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8th-Sin

[Filly NMM] Moonie Shorts Part 1 (1-60)

Jun 5th, 2013
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  1. Story idea by Anonymous:
  2. Nightmare Moon returns and is hit once again with the Elements of Harmony, turning her into a filly with almost no power left.
  3. Much to Nightmare Moon’s annoyance, Anon thinks she's cute as all hell and is the only one willing to put up with her antics and evil, so Celestia tasks Anon with keeping an eye on her and reforming her like Discord.
  4.  
  5. Note: Luna and Nightmare Moon are separate entities in this fic.
  6. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  7. More Filly Nightmare Moon/Moonie by other writers can be found here:
  8. TexAnon: http://pastebin.com/Y2zdhpmf
  9. http://pastebin.com/sSNuHtbn (Reverse Moonie, with Moonie as the parent.)
  10. H-Nen: http://pastebin.com/Q6jTKcks
  11. Jenseits: http://pastebin.com/fmT9d7DP
  12. LovelyMuffins: http://pastebin.com/BXFgEfT3
  13. Gatorbait: http://pastebin.com/TVDzWSbk (Reverse Moonie.)
  14. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  15. Prose for those interested: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/195222/moonie-shorts-filly-nightmare-moon
  16. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  17. More Moonie stories that aren't a couple hundred words long can be found in my paste.
  18. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  19. [1]
  20. >You've realised that it's been quiet for a while
  21. >That's too suspicious.
  22. >You get up and go check on Moonie.
  23. >You see her drawing with crayons peacefully.
  24. >You watch her for a moment before she notices you.
  25. >"How DARE you spy on the Princess of the Night. Off with your head!"
  26. "Moonie, what did I tell you about threats? Anyway, what're you drawing?"
  27. >"Stay back. These are my secretest plans. Not for your eyes."
  28. >You roll your eyes and go find something else to do
  29. >You're making dinner when you feel a tug on your pants leg.
  30. >Looking down you notice Moonie holding a card out to you.
  31. >You take it and read it.
  32. 'To my number one servant.'
  33. >There is even a childish drawing of you two atop a castle.
  34. >"I just thought.. You deserved a thank you.. Don't forget your place, servant!"
  35. >You pick her up in a hug which she slowly returns.
  36.  
  37. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  38. [2]
  39. >You're lying in bed as you wait for sleep to take over.
  40. >The silence is broken as you hear Moonie let out a scream.
  41. >Jumping out of bed you rush into her room to find her crying.
  42. "Aw, what's wrong Moonie?"
  43. >"Nuff-*sniff*-thing. I-I am *sniff* Darkness incarnate *sniff-sniff* nothing can s-scare me."
  44. "If you say so."
  45. >You turn to leave the room.
  46. >"WAIT!"
  47. >You face Moonie once again and put on your 'I'm listening face'.
  48. >"I may have had a nightmare."
  49. "And what can scare the Great Nightmare Moon?"
  50. >"I dreamt the Elements of Harmony came and took me away."
  51. >You lie down next to her and bring her into a hug.
  52. "Nobody will take you away."
  53. >After petting her mane to calm her down for a while you notice she's fallen asleep so you decide to just cuddle her for the rest of the night.
  54.  
  55. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  56. [3]
  57. >Today you're just sitting at home relaxing, you've been looking forward to a chance to just lay down and do nothing.
  58. >*shuffle-shuffle*
  59. >What is that?
  60. >*shhhhhhuffle*
  61. >Too lazy to get up.
  62. >*shuffle-giggle-shuffle*
  63. >You now see the culprit behind the mysterious noise.
  64. >Moonie has found a box and is using it to hide from you by the looks of it.
  65. >She must not have noticed her horn and tail are poking out the box.
  66. >Might as well play along.
  67. >The giggling box of doom inches closer.
  68. "I wonder what Moonie is up to? She's been awfully quiet."
  69. >She lets out a muffled giggle.
  70. >Yeah, she has no idea you know she's in the box.
  71. >Suddenly the Princess of the Night springs out of the box and onto your chest.
  72. >"AH-HA! I've caught you! You must now submit to me, your new Queen. Or die."
  73. >You can't say anything negative to that proud grin.
  74. "I submit my Queen, what is thy bidding?"
  75. >"CUDDLES!"
  76.  
  77. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  78. [4]
  79. >You walk up to the school to pick up Nightmare Moon.
  80. >She's there waiting for you, after a quick check with Cheerilee you find she's done nothing wrong today for once but Moonie is grumpy about something.
  81. >Along the way home you decide to ask.
  82. "So, what's wrong?"
  83. >"The other kids won't be my evil minions."
  84. "And?"
  85. >"You fool. How can I be the Queen of the Night without an evil minion to do my bidding?"
  86. "I've got an idea."
  87. >You say nothing more despite Moonie's constant asking.
  88. >When you get home you give her a book to read and head into your room.
  89. >Under the bed you find a stuffed bear you were planning to give to Moonie. You stitch an evil looking grin onto its mouth.
  90. >Wide, sharp teeth and you stitch eyebrows to make it look a little angrier.
  91. >Hopefully it's enough.
  92. >You walk out with the bear hidden behind your back, Moonie immediately notices.
  93. "Close your eyes."
  94. >She pauses before doing as you ask
  95. >You sit the bear in front of her.
  96. "Now, open."
  97. >She opens her eyes and the second she notices the bear she goes wide-eyed in joy before wrapping it up into a big hug.
  98. "Do you like it? You finally have your own evil minion."
  99. >She gives an eager nod before looking again at the bear.
  100. >"I shall call you Mr Bearington and you will be my Lord of Mayhem. Nothing shall stop us."
  101.  
  102. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  103. [5]
  104. >You fall into your chair exhausted.
  105. >Today the Princesses are meant to be visiting to check on Moonie's behaviour and you've cleaned the entire house.
  106. >Moonie is playing in the bath right now so you take a moment to relax.
  107. >You wake to a soaked hoof poking your face.
  108. >You don't need to open your eyes to know who is behind this diabolical plan
  109. >"ANON! I demand you comb your Queen's hair, this instant. You promised."
  110. >You DID agree to that, it was the only way she'd take the bath. You sit up with a groan and grab the towel wrapped around Moonie's back.
  111. >You dry her mane then brush it before you hear a knock at the door.
  112. "That must be Luna and Celestia. Remember Moonie, best behaviour."
  113. >She rolls her eyes and scoffs. You open the door to the Princesses and show them in.
  114. >They immediately go to Moonie. She is the reason why they're here after all.
  115. >"Come to submit to me before I regain my power and force you to?"
  116. >Dammit Moonie, what did you just say.
  117. >Celestia smiles at her and Luna looks like she is ready to murder her.
  118. >"Should you choose to not cooperate and reform we can always send you to the moon."
  119. >Luna's tone is colder than ice.
  120. >"But if you truly wish to reform then it will not me necessary." Celestia sounds caring, you're not sure if it's just an act but at least she isn't giving her the death glare like Luna.
  121. >Celestia walks over to you to discuss Moonie's behaviour while Luna watches over Moonie.
  122. >You have a bad feeling but you need to talk to Celestia and you can't leave Moonie alone.
  123. >After talking to Celestia for a while you hear Luna scream out.
  124. >"We have had enough of your disrespect, off to the moon with you.'
  125. >"WAIT, NO!" Moonie screams out and you can hear her beginning to cry.
  126. >You and Celestia stand at the door as you watch Luna hold Moonie up with magic as she clutches Mr Bearington in terror.
  127. >You'd step in but Celestia asks you to wait.
  128. >"And why should we, you ungrateful whelp?"
  129. >"Please don't send me to the moon. It's lonely up there and I'd miss Anonymous. He's the only one to accept and care for me."
  130. >Moonie tears up a little more.
  131. >"Please?"
  132. >Luna places her back on the ground. "If you mean those words then we shall over look your attitude this time."
  133. >"So you're not going to send me to the moon?" Moonie gives a sniff and wipes the tears from her eyes.
  134. >"No, we will not."
  135. >Moonie lights up like the sun. "YAY! Anon I can stay as your Queen, forever."
  136. >She jumps into your arms, giving a warm embrace that you return.
  137.  
  138. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  139. [6]
  140. >Today is family appreciation day at the school.
  141. >Technically only Princess Luna and Celestia are Moonie's family but they're too busy with their royal duties so Cheerilee asked you to come it.
  142. >Not long after you talked to the kids about yourself they went off to play in the yard.
  143. >You decided to stick around for a little while before you going home.
  144. >As you watch all the little fillies play you notice Moonie is playing with the CMC.
  145. >You're not sure why or how they all became friends but you're glad she isn't alone.
  146. >You talk to Cheerilee who is on her break, as you two talk you hear crying.
  147. >You look over to notice it's Moonie?
  148. >You crouch down and open your arms for her as she dives into them and cries into your shirt.
  149. "Moonie, what's wrong? Why're you crying?"
  150. >"T-they s-said I *sniff* was going t-to get sent back *sniff* the moon."
  151. "Who did?"
  152. >"Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon."
  153. >You look up to Cheerilee who is already walking towards the two fillies. Good.
  154. "Hey, hey, you're not going to get sent back to the moon."
  155. >She wipes her eyes and looks up to you. "Y-you promise?" *sniff*
  156. "I, your humble servant, swear that we will always be together."
  157. >She smiles and wipes away the last of her tears.
  158. >"This pleases your Queen."
  159. >She gives you one last embrace before running off to the Cutie Mark Crusaders to play.
  160.  
  161. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  162. [7]
  163. >Tonight is Nightmare Night
  164. >And you've dressed up as a ninja.
  165. >Moonie refused to let you help out with her costume but you can already guess what she'll go as.
  166. >"Anon, are you ready?"
  167. "Yes, Moonie, just show me your costume already."
  168. >She opens the door to her room to reveal that her costume is indeed, drum roll please, Nightmare Moon.
  169. >Except the armour is made out of cardboard.
  170. >Mr Bearington is also in tow, she has him sitting on her back and tied down so he won’t fall.
  171. >Ever since you gave her that bear, they've been inseparable. She won't even leave it behind for school, you of course convinced her not to by telling her someone must guard her evil lair.
  172. >You give a grin, you knew she'd go as Nightmare Moon but she looks too adorable.
  173. "I love it, where'd you get the idea?"
  174. >"I am the Night and it is important everyp0ny know who they are living in fear of."
  175. "Alright your majesty, let's go."
  176. >You've decided to take her around Ponyville so she can get some candy.
  177. >You're hoping she'll behave but like usual she'll--She's already in trouble.
  178. >That's an academy record.
  179. >She's made some filly in a princess costume cry.
  180. >You let out a sigh before taking on a stern voice.
  181. "Miss Moon, what in Tartarus do you doing?"
  182. >"She wouldn't offer me candy so I took it."
  183. >What?
  184. "Why does she need to offer YOU candy?"
  185. >"I am the Princess of the Night; this whole night is to celebrate ME! Anyp0ny who does not make an offering of candy to me, gets eaten."
  186. >She turns back to the princess filly and flashes her teeth. The poor thing runs off in terror, leaving behind her candy.
  187. >"So much candy." She scoops the candy into her own bag before looking to you. "Come servant, we must pillage more candy."
  188. >You lift her up before she has a chance to go anywhere.
  189. >"Put me down this instant. Don’t you know who I am?"
  190. "You're in big trouble if you don't give that candy back."
  191. >"I am infinitely scarier than any punishment you can think of."
  192. "Really? Well then, if you don't behave then Mr Bearington will take your punishment for you then."
  193. >She goes wide-eyed in fear.
  194. >The moment you place her down she rushes off to the princess filly and you watch as she returns her candy.
  195. >The rest of the night is filled with the two of you playing games, collecting candy and you telling her off when she scares someone into getting their candy.
  196. >It's getting close to her bedtime but you decide to take her to the Statue of Nightmare Moon.
  197. >You're not sure why, it just seemed like a nice idea.
  198. >She sits there and stares at the statue of her former self.
  199. >You're not sure what she is thinking so you don't know if to feel worried or sorry for her.
  200. >"Are you not going to make an offering to your Queen? She breaks her gaze away from the statue and turns to you.
  201. "Why would i need to?"
  202. >"If you don't then I may have to gobble you whole."
  203. "I'll be fine, you can't eat me."
  204. >"I am darkness incarnate; it would be a simple task."
  205. "Then who'll read you a bed time story?"
  206. >She glows red in embarrassment.
  207. >"I-I do not need those stories."
  208. "I guess you don't want one tonight then."
  209. >She goes into a panic, unsure if she can admit liking bedtime stories.
  210. "Tell you what, you promise not to eat me and I'll read you two stories tonight."
  211. >"This offer pleases your queen." she gives an excited grin before picking up as much of the candy in front of the statue as she can carry.
  212. >You don't say anything because technically, that candy is hers.
  213.  
  214. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  215. [8]
  216. >You’re heading over to Apple Acres to pick up Moonie.
  217. >She got invited to play with the Cutie Mark Crusaders and you’re expecting to walk up to their tree house and see it set alight.
  218. >Or dark, evil symbols everywhere.
  219. >Or she’s sacrificing one of the girls.
  220. >Moonie is a great kid and she’s doing well in reforming but she has her... moments.
  221. >You knock on the door and Big Mac answers.
  222. “Hey Big Mac, Moonie ready?”
  223. >“Nope. She’s upstairs.”
  224. >You say thanks before heading upstairs.
  225. >You don’t need to guess which room, the giggling is a pretty clear sign of which door they’re behind.
  226. >You open the door a little to check if Moonie is behaving well with the girls.
  227. >Surprisingly they’re all sitting in a circle talking.
  228. >”Nightmare, truth or dare?”
  229. >You bet she made them call her Nightmare and not Moonie.
  230. >”Dare. The Princess of the Night can take any challenge you throw at her.”
  231. >”Ah dare ya, to call Anon your ‘Daddy’.”
  232. >Moonie goes the brightest shade of red and stutters to get out an answer. The other girls go into a giggling fit.
  233. >“I will do no such thing. Anonymous is my servant and will be addressed as such.”
  234. >”You’ve got to Nightmare, it’s the rules.”
  235. >”Yeah or are you chicken?”
  236. >Moonie gives Scootaloo a glare while they go back into a giggling fit.
  237. >Moonie’s blush goes turns a brighter shade of red, probably from anger.
  238. >You figured you’d have some fun with her.
  239. >You give a knock before opening the door the rest of the way.
  240. >Moonie freezes; probably afraid you might have heard the dare she’s been given. You know she’s not one to back away from a challenge but she’s not fond of showing emotion either, especially around others.
  241. >You play innocent.
  242. “Ready to go Moonie?”
  243. >”I-uh-Yes.”
  244. “Good, let’s go then. I’ve got to get dinner ready.”
  245. >”Okay *mumble*.”
  246. >You know what she said but you’re not going to let her get away with it.
  247. “What was that?”
  248. >She responds with a confused look. You can see how nervous she really is.”
  249. >”NOTHING! Let’s go, your Queen is tired.”
  250. >You give a grin; guess she can’t do it after all.
  251. >After dinner and a few games you tuck Moonie into bed then read her favourite bedtime story, ‘Goodnight Moon.’
  252. >She falls asleep before you finish, so you give her a kiss on the forehead before quietly leaving.
  253. >As you slowly close the door you hear Moonie talk in her sleep.
  254. >”Goodnight Daddy.”
  255.  
  256. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  257. [9]
  258. >Today you've been looking after the CMC and you decided to take them to the park with Moonie.
  259. >They're playing some game that you aren't even paying attention to.
  260. >You drift off for a few moments and are woken by Applejack and Rarity.
  261. >"Howdy Anon, the girls been behaving alright?"
  262. "Yeah, no problems."
  263. >"Girls, it's time to go. Thank you again dear for looking after them today, I apologise if they've been a hoof full."
  264. "It's no problem, really. They get along with Moonie so I'm happy to."
  265. >You wave as they head home. You then turn to Moonie who is now laying down on the grass, spread out from exhaustion.
  266. >You give a laugh before standing up.
  267. "Come on, let's go."
  268. >"Your Queen needs a moments rest."
  269. "Moonie, we've been here all day, it's time to go home."
  270. >She just looks up at you in silence with pleading eyes.
  271. >You roll your eyes and lift her up into your arms.
  272. "Anon the Human, at your service your majesty."
  273. >She giggles and shifts into a more comfortable position in your arms. "Onward."
  274. >It's a long walk home and Moonie takes a nap in your arms along the way.
  275. >You look down at her sleeping face; she remains still apart from the rise and fall of her chest and her hair that never stops moving cascades over her face.
  276. >She shouldn't be this cute.
  277.  
  278. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  279. [10]
  280. >You've just finished writing a report to Princess Celestia on Moonie's progress.
  281. >She's doing surprisingly well; she rarely threatens anyone anymore and has even toned down on referring to herself as 'Nightmare Moon'.
  282. >You basically just write that she shouldn't be seen as a threat anymore, she's been behaving and pretty much harmless. A simple report, it's all Celestia asked for anyway.
  283. >It's a little odd when you think about it; the little filly you took care of so long ago was such a huge hassle.
  284. >Trying to escape, insulting anyone who spoke to her and even trying to recruit evil minions.
  285. >It was tough but you still kept at it, eventually she warmed up to you and you warmed up to her.
  286. >It may sound sappy but you love the little bundle of evil.
  287. >And despite that she refuses to say it to you, she loves you back.
  288. >You've become like a father to her.
  289. >You tie up the paper in a roll and leave it on the desk to take it to Spike in the morning.
  290. >Heading into the kitchen you make yourself a sandwich and reminisce about how much your life has changed since taking in Moonie.
  291. >You do the dishes and head to bed, as you walk into the lounge you see Moonie.
  292. >She's reading the report you wrote and... Crying?
  293. >"Y-you think I-I'm *sniff* harmless?"
  294. >You didn't think you wrote anything offensive but you feel horrible either way.
  295. "Moonie I-"
  296. >"I am the Princess of the Night and I don't need you. I'll show you who's harmless!"
  297. >Uh-Oh!
  298. >She charges up her horn and fires her horn right at your chest.
  299. >Since she got turned into a filly by the Elements, her magic is nowhere near as powerful, it just stings a little but it's strong enough to knock you down.
  300. >By the time you look up, Moonie is gone.
  301. >You rush to your feet and search all over the house for her but you can't find her anyway.
  302. >Calling out her name only earns you a response of silence.
  303. >You begin to panic.
  304. >You've got to find her before she does something else.
  305. >You run as fast as you can and begin to check anywhere you think she could hide.
  306. >Not at the park.
  307. >Not at Sweet Apple Acres.
  308. >Nowhere.
  309. >Wait, you realise where she'd go.
  310. >The statue of her former self.
  311. >When you arrive there you find her bundled up in front of it, crying.
  312. >You take a step forward and she notices you.
  313. >"STAY BACK! O-or else."
  314. "Or else what, Moonie?"
  315. >"Stop calling me that! I command you."
  316. "No."
  317. >You keep walking forwards, slowly.
  318. >"I-I don't want to *sniff* hurt you."
  319. >Her eyes are now filled with tears.
  320. >Any anger you felt begins to subside. You're still angry at her but you know she didn't really mean it and you can't hate her as you watch her cry over what she did.
  321. "It's okay, I'm not mad at you."
  322. >"Y-you're not?"
  323. "No. I just told the Princess that stuff because she doesn't want to split us up but we can't be together if you don't behave."
  324. >"But when she finds out, she'll take me away forever."
  325. "Moonie, I told you. We'll be together, forever."
  326. >She starts wiping her tears away, trying to calm herself down.
  327. "Moonie."
  328. >She stares right into your eyes, still with a few tears hanging in them.
  329. >You kneel on one knee and hold open your arms.
  330. "I love you."
  331. >She immediately rushes into your arms too, crying.
  332. >"I lo-like you too."
  333.  
  334. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  335. [11]
  336. >”Are yah sure about this?”
  337. >”They can be quite the handful.”
  338. “I’ll be fine now go, you’ll miss your train otherwise.”
  339. >”Alright, we’ll just say goodbye to the girls real quick.”
  340. >Rarity and Applejack to say goodbye to their sisters before they have to head off to the Crystal Empire.
  341. >They apparently have some urgent business up there and can’t take the girls with them so you agreed to look after them while they were gone for the day. You even invited Scootaloo to come hang out with them.
  342. >Those three are inseparable and mostly take care of themselves, your main concern is the evil little filly watching from the window with a sinister grin.
  343. >That look is putting you on edge a little.
  344. >She gets along with the girls alright but she’s not fond of letting anyone come around to the house and yet when you told her they’d be visiting she didn’t put up a fight.
  345. >You know her too well to think she’s just being friendly, she has up to something.
  346. >”Bye Anon,” you look up from your train of thought as Applejack calls out to you.
  347. “Bye, say hi to Cadence and Shining for me,” you shout back.
  348. >You wave to them as they leave and the three girls walk up to you.
  349. >”Howdy Anon, thanks for lookin’ after us.”
  350. “No problem, Moonie is just inside.”
  351. >You show them inside and when you step in, you look around for Moonie but she’s nowhere in sight.
  352. >Mr Bearington has been left on the couch and it’s eerily quiet.
  353. >”Hey Anon, where’s Moon?”
  354. “In her room probably-”
  355. >”Greetings Scootaloo, Applebloom and Sweetie Belle.” Moonie steps into the room with a charming tone which only further increases your suspicions.
  356. >”Hiya Moon, did you wanna play?”
  357. >”Of course, I have some stuff in my room we can use.”
  358. >You give her a puzzled look as she leads them into her room.
  359. >She doesn’t even like you going in that room half the time, something is definately up.
  360. >You wait a few minutes before walking up the hallway to her room.
  361. >As you get closer you hear chanting and the steady beating of a drum few seconds.
  362. >You gently lean on the door and peek in through the gap to see Moonie sitting on a kitchen table adorned with tin foil like it’s a throne.
  363. >Scootaloo is beating on a drum while wearing the same dark-hooded cloak as Sweetie Belle and Applebloom.
  364. >”Oh great Queen of the Night, what is your bidding?” Applebloom chants in a monotone voice.
  365. >”Your queen desires-”
  366. >You can’t let this continue so you open the door and stand there, cross armed with a stern look.
  367. >”Oh, Anon. What’s the matter?”
  368. >Moonie gives you a relaxed look like this is all innocent.
  369. “What is all this?”
  370. >”A game,” Sweetie Belle squeaks.
  371. >You’ll think about how fucking cute that is after you’ve put a stop to Moonie’s tyranny.
  372. >Wait.
  373. “A game?”
  374. >”Yeah, we were playing cults and templars.”
  375. “What kind of game is that?”
  376. >”It’s like cops and robbers but with magic.”
  377. “And who are the templars?”
  378. >They all pause in thought, like they’ve suddenly realised what their game was missing.
  379. >”Anon,” Moonie jumps from her throne and looks up to you with big pleading eyes, “Can we go to the park, please?”
  380. >They all huddle up with the same look.
  381. >Pouting lips with a slight quiver, bulging eyes that pierce your heart like a spear and they all say in unison, “Please?”
  382. >Before your heart overdoses on the cute, you raise your hands to admit defeat.
  383. “Okay, okay, we’ll go.”
  384. >The three proudly cheer and rush to the door. When you get to the lounge room, you notice Moonie is grabbing Mr bearington and the girls are nowhere in sight.
  385. >Time for some teasing.
  386. “I’m happy you’ve made some friends.”
  387. >”What? They aren’t my friends, just minions who have submitted to my will.”
  388. “Oh, really?” you look off the distance and scratch your head, “I was thinking about inviting them over again soon but if they aren’t your friends.”
  389. >You look in the corner of your eye to see her flinching, you can tell she’s thinking of how to get you to let them over without admitting anything. Good luck.
  390. >After letting her struggle for a few seconds you walk to the door with a grin.
  391. “I knew it. I’ll invite your friends over again when Rarity and Applejack get back.”
  392. >”I-I told you, they are minions and I am their Queen, no more.”
  393. >You say nothing more as you think about how proud you are.
  394. >Moonie has friends, that’s something you never thought to see.
  395.  
  396. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  397. [12]
  398. >"Your highness, we are outnumbered," Sir Bearington calls out from cover.
  399. "Good, I wouldn't want it to be too easy," you reply as you dive out from Pillow Fort of Doom, Mark II, slaying enemies left and right.
  400. >Small green toy soldiers fly left and right and you tear through their army.
  401. >A few of them land hits but their power is insignificant when compared to Nightmare Moon, queen of the night.
  402. >"Your righteous onslaught stop here," screams the doll playing the role of Princess Celestia, "Release the dragon!"
  403. >You hear a loud roar from behind and you immediately spin around to see a dragon ready to tear you limb from limb.
  404. >You've fought scarier.
  405. >You are scarier.
  406. >It takes its stance and so do you, charging your horn before charging into battle.
  407. >"Moonie," Anonymous calls out, grabbing your attention from your trip into imagination land.
  408. "Yes servant?"
  409. >"Bath time."
  410. >Your heart fills with dread as you sense you impending doom.
  411. "Sir Bearington, there's no time for anymore motivational speeches, to your battle station!"
  412. >"Yes mistress," he replies with a salute.
  413. >You scrounge through your toy for some rope, when you find it you rush over to lay it in the doorway and hide behind the door.
  414. >Now, you wait.
  415. >After a few minutes Anon calls your name again as he walks up the hall to your room.
  416. >"Closer," you whisper to yourself as the thump of his footsteps now mirror your quickened heart beat.
  417. >You take a guess at how close he is and when you think he's in position you pull on the rope with your magic.
  418. >There's a brief pause before you hear Anon take a tumble.
  419. >"Dammit Moonie, we are not playing these games again!"
  420. "NEVER!" You squeal as you grab Sir Bearington with your magic and rush out the door.
  421. >You make your way to the lounge room as fast as your little legs can scurry.
  422. >A quick dive in between in couch cushions and both you and Sir Bearington are perfectly hidden.
  423. >"Your majesty, he's coming-"
  424. "Shh, listen."
  425. >Just as you predicted, Anonymous is already in the room searching for you.
  426. >You knew your trap wouldn't keep him pinned for long.
  427. >"Moonie, I'm tired from work and not in the mood."
  428. >Anon's hand reaches in, narrowly missing your nose and latches onto Sir Bearington.
