Ride ‘Em Batpony

Peering out her front door, Fluttershy scanned the landscape for vengeful mist demons. It was difficult, because Shy was peeking out the door from around floor level, most of her body hidden behind the door jamb. She expected a visitor, but all the same she hid from the dreaded Kirin.

Realizing this was a silly thing for a fearfully powerful vampony, one who’d survived a direct attack from a deranged and self-destructive alicorn Princess, to do… she stood up a bit.

Everything was quiet. The animals were fed, Dursaa had gone off to work on the Apple farm (apparently most of the farm ponies were shirking work for some reason and his assistance was needed more than ever) and Zecora was brewing some potions in her house and letting young Dursaa Jr. watch… so Fluttershy’s house was quiet and peaceful, and that was exactly right for her expected visitor.

Tree Hugger was coming over, and that made everything more okay.

The cowering vampony took a minute to calm herself, and then peered around the door jamb again—and shrieked, jumping back.

“You should try to maintain more of, you know, a meditative state,” chided Tree Hugger affectionately. “I’m feeling your tension and it’s not good for your aura to get so imbalanced.”

“Treesie!” cried Fluttershy. “It’s you! I thought you were somepony else.”

“Would you like a hug, Fluttershy?” said Tree Hugger. “I’m always happy to comfort you. You’re one of the specialest rare creatures I’ve ever seen, like ever. And I have good news which should calm your vibrations immeasurably!”

Fluttershy had to smile, even as she accepted the hug from her friend. Treesie was always so unflappable and serene. Some of it even came naturally and not from her herbal remedies. It was a whole different flavor of steadiness than she enjoyed from her zebra lovers: they were staunch and determined, protective, but Tree Hugger behaved as if nothing could ever harm her, even when she was exposed to terrible danger.

Fluttershy loved her very much, though they were both essentially straight mares… well, straight female creatures, anyhow.

“I’m happy to hear about it,” said Fluttershy, and gave Treesie a little kiss. One of the wonderful things about Tree Hugger was her demonstrative nature and her knack for delivering a hug, a kiss, an affectionate touch at the right moment. Fluttershy felt extremely safe around her, as if she too was exempted from terrible social gaffes through Treesie’s serene presence.

“And I’m happy to tell you about it,” declared Tree Hugger. “We’ve been graced by the presence of a guru, Fluttershy! All Ponyville is talking about her. I think we should go out and find her and introduce you to her, and maybe she can help relieve your tensions.”

Fluttershy’s feelings of safety evaporated, very suddenly.

“Um, that’s okay,” she said, and cowered back behind the door-frame again.

Tree Hugger blinked, in her slow and dreamy way. “I don’t understand your failure of enthusiasm, Fluttershy. How can you not avail yourself of the essential groundedness of a guru? You say even when you were a little pegasus filly you were, like, totally into groundedness quite literally. Why the change?”

“Can you hug me again?” said Fluttershy, in a timid little voice.

“I can hug you for as many times as you need to be hugged, sweetie,” said Tree Hugger, and did so. “But I feel something’s wrong and as your friend I hope you can share that with me in an atmosphere free of judgement. Do you need for us to go somewhere that will help you communicate from a place of authenticity?”

Fluttershy thought about this, knowing Treesie meant it. “Can we just close and lock the door? Then I’ll tell you.”

“Locking is a restriction on your flows of energy,” chided Tree Hugger. “You’re only locking your own mind away from enlightenment just so it can relate to its own negative thinking better.” She promptly turned, closed and locked the door, and smiled at Fluttershy. “Which is its own kind of authenticity. You have to, like, truly be where you are before you can be anywhere else. Where do you want me? On the sofa, in your bed under the covers? Tell Treesie.”

“The sofa is fine,” said Fluttershy demurely. “Thank you.”

They trotted over and got comfortable, and Fluttershy continued, “I need to ask you something.”

“Feel that you can ask me,” encouraged Tree Hugger. “If I can make it happen righteously, you know I’ll do whatever for you, Fluttershy.”

“Is the guru you’re telling me about… a Kirin from Neighpon?” said Fluttershy, and looked around huntedly.

“Yes, she is.”

“Then I need you to swear that you won’t reveal me to the Kirin,” said Fluttershy. “Promise!”

For a while, Tree Hugger just looked at her, drinking in the pouty lip, the terrified eyes, the stubborn tilt to the head. Fluttershy didn’t flinch, for she knew Treesie would honor her feelings even if the dreadlocked mare didn’t share them.

“I guess you’re being bothered by the old messages a lot, huh?” said Tree Hugger.

Fluttershy pouted harder, and didn’t answer.

“Oh, Fluttershy,” said Tree Hugger. “I’m not looking to guilt you out but seeing you entrapped in bad self talk will always be a bummer to me. I love you, your zebra family loves you, even Princess Celestia loves you from what you’ve told me which is a pretty awesome and intense story though it’s not one I can personally attest to…”

“I know,” said Fluttershy.

Tree Hugger scooched closer and gave her another reassuring hug. “I feel it would be a centering force if I did recount a personal story that is from my experience. You might remember it, Fluttershy, and I bet you know the one I’m thinking of. You were there.”

Fluttershy nodded. It didn’t matter that she knew the story. Part of the magic was listening to Tree Hugger re-tell it, held close in a companionable snuggle while one of her best friends in the whole world talked so gently to her. Treesie was so very good at gentle.

“It was around the time of the Breezie migration,” said Tree Hugger. “Thing is, they were done migrating because they didn’t want to travel at night. You’d followed them and you were heading home, and it was very dark but you can see in the dark, I think? Are those some of your powers?”

Fluttershy nodded. “When my eyes are pink they can. I was scared of going back through the Everfree forest by myself, so I’d put my mane and tail extensions in my saddlebag until I got nearer home.”

Tree Hugger smiled. “I like the Everfree. The rarest creatures live in the Everfree, or travel through it, as I was about to discover. But I wasn’t exploring that night. You remember? I was doing a special dance to the moon. Y’know, because as we all learned, Princess Luna went through some tough times and maybe it was because she didn’t, like, feel supported? Ponies like to praise the Sun and it helps us grow crops and keeps us warm and is a bountiful source of energy, but the Moon is also, like, very beautiful, like yin to the yang of the power of the Sun and the harmonious balance is a beautiful thing, so I thought it behooved me to do a dance to appreciate the Moon, in a clearing in the Everfree, or mostly in a clearing I guess…”

“It wasn’t in a clearing,” objected Fluttershy, “you went staggering through some tall ferns and boom!”

“I was getting into my dancing,” said Tree Hugger, unperturbed. “You have to dance a lot for your vibrations to make it to the Moon. So I was getting really spiritual, and then suddenly, bump, vampony!”

