Green Clover Saves the Kids

Feb 9th, 2020
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  1. Prologue: A bunch of fucked-up shit happened to you, and through some odd circumstances there are now two versions of yourself in close proximity. A little filly who wants to fuck you named Little League is also hanging around because she didn't want to die, and a Twilight Sparkle from a doomed future accompanies you closely, making sure that you don't lose your head(s). You are Anonymous, once a man and now a filly. Twists through space and time have brought you away from the world you called home to a land known as Equestria, but there are many such like it. You have just entered another, and this is where our story begins.
  2. >>>Directory:
  4. >Who?
  5. >What?
  6. >When?
  7. >Where?
  8. >...
  9. >Why?
  10. >You gasp as you open your eyes, seeing only inky blackness.
  11. >You feel your body encased, suffocating...
  12. >You squirm about, but it does no good.
  13. >And it's cold, colder than...
  14. >Well, about as cold as any snow.
  15. >You cry out as something pulls you up.
  16. >You were in an embankment of snow.
  17. >In fact, this entire area looks to be one huge embankment of snow.
  18. >"That's no place to stay. We need to move, and now."
  19. >Who...
  20. "Who are you?"
  21. >"Don't pull that... shiz Anon. It's me, Little League."
  22. "Right..."
  23. >You can feel it all coming back to you now.
  24. >The...
  25. >You sniffle.
  26. >"We need to find the others, come on."
  27. >You nod, taking a hoof and knocking it on your head to get off some of the snow that's caked on there.
  28. >You shiver, even though it was snowing up on that mountain the cold is far more biting here.
  29. >You doubt you'll last long if you don't find shelter, and prospects don't look good there.
  30. >Your best bet is to find Purple.
  31. >You disengage your weapon from the bulky assist and check it for damage. Aside from the barrel being stuffed full of snow, there doesn't seem to be any apparent on the surface.
  32. >Scanning the area around you, you see two holes. One of them was the one you came out of, but the other one has a baseball bat sticking out of the snow next to it.
  33. "Did you get out of yours all by yourself?"
  34. >League rolls her eyes and hits the snow with her hoof, causing it to pack down.
  35. >"Remember? You can be so scatterbrained..."
  36. "Hey! We just..."
  37. >You hold a hoof up to your head.
  38. >What was it you were just doing?
  39. >There was the light, and Twilight, and then...
  40. "Traveled between universes."
  41. >League looks a bit confused by that.
  42. >"Did she tell us that? I don't recall it..."
  43. "Well, the journey took its toll on me mentally as well as physically when I first entered. We're lucky we ended up in the snow, otherwise who knows what sort of injuries we would've incurred?"
  44. >"Right. Well, no time to lose...."
  45. >You and League stay close and alert as you hurriedly search the landscape.
  46. >You see a deep, narrow pit in the snow. League grabs your back legs tightly and hangs on to you while you anchor the keratin of your forehooves into the packed sides of the walls. Grabbing the bulk of something hairy with your teeth, you start to make muffled urgent sounds and League hoists you back up with superequine strength.
  47. >Superhuman, you shit.
  48. >Twilight lies on the snow in front of you. You hold up an ear to her mouth and find that she isn't breathing, but a hurried check of her chest reveals a pumping heart.
  49. "League, keep her nostrils closed and her head back."
  50. >Your friend nods and gets down on top of Twilight, doing exactly that.
  51. >In one of the few times you're happy to be smaller than League is, you crawl under her and begin to perform rescue breaths.
  52. >After about half a minute, the eyes shoot open and you get a mouth full of wet snow.
  53. >Twilight hacks up icy water onto the ground.
  54. >You want to give her the time to recover, but there's still one unaccounted for.
  55. "Twilight! Can you do a vital scan in the snow? Cripple is missing."
  56. >She looks right next to you.
  57. >"I-I... sure. Give me a second..."
  58. >She hoists herself up to a standing position.
  59. >Her horn begins to glow, a pained look on her face.
  60. >"Lucky you found me fast. She's not far and not deep, but she's covered. Come on."
  61. >Twilight canters over to a seemingly flat area of the snow with a slight limp and slams the shield into it.
  62. >The snow crumples, revealing a green head with a messy mane.
  63. >You rush over as she's gingerly levitated out.
  64. >"She's breathing, just passed out. We need to get somewhere warm, but where..."
  65. >The three of you go silent as you look around.
  66. >There's nothing but snow as far as the eye can see.
  67. "Can you jump us again?"
  68. >"I only know how to in theory, it's very likely the process would kill us all."
  69. "So we trek on?"
  70. >League looks at the ground.
  71. >"I-I'm tired..."
  72. >She collapses in the snow.
  73. >You get down next to her and check up on her.
  74. "She's fine, just passed out I think. I'd say we should set up an igloo to keep warm, but we don't have any food and at this point it looks like we'll be fucked if we do."
  75. >"I was thinking the same thing. I'm not going to try teleporting us for at least a good while. Just using that biological search spell made my skull feel like it was on the verge of bursting."
  76. "Can you tell me about some of the Northern life you find in Equestria?"
  77. >She just looks at you grimly as you help her get League up onto her back.
  78. >"Let's just pray that this isn't any derivative universe of the one I know."
  79. >...
  80. >"See that shape in the distance?"
  81. "Y-yeah."
  82. >"Kill it now or we freeze."
  83. >You lean up against Twilight, resting the 870 on her back.
  84. "Might wanna cover your ears."
  85. >She folds them down, and then nods at you.
  86. >You get in position, closing one of your massive eyes and staring at the thing.
  87. >Bang.
  88. >The recoil knocks the damned thing right into your muzzle, and you cry out in pain.
  89. >The cripple awakens with a bloodcurdling scream.
  90. >"I-it's okay! We're going to live now. She killed it."
  91. >Twilight rubs your icy mane, and the four of you press on.
  92. >Your vision gets fuzzy as you continue, before you finally collapse too.
  93. >Twilight hoists you up with sputtering telekinesis, groaning under the weight of three fillies.
  94. >You hear her muttering a prayer to Celestia.
  95. >You know that she probably knows as well as you do it'll do no good, but it'd be cruel to remind her of what she already probably knows.
  96. >The thing you shot becomes visible.
  97. >It's a...
  98. >Head?
  99. >Blood soaks into the snow all around it, a deep red. Much deeper than yours.
  100. >"We're lucky."
  101. >You're fairly sure you're the only one awake to hear her say it.
  102. >"I just need to enter the mouth."
  103. "What?"
  104. >"Don't worry, it's perfectly safe now that you've killed it."
  105. >You gulp, looking on in horror as you stare into the mouth of the beast.
  106. >You can't see the eyes if they're there, but of the structure you can be sure.
  107. >Poking just above the thick layer of snow crust is the head of a leviathan worm.
  108. >True to Twilight's word, the mouth is wide open, as if in shock.
  109. >Row upon row of lustrous and beautiful teeth.
