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About Deviant Brony1729/Male/United States Group :iconsilentponyville: SilentPonyville
 
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Playing Diablo 3 season 5 on Twitch, so click the link below if you would be interested in hanging out while I blast some demons.

www.twitch.tv/broadside17

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No sooner had he whirled around then a black tendril was coiled around his neck and lifting him off the floor. Her metallic blood soaked leer bored into his eyes as she watched him flail against her strength as uselessly as ever, her full vigor having returned in force. He briefly pondered how the hay she had gotten so quiet, but the thought was replaced by a more urgent one as the grip on his neck tightened considerably, so tight that he stopped struggling so hard out of fear of breaking his own neck. Her grip tightened a second time and he fell completely still, feeling his neck pop painfully and making him fear that she would crack it apart entirely with the next squeeze. He could do nothing but look at her with wildly fearful eyes and wait whilst the malicious alicorn stood there, her breath coming heavier but in a way somewhat different than usual. She was not doing anything like savoring the anticipation. She was growing progressively more agitated, applying greater and greater effort to not do something.

Just as his dwindling oxygen was once again becoming a concern she loosened her grip, and then delayed his catching his breath by spitefully tossing him into the wall and knocking the wind out of him as he bounced off painfully and fell to the floor. He looked up from his spot lying on the floor just in time to watch her vent her frustrations on the dining room cabinet by wrapping her tendril around it and squeezing until the bit of furniture collapsed, breaking apart and splintering beneath the pressure before she effortlessly tossed it across the room and stormed out angrily.

He blinked a few times, rubbed the soreness out of his neck, and then stood up again as soon as he was reasonably sure she had sufficiently taken her leave. He took one step and then stumbled with a groan, the impact with the wall and floor having rattled him enough to make his various injuries flare up again. Lance retrieved the unfrozen health drink and drank down about another third of it to take the edge off the pain before he snuck out to the front door and opened it.

It wasn't the hallway of the center house behind the door, but Fluttershy's normal sized room, barren of a bed or toys or anything else that would bring comfort to a child. Lying in that room was his young daughter, who much to Lance's deep horror looked unnaturally thin and dehydrated like she had been locked away there without food or water for days on end. She stirred and with great effort managed to lift her sunken face upward to look at him, and then, unable to contort her dried mouth into a smile, she expended an even greater effort to struggle to her hooves. The little dying filly stood there breathing rapidly in an effort to make her deprived body work, trying to call for her father but only managing a squeak that cut his heart in half.

"No...no I didn't do this! I didn't do this!" Lance denied adamantly while backing away slowly with tears in his eyes.

Fluttershy saw him trying to leave and attempted to clumsily walk toward him on her shaky, uncoordinated, withered legs, making another dehydrated squeak as her eyes begged for rescue. But mid stride her leg gave out and sent her falling to the floor.

Lance had no say in the matter. Even though it sent pain shooting through his back legs again, his body crouched and leaped forward of its own accord to catch his daughter. He would have made it too, had the room and Fluttershy not both vanished leaving him to plunge through the battered, burned, moldy remains of the upstairs flooring down to ground level with an impact that made him writhe on the ground in pain, head spinning as smaller bits of debris fell to join the larger pieces surrounding him. It looked like he was back in the central house after all. Fluttershy had not actually been there at any point. It had been another of his nightmares surfacing again.

To drive the point home after he'd gotten back to his hooves cursing beneath his breath the entire time there was a black inked note on the wall next to him.

"Didn't you though?"

Lacking enough energy to offer any reply he simply glared at the note briefly and started limping past the first floor hall closet toward the living room. The safe had fortunately escaped all the wear and tear which was currently causing the rest of the house to practically fall apart and still looked exactly as it had when they had first come in. Lance found a bit of flooring that felt stable and took a seat to extract the three triangular tablets from his bag. There was obviously a certain order he was supposed to follow when inserting the tablets into the indentations on the front of the safe, but there were only six possible combinations with that set up. It would be a simple matter to try them all until something work, a process Lance began by inserting all three in a random order.

He then jumped out of his skin for the millionth time as a corpse dropped to the floor nearby with an unnerving crack of bone, kicking up a cloud of dust that he instantly focused his light upon. Once everything had settled he saw that it was a barbed nurse lying there motionless, her neck bent at quite the fatal angle from the fall. Where had she come from? Was she the same barbed nurse he'd been dodging upstairs in the burned out house? If that was true how had she gotten there?

No, wait, none of that was important. The important thing was that she had dropped the instant he had made a random guess. She was not currently regenerating, which either meant that he was under the gun to figure it out properly before she started, or that she would start if he guessed wrong again. Lance pulled the tablets from the sockets to start over, this time examining them and the safe a bit more thoroughly. The words "Schedule Departures" were still scratched into the rust on the front of the safe, presenting an obvious starting point. He examined the more intricate sides of the tablets but nothing connected in his head about them. The letters on the other sides were another matter though.

"C, L, K...Cicero, Laughlin, Kip...so that's what the records were about," he realized at last. "Schedule departures...the order they died in maybe?"

He picked up the C tablet and was about to press it into the first socket, but then paused and placed it into the second. Lance had heard Cicero die first, but he'd died second in the chronological order of the story. Kip had died first, and so the K tablet went into the first socket instead. Then finally Laughlin had flung himself out of the third story window, so the L tablet went in last. "Huh...potassium chloride."

One second after putting in the last tablet, a loud clanging noise inside of the safe shook some of the rust off and sent the three tablets falling out of their indentations before the door creaked open. Lance let out a sigh of relief and pulled the safe open to find a key inside labeled #3. His eyes widened as he realized the significance of this find and grabbed it. This was the last key to unlock door 303. They could escape the house now...maybe even escape the entire town for that matter. But first he needed to find a way to free Posey, because he was absolutely not going to leave without her...and yet,what choice did he have but to open the door? He had the key from Posey's bedroom, but a key did not do much good against a wall where there should have been an archway.

This was it. He had to open it. 303 was his only way forward. He had no clue in the least what opening it would do, but he had no other choice save to take the gamble and hope it let his wife out.

For the final time he stood before the chain covered door after having carefully navigated around the supposedly dead nurse, pausing momentarily to read the note that had been left for him.

"It's not even worth talking to you anymore is it?"

Nope.

Lance plucked the note off the door and tossed it aside. The #3 lock came off next, and after wiping from his hooves the ashes left behind by the key, he pulled the last bits of chain off. It was clear now. It was just a regular door waiting to be opened. Before another siren could trigger he swallowed his anticipation and turned the nob.

It clicked without moving.

...

It continued clicking as he repeatedly tried to turn it, his movements each time growing more forceful as the anger within him built until he abandoned the doorknob and resorted to striking the door with his hooves as hard as he could. The door itself had been locked too.

"ARE YOU SERIOUS?! AFTER ALL THIS IT'S STILL NOT ENOUGH?! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?!" he bellowed with rage as he continued trying to knock down the door that had so long held the promise of freedom for he and his wife.

"Lance?!" came Posey's comparatively angelic voice from behind him. He let up his assault on the door and turned to see that the archway leading into their kitchen had returned, though it was now blocked by a panel of iron bars bolted into the wall, and the two side openings that had lead into the living room and hallway had been replaced with plain walls just as the kitchen entrance had been. If Lance cared about now being trapped, he did not show any sign of it as he cantered over to his wife, still panting a bit from his furious outburst.

"Are you okay? I turned away for half a second and the kitchen was gone," he explained, looking her over for any injuries as he attempted to reach through the bars. They were only just too close together for his hoof to fit through, but Posey was the slightly smaller of the two and was able to manage it, touching the side of his muzzle as though to make sure he was actually there.

"I walked into the kitchen for half a second and everything else was gone!" she countered, her eyes looking like she'd been crying with worry whilst unable to do anything but wait inside the trap of a kitchen. "If they're going to keep separating us like this they could at least give me something to do!" Posey added while looking her husband up and down for any additional injuries. He was so beaten up she feared that even if he did have anything new she wouldn't be able to discern it from everything else.

Lance found himself smiling despite everything. Of course she would say something like that. He looked around at his newly sealed off little prison briefly. "Maybe that's what this is honey; I can't see any way out of here from my end. I even took the last lock off that door." He motioned back with his head to indicate the door he had just been trying to utterly destroy.

"You what?!" she exclaimed aghast before looking around in acute concern, still remembering well what had happened in the depths of the hospital.

"There was no other way Posey. I haven't heard any sirens yet though. Maybe this time is different because...I don't know," he confessed, the two reunited spouses equally clueless as ever about the entire world. "Can you leave the kitchen now?"

"Um..." She turned and trotted around to let the circle of light from her lantern reach every corner of the darkness shrouded kitchen, but there still didn't seem to be any obvious way out. Then on a hunch she opened the pantry and peered inside. A way out still wasn't forthcoming so she stepped inside and Lance heard her start carelessly nudging things off the shelves, understandably unable to care if she made a mess of the place slowly torturing them. She then stepped out into view again. "There's a hole I can probably squeeze through into the laundry room at the back of the pantry."

"Alright," he said before realizing such a find was a double edged sword. "Wait, be really, really careful out there! That alicorn thing recovered and she's probably still in the house!" he warned her.

Posey's wide eyed face would've visibly grown pale at this news were it not for her cream colored coat. "What...wouldn't we hear her moving around if she were?"

"I don't think we can rely on that anymore Posey. Turns out she can be really, really quiet without those restraints," he elaborated grimly.

