yourself a night owl?"
  9. "Yeah, I guess. I took the night shift job because during the worst of my unemployment I'd been staying up so late that by the time I woke up it was already afternoon, it made wandering into places with normal business hours and looking for work really difficult."
  11. "A little bat-pony who likes to stay up all night? It's just perfect, I'm sure your owner will think it's adorable."
  13. "I dunno, what fun is a pet that's always asleep while you're awake?"
  15. "That's up to him, but I think he'll like it when she makes jokes about her little pony self."
  17. Her face falls when he calls attention to it, that sad look crossing her features again as she realizes what she just said. You're closing the distance between the two of you in an instant, completely set on keeping her spirits up as best you can. Problem is, you're not even halfway there when Master kneels to her level with a handful of grapes.
  19. "Hey, I meant it, it's pretty cute. There's nothing wrong with making jokes about it. If you can laugh at it, you can live with it, right?"
  21. "I guess so... This guy who wants to, uhm, own me. What if he doesn't like me?"
  23. "Not gonna happen."
  25. "B-but..."
  27. "Trust me, I know this guy pretty well and you're going to be one of the most treasured parts of his life."
  29. "One of?"
  31. "I told you already, he's already got two ponies, you'll never hurt for company. Now are you gonna eat these so I can get some for Zephyr and Autumn?"
  33. It looks like she didn't notice the grapes until now, and for a minute she's utterly flabbergasted.
  35. "F-f-from your hand? You can't really..."
  37. Master's face is still completely serious, and Opal sighs gustily before muttering "Never mind." and gingerly eating her treat from his cupped palm. She emerges with a look of such horrified embarrassment that even Master patting her on the head seems to go by unnoticed. You'll comfort her later, now there's a handful of grapes and maybe even a scratch behind the ears waiting for you.
  39. After getting your treat and receiving his affection Master leads the three of you, including a now leashless Opal, into the living room. You and Autumn clamber onto the couch automatically, but Opal hesitates long enough that Master scoops her up from behind before sitting down with her on his lap. She manages to look profoundly uncomfortable for a grand total of ten seconds before he starts petting her, using both hands to gently scritch at her mane. After that she just melts a bit as her forelegs start to tremble, eventually deciding on leaning back into his chest until she's belly-up. You've just settled yourself on the other end of the couch to watch these proceedings, but Autumn can't resist a chance to comment.
  41. "Well someone got nice and comfy. Not so bad now, is it?"
  43. "Please don't ruin this for me." She manages to groan out, even as small satisfied sigh follows. Master snorts, literally snorts, in amusement, before speaking.
  45. "Autumn, I don't think she'll care what you say pretty soon."
  47. Opal's eyes snap open and that shaky tone of voice returns "Wh-what do you mean by that?'
  49. "I mean, my sweet little Opal, belly rub."
  51. She almost manages to complete a sentence before Master's hands start their work. "Belly rub? I don't see ho-ooooohmyyyygaaaawd."
  53. You and Autumn share a laugh as Master rubs up and down the length of Opal's upturned abdomen, listening to her little squeals of delight as her legs twitch, occasionally pawing (hoofing?) the air above her. Autumn cuddles herself up to you while Master lavishes Opal with attention for about twenty minutes, alternating between belly rubbing, mane stroking and back massaging. For the last few minutes of the petting session Opal is putty in his hands, totally limp as she offers no resistance to Master's magic hands, even as he rolls her over or re-positions her. You're honestly starting to get a little jealous by the time he stops petting her, suddenly understanding why your childhood dog was so upset and needy after your family got a new puppy. Opal's eyes flutter open, with a brief look of disappointment etched into her face as she realizes it's over for now. You privately admonish yourself for such selfish thoughts when you realize that Opal looks more comfortable and relaxed right now than she has since you first met. You can get that kind of attention from Master later, right now the important thing is that the scared little mare you've been trying to coax into pethood finally seems happy.
  55. Master motions for the two of you to move as he turns to lie down with Opal resting on his stomach, and a rush of gratitude flows through you as Autumn hops down onto the floor and lies down within petting range of Master's free hand. You know for a fact there's room for two ponies to lie down with Master on the couch, and Autumn's letting you have some! Gently pushing your way between Opal and the back of the sofa, Master's smile is warm and welcoming even when you occasionally put too much of your weight on him. Finally, the four of you are acceptably settled, and after a quick few presses of the remote, Master begins to idly pet the three of you, two at a time with each hand while watching a football game. first thing's first, get Opal talking.
  57. "Somehow I don't think Autumn ruined that for you."
  59. "I don't think anything could have ruined that. I know you told me things would feel good, but I don't think I understood that until, mmmmh, the belly rub." The look on her face is dreamy, and she's acting so cuddly with you and Master you can scarcely believe this is the same pony who threw a screaming fit little more than a day ago. She nods off pretty quickly with Autumn following suit, but you do manage to hold your own in a conversation with Master about the game on the television until it becomes apparent that weeks without any kind of sports news has left you ignorant of all goings-on this season. Eventually even you give in and lay your head down on his shoulder, falling asleep shortly after being kissed on the forehead. You hope Opal loves the person she ends up with as much as you love yours.