  110. >Twilight hops up, revealing that there's a two foot drop down from the 'lip' to the floor of the thing's mouth.
  111. >She gingerly sets your two companions in one of the dry areas and looks to you.
  112. >"Well Anon, looks like it's just you and me again for a little while. But before we can relax, there's one last thing we need to do."
  113. "Of course."
  114. >Twilight spears a large pustule before pouring a bottle of turpentine on it and setting it alight with a spark. She then proceeds to do the same to the seemingly empty bottle, causing it to flash before going out.
  115. >"This creature utilizes sulfuric acid for digestion instead of hydrochloric. The reasoning behind this is interesting, but I'll save it for later as we'll likely lose our heat advantage within hours if we can't get it shut. I need to collect about a bottle full of stomach juice."
  116. "W-why?"
  117. >"A battery, just a door closing mechanism."
  118. >She smiles at you warmly, the excitement of her ingenuity bright in her eyes even with her clearly near hypothermic shaking.
  120. >Something comes into view, more coat and snow attire than pony. Its voice is muffled underneath layers of clothing, but even so you can detect something very... unique about it.
  121. >"Ze hell...?"
  122. >It draws closer, until you can make out specific details amid the snowfall.
  123. >Thick, furred boots with what appear to be metal horseshoes at the base.
  124. >Snow goggles, a thick scarf, and a hood with fluffy lining.
  125. >The tip of a horn pokes through the white material, also white.
  126. >She steps into the worm without a second glance at it, and pulls down her hood.
  127. >A short, practical-looking blond mane reveals itself, hairs going in every which direction except straight.
  128. >You find yourself leaning against Twilight, shaking as you point the gun at the newcomer.
  129. >"Drop ze instrument. Ve are all friends here, are ve not? I'd hate to hafe to do anything... practical to a friend."
  130. >You notice her horn glowing a shade of dark blue and quickly drop it onto the mouth floor.
  131. >"Excellent. I know not who you are, but for ze time being I am at least going to assume you had a good reason for killing ze vurm."
  132. >Her face obscured, she faces away from you.
  133. >"I am Franziska. Come vith me if you vant to live."
  134. >You poke your doppelganger's face.
  135. >She's breathing softly, you really shouldn't wake her up.
  136. >You hear her murmur something in her sleep.
  137. >"Cuddle with the pone to get worm..."
  138. >You...
  139. >"Franziska? Can you carry one of them?"
  140. >The mare whips around.
  141. >"Ah, apologies pferd... I did not notice zese... others."
  142. >She gives Anon a very dark look.
  143. >"You... wouldn't happen to have a gestaltwander vith you, now?"
  144. "Please, we'll explain later. I can promise you that she's not any more dangerous than I am."
  145. >"Ah, but zere is ze risk. I know not how dangerous zis filly is, and two fillies have tvice ze potential energies. I vill carry ze blue-maned one, ze purple mare may take ze green one if she vishes."
  146. >"Thank you."
  147. >"Now come, there iz "
  148. >Twilight hoists up your twin, and Franziska throws League over the back of her thick coat like a sack of potatoes.
  149. >You're about to protest the force, but you realize that the coat is probably soft enough for it to not hurt.
  150. >She's knocked out anyways.
  151. >You and Twilight stick close to the blond mare, both of you shivering.
  152. >"I vill admit that I didn't expect to encounter two of ze same pony. I vould like a full explanation later, but for now I simply vish to know how to differentiate ze two of you."
  153. "W-well, she's missing a foreleg and I'm-"
  154. >"No, no. I mean, does she have a different name? Vhat is your name? I get ze distinct feeling zat ve will need to become rather...."
  155. >She pauses.
  156. >"Acquainted."
  157. >You think it over, and sigh.
  158. >That pony has been through a lot more than you have, you're not going to give her the short end of the stick.
  159. "You can call me Green Clover. Her name is Anonymous."
  160. >"Green Clover... vhat a silly, redundant name."
  161. "So I've been told."
  162. >"Your markings... they are crude. Vhat is your talent, filly?"
  163. "I... don't have my cutie-mark."
  164. >"Oh. Vell, the workmanship is crude. I can straighten it for you if you vish."
  165. "No, I think I'm alright..."
  166. >The thought of having your flanks burned again is enough to make you want to vomit up the little bit of eggs that you ate this morning.
  167. >God, was it really this morning that Twilight served her last meal?
  168. >You press on.
  169. >Your limbs are completely numb, and every breath of frigid air is like a knife through your bronchus.
  170. >Just as you're about to collapse, about to let yourself succumb to the cold, you see lights.
  171. >"Just a little bit longer, kleiner."
  172. >The white building blends in with the snow, which you guess may be the intent.
  173. >It stands a modest two stories in height above the ground, and appears to be built on solid ground as opposed to the snow all around.
  174. >Insurance against those snow-burrowing worms?
  175. >Who fucking cares, it's gotta be warmer than out here.
  176. >The coated mare goes up to the door and sticks her horn into the keyhole, pulling it open against the heavy winds.
  177. >You painfully step up to the door and collapse on the carpeted floor.
  178. >Twilight follows soon after, wobbling back and forth.
  179. >"I vill stoke ze fire. In ze mean time, velcome to ze ends of the earth."
  180. >She sniffs the air and scrunches up her snout.
  181. >"You all smell like metal."
  182. >League is placed on the floor, and the white mare removes a menacing boot before pressing a soft frog up against her.
  183. >"Bring ze sleeping ones with you to the baths, I fear more damage if they are not warmed soon."
  184. >As she leads you through the halls, she begins to talk about treating frostbite and hypothermia. A rubber-edged door opens, warm steam rolling out into the halls.
  185. >Two large rounded tubs stand before you, practical-looking porcelain steps inviting you to enter.
  186. >Begrudgingly following Franziska's instructions for avoiding tissue damage from potential frostbite, you move up to the tub with slow, restricted movements while Twilight does the same. Franziska trots ahead and places League in the tub, prompting her eyes to shoot open.
  187. >"Who...?"
  188. >"Patience."
  189. >She nods, and you slip in next to her.
  190. >The warm water rushes over your numbed body, reawakening your nerves with a distinct tingling. Despite yourself, you sigh deeply.
  191. >Twilight follows, taking the final filly in with her after her prosthesis is screwed off and placed on the floor.
  192. >She remains asleep, but an innocent smile spreads across her face.
  193. >You see her dock shake, and a cloud of yellow in the water.
  194. >Gross.
  195. >"Due to ze generally unsanitary nature of tubs, zese are enchanted with a spell that ensures a pristine environment. Suds of soap, dirt, excess oils, bacteria and most..."
  196. >She looks at the filly guilty of pissing in the tub.
  197. >...undesirable chemicals are neutralized upon contact with ze water."
  198. >A few bottles of shampoo are placed on the sill.
  199. >"I bathed not two hours ago, make yourselves comfortable vhile I vork on a few notes. I'll be back to check up on you soon."
  200. >The door closes, but does not lock.