“I was like, yaaaaa!” reminisced Fluttershy. “I was so scared! I didn’t know what you were at first.”

“I knew what you were right away,” teased Tree Hugger. “Remember? If you didn’t want me to know that, screaming and showing your fangs was bad form.”

“You rolled your eyes,” said Fluttershy. “I’ll never forget your reaction.”

“I totally, like, forgave you,” asserted Tree Hugger proudly.

Fluttershy gave a little frown. “Not exactly, Treesie. You rolled your eyes and you said ‘okay, it’s your karma, you might not want to drink all my blood at once’.”

“Oh,” said Tree Hugger, “yeah, that too.”

“I stared at you like you were crazy,” said Fluttershy, ”cause you weren’t scared at all. You just looked back and told me ‘I’m just saying, you might find it sort of disorienting man’.”

“You cried,” said Tree Hugger softly.

Fluttershy’s eyes were tearing up once more. “You didn’t even know me, but you saw me crying and in three seconds you were already hugging me and telling me I was okay. Three seconds, no more. I can’t even imagine being so loving, so forgiving. It didn’t matter that I was a vampire, you dropped everything and tried to comfort me.”

“You wouldn’t have hurt me,” said Tree Hugger. “It was written all over you, Fluttershy. Didn’t I say the rarest creatures are found in the Everfree? I found a loving, kind, good vampony. I’m given to understand most of them are, like, tragically unbalanced to the point of being real toxic and hurtful, but you’re a complete pacifist.”

“Your gentleness always makes me feel better, Treesie,” said Fluttershy.

“You totally deserve to feel better!” insisted Tree Hugger. “I need to share with you that your pacifism is, like, a beautiful struggle, like truly enlightened in a way I don’t have to be. It’s like some heavy meditation shit, and I’m privileged to be part of your existence. I say it like that because I know there are times you get hung up over the life and unlife thing. That doesn’t matter nearly as much as your loving heart.”

“I do feel better,” said Fluttershy. “And before you say anything, is it okay if you still don’t tell the Kirin about me? It’s just that I never saw one, and my friends like Rainbow Dash are so worried, and I think Zecora and Dursaa are worried though they don’t want to show it…”

“Just a moment, sweetie,” said Tree Hugger. “Rainbow Dash is worried? Rainbow Dash is a nice pony if you’re into the whole competitiveness thing, and we’ve talked about her before. She does know about you, right? Or has she forgot? Wait, why would she be worried if she’s forgot about your like essential vampire nature?”

“She has not either forgot!” protested Fluttershy. “She’s trying to help, or something! She flew over here as fast as she possibly could to warn me!”

“Is she occupying some space where she thinks the guru is going to hurt you? I don’t mean to be like all judgemental, Fluttershy, but that isn’t what I’d like to call a reality space.”

Fluttershy pouted. “I don’t know. I love her, she’s a really good friend, and she was too worried. So there!”

Tree Hugger blinked slowly, as she did. “Is it possible Rainbow Dash rushed over to warn you because she, like, knows you so well she thought you would get into a negative head trip when you heard about the guru being here?”

Fluttershy boggled at her friend, and thought about it for a moment, because it was important to honor Treesie’s ideas rather than dismissing them. “No,” she concluded. “That’s not possible at all because Rainbow Dash doesn’t pay any attention to how I think. Rainbow was terrified because she thought the Kirin was going to hurt me. There’s no other way I could possibly interpret it.” She winced, and added, “I guess the bonds of friendship are stronger than evilness, huh?”

Tree Hugger poked her, and said, “We’ve been over this, Fluttershy. Everypony agrees. You’re not even slightly evil, you’re one of the sweetest things of any kind I’ve ever known. Even Princess Celestia says so!”

Fluttershy pouted. Princess Celestia could say it all she wanted, but the Sweet Apple Acres farm stallions still avoided her like a dose of plague. Not everypony in Ponyville was comfortable living around a tame vampony.

Tree Hugger studied her. “You’re vibing me out, Fluttershy. Please accept that most of the ponies you know understand you as a loving and positively motivated individual?”

“Oh, I know,” grumbled Fluttershy, “blah blah, choose good, magic sparkles from the Princess giving me the choice, we know all that. Tree Hugger, you’re thinking only about ponies that know and love me. Isn’t it obvious that Rainbow was terrified for me, because she knows the Kirin doesn’t know and love me? She wanted me to hide inside where it’s safe, and that’s just what I’m going to do. I just don’t want to take the risk!”

“Okay, Fluttershy, I need you to be coming from an accepting place of centeredness,” ordered Tree Hugger, “because I wouldn’t be a loving friend unless I reminded you of some things you consider distasteful…”

“Oh, I know,” said Fluttershy miserably, “I’m a terrible coward and it’s preventing me from experiencing life. But this is not the time…”

She stopped, for Tree Hugger had put a gentle hoof to her lips.

“No, honey,” said Tree Hugger. “I need to ask you for some honesty with me and with yourself. What do you think one Kirin is going to do to you?”

Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Um. Smite me? Get all righteous and destroy me? Burn me up with magic fire?”

“Oh, right,” said Tree Hugger, blinking. “That.”

“You see?” wailed Fluttershy. “You see? I told you it’s a big scary problem, and even Rainbow Dash is terrified, and…”

“No, wait, give me a moment!” said Tree Hugger. “I admit I wasn’t thinking of the magic fire thing so much, but hear me out! You told me you protected Princess Celestia, that when Twilight Sparkle was an alicorn she went like totally insane and tried to destroy Celestia and Discord. It was a pretty amazing story, considering how well they get along these days.”

Fluttershy pouted. “I know it sounds impossible, but I did. You’ll just have to trust me. I punched Twilight in the face for being such a big meanie, and she’s much better now that she’s back to being a mortal unicorn again. Maybe that’s why Princess Celestia accepts her. Twilight went from being one of the alicorns, like Celestia and Luna, to being just a unicorn who’s going to die. Celestia’s going to have to say goodbye to her someday, like I’ll have to say goodbye to you.”

Tree Hugger frowned. “My point was this, Fluttershy. If you could have an alicorn Princess charging you, blasting you with a death bolt and impaling you through the heart, and you’re still here and as cute as ever, how can you be so frightened of a Neighponnese Kirin? Even if she wanted to hurt you, what’s she going to do, kill you again? You’re already dead and can hardly die twice, or, like, three times. It just seems to me your amazing experiences getting, like, grievously injured protecting others, suggest that the Kirin would be hard pressed to do you any harm even if she was very unspiritual and tried to.”

Fluttershy pouted worse. “Magical fire?” she suggested, sulkily.

