Pinkie Pie’s eyelids fluttered, without opening, and she nuzzled the pillow and yawned.
Fluttershy gasped and held her breath, startled—and when Pinkie didn’t wake, she repeated her kiss, even more delicately. She wasn’t sure if she’d quite touched Pinkie’s dear head, but she knew she’d expressed her feelings.
Then, having done so, she quietly slipped away into the fading night, for there was so much to do…
When she got home, Angel was waiting, forelegs crossed, glowering at her.
“Oh, Angel bunny,” she said, “I know and I’m so sorry. I did feed everybody early, you know, even if that doesn’t make you feel any better…”
Angel turned his back on her and stuck his nose in the air, and Fluttershy sagged.
“Hold that thought, okay? There are ponies I need to go and see.”
At that, the bunny turned his head and stared at her with a mixture of disbelief and alarm.
“It’s true, dear sweet Angel! It’s important. And I can’t tell you more. Or at least, there’s one pony who probably doesn’t want me talking about her distress, and there’s another that, um… I don’t want to tell you more. Please forgive me.”
The last words weren’t hesitant. Angel’s eyes went wide in startlement. He hopped forward frantically—but Fluttershy was already gone.
Rainbow Dash’s house wasn’t far, but Fluttershy always found it wearying to reach simply because she preferred to walk, and flying had never become first nature for her. It seemed to highlight the difference between her and other pegasi. She reflected on some of her plans with earth ponies solemnly as she approached. While she’d been making connections with the ground through her caretaking of woodland animals, she was considering a far deeper connection, and to some extent looking after Rainbow felt like making a loving gesture towards the sky itself—a sky she was abandoning, a world she walked away from on sure, steady hooves.
It was very early, still dark—but there was no helping that, not with the other meeting she intended to have. Dash might be asleep, or still staying up, or she might wake up and then go nap the rest of the morning; Fluttershy knew better than to predict the cerulean pegasus’s behavior, so the first light of dawn was as good a time as any.
She knocked at the door gently, and was greeted by a yawn and a “Hang on!” that sounded strong enough and normally cranky. Fluttershy waited, uncomplaining, wings neatly folded, until the door opened and Rainbow Dash looked out.
“Oh, hi, Fluttershy. What’s up?”
“I just wanted to see if you were okay. I’m sorry we made you so angry!”
Dash stared at her in astonishment, as if her thoughts had moved so far beyond that point that recollection took effort—and then winced, squeezing her eyes shut and covering them with a hoof. “Yeah, right. That. Listen… there was some stuff you didn’t understand about me, but I shouldn’t have over-reacted. I’m trying to turn over a new feather… there’s some ponies I care about a lot, and I want to act right around them. I feel like I should say thank you? For helping me work some of that out, I mean.”
Fluttershy blinked. “I did? Really?”
“Yeah!” replied Dash. “Even if you got everything wrong… It’s like, I don’t know why I didn’t see it, especially being friends with you and all. You’re all giving giving giving, and I’ve been all taking taking taking and it never even occurred to me it was a problem.”
Dash winced again, continuing. “Especially with you and Pinkie together. Now I feel bad that I butted in on you guys. I mean, yeah, bandages, I get that, but what if I was interrupting something good?”
“Great,” corrected Fluttershy, and then blushed and looked down.
Rainbow Dash’s ears quirked as she stared at her friend, and then she covered her face with a hoof again. “Exactly! I need to act right around you and Pinkie. I wasn’t even thinking. I’m really sorry. And then I go and get mad at you—gee, Fluttershy, is there anything I can do to make up for it?”
“Maybe,” said Fluttershy, still not looking up, still blushing.
Dash reared and hugged her, and Fluttershy squeaked and flapped a little as Dash said, “Name it! Whatever I can do for you two, you have only to tell me, I’ll do it.”
“You might be the safest pegasus to ask about this,” said Fluttershy. “Though you know how I feel about ground things, so maybe it wouldn’t be as much of a shock…”
Fluttershy gulped. “Before I go any further with my idea… do you know if Big Macintosh is going back to be with Rarity?”
Rainbow Dash’s jaw dropped. She stared in astonishment at the butter-yellow pegasus, putting two and two together—or putting two and one together, where normally you would put one and one together—to make three.
Fluttershy peered back from under her huge, fluttering eyelashes—with a faintly sulky, stubborn expression.
“Does Pinkie Pie know what you’re thinking?” said Dash.
Fluttershy shook her head. “Not all of it.”
“All earth pony, all the time, huh?”