  201. >Be Franziska.
  202. >You'll need blood samples from the two clones as soon as you can collect them, and preferably without their knowledge.
  203. >Nothing about this sits right in your mind.
  204. >Four quadrupeds show up out of nowhere, kill your prized worm, and have the nerve to survive long enough in this weather to prove that they aren't changelings.
  205. >You don't regret interrogating them longer than you needed to to be sure, those baths will warm them all up well enough to where the damage you personally caused is minimal.
  206. >However, you get the feeling the Übermare will want to see this herself.
  207. >You unbutton your multiple layers of winter wear, hanging them up carefully on the wall next to your credentials.
  208. >Your body relieved of all of the extra weight, you mutter an incantation and open up your quill box.
  209. >You chuckle as you select one and clasp it gently in your aura, dipping it in ink.
  210. >When somepony is dealing with griffon prisoners of war, the only part kept untouched should be the wings.
  211. >The traitors lend themselves well to a few things other than manual labor.
  212. >You begin to write.
  213. >'Dear Führerin Aryanne...'
  214. >Be Anon
  215. >It's warm.
  216. >You get the sense that it shouldn't be.
  217. >Is this the afterlife?
  218. >Does this place even have one?
  219. >You allow your eyes to open, cautiously.
  220. >Some light slips through the closed lids, after all.
  221. >Your less damaged counterpart rests in Twilight's embrace opposite from you.
  222. >She's asleep, and so is her...
  223. >Caretaker.
  224. >Lilly is face-down, blowing bubbles with her eyes shut.
  225. >You gently reach out for her, realize that your prosthesis isn't attached, and reach again.
  226. >She surfaces, swimming over to you.
  227. >"Heya Clover. Nice baths, huh?"
  228. "Don't call me that. Yeah, nice and warm. I can't remember the last time I've seen something like this."
  229. >"Okay, Clover. Do you know where we are?"
  230. "No, I can't say that I do."
  231. >"I guess that makes two of us. Managed to stay awake a little longer than you did though. Not much around here but snow."
  232. "Do you think it's over?"
  233. >"Think what's over?"
  234. "All of the pain, the cruelty...."
  235. >She places a warm hoof on your wither.
  236. >"You know I can't say."
  237. "Come on League, just tell me that you've got a feeling one way or the other. Real fillies are good at that."
  238. >"Well, it all depends on how you define a real pony..."
  239. >She splashes warm water in your face.
  240. >"I'd like to think it's over. Let's hope that's good enough, okay? I know it isn't great to put faith in something like that, but, well..."
  241. >You splash her back.
  242. "I'll take it, faggot."
  243. >...
  244. >You mess around in the water for quite a while, and after a few hours you started to feel some of the horrible stress that had been living in you dissipate.
  245. >Twilight and your dupe eventually wake up, and the four of you begin to play a bit of 'Marco Polo.'
  246. >The tubs are small, but large enough for you all to swim about in.
  247. >Even though it might add to the fun, the game isn't moved out of the water.
  248. >You suspect this might be courtesy of your handicap.
  249. >Eventually you're all panting in the heat, the frigid cold outside nearly forgotten.
  250. >Everyone has gotten out of the tub but you.
  251. >"Anonymous, do you want some help?"
  252. >You try to push yourself up and overcome the weight of our body with just the one forehoof, but it probably isn't happening.
  253. "Yeah, I guess so."
  254. >Twilight lifts you up with her magic, a feeling that still puts a bit of fear in you.
  255. >This time though, the lifting is just followed by a vigorous toweling.
  256. >Holding you steady, Twilight slowly screws your prosthetic leg back on.
  257. >"Easy does it... that good?"
  258. >A hoof is placed a few inches under your belly, and the magic that kept you from wobbling all over the place is taken away.
  259. "No issues."
  260. >"Good. League, I see you've gotten dried off nicely. Well done."
  261. >She glances past you.
  262. >"Clover... do you need a little help?"
  263. >A 'harumph' and a drying session later, your doppelganger sits beside you, mane and coat going every which direction.
  264. "You look fucking ridiculous, hairball. If only I still had my phone..."
  265. >"No u. We got the same treatment, jackass."
  266. >You raise a hoof to your mane, feeling the soft, frizzy hair rub up against your frog.
  267. "Fuck."
  268. >League is a bit fluffed up, but not as much as you two.
  269. >Just as Twilight finishes up with her mane, the door hisses open.
  270. >Steam flows out into the hallway as a white hoof steps through.
  271. >"I trust ze baths verr... satisfactory?"
  272. "F-franziska?"
  273. >The mare looks just as surprised as you are.
  274. >"How do you know my name? Out vith it!"
  275. >Best not to tell her you wrote a green about her inventing sex toys for Aryanne once...
  276. "S-snippets while I was..."
  277. >She calms down.
  278. >"Oh, of course. My apologies. Vell, dinner is ready. I hope you all like meat, fresh vegetables come seldom to the north..."
  279. >Well, that's a welcome surprise.
  280. >Looking around reveals that not everyone thinks the same.
  281. >League just looks confused, while Twilight looks a bit sick.
  282. >Your double has the same grin as you do, predictably.
  283. >You'll have to talk to her later about that sort of thing.
  284. >Be Clover.
  285. >Fucking clone has that shiteating grin.
  286. >Your shiteating grin.
  287. >Needs to knock it off, you'll mention it after dinner.
  288. >You're led back to what you presume is the living room, the poor cripple lagging behind as you would have expected.
  289. >Franzi's horn begins to glow that dark blue again, and the floor begins to rise.
  290. >A plain wooden table now sits in front of the comfortable looking couches, and your host invites you to take a seat.
  291. >"Once again, apologies for ze informal nature of the dining room. I seldom have visitors, and ven I do they so rarely stay for dinner."
  292. >While your eyes were trained on her, plates of food mysteriously appeared.
  293. >The meat is brown, but looks juicy and smells amazing.
  294. >"It takes a practiced mouth to chew meat vith flat teeth, so take your time. Oh, and your pills..."
  295. >Five pills appear before the five ponies present.
  296. >They're all red.
  297. >You chuckle.
  298. >"Zese will prevent indigestion and general discomfort. Take them now, it is best that ze reactions start before you begin."
  299. >After everyone has decided to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, you consider your approach to eating the cut.
  300. >There aren't any utensils, and you don't want to be rude and ask your host for them.
  301. >You observe her from the corner of your eye, pretending to look at Twilight.
  302. >After her mane is tied back with a pin, she begins to eat the meat like...
  303. >Well, an animal.
  304. >You shrug, brush our mane back with a hoof, and do the same.
  305. >Time losing essence as you take bite after bite of the meat.
  306. >It's so fucking good, you can't even remember the last time you had something this delectable.
  307. >The juice runs down your muzzle, and Twilights stops her poking and prodding of it every once in a while to wipe off your mouth for you with the provided dish towels.
  308. >League surprisingly isn't that far behind you, and Franziska is finished by the time you're halfway done.
