Anonymous Letter (Chapter 11) - RGRE

Jun 30th, 2017
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  1. >You are Anon
  2. >And this is the end
  3. >After Hillary’s decisive victory over Donald Trump, and Britain voting to stay in the EU the world went to shit fast.
  4. >Cold War II was easily one of the fastest, with China siding with American money and the Seoul blitz. Russia fell into the hardest economic depression it has ever faced since the end of the U.S.S.R. and bent the knee
  5. >That wasn’t the issue.
  6. >Actually none of that shit mattered.
  7. >It wasn’t until Hillary shed her disguise and revealed herself as Queen of the lizard people that things started going downhill.
  8. >All the shit you managed to catch overhearing news briefs and from your squad mates boiled down to /pol/ and Alex Jones being right all along.
  9. >”Shit, nigga. Just be cool, you gon be alright man, just be cool, just be cool.”
  10. >Doesn’t matter much now.
  11. >”White people always doin stupid shit, all the goddamn time.”
  12. Trip, nigga just go.
  13. >”Shut up whiteboi, we getting you out of this shit, we’re goin home, we’re going to eat your mom’s nasty ass food, and I’m gonna fuck you up for your liberal ass use of ‘nigga’.”
  14. >You laugh
  15. >Pain from where one of your lungs used to be reminds you that laughter is going to be a bad thing for the rest of your life.
  16. >All 3 minutes of it.
  17. >There is a grunt of effort and a fresh burst of pain as your open wound meets dirty BDUs as Tripfag hoists you over in a fireman carry.
  18. >”Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy na-”
  19. >The sounds of gunfire and the hissing of fallen lizardmen become harder to hear.
  20. >You focus on Tripfag’s panicked Christfagging instead of the inhuman battleground you’re leaving.
  21. >Well if there is any time to hope there is something to make this hell worth it
  22. Our fa-
  23. >Fresh pain rips through your midsection
  24. >”Ahh, fuck!”
  25. >You topple to the earth once again, struggling to breathe as you face the sun.
  26. Trip
  27. >He grunts in reply, before groaning in pain.
  28. >Fuck
  29. You suck at rescuing people.
  30. >You laugh together, yours’ a wet wheeze, his with far too much gurgling.
  34. >”I’d be better if your fatass laid off the fucking pies.”
  35. >You both chuckle as much as your bodies allow.
  36. >”Ay, Anon...”
  37. Yeah TF?
  38. >”We gon die, ain’t we.”
  39. >It wasn’t a question, but you answer all the same.
  40. Yeah, probably.
  41. >”You think there is anything after this, or are we done?”
  42. I didn’t really think about it. I just let you do your thing and was happy you didn’t bring out a rug when you did it.
  43. >Each word is still a struggle, but the pain is gone.
  44. >That would be a good sign if there weren’t so many holes in you right now.
  45. >”Grandma said that you sleep until Jesus comes back and sets this shit straight.”
  46. Sounds….nice.
  47. >”Pray with me for a bit, I’m gonna try and save your heathen ass soul.”
  48. Ok.
  49. >”Our father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be- say it with me nigga.
  50. Our father, who art in heaven.
  51. >Every word is a battle, but this is your bro’s last request
  52. >”-forever. Amen”
  53. Amen.
  54. >Your body is completely numb by now, the sounds around you are dull, and darkness hangs on the edges of your vision.
  55. >”-ou was always my nigga, Anon”
  56. >…
  57. >You tried to reply, but your body didn’t have the air to.
  58. >”-non, please ni-… -ot yet.”
  59. >You stare at the sky, blue as always with the exception of the smoke.
  60. >”-esus, pleas-… -e go first.”
  61. >It is such a nice day.
  62. >You feel yourself sigh, but you don’t feel any fresh air replace it.
  63. >Darkness overtakes you.
  64. >There is a bead of light in your vision.
  65. >It grows and grows without any input from you, the bit panic you felt before is washed away by bliss.
  66. >Then the light fades out.
  67. >You feel cold.
  68. >Very cold.
  69. >…
  70. >…
  72. >You feel warm
  73. >Incredibly warm
  74. >There is still no light, but the soothing warmth envelopes you in comfort.
  75. >You hear some sounds but they are very muffled.
  76. >You don’t know how long it has been, but you definitely remember your death.
  77. >Is this what Tripfag was talking about?
  78. >You feel comfy enough to sleep.
  79. >So you do.
  80. >You sleep as much as you can.
  81. >You’re too comfy not to.
  82. >After a while you figure that you’re not dead.
  83. >It is hard to do so, and you can’t feel anything but the warmth properly. But you can move.
  84. >You can’t move much, so you decide to sleep some more
  85. >…
  86. >When you awake you notice that you feel snug alongside nice and warm.
  87. >This is frankly the best you’ve ever felt in your entire life.
  88. >Lying in a warm bed on a cold day can’t even compare.
  89. >Is this heaven?
  90. >Just a dark place of pure comfort.
  91. >You silently thank Trip for saving your heathen soul.
  92. >Moving is a lot easier too.
  93. >You still can’t feel your hands, but your chest is in one solid piece.
  94. >You stretch and prepare to sleep some more, but you forget about your snug barrier.
  95. >It like everything else here is soft and warm.
  96. >Soon afterword you feel a soft stroking on your side.
  97. >You hit the barrier again, harder this time and the stroking becomes more firm.
  98. >Heaven confirmed.
  99. >You feel a small indentation like a large button.
  100. >You give a punch and feel another source of stroking, and go to sleep in a heaven made of warmth and headpats.
  102. >Heaven has ended.
  103. >Your snug haven is now so constricting that your every motion hits the barrier.
  104. >The comforting warmth is greatly reduced.
  105. >You are trapped, and now the barrier is squeezing against you from all angles.
  106. >”-LATING”
  107. >You are being pushed into a tighter area, you feel like your head is being crushed.
  108. >You hear screaming muffled by your prison.
  109. >For the first time since your death fear seizes your heart.
  110. >You try to scream but there is no air in your lungs.
  111. >Your whole body is in the churning hell now.
  112. >Two points of pressure are felt on the top of your head before it pulls
  113. >”We got a horn, keep pushing!”
  114. >”Buckbuckbuckbuckbuckbuck”
  115. >”I can see its face! You’re almost there Mysty!”
  116. >You try to open your eyes only to be blinded by the bright lights around you.
  117. >You feel absolutely frigid as you’re pulled free from the tunnel.
  118. >You cough up some fluid that was in your lungs and take your first breath in ages.
  119. >”It’s a colt, a healthy unicorn colt.”
  120. >You’re set down on a warm surface.
  121. >You barely understand what you’re hearing, but your first instinct is to run.
  122. >Sadly your time being immobile makes the simple effort of standing an undertaking, but you’re up in a crawl in moments
  123. >”Already on his hooves, look at how strong your baby brother is Page.”
  124. >You chance opening your eyes again, the unfamiliar light forcing you to squint.
  125. >All you see is a wall of Lime green fur that slowly dissipates to two nubs.
  126. >You must be next to an animal some where.
  127. >”Of course he is strong, fella came from my stock.”
  128. >Some instinct takes over you and you walk to the nubs and plant your mouth on one.
  129. >You drink deep of what can only be described as ambrosia.
  130. >”See, didn’t need a lick of help.”
  131. >”Our precious colt, do you have a name for him Mysterious?”
  132. >Your eyes scan what can only be described as a hospital room, before closing again as you enjoy your first meal.
  133. >”Yeah, Anonymous. Anonymous Letter.”
  134. >You feel yourself falling asleep again, still drinking deep of the warm fluid.
  136. >You are Anon
  137. >You awake to find your belly full.
  138. >You’re also trapped in a soft cloth
  139. >You also find yourself very much alive.
  140. >Without the insanity going on, you take the opportunity to look around.
  141. >You’re clearly in a hospital
  142. >Also you’re clearly not human
  143. >There isn’t a mirror nearby, but you can’t feel your fingers.
  144. >Also your nose is more squared and green than you remember.
  145. >You assume that you’re one of the horse creatures milling about
  146. >And judging by their size, you’re either a horse midget or horse baby.
  147. >You can’t see much of yourself, due to the blanket wrapped snugly around you.
  148. >Despite your admittedly meager struggling you can’t free yourself
  149. Ah fua
  150. >What?
  151. Ha oh
  152. >Bullshit.
  153. Ah ba ca da
  154. >Your throat isn’t working right
  155. >No, not your throat. Your mouth.
  156. Ahhh Ehhh Ahhh Oooo Uhh
  157. >Your mouth is shaped all wrong
  158. >”-old you I’m fine, Nurse. It was just a foal.”
  159. >”I’m sorry Mrs. Text, but I must insist that you stay overnight for bed rest and observation.”
  160. >You turn and see a lime green female talking to dark blue one.
  161. >Oh fuck is that a horn?
  162. >”Mrs. Text” turns to you and your eyes meet.
  163. >In an instant a wide smile is on her face
  164. >”There’s my precious little prince.”
  165. >Her horn lights up and you are fucking levitated into her open hooves
  166. >If you weren’t helpless, and sure that this was your new mother you’d be freaking out.
  167. >You kind of are, because you find yourself staring at the creature with wide eyes.
  168. >”Ha! Look, none of that bawling like the other foals. You’re mommy’s perfect little prince.”
  169. >She then proceeds to rub her nose against yours.
  170. >Surprisingly it actually feels quite nice.
  171. >”Mrs. Text, we don’t want to keep you from your work, but we have to finish making sure there were no hidden complications. Plus we still have a couple tests for Anonymous Letter.”
  172. >The lady horse looks at you for a moment, before closing her eyes and nodding.
  173. >”Alright fine, Wordsmith would flick my horn fierce if I didn’t make sure our son was 100%.”
  176. >You are levitated over to the nurse who holds up a hoof and shakes her head.
  177. >”This is important bonding time for a foal, doubly so for a colt. Please keep him close to you until necessary. He needs to know his mother’s scent, and touch until his eyes are strong enough to handle the light.”
  178. >”Handle the light? The colt has been looking right at us since we got here.”
  179. >The blue nurse looked shocked then looked down at you.
  180. >She swayed her head from side to side, watching as you followed her.
  181. >”Astonishing! Usually a foal having their eyes open this soon after birth would be indicative of eye problems, but he is following me perfectly.”
  182. >”Why would a foal having their eyes open be so bad? I remember him looking right at my teats before he took his first meal.”
  183. >Her teats?
  184. Oh fua mae.
  185. >”Because the pain of their irises contracting for the first time makes newborn foals scared of opening their eyes for a time.”
  186. >You remember your eyes hurting, but compared to your death and apparent birth it wasn’t much.
  187. >”I’d like to say that my colt is just tougher than most, but I’ll trust the medical mare.”
  188. >With that you’re unwrapped from the blanket and levitated onto Text’s back, while she follows the nurse.
  189. >This is a lot to process.
  190. >Reincarnation was a thing.
  191. >Does that mean the Hindus were right, or does God have us in a loop?
  192. >Are you in the future, or were you reborn right after death?
  193. >Is your old family alright? Did America beat back the lizard menace?
  194. >Is Tripfag here? Heaven because he was a believer and only managed to convince God to give you a do over?
  195. >You yawn, the slight rocking of your new mom’s gait having an effect on your infant body.
  196. >How do I even remember anything?
  197. >Unconsciously you snuggle into her fur.
  198. >You look upward to her horn, and taking advantage of your freedom try to lift an arm to your forehead.
  201. >It is still a struggle, your underdeveloped muscles unused to anything but small punches and kicks.
  202. >You manage it though and feel a small nub on your head.
  203. >So you’re a unicorn.
  204. >Does that make you psychic like your mom, or is she like one of the horse X-Men?
  205. >That would actually be pretty sweet either way.
  206. >You sigh and let your hoof drop.
  207. >For the first time you take the time to look at it.
  208. >Your hoof.
  209. >This is real.
  210. >The pain to lift the thing up to your head makes it as plain as the nose on your face.
  211. >You spend a minute looking at the thing.
  212. >Moving it slightly and watching it respond to you.
  213. >You know that you aren’t strong yet, but you need to test your range of motion.
  214. >Surprisingly you can move it like a normal arm once you turn your hoof to face you.
  215. >After seeing how far you can rotate your joints, you inspect your hoof carefully.
  216. >Trying to see what old flexes cause in the new appendage.
  217. Weih
  218. >All you can see is that the action of closing your ‘hand’ causes the soft portion in the middle to flex, and making a fist pushed the hard portion outward.
  219. >You notice that the rocking had stopped, and you look up to see the two looking at you.
  220. >The nurse utterly astounded, and your mom brimming with pride.
  221. >”Sweet Celestia above, he is already experimenting with his body!”
  222. >”That’s my colt!”
  223. >”He even made a cognizant connection between your horn and his own!”
  224. >”That’s my colt!”
  225. >”And when he found himself caught he had an embarrassed response, that’s never been seen in foals under age two!”
  226. >"His ears do look like he was caught with a hoof in the cookie jar. Momma's proud of you so don't feel bad."
  227. >You were levitated into your mother’s arms where she in a display of agility that you never thought you’d see again danced with you on two legs.
  228. >You were able to see that the two had managed to draw a crowd.
  229. >”That’s right, nags! Mysterious Text’s first colt is the smartest pony in the world! Suck my teats!”
  230. >”Mysterious! What are you doing to my foal!”
  233. >The dance quickly ended with your mom, Mysterious Text, dropping into a three legged stance with you held close to her chest.
  234. >”Smithy, you’ll never guess what the nur-”
  235. >You were yanked from your mother’s arm and into a slightly larger one before you heard her yelp.
  236. >”Guess that you were dancing around with our less than a day old son like he was a homerun hoofball!”
  237. >”Always the bucking horn”
  238. >The new horse, or pony rather, starts rocking you gently.
  239. >However this screams stranger danger.
  240. >Plus this guy hit your mom.
  241. >That was a bitch move.
  242. >You don’t like bitches.
  243. >Poppanon always said that he didn’t care if you sucked one thousand dicks daily as long as you were never a bitch.
  244. >However you are an infant, so rather than deck him you did all you could.
  245. >You screamed with all your might
  246. >”Shh shh shh shh shh, don’t worry Anonymous, daddy’s here.”
  247. >You screamed harder. You were straining your brand new vocal cords but you had to let your disapproval of this mustang be known
  248. >You are gently levitated from the bitch back into your mom’s arms.
  249. >Upon recognizing where you were you stopped.
  250. >She looked down at you with a wry grin.
  251. >”Page might be a daddy’s filly, but Anonymous is clearly mommy’s little prince.”
  252. >She rubs your face against her cheek, looking smug.
  253. >”Besides, if you listened before going straight for my horn, you’d know that our foal here is a little genius!”
  254. >The nurse perked up at that.
  255. >”I wouldn’t go that far Mrs. Text, but he is certainly showing behavior not seen in colts months older than him.” She straightened up her little hat before addressing the mustang, “Mr Wordsmith, sir, with yours and your wife’s permission I’d like to run a couple tests on Anonymous Letter. We very well may have another Sunset Shimmer on our hooves.”
  258. >Wordsmith fanned himself with his hoof barely able to contain his excitement.
  259. >”I’ll have to tell the other girls in our blessing where I’ll be, but I fully consent. So long as the tests are completely safe.”
  260. >”Sir, I wouldn’t suggest them if they weren’t.”
  261. >”Ok, I’ll be back shortly. I’m sorry I was cross with you Mysty, just be careful. Anonymous isn’t a little filly, he requires a delicate hoof.”
  262. >The smug smirk on your mom’s face gave way to a genuine smile.
  263. >”I understand Smithy, I’ll make sure nothing hurts our little prince.”
  264. >You watched the dark brown mustang walk away, still somewhat ticked that he just got off after hitting a woman.
  265. >Wait they used a different term. Filly? Mare?
  266. >You didn’t know shit about horses so you figured that you had time to wait and learn the names for everything before you figured out how to talk.
  267. Illeh Aar
  268. >”Don’t worry my smart little colt, momma will keep you safe. Anyways nurse, lets go ahead and get my stuff over with before the Mr. comes back. Last thing I need is having my stallion fussing over me.”
  269. >Stallion? Could’ve sworn it was mustang, what did Ford name those cars after?
  270. >”I understand, follow me please.”
  271. Allo
  272. >Though it would probably be in your best interest not to learn how to talk less than one day after being born, horse or not.
  274. >You are still Anonymous
  275. >You are taken to a typical examination room, and your mom levitates you onto her back again while she lays down on the paper covered bed.
  276. >”Now, if you don’t mind Mrs. Text I’d like to bring in my apprentice nurse to observe.”
  277. >”No problem Nurse Full Heart.”
  278. >Full Heart smiles and leans out of the door and calls out, “Red, you can come on in, don’t forget your notes.”
  279. >Seconds later a little white girl with pink hair walks in holding a small notepad in her teeth.
  280. >She drops the pad into her hoof and stands up extra straight, trying her best to look professional.
  281. >It is fucking adorable.
  282. >”Ok Red we’re going to do a postnatal examination on Mrs. Text.”
  283. >Red uses her nose to flip through the pages until she gets to one that already has some text on it. She then uses her free hoof to reach into her hair and pull out a very stubby pencil before placing it in her mouth.
  284. >”Readeh Mom”
  285. >Full Heart lowers her ears and clears her throat.
  286. >”I meah, Nursh Fu Hearh”
  287. >You shake as your mom giggles to herself at the little girl’s mistake.
  288. >”First we’ll have to see if there are any apparent abnormalities with the mare that needs to be examined.”
  289. >The Nurse makes a show of looking all over your mom, but she keeps glancing back to you.
  290. >She got closer and closer to you as she made a pass over every part of your mom.
  291. >It was kind of creepy, and you unconsciously drew away from her near the end.
  292. >Once she finished you looked to see Red finish up her notes, before looking up at her mother and smiling.
  293. >”Ok Apprentice Nurse Red Heart, please repeat the examination.
  295. >Pushing a small staircase from the corner of the room against the bed Red climbed up and made the same lap around your mom, speaking softly to herself.
  296. >”Horn isn’t radiating, eyes aren’t bloodshot or swollen, breathing is normal, heartbeat is normal, Nurse Full Heart, I can’t check her spinal discs with her foal here.”
  297. >”No need Red, if there was any spinal issues Celestia herself would be screaming in agony.”
  298. >The girl nods and proceeds to work around you still murmuring.
  299. >”Dock and tail respond to stimuli, hooves intact, frogs aren’t swollen...I have completed the dorsal postnatal exam.”
  300. >”Very good Red Heart, now Mrs. Text if you would roll over please.
  301. >”Sure thing nurse,” your mom says already beginning to roll.
  302. >Shit!
  303. >You scramble to your hooves and walk against her roll, legs protesting every step, before settling on her stomach when she stops.
  304. >She looks down at you on her belly ears down, blushing.
  305. >”Sorry, little Letter. I was just so used to feeling you up there already.”
  306. >You feel your tail move a bit before you lay down again.
  307. >”Now watch carefully Red, we’ll repeat the search for abnormalities on the anterior region. The main thing you have to worry about is not missing anything on the misshapen belly since this exam occurs before the uterus has time to retract to it’s normal size.”
  308. >She lays her head down on your mother’s chest for a moment before proceeding to do another lap around her, once again you follow her. Wondering why she is constantly eyeing you.
  309. >Until your eyes fall on a pair of breasts. Udders? Teats?
  310. >Either way you realize how thirsty you are and walk down them before placing one in your mouth and suckling.
  311. >You hear the nurse huff, but you pay it little mind.
  313. >Since you’re not exhausted this time, you have a chance to think.
  314. >Why are you drinking this? It was the first thing you did when you were able to see.
  315. >You couldn’t help it, why couldn’t you help it?
  316. >Using all of your will you let the nipple fall out of your mouth.
  317. >Ok, so there isn’t any mind control involved, you are able to refuse it. You just really like it.
  318. >That’s part of what’s weird though. Even compared to a juicy medium rare steak this is outstanding.
  319. >You’d sell your left nut for just a cup of the stuff.
  320. >Is that because you’re a little horse too?
  321. Bababi
  322. >You look at it for another moment before you pop it back in your mouth, satisfied that you aren’t losing your mind. Your body is just different, including your tongue.
  323. >At that moment you feel a soft pressure on each side.
  324. >You snap up and look to see a white hoof on both sides of you.
  325. >”Please don’t cry, little fella, I need to make sure your mom’s teats are producing milk normally.”
  326. >The little girl lifts you up, before placing you down a few inches away, but still on your mom.
  327. >She touches each portion of the ‘teat’ before moving to the next one and repeating.
  328. >”Both teats are full, with no lumps or blockages”
  329. >She then lifts you up and places you back where you were.
  330. >You wonder why she didn’t levitate you for a second, and notice that she didn’t have a horn.
  331. >You look over to the other nurse and notice the same thing.
  332. >So unicorns get psychic powers, and they aren’t universal. Do normal ponies get anything?
  333. >Just then you hear a knock on the door.
  334. >”280. Is this where Mysterious Text is getting examined”
  336. >The voice is unfamiliar, but feminine.
  337. >”I’m sorry this is a private examination, only fami-”
  338. >”Oh that’s my firstborn, come on in Page.”
  339. >You turn to see the door open, and walking in is another child no older than Red
  340. >Lemon yellow with what looks like neon green hair.
  341. >”Hi mom, dad told me that it was ok to come up while he lets the other mares know where he is going to be.”
  342. >Other mares? Like sisters or something?
  343. >”Wow he looks so little, what was his name? Anonymous Text?”
  344. >”No hon, Letter. After grandpa Formal Letter.”
  345. >”Can I hold him, mom?”
  346. >”Sure thing, hon just be careful, and make sure he is done with his meal first.”
  347. >You’re levitated to your sister, and you take a moment to see her horn glowing a soft violet.
  348. >Doubly confirmed then, all unicorns are psychics and the power comes from their horns.
  349. >She holds you close with two hooves, one behind you propping your head up, smiling at you.
  350. >”Hello Anonymous, I’m your big sister. I’m going to make sure no fillies mess with you when you grow up.”
  351. >”Page hon, please don’t talk like that. He is barely a day old and I don’t need to think of all the sheath sniffing mares I’m going to have to beat back.”
  352. >Sheath sniffing, what does that even mean?
  353. >I get the whole ‘so handsome he has to beat the girls off with a stick’ but where does a sheath come into this?
  354. >”Well either way Front Page is going to keep you safe even after you grow into a stallion
  355. >She seems nice, decent big sister to have. Then again who is going to fuck with an infant.
  356. >Now that I think about it, ponies probably grow faster since I can already walk as a newborn
  358. >Lets unpack this shit for a second.
  359. >I can walk at birth, and it is pretty much normal.
  360. >I’m a colt and a foal that will grow into a stallion.
  361. >So stallion is a man pony. Okay.
  362. >Colt or foal is boy and one probably means baby.
  363. Duhh wedard
  364. >The colts.
  365. >The Indianapolis Colts.
  366. >They wouldn’t name their team after a baby horse, so colt has to mean boy.
  367. >So foals are babies, colts are boys, stallions are men, and fillies and mares are females.
  368. >A yawn forces its way out of you, only then do you notice your sister is rocking you.
  369. >”I think he likes me, mom.”
  370. >”Well don’t tell your father, little Anonymous screamed like a bat out of Tartarus when he picked him up.”
  371. >”Mrs. Text,” little Red says, “your external examination is finished.”
  372. >”So are we done here then?”
  373. >”No Mrs. Text,” Full Heart says stepping forward, “we need to do a magi-reverb test to make sure that there are no internal issues.”
  374. >Your mom sighs and steps off the exam bed and follows the nurse, but not before stopping to lift you out of your disappointed sister’s arms and back onto her.
  375. >Magi-reverb.
  376. >Like magic?
  377. >Yeah bullshit, it probably means something in pony latin.
  378. >You travel down the hall a long ways before coming up to a room with a green light above it.
  379. >”Mrs. Text, you’re going to have to leave your son outside for this one?”
  380. >”What, why?”
  381. >Little Red perks up, “The magi-reverb tests makes use of osculating magical signatures to test for any problems with your own magic, while this isn’t dangerous unicorn foals cannot handle the test on adult settings due to their extra sensitive horns and underdeveloped Starswirl gland causing them to feel discomfort.”
  382. >Full looked a little annoyed, but nodded, “That is correct, while it cannot harm your foal it may hurt him.”
  384. >You are levitated back into your sister’s arms
  385. >”That’s fine then, Front Page, please be careful, and don’t let anypony else hold him. Not even a blessed sister, something about needing to know my scent.”
  386. >”Yes, ma’am.”
  387. >The three walk in and shortly after the light turns red.
  388. >So magic confirmed, or maybe they don’t understand psychic abilities and just call it magic.
  389. >That doesn’t make sense since they already have tech based on it and to scan it.
  390. >”You are the quietest colt ever.”
  391. >You look up to your sister looking at you perplexed.
  392. >”I for sure would’ve thought that you would start crying once mom left.”
  393. >She strokes your hair a little bit.
  394. >”Most colts are complete crybabies as foals. Mostly crybabies when they get older too.”
  395. >Does this chick hate dudes or something?
  396. >”But you’re not, I like you. You’re my favorite colt ever, much nicer than that big dummy Macintosh.”
  397. >Oh, so she has a crush on some guy.
  398. >Thank God, last thing you need when you can barely move is someone who hates you for something you can’t help.
  399. >”Big ugly dummy.”
  400. >She hugs you closer to herself.
  401. >”You’re even better than the blessed brothers, they cry all the time. Even though they are 2 and 3”
  402. >Blessed brothers, blessed sisters, maybe this is a do over since you seem to be in a family full of Christfags. Or whatever the pony equivalent is.
  403. >Jesus Trots?
  404. >Stop
  405. >Don’t get your dumbass sent to pony hell.
  406. >Especially since you know that there is an afterlife.
  407. >”You’re easily my favorite brother.”
  408. >That makes your heart swell a bit.
  409. >Can’t really thank her.
  410. >Just do cute baby shit then.
  411. >You smile and reach up to try to touch her face
  412. Goo goo ga ga
  413. >Of course saying that would be easy.
  414. >Your sister starts rocking you again, happy as can be.
  415. >After a time you fall asleep again.
  418. >You hear something
  419. >You open your eyes to see your mom walk out of the room, before yawning herself.
  420. >”Sweet Celestia that was boring, oh hey Smithy. Hope you haven’t been here too long.”
  421. >You look upwards to see that you’re in the arms of the stallion from earlier.
  422. >You consider screaming again, but you’re already being levitated over onto your mom noticing her giving a look to your sister.
  423. >”I’m sorry, mom, but dad-”
  424. >”It’s fine Page, I meant mares anyway. Your father will be seeing the most of our little prince anyway.”
  425. >You look and see Page looking relieved that she didn’t upset her mom.
  426. >”Anyway, did Smithy tell you, because I completely forgot to.”
  427. >”Tell me what?”
  428. >”Your baby brother might just be a little genius!”
  429. >Page leaned back in shock, or maybe from mom’s volume increase.
  430. >”Mysty, please we aren’t sure, Nurse Full Heart still needs to do her tests.”
  431. >”Actually,” the blue mare said, “I have been conducting my tests as I examined Mrs. Text, and the results thus far have been very promising.”
  432. >What?
  433. >”How were you able to do that, while teaching little Red too? You two were pretty thorough, if a little cold hooved.”
  434. >The nurse looked a bit proud of herself and stood up straighter.
  435. >”Well during your external exam I looked directly into his eyes every 3-7 seconds, while getting closer and closer to him. An average foal will begin to cry if they are fearful, or nuzzle of they’re welcoming. Anonymous Letter instead pulled away from me as I grew too close, that was a fear response seen in children years older.”
  437. >”I don’t understand, Nurse,” said the stallion looking as confused as he admitted, “you creeped him out, most colts would be creeped out by a strange mare getting too close”
  438. >”Yes, but foals are different than young colts and fillies. At the slightest fear a foal will cry, at the slightest pain a foal will cry, at the slightest discomfort a foal will cry. They will cry to try to alert their mother and father to their displeasure. Anonymous Letter pulled away, fearful but able to identify and rectify the problem himself.”
  439. >Suddenly all eyes were on you.
  440. >And suddenly you remembered how small you actually are.
  441. >”There! See! He tries to make himself smaller to avoid detection rather than try to alert his parents, your colt’s first instinct is to help himself rather than call on others.”
  442. >”Now that I think about it,” Red said cutting in, “when you rolled to your side, he just walked with the roll instead of taking a tumble.”
  443. >The stallion gave mom a very hard look.
  444. >”Taking a tumble?”
  445. >”Now Smithy it isn’t what it sounds like….”
  446. >”I TOLD you to be careful and you almost drop our foal, on his FIRST DAY OF LIFE?!”
  447. >Mom’s ears dropped before the verbal assault.
  448. >”Smithy, he is fine, nothing happened to him. And I pro-”
  449. >The stallion, hit your mom’s horn again and you quaked as she flinched from the pain.
  450. >You clutched as best you could, and screamed.
  451. >Mom winced and rubbed her horn before levitating you into her arms to rock you.
  452. >You stopped after a minute, hopefully getting across the message that you don’t want your mom being hit.
  453. >”Wordsmith, I’m sorry, but we’re two for two now.”
  454. >”Two fo- speak Equish.”
  455. >”Every time you hit my horn he cries, like you struck him. My little prince doesn’t like seeing momma hurt.”