“And that’s another thing!” argued Tree Hugger. “How many times do I have to tell you, the Kirin are travelling gurus! You’re giving her no credit for spiritual development. So on the one hoof you’re acting like a little frail thing that the Kirin could just blow away unthinkingly, and on the other hoof you insist the Kirin would not be thinking! What do you think a guru is, Fluttershy? I admit Kirin are supposed to be very powerful magic users, but you’re acting like she’s crazy like Twilight Sparkle! Which,” she corrected herself, “is an unkind and judgemental thing to say, and I hope she is feeling much better now. It’s just that if she zapped you and stabbed you through the heart with her horn, she WAS crazy… or very, very mean. At the time.”

“She was,” muttered Fluttershy, her fangs glinting slightly. “We all knew it. Treesie, that’s why I can’t trust the Kirin. I know powerful magic ponies can go crazy and become big meanies. Sometimes I even have to fight the big meanies. I don’t like that one bit, Treesie.”

“Okay, let’s try it from another angle,” suggested Tree Hugger. “Supposing she’s having a really bad day, or she doesn’t give you a chance, and she’s trying to attack you. What special vampire powers can you use to protect yourself like nonviolently from her acting out? Which she won’t, I promise, but even if she does?”

Fluttershy frowned. “I don’t think it would work. I’ve learned to go away from my vampire instincts, Treesie, not toward them. It’s not good.”

“I don’t have those instincts so I can’t authentically comment on them,” said Tree Hugger. “Do you have a sense of what you could do if you did use them?”

Fluttershy frowned worse, her little fangs glinting again. “Once I fought a fullgrown griffin and beat her. Actually I beat her up… and worse. You remember, we’ve talked about it. I really hated her at that moment, and it opened up something, it gave me power. I don’t ever want to feel like that again. When she was down, I didn’t even realize I’d bitten her, but I had all these feelings… I wanted to eat her, Treesie. But not exactly? There was something I could have eaten, sort of, but it was a horrible feeling and I sort of behaved like that feeling was part of her, not part of me. I acted like the badness was her fault and even the way I felt was her fault, and I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. And so I didn’t eat—her soul, I suppose it was. And I’m glad of that. But all the same, I remember the hunger, and such a clear sense of what I ought to do.”

Tree Hugger was silent, listening.

“I think it would’ve made me stronger,” said Fluttershy. “That’s how it felt. But I don’t ever want to be that way. Once I was a little helpless shy pegasus filly. It seems like so long ago… a lifetime ago, I suppose. If only I could be like that again!”

“Oh, Fluttershy!” sighed Tree Hugger, and wrapped the forlorn vampony in an embrace. Fluttershy didn’t resist. She trembled, and there were some tears, but she’d accepted her fate and was more concerned with the possible, not the impossible.

When Tree Hugger released Fluttershy from the hug, she gave her a very earnest kiss, and a little shake. “Listen, sweetie.”

“I’m listening,” said Fluttershy resignedly.

“I bet you could even fight a Kirin and win, but believe me when I say you won’t have to. Do what you gotta, in case things get messy, but just show your loving heart and no Kirin in the world would keep on hurting you. Didn’t I tell you, she’s a guru? You can trust a guru to look past surface hangups and unspiritual confusingness to the heart of the situation.”

“Maybe if I show my loving heart she’ll stab me through it, like Twilight Sparkle,” retorted Fluttershy. “Then I can see how much that hurts before I get it properly healed. Which it never does, not really. Do they have even longer and pointier horns than alicorns? Maybe it’d hurt less if it was really sharp?”

Tree Hugger blinked. “No, no! Haven’t you ever seen one? They have like weird bent-back horns that look like they’re made of luminous ice. All glowing with the magic they need.”

“To make magical fire and burn me up?”

Tree Hugger gave her friend a stern look. “I’m concerned that this stopped being properly fear, and is turning into more of a bitchy mood, Fluttershy.”

Fluttershy sagged. “Guilty. I’m sorry, Treesie. I’m so worried, and maybe I really am so powerful that I could fight a Kirin. But I’m not supposed to be fighting anything, and I don’t want to! How could it ever be right for me to fight things, especially if I have dark vampiric powers? I just want to stay home with Dursaa and Zecora and to heck with dark vampiric powers, the mean wicked things!”

“Use them for light,” said Tree Hugger, and kissed her on the nose. “And I keep telling you, the Kirin isn’t going to fight you. You’re not evil.”

A sharp rapping resounded through the house, from the front door. Fluttershy shrieked and tried to hide under her friend, then the sofa.

“I’ll get it!” proclaimed Tree Hugger, and she trotted to the door, unlocked and opened it. “Oh, hi! We were just talking about you!”

Hearing this, Fluttershy scrabbled all the more determinedly, but it’d been a poor choice: she could barely fit under the bed, and the sofa was a dead loss. Her head fit, and one of her wings, but her hindlegs kicked fruitlessly and her butt stuck out.

“She’s right in here!” called Tree Hugger merrily.

Fluttershy, panting, realized she wasn’t going to be able to hide, or get upstairs and under the bed safely. Already, she heard the mighty tread, as if Kirins were built on Big Macintosh scale. She wondered if you got a kinky thrill from being impaled to death from that angle. At least there was no unborn foal to endanger this time!

She heard a gasp, and it was like that of a bull, impossibly powerful and potent. She stuck out her lower lip, and swished her tail defiantly.

“Do your worst,” she said. “I’m ready.”

A clearing of the throat… and a voice, such a voice.

“The invitation’s something oft rehearsed—though this position, I would not have guessed. Dear wife, you’re asking me to do my worst. Perhaps you’d rather that I do my best?”

Dursaa, of course.

Fluttershy’s legs churned in reverse, and she scrabbled out from under the sofa and tackled Dursaa with a squee, almost budging him. But whether pegasus or vampegasus, Fluttershy’s fluffy frame didn’t so much as sway her stout zebra lover, who promptly grabbed her in an eager embrace.

“Fluttershy, my darling mare! What has given you this scare?” he said, snuggling her tenderly in his mighty forelegs.

“It’s better now that I can spend time with you,” said Fluttershy, nuzzling his chest. “Let’s stay home and have fun, okay?”

Hearing this, Dursaa gently pushed her back until he could see her face. “You show your rump and beckon with your tail, when we two into fornication fly. But hiding ‘neath the bed and turning pale tells me I see a frightened Fluttershy!”

She pouted. Tree Hugger said, “Do you need me to give you a little time alone? I’d like to encourage you to be genuine, though, Fluttershy, as I’m concerned it’s too easy for you to gloss over things that are troubling you.”

Dursaa turned, his eyes wide—and then glowered. “What disturbs my precious horse? It will face my fiercest force!”

At that, Fluttershy and Tree Hugger glanced at each other, wide-eyed.

