A Closer Walk

“Whoa!” squeaked Pinkie. “Hey, Fluttershy, form up! I think we can take her!”

Hina forced herself a step further, biting her lip, tears leaking from her eyes.

“Are you the monster I seek?” she demanded… but her voice shook dreadfully, as she said it.

“That depends on what you’re up to,” chirped Pinkie, her mane threatening to foof out once more. “Fluttershy here has seen better days, but she’s pretty good at monstrosity, especially in bed…”

“Pinkie,” warned Fluttershy.

“Now me on the other hoof,” continued Pinkie, “I keep having to learn new stuff about being a monster, and some of it is super duper ooper disconcerting! And apparently I’m pretty good at monstrosity too, I just hadda give it up. But if it’s monster ponies you want, I think I can come up with a little more mojo in the tank for ya…”

“Pinkie!” said Fluttershy, poking her with a hoof.

Pinkie Pie continued to stare right at the oncoming Kirin, who continued to struggle forward. “And also, I probably oughta say that if you FUCKING DARE TO HURT HER you’re not gonna BELIEVE the monstrosity you’re gonna…”

“PINKIE!” yelled Fluttershy, her ears back in alarm.

Pinkie Pie blinked, and turned to her beloved. “What?”

“Look at her, just look at her,” said Fluttershy. “She’s terrified!”

Pinkie blinked again, startled, and looked back at the slow-motion Kirin, trying to see past the glare of that incandescent horn. She squinted, studied eyes and trembling lower lip, saw the tears and the terrible strain. Pinkie gulped.

“Whoa,” she said. “What’s this about, Kiri-butt?”

Hina only whimpered, and continued doggedly to force herself forward.

“Is this something you did, Pinkie Pie? She’s stuck, she can barely move,” said Fluttershy.

“She’s not s’posed to be able to move at ALL!”

“Hmph!” said Fluttershy disapprovingly, and got up.

“Hey, be careful, Fluttershy! She’s some kind of weird magic thing full of attitude and all thinking she knows best…”

Fluttershy turned. “And we’ve seen enough of that, haven’t we?” she scolded. “Takes one to know one!” With a flounce of her feeble and thinning tail, she walked over to the struggling Kirin, whose eyes were screwed shut in desperate effort.

Hina’s eyes flew open. What appeared to be an elderly yellow granny-goat, with a pink mane and little fangs, was booping her gently on the nose with a gaunt pony hoof.

“Excuse me,” said Fluttershy, “but you should think about things and not act hastily, please. And definitely not kill or hurt anything, because we’ve sort of fixed it ourselves. Okay?”

Hina stared, astonished.

Fluttershy added, “And I’m not sure what’s blocking you, but please stop struggling so hard. You’ll hurt yourself with all that straining!”

Hina’s jaw dropped, though she did stop struggling.

Fluttershy pouted, her lower lip squishing against the cute little fangs. “Well… it’s true!”

Hina gulped. She took a deep breath, and then she said, “What are you?”

Fluttershy smiled, and her smile lit the room. “That’s a much nicer question! Thank you, that’s a good way to not act hastily. I’m Fluttershy. I’m a nice vampire. And also very weak now. But we killed the evil thing—don’t worry, we’re safe. There’s no danger anymore, other than maybe from you.”

Hina’s hocks were trembling. Her wide eyes panned over to Pinkie. “What are you?”

Fluttershy rolled her eyes. “She’s Pinkie Pie. It’s rather complicated to explain…”

“HI!” said Pinkie loudly, making Hina jump. Her mane and tail floofed out in apparent satisfaction at the harmless joke. She smirked at the hapless Kirin, reached into her mane and pulled out a little box with a red button labelled “This Way To The Egress”, which she squinted at. “Now, before you go any further, do you mind answering a few important questions about how you’re able to resist a perfectly good plot device? Nothing but me, Fluttershy, and the murderer which I thought was also gonna be Fluttershy, can avoid the plot device! You’re clearly moving forward rather than being totally stuck. I think that counts as speeding! If there are any more violations such as a left-hoofed turn into a scaly thing without signalling, or reckless endangerment of vamponies, you could be fined…”

“Pinkie!” interrupted Fluttershy. She trotted over, and gave the manic earth pony a hug. “Breathe, Pinkie. Calm down. That’s a good girl. You don’t have to be all crazy and weird now.”

“But it helps!” chirped Pinkie, one eye twitching.

“Shhh! Do it my way. Okay, honey?” entreated Fluttershy.

Pinkie drooped. She looked into Fluttershy’s eyes, still so warm and forgiving in the little old vampony face. There was no power left in there for a Stare, but it seemed she didn’t need one.

“Okay,” said Pinkie Pie. “I was only trying to keep you safe.”

“I am safe,” said Fluttershy. “Thanks to you.” She gave Pinkie a little kiss on the nose.

Hina, unable to approach them, stared in confusion. “You two are such strange creatures. And the stink of evil is so strong in here… yet it does not come from you!”

“Oh,” said Fluttershy, “I’m sorry, I’m afraid that’s our fault. It’s dreadful, isn’t it? That was a pony called Snowy Hocks. He was trying to destroy us and do many other mean things besides, but we beat him. I smelled that before, when us ponies threw the other wicked vampire pony into the bonfire.”

Hina was still looking around. “Oh, no! Over there? At the base of the bright light? Another pony lies there!”

“What, little Dursaa?” asked Fluttershy. Hearing her voice, the tiny zebragasus colt trotted over to inspect Hina.

Pinkie blinked. She stared at little Dursaa, then at her box with the button, then at little Dursaa again. “Hmmmm… interesting.”

“No, the other one!” cried Hina. “Go to help her, please hurry!”

“Oh!” squeaked Fluttershy. “You mean… oh, dear! Oh, Miss Kirin, I’m so sorry. You must be so disappointed in us! I recognize her. That’s Numeric Essence, and I think she must have finally ended up casting her beacon spell on herself! The poor thing! I knew meanie Snowy must have killed somepony to set off that beacon, Rainbow Dash explained how it would activate if the evil monster killed a pony. I’m so sorry, Miss Kirin, I think she must be dead!”

Hina was staring at the sad winged unicorn corpse. Pinkie was staring at little Dursaa, who smiled as he looked back at her. His expression was delight at finally gaining her attention. Her expression was a veiled but burgeoning fascination, as she looked at the only creature in Ponyville who seemed as able to ignore the Plot Device as herself, Fluttershy and Snowy, its unanticipated yet intended target. Even Hina was nearly unable to get closer despite all her Kirin power, and yet there the colt was, unaffected.

“Well, look at you,” breathed Pinkie. “You didn’t get that from Mister Stripey.”

Little Dursaa smiled wider.

“That charred hulk killed this victim?” said Hina. “What happened to him?”