  457. >The nurse clears her throat trying to dissolve the awkward situation.
  458. >”Yes, well. Aside from his quick problem recognizing and solving he is a normal healthy foal, with a proper suckling and bonding instinct. The only other tests wouldn’t even be feasible for a few months, at least until his Starswirl gland develops.”
  459. >”So...does that mean I can leave?”
  460. >”Yes, Mrs. Text. Red, can you please get the proper discharge papers.”
  461. >The little filly gives a salute, and runs off.
  462. >Your family heads to the elevator and after a quick descent are at the exit where the filly is waiting with the papers in her mouth.
  463. >The whole time you were wondering what the nurse meant by bonding instinct.
  464. >”Oh, yes thank you nurse. We really appreciate the help doncha know. We’ll...oh my stars, Tex is that you?”
  465. >You turn to see a slim pink mare with a white foal on her back looking straight at your entourage
  466. >Also a fucking big white stallion next to her
  467. >”Oh stomp, Cookie? Cookie Crumbles, as I live and breathe! What are you doing in a place like Ponyville?”
  468. >The mare in a stark contrast to your mother walked gracefully to her.
  469. >”Well havin a foal puts a bit of a pause on the ‘ol modelin career right quick doncha know. So me and the Mr. decided to raise her somewhere a mite bit safer than Manehatten. An I see you got a bit of a bundle yourself”
  470. >You levitated off of your mom’s back and held before Cookie.
  471. >”Well arencha tha sweetest little thing, what’s his name Tex?”
  472. >”Anonymous Letter, after grandpa Formal.”
  473. >”Ooo I remember him, classier than Celestia herself.”
  474. >Cookie gave a look of sympathy, clearly he must’ve passed pretty recently.
  475. >”Well, after seein you so happy and proud of little Page, Hondo and I decided to have one of our own.”
  476. >Her own horn lit up as she picked up the small foal from her own back, holding her right in front of you.
  477. >”This is little Rarity, she’s a tough one. Bucked me so much during pregnancy I thought she was an Apple.”
  479. >As the two mares converse you look at the foal in front of you. She is huddled up into as much a ball as she could be for a bit of extra warmth, eyes squeezed shut, sniffling from a previous crying session, and a tongue poking a tiny bit out of her slightly open mouth.
  480. >As you look at her you realize the stark difference between a real foal and yourself.
  481. >Your eyes are wide open and observant, you hang slack in the magic indifferent to the cold, your nose is clear and breathes easy.
  482. >No wonder the nurse was able to pick you out as a weirdo so easily.
  483. >Worst part is that it is too late to start now, you can still feel her eyes on the back of you. To copy the foal in front of you would only add to the chances you end up in a small government room designing pony weapons or some shit.
  484. >You are soon returned to your mom’s back and you watch as Rarity is returned to hers, where she quickly snuggles deep into her mother’s fur.
  485. >”-ow he watches her like that. That’s how the nurse figured that he is a bright one.”
  486. >”Well, I’ll catch up more later, need to get this one into her bassinet before she catches cold. Seeya Tex.”
  487. >”You take care Cookie.”
  488. >”Mom, how do you know Cookie Crumbles? She’s like a super famous model!”
  489. >”Well back when we lived in Fillydelphia, her mom and my mom shared apartments. We were almost raised together.”
  490. >You decide to tune out the conversation between your mom and sister, as your groups steps outside into the sunshine and a bunch of ponies milling about.
  491. >There are even some with wings pushing clouds around.
  492. >This is nuts, too nuts to take in so soon.
  493. >Plus you think you may have that issue with the bonding instinct the nurse mentioned solved.
  494. >Because you just realized that you already consider this mare, this pony that you’ve only known for a few hours, just a double shift at your old job, your mother.
  496. >You are Front Page.
  497. >And this is horseapples.
  498. I can’t watch Anonymous today, I just managed to get the funding to start up the school paper! I have to make sure the first edition is ready to print on time.
  499. >”I’m sorry, hon,” mom said combing her mane and tail at the same time, “But there is no other choice, your father already left with Davenport to try out that spa that was just built, Hondo had to cancel because Rarity came down with something.”
  500. Well, what about the blessed mothers? Isn’t it their duty to help with things like this?
  501. >Mom flipped her mane and looked upward remembering why they can’t, “Inkwell has to do another week shift in Canterlot since the council scribes lost a member, Fine Print is in Appleoosa drawing up contracts between the settlers and construction ponies, and blessed grand mare Double Deal is in Fillydelphia watching Scribble and High Breed. Or did you not notice how quiet the house is?”
  502. >’Got you!’
  503. Well if grandma Double Deal is watching High Breed doesn’t that mean Upper Crust is free?
  504. >Mom scowled and lowed her voice to a volume she thought I couldn’t hear, “Wouldn’t trust her to watch my bucking fern,” she then raised her voice to normal volume, “SHE is at another banquet with Picture Perfect and Jet Set.”
  505. >Desperation was setting in, but you had to try. You put too much work into getting the school board to agree to the paper.
  506. Can’t you hire somepony then? I know Macintosh is great with foals. I’m too young anyway, I don’t even have a cutie mark yet!
  507. >She smirked.
  508. >You hated that smirk
  509. >”Doesn’t Macintosh have a blank flank, too?”
  510. >’Forgot about that...’
  511. >Mom ruffled your mane before pulling you into a hug, “I really am sorry, but I have to see Hard Cover today if I have any hopes of getting published next quarter. And I refuse to get shutout by that nag Velvet, just because she lives in Canterlot.”
  513. >She closes her saddlebags and puts them on, grunting a bit under the weight of her novel, bits, and writing supplies.
  514. >”Besides, Anonymous is no trouble as long as you keep his belly full and make sure he doesn’t rip his diaper off, and you only have to watch him until your father gets home from the spa.” She sucked some air through her teeth, meaning the next thing out of her mouth would be a lie,”I’m sure he can’t spend too much time at the spa”
  515. >All air and hope left your body at once.
  516. Fine…
  517. >”Good, milk is in the fridge, and make sure to feed him some foalfood. Smithy says three months is the best age to start weaning. Mix the food with milk, NOT WATER, he is still too young for water. Now I have, horseapples, 5 minutes to get on the train wish momma luck,” she sprinted out of the door without looking back.
  518. >You go to your room and, with some effort, levitate your typewriter and carry it to the blessing’s bedroom where Anonymous is sleeping in his crib.
  519. >He already kicked off his diaper, so with a bit of magic you put them back on.
  520. >Immediately he frowns and starts kicking a little bit.
  521. “Whatever,” then a smirk of your own comes on your face, “in fact...”
  522. >You pull the diaper back off, hoping in the darkest part of your heart that Anonymous makes a mess that dad will have to clean up.
  523. >’That’s what he gets for relaxing instead of watching his son.’
  524. >Anonymous on the other hoof relaxes and smiles.
  525. >’Maybe it is itchy or something.’
  526. >The vindictiveness leaves you as quickly as it came when you see that you made your favorite brother’s sleep easier.
  528. >Sitting beside the crib you get to work on your article.
  529. >’The school board probably thinks that this is just going to be some foalish little rag about how “homework is lame” or something equally as stupid.’
  530. >’Buck that’
  531. >’My paper is going to make the Canterlot Times look like a joke.’
  532. >'The increased timberwolf activity is a real worry that goes beyond Sweet Apple Acres.'
  533. >'They are always a danger to ponies who wander too close to the Everfree, but during Zap apple season they go nuts and leave the borders.'
  534. >You did well, but you need to do your journalistic duty and interview ponies who have first hoof experience in dealing with them.
  535. >Like the Apples.
  536. >Like Macintosh.
  537. >You were ready to take up your note pad and head out, but you remembered why you were in such a foul mood.
  538. >You looked at your brother sleeping peacefully, and then thought of a really good idea.
  540. >You are Anonymous
  541. >And you were enjoying a damn good nap until you were jostled awake.
  542. >As you cracked your eyes open the sun glared at you.
  543. >After a bit of time to adjust you slowly open your eyes to see that you’re outside.
  544. >And moving.
  545. >After checking your immediate area you see that you’re riding in a little wagon through Ponyville.
  546. >You immediately look to see who is dragging the thing to make sure you aren’t being kidnapped or anything.
  547. >Luckily it is only your sister.
  548. >Looking pretty smug
  549. >”Oh look at his little eyes.”
  550. >”Aren’t you a curious little fella”
  551. >”Oh he is just so precious.”
  552. >You look above the little wooden panels to see that you’re surrounded by children.
  553. >A bunch of boys mostly.
  554. >The wagon stops, and Page turns around to see you’re awake.
  555. >”See I told you guys to keep quiet.”
  556. >She levitates you up and looks down at the tiny blanket you were laying on, no doubt checking for messes.
  557. >”Are you hungry?” she levitates out a bottle from her saddlebags and pushes it to your mouth.
  558. >You keep your mouth closed to show her that you aren’t.
  559. >”Well if you’re just up I don’t see any harm in letting the guys have a look,” she turns to address the small crowd,”But no touching, I don’t want you to get him all dirty.”
  560. >They all looked offended, before looking at their hooves and putting together that the appendage used to walk on a dirt path will in fact get dirty.
  561. >You decide to ignore the kids and look around.
  562. >You’ve seen most of this already, but you don’t get a lot of time outside so you enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
  564. >After a few minutes the crowd starts to dissipate.
  565. >You seem to approaching a farm or ranch or something.
  566. >You look at the sign, the local language is like English but in a really shitty font so it is hard to discern.
  567. >But there are a few pictures of apples on it and there is a field full of apple trees in front of you so you feel safe to assume that you’re on an apple orchard.
  568. >In the distance is an orange stallion pulling a plow, your sister waves to him, but doesn’t pick up her speed as she approaches.
  569. >”Hello, Mr. Orange Juice, is Macintosh home? I need to interview him.”
  570. >The stallion frowns and raises eyebrow before taking a quick glance to you.
  571. >In an instant his face wears a soft smile as he nods to himself.
  572. >”Sure, Little Mac should be over in the north fields, learning how to apple buck.”
  573. >Your sister gives a sharp nod, “Thank you, sir.”
  574. >As you depart you notice the stallion staring at you, smiling before taking on a thoughtful expression.
  575. >’I’m not sure how worrying that should be.’
  576. >’Now that I think about it, where is Mom, or Wordsmith?’
  577. >’They must be doing something pretty important if I’m being babysat by an 8 year old.’
  578. >You look around seeing rows and rows of trees.
  579. >Also hills and hills of trees
  580. >Upon cresting one such hill you sister abruptly stops
  581. >”Hmph, what kinda varmint done found its way onta my farm today?”
  582. >You turn to see a very large mare staring down your sister angrily chewing a sprig of hay.
  583. >Your sister was immediately cowed.
  584. >Out of instinct you also laid down and wrapped your tail around yourself to seem as small as possible.
  585. >”G-good day, Mrs. Sweet Apple, ma’am. How are you?”
  586. >The giant spit out the hay and lowered her head to be right in Page’s face.
  587. >”Quit tryin to be pleasant, whatchu want young’un?”
  588. >The wagon started to shake a bit with Page’s quivering.
  589. >”I-I-I-I”
  590. >”Spit it out filly!”
  593. >Sweet then plucked another sprig from behind her ear and began chewing immediately.
  594. >”Mac ain’t got time to be playin no ‘interview’ games, and he darn sure ain’t got time to be playin them with no filly.”
  595. >Page’s quaking slowed enough to where you couldn’t feel it so much through the wagon anymore.
  596. >”I-I’m not playing anything, I’m starting a newspaper for the school, a-and I need Macintosh to answer some questions. Since he is the closest to the subject of the article.”
  597. >Sweet blew a loose bang and rolled her eyes.
  598. >”Mac ain’t going ta give you any help with your foalish ‘chores are lame’ story in your ‘school time news’ rag, and he sure as sugar ain’t going ta give you what you’re really after.”
  599. >This time the quivering stopped and with a huff Page squared her shoulders.
  600. >’Are they even called shoulders on a pony?’
  601. >”My paper isn’t some rag, and my article isn’t about something stupid like chores, or homework, or gossip. I’m going to show this town that news exists, real news, not that trash you read in the Ponyville Gazette.”
  602. >The mare, easily thrice the size of your sister, reeled.
  603. >”Hey now, the Gazette was started by my great gr-”
  604. >Your sister, drunk on her small victory, pushed her advantage.
  605. >”The Gazette is a glorified sales catalog, ‘ohh apples are on sale three for a bit’, ‘oh lookie here buy two get one free on carrots’, ‘well whaddya know zap apple jam is back in stock’! I find more news in Scribble’s diaper!”
  607. >Sweet’s face was a mask of fury for one second, until she glanced at you before addressing Page again, smiling the smile of a cat facing an injured mouse.
  608. >“Well, well, well. Looks like big mare here found her teats. But you can’t lie to an Apple,” she started pacing in front of Page, “If you were actually here, for honest reasons, you wouldn’t bring a cute little baby doll to try and make my boy soft on you!”
  609. >In a second her hoof was racing for you.
  610. >Even now you barely had the muscle power to move yourself with anything resembling speed.
  611. >In an instant you were being held by the scruff of your neck.
  613. >It wasn’t painful, but it was easily the most terrifying thing you’ve experienced in your short new life.
  614. >Sweet looked at you with the same cruel smile, for a couple of seconds before realization dawned on her.
  615. >Your heart was still beating a mile a minute, but you tried your damnedest to plead for release.
  616. Uh ee owwn leez
  617. >’Well, I should get back to learning how to talk, or use my horn. Would come in real handy right now.’
  618. >”LET MY BROTHER GO!”
  619. >Out of nowhere a rock beans Sweet right in her nose.
  620. >Unfortunately she didn’t even flinch.
  621. >Like your sister’s attack never happened, she smiled sat down and cradled you.
  622. >She rocked you for a minute before looking worriedly at Page.
  623. >”Did you show him to OJ?”
  624. >She dropped the much larger rock that she was struggling to levitate and looked at Sweet, “What?”
  625. >”Yer brother, did you show him to OJ?”
  626. >Utterly confused by the tonal shift, Page just decided to be relieved that you weren’t in danger.
  627. >”No, I didn’t really hide him though.”
  628. >After some pretty expert rocking you yawned.
  629. >”Horseapples, I won’t be able to get out of it now...”
  631. >Page voiced her confusion expertly.
  632. >”What?”
  633. >Setting you delicately back into the blanket of the wagon, Sweet sighed and turned to Page.
  634. >”Mac is just down the hill, just listen for the bucks.”
  635. >’Don’t ask, just go. Please.’
  636. >Page left without another word down the hill, where almost immediately a skinny little red colt came into view.
  637. >Almost like the confrontation with Sweet Apple didn’t happen, Page beamed and waved at the colt.
  638. >”Hey, Macintosh!”
  639. >The colt stopped and looked up at her, grateful for whatever rest her coming would bring.
  640. >”Hi there, Front Page, pleased as punch that you’re here. Ma has me bucking, and this is much much harder than she makes it looks. Wish that the pegasus ponies would give a little more cloud cover, but enough about me, what can I do ya for?”
  641. >”Hey Mac I need your opinion on the increased sightings of timberwolves at the edge of the Everfree.”
  642. >”Whew Page, that’s a tall order. Well, they always get antsy right before zap apple season and unless granny is around to chase ‘em off sometimes they’ll get real bold and leave the treeline. Somethin about baaaaad magic in the Everfree tryin to choke out the good magic keeping it from spreadin. I don’t know much about it, Granny usually falls asleep before she finishes the story. And no offense to yall unicorn folk, we earth ponies hardly pay attention when it comes to magic since it usually makes no never mind to us anyway.”
  643. >Page’s pencil was moving insanely fast to keep up with Mac’s words, and she was as happy as could be.
  644. >”What do ya need all that for anyway, did you manage to get Ms. Harsh Lesson to let you have your paper?”
  645. >Her smile widened, “Yep! It goes to print next week!”
  646. >He finally notices you and smiles as big as Page.
  647. >”Where did you get this? It’s so cute and lifelike! Did a unicorn make it? I think it moved! Can unicorns make moving dolls, yall are so lucky sometimes. Can I hold it? Please, Page, please!”
  649. >Immediately Page was at your defense.
  650. >”No! That’s not a doll, that’s my baby brother.”
  651. >And just like that the colt’s excited movements turned slow and almost reverent.
  652. >”Hi, little fella. I’m Macintosh. Mac, In, Tosh. Hello.”
  653. >”Yeah, mom has me watching Anonymous today. But don’t pick him up, your hooves are all dirty from you working.”
  654. >Mac looked down at his hooves before sighing and slumping down.
  655. >After some time passed and more notes taken, mostly about frequent sighting areas and how many seen at once.
  656. >As you and your sister left you saw Orange Juice wearing a sly smile as he led a resigned Sweet into the barn.
  657. >Between the adrenaline rush from the encounter with Sweet Apple, and the fact that you haven’t eaten since lunch you all but passed out right after you left the orchard.
  658. >…
  659. >“-ow could you be so thoughtless!”
  660. >You awoke to see a bottle in your mouth and a diaper on your hindquarters, and the angry voice of your father.
  661. >”But nothing happened, he is fine! He didn’t even cry or anything!”
  662. >”He didn’t cry because he passed out from not eating all day long! He is your brother, don’t you even care?”
  663. >”I’m sorry, okay? How was I supposed to know when to feed him? I didn’t get hungry, he didn’t cry, he didn’t make a mess, I made sure nopony touched him, and mom fed him before she left!”
  664. >By now the frustration and anger had already reduced Page to tears.
  665. >”By trying to feed him, foals can’t talk, and your brother barely cries. So you have to try different things to make sure he has everything he needs. Besides even that being around all those fillies and colts risks him to catch any number of sicknesses, that was the very reason that Hondo couldn’t watch him.”
  667. >Before Wordsmith could reply Front Page had already stomped off to her room.
  669. ~~~Chapter 4~~~
  672. >You are Anonymous
  673. baa naana ss nanamo
  674. >And you’ve haven’t had any luck on the talking front
  675. >”There she is,” you’re jostled on your perch on your mom’s back as she waves, “Cookie! We’re here!”
  676. >You look over her mane to see her pink friend Cookie, and her daughter playing on a large blanket.
  677. >It is probably just a regular queen sized blanket, you’re still getting used to the fact that you are tiny.
  678. >As you get closer you’re levitated off of Mysterious’ back and onto the blanket in front of Rarity.
  679. >She is happily rolling around on a scarf before she notices you.
  680. >’Oh I’m on a little play date’
  681. >She laughs and awkwardly walks over and starts playing with your hair.
  682. >You can’t help but laugh.
  683. >How it feels, the strangeness of it all, the fact that someone “your size” is acting like a baby.
  684. >”Told ya they’d get on thick as thieves, Tex”
  685. >”The guys are going to love this.”
  686. >A couple flashes of light in your peripheral tells you that this is pretty much going to be your whole day.
  687. >’I may as well try to learn from this’
  688. >After playing around in your hair a bit more she looks at it and smiles and laughs a little herself.
  689. >Two more flashes
  690. >”Ada da da da!”
  691. >After, that, she wobbles back to her scarf, bites onto it and rolls.
  692. >You walk after her and watch her.
  693. >After a second she is back on all fours with the scarf around her, like a little yellow cocoon, looking quite pleased with herself.
  694. >”Ah ah pada boo!”
  695. >And pretty goddamn adorable.
  696. Ahhhhhhh.
  697. >Four flashes
  698. >Curious you walk up to her and touch the bit of scarf trailing on the ground.
  699. >You suddenly understand her obsession.
  700. >It feels very sheer and actually cool to the touch despite the warm summer day.
  701. >”No!”
  702. >Rarity rolls again taking the scarf out of your reach.
  703. >’For fuck’s sake a baby is kicking your ass at learning speech’
  705. >”Hey Cookie, what’s with the scarf?”
  706. >”It was part of an outfit I modeled for an up and coming designer. He decided at the last minute that the scarf wouldn’t go with the rest of the ensemble and ditched it. He had it enchanted to stay cool or heat up depending on temperature, so that despite the temperature of the runway the model wouldn’t be sweating or shivering.”
  707. >Your mother took on a thoughtful look before speaking again
  708. >”Do I know him? I may not know the fashion world very well, but I’ve been to enough release parties that I know just about everypony in Canterlot.”
  709. >Cookie shook her head, “Oh, you wouldn’t know him, he is from up there in Manehatten. An earth pony wouldn’t ya know. Something Tidy? Toity? Whatever, he is new to the fashion game, and despite him having a keen eye for fashion he has no idea how to get ahead of trends. He may go far, but it won’t be designing.”
  710. >”Asha bo!”
  711. >Rarity is on her back kicking the loose ends of the scarf with her hooves.
  712. >’May as well try to make friends’
  713. >You walk over to her, and once she notices you she protectively clutches her scarf.
  714. >You lower yourself so that you’re eye to upside-down eye with the filly.
  715. >You lift a hoof and slowly, and very deliberately, tap her on the nose.
  716. Ooop
  717. >Her tiny eyes widen, and her mouth opens in shock.
  718. >She quickly rolls back onto her stomach and screws her face into a furious pout.
  719. >She strikes back with all of her strength
  720. >”Aap!”
  721. >’Ok that is the weirdest feeling in the world’
  722. >It kind of hurts, but it tingles.
  723. >And after the tingling fades it feels really nice.
  724. >So you smile, and poke her again. Making sure to make contact with the soft frog of the hoof, and hold it there for a few seconds.
  725. Ooooooop
  727. >She holds her frown for a while before starting to giggle and booping you back.
  728. >”Aaaaap”
  729. >It was softer this time, so there was less pain, but the tingling lasted longer.
  730. >You weren’t able to hold back your laughter this time.
  731. >After months of being able to do nothing but eat, observe, and sleep simply watching this filly’s reactions is the height of entertainment.
  732. >”Think we got enough there, Tex?”
  733. >”The Misters are going to love this, hopefully Wordsmith will get off my tail about work.”
  734. >After a couple of minutes booping the filly, she grows bored and wobbles over to her mother.
  735. >”Pa masha bu”
  736. >Gaining Cookie’s immediate attention she picks the filly up in her magic.
  737. >”Are you thirsty sweetie?”
  738. >She pulls a bottle out of a large bag and puts it to Rarity’s mouth.
  739. >Rarity turns away from the bottle and cutely shouts,”No!”
  740. >”Did you mess your diaper?”
  741. >As soon as her magic touched the cloth diaper Rarity replied, “No!”
  742. >”Did you want...tickles!”, the filly flailed and giggled under the no doubt practiced assault.
  743. >”Hey, Tex”, Cookie said still tickling her daughter,”we should do this more often.”
  744. >Your mom opened up her diaper bag and brought out two bottles with an apple sticker on them.
  745. >”Are you kidding me? Hanging out with sis from another miss, letting my foal socialize, pounding some apple ale, and making Smithy happy for my trouble? I could make a mint just by publishing this idea!”
  746. >She levitated one of the bottles to Cookie who set Rarity back down and grabbed it in her own magic, before clinking the two bottles together in a mock toast.
  747. >”Plus we could make all these pictures into a nice collage, because frames would...”
  748. >Your attention was ripped from whatever Cookie was going to say next by a pressure on your tail.
  749. >Quickly turning you see Rarity laughing to herself while she plays with it.
  752. >As she plays with your tail you notice that she is getting knots and twists out of it.
  753. >Plus she is even straightening it out as she goes.
  754. >’Is she grooming me or something?’
  755. >’Is that something I’m supposed to do? Something I can do?’
  756. >’Fuck it, when in Rome...’
  757. >You turn and use your hooves to smooth out her mane.
  758. >”Sha ba booo”
  759. >Surprisingly the hair doesn’t deviate much from where you try to set it.
  760. >You don’t know much about styling hair, being straight and all, but you do know what looks nice.
  761. >So after a couple minutes her mane is straight down.
  762. >However that doesn’t work because manes as you’re just now finding out seem to grow in a straight line back, rater than all over the head.
  763. >Instead you decide to do the same thing only to the side of her head.
  764. >Then straight to the other side for the area behind her ears.
  765. >Not bad, but a bit boring.
  766. >So you push up on the ends a bit to give both parts of her mane a slight curl.
  767. >You look down at your hooves in slight shock, you weren’t even sure how the regular ‘earth ponies’ could pick shit up without their mouths, but you just used your hoof as a comb, curling iron, and fucking hair gel without even trying.
  768. >You stroke her mane again, taking in every sensation and effect.
  769. >’Ok, it feels like normal hair, but it stays in place after setting it.’
  770. >You gently blow on the mane.
  771. >Even the small amount of air was able to make it sway a bit.
  772. >’So it doesn’t harden or anything to stay in place. It just stays there.’
  773. >’Fucking weird’.
  774. >You try to ‘grab’ the mane by closing what used to be your hand.
  775. >It doesn’t muss the mane like a real hand grabbing it, but the hair does adhere to your hoof.
  776. >You look at your hoof, opening and closing your ‘hand’ and watching the frog in the center flex.
  778. >With your focus on learning to communicate, you haven’t really experimented to see how your body works beyond walking.
  779. >The head then rises up and rubs against your chin.
  780. >Rarity looks up at you expectantly with her small blue eyes.
  781. >For a second there, you completely forgot you were dealing with another living thing.
  782. >You look down to see that, even though she is still resting her hooves on it, your tail looks a lot better.
  783. >Well, it looks like it has had a comb taken to it at least.
  784. >You glance at hers and notice that it doesn’t look much different than your own.
  785. >A little rough, but clean, free of knots, and full bodied.
  786. >’Oh she must want me to finish the job.’
  787. >Laying down you stroke the tail a bit to straighten it out.
  788. >Then you wrap the tip around your hoof and then pull your hoof straight out, leaving a neat little curl.
  789. >She looks at your work with a wide smile while stamping her hooves happily.
  790. >After a minute or so, she stops, sits, and frowns thoughtfully.
  791. >A look of determination appears on her face, she then lays down and rolls again, freeing herself from the scarf.
  792. >She picks it up with her mouth and brings it over to you, dropping it at your hooves.
  793. >’Is she paying me?’
  794. >You lay down low and wiggle your way underneath the scarf so it is draped across your back.
  795. >Immediately your body feels cooler
  796. >You close your eyes and enjoy the sensation, and a relaxed sigh escapes your throat.
  797. Ahhhhhhh
  798. >You open your eyes to see Rarity sitting down and looking at her hooves mournfully.
  799. >Before you have a chance to think about it you walk up beside her, and using your right fore hoof, lift up part of the scarf and drape it over her.
  800. >She immediately perks up.
  801. >You then reach across her fore hooves and grab the end of the scarf, with your own mouth, to wrap it fully around the two of you.
  802. >Feeling completely comfy it is only a matter of time before sleep takes you.
  804. >You are Mysterious Text
  805. >And this is the cutest thing you have ever seen.
  806. >A puppy and a kitten fighting over a piece of string looks like timberwolf compost compared to this.
  807. >Your son and your best friend’s daughter are wrapped up snug in a little yellow scarf sleeping soundly.
  808. >”I told you we’d get better shots once we turned the flash off.”
  809. You’re absolutely right Nurse Fullheart, once Anonymous didn’t notice the flash anymore he put us completely out of his mind.
  810. >”Plus, I don’t know about you Tex, but I am taking these negatives to Photo Finish and gonna have him make a big one of this shot.”
  811. >Fullheart takes one more picture and scribbles some more notes in her notebook.
  812. Did you get everything you need? Nice as this was I missed a whole day of research for my next book.
  813. >The nurse nods once.
  814. >”Your son conducted an experiment right before our eyes, Mrs. Text, simple as it was it is completely unprecedented.”
  815. >She places the notebook under her nurse’s hat and the pencil behind her ear.
  816. >”Also, it is about time the two of you set an appointment to have your little one’s Starswirl gland checked out. Don’t want any unexpected surges.”
  817. Sure, I’ll bring little Anonymous by next Sunday.
  818. >”I can bring Rarity down whenever you’re available, still have a few more pounds to drop before I’m fit enough to get back on the catwalk.”
  819. >The nurse thinks for a second before speaking again.
  820. >”If you could, I’d like for you to bring them both at the same time.”
  821. >Your eyebrow raised questioningly.
  822. Why?
  823. >”Besides the fact that they were born the exact same day so the best time to check falls on the exact same day, they’re bonding immensely, and Anonymous seems to be learning much through Rarity. I’d like to see how he would react outside of the direct supervision of his family.
  824. >’Horseapples’
  825. >”How in the depths of Tartarus do you think we’d react to letting somepony have our foals out of our hooves. You better explain yourself better, nurse.”
  826. >Fullheart quickly put her hooves up defensively.
  827. >”I said direct supervision, I’ll do the test in the student lab, with a two-way observation mirror. You can watch your foals the whole time. I’m not some nag trying to rob the cradle, I already have Cold, Sweet, and little Red.”
  828. >You nod, satisfied that your son will be safe.
  829. Ok, next Sunday then.
  830. >You watch the Nurse walk off, still a little irked at how...enthusiastic she was getting with these little experiments.
  831. >”Well, with the mad nurse gone, we should get home….”
  832. But…?
  833. >” have another couple bottles of apple ale, and you know how the husband can’t stand the stuff.”
  834. >You smile
  835. Yeah, and I can’t drink both by my self…
  836. >You pull out the other two bottles and levitate one over to your sis.
