You've been doing your best not to fall asleep for a few hours now, but it's an uphill battle in spite of the continually amazing things happening to Opal. It's like fighting to stay awake during a late-night movie or television show you actually want to watch, only if you pass out here instead of waking up to an infomercial you might find a pony in the midst of a complete breakdown. Gotta stay awake.
Opal, for her part, is almost 100% pony now. She's down to the right size and shape, with that brilliant, shimmering fur covering every inch of her body, and a brilliant violet tail which emerged from her abdomen like a plant growing in fast-motion. Her limbs have finished reforming themselves into four hoofed legs, a process more violent-looking than even you had thought based on first-han, er, hoof, experience. Only the finer details are still a work in progress. You can't be totally sure without touching her, but it seems like her face is still the final throes of being rearranged. A fully formed muzzle sticks out, but you can't tell if your eyes are playing tricks on you or if her eyes are literally getting bigger underneath their lids.
After a few minutes of pacing about the room in an attempt to get some energy back, you flop down on the cushion nearest Opal and set yourself about operating a remote control with hooves. It takes some doing, but you're eventually channel flipping with only occasional mistakes. You settle for a 24 hour news network, everything else on at this time of night is terrible anyway, and also because you've had absolutely no idea what's been going on in the world since you were brought here. You wonder if there were any news reports about your sudden disappearance? Was there a search for you? Your parents would certainly have tried, but it would have taken a few days without a returned phone call for them to even start worrying.
... Yeeaaah, you were kind of a lousy son. There certainly weren't any reports about you on now, but it's been weeks and news cycles would have definitely have forgotten you considering you weren't a child or a teenage white girl. "Weren't". Not "Aren't"? Your first instinct is no longer to consider yourself a person? That's... odd. Certainly something that would have frightened you to the point of tears a few weeks ago. That gut reaction just isn't there anymore, though. You're a pet, a possession, a pretty little thing Master dotes on. All things considered you're a lot better at this than you were at person-hood. Oh well.
You're brought back to reality by shifting noises outside your field of vision. A small groan causes you to snap to attention, slamming a hoof down on the remote's power button repeatedly until the device dutifully shuts the hell up. By the time you wheel around to face her, the newly minted pony is weakly lifting her head and blearily opening one vertically slit eye. She's still slogging her way into consciousness, she probably hasn't remembered what's happened yet.
But she's awake.
She hasn't seen you yet, and her still-unfocused eyes indicate that she also hasn't fully woken up yet. You open your mouth as if to say something and then freeze. What if she's like you? What if she's angry and afraid and she blames it all on you? What did you hope to do down here?
You're paralyzed by anxious indecision. Do you get her attention, or let her figure out what's going on for herself? What if she blames you for this?
Your pause, however, has given her time to come around. You watch in a kind of abject horror as her vertically scored pupils shrink to tiny slits when she sees the hoof outstretched in front of her. She's trembling just a bit as she touches the hoof against the carpet beneath her. This was the moment right before you freaked out, it's time to step in. Get it together, Zephyr!
"It's okay. You're going to be alright."
She's jumped about a solid foot in surprise by the time you've finished speaking. Maybe you should have let her notice you? "Jumped" may not be accurate here, it was more like throwing herself into the wall. She recoils away from it at once, wincing from having pressed a still unfamiliar wing between herself and it. Her head snaps around to source of her pain, and her expression changes to one of pure shock. Her nostrils begin to flair rapidly with hurried breaths. If you don't calm her down now she's going to panic.
"Look at me. I know what this is like. Just lie down for a minute and breathe deep, okay?"
He trembling has become a full blown case of the shakes, but she did make eye contact when you asked. She's still in fight or flight mode, so you try lying down where you are, keeping eye contact the entire time. That seems to relax her a bit, and she very awkwardly sits back on her haunches and attempts to fold her forelegs under her like you have, slipping a bit as she shifts her weight. Those beautiful pale yellow cat eyes vanish as she closes her eyes and begins to take slower breaths. Crisis averted?
"Okay, that helps, right?"
She's still holding her eyes shut, but a soft reply comes forth from an unsteady voice. Even in her distress, it's nasal-y but not an unattractive tone, and suits her body perfectly.
"I-I think s- Ah!"
She's noticed the sound of her own voice, a hoof flying to an unfamiliar throat. No wonder Master chuckled when you did that, we must all do that! Shit, this could put her right back into a panic!
"I know this is all new and scary, but I want to help you. Just keep breathing and take things one at a time."
"I... I'm a pony?"
"Then how can you help?! I'm not even me anymore!"