  429. >Your eyes widen in shock as you realise you've been caught.
  430. >"Fear not my Queen, I won't tell him a thing!"
  431. >You give him a sorrowed salute as he takes him away, sealing his fate.
  432. >"Bearington? Moonie needs to stop leaving you lying around."
  433. >"I do no such thing," you angrily whisper to yourself.
  434. >"Moonie," Anon says aloud, "I have the bear. I'll be waiting in the bathroom. Either you take a bath, or he does."
  435. >Extortion.
  436. >A pang of guilt washes over you as you realise Anon is willing to torture Sir Bearington in your stead.
  437. >As Queen of the Night, you must not allow your minions to take punishment in your name.
  438. >But the threat of the water torture known as a bath made you uneasy about your newfound bravado.
  439. "I shall never give in," you shout but making sure to throw your voice so he can't find you.
  440. >You grin at your own brilliance.
  441. >Unknown to you, you didn't throw your voice.
  442. >Instead you gave away your position and Anon is giving the couch a deadpan stare. He then walks away, playing along.
  443. >When you're well and truly sure he has left, you creep out of couch and begin pacing.
  444. >At first, you hesitate, tempted to leave Sir Bearington to his fate.
  445. >It was as if an angel and devil were debating from either shoulder and that little angel won, sadly.
  446. >It wouldn't be right or fair to leave him, especially considering how Sir Bearington always has your back.
  447. >You take a brief moment to form a plan before saying aloud.
  448. "Very well, commence Operation Beartrot."
  449. >without wasting a second, you race through the house and toward the bathroom.
  450. >You slide to the doorway, glaring at Anon."Release. The. Bear."
  451. >"About time, get in the bath."
  452. >He turns around and leans over to feel the water."How foolish," you cackle to yourself.
  453. >You go into a mad dash before leaping through the air, rocketing at full speed towards the giant target you've mentally imagined on Anon's butt."Shiver me timbers, I've hit booty," you shout as you make impact, causing both you and Anon to land into the bathtub.
  454. >You take one look at Anon's unimpressed face and go into a fit of roaring laughter, which is cut short as Anon dumps a bucket of water over your head.
  455. >Now it's his turn to laugh.
  456. >"Much better."
  457. "Where is-"
  458. >"Sir Bearington is over by the hamper. Unharmed.""Mission success!"
  459. >"Heh, well your new mission is to have a bath."
  460. >As you let out a groan, Anon dumps another bucket of water on you.
  461. "Fine," you cough and splutter.
  462. ---30 minutes later---
  463. "Moonie," you shout as you walk into the bathroom for the fifth time, "It's time to get out."
  464. >A small head pops up and stares at you.
  465. >"No."
  466.  
  467. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  468. [13]
  469. >"Anonymous, I'm hungry," cries the filly of terror at your side while you read the paper.
  470. "Hi hungry, I'm Anon."
  471. >You drop the paper as a sense of dread washes over you.
  472. >You've made a dad joke.
  473. "Oh god."
  474. >You drift out of reality for how long? You're not sure.
  475. >But long enough for Moonie to climb up onto the counter and start digging a hoof into the cookie jar.
  476. >You lift her up and put the lid back on the jar.
  477. >"HEY! I was about to get a cookie."
  478. "I can tell. You're not having cookies, I'll be making dinner soon so you're not filling up on junk."
  479. >"Can't I have just one?"
  480. "No, now go play until tea is ready."
  481. >After you leave her in the lounge room, she begins to play with Sir Bearington but you know what she's like.
  482. >She's scheming something.
  483. >Just as you predicted, she's creeping low into the kitchen.
  484. >You pretend you're none the wiser as you cut up some salad until you hear her lift the cookie jar.
  485. >As you spin around, you frighten her and she lets it slip out of her magic grip.
  486. >Luckily, you're able to save it in time and Moonie has made a mad dash out of the room before you have a chance to tell her off.
  487. >You just get back to making dinner and wait until attempt three.
  488. >It takes her a quite a while before she tries again. You've already finished serving the food when she comes sliding into the room inside a box with leaves and sticks taped too.
  489. "If this is the best you've got then I don't see how so many ponies were terrified of you," you state as you lift the box up to reveal Sir Bearington.
  490. >You spin around to the cookie jar to see Moonie grinning at you.
  491. >"If that's how easy it is to fool you, then I can see why nopony was ever afraid of you," she retorts as she shoves and hoof into the jar.
  492. >You just let her go, grinning as she realises there are no cookies in the jar.
  493. >"What have you done with them you fiend?"
  494. "I hid them because dinner is ready, you can have a couple when you've finished eating everything."
  495. >She gives a defeated pout as she walks over to her chair at the table, still scanning the room, most likely to guess where you'd hide the cookies.
  496. "If you don't eat all your food, I'll eat all the cookies myself."
  497. >She immediately perks up and digs in.
  498. -----
  499. >You're washing the dishes from tea while Moonie is laughing up a storm.
  500. >After a while you hear a loud thud followed by yelling.
  501. >You rush into the room to see Moonie on the floor reaching up towards Sir Bearington who is still on the chair.
  502. >"Go on without me, Sir Bearington, it's too late for me!"
  503. >She writhes and wriggles around while making sounds of pain and death.
  504. >You just stare at her until she notices you and gives you a sheepish smile.
  505. >"How can your Queen be of assistance?"
  506. "What are you doing?"
  507. >"Pretending the floor is lava. I fell and now a slow, agonising death is my reward for failure."
  508. >You shake your head with a smile and head back to the kitchen.
  509. >"Alright, round two," she cries out before immediately falling again.
  510. >You can't help but laugh as you return to the dishes.
  511.  
  512. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  513. [14]
  514. >You lean back into your chair after finishing the same book for the third time. As you stare at the ceiling, you realise you have no idea on what you should do next.
  515. "I need a hobby," you say aloud to yourself.
  516. >"You filthy cheater!"
  517. >After the sudden outburst, Moonie storms out of her room and flops onto the couch with an irritated groan.
  518. "Everything alright?"
  519. >"No. Mr Bearington has been cheating in chess."
  520. >You decide it's best not to question how she can lose to a stuffed bear let alone how he's able to cheat.
  521. >Kids usually have an over-active imagination and Moonie is no different in that regard.
  522. >"Anon, I'm bored."
  523. "Go shovel the snow off the footpath outside then."
  524. >"No, I don't want to."
  525. "I guess you're not that bored then."
  526. >"You know, as your Queen, these menial labour tasks are your responsibility. I work very hard and you dare shovel a greater work load at me? It's like you don't even appreciate what I do around here."
  527. >You muffle a chuckle to make sure she doesn't hear or see you laughing.
  528. >The last thing she needs is to discover that you find her rants like this, amusing. She'd never end.
  529. "Moonie, do as you're told."
  530. >"I... I am the mistress of the night, darkness incarnate. My brilliant mind should be put to use ruling this feeble country and instead you want me to shovel snow?"
  531. "The shovel is already outside for you."
  532. >With a grumble and a loud march, Moonie heads outside. Her rant however, is far from over.
  533. >It doesn't take her long, magic speeds up the process of most jobs.
  534. >You know exactly when she's finished because all you hear outside is her roaring cackle.
  535. >Curious about what she's up to, you take a look outside where she's made a small fort on one side of the yard and made tiny snowponies on the other side.
  536. >"FIRE!"
  537. >She shouts again as she hurls snowballs directly at the snowponies.
  538. >One hits the largest snowpony in the face, causing its head to fall off which sends Moonie into a laughing fit.
  539. "Well, at least I'm not the only one who needs a hobby."
  540.  
  541. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  542. [15]
  543. "Moonie. Bed time."
  544. >You wait but there's no defiant reply. Instead, the house is silent, then you hear a muffled snicker.
  545. >As you walk around the lounge room, the snickering becomes more frequent.
  546. >You then track it to its source, a filly queen hiding under the coffee table.
  547. >"The paladin of light has found us," she bellows as she runs off with Sir Bearington on her back.
  548. >Now, you know it's a bad idea to stir her up when you say it's bedtime but a sudden impulse overwhelms you. An impulse to chase.
  549. >You leap over the coffee table and chase after the scurrying terror.
  550. >For a little thing, she sure can move fast. It also helps that you're walking quickly instead of dashing at her.
  551. >The whole time Moonie is running, she's giggling and cackling up a storm.
  552. >It's wonderful to hear and it gets even better when she runs through the kitchen as you go around through the lounge room.
  553. >This time, you run and get to the other entrance of the kitchen before she does.
  554. >She lets out a surprised squeal before trying to run in the other direction.
  555. >But your reach gives you the advantage as you scoop her up into your arms.
  556. "Gotcha! And now it's time for your punishment!"
  557. >You don't give her a chance to speak as you begin to tickle the now wriggling and giggling Moonie.
  558. >"Pfft-Stop-heheh-no more-bahahaha-CEASE THIS AT-AHAHAHAA!!"
  559. >You keep tickling her as you carry her to bed and stop just before tucking her in.
  560. "Alright, no more. Night Moonie."
  561. >"I... Will get... You... For that," she says in between gasps for air.
  562. >You give her a cocky grin as you leave the room for her to sleep.
  563.  
  564. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  565. [16]
  566. >"ANON!"
  567. >Moonie's shriek causes you to half wake up, still in that dreamy state of mind.
  568. "What?!"
  569. "ANON, COME QUICK! PLEASE!"
  570. >Her voice is frightened and panicky so you jump out of bed and bolt into her room.
  571. >As you swing the door open, fully prepared for whatever is going on, a bucket of water pours all over you.
  572. >Moonie bursts into a giggling fit, unable tp hold her sides.
  573. >"You should see your stupid face," she says while gasping for air.
  574. "It's midnight.... Get your flank into bed before I kick it in there!"
  575.  
  576. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  577. [17]
  578. >You're walking through the park, trying to find Moonie.
  579. >You told her to come home for lunch and as usual, she decided to not do as she was told.
  580. >Then you come cross a sign, "Follow the signs, win a prize."
  581. >Intrigued, you follow the arrow on it until you reach another sign hidden in a bush.
  582. >"Well done, but can you hear the next sign calling?"
  583. >You're a bit puzzled at first, all you can hear is all the playful laughter of the nearby fillies then the chirping of baby birds catch your attention.
  584. >Up in a nearby tree you hear them, there's a nest and as you look around you find the next sign hidden behind the tree.
  585. >"Almost there, don't give up because for this next challenge, you'll need a little luck."
  586. >This one has you stumped. There's no clue just a cryptic message that doesn't even hint at anything.
  587. >As you look around the park, you don't notice anything the sign might have mentioned.
  588. >There's fillies and colt playing, a duck pond, plenty of plant life and a playground.
  589. >Nothing.
  590. >Then you get an idea, to try looking beyond the park to the shops in the distance.
  591. >And sure enough, you see what the sign hinted at, Roseluck's florist shop.
  592. >When you get closer you see the sign and it reads, "Nicely done Professor."
  593. "Professor? What?"
  594. >Confused and annoyed at the stupid clue, you spin around to get back too looking for Moonie but then you see an Oak tree with a sign.
  595. >It has an arrow pointing straight down to a little chest.
  596. >Now the game has you interested again but it goes straight back to being confusing as all that's inside is a towel.
  597. >It's damp too, like it's been used.
  598. "Wow, this game s-"
  599. >Suddenly, a water balloon is dropped on you, soaking you completely before being followed by a large, evil cackle.
  600. >One you'd recognise anywhere.
  601. "That's it. You started it, now I'm finishing it."
  602. >"I'm so scared," she jeers at you.
  603.  
  604. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  605. [18]
  606. >It's early in the morning.
  607. >That point of early where there's a chill in the air still and you question why you're up instead of laying in your warm bed still.
  608. >As you load your water gun with ice and water, you grin to yourself.
  609. >Once your water gun is full , you walk into Moonie's room.
  610. "Dah-da-dedededededededee-dee!"
  611. >"Anonymous, your Queen demands you stop making that infernal racket. I'm try-"
  612. >You interrupt her with a barrage of ice cold water.
  613. >Moonie squeals and tries to hide under the covers but it's useless. The water seeps through.
  614. >"AH! Too cold!"
  615. >As she squirms to get out of bed, she trips over the blanket and falls out.
  616. >You dash over to the other side to check on her.
  617. "Moonie, you alright?"
  618. >The moment she opens her mouth to speak, you start spraying her again.
  619. >"AH! Stop it! I HATE YOU!"
  620. "Love you too now get up, I made pancakes."
  621.  
  622. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  623. [19]
  624. >You and Moonie are sitting outside under the stars.
  625. >You thought it'd be nice to eat outside for one, Moonie always loves being out at night after all.
  626. >"Anon, do you enjoy the night?"
  627. "Yeah, quite a lot. It's peaceful, beautiful and back home I was awake at night more than I was during the day. Why do you ask?"
  628. >"I've always thought that ponies spend too much time on such meaningless things and when I look up at the night sky, I feel tiny but I feel like there's more important things out there. The universe is ever expanding, infinite almost and we're here, stuck on our tiny rock worry about how to have our manes or what we want to do for a living."
  629. "Yeah..."
  630. >You're a little taken aback by this side of Moonie.
  631. >As you sit beside her, she stares up towards the moon, lost completely by with soft white glow and its surrounding stars that twinkle gently as they dot the black canvas of the sky.
  632. >"Perhaps, if ponies took time to watch the night sky once in a while, if they'd just look up then they'd realise there's more important things to be do."
  633. "Like play dress up with their teddy bears?"
  634. >"Sh-Nevermind!"
  635.  
  636. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  637. [20]
  638. >"Mistress, are you sure this is healthy?"
  639. "Of course not, that's what makes it so delicious! It's a simple scientific fact."
  640. >You bring the bowl over and begin pouring the ingredients before digging in.
  641. >Wow, this is good.
  642. >Anon then walks into the room looking like he was shoved into the washing machine.
  643. >He walks past you, dragging his feet but stops dead in his tracks to turn and look at your wonderful concoction.
  644. >"What is in that?"
  645. "Chocolate pudding, fruit loops, mini-marshmallows, banana milk and strawberry yoghurt," you reply with a proud grin.
  646. >"Where did you get banana milk?"
  647. "Pinkie. I tried coca-cola at first but it made my nose feel funny plus it didn't go well with the pudding."
  648. >"You're disgusting!"
  649.  
  650. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  651. [21]
  652. >"Yarr-harr-harr!"
  653. >You've heard Moonie yelling in pirate talk for the past 10 minutes now.
  654. >Curious, you head down into the basement to see what she's doing.
  655. >She's sitting in front on the washing machine with a newspaper hat and cardboard sword.
  656. >"Arr, Anon, congratulations! Ye been promoted to first mate."
  657. "Why is the washing machine on?"
  658. >"The old first mate was back talking, so I had 'im walk the plank into a whirlpool. Yarr-harr-harr! You best behave unless ye want to follow in his pawsteps."
  659. "You know, I think it's high time you had a wash too. You smell like you've been out on the high seas for years."
  660. >"No! Mutiny," she cries as you lift her up and carry to the bathroom.
  661.  
  662. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  663. [22]
  664. >You're enjoying a sandwich when you hear something shatter in the next room.
  665. "Moonie?"
  666. >You call out with a mouthful of food but there's no answer, only the slamming of a door.
  667. >With a sigh, you stand up and step into the next room to find an antique vase smashed and scattered all over the floor.
  668. >The vase was given to you by Luna, a priceless heirloom but you're glad to see it go as it was ugly as all hell.
  669. >It was white with black trimming, red circles that looked like they were staring at you and the words "wub" written all over it.
  670. >You head outside to find Moonie.
  671. >It didn't take more than a second as she scurried up the tree in the front yard. Once you step outside, she clings to the tree.
  672. "Moonie, get down from there."
  673. >"No!"
  674. >As you move closer she tries to climb higher but to no avail. Hooves never were the best at climbing trees.
  675. "What happened?"
  676. >"It was an accident. Sir Bearington and I were playing when we bumped into it."
  677. "Are you two okay? Neither of you got any cuts?"
  678. >"No."
  679. "Alright, well the vase was disgusting anyway so I'm not mad."
  680. >You hold out your arms but she's still not convinced. Damn this filly is stubborn.
  681. >"This is a trick!"
  682. "It is not. Now come down before you hurt yourself. How did you even climb that?"
  683. >She looks at you, hesitating on making a decision before hiding behind the trunk with just her head poking out.
  684. >"First, I need to hear how you love me."
  685.  
  686. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  687. [23]
  688. "Moonie, you can help me with desert tonight."
  689. >She lets out a loud, irritated groan.
  690. >"But I don't want to."
  691. "Too bad, it won't kill you."
  692. >"It might. Besides, I have never cooked before."
  693. "All the more reason to learn. Now get in here or has the Mistress of the night finally found something she can't do?"
  694. >And typical Moonie, takes the bait.
  695. >She rushes into the kitchen, holding her head high with a holier than thou expression.
  696. >"You will regret those words, as the Queen of the eternal there is nothing I can't do. I could cook this entire cake myself."
  697. >You know you probably shouldn't, but you decide to take her up on her offer.
  698. "Alright, you can do it alone. Did you want the recipe?"
  699. >"You dare insult me further?"
  700. >You shrug before sitting back on the kitchen table, you're not going to leave her alone.
  701. >She uses her magic to grab all the utensils and ingredients before setting to work.
  702. >As you scan over the ingredients, you realise you never told her what cake she's supposed to be making.
  703. "You do know you're supposed to be cooking a-"
  704. >"I'm making my own recipe."
  705. >You're begging to feel uneasy about doing this, but you'll stick to your guts.
  706. >Again, you take a seat only to get back up when you see her grabbing plum jam and dumping it in.
  707. "Uh, how much Jam is this cake supposed to have?"
  708. >"Ten," she replies with a nonchalant attitude.
  709. "Ten? Ten jam... Right."
  710. >You take a deep breathe and sit back, there's no need to worry. You hope.
  711. >Then Moonie adds the things a cake should have; milk, eggs, butter, barbecue and tomato sauce.
  712. "W-were they sauces that you just added?"
  713. >"Yeah, the recipe needs so many sauces."
  714. "R-Right."
  715. >As Moonie continues to cook, the mess begins to grow.
  716. "Moonie, is that chocolate?"
  717. >"Yeah, about four and a half inches of the stuff."
  718. >This has gotten out of hand.
  719. >And you're not quite sure why you haven't stepped in to stop her either.
  720. >Especially after when she added the Vegemite and cereal.
  721. >She then pours the bowls contents into a blender and lets it grind it all up into a paste-like batter before pouring it into the tray.
  722. >She then holds the tray up to you.
  723. "What are you giving it to me for?"
  724. >"You're supposed to let an adult handle the oven. You're not my first choice but you're the only one here.
  725. >This is probably the first and only sensible thing she's done this whole time.
  726. >You place the tray into the oven and then set it to cook.
  727. >After it's done, you pull the tray out and to your surprise it looks good.
  728. >The thing is wobbling from side to side but it looks puffy and spongy, just like how a cake should look.
  729. >You then place it on the table and cut both you and Moonie a slice.
  730. >Then when you sit down, you take another look.
  731. >Aside from the movement, it looks perfectly normal which scares you more than if came out looking like vomit.
  732. >Moonie sits opposite to you with a big, proud grin.
  733. >You can't tell if she's secretly cackling behind that grin or not.
  734. >Actually, you think she might be genuinely proud of this which is going to make this all the harder.
  735. >You take a bite of it and you're instantly hit with the plum jam along with the tomato and barbecue sauce.
  736. >Then the taste of the cereal and Vegemite are next, followed by the chocolate.
  737. >The after taste reminds you of doritos, something you're not sure you even had in the house.
  738. >"How is it?" She beams as she asks.
  739. "Good," you reply, trying your best to lie.
  740. >It takes all your willpower not to break, especially after she forces a second slice on you.
  741. >Then you notice that she hasn't had a bite of hers.
  742. "Not hungry?"
  743. >"No, why would I eat that garbage? I'll be on the toilet for a week."
  744. >Then, your gut lets out a low, garbled rumble signalling as a warning of the week to come.
  745.  
  746. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  747. [24]
  748. >Opening the door to the little menace of the night's room, you're greeted by a great mess of toys, clothes, sheets and other miscellaneous items.
  749. >You roll your eyes and begin to dig through the various mounds.
  750. "Moonie, we're leaving."
  751. >You notice in the corner of your eyes, a face peek out from under the pile of pillows before retreating back to safety.
  752. "Dammit Moonie, where are you?" You ask, feigning ignorance while you walk over to the pillow pile.
  753. >Then, you suddenly reach into it and feel around until you feel some fur.
  754. >You grab hold and lift up your prize to your eye level.
  755. >It's Sir Bearington.
  756. >You're not so stupid as to let her catch you unaware through this.
  757. >Moonie leaps out to make a break for the door but you've already had a hand ready to catch her.
  758. >You latch onto the scruff on the back of her neck.
  759. >"Let me go," she demands.
  760. "Come on," you reply as you carry her outside.
  761. >You place her on the ground outside before you lock the door.
  762. >"Anon, we don't have to do this," she says, trying her best not to sound desperate in her plea.
  763. >You don't answer her, you just begin making your way to the school with a stoic face.
  764. >You're enjoying this.
  765. >After a few steps, you turn around to see Moonie isn't following.
  766. "You're coming whether you like it or not."
  767. >"You dare order me? As your queen-"
  768. "We had a deal, remember? If Cheerilee says you've been good then we'll eat anything you want for dinner this weekend but if she says otherwise, you're getting double chores for the month."
  769. >"You don't need me to talk to her," she replies, still trying to wriggle her way out of this.
  770. "Deal is off then," you remark as you start walking to the school once more.
  771. >You can hear Moonie being indecisive about her decision before scurrying after you.
  772. >The walk is silent, she doesn't say a word until you arrive at the school and are about to knock.
  773. >"Do you think we can lessen the punishment... Just a little. To like, two days."
  774. "Heh, that was a terrible try," you comment as you knock.
  775. >The door swings open and there stands a bright and bubbly Miss Cheerilee.
  776. >"Ah, Anon and Moonie, please come right in."
  777. >She leads you over to her desk and points to the two chairs in front of it.
  778. >The three of you take your respective seats before Cheerilee clears her throat to speak.
  779. >"Right, welcome to the Parent and Teacher meeting. First off, is there anything you'd like to know?"
  780. "Just curious on how Moonie is doing and if she's behaving."
  781. >"Oh, Moonie is very well behaved, in fact since she started attending, the class' behaviour has gone up."
  782. >You pause.
  783. >This is something you need a moment to process.
  784. "She's probably scaring them half to death if they annoy her," you mutter under your breath.
  785. >"Her grades are a bit above average and she loves art," Cheerilee beams as she browses one of her filing cabinets, "see?"
  786. >She place three pieces of paper all depicting Moonie in and Sir Bearington in battle.
  787. >All three are rather graphic but quite well done.
  788. >You're not sure how to feel about one in particular; there's two asses beside a golden throne that has Moonie sitting in it while she adorns a royal crown.
  789. >One ass is white and the other is a dark blue, both are clearly the princesses. You'd recognise those anywhere.
  790. "Yes... She clearly has a lot of... passion for her work."
  791. >"Mhm, aside from the occasional slip up, Moonie is a wonderful student."
  792. "What kind of slip ups?"
  793. >"Nothing major, just things like: there was the time she set Diamond Tiara's tail on fire-"
  794. >"She deserved it, she-"
  795. "Don't interrupt," you interject.
  796. >Moonie then sits down with a pout and her forehooves crossed.
  797. >"She once tried the foreign exchange student from Cervidas how to speak R'lyehian."
  798. >For that one you need to try holding the need to crack a smile.
  799. >You're responsible for that considering you read her H.P. Lovecraft as bedtime stories on a regular basis.
  800. >"And then there was last week where tried tried sacrificing Featherweight to, uh, I think it was something called Gliken?"
  801. >You give Moonie a tap on the back of the head and a scowl.
  802. >"He made me drop my sandwich when I was hungry," she says like it's a legitimate reason and she's innocent.
  803. "What have I told you about sacrificing people? Plus Lord Glycon isn't going make you sandwiches."
  804. >"He might if he had a little more meat offer-"
  805. >You interrupt her by giving her a smack on the nose with two fingers.
  806. >She scrunches up her face and stares at her nose, confused about what just happened.
  807. >"Aside from those minor incidents, Moonie is a model student."
  808. >Moonie stand up on her hind legs and throws her forehooves into the air as she cheers.
  809. >"YES! Cheeto ice cream all day erry day."
  810. "You disgust me," you mutter in response.
  811. >"Silence you welp, a deal is a deal."
  812. >You give a sigh of defeat, she's technically right after all.
  813. >Cheerilee just sits there, beaming a happy smile at the two of you.
  814. >You get the impression that she lets Moonie off the hook with everything but you're not going to argue because you'll look like a sore loser and never hear the end of it.
  815. >You stand up, say good bye to Cheerilee before leaving.
  816. >"Okay so this weekend we will have Cheetos ice cream for dinner both nights, oreos in a bowl of banana and chocolate milk for breakfast and lastly, for lunch, hundreds and thousands mixed with apples in a pie."
  817. >Your stomach churns a little at the thought of this weekend's meal plan.
  818.  
  819. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  820. [25]
  821. >Moonie lets out a load groan before tossing the book she was reading behind her.
  822. "What's wrong?"
  823. >"I'm just sick of all these lame superheroes winning all the time. When does Dr Stallion Von Doom get his moment of triumph?"
  824. >She groans again before rolling over onto her back.
  825. "Well, good is always meant to win in the end."
  826. >"Yeah but the villain's victory is always short-lived because he has to brag about his plans or leave the hero in a situation where he can get out easily."
  827. >Moonie uses her magic to lift Sir Bearington above her and make him dance.
  828. >Her boredom is written as clear as day on her face.
  829. "Wait, so they don't even do things like killing off a hero or villain?"
  830. >"Nope. Boring right? I need violence," she comments while shaking her forehooves in the air in frustration.
  831. >Normally you'd be concerned about the way she said that but given the circumstances, you can understand.
  832. "How about I tell you a story?"
  833. >"More Lovecraft?" She perks up as she asks.
  834. "No, something else," you reply.