  837. >A quick twist and the day jut got perfect again.
  839. ~~~~Chapter 5~~~~
  840. >You are Wordsmith.
  841. >It is three forty-four in the morning, and you could be asleep.
  842. >You should be asleep, but you cannot get back to sleep.
  843. >So you stare at the ceiling in your near pitch black room.
  844. >You count the ticks on your clock as it approaches the time you’re ‘supposed’ to wake up.
  845. >’43, 42, 41...’
  846. >Your overly large bed is empty as it usually is.
  847. >Warm, but without comfort.
  848. >’30, 29, 28...’
  849. >As it usually is.
  850. >’15, 14, 13...’
  851. >This is the life you signed up for.
  852. >This is the life you wanted.
  853. >This is the life that your sons would have.
  854. >And their sons
  855. >’7, 6, buck it.’
  856. >In a practiced motion you turn off the alarm before the hammer touches the bell.
  857. >Three fourty-five AM.
  858. >With only a subtle amber glow to give you away, four adorable bumblebee house shoes float from under your bed and onto each hoof.
  859. >You hate bees.
  860. >But Front Page saved her allowance for three weeks to get them for your thirty-first birthday because they matched your eyes.
  861. >So they make you smile regardless.
  862. >Before anything else you make sure to walk over to Anonymous’ crib.
  863. >He is still sleeping soundly, cloth diaper stuffed under his pillow in what has become his favorite hiding spot for it.
  864. >Primarily because if Mysty would attempt to pull it from under him he would wake right up and would put up a fuss in her clumsy attempts to put it back on.
  865. >However light a sleeper your youngest son is, though, he cannot match the delicate touch of father’s magic.
  866. >With magic memory that is second only to your most basic levitate, you softly, securely, and silently place the diaper back on your foal.
  867. >You then wrap him up in his blanket, and carry him to the kitchen. Still only using your magic as a light source.
  868. >After a minute of heating to precisely 101 degrees Fahrenheit, you place the bottle Mysty’s milk to Anonymous’ lips and he immediately begins to suckle while still sleeping.
  870. >With your son’s needs taken care of, you start your day.
  871. >After a quick shower, shampoo, and style you look at yourself in the mirror and take a bit of pride in knowing that you are up and working before the princess herself.
  872. >Looking and smelling your best, you head back to the crib to find the bottle half empty and Anonymous half awake. Tiny muzzle searching for the dropped bottle.
  873. >You sigh.
  874. >’Father could keep taking care of Page’s needs throughout his entire morning ritual’
  875. “One day,” you murmur to yourself.
  876. >You lift him and the bottle and place it back in his mouth, take him back out of the crib and head back to the kitchen.
  877. >Maintaining your delicate hold on your son, you get started on breakfast.
  878. Inkwell is coming home today with Scribble, but not in time for breakfast. Page got an A on her book report so…
  879. >The cabinets opened and precise measurements of sugar, salt, flour, and baking powder gently float down to the counter.
  880. >Out of the icebox comes another bottle, a couple eggs, and some cow milk.
  881. >A bowl floats up from underneath the counter and settles neatly in the center of your ingredients.
  882. >As you mix the ingredients the milk finishes heating, without even breaking your rhythm your switch out the nearly empty bottle for the fresh one.
  883. >After adding a bit more butter than usual you pour enough batter to fill the whole bottom of the pan and place it on the stove.
  884. >’One Mount Canter, two Mount Canter, three Mount Canter...’
  885. >You pull out a hoofful of strawberries and begin to dice them.
  886. >’Forty three Mount Canter, forty four Mount Canter, forty five Mount Canter.’
  887. >With a flick you flip the pancake and it lands perfectly in the center of the pan.
  889. >’One Mount Canter, two Mount Canter, three Mount Canter...’
  890. >You remove the bottle from Anonymous’ mouth and begin to rub his belly with your magic
  891. >’Twenty nine Mount Canter, thirty Mount Canter.’
  892. >With a well practiced strong flip the pancake is tossed upwards from the pan.
  893. >A lime green plate floats from the dish drain and catches the large pancake.
  894. >You grab an apple from the fruit basket, and cut it into four slices and place them onto the steaming hot pastry.
  895. >Your ear twitches at the sound of somepony entering your home and “stealthily” coming into the kitchen
  896. Don’t touch the light switch, Anonymous is still asleep.
  897. >You can feel the embarrassed look on your wife’s face.
  898. >Then the cute little scrunch she has as she tries to think of something to explain away missing the mid-afternoon train back from Fillydelphia.
  899. >Even the thought of her little muzzle crinkled in thought makes you smile.
  900. >You levitate the plate to the table alongside a knife, fork, glass of milk, and three daisies.
  901. >”Look, Smithy-”
  902. Were you able to finish the research for your novel?
  903. >Yes it was rude to cut her off, but you wanted this nipped in the bud.
  904. >”I...yes, I was able to get my research done. I have the ending all ready to write.”
  905. >’Meaning no more all-nighters, unexplained trips, or empty beds.’
  906. >’For a time at least’
  907. >You smile and face your wife and plant a kiss right at the base of her horn.
  908. “Good, I’ve missed you.”, your son interrupts you with a soft burp, “Now eat your breakfast, because I know you hate train food.”
  910. >”Tha...that’s it?”
  911. >You sigh.
  912. It can’t be a surprise that I’d miss my wife while she is away, especially when my other mares and my other sons are gone too.
  913. >You straighten up and nuzzle Anonymous’ sleeping face
  914. “But my fillies and colts are coming home. Inkwell has a week off while the scribes go over applications to replace Royal Writ, Fine Print is on her way back from Dodge Junction as we speak, Upper-” your wife audibly scoffs and you roll your eyes, “Upper Crust has finished attending all those stockholder benefits and meetings, and little Scribble and High Breed are coming home with their mothers.”
  915. >Despite the sun being hours away you feel warmer.
  916. My family will finally be back where they belong.
  917. >Mysty sits at the table and before digging into her meal, pauses and looks at you with a sad smile.
  918. >”I’ll make sure our work doesn’t all happen at once like this Smithy, my stallion shouldn’t be alone.”
  919. >You roll your eyes while pouring two smaller circles of batter in the pan.
  920. >As you mentally count you remove Anonymous’ diaper and throw it into the laundry bin.
  921. >You go to lift the bin to take it to laundry pail, but you feel your magic on the pan weaken.
  922. Mysty, can you take the laundry outside? I just changed Anonymous.
  923. >”Mmm”
  924. >Without even lifting her head from the plate her horn glows a warm green and the bin is teleported away.
  925. >It is returned a second later completely empty.
  926. Thanks, dear.
  927. >You flip the pancakes, and barely hear a much better attempt to sneak.
  928. Page, come get some breakfast first.
  929. >The movement stops, no doubt wondering what she did wrong to get caught when trying to pass by during the sound of the teleport and over the din of the sizzling pan.
  930. >A quiet grumble followed by a sigh is the symbolic white flag.
  932. >Her disappointment fades as soon as she sees what you’re cooking.
  933. >”Pancakes!”,her saddlebags fall as she runs to the table.
  934. Shh! I need to get Anonymous’ diaper on, and it will be a battle if I have to do it while he is awake.
  935. >Your wife takes on a serious look for a second as she looks at your, surprisingly still sleeping, son.
  936. >”I have to take him to the hospital, later on today.”
  937. >You bury your initial shock and fear under the fact that Anonymous is perfectly healthy and this is probably just a checkup.
  938. Why is that, Mysty?
  939. >She sighs.
  940. >That fear thrusts a hoof out of its grave
  941. >”It’s time for his scan n’ surge.”
  942. >You involuntarily bring your son closer to you and everything else in your grip dips low.
  943. I wo-
  944. >”You know you shouldn’t Smithy. You know why too.”
  945. >You are mad that you were cut off, offended that Mysterious would choose for you.
  946. >And frustrated that she was right.
  947. >”Mom, dad? Did I miss something? What’s a scan and surge?”
  948. >Front Page had a bit of an edge to her voice, either mad that she was being talked over or because her strawberry pancakes aren’t yielding to her attempts to snatch them from your magic.
  949. >You give Mysty a look that lets her know that you WILL be talking about this later, then turn to your daughter.
  950. It is a pair of procedures that unicorn foals need to go through, well, need to go through if you don’t want them casting and surging all over the place.
  952. >”What do you mean, dad? I can only levitate, I’m not even close to being able to cast any spells.”
  953. It’s a leftover from the pre-Equestria times. Whenever something threatened a unicorn foal they could cast any number of random spells upon it to try and save themselves, or delay until their parents could arrive.
  954. >”Yep, it is why us unicorns were able to make a civilization for ourselves when pegasi were constantly fighting to survive and earth ponies were only getting by, by providing food for us.”
  955. >Your daughter rolls her eyes, “Thanks for the lesson, but why can’t I cast anything when little foals can?”
  956. >Your wife ignores the sarcasm and answers, “Because older unicorns need to be able to control what they cast, and on top of that many spells that seem like one are many stacked on top of each other in quick succession.”
  957. >Mysterious smiles closes her eyes and sits up straight, looking every bit as striking as she did when your first met her, “For example, the teleport I just performed was in fact nine total spells. First I had to slightly levitate what I was going to move, to make sure I didn’t teleport the floor anywhere. Second was a scan to make sure that I didn’t have anything in my magical field that I didn’t intend to teleport. Third an anti-material barrier to make sure nothing could get into my field, followed by an anti-magic barrier to make sure noponies’ magic could stop or interfere with the teleport. Next was a scan of the location I intended to teleport the bin to, so I didn’t teleport it into anything or into the ground. Then was another two barriers so that nothing could enter or interfere with the target area. Finally the actual teleport, and then a sound dampening spell so I wouldn’t wake my little prince when I was dispelling all of the barriers.”
  958. >Your daughter’s jaw was slack, and you felt the same tingle that resulted in your darling son.
  959. >”And I did all of that again when I brought the bin back.”
  961. >Front Page sunk down to the point only her head and hooves were on the table.
  962. >”How am I supposed to do all that?,” she pouted simultaneously breaking and melting your heart, “You can cast like a hundred spells in 5 seconds, and I can’t even make my hooves silent.”
  963. >Mysty levitated Page over to her lap where she wrapped a forehoof around her.
  964. >”Two things Page; one I can only cast eighty seven unique spells in five seconds,” Front Page went slack in her mother’s grip, which was immediately adjusted to hug her tighter, “and two you’re already further along magically than I was when I was your age.”
  965. >Front Page looked up at Mysterious, disbelief clear on her face.
  966. >”It’s true. I was nearly ten before I mastered levitation, and you had it down back when you were seven.”
  967. >You lowered the breakfast plate and Front Page gripped it in her magic and brought it to her, a small smile on her face.
  968. >”Each unicorn is unique, dear, some go their entire lives not casting anything beyond what their talent requires, and some have a library of spells under their horns before they graduate from school.”
  969. >Mysty ruffles Page’s mane before finishing, “It takes a lot of work to be a truly magical unicorn, but it isn’t necessary to be a happy one. Because I’ve met Sunset Shimmer, and while that twelve year old filly is a magical powerhouse, she is also the surliest little brat I’ve ever seen.”
  970. >You scowl at the mean spirited jab at a child, and Front Page giggling at her mother makes it all the worse.
  971. >You don’t want your daughter to be the type of foal who gets her enjoyment from tearing down others.
  972. Mysterious! Don’t talk about a foal that way! I’m sure it is hard on her having to live up to the princess’ expectations.
  973. >”Aah ahn sssh it.”
  974. >’Oh, just buck me running.’
  976. >You are Anonymous
  977. >’What time is it?’
  978. Aah ahn ssh it?
  979. >And you really miss talking.
  980. >You immediately look around to see that you’re in the kitchen.
  981. >And that is very dimly lit.
  982. >As usual your stomach is already full.
  983. >”Aww, woke up Anonymous. Tsk tsk, oh well.”
  984. >The lights cut on and blind you for a few seconds.
  985. >”But, Mom, you never answered, what’s a surge n scan?”
  986. >Your mother glances at Wordsmith before answering, smiling at Page with her ears lowered, “We’re going to the hospital to see how strong Anonymous’ magic is, where it leans, and hopefully get it flowing so he doesn’t destroy the house when he learns how to access it.”
  987. >’Fuck am I going to have to get a shot or something?’
  988. >’Whatever, can’t be worse than a series of bullets.’
  989. >Your ear twitches as you hear the jingling of keys in the next room approach.
  990. >A tired looking, pale red unicorn mare with a medium ash-blonde mane in a curled bob walks in.
  991. >With a sigh she removes her straw sunhat and places it at an empty section of the table and shakes her head.
  992. >And like a switch was flipped a bright smile was plastered across her face.
  994. >”Ladies!”, she gives your mom and sister each a firm handshake. Hoofshake, whatever, “Gentlecolts...”, she bows and kisses Wordsmith’s hoof before smiling at you and kissing your forehead. “Through my superior business acumen, winning grin, and mighty pen,” she says posing at each word, “I have secured not one, not two, but every construction contract for Appleoosa and a couple in Dodge Junction just for good measure.”
  995. >”Private residences and businesses too, or just public buildings?” Mom asked.
  996. >”Why everything from the outhouse to the jailhouse ‘o matriarch” Fine added with a deep mocking bow, “Even managed the contract for the Apple’s farmhouse and the local Barnyard Bargains.”
  997. >Wordsmith looked surprised, “I can’t believe you managed to convince the Apples to pay to have something built. They’re usually too proud to have somepony outside of their family even work on their farm.”
  998. >Fine Print then wrapped an arm around Wordsmith, “Au contraire my stallion fair, you just have to appeal to their sense of family and pragmatism.” She gave Wordsmith a kiss on the cheek before sitting at the table, “Let them know that if half the family comes to build that’s half the family not working on their own farms and businesses, the rest is just acting like you belong. Sit at their table, eat their meals, by the way no fruit for mine if I have to eat another apple I’ll lose my mind.”
  999. >Front Page perked up at that, “Hey, their apple pies and fritters are really really good Mother Fine.”
  1000. >Without missing a beat the perky mare put on a sly smile and shot back, “Oh? And how are their Apple Macs?”
  1001. >Your sister blushed, and started pouting and mumbling to herself.
  1003. >After some snickering Mom continued on, “So, Fine, that has to be an outstanding commission you’re in for. Any plans? I know how you don’t like working for so long, but I also know you hate being broke a lot less.”
  1004. >”Well, blessed sister mine, you won’t have to look down your muzzle at me. Oh no no no. I plan on saving half of every bit I make.”
  1005. >Mom nods, smiling proudly, “Good mare, convincing Upper Crust of helping any mare besides herself is a battle, and I don’t like pulling rank overmuch.”
  1006. >”However I do plan on using a good deal of the rest to take our sweet Smithy on a lovely little trip, I’m looking to,” she pauses and looks at you and then Page, “make myself a full member.”
  1007. >Her eyebrows are going insane, so even if Page didn’t get innuendo is no doubt she does now.
  1008. >You yawn, your early wake up and full stomach fighting against you.
  1009. >”Now I know that you were on the train right before my own, and sweet Smithy loves to treat his girls right, but what is our oldest doing awake?”
  1010. >Front Page pulled back from all the attention suddenly directed her way.
  1011. >”I-I was um..”
  1012. >Without looking away from the stack of pancakes Wordsmith answered, “She was going to observe the pegasi clearing out the loose Everfree weather, from a SAFE distance and NOT on Sweet Apple’s farm.”
  1013. >Your heavy eyes close.
  1014. >”Aww Dad, come on I’m not a little foal anym-”
  1015. >…
  1017. >”Aaaaap”
  1018. >You feel a hoof boop your nose.
  1019. >You blearily open your eyes just in time to see a white hoof cloud your vision and give you another boop.
  1020. >”Aap aap aap”
  1021. Am ah am ah
  1022. >You wave your hoof gently at the attacker, drowsiness preventing you from going any faster.
  1023. >You brush it away only for another soft tingly strike to make it through.
  1024. >You try to sit up on your hooves only to feel some cloth straps restrict your movement.
  1025. >Any sleepiness is blown away in fear.
  1026. >You look around quickly to get your bearings.
  1027. >Only to see that you’re in a double stroller with a giggling Rarity.
  1028. >An odd thing that you notice is that her mane is in the same style that you put it in a little over a week ago.
  1029. >It does look adorable on her, and take a bit a pride that her mom thought so too while doing her hair.
  1030. >A gust of cold air makes you look away, and you see that you’re in the hospital again.
  1031. >You can’t really see anything except legs and stomachs, but you assume that you’re here for the shot they were talking about earlier.
  1032. >”Text, Crumbles two for the Starswirl? They’re both in there?” A yellow earth pony with a blue neatly curled mane looks in at you and then Rarity, “Ok lets get to the examination room.”
  1033. >Her voice was harsh, and every word had an almost indistinguishable growl behind it.
  1034. >”Hello, Cold,” your mother says tersely, “I thought we would be seeing Fullheart today.”
  1035. >”Nurse Fullheart is observing.” Cold replies, tone not changing from general aggravation, “So her reactions to any unusual behavior won’t affect either foal.”
  1036. >”Oh..I can see why that-”
  1037. >Cold cut off mom immediately
  1038. >”That is what she said, I believe that she was actually fearful that your husband would make a return.”
  1039. >While her words were still harsh, she wasn’t growling anymore.
  1040. >’Maybe that is just how she sounds?’
  1042. >You are pushed up to a door which opens up into a pretty large surgical room.
  1043. >You can even see the seating area surrounding the operating table, like a medical arena.
  1044. >There is a massive device next to the table.
  1045. >’This might be a bit worse than a shot.’
  1046. >The carriage is pushed over to the table, where the straps holding you in place are loosened, and you along with Rarity are levitated out and onto the table.
  1047. >You both look up in awe at the device.
  1048. >And slowly your awe falls to confusion.
  1049. >’Is that a fucking colander with Christmas lights on it?’
  1050. >”Is that a bucking colander with Hearth’s Warming lights on it?”
  1051. >Cookie covers Rarity’s ears.
  1052. >”Not in front of the foals, Mysty!”
  1053. >”A doctor came up with the concept, so the original probably was.” Cold lowers the colander to just out of your reach, “The old model needed to have a different attachment for every size horn, this just requires the doctor to change the angle.”
  1054. >You mom looks at the device thoughtfully and nods, “That’s actually pretty clever, surprised a nurse never came up with it before…”
  1055. >She looks up at Cold, “And the lights, do they light up a specific color for magical affinity to make it easier for the laypony to read?”
  1056. >Cold rolls her eyes, “No, they just make it look more festive so the foals aren’t so scared of the thing. For better or worse, patient comfort is usually at the forefront on a doctor’s mind.”
  1057. >The doors open and a tan stallion with a brown mane walks in holding a tray with two bottles in dark blue magic.
  1058. >”Speak of the Nightmare.., thank you Doctor Stable. Could you get some pre-test readings while I get the scanner ready? Start with Rarity, please.”
  1060. >”Yes ma’am, Nurse Coldheart. Mrs...” he looks down at his chart, “Crumbles, would you please hold Rarity’s hooves away from her barrel so that I can check her heartbeat?”
  1061. >She grabs Rarity’s hooves and holds them outward, before rocking them back and forth to keep her still and entertained.
  1062. >She giggles and gives the doctor only the barest of glances, as he listens to her heartbeat, breathing, and the usual tests.
  1063. >After he is done he moves over to you, and before he can say anything mom has grabbed your arms and are holding them outward.
  1064. >Unlike Cookie she doesn’t try to play with you, but whisper calming nothings into your ear
  1065. >’Must think I’d be scared or something.’
  1066. >You do watch closely how Stable performs the tests.
  1067. >’Heart in the same place, lungs too.’
  1068. >’Pretty standard all things considered.’
  1069. >A giggle breaks your focus and you see Rarity with the colander at an odd angle with her horn sticking out of one of the holes.
  1070. >The machine hums a bit, one of the bars fills up three quarters, and the gauge tilts to the right.
  1071. >’Looks like a background machine from Dexter’s Lab. What is it even measuring.”
  1072. >It continues like that for nearly a minute, before sounding off with a soft ‘ding’ and printing out a piece of paper.
  1073. >Coldheart mumbles to herself as she reads over the paper.
  1074. >”Well nurse, how is my filly? I’m on eggshells donchaknow.”
  1075. >After a couple more seconds the nurse replies, “Surprisingly strong. While she isn’t breaking any records, she has a well above average levels of harmony magic within her. Her affinity leans heavily towards chaos magic, but not outside of the normal range.”
  1076. >Nurse Coldheart lowers the paper and looks Cookie in the eye, “In short you have a perfectly healthy filly, though expect her to cast frequently. Ponies who lean toward chaos are very playful with their magic.”
  1079. >A light flashes in your left eye and only then to you remember that you’re being examined.
  1080. >You look at the stallion as he looks in each eye and jots some more notes down.
  1081. >”That’s everything, I’ve never dealt with such a cooperative foal before.”
  1082. >Mom ruffles your hair, “Yeah, my little prince is easily the most well behaved foal in my entire blessing. Hay, maybe the most well behaved pony.”
  1083. >Laughing at her own joke, mom moves you closer to the device.
  1084. >The colander is lowered onto your head and slowly your horn goes through one of the many holes of varying sizes.
  1085. >The machine begins to hum, and you feel a tingle in your forehead.
  1086. >Like the feeling of hitting your elbow, and a feather going slowly across your skin.
  1087. >Then a muscle that you never knew you had flexes, but only for an instant.
  1088. >All you could tell was that it was at the top of your head, and when it flexed the same sound that a unicorn’s magic makes came from you.
  1089. >You immediately try to find it, but no matter how much you try to flex every muscle in your head you can’t feel that particular one again.
  1090. >The tingles begin again and soon enough the muscle flexes once more.
  1091. >You focus on finding your source for magic, and everything that allows.
  1092. >But it is like trying to control your heartbeat.
  1093. >You hear the machine ding and the sensations cease.
  1094. >You feel despair creeping in, as the fastest route out of helplessness slips from you.
  1095. >”Hmmm… Well, your son’s harmony magic is significantly lower than Rarity’s, though that’s to be expected as a colt. However he leans almost totally to order magic.”
  1097. >’What does that even mean? Order, Harmony, Chaos? I need to know how to use this fucking thing, lady.’
  1098. >Your mom picks you up and places the bottles that the doctor brought in to your mouth.
  1099. >’Mmm, tastes like the candy coffee they serve at Starbucks’
  1100. >”He gets that from his father, Wordsmith skews heavily to order. It’s why he is such a big help at old Cortland’s library.”
  1101. >”You know about this stuff Tex?” Cookie asks placing the bottle to Rarity’s lips.
  1102. >Mom laughs, but you notice that her ears lower a bit, “Well one of us had to pay attention in class, Basically unicorns who lean chaos are faster and more creative magic wise. So expect your little filly to drive Hondo up the walls with her casting.”
  1103. >Cookie scoffs, “I know this is our first, but I’m sure Hondo and I can handle some random levitations.”
  1104. >Mom smirks, “No, that is what I’ll have to deal with. Unicorns who lean toward order will only have one or two spells that they’re experts in, INCLUDING levitation. Rarity on the other hoof will probably turn your fridge into a marshmallow before flying through the ceiling.”
  1105. >Cookie’s face is a mask of dread.
  1106. >Your mom shrugs, “Page leaned chaos. So did Scribble.”
  1107. >Once you finished your drink the doctor took it away from you, and soon took Rarity’s too.
  1108. >”Ladies, since your foals have finished it’s time for the second part of the test. Please follow me to the observation room.” Cold said, grumpily.
  1109. >With that, you and Rarity were placed on the floor and the adults left the room, taking the exam table and device with them.
  1110. >She looks around for a bit, before focusing on you.
  1111. >Her fading smile brightens once more as she walks towards you and is seemingly drawn to your hair.
  1113. >After letting her play with it for a minute or two you feel a bit playful yourself and start tickling her.
  1114. >Laughing she boops your nose, and during the subsequent scrunch bites your ear.
  1115. >Luckily she doesn’t do it hard enough to cause any pain.
  1116. >You two play around like this for a while, and you feel a bit better about your situation.
  1117. >Just not being carried around and looked over for a bit is a breath of fresh air.
  1118. Ank ooo.
  1119. >Rarity’s reply is to tackle you and do that weird thing these ponies do when they rub their faces on each other, before jumping away eager to keep playing.
  1120. >You realize you are too, you’ve never had this much energy.
  1121. >After a bit it isn’t about play anymore, you and her are just randomly running around.
  1122. >Doing anything you can to burn off the ceaseless energy.
  1123. >It just seems to pump you up more and more, until you get a really weird feeling near the top of your head.
  1124. >Before you can give any attention to it you hear Rarity laughing her head off.
  1125. >You look and see her just running in place.
  1126. >’Holy shit that is so goddamn cute’
  1127. >You rush to join her, but her horn starts to glow blue.
  1128. >Soon the entire room is awash in her blue light.
  1129. >She starts to float a bit and fires magic in random directions
  1130. >You look around to see random bits of wall have patterns put on them, some of the chairs from the arena turn into random objects. Mostly rattles and scarves.
  1131. >One hits you, but it only makes your fur shiny.
  1132. >Just then the pressure in your head is relieved.
  1133. >And the blue light takes on a green tinge.
  1134. >The room looks the color of the ocean.
  1135. >There are no random green bits of magic, just one solid beam.
  1136. >It carves a path through the room until it hits the wall.
  1137. >From there it spells out ‘Anonymous’ in beautiful calligraphy.
  1138. >Your eyes follow the beam back until they cross as you finally realize that it is coming from you.
  1141. >The muscle clenches and the beam races across the wall spelling out random words.
  1142. >’Rarity, Mysterious Text, Front Page, Trip C. Faggot, Poppanon, Femanon, Mamanon.’
  1143. >Everyone in your life, past or present, gets written out in exquisite text.
  1144. >You collect your thoughts to try and ease up on the pressure of the muscle.
  1145. >The pressure doesn’t abate, but you finally are able to seize the organ.
  1146. >The beams’ straight perfect line work loses focus, but you are able to direct it
  1147. >You start small, and draw a circle.
  1148. >You draw many things, instinct demanding you continue to use magic but you have to learn how to use this.
  1149. >’Writing, grabbing, self sufficiency’
  1150. >You don’t think you’ve smiled this hard in your entire life.
  1151. >After a time, many scribbles, and many pictures the magic ceases.
  1152. >You would think that you would be exhausted, but you’re just a full of energy as you were before.
  1153. >You and Rarity continue to run and play until the adults return.
  1154. >”Goodness gracious, I forgot surges could be so intense. How long will they keep going nurse?”
  1155. >”About 16 hours Ms. Crumbles.”
  1156. >”Sixteen bucking hours?! You bucking madmare, what am I supposed to do with a hyped up filly for SIXTEEN MOON-DAMNED HOURS?!”
  1157. >Everyone pulls back, including you.
  1158. >Not Rarity though, who takes the opportunity to pull your tail.
  1159. >”Sweet Celestia Cookie,” your mom then shakes off the shock, “Don’t worry, I can take care of this, but I’m going to need your help.
  1160. >After a spirited game of tag, your mom and Cookie strapped you and Rarity into the stroller.
  1161. >It was torture having so much energy, but having to stay still.
  1162. >Luckily Rarity kept you distracted, by messing with your hair or booping you every time you started trying to escape.
  1165. >After what felt like an eternity you heard your mom speak.
  1166. >”Hi Smithy, hello Hondo. Doing a bit of shopping?”
  1167. >”Mysty, you’re finished already? How is everything?”
  1168. >”Nothing to worry about,” Cookie answered, “Our foals are perfectly normal and healthy.”
  1169. >”Anything of note dere, hun?” Hondo asked.
  1170. >”Well little Rarity is pretty strong and leans chaos, while our little prince is average and leans order. Like you Smithy.”
  1171. >Your mother’s voice drops very low, “Now Cookie.”
  1172. >”Um Hondo, dear… I love you, and you’re very handsome.”
  1173. >”I love you, you’re handsome, Smithy.”
  1174. >With that there is a flash of light and both mothers are gone.
  1175. >”Wait, what? No! Mysterious! Don’t you dare leave us with both foals”
  1176. >”Wordsmith? What’s the problem? We haven’t seen our little ones all day.”
  1177. >Wordsmith sighs heavily, “The problem is that they’re going to be wired all day long. Bucking nurse, should have wrung Fullheart’s neck when she did it to Scribble.”
  1178. >”Don’t cha think that you’re going a bit overboard dere? So they’re a bit hyper, nothing we can’t handle.”
  1179. >”Say that again at three in the morning.”
  1180. >Hondo’s eyes go wide, “T-three…?”
  1181. >”If we’re lucky.”
  1182. >”Oh.”
  1183. >There is a click
  1184. >’Finally!’
  1185. >It took some doing, especially with hooves, but you managed to get all the straps off of you.
  1186. >You free Rarity, and then you both hop out of the stroller and spend the day running through town. Two stallions chasing after you.
  1187. >…
  1189. >You are Wordsmith
  1190. >It is three fourty-four in the morning, and you could be asleep.
  1191. >You should be asleep, but you cannot go to sleep.
  1192. >So you stare at the crib in your near pitch black room.
  1193. >Anonymous Letter is just now starting to yawn and lay down.
