Shutdown64

-The Get Chapter 11-

May 15th, 2014
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  1. -The Get Chapter 11-
  2.  
  3. There were no words.
  4.  
  5. Here you lay, soaked in a puddle of your own creation, while the pony you wanted to see least was desperately trying to avert her gaze. This HAD to be the new low; quite literally the utmost awkward situation you've ever been in, period. If you still had toes they'd be curled up so tightly right now that they'd easily cut steel.
  6.  
  7. "I... I thought you were asleep!" Twilight splutters in embarrassment, her discomfort plainly conveyed in her tone. "Why didn't you say anything if you were doing that?! I would have waited!"
  8.  
  9. Taking advantage of Twilight's sudden, immense interest in the windowsill you manage to re-arrange yourself into a sitting stance, deciding to ignore all the discomforting wet patches clinging to your coat.
  10.  
  11. "I didn't reply because I didn't want disturbed!" you hiss urgently to Twilight's back, to no reply.
  12.  
  13. Why was she here? Why now? This certainly didn't bode well. Twilight was currently at the top of you shit-list, and yet she still had the guts to appear before you face-to-face. Bubbling anger seeps in your chest, unleashing the ferociously grumpy beast inside you, and yet... why is Twilight's pretense making you feel intimidated?
  14.  
  15. "What... what are you doing here? What time is it?" Self-awareness was sky-rocketing with each word issued from your squeaky mouth. The room is still covered in darkness, but you're certain that the side of Twilight's face you can see twitches at the sound. Did... she just smile?
  16.  
  17. -
  18.  
  19. Perhaps it was a trick cast from the firefly's light - which was enthusiastically dancing across Twilight's face - but if she truly was smiling at your current state... not acceptable. Something inside you snaps, your already low spirits suddenly plummeting further. Throat tight with malice, enraged blood gushes into your ears and neck causing them to throb.
  20.  
  21. "Oh, you sound completely different! A complete contrast to your old, deep mumble." Twilight simpers, "In answer to your question, it's around 10pm" she answers brightly, oblivious to your rising emotions. "The nurse said that due to my..." her voice dies down a mere whisper "...Princess privileges... I'm allowed in here out of visiting hours. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to you about... about..."
  22.  
  23. "About what?" You were quickly learning that your new voice's pitch was directly proportional to your current anger levels.
  24.  
  25. "Well, first I wanted to discus-" Twilight begins, finally turning around to face you. Once glace at your scrunched-up face fills her own expression with doubt.
  26.  
  27. "Hey, are you okay? Do you need the nurse or...?"
  28.  
  29. "No, I'm... I'm fine." It's a blatant lie, but anything to stop further questions.
  30.  
  31. Clearly not convinced, Twilight's expression immediately becomes one of sympathy, both her eyes shinier and larger than normal.
  32.  
  33. "Oh Mr. Poster, I'm so, so sorry. About all of this. It must be truly horrible to have your life turned on its head. If only you hadn't come to Equestria."
  34.  
  35. -
  36.  
  37. An impressive, impatient snort issues from your muzzle. Yeah, "If only".
  38.  
  39. Realizing she was treading in a potentially sensitive area, Twilight tries a different tact.
  40.  
  41. "If only we knew why you were sent here..."
  42.  
  43. It takes just about every ounce of will-power you can muster to not answer in a sardonically manner. Surely Twilight knew everything already? She always had the answers, after all. You take her bait, though.
  44.  
  45. "If what Celestia told me is to be believed, I'm here because I got repeating digits. On a post. Why or how that works? Completely beyond me. Probably magic, same thing that conveniently caused all this, right?" you finish holding out a limp foreleg towards Twilight. A trace of a frown etches itself on to her face, accompanied by a slight, reproachful look.
  46.  
  47. "That's -Princess- Celestia, Mr. Poster. Need I remind you each time?"
  48.  
  49. Just as you start to conjure a sarcastic reply, Twilight forcefully continues. "And Yes... magic. Why is magic such a dismissible force to you? Magic exists and plays an important role in daily Equestrian life - for both our young, who study it from birth, to our elders who use it to, well, raise the sun. I don't know if you know this, but my special talent is related to magic."
  50.  
  51. Twilight trails off, her emphasis on the last few words perhaps a hint she was slightly hurt by your attitude towards magic. It's magic, though! It's just so ludicrous, more so that it actually DOES exist as you glance down at your pony body.
  52.  
  53. -
  54.  
  55. There's a short silence in which Twilight's gaze drills into yours. She may be half the room away but you can sense her burning desire for knowledge.
  56.  
  57. "What exactly do you mean by 'Repeating digits', incidentally? Do integers hold massive importance to life on Earth? And what is a 'Post'? Is it related to receiving letters? Or perhaps related to large, metallic poles?" Twilight questions, trying her hardest to mask her curiosity with a lazy, disinterested tone. "And how would it make you feel if I dismissed it all?"
  58.  
  59. Currently you couldn't give a damn if she dismissed it all or not, but it's obvious she wouldn't allow herself to. However, was now really the best time to explain everything? Your mind is sleep-deprived, body sore and damp, not to mention your mood could be compared to that of an Ursa Major. Then again, it'd be great to get it all off your chest.
  60.  
  61. "Are you sure you really want to know what Repeating Digits and 'Gets' are? Who a poster really is, and why they're chosen? I don't want to spoil some grand illusion you have of me, now."
  62.  
  63. At this, Twilight's ears perk up and her frown re-configures into a eager smile. "Oh I doubt you'd be able to do that, you know we all think highly of you as a friend! Though it's kinda weird that you have a new form, it doesn't really feel like I'm speaking to someone from another world anymore. I think you look great!"
  64.  
  65. This compliment does the opposite of Twilight's intention, further fouling your already tepid mood.
  66.  
  67. -
  68.  
  69. As you now resided in a younger form, a new fear had developed: Ponies not taking you seriously. If the doctor's earlier antics were anything to go by... Maybe it's time to tell Twilight what kind of person you were before; set an example so she'd never try and belittle you.
  70.  
  71. "A Poster," you begin, "is someone who creates messages. No, not written letters," you interject to stop Twilight interrupting, "but instead short messages created using our native technologies. There are many Posters; literally hundreds, maybe tens of thousands. We post messages to each other."
  72.  
  73. "But why? What purpose does it all serve? Earth must be very social if Posters just message each other out of the blue all the time."
  74.  
  75. In spite of yourself, Twilight's naivety causes a small smile to curl your petite lip.
  76.  
  77. "Oh, we do post all the time, but it's all for a purpose. An 'Original Poster' will create a 'Thread', that is to say, a first post. Once created, other Posters can join and flourish within the Thread. A Thread can specify any subject or topic, and we all discuss it together."