“I love her,” said Fluttershy. She didn’t look away.
“Yeah,” said Dash. Her gaze dropped. “I can see that. Wow. Really? Let me get this straight. You want to have her foal? Seriously? Because that would work, what you’re thinking. I’ve heard of pegasi doing it—like lesbian pegasi, obviously. Are you sure, Fluttershy?”
“I don’t want to repeat my advice that made you so mad,” said Fluttershy. “But… Rainbow, I promise, if you don’t give up hope you’ll understand too, one day.”
Fluttershy winced. Too soon. Dash suddenly looked upset, and was obviously fighting for control, and Fluttershy hastened to say, “I’m sorry. It’s not my business…”
“No, just stop. Okay? I’ll have to get used to this somehow. I need you not to talk any more… but yeah, even if you don’t believe it, once there was somepony I felt that way about. And it wasn’t Big Macintosh, either, in case you’re wondering!”
Fluttershy backed off a step, uncomfortable with the tone of the discussion. “But… before I talk to him, do you think there is any chance that he and Rarity…”
“None! Okay? There is no chance!” yelled Dash. “Take it from me, Rarity is all set, okay? As far as I know Big Macintosh is a free agent. You can go and take it up with him. You’d better double check with Pinkie, because I’m telling you she does not like dick. And if magic bit stuff worked, I’d be pregnant myself! Go away!”
Fluttershy gasped, whirled, and flew off as fast as she could. Behind her, she faintly heard Dash’s scratchy little voice crying out after her.
Rainbow Dash leaned against her own doorframe, banging it with a hoof. It wobbled—cloud houses were pretty fluffy. She wasn’t squeezing her eyes shut, though, because that would make it worse.
The throbbing of that alien cock in her as the firm jaws bore down on her wingbase…
She’d had the nightmare again. It would be easier if, in the nightmare, he was a horrible monster Dog—because it would be less real in the light of day. Sleeping with the stolen book under her pillow helped.
“It isn’t real,” repeated Dash to herself. “They call it hysterical pregnancy. You feel hysterical, even. It’s not real, Diamond Dogs can’t make foals in ponies. And you told Big Macintosh he couldn’t touch your wings, and he never did…”
It was hard to even remember back that far. The sensations of the Dog fucking her kept coming back, vag and wings combining in an erotic overload that told her with horrible force she wasn’t merely playing—that she was being mated, that her lover was making her pregnant.
“It isn’t possible, the book said it wasn’t possible, you’re hysterical and making it up…”
The barn out by Sweet Apple Acres was quiet in the first rays of dawn. The farm itself wasn’t—birds sang, insects chirped and buzzed, nature was getting enthusiastically to work as soon as light suggested it might appear—but the barn was.
Fluttershy listened at the small door behind which Big Macintosh now resided, then screwed up her courage and knocked with a hoof. It made barely a sound, because the door was sturdy and her knocking was anything but.
She tried to summon up courage to knock harder, but before she could, a sound came from across the field. It was a metallic clank, such as no bird or woodland creature would make. She’d missed her chance—he was already at work.
Trembling, Fluttershy crept around the barn and slunk on quiet hooves toward the sound. At first she couldn’t see him, for the rolling hills got in the way, but then as she approached the laboring farmpony she could see all she liked.
He had a heavy cast-iron pan in his teeth, and was shaking it, head low, scattering seeds over the furrows of the plowed earth. Fluttershy slunk up, her eyes wide. The clank had been the sound of him putting this pan down on a rock, she imagined. He lumbered slowly forward, huge neck bulging with muscle that extended to his massive shoulders, shaking the pan. Fluttershy’s eyes ran over his body, not stopping at the shoulders. Her wings lifted—and as her gaze explored more intimate areas of his body, her wings flared high, reminding her that her love for Pinkie might not be the only motivation she had. Pinkie could scorn stallions, but Fluttershy’s appetites and fantasies had always centered around a big fat pony cock.
And though she was longing to have Pinkie’s foal, she was filled with curiosity and speculation about what this fearfully big pony had to offer in that regard. She had to admit it wasn’t just practicality she had in mind. Fluttershy was suddenly horny.
“Which is good,” said Fluttershy to herself, “but complicated…”
Big Macintosh’s head jerked around suddenly to hear the sweet little voice behind him, and seed flew wildly from the pan. “Hnn? D’mnit!”
“Oh! I’m sorry!” squeaked Fluttershy. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you!”