“That’s okay, honey,” said Fluttershy.

“A thing that steals my darling’s joy?” retorted Dursaa, stamping the floor with a forehoof and snorting. “Why, such a thing I should destroy!”

Fluttershy squealed and hugged him, crying out “Please don’t!”

Tree Hugger had gone a paler shade of green, but her voice was still calm. “We need to talk to you about that, Dursaa, okay? I, like, respect the way you like to be all masculine and stuff for Fluttershy and I know that’s a thing you guys do with each other, but there’s a reason you should dial it back, like even just to talk about, okay? For now.”

Dursaa looked astonished. “What the fuck could come here, that gives you both such fear?” he said, weakly.

“It’s not fear for me!” protested Fluttershy. “Not really. We just both realised it’s bad for you to get all stalliony and hostile about protecting me, right now…”

Tree Hugger nodded. “I don’t think you’re in any real danger. It’s just that there’s a guru in town. We don’t want you to go out and try to beat her up, or it could be not so good, okay?”

Dursaa’s perplexity only grew worse. “What is a guru? This word is too new!”

“It’s about the Kirin,” said Fluttershy.

Dursaa’s gaze darkened. He cleared his throat, and began to speak, and Fluttershy gawped in amazement. She’d never heard him speak quite so seriously before. He spoke as if addressing a whole town.

“Hear me, Fluttershy, Tree Hugger, ponies of our humble cottage:
Even in Zebra lands, sometimes that creature, a Kirin, is spotted.
Please be thoughtful, deliberate, do not engage with it lightly:
Warriors attacking them tend to be turned to carnage unsightly.
This we Zebras have learned through our dealings with enemy Kirin—
If you attack them, it’s soon for your own precious lives you’ll be fearing,
Yet if Zebra are threatened by enemies, with Kirin nearby,
Kirin will intercede, and then you’ll know there is no better ally.
This is our wisdom, from Zebras across all the tribe’s generations:
Speak not to Kirin, lest you become prey to their fickle attentions!”

Fluttershy stared at him. “What was that, honey? It sounds like you know all about them!”

Dursaa blushed, a little. “It is the Song Of Kirin. ’Twas time we heard it herein. Did I recite it properly? For that was my desire. I’ve never spoken as an Elder, but the need was dire.”

Tree Hugger clapped her hooves excitedly. “That was amazing! I’ve never been present for a Zebra Elder addressing his townsponies before. Does that mean me and Fluttershy are honorary Zebras?”

“Before we speak of such ideas, tell me this at once,” insisted Dursaa. “Why does this Kirin come out here? Is it my love it hunts?”

“No, no!” said Tree Hugger. “I’m not sure you guys quite understand the whole guru thing. It might help if you tried to let go of the idea that they’re fickle, and opened yourself to the idea that they’re arbiters between good and evil. They travel Neighpon seeking and punishing evil. Of course they’d rescue Zebras in danger. As far as the other thing, did it ever occur to you that being peaceful and serene would seem more like ‘good’ to the Kirin, than attacking it?”

Dursaa furrowed his brow. “Defending of the tribe is good. How could that be misunderstood? The aftermath we’d sadly see, seems evilness enough to me!”

Tree Hugger sighed. “Oh, wow. I guess we should be grateful it didn’t escalate into a total war, huh? Yeah, I can relate to the zebra feelings about it, but all the same it’s not really about fickleness. I guess you guys worked it out in the long run? If you have a special song just to tell Zebras not to hurt Kirin, that’s probably enough to keep you safe from them…”

“The worry’s not for I,” interrupted Dursaa. “How safe is Fluttershy?”

“Aww!” cried Tree Hugger, and reared to give him a hug. “You’re so sweet! Please believe me when I tell you she’s perfectly safe. She’s, like, the most good thing I know in all of Equestria. Don’t even think about her being in danger from the guru. ‘Cos that’s what she is, a guru. It’s a gift for Ponyville, having her here.”

Fluttershy bit her lip. “Um… and also, Dursaa, can you be extra super sure to not think anything mean about the Kirin? Not a single unkind thought, especially not of them wiping out zebra warriors, or burning me up with magic fire. It’s important!”

Dursaa’s look was pitiful. “Darling wife, I’ll do my best, and promise not to fail. Now I know what not to think, in all-too-great detail.”

“Nice one, Fluttershy,” said Tree Hugger wryly.

“I’m sorry!”

“Don’t make him live in your head space,” warned Tree Hugger, “especially not now. Let’s change the subject! So, um, how’s things going with you and Dursaa and Zecora?”

“Oh, don’t remind me,” moaned Fluttershy, glancing at Dursaa. He stared, stricken, into space, clearly contemplating the upsetting ideas she’d just fed him. She added, “I mean, it’s wonderful, but now you have me thinking the Kirin wouldn’t like me enjoying double zebra. Would she think that was perverted? Or greedy?”

Tree Hugger’s eyes bugged out. “Are you kidding? Fluttershy, didn’t you know Kirin invented the whole Pona Sutra? All Kirin sex is recreational because they breed through, like, epic spirituality or something. They fuck for sport and they’re very good at it. She would LOVE you enjoying double zebra. Really? You never told me you were doing that! Tell Treesie!”

Fluttershy pouted. “I suppose it is greedy. Did I shock you?”

“Shyeah right!” said Tree Hugger, smirking. “I should’ve told you what I do with my herder boyfriends. If you’re greedy, I’m, like, double greedy with nuts. Four nuts is better than two. There are times when I think I ought to get an extra dose of earth pony’s friend in case I come down with butt-babies.”

“Oh my,” said Fluttershy, her wings rising.

“Oh yeah,” said Tree Hugger. She frowned. “It does make problems, though. I’m not sure Ponyville farm ponies are really enlightened enough to properly do Pona Sutra the way it’s intended. Like, back in the day I’d have Hollyhock and Silver pounding me all night, and it’d hurt in the morning… I mean, not just a case of sore pussy but they’d bite me so hard and it’s really not respectful, you know? I’m an enlightened, independent mare plus I know lots of exotic stuff, and it wasn’t really fair the way they’d both just chomp away at my butt and force me into a submissive posture, you know? I mean, wow, big turn-on in a certain way but that’s not the only way a mare can be and especially when you eat a lot of special haycakes it gets so intense, I can’t even tell you how helpless I felt just getting pounded over and over, I wanted like way more agency from them…”

“I understand,” said Fluttershy. She pouted. “It sounds wonderful to me, though. I had them once but it didn’t go well.”