Posey swallowed fearfully, looking at the hole in the pantry, then to her husband. She closed her eyes and then took a deep breath before letting it out and silently heading back into the pantry, about as unwilling to leave her spouse trapped as Lance had been. He was left to wait and listen intently, wincing a little every time he was able to hear anything she did, because if he could hear it so could the sovereign. From the sound of it she'd made it out of the laundry room and into the hallway without anything worth screaming over. He tracked the sound of her hoof steps and soon found himself looking at one of his daughter's drawings that had not been there pinned to the wall with a rusty nail moments prior. It featured crude stick figures of he and his wife labeled 'mommy and daddy' standing on a cloud together with a rainbow in the background and looked like somepony had uncrumpled it after retrieving it from the waste paper basket. The sight made his feeling of seething anger return, and he couldn't help but tear it off the wall before even thinking about it.

"What use is this really? Huh? Why all these memories?" he turned and asked of the stubbornly locked Door 303. "Is that all you are? Things I already know? What's the point of this then? What's it supposed to do?" the amber stallion asked the door mockingly as though it were an intern who had just put a pony's life in jeopardy with a particularly ridiculous error. His mood was not helped when he turned to his right and saw three more drawings nailed to the wall. All three were of he and Posey again, one where they were in the yard gardening together, another on their balcony having lunch, and another at the local theater watching a play. One of them looked to have been at least partially burnt. His fury spiked again and he tore them from the wall, but was confronted by another seven when he turned back to the bars, and another ten when he looked back to his left, every single one of them now looking partially burnt.

"Stop it!" he demanded ineffectually, tearing off the drawings obscuring his sight line into the kitchen but not bothering with the others. Before he could drop the last one on the floor he glanced at it and suddenly found himself too curious to let it go. This one too was of he and his wife. He looked from one drawing to the next as they kept coming into existence around him always just outside of his view. They were all of himself and Posey. Fluttershy was entirely absent in her own drawings, and there were so many of them! He glanced back to see that by that point they were almost entirely covering every surface, serving as carpeting, wallpaper, and paint for the ceiling and door all at once.

His anger was steadily waning now. He was trapped and surrounded by something that could not be scared off by a loud outburst or physical blow, so continuing to try either just felt pointless. Something else was coming back now, something held back by the rage that had always been easier for the pegasus surgeon to handle, something cold, dark, relentless...and familiar. Lance let the drawing drift down to the floor with the others, his vision blurring again as he resigned himself to wait for his wife in silence. But when he lifted his gaze upward again she was already standing there, looking at him with concern, having returned just in time to see a tear start trailing down his cheek.

"Lance? What happened?" she asked, looking both at him and the room around him that had been altered so drastically in such a short time. "What are these blank pieces of paper doing everywhere?!"

He wiped the water from his eyes and afterward found his gaze pulled away from her again. Two more drawings had appeared implausibly nailed to the iron bars, one on each side of Posey so as to not block his view of her, and they answered a few questions that Lance really had not wanted answered now that he knew.

The one on the left was of he and Posey on a wedding day. He could not call it their wedding day because this one looked far more extravagant like something out of a children's story. Once again they were both labeled, but there was a note off to the side in typically childish hoofwriting that said 'i dont egzist so there happy and have mor bits'. The one on the right was of he and Posey walking out of a hospital, and had a similar note that said 'mommy lived becus daddy had more tim to help without me'.

A foal had drawn all of the pictures. A foal, who at her age should have felt like she was at the center of all reality because foals did not know any better, had drawn picture after picture of some alternate timeline where she had never been born and her parents were alive and happy for it. No doubt she had kept drawing them and trying to give them to him because to her young mind it had been a feasible plan that perhaps these pictures would make him happy.

He'd made her crumple them up and help him burn them. Every. Single. One.

Lance practically collapsed to a sitting position, his head only remaining up because he let it lean against the bars in front of him, silently shuddering as tears he couldn't stop trailed down his muzzle.

"Lance?!" Posey repeated with more urgency, putting her hoof through the bars to touch his shoulder.

Maybe...maybe his daughter had done this to cause him pain, knowing that he would react like this eventually.

"Lance what's wrong?!"

You know children can't think that far ahead.

"Lance!" she shook him as he continued being unresponsive.

Only the adult of the house could ever think like that.

He finally looked up at her, eyes now red from his own tears.

And there's only one type of adult that ever would think like that, Lance.

...

"You were right Posey. In the hospital, you were right about me. I've been lying to you about Fluttershy."

"What? I...Lance this isn't a good time, we need to find a way out remember?" she replied, taking a seat and reaching through the bars to hold his other shoulder. "I haven't found anything yet but-"

"She was bullied at school but nopony laid a hoof on her. Those injuries you saw in the photos, every single one of them and so many more, they were from me. I hurt our daughter Posey. I hurt her over, and over, and over," he interrupted, looking at her like a broken, possessed stallion unable to stop, his voice rising steadily. "She didn't blame me for your death and move away. I spent her entire childhood after you died torturing her in any way I could think of until she ran for her life!"

...

Posey took her hooves off his shoulders and backed away from the bars a few steps. Her eyes were wide, her mouth left partially open. Shock, disbelief, horror, pity, it was impossible for him to tell exactly what was on her face at having heard that.

...

"Wh...why? Why would you do such a thing?" she asked while trembling, audibly having to make an effort to keep her voice steady.

"Because you didn't die peacefully in your sleep either Posey. Our daughter killed you."

"What?!"

"When I told her to go up to our room to see what you wanted for lunch she went up to our room and stabbed you to death!" he elaborated, having long ago abandoned any effort to speak calmly, quivering with a confusing, contradicting mess of emotions he could not adequately describe. "I came in to see what was taking her so long and you were on the floor stabbed so many times with Fluttershy standing there covered in blood with a knife in her hooves! What was I supposed to do Posey? How else was I supposed to treat her after that?! That thing couldn't possibly have been our daughter anymore!"

...

...

...

"If that's true then I guess she deserved it didn't she?"

Lance froze, his tumultuous mind blanking out and his body going completely still as he stared dead ahead with eyes opened as wide as possible.

...

Had that been her voice? Had that been Posey's voice saying that? He scoured his immediate memory and yes, the lips of the mare before him had been moving in the right pattern at the exact time to have said that. It had not been some auditory hallucination on his part. His wife had just said that. The words had not been sarcastic at all. She had just said that and genuinely meant it.

"Am I wrong?" Posey asked with a slight tilt of her head sounding more confused than anything.

It was now Lance's turn to take a step back from the bars in shock. Was his wife even capable of saying something like that about their daughter? Was he even looking at his wife? Had the mare on the other side of the bars ever been his wife?

No, no this...this had to be another hallucination. The deaf colt was trying to get to him again. But if that were the case why was he not remembering this nightmare like the other few times they had been torn out of his subconscious to be weaponized against him?

"Lance?" she pressed while moving closer to the bars again.

The kitchen wall opposite the bars erupted in a loud explosion of debris that caught the both of them completely off guard, flooding the room with light from outside. Lance saw Posey turn around as something moved inside the obscuring cloud of dust, and before either of them had even recovered from the first shock there was another flash of movement with sufficient impact to knock Lance clean off his hooves amidst an ear grating chorus of bending metal. He was left on the floor in a daze, for a few seconds unable to do anything but lift his head up and try to see what had just happened.

Posey was pinned against the bars, having been knocked into them hard enough to bend them inward and mangle a wing that had been trapped between the iron and her body. She was impaled on a blood drenched metallic spike that stuck out of her back, a torrent of blood spurting out of the wound on both sides, dripping copiously to the floor below with each beat of her pierced heart. The hanging limbs of her already lifeless body twitched sporadically, but the postmortem spasms were then rendered indistinguishable from the much more noticeable movement of her body being lifted upward.

The sovereign gave a couple flaps of her wings to try and dissipate the dust somewhat as Posey's blood poured down her visor and muzzle. A tendril formed from her mane and wrapped around the dead mare's foreleg before tearing her off her horn, the blade cutting its way out through her shoulder before she was carelessly tossed aside.

Lance was not sure what he was screaming as he scrambled back to his hooves and flung himself uselessly at the bars, but he felt like he was screaming it instead of breathing. The iron barrier was unsympathetic to his all consuming need to get to his wife even after the faith shattering conversation moments prior, and refused to bend. He was about to make a second attempt when the sadistic alicorn made an attempt of her own that proved much more effective, deforming the bars further, partially dislodging the bolts that held the entire panel to the wall, and spattering Lance with some of the still warm blood that covered her. In a moment of twisted logic amidst his madness he backed away, knowing he was never going to accomplish what she had practically done already. A last strike from her forelegs tore the bolts from the wall and sent the panel of bars clattering to the ground, prompting the desperate stallion to try and scramble past her.

Her tendril wrapped around his braced back leg and lightly tossed him back towards Door 303. Instead of hitting the door he inexplicably flew past where it should have been and landed in the middle of an elevator that had not previously been there. The moment of confusion only kept him from struggling back to his hooves for a precious moment during which the sovereign was sauntering toward him. The elevator car shifted worryingly with the movement, but he ignored it in favor of making another attempt to get past the alicorn, predictably ending in her tossing him back again. This time the dangerous swaying and sound of straining cable above was impossible to ignore, and it seemed the larger monster mare was intent on stepping in with him. He would never make it to Posey in time if he fell to his death in that elevator!