  78.  
  79. Twilight gradually creeps closer, her expression growing wide with wonder.
  80.  
  81. "Wow, that sounds so dignified! A Poster makes the Thread, and other Posters join to discuss? What do you discuss?"
  82.  
  83. "We can, and will, literally discuss anything and everything. From where I'm from though, it's mainly..." you hesitate for the first time; was this a good idea? Perhaps not, but your judgement was faltering.
  84.  
  85. "You."
  86.  
  87. -
  88.  
  89. Whatever answer Twilight had been expecting, it certainly wasn't this. There's a brief pause while her expression painstakingly rearranges itself into one of polite confusion.
  90.  
  91. "I'm sorry, but... I think I misheard you?"
  92.  
  93. It's blatantly obvious she'd heard your answer correctly, simply not wanting to acknowledge it. Heaving a sigh, you decided to go all-out.
  94.  
  95. "I said 'You', as in Equestria; your friends; -everything- pony. The gateway that brought me here, that is to say, the place we Posters gathered..." you falter, watching Twilight closely, "...was dedicated to the discussion of, well, your world. Your life."
  96.  
  97. After the final word silence fills the room like cold mist; your heart starting to beat harder than what was comfortable, to the point of being audible. Would telling Twilight everything about posting really be a sensible thing to do? The clear answer is 'No', but emotion-fueled adrenaline starts to kick in, creating a strange urge to confess.
  98.  
  99. By now your eyes have been given ample time to adapt to the dimly lit room, and as they cast towards Twilight there's little surprise when they meet her vacant expression, eyes wide in shock. Regret slowly seeps into your bones filling them as efficiently as if they were hollow. Okay, so revealing that you knew all about Equestria before visiting probably wasn't the smartest move you'd ever made, however it's far too late to take back what you've said. Fuck, why can't you get a grip? Perhaps you should make a run for it?
  100.  
  101. -
  102.  
  103. Your eyes immediately fixate on the dark space under the hospital bed; for a split-second you seriously consider diving under there to hide forever, until...
  104.  
  105. "What? But how is that possible?" Twilight voices her mind aloud, a quiver audible in each word. Suddenly drawing herself up to her full height she cautiously trots closer to you, standing 2 pony-lengths away.
  106.  
  107. "How -could- you discuss us? What -was- there to discuss?" It clear her curiosity is now roused.
  108.  
  109. All hope of escape dies as Twilight now stands between you and the door. Quickly averting your gaze, you stare up at the ceiling to avoid Twilight's eye. As you do, the sensation of flowing mane startles you serving as a reminder of what you now were; what Twilight had forced upon you.
  110.  
  111. Could you really explain it all? That fateful board were you'd literally wasted days of your life posting non-nonsensical, cruel things? It's all coming back now: the grotesque greentext stories; supreme shitposting; moronic memes; crude clopfics; repulsive rule 34; the complete corruption of a show for little girls. Would you allow yourself to take it one step further and actually explain the crimes to the victim? Victim...
  112.  
  113. Weren't you the true victim? You didn't want any of this, yet you just had to 'deal with it'. A familiar anger beings to boil internally; this transformation and life had been forced on you unwillingly, so why not tell Twilight something she'd be unwilling to hear? Emotions start to conflict.
  114.  
  115. -
  116.  
  117. Okay, so this whole transformation business was probably inevitable as soon as you set foot in this ludicrous land. However, if you were going to turn, you wanted it to be on your own terms - to be in control of your own life. This wasn't the case anymore as Twilight had manipulated the outcome. Hell, at this point it wasn't even the results of what Twilight did that bothered you, but the general principle: You had been denied a choice on a personal matter. The abysmal ethics of the situation completely fucks you off, just thinking about it makes the already boiling blood in your veins peak. With rationality rapidly going out the window your eyes dart back to Twilight, the gaze piercing through her very soul. All cares you'd had up until this point were gone.
  118.  
  119. "So you want to know what we discussed, huh? I can't guarantee you're going to like what you hear."
  120.  
  121. Surprisingly Twilight doesn't back down, her expression remaining determined, if not a little apprehensive.
  122.  
  123. "I just have one question," Twilight practically whispers, "If Posters really do discuss... me, my friends and Equestria... does that make your kind some type of.... deity?"
  124.  
  125. A uncontrollable, girlish titter escapes your lips - the image of you and your fellow shitposters being labelled as "deity" was too much.
  126.  
  127. "Oh Twi," you sneer, "I thought I knew you better than that. You, of all ponies, should know that there are no Gods - only Princesses. And no, we're not royalty either. Let me explain..."
  128.  
  129. -
  130.  
  131. And you do. You tell her every glorious detail that pops into your brain. The origin of post numbers and the amazing coincidences that were dubs, trips, quads all the way up to a full-on Get. Next, you explain how Posters celebrate ponies via beautiful drawn arts, down to questionable fetish images; moving on to how these arts also included short stories to full-blown fanfics of unfathomable proportions. You delve into Poster behaviors, how they enjoy reciting crude sexual acts to degrade both ponies they like and dislike, also copying other Poster's legendary posts as a means of insult. You also casually explain the concepts of buzzwords, board culture and the general lack of respect Posters had for their fellows.
  132.  
  133. "...And some Posters revere you above all, dubbing you as 'Purplesmart' and claiming you to be their waifu. A waifu is-"
  134.  
  135. "Stop."
  136.  
  137. "-when a Poster's love for a-"
  138.  
  139. "STOP."
  140.  
  141. A faint ring follows Twilight's shout. You obey her command immediately, already understanding that you'd said way too much.
  142.  
  143. Now that all your pent-up anger had been depleted, you started to understand the gravity of what you've just done.
  144.  
  145. "...I've made a huge mistake."
  146.  
  147. Twilight, who just 10 minutes ago had harbored a face full of wonder, now looked as if she'd aged by 10 years. The tension in the room gets unbearable; not aided by the absent-minded grinding of your large pony teeth. Soon enough it becomes abundantly clear no one wanted to break this new, chilling silence.
  148.  
  149. -
  150.  
  151. Okay, we're going to need some damage control up in this joint, stat.
  152.  
  153. "Look at me now though. That life, those days... they're all behind me. Honestly, how I got here doesn't really define the kind of person I am, it just..." you trail off, failing to convince even yourself. Why the hell would Twilight believe anything you say? You sheepishly look in her direction. When your eyes meet it provokes her into speech.
  154.  
  155. "Listen, Mr. Poster... I knew you could be a bit moody at times," Twilight begins, her voice being more convincing than her trembling legs, "But I always wanted the best for you - as any friend would. You were an alien to our world but that made no difference to how I felt about friendship."
  156.  
  157. Oh wow, were you about to get some kind of miraculous friendship redemption?
  158.  