  1194. >You set a bottle filled with water next to him, in case he wakes up.
  1195. >He led you and Hondo across the market for hours, along with little Rarity.
  1196. >You’ve never been so embarrassed.
  1197. >You know that that old gossip Greenhooves will tell everypony, who somehow managed to not see Anonymous make you look like a fool.
  1198. >Worst of all he was always on the edge of another surge, with how his horn would glow once every few minutes.
  1199. >The only silver linings to this entire situation was that he and Rarity never separated, and this was in Ponyville instead of Canterlot.
  1200. >There isn’t anymore movement, and he is breathing slow now.
  1201. >You can barely stand, but you smile regardless.
  1202. >He may act strange, and according to the nurses he might be a genius, but when night falls and the lights are off he is just your son.
  1203. >If his muzzle wasn’t proof enough his magic takes after you too.
  1204. >You kiss your son on his head and lower your voice as low as you can make it.
  1205. Daddy loves you, son.
  1206. >You leave the room and using your horn as a light walk to Mysterious’ study.
  1207. >Opening the door, you see her asleep on a pile of papers stacked next to her typewriter.
  1208. >Your horn glows brighter as you lift your tired wife across your back, and walk back to the room.
  1209. >Your perfectly sized bed is full, as it should be.
  1210. >Warm and welcoming
  1211. >You take off your slippers and crawl to your spot
  1212. >As it should be.
  1213. >This is the life you signed up for.
  1214. >This is the life you wanted.
  1215. >This is the life your sons would have.
  1216. >And their sons
  1217. >You lay your wife down next to Fine Print and snuggle up close to her, and pull Inkwell's hoof across your withers, content after a hard day.
  1218. Thank Celestia I was born a stallion
  1221. >You are Raven Inkwell.
  1222. >And Mysterious is ridiculous.
  1223. You know that Wordsmith will catch you, right?
  1224. >”He is at the spa with Hondo. Ever since those two became friends they’ve spent every Sunday there. Every Sunday the whole day, the bits his visits cost me are proof enough.”
  1225. Why not just tell him? It would make much more sense than going behind his tail and hoping that he is feeling forgiving.
  1226. >”Because if he knew I was leaving for work again, he would be sad. Have you seen Wordsmith sad? Just knowing that you caused that makes your heart ache.”
  1227. >You use your flattest face to non-verbally communicate your disappointment.
  1228. >”Also there’s no reason for him to know. It’s just a quick trip to Canterlot to drop off my draft for editing. I’ll be back before sundown.”
  1229. And why can’t you just mail it in?
  1230. >She looks like you just asked her if she loves her foals.
  1231. >”Disregard the fact that up to 7% of mail is lost in transit-”
  1232. Doubt anypony could lose something flying up to Canterlot from its nearest neighboring town, but continue.
  1233. >”-forget that anypony so inclined could simply write their name over my work and get full credit-”
  1234. I think that after 13 years of writing, 8 on the best seller list, any publisher could immediately tell your style from anypony in Equestria.
  1235. >”- that nag Velvet could be putting the finishing touches on her latest, and I’ll be damned if I give her an advantage by being lazy!”
  1236. >You sigh.
  1237. This thing you have with Twilight Velvet needs to stop, you’re both mothers now. Isn’t it time to let go?
  1238. >She looked at you with confusion on her face.
  1239. >”I don’t have a ‘thing’ with Twilight Velvet, Inkwell. I just know that she is one of the best, so if I don’t treat her like the threat she is I could easily lose my top spot on the Manehattan Times best seller list.”, she looks up thoughtfully, hoof stroking her chin, “If anything that Yearling upstart is climbing far faster than I’d like, too. I should keep a closer eye on her.”
  1240. >That was, surprisingly reasonable.
  1242. >The shock on your face causes your glasses to slide down your muzzle.
  1243. >”I don’t like having to have my work rotate around what the other best authors are up to either, but publishing costs are cut over 60% because they’re hoping you choose them instead of the other way around. Add on the cash prize for winning the top spot and it is too important to our family for me to not stay number one.”
  1244. >A pink haze clouds your vision briefly as you magically adjust your glasses.
  1245. Fine, you’ve made your point. Still though, I am going to Golden Oak’s library, and that is the worst place to have a baby.
  1246. >”Not Anonymous, my little prince isn’t a screamer like Scribble was. I’ll bet that he doesn’t cry all day.”
  1247. That isn’t the point Mysterious. Mr. Oak is already very patient with me when I have to bring Scribble, which I have to do today since Wordy is at the spa.
  1248. >She maturely responded after rolling her eyes and blowing a raspberry, “Please, old Goldie loves Scribble, and I’m sure he’ll love my prince too.” she leans in close and lowers her voice, as if there were anypony else in the room, “Between you and me, he is a little foal crazy.”
  1249. >You roll your eyes and take a step back, you hate when Mysterious gets like this.
  1250. >It usually means she’s won.
  1251. Why don’t you simply take Anonymous with you? If he is so well behaved, and you know that you’re going to be home before Wordy it should be no trouble.
  1252. >She lets out an aggravated sigh, “Because I’m meeting with Sunrise this afternoon to discuss how I can expand my market, and you know where Sunrise likes to meet at, right? The bar.”
  1253. “The bar”, you say simultaneously, defeat slipping into your voice.
  1254. And I’m willing to bet that your friend Cookie Crumbles is busy as well?
  1255. >”No, actually. Hondo likes to take Rarity whenever he can to get her mane washed, and he likes watching her run around and play. Says it helps with his relaxing.”
  1257. So, why not ask her? She has the whole day free, and I’m doing research on celestial scribe duties in case I’m chosen.
  1258. >”Short version is, she said no. Long version is, she laughed in my face for five minutes and said no.”
  1259. Why would she-
  1260. >”Rarity leans chaos.”
  1261. >Just like that the months of Scribble’s wild casting comes back in a haze of crayons, first editions with random pictures drawn on them, and cheese flavored punch.
  1262. >You take a deep breath and remind yourself that those days are over, and your heart slows to a normal rhythm.
  1263. >Also you’re ready to give as hard a no as Cookie Crumbles did, but you’re cut off.
  1264. >”Anonymous leans order. Worst trouble he’s ever given me is using his levitation to hide his diapers,” she gives a short laugh and shakes her head, “I swear he hates those things.”
  1265. >She then give a noncommittal shrug of her withers, “But he’s never had an accident without them, so if Smithy’s not around I don’t really bother with them.”
  1266. >You shouldn’t believe her, a three month old who barely cries, doesn’t fill diapers every hour, and doesn’t turn your signed first edition Royal Law and Principles book into mozzarella.
  1267. >But you don’t know Mysterious Text to lie, only to hide the truth.
  1268. So, what is the issue then? No foal is without his or her stresses.
  1269. >She hesitates, ‘I knew it! No foal is perfect’.
  1270. >”Well the thing is, Anonymous Letter doesn’t cry that much-,” you cut her off.
  1271. That isn’t an issue, that’s a benefit, what-
  1272. >”Let me finish, Raven. He doesn’t cry, even when he is supposed to.”
  1273. >That caught you off guard.
  1275. “What do you mean…?” you ask, hesitantly.
  1276. >”Even when he gets hungry he’ll ignore it if he is playing with his magic or even just babbling to himself. He won’t make a peep to let you know that he needs you unless it’s an emergency, so you’re going to have to feed him periodically.”
  1277. “Well that doesn’t sound so bad, I tried for months to get Scribble on a schedule.”, you sigh, “Now I worry if I can get him on enough of a schedule for school next year.”
  1278. >”Nope.”
  1279. Wha-
  1280. >”Nope, no being mopey and self defeating. Really REALLY don’t have time for it,” she takes a quick look at the clock, “Nope, no time. Scribble loves you, respects you, and doesn’t fear you. Front Page adores you, and I know she goes to you for advice when it isn’t about magic. Even High Breed enjoys being around you, and that colt doesn’t enjoy anything that’s not worth seven figures. You’re the best mom in this blessing and-,” she takes a quick glance at the clock and yelps, “and this is no longer a request, I’m really sorry.”
  1281. >In a flash Mysterious and her carefully bound draft are gone.
  1282. What? No!
  1283. >You light your horn, but to no avail. There was no series of teleports only one, no doubt directly to the train station.
  1284. >Well outside of your maximum range, triple it if you were to take the colts as you would need to.
  1285. >You huff in frustration, temper flaring and subsiding within moments.
  1286. >Mysterious rarely brought up her matron status, and even less often used it.
  1287. >Besides, what she let slip forces a smile onto your face.
  1288. Best mom in the blessing.
  1289. >Completely not having any extra pop in your trot, you head to the colts’ room.
  1291. >Walking in you glance at High Breed’s side, very organized but still cluttered with toys and clothes. Some outfits costing as much as a pony makes in a month.
  1292. >Still, seeing the well worn stuffed doll that he made with Wordsmith makes your smile a little bigger.
  1293. >You turn to your son’s perfectly neat side of the room, taking note of the pristine doll on his dresser.
  1294. >As usual he is hard at work at his little play desk, covered in streaks of color from the occasional over excited crayon stroke.
  1295. >You even make a note to expand this room later, for when little Anonymous will need to join them.
  1296. >’Weird how many colts we have.’ you think to yourself as you, using your magic to muffle your hooves, sneak up behind your son.
  1297. >He hates for anypony to see his drawing before he is satisfied.
  1298. >As you look over his withers you see what seems to be the blessing having a picnic in a field.
  1299. >You and the mares seem to be eating flowers, while the foals seem to be playing.
  1300. >Front Page seems to be giving Anonymous Letter a ponyback ride, while Scribble and High Breed are playing tag.
  1301. >Unlike some of his other pictures he is trying to color inside the lines.
  1302. >Smiling you take three steps back, and stop your magic.
  1303. Scibby, pack up your crayons. We’re about to go to the library.
  1304. >He leans forward and throws his hooves over his picture before looking back at you.
  1305. >”No peeping!”
  1306. Oh? Are you drawing a picture of Mr. Oak?
  1307. >”No! No peeping, mama!”
  1308. >You grin and take tiny steps to your son.
  1309. >”Noooo!”
  1310. Is it a picture of….TICKLES?
  1311. >Your hooves go to work as your son lets out the sweetest laughs as he desperately tries to protect his picture.
  1312. >After a few seconds you give him a hug and kiss him on the top of his head
  1313. Fine, keep your picture secret. But we’re leaving right after I get Anonymous Letter ready.
  1314. >”Why is Nanamus coming? He’s too little to read.”
  1317. “Well you just color, Scribby.” you say. Punctuating your statement with a delicate boop on his tiny little white muzzle.
  1318. >He scrunches his muzzle and frowns, “I can read! I can even read the big colt books…if Mr. Golden helps.”
  1319. >You release your son from your hug and start walking out of the room
  1320. Well, mommy has to read a bunch of boring books today so we’re going to pay Mr. Oak a visit. And Anonymous Letter is coming because he’d be by himself otherwise, and he is too little to be in a house by himself.
  1321. >As you approach the door a thought hits you.
  1322. Don’t forget to bring some drawing paper, Mr. Oak may not have a new coloring book for you to play with.
  1323. >He stops putting away his crayons to fall back onto his drawing, “Ok, mama.”
  1324. >You leave your son to get ready, and head into the living room.
  1325. >Right in the center of the room is Anonymous Letter’s play pen.
  1326. >He had awaken sometime since you last saw him, and he was already hard at work trying to figure out how to levitate one of his playblocks.
  1327. >You’ve seen him have some success before, but you know that it was only due to his own form of wild casting.
  1328. >It is adorable how proud he is when he managed to get the block going that one time.
  1329. >So you light up your horn and pick him and a couple of his toys up.
  1330. >He looks around shocked before he finds your eyes, he quickly calms down upon recognition.
  1331. “Sorry, little Letter, but your mom made a quick run to Canterlot.”, you set the colt gently on your back, “So we’re going to the library today.”
  1332. >He tries to reach out with his magic to the block, his tiny horn barely coming to a flicker.
  1333. >You lower the block to hooves’ reach, and after another attempt with his magic, he grabs it in his hooves.
  1334. >You smile as he pouts, adorably at the object of his frustration.
  1336. >After gathering the essentials for Anonymous Letter in one saddlebag, and some note taking essentials in the other you secure him into the stroller.
  1337. Scribby! Are you all ready?
  1338. >From his room your son gallops out before catching your eye, and slows to a trot after remembering the rule about running in the house.
  1339. >”All ready, mama!”
  1340. Did you remember to get extra paper?
  1341. >”Yes ma’am. I got paper, two pencils, my box of crayons, and two mozalella snacks.
  1342. Good boy. Lets go see Mr. Oak
  1343. >”Yay!"
  1344. >It only takes a fifteen minute walk through town to get to the library.
  1345. >The pleasant smiles and warm greetings of the mares and stallions are always a breath of fresh air compared to the upturned muzzles and half-whispered insults of the average north Canterlite.
  1346. >Little Anonymous Letter hasn’t made a peep aside from a couple of frustrated grunts.
  1347. >Scribble, however, made sure to give an enthusiastic greeting to everypony who passed by.
  1348. >All in all it led to you entering the self titled Golden Oak’s library feeling upbeat, despite your extra passenger and the work that you came to do.
  1349. >You see a familiar wheat-colored stallion, reared up and polishing an ebony bust in the center of the room.
  1350. >”Hi Mr. Golden!”
  1351. >Your son’s yell shocks the librarian and he rocks on his rear hooves, hesitating to put his weight on the bust.
  1352. >You use your magic to help steady him, and you keep the bust still in a levitation field just to be safe.
  1353. >He turns, meets your eyes and mouths ‘Thank you.’
  1354. >A smile overtakes his face, “Hello Scribble. Now what kind of voice do we use in the library?”
  1355. >”An-” Scribble all but yells, before correcting himself, “An indoor voice.” he says gently.
  1356. >The older stallion nods, “Good colt.”
  1357. >He lowers himself off of the table in the table in the center of the room, after putting the finishing touches on the bust.
  1359. >Golden Oak takes two steps back to admire it, “Do you know who this is supposed to be, young lady?”
  1360. >A blur of Equestrian history and Equus history flash in your head, you know exactly who this is, why he is bust-worthy, and why ebony is the most favored material for said bust over marble for this particular stallion.
  1361. >But you know better to answer a rhetorical question.
  1362. >”This is Alpha Beta, Roaman scholar and creator of the written word. One of the wisest stallions to ever live, born in 87 B.C.A., and one of the three tutors who helped shape our princess into the mare she was destined to be.”
  1363. >You didn’t learn a thing, but you can feel the joy Golden had in saying it.
  1364. >”Why is it wood? All of the statues in Cannerlot are rock.”
  1365. >Golden’s smile was so wide it almost didn’t seem to fit on his face.
  1366. >You almost felt bad for your, son.
  1367. >”Well, in ancient Roam marble was seen as a privilege. Since sculpting it required a powerful unicorn or earth pony. However seeing as how Alpha Beta was born as a humble inventor’s son he-”
  1368. >You took this opportunity to go into the law section and pick out your needed books.
  1369. >Stepping into the reading room. You push Anonymous Letter’s stroller next to you, you place a fresh bottle up to his lips to see if he is hungry first.
  1370. >He turn away from the bottle, so you set it next to him, and place a small hourglass next to your study area.
  1371. There, I’ll just try to feed him every thirty minutes.
  1372. >Satisfied that your son and blessed son are taken care of you delve once again into the extensive world of Celestial decrees.
  1374. >You are Anonymous
  1375. >And you think you finally got it.
  1376. >An almost indiscernible green glow flickers into your vision.
  1377. >You can already feel the soreness of strain, but you make sure not to push it too hard.
  1378. >You can now feel the glow, like a half numb hand submerged in cool water.
  1379. >Slowly, as slow as you possibly can you try to reach for the colorful block in your hooves.
  1380. >As soon as you move an inch the feeling, and glow fades.
  1381. >’Dammit’
  1382. >You sigh.
  1383. >You know you’re rushing it, but the reward of some kind of self-sufficiency is very much worth it.
  1384. >So you try to flex the muscle again.
  1385. >”Well aren’t you an impatient one?”
  1386. >You look up to see an older straw-colored stallion.
  1387. >It’s hard to tell exactly how old he is, doubly so since you’re convinced that ponies and people age differently, but this guy is definitely a senior.
  1388. >In a couple of surprisingly deft motions you’re unhooked from the stroller and lifted up by the pony.
  1389. >You’re placed in a surprisingly human-like cradle and watch as he reaches into the stroller to retrieve your bottle.
  1390. >You roll your eyes as you anticipate his next move.
  1391. >The bottle is brought to your lips and you keep them closed until he hopefully loses interest and puts you back down.
  1392. >”Now don’t be stubborn, I heard your belly growling. You aren’t going to be rid of me until you finish.
  1393. >You stop trying to reignite your horn, and while you are far from starving you do feel really hungry.
  1394. Ogee
  1395. >The delicious milk flows from the bottle.
  1396. >As always it is tastier than anything else you’ve had in either of your lives, and you are going to hate when you can’t get anymore.
  1397. >All too soon the bottle is taken away from you.
  1398. >You are filled with righteous fury until you look and see that not only is the bottle empty, but your new best friend already has another on the way.
  1400. >After finishing another bottle of liquid heaven, the stallion turns you around so he is holding you in one hoof stomach down, and gently rubs your back.
  1401. >Within minutes you rip with a damn good belch.
  1402. Sank uuu.
  1403. >’Huh, that was pretty close.’
  1404. Aahn guu
  1405. >’Fuck.’
  1406. >The older guy smiles, “Oh? You adorable little fella.”
  1407. >He brushes you with the tip of his hoof, and against rational sense, it tickles.
  1408. >You laugh, hard.
  1409. >And like all tickling you’ve immediately have had enough.
  1410. >You straighten out your face as much as you can to try and speak clarly
  1411. Dop eh.
  1412. >Unsurprisingly he doesn’t stop.
  1413. >You try again, your face cracking as you try to hold in the laughter.
  1414. Stob eh!
  1415. >Laughter once again escapes your best attempts.
  1416. Hee hee hee stop it!
  1417. >’Ho. Lee. Shit.’
  1418. >”Isn’t that better?”
  1419. >You can’t even move, you’re so shocked.
  1420. >You look up to the stallion, almost fearfully.
  1421. >”It must’ve been hard to want to talk so much, but not know how.”
  1422. >You don’t respond, in any way, and he decides to continue.
  1423. >”You’re a young stallion, so remember if you want to say anything just put a big smile on your face.”
  1424. >He strokes your hair a bit, “You’re young, be serious later when you have to be.”
  1425. >He walks you into the main area where Scribble is busy coloring in a picture he drew.
  1426. >The stallion then hops into a rocking chair and rocks gently back and forth.
  1427. >He looks at your still stunned face, and speaks again, “I’ve raised a good few ponies in my day, a good couple of unicorns too. Sometimes y’all are just born smart, and I’ll tell you like I told my own.”
  1428. >The stallion leans in close, conspiratorially, and says in a very low voice, “Don’t be in a rush to grow old, you’ll be like me soon enough.”
  1429. >He leans back and laughs, like a mall Santa who actually enjoys his job.
  1430. >You join him, with just as much infectious joy.
  1432. >You are Raven Inkwell.
  1433. >And your eyes hurt.
  1434. >After going through two volumes, and taking enough notes for at least three small novels you’re ready to pass out.
  1435. >Even little Scribble is asleep on your back.
  1436. >You found little Anonymous Letter, being pretty playful with Mr. Oak.
  1437. >As you walk through town to your home, you feel a couple of taps on your flank.
  1438. >You turn to see Wordy, fur, mane and tail lustrous and with relaxed look on his face.
  1439. >”Ray, why do you have little Anonymous?”
  1440. >Only briefly do you consider lying to cover for your blessed matron, but like she said the idea of ruining his day with such an obvious falsehood.
  1441. Mysterious had to drop off her draft, she would’ve taken him, but you know how Sunrise can’t negotiate sober.
  1442. >He nods and looks in the stroller at his son. A smile brightens his face.
  1443. >”I wish Mysty could be the upfront with me.”
  1444. >’Well...’
  1445. She didn’t want to tell you, because she was afraid that you’d be sad. Something about how you look when you’re disappointed.
  1446. >Your stallion, shook his head and laughed to himself.
  1447. >”Even when she deceives me it is because she is putting how I feel first.”
  1448. >Soon enough you’re at your home.
  1449. >Mysterious was really happy to see you, until Wordy walked in behind you.
  1450. >You knew that it was from a place of love, but that didn't make it any easier to watch.
  1451. >But just as Wordsmith was getting ready to let Mysterious have it for lying, a small cute voice called out.
  1452. >”Mommy!”
  1453. >And there in the stroller, hooves open wearing the biggest smile you’ve seen on him hooves out begging for a hug, was Anonymous Letter.
  1454. >Your shock fades into introspection.
  1455. >'Maybe Mysterious is right about that colt.'
  1457. >You are Anonymous
  1458. >”Do you have your saddlebags?”
  1459. They're on my back, mom.
  1460. >And your mom is ridiculous.
  1461. >”Right. Your books, what about your books?!”
  1462. I don't have any yet. First day.
  1463. >”Ok, just give me a second to pack your lunch.”
  1464. Already did, three times...four times.
  1465. >Your mom looked at the neatly folded bag, labeled lunch in your left saddlebag.
  1466. >Then to the ingredients on the counter.
  1467. >Finally to the newly made pb&j that was slowly being lowered into another paper bag.
  1468. >”Well, then-”
  1469. Mom, it isn't that serious. You went through this with Page, I don't get why you're acting like this.
  1470. >”Well I had Wordsmith to help me with your sister,” she needlessly adjusted your tie and ran a comb through your now comically straight mane.
  1471. What about the brothers?
  1472. >”Your blessed brothers?”
  1473. That is such a mouthful.
  1474. >She sighed, frustrated at your stubbornness.
  1475. >”Which is why it is a title of respect and love, we are all blessed to have one another.”
  1476. Even Upper Crust?
  1477. >Her cheeks puffed with mirth, “Pfft..AHEM, yes. Even Upper Crust.”
  1478. But you said-
  1479. >Mom rolled her eyes and puts her forehead affectionately against yours, “Upper will never be my best friend, but she does right by my stallion, she does right by my sisters, she does right by my foals, so she does right by the blessing. So, yes, we are blessed to have Upper Crust.”
  1480. >You feel some extra weight at your side as the lunch bag is placed on top of the first one.
  1481. >You stare at your mom until she realizes her mistake and teleports the bag next to the others.
  1482. >”Hmph, is my chapeau placed improperly, or are my warm ears a sign that I am once again the center of the conversation?”
  1484. >From the hall leading to the bedrooms was an already impeccably dressed yellow mare, with a perfectly styled lilac mane and tail striped with white.
  1485. >Upon her head a bright pink sunhat, with little slits that her ears fit through.
  1486. >Tailing behind her was her yellow-gold son, with a deep copper mane.
  1487. >You could not think of another way to describe the colors because of how shiny he was.
  1488. >Though he was pretty well dressed in an argyle sweater-vest, over a button up shirt, complete with an immaculately pressed tie in a perfect Windsor knot, topped off with solid gold collar pins shaped like stylized unicorn heads.
  1489. >”Though it is a pleasant surprise, to see you so diligent. You usually procrastinate until the very last second with these manners.”
  1490. >Taking a quick huff, your mom put on a too big smile and turned, “Good morning, Upper Crust. Thank you, though I am surprised. I thought Canterlites led with a proper greeting when entering a room, I supposed manners must’ve changed since I last visited North Canterlot.”
  1491. >Without missing a beat, Upper replied, “I thought I struck a fine balance between a proper Canterlite greeting and the Ponyvillian ‘Howdy y’all’.”
  1492. >As thought the exchange was scripted Mom fired back, “Whatever you choose is fine, though you may want to clarify for our blessed son. I would hate for him to pick up any, improper habits.”
  1493. >Every utterance of ‘proper’ was said with the deepest voice, mom could manage.
  1494. >”How about you two stop with the horn measuring contest in front of the foals,” Inkwell says wearily.
  1495. >”Hi, High! Good morning lil Letter.” Scribble says skipping into the room beside his mom, wearing a light blue button up dress shirt and a small black bow tie that matches his mane.
  1496. >You pull away from the floating comb, and after fixing your hair with a hoof, give your blessed brothers a wave.
  1497. ‘Mornin, Scribble, HB.
  1500. >Smiling, High Breed looks you over.
  1501. >”Well look at you, Anonymous. If you’d just drop the janefilly act and let me help with your grooming you would be a very handsome little colt. Worthy of Canterlot castle itself.”
  1502. Are you kidding? I’m not even wearing a whole shirt, just a collar and tie.
  1503. I feel almost as silly as I look, and I can’t see myself in a castle for any reason.
  1504. >A lime green hoof boops your muzzle, “Don’t say that about yourself. You’re a very dapper colt, and more than fit in with the noblest of Celestia’s court., she turned to the other colts, “All of you would, and don’t let anypony tell you different. Not even yourself.”
  1505. >Raven smiles and nods happily, while Upper Crust frowns and sighs.
  1506. >”Mysterious, I agree that all of our foals have the potential to serve at the hoof of the throne, but that potential won’t be realized if they don’t nurture it. Plus they’d need to be recognized by somepony already in the upper echelon to have a chance. And-”
  1507. >Raven chooses this moment to interrupt, “AND they are three, five, six, and eleven respectively. Lets not put the cart before the horse, and get these foals to school. Next you two will be arguing that the twins should have already captured Celestia’s eye.”
  1508. >”Yes, lets send off the foals before we have this debate,” Mysterious said before turning to the hallway, “PAGE, GET THE LEAD OUT!”
  1509. >From the hallway you heard Front Page yell back, “We have forty-five minutes, I need to finish editing.”
  1510. >”You’ll have to save it for after school, you need the extra time for Anonymous to get settled.”
  1511. >You hear some shuffling coming from the hallway, before Front Page walks into the room wearing just a hat, saddlebags, and camera.
  1513. >She looks at you and lets out a quick laugh,”HA! I knew that there was a colt underneath all of that dirt and sweat.”
  1514. >You eloquently respond by rolling your eyes.
  1515. Something something, Macintosh. How did Mrs. Lesson take to the op-ed idea?
  1516. >She sticks her tongue out at you, in mock offense before replying, “She didn’t like it personally, but you were right that she’d see that more ponies would work for the paper if there was a place for them to talk about how they feel.”
  1517. >You feel a gentle pressure on your ear as Mom’s magic pulled you forward, “Talk and move ponies. Talk and move.”
  1518. >As Page takes position ahead of you and your blessed brothers flank your sides.
  1519. there any particular reason we’re going in a diamond formation?
  1520. >Your mom looks like she is about to speak, but Page cuts her off.
  1521. >”Well since this is your first day I’m doing to treat it like it is your bachelor’s debut,” she shifted her withers and held her head high, “Since I’m the mare, I will take the lead. And since we don’t have any other mares, High Breed and Scribble will take the protective positions. To protect our little Letter.”
  1522. >She goes to ruffle your mane, only to hit a barrier.
  1523. >She looks at it questioningly, before looking at your mom who has a deep frown and is shaking her head slowly.
  1524. >”Blessed matron Text,” High Breed says, pulling a pearl comb out of his shirt, “Mane care requires a stallion’s touch. If I may…?”
  1525. >…
  1528. >You walk down the street barely able to see anything except for the asses of your family.
  1529. >Didn’t help that when HB showed you your reflection in his compact mirror your hair was combed to look like such a massive fag.
  1530. >Add those to the fact that you have no way to fix yourself up, and there is no wonder that a deep scowl is etched on your face.
  1531. >However, judging by the small smiles of the ponies in the street when they look at you, you’re probably at least half as cute as Rarity looks when she’s mad.
  1532. >So after a sharp inhale you put on the most neutral face you can muster.
  1533. >Only to run into the leg of Page.
  1534. “Why did you stop? Are we here,” you ask after taking two quick steps back.
  1535. >”Haha! Just like little Letter to be off in his own little world.”
  1536. >You look up past Page to see Rarity’s dad, Hondo wearing a straw hat and a bright smile.
  1537. >Your immature anger is forgotten, because whenever Hondo is about
  1538. >”Hi Anon!” Rarity yells while waving from the back of her father.
  1539. >Rarity is never far.
  1540. >The filly jumps off of her father’s back only to be caught in his sky blue aura and being lowered gently to the ground.
  1541. >As soon as she touches the dirt she runs to you, only to be stopped short by a yellow aura.
  1542. >”Rarity, I know you and little Letter like to horseplay, but he can’t get dirty today neither can you.”
  1543. >The little white filly looked up to Page and tilted her head, “Why not?”
  1544. >The magic dissipates and before she can answer, Hondo speaks up, “Well darlin, from the looks of it they’re doin a little Canterlot bachelor debut dere.”
  1545. >”That’s just it Mr. Flanks, I’m to make my debut on the day prior to the Summer Sun Celebration”
  1546. >Hondo looked quizzically at High Breed for a moment,“Not to burst yer bubble dere, but you’re still a few years off.”
  1547. >High Breed waves off the sound logic, “I’ll get my cutie mark by then, all the ladies will look at me longingly, and all the lords with the most bitter of envy.”
  1549. >Ignoring HB’s cruel smile Front Page answered,“Aaanyway, yes Mr. Flanks. It’s good practice for me since if mom is unavailable I’ll have to be lead in her place. And…”
  1550. >”And Dad thinks lil Letter is too girly.”