"Stop! You're too heavy! If we're both on here the cables will-"

Lance was cut off by the swift application of the apparently insulted alicorn's metal clad hoof, sending him sprawling against the corner as she stepped inside, indifferent to the elevator car's lurching downward as another bit of cable snapped above.

"L-let me go..I can still save her!" he pleaded desperately as he tried to get up, only to be pulled to the ground by the tendril that had wrapped around his leg again and begun dragging him toward the sovereign. "Please! For buck's sake please!" he cried out as she descended upon him, pinning his back legs and waist beneath her chest. The trapped stallion beneath her flinched as steam vented from the sides of her muzzle, her metal jaw dropping open with a dull clang as she wrapped her tendril around his forelegs and head. "There's still time," he begged again with quite a bit less conviction in his words as his struggling grew less energetic. She forced his head into just the right position and then brought her metal muzzle down, pressing his skull into her jaw at an angle that let his ear slip into her helm through the currently unoccupied jaw slot. "I can save her...I know I can save her," he protested forlornly as his attempts at escape had degraded into little more than the occasional twitch of his back legs. Through the ear inside of her helmet, he heard a drawn in breath and then...

Liar.

Sirens.

The sound was unmistakable and nearer than ever before. His light started to flicker and dim, but what caught his attention most was the feel of what he could only assume was teeth taking hold of his ear and biting down, harder, and harder, and harder! Lance gave another brief effort to struggle free, but was reduced to crying out in pain as the elevator cables stretched their last and snapped, sending them into free fall. He screamed out his wife's name as tears of anguish seeped from his eyes unrestrained and the mare on top of him shuddered in delight, but the ensnared stallion's voice was drowned out by the rushing of wind as the two of them continued falling into the pitch black darkness...

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Silent Ponyille: Reunion
Don't cry.
Part 30

------

Lance Strongshy opened his front door and saw the very thing he was begrudgingly expecting: a house that had been victim to a horrible fire prior to being abandoned to the elements for a good fifty or so years. Tendrils of mold and fungus had spread everywhere, and whatever hadn't been subject to fire damage was now subject to water damage. Even before he had set hoof through the doorway he could already hear the creaks and groans of a structure bearing a load it was fast proving unable to handle, leaving him to doubt whether it could handle the weight of an additional full grown pegasus stallion. The pressing issues of his trapped wife and the leer of a another certain mare behind him coaxed him toward testing his luck though. He extended one hoof, eased a bit of weight onto it, and then added another, slowly repeating the process until his last rear hoof hesitantly stepped onto the unreliable looking flooring. His breath caught for half a moment as he both heard and felt a cracking of wood below him, but whatever damage the amber stallion's weight had just caused was too minor to send him plummeting downward through the floor.

A pair of wings at that moment would've been somewhat useful.

Only the half broken door to Fluttershy's room remained now, without any remaining alternatives. He could not leave Posey trapped in the kitchen below. He could not even leave his house anymore for all the hoarded useless junk blocking the way. His only choice was to open that door and go inside. That was it, that was all there was. At every level he knew it and felt it. Yet even after moving to stand in front of the door he found himself remaining there doing nothing for the longest time.

...

...

...

There was no self scolding, mental or audible. His hoof rose, turned the knob, pushed inward, and that was it.

The door swung open and allowed him to peer inward at the darkened entryway and the bit of wall beyond it where the kitchen door should have been. Lance started moving through but paused as he heard a quiet yet noticeably distorted exclamation and hooves moving away from him...along the living room ceiling. He glanced downward and saw a barely noticeable trail of small blood spatters that lead inward. It seemed as though he had found where his grinning stalker had gone.

The living room was a mess, but it was a more relatable mess than either of the other two versions of his house. His couch and chairs were there, the shelves were back, pictures that he remembered fondly adorned the walls, and the place overall looked like somepony actually lived there. The fact that it also looked like somepony had brutally burglarized the place didn't exactly help things, but it was still closer to home than an empty burned out husk or an empty rotted shell.

The couch had been overturned, the chairs were out of place, every object had been carelessly thrown from the shelves, and he realized that several of the more valuable items that had been on said shelves were missing entirely. Not only that, but after the intruder had finished searching the place for valuables, they had then proceeded to liberally apply a bat or sledge hammer to what remained. They had broken in, turned his safe shelter upside down, stolen everything of value for their own needs, and laid waste to everything left behind.

In the same spot as both living rooms prior, there was a bust sitting atop a pedestal. This one was made of solid looking stone and a good bit smaller than the first two. The pedestal had a round base, somewhat larger than the first two had been. Along the outside edge of the base, written with blue paint, was an incomplete ring of symbols that gave off a very slight fluorescent glow. Having spent years of his life working alongside his unicorn friend and colleague, Lance instantly recognized it as a magic circle, though its particular effects eluded him. The soft glow indicated that there was energy still lingering within it, and he knew that if the right symbols were drawn to complete the circle, a spell would be cast on whatever was in the center. Unfortunately, that was where his experience in the subject ended, leaving him clueless as to which symbols would set off the magical reaction or even what the spell would do. He was at least able to eyeball the size of the incomplete circle's gap and make a rough guess that there were three missing symbols.

There was a single, quiet drip to his right. It was not necessarily alarming, but still a curiosity. The other sections of the 'house' had been absolutely ruined and a dripping noise would not have warranted any attention, but this version had been ransacked and bludgeoned, not left to rot. He glanced to the side and saw a small spatter of blood on the floor, leading him to aim the beam of his light upward.

He flinched slightly, having expected the stalker to have vacated the living room entirely. But she was still there with him, lying on the ceiling, head tucked into the corner and covered by her hooves in a futile bid to hide from something. In all likelihood she was hiding from the sovereign instead of the amber surgeon, but watching the creature that had helped him before anypony else in that place quiver in helpless terror was somehow...unsettling to him all the same. Rather than ponder it any further he decided to move on to the dining room, expecting another gramophone and record to be awaiting him.

What he had not expected was the sight of a little yellow pegasus filly slamming painfully into the wall of the strangely well lit dining room before falling to the floor with a strained whimper and remaining there reflexively curled into a fetal position.

"Would you let a monster listen to Mommy's favorite songs, Fluttershy?" came Lance's ice cold voice from further within the room, out of sight. "Would you let one defile the precious belongings of somepony you loved so much?"

He remembered this.

"Would you let them take any joy from them at all? Taint them like everything else they touch, like some kind of infectious leech? Would you?" he continued asking whilst slowly approaching, his face as chilled and unreadable as his voice.

She just kept crying there on the floor, helplessly waiting for the pain to come.

"Answer me!" he suddenly shouted, the practical explosion of noise rattling the little filly even more effectively than the strike of a hoof. She yelped and started quivering, tucking herself up even more tightly.

"N-no," she barely managed to squeak out in her fright.

"Then why do you expect me to do it?" he yelled in a fury before the dining room lights abruptly cut out, plunging the room back into darkness just as Fluttershy cried out from a blow to her ribs. "Don't touch anything that belonged to Mommy! Ever! Monsters like you don't deserve it!"

Fluttershy kept weeping pitifully in the darkness for a while before her sobs started to grow quiet and distorted to accompany the swiftly moving red embers of a memory burning away. Lance stepped into the room once they had gone silent, eyes drawn to the wall on his right by the last flickering of a crimson 303 boiling off in the exact spot Fluttershy struck when he had thrown her against the wall after catching her with Posey's old records. He blinked away the slight blurring of his vision and bitterly muttered an affirmation that she'd deserved it before turning toward the rest of the room.

His table had been overturned, with the legs that might have made for decent bludgeoning weapons conveniently torn off and missing. There were bits of broken glass everywhere left behind from the now barren dining room cabinet that had doubtlessly lost all of its valuables to a smash and grab. It would have been ludicrous to spare even a bit of worry about the missing dinner ware, so he instead spent a few moments looking around the floor, trying to find a shard of glass that was long enough to possibly stab something. He had no luck there either. Somepony had either picked them out already, or the glass had just spitefully shattered in just such a way as to leave not a single usable piece. Such sentient malevolent glass existing would not surprise him anymore.

He sighed and gave the backdoor an obligatory try, finding it open but leading into a fog filled void again. After closing it he turned expecting to find another record, yet while the gramophone itself was still in its usual place it had no record to play. Thinking perhaps it had been knocked off during the burglary, he did another brief search of the floor but was unable to find a record, or even the broken fragments of one. There was at least something of a consolation discovery on the wall above the gramophone though.

Carved into the wall was a variety of symbols that would look at home in a magic circle like the one in the living room. They were arranged in a somewhat rough nine by nine grid and Lance could only assume that he needed to figure out which three symbols he needed...and the order in which they were to be written...and some way to write them down that would be magically reactive since he doubted his red pen would manage it. While he was at it he would look for the missing record, feeling by now that they definitely held some significance he just wasn't seeing yet and that the third one would be vital. Having completed his rather strange 'to do' list he started heading for the hallway.

Every door was either barricaded shut by nailed on bits of broken furniture or mysteriously absent altogether save for the door to the laundry room at the far end. But it no longer resembled a laundry room in any sense. He couldn't see a washer or dryer, and as his light illuminated more of the room upon his approach he could see they had been replaced by an old, dented, blackened furnace on the far wall. There had always been a water heater and furnace in that room for certain but they had looked nothing like the centuries old relic that now stood unlit before him. The entire room around the furnace was made of old, crack riddled concrete that had been blackened to a varying extent throughout. The room smelled strongly of smoke despite the lack of a fire in the furnace, probably owing to the lack of any visible window or stovepipe to let smoke out.