“Exactly!” said Tree Hugger. “That’s the thing, it’s so limiting. You mentioned double zebra, well, I wanted to do the double penetration Pona Sutra position, and it was so hard to get them to cooperate! One day, they finally did. Hollyhock was in a funny mood and Silver was all twitchy. I think that was after they’d tried you, Fluttershy! Well, I finally got through, I’m proud to say. Hollyhock hasn’t nipped my butt once starting that same night, though Silver still does. I sort of did a combination thing?”

“What’s that?” said Fluttershy.

“I wanted them to embrace a more spiritually merged sensuality,” explained Tree Hugger, “where both of them penetrate me but with more of a feminine sensibility, y’know? Lose the conquering-male thing and let me take a more active role and do positions I can’t do when they make me submit and get mounted. Well, guess what? I had Hollyhock get on the bottom. It was amazing, he’s lying there looking uncomfortable but with this incredible sullen glowering look, his mouth all tightly shut like he was furious, but he had a humongous horseboner… and he totally, like, let me straddle him and slide back onto it. And then while we were doing it, Silver bit my ass, and I went all passive and Hollyhock starts pounding me from underneath while Silver gets on and goes straight up my butt, no lube or anything…”

Fluttershy whimpered. Her wings were quivering, bolt upright. Dursaa had quietly begun snuggling her, and was petting her wings with a tender hoof.

Tree Hugger hesitated. “I wish we could try that again and do it better. I mean, I flipped out, it was insane, but it was NOT the meditative sensual experience I’d been hoping for. And now they’re mad.”

Fluttershy blinked. “They are?”

“Well, Silver’s all fucked up and weird about something, maybe some work thing?” said Tree Hugger. “It’s like he doesn’t know what’s upsetting him, but every day it’s worse. And Hollyhock is totally mad at me now. He won’t even kiss me anymore and he won’t talk. I’ve fucked him a couple times and it’s exciting with all the glowering stalliony ‘tude but in some ways it’s worse than when he was all nippy and male-headed. It’s like he won’t forgive me for making him change?”

“He is very masculine,” said Fluttershy. “Maybe you should let him change back? You admit it’s exciting having both of them dominating you.”

Tree Hugger sighed. “I tried that. I didn’t try very hard, and he must have known I didn’t really mean it. It’s, like, a major breakthrough that he’s listening and changing his ways, I didn’t even think he was smart enough. I thought Silver would be the one, and he’d help convince Hollyhock. Silver’s a lot smarter. Maybe that’s what’s messing with him?”

“Are you still making love to Silver?” asked Fluttershy.

“Yeah, but it’s like the opposite,” admitted Tree Hugger. “Now I have one stallion who’s trying new things but pissy about it, and the other one’s extra nippy and mean, just rams it in like he’s trying to break me.”


Tree Hugger smirked. “Oh, you! I wasn’t trying to excite you, Fluttershy. I know that’s, like, your fetish.” She cast an appreciative glance over Dursaa, who continued to surreptitiously fondle Fluttershy. “Maybe this is a good time for me to head back to my place. I think you and your honey are about to get into some extreme goodness.”

“That would bring me great delight,” said Dursaa. “Would it, maybe, help our plight?”

Tree Hugger boggled at him. “What plight are you talking ab… oh! The Kirin!” She smiled. “I’ll tell you something. If you screw Fluttershy until she can’t think bad thoughts coherently, I just bet that will keep her safe as anything. And I know how you feel about that, big and stripey. When you get her like that you’ll be so full of love everything will be safe for miles around, okay? I am for sure not shittin’ you about this, the way Kirin work there’s no way she’ll be mean to you if you’re full of love. If you start fretting, fuck harder!”

Fluttershy was blushing, her wings bolt upright. “Can I help? I mean, I know dear Dursaa can make me incoherent, but what can I do to make it better for him so he’ll be safe too?”

Dursaa began to smirk. Tree Hugger lifted an eyebrow.

“You know what?” she said. “I don’t have to answer that. What I’m going to do is head back home, and you can ask Dursaa what he wants, ‘cos he’s clearly got ideas.”

“He does?” blinked Fluttershy.

“Just look at him,” teased Tree Hugger. “Okay, I’m going to go now! In case what he wants is to pin you down and pound YOU as harshly as Silver pounds ME! Which is not to say that’s a bad thing,” she added hastily. “Just using it as, like, an illustrative analogy. Bye bye!”

She blew a kiss at the happy couple, and trotted out the door, closing it behind her.

Fluttershy peered at Dursaa, sidelong, with an eager shyness. “Is it…”

“Nay,” admitted her husband, in his private unrhymed intimate mode. “Though you love that, it’s not the fantasy that haunts me.”

“Then what does?” said Fluttershy. “Oh, Dursaa! I’m all quivery. Whatever you want, it’s yours, right now. But quickly!”

Dursaa took a deep breath. “Your friend’s story.”

Fluttershy blinked. “But that was all about Treesie’s story! Or, wait… do you mean Hollyhock? You want to be pissy and mad? You don’t look mad.”

“Nay,” rumbled Dursaa. “And yet, I picture myself in his place… and you, in your friend’s… and I crave that vision of beauty.”

“I don’t understand,” said Fluttershy, pouting, for she thought perhaps she did, and she had reservations about where this was heading.

Dursaa gave her a look. “You did ask. Will you not grant my fondest wishes?”

Fluttershy pouted harder. “Spell ‘em out,” she said. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like some intense anal sex, with me in pony form? I could use a good pounding to distract me. That’s very good at distracting me.”

Dursaa ignored her snarkiness. “Straddle me,” he said. “Let me gaze up at you, as you please yourself on me. Let yourself come a thousand times, before your loving Zebra husband explodes up into you… and let me snuggle you close afterwards, still close and warm within you.”

Fluttershy wriggled. “Mmm. Not my favorite position, but it doesn’t sound so bad. I think I can…”

“In your true form,” added Dursaa.

Fluttershy’s eyes popped. “Dursaa! You know I’d rather have sex in my pony form. Vampony form is creepy, even if it does have superior muscle control. I’ll have you know that control is really for a mean and bad purpose. It’s for weakening lovers so I can bite them and turn them into other vampires, or maybe kill them and suck out their souls. I’m almost sure that’s the reason it feels so good for you!”

“You won’t do that,” said Dursaa. “You won’t harm me. It feels good for you too, I know. Allow me this, for both our sakes.”

Fluttershy gave him a glare like an irate kitten. “Oh yeah? What do you mean, for both our sakes? How is it going to help, for me to turn into a scary monster even if you do find it exciting, just so I can give you a special ride? What makes you think I’m going to do that and why would it help?”

“Because you love me,” rumbled Dursaa softly, and gazed into her eyes.

Fluttershy’s lips parted, but no words came out. For a moment, her cute little fangs twinkled as brightly as the glistening tears in her eyes.