  159. "Now though, after everything you just told me..." she pauses, attempting to maintain composure, "...I'm not sure I know who you are anymore. Your kind, they sound... well, dangerous."
  160.  
  161. "Dangerous?" you repeat utterly perplexed. Vulgar? Vile? Disgusting? You could probably live with any of them, but dangerous?
  162.  
  163. "Twilight," you begin, taking note of her over-bright eyes beautifully reflecting the firefly's ambiance. Were her eyes wet with tears? You make to advance towards Twilight, but she recoils.
  164.  
  165. "No! ...Sorry, but I don't feel comfortable being around a Poster right now; not after hearing all that..." A tear leaks silently from her eye.
  166.  
  167. "I'm not sure I can trust you anymore."
  168.  
  169. -
  170.  
  171. After these sour final words, Twilight swiftly turns around and pries open the door with magic. Failing to grace you with a last look, she departs. You don't chase after her, instead allowing the hospital door to close. The accompanying click amplified tenfold in the silent room.
  172.  
  173. Now you're all alone, left to wallow in regret.
  174.  
  175. Even now you're not sure if you'd done the correct thing - though you literally just told the truth. It's not as if you'd intentionally deceived Twilight or anyone else, hell she was just overreacting. Then again, how would you feel if it was revealed that strangers constantly discussed you?
  176.  
  177. Your brain travels this relentless thought-process for some time. For so long in fact, you don't remember falling asleep. Dawn's dazzling sunlight penetrates the window casting warm rays onto your back. Heaving a wide yawn, the first thing you come to realize is that your mouth is full of hair. What the fuck?
  178.  
  179. Brushing the hair out with a hasty hoof, you realize that once again your tail has curled round your chest and into your face. However, this time it's all wet. Were you... sucking your tail in your sleep?
  180.  
  181. There's a loud knock from the door that startles you. A familiar face peers in.
  182.  
  183. "Good Morning, Ms. Dee! Or should I say 'Puddle Princess'" he chortles.
  184.  
  185. It's too early for this shit.
  186.  
  187. "What do you mean, Dr. Hooflong?" you croak in a tired voice.
  188.  
  189. "Well, not to embarrass you, but... seems you missed the bedpan last night!"
  190.  
  191. Fuck everything.
  192.  
  193. -
  194.  
  195.  
  196. To your dismay, morning drags on for what seems an eternity. To make it worse, you're still cooped up in this miserable, sterile environment and it was becoming plain that this wouldn't be changing any time soon. Hell, it already felt like you'd been in here for weeks, somehow convincing yourself that the walls here were drawing in. It was all in your head, but that was a very messy place to be at the moment; curdled with sour emotions from last night's spectacular announcement to Twilight about your origins. Now that'd you'd had time to sleep on the whole situation it was abundant from the lingering bitterness in your mouth that you'd been rash. Then again, that bitterness might just be a side-effect from tail sucking. No, you shake this notion from your brain - the hard facts were that you'd let your emotions control you again, and again as a result you'd done something stupid. This time you weren't in physical danger like your previous 'emotional episode', but instead the damage here might never be repaired.
  197.  
  198. Everything was spiraling down, crashing around your soft, frail pony ears. Spirits were at an all time low, not at all aided by Hooflong's pompous and irritating manner. In fact, it'd taken every fiber you could muster to restrain vile retorts to his 'subtle' teasing and 'gentle' jabs. On his 5th/6th attempt of pretending to slip in an imaginary puddle you let out an enormous snort of impatience. It finally seems to send him a message.
  199.  
  200. "Grumpy."
  201.  
  202. -
  203.  
  204. After some agonizingly slow checkups accompanied with pitiful banter, it was breakfast time. Breakfast, something you had been dreading, had proven to be just what you'd expected - another activity to provide opportunities of further embarrassment. It already got off to a dismal start when the attending nurse had scolded you for not eating yesterday's meal, once again being leaving you feeling belittled. However, to make matters worse, the nurse actually vows to watch over you as you eat to make sure you finish the meal properly. Considering you didn't know the first thing about a pony's eating etiquette, this was akin to being asked to sing a song you didn't know the lyrics for in front of a live audience.
  205.  
  206. No matter how much you pleaded, begged and flat-out stated you'd eat the food in private, the nurse didn't buy it. In less than 10-minutes she wheels in a trolley containing what would could only be 'breakfast', placing it on the same bed-tray where yesterday's dinner had fermented. This time the menu was basic: a white gelatinous cube and a glass of water. Hesitant, you take a small sniff at the wobbling cube only to learn it smells of nothing. Either that, or your pony nose is completely useless. What other senses had been affected by this whole transformation?
  207.  
  208. The heat beginning to spread to your face distracts you - how the hell do you eat this? You wildly look for some form of cutlery but it's clear there's one solution here - time to eat like an animal.
  209.  
  210. -
  211.  
  212. Closing your eyes and learning forward, you conjure up all your will to nibble a corner of the strange, white-tinted goop. Trying to push all immature and vulgar thoughts aside, you slowly chomp on the cool mass, ignoring the slight stickiness. As much as you wanted to be repulsed and disgusted by the experience, the jelly doesn't remotely taste of anything leaving you with little issue to continue consuming it.
  213.  
  214. You'd hoped that by showing some initiative and chewing excessively that the nurse would be satisfied enough to piss off and leave you be. That wasn't going to be the case though, as her stern eye continues to oversee every monstrous mouth-full and shameful swallow of whatever this gelatinous cube-stuff was. After a strained 5 minutes of leaning forward, sucking in jelly, sitting up straight and chewing loudly, you start to twig that this isn't so bad. You could practically feel your tiny pony tummy singing at the prospect of finally having something to digest. It was all going smoothly until you wanted a drink of water - that's where the real problem began. Unlike the soy jelly - which you could eat with your face alone - the water was in a glass. Do you continue to wing your pony-eating and poke your nose in to the glass? Or do you pick it up with shaky hooves and pour it down yourself? You rack your brain trying to remember how Applejack had drank her apple juice that one time.
  215.  
  216. "Straw?" you say blankly to the nurse. She gives you an passive look.
  217.  
  218. -
  219.  
  220. "I'm sorry Misty but we no longer supply straws in the hospital due to potential choking hazard. Is this a problem?"
  221.  
  222. You ponder; was this a problem? Not massively, it was just an easy way out. Then again, you don't want to spill this glass of water over yourself and get accused of more toilet-troubles. The nurse catches on to your lost look.
  223.  
  224. "Do you need help getting a drink of water?" she asks trotting out of her corner, a bemused expression on her face.
  225.  
  226. "N-no that's okay, I ca-GLUG" you choke as mid-sentence the glass of water comes to life and assaults your mouth. It takes a few seconds to process what just happened - bloody unicorns and their magic privilege.