"Shhhhh. Listen. Do you remember everything before waking up here?"
"Then you're still you, just in a different package."
She slowly looks back and forth between her hooves and you, seemingly trying to take in what you've said.
She hasn't said anything in a couple of minutes, preoccupied entirely with slowly inspecting her new form. Individual joints are bent and muscles flexed one at a time, all under a still incredulous gaze. You relax a bit, she's definitely taking this better than you did. Master's machines, perhaps?
"This isn't possible. How can this be real?"
"You saw me and Autumn before being turned. You know it's real."
"B-but..." She averts her eyes from you and casts a sorrowful gaze to the floor. "But I was a man."
"So was I, and I'm happier like this. Look over there" You say, pointing a hoof towards the mirror.
Her eyes follow your hoof over to the mirror, and her jaw drops when she sees her reflection. She's up on the hooves for the first time, and with stumbling, unsteady steps she makes a beeline for it, with you right behind her.
"Is... Is that me? I- I'm..."
"Beautiful? No sweetie, you're gorgeous."
You pause for a moment, having not really intended on calling her "sweetie". You remember hating it at first when Master called you pet names, but that just kind of slipped out. It just kind of suits her, she's really, really cute.
Rather than being offended by your comment, she seems a bit flustered by it. You're going to guess David didn't get complimented a lot, but that's okay- Opal's going to be adored by whoever she meets. Even the little embarrassed hoof-shuffle she's doing is cute!
"You really think I'm... pretty?"
"Of course I do! Now, we were never really introduced. I'm Zephyr."
"I'm O... No, I'm Op..."
She looks shocked again, but you were leading her into this one. Better, you think, to get it all out of her system at once than draw this out any longer than it has to be.
For a few moments she's completely still, as though her brain has simply turned off. This has all gone so well that for a second you dare to hope she'll get through this without major issue.
"I... I'm n-not... THAT'S NOT MY NAME!"
Her scream catches in her throat a moment later, and she breaks down into tears with loud, wailing cries that tug at something in your chest. You knew how this felt, and you led her right to it. She... She must hate you right now, and the sinking feeling in your gut makes it seem like you deserve it. Your mind races to find a solution, you just desperately want to make it better. To feel like less of a monster. Your hoof moves to her shoulder in what you hope is a comforting gesture.
You know you've made a mistake as she recoils in disgust, scrambling on unsteady hooves to get away from you.
"Don't touch me!"
Her reaction feels like a knife in the chest. All you wanted to do was help her, and now she must hate you as much as you hated Master. Hot tears roll down your cheeks as you fall back onto your haunches, trying your best to contain yourself. God, you really are like Autumn now. That thought rips into you, putting you over the edge as you realize just how much you've changed in so little time. Your own sobs join hers, and when you finally open your eyes you're startled to find Opal staring at you, a muted fury smoldering behind her eyes.
"Why are you crying? I can't hate you if you're crying. You can't tell me what my real name is if you're crying! Stop it!"
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry about all of this, I just wanted to help. I didn't want you to feel like you do now... Like I did."
"Why wouldn't I be angry! He took my entire life!"
You've done some small retreating yourself over the course of the conversation. You head hangs low and your ears are pulled back in response to the volume of her shouting. You perk up a bit when you realize that she's stopped. She's gone totally silent, until a small whisper escapes her lips.
"My... entire... life..."
She suddenly plops down into a sitting position, and you can't help but wear your confusion plainly as a roiling knot of fear and hope twists around your stomach. Do you dare try to get her talking again?
"Listen, I'm sorry, I really am, but haven't you ever wanted to start over?"
"Yeah, but not like... this." She motions to her reflection in the mirror. "I'm not even human anymore! That man out there wants to treat me like an animal!"
"So what were you thinking of when you stopped yelling?"
She pauses for a moment, shame crossing her features and she shuffles her new hooves around a bit.
"...That I wasn't going to be in debt anymore."
"Right! Did you like your job? Were you close to anyone besides, y'know, the guy that got you into this mess? Did you have a big plan for what to do once you were out of debt?"
"Well... No. I wasn't really in a good place."
"It's going to be a big adjustment, but listen to me. Money is never going to be your problem again. You'll be taken care of."
"By someone who wants to own me!"
"And all you have to do is keep being a cute pony and follow their rules. Doesn't that sound easy?"
She balks at your statement, sitting in a stunned silence as you slowly close the gap between the two of you.
"That... That does sound kind of nice..."
"There you go. Now let's try that again. I'm Zephyr, and I want to be your friend."
She's very hesitant, and you're sure she's blushing somewhere under that dark fur.