Peeking out from beneath the layers of black soot on the ceiling, walls, and floor, he could see words that been written down in chalk a long time ago. It was a single phrase repeated over and over again, written in two distinct hoofwritings, one refined and practiced, and the other not so much. Rarely was the phrase ever totally visible, either fading into or out of visibility beneath the blackness, but it was so short that piecing together the entire phrase was no problem what so ever.

STOP CRYING

The floor was littered with bits of paper that been mostly burned, but on the uncharred bits he could see the remnants of crayon and markers. They were the leftover pieces of children's drawings that had been burned.

He remembered this too.

What most caught his interest was a crumpled piece of paper on the floor that had somehow entirely avoided being the least bit burnt. Such a miraculous bit of stationary warranted attention. He picked it up and uncrumpled it to see that it wasn't another drawing, but rather a story that had been written by his very young daughter for a school assignment.

My Best Day Ever
by Fluttershy

On my best day ever I woke up and me and daddy had strawberry pancakes

Then daddy said he had a surprise for my birthday and took mee flying where we could see all the mountains

Then daddy said to cover my eyes and landed and said to open them again and we were at lakeside park

We rode on a bunch of rides and have fun and I got to have cotton candy

When it was time to go home we stopped to see mommy

I was tired when we got home and daddy read me a story and tucked me in

That was my best day ever


Nothing of the sort had ever happened, nor had Lance ever seen this story. As best he could figure, Fluttershy had made the whole thing up for the sake of completing the assignment while keeping her home life a secret, assuming the paper in his hands was not something that had been fabricated wholesale by that world's odd properties. That would have meant she had hidden it from him though, for a very, very long time, and at the risk of having gotten punished had he found it. If it was in fact really something she had written, it would have to be something that was very, very precious for the little filly to have taken such a chance in keeping it. But why go to such lengths over a completely fake story? He did not understand, but he didn't need to. It might be necessary for his progress and that was more than enough reason to stow it away in his saddlebag.

The sound of somepony softly knocking on the outside of the front door drew his attention away from the blackened room. Lance knew the door was unlocked and that anything that wanted to get to him could either break the door down or ignore it before simply appearing inside the room with him instead of resort to a polite knock. So it was less fear and more curiosity that drew the amber stallion out of the laundry room. When his light revealed his young daughter lying on the floor quietly trembling against the wall opposite the stairwell, the questions in his mind were put to rest. When the knocking sounded a second time he heard the familiar sound of his own hoof steps approaching the door and pulling it open.

"Yes?" he asked of the visitors.

"Um, hi Mr. Strongshy. We were wondering if Fluttershy could come out and play for a while?" asked the voice of a little filly.

"She hasn't done anything with anypony after school for a long time!" said the worried voice of another. Lance recognized them as Fluttershy's old friends...before her mother had died.

"Oh, well, I'm sorry, but Fluttershy doesn't want to come out," Lance answered them using a gentle voice that Fluttershy hadn't heard in months.

"Aww, why not?"

"Is she still sad?"

"No girls. She's angry."

"She is?" one of the little fillies pressed.

"Yes. In fact, you're the one's she's angry with," he clarified.

"Wha...what?"

"Why?!"

"Because, she realized that the time she spent playing with you was time she could've spent with her mother before she died. She's never going to get that time back now, and she blames you and the rest of her friends for taking it from her."

...

One of the fillies began to cry.

"That's not fair!" the other one yelled. "We never made her play with us! It's not our fault!"

"I know, I know girls. But, I can't really convince her otherwise. She told me she hates you and never wants to see you again."

The crying filly let out a pained wail upon hearing that her best friend hated her.

"Don't cry Sweetie Snow, you're not a bad pony, Fluttershy's just a big jerk and we should hate her right back!" the angry filly assured the crying one. "Bye Mr. Strongshy," she said curtly in parting before the two former friends took their leave.

When the door closed, Fluttershy's body shook with aggrieved sobs even more wrenching than those of the friend she'd just lost. She covered her face with her front hooves and gave a few weak kicks of anguish with her back legs before her cries were cut short and she recoiled from the force of a blow. Silently she shrank against the wall clutching at her face protectively.

"You should be happy Fluttershy. If they're no longer around you, you can't hurt them like you did to your mother. Don't you care about them? Don't you want them to not be hurt?"

She trembled in pain a few moments before nodding in surrender, still hiding her face.

"Good then. You understand."

The little filly shivering in pained terror on the floor then slowly burned away, revealing the familiar number dissipating on the wall behind her. When all was still he was left alone in the dark, trying to remember the other filly's name. Fluttershy had gathered a decent social circle at school prior to her mother falling ill, but those two fillies were the ones who came over with any regularity. That afternoon he'd just witnessed for the second time was all it had taken. After that, word had spread of her betrayal and she had become a pariah at school among the other foals, just as isolated there as she had been at home. He still could not remember the name of the other filly but it did not really matter. There was no use in it, nor time for it as he continued upstairs.

After making his way up and past the broken wooden railings, the carpet made a soft squelching noise beneath his hoof as he crested the stairs. He glanced down at his hoof and sniffed the floor, finding nothing that would lead him to believe it was anything else but water. Something must have been leaking in the bathroom, for a good while too if it had managed to seep into the carpet next to the stairwell. As he looked down the row of doors he realized he probably wouldn't be finding out exactly what was broken. The doors to the upstairs closet and his library had both disappeared altogether. The door to his office looked relatively fine, having avoided any damage or alteration. The upstairs bathroom door on the other hoof had changed significantly. It was still the same general size and shape but now made of dented, scratched and partially rusted iron, with hinges made a bit useless by welds along each side that fused door to frame. Nopony was getting into that bathroom to fix anything anytime soon. Or ever.

It was where he had nearly drowned his daughter.

Lance felt a brief twinge in his front hooves, still remembering exactly how it had felt to hold her head beneath the water as her small body struggled a little less with each passing second. He also felt a brief bit of nausea in his gut and a horrible taste in his mouth that he ignored in favor of checking his office door. It was locked. Not as good as unlocked, but it was better than broken. His next few steps were as hurried as he could manage in order to minimize the time he spent in view of the archway visible from the balcony, though he could do nothing to mask the sound of his hoof steps squishing into the wet carpet.

Fluttershy's room door was completely undisturbed. It looked normal in every way, without even a scratch left behind in defiance of the wanton destruction that was on display through the rest of the house. But the master bedroom at the end of the oddly long hallway was another matter. It was a door much like the one sealing off the bathroom, only the rust did not look exactly like rust and it lacked anything in the way of dents or scratches. The carpet also steadily turned from its usual color to a deeper and deeper shade of brownish red as it approached the sealed off room. Something other than water had leaked out of it a long time ago, and the water from the bathroom could do nothing to wash it out. There was nothing making him want to approach that door and absolutely everything making him want to stay away from it. For this second go round he managed to spend an appreciably shorter amount of time hesitating before he pulled open his daughter's bedroom door.

...

His daughter's horribly, horribly deceptive bedroom door didn't match the size of the passage behind it at all. It was square instead of rectangular, and small enough that he would have a bit of difficulty moving through it while crouched. It was also far too long to have possibly fit inside the room as he remembered it, but then again he was standing in an extension of his house that was the size of his entire house and yet invisible from the outside. This passage being the thing he questioned seemed a bit ridiculous in comparison. It wasn't as long as the narrow passage in the hospital had been though, and there was the bit of assurance that it was too small for a roller gurney to fit. But for all he knew they would just continue ignoring everything that made sense about physics and come after him anyway. Less comforting was that he couldn't see the end of the room on the other side, although his light was able to catch sight of something either small or very, very distant. He really hoped it was just small. Presented as always with a dearth of other options, the amber stallion winced with a bit of pain as he crouched a bit lower and started making his way through the passage.

Progress was steady and only painful enough to rate as mildly uncomfortable. He stopped and glanced back a couple times, just in case, and was fortunate enough to make it to the other side without incident. It was then that it became apparent the passage didn't lead into a room exactly. For one, the flooring ended at the threshold and was replaced with dirt, prompting Lance to cautiously poke his head out and look upward thinking it had lead him outside. It had not. The texture of the wall looked like any household wall but as the beam of his flashlight drew ever higher it just kept going, and going, and going, until at least he caught sight of a ceiling a ludicrous distance above. He followed it seeking the other side of the room, and by the time he caught sight of the opposite wall the circle of his flashlight's beam was ridiculously small for how vast a distance lay between them. It expanded in size a bit as it illuminated the sole object in the very center of the desolate expanse, and now Lance knew for certain it was not small.

"Seems like all the interesting stuff was hiding upstairs for this one," Lance glumly remarked beneath his breath as he disobeyed every single one of his nerves and started trotting toward the object. At that distance all he could tell was that it was a white rectangle of some sort. He was able to pick out more details as he wandered farther from the door, his sense of unease increasing with each step as though something was growing progressively more off.

There was a sound of crunching dirt to his left, too far to be an immediate danger but too close to ignore. Lance flinched and directed his light in the sound's direction, looking for the source frantically but finding nothing there. It was truly a massive room though, and the amount of space he could light so comparatively tiny. He was completely unable to shake the feeling that there actually was something out there in the darkness he simply had not spotted. There was another sound to his right and head. Again, his search did not turn up anything or give him any relief from the quickly mounting dread. When he heard the third sound he did not bother checking. Whatever they were, they were going to come at him or leave him alone and he had little say in the matter.

"Just keep walking," he muttered to himself, eyes forward.