  227.  
  228. "Is this okay?" the nurse coos in a sickeningly sweet voice as she levitates the glass of water into your parched lips, much like bottle feeding a baby.
  229.  
  230. Of course it wasn't okay, but your ego was so destroyed at this point you just let it happen. The cold, succulent water was too satisfying to reject as it unsticks your throat and internally cools you.
  231.  
  232. "My, you were certainly thirsty," The nurse comments in fake-amazement, "need anything else?"
  233.  
  234. Your answer of "Nah" is lost in a gentle burp. The nurse smiles and starts cleaning up the tray. "That's a good girl. Now remember to always eat, you need fuel or you won't heal!" You nod, embarrassment flooding through you - you wouldn't ever get used to that complement.
  235.  
  236. As the nurse takes leave, Hooflong trundles in with a wheelchair.
  237.  
  238. "Physio time!"
  239.  
  240. -
  241.  
  242. Before you can stifle a groan you've already been loaded on to the wheelchair and briskly wheeled out of your confinement. You can't help suppressing a grin at seeing the outside ward for the first time. While you weren't at all excited for a potentially painful and surely strenuous physiotherapy session, it was truly fantastic to just have a change of scenery. Visually, the rest of the hospital isn't vastly different from the room you currently occupied. However, in terms of atmosphere, it was certainly livelier with bustling nurses, coughing patients and beeping equipment. Neatly-laid beds rested next to walls, accompanied with small tables holding empty firefly lamps. Other areas of the ward were curtained off to - you assume - stop nosy intruders. How come you didn't have bed curtains in your room? You'd have them up permanently! Then again, how come you -have- your own room?
  243.  
  244. There wasn't much time to ponder this new mystery as with a hefty bump and a sudden jolt your wheelchair runs over the door frame, exiting the ward and entering into a larger lobby. Hooflong brings the wheelchair to a rest next to a row of seats causing a few dull-eyed ponies to look up and examine the source of the sudden ruckus.
  245.  
  246. "Welcome to the waiting lobby!" Hooflong smiles showing brilliantly white teeth. You blink at them stupidly.
  247.  
  248. "Waiting lobby?"
  249.  
  250. "Indeed!" he nods brightly, "Pony Health Care may be free for all, but you still have to wait in line like the rest."
  251.  
  252. -
  253.  
  254. You have no immediate answer to this statement and have difficulty forming one when all eyes in the lobby are focused on you. The doctor wisely takes advantage of your sealed lips by giving a casual waving and leaving, humming nonchalantly to himself.
  255.  
  256. Glancing around, part of you is already uncomfortable with the doctor's departure. This is the first time you've been near ponies you aren't familiar with since the transformation. What if they notice something's not right with you? Or if they figure out your 'secret'?
  257.  
  258. Pressure starts mounting in your chest - this doesn't feel right at all. A few powerful thumps of your horse-heart are enough to make blood flush into your face and into your ears, heat building up under your coat. Itchy pricking spreads around your muzzle and nose - why the hell do you suddenly feel so self-conscious?
  259.  
  260. Avoiding any eye-contact with other ponies you withdraw into the wheelchair, trying your best to hide nervous tail twitches. If you could describe the current situation by example, this would probably be akin to wearing an exuberant, questionable cosplay while commuting on public transport. Surely everyone was silently judging you right now? No... calm the fuck down - it's all in your head.
  261.  
  262. You just need to play this casual and no one will be any wiser. Yeah, that sounds good. Suddenly reforming your expression into a forced, gaudy smile you wrestle with wandering eyes to stop them making contract with another pony's gaze.
  263.  
  264. -
  265.  
  266. After about 5 minutes the lobby returns to normal; the excitement of your arrival already worn out. This suits you fine, as 5 minutes had been more than enough time to sneakily glance at and observe the lobby's current occupants.
  267.  
  268. There's only 4 other ponies sitting down in the waiting area, sitting rather spread-out in isolated seats. The closest was an old gruff-looking light-grey earth pony, sporting a brilliantly bushy mustache. It complimented his hard-lined face which currently scanned a newspaper. A rather plump, magenta unicorn mare with her foreleg wrapped in bandages sat a few seats along from the grey pony; A lean-built, lavender-tinted Pegasus mare was snoozing softly just opposite the unicorn, evidently here because her right wing currently resembled more of a hook than a healthy wing.
  269.  
  270. The last pony was a pale-blue teenaged stallion Pegasus who, unfortunately, catches you staring at him. There's a drawn-out 2-second pause before you realize he's smiling at you. Your stomach lurches, and you hastily avert your gaze upwards hoping your embarrassment wasn't visible through your orange coat.
  271.  
  272. Will you ever be socially comfortable again in this form? It's a certainly a better vessel to meet ponies without freaking them out, but at the same time...
  273.  
  274. Just as your internal anxiety reaches critical-level, the loudspeaker situated in the ceiling above the grey earth pony crackles into life, providing a suitable distraction to your mind from the blue Pegasus.
  275.  
  276. -
  277.  
  278. The actual message being delivered by the loudspeaker - detailing some disco charity event - is completely lost on you. Something in your stomach starts to wriggle, and it takes absolute concentration to battle back the thick, gelatinous remains of breakfast that were suddenly adamant in trying to escape. It was either your scrunched face or twitchy mannerisms that eventually caught the attention of the grey earth pony, who slowly raises a suspicious eyebrow from behind his newspaper. You swallow - why can't you just calm down? You're a pony! This is normal, you're not a wolf among sheep. Gah, what are you even thinking about?
  279.  
  280. After a long, agonizing 10 minutes a small glass panel graciously slides opens on the lobby wall revealing a familiar nurse.
  281.  
  282. "Mr. Slate. Is there a Mr. Slate?" she calls out in a monotone. At once, the mustache on the grey pony ruffles and he ever-so-slowly hoists himself onto all-fours, slowly limping towards the door next to the glass panel. As he does so, a young colt accompanied by who could only be his mother, trots out looking sulky-faced.
  283.  
  284. "But I wanna compete in Sports day!" he wails, not caring about the surrounding company. The lavender Pegasus jerks awake, quickly playing it cool as if she'd never been asleep.
  285.  
  286. "Sorry sweetie, but with your sprained leg I don't think..." the colt's mother trails off, not wanting to cause a scene.
  287.  
  288. "It's not fai-" he starts up, cutting off mid-sentence as he looks in your direction.
  289.  
  290. "Oh wow!"
  291.  
  292. -
  293.  
  294. Startled by this sudden change in mood, the colt's mother feverishly follows her son's awe-inspired gaze to identify what could have possibility caused this euphoric reaction. In unison the wintergreen-colored ponies stare in your direction. Something was certainly catching their interest; the mother's ears starting to rise.