  61. You spend your first few minutes of consciousness fighting to get back to sleep. It's so cold all of a sudden! In desperation to get back to warm sleepytime you begin to pretty much burrow between Master and the side of the couch, until a cold breeze catches on your feathers and you experience something akin to spinal brainfreeze. Augh! You force yourself upright and open your eyes, intent on doing whatever is necessary to continue your nap.
  63. "If I were Master, where would I keep the spare blankets? Hmmmm." It's kind of a silly thing to mutter to yourself, you couldn't possibly be Master! Doing all the cooking, cleaning, and decision making for the lot of you? You doubt you could even get used to looking after yourself again anymore. For a minute you worry about thoughts like those being the machines talking, but in all honesty you've just become accustomed to being a spoiled pet. No work and all play makes Zephyr a happy girl, you suppose.
  65. When the breeze comes by a second time you can hardly stand it. How are the other three still asleep? Especially O-
  67. Where's Opal?
  69. Another icy gust forces you to look toward the direction of the offending airflow, only to see an... open... window...
  71. "Shit!"
  73. Master jumps into wakefulness beneath you, and Autumn's head appears over the side of the couch, looking wildly around the room.
  75. "I don't know where Opal is and that window wasn't open before!"
  77. You're grateful that Master takes the time to make sure you're not thrown from the couch as he leaps to his feet and dashes off in search of his keys and a flashlight. The three of you begin hurriedly chattering to one another about how best to locate your runaway pony, wishing that you were airworthy. You're all so frantic in your haste to get out the door and start the search that you nearly miss the small noise coming from the corner next to the window. In fact, the small noise gets a lot louder before a shouted "GUYS!" finally stops the collective mental breakdown the three of your are having.
  79. "I'm... uh, right over here."
  81. Sure enough, Opal's right beside the window, apparently having been in the little room behind the corner that Master used as storage space. The three of you couldn't have had more different reactions if you'd planned it. All you can do is let out an enormous sigh of relief and sit back on your haunches, already feeling as though you are in dire need of another nap. Autumn has never looked happier to see anypony before in her life, bounding across the room and practically tackling the poor thing.
  83. "Oh thank goodness, we thought you ran away! Do you know how sad that would be? You'd be out there all alone and Zephyr and I would be so sad and I don't think Master would ever stop looking. "
  85. Is that really what Autumn thinks of life here? Yes, you would definitely have been sad if Opal ran off towards a fate unknown, especially if the cops didn't turn up to arrest Master, because that would probably mean she'd died out there somewhere. But the notion that Master would never stop looking, while comforting to Autumn, and to you to a lesser extent, must seem like a veiled threat to her. As far as your Master goes, he stomps over to the window, slamming it shut before turning to face Opal.
  87. "I'm going to need a really good explaination for this."
  89. Opal hangs her head, looking not so much ashamed or upset as... defeated? When she starts speaking to Master there is sadness, but it's eclipsed by the tone of resignation. What did she do while you were sleeping?
  91. "When I woke up I was just so comfortable... I f-felt so happy, and then I looked at you a-and I just felt..."
  93. "So you did try to escape?"
  95. "I panicked. I thought that if I didn't get out of here I was gonna lose myself to all of this... to you."
  97. "So you got the window open and then couldn't climb out?"
  99. "...No. I was halfway out and then I stopped."
  101. "And why did you do that?"
  103. "I... I realized that I didn't have anywhere to go. I'll have been evicted from my apartment by now... My parents are long gone... Charlie was the only person I knew who would have taken me in..."
  105. "I can't see that ending well for you. Why not try the police?"
  107. "Even if they could fix me, I'd still be homeless and broke."
  109. "So you just came back in and waited for me to wake up and hear all of this? Why not close the window and keep it secret?"
  111. "I wanted you to see that I could get away if I wanted to. I don't have to be anyone's pet."
  113. Now she's got his attention. He's gone from looking upset to just plain curious. You don't think anyone's ever done this to him before. And how is Opal the one doing it? She's been dosed on nanomachines, and Master said they didn't work right on you. She's been putting up a much better fight than you ever did. Maybe you're weak willed... Maybe this is something you wanted. You should ask Master about it later.
  115. "And what did you hope to get from showing me that, aside from making sure I'll never give you a chance like that again?"
  117. "I want a promise from you."
  119. "Oh? Make it quick, otherwise you're going back downstairs until you're ready to be good."
  121. "You say this person who wants me is nice and all, but... if I'm unhappy there, if he's not right for me... will you take me back?"
  123. "You're asking me to undo a done deal?"