Big Macintosh dropped the pan, and rushed over to her. “Sump’n the matter, Fluttershy? What are you doin’ here in th’ field? Do ya need help?”
“Um, yes and no… which is to say yes… but maybe this isn’t the time to explain it if you’re working…”
Big Macintosh blinked, looming over her like a friendly mountain. “Wull… I am plantin’…”
“You should do that, then, if it’s important,” said Fluttershy. “I can wait. Or ask some other time?”
“I got all day,” said Big Macintosh. “What’s on your mind?”
Confronted with the massive stallion’s direct attention, Fluttershy cringed back, and all she could think was ‘be careful be careful be careful!’ Her whole plan seemed ridiculous and perverse—and though she was used to feeling perverse, she was used to covering it up, not flaunting it. She cast about for some way of indicating the layers within layers of her scheme.
“Um… do you know Pinkie?”
Big Macintosh blinked again, slowly. “Ayep. …why?”
“It’s a little c-complicated,” stammered Fluttershy. Her legs quivered, as she looked him in the eye from so close up. “I’m not sure this is the time or the place to explain pegasus gestation…”
Fluttershy continued, hectically. “Have you been with a… no, wait, of course you have, at least twice… probably much more than that, though it’s very strange I would never have seen…”
“Fluttershy, what the hay are you tryin’ to ask me?”
Big Macintosh’s voice sounded defensive—which wasn’t shocking, as Fluttershy’s nervous half-questioning spoke loudly of illicit, furtive activities, as if she was propositioning him but would be breaking faith of some sort to do it. He’d already had some experience with breaking faith, and did not like it.
“Maybe I best go on plantin’!” he said.
Fluttershy hung her head, blushing. “Maybe you’d better…” she said, but then as he turned away, she squeaked, “…but!”
His expression wasn’t one of alarm, but more of resignation, as he looked back. “But what?”
Fluttershy stood, trembling, wings quivering almost vertically. He waited for her to be able to speak, which didn’t take too long.
“Before I go and talk to my marefriend about things… which I should have done first, I can see that now… I have to ask is it safe?”
Her eyes scanned nervously over his massive body, and she asked herself why she’d never been able to peep upon him with anypony. If only she’d been able to see it in action, she wouldn’t be forced to ask questions that made her blush scarlet!
Big Macintosh’s ears splayed to the side in astonishment. “What you mean, safe? You seriously askin’ what I think you’re…”
“Yes!” snapped Fluttershy. “I’ll explain later. I’m sorry, I’m so nervous… What I am asking is, if you are being a stallion with a mare, since you are such a big pony, is it so…”
“Fluttershy, have you seen Trixie this morning?” called Twilight Sparkle.
Fluttershy squealed in alarm, and even Big Macintosh jerked a bit in startledness.
Twilight had trotted up behind the ridge of the hill and cantered over, smiling a big slightly fake smile. “Please say yes!”
“Um… no, Twilight, we haven’t. At least I haven’t,” said Fluttershy. “Have you, Big Macintosh?”
“Nope,” he said, wide-eyed.
“Damn it!” said Twilight. She caught herself, and beamed at them again, with a fractured grin that set off all of Fluttershy’s warning instincts. “I need to find her before I know whether I need to apologize to her, or she needs to apologize to me. I don’t suppose I could ask you for, you know, air support?”
Fluttershy glanced back and forth between Twilight and Big Macintosh anxiously—though she had been nervous to the point of stampeding, there was clearly unfinished business for her at Sweet Apple Acres. Big Macintosh regarded her levelly, then dropped his head in resignation.
“You go on.”
Twilight blinked. “I’m sorry, was I interrupting…”
“No, no!” protested Fluttershy, joined by the massive earth stallion. “Not at all!”
“Well, okay,” said Twilight. “I really do appreciate your help, Fluttershy! It might be important. You know when you dare to do something that’s kinda crazy and it might be wonderful but you might have just really blown it? No, wait, you wouldn’t know that.”
Fluttershy bit her lip tenderly. “Um… actually, yes, I do. I do know it… I’m ready, let’s go find her. Where shall I look first?”
“Try to make a sweep of the northern park area, maybe swing out by Froggy Bottom Bog,” said Twilight, “you know, places I haven’t been already. I came through Whitetail Woods and I didn’t see her in town and she wasn’t at home, so now I’m really wondering.”
“I will!” said Fluttershy. Twilight began to trot off, but before Fluttershy could take to the air, she was interrupted by Big Macintosh.
“Fluttershy! Your, uh, your question!”