  295.  
  296. "Is that...?" she begins, but is cut short by an excited squeal from her son who launches into the air wiggling his legs.
  297.  
  298. Raising an eyebrow as you watch this scene unfold, questions form: just who was this kid and why the hell is he looking at you with such enamor? Only if you were handing out free money would such an expression be justified, or hell, maybe if you were riding in a solid-gold wheelchair. This was completely unprecedented. To make matters worse, his gaping jaw and squeaks were starting to draw attention of everyone in the vicinity.
  299.  
  300. In no time at all a sea of eyes flows in your direction; a subtle murmur starts to spread throughout the lobby like waves on the tide. Gingerly biting your dainty bottom lip and ignoring unnaturally blunt teeth, you desperately try to pull yourself together as your heart hammers heavily. Interest was certainly increasing at a rapid rate, a few ponies actually stopping in their tracks to gawk in your direction.
  301.  
  302. Okay, reaching freak-out point. Breathing stops; heart starts to swell painfully. Was there a spotlight vividly shining onto you that you'd somehow missed?
  303.  
  304. -
  305.  
  306. Just as you glace upwards to double-check your crazy theory wasn't in fact true, the young colt starts hobbling across the room at surprisingly speedy pace.
  307.  
  308. "Oh my little pumpkin!" his mother starts to wail dramatically, "Those physio sessions DID work!"
  309.  
  310. The sea of eyes expands, rapidly switching between you - a shaking mess- and the young colt bravely limping along on the (seemingly) most important expedition of his life. Shit, he's getting closer. Should you... say something? It's clear he's mistaken your identity. What exactly could you say to diffuse this awkward situation?
  311.  
  312. As you feebly try to comprehend what's going on, all previously anxiety starts to double. What if he knows your secret? Stomach internally sagging, colon collapsing and resisting the urge to vomit, you desperately try to summon the Elder gods, willing them to give you enough strength to get through this. Okay, now you've officially lost it. Legs rattle the wheelchair loudly as they tremble uncontrollably from irrational nerves. There's just no way to play this cool with so many eyes focused on you.
  313.  
  314. D-Day - the kid is level with the wheelchair. You've not even had time to frantically rehearse a conversation in your head to see what he wants. You take a deep breath - you just need to find out what his beef is.
  315.  
  316. "H-h-hey ther-" you stutter, barely able to form words in your dry mouth.
  317.  
  318. "IT'S DJ PON-3!" he shouts with glee, completely ignoring you as he hobbles past.
  319.  
  320. Wait, what?
  321.  
  322. -
  323.  
  324. The murmuring in the room grows steadily louder at this squeaky announcement. Coming to the realization that all these ponies were staring THROUGH you, not AT you, you let out a long, low sigh. Why were you suddenly experiencing such severe social anxiety?
  325.  
  326. Heart still on a high, you hastily swivel around in an attempt to blend in. Instantly you spot the growing crowd at the Hospital's entrance. By squinting your large eyes you can make out ponies getting excited over a white figure who sported fancy shades and a striking blue mane. It all floods back: DJ PON-3 is the stage name for Vinyl Scratch, isn't it? What's she doing here?
  327.  
  328. As interest increases, more ponies mill out of the lobby to join the gossiping crowd. Both the plump unicorn and lean Pegasus vacate their seats not gracing you with a single look as they pass. The young colt, carried by his mother, has long since been absorbed by the masses. You guess that Vinyl Scratch was more popular in Equestria than you'd previously believed. Heh, it may have been a month since you last participated in the MLP fandom but you still got a little kick from seeing a show-related pony every now and again. With everything else on your mind at the moment though, you don't focus on the crowd for long.
  329.  
  330. The hubbub finally subsides after a few angry staff members explain the upcoming charity event and shoo the crowd away. You idly watch as Vinyl is escorted into a staff-only area.
  331.  
  332. That's when you see him - a pony branded with '10M'.
  333.  
  334. -
  335.  
  336. Time ceases within that single look. Passing ponies freeze in place; all life in the surrounding environment culled from your mind. Somehow, in the masses of bodies leaving, your eyes land upon a lanky, cream-colored earth pony branding that familiar, vile mark. He fumbles in Vinyl's wake carrying a huge array of kit on his back. Was that DJing equipment? Without even comprehending it, your hooves find the tips of the wheelchair's wheels and start rolling towards him.
  337.  
  338. This has to be another Poster. Without a shadow of a doubt. 10M cutie mark? Following the 2nd Get pony? No coincidence. Feverishly you list the Mentor ponies off: 5M was AJ, 10M was Vinyl, 15M was Octavia, 20M was... well, you know. It fits! It fucking fits!
  339.  
  340. Emotion gushes in your chest; your heart launching a full-on assault into your ribs. Blood throbs agonizingly in your throat as feelings explode like spectacular fireworks in your mind: You're completely jubilant at the prospect of meeting an equal; furious that they hadn't made an attempt to meet you sooner; terrified that it might not actually be Poster 2; distraught that you had to meet under such conditions.
  341.  
  342. Your mouth goes dry as you desperately gulp air; a futile attempt at relaxing. By now most of the crowd had dispersed, the remaining stragglers eyeing you suspiciously as your chair squeaks past. You don't dare grace them with a glace, no, you only have eyes for one pony, and currently they're exiting your view by entering another room.
  343.  
  344. -
  345.  
  346. "No!" you call out feebly as the flank bearing '10M' is obscured by the closing door. You'd missed your chance. Unless... perhaps you should follow him? You edge towards the staff room door...
  347.  
  348. "Can I help you, Miss?"
  349.  
  350. You whip around to see one of the stern-faced doctors from earlier trotting towards you, an underlying tone of annoyance in his voice.
  351.  
  352. "T-that pony..." you babble in disbelief. This event was getting you worked up in ways you would never have imagined. Was it due to relief that you weren't alone anymore? You'd heard accounts of more Posters existing but the constant lack of physical evidence had always been eerie. Perhaps the idea of speaking to someone else who'd also lost everything was just too enthralling? Or maybe even...
  353.  
  354. "Ah yes. Didn't you hear the Public Address? At 2:30pm we're holding a charity disco for 'Fillies Against Radioactive Treatment Sessions', or 'FARTS' for short."
  355.  
  356. "Wait, what-" you begin, but at that moment the staff door reopens and your quarry comes into view. With a blink at the scene before him, he slowly raises an eyebrow glancing from the impatient doctor to the defenseless mare in a wheelchair.
  357.  
  358. "Uh, don't mind me, I'm just getting more-"
  359.  
