Zephyr Part 17

Nov 4th, 2012
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  1. From then on your days pass in almost carefree happiness. Every now and again Master plays his little submission games with Opal, but the knowledge that she has some control over her future seems to have empowered her to deal with them in stride. From rolling over on command and at one point being made to 'beg' for an orange, up on her haunches with her hooves pressed against her chest, the only response she ever has is mild annoyance, and even then she's smiling by the time she's done with his silliness. Otherwise it's play, play, play and you've never been so happy.
  3. All seems to have been forgiven following Autumn's sudden mood swing and outburst, but Opal still seems a bit nervous around Autumn from time to time, as though she's going to snap at the slightest provocation. You explained what little you know about how Autumn got to be so... well, Autumn, but all that did was make it worse. Now Opal jumps a bit whenever Autumn turns up behind her, a fact the tan pony has been playing for laughs ever since. You're much less concerned about it, because by now you think you've figured out what sets her off. You mentioned getting Master arrested before she snapped at you on your first day out of the basement, and Opal decided not to go to the police for the 'wrong' reasons. Autumn is deathly afraid that someone will take her away from Master, and the police would be the most likely candidate if anypony ran away. Maybe that's why she's so aggressive about winning over newcomers? You can't decide if Autumn is more or less innocently naive than you first thought.
  5. You haven't worked up the courage to ask, but as far as you can tell Autumn's recollection of her life prior to Master is incomplete at best. If someone turned her back into... whoever she was, would she even remember having lived in that body? Or would it be more like your first moments as Zephyr?The poor thing would be completely lost without Master, and she knows that enough to become angry when something could threaten the life she has here. It's a little childish, but you get it.
  7. Watching Opal adjust to Master outside the realm of his little games has been something special, though. Like introducing two friends and watching them hit it off, you've got front-row seats to a budding and wonderful relationship. Nothing romantic that you can discern, but rather a kind of barter system between them now that Opal is thoroughly addicted to petting of all kinds. Unlike Master's tokens of submission Opal usually initiates these, at first noticing the transfixed expression on Master's face during a soda commercial and then excusing herself to the litterbox. Master had Autumn asleep next to him in such a way that getting up would wake her, and stayed down, even when the two of you heard some unusual sounds from the kitchen. You did get up to investigate, but that was only seconds before Opal returned with the neck of a soda bottle clenched in her mouth, causing her head to tilt as she marched directly back to him, depositing the bottle in his lap.
  9. A frankly stunned looking Master held the bottle in his hand for a moment before looking back down at the little bat-mare, still not sure what to make of the gesture.
  11. "Uh, thank you, Opal."
  13. She didn't even reply to him, instead clambering up onto his lap without a word and eyeing him expectantly until he began to scratch behind her ears. You couldn't help but giggle, they both had the same smug look about them as he petted and she enjoyed. Clearly, this was going to be a mutually beneficial relationship.
  15. Unfortunately, time flies when you're having fun. Your carefree days stretched into two wonderful weeks, until Master's phone rang one night as the four of you were eating. You're honestly surprised by the sudden sound intruding on your quiet "family" dinner since Master's phone barely ever rings, but Opal trots off after him, her attention fixed on the half of the conversation she can hear.
  17. "So I should expect you before noon? Yeah, sounds good. You're leaving them behind, right? She's right here. I wouldn't say she's excited, but it certainly looks like she'll give you a chance. You're still alright with her arrangement? Drive safe."
  19. He hangs up and kneels down, petting Opal with both hands as he breaks the news. "Well little cutie, it looks like our time together is at an end. Your owner is getting on the road tonight, and you'll be leaving with him in the morning."