She whirled, to find that he was blushing as well—and his awkward smile, head still low but his eyes peering up from under his mane endearingly, sent jolts through her body.
“Ain’t, uh, ain’t been no complaints. From that, at least. Jes’, uh, so ya know…”
Fluttershy froze—and then tore herself away with a fierce effort, and a parting remark that was uncommonly self-assured for the skittish, shy pegasus.
And she flew off with strong wingbeats, feeling his gaze follow her—and smiling.
Fluttershy’s smile didn’t last the morning, because she had to return to Twilight’s house with nothing to report. The sight of Twilight’s manically hopeful face took her smile right away.
“I’m so terribly sorry, Twilight!” she said, nearly weeping.
The nervous twitch in Twilight’s face had worsened. She paced around her floor, watched by Fluttershy and Spike.
“No problem! What we do is get the Element Bearers together, and turn it into like a major quest or something. We can’t fail if we use the power of our friendship! I don’t know what’s happened to her, whether she’s mad or hurt or… it’s not even important anymore, all I care about is finding her and then we’ll see what… what we’ll see.” She gulped. “So we’ve got me and you—you can fly off and get Rainbow Dash, whom I hope is doing well enough for this, and I’ll grab Rarity and Applejack because I think I know where to find them. Pinkie Pie…”
“Yeah, Twilight?” Pinkie had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.
Twilight gave a little shriek. “WHAT are you doing sneaking up on me like that?”
“Finding Fluttershy, silly! Where’d you go, Fluttershy? I woke up and you were all like not there and I was like, aaaaaa!”
Fluttershy gave Pinkie a look. “Pinkie, it seems like Twilight has had a similar experience. Please help us search for Trixie, okay? It might be really important.”
“Sure!” said Pinkie Pie. “Don’t you worry, Twilight Sparkle, I promise you everything is going to work out just…”
Spike went “Urrrk!”
“Will you be quiet?” said Pinkie. “I’m trying to reassure my friend!”
Spike coughed up a cloud of green flames, and a scroll, which he grabbed and held in front of his face. “Looks like a message from the Princess! Want me to read it?”
Twilight sighed. “You’d better. But then we have to get moving. Quickly!”
Spike focussed on the words. “My dearest, faithful student…”
As he read, the room got quieter and quieter.
“First, I think, I must ask your forgiveness. We have all done things we wish we had not done—yet I feel I must hold myself to higher standards, and I have not. I have allowed my dismay to dictate my actions, and I am sure I have set in motion the chain of events that led to this letter. It is possible that you hurt too badly right now and that I am asking in unreasonable haste—but understand, then, that one day I will ask your forgiveness for all this.”
“I am sorry for my lapse in judgement, which may have led to unseemly events, the conflicts between us. There will be no recurrence of it, I promise you that. Let us just say that the Sun shall not be fumbled, and that I regret suggesting that this was ever at risk! I promise you it is not. I can take care of that—as you have seen.”
“Dear Twilight, you do not need to be able to accept this—I understand that you are hurt. I did what I felt was best, though that may not comfort you. I am so very, very sorry, Twilight. Again, I can only say that things will stay under control now and I can only hope that one day you will understand. Until that day, my thoughts are with you, and I will not attempt to speak with you again unless—or until—you wish it.”
“Princess Celestia,” finished Spike. He began to say, “Wow, what’s she even talking about? Did you do something I don’t kn…”
Spike had lowered the scroll, while speaking, to reveal Twilight’s face. Twilight stared at him, jaw hanging, eyes pits of horror, head slightly shaking as she tried to somehow not understand, not comprehend what the letter was telling her—but it was all too clear.
Trixie was GONE. And it looked like Princess Celestia had taken—or killed—her.
Far from Twilight Sparkle, and far from Princess Celestia, Trixie Lulamoon opened her eyes in darkness.
She lay for a moment, trying to work out what had happened. It was cool, and she lay on stone. She wondered briefly if Twilight had taken her home, and imprisoned her in some cellar by way of continuing their play.
Not a cellar. The echoes spread out and gathered, making a sound picture of a monstrous cave—far too big to fit anywhere near Ponyville. As the last ripples of sound died away, a voice spoke out of the darkness.
“Fate pursues strange paths, and it may confound even the wise…”
“Mistress!” called Trixie, in alarm, but she was rewarded only with louder echoes—and laughter.
“Celestia’s little ponies cannot come here! Don’t cry out that way. I don’t like it.”
Hoofsteps echoed in the darkness as that velvety voice moved closer. Trixie gulped.