He soon was able to make out that the object was a section of wall with a barred over window, partially buried in and held upright by the dirt. It was not just any wall though, he eventually recognized it as being from Fluttershy's room, and something else was attached to it. Now finally standing before the bit of wall, he examined the line of nine drawings that had been nailed against the wall above the window. A few were in crayon, some were in markers, a couple had been drawn by pencil, and one was even a mix of all three, but he instinctively marked them as being the work of his daughter. He was featured in most of them, his primitive stick figure depiction always smiling and playing the part of the good father. But one in particular caught his eye and set the gears in his head turning.

Fluttershy had drawn a picture of herself standing in front of a gravestone that said 'MOMMY', whilst he was standing off to the side wearing that same smile that was a bit unnerving in that particular context. It was something from the story he'd found in the laundry turned furnace room. Trying to ignore the sounds around him that had continued coming at an unpredictable rate at seemingly random distances, he retrieved the story from his bag and compared it to the nine pictures. Just as he'd thought, six of the pictures corresponded to the events of the story, but they weren't arranged in order. Perhaps he was being tasked with rearranging them? But then if that was his task what was he supposed to do with the three that were not in the story, and even if the pictures and the story were connected, what did they have to do with the grid of symbols in the dining room?!

...

His eyes widened briefly and took another look at the pictures above before seeming to settle on trying something out.

"You're zero," he stated to the leftmost picture. "Or one? ...no, buck it, it'll work the same either way, zero. You're eight," he continued before assigning the highest number to the rightmost picture. He then turned his attention back on the story in his hooves.

On my best day ever I woke up and me and daddy had strawberry pancakes

Lance looked up and found the corresponding picture third from the left.

"Two."

Then daddy said he had a surprise for my birthday and took mee flying where we could see all the mountains

Leftmost picture.

"Zero."

Then daddy said to cover my eyes and landed and said to open them again and we were at lakeside park

Center picture.

"Four."

We rode on a bunch of rides and have fun and I got to have cotton candy

Far right picture.

"Eight."

When it was time to go home we stopped to see mommy

Third from the right.

"Six."

I was tired when we got home and daddy read me a story and tucked me in

One left from center.

"Three." He started quietly repeating the sequence to himself to sear it into his memory as he turned and started heading back to the passage out of there, doing his best to ignore the sounds around him. But when he heard another crunching of dirt that did not sound any farther than a mere four yards to his left it was impossible to resist the urge to look, once more finding nothing. It was less of an issue now though, as he was only a few steps from the passage and ducked inside moments later. He stopped about halfway through to let out a somewhat shaky sigh and let his nerves wind down a bit, looking back over his shoulder to confirm nothing was following him. Allowing himself to feel a bit of relief now, he turned back to continue into the house.

She had been looking in at him.

By the time his flashlight caught sight of the retracting metal muzzle and his heart had leapt into his throat the sovereign was already gone, curiosity seemingly sated. The only other thing he saw was a brief glimpse of her tail as she strode away toward the stairwell. For a few moments he was paralyzed into inaction by fear, but then thought of something that made him start for the end of the passage even faster than he had been before.

She would only hurt him. She would kill Posey.

Lance emerged and looked around frantically, but the apparently recovered alicorn was nowhere to be seen or even heard. His best bet now was to move fast, worrying about getting caught be damned. He started for the stairwell but found himself stopping at his office, hearing familiar voices inside. They were not loud enough to make out clearly, so he took another quick look around before pressing his ear to the locked door.

"...and this is?" Lance heard himself ask at length from within.

"Um I...I drew it at school...da-...f-father," a young Fluttershy replied uneasily.

"I could tell that much already," he said with disdain. "I'm asking what the picture is about. You're so bad at this that I can't tell just by looking."

...

"It's...I...thought maybe if-"

"Why did you make this?" he cut her off abruptly.

She sniffed, starting to cry already. He could hear it in her voice as she answered him. "T-teacher wanted us to...draw something at school every day...so I drew that so you could-"

"Crumple it up."

...

"I said crumple it up Fluttershy."

The little filly sobbed softly and soon there was a sound of crinkling paper being bunched up into a ball.

"Throw it in the basket."

There was a brief pause before little hoof steps strode over to the corner of the room prior to the nearly inaudible sound of a childhood drawing being dropped into the waste paper bin. She let out another little whimper.

"We'll just keep doing this until the basket is full. Then we'll burn them. Now stop crying and get out of my office."

Fluttershy audibly hiccuped, forcing herself to stop crying. Her sad hoof steps then dutifully headed toward the door, and caused the listening stallion to take a step backward in surprise when the door actually opened. Lance lingered for a moment as though expecting his daughter to actually emerge, but no such thing happened, and there was no light emanating from the decidedly vacant office. He nudged the door open and peered inside.

Everything was gone save for a desk and cot pushed up against the back wall, but it was less like the place had been robbed and more like the room had simply been re-purposed as such. Desk and cot were both littered with empty wine and pill bottles, with a central area of the desk kept clear for messily stacked papers, and a single small picture frame with the glass pane broken and the photo missing. Between the two sparse bits of furniture was a wastepaper basket that looked empty at first glance. Even so, the conversation that he had recalled compelled him to peer into it to see...a piece of chalk?

Lance reached in and grabbed it, wondering of what use it could be when he remembered seeing Mannie using chalk for spell circles. Those had been completely written in chalk though, not partially in paint. He did not know if mixing the writing medium for three symbols would work or not, but at worst he'd just have to rub some chalk off the base of the pedestal and try something else. He stowed away the chalk in one of the small compartments on the front strap of his saddlebags and continued downstairs and into the dining room, still not hearing or seeing any sign of the sovereign whom he knew to be somewhere nearby. The faster he could get Posey and get out of their house the better in any case.

"They're all positive numbers, so you're zero," he said as he stood before the grid of symbols, hoof briefly pointing at the symbol in the bottom left corner. He retrieved a spare bit of paper and the pen from his bag. "Two...zero," he muttered, using the first two numbers as coordinates before copying the symbol onto his scratch paper. "Four...eight," Lance repeated, jotting down a second symbol before moving onto the third. "Six...three. Hope you work; I'm out of ideas otherwise." After confiding in nopony he trotted out to the living room and quickly but carefully used the piece of chalk to draw in the three missing symbols, doing his best to keep them around the same relative size as the rest of the spell circle. Then he stood back and waited.

...

Lance was starting to feel discouraged when the slight glow of the painted on spell circle started to slowly spread into the chalk symbols before starting to intensify steadily. It was working. As the light grew brighter it darkened, turning from blue to purple, and then at its brightest a somewhat menacing red color. With a final brilliant red flash that forced him to shield his eyes, the circle released its energy, and when Lance lowered his hoof the pedestal and bust had both been transmuted from solid stone into a granite so brittle that a small piece fell off of its own accord as he looked on. In his eagerness to get at the tablet inside he tried pushing on the fairly compromised bust but found that it had enough resilience left to resist collapsing. It was not a big deal though, he simply brought a hoof back and struck it with enough force to break the smaller bust open and send bits of rock scattering about.

He also provoked the grinning stalker above to let out a distorted shriek of pain and then scurry away in fright to another hiding place. Lance had almost forgotten she was there by that point and the reaction startled him to say the least. Once she had retreated from sight he looked down at his hoof and just stared for a few moments, looking as though something had just unexpectedly cut him deep. But soon after he was able to manage a scowl and mutter an obscenity at whatever insane architect was responsible for that place before sifting through the debris atop the crumbling pedestal to find the third triangular tablet for the safe. This one depicted a pony hanging by their forelegs from shackles and chains, bearing the words 'The Prisoner' beneath. On the opposite side was a letter K.

Right then, it was time to lea-

"You stand charged with the kidnapping and brutal murder of Officer Cicero. How do you plead?" came a loud voice from back in the dining room. Was that the gramophone playing? Lance retreated back there a third time to see that a third record had indeed materialized and started playing itself whilst he had been occupied with the bust.

"Guilty as charged your honor," answered an older stallion without a hint of shame. Lance recognized him from the first record, and

"You are certain?" a middle aged sounding mare pressed as though she was trying to give him a chance. Lance could only assume that voice was the judge of the proceedings.

"Your honor, I may be an old stallion but my memory is still sharp as a tack and I most certainly remember kidnapping an arrogant colt named Cicero before chaining him up in my basement and breaking things until he stopped breathing, because none of you would do it, and somepony had to. I am aware I am waiving my right to counsel, I am aware that I am waiving my right to a trial by jury, and I fully comprehend the nature of these charges and the sentence carried therein."

...

"Very well sir. This court accepts the plea of guilty and will currently move to sentencing," she said, apparently satisfied that the old stallion knew exactly what he was doing. "You have served a full and storied career in law enforcement, defending the peace and saving a great many other ponies. But due to the heinous nature of your crime I cannot in good conscience spare you the full wrath of Equestrian law, and I therefore sentence you to live out the remainder of your life within the walls of Foalsom. Court adj-"

He was laughing.

"-pardon me but would you mind sharing with this courtroom what you think is so humorous about any of this?" the judge inquired indignantly.