"I'm... I'm Opal"
She seems even more ashamed than she did before, but you've got a decent guess as to why.
"Feels good, right?"
"Y-yeah. Really good. Why does it feel this good?"
You're right next to her now, able to take in all of her facial expressions as she tries to cope with what you assume to be Master's machines. The minute darting of her eyes and an audible gulp make it plain; She's losing this battle.
"That's just what being one of us feels like, sweetie. I realize you just woke up, but you look a little flustered. How about you rest on a cushion and I'll see about getting you something to eat?"
"Y-yeah. That sounds like a good idea."
She's already stumbling over towards the cushions by the time you go to hit the intercom, but you do pause for one more thing.
"Oh, one more thing, Opal."
"Why'd you pick the same name as Rarity's cat?"
She goes all wide-eyed, embarrassment seeping out of every little facial twitch.
"Ugh! When I picked the name I forgot about the stupid cat! Besides, see how my coat reflects light? That's what actual opal looks like, not some white cat! It suited her better so I kept it."
She's so visibly peeved about it that you can't help but laugh.
"Shut up! Even EqD commenters made fun of me! Do you know how embarrassing that was?"
"I can't imagine. I do know that you just referred to that coat as being yours, though."
She's finally had enough, and elects to huffily bury her face in the cushions. Oh yeah, she'll be just fine.
Should you think that's a good thing?
You use a hoof to tap at the intercom, mulling over what's just transpired as you wait for Master to reply.
You didn't tell her about the machines in her head, and they're definitely working considering the brevity of her outburst. You spent weeks coping with the constant, nagging thought that maybe what you think and feel is artificial and your horror at being transformed was a brief moment of clarity- a lucky fluke. It was agonizing not to know if you were acting of your own free will, but you'd more or less laid it to rest following your and Autumn's near pony-napping. Now that little voice in the back of your head is making itself known, wondering if you should be as cooperative as you are now. Was omitting that crucial knowledge meant to spare her this anxiety? Even if you're doing it for her sake, it's exactly what Master would want. Would telling her really serve a purpose? With or without the knowledge she'll succumb to the pleasure and relative luxury of her new body and life before long. Just like you did.
A small beeping sound gets your attention, and a very sleepy-sounding Master is on the line.
"How is she?"
"She's awake, Master. I don't think she's quite ready to have a talk with you, but I think a decent meal would probably help her a lot."
"So she calmed down?"
This confirms it. If he's asking that specific question then her short freak-out is the norm, as opposed to your spirit-crushing trip to edges of sanity. The machines work.
"I'll be right down."
The speaker shuts off with a clicking sound, and you turn back to find Opal looking right at you, with both ears turned to face straight forward. She heard the whole thing.
"He's going to come here?"
"Well, yes. I can't even open this door, let alone carry food down to you."
"That doesn't bother you at all? You can't even feed yourself without him."
"It's inconvenient, I'll give you that, but trust me, for every little hardship there are ample perks you'll figure out in time."
She doesn't respond, instead looking contemplatively down at her hooves again, occasionally glancing up at the mirror. Turning her head this way and that, even flexing those little bat wings poking out of her back. You can't help but recognize your own first few days of p0nydom in her actions, just with less despair, and a small smile graces your lips. Maybe this is going to turn out alright. At least for her. You don't know what Master's got in store for the other one, but you're far less concerned for his well being than you are for Opal's. A calm silence occupies the room as Opal continues to acquaint herself with her new form, until you hear the lock to the door turning. Even as Opal goes stiff with that mix of fear and shame that once accompanied all your interactions with Master, the door swings open.
Of course, you're right by the door and sitting before him like a good pet, but even that won't get you a reward when his hands are full. He wordlessly walks across the room and sets the tray down in front of the cushion Opal is lying on. Heaped on it are two bowls of food and two bowls of water, a fact you're grateful for, you were beginning to get hungry.
Opal seems to be making small motions away from Master, but with a constant, wide-eyed stare directly at him.
"I, uh... I..."
Master lifts his head and makes eye contact with her, and she stops moving as words fail her utterly. She stares unblinking for a few seconds, seemingly lost in his eyes. Slowly, and with unbroken eye contact, Master's hand finds it's way to the top of her head, massaging her scalp. Opal's eyes shut involuntarily and he neck cranes a bit to allow her to indulge more. She certainly enjoys this. She rapidly snaps out of it, shame etched onto her features, when Master breaks the silence in the room.
"Good girl. Zephyr here will look after you for now. I'll talk with you later."