  835. >You then list off a few heroes from DC and Marvel whose story you know pretty well like: Batman, Nightwing, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Spider-man and a few more before asking her to pick one.
  836. >And of course, the Mistress of the night goes for Nightwing.
  837. >So you begin with a little back story about how he was formerly called Robin as a kid while training under Batman then you get into his own story.
  838. >You do your best to be as descriptive as possible, even drawing what people look like to show her.
  839. >A few times you'll add in your own details because you've either forgotten what it actually was or thought it was stupid, like when they gave him a gun.
  840. >Moonie is enthralled the whole time.
  841. >Especially when someone is killed off or has the crapped kicked out of them and winds up a cripple.
  842. >You take a glance out the window to see it's gotten way past Moonie's bedtime.
  843. "Woah, bedtime."
  844. >"Aww, but Batman and Nightwing were about to fight the Red Hood," she protests.
  845. "I'll tell you the rest later. Now bed."
  846. >She gives a loud, annoyed groan before marching off to the bathroom.
  847. >You get the idea that you should write the story down, it's kind of plagiarising but you're in a different world with not a lot for you to do when Moonie isn't around.
  848. >Once Moonie has finished her nightly routine, she climbs into bed and you tuck her in.
  849. >The two of you say goodnight and you head to bed yourself.
  850. >Sleep comes naturally but you don't sleep long.
  851. >Instead you are woken possibly an hour after you went to bed to something jumping up onto your bed.
  852. "Moonie?"
  853. >"Nay, it is I, Nightwing and I've come to end your tyranny!"
  854. "What are you tal-"
  855. >You're interrupted by Moonie drop kicking you in the gut.
  856. >Perhaps this wasn't such a good idea after all.
  857.  
  858. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  859. [26]
  860. >"Ka-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo!"
  861. >You can hear Moonie making gun sound effects as she scurries up and down the house.
  862. >You can't help but laugh a little while you do the dishes.
  863. >Since she was turned into a filly, she lost a lot of power and could barely levitate things let alone do anything threatening.
  864. >As she grows, she regains her power.
  865. >She's fully capable of levitation and weaponising her bolts of magic.
  866. >It feels about as painful as a slap but she'll only keep getting stronger.
  867. >And now she's managed to regain enough magic to use illusions.
  868. >"Hey, Anon!"
  869. >You turn to her as she fires a bolt of magic at your face.
  870. >Instinct kicks in and you raise your arms to shield yourself.
  871. >You're not sure when, but you spilt some water onto the floor and as a result of your flailing, you slip on the puddle.
  872. >Because the bolt she fired was just an illusion, your ass is the only thing that receives any injury.
  873. >You give your ass a gentle rub.
  874. >This is gonna bruise.
  875. >Moonie then darts out of the room while cackling at the top of her lungs.
  876.  
  877. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  878. [27]
  879. >You walk around the house, contemplating life here and Earth as you munch on a carrot. Usually you'd exercise with Dash but with
  880. your PT off on some Wonderbolt tour, you've taken the opportunity to be lazy. Like every other time you're not hanging with Dash.
  881. >"You've failed me for the last time Sir Bearington. AGAIN," Moonie shrieks in frustration from the lounge room.
  882. With nothing better to do, you go check out what's up.
  883. "What are you doing?"
  884. >"Homework but Sir Bearington is useless at math."
  885. "Need a hand?"
  886. >"Very well. You may assist your queen."
  887. >She tries her best to put on a guise but you doubt she could make it more obvious that she's in desperate need for help. You take a seat on the empty floor beside her and look over her paper, just simple math problems from the looks of it.
  888. >"Which one are you stuck on?"
  889. >She points to the second question. You'd ask how long she's spent on her homework but you asked her to get it done a long while ago so you'd feel bad if the answer was the whole time.
  890. "Using only exponents, make seven an even number," you mutter, reading the question aloud.
  891. >"What is an exponent ag-"
  892. "Just remove the s."
  893. >She stares at the paper, confused and whispering so quietly that you can't hear it as she tries to piece together what you said until it hits her. Then she looks up at you with a hateful glare.
  894. >"Get out. I don't want your help any more."
  895.  
  896. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  897. [28]
  898. >You lie there on the couch, staring up at the roof while wrapped up in a blanket and thinking warm thoughts as the winter's frozen grip continues to try and turn you into a human ice block.
  899. >It's a shame there is no electricity in this world, or that you haven't got a thick winter's coat like these ponies.
  900. >Beside you is Moonie, seemingly unaffected by the cold as she plays with her train set.
  901. >The scene brings a smile to your face. Her playing so innocently, it's as if she's like any other kid.
  902. >"Oh no! Train 1's track got changed somehow so it's on a head on collision with train 2. Train 2 has slammed on its brakes but train 1's have failed. Nobody can stop this now," she gleefully exclaims
  903. >You lie there and as she uses her magic to push the trains toward each other until they collide, then she casts a spell that sets them alight.
  904. >"Mares, stallions, colts and fillies all scream in horror as they try to escape the inferno. For some it's already too late, the impact has ended a few lives and a few unfortunate souls were rendered unconscious. They lay there, unaware of the fiery doom closing in and the panic surrounding them as ponies leap over them in their hasty get away. Then, suddenly, a lone spark finds its way to the train's exposed fuel tanker, igniting the scene all at once."
  905. >She casts another spell, causing the fire to flare up.
  906. >"Not one pony survives the ordeal," she mutters in a very excited tone.
  907. "You know, I'm beginning to see why you were banished."
  908. >"What? I'm just playing," she replies, defensively.
  909. "Yeah sure. You know what, it's too cold."
  910. >Rather than press the issue, you take a seat by the fire, your blanket still draped around your shoulders.
  911. >Its warm glow soothes your frozen face and Moonie climbs into your lap, curling up with a satisfied sigh.
  912. >You stare at the fire, imagining the horror scene Moonie has painted in your mind of the little ponies fleeing from the fire.
  913. >Then you look down at Moonie, she looks almost at peace as she tries to sleep there.
  914. >Her face seems content as the orange glow heats the area and her hair flowing as if a gentle wind is blowing.
  915. "My little devil can't be this cute," you whisper to yourself.
  916.  
  917. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  918. [29]
  919. "Early days from work are the best," you mutter to yourself as you take a seat outside the school.
  920. >It's going to be a few minutes before Moonie gets out but the short break from everything is just what you need.
  921. >"You're Anonymous, right?" Asks a mare as she takes a seat beside you.
  922. "The big green alien? How'd you know?"
  923. >She lets out this overly girly giggles a little and you smile back, trying to hide that little bit of frustration. She looks familiar, though you can't place where you've seen her.
  924. >A blue coat with a two tone, grey and blue mane and an hour glass for a cutie mark.
  925. >"So, what is it like... being a single dad?"
  926. "I dunno. Probably the same as being a single mum. A pain the ass?"
  927. >Again she elicits that damn giggle again.
  928. >Then you notice Carrot Top approaching in a hasty skip along with a feeling of dread as you realise what's going on.
  929. >"Oh, it's Moonie's dad," she coos sweetly.
  930. >These ponies are flirting with you.
  931. >Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Berry Punch speaks up from behind you as she leans on the bench.
  932. >"Anon, how come you haven't settled down with a nice mare yet?"
  933. "I, uh, just-"
  934. >"Haven't found the right one?" The blue one adds as she tries to put on her best seductive look.
  935. >At least, that's what you think is happening. Maybe she got some involuntary facial ticks and it'd be best not to bring it up. Either way, you want out.
  936. >Then the bell tolls and a horde of screaming and unholy cheering fillies and colts dash out of the school.
  937. >"ANON!" Moonie calls as she waves from within the swarm.
  938. "Hey kiddo, want a ride?"
  939. >"Yes! Carry your queen," she bellows as she stands on her hindlegs and raises her forehooves.
  940. >You lift her into your arms as the three giggly mares let out a squee, then you make your way home. With hasty, large steps.
  941. >"I had no idea you were such a mare magnet," comments the little bundle of fur that's curled up in your arms.
  942. "Ugh, it's because I'm a single dad. Nothing else."
  943. >"So, it's because of me?"
  944. "Yup."
  945. >Then the grin of knowledge grows. From ear to ear she beams at you while hundreds of wonderful ideas trickle into a dance of horror for you in her head.
  946. >"I want ice-cream."
  947. "What?"
  948. >"Hey, you're getting dates because of me. You owe me."
  949. "I don't want to d--"
  950. >"ICE CREAM!"
  951. "FINE!"
  952. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  953. [30]
  954. "Moonie, bed time," you call out as you glance at the clock. You lost track of time a little there.
  955. >"NO!"
  956. >You take a deep breathe then groan as you prepare for the struggle.
  957. "Don't argue with me young lady--"
  958. >"I'm older than you! YOU go to bed."
  959. >You pause for a moment as you recall she's something like Celestia's age.
  960. "True. But I'm your parent, I'm in charge here and I say it's time for bed," you say as you step into Moonie's room.
  961. >"NO," calls a voice from under the bed.
  962. >You smile at the childishness of all this. Older than you? Hah, not a bloody chance.
  963. >As you get on all fours to check under the bed, you hear the sound of Moonie's toy chest bursting open as toys fall to the floor.
  964. >You spin around fast enough to see her running out of the room.
  965. >Fucking magic.
  966. >Immediately you give chase. She went left so you assume she can only be in the lounge, dining room or kitchen.
  967. >Carefully you check the lounge for any signs of a little filly who scurried in for a place to hide.
  968. >Everything seems alright so you go into the kitchen to see nothing out of place.
  969. >You're about to wander into the dining room when you hear a yelp. In between the fridge and the pantry lies the trouble maker of the night.
  970. >You cackle to yourself as you help her out.
  971. >"No, this isn't fair!"
  972. >She's firmly in you grip as you carry her to bed.
  973. "Surrender or there will be trouble."
  974. >"Fine," she sighs.
  975. "Good girl."
  976. >You carry her into her room and place her in bed before pulling the blanket over her tightly.
  977. >Her face pops up and she stares at you with her big, starry teal eyes.
  978. "Good night Moonie."
  979. >"Do you love me?"
  980. "Of course I do."
  981. >"Would you do anything for me?"
  982. >You pause and think about that. Not because you're not sure but because this is Moonie and it's obvious she wants something.
  983. "Yes."
  984. >"I want you to do a backflip then."
  985. "You're being silly," you reply with a smile, "Goodnight Moonie."
  986. >"Goodnight Anon."
  987. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  988. [31]
  989. >Today is fucking cold.
  990. >The kind of cold takes a moment as it seeps under your skin slowly and turning you into an icicle from the inside out.
  991. >As far as you can tell, ponies aren't affected by it.
  992. >Yeah, they can tell it's cold but it's hitting you a lot harder than them.
  993. >You're finally home from work and all your thoughts drift towards bed. A bed that has warm mink blankets to be the tortilla to your burrito.
  994. >As you walk down the hallway you find one of your jumpers have come alive and is trotting up and down.
  995. >With a smile, you lift the jumper to reveal the little mare behind the magic act.
  996. >She's looking up at the jumper, wondering where it's going, before glancing at you.
  997. >"Welcome home! Are you ready to play?"
  998. "Not today, it's too cold," you tell her as you step past to your room.
  999. >"It's winter, what were you expecting?" She retorts harshly while following close behind you.
  1000. "I was expecting it to be cold so I can curl up in bed."
  1001. >You lift your blanket up and wrap it over yourself before falling like a log onto the mattress.
  1002. >Only your head is out in the cold and the moment Moonie is gone that'll change.
  1003. >"Anon, I'm bored."
  1004. "And I'm cold. We've been over this already."
  1005. >You roll over so it looks like Moonie is on the roof. You smile at your perfect view as she puffs her cheeks in anger as she understands she's not going to have her way so easily.
  1006. >So with overly dramatic stomps, she leaves the room as you retreat into your blanket like a bear for winter.
  1007. >Perhaps it's not too late to convince the ponies you hibernate for the winter. It'd be nice to sleep through most of it all, but you'd have to stock up on food.
  1008. >If only.
  1009. >It's hard to be sure for how long, but you dozed off for a minute there.
  1010. >You were woken by the sound of clattering.
  1011. >It takes you a moment but the second clatter is enough for you to realise that Moonie is in the kitchen.
  1012. >Still in a daze you leap out from your cave, nearly tripping in the process as your leg was still wrapped up, you stamp into the kitchen.
  1013. "What are you doing?"
  1014. >A stunned Moonie looks up from the oven and just smiles.
  1015. >You quickly grab an oven mitt and take the tray out before she has a chance to.
  1016. >Golden brown vegetable pasties dot the tray. While the colour and texture looks great, the shape of them doesn't.
  1017. >Some are triangles, some are circles and others make you think you're trying to find images in clouds.
  1018. >"What do you think?" She beams with an expectant gleam in her eyes.
  1019. >You pick one up and take a bite.
  1020. >Not your brightest moments, but whichever taste buds didn't get burnt to death say it's good.
  1021. >"You just took them out the oven," she points out as your splutter and try to cool your mouth down.
  1022. "They're good," you say in between all the panting and sweating.
  1023. >"Really?"
  1024. "Mhm. Really."
  1025. >You give the proud filly a pat on the head as she eagerly cheers.
  1026. >You're not sure when she's been practising cooking but the house is still here and you're most grateful for that.
  1027. >"Now you can read me stories."
  1028. >You give a shudder from the cold as you notice it has begun to seep in again. Already you miss your blanket.
  1029. >"Quick, go get your blanket. I'll plate these up."
  1030. >You head into your room, grab your blanket to wrap around you and then step out into the lounge.
  1031. >Moonie already has a book, and placed the plate of pasties on the table beside the couch.
  1032. >You take a seat and throw the blanket over the two of you.
  1033. >With her magic she hands you the book and grabs a pasty for herself.
  1034. >The two of you then spend the afternoon eating as you read about Carrot entering the Watch.
  1035. >You're not sure when but Moonie ends up falling asleep, her head on your lap as her light snoring can be heard.
  1036. >With a content smile and full belly, you read the rest of the book in silence.
  1037.  
  1038. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1039. [32]
  1040. >You wake up in the morning and find yourself late for work.
  1041. >Not the first time and the cakes don't really mind a few minutes but in your addled and sleep deprived mind, you leap out and dart around the house to get ready.
  1042. >Sprinting past the kitchen, Moonie calls out.
  1043. >"Where are you going?"
  1044. "Work," you shout back as you open the door.
  1045. >"On a Sunday?"
  1046. >You pause in the doorway, half in and half out, for your brain to collect itself.
  1047. "Oh yeah, day off," you state as you slam the door with a grin.
  1048. >You saunter on into the kitchen to find Moonie looking up from you as she drinks straight from the glass of milk.
  1049. "I've told you not to do that."
  1050. >"What?"
  1051. >Her upper lip has the milk moustache thing going on and you find yourself in a struggle over whether to be the stern father or the immature child.
  1052. "Grab a cup and if I catch you doing that again all hell will break loose. You got it?"
  1053. >"Yes sir," she says with a huff from under her breath.
  1054. >She probably thought she was discreet but your ears are sharper than that.
  1055. >You haven't hit the old man years yet where you'll need some kind of horn sticking out your ear like a gramophone to hear everything.
  1056. "You know... Milk is the fastest liquid to those outside the farming process."
  1057. >She raises an eye brow at you.
  1058. >"Really?"
  1059. "Yeah, it's pasteurised before you even see it."
  1060. >Her face turns sour and scrunches up slowly as it sinks in.
  1061. >"What was that?"
  1062. "A joke," you reply defensively.
  1063. >"That wasn't funny," she replies in a tone of disgust.
  1064. "It kinda was."
  1065. >With a shrug, you leave the room and go find something else to do.
  1066. -----
  1067. >You're idly walking around the house, really just unsure what to do with yourself so you peek into Moonie's room to see what she's up to.
  1068. >She's playing with her toys. From the looks of things, it's Sir Bearington up against a bunch of little soldiers.
  1069. >"Pray now little warriors for your end has come. I contain within my soft and plushy arms, the power to destroy the world," she says in a poor attempt at a maniacal man's voice before cackling.
  1070. "You really enjoy the whole end of the world thing, don't you?"
  1071. >"Hm? Well... yeah, it's pretty climactic. Why?"
  1072. "No reason, just pointing it out. You just keep playing like there's no tomorrow, alright?"
  1073. >She rolls her eyes and ignores your presence by going back to her own little world.
  1074. >With a sigh of boredom, you leave the room in search for something else to do.
  1075. >It takes a few minutes before you realise there's literally nothing to do.
  1076. >You got all the chores done yesterday, you don't need to even make lunch yet and Twilight is off at Canterlot so you can't get any new books.
  1077. >So instead, you return to Moonie's room.
  1078. >"And Sir Bearington, who saved the day, gets the damsel in distress," she narrates as voodoo doll and Sir Bearington are made to kiss with magic.
  1079. >You grab her attention with a fake sniffle.
  1080. "Sorry, weddings always make me cry," you tell her as you wipe away an invisible tear, "It's not just me, even the cakes are in tiers."
  1081. >Your joke is met with the immediate lobbing of the voodoo doll at you so you quickly close the door and wait for the thump before opening it back up to poke a tongue at the filly.
  1082. -----
  1083. >Eventually you find a book you only got halfway with.
  1084. >And for good reason.
  1085. >It's not really your kind of thing. Just some navy seal who goes back to the age of Vikings to stop some bad guy but ends up in some steamy romance.
  1086. >"What you reading?"
  1087. "Hm, what?"
  1088. >"Book. What's it about?"
  1089. "Uh... Glue."
  1090. >"Glue?"
  1091. >Her eyes widen as she notices your mouth stretch into a devilish toothy grin.
  1092. "Yeah, it's a great read. I can't put it down."
  1093. >Using her magic in a fit of rage, she grabs the nearby couch pillow and starts swinging it at you over and over again.
  1094. >There's no real power to it and it's only a pillow so you find yourself giggling more than anything at each strike.
  1095. >Each laugh only seams to spur Moonie on as she tries to hit harder and faster, even aiming for your head.
  1096. >"What is this? Some kind of cruel and unusual punishment? Fine! You win, I'll use a cup from now on just stop."
  1097. "I think they're funny but alright," you say as you rise from your seat, "Well, I'm hungry. Do you want anything?"
  1098. >Moonie looks up at you in thought, then as deadpan as she can speaks.
  1099. >"Hi hungry, I'm Moonie," she replies as the corners of her mouth flick upwards as she tries to fight off her laughter.
  1100. "Ah-ha! I told you they were funny!"
  1101. >You grab the pillow Moonie was using a moment ago and proceed to lovingly smother her with it as she lets out muffled but roar of a laugh.
  1102. >Then the two of you go eat some lunch before playing with Moonie's toys.
  1103.  
  1104. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1105. [33]
  1106. >You're placing a plate into warm soapy water when you hear a panicked yelp and crash from Moonie's room.
  1107. >Worry fills you as you drop what you're doing and rush into the room.
  1108. >You push open the door and look into the room.
  1109. >"Watch it, I'm up here."
  1110. >Looking, you noticed an unnerved filly sitting on top of the door, clutching on for dear life.
  1111. "How'd you--What happened? I heard a scream."
  1112. >"I didn't scream," she lashes back with a fierce tone.
  1113. "Yelp. Shriek. Doesn't matter. Here," you reply as you reach out for her.
  1114. >She swats your hand away with a kick of her hind leg.
  1115. >"There's a spider on my bed, get it."
  1116. >You pause for a moment to read her face. Moonie remains stern and shaky, although you can't tell if it's because she's trying to keep her balance or just scared.
  1117. >Spiders isn't the fear you'd guess, in fact you wouldn't guess she would have a fear of anything aside from kindness.
  1118. >Needless to say, you're shocked but you'll worry about that later.
  1119. >You scan the bed for the spider that's long gone. You get on all fours as check under.
  1120. >"What are you doing? I said it's on the bed," Moonie barks.
  1121. "I know but it's not there any more. You must have scared it away."
  1122. >"Scared it away?"
  1123. "You're like a hundred times its size. I'd run away too if a giant starting screaming and flailing about."
  1124. >"I didn't scream and flail."
  1125. "Right... Well, I don't see it anywhere."
  1126. >You get back up and look over to Moonie. You're about to help her down when you notice the little guy sitting on her tail, it's a huntsman. Harmless things really.
  1127. "So, have you decided on your Nightmare Night costume yet?"
  1128. >"Do you think it's poisonous?"
  1129. "Venomous."
  1130. >"What?"
  1131. "Spiders aren't poisonous, they're venomous."
  1132. >"Whatever!"
  1133. >You reach up to Moonie and lift her off the door to place her on the ground.
  1134. >Once she's down safely, you quickly grab the spider on her tail. It's hidden in your hand and you decide you'll just carry the thing outside rather than needlessly kill it.
  1135. >Moonie follows you out the room.
  1136. "Not going to play in your room any more?"
  1137. >"Not with that thing crawling about."
  1138. "Sir Bearington will have to deal with the demon alone then," you jeer.
  1139. >She takes a deep breath and darts back into her room for her comrade while you open the front door to free the spider that's now halfway up your arm.
  1140. >"What were you doing?"
  1141. "Thought I heard a knock. You know what, you can take a bath."
  1142. >"We're out of shampoo," she boasts triumphantly, like that were some kind of victory.
  1143. "Then you run the bath while I run to the store."
  1144. >"Ugh, but-"
  1145. "Argue and I'll chuck you in your room with the spider."
  1146. >She grumpily agrees and you leave the house once you hear running water.
  1147. -----
  1148. >You return with the shampoo, and some conditioner as a just in case.
  1149. >Thankfully, Moonie did as you asked.
  1150. >The bath is full of hot water and she's in the lounge room waiting for you to return.
  1151. "Go on and jump in," you tell her after you've placed the products in reach of the bath.
  1152. >She gives an irritated groan but does as she's told.
  1153. >You grab the plate you dropped earlier to see it's got a small crack. Luckily Moonie lets out another shriek to lighten your mood before she comes angrily scurrying down the hall to throw her brand new spider toy, that you left in the bath for her, at your head.
  1154.  
  1155. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1156. [34]
  1157. >You're standing around in this circle of parents outside the school as you all wait for the kids to be let out.
  1158. >While most guys might be weirded out, as you and Big Mac are the only guys in the group, you're not. You're pretty much of an alien race here and the only one, so you're used to be the odd one out.
  1159. >You chuckle to yourself as the thought of you going insane, standing in a field and talking to some farmer's horses runs through your mind.
  1160. >"So how about it Anon?"
  1161. "Hm?"
  1162. >You snap from your world and into reality to see them all looking towards you.
  1163. >"I was just telling everyone about how my little boy seems to have taken a shine to Moonie. Are you going to be okay if they start dating?"
  1164. >She and the others start giggling amongst themselves while Big Mac gives you a very stern look.
  1165. "Won't happen."
  1166. >"Oh, why not?"
  1167. "Because you're talking about Moonie here. The devil in tiny compact horse form. She's not going to partake in something lovey-dovey. Unless I'm wrong, then good luck to your son," you give a laugh and the others join in. Except Big Mac.
  1168. >Big Mac just shakes his head at you. You make a mental note to catch up to him and find out what's up but not now, because school is out.
  1169. >The bell rings as fillies and colts cheers happily that the rest of the day is school-free.
  1170. >You notice Moonie is walking out alongside a colt, so the mother from before stands beside you.
  1171. >"Aren't they just precious together. Oh, they grow up so fast."
  1172. >Her last four words seem to echo in your mind over and over, as if you shouted it into the deepest cave while your heart just lightly sinks.
  1173. >Obviously she's going to grow up one day... But does she have to start now?
  1174. >"Hey Anon," Moonie casually calls.
  1175. "Hey, you want a ride home?" You ask, arms out-stretched.
  1176. >"Uh, you know, I think I'll walk."
  1177. "And I think I'll carry you."
  1178. >You lift her up into your arms and swing her a little before making your way down town. Moonie protests a little a first but she soon gives in.
  1179. >On the way home, you stop off for some treats.
  1180. >You get something Pinkie calls a "Raspberry Shock Tart" while Moonie gets a few cookies and a gingerbread sword.
  1181. >She swings the sword around with her magic, probably fighting pirates or royal palace guards.
  1182. >Then you take a bite of the shock tart. The pastry is soft and warm, completely inviting as you bite into it. The raspberry jam is cool and works well, then the after taste hits. All at once, like a wave crashing down on you, is the taste of sour. A lot of sour.
  1183. "Ugh, what the--Dammit Pinkie."
  1184. >"What?"
  1185. >You tear off a piece, making sure it has plenty of raspberry on it and hand it to her.
  1186. >When she eats it, you notice this moment of realisation on her face when the sour flavour hits her.
  1187. >Then she gives this pleased and proud cackle.
  1188. >"Oh, that's good. You have no idea it's there and then just, bam! I need the secret."
  1189. "Not a chance. I'm not letting you spike everything we have in the house with it."
  1190. >"Do you really think I'd be so cruel-"
  1191. "Yes!"
  1192. >"As I was saying, do you really think I'd be so cruel to spike my own food?"
  1193. "Watch it, or you'll get twice as much of that stuff as I will."
  1194. >"Is that a challenge?"
  1195. "I'm willing to go down with the ship as long as I'm not alone," you reply with a sneering stare.
  1196. >Moonie stares back at you for a while before breaking away with a smile.
  1197. >"I see I've really had an effect on you."
  1198. "What do you mean?" you ask as you unlock the door to your house.
  1199. >The two of you step inside then Moonie leaps up onto the couch to finish what she was saying.
  1200. >"You were pretty docile when we first met. You used to accept whatever antics I got up to, but now? Now you're willing to challenge it."
  1201. "Disappointed?"
  1202. >"Definitely not," she replies with an excited hop, "It's way too fun now!"
  1203. >You smile as you lift up a couch cushion and bop her on the face with it before leaving the room.
  1204. -----
  1205. >"Are you in bed yet?"
  1206. >You call out as you walk towards Moonie's room. You hear scurrying and the sound of someone fumbling with the blankets so they can dive into bed and hope you're none the wiser.
  1207. >When you open the door to see Moonie lying under the covers, trying to play it as cool as possible.
  1208. >Locking eyes with her, you walk around the bed and lift up a few of the toys she was just playing with.