  309. >It takes a while for Twilight to get into hers, but once she does she gets to work.
  310. >Probably more out of desperation than anything, but you're sure she'll come around.
  311. >Circle of life.
  312. >You and Anon let out a collective moan.
  313. >"See, zat is vhat I have been waiting to ask questions about."
  314. >You look over at Anon, and she shrugs.
  315. >"What do you want to know? We don't exactly know everything ourselves, but we can try our best."
  316. >You nod.
  317. "Well, we're both sort of the same filly. As far as I understand it, in another timeline I did something..."
  318. >"Dangerous, and got injured in a freak accident. I still don't fully know the details of how I got to the same timeline as her, but one second I was hiking through one forest and then it was pouring rain in another where there were clear skies before."
  319. "I think I pricked myself on some sort of thorny plant, and then I showed up near Mo- Twilight's house. The other Twilight that I was with, well... she wasn't always kind."
  320. >Twilight interjects.
  321. >"I promised to get her home, to her real mother and friends. As far as I can tell, her parallel self collided with her, halting us in the wrong timeline."
  322. "A few other ponies who sort of looked like us were releasing creatures from-"
  323. >Franzi holds up a hoof.
  324. >"Hold on, your real mother and friends? Did this unkind Twilight take you from them?"
  325. >You look over at Anon and she shakes her head.
  326. >"It's... somewhat personal and a bit complicated. Yes, she did take us from our original world. We used to hold another form, and our original world was no version of Equestria. That original form was stolen from us when she blamed us for a death."
  327. >"Transmutation magic... of course it's possible on simple organisms, but to preserve the mind of a creature and completely change its form would take...."
  328. >She rushes out of the room.
  329. >After a few minutes she comes back.
  330. >"Sixty-four terajoules! T-that is..."
  331. "She was an alicorn, and she was using some sort of amplifier."
  332. >"Alicorn?! Zere are only two alicorns on zis planet."
  333. >You speak up quickly, worried that your double might reveal the fact that you may have information that could alter the future of this world.
  334. "Well, it is another timeline. There are near infinite variables to consider, are there not?"
  335. >She calms down a bit.
  336. >"Vell, I suppose so. Even zen, a third alicorn princess..."
  337. >She trails off.
  338. >"I vill think long and hard on these answers, but as far as I see you are no threat to ze Führerin."
  339. >Talking about lighter subjects takes place as you help the nazi scientist collect and clean her dinner plates.
  340. >League asks Franzi if she likes to play baseball.
  341. >She laughs, stating that she hasn't played it since she was a foal, but that she might again if she ever has foals.
  342. >She laments that her devotion to research has left her unfortunately unwed, but that she hopes to have a few buns in her oven if she ever finds the right stallion.
  343. >After all of the dishes are put away, she addresses the entire group again.
  344. >"I know all of you must be very tired, but if you vish I can show you some of my research tonight."
  345. >No doubt seeing the bored look in League's eyes, she changes gears.
  346. >"Do you like the ocean?"
  347. >She nods, slowly.
  348. >You wouldn't be as quick to nod yourself.
  349. >You've always enjoyed swimming in it, but not for too long and not too far out.
  350. >Though waters become clearer further from the shores, they also become home to some of the most intimidating creatures on the planet.
  351. >You knew that the waves themselves were far more likely to kill you than any great white or sea serpent, but here in Equestria you know little about the creatures that lay beneath the waves.
  352. >Anon seems to be having similar thoughts.
  353. >"I n-needa... need to pee, where's the nearest toilet?"
  354. >"Down ze hallway, to ze left. Can't miss it. Now, who wants to see the alien creatures that lie at the bottom of the frozen sea?"
  355. >Twilight speaks up, her voice full of skepticism.
  356. >"How would you account for the pressure that deep?"
  357. >Franzi lashes out with her tongue.
  358. >"My methods are classified!"
  359. >Then, she calms down slightly.
  360. >"But I vill be zere vith you all ze whole time. I have made hundreds of dives in my submersible, you have my absolute guarantee of safety."
  361. >Twilight looks a bit nervous, but nods.
  362. >"First, however, I vill need blood samples from all of you."
  363. >She turns 180 degrees and walks off in the direction Anon went.
  364. "Guess she's getting the needles."
  365. >Twilight leans in close to you.
  366. >"I don't know about this mare Anon, something isn't quite right about her."
  367. >You look over to League for guidance.
  368. >She appears to be trying to pick her nose with her tongue.
  369. "League, that's fucking gross. Cut it out."
  370. >"You're no fun..."
  371. >You turn back to Twilight.
  372. "Well, she's been nice to us. I see what you mean, but I don't think we're the ones that should be worried about her."
  373. >You rub a hoof on the floor.
  374. "I wouldn't want to be down the barrel of her gun though- shit!"
  375. >"What is it?"
  376. "I left my 870 back in the mouth of that worm..."
  377. >"Oh... well, I'm sure it won't be going anywhere before tomorrow. You did a number on that thing."
  378. "Y-yeah, I guess I- hey!"
  379. >"I'm sorry, you're just so cute with your mane like that. I couldn't resist giving it a little rub..."
  380. "Kinda ruining the serious marksman effect there, but I guess I'll allow it."
  381. >By the time Franziska gets back with Anon in tow, you're snuggled up next to Twilight.
  382. >"Faggot."
  383. "No you. I didn't think you'd need to go badly after you relieved yourself in the hot tub."
  384. >Her face is tinged with red.
  385. >"I-I don't know what the fuck you're on about."
  386. >You clip your way over to her.
  387. "Come on, you and I both know about our... nocturn-"
  388. >"Blood tests!"
  389. >You observe her sticking League first, who takes it like a champ.
  390. >It doesn't appear she's injecting anything before drawing out the blood, so you volunteer to go next.
  391. >The needle is fairly large, but she doesn't slip more than a few centimeters into you before pulling up the plunger.
  392. >Huh, your blood looks a bit paler than you're used to.
  393. >"Zat does not look good. Anonymous, if I may-"
  394. >You realize that the room is starting to spin.
  395. "I-I think I'm gonna go lay down, you all go on without me."
  396. >Franziska nods, looking concerned for once.
  397. >"Sleeping quarters are behind you, third door to ze right."
  398. "Thanks."
  399. >You haven't taken two steps before you topple over.
  400. >You feel incredibly weak all of a sudden.
  401. "Gonna hur-"
  402. >The only thing more surprising than that sentence being perfectly cut off by a stream of semi-digested meat is that the meat lands in a toilet.
  403. "Nice reflexes..."
  404. >"I've dealt vith my fair share of combat situations."
  405. >Twilight comes rushing in and Franzi hands you over to her, but stays in the room.
  406. >"Do you want to go to bed now?"
  407. >You lick your teeth, your throat and nostrils burning.
  408. "Brush my teeth..."
  409. >Your eyelids grow heavy as a buzzing sound permeates the room...
  410. >"Hello Anonymous."