  360. "No, wait!" you blurt out. There's a stunned silence at your yell. The cream pony looks somewhat concerned and, raising his eyebrow higher, turns to the doctor for aid. The doctor just shrugs and walks away. "Well, girls will be girls I suppose. Just go easy on the nice DJ."
  361.  
  362. -
  363.  
  364. Finally, a lucky break. You can scarcely believe it - after all the shit you'd gone through in the past month your chance to finally speak with an equal was here. And now, like some weird defense-like mechanism, your jaw locks in place. The cream pony's expression clearly conveys his discomfort at being left alone with a cripple. Either out of guilt or politeness however, he stands his ground.
  365.  
  366. "Hey there, nice to meet you. I'm White Wax, or 'Double Double-U' (WW) as others call me. But, heh, I assume you already knew that. Are you a fan?" he asks, giving a genuine-looking smile portraying his perfectly white teeth.
  367.  
  368. "Are... are you the 2nd?" you whisper aloud, semi-ignoring his introduction. White Wax blinks, his eyebrow slowly returning to its natural position. After a brief pause, he decides to go with the flow. "Yup, that's me. I'm the 2nd. And who might you be, Miss...?"
  369.  
  370. "I'm the 4th!"
  371.  
  372. Another blink.
  373.  
  374. "The 4th? Huh. I didn't know there was a 4th..."
  375.  
  376. Your nerves were getting unbearable; butterflies tickle your stomach in a mad scramble to escape, constantly colliding into one another. You gulp. Not only was the pony - no, person - standing before you someone who'd experienced (and hopefully) adapted to drastic life changes, but they were also surprisingly... handsome? What the hell, brain?
  377.  
  378. Sucking in another deep, calm, cooling breath, you beg yourself to focus. To speak like a normal person. Pony. Whichever.
  379.  
  380. -
  381.  
  382. "Yeah, I'm the 4th. I arrived here a month or so ago, been living in Ponyville..." you trail off, wondering how to approach this tricky topic. Do you talk about Celestia? How you physically got here? The... intimate changes?
  383.  
  384. Wax's smile fades, reverting back to his polite confusion. "Huh... I didn't know there were more. Then again, Canterlot is usually my turf. Is there a 3rd too?"
  385.  
  386. "Yes! There's a 3rd out there. I don't know where, though" you answer, mind beginning to race. Wax's inquisitive eyebrow goes so high this time it actually recedes behind his flowing chestnut mane.
  387.  
  388. "The 3rd is out there? Hmm... Sorry, but you DO mean you're the 4th DJ, right? I was under the impression the hospital only contacted me and Ms. Scratch? I've not heard anything about a 3rd or 4th DJ being enlisted."
  389.  
  390. Something heavy shifts inside your chest; seems your heart has just sank a few inches.
  391.  
  392. "No, no! We're not DJs," you hastily try and patch up the misunderstanding, "Come on man, you're a Post-"
  393.  
  394. "Oh so you're not a DJ? That makes sense..." he breaks off looking awkward, "DJs usually don't roll in wheelchairs."
  395.  
  396. You just blink up at him, unable to usher a response.
  397.  
  398. "...Sorry" he mumbles, certainly looking it.
  399.  
  400. "DJ aside, aren't you the... 2nd Poster?" your logic had been flawless! Why did he think you were talking about DJs?
  401.  
  402. White Wax just stares blankly.
  403.  
  404. "The 2nd Poster...? Sorry Ms. Fourth, but I don't know what you're talking about-" Wax begins.
  405.  
  406. -
  407.  
  408. "But... look at our cutie marks!" you assert, shifting your rump to the side exposing your flank. Wax bites his lip, clearly getting uncomfortable at the direction this conversation was taking.
  409.  
  410. "No, no, that's quite alri-" he starts, but stops abruptly after glancing down at your cutie mark. His jaw falls open; something had certainly grabbed his attention.
  411.  
  412. "20M...? Oh Wow, that's so cool!" he beams, turning his head to glace at his own flank which sported an identical-styled '10M'. His teeth sparkle in delight. "Is that like, a tribute to me or something?"
  413.  
  414. Your ears droop. "What? No!" you snap indignantly, good lord this guy was slow. "This is my honest-to-Celestia cutie mark! Surely you remember how you got yours? 'Cause I got mine the same way!"
  415.  
  416. At your retort the cream pony closes his eyes in contemplation, bringing a hoof up to his chin in an perfect imitation of the Thinker.
  417.  
  418. "I... don't remember how I got my cutie mark. I always assumed it was to do with running distance or something? But then I've never been a good runner. It's sorta odd, isn't it?" White Wax's expression falls, "I don't really remember -how- I got it. Though if it's similar to yours... Hey, what did you say your name was again?" he asks, finally getting engaged in this conversation.
  419.  
  420. "It's D-" you start to reply, but the staff door behind Wax bursts open to reveal an irritable Vinyl Scratch. Standing there, her shades had slipped half-way down her muzzle exposing two disdained eyes.
  421.  
  422. -
  423.  
  424. Her presence acts as an immediate stimulant for the White Wax, who abruptly leaps into action.
  425.  
  426. "Oh man, I'm really sorry Ms. Scratch! I just got distracted by this fan, I'll get the rest of that equipment now!"
  427.  
  428. He canters off at once, slipping and sliding all over the smooth hospital floor. With a soft tut and an eye roll, Vinyl quickly glances in your direction before returning into the staff room. You sit there, stunned, trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
  429.  
  430. Pfft, well not like that little interlude would deter you from knowledge. Spinning the wheelchair around, you're about to launch after White Wax until...
  431.  
  432. "Is there a... Misty here? Ms. Misty?" An anxious, clumsy-looking nurse trots though the hospital lobby. Heaving a sigh, you redirect your chair towards her. Well, you'll just have to corner White Wax later, somehow.
  433.  
  434. "I'm... Ms. Dee?" you say hesitantly, wondering if you actually were who the nurse was looking for. At the sight of you, her expression relaxes.
  435.  
  436. "Oh, good" she lets out a huge sigh, "Dr. Hooflong told me to keep an eye on you: mare earth pony, orange, in a wheelchair? I can't imagine what'd he'd have done to me if you'd gone missing." The nurse shakes her head as if dislodging irksome flies, and continues, "It's time for your physio session, Misty. That is why you're here, correct?"
  437.  
  438. You mumble something along the lines of "I guess", the nurse already too preoccupied in wheeling your chair to listen.
  439.  
  440. -
  441.  
  442. While you are escorted into the physio room the attending nurse has a cheerful attempt at making conversation.
  443.  
  444. "So how are you doing today? Not in too much pain I hope? I did read your file, but in all honesty, I didn't understand any of it. Bit of a mystery, ain'tcha? I've noticed the Dr. Hooflong has taken a personal interest in your case."
