>You are Anonymous.
>Ever since the nuclear-powered panini-maker incident sent your ass straight into candyland, you've tried to live what could pass as a normal life here.
>Pretty hard to do when your college degree basically certifies you as the smartest being on the planet.
>Despite this, you still managed to make some friends in Equestria.
>Right now, you're spending some quality time at the park with your marefriend, Cheerilee.
>With her being one of the few ponies with an IQ /not/ below 80, she quickly became one of your closest friends, since you could speak to her on something other than a third-grade level.
>You two met after your friend Applejack sent you to bring her sister Apple Bloom and her two friends back to the orchard, since she was too busy with work to do it herself at the time.
>You hit it off with her, and after a date, you fell in love with her.
>Her eyes, her personality, her beautiful smile.
>All these things drove you to be with her as often as possible; and she clearly reciprocated your feelings.
>"Hey, that one looks like a goose!"
>Snapping out of one of your patented Exposition Trances, you look at the cloud Cheerilee had been pointing at.
"You're right, that one does kinda look like a goose! Hey, don't you think that one looks like you? That cute, fluffy one?
>"Hehe! Aaaah... I love spending time with you, Anon. You always know how to brighten up my day."
"Thank you, Cheerilee. You're always the one to 'Cheer' me up when I feel bad!"
>"Pfff-Hahaha! Anon, where did you learn to makes jokes like that?"
"I guess it's just a human thing; being funny all the time."
>"Well then, I'm lucky that I'm the one you fell for, huh?"
"I'm the one who's lucky to have found /you/."
>Returning your gaze back to the sky, you notice it's starting to get dark out.
"Hey Cheerilee, it's starting to get late out. We should probably head home."
>"Yea, you're right. I have to teach school tomorrow, too, so I should go to bed soon."
"I'll walk you home?"
>"Sounds good to me!"
>You and Cheerilee both get up, and leave the park; waving goodbye to all the other ponies still enjoying the late evening air.
>You honestly enjoyed your life in Equestria. Unmarred by industry or light pollution; the air was always crisp, and the night sky vibrant. It reminded you of your childhood.
>On your way to Cheerilee's house, you try to take a moment to remember the last time you had been this care-free back on earth.
>Your pondering doesn't last long, as your trip across the tiny town of Ponyville only takes a few minutes.
>Finally arriving at your marefiend's home, you wish her a good night, and after giving her a hug, you make your way to your own house.
>Like before, the trip only lasts a few minutes at best.
>Walking up to your door, you notice a note on your mailbox.
>'SUPER IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ LETTER IN THIS BOX!'
>It's probably from Twilight again. She likes to use the official Equestrian government urgency notice so that you'll read her letters when you get home, rather than just whenever you get around to it.
>Opening your mailbox, you pull out an envelope tha--
"Wait a minute... This isn't from Twilight?"
>On the front of the letter is the seal of the Royal Sisters, instead of Twilight's personal government seal.
"Huh... I wonder what Celestia and Luna want?"
>You open the door to your house with the envelope in hand, and after closing your door, you make your way to the couch.
>Opening the envelope, you take the letter from it's royal packaging and read it to yourself...
>...And promptly drop the paper to the floor in disbelief.
'ORDER TO REPORT FOR INDUCTION
You are hereby notified that you were, on the 13th day of June, 1003, legally drafted in the service of Equestria, in order to defend the nation from the hostilities of the Griffonian Empire. You will accordingly report, on or before the 15th of June, 1003, at the place of rally in Canterlot, or be deemed a deserter, and be subject to the penalties prescribed therefor by the Rules and Articles of War.
PMG Civil Guard,
>It can't be fucking real
>It just can't be real
>There's no way
"I'm... Being drafted?"
>It comes out less of a question and more as a statement of disbelief.
>Since when was there a war between Equestria and the Griffon Empire? You guess news just hadn't reached you all the way out in Rural Ponyville.