Fluttershy blushed, and scuffed the floor with a hoof. “But I told you. I’m a vampire. We got in a sort of vampire fight. I thought he was going to destroy me as well, and I wasn’t afraid because what am I if I can’t rescue my friends? But Pinkie was here and she, um, she didn’t like him at all. And so we burned him up, and also sort of exploded him too. I’m sorry, but I feel he was intending to be so mean that there was no other way. He talked about how he ate poor Essence’s soul, and I could see she was dead so it was true, and he was trying very hard to kill me. I wouldn’t have hurt him except for all that.”

Hina gulped. “Eating of the soul. Vampiric murder. And you would not have hurt him? One destroys vampires!”

“Pinkie, stay!” ordered Fluttershy firmly, not even looking. “I mean it, be good!”

“Are you sure, Flutterbutter?” demanded Pinkie.

“Yes, I am,” said Fluttershy, and addressed Hina again. “I told you, if he wasn’t hurting ponies and trying to kill me, of course I wouldn’t have hurt him. That’s just how I am. I know I’m also a vampire, but I’m not like he was. And me and Pinkie killed him while he was trying to kill us, but it’s not only about having a reason or feeling threatened. I felt threatened about things before I ever saw him. I was terrified of you just to hear about you, because I thought you were another big meanie and only wanted to kill me. And sometimes, I felt so bad about myself that it seemed like that should happen… but I had to fight Snowy and we won, and I gave up so much power doing that…”

Fluttershy gulped, as Hina just stared. “Miss Kirin, I’m not afraid of you anymore. There’s very little left of me now. I’ve done something that might be awful and might be wonderful: I gave up almost everything to kill a monster that tried to hurt those I love. I’ll never know if there was a better way to deal with that. I wish there was, but it seems not very likely…”

“Why are you telling me this?” said Hina.

“Because,” said Fluttershy, “the way you came in here, it looked just like all the scary things I most feared about you. I was afraid because I thought creatures like you just came and killed monsters like me. Once, I thought a griffin lady was an evil monster and I jumped on her and beat her up and bit her, and it turned out to be a terrible thing to do… it got fixed up, but I felt even worse! I felt threatened then too.”

“I don’t understand,” said Hina. The little vampony monster seemed to be talking on endlessly, stalling, avoiding something. She kept turning towards Hina, shying away again, talking and talking. Though she said she wasn’t afraid, she was holding something back.

“I didn’t either,” said Fluttershy. “But now I understand a little better, I think. This time I wasn’t mixed up. This time it was a real monster… and we beat him, but it wasn’t about being all proud and happy, it wasn’t about feeling threatened and waiting for the monster to attack. It wasn’t planned out, it didn’t save everypony, it was just about what we had to do when nice didn’t cut it anymore. And I thought the same thing with the griffin lady, but then I was so sure I couldn’t be wrong. And this time…”

“Flutty-nutty,” said Pinkie Pie, “I’m not following any of this. You think you should have let that jerkface go?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “No. I’m remembering the way Gilda jumped on that guard pony, and the way Snowy ate Numeric Essence’s soul and was trying to hurt you, and I’m looking at this Kirin who scared me so much… she could still try to hurt me because I’m a vampire, or if I ever meet another Kirin maybe they’ll hurt me. She’s all lit up and she’s scaley like a dragon and I remember how worked up and sure of myself I felt when I was ready to jump on Gilda, and maybe she feels like that right now. And I could feel threatened too, and all this could go on and on, but…”

“Fluttershy,” said Pinkie warningly.

“Shh!” said Fluttershy. “I just need to do one thing.”

She walked right up to the astonished, baffled Kirin.

“If this goes wrong I forgive you in advance,” said Fluttershy. “I understand how you are, and it might not work. But this is how I want to be.”

“FLUTTERSHY!” shrieked Pinkie, but it was too late. Fluttershy had reared up with a flap of her feeble old wings, and hugged the Kirin.

Pinkie dashed over to the pair, with little Dursaa close behind, but couldn’t get closer because the Kirin and vampony had become a sort of star of radiant energy. Hina’s mane flared and roared blindingly, with flames of light that reached right out to Pinkie’s horrified face, without hurting her. She squinted, trying to make out what was happening.

In the midst of the radiance, Fluttershy nuzzled Hina’s cheek with her own, her eyes closed serenely.

Then, the Kirin had backed away, and Fluttershy stood, a little smile on her face. She took a deep breath, though she didn’t need one… and let it out in a quiet little ‘yay!’

Hina’s face was indescribable. “How can such things be? How can a creature like you be full of love?!?”

“I choose to be,” said Fluttershy. “Oh, yay! It worked! I really can be nice deep down inside! I was awful scared but I feel so much better!”

“But how?” wailed Hina. “You really are a vampire, I could feel it plain! Everything I know is wrong!”

Fluttershy tenderly booped her nose again. “No, silly! Maybe some things. Maybe a lot of vampires are big meanies. Gilda wasn’t… well, not much. Little Northern Spy wasn’t, she was just a foal and got excited sometimes. If you’d hurt her, they wouldn’t have been able to cure her.” She winced. “But if we hadn’t burned up Snowy Hocks, he’d have eaten up both me and Pinkie, and I don’t know if you’re strong enough to beat that. I mean, I had a lot of vampire force before, and Pinkie is… special.”

Hina glanced nervously at Pinkie, and got a toothy grin in return. She looked back at Fluttershy, piteously uncertain, her entire face and body wreathed in troutlike scales, evidence of her defensiveness. Yet, apart from Pinkie Pie, there was nothing frightening…

“Pinkie, please blink,” said Fluttershy wearily.

Pinkie glanced embarrassedly at Fluttershy. “Sorry!” She let the grin lower in wattage, and blinked like a normal pony, and griped, “You know me too well, Flutterbutt!”

“I’m sorry,” said Fluttershy to Hina. “She’s only trying to protect me, in her way. But you’re not going to hurt me, are you, Miss Kirin?”

Hina just stared and stared at the little vampony. At first, Fluttershy and Pinkie fretted, as she seemed frozen in tension and dismay: but then, they saw those gleaming scales beginning to recede from Hina’s body. And then they saw the tears.

Hina’s lip quivered like that of a very little Kirin, as she gazed in wonder at Fluttershy and wept at the sheer beauty and rarity of what she saw.

“You are real,” she said.

Fluttershy pouted, her lip sticking out against the little fangs. “That much is true, anyhow. Oh, don’t look at me that way, I mostly just want you not to kill me. I know I haven’t always been extra clear on that part, but now that I’m weak and helpless I feel like I could be really nice from now on, and it would be mean and unkind to hurt me now that I’m harmless…”

“You are beautiful!” added Hina.

“Oh, my,” said Fluttershy. “Um… I’ve already had enough trouble from amorous lesbian ponies, thank you. Is it okay if we’re just friends?”

“Hold me again, please?” said Hina. “I have a precious gift I know I must give to you.”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Oh, fuck. I’m sorry! I mean… oh, ferrets and griffins! Are you sure? I’m not sure I’m up to it.”

Pinkie was smiling again. “I like her better already! Tell me how good she was, after. I might want to try!”