  1209. >"Alright, but you have to admit, I'm getting faster."
  1210. "I dunno, I'd call this getting sloppy."
  1211. >"You dare insult your queen?"
  1212. "No, but I dare tell her that if she's not asleep very soon, there will be no pancakes in the morning."
  1213. >She doesn't even try to weigh that threat, she just settles back down into the pillow.
  1214. "Good... Now, I have a question for you. A serious one, alright."
  1215. >Moonie nods.
  1216. "How long would it take you to grow up?"
  1217. >"What do you mean?"
  1218. >She tilts her head a little before catching onto your meaning.
  1219. >"Ah, well... I don't know. We could ask Celestia or Luna but I bet even they couldn't be sure. I'm nearly as unique as you in this world."
  1220. "Yeah... right... That's true."
  1221. >"If I have a say in the matter though... I was an adult for more than a thousand years," she recalls bitterly, "I'm not giving up being a filly for a long time. Who knows, me in this form could outlast you."
  1222. "I can't tell if I feel comforted or disturbed by you right now."
  1223. >She flashes you a sharp smirk.
  1224. >"Good. That's the way I like things to be."
  1225. >In her own weird way, she's cheered you up so you give her a kiss on the forehead much to her own disgust and leave.
  1226. "Goodnight Moonie."
  1227. >"Ugh, cooties! Alien slime! Get it off!"
  1228. >She flails, reels and wriggles in disgust as she tries to wipe the germs away.
  1229. "BED!"
  1230. >She laughs mockingly before quietening down.
  1231. >"Goodnight."
  1232. "Goodnight, and sweet dreams."
  1233.  
  1234. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1235. [35]
  1236. "The moon hung high in the sky, blanketing all in it's soft glow while the rain was beginning to let down a gentle drizzle all over the lonely town of Ponyville. It was the kind of night where folks might have gone a wandering. And maybe my partner, Anonymous, has done just that. But folks don't just up and wander away without so much as a goodbye. Especially not in this town. So I had some questions. Questions that needed answers, luckily I knew just the folks to get them from," you monologue dryly as you stare out to the window.
  1237. >You put on your private dick hat then grab a box of pocky's for pretend cigarettes and set out as a mare on a mission.
  1238. >Anon is still out at work, and he's later than usual. Personally, you don't mind all that much but you're bored and so the noire detective is the best thing you've got to keep yourself entertained until he gets home.
  1239. >Your first stop is the lounge room or, as you've reimagined it, the docks.
  1240. >Cheshire was one of those shady folks that were known for helping out both sides of the fence yet he's not that much of a talker.
  1241. >But if you wanted to find what happened to Anon, you'd have to find a way to make that cat sing.
  1242. >You step past all the smoke and commotion the common folk around these parts are getting into and make a straight line to Cheshire.
  1243. >He was sitting above some crates, stock and things, brimming widely from ear to ear as much as his cheeks would allow when he notices your approach.
  1244. "Listen here, cat, I'm not here for games. I'm looking for Anonymous."
  1245. >Cheshire continues to smile and eye you.
  1246. "Tall. Green skin. Stupid looking face. The kind of partner that couldn't do a damn thing without me watching over him. Ring any bells on that collar, huh?"
  1247. >That smug little grin is getting on your nerves, the kind of grin that knows but won't move to say a word.
  1248. >You chew on a pocky a little and play the waiting game.
  1249. >A game Cheshire is a master at while you have little patience for anything, let alone waiting to get what you want.
  1250. >You give up with a loud groan then you spit out the pocky.
  1251. "Alright, I thought we could be cool cats about this, but it looks like I'm going to have to do with the hard way."
  1252. >With your magic, you hold Cheshire's arms and legs so you can pummel the little rat.
  1253. >But just as you're about to land the first hit, the voice of a goody two shoes police bear calls out.
  1254. >"Miss Moonie, I hope you're playing nice with old Cheshire."
  1255. "Sir Bearington," you exclaim as you let Cheshire free.
  1256. >"That's officer Sir Bearington."
  1257. >Sir Bearington was one those of honest, by the book till the bitter end kind of cops. The only one in this city.
  1258. >It was cute seeing the naive officer waddle about, thinking he could make a real difference.
  1259. >"Officer Sir Bearington, my apologies."
  1260. >He nods.
  1261. >You turn back around to see Cheshire has run off somewhere.
  1262. >Now you're pretty pissed at the officer for ruining your best chance at landing a lead on this case. But you're not about to show that.
  1263. "What brings you to this part of the slums, officer?"
  1264. >"Missing person's case. I think you know the guy."
  1265. "Anon?"
  1266. >"Yeah, what do you know about Mr Anonymous' disappearance?"
  1267. >He takes out a notepad and pen as he watches you carefully.
  1268. "You've got to be kidding me? You think that I had some--"
  1269. >"Just answer the question."
  1270. "The only thing I know is that he hasn't been seen or heard from for the whole day. I was the last person to speak to him and that was at breakfast. He was in a rush. Ran out with a slice of toast in his mouth."
  1271. >"Any idea why he hasn't come back?"
  1272. "If I knew that, I wouldn't be out right now searching for answers."
  1273. >"And what about you?"
  1274. "What about me?"
  1275. >"Any reason why you wouldn't want Anonymous to come back?"
  1276. >You grit your teeth and do your best not to tear the bear apart, it's not what Anon would have wanted.
  1277. "I have thousands of reasons to be annoyed at Anon. He took my rubber sword of me when I poked him in the eye by accident, I have a set bed time, I have to eat everything on my plate before I can leave the table, some nights he forgets to tell me a bed time story, I get sent to a school for children despite being over a thousands years old, I'm still grounded from taking over Equestria and the list goes on. But none of them are severe enough where I don't want him to return. Anon is the kind of pain in the butt you like to keep around," you answer in an irate tone before talking a deep breath.
  1278. >"That's sweet," he replies in a flat, uncaring tone.
  1279. >Suddenly the door swings open, letting in a gush of the cold night air.
  1280. >In the doorway, Anon can be seen drenched and out of breath.
  1281. >The rain has picked up and so he must have run home with only a jacket as cover.
  1282. >He takes his shoes off in the doorway there before stepping inside. Then he notices your hat.
  1283. >"Detective Moonie, have you cracked the case yet?" he asks.
  1284. "Yup. In record time too," you beam proudly.
  1285. >He pets you with a wet hand as he walks past you, his steps making sloshing sounds on the carpet.
  1286. >"Hey, I always new my favourite little detective could do it. Sorry I'm late. Mayor Mare and I were just finalising some details for some upcoming events. By the way, no more leaving your half eaten pockys on the floor or I'm talking them away."
  1287. >He picks up the pocky you spat out earlier and throws it in the bin before heading into the shower.
  1288. >You wait a while for him to be finished, then the two of you eat dinner then head to bed.
  1289. >Thankfully he remembers to tell you a bed time story tonight about loose canon detectives who don't follow anybody's rules but their own as they try to solve the case and get the dame.
  1290.  
  1291. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1292. [36]
  1293. >You get up and begin the morning routine.
  1294. >Still groggy, you walk down the hall to the kitchen when a little filly pokes her head out from her room.
  1295. >She doesn't speak, she just looks up at you with suitcases hanging from her eyes and a distant gaze.
  1296. "Hey, are you feeling alright?"
  1297. >"No. I think I'm dying."
  1298. "Always the drama queen," you reply with a chuckle as you kneel down and use the back of your hand to get the gist of her temperature.
  1299. >From the feel of things, she's burning up.
  1300. >Going by appearances alone, it's clear she's coming down with something but you're not sure what.
  1301. >It seems like a fever but considering she's a different species to you, you can't help but doubt that thought.
  1302. "I think I'll just step out for a bit to go get a doctor, get back into bed and I'll be back as soon as possible."
  1303. >"Anon, it's just a fever or a cold or something."
  1304. "I'm sure it is. Either way, I need to let Mayor Mare I can't come into work."
  1305. >"You're worrying over nothing. I'm fine," she replies, continuing her poor attempt at being convincing.
  1306. "Bed."
  1307. >With a grunt she does as you tell her so you make a b-line for the doctor's, stopping at the town hall along the way.
  1308. >Mayor Mare understands your predicament, she asks you to do a few things at home but repeats there's no pressure for them. And because it's still early morning, the doctor has enough free time to come back to your house with you to check up on Moonie.
  1309. >"Seems to be just a fever. I can give you some medicine to make her more comfortable but all she needs is some rest and to keep the temperature down."
  1310. "Thanks Doc."
  1311. >With a nod, he takes off leaving you standing there feeling silly grabbing a doctor over a fever.
  1312. "Should have just went the gut feeling instead of worrying," you mutter to yourself as you head into Moonie room.
  1313. >"Told you."
  1314. "That you did. Now, I have the day off so we can just relax and do whatever."
  1315. >"Discworld!"
  1316. "Again? I told you some last night."
  1317. >"Yes, the sick mare should get whatever she wants," she demands with a stomping of her hooves.
  1318. "Alright, calm down."
  1319. >You tell her a few stories that are half how you remember and the rest is made up.
  1320. >Halfway through a tale you stop as Moonie has been fidgeting constantly through the story, kicking at her blanket and rolling around to smear her sweat all over the sheets.
  1321. "Here, let me check your temperature."
  1322. >You grab the little thermometer the doctor left with you and grin at the now concerned filly.
  1323. "Roll over," you tell her, trying to fight back a laugh.
  1324. >"No... Not one of those," Moonie protests.
  1325. >She gets up and is about to leap off the bed but you grab hold to lay her back down.
  1326. "Relax. I'm only kidding, say ah."
  1327. >You count for a moment then check the temperature.
  1328. >It seems a little high so you head into the kitchen to dampen a cloth which you place across Moonie forehead.
  1329. >The ill filly lets out a pleased sigh.
  1330. >"That feels nice."
  1331. "I'm glad. I think you should take it easy for now," you reply.
  1332. >As you avoid eye contact, you prop Sir Bearington up beside Moonie for her then stand to leave the room.
  1333. >"I've done nothing but take it easy."
  1334. "I know. I've got to get a few things to do for work real quick then I'll be back to keep you entertained."
  1335. >"Okay," she sighs.
  1336. -----
  1337. >The work you had, took a bit of time to get done. Nothing too bad but an hour and a bit has passed. There's still more but you need to check on the pony whose feeling a little blue.
  1338. >You tap gently on the door then squeeze your head in.
  1339. "How are you feeling?"
  1340. >Moonie looks up at you who has spread all her toys all over her room.
  1341. >"Great," she replies sarcastically.
  1342. >Grabbing the thermometer, you check her temperature again to see it has risen only slightly.
  1343. "Hm, you know what, a bath might do you some good."
  1344. >"I don't wanna," Moonie stammers in protest.
  1345. >You head off and fill the bath up.
  1346. >When you return Moonie is nowhere to be seen.
  1347. "We're not playing this game today."
  1348. >This time, Moonie has done a good job of hiding. Perhaps the lack of energy with being sick has motivated her on finding a good place to hide the first time.
  1349. >She's not in any of the usual places.
  1350. >In fact, after a bit of time and searching you notice she isn't in her room at all. She must have ducked out at some point.
  1351. >With an irate groan, you leave the room to find her laying out in the hall.
  1352. "Didn't get far," you chuckle.
  1353. >She just grunts.
  1354. >Lifting the tired and defeated brat up, you carry her to the bathroom. Because you spent so long looking for the little terror, the bath has overflowed only slightly.
  1355. >You shut off the water then when you're about to place her in the water, she uses whatever energy she's stored to squirm and struggle for freedom.
  1356. >Thanks to the little pool of water, you lose your footing and take a tumble into the water yourself.
  1357. >Along the way, you smack your head and land wrong on your arm.
  1358. >Neither did anything serious, but it does hurt.
  1359. >"Woah, that even have an echo! Are you alright?" bellows the overly proud Moonie.
  1360. >You grab her and drop her into the water.
  1361. "I'm fine."
  1362. >"You're a butt."
  1363. "Says the one whose out to give me a concussion," you reply as you splash her with water.
  1364. >Moonie just takes the wave and sits there to stare at your, worn out and sickly.
  1365. "Come here," you say as you bring her over to you and hold her in your arms.
  1366. >You soak there for a while with Moonie in the cooling water, telling her more stories of horrors driving peasants to madness at her request.
  1367. >Today was an alright day.
  1368.  
  1369. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1370. [37]
  1371. >You hear a high pitched squeal and cackle of doom rain down upon the town, giving you an idea of which direction you need to head to.
  1372. >Moonie is apparently causing enough trouble to get you called out of work to sort it out. You have no idea what she's done but you're already fuming over it.
  1373. >It's hard enough to get settled into a new job without this kind of thing happening regularly.
  1374. >Arriving back at the town hall, you notice Moonie standing on the roof.
  1375. >Surrounding the building is a bunch of snowmen, all with something different to decorate them. There's one with buttons for eyes, others with food and a few are wearing your clothes.
  1376. >You let out a sigh then Moonie's laughter stops as she notices you.
  1377. >"Ah, Anon. You have arrived at an opp--"
  1378. "Get down from there, right now."
  1379. >"You interrupted my monologue."
  1380. "It has been snowing so it's slippery. Climb down now or I'm climbing up."
  1381. >"Come! Join me up here for the perfect view of my conquest of Equestria!"
  1382. "With snowmen?" You ask sarcastically as you look around for a way up there.
  1383. >Her laugh becomes a little more sinister as the snowmen begin to move.
  1384. >There's one beside you and so it startles you, as a reflex you whack its head off which causes the entire snowman to collapse in on itself.
  1385. >"YOU DARE BETRAY ME," Moonie shrieks, "SEIZE HIM."
  1386. >The snowmen move towards you.
  1387. >With a swift backhand, you cause the two in your way to collapse as you climb up the town hall. You're not in the mood to play around, nor do you have the time.
  1388. >"General Buttons! Major Dick Winters! You'll pay for this!"
  1389. >As you scale the slippery building, you can't help but wonder if she chooses the cutesy names on purpose. It's hard to take any conquest seriously when a general is called Buttons.
  1390. >You reach the roof and Moonie begins to back up.
  1391. >The snow gives way under her footing and she is about to slip but you grab her to hold her up at your eye level.
  1392. "Well?"
  1393. >"Well what?"
  1394. "You want to explain to me what is you're doing before I ground you for a year."
  1395. >"A year? That's nothing."
  1396. "Yeah, a whole year in a place full of sunshine and rainbows where we'll talk about our feelings all day while we cuddle bunnies. Everything will be pink, everyone will have cutesy names like Nightmare Woonie and--"
  1397. >"STOP! You're going to make me sick."
  1398. >You place her back on the ground where she takes a seat and looks up towards you.
  1399. >"You know, you're pretty twisted. And you can relax, I wasn't really going to take over Ponyville or Equestria."
  1400. "And the snowmen?"
  1401. >"Easily taken down like you saw. I was just bored because you've been working a lot lately."
  1402. "There's lots of work to be done some days. There will be times where I'll be home even earlier than when I worked at the bakery."
  1403. >"Really?"
  1404. "Yeah. But I need you to behave. Stuff like this is going to cause delays, and probably increase my work load."
  1405. >"Poo," she says as she blows a raspberry.
  1406. >You lift the little filly up into your arms and place her on your back so you can climb down.
  1407. >It's a little tough for her to get a grip on your back so she wraps her legs around the back of your head and neck making it hard to see.
  1408. >Despite the slippery slops and soft hooves in your eyes, you make it down.
  1409. >Moonie leaps onto the ground, then you hear the stampede of the Cutie Mark Crusaders rushing over.
  1410. >"Moonie," Scootaloo calls as she brings her scooter to a halt.
  1411. >"We heard you're going to take over Equestria again," asks Applebloom in a worried tone.
  1412. >"Does this mean we can stay up late?" squeaks Sweetie Belle.
  1413. >"Nope. Unfortunately I've been bested by the hero Anonymous," Moonie cheers as she uses her magic to make all the snowmen collapse.
  1414. >The other three fillies chime in with their own cheers.
  1415. >You smile and shake your head as you head back inside to get back to work.
  1416. "Sorry about that Miss Mayor. It's all sorted now though."
  1417. >"It's alright, and you can just call me Mayor. You don't need to be so formal, it's only us in this office anyway."
  1418. "Right."
  1419. >"Moonie has been quite the handful lately," she says as she hands you a few forms.
  1420. >You feel a little embarrassed at her remark. While she doesn't sound like she's judging you, you can't help but feel like a bit of a poor parent. Guardian. Person in a role of authority.
  1421. >Mayor doesn't look up at you as she speaks because she's busy reading over a few forms herself.
  1422. >So it's hard to gauge if this is just an attempt at small talk or if she's annoyed at you.
  1423. "She's just acting out because she's lonely. I'll just have to work something out," you answer, trying to sound as reassuring as possible.
  1424. >"I'll sure you will. After all, what hope does Moonie have against Anonymous the hero?" She replies with a giggle.
  1425. >You blush slightly.
  1426.  
  1427. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1428. [38]
  1429. >Worn out from playing with the tiny terror and eager to catch your breath, you fall onto the couch with your arms behind your head.
  1430. >"Anon?"
  1431. "Lounge."
  1432. >Moonie leaps up onto the head of the couch and flashes you a very tooth grin.
  1433. >"Come on. Let's play."
  1434. "I need a break for now. After."
  1435. >"You're no fun."
  1436. "And don't you forget it," you reply as you teasingly pretend to push her off the couch.
  1437. >She leaps down beside you. The couch is a little springy so there's a small bounce along with a squeal of glee as she flies through the air.
  1438. >"Hey, if I started a business, could I keep all the profits?"
  1439. "A business in what?"
  1440. >"I don't know... lemonade?"
  1441. "Actual lemonade? No poison, mind control serum or something like that?"
  1442. >"What kind of villain do you take me for? Using cheap tricks like that, honestly."
  1443. >Using her forehooves, she puts a little pressure on your gut to further drive home that she isn't pleased with your remark.
  1444. "I very clearly recall you handing out exploding cupcakes."
  1445. >"How is that a cheap trick? Just because you had to clean it. Anyway, could I?"
  1446. "As long as you've paid your employees, all your resources and stuff, then sure. I guess."
  1447. >"Excellent! Can you bring me one of those forms that I need to register my business after work tomorrow? Oh, and I need to borrow some bits to start it all up. Think of it as an investment."
  1448. "I thought you hadn't decided on what you'll be doing yet."
  1449. >"That's what I'm going to do now," she replies as she leaps off the couch and darts into her room.
  1450. >Even through the wall, you can hear her excitedly chatting away with Sir Bearington about all the money they're going to make.
  1451. >You smile at how cute the silly little filly is being as you grab a nearby book to relax with for the next while.
  1452. -----
  1453. >A few days later Moonie hands in the form for her business, still refusing to reveal what she'll be doing, and now has her stall all set up.
  1454. >You figured you'd humour the idea and you'd also be giving her something constructive to do by handing her the bits to start up.
  1455. >Work keeps you so busy for the first day that you had to skip lunch. By the time you made it down to the town square, Moonie has packed up.
  1456. "How was the first day?"
  1457. >She lobs a small sack at you.
  1458. >You catch it and give it a little shake. Bits.
  1459. >"Plus interest," she answers as she uses her magic to fold the stall into a wagon.
  1460. "You didn't really need to pay me back you know. Here, let me get that."
  1461. >You grip the handle of the wagon and wheel it back to the house.
  1462. >"This is a legitimate business here. I can't go screwing over my investors."
  1463. >Honestly there is a part of you that wonders about that. This is Moonie you're talking about. There has never been a more mischievous mare than Moonie.
  1464. "Are you able to afford paying me back right away?"
  1465. >"Of course. I sold out."
  1466. "On the first day? Wow... Impressive... Sold out of what though?"
  1467. >"You'll have to stop by tomorrow," she replies with a grin.
  1468. >And with that, you decide to wait patiently for tomorrow.
  1469. -----
  1470. >This lunch break, you've actually got the time to stop by Moonie's stall. Thankfully.
  1471. >As you head into the town square, you're greeted by one VERY long line.
  1472. >You walk around to the side of it to get a good look at just how many ponies are waiting, and for what.
  1473. >It takes only a quick glance to see there's more than you're willing to bother counting and they're all lined up for Moonie's stall.
  1474. >You can't help but feel a large sense of pride for her.
  1475. >Whatever she's doing, it's going great.
  1476. >Hopefully it's both legally and morally okay.
  1477. >"Hey," and bored Applejack calls from your side, startling you slightly.
  1478. "Hey. How's things?"
  1479. >"Slow actually. Your little menace has everyone's attention."
  1480. "Menace?"
  1481. >"I mean it as a joke. Even I'm proud of her accomplishment. As long as it's nothing shady."
  1482. >AJ gets back behind her stall and leans on it while she eyes the line. Boredom is clearly written into every inch of her face.
  1483. >You'd stay and keep her entertained but your lunch breaks aren't that long.
  1484. "What's she even selling?"
  1485. >"Lemonade. It's the talk of the town, as you can see."
  1486. "Yeah... I was hoping to check it out and buy something but I'm on break."
  1487. >"I've got Applebloom in line to get a small barrel so we can all try it. I'll save you some."
  1488. "Thanks. I guess I'll go grab something at Sugarcube Corner then."
  1489. >"Later."
  1490. "Take care, AJ."
  1491. >When work is over, you head to the square once again to escort Moonie home.
  1492. >"I did even better today," she beams with excitement while she shakes a very large sack of bits.
  1493. "I'm proud of you. You've been doing really well."
  1494. >"Yeah, I think it's time to close up shop," she replies in a very nonchalant tone.
  1495. "After two days?" You ask in disbelief.
  1496. >"Yeah, well, think about it. If I keep going, folks might tire of the lemonade. So I'll close up shop and reopen in a few months, this way it'll seem rare. People will fondly look back on now and want more. Plus, next time I'll have stock prepared so I can make an even bigger killing before I rinse and repeat."
  1497. "Not bad I 'spose."
  1498. >"Applejack does the same thing with Cider after all. Besides, it's all a lot of work to do on my own. "
  1499. "If you're so confident you'll do well, hire help."
  1500. >"And make less bits?"
  1501. >You chuckle a little at her. You're not surprised by her reaction in the slightest.
  1502. >"So, how would you like to make an investment once again when I start selling the lemonade again?"
  1503. "Count me in. We'll need to have a talk about how much of a return I'll be getting though."
  1504. >"Greedy."
  1505. "Heh, anyway, what's the plan for all your money?"
  1506. >"I dunno... We'll see."
  1507. -----
  1508. >A few days later, when it's your day, you decided to get a bit of a sleep in.
  1509. >You even asked Moonie to not wake you, which she seemed to be fine with.
  1510. >Part of you worried she was only pretending to agree, just so she could wake you up by diving into your gut while you're at ease.
  1511. >She's exactly the type to keep her fingers crossed during every deal and promise. That is if she had fingers.
  1512. >It's midday and you're woken by the sounds of squealing.
  1513. >You're still very much groggy, your head has a thump echoing through it while every movement washes you with a dizzy disorientation as you try to remain awake.
  1514. "Wonderful," you say aloud to yourself in a very raspy croak.
  1515. >You lick and smack your lips to end that crackly and dry feeling.
  1516. >Then you stand up and walk into the kitchen where the squealing gets louder.
  1517. >Judging from the sounds of it, it's Moonie and some friends in the backyard.
  1518. >Actually, it sounds more like screaming now that you think about it.
  1519. >This lights up all kinds of alerts as you open the kitchen window to look at what's happening.
  1520. >Now sitting in your backyard is an oaken wood catapult which is loaded and ready to launch a sobbing little filly to its target.
  1521. "MOONIE," you bark, startling both her and Diamond Tiara.
  1522. >Moonie was all ready to hit the launch lever had you not shocked her just now.
  1523. >"SHE LAUNCHED SIR BEARINGTON," Moonie instantly replies defensively.
  1524. "I don't care. Let her go, right now."
  1525. >"BUT--"
  1526. "NOW! Or so help me, I will use that to launch your ass back onto that moon."
  1527. >"FINE! You're no fun."
  1528. "And don't you forget it!"
  1529. >"Get down Silver Spoon."
  1530. "That's her name, I always forget," you think to yourself.
  1531. >Moonie gives the filly a nod, signalling it's safe to get off. The poor girl repeats thank you over and over while she shakes in fear but at least the tears have stopped.
  1532. "You two. Home. Now. And I'll be having words with your father about this Diamond Tiara."
  1533. >With that, they take off. Leaving Moonie alone in the backyard.
  1534. "Inside. Now. Because I am not putting on pants to go out there," you tell her, muttering the last part so she can't hear.
  1535. >Once she's inside you set to lecturing her.
  1536. >As you go on about the safety and finding out who the jerk was that sold her a catapult, you realise that she was just launching junk.
  1537. >Which was when that raggedy bear got put on the catapult by accident.
  1538. >So now you head off in the direction Moonie was loosing everything.
  1539. >It's not a long walk, Sweet Apple Acres isn't too far away.
  1540. >Everything she fired is in a small area. But some is in the trees or on the ground.
  1541. >"I was wondering when you'd show up," Applejack calls out as she pulls an empty cart.
  1542. "Don't worry, Moonie was just about to clean all this up."
  1543. >Moonie opens her mouth to protest but a quick glare puts a sudden end to that.
  1544. >"You can use this Moonie. Now, how about that lemonade I promised you?"
  1545. "Lead the way," you reply before following closely behind AJ up to the barn.
  1546. >From the veranda you can still see Moonie, so you figure you'd kick back with AJ up here while Moonie cleans up.
  1547. >You take a sip of the cool, refreshing beverage.
  1548. >Honestly, this might just be the best lemonade you've ever had.
  1549. >Granted the only lemonade you've ever really had was mass produced, full to the brim with sugar and over carbonated.
  1550. >You have no idea when Moonie learnt this or who from, but it's very clear from past experiences that the only thing consumable she can make is this.
  1551. >Well, she can make other things but as far as you've heard, the town hasn't been stuck on the toilet for the past few days from this.
  1552. >"Good, isn't it?"
  1553. "Yeah," you answer, almost in shock.
  1554. >It was clear that her lemonade was good, but you weren't expecting this.
  1555. >"I might try and get the recipe off her."