"I... I need to lie down and think this over..."
>Still slightly dazed from the news, you stumbling to your room and lie down on your bed.
>Somehow, sleep finds you easy. Maybe your brain registered that you wouldn't be getting much more sleep now that you're being drafted, and wanted to make the most of the time you had left to nap.
>Cheerilee's not going to like this...
>You wake up to the sound of roosters crowing.
>As your newly-awoken brain starts to readjust to being in the world of the living, last night's events come back to you.
>You were drafted...
>You have to show up at Canterlot for induction tomorrow, and it's about a day's trip there from Ponyville by train, so you only have some of today to get all your affairs in order.
>Who knows when you'll be coming back?
>Getting out of bed, you walk to your closet to pick out some clothing to wear. Probably something comfy; it might be the only non-guard outfit you'll have in the military.
>Grabbing a pair of long, but still fairly comfy pants, some underwear, and a t-shirt, you bring them into the bathroom and put the clothing up on the sink.
>After using the toilet, you turn on the shower, get undressed, and hop in.
>Your body works on autopilot as you take some time to think about a gameplan to make sure you're really ready to leave Ponyville.
>After finishing your generic washing routine, you grab a towel and begin drying yourself off.
>Once dry, you put on your underwear and pants. Picking up your shirt, you hold it infront of you and simply look at it.
>Folding it back up, you walk back to your room and put the shirt away.
>Rifling through your closet once more, you grab a red sweater, with your name stitched onto the inside of the collar.
>A gift from Cheerilee. She asked Rarity to make it for you in secret as a surprise for Hearts and Hooves Day.
>If it's the last thing Cheerilee might see you in, hopefully it'll show her how much she means to you.
>Quickly putting on the sweater, you eat some breakfast and head out.
>Your first plan of action? Telling the mayor why you won't be around in town for a while.
>Once you arrive at town hall, you open the door and are greeted by a white Earth Pony mare with a red and orange curly mane sitting at a desk.
>"Good morning, Anonymous!"
>You wave to the mare and walk up to her desk.
"Good morning, Notepad. Is Mayor Mare free right now? I need to speak with her."
>"She has an opening right now, actually. I'll mark you down and you can head in."
"Thanks, Notepad! You're the best!"
>"Oh, hehe! Thank you, Anon!"
>Notepad claps her hooves together and blushes. These ponies always loved it when you complimented them.
>Turning down the hall to your left, you walk down to the mayor's office and knock on the door.
>Opening the door, you walk in and spot Mayor Mare sitting at her desk, writing a form to increase the pudding budget.
>She looks up from her work and sees you; a smile replacing her neutral expression.
>"Oh, hello, Anonymous! What are you doing here, today?"
"I need to tell you something important, Ms. Mare."
>"Oh? What's the matter?"
"I've been drafted into the Equestrian Army."
>Mayor Mare reels back in shock.
>"W-what?! You were drafted?! I'm so sorry, Anon! Here, take one of these."
>She pushes over a bowl of lollipops, and you take one.
"Thank you. I wanted to come by and tell you why I won't be around for a while, so you don't start thinking something's wrong."
>"Anon, are you doing alright? This must be really scary... I couldn't imagine EVER having to fight!"
"I'm fine. I'm more worried about how everyone else will feel when they realize I'm gone."
>"You mean like..."
>"Anon... I wish I could do something so you didn't have to go..."
"It's fine. Thank you, though."
>"When are you suppost to leave Ponyville?"
"Later today, actually. I need to be in Canterlot by tomorrow, and it'll tak about a day to get there on the train."
>"Oh... Alright, Anon. Please be safe out there."
"I will, Mayor Mare."
>You get up, giving the mayor a goodbye which she returns. You go to leave the room, but before you reach for the door handle, you stop.
"Could you please slip in a few days off for Cheerilee? I think she might need them."
>Mayor Mare gives you a look that tells you she understands why you'd make that request.