Dursaa met those lips with an impassioned kiss, and suddenly Fluttershy was kissing back, sobbing, and squirming like a madpony where she sat.

“Oh! oh! I do, Dursaa, I love you so much! Yes, I will,” said Fluttershy. “Oh pooh! It’s just not a marelike position at all! Which is not to say I’ve never used it…”

“Love me,” said Dursaa, sneaking a hoof under Fluttershy and clopping her squishy mound. “Let me look up at you. Let me gaze into your eyes, let me look upon your adorable little fangs which would never be turned upon me, let me fondle the supple skin of your true wings…”

“Hmph!” said Fluttershy, wriggling and lifting herself up to allow Dursaa to touch her more boldly. “You have a vampony fetish, it’s perverted!”

“I have a vampony,” reminded Dursaa, face wreathed in smiles. “I made a vampony my wife. I also have a growing erection, if my beloved wife would care to attend to it.”

“Upstairs!” squeaked Fluttershy. She sprang up, and made as if to bolt upstairs on her dainty and illusory wings, but quick as a wink Dursaa had turned and snapped down with his teeth on the one part of Fluttershy he could bite with impunity—her artificial tail extensions. She gave a little shriek, and turned in shock, half-naked, her body’s fur already coarsening and her tail scraggly by comparison to her usual gracefulness.

Dursaa smirked at her, the tail extension dangling from his mouth.

Fluttershy snickered, and zipped over, and with a flick of her head, she’d deposited the mane extensions over him like a rather silly pink wig.

Dursaa grinned wider, taking in his beloved in her full vampony form, the tufted ears and batty wings and pink eyes and everything, and adoring every bit of it.

Then, she’d whisked about and flitted upstairs in a leathery flutter of wings, and Dursaa thundered after her, stallionhood flopping about under him and very nearly getting entangled in the banister.

Fluttershy was crouching on the bed facing away from him, winking like a madpony, but Dursaa didn’t jump onto her: he dove to the side of her, and twisted so he landed on his back.

“You promised this, oh pretty-puss!” he called gleefully.

Her eyes widened, and then she stuck her tongue out at him. “Oh, phoo!”

“Don’t be recalcitrant,” scolded Dursaa. “Love me. Give me the works!”

Fluttershy’s legs trembled, and she dripped a bit of vampony-ooze onto the bed even where she stood… and then, without further argument, she demurely stepped onto him and straddled him, and dripped vampony-ooze onto his belly… and then, rubbed it onto his belly, and the head of his increasingly throbbing cock.

“I do love you,” she said, fervently. “And I’m going to give you everything you love. Can you give me something, too?”

“Name it,” said Dursaa, breathing hard.

“She said he was pounding her from underneath,” said Fluttershy, and licked her lips. “Roughly. I know you like to relax and be gentle… but can you give me a little of that?”

For a moment, they just stared into each other’s eyes… as both zebra and vampony started to grin harder and harder at each other.

“Ohhhh, yesss…” sighed Fluttershy, delighting in the wicked promise of that zebra grin.

“Love me,” said Dursaa. “You will find it has its rewards…”

Fluttershy needed no more words. She closed her eyes, and nuzzled her Zebra husband’s chest, her hips swaying dreamily over him, poised, expectant.

Dursaa reached up, and he fondled her leathery wings, making her gasp. His eyes shone, and she knew why: he really did have a thing for the vampony form. It was very much like he saw that form as a more powerful, capable lover, one who could take on an excited zebra without fear and fling herself into the experience with abandon.

That was accurate. Fluttershy craved being weak, harmless and helpless, and had a terrible weakness for zebra ravaging in her illusory pony form, but even she had to admit that Dursaa had more freedom with her when she held vampony form. His power was at least matched, if not exceeded: she didn’t wish to feel herself a hideously powerful monster, but she knew very well that he felt differently.

And so, Fluttershy reached forward with the creepy bat wings and fondled him back, rewarded with a little whimper of pure delight. She knew she’d been given the gift of choice: that she would not lose herself to the point of attacking her beloved. The dark gift of her vampirism surged and filled her, her power saturating her, the cute little fangs seeming to grow longer and her pink eyes glowing with a more uncanny light, but even then Fluttershy didn’t panic.

Instead, she allowed her husband to fondle her creepy bat wings, and she enjoyed his sensual touch. Playfully, she wrapped his face with them, and then revealed herself. “Peek-a-boo!”

“What else can you hide?” he rumbled, grinning up at her.

She wriggled her hips, positioning herself, and then Fluttershy eased back until he touched her right there, and made her vagina yielding and soft in an instinctive vampony move that felt like willingly turning her pelvis to jelly, and she drifted back and Dursaa’s zebra cock also surged and filled her.

“Nnnnh!” he moaned, his eyes rolling back in his head.

Her body felt obscenely, disturbingly soft upon him, spreading wetness down him like she was no more than a pony-shaped wad of half-melted butter… and then, she lifted herself effortlessly and bared her cute little fangs and pressed back onto him again.


He could feel her trembling, but more than that, he could feel what she’d done: she’d lubed him in a state of uncanny limpness and looseness such as her pegasus form could never possibly do, and now she pressed herself back onto him with steady force, and her vagina had become fevered and foalishly taut. Fluttershy was holding nothing back. She drew on every instinctive trick her vampony mare body knew, and his second penetration of her was a sensory overload that delivered a death-grip to his throbbing erection.

He looked up in wonder. Fluttershy’s eyes were closed in ecstacy, and she sank deeper and deeper onto his lengthy zebra cock, in that mysterious way only her vampire form could manage. He and Zecora were both well aware of her dimensions as a pegasus, all the more since she liked to push those boundaries to her own detriment. This time, those dimensions seemed meaningless. Fluttershy pressed lower, shivering with bliss, as Dursaa’s medial ring slid into her as well, and she pushed further and further, riding him, her quivering rump sinking right down onto his crotch and nearly rubbing his massive testicles, something no mortal mare could possibly encompass…

Dursaa never stopped being amazed at how deep his vampony wife was, in her true form. However, he could be amazed and still remember… and he had surprises of his own to give.

“NCH!” grunted Dursaa, through gritted teeth, his body bucking unexpectedly underneath her.

Fluttershy was caught exhaling, and made no cry, but her heart stopped instantly in pure shock. Just as the massive zebra cock was nuzzling up to her deepest depths, he’d suddenly given her a mind-wrenching jolt, pounding her insides with a single fierce thump. She hadn’t expected it in the least.

She looked down at him and his face was wreathed in smiles. He knew exactly what he’d done. Usually she needed to turn to Zecora for the rougher rumpy-pumpy, but on this occasion Dursaa proposed to give as well as he got.

If she’d been in pegasus form, her wings would have bristled out so hard from that jolt that she’d have lost some feathers to it.