  1556. "I doubt she will. After all the cash she has made, she wants to sell it like you do your cider."
  1557. >"Heh. As long as lemonade and cider season don't collide, I'm okay with that."
  1558. >The two of you then quietly enjoy your lemonade while you watch Moonie struggle with cleaning up. The rope that's attached to a tyre has wrapped around the branches of a tree.
  1559. >You can hear her yelling as she struggles with the tangle all the way across the farm.
  1560. >It does take her a while, but once she's done, you head home with her.
  1561. >AJ offers to take that stuff to the dump for you, it was all rubbish awayway so you accept her offer.
  1562. >While you and Moonie are walking side by side, you break the silence.
  1563. "By the way... You're also grounded for a month for that."
  1564. >"WHAT?! That's not fair."
  1565. "You're right, I'm being much too nice about this considering you nearly launched a filly into Sweet Apple Acres."
  1566. >"One month?"
  1567. "One month," you repeat.
  1568. >You can hear her groaning under her breath the rest of the way home which brings a smile to your face.
  1569. >The little brat.
  1570.  
  1571. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1572. [39]
  1573. >"ARG! ANON!"
  1574. >Moonie comes storming down the hall, stamping her hooves in fury. To you it sounds like adorable little pitter-patters on timber flooring, but you won't say that to her face because the angrier she gets, the more you want to cuddle her which in turns makes her even angrier.
  1575. >The cycle would never end.
  1576. >"WHERE IS IT?!"
  1577. "Hm, where's what?" You ask in confusion as you try to get dressed for work.
  1578. >"My candy! I had a bunch of it stashed away so--"
  1579. "Oh, that. Yeah, I told you before that you'll be having no more sweets. You fill up on them before our meals and eat nothing else."
  1580. >"But they were mine!"
  1581. >Bought using money you lent her, but you're not about to play that route. Acting like an authoritative jerk isn't going to make the following month of being grounded any easier.
  1582. "I know. And once you are no longer grounded, you can have them back."
  1583. >"This isn't fair," she irately groans before stamping back up to her room.
  1584. >You just shake your head as you head into the bathroom.
  1585. -----
  1586. >It's roughly half an hour until lunch time, and you have been watching the clock quite closely.
  1587. >You only had something light to eat before you left so you're counting the minutes before you can stuff your face.
  1588. >"Alright Anon, we need to review the MR type permits. Bring them all up to date and simplify them a little more," Mayor Mare states as she finally pulls her head out from the filing cabinet.
  1589. >She's look a lot more well rested today. Usually her hair is a mess, her eyes start to droop, and she struggles to keep her glasses resting on her face correctly. But that's likely because you haven't had an easy day like this since you started.
  1590. "Are we that out of work to do? Just a few days ago we were swamped."
  1591. >"Heh, well things will pick up again soon as they always do. These forms however, I noticed haven't been updated for two decades now. I 'spose we could find something else to do..."
  1592. >She blows a little bit of her fringe that was hanging near her eye upwards then gives you a warm but warn out smile.
  1593. "Like what?"
  1594. >"You see, the school holidays are almost here."
  1595. "I know, I need to find something to keep Moonie busy while I'm at work otherwise I'll likely come home to a pile of ash or something."
  1596. >"That's what I'm talking about," she replies with an excited beam of a smile, "Soon all these fillies will be running about but most ponies will still have work to do. They'll need something to give themselves a little extra time."
  1597. >That's something you always envied with this ponies. They're always so excited and happy about things.
  1598. >Thanks to their cutie mark, they're usually able to find their passion quite easily. The majority find a way to implement their talent into their work, or at least a hobby. If only you could get some tattoo on your butt cheek to tell you what to do with all your time.
  1599. >"Anon?" Mayor Mare says whilst waving a hoof in your face.
  1600. "Sorry, just thinking."
  1601. >"About?"
  1602. "What you just said a moment ago... And that I need a hobby," you stretch as you answer her.
  1603. >"Well, what did you use to do with all your time back in your world?"
  1604. "Hm, more or less the same thing. Work, then dawdle about until my next shift. I wasn't exactly the most exciting human," you awkwardly chuckle.
  1605. >"I think you should get out more then. Just like fillies do when they're after their cutie mark, go DO things."
  1606. "Actually, that's not a bad idea. What if we organised some kind of group... activity thing. Everyone can sign up their kids and they'll do all kinds of things like sports, arts, exploring? I dunno... But do you get what I'm talking about?"
  1607. >"Like some kind of activity camp?"
  1608. >You nod.
  1609. >"Oh, Anon, I love it," she replies as she sweeps you into a hug before darting off to burrow her head back into the filing cabinet.
  1610. >You glance at the clock, barely a few minutes have passed.
  1611. >But it's almost time to eat.
  1612. "Wait, it's almost time to eat," you mutter aloud to yourself.
  1613. >"What was that Anonymous?"
  1614. "Uh, nothing... Say, can I go to lunch early?"
  1615. >"Hm, not a bad idea. We can brainstorm on this after a nice break, and I could use quite a rest," replies the Mayor with a stiff laugh.
  1616. "Great. Thank you."
  1617. >And with that you hastily make your way to Bon-Bon's Bon-Bon Barn.
  1618. >Once you arrive you immediately scan the place for that midnight mischief maker.
  1619. "Moonie been here?"
  1620. >"No, not yet," Bon-Bon replies as she gestures over to one of the candy isles.
  1621. >You quickly head over to that isle when you hear an all too familiar pitter patter of tiny hooves rush past you in the next isle over.
  1622. >Darting upright, you catch a glimpse of her tail as she leaves.
  1623. "Did she buy anything?" You sigh.
  1624. >"Nah, we were talking shop while she tried to decide what she wanted."
  1625. "Alright, well she's supposed to be grounded for a month, so could--"
  1626. >"Say no more. She'll get no candy from here."
  1627. "Thank Bon-Bon."
  1628. >"You know I've got your back champ," she replies along with a salute.
  1629. >It really doesn't take much to find her.
  1630. >Stubby filly legs versus lanky human legs.
  1631. >That and she tried to hind behind the alleyway of the building.
  1632. >Probably hoping you'd take off somewhere in search of her so she could duck back in.
  1633. "What'd I tell you about no candy? You're grounded."
  1634. >"B-But--"
  1635. "No buts."
  1636. >You skip out on a lecture, instead sending her home.
  1637. >She protests but you've always been more stubborn than her, so she eventually caves and heads back.
  1638. >Bon-Bon said she wouldn't let Moonie get any candy from her store. She doesn't really go to Sugarcube Corner any more, but you decide to stop by and ask the same of them just in case.
  1639. -----
  1640. >Work goes by with you and Mayor Mare just planning that camp. There was little else work to do so you even got to head home early.
  1641. >Home is a different story.
  1642. >Moonie is in her room, sulking. She kicks you out when you walk in, and so far you haven't made an attempt to talk to her since.
  1643. >She'll come out at dinner time. Hopefully in a better mood too.
  1644. >Without much else to do, you set on cooking dinner.
  1645. >Easy stuff really.
  1646. >You've gotten much better at it since you were dropped in Equestria.
  1647. >There are considerably less take-out restaurants here after all. And there's the added responsibility of that extra mouth.
  1648. >Now that you're dwelling on this kind of thing, you've become a lot more responsible since you started caring for Moonie.
  1649. >Heck, you used to do your laundry only when you were wearing your last set of clothes.
  1650. >A smile forms on your face, growing ever slightly with pride.
  1651. >You've done pretty well for yourself really.
  1652. >Now dinner is finished, all prepared, and waiting to be eaten.
  1653. >You give a quick knock on Moonie bedroom door.
  1654. "Dinner is ready."
  1655. >"Okay," she replies nonchalantly.
  1656. >She sounds a little odd, but you pay no mind to it really.
  1657. >Instead you sit down at the table, and wait for Moonie.
  1658. >A few minutes pass.
  1659. >Then a few more before you go and knock on Moonie door once again.
  1660. "Moonie. Come out and eat your dinner."
  1661. >"Alright," she whines.
  1662. >You pause at the door for a moment, waiting.
  1663. >But she doesn't leave. You can't even hear her moving.
  1664. >Curious, you open the door to see Moonie on the bed, a different location but the same position as when you first stepped into her room.
  1665. "Moonie?"
  1666. >"What?"
  1667. "I said, you need to come and eat dinner. Now, not later."
  1668. >"I heard."
  1669. "Well, if you don't come out before it gets cold then you can go without."
  1670. >"Whatever, I'm not that hungry right now," she stammers defensively.
  1671. >A little confused on what to do, you leave the room and head back to the kitchen.
  1672. >You wait at the table some more, picking at your food as time goes by. Still no Moonie though.
  1673. >Every so often you take a bite of your food, but you've got a loss of appetite. Moonie being so stubborn and rude has put you in a sour mood.
  1674. >With a heavy sigh, you take a few more bites then wrap up both your and Moonie's meal.
  1675. >She might decide to come out and eat later.
  1676. "She hates sleeping on an empty stomach," you tell yourself as you put the food away.
  1677. >Then you decide to lie down on the couch and read before you head to bed.
  1678. >Only, even your sour mood has taken the interest out of this.
  1679. >You should take a firm stance on Moonie's grounding. No giving in just because she has gotten salty about sweets.
  1680. >A little bit of you does feel guilty though. No matter how much you try and push it back.
  1681. >Eventually you fall asleep as you gloss over the pages of your book, not really taking in any information. Just looking.
  1682. >When Moonie hears your faint snoring, she steps out of her room very quietly to sneak into the kitchen.
  1683. >She eats the dinner you prepared. And just a little of yours because she was hungrier than usual.
  1684. >Also while she is out and about, she checks up on you.
  1685. >You're in an awkward pose, arms are sprawled out, back is twisted while a leg is lifted in the air. It's the kind of pose that'll have all your back, neck and joints feeling stiff and aching in the morning.
  1686. >Moonie just shakes her head in disappointment before delicately using her magic to set you to a more comfortable pose.
  1687. >While she's at trying to make you more comfortable, she gets you a blanket.
  1688. >Given her small stature and exhaustion for running around for the majority of the day, she lets out a yawn and curls up on the chair nearby the couch.
  1689. >There she drifts to sleep for a few hours, only to be woken by a realisation she had in a dream.
  1690. >If you were to wake up and see her sleeping nearby, you'd probably wrap her into a hug or do something to embarrass her.
  1691. >So as swiftly and quietly as she can manage, she makes her way back to the comfort of her own bed.
  1692. >Where she dreams of sweet nothings, and ruling the world.
  1693.  
  1694. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1695. [40]
  1696. >The frightful filly of the night peeps her head through the door.
  1697. >You're about to put yourself to bed but before you can lay down Moonie leaps up onto the bed and smiles widely.
  1698. "No, bed."
  1699. >"I can't sleep."
  1700. "You haven't even tried, it's been five minutes," you argue.
  1701. >She sits then looks at you proudly.
  1702. >"Your Queen demands a bed time story."
  1703. >You stare at her through tired eyes until she says, "please."
  1704. >Then you lift her up into your arms and carry her back to her bed.
  1705. >Once she's all tucked in, you start wracking your brain for a story.
  1706. >"Just make one up," Moonie impatiently protests.
  1707. "Yeah, I'm thinking."
  1708. >"Oh, I know. Tell me a story about your world?"
  1709. "My world," you repeat as you think it over, "Yeah, you know, I've got one. There was a time in my world where the moon actually fell from the sky."
  1710. >"What? No way. That's impossible."
  1711. "I've told you, the way my world works is very different to yours. There's no magic to keep everything in it's place."
  1712. >"So, what, it just falls apart sometimes?"
  1713. "Yeah, and over the silliest things too but well worry about that later. Now, the moon had been stuck in its place for thousands of years. It watched the people on Earth work and play each and every day so it was lonely."
  1714. >"Your moon is alive?"
  1715. >She bolts upright from the surprise.
  1716. "In my world, yes. Now quit interrupting," you reply as you push her back into laying down.
  1717. "So, it was very lonely. It fell from the sky and onto the Earth to begin wandering around. But you see, when things are not the way they should be, humans get very scared."
  1718. >"I've noticed that--"
  1719. >You hush her as you press a finger to her lips.
  1720. >"So a few humans decided they were going to round up the moon and put it back. They thought it was dangerous to let the moon be anywhere that wasn't where they thought it belonged, in the sky. Obviously the moon didn't want to go back, it ran."
  1721. >"Did they catch it?"
  1722. >"Nope. And if you keep interrupting, I'm going to stop. So, the moon was very tricky and the humans were very gullible. However they outnumbered it, so the moon couldn't run forever. And can you guess what happened?"
  1723. >She hastily shakes her head no, eager for more of the story.
  1724. >Figures she'd be hooked on a story about the moon.
  1725. >You smile as you continue in a more sobered tone.
  1726. "The moon found a human, a lonely little man who didn't really do much of anything. There wasn't much special about him but he could hide the moon. 'The humans would surely believe another human,' the moon thought. The man was curious about the moon and when the other humans came looking for it, he told them where it was but still sent them away."
  1727. >Moonie is about to speak, but catches herself.
  1728. "I'm getting to that now. You see, the man didn't like to lie but he wasn't about to let the group of humans bully the moon for being alone. He offered his friendship to the moon and it accepted. The two grew close and formed a strong bond, always happier for having been in the other's company. Living happily ever after."
  1729. >You're about to stand up when Moonie curiously speaks.
  1730. >"Do you know what happened to the two of them?"
  1731. "Yeah, they lived happily. They had their rough spots like anyone. Like there was the time the man asked the moon to return to the sky."
  1732. >"Did he hate him that much."
  1733. "No, you see, the sky is where the moon belonged. The Earth needed the moon for all the same reasons you need the moon here. It couldn't stay all the time. The moon thought the man wanted him gone forever, but he meant for just a while."
  1734. >"Oh, so the moon would sit in the sky to do its job then it could return to the man so they could be together, right?"
  1735. "Exactly. The man always cared about the moon a lot, more than anything but he also knew it was important to everyone and not just him."
  1736. >"I like this story," Moonie says with a warm smile and a nod.
  1737. "Good, now go to bed."
  1738. >"Can I sleep in your bed?" She calls out after you close the door.
  1739. >You let out a breathe and open the door once again.
  1740. >An excited Moonie scurries for the door and past you.
  1741. "Goodnight," you say for the last time as you slide under the covers.
  1742. >"Goodnight," she echoes happily.
  1743. >As you drift to sleep, your mind fixates on whether Moonie picked up on the story's analogy.
  1744.  
  1745. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1746. [41]
  1747. >You're walking down the hallway when all of a sudden a dark blue blur whizzes under your legs, nearly tripping you up.
  1748. "Moonie, what have I tol--"
  1749. >The rest of what you were going to say is cut off by Moonie's hiccup.
  1750. >She's currently pouring herself a glass of water and before she goes to take a drink, you speak up.
  1751. "You're supposed to do it backwards."
  1752. >Your statement brings a clear confusion to Moonie's face as she tries to unravel your mystery.
  1753. >She goes to take a sip in a few different ways but pulls back each time to try and figure out how you meant it.
  1754. >Moonie looks up at you and you nod.
  1755. >Then she takes a sip from the top part of the glass rim, allowing all the water to run down her neck and onto the floor.
  1756. "Clean up your mess," you say with a grin.
  1757. >"M-My mess? You said to *hic* to *hic* to drink the thing in reverse."
  1758. "Reverse, not upside down," you reply as you hand her the mop.
  1759. >She hiccups once more then takes the mop to clean up as she grunts in frustration.
  1760. "And for the record, those remedies are all a load of crap."
  1761. >"What about holding your breath?"
  1762. "Not true."
  1763. >"Sucking *hic* a lemon?"
  1764. "False."
  1765. >"Getting surprised?"
  1766. "Doesn't work. None of them do. Hiccups are a type of spasm, the only thing you can really do is take steady breathes and wait it out."
  1767. >"It's been going for a *hic* while now and it's starting to hurt."
  1768. "Well, there is one thing that might work."
  1769. >"What?"
  1770. "It's risky," you mischievously grin as you reply.
  1771. >Your toothy smile sets her back but another hiccup hardens her resolve.
  1772. >"I'll do it."
  1773. >She nods and you lunge at her.
  1774. >Moonie hasn't got a chance to react, you scoop her up with one hand and tickle her belly with the other.
  1775. >The wriggling, laughter, writhing, and gasps of air begin at once with the occasional hiccup.
  1776. >Her face looks like it's about to lose the jaw with how broadly she smiles while giggling which makes you smile too.
  1777. >"Can't... Breathe... STOP!"
  1778. "What's the magic word?"
  1779. >"PLEASE?!"
  1780. >With that, you let her free and she leaps out to gasp for air.
  1781. >There's a moments pause as you both wait for her recuperate, then she looks up at you with a glint of hope.
  1782. >"D-Did it work?"
  1783. "It's been a little while since you--"
  1784. >"DON'T! You'll jinx it."
  1785. "Oh, come on. Really?"
  1786. >"It's been proven, jinx's are real--"
  1787. "Hiccup."
  1788. >As if to prove her words, a loud hiccup erupts from Moonie leaving her to glare at you in that, "I told you so," kind of way.
  1789. "There's only one thing to do then."
  1790. >You turn to the side and put on a very grim face.
  1791. >"W-What?" Moonie asks in a concerned tone.
  1792. >Then you turn back to her, slowly smiling as you crouch.
  1793. >She backs up a touch.
  1794. "Hugs and kisses until you feel better," you bellow with arms outstretched.
  1795. >With a scream of absolute terror, Moonie takes off with a speed she's never reached before.
  1796. >You give chase but she loses you real quick.
  1797. "Moonie?" You call out as you creep up the hallway, checking each room you pass.
  1798. >You step into your room for a hiccup reveals her to be hiding under your bed.
  1799. >She knows she's caught and tried to make a dash for it.
  1800. >You're fast enough to scoop her up but not enough to get a firm grip, she manages to squirm out and darts out of eyesight again.
  1801. >This time she stays hidden, you search for a solid ten to twenty minutes to no avail so you decide enough is enough.
  1802. "Moonie it's been well over ten minutes and you haven't hiccuped."
  1803. >Suddenly the towel closet bursts open, both Moonie and all the towels fall to the floor with a cheer.
  1804. >You smile at her then put all the towels back with her help.
  1805. >"Thanks," she warmly states, "Heh, you really scared me back there. I thought I was done for."
  1806. "Any time," you reply as you place the final towel back.
  1807. >It's a nice little moment that you decide to ruin by pulling her into a hug and making kissing noises near her face.
  1808. >She uses a towel to try and beat you away from her while screaming but it's no use.
  1809. >You plant a light one on her cheek and walk away as she pretends to dry heave.
  1810.  
  1811. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1812. [42]
  1813. "Moonie," you cry out in a rushed tone for what must be the fifth time.
  1814. >"What?" groans a tired Moonie as she finally opens her door.
  1815. "Come on, you're late for school."
  1816. >You smile as you admire the ragged bed mane and eyes that droop low enough to have weights attached to them.
  1817. >She lets out an irritated moan of protest but you just interrupt her in the cheeriest tone possible.
  1818. "Come on slow coach, rise and shine! It's a wonderful day."
  1819. >"I loathe and despise everything about you right now."
  1820. "I'll get you some breakfast."
  1821. >You keep checking in on her, per the usual routine for the mornings before school. You help brush her mane, check her back three times to ensure she's not sneaking something she shouldn't, and get her to pick up her tired feet enough to step out the door.
  1822. "Hang on," you state before the two of you leave the house.
  1823. >"All that checking on me and you're the one who forgot something," Moonie laughs mockingly.
  1824. "Yeah... I thought so.... It's a Sunday."
  1825. >You're about to let out a hearty chuckle when you feel the weight of a filly's school bag getting lobbed at your head.
  1826.  
  1827. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1828. [43]
  1829. >It's late at night when you're woken by the sound of bashing and stuff being thrown.
  1830. >Your sleep addled figures it's the neighbours having a spat and you try to return to sleep.
  1831. >"Get away from Trixie's wagon," a choked shout echoes as a flare lights up your windows.
  1832. >You dart to your feet as you recall you have no neighbours, living so close to the Everfree. In the dark you can see three silhouettes.
  1833. "OI!" You angrily bellow.
  1834. >Your presence is enough to scare the two vandals off as one flies off and the other runs off into the night. You give chase for a few metres until you're sure they won't be turning back then you hastily return to check out the damage.
  1835. >Trixie casts a spell to emit light from her horn as the two of you stare at her wagon.
  1836. >You only heard a few hits but they sure did a number.
  1837. >Two wheels are shattered, part of the roof is caving in, and the front wall is shattered.
  1838. >"My..." Trixie catches herself, but it's clear she's emotional.
  1839. "What is wrong with people?"
  1840. >You lift up a few pieces of debris and throw them under the wagon so there's not wood everywhere but Trixie continues to stand back.
  1841. >"Trixie deserves this."
  1842. "Nobody deserves this."
  1843. >"Last time Trixie was here, she did some awful things to the people here--"
  1844. >"HEY!" Moonie exclaims from her bedroom window, "Some of us are trying to sleep."
  1845. "Then get into bed, now!" You shout back in your 'parent' voice.
  1846. >"Trixie is sorry. She should have told you earlier about this. Trixie had no idea ponies would go this far."
  1847. "We'll talk about it later. For now, you can sleep on the couch, there's no way I'm letting you camp out in that now."
  1848. >You point to the wagon that's now rocking from the howling wind of the night then lead Trixie inside.
  1849.  
  1850. >"Anonymous, can we talk?" Moonie wakes you in adult tone.
  1851. >She leaps down from your chest and leads you into the lounge room where Trixie is still sleeping it.
  1852. >"It's... inside," she harshly whispers.
  1853. "Yeah, two ponies wrecked up her wagon last night so I'm letting her stay inside for a while."
  1854. >"Is it toilet trained?"
  1855. "Wake her up and I'll fix us all breakfast," you sigh.
  1856. >Moonie walks over, lifting a cushion from a nearby chair with her magic and pelting the shocked and sleepy Trixie with it.
  1857. >"Good Morning, and welcome," Moonie devilishly beams.
  1858.  
  1859. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1860. [44]
  1861. >You're taking a moment to laze about on the couch.
  1862. >Well, that's what you were doing an hour ago.
  1863. >Then Trixie took a seat, you offered some tea before getting swept up into conversation.
  1864. >It's probably a good idea anyway, you should get to know the mare who will be teaching your little menace magic.
  1865. >Mainly, she fills you in on her history with this town and its residents.
  1866. "Fair enough," you nonchalantly reply.
  1867. >"That's it? Trixie enslaved people of this town, forced them to submit to her will, and humiliated them."
  1868. >You point to Moonie who wanders into the room. Trixie nods suddenly as if suddenly it all connects.
  1869. >"If you don't mind Trixie asking--"
  1870. >"What?" Moonie defensively asks when she notices you pointing at her.
  1871. "Trixie was just filling me in on how she's not the only tyrant in this house hold," you jest.
  1872. >"I--Wait, it's--He--" Trixie panics in reply, fumbling to breath and manage a sentence.
  1873. >"Just Ponyville, right? Pfft, small time," Moonie huffs, "Anon here has enslaved an entire planet."
  1874. "Yeah, that was just a story I made for a bedtime story. I'm not the type to rule over the peasantry," you reply as you give your chubby 'dad' belly a pat.
  1875. >Moonie's expression of pride shatters but she composes herself quickly.
  1876. >"Heh, still. I enslaved a country, you really need to--"
  1877. >Her comeback is interrupted by you boofing her on the head with the couch cushion that was under you.
  1878. >"It smells like fart," Moonie shrieks as she sprints toward fresher air.
  1879. >"Nice one, Trixie--has to leave," Trixie states as she tries to calmly walk away, only to hastily make a retreat too once her hooves hit the floor.
  1880. >You just sit there for a while longer to enjoy the peace and the product of your temple.
  1881.  
  1882. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1883. [45]
  1884. "How goes the lesson?"
  1885. >You look up from your paperwork when you notice Trixie step inside.
  1886. >"Trixie is just grabbing a drink as she practices some basic spells. Moonie is learning... Adequately. Not as fast as Trixie did at her age."
  1887. "What, a thousand or more years?"
  1888. >"What? Oh..."
  1889. "I know what you mean. Alright, I've got to finish these forms."
  1890. >Trixie steps into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of water.
  1891. >She then walk around the lounge looking at all the decorations for something to do.
  1892. >"You know the princesses?" she gasps.
  1893. >Glancing over your shoulder you notice her staring at the painting of you beside the two princesses that Luna forcefully commissioned when you were titled the 'Human Delegate.'
  1894. >It was a pointless title that came with a small payment until you got yourself a place and a job.
  1895. >They had you all dressed up in this stupid getup some stallion sewed based on how you described the outfit you saw the Prince of England wear once.
  1896. "Yeah. First met them when I arrived here a long time ago. They like to check in on me and the terror out there to check all is well."
  1897. >"Trixie has always wanted to meet them. It's her dream to perform at the Grand Galloping Gala."
  1898. "That's that ball they hold every year, right?"
  1899. >"Ball? That ball?" She scoffs, "It's so much more than that, it's the biggest annual event in Canterlot."
  1900. "You sound like Rarity. Tell you what, you do a good job teaching Moonie and I'll put in a good word for you."
  1901. >"Do... Do you actually have that much influence with the princesses?"
  1902. "I've known them for a long time," you shrug, "So maybe."
  1903. >"What about that?"
  1904. >She points to a misshapen pot with a painted hoof print on it.
  1905. "Moonie made it for me for fathers day once."
  1906. >"Trixie cannot see her being so sweet."
  1907. "You're right. With Moonie, anything sweet comes with a lot of sour. I remember telling her when I saw it that I'll think of her every time I look at it. She smiles at me and says, you're going to think of me a lot then."
  1908. >"Trixie doesn't get it."
  1909. "She put hoof prints everywhere, up and down the house. Took me all day to clean them all."
  1910.  
  1911. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1912. [46]
  1913. >You sign off the letter for the princess and place it in an envelope before tucking it away into a draw when you hear someone stepping into your study.
  1914. >“How goes work?” Trixie nonchalantly asks from the doorway.
  1915. “Just finished off the last few bits of paperwork, I’ll need to deliver them but that can wait. I thought I could sit in on your lesson with Moonie today.”