“Oh, pooh!” said Fluttershy, despairingly. “All right. Please be gentle, Miss Kirin, and if this is how your people make friends, all right then…”

She walked over to the panting, besotted Kirin, reared, and hugged her again.

Hina’s mane flared up insanely, so bright that Pinkie couldn’t look directly at it, but this time there was something more. Hina nuzzled Fluttershy’s cheek right back, and said, “Breathe deeply for me.”

“That’s okay,” said Fluttershy, “I really don’t have to, I’m not an alive pony…”

“Breathe, vampire!” commanded Hina, her eyes closed in Neighponnese concentration.

“Okay, okay! Don’t make it sound like hurty words!” retorted Fluttershy, and she took in a deep breath, her little old face buried in brightly glowing Kirin mane.

Hina gritted her teeth, and her horn flared blindingly.

“Ow!” said Pinkie Pie, squinting. “What was that ab…”

“OH MY!” gasped Fluttershy.

Hina stepped back, her mane dimming from its intense radiance. She panted, and seemed to be wincing, yet she smiled, her lip quivering with strong sentiment.

Fluttershy stood, just barely. She wobbled, gazing at nothing, her mouth hanging open, her eyes unfocussed. “Oh my…” she repeated. “Oh my!”

Pinkie began to smile again. “No way. Me next! Hey, Fluttershy!” she called, but Fluttershy wasn’t answering her.

Still wobbling, almost reeling, Fluttershy began to laugh. Her gentle, joyous laughter rang out, and she looked around at Hina and Pinkie and smiling little Dursaa like they were the most beautiful things ever.

Pinkie blinked. “Wait a minute. I sensed that you were gonna do that! What’s so funny? I never understood why that was. You laughing, I mean. Did it feel that good? I didn’t see her touch you anywhere good…”

“Yes, it’s about good,” said Hina. She winced again, and Fluttershy saw it.

“Oh, you poor thing!” she said. “You shouldn’t have! Here, I’ll hug you again and you take it right back, it was wonderful but I’ll be all right, I promise…”

She approached Hina, but the Kirin shied away this time, crying “Nay, nay, stop! Never shall I begrudge this! Don’t be ungrateful!”

“But there’s grateful,” argued Fluttershy, “and there’s just not right! Hold still, I don’t know how to do this but I insist…”

They both stopped. Pinkie had stamped a hoof, and was glaring at them.

“What’s the big deal? It’s not nice to give stuff if you didn’t bring enough for everypony…”

“You don’t understand,” protested Hina. “That is not appropriate!”

“It wasn’t a sex thing!” insisted Fluttershy.

Pinkie glared harder, and the two cowered back abashedly.

“What did she DO?”

Fluttershy gulped. “Um. You know how my heart is a cold dead thing and the cold just seeps through my whole body and I can never be warm again because I’m dead and don’t have a soul, just vampire-ness? I maybe didn’t tell you about it. I kind of didn’t tell anypony about it because I didn’t want them to worry about things they couldn’t help. It’s so cold, inside.”

Pinkie’s face fell. “Aw… but your heart’s still good, Fluttershy! It’s the most loving heart ever, even if it doesn’t have to beat and, and feels cold inside you, like until forever and ever…”

Just as Pinkie’s eyes began to tear up, as she began to imagine what her beloved Fluttershy had been feeling, she saw the quivery grateful smile that was growing on the little vampony’s face.

“Not anymore,” said Fluttershy, and trotted in place for just a moment, overwhelmed with joy and glee.

Pinkie’s jaw dropped.

“I gave up my soul,” said Hina, wearing the same sort of smile. “Just a tiny piece. Most of it remains. But a spark of Kirin soul… lives within this vampony.”

“It’s so WARM!” squeed Fluttershy, trotting again. Little Dursaa bounded around her, flapping and squeaking delightedly.

“What does it do?” said Pinkie.

“That,” said Hina. “Nothing more.”

Fluttershy composed herself. “I don’t know how to explain it, Pinkie. It’s been so long since I felt anything like it. You didn’t give too much, Miss Kirin? Promise you can spare it if you really mean to give it for good.”

“Call me Hina-rin,” said Hina. “And it is indeed for good. You must have been very cold! It didn’t seem like that much.”

“You winced and made faces and it looked like it hurt,” objected Fluttershy.

Hina sighed, still looking a bit haggard. Her voice became less singsong and formal. “You try tearing off a piece of your own soul with your magic and sticking it in someone else!”

“I would,” retorted Fluttershy. “How is it done? Now that I know it’s possible maybe I can rescue other vampires that way! I’m sure I don’t need all this warm.”

Hina tried to walk to her, but the plot device blocked her more than ever, once her agitation had subsided. Seeing this, Fluttershy trotted over and allowed the Kirin to hug her again.

“You can’t do that,” said Hina gently. “It’s only for you. Because that’s just what you would do… I’m sure you would try, but you are not Kirin, your powers of self-creation are not as vast as those of the Kirin. Love in other ways.”

“Self-creation?” said Fluttershy, puzzled.

Hina blushed, harder and harder, looking away.

“Miss Hina-rin,” said Fluttershy, “why are you able to do that with your soul, and why did you call it self-creation?”

More blushing, but Hina hugged Fluttershy even closer.

Pinkie, frowning, twitched an ear. Her eyes flew wide, and she sat down on her pink rump with a thump, narrowly missing little Dursaa. “Oh, for FUCK’S SAKE!”

“Pinkie?” squeaked Fluttershy, alarmed.

“EVERYPONY ends up impregnating Fluttershy!” lamented Pinkie. “She’s the town garden plot for everypony to seed! Even Kirin can’t resist it!”

And after a look of shock, Hina, Fluttershy and Pinkie all burst into laughter, and Pinkie joined the hug.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “it makes her happy and that’s the best thing. She loves it. I impregnated her first though! This little tyke proves it! Did you know, I did her wing both times? It’s like my job or something!”

Fluttershy snuggled her. “Of course, dear Pinkie.” She turned to Hina. “Really? Is it really true? Am I going to give birth to a Kirin? At least the horn wouldn’t hurt so much. I mean, horn stub. Or do you even have those as foals?”

Hina hugged tighter. “No, no! It doesn’t work that way. I’m sorry, you are misled! Were I with another Kirin, that is how we would do it. Maybe someday I will. I didn’t know if it would work, didn’t know if it would bring peace and joy to you as you deserve. I only sensed your terrible cold and lack of soul, and how brave and good you were in the face of it, and as embarrassing as it was, I had to try. Do not tell! It is very scandalous…”

“Ooooh,” said Pinkie. “You’re a virgin, Kiri-poo?”

Hina was still scarlet with embarrassment, and couldn’t answer. Fluttershy cuffed her earth pony compatriot, and turned to Hina.

“Don’t worry,” she said gently. “I won’t tell. I’m so very honored! I promise I’ll live up to it. Or, well… okay, let me try to put it nicely without fussing about being dead and all. Hina-rin, I will cherish your warmth. It’ll help me stay good, and I will carry it with me wherever I go.” She kissed the Kirin, her eyes glowing with love and gratitude.