  445.  
  446. You bit your lip, "Is that normal? He's a bit... weird, don't you think? I mean, he's a bit too friendly and a little bit too direct."
  447.  
  448. "Well, we all have our own quirks!" the nurse giggles dismissively, "And he certainly has his, but don't worry, he don't mean nothing by it. He's got a daughter about your age so he probably treats you the same as her."
  449.  
  450. Huh, you can imagine how well that goes down. Every teen loves their parents teasing and harassing them, after all.
  451.  
  452. The rest of the journey is spent in silence, something you greatly welcomed. As you squeak past the rest of the miserable faces waiting in the lobby, the grey earth pony from earlier passes by. Getting a glimpse of his face, he doesn't seem much happier than the rest as he engages the nurse behind the glass-panel in conversation.
  453.  
  454. "Oh that's Gritty Slate," your accompanying nurse whispers as you pass the door-threshold and get out of the lobby's earshot. "Been battling with arthritis, poor guy."
  455.  
  456. It takes immense self-control to prevent yourself responding; was nothing sacred at this shambles of a hospital?
  457.  
  458. "Here we are. One Misty for ya, nurse Swiftwind."
  459.  
  460. -
  461.  
  462. Nurse Swiftwind didn't fit her name at all. As an extremely broad, muscular and heavy-hoofed unicorn, she towers over both of you.
  463.  
  464. "Right. Thank you. So... Misty, Misty, Misty. Do we have a second name?" Swiftwind asks, not looking up from her notes.
  465.  
  466. "I... don't. My name is just Dee." Why complicate matters with your real surname?
  467.  
  468. "Just Dee?" Swiftwind scoffs, "but your name is written down here as 'Misty', so surely you have a following name? Misty Shores? Misty Cloud?"
  469.  
  470. "There seems to be some kind of mistake?" It's the best explanation you can really offer, "People have been referring to me as..." you grimace, "Ms. Dee, so I guess people mishear it as Misty?"
  471.  
  472. Swiftwind blinks, her quill suspended a few inches from her face.
  473.  
  474. "Right. M-I-S-T-Y," she mumbles as she scribbles, "Okay, so: Physio. Why exactly were you admitted? Your file is vague."
  475.  
  476. Pony-sided incisors caress your bottom lip - how exactly are you going to explain this? How else? Time to lie.
  477.  
  478. "I hit my head. I slipped on a silk dress while perusing the Carousel Boutique; you know the place? Well, lost my balance and next thing I know: I'm here. Now I seem to have issues keeping balance."
  479.  
  480. "Right. And that's how you got injuries on your face?"
  481.  
  482. "Yes! These injuries were, uh, a result of that incident I just described..."
  483.  
  484. Swiftwind's expression says louder than words how much bullshit you were spouting, but she holds her tongue.
  485.  
  486. She stands up with a smile, "I'm not the Police, you know."
  487.  
  488. -
  489.  
  490. Seeing her at work, you quickly understood why Swiftwind had such a large stature. The amount of lifting she did both magically and manually was astonishingly impressive. She had already successfully hoisted you out of your wheelchair like you weighted nothing, expertly placed you on a large, pony-sized sling and secured it on an over-head rail while still levitating you. The sensation of flight didn't last long though as Swiftwind gently released her magical grip, the sling running under your stomach providing minimal support and digging into your chest.
  491.  
  492. "Right. Here's how this works: I've just secured you to a midrift-supporting sling. It should be enough to support you so you can't fall over and hurt yourself, but still allow you to be mobile with the ground. Now...", Swiftwind draws your attention to the physio room floor where a dotted line is present, "Do you think you could follow this line for me? The sling is attached to an overhead rail so you can still move as you'd expected."
  493.  
  494. Sure enough, you're securely hooked on a large metal beam that stretches way beyond the dotted line. Nerves that still hadn't recovered from meeting White Wax again flare up at the gargantuan task presented.
  495.  
  496. Your legs go weak.
  497.  
  498. "...I'm not sure I can do this. What's the plan?"
  499.  
  500. Swiftwind gives a soft smile that looks out of place on her massive, foreboding frame.
  501.  
  502. "Right. We'll start slow. Just walk as you normally would, and I'll lower you to the ground if I think you're ready for it."
  503.  
  504. -
  505.  
  506. Physio was a catastrophic failure.
  507.  
  508. Your mind and body were spent; completely exhausted after constantly battling each other. When your body focused on walking your brain kept desperately cross-referencing your muscle memory bank. When you brain tried to compensate for new size and limbs, your body wouldn't respond as you'd expect. As for balance? Impossible. You brain was too overworked from pain and stress to correctly coordinate left-right leg movements; not aided by the sickening sensation of walking on elongated, stretched feet. Each step made your non-existent digits curl painfully.
  509.  
  510. The exercise was nothing short of nausea-inducing; the frustration at lack of control amplifying all negativity. To add to the on-going problems, your bones felt horrendously stiff and brittle. Expecting them to snap at given moment didn't boost moral, and when applying pressure on any joint felt like a LEGO brick was lodged in the cartilage, you longed to give up.
  511.  
  512. You couldn't, though. Not when Swiftwind was supporting you so expertly.
  513.  
  514. Heavy hooves drag along the floor, your legs constantly buckling under strain. The ground frequently flashing before your eyes was a frighting experience, but she always caught you. Each time, without fail. Amazingly, the more you stumbled and collapsed, the more enthusiastic Swiftwind got.
  515.  
  516. "Almost!", "Right. Now balance Misty, balance!", "Don't lost heart, get back to it!", "Never give up!"
  517.  
  518. Sweat dampens your body, but not your spirits.
  519.  
  520. -
  521.  
  522. "Right. Well, I didn't have any expectations for this session due to the vagueness of your file. However, I believe we made progress."
  523.  
  524. The agonizing 60 minutes was over. Your tiny pony body aches like it'd been battered by a thousand baseball bats, and your brain was practically leaking out your ears. Taking advantage of your dazed silence, Swiftwind continues.
  525.  
  526. "I have to say, I've seen foals with better balance. But, I've seen earth pony stallions with less determination!" Swiftwind announces proudly, turning her back and trotting back to her desk, "I am worried, though. You might have suffered severe brain bruising or similar cranial trauma to lose this much coordination. I'm going to book you in for a cranial examination for tomorrow."
  527.  
  528. You don't disagree with her choice. After all, you certainly felt brain-dead. Brain-bruised. Retarded. Whatever she said.
  529.  
  530. All in all, you'd manage to trip, stumble and drag yourself up and down the dotted line 3 times, but it had been intensely difficult. The height of your head and the shape of your spine were still completely alien, casting doubt if this body would ever feel like a 'glove' to your brain. Swiftwind interrupts your thoughts
  531.  