"Life, huh? The quality of a life is a hard thing to measure, almost impossible. There's just so many variables upon variables upon variables, and hay, even if everypony you ever asked could name every single one of them, they'd each give you a different answer about which ones are the most important. But the duration of a life is a simple number you can toss out whenever it makes you look good, so it makes perfect sense that you politically minded bucking idiots see preserving the length of a life as this all encompassing good for which the quality of any number of lives can be sacrificed as needed. Then you call it justice and ponies can't stop singing your praises while you leave good ponies like my grandson to rot just so you can make ponies like me or that psychotic mare live longer. That right there isn't funny. It's bucking hilarious. I hadn't planned on lingering in my golden years so long that I would become a burden on my daughter and son in law. There's no dignity in that for me. Now here you are sentencing me to be a burden on every single tax payer in Equestria? You can take your sentence and shove it where Celestia's sun don't shine, your honor."

"Interesting," the judge grunted indignantly. "I'd hold you in contempt of court but clearly there would be no point in that with you. When you plead guilty you submitted to the will off this court and you will live your last years behind bars. Now would you have any words to say to the court in parting prior to your being processed and transferred?"

...

"Yeah, actually. I got my start in Foalsom Prison and one of the things you could rely on was rookies coming in feeling like they had something to prove. So they gave the prisoners a bunch of grief to look tough, and that periodically got them in trouble. I remember one that was such a moron I lost count of how many times I had to drag his stupid flank out of a brawl with the prisoners. It got so bad that one particularly industrious inmate made it a point to shiv him so deep it sent him to the hospital for a month. The guy wised up after pulling through that, and I made sure that by the time he was back on duty, the inmate that almost took him from the world had lost just as much blood as he had, maybe a little more. Not many hassled him after that."

"Would you perhaps indulge this court by informing us as to how this story is relevant to the current case?"

He chuckled again. "Well your honor, a little bird told me that he went on from that job to eventually become a bailiff."

Lance heard a pair of unlocked cuffs being flung away before chaos broke loose in that courtroom. From the sound of it the old officer was a bit more spry than his age had let on and none of the other security officers present had been able to pin him down before he got out of the courtroom. The shouting of commands to stop grew quickly more distant as he galloped for it.

"Bailiff, you just enabled a convicted murderer to flee from this courtroom!" the judge snarled.

"I did your honor. My foals grew up with a father because of that stallion. I owe him my life for having my back and setting me straight; the least I could do was give him the choice about what to do with his own," the bailiff answered, just as certain in his actions as had been the officer turned killer.

"Where do you think he'll even go? We're on the third floor and security will have the stairwells and fire escapes closed down by now!" she pointed out furiously.

"I think he'll avoid hurting anypony else and go visit his grandson, your honor."

The bailiff's theory was confirmed seconds later when Lance heard the distant sound of glass breaking, and then screaming from the street below from the unfortunate ponies that had witnessed the old stallion jump to his gruesome demise before the sound cut off in favor of the scratching of blank vinyl. But unlike the first two records, music started to play after five seconds of silence. He recognized the tune immediately. It was one of the oldies tunes that he and Posey had enjoyed listening to together on nights when they were both relaxing at home. While it was a pleasant memory indeed he had other places to be at that particular junction and was about to step out when his own voice interfered with the music.

"Fluttershy?"

A filly that was a little older but still a ways off from adolescence gasped in fright and cut the music off with a clumsy record scratch as she fumbled to stop the gramophone. What followed was a very tense silence spent watching his terrified daughter fidget nervously before he spoke again.

"You were listening to your mother's records again. So...tell me what happened last time I caught you doing this."

His daughter was silent another few moments before mumbling a reply.

"I can't hear you," he said at relatively normal volume but with a tone harsh enough to make it clear she would only get this one last chance.

"You...you threw me into a wall...and then you hit me," she recounted with a shaky voice.

"Right, good, you remember. But that means we have a problem right now, because you apparently remember, and yet it didn't do any good did it?"

Fluttershy managed a squeak that vaguely sounded like "N-no?"

"So what do you want me to do now Fluttershy?" he asked pointedly.

He distinctly remembered the color draining from her face as she backed away a few steps, beginning to look a bit ill.

"No input then? Fine, I think I have an idea. Stay here," he commanded before the sound of his hoof steps marked his departure from the room. Judging from the trembling, near sobbing noises he heard afterward, his daughter was doing as told, resisting her every urge to run and hide knowing that it would only make things worse. When his footsteps neared again he heard her give another shudder of fear before exerting what self control she could in order to silence herself. "Face the window," he ordered upon entering the room again.

"Why did you get a bel-" She cried out in pain as her father's hoof struck her across the face, and then silently obeyed his command. But her silence did not last long. Lance remembered well the moment when the belt descended around her neck. "Father?" He put a hoof against the back of her neck and pulled the impromptu noose tight. "D-daddy!" she choked out before Lance pulled it tighter still with a soft creaking of the material and then fastened the buckle. He heard the jostling of the table as his daughter backed away from him into it, and then another clattering of plates and silverware as she tripped and leaned against the cabinet, one of her hooves trying desperately to unbuckle the belt holding her airway completely shut.

She collapsed to the floor, shaking with rising panic as her face steadily started turning red. On quivering legs she managed to stumble back towards her father, getting a small yellow hoof to touch his leg and look up pleadingly, tears streaming from her wide, terrified eyes as she kept trying in futility to draw a breath. He kicked her away from him and continued watching impassively as she laid there on the floor on her side, writhing and ineffectually trying to undo the belt buckle on the back of her neck as her reddened face started taking on a blue shade and her movements became increasingly lethargic.

Lance waited yet longer still. It was not until her movements had been reduced to spastic twitches and her eyes began rolling back into their sockets as the last vestiges of consciousness started slipping away that he strode closer and reached down to undo the belt. She sucked in a massive breath of air as soon as the belt stopped strangling her and started coughing and crying, only to be held against the floor by an amber hoof on the side of her her head.

"Remember what that felt like Fluttershy. Remember it next time you feel like not listening to your father," he warned her severely before a strike to her chest caused her to roll over with a agonized grunt, still too winded to even yelp with pain. "Have this mess cleaned up by dinner time," he demanded as he retreated from the room, leaving Fluttershy curled up in pain weeping there on the dining room floor.

The recording kept going on like that for another half minute, making the amber surgeon of the present progressively more angry at continuing to have all of this shoved back into his face as though he had not had good reason to do the things he did or that there was anything he could do to change things that had already happened. But then the smoldering aggravation was snuffed out cold by sheer curiosity as he heard a completely unfamiliar voice on the record.

"Look behind you."

Who was that? Had somepony been in his house? His daughter just kept crying unresponsively, and he knew she would have reacted to a complete stranger. To whom could that voice have even been talking?

"I said, look behind you."

That was the precise moment that Lance realized he had in truth let the worst thing he could have let happen, happen.

He had become so accustomed to the sound of his watch constantly buzzing away that he had not noticed its warning steadily climbing to a crescendo as something drew to within hoof's reach of him.
Silent Ponyville: Reunion pt. 30.1
Oh I'm sorry dear reader, were you sympathizing with that?

Continued: brony17.deviantart.com/art/Sil…
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LAST TIME ON...UH...EPISODE BLOGS BECAUSE WE DIDN'T HAVE A TITLE BACK THEN!

Chappy: So hey I think I'll offer commentary on the episodes as they come out!
Twilight Sparkle: Oh, okay, enjoy!

(MONTHS LATER)

Twilight Sparkle: (Covered in blood and booze and tears and sadness and all her friends that aren't dead are god damn psychopaths and she's now a sex offender) WHAT THE FUCK, OKAY?!
Chappy: I'M SORRY IT WAS A REFLEX!

------{STATIC}------

(Pinkie Pie hums and hops along toward Twilight's castle with a stallion walking briskly alongside of her wearing a hockey mask spattered with what is totally just oddly shaded red paint I swear)
Pinkie Pie: What a great Murder Anonymous meeting today! I think everypony made a lot of good progress, don't you?!
Machete Mask: ...
Pinkie Pie: I KNOW RIGHT?! Anyway, I really gotta go, thanks for walking me over here, we should hang out more sometime soon! (Hugs him tightly)
Machete Mask: ... (SUDDEN BEAR HUG OF RECIPROCATION)
Pinkie Pie: (Back pops) ERK! Aww you big ol' softie you! (Places a brief peck on the nose of his mask) Now you have a great day and remember to stay the course and avoid things that would tempt you to murder somepony okay? You've been doing super well recently!
Machete Mask: (Sets her down) (Nods in agreement)
Pinkie Pie: Great, seeya! (Bounces away toward the castle humming a tune again)
Machete Mask: (As creepy a happy sigh as can be possible before turning to leave but then stopping as he notices two young teenage mares in the park nearby)
Bed Roll: Like oh, my CELESTIA, did you get the stuff for tonight at unchaperoned party in the woods that our parents don't know about?
Purple Haze: Ch'yah, like, SO MUCH WEED, and do you know how much of it is legal?
Bed Roll: How much?
Purple Haze: NONE OF IT, DUH!
(They both giggle to one another as Machete Mask begins to sweat and slowly tilts his head to the side slightly)
Bed Roll: I don't know how much time I'll have for completely illegal smoking, I'll be busy scoring with those stallions I invited!
Purple Haze: Are you married to either of them?
Bed Roll: Pfft, as IF! (Hoofbump)
Machete Mask: (Slowly starts reaching for his machete in a trance but then catches himself, shakes off the impulse and then flees before he can be tempted any further)