“Yes you will,” muttered Hina. She still trembled, emotionally overexposed. “You probably don’t have to keep it a secret. I would need to admit what I had done, another Kirin would recognize it if we… if.”

Fluttershy hugged her tighter. “You will! You will, and I can tell it will mean ever so much to you. It’ll be okay. I just know you’ll meet another Kirin and he’ll love you as much as I do for your generosity and kindness.”

“And for keeping Fluttershy warm forever with Kirin-souly-spooge,” added Pinkie helpfully. She blinked. “Hey. If that’s how it works, does boy Kirin spooge keep you warm inside too?”

Hina blinked, startled. “W-why, as a matter of fact…”

“Pinkie!” chided Fluttershy. “You’ve embarrassed her enough! We need to start dealing with things here, it’s getting light out and ponies will wonder where we are.”

Pinkie was lost in thought. “Or if you got a boy Kirin to jack off into, like, a hot water bottle, would it be like a forever cozy booty warmer? Except if it broke it would be all hot and sticky, ew. Or…”

“Hush, Pinkie,” said Fluttershy. “Let’s try to deal with poor Essence, and bring little Dursaa home.”

Hina, whose blush was subsiding, seemed eager to help. “I think I can move away from this place, just not toward it right now! Can I go find some ponies? Maybe this strange spell will break.”

“Oh, yes,” said Fluttershy. “I think that’s a Pinkie thing. You should go and alert the ponies and I’ll have her turn it off.”

Pinkie blinked, and blinked again, as thoughts derailed her mind. “Go find ponies? Wait, you think you have to go GET help? Watch this, Kiri-poo.”

Pinkie smugly produced the mysterious little box with the button on it, and with a flourish, unpressed the button. It popped back out again, and she counted, “Three, two…”

Smash! A blue streak and a green streak whooshed in and knocked over a wall of the house, which collapsed, letting in the light of dawn to mingle with the brilliant light of the beacon. Rainbow Dash had been first, but mostly because she’d been able to fly over the Everfree Forest and Northern Spy’d gone straight through it, leaving a trail of flying shrubbery and scattered foliage.

“Pinkie! Fluttershy! Hina! We’re here!” cried Dash. “What should we… wait, why are you smiling? What the heck happened to YOU? Why’s the Kirin blushing?”

“Um,” said Fluttershy, scuffing her hoof on the floor. Hina re-blushed.

“You had a KIRIN ORGY and didn’t invite me?” accused Rainbow Dash. “And it does that to you?! And I thought she didn’t like mares!”

“Mom!” called Northern Spy, nearing the beacon. Hearing her tone, Dash forgot about Kirin orgies and inexplicably old but happy vamponies.

“Oh gosh. That’s Numeric Essence! She did it, this is the beacon! And that’s…”

“Snowy Hocks,” confirmed Fluttershy. “What’s left of him.”

“He was the big baddie!” added Pinkie. “But we got him!” She sagged, watching Northern Spy. “But yeah, it was too late for Numeric Essence. That’s how we knew he was so bad.”

Thundering hooves of all sizes approached, and into the collapsing house galloped Applejack and Apple Bloom. Behind them followed Oakback, and then Big Macintosh.

“What’s the b… aw, horseapples,” said Applejack helplessly, watching Spy and Dash trying to lift Numeric Essence. “Ah wondered who she talked into it.”

More galloping hooves approached. Little Dursaa looked up sharply, and squeed. As Zecora and Dursaa appeared, he gave a flying leap and met them halfway with a resounding “DA!”.

“We came as fast as we could run,” panted Zecora. “What is the crime that has been d…” The words left her. She’d seen Fluttershy.

Fluttershy pouted. “I know what it looks like, but I promise I’m okay. In fact I’m better than ever. I, um… sort of burned up nearly all of my vampire nature fighting Snowy Hocks. That’s him over there, he almost got us but me and Pinkie destroyed him.”

“Ya don’t say,” said Applejack, and took off her hat.

“I’m much weaker now but I like it,” said Fluttershy. “It feels good.” She darted a glance at Hina, but didn’t explain further. “Anyway, this is the real me after the fight. I think Zecora can probably alter the mane and tail extensions so I’ll still look like the pegasus Fluttershy everypony knows, okay?”

Zecora gulped, and her brow furrowed in concentration. “It seems to be a minor change… though this condition’s very strange.”

Fluttershy frowned. “I told you, this is just how I am after all that vampire power’s taken away. If I was a mortal pony I’d have ended up looking like this eventually, I’ll have you know. I’ve been through this with Pinkie Pie, are you really going to turn up your nose at me and need me to wear a disguise?”

“Folks in Ponyville might need a lil’ adjusting…” began Apple Bloom.

“Sh,” suggested Applejack, gently. “She din’t mean you.”

Zecora glanced back and forth between Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, her ears back. Her countenance showed her conflict: though she loved Fluttershy, it seemed she also loved curvy mare pussy: she craved round flank and could not lie.

Dursaa drank in the sight of Fluttershy, as if she hadn’t changed at all.

“Do you still love me?” challenged Fluttershy.

Zecora dropped her gaze. “Of course, dear horse.” She pouted, and shot another glance at Pinkie.

“Good,” said Fluttershy.

“That’s right,” added Pinkie defiantly, “cos if you don’t…” She trailed off. As Dursaa and Zecora went to hug Fluttershy, it was plain to see they loved her as much as she did. Zecora did dart another glance at her, an oddly sulky and grumpy look that set off Pinkie’s gay-dar with uncommon ferocity, but then turned to snuggle her newly geriatric vampony with real tenderness. And through a layer of other zebra, for Dursaa hadn’t hesitated and he was wrapping Fluttershy in a fervent embrace.

“Huh,” said Pinkie to herself. Then, she eeped, for little Dursaa had scampered over and was snuggling her. She regarded him, her ears quirked to the sides, and she said, “Isn’t there a hug you need to be part of, kiddo?”

He didn’t let go.

“Oh size and shape changing mad pink horse,” called Zecora, “you too can join this hug, of course…”

“Beat ‘cha to it,” replied Pinkie, without any real malice. “And that’s not very good rhyming but I guess you’re kind of distracted, huh?” She looked back at little Dursaa. “Go on, your family awaits.”

Little Dursaa snuggled tighter.

Pinkie softened. She hugged him. “Don’t worry. I’ll find a way to come back. I guess you know who I am, after all.”

Little Dursaa screwed up his face in concentration.

“Pie!” he chirped.

“Told you,” said Fluttershy and, oddly, Zecora—as Pinkie cuddled her prodigal foal, herself without words.

“We gotta get Essie out of here,” said Apple Bloom. “I reckon we kin leave them pieces of Snowy. Damn, it stinks.”

“What if I carry her?” said Applejack.

“You and Rainbow,” said Apple Bloom. “No, better: Oakback and Big Macintosh. Come on, you big lugs! She ain’t gonna bite you, pore thing.”