  1551. >You huff and let Scribble’s comment go, knowing that he has a point.
  1552. >Only because being a boy here would mean you’d have to act like a sissy at best.
  1553. >And that will never be you.
  1554. >”Can I join,”Rarity asks, bouncing in place.
  1555. >Only then do you notice the large bow tied around the back of her neck that has a familiar yellow color.
  1556. Is that your lucky scarf?’
  1557. >She takes a quick look down and then nods, “Uh-huh. Mom did some magic stuff to it to make it like a ribbon if she magics it one some place and scarfy if she magics it somewhere else.”
  1558. >She does a couple circles to try and see the bow.
  1559. >”Daddy says it looks pretty, but I’m not sure. I can’t even see it.”
  1560. >You turn and shove your face into High Breed’s saddlebag.
  1561. >You instantly see what your looking for and clamp your teeth around it.
  1562. >”HEY!”
  1563. >Completely ignoring him, you use your muzzle to open the compact and show Rarity her reflection.
  1564. >She squints at it, then takes three steps back and he eyes widen before her smile does the same.
  1565. >You can feel your own follow her example.
  1566. >The mirror is snatched from your hoof by its owner, who puts it back in his saddlebag.
  1567. >”-alright dere lil filly, I appreciate it.”
  1568. >”No problem Mr. Flanks.”
  1569. >Hondo finishes whatever conversation he was having to nuzzle Rarity, “Ok Rarity, I have to do some shopping. Would you like to walk to school with Anonymous?”
  1570. >”Sure, we can talk about the latest issue of the Pony Rangers!”
  1572. >”Ok then hun, just make sure to keep clean today. The school’s takin pictures of everypony, and I know your mother would love to see you looking your best.”
  1573. >”Is momma coming home today?”
  1574. >”Mmhmm, she has a break in her tour schedule and will be in tonight. So I’m cooking her favorite.”
  1575. >She rears up and waves, “Ok, bye daddy”
  1576. >Front Page scrunches her face in thought for a second, “Ok Rarity, you’re going to be the foal burdened mare.”
  1577. >The three year old was appropriately confused, and responded accordingly.
  1578. >”Huh?”
  1579. >”Just stand next to Anonymous Letter while we walk, and don’t fall behind. Scribble, High Breed spread out some so that there is room for Rarity. Anonymous scooch to the left a bit….no my left.”
  1580. >Looking over everyone to make sure that they’re in position Front Page nods and faces forward, “And proceed!”
  1581. >You all start walking normally except for Page who is taking heavier steps while scanning the area, and HB whose muzzle is pointed skyward.
  1582. >”So did you see the latest issue? My dad read it to me.”
  1583. Yeah, I didn’t see Lord Zebb having a wife coming or for her to tear things up.
  1584. >”Or for her to have so much magic. How are the Pony Rangers supposed to win when even the Dino Magizord was beat?”
  1585. >…
  1586. >You continued on like this for about ten minutes, until Page stopped everyone.
  1587. >”Ok, High Breed good job on your form, you should work on being lighter on your hooves.”, which caused your eldest half brother to smile, “Scribble, little Letter eyes up.”
  1588. Are you asking us to stare at the sun? Because that’s too dumb for me.
  1589. >Page rolled her eyes, and HB took the opportunity to interject, “Ahem, ‘A true son of Canterlot faces only Celestia’s light, and walks the unerring path set by his heart.’”
  1590. Are you quoting scripture?
  1591. >”They want us to walk with our eyes closed. I don’t get it either, but High can’t get enough of this dumb pure blood of Unicornia stuff.”
  1593. >”It is not “dumb” to know and respect the traditions of our tribe, Scribble. Besides,” HB lowers his voice, “-you don’t have to close them all the way, just mostly. And you look down to see where you’re going.”
  1594. Well, that’s less dumb than staring at the sun. But still, I’m three. You’re twice my age and Page is almost twice your age and neither of you have cutie marks. If this thing comes after that why are we worrying about it now?
  1595. >”Well first of all, I’m getting a Cutecinera. Secondly because your debut has to be absolutely perfect, from the first step out of the carriage all the way to the throne.”
  1596. Wait, throne? How is mom supposed to swing castle access?
  1597. >Front Page places a hoof on her chest, “Mom was top of her class at Celestia’s school for gifted unicorns and is one of Celestia’s favored,” she points a hoof at High Breed, “Blessed mother Upper Crust was top of her class at Scrooge McColt’s Business School, and owns shares in like a bunch of businesses in North Canterlot,” her hoof swings over to Scribble, “and Blessed mother Raven Inkwell is like one promotion away from being Celestia’s personal aide.”
  1598. >Your eyes were wide in shock.
  1599. >’I know that the moms all had important jobs, but for them all to have the resources to just ask the pony god-emperor for a favor.’
  1600. >’Goddess emperor? God empress?’
  1601. I didn’t know that our moms were so important.
  1602. >”Pfft, they’re just ponies. They’re just our mothers.”
  1603. >”Oh hush, Scribble. If father ever wanted to be anything other than a simple librarian, then we’d be first generation nobility.”
  1604. >”Colts, you’re getting off subject, and wasting time. To keep it short Anonymous Letter, if this isn’t perfect then it will follow us forever. If even one of us gets a step wrong it will be a mark against the entire blessing,” Page sighs, “I wish Dad would just stop having boys.”
  1606. >”What does my mommy do,” Rarity said looking hopefully at Page.
  1607. >”Um...well I know that she is a super famous model, who has modeled everything from high fashion to EUP BDUs.
  1608. >”Yaay! We all have famous moms,” Rarity cheers enthusiastically.
  1609. >You smile, and decide to let it go. There’s still a lot about Equestrian culture that you don’t know yet.
  1610. Alright, fine. Let’s get this over with.
  1611. >…
  1612. >You arrive at Ponyville schoolhouse a couple minutes later, looking like a caricature of a rich douchebag.
  1613. >Though it is hard to keep the straight face that HB had plastered on when you noticed Rarity trying her best to emulate Page’s tough sentry act.
  1614. >Through your nearly closed eyelids you notice a brown mare with a mortarboard cutie mark.
  1615. >”I love the first day of school for this reason alone. I wish that you would embrace the mare you need to be more often instead of playing pretend editor-in-chief.”
  1616. >Rather than reacting to the harsh words Front Page doesn’t even change her posture.
  1617. >”Good morning Mrs. Lesson, may the sun light your path and warm your heart.”
  1618. >Her hoof stomped down and both of your brothers piped up, “Good morning Mrs. Lesson, may the sun light your path and warm your heart.”
  1619. >You feel HB’s tail brush against your side, and get the hint immediately.
  1620. Good morning Mrs. Lesson, may the sun light your path and warm your heart.
  1621. >”Good morning Miss Lesson, may the sun light your path and warm your heart.”
  1622. >You smile as Rarity got the hint and said it herself.
  1623. >Without breaking pose or formation you enter the schoolhouse, and Page lets out a heavy sigh and angrily faces the door.
  1624. >”I can’t stand that braying nag.”
  1626. >Scribble makes of show of popping his neck, “Can I skip my debut, I hated every part of that.”
  1627. >”Don’t you dare say that, the only way you miss a debut is if we’re already disgraced. And I’m the only pony who could do that since I’m the eldest son,” High Breed said, with genuine fear in his voice.
  1628. >Scribble then waves his forelegs, “Fail, faaaaail, FAAAAAIL.”
  1629. >”Stop it, stop it, stop it.”
  1630. >”I place a Zebrican hex on you! You will fail, and I will stay inside and have mozzarella sticks! Mwahahaha.”
  1631. >Ignoring the bickering Page addresses you, “Ok, you and Rarity go through here, you’ll get your pictures taken and then they’ll give you a test to see if you’re sprout, apple, or tree grade.”
  1632. >”See you in a few lil Letter,” Scribble says as he waves from half way down the hall next to a door with a large apple carved into it.
  1633. >Front Page smiles, “Who knows, you just might end up in my class. Good luck, little Letter.”
  1634. >After High Breed waves and goes into the same room Scribble is in, Front Page gives one last wave herself before going into the room at the far end of the schoolhouse.
  1635. >You push open the door with the sprout carved into it, to see at least a dozen ponies around your size and of different types all lined up around the room.
  1636. >At the far end is a withered old earth pony trying to coax a smile out of a white pegasus filly, and at the front of the room is a beige unicorn mare with a brown mane scanning a small stack of papers.
  1637. >”Hmm, unicorn male...are you Anonymous Letter?”
  1638. Uh, yes, ma’am?
  1639. >”And the filly next to you, are you-
  1640. >”My name is Rarity!”
  1641. >The mare paused, mulling over if quickly getting her answer trumped being interrupted.
  1642. >”Well both of you line up for pictures, we’re going to be busy today”
  1643. Yes, ma’am
  1644. >”Okay!”
  1645. >You had to mull some things over too.
  1646. >Like if it was worth it to sabotage yourself in this upcoming test, just to stay with your best friend.
  1648. ~~~~Chapter 7~~~~
  1650. >You are Anonymous
  1651. >”Are you sure my mane looks pretty? Mommy always says, ‘the mane makes the mare’.”
  1652. Are you kidding? You have the best looking mane in Ponyville, Rarity.
  1653. >And you have a limited time to make a life changing decision.
  1654. >’From what I’ve seen so far, I doubt that I’ll be locked up and studied for being too smart.’
  1655. It looks much better than mine, stupid High Breed.
  1656. >’But I doubt that anyone would show the ugly parts of the world to a little kid.’
  1657. >”Well...your mane looks very handsome. But not like you.”
  1658. What? I’m not handsome?
  1659. >’But, trying to make friends with fucking toddlers is asinine.”
  1660. >”No, you’re cool. That’s better.”
  1661. >You smile at the highest praise a child can give.
  1662. >’Rarity’s ok though. She’s sweet and is a good example to follow when I might need to blend in.’
  1663. Thanks, but can you fix my mane after this? Mom really wants a good picture, but I can’t look like this the whole day.
  1664. >”Ok Anon, playing with your mane is fun!”
  1665. >’She’s like Fem when she was small and sweet.’
  1666. >The line moves a few feet, and the two of you move with it.
  1667. Well, you’re really good at it. Maybe it’s your special talent?
  1668. >’Maybe I should temper my answers a bit.’
  1669. >”Hmm,” Rarity scrunches her face in deep thought little hoof stroking her chin, “well I like how I can put your mane in a bunch of styles and stuff...”
  1670. >’Smart enough to be ahead, not so smart I get shipped off to whatever mage college shit they have here.’
  1671. >”...but I only ever do your hair. I don’t want to be a boyish barber.”
  1672. >’I’m decades ahead of these kids, but I can’t MacGyver a television or engine or anything really impressive.’
  1673. You don’t have to be a barber, Rares. You can be a mane stylist. They’re plenty girly.
  1674. >’Well I do pretty much know how a lot of that shit works. Given enough time, maybe…
  1677. >”Ooh! And I can style mommy’s mane while she’s on tour. Can I practice on yours?”
  1678. >’No use in worrying about that. It’s years down the road.’
  1679. Sure, just make sure to leave it like normal when you’re done.
  1680. >The line moves up again, a couple other kids who were late are coming up behind you.
  1681. >’Besides there’s a lot more possibilities with magic.’
  1682. >Rarity checks herself over to make sure her dress is still clean and neat.
  1683. >You look beyond her too see that there’s only seven ponies ahead of her.
  1684. >Just like normal children, they’re looking around wide eyed or talking with friends they made before.
  1685. >You don’t bother with your tie since it is straight enough.
  1686. >A sigh escapes your lips.
  1687. >”Thinkin’ again?”
  1688. Yeah, just about the test.
  1689. >”Why? You think it’s going to be fun?”
  1690. >Her endless innocent optimism makes you laugh.
  1691. Who knows? Maybe.
  1692. >An old, but still energetic voice interrupts you, “Your turn, young lady.”
  1693. >Rarity turns around and answers, “Ok mister!”
  1694. >She steps around the background sheet, and hops on the little stool.
  1695. >”Alrighty then, smil- well you know what you’re doing little lady.”
  1696. >There is a click and a flash, as the picture is taken.
  1697. >Rarity bounces down wearing a bright smile.
  1698. >It fades to confusion as she looks around, before turning back to the photographer.
  1699. >”What am I supposed to do now Mr.?”, Rarity asked.
  1700. >”Oh, you can just pick a seat and sit down, sweetie.”, the stallion replies.
  1701. >Rarity then walks off and sits down in the front seat of the center row.
  1702. >”It's your turn young gentlecolt.” you hear the stallion say.
  1703. >You turn back to him, and notice immediately that he's wearing the face of a girl who just discovered a secret.
  1704. >You walk around the background sheet, step on the stool and promptly sit down.
  1705. >Like a dog.
  1707. >He grabbed a v shaped tin and dumped what seemed to be ashes into a large wastebin
  1708. >'They must be fairly behind if they're still using flash powder for photographs.'
  1709. >”Your little friend is a really sweet girl.”
  1710. Yes, sir. Rarity is very nice.
  1711. >'Well if nothing else I know how to make a light bulb.'
  1712. >The stallion took out a cup and scooped some more powder from a burlap bag.
  1713. >'Vacuumed glass bulb, filament made out of….'
  1714. >'Fuck.'
  1715. >The stallion poured fresh powder into his tin and turned his attention to you.
  1716. >”And where did you two meet?”
  1717. Our moms are friends.
  1718. >His face tightens in frustrated confusion.
  1719. >”That’s how, not where, little fella.”
  1720. >You fight the urge to roll your eyes, and turn your full attention to the elder stallion.
  1721. >’He doesn’t deserve to have his day upset, by you. He’s just an old guy.’
  1722. >’Only bitches, faggots, and cunts disrespect the elderly unduly.’
  1723. >So you widen your eyes in ‘realization’ and explain
  1724. Well I knew Rarity, since I was a little foal. Mommy and Rarity’s mom are best friends and say the first time we saw each other was when we was born! So...I guess the hospital?
  1725. >His face brightens.
  1726. >”That’s right foals are born in hospitals! You’re a sharp one ain’t cha?”
  1727. >He placed what you assume is the old timey version of a negative into the back of the camera.
  1728. >You only catch a glance of it, but it had a sheen to it.
  1729. >’Metal? Predates the ‘50’s at least. Mommanon’s camera that got from that antique store still used film.’
  1730. >A distant sadness grazes your heart.
  1731. >You sigh quietly.
  1732. >’Even when you think of the woman who birthed you, and raised you, you can’t see her as your actual mother. How strong is this fucking body’s instincts?’
  1733. >”All ready, now smile for the camera! Cheese!”
  1734. >You raise your eyelids a bit, and put on a small smile.
  1736. >The flash stings your eyes a bit, and hits you with a small bit of warmth.
  1737. >”And that’s it, little colt.”
  1738. >You hop off the stool and take a seat behind Rarity.
  1739. >Where you promptly lay your head down.
  1740. >”Excuse me, Miss teacher what are we supposed to do now.” Rarity asks.
  1741. >The mare looks up from her paper work, her grimace quickly disappearing as she addresses the filly.
  1742. >”Wait for everypony else to finish their photos,” she raises her voice to address the entire room, “once class pictures are complete we’ll take the test.”
  1743. >There was assorted chatter, moans and groans of children who knew what tests were, or at least heard of what they were from older siblings.
  1744. >Within a few minutes, the last few ponies were finished with taking their pictures.
  1745. >Once they were all seated, and while the old stallion started packing up his equipment the teacher began to speak to the class.
  1746. >”Now we’re going to take roll. I’ve already gotten the names of everypony in attendance, this is just for practice. Since no matter what class you’re placed in, this is going to happen every day.”
  1747. >Some kids were confused by the words, while others sat more upright, ready for what was next.
  1748. >”So, when I call your name raise your hoof, and say ‘here’.
  1749. >”Amethyst Star?”
  1750. >A dark pink filly with a violet mane raises her hoof ans answers immediately, “Here!”
  1751. >”Anonymous Letter?”
  1752. >You raise your hoof and sound off.
  1753. Here.
  1754. >She looks you in the eyes in acknowledgment before moving on.
  1755. >”Arrowhead?”
  1756. >A blue hoof to your left shoots up in the air.
  1757. >”Here!”
  1758. >The teacher nods at the colt, before checking her list again.
  1759. >”Blossom?”
  1760. >”Oh! Here! I’m here!”
  1761. >You glance to see a white pegasus waving her hoof and flapping her wings with all her strength, while not getting anywhere.
  1762. >”Blue Lily?”
  1763. >A pink filly with pinker glasses raised her hoof just enough to be noticed by the teacher and quietly answered, “Here.”
  1766. >”Blueberry Swirl?”
  1767. >”Here!”, a giggling blue filly with a wildly curly purple mane chirped.
  1768. >”Cotton Top?”
  1769. >A smaller filly with a mane and tail as fluffy and white as her name, raises her hoof and nearly shouts, “HERE!”
  1770. >”Derpy Hooves?”
  1771. >A female voice directly behind you says, “Present!”
  1772. >The teacher gives her a look, before rolling her eyes and looking back to her list.
  1773. >”Fruit Basket?”
  1774. >”Here”, says the pink earth filly with the magenta mane to the right of Rarity.
  1775. >”Honey Drop?”
  1776. >A blue filly with a blonde mane gently waves her hoof and answers, “Here, ma’am.”
  1777. >The mare furrows her brows momentarily as she rereads the next name, and she speaks it slower than the others.
  1778. >”Lavandula?”
  1779. >A purple filly with a deep purple mane barely whispered,”Here”, before sinking lower in her seat.
  1780. >’Jeeze, she’s going to get it rough growing up.’
  1781. >”Peach Fizz?”
  1782. >”Here!” another feminine voice behinds you sounds
  1783. >”Rarity?”
  1784. >Rarity promptly raises her hoof as high as she can and sings, “Heeere!”
  1785. >It was so out of nowhere that it forced a laugh out of you.
  1786. >To her credit the teacher merely shook her head and moved on to the next name.
  1787. >”Suri Polomare?”
  1788. >A pink filly with a purple mane on Rarity’s left rose her hoof, “I’m here, ma’am.”
  1789. >”Thunder?”
  1790. >A napping black colt with a dull yellow mane on your right, snorted and then sat up stiffly. Looking around before realizing what was going on. “Here,” he yawns while stretching and rubbing his eye with a wing.
  1791. >The mare huffs before setting down her list, and taking a small stack of papers from her desk and levitating them in front of her chest.
  1792. >”Good morning, everypony”, she says sounding surprisingly warm, “my name is Apple Polish it’s nice to meet you all.”
  1793. >She walks down each row setting a paper on each, “Now I know that everypony has been eager or scared of this test, I promise there is nothing to worry about.”
  1794. >As she walks by your desk she offers a sweet smile as she lays the paper face down.
  1797. >”The test isn’t for any grade, it doesn’t say if you’re bright or dim, it doesn’t dictate your future.”
  1798. >She turns to the white pegasus and shakes her head, “Ah-ah, we’re all starting at the same time Blossom.”
  1799. >You turn to see the filly smile sheepishly and pull her hoof away from the sheet of paper.
  1800. >”As I was saying, this is just to find out what classroom you’ll be in. Nothing more.”
  1801. >When Apple Polish finished passing out the tests she takes position at the front of the classroom.
  1802. >”Everything you need to take the test is in your desk, ONLY open the desk once I say so. Are there any questions?”
  1803. >The class erupted on random chatter from all sides, before going almost quickly silent.
  1804. >”Raise your hoof, and I’ll call on you one at a time.”, the faint blue of her horn’s magic went out and a much more subdued rumbling of the class hit your ears.
  1805. >Most of the hooves fly up and Apple Polish points at someone.
  1806. >”Yes, Peach Fizz?”
  1807. >”I’ve been over at Auntie Peach Fuzz’s farm lots, an’ an’ I saw Mrs. Sweet, an’ Mr. Juice, an’ Mrs. Granny, an’ Mac, an’ baby Jacqueline, but I’ve never saw you there Ms. Apple Polish. I thought every Apple lived there.”
  1808. >Apple Polish’s smile grew wider and colder, “I don’t live there anymore. A-and not every Apple lives at Sweet Apple’s acres. There’s lots of us all across Equestria. Next question, please. Yes, Honey Drop?”
  1809. >’Credit where it’s due, she managed to keep an appropriate tone.
  1810. >”Ms. Apple Polish, I’m thirsty, can I get something to drink?”, the filly asked. Sticking out her tongue to apparently show how dry it was.
  1811. >”We’ll take a recess after the test, you can have some snacks and play then.” Apple Polish replies. “Yes, Arrowhead?”
  1812. >”I thought all the Apples were Earth Ponies, Ms. Apple Polish. But you’re a unicorn!”, the colt asked a slight octave over an appropriate level.
  1815. >All warmth left Apple Polish’s smile, and you could feel the strain she exerted in maintaining it, “No there are some unicorn Apples, and even the odd pegasus. Any questions about the test?”
  1816. >You decide to throw her a bone and raise your hoof.
  1817. >”Yes, Anonymous Letter?”
  1818. How long is the test?
  1819. >She is visibly relieved.
  1820. >”It is only a few questions, should take anypony more than ten minutes. Also anypony who is wearing clothing for pictures will be able to take them off and store them in our coat closet.”
  1821. >A faint sky blue aura enveloped every sheet of paper on every desk, “So without further ado..,” each desk opened up. Revealing a thick stub of a pencil, and a moist sponge black with ink.
  1822. >You remove both, one in each hoof, after which the desk closed and the glow fades.
  1823. >One by one the desks close as the surrounding students get the materials from inside of them.
  1824. >After a minute or so Apple Polish speaks again, “Alright, during the test no noise making is allowed, no looking at another pony’s paper, and if you have any questions about the test raise your hoof and I’ll come by to help.”
  1825. >With that said every paper on every desk flipped over.
  1826. >Your eyes scan the test, and it seems normal.
  1827. >’Name, date, all that good stuff.’
  1828. >Your eyes lower as you look at the question, and you had to hold back a shout.
  1829. >’Is that the fucking Pythagorean Theorem?’
  1830. “A squared plus b squared equals...”, you mumble quietly.
  1831. >’How the fuck is this for a fucking three year old?!’
  1832. >Without thinking your head sweeps to the side, to see if this is real, only to be stopped by a gentle tingle on your chin.
  1833. >Your head is turned to the front where your eyes meet the teacher’s, where she just frowns and shakes her head slowly.
  1834. >You look apologetically at her, and your chin is released.
  1835. >’Well, I wouldn’t even be able to attend school if I was a human. Maybe they just do things faster.’
  1836. >You mark down c squared and move on to the next question.
  1838. >The next question is a series of shapes.
  1839. Square, Hexagon, Octogon, and...
  1840. >There are four shapes to choose from, a decagon, a pentagram, and a dodecahedron.
  1841. >’Number of sides obviously going up by two in a pattern.’
  1842. >”Hmmm...”
  1843. >You glance in front of you to see Rarity tilting her head from side to side as she thinks about whatever question she is on.
  1844. >If anything you’re a little proud that she took this long to have any trouble.
  1845. >’Eh, I’ll go ahead and get this one wrong then.’
  1846. >’Three divided by blah blah’
  1847. >You circle a random answer.
  1848. >’It was pretty shocking, but this stuff barely passes high school.’
  1849. >’Upon entering adulthood the cockatrice will use the now active tartaran gland behind it’s eyes to blank threats marking it’s territory with the remains’
  1850. >You hold back a laugh.
  1851. RPG knowledge is still high school level knowledge.
  1852. >You write “petrify” in the blank and move on.
  1853. >The test continues on like this, none of the questions are a challenge, the occasional DnD tier question that makes you understand the worry of the Everfree, and you throwing whenever you hear Rarity struggle.
  1854. >Your right ear involuntarily swivels as the teacher walks next to you, to answer someone’s question.
  1855. >”WOO!”
  1856. >You turn in time to see the black colt next to you fly out of the classroom.
  1857. >A white hoof rose in front of you, and the teacher was next to Rarity.
  1858. >”Ms. Apple Polish, I’m finished.” Rarity whispered.
  1859. >”You can take off your dress in the closet and then play outside”, Apple Polish whispered back taking her paper.
  1860. >You decide to finish up, the only question giving you any genuine trouble being the one about the sensitivity of manticore paws, and their use in mating season.
  1861. >So you raise your hoof, turn in your paper, put your collar next to Rarity’s dress, and walk out of the building.
  1862. >You follow the sound of laughter around the back of the school to see a group of kids, mostly looking around your sister’s age, playing.
  1864. >It isn’t difficult to spot the white filly in the big yellow bow.
  1865. >She’s actually bouncing as she speaks to whoever she is talking to.
  1866. Oh, she found Page.
  1867. >You walk over to them.
  1868. >”-inished before little Letter?” you hear Page ask as you get close enough to pick them out from the noise of the children.
  1869. It wasn’t a race.
  1870. >Both of them and a filly you recognize, but don’t know turn to you.
  1871. >”You’re only saying that because I beat you,” Rarity replies sticking her tongue out.
  1872. >You return the gesture before asking, “Are you ready to fix me up, yet? I feel like a massive dork.”
  1873. >”Is this your birth brother FP?” the peach colored filly asks.
  1874. >”Oh yeah, you guys never met. SM, this is my baby brother little Letter,” she turns to you, “And this is my sis Spoiled Milk, but I just call her SM for short.”
  1875. “Nice to meet you,” you say offering a hoof.
  1876. >Spoiled Milk giggles before shaking your hoof, “Surprisingly well mannered for a “janefilly”, FP.”
  1877. “Surprisingly cares about manners for a “filly”, FP,” you say trying to match Spoiled Milk’s inflection.
  1878. >”HA! Ok, your little brother is alright Front.” Spoiled said addressing the slightly smaller filly.
  1879. Anyway, Rarity, can you fix me up now. Or do you want to do something else first?
  1880. >”I’ll do it now Anon, don’t want you feeling like a dork.”, Rarity says while approaching you.
  1881. >You sit down and lower your head a bit while Rarity rears up, and starts pawing at your mane.
  1882. >”Um, FP….is this, ok?” Spoiled asked.
  1883. >”Shh! They’re foals, they don’t know any better,” Page whispered.
  1884. >You couldn’t tell how she looked since Rarity’s stomach took up almost all of your vision.
  1885. >”Hey, Rarity?” your sister asks, “Maybe do that from the side, you know so you can get a better angle...”
  1886. It’s fine, it never takes her too long. What’s up?
  1887. >Both of the older girls mumble that it’s nothing.
  1888. >’Must be a sex thing.’
  1889. >...
  1890. >After a couple of minutes of playing with your mane and tail Rarity tells you that she’s done.
  1891. >You can’t really check your mane with High Breed still in class, but your tail looks normal.
  1892. So, what can you do out here? Besides like the slide and stuff.
  1893. >Front Page looked surprised for a moment, and then looked around.
  1894. >”Well there’s hopscotch, but that’s more of a filly thing. Hmmm, oh! I’ll grab a ball so we can play four square.”
  1895. >As she turned to leave, Spoiled Milk stopped her.
  1896. >”FP, do you really want to play with a couple of foals? Can’t your cousins look after him?”
  1897. “Cousins?”
  1898. >”Earth ponies do things a little differently.” Page replies.
  1899. >”Hmph, I’m sorry that my tribe doesn’t give every relative a million different flank kissing titles, Ms. Snob.” Spoiled says lips pursed.
  1900. >”You should be sorry that earth ponies don’t love their herdmates enough to give them recognition, you dirt farming brute.” Page replied, eyes narrow.
  1901. >There was a pause before both girls started laughing and walking together.
  1902. >”Anyway, you know how bad Harsh Lesson can be. Their class won’t be let out until the ‘exact time for recess, and not one second before’,” Page says doing an imitation of the older mare you saw earlier. “So I’m going to look after my brother until they’re let out.”
  1903. You don’t have to do that Page, Rarity and I can do something else. Wouldn’t want to cramp your style or anything.
  1904. >Spoiled giggles again and her eyes meet yours for the first time, “Cute, and so understanding.”, she turns back to your sister, “You’re going to have a rough life if all of your cousins keep turning out like this.”
  1905. >Your sister sighs in actual exasperation, “Don’t remind me, Mom is talking about having another foal. Doesn’t like being on par with blessed mother Fine Print, since she had her twins.”
  1907. >Spoiled groaned, “I’ll never understand adults’ obsession with foals. FP if I think about having more than one please kick me in the tea-”
  1908. >A purple aura seals Spoiled Milk’s muzzle, “Not around Little Letter, if he says the T-word around dad or mom I’ll be in big trouble.”
  1909. >Rarity, obviously wanting to know more about being a big girl, stops her quiet observation of the older ones and speaks up.
  1910. >”What’s the T-word Front Page?”
  1911. >Spoiled started cackling at the situation while Page tried to stammer out something.
  1912. >’I better see if I can bail Page out of this.’
  1913. “Hey, is that where the balls are, Page?”, you ask pointing out a large wooden box that a filly just pulled a toy bucket and shovel out of.
  1914. >”Oh thank Celestia.”, Page sighs, “YES IT IS LITTLE LETTER! LET’S GRAB ONE SO WE CAN PLAY FOUR SQUARE.”
  1915. >Spoiled Milk laughs until we all get to where we’re going to play.