“As Fate would have it, yes, you might well say that…”
“Trixie means Twilight Sparkle! Who are you?”
The voice chuckled, affectionately. “But, Trixie Lulamoon, you know the answer to that question.”
Suddenly, a light shone forth. Trixie scrabbled backwards along the rocky floor, squinted, and then her eyes adjusted and she saw—Luna. Princess Luna, standing in the middle of a huge cave, smiling at her. Trixie’s eyes widened, for Luna seemed almost overcome with emotion, though it didn’t show in her voice. It showed in her eyes, brimming with a strange sort of fondness.
“Celestia’s little ponies are wonderful, are they not?” she said. “Good, kind, quick to help each other, reverent, polite…”
Trixie snorted. “Trixie finds them all too reverent at times. Where are we, Miss Luna?”
“Celestia’s little ponies seek only to live in harmony and friendship,” said Luna, gently.
“It was hell to teach Twilight to use a rod properly, I’ll tell you that much,” said Trixie. “Where is she? Why isn’t she here? Where is this? MISTRESSSS!”
“Stop it,” snapped Luna, and Trixie caught her breath. There was a tone there…
The dark—but glowing—alicorn stepped nearer, gracefully. “Celestia’s little ponies don’t have the power to mage-meld and teleport her against her will. They would not even think of such a thing. Would they?”
Trixie blinked. “Oh, crap. Am I in trouble, Miss Luna?”
“You, Trixie Lulamoon, are a throwback. In your way you are nearly as miraculous as they are… You belong to a different time. Surely you have felt this? Surely you have felt out of place, among all Celestia’s good little ponies?”
“What are you talking about, Luna?” Trixie tried to summon up her Great and Powerful voice, but the cave swallowed it up mockingly.
“I must insist on the honorific. You’ve not got it quite right yet, but abandoning it entirely is grievously unwise…”
“Trixie demands that you release her at once!”
The echoes died away to silence. Princess Luna’s eyes never left Trixie’s. Finally, she spoke, patiently.
“Celestia’s little ponies are cooperative and good…”
Trixie’s eyes were wild. Something really stunk about this situation. “Why do you keep saying that?”
Luna’s eyes narrowed a little. “Sometimes, one must needs take action to protect the herd. Celestia’s little ponies rescued me from a thousand-year prison, and more importantly, from an influence that had me defy my beloved Sister. She is the light—I am the darkness. She is the Sun, and I the Moon. I understand and accept my place now, and that gives me strength: and, I hope, allows me to serve as power of example, so that you in turn can accept your place, for as long as you last. You are only a mortal pony, so it won’t be that long. You’ll hardly notice it, in fact.”
Trixie backed up a step, and Luna stepped calmly forward to match her.
“But… you’re talking like I’m in prison!” said Trixie. “As long as I last? What?”
“You are a mare out of time. I can only seek to make a safe home for you, for the protection of you and others. By the way, I do not mean that literally, Trixie Lulamoon, I suspect it is simply a trick of inheritance…”
Trixie stomped a hoof. “Trixie demands you release her! Trixie is one of those Celestia’s little ponies! Sort of!”
Luna’s eyes narrowed further, and a curious overtone began to enter her voice. “No. They are good. You are bad. You require a kind of love my dear sister should never understand…”
“Trixie belongs to Twilight Sparkle, then! She will adminster corrections!”
“Oh no no,” said Princess Luna, looming closer. “Twilight must remain one of Celestia’s. Your influence on her is not appreciated. We must insist that you stay here. Not forever, for you’ll die, eventually, of old age; well cared for, and most likely with a bottom striped like a zebra’s from spankings, if we are any judge. A happy life. For you, anyhow. It wouldn’t suit your friend.”
Trixie didn’t even know what to say. “Trixie… belongs to Twilight Sparkle…”
“She’ll doubtless recover, in time. She’ll become one of Celestia’s little ponies again, without the perversion and badness of you around.”
Trixie began to cower. She couldn’t meet Princess Luna’s gaze, which became more and more dominant and scornful by the second.
“Trixie… has powerful friends…”
“Yes, that is rather the problem. Celestia’s little ponies love to rally around troubled souls and they’ll bear close watching for a while. We believe we are more than capable of managing them.”
“Trixie will get away…”
Princess Luna yawned. “Of course you will not. This place is your new home. Do you think in a few decades you will find escape in a place we have studied for hundreds of years?”
“Trixie is… is… a Celestia’s Little Pony…”
Luna’s eyes flared.
“No! You are MINE.”