Dash looked relieved, ruffling her wings. She’d been fussing over Essence’s body, unable to carry the winged unicorn in her forelegs but not wanting her draped over those cerulean wings.

“Can somepony carry me?” asked Fluttershy. “I don’t think I can run anymore and I might get tired, because I’m so weak.”

She blinked at the assembled gazes. “What?”

“You’re smiling,” pointed out Applejack.

Fluttershy smiled even more beatifically. “I’m harmless.”

Pinkie rolled her eyes fondly. “Just what you always wanted, to be weak and helpless. Come on, Flodgercodger, let’s get you home. Dursaa will carry you.”

“Come on, Oakback, Big Macintosh,” ordered Apple Bloom. “Press together, that’s the way. This here’s a hero pony, walk slowly. Carry her to the east field.”

“Y’mean…” said Applejack.

“That’s right,” said Apple Bloom. “Where we got Fern Gully restin’ himself. You know we’re gonna do a lil’ ceremony for him.”

Apple Bloom’s voice caught, just for a moment. She gulped, and bravely carried on.

“I reckon now th’ ceremony is doubled.”

Applejack hugged her, and the procession set out for Ponyville in the gradually brightening dawn.

Across the dawn sky came Princesses and their consorts, greeted by another Princess and her consort and their foals. Twilight rode Celestia, Trixie Chaos, as they flew in to graceful landings on the highest spires of Canterlot.

“Hurrah!” cried Luna, in Royal Canterlot voice. “Welcome home! Did Neighpon smile upon your presence?”

“Yay!” called Lyra. “The Princess is back! I mean the other Princess!”

“Be careful, dear sister!” called Luna, as Celestia trotted to a halt on the parapet. “Mind your step!”

“Thank you, sister,” said Celestia. “And indeed Neighpon smiled upon us. Some parts more than others,” she added, with a grumpy look at Chaos, “and there were some moments of exquisite beauty…”

“Some were both!” said Trixie, hopping off Chaos’s back… and tumbling onto the stones, safely behind the parapet.

“Jackie!” scolded Luna, fretfully, for the royal fillies were in evidence and Lyra’s filly, Earthpony Applejack, had herself fallen over in a fit of giggly laughter.

“Trixie is fine!” said Trixie hastily. “Don’t worry, a little low humor never hurt anypony…”

“It’s not that!” said Lyra. She turned to her foal. “This is what we were trying to explain! There are safe places, and not so safe places, and though Princesses have wings…”

Chaos nuzzled Celestia. “I’m sorry again. But it was beautiful, you know. And that little pony must be famous now. I can still see the afterimage of that glorious spurt that took out the wall. So responsive!”

Precious Gift, Luna’s earth pony filly, came from around Luna and began to run toward Celestia and Chaos, her tiny legs pounding the stones of the parapet. She seemed intent on a running tackle-hug, and was so tiny that they bore no risk of being knocked over the edge, and so adorable that nopony could fault her for such rambunctiousness. Her lovely huge blue eyes shone with delight, contrasting with her luminous spring-green coat, heavily scuffed and marked with dust and dirt…

A flash of lilac surrounded her forehoof as it came down, and little Presh tumbled to the rocky parapet floor.

“JACKIE!” squealed Luna and Lyra, together.

Precious Gift rose awkwardly to her hooves, her lip quivering… and with a tiny wail, flung herself into Chaos’s embrace to be cuddled and comforted.

Earthpony Applejack giggled… her horn, already oversized on a unicorn child, still emitting a telltale lilac glow.

Trixie’s eyes widened. “Trixie thought something grabbed her hoof. Wow! That had the strength of Twilight!”

Twilight, in turn, was greeting Luna and Lyra. “It was so wonderful! So beautiful, and Trixie got to sit under a cherry tree, and the Kirin let me have a book to take home which is more up-to-date than the ones I had! Um, I can’t show you now, but when the kids go to bed I will. You won’t believe some of the illustrations! Chaos is going to try to do some of it.” She glanced warily at Chaos. “Are you sure you won’t make the, uh, juice too hot?”

“Oh, Twilight!” protested Chaos. “I had it too, remember?”

Celestia twitched. “That was the most terrifying half hour I’ve ever, EVER spent…”

“I was good!” insisted Chaos. “I may say, he made it easy to be. Mmmm! Best diplomatic relations ever. Of course he wasn’t to know that I was mentally taking notes.”

“When you weren’t coming so hard your eyes rolled up in your head,” teased Trixie.

“I think I figured it out, though,” said Chaos with satisfaction. “I shall never scorn Kirin again. Ironic that they call that orderly.”

“He moved like a dancer,” said Twilight, “everything in perfect control and harmony.” She smirked. “It’s you that got disorderly and couldn’t stand up three minutes in.”

Chaos lifted an eyebrow. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you going wobbly seconds later. I think you were holding out just to show off. Why did they have us facing each other?”

Celestia tsked. “As good as Kirin are, I think that was nothing more than them showing off to each other! I’m sure I don’t begrudge them that. I’d have gone wobbly too, but the beard tickled my ear. And I kept expecting Chaos to disgrace us.” She stuck her tongue out at Chaos.

“I’m so glad you had a wonderful time!” cried Lyra. She turned to her filly. “As for you, Jackie, listen! Two of these ponies have wings, but two don’t, and we are high up in the air! And I know you can lift your half-sister, but you’ve got to behave! We can’t wait until you do something really mean, you need to pay attention now before you hurt somepony! Look at Presh, she’s covered in scuffs and scratches, and see here? These are rocks, Jackie! Not smooth floors! You just hurt Presh by doing that!”

Earthpony Applejack, Lyra’s unicorn foal, pouted and looked chastened.

“How long has she been tripping ponies?” asked Celestia.

“Probably a little before you left,” admitted Lyra. “Presh kept falling, and she’d been getting better at galloping but we couldn’t figure out why she was suddenly getting worse again. Then we caught Jackie at it, and that’s when she started to go for us, and the palace servants besides…”

“Oh, dear,” said Celestia. “And how is Ponyville?”

Luna blinked. “Do you know, I haven’t checked. I’ve been so tired minding a precociously powerful unicorn filly all day—plus, you know, just spending all my time with Lyra and the kids—that I’ve rather been neglecting my dream work.”

“I’m sure it’s fine,” reassured Celestia.

“Oh, yes. If there was any trouble it would be showing up in pony nightmares, perhaps in a veiled form. It’s still so early in the morning, I’ll just drop into dreamspace for a moment and have a l… l… uhhh.”

Luna, staring off into space as she mystically checked in on pony dreams, went rigid with shock. Her face took on a cartoony look of dismay, and then her jaw began to drop, lower and lower and lower.

“Guh,” said Princess Luna, intelligently.

But Celestia and Chaos were already gone, flying frantically over Ponyville with Twilight and Trixie once more astride their alicorn steeds, four pairs of eyes trying to spot the danger.