------{STATIC}------

Spike: (Snores peacefully in his mini-throne)
Twilight Sparkle: (Shakes him) Spike! Wake up!
Spike: (Groans in protest and bats her hoof away)
Twilight Sparkle: (Glares and conjures a ball of ice cold water over him that immediately drops)
Spike: WARGARBLE! (Flails for a few panicked moments before getting his bearings and realizing what had just happened) The water ball again Twilight? Seriously?
Twilight Sparkle: Well you weren't supposed to fall asleep so, yes, the water ball. I need you to go to the kitchen and start making a bunch of snacks because we're all going to be here a while.
Spike: (Sighs and gets to his feet, shaking the water off a bit) Alright alright, just try not to get too pissy just because Pinkie Pie is late.
Pinkie Pie: (Bounces in to the throne room with a burst of confetti from nowhere as Spike is making his way out) Hi girls! Hi Spike!
Spike: (Walking past with a yawn) Hey Pinkie.
Twilight Sparkle: Pinkie Pie! Where have you been? We expected you an hour ago!
Pinkie Pie: Yeah sorry girls, Stab Wound had a real breakthrough and it didn't feel right leaving the meeting early like I'd planned. Murder Anons need to be there for each other!
Rainbow Dash: (Smartass smirk) Gee, wonder how that guy murdered ponies.
Pinkie Pie: (Hops onto her seat) Strangulation!
Rainbow Dash: (Blank faced blink) ...what.
Rarity: (Takes a seat) You didn't walk with that horrid Machete Mask character again did you dear?
Pinkie Pie: Of course I did!
Rarity: For goodness sake Pinkie Pie! I've always withheld my concern in regards to the company you keep, but I must make an exception for your spending so much time with this hockey masked psychopath!
Rainbow Dash: Why is he named Stab Wound if he strangles ponies?
Pinkie Pie: Rarity, as a former serial killer myself, I totally get why you feel like that. Machete Mask can look really, really scary from the outside and I don't blame you for being worried. But trust me when I say that there's more to that stallion than his addiction, I feel perfectly fine spending time around him and being a very good friend of his, having grown familiar with him.
...
Pinkie Pie: Plus he has got a HUUUUUGE di-
Twilight Sparkle: (Hurriedly canters in front of her) OKAY ANYWAY now that Pinkie Pie's here, let's go through this one more time...
Rainbow Dash: (Scoffs as she lands on her throne) We've been over this a million times Twilight! We lost the elements to the tree of harmony and got a box in exchange. While we were looking for the keys to the box, me, Rarity, Applejack, and Fluttershy died in one day, leaving you to clone us, use Pinkie's key to get into the TARDIS and go back in time to swap our clones with our corpses, and then chop the corpses into furnace size bits and scatter the ashes after burning them. Then you went into a barely functional spiral of traumatic grief and depression made worse by feeling unable to connect with your lab grown friends as you simultaneously had to also keep Pinkie Pie's blood lust in relative check. (Pauses to inhale) Then after we found the last key just as Tirek had pretty much won you discovered that the damage caused by all the deception was affecting our connection worse than the truth ever would have and so we all came to terms with the reality of the situation and unlocked the Rainbow Power that we used to blow Tirek away and get this sweet castle. Then that book thing happened and you went into the portal to Canterlot Highschool again before coming back and...well my memory's a little fuzzy about the night you came back for some reason.
(Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie all look thoughtful for a moment and then shrug while Twilight blushes and looks around nervously during that same moment)
Rainbow Dash: And then that weird thing with the ghosts and that battle at the Crystal Empire happened with the Doctor, and then the Tree of Harmony somehow brought the four of us back to proper, non-clone life with all our memories merged. End of needlessly complex story!
Applejack: Whatever happened to that Doctor fella' anyway? Ah ain't seen head nor tails of him since then.

------{STATIC}------

(A fairly roughed up looking Seabreeze paces back and forth with his baby son held in one foreleg, face a mix of fatigue, grief, and simultaneous wonder as the rest of the remaining Breezies wait silently for him to speak. Finally he stops, taking a final moment to choose his words, and then turns toward them.)
Seabreeze: My brethren...this has been nothing short of the apocalypse. We have lost so much. Our civilization lies in ruins. So many of those we love are now nothing but memories. My son will... (closes eyes briefly and chokes back a sob) my son will grow up with no mother...but he will still grow up now. He has that chance. We all have the chance to pay honor to the memories of those we lost, to see our children grow, to watch our crops return and to rebuild our homes. We have hope. We have a future. The sun can rise again and it is all thanks to one pony! I don't know where he came from, why he did what he did, or who he was...but as we go forward living the life he gave to us, we shall sing his praise in song forever!
(The remaining Breezies cheer, tired and battered but finally with hope in their hearts. Nearby, a large metallic wreckage smolders and smokes, as a singed green necktie and collar gently sway in the wind from their spot caught on a jagged bit of debris)

------{STATIC}------

Twilight Sparkle: (Her face turns into an ice cold glare at the farm mare's question) He's dead Applejack...and good riddance. (Returns to her usual demeanor) But let's not get off topic here. I'm not trying to recollect events for memory's sake Rainbow Dash, I'm trying to deduce purpose from them. Why DID the Tree of Harmony give us this castle?
Applejack: (Trots up and takes a seat in her throne) You sure you're not overthinkin' this sugarcube? This could just be the nice house you get for savin' the world ya' know.
Rarity: If this castle is a reward for saving the world then the staff needs some improvement, such as beginning to exist, for starters.
Fluttershy: (Hops onto her throne) I agree with literally everyone and everything capable or incapable of both consciousness and opinion.
Twilight Sparkle: First off if you're going to agree that much with that many, you might as well not talk at all.
Fluttershy: (Hangs head sadly)
Twilight Sparkle: Secondly, Spike is the staff already and I'm not wasting tax payer money on luxuries that would make me feel really awkward.
Rarity: Hmph!
Twilight Sparkle: Third, the Tree of Harmony is a high level magical entity, and as such it does not give out a portion of its immense power without having a duty in mind for those who receive it. The test of getting those keys, the Rainbow Power, the castle, we proved ourselves worthy of some kind of mantle and we are not leaving this castle until we figure it out!
(Her friends begin to protest as Twilight Sparkle authoritatively sits on her throne. The second her rump sets down the cutie marks on each throne begin to glow and audibly hum with energy before each lets out a beam of light that converges in the center of the floor between them all. Crystals grow and erupt from the ground, quickly forming into a large round table with a magical hologram map of the entire kingdom before their surprised eyes)
...
Twilight Sparkle: (Places hoof on forehead) Have we SERIOUSLY never sat in all six of these simultaneously all this time?!
Spike: (Walks back in with a single snack tray) I'm back with the first round of snacks that is modestly sized in case Twilight severely overestimates the amount of snacks needed. Again.

------{STATIC}------

Slightly Tarnished: Season Five
Eye Sore

------{STATIC}------

Pinkie Pie: Pinkie off! (Jumps off throne)
(Map retracts)
Pinkie Pie: Pinkie on! (Jumps on throne)
(Map returns)
Pinkie Pie: Pinkie off! (Jumps off throne)
(Map retracts)
Pinkie Pie: Pinkie on! (Jumps on throne)
(Map returns)
Pinkie Pie: Pinkie-
(Several sharp clangs and crystalline cracks are heard as a bevvy of black broadswords impale themselves precisely around Pinkie)
Pinkie Pie: (Now somewhat contorted to avoid the numerous blade edges) -REMAINING ON.
Twilight Sparkle: THANK YOU now nopony move...stupid castle requiring us all to sit at the same time or else no map. (Grumbles as she focuses on the map with her horn alight)
Rainbow Dash: Wait, really? That's dumb!
Twilight Sparkle: (Through teeth) I KNOW Dash that's why I'm trying to modify it.
Fluttershy: (Glances over at Pinkie nervously while holding deadly still on her throne)
Applejack: Uh, you feelin' alright there sugarcube?
Twilight Sparkle: (Narrows eyes at map) I'm fine.
Applejack: Yeah well...last time you said you were fine, the next we saw ya you were in a whiskey coma.
Twilight Sparkle: (Stops channeling and widens her eyes slightly before letting out a sigh and softening a bit, the swords in Pinkie's throne dissipating before she resumes channeling her magic) I'm...maybe not totally fine, but just a bit bored and frustrated I guess. I'm not about to drink myself unconscious over it though so don't worry okay?
Applejack: (Nods)
Twilight Sparkle: (Focuses a bit longer) Aaaaaand got it! We can move around freely now.
Rainbow Dash: (Finishes chewing her bite of fancy cheese and crackers before speaking) So what is this anyway? (Turns to Pinkie) And why is that stallion named Stab Wound if-
Spike: It looks like a  map of all Equestria! (Hops onto the projection table and finds himself as a gigantic lizard amongst the helpless holographic buildings of Manehatten) ...yeah I'm digging this.
(Twilight magically plucks Spike off the map before there is a set of six magical pulsing sounds that set everypony's cutie marks aglow prompting everypony but Pinkie to shiver and blush slightly before looking around awkwardly avoiding eye contact)
Pinkie Pie: Oooooooh if that was the map I’m going to hang out here more!
Rarity: (Scoldingly) Pinkie!
Pinkie Pie: Whaaaat? We're all thinking it!
(Holographic replicas of their cutie marks pull away from their flanks, arrange themselves in formation, and then hover over a random ass spot in eastern Equestria)
Fluttershy: But if we're in Ponyville, then why are our cutie marks over there?
Twilight Sparkle: Fluttershy, it's a map. It's either telling us where we are, or where we need to be. And since it's not where we are then...
Fluttershy: ...we need to go there?
Twilight Sparkle: Very good! (Condescending headpat)
Fluttershy: ... (Under breath) Bitch.
Spike: (Suddenly jumps into frame wearing beer hat and holding Hoof Ball cards in one hand with a foam hand on the other) SPORTS!!!