  21. This... well, this sucks! You knew Opal would leave eventually, Master made it clear she had a buyer from the start, but that didn't stop you from getting attached to her. Autumn's great, but you and Opal have a lot in common, and a strong bond thanks to your time together when she first woke up. Opal's a really good friend and now she's getting taken away! It's worse than your friend moving away, you're both just pets! It's not like she can come back to visit a few times a year. Even if she hates living with this guy, she'll only be back until Master finds an owner she'll stay with. There's this knot in your chest now, threatening to burst at any moment. You don't want to lose your friend! Is this what it's going to feel like every time Master sells a pony?
  23. ... No wonder Autumn said she doesn't usually get to play with the others. Opal looks apprehensive at best as she tries to formulate a reply.
  25. "H-he's gonna drive all night? Just to get me?"
  27. "Like I said, he's very excited to meet you. Plus, he's made this trip twice before, by now he knows the best way to do it."
  29. "He must live pretty far away, I mean."
  31. "Oh yeah, miles and miles. I could sedate you if you're worried about being bored during the trip, and you will be bored since you are not, I repeat, not to look out any windows. Can't risk getting pulled over unless you feel like riding in an animal control van."
  33. "No, no I'll just w-wait it out."
  35. "Are you nervous? I hit you in the head with a bat and locked you in a closet for more than a week, and you're worried staying with him?"
  37. "I-it's really just the devil I know or the devil I don't, I guess..."
  39. "Trust me, he's hardly a devil like me. Just give it a try, okay?"
  41. "If you say so..."
  43. "Good girl. Now go finish your dinner."
  45. "Yes, Master."
  47. Opal doesn't look terribly hungry when she drags herself back towards her food. She lies down beside you and stares at her food, lost in thought until you decide to speak.
  49. "So... tomorrow's the big day. How do you feel?"
  51. "Like I'm about to get thrown off a cliff."
  53. "You'd better hope not, those wings look like they're just for show."
  55. There's the smile you're looking for.
  57. "Yeah, maybe it'd be better if I get tossed into the sea. We can swim, right?"
  59. "I'm honestly not sure. But really, are you gonna be okay?"
  61. "... We'll see."
  63. Autumn's been paying just as much attention as you have, but she seems to have a different take on things;"You should be excited! A whole new home and a new Master to love and even new ponies to play with! You've got it made, Opal!"
  65. "Y-yeah, Autumn, it sounds great."
  67. The tone of her voice makes it plain: It most certainly doesn't sound great to her. You hope it's all just nerves and that this person will be good to her, even if it means never getting her back. After finishing your meal there's a quiet night in the living room as Master and Autumn watch another old movie, while you and Opal cuddle together on the other end of the couch. In the whole two hours, neither one of you said a word, Opal silently lost in thought while you try your best to enjoy your last night with her. It's just not happening though, as the knot of anxiety and sadness sits in your chest, feeling as heavy as a brick, dragging you down into a malaise of depression. You've been getting progressively closer to Opal and while you definitely love Master, you're still a little confused as to what you feel for her. Is this sisterly affection, or is this a kind of romance that is simply alien to you?
  69. The movie draws to a close, and Master tidies up for a moment before telling you and Autumn to go to the bedroom while he brought Opal downstairs. You began to obey almost automatically, something you've been noticing a lot lately, as though taking his commands is now a natural compulsion of your brain. That is, until Opal interrupts.
  71. "Um, since it's my last night and all... I don't wanna be alone. If it's alright with you, Master..." She turns to look you in the eyes, stammering for a bit before finally spitting it out.
  73. "If Master says yes... Will you stay with me?"
  75. You don't reply verbally, but offer Master your best pleading expression until he relents and brings the both of you downstairs. Despite Master's instruction to rest up, the two of you spent most of the night talking and playing and laughing as though you wanted a lifetime's worth of friendship in one night. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, you find yourself lying on your side facing Opal as she does the same, wrapping your limbs around one another before sleep begins to claim you.
  77. "Zephyr?"
  79. "Mm?"
  81. "I'm gonna miss you."
  83. "I'm gonna miss you too. So, so much."