  125. "I just want a home I know I can be happy in. If this doesn't work out I don't want to be stuck there forever. I'll be a pretty pony, I'll be a good pet. I'm sorry about trying to escape, please, just this one thing and I'm yours."
  127. "I'll call him and see what he thinks about coming to an arrangement, -but- you have to promise me that you'll be a good girl for him, no matter what. No escape attempts, no disobedience, even if you're worried about something."
  129. "I'll be good. So you promise?"
  131. "If you're unhappy I'll return his money, bring you back, and see about finding an owner you'll want. I promise. Zephyr here will hold me to it, I'm sure."
  133. She's actually smiling now, her chest swelling with pride at her accomplishment. You have a feeling none of his ponies have ever negotiated with Master before.
  135. "Then I'll be good. I won't run, and I won't argue or disobey."
  137. "So you swear to me that you'll be a good pet pony, for me or anyone I choose to give you to? Loyal and obedient for the rest of your days, like Autumn and Zephyr?"
  139. You probably shouldn't be so happy about being included in that sentence, but you can't help but take it as a compliment. Opal takes a quick look at you and Autumn, and while Autumn's shaking her head 'yes' repeatedly, all you have is a soft smile that she returns. You're so proud of her!
  141. "Yes, Master."
  143. Ooooh, you and Autumn are gonna hug the living daylights out of her later!
  145. "Good girl. I'll talk to your buyer in the morning and see about a 'trial period' for you. I'm sure he'll think it's cute, anyway. But you'd better keep your word, or else you'll need to be trained to be good. Neither of us will enjoy that."
  147. If she had a lighter shade of fur you're sure she'd be a bit paler after he said that, her smile faltering a bit at the notion of being 'trained'. He reaches a hand out and scratches behind her ears, and she manages to remain apprehensive until he tells her that "I don't think you'll need it, just never pull a stunt like this again."
  149. Master exits the room, having decided to cook something special, and this time you're the one leaping onto Opal in a frenzy of affection.
  151. "I'm so proud of you! You did mean what you said, right? You think you can be a happy pet?"
  153. "Like I said, I've got nowhere else to go. And all things considered today was really nice until I freaked out and almost ran into the woods."
  155. "You don't sound too sad about any of it."
  157. "Well, actually, I sort of hung halfway out the window and thought about things for awhile. Then I heard something howling in the woods and realized that I'd look awfully appetizing to a wolf or a mountain lion. I don't think I want to be outside without him, er, Master with me."
  159. You start to laugh at her, but then you realize that Autumn hasn't said anything, or laughed with you, since Master left. You're startled to discover Autumn glaring daggers at Opal, the anger in her face completely alien to you now. She hasn't been angry at anyone or anything since your first meeting, and you'd pretty much forgotten she could even have negative emotions. Maybe all that hugging will have to wait a bit. Opal notices too, shrinking before the oncoming storm of Autumn's fury at full force.
  161. "How dare you! You came here to hurt my Master and take my friend away, and he's nice enough, kind enough to make you pretty and give you everything you could need! And you still want to leave, like you don't even care about us!"
  163. "No! I decided to stay! I'm going to be good. I'm sorry for trying to leave, really!"
  165. "Really, so when my Master asked why you didn't go to the police, what did you say?"
  167. "That even if they could fix me, I'd end up broke and homeless?"
  169. "Yes! Not that you didn't want him to get us taken away from him! They'd lock him up and I'd be alone! I'll never ever ever be alone again, understand! He's mine! He loves me and I love him and if you ever put us in danger again I'll... I'll..."
  171. She's sobbing softly now, and the two of you are too stunned to say anything. You knew Autumn had issues, but this was... frightful. You love him, and need him, but Autumn's level of emotional dependency on your Master seems much, much worse than you thought it was. There's no rage left in her voice as she starts talking again through her little sniffles.
  173. "Don't say that they'll 'fix' you either. I don't need fixing, and neither do you. It's all perfect for us if you'd just let Master show you."
  175. You're a bit overwhelmed by all this at once. Autumn's been something of an enigma this entire time, but this sheds some new light on her as a pers... pony. Opal is actually the first to move, giving Autumn a great big hug, and murmuring how sorry she is for trying to leave. Well, that's one way to guilt-trip a mare into staying you guess. Autumn seems to accept Opal's apologies, or at least that's what you assume all the hugging back means. You're not a part of these proceedings, not really, until Master quietly strolls up behind you, placing a hand on your mane and watching the other two get it all out in the open.
  177. "Y'know Master, I'd hate to see what would happen if one of the other ponies like, bit you or something. She might actually hurt them."
  179. "Like I said. For better or worse, she only wants me."
  181. It takes ages before Master gets around to finishing dinner or for any of you to be interested in eating, but once you've all calmed down enough for food, and gone out for another walk the entire matter is settled. Master leaves the three of you in the basement while he does some more work, and after a long night of talk and play, the three of you sleep in a cuddly pony-pile. Life is good, even for Opal.
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