  411. "P-Purple?"
  412. >"No."
  413. >Be Anon.
  414. >"Do you think she's okay?"
  415. "I don't know, they've been in the bathroom with her for a while."
  416. >"I heard them say something about magically induced dreaming."
  417. "Of course it's something like that, it's always something like that. Everything wants us all dead."
  418. >"Maybe they're being cautious."
  419. "They didn't even want us near the door."
  420. >You hear your scream echoed throughout the halls.
  421. >Of course, your mouth was closed.
  422. "Least she's awake..."
  423. >"Yeah..."
  425. >Her voice drops back down to a muffled tone.
  426. >You can't make out what she's saying anymore, only that she's saying something.
  427. >Murmurs of the two unicorns' voices pass through the walls as you jump one of League's checkers.
  428. "King me."
  429. >"It's 'Princess me.'"
  430. "That's gay as fuck."
  431. >You can see her tail twitching as the two of you lie on the floor, bellies resting on the carpet.
  432. >"This isn't good, is it?"
  433. "They know more than we do, maybe they're operating on her? In any case I don't think she'd be happy to see us right now."
  434. >"You can't... feel her pain, can you? Like those identical twins?"
  435. "I think that might be a myth, and if it isn't then no, I feel completely fine right now aside from being worried sick about her..."
  436. >"Bad things tend to happen a lot, don't they?"
  437. "Yes League, they certainly do."
  438. >You grin momentarily as you chain jump two checkers.
  439. >"Hey!"
  440. "At this point, I think it might just be life. Better make the most of it, and be prepared."
  441. >Your days in the Boy Scouts come back to you.
  442. >Was your life a microcosm of shit back then?
  443. >You know a few kids in your troop died on that camping trip you went on, apparently a bear attack.
  444. >You were lucky enough to have hiked ahead of the group, that was back when all four of your limbs were functional.
  445. >You went to their funerals, one was open casket.
  446. >Kid's dad worked owned a funeral parlor, as fucked up as it was you think he wanted to advertise the quality of his products.
  447. >You could certainly see everything that remained of the kid.
  448. >What little they could stitch together, at least.
  449. >Wasn't a fucking bear.
  450. >...
  451. >You and League haven't heard anything for hours.
  452. >Checkers has long since become boring, and neither of you are tired.
  453. >Still, Lilly cuddles are golden.
  454. >After snooping around a bit, the two of you found a room filled with bunk beds.
  455. >After getting the sheets onto one of them, you both climb up.
  456. >You need a bit of help getting the damned thing on your leg off, but after that it's smooth sailing for cuddle time.
  457. >You bury your face in her mane, hoping the smell of bubblegum will calm your nerves a bit.
  458. >And it does.
  459. "H-hey League, have you ever noticed that you smell like bubblegum?"
  460. >"Anon, I don't freaking smell like bubblegum."
  461. "You totally fucking smell like bubblegum."
  462. >"Y-yeah, well you smell like mint leaves."
  463. >You remove your good leg from its place around her and give the fluffy appendage a good sniff.
  464. "Bull fucking shit I do!"
  465. >"Yeah huh!"
  466. "Nuh-uh. Give me some sort of evidence."
  467. >"Well how in the heck am I supposed to do that?"
  468. "You don't. Because I don't fucking smell like mint leaves."
  469. >The door opens, prompting you and League to quickly lie down on your backs.
  470. >She looks very tired.
  471. >"Hey girls, Clover is going to be alright. She'll be spending the night in medical though, Franziska wants to keep an eye on her."
  472. "What happened to her? What's wrong with her?"
  473. >"I'd imagine it's a bit personal, so I'll let her choose whether or not she wants to share it with you. In the meantime, sleep tight."
  474. >Twilight leans down and plants a kiss on your forehead.
  475. >"Minty fresh as usual I see."
  476. >She chuckles.
  477. "What do you mean by that?"
  478. >"Oh, you just smell a bit like peppermint. Most fillies have some sort of odor, I was once told I smelled like grapes by a colt I liked. Sleep tight."
  479. >She kisses League's forehead too, and then trots out into the hallway.
  480. >With the smooth sound of magic in the air, the door closes.
  481. "Un-fucking-believable."
  482. >"Ha! I knew it!"
  483. >Be Green Clover.
  484. >You feel like shit, but you're hungry...
  485. >So fucking hungry.
  486. >You know you've been sedated because everything is sluggish and the pain in your head has quieted to a dull roar.
  487. >You're not sure what the hell woke you up, after all you shouldn't be able to dream in the sleep of ether...
  488. >Or whatever it was that they put in you.
  489. >Your paranoia dictates that you have to check for magic tripwires, and so you do.
  490. >You doubt that Purple would've taught Twilight how to do that, or if she learned it herself, but-
  491. >There's light of an indeterminate source somewhere in this room.
  492. >You lift up a hoof and push the bandages that have been tightly wrapped around where she drilled into your skull away from your eyes.
  493. >A piece of paper shimmers purple in the darkness.
  494. >'Pick this up if you need help <3'
  495. >Well, in your drug-addled state you're likely to further injure yourself or damage some important equipment if you go searching for food...
  496. >You pick up the note, and wait.
  497. >The shimmering energy dissipates, but the paper is a bit warm to the touch.
  498. >You hold it up to your chest and pull the thin sheets back up to your neck.
  499. >The door slides open.
  500. >"What do you need, sweetie?"
  501. "I uh... I'm pretty hungry."
  502. >"Oh, of course you are. I'm sorry, tonight was a blur."
  503. "Don't worry about it, you were busy with more important things."
  504. >Twilight comes up to you, placing a cold hoof on your neck.
  505. >"Does the sink implant point hurt?"
  506. "Y-yeah. Whatever you put in me is helping though."
  507. >"That's good, I wasn't sure how well it would work. I decided to err on the side of caution, might be why the hunger woke you up in the first place."
  508. "Y-yeah... I hate to be rude, but how about that food?"
  509. >"Of course, let me check."
  510. >With a pop she's gone, leaving you to your thoughts...
  511. >You don't want to think about what happened earlier.
  512. >You hope she comes back soon...
  513. >After about five minutes of trying to focus on the plot of some Canadian TV show you watched one episode of, Twilight mercifully returns.
  514. "You're a lifesaver..."
  515. >"There uh... wasn't any food and our host wasn't in her bed. I'm sorry."
  516. >The tears start flowing, and you try to convince yourself that they're because of your non-sober mind.
  517. >Your cheeks are flushed and hot with shame.
  518. >You used to be a man, you used to have power over your environment.
  519. >If you wanted something to eat, you cooked it.
  520. >Now you eat food cooked by others, others still force it from your mouth, and then you're hungry.
  521. >God you're so fucking hungry...
  522. "D-did the other Twilight teach you that alarm spell?"
  523. >"Oh, yes. She taught me a few simple ones, I never really thought about why until she... sacrificed herself."
  524. >That certainly doesn't slow the flow of hot tears.