>"...I'll see what I can do."
>Opening the door, you leave the room and walk to the exit, waving goodbye to Notepad as you go.
>Next, you have to tell your friends that you'll be leaving.
>You can't just tell them all you're going off to war; they'll all be devastated!
>You'll have to give them another reason as to why you're leaving...
>You'll tell them you're going to a work interview!
>And so, you head around Ponyville, telling all your friends that you're going to be heading off to Canterlot later for a meeting with some members of a big company that you got offered a well-paying position at.
>"Yer headin' off to Canterlot fer an innerview? Well, Ah'm mighty happy y'all 're movin' up in life! Good luck with them city ponies, Sugarcube!"
>"You're heading to Canterlot, Darling? Oh, you simply MUST take me there some time after you get that job! I could make outfits for the company! Ooh, I should go start on some designs right now!"
>"An interview, Nonny? Oh! I should start preparing a 'Congratulations on Getting that Big Job in Canterlot' party!"
>"You're going to Canterlot for a few days? Ooh, can I look at your hand for a little bit then, since I won't be seeing you for a while?"
>"You're heading up to Canterlot, Anonymous? I sometimes go up there to play my cello for wealthy ponies. Maybe if we're ever in the same neighborhood, we could grab some ice-cream together?"
>After a few hours of speaking to your friends, you go to find one last pony you need to speak with before you can go see Cheerilee.
>You quickly find her, sleeping in a cloud.
>The mare in question wakes up from your shouting, and flies down to talk to you.
>"Yo, Anon! What's up?"
>You look away for a moment, before bringing your eyes back to your dear friend.
"I'm going to be leaving for a while... I don't know when I'll be coming back."
>"Well, where are you heading off to, dude?"
"Dash... I was drafted into the army."
>Dash's smile drops like a rock; the energy leaving her as she too drops to the ground.
>"Y-you're what? Oh! Y-you're just j-joking with me, r-right Anon...?"
>Dash starts to grin again, but the tears welling-up in her eyes tell a different story.
>"Y-you got me good, Anon! It m-must have took you a while to think a joke l-like that up! 'Drafted,' hah! G-good one!"
"Dash, I'm serious. I'm heading out later today to go to Canterlot for training. I don't know when I might come back. IF I might come back."
>Dash's façade breaks, and in an instant you're on the ground; your friend ontop of you with her arms tight around your neck.
>"ANON NO! Y-YOU CAN'T JUST LEAVE! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO GO, ANON?! PLEASE DON'T GO!"
>Rainbow Dash's tears stain your skin and she presses her crying eyes into your neck as hard as she can.
"Rainbow, I'm sorry. It's not my choice to make..."
>"YOU CAN'T GO, ANON! YOU'RE MY BEST FRIEND! W-WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITHOUT YOUUUU?!"
>"WHO- WHO'S GOING TO TEACH ME HOW TO SWIM AND WHISTLE AND PEEL ORANGES AND AND AND-- WAAAAAAHHH!!!!"
>You take a moment to simply hug the crying mare, and to try to comfort her as she processes the news.
>Sniffling, Dash looks up at you.
"Do you know why I'm telling you all this?"
"Because I trust you to tell everyone else when the time comes. Nobody else knows I was drafted. Everyone thinks I'm on a 'business trip.' I don't think I could handle telling everyone where I'm really going. But, I know you're a strong mare, and I know that you can be strong when that time comes. I know you can be stronger than me."
>Rainbow Dash wipes the tears from her face, and tries her hardest to put on a tough face, and be the strong mare you told her she was.
>"I'll... I'll try, Anon..."
"Thank you so much, I knew I could count on you."
>You get up from your back and settle into a sitting position; pulling the pony back into a hug to spend a bit more time with your close friend.
>"I'm sorry I couldn't protect you..."
"It's not your fault. Don't beat yourself up over it."
>"Anon, please be careful out there? I don't know what I'd do if you got hurt..."