  1916. >“W-Why? Do you think Trixie is... Somehow unable to teach?”
  1917. “Not at all, things seem to be going well. I just thought it’d be nice.”
  1918. >“Do you think she’s up to something?” Trixie whispers, her head hanging low and eyes fixated on the hallway.
  1919. “She’s always up to something mischievous.”
  1920. >You give a brief chuckle as you ruffle Trixie’s mane, who immediately backs away from you with an irritated glare.
  1921. “Very well, Trixie will permit you to sit in on the lesson if you promise never to do that again.”
  1922.  
  1923. >Without a word, you follow her outside to her still broken wagon resting in your backyard.
  1924. >She’s arranged some of her things outside, various props and tools for her performances. The kind of things you’d expect a magician to have, boxes, hats, rings, canon, and so on.
  1925. >Moonie was already here, giddily hopping on the spot and generally being positive about the upcoming lesson.
  1926. >“What’s he doing here?” Moonie sneers, still hopping.
  1927. “Behave,” you reply as you take a seat that’s out of the way.
  1928. >Trixie clears her throat as she brings out a pony-sized box, “For today’s lesson we will try learning the disappearing trick.”
  1929. “This won’t somehow end up like the firework trick, will it?” You interrupt.
  1930. >“Trixie does not need to explain herself to some slackjaw ape.”
  1931. >Her nose points high in the air and for a moment you swear there is an actual cloud of superiority around her but then Moonie barks up.
  1932. >“Hey, that ape is mine to verbally abuse,” Moonie states, trying to defend your honour in her own way you guess.
  1933. >Teacher Trixie throws an unimpressed look your way so you give a quick signal of surrender before leaning back.
  1934. >“Now, it’s a simple spell to cast. It works best if you cast a few extra things for flair like mist and glitter to really wow all the simple ponies in the crowd but we won’t worry about that for now.”
  1935. >“I think I’ve got it. I was going over it last night.”
  1936. >Just now is when you notice Moonie has massive bags under her eyes that have darkened pretty badly even compared to her usual colour.
  1937. >She must have been up real late.
  1938. >It’s great she’s enjoying this so much but you roll your eyes anyway as you know you’re going to have to set ground rules.
  1939. “Moonie is going to love that,” you mutter under your breath.
  1940. >Trixie glances your way for a moment but quickly returns her gaze to Moonie who is pep-talking herself up.
  1941. >“Are you sure you’ve got it? Trixie can demonstrate if it helps.”
  1942. >“I’ve got it,” she confidently beams.
  1943.  
  1944. >Moonie steps up to the box beside her teacher.
  1945. >It’s a large purple cube, that is exactly the right size for Trixie, decorated with blue and golden stars.
  1946. >Looks like most things in her possession really.
  1947. >Moonie steps inside and takes a deep breath as Trixie closes it behind her.
  1948. >“Trixie will now count to five. One… Two… Three…”
  1949. >A glow peeps out from the sides of the box followed by a strange fizzing sound that you’ve heard a few spells seem to make before.
  1950. >“Four… Five!”
  1951. >She thrusts open the box to reveal a dark blue mist flowing around Moonie.
  1952. >“I need couple more seconds, hold on.”
  1953. >Before Trixie can agree, the box is slammed shut.
  1954. >“O-One,” Trixie nervously states as her eyes dart between you and the cube, “... Two… Three… Four… F--Five?!”
  1955. >Once again the box is opened and the frustrated filly of flair is summoning fog and glitter but her horn sparks up like some kind of appliance shorting out.
  1956. >“WHY!”
  1957. >In a fit of frustration the mare of the night loses what little patience she has and begins to shake the box with her magic and flailing her hooves about.
  1958. >Or maybe she’s trying to kick, it’s a little hard to tell with Trixie now towering over her.
  1959. >“Moonie,” Trixie sighs, “Your great and powerful mentor suggests only focusing on the teleportation spell. Save your energy.”
  1960. >“But--”
  1961. >“No. First you learn HOW to do a trick, then you learn how to sell it.”
  1962. >Moonie is still in a huff but she retreats into the box, slamming it behind her. Trixie rolls her eyes then walks your way.
  1963. >“Take your time,” she calls out to Moonie before speaking to you in a more hushed tone, “Trixie would like to know you’ve managed to deal with her for so long.”
  1964. “I’ve grown to like the cute little menace,” you shrug.
  1965. >“Perhaps you should get your head checked,” she replies as she jokingly knocks her hoof on your forehead.
  1966. “It’s been… Oh, 3 years now, I think. I’ve gotten attached, I forget
  1967. >“Regale Trixie with the story of how you two met some time,” she dismissively answers.
  1968. >While Trixie has that ‘I don’t care attitude’ you can tell it’s the opposite.
  1969. >You’ve spent long enough with Moonie to read into things more.
  1970. >Trixie is always asking about you, Moonie, and your life surrounding.
  1971. >She’s incredibly curious about it but you figure this is as close as she’ll get to saying anything directly.
  1972. “I don’t mind.”
  1973. >You catch her raising a brow and smirking ever so slightly as she stares at the box Moonie is still residing in.
  1974. >You know she’s still in there because of all the yelling coming from the box.
  1975. “I thought teleporting was a difficult spell or something… Or at least, Twilight is the only pony I’ve known to do it.”
  1976. >“It is.”
  1977. “Then… Why have you got Moonie doing it? She clearly needs more training.”
  1978. >“Trixie knows. But she has been adamant about doing something worthy of her unbridled immortal power,” she mocks, “So Trixie is going to teach her a lesson. She has been talking up her abilities and downplaying the difficulty of this spell.”
  1979. >You spy a devilish grin on her as Moonie bursts out and just bellows out a roar.
  1980. >Moonie is clearly exhausted. Beads of sweat are flowing off her and her breath is quick.
  1981. >Using her magic she lifts up the box, it’s barely a centimetre off the ground when you stand up.
  1982. “Enough!”
  1983. >Your voice isn’t angry or anything, you were just loud. And it was enough to startle Moonie, causing her to drop it and look over to you.
  1984. “Moonie, if you can’t do something then it means you need practice. Quit trying to--”
  1985. >“I can do this--”
  1986. “No, you can’t... Not yet,” you reassure her, running your fingers through her mane once.
  1987. >There’s a pause as nobody says a word. Now that you’re closer to her, you can hear exactly how heavy her breathing is. Trying to do teleportation is quite the strain it seems.
  1988. >“Would you like a break?” Trixie states, finally breaking the silence.
  1989. >“No,” Moonie huffs.
  1990. >“Are you sure?”
  1991. >“Yes!”
  1992. “Here, let me try.”
  1993. >“Anon, you… You can’t do magic,” Moonie points out.
  1994. >Trixie’s face screws up as she tries to put together what you’re up to.
  1995. “Trix, go get Moonie some water.”
  1996.  
  1997. >You wait a moment, once she’s inside you ask Moonie for the tools you need.
  1998. >Once she learns you’re out to throw Trixie for a loop, she hastily grabs what you need.
  1999. >After a short while, Trixie returns and gives a glass of water to Moonie as you step up onto a table.
  2000. “Greetings,” you boom in your best Trixie impression as you throw some shredded paper, “I, the awesome and almighty Anonymous, have decided to grace with backwater town with my magnificent presence to bring you awe with a sprinkle of wonder.”
  2001. >“The pompous showboating is kind of annoying,” Trixie whispers to Moonie who giggles at the irony.
  2002. “Now you see me--”
  2003. >You hold up a curtain from Trixie’s wagon in front of you so the audience can’t see you and shake it.
  2004. “Now you don’t!”
  2005. >As you release the curtain, you dive backwards and under the table where you’ve placed an angled mirror to reflect the grass.
  2006. >“HE CAN DO MAGIC!” Trixie leaps up.
  2007. >Moonie immediately gives up the performance by bursting into a laughter that her sides will not recover from soon.
  2008. >She falls from her chair and her legs are in the air uncontrollably flailing about.
  2009. >“Wh-What’s so funny? Trixie demands to know,” stomps Trixie.
  2010. >You stand up from behind the mirror with a light chuckle.
  2011. >After you put the mirror aside a slight rose tint spreads on her cheeks as she begins to understand.
  2012. “She needed it.”
  2013. >Moonie continues to laugh as Trixie works on regaining her composure. Which she does quickly, as you’d expect from a professional performer.
  2014. >“You’ve given Trixie an idea. Can you teach her some of those… Tricks?”
  2015. “I only know a few, but sure,” you shrug.
  2016. >“We can devise more if we need. In a world where ponies can disappear, these tricks aren’t needed but… They could add some very nice humour to Trixie’s performance. The crowds would eat it up. All she would need is an assistant to play the part of a fool in between Trixie’s real show.”
  2017. >She turns to Moonie who is catching her breath as she pieces her sides together.
  2018. >“What?” She obliviously asks.
  2019. >“Trixie wants to know if you’d like to be a part of her show?”
  2020.  
  2021. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2022. [47]
  2023. “I’m home,” you tiredly state as you stumble inside.
  2024. >The lounge chair faces away from the door so you don’t notice Trixie’s presence until she pokes her head out from the side as she stuff her face with a floating sandwich.
  2025. >“Oh, hey. It’s been a while.”
  2026. “Thanks for noticing,” you shrug as you toss aside your luggage.
  2027. >“Where’d you go?” Trixie asks as she bites into her snack.
  2028. “The Mayor had me visit a few towns with her for the upcoming--Hang on, I told you this before I left?”
  2029. >With a sharp exhale you slump onto the couch so your body can thank you for finally getting some rest.
  2030. >The past week has been long, and incredibly taxing. Mayor Mare is a slave driver some times, but it all pays off in the end.
  2031. >“Even a mare so wise and wonderful as Trixie forgets things from time to time.”
  2032. >“How was the trip?” Awkwardly asks a tiny voice beside you.
  2033. >Beside you is the little terror of the twilight, the mischief-maker of the moon, also known as the ne’er do well of the night.
  2034. >She looks up at you curiously and your instinctively figure she’s up to something.
  2035. >Meanwhile you are completely unaware to her true goals and horror of her actual intentions.
  2036. “Long.”
  2037. >Moonie waits before she snaps to the realisation that was all you were going to say.
  2038. >“What, that’s it?”
  2039. “What are you expecting me to say? You’ve always found my work boring.”
  2040. >“Well, not today. So bore away Anon!”
  2041. >She cheerfully beams at you but you’re a little too tired to play along with that idea. So instead you slump over onto her.
  2042. >“ANON!” She squeals and laughs while she struggles to get out from under you, “You’re really heavy.”
  2043. “Are you saying I’m fat?”
  2044. >You wriggle as you try to put more weight into it.
  2045. >Moonie’s struggles get weaker as time goes on, eventually it’s just her hind legs that are stuck under you.
  2046. >So using her front legs to brace herself up, she glares at you.
  2047. “What?”
  2048. >“Get up.”
  2049. “I’ve been slaving away for a whole week. I come home, positively exhausted and barely able to stand and you want me to move about after finally being able to rest?”
  2050. >You sigh deeply, placing a hand on your forehead as you try to sound as dramatically miserable as possible
  2051. >“You can be lazy all you want,” she groans while giving another unsuccessful heave, “just not on my legs.”
  2052. >She uses her magic to grab the couch cushion your head was on to smother you with it.
  2053. >You decide that’s enough and roll sideways to free her.
  2054. >Moonie decides with her new found freedom to jump on top of you instead of fleeing to your surprise.
  2055. >“Tell you what, because you’re so tired, why don’t I make dinner?”
  2056. >She beams proudly at you.
  2057. “No!” You abruptly state while jolting upright.
  2058. >You shove Moonie aside and make a quick dinner for two that you hand to Trixie and Moonie sitting at the table in waiting.
  2059.  
  2060. >“Not eating?” The sloppy and piggy Trixie asks with a mouth full of food.
  2061. “Nah, I’m actually going to pass out. I’m seriously exhausted from everything. And don’t do that.”
  2062. >Trixie mockingly opens her mouth to show what she was in the middle of chewing. Thankfully, Moonie uses her magic to shut it.
  2063. >“Nobody wants to see that,” reels Moonie.
  2064. “Goodnight,” you say as you head off.
  2065.  
  2066. >Lifting the covers, you slide into bed and begin dozing off.
  2067. >From what you can tell, it’s only a few minutes until Moonie creeps in.
  2068. >At this point you’re half asleep, barely even able to tell if it’s actually happening. Moonie softly flutters up onto the bed and looks at you closely.
  2069. >“Hm,” she murmurs before curling up beside you.
  2070. >Her back is pressed against yours so you can feel her warmth and steady breathing that you take a content comfort in as you fade the rest of the way into a dreamless slumber.
  2071.  
  2072. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2073. [48]
  2074. >Your body creaks and aches as you rise from your bed like it’s as decrepit as a haunted house.
  2075. >As you rub your eyes to ease the suitcases hanging there, you stare out the window to see the tiniest glow of the sun has peered over the horizon.
  2076. >With a defeated sigh you climb out of bed after suffering another near sleepless night.
  2077. >Trixie’s snores can be heard loudly now as you step into the bathroom and begin the morning ritual much earlier than usual.
  2078. >Though, lately it feels like the usual time.
  2079. >You splash your face with water when a sudden thump from Moonie’s room pulls your attention.
  2080. >With the quietest tip-toes to ensure nobody is woken, you open her door to see an empty bed.
  2081. >“Moonie?” You whisper.
  2082. >A little silhouette of head pops up on the opposite side of the bed.
  2083. >“What?”
  2084. >“Why are you up?”
  2085. >Your voice is coarse and groggy as every sentence seems to take the wind out of you while your throat pleads for water.
  2086. >“Queen of the night, remember?”
  2087. >“It’s morning.”
  2088. >Moonie pauses as she tries to figure out an excuse to ensure she can’t get in trouble.
  2089. >As she stalls you wearily lean on the door frame, letting out a soft sigh.
  2090. >“Sir Bearington had nightmares.”
  2091. >“Right. Well, are you coming to work with me today?”
  2092. >“You’re letting me choose?”
  2093. >Moonie leaps up onto the bed and even with the low light, you can see the bewildered look in her bright eyes.
  2094. >It makes a lot of sense her cutie mark is related to the night when you could compare her eyes to small, twinkling stars right now and her mane glimmers proudly behind her like a painter’s canvas.
  2095. >“Mhm,” you grunt.
  2096. >Moonie turns around to look at something that’s where she was hiding earlier, then glances back to you.
  2097. >“I’ll need to think about it.”
  2098. >You stand back up and wander out to the kitchen to get that glass of water.
  2099. >Then out of a strange boredom brought on by exhaustion, you sit at the kitchen table and scribble on a piece of paper.
  2100. >Not drawing or writing anything in particular, just random shapes and scribbles.
  2101. >After a while you kind of play that game folks usually do with clouds and try to make out rough guess of what you’ve scribbled.
  2102. >“What are you up to?” Moonie asks as she steps into the kitchen and opens the fridge door just to stare at its contents.
  2103. >“Nothing really,” you reply as you scrunch up the paper and toss it.
  2104. >“I nearly forgot, but it’s the weekend.”
  2105. >Only now did you decide to glance at the calendar you have hanging on the fridge door to see she’s right. No work today.
  2106. >“Guess it is. Thanks.”
  2107. >“Why don’t you get some sleep?”
  2108. >“Can’t… In fact, I’ve been having trouble for a few days now.”
  2109. >“Nightmares?” asks Moonie in a nonchalant tone as she takes a sip from the milk carton.
  2110. >“Don’t think so. I had nightmares once but I don’t recall if I even dreamed at all the other nights.”
  2111. >“Everyone dreams. Every night. They often have multiple dreams, only you don’t remember them all.”
  2112. >You glare at Moonie with tired eyes as she is about to take another sip from the carton. With a smirk, she magics over a two glasses and pours the milk instead.
  2113. >“That’s better.”
  2114. >She takes a seat opposite you and places the second glass in front of you. Then the two of you sit there in silence for a while drinking milk.
  2115. >Moonie then downs the last bit of her milk and then stares you down.
  2116. >“Tell no one.”
  2117. >“Tell no one what?”
  2118. >“Just promise.”
  2119. >“Moonie,” you sigh exasperatedly as you bury your face into the palm of your hand, “I’m too tired to do this.”
  2120. >Moonie groans at you and uses her magic to drag you along with her.
  2121. >“I am Nightmare Moon, Queen of the Night and former denizen of Princess Luna herself. If there’s one thing I know--”
  2122. >She cuts herself off as she leaps up onto your bed. Without protest, you follow suit only by falling over like a collapsing tree. The shockwave sends Moonie into the air a bit, startling her enough to elicit a laugh.
  2123. >“Get some rest, okay?”
  2124. >You lie your head on the mattress, resigning the energy to move up onto a pillow.
  2125. >Moonie decides to curl up against your head.
  2126. >“Goodnight Anon,” Moonie peacefully mutters.
  2127. >You open your mouth to protest when a chorus of thumps rings in your ears.
  2128. >It’s her heartbeat and it’s beating such a soothing tune that you let go of any idea of protest.
  2129. >Instead you listen closely with your eyes shut so each pounding beat can be heard over a slowing breath as you wearily drift to sleep.
  2130. >“Goodnight, and thank you,” you mumble back.
  2131.  
  2132. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2133. [49]
  2134.  
  2135. “Alright then, page 89…” you murmur as you flick through the pages of the CYOA book you and Moonie are reading together.
  2136. >“DEATH ROUTE! GO BACK,” Moonie abruptly shouts trying to scramble for the book in your hands.
  2137. “You can’t just skip to the last part of the page.”
  2138. >“Who else is going to keep us alive?”
  2139. “This book is half death routes, a third bad ends, and the rest are mildly good endings.”
  2140. >“Wait, I thought you hadn’t read this before.”
  2141. “I haven’t,” you reply as you flash her the cover, ensuring to keep a finger on the page, ”It’s says as much here.”
  2142. >“Oh… We’ve also got a secret route.”
  2143. “How do you hide a secret route in a book?”
  2144. >“Maybe they send you the rest of it later.”
  2145. “Or they hid it in the dust cover,” you joke, but you still peel it back a bit to check which is where you find 3 new pages.
  2146. >You and Moonie pause for a moment in shock before nonchalantly returning to page 54, to reconsider your decision.
  2147. >“Let’s go with… Medicine then,” Moonie decides confidently as she flicks over the pages for you, “No, that’s death again. All these choices are death.”
  2148. “Okay, let’s go back to the first choice. But this time we need to keep a route in mind.”
  2149. >“So we have to decide on a girl?”
  2150. >You shrug, “pretty much.”
  2151. >Moonie sighs as she hops off of your lap to prepare for the big debate.
  2152. >“So, who do you think we should go with?” Moonie asks calmly.
  2153. >You shrug once again.
  2154. “Any?”
  2155. >“That’s not helpful,” Moonie irately groans.
  2156. “Fine. Then… Not Chess ‘n Checkers.”
  2157. >“I didn’t ask who not to go for.”
  2158. “Process of elimination. That way neither of us gets the girl we hate.”
  2159. >“Your queen agrees with this logic,” she nods, “Then not the shy one.”
  2160. “The one with blue hair, or green?”
  2161. >“How… It’s a book. There’s no pictures.”
  2162. “They described each character back in chapter one,” you argue back, clearly annoyed.
  2163. >“That was like a year ago. I forgot… Anyway, the lady one.”
  2164. “Oh, yeah. She was kind of boring anyway. Alright, who next?”
  2165. >“We’re left with the sister, the maid, childhood friend, and secret route.”
  2166. “We’ll save secret route for later.”
  2167. >“I hope it’s the best friend. She’s amazing.”
  2168. “It’s not,” you reply as you skim through the secret pages.
  2169. >Moonie launches a pillow at your face with her magic.
  2170. >“What happened to no skipping?”
  2171. “I was curious,” you defensively reply.
  2172. >Moonie just lets out a long sigh.
  2173. “Wish it was the friend,” you mutter.
  2174. >“I know. Anyway, who do we eliminate now?”
  2175. “Not the sister?”
  2176. >“Yeah. I could go without her. Maybe as a re-read.”
  2177. “Okay, so maid and childhood friend.”
  2178. >“Childhood friend!” Moonie replies without hesitation.
  2179. “She’s a little young don’t you think?”
  2180. >“I’m young.”
  2181. “You’re older than me,” you dryly retort.
  2182. >Moonie just clicks her tongue at you, so you poke yours out at her which she then mimics.
  2183. >“Children, the both of you,” a tired Trixie states as she wanders into the kitchen.
  2184. >“Childhood friend.”
  2185. “Are you sure?”
  2186. >“CHILDHOOD FRIEND! Your queen demands.”
  2187. “Fine,” you say as you pat your lap for Moonie to return.
  2188. >The two of you continue to read, dying another ten times as if it were inevitable for you both before you get anywhere with the childhood friend. After a long while, Moonie yawns so you bookmark the page and lift her up.
  2189. >“Aw, really?”
  2190. “Yeah. It’s late. Get some sleep,” you softly answer.
  2191. >“Can I ask a favour then?”
  2192. “Sure.”
  2193. >“Could you keep reading to me?”
  2194. >You lay her down into bed so she pulls the covers over herself as you grab a different book. You flash her the cover and she replies with a tired but cuddly “yay” as she buries herself into her bed more.
  2195. >As you begin to read, Moonie quickly starts to drift off to the sound of your voice. Even when you can tell she is fast asleep, you continue to read a little while longer to her as if it might make her dream of nice things.
  2196.  
  2197. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2198. [50]
  2199.  
  2200. >"I AM THE TERROR, THE FEAR RESIDING IN THE NIGHT, THE ALL POWERFUL NIGHTMARE MOON," bellows the filly as she charges down the hallway.
  2201. "No running inside," you flatly reply as you do the dishes.
  2202. >"You can't tell your Queen what to do. I'm evil!"
  2203. >She is now at your foot, tugging at your pant leg for attention.
  2204. "More like a brat," you chuckle as you scoop up some bubbles and put it on her head.
  2205. >"You dare call me a brat?"
  2206. "Yeah... Well, think about it. You don't actually do anything evil. You just make demands all day and yell about how evil you are when the most sinister thing you've done all week is stay up 15 minutes past bed time yesterday. Actually you have been incredibly well behaved lately."
  2207. >"N-No... This cannot be," a wide-eyed Moonie says in disbelief, "I've lost touch."
  2208. >She shakes her head a little from the shock, not enough to tip the bubbles off but just enough to have them wobble like jelly so you struggle to muffle any laughter.
  2209. "You're still cute though," you tease.
  2210. >This earns you the fieriest glare from Moonie, the kind of eyes you haven't seen since she first arrived at your door. Internally, you feel a bit of worry starting to swell but externally you're all warm smiles.
  2211. >"You shall regret making a mockery of me."
  2212. >And with that she stomps out of the room, lifting her little hooves higher than necessary so she can stamp them even louder for the dramatic flair you’ve grown used to with her.
  2213.  
  2214. >“DESPAIR!” Moonie barks as she slides into the bathroom doorway.
  2215. >You’re grooming in the mirror after getting out the shower so you just use that to look behind you at her. Hovering overhead are three water balloons that Moonie immediately fires at high speed with her magic. They pop on contact, bursting causing the water to soak your already wet skin. Moonie looks upon you in pride.
  2216. “My favourite part is how your prank was considerate enough to get me in the bathroom, where I don’t really have to worry about the water.”
  2217. >You point to the drain in the centre of the room where the water is already flowing into slowly. Moonie groans before she takes off. You just shake your head as you dry yourself off.
  2218.  
  2219. >Once you’re finished in the bathroom, you walk down the hall where a Moonie hides around in corner in wait for you to reach the trip wire she has set. As you’re clueless to it, she lifts the rope and causes you to trip.
  2220. >“EVIL!”
  2221. “More like minor inconvenience,” you reply as you pick yourself up.
  2222. >“Blast—Oh, that gives me an idea.”
  2223. >“Don’t break anything,” you flatly call out.
  2224.  
  2225. >You’re sitting down reading the newspaper in the longue room as the pitter-patter of hooves trying poorly to sneak around can be heard behind you. Rather than worry, you ignore her and grab your glass of water that was resting on the side table next to you.
  2226. >Moonie muffles a snicker behind your chair which draws your attention to the water that is now a light shade of red. Taking a smell check, you’re guessing she added hot sauce to your water. You sigh as you get ready to drink it so you can play along.
  2227. “Oh, no! Why is my water so hot—“
  2228. >You leap from your chair and begin to fan your tongue. Honestly it’s not all that hot but you need Moonie to think she got you good so these pranks can stop for the night.
  2229. >“I GOT YOU,” cheers Moonie.
  2230. >She leaps out from her hiding spot to jeer at you as you run into the kitchen for some milk.
  2231. >“Looking for something?”
  2232. >Moonie gives you a smug smirk as you see the milk is missing.
  2233. “Where is it?” you say, pretending to be in pained desperation.
  2234. >“Admit I’m evil—“
  2235. “You’re the most sinister, villainous creature I’ve ever met. I’m at your mercy, my queen.”
  2236. >Content, she uses her magic to reveal the milk, pour a glass, and return the remainder to the fridge. You drink the contents heartily as Moonie wander off. Once she’s out of sight, you give a sigh of relief, knowing these lame pranks will be over now.
  2237.  
  2238. “Moonie, bed time,” you sing out.
  2239. >“Okay,” a distant Moonie replies.
  2240. >As you predicted there hasn’t been another prank so you’re able to wander to the bathroom without checking for trip wires. You step in the room and are about to the use the toilet when you notice a blockage and your heart sinks.
  2241. “Moonie. Trixie. Which of you didn’t flush?“
  2242. >You hit the button on the toilet and it doesn't go down. Instead it jams and the water begins to flow as you panic, unable to stop the rising tide.
  2243. "WHO DIDN'T FLUSH?!"
  2244. >“THE MORTIFIED AND APPAILED TRIXIE WOULD NEVER!”
  2245. “Moonie?”
  2246. >There’s a brief pause before a familiar scene plays out of Moonie sliding into the bathroom doorway with her water balloons once again poised to fire.
  2247. >“EVIL,” she bellows as she launches them at you.
  2248. “That’s it!”