  85. You cling to Opal as tight as you can, and wait for the morning to take your friend from you.
  87. The next morning finds the four of you assembled in living room, awaiting the day's guest with varying emotions. Master and Autumn seem perfectly calm, but they've been through this dozens of times before, while your mopey depression contrasts nicely with Opal's anxious fidgeting. There's something on the tv but you can't muster the energy to care, instead resolving to never forget Opal, and never get emotionally attached to another pony. It seems a bit callous, but if this hurts as much as you think it will then you'll have no choice lest you become a gibbering wreck every time Master sells a pony.
  89. Finally, after what feels like days, the sound of tires on dirt calls the undivided attention of everyone in the room. Master rises to his feet and heads for the door while Autumn rears up on two legs to look out the window. Opal doesn't rise from her spot on the floor, looking like she'll either run or faint depending on how this goes and you halfheartedly trot to the door after your Master. As Master strides out of the house to meet the newcomer, you sit in the doorway and spy a very, very expensive looking SUV pulling to a stop in the driveway.
  91. You guess Master wasn't kidding when he said this guy was loaded. The man who emerges is well-dressed and bit on the larger side, though not unattractively so. Wait, 'unattractive'? Why would he be attractive in the first place? You're not attracted to men... except for Master. Or maybe you are, another one of Master's little tweaks to your mind and body he neglected to mention. Ugh, this is too confusing.
  93. Master greets him with an enthusiastic handshake, and the jovial tone of his voice seems unusual to you. He'd been all business with the other buyers. Is it possible that he actually has a human friend? It's not really that hard to imagine, you suppose, just a bit unusual considering how isolated his home, your home, is from the rest of the world. You just sort of assumed he wasn't big on people he hadn't put a collar on. But while you've been musing, they've been exchanging pleasantries, and now they're both approaching the door. You can see the wide, sincere looking smile on the stranger's face as he draws near and there's a kindness in his eyes as he kneels to greet you, of all ponies.
  95. "Oh my, you're quite the pretty one. I'm Eli."
  97. "T-thank you. I'm Zephyr. Nice to meet you."
  99. "Well mannered, too. Or is he training you for that?"
  101. "No, he thinks it's pretty cute when I'm just as much of a jerk as he is."
  103. "Sounds about right, you know what they say about pets and their owners." His laughter seems sincere, and you're right behind him as he heads inside behind Master, who gives you a smile and a light flick on the ear for your insolence. You'd have a few good jokes lined up at his expense, but you're too busy keeping your eyes on this Mr. Eli. He seems like a nice sort of guy, oddly nice considering he and Master seem to be well acquainted with one another, but you can't help but hold a small grudge against him simply for wanting to take Opal away. So there you are, right behind him, when he and Master round the corner to the living room to find...
  105. Autumn, with both forelegs wrapped around one of Opal's rear ones as the poor thing attempts to hide behind the couch. Neither of them seem to have noticed the three of you yet, as Autumn pleads with Opal to just be friendly while Opal hisses for her to get away. Oh yeah, this is the best possible first impression she could have made. Master clears his throat and the two of them fall silent, Autumn happily trotting over to meet the newcomer while Opal continues to occupy her poor choice of a hiding spot.
  107. "Hi Mister! Opal is being a very silly filly right now, but I'm sure she'll come around before too long!"
  109. "Silly is just fine by me. My name's Eli, what's yours?"
  111. "Autumn!"
  113. "A pretty name for a pretty pony. Would you mind if I tried talking to her?"
  115. "No sir! She's gonna be yours, isn't she?"
  117. "Only if she wants to."
  119. He spoke to you with a polite respectfulness, but he treats Autumn a little differently, like a child in need of nurturing. If they'd met before he wouldn't have introduced himself, even if Autumn didn't remember. Maybe he and Master swap pony stories or something? Or maybe he's just good at getting a read on people?
  121. Gah, pay attention! You can have your internal monologue later, he's going to talk to Opal!
  123. The three of you stand aside in rapt attention as Eli approaches the side of the Sofa before sitting cross legged on the floor next to it.