"I promise I'll be safe."
>The pony in your lap starts to calm down.
"Alright, Dash. I need to go say bye to Cheerilee. Are you going to be okay?"
>"Yeah, I'll be fine. After all, I'm a big, strong mare, right?"
"Yes you are, Dash."
>You set Dash back down on the ground, and give her one last hug before you make your way towards the Ponyville schoolhouse.
>It's around noon, so the students should be out at recess right now.
>That means you can speak to Cheerilee alone.
>Walking into the school, you see Cheerilee working at her desk, grading some tests.
>Cheerilee looks up from the test infront of her and smiles at you.
>"Oh, hello Anon! What brings you by the school today?"
"I came to tell you that I'm going to be going to Canterlot today for a big job interview. I'll be gone for a few days, so I wanted to come tell you so you wouldn't worry."
>Cheerilee's ears drop at hearing how you would be gone for a few days.
>"Oh... Wait, is that the sweater I gave you?"
"Yep! I want the ponies in Canterlot to know my marefriend has great taste in clothing!"
>"Oh, Anon, I'm not /that/ good at picking out clothing."
>You scoop up the mare in your arms, and give her a big bearhug.
"Oh yes you are! You're my little fashionista!"
>"Stop! You're embarrasing me!"
>You put her down, and see her deep blush as you look her in her eyes.
"I'll try to be back as soon as possible, okay Cheer?"
>"Okay, Anon. I'll be counting the days!"
"Sounds good to me."
>You lean down, giving her a kiss on the tip of her snootle.
>Cheerilee turns a shade of crimson so deep, you'd have mistaken her for Big Mac had you not watched it happen.
"I'll see you later, cutie!"
>Shaking your head at your marefriend's Anon-induced trance, you leave the schoolhouse and start to head home.
>After all, you have an explanation to write.
>Arriving at your humble abode, you head inside and grab a piece of paper.
>After a few minutes, you finish writing the letter. You fold up the paper, put it in an envelope, and write the name of the recipient on it.
>That's odd, when did you start crying?
>Wiping the tears from your eyes, you head outside, dropping off the letter at the home of the pony in question.
>Having tied up all your loose ends in Ponyville, you make your way to the train station.
>"ALL ABOARD! LAST CALL FOR CANTERLOT! ALL ABOARD!"
>You pay the mare at the ticketbooth the fare for a trainride to the capital, and hop onto the train.
>You take a seat next to a light blue mare with a red mane and a flaming Cutie Mark.
>"Oh, hi there! I'm Hot Shot. What's your name?"
"Anonymous. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Shot."
>"Thanks! Y'know, I think this seems like the beginning of a beauuutiful friendship!"
"Maybe it is, Hot Shot. Maybe it is."
>You are Cheerilee, and you had a GREAT day at work!
>All your students passed their test, AND your coltfriend /KISSED/ you!
>After fiinally getting home, you open the door and walk in.
>Only to step on a letter on the floor.
"Oh? I wonder who left this here?"
>On the front, it says 'To my dear, sweet Cheerilee.'
>...It's from Anon.
>Opening the letter, you start to read the letter.
>And then you read it again.
>Dread fills you as you struggle to process what your love Anon wrote to you.
'To my dear, sweet Cheerilee,
I am so, so sorry that you had to find out this way. I've been drafted into the Equestrian army. I don't know when I'll be coming back. I couldn't bear to tell you when you were at the school house. You still have class to teach! Please don't worry about me; I can't stand the thought of tears staining your beautiful face. By the time you read this, I'll already be well on my way to Canterlot for training. Maybe when I get back, we can go see a movie together or something? Sorry if it seems like I'm rambling, I'm just having a hard time thinking of how to tell you that everything will be okay. I love you with all my heart, Cheerilee. I always will.
Well and truly yours, Anonymous.'
>Then, you do something you haven't done in a long, long time.
>You cry like a little filly.