Fluttershy’s heart lurched to activity again with a huge, grinding thump. She heaved a deep breath.

“OH MY LOVE!” she wailed.

“Want another?” rumbled her adoring husband.


“Earn it,” he suggested, and his grin lit up the room.

Fluttershy needed no more provocation. Her batty wings fondled his face, and without a single thought for what was mare-ish and feminine, she writhed and bobbed atop him. Wet noises kissed the air as she squirmed and rocked to and fro, stiff zebra cock plunged unreasonably deep into her trembling, eerily innocent-looking body. It was an incongruity that might have only belonged to the vampiric: the same dark energies that powered her and stoked her sexual fevers to a clenching, supple frenzy, also served to give her body a radiance, a disturbing purity tailored to suck the darkest carnal lusts out of a male horse. She became all things for him, the better to own his very soul through her devastatingly seductive lovemaking.

Dursaa counted his soul willingly given, long ago, with no reservations and no regrets. He saw her for all she was, he gazed upon her eerie fillyish glow and felt the unearthly intensity of her frantic vagina and the iron grip of her, part virginal youthfulness and part demonic clutching tautness in double exposure, and he knew that this special monster loved him as deeply as he loved her. He’d have surrendered to any evil intention she had, without resistance… but he loved her even more, knowing there would be no evil intentions.

Well… not in a bad way, anyhow.

Fluttershy was reeling, writhing above him as if possessed with the essence of savage devouring female lust, when he unleashed another jounce of his hips. It wasn’t possible to calculate it so finely, for she was going berserk on top of him. The zebra cock jabbed brutally into her when she didn’t expect it, and she let out a shriek, her eyes flying wide…and her frantic bouncing ceased, but she shuddered all over.

Dursaa gazed up at her, adoring her in her erotic plight but with just a touch of something more: something she’d always wanted, something he’d learned from Zecora’s forcefulness, something he was sharing. Fluttershy could feel it, and it turned her to jelly. Even though she straddled him, even though she’d been fucking him so aggressively, with that extra jounce she knew that he was in control. It didn’t matter that she’d been pounding him into the bed, didn’t even matter that she was many times stronger than he was. Dursaa, grinning up at her, suddenly had the power.

“Keep going,” he suggested, with that scoundrel’s grin. He knew he’d just kicked her into complete submissiveness, yet he teased.

Fluttershy trembled, her wings groping the air, and tried to regain the boldness he’d been enjoying. It made her obscenely excited that she couldn’t. The vampiric powers still surged within her, but it was like a storm that churned her insides, knotted her upon herself, cramped herself down onto his cockbase in clenches she couldn’t even control anymore. She whimpered sweetly, trying to bob and ride on him, shuddering and spasming and nearly toppling right off him and held up only by that flagpole that seemed to transfix her to the breastbone and swell more hungrily by the second…

As she slid tremblingly back down toward his crotch, that titanic erection rammed into her once more, and Dursaa’s balls squeezed up against her buttery rump. He’d let her have it, one more time, watching so eagerly to see what she’d do as he gave her one last unexpected pound from below.

Fluttershy’s heart stopped, again. She gave a cry like a bird in flight being slain, if archers’ bows fired erect horsecocks and killed with pleasure… and Fluttershy collapsed over her husband, quivering all over, unable to rise, her heart lurching irregularly as her psyche and body melted down.

Dursaa wrapped her in his strong zebra forelegs, and that was when he started to pump with his hips.

The little vampony had gone completely incoherent, reeling and babbling, her scraggly tail thrashing like a cheerleader’s pom-pom just over what it celebrated: a throbbing zebra cock, expertly thrusting up vampony vagina as if it would never tire. It was all too much, and everything Fluttershy wished for, and in turn the spectacle of Fluttershy was everything Dursaa cherished. There’d been a time when he didn’t trust her, wouldn’t push her too hard, worshipped her a little too much to sate himself ravenously in her: a part of him had still been pledged to the fragile, shy pegasus she’d resembled.

He’d learned.

Dursaa’s embrace tightened, cruelly. It had to. He knew his lover well. It wasn’t even to keep her mouth away from his neck as she climaxed: he trusted her completely. It was to hang on, and it was necessary, even as it tightened into a crushing bear-hug.

As Dursaa’s rock-hard erection churned insistently inside Fluttershy, the little vampony’s brain exploded in orgasm, and her wings thrashed violently, her dainty form suddenly like trying to wrestle five griffins, and she split the air with guttural shrieking and her pussy went from spasming feverishly to full-on milking machine.

Dursaa, gritting his teeth, muscles standing out all over his body, stood it as long as he could, still hunching under his screeching lover even as she unleashed forces he could barely contain within his stern zebra grip… knowing that by dragging it out, he was stretching out her beautiful frenzy, that it would not end until he let go, that Fluttershy had turned into a wild beast in his arms and she was HIS wild beast and he was penetrating her to the hilt, to her unnatural and impossible delight, her brightest and darkest fantasies coming true with every intense ramming of his…

Dursaa came, like a zebra explosion.

Fluttershy squalled and passed out, as it hit her. Dursaa wrapped her even tighter in his forelegs, shuddering, feeling the spurts of zebra-come seem to squirt through her frantic tightness, feeling her body still writhe even while unconscious, feeling her little womb fill up with hot spunk. He didn’t let go. He knew his wife so well.

As she sagged and went limp, Dursaa stroked Fluttershy’s scraggly mane, damp with sweat. He shifted his hips back a bit. Just a tiny bit, not too much.

Fluttershy’s eyes fluttered. They opened, but unseeingly. She made a croaking noise, drooling on his chest. He contined to stroke her neck, firmly, gently.

Eventually, he cleared his throat.

“May I release the pressure?” Dursaa asked. “I am holding myself erect, which is increasingly difficult even with your vampire magic forcing me to be.”

Fluttershy blinked. Her eyes focussed on him, then widened and glanced down at his neck and chest, where there was no mark on him save the stripes that were his Zebra pride.

She glanced back up, into his loving, defiant gaze. Without a word, her husband seemed to say: of course you didn’t, you silly darling.

Fluttershy’s eyes glistened with grateful tears, and she melted against him, nuzzling his unharmed chest, nodding.

Dursaa’s hips relaxed, and he softened and tugged his flagging flagpole out of her exhausted pussy, and a flood of zebra semen followed it. The wild, sharp sensation of being inflated by excessive come on the end of a horny zebra also subsided, and as that final erotic goad drained away, Fluttershy melted even further, and couldn’t so much as lift a batty wing.

Dursaa smiled, and reached out a hoof, playfully lifting her wing for her and letting it sprawl bonelessly again. She nuzzled his chest. “Mmmm,” she crooned.