  525. "I-I... no. Never again."
  526. >"If shame is the last roadblock, know that I won't judge you."
  527. >She still sat in your head, like a plague.
  528. >Stockholm Syndrome, you would call it back home.
  529. >And you really are hungry.
  530. "D-did she teach you her..."
  531. >You take a deep breath.
  532. "L-lactation spell?"
  533. >She shakes her head.
  534. >"No, but I know how to execute it. I've done some donations before."
  535. >You lie back down in the bed and shut your eyes as the room lights up.
  536. >"You can open your eyes now, it's dark again."
  537. "I'm sorry to ask you to do this, I just..."
  538. >"It's perfectly fine, the meat might have made you ill even with what she gave us."
  539. "I'm not too keen on asking either."
  540. >She gets up on the bed, lying down with her teats facing you.
  541. >You push the blankets aside as you half-stand and reposition yourself so that your back legs are facing the pillows.
  542. >"I can understand that. Generally it's not something a foal of your age will willingly do. But..."
  543. >Your muzzle is just above her 'top' teat at this point, and you turn your head back inquisitively.
  544. "What is it?"
  545. >"She... thought you would want me to do this for you at some point. Call it clairvoyance or instinct, I'm not exactly sure."
  546. "Can you... tell me about what she talked to you about?"
  547. >"I'm one for honoring the wishes of a dead mare no matter what, but she never said anything about not telling you."
  548. >You awkwardly press your mouth to the teat, trying to form a comfortable seal.
  549. >You were fine with nipping Purple a bit when you fed from her, but you want to be as careful as possible with Twilight.
  550. >Eventually you get it right and draw a small amount of milk into your mouth. It's thick and fatty, but it's food.
  551. >You close your eyes as you start to get the rhythm down.
  552. >Pull.
  553. >Breathe.
  554. >Swallow.
  555. >With a brightness beyond your eyelids, you feel the blanket pulled up to your neck.
  556. >You're not exactly sure why, but you scooch your butt over into a position where your belly is pressed against hers.
  557. >She breaks the near silence.
  558. >"There were simple things, some of which I already knew about. Your... slightly weak bladder. The piece of metal in your spine and the unknown bindings put in place by a demigoddess to repair it. That's why I advised against Franziska listening to you when you screamed for her to take it out today."
  559. >You break the seal, lapping up a bit of milk that leaks out of the mammary.
  560. "I'm glad you did, the pain in my head was just so convincing..."
  561. >"I understand. It's unlikely there'd be any way to repair you again after that. Anyways..."
  562. >You reestablish the seal.
  563. >"I think she suspected that something was going to happen to her after Pinkie put herself in the oven. She insulted and berated me often when she was passing on her knowledge, but when her well of anger ran out about an hour in she would simmer down and refer to me as her replacement. In her own way, she really did care about you."
  564. >You stop for a moment before continuing, and so does she.
  565. >"I stayed behind for a second after you and the other two had jumped ship. The air around her was beginning to ionize, and the tears in her eyes were boiling. It was clear she only had a few minutes left. I asked her if there was anything else she wanted, and she gave me this goofy grin. I don't know if it was delirium setting in or what, but she spoke..."
  566. >Be Twilight.
  567. >You can feel all of your mental blocks failing in your mind.
  568. >If somepony is listening in right now, they might be able to capture and view your final internal dialogue.
  569. >It's unlikely, but you'd better switch to a more formal tone just in case.
  570. >Hello, my name is Twilight Sparkle.
  571. >I am about to die, along with at least 3/4 of this planet.
  572. >Despite my many shortcomings, I have few regrets.
  573. >Cruelty is bred through what ponies believe to be good intentions, after all.
  574. >Though I endured suffering, I began to see the strength it gave me exemplified in every aspect of my short, short life.
  575. >Every nick was a knife I'd wield more thoughtfully, every death a lesson on discipline.
  576. >I pushed the boundaries of known magic and science, and I finally broke them.
  577. >The portal was artisan, with all of the runes I had carved it would've had to have been.
  578. >In wonder, I stared up at what was likely the face of a cliff.
  579. >And then, lightning flashed in the otherworld's sky and a biped breached my portal.
  580. >In a panic I checked its vitals, they were normal.
  581. >Its legs were broken, but the fractures not severe.
  582. >I quickly replicated the body, tossed a body-double out of my portal, and brushed away the activation runes on the chalkboard.
  583. >Whatever that thing was, it would likely never get home.
  584. >I spoke with it as it recovered, learned of its culture and our similar language, and then I sent it on its way.
  585. >I had taken its world, there was no need to take more.
  586. >Not until that day in the forest, not even a corpse to recover.
  587. >Consumed.
  588. >I studied and waited, my revenge would be twofold, calculated.
  589. >A recovery of the maternal, and a continued crusade against the one that had taken him.
  590. >And now, here I stand giving up everything I've ever worked for the survival of two of them.
  591. >I only hope this reaches one of you in time, somepony who can reach the laboratory.
  592. >I know not if yours will have the two green daemons, but act with haste to prevent the lesser elements from converging.
  593. >Your lives depend on it.
  594. >"Did you hear that?"
  595. >Be Green Clover.
  596. >"I don't think she meant the screaming mana bursts."
  597. >You've finished with the first one now, there's no liquid left in it.
  598. >Although you aren't quite satisfied.
  599. "What kind of message would a mare like her send out in her death throes?"
  600. >"Who knows?"
  601. >You find it a good time to start on the second tip, forming another good seal.
  602. >Your tail involuntarily swishes back and forth and Twilight chuckles.
  603. >"Enjoying yourself?"
  604. "J-just a twitch."
  605. >"Of course. Well, I'm only like her in body, but if I were going to have my last moments etched in somepony's ears, I'd give them a bit of advice as how not to end up in the same situation."
  606. >You're not sure why that finally gets your tear ducts flowing, maybe you've been holding it in for a little while now.
  607. >She places a hoof on your back.
  608. "She- I... this isn't right. She hurt me, but it still hurts to know that I'll never see her again."
  609. >"Shh..."
  610. "I-"
  611. >"Don't blame yourself for things like that. She protected you, didn't she?"
  612. "Y-yes."
  613. >"Then it's natural. Don't feel guilty about feeling one way or another, she did some good in her life."
  614. >Your head is throbbing even more painfully now.
  615. "Can you stay the rest of the night? I don't want to be alone right now."
  616. >She lifts you gently, flipping you around slowly.
  617. >"Sleep tight, my little pony."
  618. >The tears keep coming, but after she assumes the big spoon and pulls the covers over you once more they begin to slow.
  619. >Be Little League.
  620. >You yawn quietly as you escape your strange dreams.
  621. >There's a spot of drool on your foreleg where Anonymous rested her head.
  622. >She looks so peaceful when she's asleep.
  623. >You hear her mutter something unintelligible before her back legs start to sort of twitch.
  624. >"N-no guargh..."
  625. >You're about to wrap your other foreleg back around her when she starts flailing with her good one.