  2249. >She darts off with a high pitched squeal of a laugh as you give chase. It’s a poor decision as you slip on the wet tile but you quickly rise to scramble after the trouble maker for the rest of the night.
  2250.  
  2251. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2252. [51]
  2253. >"Why is everything we do at night?" Moonie aimlessly asks, finally cutting the thick silence of the midnight air.
  2254. >"Because... Well... Are you saying you would you rather we spend more time during the day?"
  2255. >"No," she shakes her head furiously, "Just questioning our reoccurring theme."
  2256. >"Then either because I'm just as much a denizen of the night as you, or because I work all day. Take your pick."
  2257. >Moonie kicks her feet in the air as she rocks a little on her seat before she looks up at you curiously. You gaze back and try to smile which just earns you a suspicious glare.
  2258. >"You are kind of a workaholic."
  2259. >"How else do you expect me to pay for anything?" You respond, your voice slightly higher due to being a little offended at that.
  2260. >"Again, just questioning your reoccurring theme. Here, recast it for me."
  2261. >She holds out her little fishing rod for what must be the hundredth time tonight. You give her an unimpressed look but it doesn't phase her in the slightest.
  2262. >"I'm bored, so I wind the thingy."
  2263. >"I know, quit it. And you should be able to recast it yourself by now."
  2264. >"I can, but you're better," she states with the cheekiest grin, as she knows you'll do it for her even after that remark.
  2265. >"I really need to stop spoiling you," you grumble with a smile.
  2266. >Moonie scoffs at you as you let the line soar through the air. You can hear the reel whirr as the line loosely asks for more before setting right in the centre of the pond. Then the tighten it a little before handing it back.
  2267. >"You know..."
  2268. >"Hm?"
  2269. >"I'm not sure at what age the senile thing settles in for humans, but just in case, you know there's no fish in here?"
  2270. >"You mean in the pond sitting in our backyard? The pond where I had to release the fish into the lake after you tried to make them build a statue of seaweed in your honour?"
  2271. >"What do you mean tried?" an offended Moonie retorts.
  2272. >"They were nowhere near close."
  2273. >"I was still working on their training."
  2274. >"If you want to train fish, do it without a whip."
  2275. >"Mr Motivator has a name."
  2276. >You stare her down this time, visibly unimpressed at her antics. Moonie stops pushing her luck as she realises this isn't one of those times where she gets her way.
  2277. >"Really though, why are we fishing?"
  2278. >"I don't know... I used to enjoy doing it on Earth, I think."
  2279. >"You think?"
  2280. >Moonie looks up you once more with a curious look, now with an added dash of disbelief. With a small blow of a raspberry, you decide to resign and begin to reel in your line as you really weren't enjoying this after all.
  2281. >"Yeah. It's been so long ago I don't even really remember."
  2282. >"Who cares?" She shrugs.
  2283. >"I do."
  2284. >"That place was lame anyway," Moonie states as she too reels in her line.
  2285. >"And what gives you that idea?"
  2286. >"I wasn't there," she cockily replies as she scoots her seat over so she can lean her head on your arm.
  2287.  
  2288. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2289. [52]
  2290. >As you lift the book from your face, dim moonlight allows you to peer down at the sleeping body resting her head on your shoulder.
  2291. >Moonie's soft and rhythmic breathing sends a small wave of warmth to your heart.
  2292. >Even with her mouth slightly agape to allow the tiniest puddle of drool to collect on you, you smile.
  2293. >Then you angle yourself gently to lift Moonie's head up and allow your escape.
  2294. >Once she is tucked in bed alone, you gaze back at the words of the book.
  2295. >Its black words grate on your eyes, causing a strain to even look at them further so you sigh as you return it to its place on the shelf.
  2296. "Long night?" You mockingly ask to your own reflection in the bathroom mirror.
  2297. >You look over your face, pushing and pulling at the bags hanging from your eyes as if it might just disappear.
  2298. >The mirror begins to fog up from the hot shower water hailing down beside you, for a moment you wonder if you actually did turn it on.
  2299. >It takes a brief moment for you to recall what you did less than a minute ago, but once it does you step into the shower.
  2300. >It's a brief shower you sluggishly towel yourself off, drink a glass of warm milk, and head into your bedroom.
  2301. >There on the nightstand rests a list you wrote for yourself. All of it are suggestions ponies have given you to help combat your sleeping trouble.
  2302. >You crawl into the covers and begin counting sheep.
  2303. >It's a method you've tried more times than there are sheep, but Granny Smith was adamant about doing it after a warm shower, and a glass of warm milk.
  2304. >She even gave you the milk for free after you told her you've tried them all before.
  2305. >After who knows how long, just a time that feels like an eternity, you give up and begin to think to yourself before trying the next part of the list.
  2306. >Every so often, you would get nights like this.
  2307. >Where it'd be hard to fall asleep in the first place, or you'd wake up over and over in the night having to constantly wait to fall back to sleep again.
  2308. >In its own way, it's exhausting.
  2309. >Not in the way that helps with getting any sleep, mind you.
  2310. >Lately, however, these nights are becoming all too regular.
  2311. >Someone did say it was likely the stress of being the mayor getting to you, however, you've been doing it a while and if anything you were getting more sleep when you first started.
  2312. >Besides, looking after the tyrannical overlord formerly known as Nightmare Moon was far more stressful.
  2313. >Parts of your body begin to feel heavy than the others.
  2314. >And while you kind of want to make note of it somehow, your own mind lets escape every thought your create.
  2315. >Like a spider's web with a hole, you are unable to catch anything. Even surface thoughts slip by you there.
  2316. >Though, as you continue to try and collect your thoughts, each image, feeling, musing, and every piece of concentration, you begin to pool together a consciousness.
  2317. >It feels like there is a force, similar to gravity, bearing down on you so that none of you may move.
  2318. >Even your eyelids feel heavier by the minute, like the bags beneath then are replaced with loaded suitcases.
  2319. >But you don't fight that. This is what you want. You give a croaky hum of joy as you feel like you're slipping away there.
  2320. >Your mind begins to whirl over and over. Were it actually moving, you'd start to feel nauseated.
  2321. >Lower and lower you begin to sink as everything you are, falls down this ethereal drain.
  2322. >A sense of clarity begins to build as you roll into a more comfortable sleeping position.
  2323. >The air you're breathing through your nose is sharp and crisp as your eyes effortlessly open.
  2324. >You're wide awake.
  2325. "Forget it," you grumble in a huff as you twist upright to grab the list.
  2326. >The letters dance and squirm on the page for a moment as your eyes try to recall what focusing is. 'Listen to music,' it reads.
  2327. >Your brow furrows as you try to recall who told you this one. The image comes to mind but it feels like it's caught.
  2328. >If you could shake your head like a magic 8-ball, maybe it'd float to the surface but the mare or stallion's face stays a blur.
  2329. >It is at this point where you grab a nearby pencil and scribble out Granny's suggestion and the following music idea.
  2330. >A deep and tense breath escapes your lips as you sit there at the side of your bed and look out to the darkness flowing from the corners.
  2331. "Food," you read aloud.
  2332. >With a shuffle of your feet, you trail into the kitchen.
  2333. >There the refrigerator greets you. As does its near blinding light.
  2334. >You turn away suddenly, clamping your eyes shut.
  2335. >There you stand for a moment as you slowly open your eyes, just a portion to allow your eyes to adjust to this new affront.
  2336. >Once you're prepared, you look at the contents and wonder how long you've stood there.
  2337. >You've likely let out all the cold now.
  2338. >"Just head until you're full. That always makes me want to take a nap," the echo of Rainbow Dash's chuckles at you, "Though if I were you, I'd go for a run the morning after.
  2339. >Don't want to be packing on the pounds, yeah?"
  2340. >You glare at the fridge as if it were Dash, being so unabashedly rude to you then slam it shut.
  2341. >As you glance down at the list resting in your hand, you decide it is best to abandon it.
  2342. >You probably miss the toss after you scrunched it up, but it's too late to care right now.
  2343. >Moonie's room now stands to your right, as you think about her sleeping peacefully.
  2344. >Quietly, you head inside.
  2345. >There you rest on your knees by the side of her bed.
  2346. >Placing your head onto the mattress, you look up at her and hope by some divine will, you can steal some of that restful sleep.
  2347. >It takes time, you wait a while. But eventually, it does.
  2348. >And as sleep finally claims you, you let out one last, "Goodnight."
  2349.  
  2350. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2351. [53]
  2352. >You sit up on your chair, watching your little menace play as innocently as it gets for her. Poor Sir Bearington gets slammed into the ground by his feet then she violently swings him around before leaping up onto the couch to finish him off with a piledriver. Moonie leaps up onto her hind legs with her forehooves spread out, as if she's proudly showing off for a crowd.
  2353. >"What?" Moonie defensively asks with a nervous laughter.
  2354. "Nothing, it's just interesting watching you play sometimes."
  2355. >Now you've grabbed her attention as she leaves Sir Bearington a defeated heap and moves closer to your chair.>
  2356. >"How so?"
  2357. >"I dunno," you shrug, "It's almost as if you're not like twenty times my age."
  2358. >Moonie's face scrunches up at your remark.
  2359. >"And how exactly is a millennia-old immortal supposed to play?"
  2360. "You know what I mean, stop trying to pick a fight."
  2361. >"Pick a fight?" An overly offended Moonie barks, the tiniest hint of a smile peers out from the corners of her mouth, "I'm not trying to start a fight, you are!"
  2362. >Now you lean back in silence and flick your book back open to the bookmarked page. Moonie, however, is not finished with you. She leaps up onto your lap and pushes the book away from your face.
  2363. "Yes?" You remark calm, feigning ignorance.
  2364. >"You never answered my question," giggles Moonie.
  2365. >You let out a brief sigh as you now know she's not letting go of this for some reason. For a moment, you wonder if she's offended by that remark about her age or if she's really just out to start conflict to amuse herself. But it's clearly the latter, it's always the latter with her.
  2366. "Normally, at least with humans, they muck about less when they get older--"
  2367. >"Please, you're like a hundred and you still play with me."
  2368. "Well, that's different."
  2369. >"How?"
  2370. "I have the maturity of an eight-year-old human. Nobody taught me to grow up."
  2371. >"I don't know how humans mature with age or anything about you freakazoids," she scrunches her.
  2372. "Freakazoids?"
  2373. >"Yeah, cause you're weird."
  2374. >You laugh and let the topic die out, but Moonie remains seated. Her attention remains fixed on you as she gives you a look you've seen a million times before, she wants you to entertain her. Her hooves pad your lap and her eyes are beady with expectation.
  2375. "Speaking of not knowing anything, what was Equestria like a thousand years ago."
  2376. >"Boring."
  2377. "That doesn't answer my question."
  2378. >"Well, I don't know what is you're probing for."
  2379. "I'm not sure. I'm only asking out of general curiosity. What did people do, what did the place look like, how did they speak, and so on and so forth."
  2380. >Moonie takes a moment to ponder your questions before slowly replying, "They did the same things I guess. I never left Canterlot at the time but that place has barely aged, except for the cafes really. As for how they spoke, that was always really funny."
  2381. "How so? Any funny words?"
  2382. >"Everyone always spoke loudly because Luna did it, with lots of thy's and thou's."
  2383. "Like the days of Shakespeare pretty much."
  2384. >"Who?"
  2385. "Famous writer back in the human world."
  2386. >"Oh... How come you never told me any of his stories?"
  2387. "I'm willing to butcher stuff from movies and books, but not people like Shakespeare."
  2388. >Moonie cocks an eyebrow at you but eventually shrugs and rolls her eyes at you before continuing.
  2389. >"I can't really think of any funny words... It was more just how people spoke that was funny."
  2390. "Ah... Okay."
  2391. >"Though there seem to be a few words I liked that are now gone."
  2392. "Like?"
  2393. >Moonie leaps down from your lap and grabs Sir Bearington. She tugs and pulls at his limbs as she thinks to herself.
  2394. >"Asunder was a great one. I think I've heard it once or twice, but I'm not sure on that."
  2395. "Asunder?"
  2396. >"Yeah, like to put or tear apart. To be torn ASUNDER!"
  2397. "Heh, right. Of course you like that one."
  2398. >"OH! Bibliopole was a funny one."
  2399. >You let out a brief chuckle as it sounds almost like she stuttered and repeated a syllable there, but it might also just be the word.
  2400. "And that is?"
  2401. >"A book merchant."
  2402. "Huh. Neat."
  2403. >"Periapt, which is an amulet. Scaramouch, which is both a coward and a braggat. Egad, you'd use that to exclaim surprise pretty much. There's desiderate, Oh, yonder was another I liked. You use it like "over there," to wander over yonder."
  2404. >She awkwardly rocks to herself for a moment then freezes when you speak.
  2405. "What's desiderate?"
  2406. >"Desiderate?"
  2407. "Yeah."
  2408. >She pauses and makes a few popping noises with her mouth.
  2409. >"Well, I'd use it in reference to you."
  2410. "Like a guardian or caretaker?"
  2411. >"No, it's a verb."
  2412. "Oh, okay. What's it mean?"
  2413. >"Actually, that was an awkward way to describe it. Forget it, I don't really remember what it means."
  2414. "Are you serious?"
  2415. >"Yep. Leaving it at that," she bellows and she scampers to her room.
  2416. "Guess I'll have to ask the princesses one day," you mumble to yourself.
  2417.  
  2418. desiderate
  2419. /dɪˈsɪdəreɪt/
  2420. verb archaic
  2421. To feel a keen desire for something that can be lacking or absent. To miss, to feel the absence of, to long for.
  2422. "I desiderate the company of someone I love."
  2423.  
  2424. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2425. [54]
  2426.  
  2427. >For whatever reason, the Pegasus ponies decided that there needed to be a small heatwave.
  2428. >It was to dry up the water of some flood or something like that, it was hard to listen as the heat had been affecting your brain at that time.
  2429. >Even late at night, like now, the heat refuses to waver.
  2430. >"Move over Anon," shoves Moonie as she returns to the cool safety of the pillow fort.
  2431. >You're not loaded, so you can't afford a decent way to cool your home, Moonie can't use a spell like that for long enough, and Trixie is off on a little tour.
  2432. >Instead you've made a small pillow fort, using sheets to seal it with a fan blowing cold air from a melting frozen water bottle sitting behind it.
  2433. >While outside is comparable to the deserts of Saddle Arabia, inside the fort is cool enough to prevent you from sweating more than a witness in a Phoenix Wright game.
  2434. >"So, what should we do?" A bored Moonie asks.
  2435. "Sleep? It's late," you reply as you fall backwards onto the fluffy pillow-littered floor.
  2436. >Moonie protests with noise in place of words, shocking her hooves into your gut until you sit back up.
  2437. "Ugh... I dunno any ideas?"
  2438. >Moonie just quietly looks at you, waiting patiently.
  2439. >While it might seem uncharacteristic for her, she knows that sort of thing annoys you.
  2440. >So she sits there trying to hide that beaming of a grin.
  2441. "Here," you state as you grab a nearby flashlight, "shadow puppets."
  2442. >"What?"
  2443. "You use a light and then make little shapes and animals with your..."
  2444. >You cut yourself off as you stare at Moonie's tiny little stump-shaped hooves.
  2445. >"My what?"
  2446. "Hands," you chortle.
  2447. >Moonie gives you a heaving shove. But you're bigger and heavier than she is so you barely move.
  2448. "Look."
  2449. >You flick on the light and point it towards a sheet, then you lock your hands together to cast a ball shadow before unfurling your fingers to look like a bird.
  2450. >"Oh! That's neat. What else can you do?"
  2451. "Let's see, maybe a rabbit."
  2452. >You do a basic bunny, two fingers for ears and bob your hand so it appears to hop.
  2453. >"Ew, rabbits are pests. Something else," she excitedly replies.
  2454. "Dog?"
  2455. >Once again you make the appropriate puppet, and even give your best barking noise which elicits a squeal of excitement from Moonie.
  2456. >"Let me try."
  2457. "How are you going to do that?" you ask as Moonie tries pushing you aside.
  2458. >"Watch," she grunts as she charges up her horn with a bright blue aura.
  2459. >There's a small wind that causes the sheets to flap and flutter faintly as a blob seeps from her horn before it begins to weave and sculpt itself.
  2460. >You're rather impressed that she's made progress on her magic control.
  2461. >"Woah, hang on--"
  2462. >She's cut off by her magic imploding on itself.
  2463. >The blast is sturdy enough to knock you down, sends Moonie sliding across the room, and the pillows up into the air before falling into you.
  2464. "You're rebuilding the fort," you bellow.
  2465. >"I didn't do it!" Moonie decries.
  2466. "And quick! I'm sweating already and I'm not looking to drown here."
  2467.  
  2468. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2469. [55]
  2470.  
  2471. >It seems like this mayoral job is determined to overwhelm you. With every passing minute comes in a new stack of paperwork to ensure done, and each stack brings news stresses.
  2472. >The budget is getting tighter yet it's almost impossible for a day to go by without someone breaking something.
  2473. >Ponies come to you about trivial matters, like their kids are staying out too late like you're some kind of counsellor and they expect you to put a curfew out or something.
  2474. >And the stress doesn't end there, you go home to your own little terroriser. It doesn't help that she's on school holidays too.
  2475. >"Oh... Yeah," you state aloud in dread as you notice the calendar at your side, "It's nearly the end of the year."
  2476. >And somehow you're washed down with the reminder that this is Moonie's final year of school.
  2477. >Sure, she's got Trixie as a magic tutor but that's a side job for her. And she's been slacking at that too.
  2478. >You grunt loudly in frustration as you grip your face and pull.
  2479. >"Uh, sorry sir, is this a bad time?" Calls the demure mare from your office door
  2480. "No, come on in," you gesture as you stare at the unicorn magically carrying a new stack.
  2481. >She pushes her messy blondish mane from her eyes and looks at you over her glasses.
  2482. >"So... These," she says uneasily as she raises the stack, "They're application forms for the Gilded Giraffe."
  2483. "Thanks, could you put them here please," you reply as you point to the one empty spot on your large desk.
  2484. >She does then gives an awkward nod before taking a few aimless steps to the side.
  2485. >You glance up at her to see her failing to sneakily stare at you.
  2486. >"Yes," the mare suddenly stammers out before leaving hastily.
  2487. >You're now alone and you pause for a while before remarking how odd she was.
  2488. >Then your head falls to the oaken desk with a light this as you resign yourself to your fate of endless work but refuse to muster more energy to do it.
  2489. "There's too much," you whine as you nudge your head into a more comfortable position and fall asleep from the fatigue.
  2490.  
  2491. -----
  2492.  
  2493. >A noise startles you awake. You look around to the darkened and lonely office, figuring you might have just snored too loudly. A
  2494. >nd a quick glance at the clock tells you that's it's far too late for you to still be hanging around the office.
  2495. >With a quick curse under your breath you behind shovelling everything away and grabbing anything you'll need to take home.
  2496. >"Trixie made dinner," echoes a wry hiss from beyond the door.
  2497. "Moonie?"
  2498. >"Oh, you do remember me. I thought you might have forgotten," she harshly jests.
  2499. >You feel a bit of guilty, whether she means it or not, and so your spirits falter.
  2500. "I'm sorry, I--"
  2501. >"Swamped at work? I can tell," a hint of awe lines her voice as she gazes over the mountain upon mountain of paper.
  2502. "That's still no excuse for dozing off. How was dinner?"
  2503. >"Trixie can't cook. It's any wonder how she has survived for so long. Anyway, what exactly does a mayor do?"
  2504. >Moonie seems to be in disbelief of it all, and seemingly overwhelmed by it.
  2505. >Not that you don't blame her, you figure during her time as a dictator shed shovel this work to some other poor soul.
  2506. "Funny, come on. Let's go."
  2507. >You flick the rheum from your eyes quickly and Moonie seems to take notice.
  2508. >"Were you actually sleeping on the job? That's hardly fitting of the mayor!"
  2509. "Yes, well," you cut yourself off with a sigh as you find yourself still lacking any real energy. Even enough to jest, so you squat to speak plainly, "Look. Trixie might need to start cooking dinner a few more times so I can spend a bit more time here."
  2510. >"Couldn't you hire an assistant or something? Like what you did for Minister Mare?"
  2511. "I've put out an ad, I've yet to get any replies. So until then--"
  2512. >"But Trixie is my tutor, not my nanny," Moonie defiantly interrupts.
  2513. "And when was the last time you had a lesson? I'm not paying her to eat all our food. If I needed that done I'd just pay you," you jeer, poking her belly softly.
  2514. >You do your best to smile and laugh but the lack of energy makes it a difficult endeavour. It's possible that exhaustion shows on you, either in your expression or your tone, as Moonie eyes you carefully.
  2515. >"Everything okay?" Moonie seriously asks in a rare and shocking expression of consideration for another living creature.
  2516. "Tired."
  2517. >Again she eyes you carefully, for a moment you think she will press the matter but instead, she leaves it be.
  2518. >"I want dessert. And a lot of it, every night, if I'm eating HER cooking."
  2519. "No."
  2520. >She gazes up at you, pouting fiercely. Her lower lip entirely engulfs her upper lip with a quivering wobble, a soft whimper hums, and her head rests gently on your leg.
  2521. >"B-But your queen asked nicely."
  2522. "No, you didn't... And for the record this doesn't work, you're only getting dessert tonight because I wasn't there."
  2523. >"Sure. Keep telling yourself that. Nightmare Moon always gets her way," she gleefully skips ahead with a maniacal laugh.
  2524. >You just shake your head with a low chortle as you shut out the office lights and lockup.
  2525.  
  2526. -----
  2527.  
  2528. >Once you're home, and Moonie has slobbered away some custard before conning ice-cream out of you too, you set down a couple forms on the table.
  2529. >"Are you still working?" Whines Moonie.
  2530. "Yeah, you're right," you reply as the slide them back into your briefcase and walk away.
  2531. >Moonie follows after you, her little hooves pitter-pattering in little skips to keep up with your long strides.
  2532. >Once you're in your room you fall onto the soft bed, your face swamped by darkness as you bury it into the quilt while Moonie leaps up beside you.
  2533. >If you were hoping for peace, you're quickly reminded of why you shouldn't have gotten your hopes up in the first place as a squishy yet firm hoof prods into your cheek and makes gentle circles.
  2534. >"Anooooon," cheerily chirps Moonie, the relish for your silent anguish drips from her words, "I'm bored."
  2535. >Rotating your head, you gaze up at her with apathetic eyes. She's proud of herself for bothering you.
  2536. >You can hear a muffled cackle behind those pearly white-fanged teeth that have turned upwards into a bright smile.
  2537. >You resign yourself, sigh, and sit up.
  2538. "What do you want to do?"
  2539. >Moonie plods onto the ground, tucking her hooves under herself as she stares upwards to ponder as if this were some serious philosophical topic.
  2540. >You notice she steals a quick glimpse at you before nodding, to show she has made a decision yet pauses for a moment longer.
  2541. >"Read me to sleep," she finally answers as she invites herself to climb under your bed's covers.
  2542. "Which book? Or shall I make something up?" You dryly ask as you go to get to your feet.
  2543. >"No, wait," utters Moonie excitedly as she magically grips the corner of your shirt, "I will make up a story for YOU tonight. Yes, your queen shall grace your lowly ears with a tale."
  2544. >Curious, you lie beside her and wait.
  2545. >"What are you doing?" She asks, bewildered.
  2546. >You look around, confused then Moonie suddenly grips the quilt and throws it over you. Awkwardly trying to tuck you in.
  2547. >"We're going to do this right. Understand? So get. Into. Bed," she says, emphasis on each word as she struggles to tuck you in without magic for some reason.
  2548. >Eventually, she succeeds resulting in you laying there like a bit of warming sushi.
  2549. "So, what tale will you regale me with?"
  2550. >"Hmm, I think a story about a benevolent, night-loving mare who takes over the country for everyone's benefit."
  2551. "I want something else," you protest in a mocking tone.
  2552. >"Don't interrupt," she giggles, slightly irritated as she jams a hoof into your face in protest.
  2553. >You reply with a slightly mushed voice as Moonie's hoof starts pushing your face so it's difficult to speak or so you make a silly face, or likely both, "You do it all the time when I tell stories."
  2554. >"Do you want a story or not?"
  2555. >You go quiet and patiently wait. Moonie sighs then thinks for a moment more.
  2556. >"Once upon a time, there lived a mare named..."
  2557. "Sunny. Miss Butts. James," you suggest as you fight back a yawn.
  2558. >Noticing a glare so fierce it might stab a hole in you, you make a serious suggestion with a shrug, "Melody?"
  2559. >"Good enough," Moonie shrugs back, "Melody was a simple mare with a great power. But unfortunately, she lost her memory?"
  2560. "How?"
  2561. >"She can't remember obviously. Don't interrupt. Melody wandered into this quiet and quaint town aimlessly, unsure where she was, why she was there, or what she should do."
  2562. "Did anyone come out to help this poor pony?"
  2563. >"Yeah, a stallion, named..."
  2564. >Moonie looks to you, waiting for another suggestion but her sneer suggests she isn't up for a gag so you just mention the first that come to mind.
  2565. "Smith."
  2566. >"Smith?"
  2567. "Smith."
  2568. >"But that's such a bland--"
  2569. "Smith."
  2570. >"Fine, Smith," Moonie groans, "Found her. And the two of them... uh... tried to run a farm? Arg!" Moonie shouts in defeat, though you can tell by the faint smile she is trying to hide that she is amused too, "I give. This is too hard."
  2571. "Don't worry, I'll tell Miss Cheerilee to up your creative writing homework."
  2572. >"Traitor," she hisses in a hushed voice.
  2573. >You chuckle lightly as you close your eyes, a wash of ease creeps through your body and you begin to untense from some of the day's stresses. It's not something you were aware of until now, but you feel like sleep is actually achievable now. Feeling the grip of dreamland pull you in, you relax, until Moonie speaks up in a low muttering.
  2574. >"I'm far too nice to you, you know," Moonie remarks as she settles down under the blanket next to you.
  2575. "Yeah, keep telling yourself that."
  2576. >"I think I'll step up my evil for a few days. Gotta meet those quotas."
  2577. "Do, and you're grounded," you chortle once more, giving Moonie a little affectionate pat before rolling onto your side.