  125. "You know, for a pony with confidence enough to demand concessions from my domineering friend over here you seem awfully shy."
  127. Opal remains perfectly quiet, but there's a sound of fur rubbing on fabric as half her face reappears from behind the corner, a single vertically-scored eye and a few locks of her violet mane peeking out at him with more than just a hint of fear evident.
  129. "I'm not going to force you out of there, but am I that frightening?"
  131. Opal's face disappears around the corner again, but a tiny voice responds.
  133. "N-no. You're not scary. It's just all overwhelming."
  135. "And what makes you say that?"
  137. "I'm supposed to meet you right now and then go be yours? I-it just feels like... I don't know, like an arranged marriage or something."
  139. "Well I'm not going to make you wear a dress, if that's the issue."
  141. Her face peeks out from behind again, this time all of it, with a small chuckle.
  143. "We're agreed on that, at least."
  145. "So are you going to take a chance and come out here so I can see you, or are you going to hide from dresses all day?"
  147. Oh thank god, he's got a sense of humor. That's going to make life exponentially easier for both of them. Sure enough, Opal cracks the tiniest smile and works her way out of her hidey-hole, head lowered and a bashful look on her face. Eli can't quite stop himself from eliciting a low whistle before turning to Master.
  149. "You've really outdone yourself, you know that? She's even more beautiful than I thought she'd be."
  151. Master doesn't say anything, simply cracking into a satisfied smile. How odd, you think, that he has such professional pride in a business he himself has admitted is... distasteful? Yes, you're satisfied here and so are the others who came before you, but to any outside observer, and even to yourself at first, he seems like absolute monster. Come to think of it, what's a nice guy like Eli doing around here, buying kidnapping victims for pleasure and befriending the mad scientist responsible? Either there's a story here or he isn't as nice as he seems. Gotta stay vigilant, this might be a ruse. Unless you just can't trust people anymore thanks to the fatass in the basement. Though after a couple weeks of being fed whatever Master's willing to give him, he might not be quite so heavy anymore.
  153. Eli's praise appears to have short-circuted Opal, though. She's sitting on her haunches in front of him, but by the look on her face you think she might retreat if anyone else calls her beautiful again. Eli seems to have noticed the same, though.
  155. "Oh come on now, you must know how good you look. If you can't handle a complement from me you're not going to fare well when you meet your new housemates. Snap out of it you pretty little mare, I'm Eli. Nice to meet you."
  157. "Well... I'm Opal a-and I'm not... really used to being called p-pretty or beautiful or anything like that. Before all this I wasn't... uh..."
  159. "Oh, I get it. I'd think any girl would be a bit more receptive, I'd say... You used to be a boy, didn't you?"
  161. You really do feel bad now. Her fur coat is so dark no one can see all the color drain from her face, but you're completely sure it's happening under there. She starts to twitch a bit, and you already know she's going to bolt again, probably back behind the couch. The front door got shut, right? Otherwise she looks like she'll just run until she collapses. Can a pony die from embarrassment?
  163. "A-and that doesn't bother you at all?! You think I'm all pretty and cute but I used to be a guy! Doesn't anyone else think this is weird?"
  165. "First of all, one of the ponies I have now used to be a guy, and that doesn't bother either of us. Second off, if you're ready to deal with it, why wouldn't I be?"
  167. "B-b-because you're gonna wanna p-pet me and c-cuddle me just like that guy does!", while leveling an accusing hoof at Master, "And do other stuff too, I bet! With a guy!"
  169. He reaches out and grabs her in a sudden lunge, eliciting a squeal of surprise from the poor nervous mare as he pulls her into a hug, resting her on his lap.
  171. "Well, I certainly want to pet you and cuddle you, so I think I'm gonna do that right about now. Something he and I have in common, I'm afraid. As for the 'other stuff'... well, what did you have in mind, my little Opal?"