  1916. >After drawing the squares in the dirt with a stick, Page explains the rules and we play.
  1917. >It’s a little rough keeping up when you’re half the size of half the competition but you manage to score a couple points.
  1918. >No doubt it was because the girls were taking it easy on you and Rarity.
  1919. >Except Spoiled, she held nothing back against Rarity or Page and won most of the games, until you and Page started to target her.
  1920. >It was nostalgic and fun, only to be interrupted by a shouting match between two colts.
  1921. >”-top it!” a voice cries out.
  1922. >”That’s Scribble!”, Page says abandoning the game to run to see what’s wrong.
  1923. >You follow behind her
  1924. >Page pushes through the crowd of kids surrounding the tether ball pole, and you follow in her wake.
  1925. >”Why should I? Just because you can’t handle it?”, a high pitched but definitely masculine voice asks, “If you’re going to be a sore loser, go play something else.”
  1926. >”But I was here first!” Scribble huffs, while he stomps his hoof.
  1927. >”And I won, so I get to stay.”, the small black pegasus smugly replies, “If you want to play again, that’s fine though.”
  1929. >”What’s going on?”, Front Page asked as she managed to break through.
  1930. >Scribble’s ear twitched when he heard Page, he turned face scrunched in frustration.
  1931. >”I was playing tether ball with everypony, and then this guy came over and cheated.”
  1932. >The pegasus’ smug smile faded into a frown, “I didn’t whine when you used your horn, why are you crying that I used my wings?”
  1933. >Forgetting Page entirely Scribble turned to address the colt, “I haven’t even been to magic kindergarten yet, and flying is cheating!”
  1934. >The colt shrugs his withers like shoulders, “Nopony tells earth ponies to stop being so strong and sturdy, or unicorns to stop using magic to grab beyond their reach. Why is a pegasus using his harmony given gifts cheating?”
  1935. >You notice some earth ponies look offended, while others look proud, and a couple fillies flex.
  1936. >The pegasi were universally nodding in agreement, and curious to what Scribble would say.
  1937. >Unfortunately your blessed brother decided to put his foot in his mouth.
  1938. >”Because nopony else can fly you big ugly jerk! Earth ponies can jump about as high as a unicorns’ reach, but nopony except pegasi can just jump up and stay there!” Scribble yelled, tail thrashing in anger, “And most pegasai aren’t that good at flying yet! Nopony wants to play tether ball against a jerk wonderbolt that won’t let anypony win!”
  1939. >The pegasus sneered at Scribble, “And nopony wants to play against a tubby kid, who only plays against ponies smaller than him, and cries when he loses. But I gave you a chance”, he then strikes the ball.
  1940. >It whizzes around the pole three times becoming uncoiled, clearing Scribble’s head by at least a foot.
  1941. >He flies up and catches it in one hoof, “Buzz off, cheese breath. I don’t want to play with you anymore.”
  1943. >Scribble, tears of anger in his eyes, prepares to say something else before Page steps forward.
  1944. >”There’s no reason to be rude, especially over a game. Apologize.”
  1945. >”Who is he to you? Your coltfriend or something?” the black pegasus asks, landing gently on the ground ball still in hoof.
  1946. >”He’s my blessed brother, and it wouldn’t matter if he wasn’t. Apologize to him, now.”
  1947. >”No.”, he replies without any hesitation or concern, “Anypony else want to play?”
  1948. >You step in front of your sister.
  1949. Sure, I’ll play.
  1950. >”Awesome, I was worried White Cheddar over there was going to waste my entire recess.”
  1951. >”Little Letter, what are you doing?” Page asks.
  1952. Ignoring her you proceed, “If I win you apologize to my blessed brother.”
  1953. >”I like a good bet, but why would I take it, you have nothing I want.”
  1954. You can have my lunch.
  1955. >”My dad made me a lunch, and I don’t want to look like your BIG brother.”
  1956. Fine, you can have the collar I wore for pictures.
  1957. >He laughed, shook his head and passed you the ball, “I have a full suit, kid. Here, serve it up. I’m getting bored.”
  1958. “We’re the same age,” you say as you serve the ball, “you sat next to me in class. Thunder something, right?”
  1959. >He smiles and returns it, “Just Thunder, I’m not one of those idiots who pick their second name as soon as they find out about it.”
  1960. That a pegasus thing? I haven’t heard of it.
  1961. >You hit the ball back with a little more force.
  1962. >”Yeah, some old tradition,” he strikes the ball with more force. The speed driving it upward. “Name given by the father, name taken for your own. Whatever.”
  1963. >You have to stand up to your full height to get a good angle on the ball this time, but you give it a good hit.
  1964. So, why not take one? Be Thunder Struck or something.
  1965. >Instead of rearing up, Thunder just beat his wings once and gained enough air to be level with the ball.
  1966. >He gives it a good backhand and lands, “Grandad said that you should earn it, has more meaning that way.”
  1969. >You hop to hit the ball that’s well over your head now.
  1970. What would he say about you making fun of ponies?
  1971. >Two wing beats.
  1972. >”Son you better not start any trouble with the other young uns,” He hits the ball full force, sending it flying around the pole.
  1973. >It soars over you head.
  1974. >”But if they start trouble with you, you bes finish it,” He strikes it again just as hard.
  1975. >Your horn lights up trying to catch the ball, but it is like stopping a boulder and it tears through your meager field easily.
  1976. >”Or your punishment will be twice as hard.” He does a spinning backhand, the ball whizzing at you again.
  1977. >Again you try to slow the ball down, and again you fail.
  1978. >’I need to try something else, my magic is nowhere near strong enough to handle that.’
  1979. >”We can trace our line back all the way to Troop Hurricane. Filly or colt, so long as you got feathers you won’t disrespect that legacy.”, He knocks the ball upwards in a lob, stopping all forward momentum, before kicking it with all his might.
  1980. >It was higher and faster than before, but you had a new approach.
  1981. >Instead of trying to stop it or slow it down, you use a touch of magic to change its angle.
  1982. >It works perfectly, the ball is now coming directly at you.
  1983. >As fast as you can you turn and kick the ball with both rear legs.
  1984. >The angle is wobbly, swinging high as it hits the edge of your side, and then back low like a pendulum as it crosses into Thunder’s.
  1985. >Thunder, all prepared for his winning hit was too far from the pole to catch the ball as it swung low.
  1986. >You watch it swing and run further back angle obvious to anyone who knew basic physics.
  1987. >Again, you kick it with all your might, but you light your horn and set the ball into a spin as you do.
  1988. >Thunder predicts the angle, but misses the spin.
  1989. >He strikes the ball, slowing it down immensely.
  1990. >However it spins off of his hoof, and maintains its direction.
  1992. >’Just have to keep my hits unpredictable.’
  1993. >You give the ball a normal hit, speeding it up.
  1994. >Thunder flies into position, anticipating where your hit will take the ball.
  1995. >’He keeps trying to knock it out of the park, so he needs extra time to setup his position.’
  1996. >Just as it clears the pole you tap it with your magic again, sending it lazily around the centerpiece.
  1997. >”Oh come on!” Thunder zips in to try and catch it, but it is already back on your side by the time he reaches it.
  1998. >You kick the slow moving ball to get it going again, and just as it reaches its apex you knock it forward.
  1999. >Thunder looks you in the eyes for a second, the pewter orbs searching yours.
  2000. >Unexpectedly, he walks back to the center of his side and sits wings open.
  2001. >Not one to let an opportunity slip, you give the ball another strong hit.
  2002. >He doesn’t move.
  2003. >You decide to use your magic to knock it as far from the pole as you can.
  2004. >In an instant his wings are beating and he intercepts the ball, knocking it back your way.
  2005. >You didn’t expect him to be able to catch it so quickly
  2006. Oh, crap!
  2007. >You run forward, barely catching up to the ball before it went around, forced to knock it back with the side of your head
  2008. >From the corner of your left eye you can see that he is speeding to land in the same spot, wings open.
  2009. >’Well you’re not the only one who can change tactics.’
  2010. >You use your magic to knock it right towards him, and then on the edge of your side you use it again to push the angle low so it would swing close.
  2011. >His wings beat frantically, catching up to the ball.
  2012. >With a quick turn to adjust his angle he knocks the ball upwards and then rises to give it another strike.
  2013. >You’re already moving it to the right position, when he flies to it and hits the top of it.
  2014. >It’s in a pendulum swing again, but much faster than yours.
  2015. >You sprint to reach it, already winded after so much magic use.
  2018. >You light your horn to change its trajectory, but the ball’s wobbling from Thunder’s hit means you can’t concentrate on where it needs to be hit.
  2019. >’Fuck it.’
  2020. >You try to push it from the back towards you, but you just set it into a spin.
  2021. >By the time you reach it, it’s already on Thunder’s side.
  2022. >Well prepared, he lobs the ball again.
  2023. >Rather than fly upwards to knock it forwards he flies in a circle.
  2024. >The ball gently falls and he rams it with both hooves, full speed.
  2025. >It hurtles towards you, faster than ever.
  2026. >A cloud blocks the sun, making the ball’s path easier to see.
  2027. >You light your horn, trajectory already planned.
  2028. >”Mr. Letter!” An older voice yells from above you.
  2029. >You keep your eye on the ball, but it is caught by a mustard yellow hoof.
  2030. >You turn to see the stern face of Harsh Lesson.
  2031. >Squashing down the anger for the ruined game you relax your stance and address her.
  2032. Yes Ms. Lesson?
  2033. >”Ms. Apple Polish needs to speak with you, immediately.”
  2034. Yes, ma’am.
  2035. >Thunder lets his disapproval known, “Booo! It was just getting going”, he said panting slightly.
  2036. >You walk back to the schoolhouse pace off because of how tired the playing made you.
  2037. >Back inside the class room you see the old stallion sorting the negatives, and Apple Polish waiting for you at her desk.
  2038. >”Thank you for being so prompt, please sit.”
  2039. >Her horn lights up and the stool that was used for the pictures was pulled up in front of her desk.
  2040. Is there anything wrong Ms. Apple Polish?
  2041. >She sighs and puts her hooves in front of her face, “Anonymous, you have one of the highest grades in the class.”
  2042. >’Yeah, no shit.’
  2043. Why call me in to say that? I could have gotten my scores with everypony else.
  2044. >”That’s because there is an issue of the validity of your score.”
  2046. Whoa, I didn’t cheat. I don’t need to.
  2047. >She lays her hooves on the desk and shakes her head, “There is some evidence to the contrary.”
  2048. What could there be? I didn’t take the answers or anything, this is my first day.
  2049. >You were getting upset.
  2050. >You weren’t some kind of cheating bitch, you take your F’s with your A’s.
  2051. >She lights her horn and a small yellow crystal floats from behind her desk, and she lays it in the center of the desktop.
  2052. >She moves to the side and light is projected from the crystal to the chalkboard behind her.
  2053. >It soon becomes a movie from the perspective of above your desk.
  2054. >And it catches each time you glanced at Rarity.
  2055. >”As you can see, this doesn’t look good. In some instances you mark an answer immediately after looking at your classmate, Rarity.”
  2056. >’Fuck this looks really, really bad.’
  2057. Ok, I know how this looks, but I promise you that I didn’t cheat off of Rarity.
  2058. >She looks at you before turning back to the projection, “Verifying is easy enough, I’m going to ask you some questions on the test that you answered correctly. If you’re able to get the answers correct, it’ll prove that you took the test fairly.”
  2059. >’It should be fine, besides the DnD stuff it was simple.’
  2060. That’s fine.
  2061. >She nods and turns off the crystal projector, and lifts what is likely your test from her desk.
  2062. >”Question one, and just so you know these are out of order, upon entering adulthood the cockatrice will use the now active tartaran gland-”
  2063. Petrify
  2064. >”What form of magic has recently gained recognition by the Canterlot Magic Council? Harmony, Love, Friendship, or Chaos”
  2065. >’Oh, I got that right?’
  2066. Love.
  2067. >”What is three divided by one point five?”
  2068. Two
  2069. >”When was Alpha Beta bor-
  2070. 87 B.C.A.
  2071. >She smiles, “Well I think that’s plenty enough proof.”
  2072. >She set down the test and the smile disappears, “Now I have to ask, why did you purposefully answer some questions incorrectly?”
  2074. >You reflexively pull away
  2075. ...What do you mean?
  2076. >She turns the test around.
  2077. >”Of the questions I asked you, you originally only answered two correctly.”
  2078. >She sets the test down and you quickly scan it, seeing the red lines through the math and history questions.
  2079. >”You answered both questions quickly and confidently, so I know you didn’t guess.”
  2080. I-I
  2081. >”Also it is impossible to cheat on these tests,” she lays another one down in front of you.
  2082. >You see that there are no written questions, just shapes and patterns.
  2083. >”The test magically adapts itself to the knowledge level of the tester. The fact that you even had a written test proves that you do not belong in the sprout class.”
  2084. Wait! Everypony had pencils, how could they not be prepared to read and write?
  2085. >At once the desks noisily turned around and opened up, all containing the same pencil and sponge
  2086. >She then walks to one, closes it, and opens it back up.
  2087. >In place is a quill and inkwell.
  2088. >’Even the desks are magic?!’
  2089. >She turns them back around and walks to her desk.
  2090. >”The fact that you had algebra and geometry questions at all show that you’re at the very least in the top tier of the apple class.”
  2091. >’I was fucked from the word go.’
  2092. >”If anything between the level of your question, and the ease with which you answered you would excel even in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns.”
  2093. >She sat back down, wearing a mischievous smile, “Anonymous Letter, I would be proud to mail in my nomination for you.”
  2094. >You were stuck in shocked silence
  2095. >” intentionally tried to cheat yourself out of success. Why?”
  2096. Uh...I
  2097. >’She’s called me on everything, but I may be able to still get an angle here being somewhat honest.’
  2098. “I didn’t want to be shipped off somewhere.”, you said making your lips pout, “I only have one friend, and I didn’t want to leave her. Plus my family would have to be uprooted to accommodate me.”
  2099. >Despite everything, Apple Polish rolls her eyes.
  2102. >”It’s always a bucking filly...” she murmured quietly to herself, rubbing her forehead with her hoof, “Anonymous Letter, you can’t even attend Celestia’s School before you complete magical kindergarten.”
  2103. Still, it’s nice here in Ponyville, and my family is happy here.
  2104. >”Also you underestimated your friend.”
  2105. >’What?’
  2106. What?
  2107. >”Rarity received quite an advanced test herself, and while I won’t breach her privacy she did quite well.”
  2108. Is she also-
  2109. >”No. She isn’t so far ahead that she can be the youngest student ever nominated for Celestia’s School though she’d easily be top of the class for the apple level.”
  2110. Well, no then. I’m fine here. I’m fine just being the smart guy, I can succeed without leaving my best friend behind.
  2111. >You get up, ready to leave before Apple Polish speaks up again.
  2112. >”You say that as though you’re the one making the choice.”
  2113. >You stop in place.
  2114. >”Anonymous Letter, you’re only a three year old colt whose had one friend, lived in one town, and believes that’s all he needs.”
  2115. >You turn around and face the mare.
  2116. Maybe I’ll get wanderlust when I’m older. For now I’m fine and you can’t reall-
  2117. >”All I need to do is speak to your parents, and they’d be proud to accept.”
  2118. All I’d need to do is tell them I don’t want to go, they’d understand. Still though why would you do that?
  2119. >”Because you need to foster your gift, you’re a bright colt with a bright future. You shouldn’t squander it”
  2120. Even if you do that, I’ll just not do any work once I get there. How embarrassing would it be to nominate somepony who can’t even get the first question right?
  2121. >You turn back ready to head outside.
  2122. >She grunts and growls a bit, holding back swears,”Fine I’ll make a deal with you.”
  2123. “Why? You have nothing I want.” you say, taking a cue from Thunder.
  2124. >”You may be fine with mediocrity, but do you think it would work for your friend?”
  2128. What are you talking about?
  2129. >”It’s at my discretion about where a pony is sorted if they’re on the edge of a grade level. I’m willing to push Rarity forward. Into the same class with you.”
  2130. For what? To ship off? It isn wort-
  2131. >”To give you the education that would serve you best!”
  2132. >She sits down, and goes back to grading papers as she speaks, “Rarity is smart, not as smart as you, but you’ve definitely rubbed off on her.”
  2133. >”I can push her to tree grade, but she’ll need help. You and her will both stay after school for tutoring, I will help Rarity be better able to handle tree grade and magical kindergarten, but in exchange I’ll teach you from Celestia’s School courses.”
  2134. >She stacks up the papers and binds them together, “When it’s time to leave Ponyville Schoolhouse I’ll send in the nomination. Many years from now.”
  2135. How many?
  2136. >She laughs sardonically, “Seven. That’s the most I’m willing to keep you out of Canterlot. No negotiation.”
  2137. >’Plenty of time to enjoy a simple childhood, plus Rarity will get a boost to her quality of life when she’s older.’
  2138. Fine, deal.
  2139. >”Alright you can-,” Apple Polish is interrupted by the school bell being rung., “Take a seat, because recess is over.
  2140. >…
  2141. >The kids walked in and took their seats, grumpy that playtime was over.
  2142. >”Hi, Anon!”
  2143. >Except for one.
  2144. Hi, Rarity.
  2145. >Her head tilts and she touches her bottom lip with a hoof, looking concerned.
  2146. >”Are you in trouble? You look sad.”
  2147. >You shake off the fear and anger eating away at you, and put on a grin.
  2148. Nah, it’s fine. I’m just bummed that I missed the rest of recess.
  2149. >Like a switch was flipped she bounces and a bright smile appears on her face.
  2150. >”That was an awesome game! You’ve got to play me next,” some dark blue sparks sputter out of her horn and her face scrunches, “right after I get my magic...”
  2151. You know I’ll help teach you.
  2154. >”No thanks, mommy said that forcing your magic can make your horn hurt, and that I should wait until magic kiddy garden.” she looks at your horn, “How did you get so good anyway?”
  2155. >You smile
  2156. Lots of practice and patience. Took me forever just to make a stable magical field, and much longer to actually do anything with it.
  2157. >”But you were always good, as far as I can remember.”
  2158. I remember stuff better. Besides I’m mostly just raw casting, mom and Mr. Oak won’t let me touch any books on real magic.
  2159. >”Duuude, why didn’t you come back out? Everypony else were weenies.” Thunder said walking into the classroom.
  2160. >You look past Rarity to the colt.
  2161. “Talk with the teacher took too long.” you say shrugging dismissively.
  2162. >”You have to rematch me tomorrow.” he says sitting in his desk
  2163. >You were about to agree when a wonderful idea crossed your mind
  2164. >You couldn’t keep the smug toothy grin off of your face
  2165. I’ll give you a rematch, if you apologize to Scribble.
  2166. >”Pfft, why would I do that. You didn’t even win.”
  2167. Because I have something you want. If you don’t apologize I’ll just play with Rarity all recess. She’s been my best friend since we were foals, and she doesn’t insult my blessing.
  2168. >Rarity giggles, “He’s got you, Thunder. We can just play tag, or hopscotch, or whatever”
  2169. >’Playing tetherball with him is pretty good magic practice, but Thunder doesn’t need to know that’.
  2170. >”Alright everypony sit down,” Apple Polish said to the class, “I have checked your tests and have your classes ready.”
  2171. >Apple Polish took a sheet of paper from her desk and looked it over before speaking again.
  2172. >”Ms. Star, Mr. Letter, Ms. Rarity, Ms. Polomare, and Mr. Thunder please get your things from the closet and come with me.”
  2175. >We all got up and grabbed our stuff from the closet, Apple Polish then used her horn to grab the clothes, with the exception of Rarity’s scarf enchanted into a ribbon which she wore proudly.
  2176. >’Shit, he does have a really nice suit.’
  2177. >As Apple Polish opens the door there is a stallion wearing a blue suit dotted with random sea life.
  2178. >”Students of Sprout class, let me introduce you to your teacher. Mr. Frazzle.” Apple Polish announced stepping aside and holding the door open for him to enter.
  2179. >The stocky earth pony walked in smile wide, “Fillies and colts nice to meet you all, and I can’t wait to DIVE into the school year with you all.”
  2180. >He winks, and then turns to Apple Polish and mouths a thank you.
  2181. >We’re led out of the door as he starts is spiel with the students.
  2182. >”We’re going to take chances, make mistakes and GET MES-”
  2183. >The door is closed behind us and we’re led down the hallway to the next door marked with an apple carved into it.
  2184. >”Suri, Amethyst, this is where you’re attending”, she opened the door to reveal the same mare who stopped your tether ball game.
  2185. >”Good morning Harsh Lesson, I have your new students.”
  2186. >The old mare in the much more densely packed room frowns further.
  2187. >”Five more Apple Polish? I’ll have to put two to a seat, but we’ll manage. Thank you.”
  2188. >You look around the room to see High Breed sitting in the front.
  2189. >Your blessed brother offers you a smile, while Scribble waves and shouts, “Hi Little Letter, I knew you could do it!”
  2190. >He then sees Thunder.
  2191. >Immediately his eyes narrow and his lips purse.
  2192. >Thunder jumped in before he was given new reasons to dislike Scribble, “I’m sorry about calling you tubby, and saying you have cheese breath.”, the class roars in laughter.
  2193. >The black colt turns to you, “We good? Because I can’t control them and what th-.”
  2194. >”SILENCE!”
  2196. >All of the students were immediately perfectly quiet.
  2197. >Yourself included.
  2198. >”Now then, what were you saying Apple Polish?” Harsh Lesson asked not even acknowledging her shout.
  2199. >”Right...well there are only two for you this time. Suri, Amethyst, this is your new teacher Ms. Harsh Lesson.”
  2200. >Both girls audibly gulped, and had to be pushed with magic through the door.
  2201. >”Hm, well I can accommodate two at least. I thank you for being prompt, as usual Apple Polish.”
  2202. >Without waiting for reply she grabbed the blouse and skirt from the magical field walked into her classroom and shut the door.
  2203. >Apple Polish then sighed and walked on.
  2204. >”Duude we got lucky.” Thunder said.
  2205. >”Yeah we did, I hope Suri will be ok.” Rarity replied
  2206. New friend?
  2207. >”Uh-huh she liked my ribbon, so we played hopscotch after you left.”
  2208. >Coming up to the last door with an apple tree carved into it, Apple Polish turns and addresses us
  2209. >”You three have managed to make it to tree class, the work will be challenging, but I know you all will succeed.”
  2210. >She then opens the door revealing, a tall and slim white mare with a purple mane streaked with peach.
  2211. >”-oth the connections and decisions you make will determine if you succeed or fail in life.”
  2212. >Apple Polish knocks on the open door.
  2213. >”Ah, Apple Polish, you’re back. Well class it seems our time together is at an end, just remember everything I said and I’m sure you’ll rise above the chaff.”
  2214. >The mare grabbed a saddle bag from beside the desk and tossed it onto her back.
  2215. >”Three this time?! It seems that Ponyville is doing a better job at breeding smarter.”
  2216. >”Thank you for taking over while I was administering the test, Superintendent Skim Milk.”
  2217. >The Skim Milk shook her head, “No trouble at all Apple Polish, and please call me Skim”.
  2218. >”Yes ma’am, Skim.” Apple Polish replied before moving aside so that the taller mare could pass.
  2220. >You are let into the class and see that it is much more empty than the two before it and the kids are much older, a couple already entering puberty, and a few with marks already.
  2221. >”I expect everypony was well behaved for Superintendent Skim Milk.”
  2222. >There was a wave of ‘Yes, ma’am’ from the class while Apple Polish put away Rarity’s dress, Thunder’s suit, and your collar.
  2223. >”This year we have three who are entering our class,” she signals all of you to step in front of her desk.
  2224. >In front of the class you can see Page sitting next to her friend Spoiled, and behind Big Mac.
  2225. >’Those three are the only ponies here I recognize.’
  2226. >”These are Rarity, Thunder, and Anonymous Letter.”
  2227. >”Wait...I thought your name was Little Letter” Thunder says looking at you questioningly.
  2228. No, that’s just what most ponies call me.
  2229. >”Not me! I call him Anon because that’s what Anon wants everypony to call him.”, Rarity says, eager to be part of the conversation.
  2230. >His eyes go wide for a second before going lidded with skepticism.
  2231. What is it?
  2232. >He looks away for a second before answering, “Nothing. I’ll tell you after class.”
  2233. >”As you can see, they are somewhat undisciplined, with this being the first day of their scholastic life. So I expect everypony to help them become acclimated to a classroom setting”
  2234. >You had enough self awareness to feel embarrassed.
  2235. >”You may take any seat you like.”, Apple Polish says, waving you all away.
  2236. >Rarity chooses the only desk in the front row, smiling as wide as when she first came to school.
  2237. >You choose the seat one row back and two to the left of where Rarity is sitting, directly in front of Macintosh
  2238. >Thunder flies to the back row where he promptly lays his head down.
  2241. >You open the desk to see a schoolbook, pencil, and a small stack of blank papers
  2242. >’No way to test if that was a trick in class.’
  2243. >”Front Page.” Apple Polish calls
  2244. >”Yes, ma’am?”, your sister answers from behind you.
  2245. >”Anonymous, Rarity, and Thunder will need to stay after school for a short while so I can get them caught up on the current lesson. It will only be a few minutes today, but it will be an hour or so from now on.” Apple Polish said, ignoring Thunder’s silent but outraged gesturing.
  2246. >”Oh! Like Poindexter before he moved to Canterlot. Ok, I’ll make sure to tell dad.” Front Page replied.
  2247. >’This isn’t the first time this has happened...’
  2248. >”Thank you. Now I know you expected a light day, but nopony learned anything by taking it easy. Now open the geography section of your schoolbooks.”
  2249. >With the exception of Rarity the class collectively groaned.
  2250. >You pick up the schoolbook and upon opening it see that there are multiple subjects covered within its pages.
  2251. >You open to the geography section and start your first day of school in earnest.
  2252. >…
  2254. >”Okay class you are dismissed for today, but be prepared for a full school day tomorrow.”
  2255. >You put your notes in your saddlebag, but remain seated.
  2256. >You learned a bit today.
  2257. >Some of the stuff was old news that you read in the library.
  2258. >You knew about the Griffons’ culture being tied around their idol, from some of the books at the library, but you didn’t know about the Abysmal Abyss at the center of the capitol with so much wild magic that only the most skilled pegasi can hope to fly in it.
  2259. >From it was onto math, Equish, science.
  2260. >Nothing was learned that was remarkable.
  2261. >Besides the different letters the language and grammar was exactly the same as English.
  2262. >And in science the class went over the structure of a plant cell.
  2263. >There is a growth on the mitochondria that processes magic but it identical to your middle school lessons otherwise.
  2264. >It took seconds for the room to be cleared out leaving you, Rarity, and Thunder.
  2265. >”First of all do any of you have any questions about what we went over, or school in general?”
  2266. >Thunder shook his head, and rested it in his hoof.
  2267. >Rarity raised her hoof.
  2268. >Apple Polish smiled and shook her head, “Yes, Rarity?”
  2269. >”What’s a griffon?”
  2270. >You held back a laugh, and heard Thunder drop his head on his desk as Apple Polish answered.
  2271. >”They’re one of our fellow creatures that inhabit Equus, of the chimera family characterized by a lateral bisection hybridization of accipitridae and felidae families.”
  2272. >Rarity raised her hoof again.
  2273. >”Yes, Rarity?”
  2274. >”What’s a lateral?”
  2275. >Wanting to stop an end to this so that he can leave Thunder speaks up
  2276. >”They’re like half eagles up top, and lions or something at the bottom.”
  2277. >He then turns his chair to Rarity and gestures his hoof across his midsection.
  2278. >”And lateral means across wide ways like this. Lat is fat, get it?”
  2280. >She nodded in understanding before covering her mouth with a hoof and pointing with the other and releasing the cry of a child hoping to avoid being in trouble, “Ooooooooooooh.”
  2281. >Thunder tilted his head in confusion, “What? We’re all nak-”
  2282. >”You didn’t raise your hoof before talking…..eep!” she then covered her mouth completely realizing her hypocrisy.
  2283. It’s alright, Rarity. Class is over so you’re allowed to talk without raising your hoof.
  2284. >”Oh...well what’s a chimera, bisection, hybridization, accipitridae, and felidae?” she asked pencil ready to write.”
  2285. I’m sure Ms. Apple Polish has more import-
  2286. >Unexpectedly Apple Polish cut you off to answer each one, “The result of multiple creatures being merged together through breeding or during Discord’s reign, a split of one thing into two parts, the actual act or merging two creatures or animals, one of the four families of birds of prey classified in the order accipitriformes, and the family most commonly known as feline which encompasses all cats, large and small.”
  2287. >Rarity’s pencil was moving surprisingly fast for her to not be using her magic or hoof.
  2288. >”What’s Discord?” the filly asked
  2289. >”A wicked draconequus that ruled the land with powerful chaos magic until he was defeated by Princess Celestia.”
  2290. >”What’s a draconequus?”
  2291. >”A chimera with the head of a pony and a body of at least five different creatures, Discord was the last.” Apple Polish replied smiling
  2292. >’That’s new. That’s really new’
  2293. >For the first time since Rarity starting shooting questions you started taking notes.
  2294. >Despite the range, number, and seeming simplicity of the questions Apple Polish only seemed to become happier answering them.
  2296. >After some time of Rarity asking questions and you having to take a note or two the class door opens, revealing a heavily pregnant pegasus.