  2578. >"You cannot order me," she says with a tired and drawn out yawn, "I am... Your queen."
  2579. >You're not sure if either of you says another word, as fall asleep in a very sudden moment to dream wistfully of a life with more free time to spend like this.
  2580.  
  2581. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2582. [56]
  2583. >A tale of adventure, thrills, magic, and heroism weaves itself on words in front of you.
  2584. >Everything you want in life, but not in any physical capacity.
  2585. >Just in book form. There's some romance stuff but it's rather hamfisted and the characters don't work well together so you begin skimming over those pages not entirely soaking in the words.
  2586. >As you flick over a few pages of building up to a kiss that will never happen, you concentration half-heartedly checks in with reality to hear chewing.
  2587. "Are you... What are you eating?" You remark as you spy Moonie sitting in the lounge across from you happily munching away.
  2588. >She shrugs.
  2589. "What do you mean you don't know?"
  2590. >"Found it."
  2591. >Now your attention snaps completely to Moonie.
  2592. >You dart to your feet which startles her a little, causing her to swallow.
  2593. "Found it?"
  2594. >"Yeah. In between the couch here."
  2595. "Why would you eat that?"
  2596. >"I was hungry."
  2597. "That could be anything," You bellow as you look at the multicoloured and undefinable shape.
  2598. >"It was still warm."
  2599. "How is that a reason for eating it?"
  2600. >This is the final straw however. Your mental wellbeing snaps.
  2601. >Though, you'd figure the final piece of foundation that was your mind collapsing in upon itself like an elderly man before the flight of stairs would cause you to get angry or something of the like.
  2602. >Instead, you just resign to fate and go get something that would be safe to eat for the two of you.
  2603. -----
  2604. >A few snacks like biscuits, cucumber sandwiches, and a side of tea served on a silver platter for her royal highness later leads you and Moonie to an impromptu picnic in the lounge room.
  2605. >As soon as she has her fill of proper food, Moonie darts off to leave you to clean up.
  2606. -----
  2607. >Shouts from her room can be heard all the way into the kitchen of whatever imaginary game Moonie playing.
  2608. >Moonie's voice echoes clear and firm in what sounds like impression of some news reporter, "The notorious gang known only as the Dingle Wang Gang have--"
  2609. "What was that?" You shout in between snickers.
  2610. >"The Dingle Wang Gang?"
  2611. >You laugh again. The name alone is enough to elicit a laugh from you.
  2612. >"They're a feared and powerful gang," protests Moonie as she stamps a hoof, radiating the kind of offence only certain slurs can have on powerfully socially conscious.
  2613. "In which world? The land of Laffy Taffy?"
  2614. >"Where is that?" Replies Moonie with a level of seriousness that throws you off momentarily.
  2615. >"The Dingle Wang Gang--"
  2616. >You cut her off with a chorus of laughter that's infectious enough to get her to join in. After a while, you catch yourself enough to compose and speak once more.
  2617. "Okay, tell me about the Dingle Wangs," you ask, impossibly managing to keep straight-faced.
  2618. >"Well, the whole point of the Dingle Wang Gang--"
  2619. >Moonie cuts herself off to try and stifle a laugh, fails, then turns her giggles into an angry groan with the speed of a clown circus in a Lamborghini.
  2620. >"You ruined my gang," barks Moonie as she slams the door.
  2621. >You smile and give yourself a pat on the back for your day's work of civil service.
  2622.  
  2623. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2624. [57]
  2625. >"Arg," cries Moonie in a mocking sound of death, "I'm bleeding out. Blah, bleh, bluh."
  2626. >She wriggles about in the office couch and then falls almost lifelessly onto the floor.
  2627. "You're an odd child." You remark as you glance up from your work as if peering over non-existent glasses.
  2628. >"Do you mean for a millenia old former tyrant?"
  2629. >A chuckle heaves your shoulders up and down as you carry on. Silence falls, save for the whir and click of the ceiling fan and paper shuffling.
  2630. >"Besides," a lonely Moonie states, eager to get the attention she often craves, "you're one to talk."
  2631. >You set down your quill and sit up to stretch.
  2632. "Oh?" You question with a raised brow.
  2633. >"You're the oddest parent I've ever met."
  2634. "Maybe for your kind," you reply with a sly smile.
  2635. >"Really," disbelief oozes from her words, " Are all humans like you."
  2636. >You scoff.
  2637. >"Knew it."
  2638. >Her tone is almost sing song as she rolls about on the floor aimlessly.
  2639. "So, we have a interspecies father/daughter relationship where the child is older than the parent."
  2640. >"And both dictators."
  2641. "What?"
  2642. >"Well I used to be one and you still are bossing folks about."
  2643. "I'm a fair and benevolent mayor."
  2644. >"Aha! That's what every evil ruler says before they plunge the world into darkness."
  2645. >With a mocking maniacal laugh, you shut off the light.
  2646. >"Death, doom, destruction when Anonymous is around."
  2647. >The two of you laugh as you find a spot on the floor next to Moonie.
  2648. >"We are weird," she flatly comments.
  2649. >It's said so suddenly and distant that you feel a huge heap of concern. You try shrugging it off as overreacting parental feelings but even that isn't enough.
  2650. "You know that's okay, right?"
  2651. >"Yeah?"
  2652. "Of course. What else is there to be?"
  2653. >You give her a reassuring scratch on the head. Unsure if she's feeling better or if anything was really wrong in the first place.
  2654. >But you hope you have.
  2655. >You can do that much at the least.
  2656.  
  2657. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2658. [58]
  2659. >Snow was falling, ponies were setting up decorations, groups of various vocal abilities swarmed to practice songs, and a multitude of events were being advertised on anything that wasn't already covered in posters.
  2660. >You stare upwards at the towering human creature that calls himself Anonymous.
  2661. >You've always found it an odd name, but he is from another world so maybe it's normal there.
  2662. >Or maybe he changed it.
  2663. >A new world, a new name.
  2664. >Though if it were you, you'd go for something cool. Like "Clint Wheathooves" famed cowpony from the east that strode in on the sunset.
  2665. "Moonie, what are you doing? Anon asks, you can hear in his voice a struggle to muffle laughter.
  2666. >Now you've become painfully embarrassed and self-aware of the fact you were taking a very confident strut before striking a pose as if you were Clint Wheathooves.
  2667. >"Nothing," you begrudgingly reply as you try to compose yourself.
  2668.  
  2669. >As the two of you walk down the street, you occasionally taking a faster pace to keep up with Amon's longer strides, you start thinking of days gone past.
  2670. >Once upon of time you were feared and respected.
  2671. You could do anything you wanted and not a soul would dare find it amusing with that smug and cheerful grin.
  2672. >However, in a way, it was nice to have someone to joke with.
  2673. >But in every other way how DARE he make light of THE Nightmare Moon.
  2674. >Sometimes you wanted to just slap him with how much you enjoyed his company.
  2675. >Though it doesn't seem right.
  2676. >If only there was a better way to express that emotion.
  2677. >"Maybe a kick," you mumble as you give Anon a slight sideways kick.
  2678. >His strange spindly legs wrap around themselves like spaghetti and he just barely saves himself from a tumble.
  2679. >From that height, he could have seriously hurt himself.
  2680. >Really why are humans that tall?
  2681. >Far enough for Princess Luna and Celestial, they had four legs to stabilise their height but he has two.
  2682. >It seems so inefficient.
  2683. "Moonie. Be careful," Anonymous growls in an authoritative voice. Likely aware but ignoring the fact that you deliberately did it.
  2684. >You look away and click your lips a couple times to feign innocence.
  2685. >It usually works and this time is no exception it seems as you both carry on your way.
  2686. >Again, you look up at Anonymous and repeat the "how dare he" line.
  2687. >Even how he calls you "Moonie" is evidence of his blatant disrespectful attitude towards you.
  2688. >Where is the Nightmare part? You earned that!
  2689. >And what's with trying to cutesy-ing up the Moon part?
  2690. >Moonie?
  2691. >"I am not cute," you pout lowly.
  2692. >Anonymous glances your way, a brow raised.
  2693. >You avoid his watchful eyes and skip a few steps to keep pace.
  2694. >Then the two of you walk by Sugarcube Corner, it now is overly decorated for the season in the usual Pinkie Pie fashion.
  2695. >Now you glance up at Anon to see him furrowing his brow and giving the place a stern look and revel in it.
  2696. >That's right. That's why you get along. He's just much of a Grinch as you are.
  2697. >Being the horridly cheerful things that ponies are, is sickening.
  2698. >All this merry in material form is an affront to the eyes.
  2699. >And let's not forget all the constant friend stuff.
  2700. >You dry retch a little at the thought.
  2701. >"Yup. Everything is awful and Anon knows it," you think to yourself with a nod. You almost think of the words kindred spirit, but quickly shake out such silly niceties.
  2702. "Ugh," Anon groans.
  2703. >You give yourself a pat on the back, internally this time as you have already forgotten it far too many times so far.
  2704. >Being on the same wave-length, you take his groan of disgust as a sign to burn some of the decorations.
  2705. >Not much.
  2706. >Just a wreath.
  2707. >It'll be funny.
  2708. >With a hefty focus on your horn, you do your best to think of warm and flaming thoughts.
  2709. >Magic hasn't been your best subject ever since your fillyfication but when you concentrate, you get there.
  2710. >Sometimes.
  2711. >"Hopefully today is one of those days where it's easier," you think to yourself.
  2712. >It's not.
  2713. >It feels like your eyes are bulging out of their sockets with the force, your checks are bright red and sore from being puffed out and the rest of your face is going blue from the lack of oxygen as you hold your breath to focus all energy on a fire spell.
  2714. >Though with your usual blackest blue coat it's hard for people to tell you're holding your breath.
  2715. >It's the rosy cheeks and strained grunting that draws attention.
  2716. >And just as you get nearly every nearby pony's attention, you summon a flame on the wreath.
  2717. >Being made of dead plants, it easily combusts which is a shock to everyone as it is engulfed with a "whooff".
  2718. "MOONIE," angrily bellows Anonymous as he swats the wreath onto the ground, shovels some snow onto it before stamping the flame.
  2719. >Once the flame has been snuffed out completely, Anonymous checks the ruined outsole of his shoe.
  2720. >Then he looks to you with an unwavering anger.
  2721. "Explain," he utters through gritted teeth.
  2722. >"I... Thought it'd be... Fun?"
  2723. "Fun? To set the Cakes' shop alight?" Anonymous' voice now becomes more flat, more direct as he always does when he wants to probe your every intention before deciding your fate.
  2724. >A fate you dread.
  2725. >It'll likely be filled with chores, disappointed stares, and public apologies.
  2726. >All just as humiliating as the last.
  2727. >Sure you could ignore it all, and most of you wants to, but when you think of possible outcomes for such defiant independence your heart drops through the floor.
  2728. >Anonymous probably wouldn't stick around if you did that.
  2729. >Why would he?
  2730. >He'd leave, and then you'd have to be independent, which means you'd; be alone, need to get a job, stop going to school, feed yourself, find a new place to live, and... And you'd be alone.
  2731. >"Not the shop," you explain, "Just the wreath."
  2732. >Your head hangs low, but you can see in your peripherals many ponies pretending to continue with their day but sticking around to steal glances of this spectacle.
  2733. >Your head falls lower.
  2734. >How dare they.
  2735. Anonymous seems to notice too, "Come on."
  2736. >For a brief moment, your brain clocks out. Then it whirs with the realisation and you hastily try to catch up, skipping a few steps. >Anonymous doesn't go far, he steps away from the town's square to a part more secluded and continues without missing a beat.
  2737. "Why just the wreath?"
  2738. >"Because I hate all this stuff. And..." your voice trails away.
  2739. "And?"
  2740. >You hesitate. Now you're angry at yourself, for not seeing it sooner. You got it wrong and you don't want to hear that aloud.
  2741. "And?" He repeats, still a lack of clear tone to his voice. And somehow that's worse. Knowing there is no judgement in his words yet.
  2742. >"I thought you did too."
  2743. "You thought I hated the wreath?"
  2744. >"All of it. The jolliness, the merriment, and the clutter of this fictitious holiday."
  2745. "And even if I did, does that make it okay to burn other people's belongings?"
  2746. >"No," you grumble.
  2747. "Louder," he commands.
  2748. >"No, it doesn't. I shouldn't have burned it."
  2749. >There's a pause.
  2750. >Your words seem to hang in the air, the world around you freezes, and your heartbeat begins to chime like the ticking of a clock. It stays this way for who knows how long as each second feels like minutes.
  2751. >And still your words hang, like they need to be deemed worthy before anything else can happen.
  2752. "Good," Anonymous finally states, the edge falling from his voice.
  2753. >You hear him take a breath to compose himself then he takes a step in some direction. You're not sure which as you find yourself unable to look up from the ground.
  2754. >"Do you?"
  2755. "Do I what?"
  2756. >"Do you hate all this stuff?"
  2757. >Again there is a moment's silence. This time Anon seems to be clearly giving his words thought.
  2758. "No. It's definitely over the top. But everyone is happy. And that, is what matters."
  2759. >His words ring through you, echoing across your mind as you repeat it to yourself.
  2760. >"How can you?"
  2761. "What's wrong?"
  2762. >"I thought you understood that. All of this. It's a useless holiday."
  2763. "I recall you enjoying the gifts," he jests, not seeming to grasp the seriousness in your words.
  2764. >"But--"
  2765. >You cut yourself off.
  2766. >Your eyes stay firmly planted to the ground as you scan it over like you will somehow find wherever your words have run off to.
  2767. >Now he seems to pick up on it. You're not sure what part of you has betrayed you, being read like a book is always uneasy to you.
  2768. "You know I don't entirely celebrate Hearth's Warming. With this sort of thing, people can do to their houses and business what they like."
  2769. >"But you're the mayor. You could stop them decorating the public space."
  2770. "True," he nods, his tone now takes a sombre consoling tone. And though you will never ever admit it, it is soothing.
  2771. >"But only a little," you lie to yourself.
  2772. "But the majority like it. And I'm an outsider enough as it is without me refusing to allow about their celebrations. Even if I wanted to."
  2773. >Your eyes meet. Yours a firm and stern glare as you read him while his eyes are giving a softer smile than his actual smile seems to be.
  2774. >"You never decorate our home," you state almost accusingly.
  2775. "Oh, yes. You'll never see that tripe in anything I own."
  2776. >"Yeah?"
  2777. "Yeah," he nods, "I'm not really the... festive type. I enjoy a good party, and holidays like Nightmare Night are great. But this one? It's a little too much for me. I guess you've made me far too jaded about all things happy. I mean, I had a nightmare about rainbows the other night," Anon jokes, even pretending to shudder.
  2778. >"Really?" You scoff in disbelief, "What about... Fluffy bunnies?"
  2779. "Foul vermin, lowly demons, but very nice pillows," he replies in an impersonation of your tyrannical voice.
  2780. >You laugh and feel a sense of ease take over.
  2781. >It's a slow comfort but that's fine as far as you're concerned.
  2782. >The two of you spend the rest of the afternoon making fun of everything happy, joyful, and cutesy.
  2783. >While you do have a nagging feeling Anon didn't tell you his feelings in their entirety, and you make a mental note to press that some time, you know for sure he isn't fond of the festive season.
  2784. Like you.
  2785. >And that's why you get along.
  2786.  
  2787. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2788. [59]
  2789.  
  2790. >As you walk down the hallway, you hear a crash and scatter of noise. You step inside with a sigh and rub your strained eyes.
  2791. "What are you doing this time?"
  2792. >Moonie hangs from the ceiling by a rope firmly snagged around a hoof. The blood is already rushing to her head, making a clear rose-tinted show against her usual midnight coat.
  2793. >"This is all according to plan," she lies, her tone daring you to challenge her.
  2794. "Right. Right, your highness. Let's get you down for now."
  2795. >After a hesitant pause, she speaks, "Satisfactory service, as always. Servant."
  2796. "You know I'm your adoptive father, right?" You distantly reply as you try to recall what exactly was on those papers the princess had you sign so many years ago, "And the mayor."
  2797. >"You make my food, clean my housing arrangements, and escort me to and from school. How is that not a servant? The mayor thing is just you as a figurehead," the braggart jests.
  2798. "I don't clean your room," you reply as you look over the mess that Moonie inhabits, "Though you will be. Today."
  2799. >"You clean the rest of the house."
  2800. "Yes. Because I own it."
  2801. >"And clean it to appease your queen. You may bow."
  2802. "Careful. I might start charging board," you remark with a wry smile.
  2803. >"But I don't earn any--oh... You wouldn't," glares Moonie.
  2804. "Confident of that? As the mayor, I believe I could find you many jobs."
  2805. >A puffy cheeked pout and stamping hoofs play out for a while as she does her usual bratty protest. And internally, you find yourself wondering how ponies were subjugated by the filly.
  2806. >Perhaps it was the size difference, or maybe they just didn't know how to handle her.
  2807. >Or both.
  2808. >You can just picture the scene now.
  2809. >A full-grown Moonie throws a tantrum, acts out by refusing to move the Moon and the ponies of Equestria gave her a golden throne so she'd stop.
  2810. >"You used to call me your queen," Mumbles Moonie under her breath so you can't hear.
  2811. "Now... What is all this? Looks like you're trying to catch a bear."
  2812. >"I might be. I dunno how big he is... Or she."
  2813. "What?"
  2814. >"Well, I've only heard sounds. How can I discern gender from that?"
  2815. "What are you talking about?"
  2816. >"The bogeyman or bogeywoman that lives in the closet? Haven't I told you?"
  2817. "First I'm hearing about it."
  2818. >"Oh... Could have sworn--Oh well. There's a bogeyperson in there."
  2819. >Your first instinct would be to try and tell her that there is no such thing but seeing as you never got a grasp on what is and isn't real in a magical world of ponies.
  2820. "Are they real? Like really real? They were myth where I'm from."
  2821. >Moonie shrugs, "I've never met one, but I believe so. Want to find out?"
  2822. >You nod.
  2823. >"Okay. See, at night I only hear noises. Rattling, groaning, and heavy breathing. I've tried opening the door, but it just gives under the bed with a gush of wind and when I look under the bed, it'll be back in the closet. And then it's just running in circles until I pass out on the floor."
  2824. "Right. So traps?"
  2825. >"How else do you catch a monster?" She answers in a matter-of-fact kind of way, "Are you in or out?"
  2826.  
  2827. -----
  2828.  
  2829. >The two of you have set up a makeshift fort of sheets and rope with a small window, which reminds you of a hunting blind.
  2830. >You've also got a few snacks taken out of their packets and placed on a pillow so there is no noise as you rummage for the salty crisps.
  2831. >You chew very slowly on one as you wait in the dark.
  2832. >Beside you, a once bouncy Moonie has begun to slowly doze off, her head bopping up and down in her attempts to fend off sleep.
  2833. >As you don't really believe in a bogeyman, you leave her be.
  2834. >If she falls asleep then you can just tuck her in and head to bed yourself.
  2835. >"I'm awake," stammers Moonie in a daze.
  2836. "Somehow, I don't think your bogeyman is coming," you reply.
  2837. >"Do you think we should bait him with something?"
  2838. >"Ow! Me bloomin' toe," screeches a third voice.
  2839. >For a moment you look toward the hallway before you realise that Trixie isn't here tonight, she doesn't have toes, and the voice came from the closet.
  2840. >The door bursts open and out hops a little man in a hood clutching is green clawed foot before the rope snare latches around his other foot and hoists him into the air. He gives another gruntled yep of pain as his head slams onto the ground before his ascent.
  2841. >"WE GOT HIM," Moonie cheers.
  2842. >Looking at the upside-down creature, you'd say he looks like a goblin.
  2843. >His large green ears poke out of holes in the side of his hood, a large hooked and warted nose looms from the dark miasma that masks his face, and long bony fingers are thrusted in the air as he surrenders.
  2844. >"Don't hurt me," the critters pleads.
  2845. >"Anon! Look," Moonie excitedly beams, ignoring the creature's gravelly squeak of a voice, "He came out the closet."
  2846. >"I did not," it defensively states, arms crossed over its chest.
  2847. >"You did too. How else would my trap have gotten you?"
  2848. >"Oh! Ya mean in thatta way. Well, then, yer. How else do ya expect me to hide away in ther' what with all that stuff jus' crammed in?"
  2849. >"He made me clean my room," Moonie gestures up to you.
  2850. >"For shame sir. Do you ever think of other beings wellbein'?"
  2851. "What?"
  2852. >"Anon, Anon!" Interjects Moonie as she tugs on a pant leg.
  2853. >You crouch down to her level so she can whisper.
  2854. >"Can we keep him?"
  2855. "What?! No."
  2856. >"Why not?" She whines with her famous bratty stamp.
  2857. "You can't even water the garden when I ask you to."
  2858. >"That's because it's not mine."
  2859. >"I can hear you two, ya know?" The bogeyman flatly comments, "And I ain't no pet."
  2860. "What are you then?" You ask as you examine the creature once again.
  2861. >For some strange reason, it seems like there is a black fog billowing around its face and yet, you can feel two beady piercing eyes from beyond it staring back at you. In all the oddness of this creature
  2862. >"A bogeyman, obviously."
  2863. "And why... Why were you in the closet?"
  2864. >"Under the bed is a little too cramped."
  2865. There's a brief pause as his deadpan reply catches you off guard, "Okay... but why?"
  2866. >"Why? You might as well ask why is the sky black? Where do stars come from?"
  2867. >"I make them."
  2868. >"You make stars?" the Bogeyman asks, his eyes widen and you find yourself creeped out at somehow being sure of that information.
  2869. >"Well, did before I was usurped."
  2870. >"Usurped? So you were like... a king or something?"
  2871. >"Queen," Moonie corrects it, bluntly.
  2872. >"Oh, wow. It's a pleasure to meet you, your highness."
  2873. "Right. That's enough of that," you state flatly as your brain begins to overload.
  2874. >You grab the bogeyman and shove it back into the closet, tuck Moonie into bed before retreating into the safety of your bed.
  2875.  
  2876. -----
  2877.  
  2878. >You awake in the morning, your mind still whirring as it struggles to come to grips.
  2879. >Muffled laughter comes from Moonie's room, so curious, you open her door.
  2880. >There you see the bogeyman, sitting down at Moonie's tea party table that she painted black with "blood" red splotches.
  2881. >The two look up at you.
  2882. "What are you doing?" You wearily ask.
  2883. >"Enlisting," the two chorus back.
  2884. "Right," you resign, your mind just ignoring reality for a while, "If I catch you in this house again, I'll start charging rent. Including backpay."
  2885. >The two of them poke their tongues as you close the door.
  2886.  
  2887. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2888. [60]
  2889. >"Oh, demons from the beyond," cackles Moonie from the side of your bed, "I call upon thee... Beseech? Look, I want something. From any of you with the power really, I'm not fussy."
  2890. >You move your head slightly from your pillow to peer over to the filly on the floor who is dressed in a strange garb that looks like a shrine maiden.
  2891. >Almost.
  2892. >A shrine maiden if she were about to go vampire hunting or something.
  2893. >Once you let out what barely sounds like a croak of irritation in a vain attempt to ward of disturbers of sleep, you bury your head back into the pillow.
  2894. >A heavy lullaby still grips you like a starving Bengal tiger that just wandered into an orphanage full of kids too malnourished to run.
  2895. >So rather than do anything but hope you can get back to sleep, you watch.
  2896. >Well, you actually listen as your eyes are still too sensitive to the light and you need to keep your head buried in a pillow, unmoving.
  2897. >As far as Moonie is concerned, you're still asleep so she raises her voice an octave.
  2898. >"I offer to you, oh being of terror and torment, this sacrifice. A... Well, it calls itself human but I can't be entirely sure. They're not even mythical, just alien. I just call him Anonymous, or peasant for short."
  2899. "Wht hf I toll yew abt his?" You muffle into your pillow.
  2900. >"What?"
  2901. >With a sigh, you cock your head to the side once more but keep your eyes closed for fear of the light as if its burning sight will make you unable to return to the plane of slumber like a holy retribution for allowing the evil ritual in your room.
  2902. "You are to stop trying to sacrifice me."
  2903. >"But what if I get something really good?" Moonie protests with a stamp of her hoof.
  2904. "No."
  2905. >"Like maybe a big grilled cheese toastie," adds Moonie, ignoring you.
  2906. "I'd like to think I'm worth more than that," you grumble lowly so Moonie can't hear however in your sleep deprived state, she does.
  2907. >"Yes but obviously I'm not going to get market value, otherwise the demons would never make a profit. Where is your sense of stable economic bartering?" Moonie scolds.
  2908. "Right," you reply dismissively as you sit up, "What do you want?"
  2909. >"Food, you peasant. Obviously. When is it ever anything else?"
  2910. >Moonie rolls her eyes and heads off, likely to the kitchen.
  2911. >You groan, almost as if in pain, and sit on the side of your bed where your feet dangle down and slip into the tomato sauce Moonie has used to draw a large seal around your bed.
  2912. "Moonie, you're cleaning this. Now!" You bark.
  2913. >"NO!"
  2914. "Then you'll starve," you command without any real conviction.
  2915. >"Then I'd die and rule over hell where you couldn't tell me what to do and then when you die your soul would be subject to MY ETERNAL RULE," she bellows, and you could swear you heard a thunder crack during the last part of her sentence.
  2916. "You wouldn't rule hell," you reply as you shuffle into the kitchen.
  2917. >"Even if that was true, which it isn't, it'd still be preferable to here. Pitchforking tormented souls, orchestral screaming, and all the other horror-based delights," Moonie squeals with a shudder of glee.
  2918. "And you'd enjoy all that?"
  2919. >She nods enthusiastically.
  2920. "Then that wouldn't be hell."
  2921. >The smile on her face quivers, "what do you mean?"
  2922. "You're meant to suffer there... No, for you, hell would be boredom. Like you've never experienced before. For you... It'd be like a... Well, like a job. You'd be constantly filling out forms from an inbox that is eternally full, listening to nothing but a clock's ticking with hands that never move, breaks with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling to could the fan's rotations, and customer service!"
  2923. >Moonie screams.
  2924. >"What is wrong with you? How can you imagine that? Oh, you are sick!"
  2925.  
  2926. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  2927. Continued on: https://pastebin.com/kdsEEAUt
  2928. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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