Hina marched at the head of the procession, showing an obvious sense of ceremony. She pranced, her luminous fetlocks swirling, wearing a grave frown with her chin lifted, and her horn glowing brightly.

It wasn’t to light the way: the dawn did that fairly well. As the ponies neared the Apples’ fields, Hina’s magic took water vapor from the air, and gave the parade a series of rainbow arches over their path.

The arches lifted high, for Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy flew in solemn procession just after Hina. Then came Big Macintosh and Oakback bearing their fallen comrade, and then the rest of the Apple family minus Dash but plus Pinkie. Silver had turned up as well, and exploring ponies drawn by the beacon in the forest had joined the procession.

At times, Dash and Fluttershy had led the way, because they seemed to know what to do. To Hina’s surprise, the parade had first gone into town, around the town hall, and back out toward the Apples’ fields. As it did, pony after pony joined the procession, solemnly joining to trudge with downcast eyes. If they were startled at the sight of Fluttershy, they didn’t consider it as important as the parade.

Hina was puzzled at one thing.

When Celestia and Chaos had swooped out of the sky, bearing Twilight and Trixie, the ponies had merely shushed them. One look at the body of Essence was enough to shock the royals and their consorts, but the Ponyville royalty hadn’t joined Hina at the front. With only a token protest by a confused Twilight Sparkle, they had taken up the rear, trudging along with the earth ponies.

Hina listened as hard as she could to the whispered conversations between the Princesses and the earth pony, Applejack.

“Thankee, your Highness,” said Applejack.

“Of course,” whispered Celestia. “But what has happened, dear faithful Applejack?” She cuddled Twilight to her with a vast white wing, for both she and Twilight were crying openly.

“Near as I can tell,” said Applejack quietly, “we kilt off th’ last evil monster. I’m sorry, Princess, we got some vampires, much worse’n last time.”

“Oh, no!”

“Yep,” confirmed Applejack. “Started with Hollyhock. Looks like he was in cahoots with ol’ Snowy Hocks. Hollyhock, he attacked Fern Gully…”

“Made him a thrall?” demanded Celestia. “A vampire slave?”

“Worse’n that,” said Applejack, “kilt him and et up his soul. We’re goin’ to him now, bringin’ Essence, dear Essie.”

“Where is he?” said Celestia. “I will not stand idly by and…”

“Whoa,” said Applejack. “We caught Hollyhock tryin’ to attack Derpy. Oakback there, actually both of ‘em including Big Macintosh, dragged him into the bonfire an’ no more Hollyhock. Turns out he had made Snowy a thrall and Snowy’s an ol’ schemin’ bastard, but Numeric Essence there, she figured out a way to catch him.” She sighed. “It all happened so fast. You couldn’ta known, Princess. Anyhoof, now it’s over.”

Hina’s ear quirked as she heard Princess Celestia inquire, “And of the visiting Kirin, who is honoring your dead with rainbows? And Rainbow, I see. And whatever’s happened to poor Fluttershy?”

“Funny about that, she likes it,” replied Applejack. “You never saw such a happy vampony. If I ain’t mistaken, it’s Fluttershy and Pinkie who kilt Snowy and saved the day.”

“And the Kirin?” pressed Celestia.

Hina’s heart wilted to hear Applejack’s reply of, “Hah! ‘Bout as much use as tits on a boar hog. We tried to perk her up with pony fuckin’ but I reckon she’s best left to decoratin’ Essence’s walk with rainbows.”

“And Rainbow,” suggested Celestia.

“Yeah,” said Applejack. “I guess that ain’t so bad. Essie deserves it. We’re almost there so I’mma ask you to give us some space.”

“Of course,” said Celestia, and fell back with Twilight, Trixie and Chaos.

There was a little dais made of hay bales, and a deep hole, and the body of Fern Gully wrapped in a shroud. Big Macintosh and Oakback laid Numeric Essence’s body next to Fern Gully’s.

Hina crept quietly over to join the Princesses. “I am so sorry…”

“Shh,” said Celestia, eyes glistening but looking out proudly over her ponies anyhow. “They did all they could: be at peace. You cannot rescue every pony or cure every ill.”

“May I sit here?” whispered Fluttershy. “They won’t need me for this part, and afterward I’ll go with Dursaa.”

Celestia nodded, scanning the pony crowd but seeing no undue attention being paid the little vampony. All eyes were on Apple Bloom as she headed to the dais.

“I just wish I could have…” began Hina.

“I said SHH!” hissed Celestia, and the Kirin froze. Celestia took a breath, blinked away tears, and explained, “This is for them. Do not interfere, prithee.”

Around the back of the crowd came Princess Luna, Lyra, and their foals. This time there was no mischief. Luna looked somber.

Softly, Chaos murmured, “I could bring them to life again, but since they’re soulless…”

“Don’t,” responded both Fluttershy and Celestia, and Chaos nodded sadly and didn’t press further.

Twilight sobbed, under Celestia’s wing. Celestia hesitated, and then reached out with a forehoof to cuddle Hina, the Kirin.

“We all have limitations,” she whispered. “Let these good ponies honor their loss. It is their way.”

Hina looked woeful and nodded. Then, she let out a faint squeak, for her mane had flared up: but it was only Fluttershy, cuddling her with a comforting, batty, vampony wing.

“Well, here we are,” said Apple Bloom, in a loud, clear voice.

The assembled ponies, nearly all Ponyville, murmured and then waited.

“This here winged unicorn, she’s prob’ly saved us all,” said Apple Bloom. “And of course, here’s Fern Gully. He was a clumsy fella, but he had a good heart on him. Miss Essence, now, she was a funny critter and a thinkin’ fool but in the end we saw plain, that she laid down her life for us. Still don’t know what that beacon stuff was about, but she done it, as you kin see.”

She took a breath. “What’s more, while we’re gonna be silent for our loved and lost ponies, I will ask you for another moment for two other ponies: I mean Hollyhock an’ Snowy Hocks. Some of you know how they went to th’ bad, and we won’t abide that, but all the same there was a time they was good… or at least, they had the chance to be, same chance any of us has got. We can’t bury ‘em out past the east field, but y’all be merciful to their memory. They were ponies too, once.”

Quiet sobs showed how the crowd of ponies was expressing its feelings. As one, Ponyville was letting itself feel its loss.

Apple Bloom hung her head. “Fern Gully, Numeric Essence… also Hollyhock an’ Snowy Hocks… we lived with you an’ we knew you and you’ll stay with us. We will carry on th’ spirit of you, and we mourn you now. Walk closely among our hearts, an’ may peace be with you.”

All the ponies paused, for second after second.

“All right,” said Apple Bloom, lifting her head. “Boys? You know what ta do.”

“I ain’t sure she’s gonna fit,” protested Oakback. “Ah dug that for Fern Gully. Ain’t right to cramp ‘em, and we only got one shroud.”

Big Macintosh cleared his throat. “Apple Bloom? Uh… need digging?”

Apple Bloom narrowed her eyes. “Yeah. Big Macintosh? Go slow, big brother. No dirt fountains here.”