  2297. >”Thunder, why are you still here? Did you get detention on the first day?”
  2298. >Turning to address the mare, Apple Polish smiled, “Just the opposite, ma’am. Your son qualified for the tree class, we were just going over some catchup material.”
  2299. >That brought a smile to the mare
  2300. >”Outstanding son, but we have to go. There’s some spare clouds from Nimbus’ sloppy weather work, I know how you wanted to practice weather management.”
  2301. >”Awesome! I’ll talk to you tomorrow ‘Anonymous’,” he had already packed his bag and flew to the close to get his suit waving to the girls as he flew by, “take care ladies.”
  2302. >He then flew up to his mom who gave him a deadpan look, and after a moment he landed and walked out with her.
  2303. >Standing up, stretching, and popping some joints Apple Polish spoke, “Well this is as good a time as any to stop. Rarity remember to tell your parents that you’ll need to stay after school and why. In case you see them before Front Page does”
  2304. >You and Rarity pack up your stuff, Rarity takes a bit longer because she wants to wear her dress home.
  2305. >As soon as you step outside you see Front Page playing tetherball with Scribble.
  2306. Hey, how long have you two been playing while waiting for us?
  2307. >Page turns to see you coming, using her horn to keep up the game
  2308. >Scribble is winded and giving it his all, but Page doesn’t even need to look to return every strike.
  2309. >”It’s only been about half an hour, I’ve had to wait longer for High Breed to get ready.”
  2310. >From under a tree High Breed shouts, “Perfection takes time Front Page. Consider it practice for your future coltfriend.”
  2312. >Rolling her eyes she turns to address Scribble again.
  2313. >”Little Letter is finished, time to head home Scribble.”
  2314. >The exhausted boy manages to pant out a reply, “Not. Until. We’re. Finished.”
  2315. It’s fine I’ll wait.
  2316. >Page huffs before hitting the ball hard with her magic, and walks away
  2317. >It flies perpendicular many feet outside of Scribble’s reach until it is wrapped around the pole
  2318. >”Game over, let’s get home.”
  2319. >”AWW C’MON!”
  2320. >Despite Scribble’s protests the five of you leave together
  2321. >…
  2322. >As you arrive home you and your siblings are greeted with the smell of a freshly baked cookies.
  2323. >Immediately they stampede to the kitchen to get the first batch.
  2324. >”Hold your horses little ponies. Nopony gets one until you’re all in here.”, Fine Print says holding Scribble back.
  2325. I’m here, no need to wait.
  2326. >The red mare shook her head, “No sir, my fair colt. We’re still short two. Go fetch Flaming Contract and Flimsy Deal, if you please.
  2327. >Walking back to the colts’ room you see the two little ones playing with building blocks.
  2328. >They’ve seemed to put together a simple cart and are pushing it between each other.
  2329. Hey, Flim and Flam, blessed mother Fine Print made cookies.
  2330. >Both sets of green eyes turn to you and once the message is registered they’re tumbling over one another to get to the kitchen. Saying “Thanks bro.” as they pass.
  2331. >You can’t help but laugh at the rambunctious boys.
  2333. >The sun dipping down the horizon, and the schoolhouse is silent. Save for the cackling of a mad colt.
  2334. >You are Apple Polish.
  2335. >And you are enduring the cackling laughter of the old stallion photographer.
  2336. >”Play it again, I can’t believe that he did that!”
  2337. >Without comment you restart the second surveillance crystal.
  2338. >”Even if you do that, I’ll just not do any work once I get there. How embarrassing would it be to nominate somepony who can’t even get the first question right?” just as adorable, just as humiliating.
  2339. >Still though, a little embarrassment was worth it knowing that Anonymous Letter would get the education that he needs.
  2340. >”I like this colt, I should introduce him to my daughter when they’re a little older.”
  2341. Could you please drop your illusion, it is too weird hearing an old stallion talking like you.
  2342. >With a puff of blue smoke the old photographer is gone and in his place is a young, fit, blue stallion.
  2343. >”Oh just admit you needed to see my handsome face, Polly.”
  2344. >You felt your face flatten even more.
  2345. >’There’s nothing worse than a stallion that knows exactly how good he looks’.
  2346. I can’t really see it past your ego, Jack.
  2347. >”But I thought mares loved a colt with a big…head.”
  2348. >Despite knowing him for years, despite having no romantic interests you couldn’t stop your cheeks from flushing.
  2349. Buck off, Jack!
  2350. >No doubt seeing you blush, he starts cackling yet again.
  2351. ANYWAY, what did you think of Anonymous Letter, Thunder, and Rarity?
  2353. >”Hahaha woo. Aww mare. AHEM, well Anonymous Letter has a bit of cunning to him. However he doesn’t know much about magic, so maybe it’s good he is here in Ponyville instead of Canterlot.” he closes his hooves together, before opening them with pictures of the three inside.
  2354. >You roll your eyes at the slight of hoof.
  2355. >He tosses Anonymous Letter’s picture on top of his test and continues, “He’s smart but sheltered, and anypony with even a cursory knowledge of magic can bluff their way out of anything he can put forth.”
  2356. I can’t believe he fell for the, ‘Your test isn’t high above your grade it’s magic! Everything is magic!’ Who the hay doesn’t teach their foal about illusion magic?
  2357. >Jack snorts in laughter, “Anyway I’ll admit I didn’t think he would be a good fit when I first talked to him, but as soon as he saw that his curtness upset an elder he acted the sweet colt to placate him.”
  2358. >You glance down at the picture, a small smile uncharacteristic of the argumentative colt adorns his face.
  2359. >’It’s hard to believe the straight-faced colt could be so adorable.’
  2360. >”Brilliant, logical beyond his years, stubborn, and able to read ponies well. He’ll go far no matter what path he takes, but”, Jack Pot looked you in the eyes with a serious look, “he will have to be steered in the proper direction.”
  2361. His little fillyfriend seems like she is acting as his anchor. She’s obviously weighing him down, but she’s also keeping him from getting into trouble.
  2362. >”You think so, Polly?”
  2363. >You nod.
  2364. Yeah, I’ve seen it a couple times before. Not exactly the same, but friends where one’s moral character steers the others. Problem is deciphering who is doing the steering, but this case seems obvious.
  2365. >”Well this is as good a time as any to talk about the filly.”he tosses her picture on top of her test, “Rarity lacks whatever innate brilliance Anonymous Letter possesses, but she is a little sponge.”
  2366. >His horn lights up and activates the crystal taken from the tree classroom.
  2368. >”It may have seemed like she asked about everything, but there were some gaps in your explanation and her knowledge.” he regarded the filly writing nearly everything you said in surprisingly good mouthwriting, “this after school tutoring you came up with may push her to a level where she can attend Celestia’s school. Still as of yet, she’s still scraping at the edge.”
  2369. Don’t worry about that, she’s quick to learn and a hard worker. Though we didn’t get much of a chance to talk about the program they’ll be in, having such an eager student was wonderful. Felt like when I first got my cutie mark.
  2370. >He smiled genuinely, “I’m sure you’ll polish her to a mirror shine Polly.”
  2371. >”Still though, as you said to the colt she isn’t CSGU material yet so it doesn’t matter until you manage to change that. So there’s no need for anypony to keep an eye on her outside of needing to keep her on the straight and narrow so that Anonymous Letter will follow her.”
  2372. With that said, Thunder is the odd one out in having no previous connection with Anonymous Letter. They don’t seem to have anything in common besides intellect.
  2373. >”And competitiveness.”
  2374. Hm?
  2375. >”You were busy grading but I saw them play through the window, Thunder was constantly challenging the older kids to competitive games.”
  2376. That’s nothing special foals often want to play with their elders, makes them feel more adult.
  2377. >”He won every match, of every game he played. Some easier than others, and many of the children in your class didn’t play hard, but everypony in Harsh’s class who played him gave it their all and lost.”
  2378. >You scratch your chin with a hoof.
  2379. Yeah, I remember him talk about apologizing to a foal in exchange for Anonymous to play him again.
  2380. >”It was cute, neither could play at a high level but they were both very creative and used their magic and flight to every advantage. It was thrilling despite how slow it was.”
  2382. Okay then they’re competitive many foals are, what does that have to do with their shared brilliance?
  2383. >Jack Pot tossed the picture of the pegasus onto his test, the only one without a red mark.
  2384. >”Two janefillies walk into your class and blow out a test meant for ponies more than triple their age and you don’t see a connection?”
  2385. >That gave you pause.
  2386. I figured that Anonymous Letter was the way he was due to his friendship with Rarity, but I didn’t know Thunder was also girlish.
  2387. >You scrunch for a moment, a thought flashing through your head
  2388. But there is no correlation in that either, I’ve taught the odd janefilly and none of them were remarkably intelligent. Hay, most of the time it’s just a phase.
  2389. >He shook his head, ”I’m not saying that them being janefillies is the root of their smarts just that it is a connection between the two.”, Jack started pacing as he put together the pieces in his head, “Anonymous Letter and Rarity share the same birthday, the same hobbies according to your father, and a bond of friendship that started in their infancy according to Nurse Fullheart.”
  2390. >He stops and stomps a hoof, “Thunder only met Anonymous Letter today and they quickly start forming a friendship and….I got nothing.”
  2391. >If you were drinking something you would’ve spat it out.
  2392. WHAT?!
  2393. >As usual you had to repress your desire to throttle this stallion.
  2394. >”I can’t figure out everything, I’m just a stallion.”, he says pouting his lips and fluttering his eyelids.
  2395. >You huff and scrunch harder than you have since the last time he made you scrunch this hard.
  2396. Bucking stallions, always looking for patterns where there are none!
  2397. >He puts on a mock frown, “Oh hush, you know you love us.”
  2398. They walk around and build you up to nothing!
  2399. >He walks around the desk and hugs you out of your ranting misandry.
  2400. >”Oh don’t be like that, it’ll be hard to convince the other mares to let you in my blessing if you’re a misandrist.”
  2402. >Though you wish it wouldn’t, his playful affections quell your frustration at him.
  2403. “Oh stop it,” you push the stallion away, “Point of all this before you went your your dumb rant, is that Thunder clearly over qualifies for both Brilliant Feather’s Research Academy, and Tsunami’s School for Weather Control and any other specialized pegasus school in Equestria.”
  2404. > He shrugged and shook his head, ”I can’t really help you there, you’ll have to get in touch with Cloudsdale head of weather research and the four sun general of the air force branch of the EUP.”
  2405. >He levitated the two colt’s tests, “I’ll send these through the proper channels for you, Polly.
  2406. >’Wait, the deal!’
  2407. Hold on, I told Anonymous-
  2408. >He closed his eyes and rocked his head back and forth as he spoke, “A completely non-binding agreement made with a minor without his parent’s consent and against the regulations of Equestria education system.”
  2409. >’Buck.’
  2410. >He trotted up to you and smiled, “Don’t worry Polly, I’ll have them send down the curriculum so that you can teach the colt here, but any agreement you made with Thunder is out of my hooves. I’m just a proctor working as CSGU’s representative and witness. I can’t do anything about pegasi.”
  2411. That’s fine, there was no need to make an agreement with Thunder. He tried his best and excelled.
  2412. >”Good, besides despite his obvious talent he can’t attend a specialized pegasus school without having completed flight camp training.”
  2413. Alright, I’ll see you next time you’re in Ponyville.
  2414. >”Or the next time you’re in Canterlot.”
  2415. You know they’d never accept me up there, with my parentage.
  2416. >”Pfft” he rolled his eyes and threw his head back, “those bastards in North Canterlot can suck a clit. They have a problem with everypony, even among their own.”
  2417. >”And most importantly,” he grabbed your chin in his hoof and smiled gently, “you served the crown today, same as any pure blooded descendant of Unicornia.”
  2419. >’I did, I served the crown today.’
  2420. >You couldn’t stop yourself from smiling.
  2421. >Jack then kissed you warmly and whispered, “I meant that stuff about my blessing Polly, think about it.”
  2422. >Before you could say anything he threw down a smoke bomb concealing himself.
  2423. >Until he ran out of the smoke and out of the door tests in tow laughing all the while.
  2424. >…
  2425. >You spent the night thinking about it.
  2428. >You slowly awake.
  2429. >There is no fatigue, and for an instant you consider returning to your dreams.
  2430. >You realize why you’ve chosen to wake up before Celestia and roll out of your bed.
  2431. >You’re very careful to be quiet so that you don’t wake your brothers. Making each step slowly until the door is closed behind you.
  2432. >You make your bed with a bit of magic and after a stretch head to the restroom to do your personal hygiene.
  2433. >Once you are well bathed, your glorious golden coat brushed, and your copper mane and tail well combed and free of any split ends, tiny spritz of cologne applied, and eyelashes clipped you check yourself out in the mirror.
  2434. >Without sheen your coat lacks its typical shine, but for what you have planned it is better to look less than perfect for a moment.
  2435. >You’re High Breed, by the way.
  2436. >You smile, and head to the kitchen.
  2437. >You turn on the flame and place a half full kettle upon it
  2438. >In the back of the refrigerator you retrieve the tin marked with two radishes, give it a shake and smile giddily.
  2439. “Nopony likes radishes.”
  2440. >You open it and smell the fresh unique scent of pure Burrobian coffee beans.
  2441. >’If only you didn’t stunt my growth.’
  2442. >Opening up the lower cabinets beside the stove you grab the pestle in your mouth and the mortar with your hoof and a bit of magic.
  2443. “Oh Celestia this is heavy.”
  2444. >Setting the implements on the counter you scoop out a few of the dried beans and get to work grinding them as finely as you can.
  2445. >The scent of them grows richer as you do.
  2446. >After a time you are satisfied with the result, and the kettle begins to whistle.
  2448. >You immediately hold open the lid with your magic so it won’t wake up the house.
  2449. >Carefully lifting and placing a chair from the table next to the counter you climb onto it so you can reach the cup cabinet.
  2450. >Opening it with your hooves, since your magic was occupied, you grab the handle of your mother’s mug in your teeth.
  2451. >’Easy does it...’
  2452. >You slowly climb back down precious cargo kept away from any surface that could harm it until you have a chance to set it on the counter.
  2453. >You spend a moment smiling at the light purple mug that matches mother’s mane color, notably the imperfect white stripe that wobbled as it circled back around, and the poorly drawn cutie marks.
  2454. >Only now do you notice that you picked the wrong color for the strange $ symbols that make up your mother’s cutie mark.
  2455. >Despite yourself become nostalgic for your time in Sprout class.
  2456. >You sigh.
  2457. “I was such a little kid three years ago.”
  2458. >You pour the boiling water into the mug, slowly so you don’t splash any.
  2459. >After setting the kettle on a different eye, and cutting off the heat of the first one you go back to the mortar.
  2460. >Magic free from keeping the kettle quiet you grab one of the many empty tea bags that father likes to keep for when he wants to try making custom teas.
  2461. >Your face scrunches slightly at the thought of your father’ tea making “skills”, but you quickly straighten your face out not wanting to develop scrunch lines when you get older.
  2462. >Shaking away the thought you pour the grounds into the bag and tie it closed.
  2463. >Ensuring that the knot cannot be undone, you set the bag with the grounds into the mug.
  2464. >As the color spread, you felt pride in your creative innovation.
  2466. >You hide away the “radishes”, and grab the sugar
  2467. “Two and a half sugars, not three, never three.”
  2468. >With that done you sit at the table stirring the hot aromatic coffee.
  2469. >’Don’t drink you’ll be short and ugly, don’t drink you’ll be short and ugly, don’t drink you’ll be short and ugly.’
  2470. >After ten minutes of stirring, you hear the front door unlock, open, and close.
  2471. >You sit up straight and put on your very best smile.
  2472. >Your mother walks into the kitchen, yellow fur wet with sweat, with her lavender mane and tail tied up in tight, if fashionable, braids.
  2473. >On her back is black saddlebags with a picture of a barbel on them
  2474. >She chugs the last of her water as her magic unravels the braids.
  2475. >She pants and smiles as her eyes meet yours.
  2476. >As per noble unicorn tradition she gives you a proper Canterlot greeting
  2477. >”Good morning, son. May the sun light your path and warm your heart.”
  2478. “And to you and yours, gentlemare.”
  2479. >She leans in for a nuzzle.
  2480. >One that you would love to accept, if she wasn’t dripping with sweat.
  2481. >So you pulled back immediately.
  2482. “Sweat, sweat, sweat, sweat SWEAT!”
  2483. >She laughs sweetly, opens one of the bags and sets a small stack of mail, and one scroll onto the table.
  2484. >Her horn the lights up and she shimmies out of the saddlebags.
  2485. >When they land they don’t make the slightest sound, but you feel the floor shake under you.
  2486. >’When it comes time to pick my mares, I’ll make sure they’re all as strong as mother.’
  2487. >After stretching she hoists the heavy bags in her magic and says, “I’ll go refresh myself, be back in ten minutes, son.”
  2488. >Right after you hear the bathroom door shut and the shower turn on you resist the urge to be nosy about the mail.
  2489. >Particularly the scroll
  2490. >The scroll sealed with the royal signet.
  2491. >’Don’t be nosy, nopony likes a nosy stallion.’
  2492. “Being mature is hard.” you murmur to yourself.
  2494. >Just under ten difficult minutes, your mother comes back into the kitchen.
  2495. >She looks like she usually does except completely naked, like yourself.
  2496. >’Never put on clothes until you’re about to leave to prevent accidents and wrinkles.’
  2497. >Mother never teaches a lesson that she doesn’t follow herself.
  2498. >You offer the mug in your magic, as the aura surrounding the cup changes from a sky blue to a deep indigo, you remove the improvised coffee filter.
  2499. >”Son...”, mother says in her ‘lesson’ voice as dots of indigo lights appear before surrounding the bag.
  2500. “Yes, mother?”
  2501. >”Be careful of spillage when you remove the bag, it’s better to take a bit of tea than to drop any.”, she says bringing up the indigo dots of magic so that you can see that they’re actually drops of coffee that she managed to see and intercept before you made a mess.
  2502. “Sorry, mother.” you reply, feeling admonished and learning from the error.
  2503. >You must have looked more contrite than you thought, because a hoof brought you into a hug and you felt a gentle kiss on your cheek.
  2504. >”Also, thank you son. There is nothing a mare, noble or common, appreciates more than when a colt makes her feel loved.”
  2505. >Despite yourself, your copper colored tail wags a bit.
  2506. >Mother laughs again, “And as you can see, the opposite is true as well. So make sure to be discerning, even if-. No. Especially if your aim is noble mares.”
  2507. >You nuzzle into her cheek a little bit more.
  2508. “You can’t hope to give me away so soon, mother. It’ll be years before I even earn my mark.”, you say half joking, half knowing that if Front Page doesn’t even have hers yours is still a ways off.
  2509. >”I just want to make sure you’re ready, son. Ponies can be exceptionally cruel, mares most of all.” she states grimly, squeezing you tighter as she does.
  2511. >’Well, now’s as good a time as any.’
  2512. “You mean like matron Mysterious Text?”, you say quietly, fearful that you might be heard.
  2513. >”Blessed Matron, son. Titles are important.” she says separating from you, and turning her attention to her coffee.
  2514. >”Ahh, perfect.” she sits down in the chair in front of where she placed the mail, and gestured you to the chair beside her, “Sit down, son. I feel like there’s more to this than the usual wishing me ‘farewell’ before I head back up to Canterlot.”
  2515. >As you gather your courage, and compose yourself your mother is already at work signing off on the bills.
  2516. “Do you and Blessed Matron Mysterious Text, not like one another?” you force out, straining to sound even and calm.
  2517. >”No, not in particular.” mother replies, glibly.
  2518. >You feel a shock of pain in your heart.
  2519. >Your eyes burn a little, but you hold it back.
  2520. >’Not until I’m sure.’
  2521. “Does she not like me, either?” you ask on the brink of weeping
  2522. >”Did she do or say anything to make you believe that?” despite the question being directed at you mother is looking sharply in the direction of their shared room.
  2523. “N-no, but if she doesn’t like you how can she like me?” you ask, a couple of tears making it past your defenses.
  2524. >’The salt in tears can lighten the color of your fur over time if allowed to set, make sure to wash within half an hour of a cry.’
  2525. “Being mature is hard...”, you whisper.
  2526. >”High Breed, son, look at me.”, your mother says softly.
  2527. >As ashamed as you are to be crying like a foal you meet her eyes.
  2529. >”Mysterious doesn’t like me, nor I, her. However, we respect one another despite our differences. She feels that destiny will do the heavy lifting when it comes to placing ponies where they belong. Hard work is good for the day to day, but Harmony will see to it that in the end things are set right.”
  2530. >You feel hope replace despair, bit by bit as your mother speaks.
  2531. >”I disagree. Emphatically.” mother says, her face tightening, “Harmony only sees to your birth and mark, everything else is up to us ponies. If wish to be stronger you need to lift weights, if you wish to be smarter you need to study, if you wish to earn the eye of Celestia you need to play the nobles’ game.”
  2532. “But what about Little Letter? He is in the same class as Page, while I’m in apple class with Scribble.” you say, feeling bad for your jealousy, “He spends some time at the library, but so do I.”
  2533. >”As I said, Harmony sees to your birth first and foremost. Some ponies are born stronger than others, some more handsome, and others smarter. Harmony gifted your blessed brother with intelligence, but if you dedicate yourself to study you can surpass him.”
  2534. >Signing the last of the bills that she will deliver on her way to the train station she finally lifts the scroll in her magic, before regarding you again. “If you put in work developing a skill, be careful that you do not squander the gifts that you already have. You’re kind, considerate, handsome, sociable, and the overly studious are typically cold, asocial, and careless about their appearance. You can be who you are while becoming smarter, if that’s what you want. It won’t be easy, but being multifaceted never is.”
  2535. >’I could be smarter than Front Page or Anonymous Letter..?’
  2536. “I mean, I like reading about Pre-Equestrian unicorns and the culture back then, but that’s it really...” you say, bashful of your limited intellectual interest.
  2538. >”Just think carefully before you dedicate your life to something, and be ready to sweat for it. Also-… Well isn’t this just wonderful?” mother’s tone changes from soft to all too pleased in an instant.
  2539. >Her horn lights up as she sips her coffee, and rereads the scroll with a grin.
  2540. >After a few moments you hear some distinctly feminine mumbling coming from the adult’s room, and Blessed Matron Mysterious Text walked out, green mane sticking out at odd angles.
  2541. >”Ugh, what do you want you buc-”, she notices you, “buhhhh- buckaroo. What do you want, buckaroo?”
  2542. >”Well saved.” Mother said, deadpan for some reason, but immediately went back to her normal speaking voice, “We’ve received a particular correspondence that may concern you. Do you want to read it, or shall I?”
  2543. >”Upper, it’s too early for this, and for once I don’t have to wake up before Celestia. Can I get the jist of it?”, Blessed Matron Mysterious Text says, already aggravated.
  2544. >Mother shrugs “If you’re sure. In essence, Anonymous Letter has been accepted into Celestia’s School for Gifted Un-”
  2545. >”WHAT?!”, after yelling loud enough to wake up the house the scroll is teleported away from mother and in front of the Blessed Matron herself.
  2546. >Her eyes rapidly dart across the message, before dropping it and running around in circles in joy.
  2547. >Her mouth is open wide in what you assume shouts of joy, but the indigo aura of your mother ensures that anyone not awake won’t be waking up.
  2548. >You laughed quietly at the display and watch your mother take a sip from her mug.
  2549. >You then then sigh.
  2550. >’To think the blessed brother that’s younger than your art project is already so much closer to the throne than you.’
  2551. >You shake your head quickly
  2553. >’Bucket that thought! I can be smart and handsome! I can be studious and sociable! Mother’s first investment was seventeen bits right after she got her cutie mark, I have years of a head start compared to that! I can still be a good blessed brother!’
  2554. >You felt pride swell within you as you internally set your new goals.
  2555. >”If you’re done chasing your tail, finish reading the letter Mysterious.” Mother says, no doubt growing tired of using her magic to keep the Blessed Matron quiet.
  2556. >The green mare huffs, and turns her eyes to the scroll once again.
  2557. >Her brow creases as she reads something that she disagrees with.
  2558. >”But what could…?” the question about the message that you managed to not be a nosy Nelly seems to put a major damper on her mood.
  2559. >”As you see Mysterious, something is holding back my blessed son. While I know we have our differences I also know you will agree with me in that nothing should hold back our foals.”
  2560. >Blessed Matron Mysterious Text nods, looking very serious despite her dark green mane being in disarray.
  2561. >”Good, I can’t wait to somehow still disagree with your decision when I get home tonight,” she turns once again to you, horn aglow as her clothes float from the bedroom, “And son, Anonymous Letter may be smarter than you, but you’re still the elder and he doesn’t know everything. He doesn’t have the slightest idea how to be a proper stallion, nor why it is advantageous to be one. Guide him, Scribble, and the twins.”
  2562. >As the sweater is tied neatly over her pristine shirt she nuzzles you again
  2563. “I will, mother. I promise.” you reply as you return the gesture heedless of how her perfume affects your cologne.
  2564. >’I have plenty of time to shower and reapply.’
  2565. >”Oh and don’t tell anypony about the letter, or what you heard. It’s supposed to be a secret,” she kisses your cheek and organizes the bills in a stack in her aura.
  2566. >She checks her pale yellow fur for anything amiss, and leaves waving as she goes.
  2567. >Your business settled, and the excitement over you get up from the table to have another shower so that your little cry doesn’t ruin the color of your fur.
  2568. >”Why does it smell like coffee in here?” your matron asks nopony in particular.
  2569. >You decide to make your exit before your own secret is let out.
  2571. ~~CH9~~
  2573. >You are Anonymous
  2574. >...Letter
  2575. >You yawn and stretch your legs as you wake up.
  2576. >The sun is just peeking over the horizon and slowly rising.
  2577. >You hop out of bed and walk to the bathroom to take care of the double S.
  2578. >You open the door to see your oldest brother spraying and brushing his fur carefully.
  2579. >”Come on in Little Letter, so long as you don’t use the toilet quite yet. I’m nearly done taking care of the triple S”, High Breed says.
  2580. >’Triple?’
  2581. “What’s that, HB?”
  2582. >He smiled, pleased at your curiosity.
  2583. >”Why shower, shampoo, and style, of course.” he says moving the brush to gently brush the fur under his eyes.
  2584. “Ah.”, is all you manage to come up with.
  2585. >”I don’t use too much product, since mother says I’m still young and my mane is perfectly manageable. However a bit of extra sheen and fragrance never hurt anypony.” he says gesturing to his mane while being extremely careful to not touch it.
  2586. “Well then, I’m going to go to the guest bathroom then, because I do need to use the toilet.” you say glibly before turning around and leaving.
  2587. >”Don’t take too long,” High Breed says as you leave.
  2588. >As you pass the kitchen on your way to the guest restroom you see Wordsmith happily cooking already.
  2589. >After a quick handling of the first S and washing your hooves if for no reason other than long standing habit you return, Wordsmith offering you a smile and a wave, that you return, as you go.
  2590. >When you return you find High Breed to still be in the restroom, only this time he is spritzing himself with cologne.
  2591. >Using tiny touches of magic to turn the knob to the perfect temperature you start the shower going
  2592. >Your modesty having long left between PE, the gym, the barracks, and living most of your new life nude you hop in without preamble.
  2593. >You squirt the soap onto yourself and use your magic to move the loofah to wash yourself
  2594. >”Little Letter?”, you hear HB call over the sound of the water.
  2595. “Yeah?” you reply eyes closed as the suds fall down your face.
  2597. >”Would you like me to do your mane again? Father thought your picture looked very handsome, and Blessed Matron Mysterious Text agreed.” he asked, clearly done with his own grooming
  2598. >You sigh and quickly wash the soap off you face so you can open your eyes back up.
  2599. >You poke your dripping head through the shower curtain.
  2600. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it HB. Thanks for the offer though.” with that you get back to your shower.
  2601. >You can barely hear HB argue with himself as you finish up.
  2602. >You turn the water off, but keep the curtain closed as instinct demands you shake most of the water off like a dog.
  2603. >’I hate that I love doing that.’
  2604. >Once you’re no longer dripping you open the shower curtain with a small touch of magic.
  2605. >High Breed stiffens a bit while you grab a towel and finish drying off.
  2606. >You hang your green towel next to the others, each matching the fur of their owners and use the little step stool to reach the sink so you can brush your teeth.
  2607. >In the mirror you can see High Breed looking pensively at you.
  2608. >’Maybe this means something to ponies.., no he would’ve mentioned it.’
  2609. >As you wash your mouth you see him take on a determined look.
  2610. >You gargle, spit, turn and grab a brush to fix your mane
  2611. >”Little Letter, I feel I should tell you that brushing your mane immediately after showering isn’t good for it”, he picks up a comb from his area on the sink, “use a wide toothed comb to get out any tangles you may have given yourself.”
  2612. >You don’t care, not in the least. More often than not you’d just smooth it out a bit and go to Rarity if you hair got messed up.
  2613. >But for some reason, he does care today.
  2614. “Alright, High Breed, what’s this about?” you ask.
  2616. >”I’m just looking after the well being of my blessed brother, is that so wrong?” he asks, sounding offended and maybe a little hurt.
  2617. >’There must’ve been more edge in my voice than I would’ve liked, I should pull back a little. He’s a bit of a sissy, but he’s never done me wrong in the slightest.”