  626. >"No! Please, not the-"
  627. >Her big eyes open to yours.
  628. "Hiya."
  629. >"So I'm still a horse. Fucking months and I still wake up to that surprising me sometimes..."
  630. "Hey, at least you aren't an ugly one."
  631. >"N-no you."
  632. "So... wanna tell me about those nightmares Nonny?"
  633. >"They were- no wait, I'm not answering to Nonny. That's a dumb name."
  634. "You just did, silly."
  635. >She groans.
  636. >"They're usually the same. I'm working a bomb squad with no experience, panicking trying to set up the correct disruption device, and then all of a sudden I'm a little filly and the bomb goes off."
  637. >She looks forlornly down at herself.
  638. >"I still have all of my limbs in them though, so they might be the best parts of my day..."
  639. "Don't say that, I can be the best part of your day!"
  640. >"Heh, sure you can kiddo. You can start by putting your lips next to my lower ones and letting me pee in your mouth unless you're gonna get up and let me take a piss."
  641. >You nod dutifully, lowering yourself under the covers while keeping a firm grip on Anon with your unnatural strength.
  642. >"No wait League goddamn it I was kiddin-"
  643. >You shoot up back next to Anon as the door slides open.
  644. >"Ah, a little filly sleepover. Takes me back ze time of my foalhood... ve vill have a special treat for breakfast, but first ze two of you must bathe."
  645. >You look at Anon and the two of you nod simultaneously.
  646. >Franziska scares you a little bit.
  647. >After you help her get her leg back on, it's time for a dip in the magical cleaning tubs and a good mane shampooing.
  648. >And so you do exactly that.
  649. >Anon predictably goes down the hall to the bathroom first as you dip into the hot water.
  650. >The room is empty, serene.
  651. >And most of all, quiet.
  652. >You dip your head in the water, opening your eyes.
  653. >The cleaning process makes them feel weird though, so you just shut them.
  654. >"League."
  655. >You jump, splashing water on the floor and looking around for who might've said that.
  656. >Your foreleg feels numb.
  657. >Be Anon.
  658. >Nothing like a good piss to remind you how good it feels to not have your organs stretched.
  659. >You open the sauna door and step over the rubber seam.
  660. >League is already in the tub.
  661. >She hasn't noticed you yet, so you silently observe her.
  662. >Her mane looks nice wet.
  663. >Her head is bent over.
  664. >You shake your head and limp over to the tub, electing to hop in with your prosthesis.
  665. >Not like it wasn't waterproofed.
  666. >"Oh, I didn't hear you."
  667. "Is that so? You looked preoccupied. Talking to yourself?"
  668. >The hair over the groove on her leg refuses to grow back in.
  669. >You have similar problems with where bits of shrapnel cut you, and of course the area around your bad leg is completely fucked.
  670. >"No, I just heard somebody call my name and... call me an idiot, but I think it might've been my leg."
  671. "That would be pretty stupid, but it wouldn't be the most ridiculous thing I've heard. Did you hear anything else?"
  672. >"No, but right after it went numb."
  673. "Well, try dipping it back in the water, maybe it'll help."
  674. >"Maybe."
  675. >She lowers it in and sighs.
  676. >"You might've been right."
  677. "Of course I am."
  678. >You grin and dunk your head.
  679. >...
  680. "Hey Twi, where's Clover?"
  681. >"She's still resting, but she was awake when I left if you want to talk to her."
  682. "I would, but I don't think we should keep Franziska waiting. She seemed to have some sort of surprise for us at breakfast."
  683. >"Oh, then I wouldn't want her to miss out."
  684. >She quickly washes up and dips a towel in the water before trotting off.
  685. "I guess sponge bathing is easier when you have magical cleaning water."
  686. >"Mhm."
  687. >You get out after a few more minutes before you towel off and go back into the living room.
  688. >The floor is wet...
  689. >"Hello, Fraulein Anonymous."
  690. >It's not Franziska.
  691. >You turn around.
  692. >She's just as beautiful as you imagined.
  693. >Clean white coat, blond mane and those brilliant blue eyes.
  694. >You stammer a bit before raising your prosthetic leg up in a salute.
  695. "Sieg Heil, Führerin Aryanne."
  696. >"Oh, no need for formalities right now. I'm here as a friend, after all..."
  697. >You carefully set your leg down, managing not to throw yourself off balance.
  698. >"You have knowledge from the future. Knowledge that may allow us to finally win this long and bloody war."
  699. >You hear hoofsteps and turn your head to see that the rest of the group have caught up with you.
  700. >"Now, let us celebrate our impending victory over Griffonstone vith ze one great thing they have ever created; pastries."
  701. >Clover gasps and you turn your head in time to see Twilight catch her.
  702. >"Do you want to go back to bed?"
  703. "N-no."
  704. >Aryanne sighs.
  705. >"It iz no hair off of mein back if you vish to postpone ze meeting. Franziska has told me of ze unusual circumstances of your arrival already."
  706. >"I-I'm fine, really."
  707. >"Are you sure, fraulein? you are bleeding under your bandages."
  708. >"I vill tend to her. Tvilight, I may need your assistance again."
  709. >"Of course."
  710. >"I'm okay, really..."
  711. >"No, you aren't sweetie."
  712. >And just like that, you're sitting alone with the leader of a nation and your friend's living doppelganger.
  713. >"The pastries are still varm. It vould be a shame to let zem cool, ja?"
  714. >You chuckle nervously.
  715. "Y-yes, it would."
  716. >"Stop zat, I told you zat I am here as a friend, did I not?"
  717. "You're the leader of Equestria's greatest nation, and you're asking me if I want pastries. I'm sorry, this is all just a bit too surreal."
  718. >"I'd imagine you've seen more surreal things on your journey here."
  719. >You think about it and nod.
  720. >"No pressure, take a few minutes to gather your thoughts and zen start from ze beginning."
  721. >And so you do.
  722. >You tell her everything.
  723. >Every injury, every awkward moment, every time you were nearly raped or killed, the instance that split you off from "Clover" in time and became your own person...
  724. >Aryanne stops you occasionally so that you can explain one or two things about technology that has not come to pass in her time, clarification on magical techniques that Twilight used, or to crack a joke or two to lighten the mood.
  725. >Her wit is just as sharp as the glimmering combat knife she uses to cut and serve you and League the scones.
  726. >Your partner in crime is pretty quiet throughout the story.
  727. >Finally, you describe yourself walking into the room and sitting down before Aryanne.
  728. >She chuckles at that, cleaning her knife with a napkin and re-sheathing it on what you can best describe as a sort of form-fitting utility belt.
  729. >"Vhat you have just told me may very vell be enough. Ze techniques utilized by your... to avoid confusion vith ze Tvilight ve have present, Purple; could turn ze tides of war in our favor if zey can be replicated. A shame zey died vith her, I am sorry for your loss."
  730. "I... wasn't as close with her as my less-damaged counterpart was."
  731. >"Understood, but even so."