  173. No, seriously, can a pony die from embarrasment?
  175. Opal's squirming a bit in his grasp, even as he starts giving long strokes of her mane while the little nightguard seated in his lap
  177. desperately tries to stammer out a reply to his declaration. Eli wastes no time in following up, though.
  179. "But honestly, while I certainly wouldn't be opposed to a little intimacy with such a wonderful little pony, that's all up to you. I'm a horsefucker, yes, not a horse-rapist. You want to just be a live-in friend that I happen to have paid for? That's just fine, too. I'd be perfectly happy just having you around for companionship. Is that all right?"
  181. "Y-yes, but I thought that's what Master's ponies are for?"
  183. "Mm, yes and no. He certainly enjoys it, that much I'm sure of, and I do too, but we know someone who just keeps her ponies for companionship. Crippling social anxieties apparently don't count when the people you're talking to are three feet tall and on all fours. Be honest, though, is it something you're just not interested in at all or is it something you're just not ready for?"
  185. She's visibly relaxing under his careful petting, leaning into his chest and shifting her weight a bit in his lap to get comfortable. Hm, you bet that's going to seem like an answer all on it's own.
  187. "I... I don't know. This is all so new and I'm not sure what I want anymore..."
  189. "We'll take it slow, I promise. Can you promise me you'll be a good girl, though? He says you're kind of a flighty type, and it's okay if that's limited to hiding behind furniture, I just don't want you running out on me in the middle of the night. Honestly, if anyone else were going to take you home I think he'd still be trying to rid you of that."
  191. "I'll be a good pony. I'll obey you, and I won't run, I promise. I'll be cute and I'll be pretty and I'll let you laugh at me when I'm dumb. If I don't want to stay... you will give me back to him, won't you?"
  193. "I made a deal, didn't I? If you don't want to be mine I'll be so very disappointed, but I'm not going to force misery on such a sweet little thing. If you tell me you want to leave, he'll get a call. But he's going to come pick you up, that drive is murder. It's why we don't hang out very much, he just loves being a crazy hermit." They're making eye contact now, Opal's nervous embarrassment reduced to the occasional fidget or ear flick. Her eyes press themselves shut when he leans in and kisses her on the forehead, and they stay shut as he continues to speak.
  195. "And no, I don't particularly mind that you used to be a man. Do you still feel like a man?"
  197. "No..."
  199. "I've got two questions for you before I run off to use the bathroom. Why'd you hide behind the sofa in the first place?"
  201. "I j-just got so nervous. I kept worrying that you wouldn't like me or that you'd like me too much and it'd be creepy or that you'd be a domination freak or something. I panicked... like Master told you I do..."
  203. "Hah! Well I'm not going to insist you grovel for your food or anything like that. The other two canter around my house like they own the place and I'm fine with that as long as they listen when I talk. So does it seem like I like you too much? Am I creepy?"
  205. "You're buying me, a person made to resemble a character from a little girls' cartoon, so you can watch me 'canter' around your house, eat your food from a bowl on the floor and sleep on all of your furniture. This is still creepy no matter what, but you don't seem like you're going to make me call you 'daddy' or something gross like that, so that's a start."
  207. "Oh man, I never thought to ask my ponies what they thought of My Little Dashie... We're gonna do that later."
  209. "And the second thing?"
  211. "Why on earth would you pick the same name as Rarity's cat?"
  213. She doesn't even bother with the defensive explanation you got. Instead she lets out the most adorable warcry you've ever heard and throws herself at him. The tackle lays him out on the floor, and for a moment you're alarmed as she starts hitting him in the chest with her forehooves. Alarmed until you hear them him laughing and it becomes clear thar either Opal isn't trying to hurt him or she's far too weak to actually accomplish it. Then her higher notes of laughter join his, and suddenly it's all okay. It really is all okay, you reflect, watching Opal bond with the man she's going to end up loving.
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