  2618. “I’m sorry HB,” you lower your ears a bit so you look genuinely remorseful, before perking them back up, “it’s just that you’ve never shown any interest in how I treat my mane before.”
  2619. >He smiles, “And I’m sorry for how long I’ve let you cultivate bad habits, well no more! I’ll help make you into a proper stallion.”
  2620. >You tense.
  2621. >’Proper stallion usually means, gay shit.’
  2622. You blow air through your lips, “I’m three HB. T h r e e. I’ve got over a decade before I have to worry about being A stallion.” your muzzle scrunches as you to a quick bit of math, “Same with you too, actually. Why go through all this trouble?”
  2623. >His smile doesn’t leave his face, “Because the good habits we adopt today are the good habits we keep tomorrow.” He starts combing your mane gently.
  2624. >He seems to be keeping it to your general look, with some embellishments
  2625. >”And the same goes with bad habits. If you brush your mane wet today then you’ll do it tomorrow, then the day after, and then the year after. So by the time you’re ‘old enough’, you’ve already done years of damage to your mane and have to break a long standing routine.”
  2626. >He takes up a different comb and works on your tail.
  2627. >”If you want to make any change in your life you have to do it immediately, or risk it never happening.
  2628. >’I can’t argue that is sound logic, but I still don’t want to turn into a dandy or some shit...’
  2629. “Why change though? It’s not like I’ll be able to get by on my looks or anything.”, you say shrugging.
  2631. >With a loud scraping sound the stool you’re sitting on is whipped around and you face a surprisingly stern looking High Breed.
  2632. >”First of all, I don’t know where it came from, but you are far more handsome than you seem to believe.” he says combs still at work, “Second, there is much more to being a stallion than ‘getting by on looks’.”
  2633. “I didn’t mean you do that, HB. I just mean I don’t need to focus on looks so much now, I’m not looking for a girlfriend or anything. Who’s there to impress, you know?”
  2634. >He looks at you like you just asked him to shave his fur off.
  2635. >”Who’s to im--”, he takes a calming breath, “Oh sweet shining sun. I can’t believe how right mother was about this.” he says looking at you almost in sorrow.
  2636. >’Well that answers where this attitude comes from.’
  2637. >”Litttle Letter, I wish I had the time to explain how you couldn’t be more wrong, but Scribble isn’t in here yet so I have to make sure to wake him up.” he says turning to leave.
  2638. >He pauses and stops at the door, before turning and giving you a firm look
  2639. >Well, as firm as a six year old could look.
  2640. >”I will find time though, I promise. I won’t let any of my blessed brothers down.”
  2641. >You smile, genuinely.
  2642. >’It’s annoying, but it seems to be really important to him. It can’t hurt to hear out his point of view.’
  2643. “You couldn’t if you tried,” you reply
  2644. >His smile widens, and you stifle a laugh as his tail starts to wag.
  2645. >He turns and prances away.
  2646. >You lick your teeth to make sure you didn’t miss any spots before heading to the kitchen.
  2648. >Wordsmith is mixing some ingredients into a shallow bowl
  2649. “Good morning.” you say before pulling out your usual chair, moving your saddlebags to the table, and sitting down.
  2650. >He turns to you and smiles before turning back to his work, “Good morning, Little Letter. You look very nice today.”
  2651. “Thanks, HB wanted to take care of my mane today.” you reply opening your geography book to get more of a grasp on the world.
  2652. >Wordsmith continues to mix before humming to himself.
  2653. >”Son?” he asks still facing his ingredients
  2654. “Hm?” you reply still reading your geography book
  2655. >”Would you like to help me cook breakfast? The whole blessing is here except for Upper Crust and it is a lot of work to have it done before they’re ready.” he says slicing steamed carrots with his hooves while spicing the bowl with what looks like cinnamon and probably sugar.
  2656. >’Eh, it would be shitty of me to just sit here and wait to have my food handed to me.’
  2657. “Sure,” you answer before you can hop down Wordsmith levitates the chair from the kitchen to in front of the counter.
  2658. >Now that you’re closer you can tell that French Toast is what’s being made.
  2659. >You take a look around and see the bread is already cut and the griddle is already warm
  2660. >”This isn’t hard at all, I’ll help you with everything.” Wordsmith says already dicing potatoes
  2661. “Don’t worry, I know how to make French Toast, dip or soak and pop on the heat until ready.”, you say using a small touch of magic to scooch the bread closer to you.
  2662. “Can’t see how I can help though, my magic isn’t good enough to place and flip the bread.
  2663. >Wordsmith replies with a giggle, “Prench Toast, son. From Prance. Hahaha woo. Anyway, don’t tell the twins but the griddle is enchanted with a little barrier.”
  2665. >To emphasize his point he touches the griddle with a hoof, only for a barrier to stop his brown hoof from making contact
  2666. >Despite being used to magic and what it can do, and being able to pull off the formerly impossible yourself, it can still amaze you.
  2667. >It must’ve been clear on your face because Wordsmith’s golden eyes twinkled as he saw your wonder at what must’ve been utterly mundane to an adult unicorn.
  2668. >”You have your mother’s fascination with magic.”, he says giving your head a couple pats, “But, we have a family to feed.”
  2669. >His horn glowed a bit brighter and a drawer opened behind him and a pair of tongs floated out and into your hooves.
  2670. >”These should help you, and don’t worry about the oil popping. Barrier keeps that in too,” his hoof moves from your head and pulls you into a semi-hug, “I’d never let you do anything dangerous.”
  2671. >With that you took the tongs in hoof and got to work dipping the bread in the mix before laying it flat on the griddle.
  2672. >Except for one that you let soak, before putting it on.
  2673. >’Scribble likes his french toast thoroughly soaked.’
  2674. >Once perfectly cooked you cut them in half, and then without request hop off the chair to get some toppings from the fridge.
  2675. >’Strawberries for Page, blueberries for HB, whip cream for Scribble, loads of maple syrup for Fine Print, apple slices for the twins, butter for mom, and powdered sugar for Raven...wait.’
  2676. “Where’s the powdered sugar?”, as you look up you see a brightly smiling Wordsmith levitating a small strainer with powdered sugar being lovingly sprinkled on the toast.
  2677. >Wide smile still affixed to his face he places the still warm hash browns onto the plate and levitate it to the table.
  2678. >Where everyone was sitting wide-eyed and slack-jawed, except for your mom who is smiling like a crazy person holding a camera, and HB who is looks really pleased.
  2679. >’I really hope this wasn’t planned.’
  2681. >Before you have the opportunity to question, your chair is levitated back into place, and a plate is set in front of you.
  2682. >And as you pick up your fork two raspberries appear on top of the french toast.
  2683. “Thanks, mom.” you say quietly.
  2684. >”Mmm! These are really good!”
  2685. >You turn to see Scribble already starting on his food
  2686. >”Scribby calm down or you’ll get crumbs in your fur.” Raven says using her magic to slow down Scribble a bit.
  2687. >’This will probably be worse if I act like it’s a big deal.’
  2688. >So you take a calming breath and take the silverware and start eating breakfast.
  2689. >…
  2690. >You are still Anonymous
  2691. >The morning sun is shining brightly as you and your siblings walk to school.
  2692. >Much less organized than yesterday, but without causing a wide berth with other ponies walking the streets.
  2693. >”Come on, Dad doesn’t usually have time to give each of us our favorite toppings and you made them so good.” Scribble begged as he walked much closer to you than usual, or comfortable.
  2694. >You gave him a sidelong glance.
  2695. “I was asked to help, so I helped. Besides I’m not a chef or anything, I just remembered that you like you fr- PRENCH toast soaked and the toppings.” you say raising a leg in a shrug.
  2696. >”Stop being so bashful, Little Letter. You did a great job helping Dad out, and it was really nice that you remembered all of our favorites.”, Page said, purple eyes moving across her notepad as she brainstormed what her next article should be about.
  2697. “I’m not being “bashful”, Page.”, you reply, adjusting your saddlebags, “I’m glad you all appreciated it, but you have to remember all I did was heat up the prench toast. The mix, spices, hash browns, all of it was already made.”
  2698. >You took a step away from your white blessed brother.
  2699. “The only change I made was remember that you like yours soaked all the way through and what toppings everypony eats.” you say looking directly into Scribble’s puppy dog eyes.
  2700. “Also those eyes only work on adults.”
  2701. >”Ponyfeathers!”
  2703. >As you walked you saw many different ponies, including classmates and those your age walking in groups or with their parents.
  2704. >It was easy to see the pattern of only children with parents and blessings and the like having the kids walking together.
  2705. >”Hi Anon!”
  2706. >You instantly recognize the voice, and the excited hooves scampering towards you.
  2707. >You turn only moments before the over eager unicorn tackles you.
  2708. >Or would’ve had she not be wreathed in a sky-blue aura and lifted into the air and set down a few paces back.
  2709. “Hi, Rarity. Good morning Mrs. Crumbles.” you greet to your friend and her mother.
  2710. >The pink mare’s horn dims and she smiles, “Good morning there Anonymous Letter, Front Page, High Breed, Scribble.”
  2711. >She regards each unicorn as she talks with a smile and nod.
  2712. >”Mommy, why did you use everyponies’ full names?” the white filly asked.
  2713. >”Hehe, guess mommy still thinks she’s in Canterlot.” she gives Rarity a little nuzzle, “Always gotta have perfect manners when you’re in the unicorn capital, darling.”
  2714. >”She’s right, Rarity,” Page says putting her pad away, “We did a practice for the bachelor’s debut yesterday morning, Canterlot is strict on rules and manners.”
  2715. >Cookie Crumbles nods approvingly to Page, “It’s rough for us big sisters, eh?”
  2716. >Taking the safe route Page responds, “Sometimes, ma’am.”
  2717. >”Well we won’t keep you,” she looks down to Rarity, “tell Anonymous ‘bye bye’ we have another stop to make before I can drop you off.”
  2718. >Rarity just looks up to her mother and nods before turning to you and waving despite being only a foot or so away, “Bye bye Anon, sorry we can’t play yet. See you in school!”
  2719. “Bye bye Rarity, see you later,” you reply grinning at the filly who only popped in to pop out.
  2720. >With that the two mares turned to go about their day.
  2722. >And so did you and your group.
  2723. “I wonder what they’re doing so early”, you say mostly to yourself.
  2724. >”Nopony likes a nosy stallion, Little Letter.” HB says very matter-of-factly.
  2725. “I wasn’t asking to snoop, just curious.” you reply to your golden blessed brother.
  2726. >”High is right Little Letter, don’t worry though. Friends and family don’t keep secrets, so I bet once Rarity knows she’ll tell you.” Scribble says to you while waving at a brown earth pony colt as he walks by.
  2727. >”I-ah. T-that’s right Scribble.” HB says looking incredibly nervous.
  2728. >’He must be keeping something to himself. Ah well, doesn’t matter as long as it isn’t about me.’
  2729. “You might have to every once in a while Scribble. Like for a surprise party or a secret somepony else needs you to keep.” you say looking at Scribble, but watching HB visibly calm down in your peripheral vision.
  2730. >”One second mom, I just want to ask one thing.” you hear from above you.
  2731. >Looking up you see the black pegasus colt from yesterday
  2732. “Good morning, Thunder.” you greet.
  2733. >”Yeah, what’s up.” he says flying right past you with barely any acknowledgment, “You, yellow girl with the green hair.”
  2734. >”My name is Front Page, what is it?” she asks taken off guard by being confronted so early in the day.
  2735. >”Are you staying after school to wait on him?” he asks, gesturing to you.
  2736. >”Why are you asking?” she fires back, eyebrow quirked.
  2737. >”Gir- Yes or no.” he says flying to exactly eye level with Page.
  2738. >”Thunder! Hurry up, I gotta get back to the south end of town and finish clearing out the morning fog.” you hear once again from above.
  2739. >You look up to see the pregnant silver pegasus from yesterday.
  2740. >Poor mare looks exhausted, and mad.
  2741. >’Has to suck to fly with all that extra weight.’
  2742. >”Yes, he’s my brother. What does it have to do with you?”
  2743. >”That’s all I needed,” he turns to look at you, “We’re talking at recess, don’t bail out”
  2745. >Without waiting for a reply he flew up to where his mother was.
  2746. >”She said yes, so I won’t be alone or anything, mom.” was the last you heard from him as he and his mother sped in the direction of the school.
  2747. >”What does he want to talk to you about lil Letter?” Scribble asks muzzle slightly scrunched in the direction of the small dark colt.
  2748. “No idea. He said he had something to tell me after class yesterday, but he went with his mom to do something with clouds.” you reply.
  2749. >”Kind of rude, but at least you have a friend besides Rarity.” HB says checking his mane with his compact mirror.
  2750. >...
  2751. >Some time later you and your blessing arrived at school.
  2752. >Scribble and High Breed go into Apple class, while you and Front Page go into Tree class.
  2753. >There was some time before the bell rang, but most of the class was already there.
  2754. >What was notable was Thunder in the back already sleeping, and Rarity not being in yet.
  2755. >With nothing else to do you crack open your geography book and pick up where you left off at breakfast.
  2756. >Beyond confirming that this place is nothing like Earth geographically, you also found out that the world hasn’t even been fully mapped yet.
  2757. >’Beyond the frozen north nothing seems mapped nor on the west of the North and South Luna Oceans.
  2758. >’Shit, nothing west of the Whitetail Woods has even been settled...or even south of Appleloosa.’
  2759. >You scan over the map and quickly find your small farm town southwest of Canterlot.
  2760. >’It’s so fucked, the border of the nation is just a few miles west of here, and the unexplored landmass just a bit further.’
  2761. >Your eyes widened at the implications.
  2762. >’Despite modern appliances and disgustingly punny city names, this place isn’t in the modern era yet.’
  2763. >There were peoples, places, and dangers that were unknown.
  2764. >Before your curiosity could give way to wanderlust pragmatism greeted you.
  2765. >”Good morning again, Anon!” Rarity said waving and taking her spot in front of you.
  2766. >’Oh, that’s right I’m a kid.’
  2768. “Good morning again, Rarity.” you say with a smile.
  2769. >’I get a new lease on life and can truly appreciate how fucking restraining it is.’
  2770. “What did you and your mom have to do, Rarity?” you ask trying to shake off your mounting frustration and sate your earlier curiosity.
  2771. >Her ears noticeably drooped, “Grandmother Pearl needed some medicine since she got sick,” they perked back up as she continued, “and mommy wanted me to tell her I was in Tree class. She was really proud of me.”
  2772. >You heard of Pearl a few times over the years.
  2773. >Not much since you were still a toddler until recently
  2774. “I thought your Grandma lived in Canterlot, is she visiting?” you ask, genuinely.
  2775. >She smiled and shook her head, “Uh-uh, Grandmother Pearl is going to live with us in Ponyville until she gets better. She even wants to meet you!”
  2776. >’I should make sure to be on my P’s and Q’s, and try to make a good impression.
  2777. “That sounds nice, we can meet her after school.” you say getting your pencil and notebook out of your saddlebags.
  2778. >Once again your age flashes in your mind.
  2779. >You turn to where Page is still agonizing over her notepad.
  2780. “Hey, Page.” you whisper towards her
  2781. >She looks around surprised before her violet eyes focus on you
  2782. >”You don’t have to whisper Little Letter, class doesn’t start for another few minutes. What did you want to ask?”
  2783. “Can we visit Rarity’s house after school? Her grandma is visiting, and wants to meet me.”
  2784. >She thinks for a moment and nods, “Sure I can drop you off and Mrs. Crumbles can either walk you home or to Mr. Golden’s library.”
  2785. “Doing research?” you ask
  2786. >She replies with a nod, “As soon as I can figure out my story I’m going to need to look into it.”
  2787. “Cool, that works.” you turn back to Rarity who was already grinning wide, “Well you heard her looks lik-”
  2789. >The sound of a bell above you interrupts what you were saying, and the door to the class swings open.
  2790. >In walks a very tired looking Apple Polish.
  2791. >There are the beginnings of bags under her eyes, her fur seems dull compared to yesterday, and while combed her mane still has the odd wild strand
  2792. >”Ok class,” a long yawn cuts into her greeting, “Lets get started on today’s lesson.”
  2794. CHAPTER 10
  2796. >The sun shines brightly as it makes its journey across the skies.
  2797. >It always does when you’re above the clouds
  2798. >Up here the skies are always clear, there are no rainy days, and even the wind is always cool and easy.
  2799. >And if you don’t want it cool and easy, you’re always a few flaps away from a killer jet stream.
  2800. >A minute flex of your wings results in you banking right, speed maintained, as the wind passes over you like a stone in a river.
  2801. >Verdant hills give way to stony mountains, which in turn become snowy peaks.
  2802. >Soon even that disappears under the thick clouds.
  2803. >You can’t imagine ever not loving the absolute freedom that you feel in these skies.
  2804. >You can’t imagine why some of your family can be bored of such an awesome experience.
  2805. >’If I ever get bored of flying I hope my feathers fall out.’
  2806. >Your wings give a few flaps and your speed increases to insane degrees, and still play with your aerobatics.
  2807. >You are a black spot in the sky tailed by a dark yellow streak easily seen by anypony who even glances in your direction.
  2808. >But only the keen eyes of a pegasus could even hope to keep track of all of your banks, rolls, and turns.
  2809. >”Ok class, lets get started on today’s lesson.” a feminine voice says, tiredly
  2810. >’Still time.’
  2811. >The narrowed view of dragons, and the clumsy wings on griffons leave them no hope of keeping up.
  2812. >And no hope of winning.
  2814. >Through the cloud cover the high peaks of the griffon capital, Griffonstone, stand defiantly against the beautiful clear skies.
  2815. >The filthy nests and gnarled trees contrasts against the shining buildings made from plundered riches that sit in the branches.
  2816. >”Take your seats everypony.”
  2817. “Thunderbirds on our 10, I’ll engage and distract. Get the Idol.”
  2818. >You feel the wind shift as your team breaks off to hit the palace.
  2819. >You speed up dipping into the cloud cover only to burst up from underneath them.
  2820. >They never expect attacks from below, and they’d never see an attack on their capital coming.
  2821. >Especially in broad daylight
  2822. >Your reward is your hooves pushing deep into the abdomen of a thunderbird who was laughing with his friends before you knocked the breath out of him.
  2823. “Regards from Equestria, birdbrains!” you shout as you soar through the group.
  2824. >The audacity of your brazen attack stuns them for a moment before they raise the cry and pursue.
  2825. >Thanks to your speed that moment became a quarter mile of distance.
  2826. >Would be half a mile if it wasn’t for the extra weight.
  2827. “If you think this is the worst your day could get, just wait a minute.”
  2828. >As you fly higher and higher your flaps propel you less and less, and the underside if the griffon grows darker and darker as it is silhouetted against the sun even at arm’s length
  2829. >Once you feel the extra bit of chill from flying so high, you tilt your wings and stall into a freefall.
  2830. >In a moment you’re flapping back to the group as fast as you can go with the extra drag in front of you.
  2831. >Not being able to keep a smirk off your face you stop flapping and tuck your limbs as close to your body as you can manage.
  2832. >With a tilt you separate from the griffon, taking advantage of its larger size, the blinding glare of the sun behind you, and your dark color to hide in its shadow.
  2833. >The griffons are knocked back, by their unconscious comrade.
  2834. >”Macintosh Apple?” you hear the voice say
  2835. >”I’m here!” a different more masculine one replies
  2838. >You pursue to take advantage of the momentary chaos, but you feel your fur standing on end.
  2839. >You don’t know where it’s coming from, but you know that you shouldn’t be where you are.
  2840. >Your wings work double time to reverse course, and you change direction just in time to see a blue lightening bolt split the sky where you were an instant ago.
  2841. >’Well, the element of surprise was fun while it lasted.’
  2842. >You scan the skies to see the fully armed and armored thunderbirds, and more coming from the palace.
  2843. >Their bronze armor masks their features and contrasts with their shining silver tridents, already crackling with magic lightning
  2844. “Oh good, you chickens remembered to bring the forks!” you taunted.
  2845. >One of them squawked and fired, missing only because you had already shifted the direction of your flap while you were talking.
  2846. >’Any pegasi, and some keen earth ponies would’ve seen the shift and had you stunned and on your way to the dungeons’
  2847. >’Lucky for me griffons’ eyes are as terrible as their wings.’
  2848. >Shifting again, you launched yourself upward, and then immediately broke away from the guards struggling to keep up.
  2849. >’No straight lines for long, break at hard angles...’
  2850. >You clasped your right wing to your side and extended the left one and flapped hard.
  2851. >Rolling from your current direction and out of the paths of the latest storm of lightening bolts.
  2852. >You then dove into the clouds and broke to the left.
  2853. >You feel the clouds rumble as the electricity enters them.
  2854. >Zigzagging in the clouds you see a shadow overhead and burst out, striking the guard in the gut.
  2855. >You quickly grab him and drag him into the cloud cover.
  2856. >You leave him there gasping for breath, but you do take his trident.
  2857. >As you focus, your own magic leeches into the weapon and charges it.
  2858. >Unlike the blue plasma of the griffons, your magic lightening shines a brilliant yellow.
  2859. “Oh, yeah.” you say with a smile
  2861. >You push the guard to the surface of the cloud, more gently than he deserves and glide out from beneath the cloud watching the shadows converge on the guard.
  2862. >You catch an updraft and tilt your wings upward and rise above the clouds silently and with no magic trail to track.
  2863. >Rising above the clouds you see the guards trying to rouse their comrade.
  2864. >’At least they’re more respectable than the lizards.’
  2865. >A dragon will only care about one of their fallen fellows until they find where their horde was.
  2866. “Bok bok bok bok bok bokaw!” you shout.
  2867. >The guards all turn and you fire the trident, striking one of them.
  2868. “I knew you guys spoke chicken!” yell before you dove under the clouds and flew towards them, completely avoiding the volley of lightening.
  2869. >Only to be grazed by a bolt from below.
  2870. “Argh!” your reactionary scream is immediately cut off by you gritting your teeth.
  2871. >You right your flying and look down to see the griffon citizenry and some more thunderbirds aiming their tridents and the odd crossbow at you.
  2872. >’That’s right, all eyes on me.’
  2873. “How many griffons does it take to NOT hit a single pegasus?”, you shout, twisting your wings in all matter of directions with the sole goal to keep from being in a predictable path.
  2874. >While you did this you took pot shots at any griffon that managed to aim with anything approaching success.
  2875. >’I can’t keep this up, how long does it take to take a rinky dink little statuette?’
  2876. >As if on queue, two streaks catch your vision as your team flees from the castle.
  2877. >Once you see they’re clear, your eyes get to work checking for escape routes.
  2878. >But most of your vision is taken up by the massive black cloud.
  2879. >A smile parts your lips.
  2880. >’The massive, electricity filled, cloud.’
  2882. >You cut away and make a beeline for the cloud, trading evasion for speed.
  2883. >You fire the trident at the cloud again and again trying to get a few more volts in.
  2884. “Ahhh, fffff” you shout as a lightening bolt hits solidly, bringing intense pain before making your rear left leg go numb.
  2885. >You turn and fire a shot at the thunderbird, which he had barely managed to evade.
  2886. >What he didn’t evade was you throwing the trident at him like a javalin.
  2887. >It didn’t penetrate his armor, but it did get caught in his mail at his wing pit.
  2888. >A second without flapping in all that armor and he fell like a stone, and a couple of his comrades broke off to keep him from spatting.
  2889. >However the second of distraction was all you needed.
  2890. >Working your wings to their limits you flew into the cloud, but instead of swimming through it like a fish you were bucking everything around you.
  2891. >Despite it being filled with griffon magic it still responded to your strikes.
  2892. >The cloud started rumbling louder and louder as it was filled with your magic and the arcing lightening built upon itself exponentially.
  2893. “Churn the cloud, to generate lighting, strike it to get it roiling, and when it hits it’s peak...” you say mindlessly quoting your mother.
  2894. >With a powerful flap you escape from the cloud, where half the battalion of thunderbirds are ready for you.
  2895. >Shocking them by completely ignoring them you slam into the cloud with all the force your hooves can muster.
  2896. “START THE STORM!” you cry out.
  2897. >The thunder is deafening.
  2898. >The lightening is blinding.
  2899. >Despite your natural defenses, you aren’t unaffected by the cataclysm of electricity you have unleashed on Griffonstone.
  2900. >No doubt due to the fact that the majority of the lightening was made with griffon magic.
  2901. >’Just keep going, just keep going.’ you repeat mentally as you force your numb hooves to keep kicking.
  2902. “Ahhh, buck!”
  2903. >You topple into the cloud, struggling to breathe as you see only black and flashes of yellow or blue.
  2905. >”Major?!” you hear one of your airmares shout
  2906. >You grunt in reply, before groaning in pain.
  2907. >You hear him sigh and laugh a little, “You suck at distracting ponies.”
  2908. >You laugh back a little pained
  2909. “I’d be better if your fat flanks laid off the pies.”, you reply
  2910. >You grit your teeth and let the stallion help you up, before continuing.
  2911. “Bit hard to get ponies to miss a blimp with wings.”, you laugh, “Even these half-blind bird brains could see you.”
  2912. >He can’t help but laugh, but in an instant his pupils contract to pinpoints and before you can move he shoves you away
  2913. >”T, behind y-! Argh!” you look on to see a sapphire bolt strike him in his chest.
  2914. >You spare an instant to turn and see the perpetrator, the griffon you stole the trident from.
  2915. >It had a look of disappointment on its face before it dropped its comrade’s trident and passes out.
  2916. >As soon as you see that he is no longer a threat, you turn to the rest of the ponies.
  2917. “Idol takes priority, straight to Canterlot full speed.” they don’t even salute before taking off.
  2918. >Not that you would know if they did because as soon as the last word left your mouth you were flying straight down as fast as your wings would allow.
  2919. >’When you’re on the front you realize what true brotherhood is.’
  2920. >Your already strained flight muscles are pushed to their limits as your grandfather’s words echo in your head.
  2921. >’We all got hurt during the war. Some far worse than others, but damn if I let them take my brothers and damn if I didn’t make them pay for it.’
  2922. >You break through the still roiling clouds and see the white airmare plummeting towards the Abysmal Abyss.
  2923. >’Watch your brother’s back, and come home together.’
  2924. >The crosswinds pick up as you near the point of no return, it takes everything you have to maintain your trajectory.
  2925. >’To do any less would make you no better than those damn lizards or their queen!’
  2928. >His mane is caught by the wind and blows out of his face, and he looks like he is at peace, enjoying a sunny day.
  2929. “No, please. Not yet.” you whisper to the wind
  2930. >You tuck your wings close together to catch less of the increasing winds, stabilizing you but slowing you down slightly.
  2931. “I swore I would bring you back home. I promised your mom, dude.”
  2932. >You were closing the distance, he was nearly within arm’s reach.
  2933. “It should’ve been me, I’m the reckless one.”, your hoof brushes against his as you search for a good grip before you hit the gale force winds below where there would be no hope of escape.
  2934. >Suddenly he opens his eyes wide and stares into yours.
  2935. >An all too familiar voice rings out, ”I thought you had my back T-”
  2936. >”Thunder.” a feminine voice calls out.
  2937. >Just like that the pain in your wings, the fatigue, and the...stallion disappears.
  2938. >The Abysmal Abyss turns into the black inside of your eyelids.
  2939. >You raise your hoof.
  2940. >’I’m so tired of that nightmare.’
  2941. “Here, ma’am.”, you stretch you wings and open your eyes, and see Ms. Polish.
  2942. “Ms. Polish, are you ok? You look bad today.” you say truthfully.
  2943. >Her ear twitches slightly, she bits a small portion of her lip for a moment, and the muscles below her eyebrows strain to not crease.
  2944. >”Yes Thunder, I’m fine. Just a bit tired today, so l-”
  2945. >’That’s no good, sleep is important.’
  2946. “Make sure to get enough sleep Ms. Polish, it’s how you keep your brain sharp and your magic going good.” you say concerned for the older mare, “Try to take a nap at recess or something.”
  2947. >You see the few pegasai in the class nodding in agreement.
  2948. >You see she sighs and shakes her head doing her best not to smile
  2950. >”So it seems Thunder wishes to begin with pony physiology.” she says her lips pursed and eyes lidded and blinking slower than usual due to her sleepiness.
  2951. >You put a little more base in your voice and talked steadily.
  2952. “I mean it Ms. Polish, those grades can wait your health is more important.”
  2953. >’Maybe be a little more pragmatic approach will help.’
  2954. “Plus you looked a lot prettier yesterday.”, you replied making sure to smile.
  2955. >The classroom erupted in “Oooooooooo”s and rambunctiousness.
  2956. >You looked around at the class, randomly accusing you of having a crush on the teacher.
  2957. >’Eh.’
  2958. “Ya’ll saying she looks better today than yesterday?” you asked the class.
  2959. >You had a hard time hiding your smile at their reaction.
  2960. >Not only did they seriously consider it, but there was also the general confusion about how unfazed you were about the whole thing.
  2961. >”Alright class, enough about my appearance and sleep schedule. We’re getting started on today’s lesson.”
  2962. >The chalk was wrapped in a sky blue aura and draws out a simple image of a pony on the board
  2963. >”Today we’ll be talking about the magical systems of each pony tribe, please take out your notes and let’s begin.” Ms. Polish says, smiling despite herself.
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