  532. "You must be hungry, it's almost lunch after all. I'll escort you back, and I'll see you same time tomorrow."
  533.  
  534. "No..." comes your feeble whine as Swiftwind escorts you back into the lobby. With every limb burnt-out and lethargic, there's just no way you could do this again tomorrow.
  535.  
  536. -
  537.  
  538. Wheelchair is nice. Wheelchair doesn't require energy, wheelchair just shunts you from A to B and never complains. Maybe you should ask if the hospital has any mobility scooters so you can finally live the American dream and never walk again...
  539.  
  540. "Well, Hello hello!"
  541.  
  542. Fuck. Hooflong obstructs your path.
  543.  
  544. "I'll take her from here, Swiftwind. Goodness knows we don't need you scaring our waiting ponies." he chuckles. Swiftwind growls, and skulks back into the physio room without a retort. Is that really how fellow staff should treat each other?
  545.  
  546. "Hey, that wasn-" you flare up, but you are cut-across.
  547.  
  548. "So Ms. Dee, I have some news. Your urine sample. Most interesting."
  549.  
  550. Blood leaves your face.
  551.  
  552. "My what?! Why would you do that? And can't we talk about this in -private-?" you hiss, aware of the ears on surrounding ponies perking up. Last thing you need when you're so drained is more humiliation.
  553.  
  554. "We can walk and talk," Hooflong agrees and takes the reigns of your chair. "Though, your room is currently occupied so there will be no private talk in there, either. Convenient, right? Anyway, as I was saying, the sample-"
  555.  
  556. "My room is occupied? By who?"
  557.  
  558. Hooflong doesn't take kindly to being the one interrupted this time,
  559.  
  560. "Well after your puddle-stunt I wouldn't be surprised if they were bleaching the place, but no. You'll see. Anyway, the sample. We have to check for substance abuse or other oddities, and something doesn't quite add up. What are you hiding, little Missy?"
  561.  
  562. -
  563. You don't take the bait, suddenly becoming preoccupied with the surrounding ward. Hooflong continues with ravish.
  564.  
  565. "The initial results? WOW. We're running further tests, but the amino acids we identified? The DNA samples? Unlike anything I've ever seen. Now, I won't interrogate you seeing as you're exhausted and no-doubt cranky - which I might add is very unbefitting of a lady - but I would -dearly- love answers." His face falls slightly, "Proper answers. We don't want to report you for substance abuse now, do we?"
  566.  
  567. "...And what's wrong with my results?" you chime in, slightly deterred by his light threat "Also, how did you get results so quickly? Didn't you just take my... sample this morning?"
  568.  
  569. Hooflong chuckles jovially, "Whatever do you mean? Test results only take a few minutes. Suppose you wouldn't understand, being an earth pony." He sighs, "Honestly, I just don't know how you lot cope without magic."
  570.  
  571. His words cause a sudden flashback to Canterlot castle; a certain painting you saw adorned there drifts over you brain. You grimace.
  572.  
  573. "Trust me, I've coped my whole life without magic. I don't need your sympathy. I don't need anyone's."
  574.  
  575. "Oh now now, Ms. Dee, I didn't mean anything by it! Lighten up or your visitors will be disappointed."
  576.  
  577. Internally, you groan. With the stress of the morning you aren't in a social state of mind. It was unavoidable now though as Hooflong finishes pushing the chair to a familiar light-blue sliding door.
  578.  
  579. "Here we are!"
  580.  
  581. -
  582.  
  583. Sniffing as the door opens, the area seems completely devoid of bleach.
  584.  
  585. "Well now, if you get bored you can always participate in FARTS at 2:30pm."
  586.  
  587. "W-what?" you start before it twigs. "Oh, oh right. The charity disco thing?" Images of White Wax drift across your mind again. Fuck, what were you doing sitting here? You should be hounding that guy and finding answers! Then again, did he actually have any? The first impressions weren't in his favor.
  588.  
  589. "Oh there you are darling!" comes an exuberant cry breaking your train of thought.
  590.  
  591. "Hey Rarity. Oh, and..." you see two other bodies standing behind Rarity. Looks like Rainbow and... Applejack? You stare, the silence progressively getting louder. What was she doing here?
  592.  
  593. "I'll leave you lot to get on! Oh, and Ms. Dee: remember our discussion."
  594.  
  595. Hooflong bows himself out, closing the door behind him. I takes a few seconds to realize he's just left you abandoned in the middle of the room. Guess you'll see yourself to bed, then.
  596.  
  597. "Hate that guy" you grumble sourly.
  598.  
  599. Rarity's mouth movement implied she was about to tell you off, but Rainbow Dash cuts in.
  600.  
  601. "Sorry, but are you REALLY the same guy?!"
  602.  
  603. You blink at her. Oh right, must be the first time she's seen you since you betrayed your species.
  604.  
  605. "...Yes. It is I: Mr. Poster," you say in mocking grace, spreading your forelegs in jest of divine radiance. As you do this, previous words of RD's echo at the back of your skull: "Him? Become one of US? That's just so... WRONG!"
  606.  
  607. -
  608.  
  609. Did she still feel that way about this whole thing? Her initial expression doesn't convey any disgust, but in all honesty it was hard to gauge anything with the way she was peering at you through a suspicious, large, magenta-tinted eye.
  610.  
  611. "This is so..." she whispers more to herself than to anyone else. You're ready for the bombshell.
  612.  
  613. "...AWESOME!"
  614.  
  615. At once Dash zips off her chair and launches over to you, taking in every new detail as she hovers over-head.
  616.  
  617. "Seriously! Look at her - er, I mean him! It's like this was meant to be! Aww man, this is so cool. Does it hurt? Do you recognize me? I'm R-A-I-N-B-O-W D-A-S-H, remember?" She sticks out her chest and ruffles your mane with a playful hoof.
  618.  
  619. "Hey!" you protest, long ginger strands starting to obscure your vision.
  620.  
  621. "You even have a tail and everything! This is sooo cool! I mean, don't get me wrong, you were cool before. Kinda. But now?" As she continues swooping around blood flushes to your face, though you're not entirely sure why.
  622.  
  623. "Aww man, no wings! If only you'd been a Pegasus, I'd finally have had a proper flying buddy! No offense to Fluttershy or anything, but sometimes a girl just needs someone else in life who can keep up the pace! Heh, though imagine if you WERE a Pegasus! I'd totally teach you how to fly, Ah man, that would have been a lotta fun. Looks like you're grounded as an earth pony though. Tough luck, kid."
  624.  
  625. On the other side of the room, AJ lets out a distinct cough. All eyes focus on her.
  626.  
  627. -
  628.  
  629. TBC? Never lose hope, friends.
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