Opal only manages to stammer out small "ah" sounds that don't even begin to form words, and Master quietly makes his way out of the room, giving you a pat on the head and a wink once his back is turned to her. Seconds later the door closes again and the two of you are left alone. A look at Opal reveals that she didn't actually watch him leave the room, with her eyes still locked onto the place where Master's face had been as she sits catatonically still.
You're now quite certain that Master's been practicing that introduction for quite some time, It's honed to perfection. He keeps his usual air of control, but he comes off as so... suave? You know better, of course, but you can't help but be impressed. After about a minute of quietly spacing out, Opal finally speaks up.
"Wha... What the hell was that?"
"That was my Master, silly."
"No, I mean why did I feel so strange when he touched me and looked at me? Why did I enjoy it? That's not normal."
"It will be now. Welcome to a lifetime of warm feelings and pleasant sensations. Speaking of pleasant, try a bite of that apple."
She's slow and hesitant to try, especially about eating off of a tray on the floor with her face, but once she's had her nibble she assaults the bowl of oats and positively decimates the leafy greens. The two of you eat together, sharing simple jokes for the sake of making her laugh. Nothing helps emotional crises like good food and bad jokes, right?
The food seems to have done Opal a world of good. She's lying contentedly on one side with her legs outstretched. Small hints of discomfort cross her features every now and again, giving you some insight as to what's going on in her head. If she's going to stew in her own anxieties you might as well get her talking about them.
"Alright, let's play a game. You tell me something that worries you about being a pony, or just ask me a question, and I'll answer as best I can. Maybe I'll even ask a few myself. Would you like that?"
"Well... To start, I don't suppose you'd tell me my real name if I ask?"
"I'm afraid it will only make things more difficult for you if I do. So no."
"But it's -my- name. You've got no right to keep it from me."
You're a little surprised by this. She asked an obvious question, but her tone of voice is very level. It's as though she's thinking of this in an intellectual, philosophical way rather than emotionally.
"I know that, and I'm sorry"
She releases a gusty sigh and stays silent for a second or two before speaking again.
"I'm going to be sold to a stranger, aren't I?"
Guilt creeps back into your mind as you respond with a simple "Yes".
"Are they... The people who buy ponies... they're not all like Charlie, right?"
"What? No! Your friend wanted to hurt me, it's what got him off or something. Master doesn't want to put any of us through that!"
"But this person who buys me, they're going to want to 'get off' or something with me regardless, right?"
"Well... not necessarily?"
Embarrassment surges through you as you realize you're about to admit to having relations with Master to a relative stranger. A stranger who still identifies as male, and knows you used to.
"Um, yeah. He kinda does."
"Meaning that I'm literally fucked."
"No! ...At least not how you're thinking. I, er, we haven't, um, gone all the way. And he's not forcing me when we do stuff..."
She lifts her head to look at you, looking a little incredulous as you squirm under her gaze, now somehow in fear of her judging you. Her directness about this entire topic is all a little off-putting for you, since it wasn't something you even wanted to think of when you woke up female for the first time. Your mind races to find to reasonable explanation that doesn't involve telling her about the bondage and denial game that broke you in. Wait!
"You know how that quick pat on the head felt really, unnaturally good?"
"Yeah. It's still kind of freaking me out."
"Well, imagine how other stuff feels in these bodies."
Her face goes a bit blank and she only mutters a small "oh" as she realizes that you're telling her the truth. There's that adorable little flustered face she makes for a second or two before she can put another sentence together.
"I'm... going to end up wanting it, aren't I?"
"Like you wouldn't even believe."
The silence that follows is so tangibly awkward that the two of you can't even look at each other. You don't really know where to go from here, and apparently neither does she. You think back to your first meeting with Autumn, and while her cunnilingus based solution might have worked then, it probably wont help now. Drat. Still, changing the game a bit probably wouldn't hurt.
You've crossed the gap between the two of you in no time flat, all while she's looking the other way, so you've got the element of surprise when you lay down beside her in as chaste a manner as you can with your bodies still lightly touching. Getting her to look embarrassed is rapidly becoming your favorite game. No wonder Master loves doing it to you.
"What are you doing?"
"Just getting comfy. Now, I'm sure you've got more questions?"
"So my friend was supposed to buy you?"
"Ayyyyeeeeeeah, Until he showed up uninvited, felt me up and told me how much he wanted to break all of my limbs."
Opal clearly didn't know that had happened, betrayed by her alarmed look at you.
"And then he brought you back here a couple weeks later so he could follow through on that threat, and here you are."
"I'm still sorry, you know."
"I know you are, but there's no going back."