“Being a good vampony,” suggested Dursaa, “isn’t so bad!”

At that, Fluttershy’s eyes widened. She didn’t lift her head, but she wasn’t looking at Dursaa anymore. She’d had a twinge… a vampony twinge.

Not the kind she dreaded, though. The magic of choice and freedom still held. She’d had no desire to bite Dursaa. And yet, something had touched her, reached to her… it was a feeling, a vampire feeling, unmistakably.

A sense of… rivalry? Connection? Rebellion?

There was something in Ponyville, and it wasn’t good.

Dursaa’s hoof continued to stroke her sweaty mane. His peace was palpable, the solidity of him reassuring, his love soothing.

Fluttershy continued to stare at nothing, as she contemplated that nagging, uncanny feeling.

The hillside seemed even darker. Two figures blighted it.

“No, dammit,” said one, “I tole you. It’s BECAUSE you’re so powerful and amazing, and smart as well…”

“Keep your voice down,” grumbled the other.

“Oh, you’re scared?”

Hollyhock, hidden in shadow, glared at Snowy Hocks. “Yeah. Dummy.”

“An’ I tole you,” said Snowy, “you need to turn me to another vampire because you’re so powerful an’ amazing that we should do it together. I just wanna serve you, how is that so dang hard to understand?”

Hollyhock snorted, sunk in gloom. “You jes’ don’t want to die.”

“So?” retorted Snowy Hocks, with spirit.

Hollyhock turned to him, and the eyes burned. “You wouldn’t like it. It IS dyin’, you stupid old piece o’ shit. Tellin’ me all this stuff, and no help at all…”

“Let me help you with it,” urged Snowy, his rheumy old eyes bright. “Let me be your right-hoof pony. I’ll be better’n ever, my hip won’t bother me, an’ I’ll be yours to command. How’s that?”

“You’re up to somethin’, you old fucker,” accused Hollyhock. “It’s a trick.”

“Trick?” said Snowy Hocks. “You want a trick? That Kirin’s gonna play a trick. It’s called killing your ass stone dead. You need me. Yes I wanna live forever, what’s the problem with that? But I’m gonna serve you. Don’t you realize you’re meant to rule Ponyville? Ah jes’ want to be next in line… I mean, your humble servant! No line!”

Snowy cowered back, hoping like hell that Hollyhock was as dumb as ever. Bad phrase! He vowed never to say ‘next in line’ again. Nothing, nothing whatsoever to reveal the truth.

He’d worked far too hard to set it all up, and it was all so close, so nearly within reach. It was dangerous, of course, but what wasn’t? Snowy felt the cold breath of mortality wafting ever closer. He proposed to spit in its eye, and have his revenge on all of Life while he was at it.

Hollyhock was an idiot, and vulnerable. There were ways to kill a vampire, and weaknesses of the vampire. The only reason Hollyhock was available to manipulate, was that he’d avoided all sight of Fluttershy ever since he’d bitten her wing in a gangbang so hard it drew blood. Hollyhock was dangerous, but also an opportunity. He could follow the usual hungers of the vampire and get himself caught and destroyed, but until that time, there was something he could give.

Eternal undeath… and the chance to be a thrall and slave to a sullen idiot who could barely come out of the rain without supervision. A thug, basically, good at farm labor but with nothing else to commend him, his mean streak contributing to his knack for herding. Eager to rape Fluttershy on that fateful day, mean and spiteful enough to viciously bite her wing knowing how serious it was for pegasi, doomed to undeath for his crimes and barely understanding what that meant. A pony so dumb it’d taken all Snowy’s arguing to keep him from running to the Apples and begging for help.

Snowy had bigger plans for him. It was a gamble, but now that a Kirin was visiting Ponyville, Snowy’s luck had finally turned. His patient terrorizing of the big dumb oaf had broken Hollyhock’s trust of the Apples, and all other Ponyville ponies, much less the Princesses. The second most important thing was the most certain, Snowy thought. The second most important thing was wearing Hollyhock down, putting so much fear into him that he’d agree to make Snowy his thrall. Hollyhock didn’t actually give a shit about Snowy, and didn’t really care whether he hurt ponies: that was useful, it meant that he didn’t care whether he hurt Snowy, or condemned him to undeath and slavery as a thrall.

The most important thing was this: if Snowy was thrall to Hollyhock who was thrall to Fluttershy, and Hollyhock got his dumb ass killed by the Kirin, then Snowy would be free with full vampiric powers and an unfettered mind… forever.

It all depended, thought Snowy, on whether he could resist the urge to protect his master once he was a vampire. If he didn’t get Hollyhock killed, he wouldn’t be free, and it might be an eternity of serving a thug and a fool. Snowy considered that bad, but tolerable: in eternity, there were many chances to see Hollyhock destroyed by his own folly. If Hollyhock got both himself and Snowy killed, that sucked but Snowy knew he didn’t have that long left anyhow. His body hurt, his brain seethed resentfully, and it was a chance worth taking. But ideally, he considered that he could con both Hollyhock and himself and come out of it a free vampire with the world at his hooves.

…just as soon as he took care of a few little details.

“Rulin’ Ponyville’s just the start,” suggested Snowy. “With me servin’ you, why, we could go off somewhere and rule a whole country. Would you like that? But you need to get me in on the whole vamp thing. How kin I think up ways to protect you from the Kirin if I’m still going around without vampire powers? But remember, you got to be careful, Hollyhock! From my researchin’ I know you can git more powerful by kinda consumin’ the souls of victims. You’d be good at that, I bet. But not mine! Keep me alive, I mean undead. Eat th’ souls of other, useless ponies. If you want. What with bein’ so smart an’ powerful an’ all.”

Even Snowy wondered for a moment if he’d spread it too thick. The very grass and flowers seemed to cringe away from the old pony and his suggestions… suggestions he’d been patiently working up to for some time. His companion stared sullenly at the ground for a while. When he looked at Snowy, it was with anger.

“This is all wrong,” said Hollyhock. “Dammit, Snowy. I was a farm pony! I had friends. I worked for the Apples, and that meant somethin’. It ain’t right. I AM scared. We’re lucky they ain’t figured it out. It’s just a matter of time before they turn on me, set me on fire an’ shit. Maybe you’re right and I got to start gittin’ them before they gittin’ me. It ain’t right. They was my friends, and now what am I? I’m a fuckin’ monster, I got no friends anymore, and you’re an asshole, you’re just mockin’ me.”

“Seems to me that’s just what you do need,” said Snowy. “A real friend. Somethin’ like you.”

“It ain’t right,” muttered Hollyhock. “It won’t work.” He couldn’t look away.

Snowy Hocks held his gaze… and his breath. He was so close. So, so close.