“Eyup,” said Big Macintosh, and he headed over next to the deep hole and effortlessly began excavating a second one.

Apple Bloom turned to Oakback. “As far as th’ shroud, Essie wouldn’t hold it against us, and you know we gotta go through this part proper-like. I won’t have no runnin’ around just to get a shroud for poor Essie, nor suggestin’ we love her any the less for lack of preparin’, so unless you go… g…”

She trailed off. A new face was approaching.

Precious Gift, foal of Princess Luna and tiny normal earth pony filly, had come along with her family. She’d been staring and staring at Numeric Essence, whom she’d met in Canterlot. She didn’t understand a lot of what was happening.

But she’d brought her little blanket, because it was a cold morning, and it was this she dragged over, its corner in her teeth, and offered to Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom gulped. Her eyes filled with tears, and then she screwed them shut and wiped the tears away for just one more moment.

“Thank you, lil’ Presh,” she said. “I do believe she would appreciate that.”

Few were able to clearly see, through tears, the farm ponies tenderly wrapping their lost companions in shrouds, lowering them into their graves, covering them with earth. It seemed not a very thorough job, like the plan was to return later and complete the burial. The farm ponies returned to the group, and all turned to Apple Bloom, who waited with her head hanging low.

Apple Bloom took a deep breath, then another. The crowd stirred.

Apple Bloom lifted her head, and a spark was in her gaze.

“Their bodies rest,” she called out challengingly. “Now… let their spirits rise!”

Celestia’s eyes widened. “Oh my. Um… Twilight, Hina-rin, I must ask you not to react to anything you might see here…”

Twilight sniffled, and peeked out from under Celestia’s wing. “What? The ponies are just hugging. Poor Essence!”

They were indeed. There was also kissing, tearful kissing. Nuzzling. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle had gone over to hug Apple Bloom. They guided her over to where Diamond Tiara waited. And, Silver Spoon. And Featherweight… and all six began to drift off to a far corner of the field.

Applejack came over, tearful, and hugged Princess Celestia. “Aw, thank you for being here with us! It’s been a while since we sent a pony off on their way.”

“I remember,” said Celestia.

“Rainbow!” called Applejack. She smiled sadly at her Princess. “Yeah you do. You din’t attend my mother’s send-off, but all the same you helped, din’cha?”

“If I understand things,” said Princess Celestia, “this is… restrained? For Ponyville?”

Mayor Mare was looking around fretfully, not finding somepony. Beside her, Braeburn was hugging Lily, and went to hug Big Macintosh, but he was staring forlornly at Hina and didn’t respond. Then, the other flower ponies converged on Braeburn and Caramel, and the five headed back into town.

“It’s for Essie,” explained Applejack. “Mind you, Fern Gully, he was an innocent sort of boy, but I reckon it’s about Essie, mostly. They don’t want to distress her.”

Other groups were heading back to town, pressing close together, with much kissing and hugging. Dawn continued to break, warming the field.

“What is this?” asked Hina, her eyes wide.

“It’s our way,” said Applejack simply, as Rainbow Dash flew over and embraced her.

Fluttershy, seeing Big Macintosh’s distress, went over to him. He cringed back from her changed appearance, and she pouted but gave him a hug anyway… and, seeing Cheerilee hovering nearby, patted him on the butt and said, “Go on. I’ll be fine.”

Still peeking at Hina, Big Macintosh let Cheerilee lead him back to Ponyville. Fluttershy looked around, and spotted Dursaa and Zecora, and headed their direction.

Hina was watching Applejack and Rainbow Dash, who were still hugging… except, Applejack kept delicately nuzzling Dash’s wing.

“Give me a minute,” said Dash.

“No rush, sugarcube,” said Applejack, placidly.

“Are these ponies… love-making?” asked Hina, watching all the little groups disperse. “The way they touch each other… the emanations…”

“Thank you for being understanding,” said Princess Celestia. “That’s a fine way to put it.”

Twilight peeked out from under her wing, wide-eyed. “They are, aren’t they?”

“They don’t need us for this,” said Celestia gently. “Only each other. They’re remembering love doesn’t die.”

Rainbow Dash chuckled, though there was a sob in there too. “It’s definitely for Essie. They know… we all do… that she wasn’t too wild. They’re going off to be private, but yeah—pretty much.”

“What if the dead pony was wild?” asked Twilight.

“Heh, heh…” chuckled Applejack. “You missed Applesauce.”

“Your mother,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Yeah,” said Applejack.

“What did she do?” said Twilight.

Applejack winced. “She died, dammit. Ain’t so much what she did. We all knew what she was like. Well, I got to tell you: that was one hell of an evenin’ and no mistake. Everypony jumped on each other right there, soon as we let her spirit rise. It’s what she would’ve done, and what she’d have wanted. And there I was, still a young filly and takin’ over the farm… thank goodness for Princess Celestia, is all I can say.”

“I thought you said she wasn’t there?” suggested Twilight, her ears perking forward.

“No, I mean the next day when she had to use healing magic on my cooter,” explained Applejack.

“That freaked me out!” said Rainbow Dash.

Twilight paled. “Wait a minute. Since you were the new Boss Mare… all the farm stallions took it in turns to fuck you? Until they injured you? Ponyville IS crazy!”

“No, no!” protested Applejack. “It’s a special time, not like usual. And damn right, I winked at everypony: it helped distract me an’ I’m Applesauce’s daughter, after all. Not one of em was fixin’ to harm me, not even them girthy fellas. It was when I went around and did ‘em all again, this time with me on top. I rode them boys into th’ ground until they begged for mercy, but I did need the Princess’s care the next mornin’.”

“It was well you came to me in time,” said Celestia somberly. “You’d sustained serious injury, Applejack.”

“The next mornin’, every last farm pony answered to me,” said Applejack. “It’s what Applesauce would’ve wanted.”

Rainbow Dash hugged her. “You’re better off now. That’s, like, something I would do!”

“Did,” corrected Applejack. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you workin’ the same crowd!” She blushed. “Never told ya, Dashie… but I kept myself goin’ by ogling you.”

That got her a pegasus kiss. “Want some more? I think that’s probably when I started really noticing you, too. It’s funny, we never talk about those times because it’s too special and important, but a lot happens, doesn’t it?”

“I hope they don’t hit the salt and cider too hard, it’s early in the morning and we still got work to do,” said Applejack.

“Shh,” said Dash, “one thing at a time.” And she led Applejack gently off, her wings coyly lifted, the coverts folded: less a picture of raging pegasus libido, and more an image of utter sensual devotion to her love.

Hina watched them go, and then glanced off into the distance where Cheerilee had led Big Macintosh. She sighed. “They… don’t need help learning love.”

Celestia hesitated, words on her lips.

Hina spotted it. “Princess? I feel you. What do you withhold? Surely it must be wisdom?”

“It is,” admitted Celestia. “Forgive me… but you do them a disservice.”

“How is that?” asked Hina.

“Have you not learned as much from them?”