  732. "Thank you."
  733. >"What are you going to do to the Griffons?"
  734. >League's voice catches you a bit off-guard.
  735. >And her question's implications make you slightly uncomfortable.
  736. "I'm sure she didn't mean-"
  737. >"No, no. It is alright, I am prepared to explain my actions. History is generally kinder to ze victors, and I understand zat vithout your help my corpse vill be vilified in your books. Tell me vhat zey have told you, and I vill tell you how it happened."
  738. >"It was taught that you killed griffon families indiscriminately, as if they were infantry."
  739. >"Zis is true. For every griffon allowed to procreate, another generation of soldiers vould rise up against the Equus. Did ze books give any sort of motivation for my actions?"
  740. >"They said you hated them for their greed and that you thought they were dismantling pony society."
  741. >She chuckles warmly.
  742. >"I did hate them for zere greed, yes, but I vould never kill a creature because of a single fatal flaw. Equines are flawed too, in our own ways. No, ze drives for my actions are a bit more... personal."
  743. >League nods, but you can see the slight look of discontentment on her face grow more extreme.
  744. >"But, vord of mouth is often not enough to convince mares of reason. Zis is acceptable. Ze price vas steep, but there is no such thing as a forgery soul-etching."
  745. "Soul-etching?"
  746. >She smiles and produces a small grey box, softly pressing her frog up against it.
  747. >The seam in the box is worked to such tolerances that you don't even notice that the box has one until it has split in-half, despite gazing at it for several seconds in wonder.
  748. >Inside is a perfect sphere of darkness, so black that it seems to suck the light from the well-illuminated room around you.
  749. >She walks over to your side of the table and runs a hoof through your mane, the orb placed before you.
  750. >"Caress it. Gently, if it vere to fall off of zis table it vould likely shatter and be lost forever."
  751. >You press your good foreleg up against it and shiver.
  752. >Be Aryanne.
  753. >Today is your first day of school!
  754. >Vater helps you put on your new saddlebags while mutter prepares the three of you a filling, nutritious breakfast.
  755. >You've just sat down at the table, struggling to balance with the weight of all of your books when the sirens blare.
  756. >Saddlebags are abandoned as you're hurriedly rushed into the basement.
  757. >You're not too worried though, drills like this happen all the time.
  758. >The silly mayor probably getting all worked up over a bird she thought was a griffon again.
  759. >You giggle to yourself as mama kisses you on the head.
  760. >"I'll be here vith you, munchkin. Zis von't take too long."
  761. "Then ve can finish breakfast?"
  762. >She rubs your ears in the way she knows you love.
  763. >"Of course."
  764. >Your father is already gone, but he's always the first to return from the klaxons so you're not too disappointed about the lack of a goodbye.
  765. >As you hold mama close, minutes turn into hours...
  766. >And before you know it, it's already time for school to begin.
  767. "Mutter, vhat of school?"
  768. >"They'll understand, don't worry."
  769. >But you can't help feeling a growing pit of anxiousness in your stomach.
  770. >What if all of the best friend spots are taken up by the time you arrive?
  771. >You snap out of your dark fantasies as something impacts the basement door.
  772. >"Aryanne! to ze corner!"
  773. >You scamper off to the corner and cover yourself in a blanket, only the blond top of your head and your blue eyes peaking out.
  774. >You're very proud of those two attributes, as are your parents.
  775. >But right now, you're scared stiff.
  776. >Splinters of wood scatter into the basement with the light from upstairs as the door breaks.
  777. >"Only you?"
  778. >"I am infertile, fortunately for you. One less mare to contend vith on your checklist of murders."
  779. >The gruff voice chuckles.
  780. >"You really think I'm keeping track of how many mudbeasts I've slain? The boneheads and the pigeons sure, they're a bit hardier than you worthless lot."
  781. >"Zen make it quick."
  782. >"'Vith' pleasure."
  783. >The gruff voice laughs at its own mockery.
  784. >A burst of air nearly blows the blanket off of you, but you manage to hold fast to it.
  785. >It does, however, obscure your vision.
  786. >You're too afraid to move it back, so you listen to the ensuing scuffle.
  787. >You know mama won't go down without a fight, and even though you can't see her you're praying to the deities to aide her.
  788. >But when she cries out louder than you've ever heard her scream before, you feel tears forming.
  789. >"Worthless bitch. Glory to Griffonsto-"
  790. >You hear the thing that injured your mother squawk before going silent.
  791. >You know it might not yet be safe, but you have to help her if you can.
  792. >You throw off the blanket, rushing over to her shuddering form.
  793. "Y-you really got him, mama..."
  794. >"Yes, I suppose I did."
  795. >She chuckles and then coughs.
  796. >"See if any of ze medics are free, I can tie myself up for now but I am losing blood fast."
  797. >You nod and run up the stairs, like the wind that gives your equine sisters in the sky their passage.
  798. >Rushing out the door, you see the streets strewn with neighbors.
  799. >The kindly old stallion who would give you hard candy when he thought your parents wouldn't looking has his wrapped around the wheel of a carriage.
  800. >The pegasus who used to babysit you's head is placed neatly on the cobblestones, her body fifteen meters away with her white coat muddled with liters of blood.
  801. >You gallop to the hospital, but every room you check reveals a dead nurse, doctor, surgeon, patient, or therapist.
  802. "Please! Somepony! My mutter, she's in trouble!"
  803. >The blood dripping on the floor is the only thing that answers your cries.
  804. >You rush back to your mother, tears nearly blinding you.
  805. >"Nopony left?"
  806. "N-none, mama..."
  807. >"You did your best, come here my little miracle."
  808. >You're not sure why she calls you that, but it feels nice.
  809. >"I vant to see those pretty blue eyes again."
  810. >You hug her close, looking up into her eyes and hoping that somehow, the force of your hug will stop the bleeding from her chest.
  811. >"You're a very special mare Aryanne, do you know zat?"
  812. "I'm but a filly..."
  813. >"But today, you must become a mare. Go to ze next town with the letter in the safe, ze combination is six, seven, sixty-three."
  814. "I love you, mama."
  815. >"I love you too, Aryanne. More zan anything. I know already zat you have ze strength to make zis right."
  816. >You hold her close until her ragged breathing slows to a halt.
  817. >And continue until the tears are the only things warming her cold body.
  818. >Only then do you notice that your flank has become decorated.
  819. >The insignia is not known to you, but the heart surrounding it of course is.
  820. >You know what must be done.
  821. >Be Anonymous.
  822. >Aryanne slides the orb over to League, and she carefully touches it.
  823. >You see tears forming in her eyes too seconds later.
  824. >"I-I lost my mother too, you know..."
  825. >"I am sorry. It changes a mare, does it not?"
  826. >"Y-yes. I will do the best I can to aid you in your fight, I'm sorry for my apprehension."
  827. >"It is quite alright. I vould imagine zey vould need to paint ze griffons in a more positive light to make my actions seem unjustified."
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