Hina stared at Princess Celestia, startled. She thought of her experiences. She looked toward Ponyville again, toward the wonderful red farm stallion. She remembered the love they’d shared… and the call of home, that tore them apart. He could not go with her, and she could not remain. And yet she’d turned around when she saw the beacon in the sky, and fought to defend the lovely ponies… only to wind up useless, rescuing nopony, helping nothing.

She saw Fluttershy, nuzzling the larger of the two zebras she stood with.

…or perhaps not quite as useless as all that.

Hina shook herself. “Yes, Princess: I have.”

“Will you stay with us longer?” said Celestia. She glanced nervously at Chaos. “Possibly not in Canterlot with us, I’m not sure I can promise the hospitality you might have come to expect…”

“No,” said Hina. “I chose to leave here.”

Celestia let out an almost imperceptible sigh of relief. Diplomacy was sometimes wearying. “I see. When shall you depart?”

“Late last night,” said Hina.

And, before she could change her mind, she hugged the nice Princess, smiled in the direction of the strange kind vampire pony she’d helped, and once more set out on a bridge of mists, resolutely not looking in the direction of Big Macintosh. They watched her go, and eventually she was lost to sight.

“I still think it would be fun to try her out on a nice wriggly tentacle,” said Chaos speculatively. “Or perhaps an eggbeater?”

Celestia sighed with relief. “Thank you for not suggesting it, dear,” she said. “We are returning home to Canterlot. Trixie?”

“Yes?” said Trixie.

“Can you come along? Chaos doubtless needs to blow off some steam.”


Under the trees, Fluttershy nuzzled Dursaa, and began to head back home. Zecora, sniffing at her flank, brow still knit in puzzlement as she wrapped her head around the newly old vampony’s condition, began to follow.

Some distance away, Pinkie Pie hesitated, moving the same direction and then stopping, uncertain.

Zecora saw the motion. She looked straight at Pinkie, impassively, and the pink earth pony froze.

The zebra mare jerked her head in the direction of Fluttershy’s house, and flirted with her tail.

Pinkie’s eyes widened. Then, as the special zebra herd began to fade off into the trees, she trotted up to the edge of the forest.

A zebra foreleg emerged from the bushes, and firmly pulled her in. The peculiar herd headed off through the forest.

Over in the corner of the field, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon and Featherweight continued their negotiations.

“Ah tole you,” said Apple Bloom, “Scootaloo will be back in a moment with a surprise or two!”

Silver Spoon yawned. “Not as good as mine, I’ll bet,” she said.

“Oh, Spoonie,” chided Diamond Tiara. “Always lacking imagination.”

“Better than lacking…” began Silver Spoon, but then she squeaked in surprise. Scootaloo had arrived as quickly as she’d left. Silver Spoon smirked. “Didn’t want to miss out?”

“Here, Apple Bloom!” called Scootaloo, and flipped a small metal cylinder into the air.

Two little clinks rang out, as Scootaloo and Apple Bloom grabbed magic bits in their teeth. Then, both reared to face Silver Spoon, balancing on their hind legs.

“Oh! Oh my!” squeaked that filly.

Diamond Tiara snickered. “That’s right! That one’s for me, and that one’s for Sweetie Belle.”

“Except,” said Sweetie Belle, “we also switch them around because we can.”

“So, where you must content yourself with your little bitty camerapony colt,” said Diamond Tiara, “we use magic to engage in debaucheries of all sorts!”

“M’st sorts,” said Apple Bloom, through the bit. “Tiara l’kes me th’s way, she ain’t very b’g either as a girl or a b’y.”

“Is th’t why you like her so m’ch?” said Scootaloo. “Me and Sw’tie sw’ch off!”

Apple Bloom spat her bit out. “Sure! Y’all never did respect that. My sweetie’s got the most snappin’ cooter in town, Ah’ll have you know.”

As Diamond blushed happily, Scootaloo spat her bit out and retorted, “Well, MY Sweetie has a dick that’ll make you explode!”

“So we’ll hook ‘em up,” suggested Apple Bloom, “and see who snaps or pops. Okay?”

“That leaves one bit,” said Scootaloo. “I wouldn’t say it on most days… but I always wondered what it would be like with Silver Spoon.”

“Oooooh!” said Sweetie Belle. “Is it because you like how beautiful and feminine I am and Silver Spoon is kind of like that in her own way?”

Silver Spoon rolled her eyes. “Humble, too!”

Scootaloo blinked. “No, actually you’re not humble at all. You’re, like, totally a prissy princess so I always imagined, you know, scootering over all punky and tough, and getting bossy, and you’d be all haughty but then you’d swish your tail aside and me, I mean boy me, would just ram it in and you’d love it but you wouldn’t admit it so I’d have to, you know, fuck you and fuck you and keep fucking you until you came so hard you couldn’t stand up…”

“Eee!” squealed Sweetie Belle, enthralled as always by debauchery and scene-making.

“Sweetie can watch,” said Scootaloo pugnaciously. “Come on, you know that’s super hot. Me and Sweetie, screwing the daylights out of you and Diamond Tiara. I bet you used to fantasize about it when you were bullies.”

“Yes,” said Diamond Tiara immediately. Silver Spoon gasped, and looked at her old cohort, and caught a wicked side-eyed glance. Diamond Tiara said, “I never admitted it even to you… but isn’t that right, Spoonie? When we started to become mares, and thought that way about everything?”

Silver Spoon licked her lips, tense. “Mmmmmaybe…”

“I’ll risk Sweetie,” murmured Diamond Tiara, “but you have to get ravaged by Scootaloo. It’s only fair. It’s a special day, do you want to send Numeric Essence off in style or not?”

Sweetie cleared her throat, and the others turned to her.

“Let’s not get TOO sceney,” she said. “I mean, yes it’s very exciting but Diamond Tiara is right, it is a special day. And we’re honoring ponies we loved, or at least played chess with. And she really wasn’t a sceney type. We should be more nice. I’m going to need to be very gentle with you, Diamond Tiara, if you’re as tight as Apple Bloom says you are.”

“And I’ll…” began Scootaloo.

“Oh no,” said Silver Spoon hastily.


“I like the ravage,” said Spoonie. She gulped. “Just… like… that. Just like you described it.”

Scootaloo’s eyes widened, then narrowed in predatory glee.

“Wait!” said Sweetie. “That leaves Apple Bloom without a bit, and she only gets Featherweight!”

Every eye turned to Featherweight, who blushed at being surrounded with such eager, aggressive fillies, some with dicks.

Rubbing against her pipsqueak boyfriend, Silver Spoon flirted her tail in his face. “You have your surprises, yes, but I have mine!” She continued for a while, and then smirked especially at Diamond Tiara and Apple Bloom.

“Under there,” she suggested. “Go on, look!”

“Oh sweet Celestia!” squeaked Sweetie Belle. “How is that even possible? It’s bigger than the one I get!”

“Yeehaw!” proclaimed Apple Bloom, and the rest was squelches.