------{STATIC}------

Rarity: (Walking towards remote village) Darling how important could this place possibly be? It's two rows of dirty boxes half a day's trek from the end of the line in the middle of the desert! How do they even get food or mane styling product out here? Do YOU see a farm or mane salon? Because I don't!
Applejack: Yeah because those two things you mentioned are exactly equal in importance.
Rarity: Well for some ponies they are!
Applejack: Hrm, true enough ah guess, no accountin' for taste...or sense.
Rarity: Exactly.
Twilight Sparkle: Okay you see that thing you two just did where you didn't descend into another round of pointless bickering ending in a physical altercation? Do that more.
Pinkie Pie: I'll scout ahead! Let me roll a sneak check! (Pulls a 20 sided dice from nowhere and tosses it, resulting in a 1) (Sighs, shrugs, then flings herself down the ridge into a roll that ends up pin-balling off several smaller rocks before she finally smacks into one last gigantic one that thereafter falls over onto her)

------{STATIC}------

Rarity: (Standing on top of the rock) For goodness sake I was exaggerating with the 'dirty boxes' comment but here we are closer and that's exactly what they are!
Fluttershy: (Also standing on top of the rock) I think it's lovely.
Applejack: (Also also standing on top of the rock) Fluttershy, ah've seen lovely, YOU'VE seen lovely, that there just ain't lovely. And if even AH think that ain't lovely, what the buck are they all so happy about?
Twilight Sparkle: (Also also also standing on top of the rock) Not to mention they all have the exact same cutie marks!
Rainbow Dash: (Also also also also standing on top of the rock) How does that even happen? I mean, besides background ponies. THAT happens all the time.
Pinkie Pie: (Holding out a single hoof from beneath the rock) It's a good thing you helped me out from under here immediately instead of piling your collective weight on this already huge boulder. That would've been AWFUL if you'd done THAT.

------{STATIC}------

(A barrage of plain looking identically cutie marked ponies each offer unsettling welcome to the newcomers as they each approach at an unnervingly slow pace with eyes riveted on the outsiders)
Double Diamond: Welcome new friends!
Party Favor: We're very into friends here!
Double Diamond: (Head slowly tilting) The friiiieeeeendsiest!
Party Favor: (Pupils slowly wandering outward) Friiiiiieeeeendshiiiiiiiiiiiip!
Fluttershy: I feel so accepted, like this approach was tailor made to exploit an emotional hole in my psyche with no ulterior motivations at all!
Twilight Sparkle: (Looking around curiously) Hrm, nopony's dead, no fires, no monsters, no explosions, no magical reality altering anomalies, there doesn't really seem to be anything WRONG here.
Applejack: Excuse me?! You meetin' muh family is so traumatizin' ya'll gotta whip out a crossbow but THIS IS FINE?!
Twilight Sparkle: You'll recall that my perception of danger has been drastically altered by all the EVERY-FUCKING-THING IN THE WORLD we've fought since then.
Applejack: (Grumbling sigh) Fine. Ah guess one of us bein' all stoic'll make up for Pinkie Pie actin' like a feral cat that got dragged under the tractor.
Pinkie Pie: (Covered in patches of dirt with fur and mane messed up) (Arching back and hissing defensively at everypony around her, swatting a hoof at anypony who approaches, tail raised and at maximum floof to scare predators into thinking she's larger than she actually is)
Double Diamond: I see you all have your own unique cutie marks! (Dodges away from a swat from the party pony)
Fluttershy: (Gasps) The way you said that makes me feel like this thing I've had all my life is a flaw that needs fixing lest I lose your precious approval of me! Oh please, please tell me how I can fix this thing that is suddenly wrong with me!

------{STATIC}------

Double Diamond and Party Favor: (Knock in unison) Oh transcendent founder Starlight Glimmer, there are outsiders who seek an audience with you!
Rarity: Is it strictly necessary that you speak in unison?
Double Diamond and Party Favor: (Turn their heads towards her fast enough to produce an audible cracking sound from their necks as soon as she finishes speaking) Not strictly necessary, no.
Rarity: (Laughs nervously and cautiously backs away a step)

------{STATIC}------

Rainbow Dash: Okay, get ready to fight with all your might, we have no idea what kind of gigantic hideous death beast could be on the other side of that door waiting to kill us with its no doubt endless supply of toothy maws, spike tentacles, and laser beam eyes!
Starlight Glimmer: (Opens door) (Is a completely normal outwardly unmonstrous pony) Hello!
Rainbow Dash: Oh FUCK YOU lady!
Starlight Glimmer: (Raises eyebrow) Pardon?!
Twilight Sparkle: (Teleports Rainbow Dash outside as she steps forward) Sorry she's...her. My name is Twilight Sparkle-
Starlight Glimmer: (Interrupts as she starts circling round inspecting her) Oooh, more like PRINCESS Twilight Sparkle from the look of it! How did our lovely village earn the distinction of such royal attention?
Twilight Sparkle: I'll spare you the details, mostly because they're absolutely insane, but we were basically sent here and are unsure as to why, since there's a distinct lack of murder and mayhem around here.
Starlight Glimmer: None of that in this village I'm afraid, however, perhaps I can set your uncertainties at ease by showing you around so that you might come to know what true friendship means for the first time.
Twilight Sparkle: TRUE friendship?
Fluttershy: Oh my goodness, you mean I only know false friendship? That must be one of the things that's wrong with me and threatening all my newfound emotional support! We need to follow her and learn the true definition of friendship conveniently only known by her that will make me feel accepted again!

------{STATIC}------

Fluttershy: (Happily nodding her head to the rhythm as the village denizens march and sing in unison) This is truly the best place in all of Equestria!
Pinkie Pie: YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH!
Fluttershy: (Squeaks and shrinks away)
Twilight Sparkle: Really? This is the thing you ponies do? Abandon your natural talents and make yourselves as plain as you possible just so nopony ever has to deal with feeling even the least bit bad about anything?
Starlight Glimmer: We simply see no use in retaining our arrogance and pride that comes with having unique talents. They create division and keep us from realizing the connection of true friendship with one another, so we voluntarily discard them.
Twilight Sparkle: ...that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Fluttershy: Twilight! We need to respect their beliefs, it's wrong to judge them!
Twilight Sparkle: I AM respecting their beliefs, by acknowledging they have them and doing nothing to prevent them from doing as they please with their own lives. I can do that while simultaneously thinking it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard Fluttershy.
Starlight Glimmer: Fair enough Princess, however, you did say you were uncertain as to why you were sent here, correct?
Twilight Sparkle: And?
Starlight Glimmer: Perhaps you've been sent here so that we could help you adjust your views of the world for the better, rather than to help us deal with a problem.
Twilight Sparkle: Pfft! (Laughs) Uh, here's the thing about that. My version of friendship let me and my five friends trump literally all other magic in Equestria put together. YOUR version of friendship let you build...how did you put it Rarity?
Rarity: Two rows of dirty boxes, dear.
Twilight Sparkle: Yes thank you. Two rows of dirty boxes, unadorned, in the middle of a desert, where you march around singing about stuff while making no progress but you get to FEEL so good about it. We'll stick to our own version of friendship where we accomplish things of consequence thank you very much. Lovely choreography by the way. Let's go girls.
(Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash offer the most polite yet awkward parting they can before following Twilight. Pinkie Pie simply fixes a stern suspicious glare along with a 'eyes on you' hoof gesture as she strolls past. Fluttershy stops and tries to say something to Starlight Glimmer but is only able to meep as she is grabbed and carried off by Pinkie Pie)
Starlight Glimmer: ... (Eye twitch while maintaining smile)
Double Diamond: They seemed nice!
Party Favor: So long since we had guests!
Starlight Glimmer: (Glowering) Follow and watch them. (Grins) We'll see what that arrogant alicorn thinks when we have her cutie mark to show as our accomplishment of consequence.

------{STATIC}------

Fluttershy: I don't know why you had to be so rude to them, we should at least consider the possibility that Glimmer is right and we're here to be helped instead of help!
Pinkie Pie: FOR FUCK'S SAKE FLUTTERSHY why weren't you this enthusiastic when TIREK took our magic?! Would you have been fine with it if he'd just asked nicely before he sucked us dry?!
Fluttershy: No Pinkie Pie, of course not. He would've had to do that and have a bunch of other ponies also telling me it was a good idea before I'd be okay with it.
Pinkie Pie: (Lets head drop onto table)
Rarity: Darling I know this place is absolutely HIDEOUS but what exactly has you so riled up ever since we got here Pinkie?
Pinkie Pie: (Brings eyes up with chin remaining on table with an enduring glare) I'm a party pony and former serial killer Rarity, I know the difference between (perks up with her usual gleeful smile) "I'm smiling because I'm genuinely happy!" and (adopts a strained smile like all the villagers while also grabbing a butter knife off the restaurant table and holding it to her own neck) "OH NO THANKS OFFICER EVERYTHING'S FINE HERE AT NO POINT DID A PINK PONY SNEAK IN AND MURDER MY FAMILY AND IS CERTAINLY NOT HOLDING ME AT KNIFE POINT TO GET ME TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING'S FINE HAHAHA BYE!"
Rainbow Dash: Speaking of that, why is that stallion named Stab Wound if he killed ponies by strangl-
Applejack: Pinkie might have a point ya'll, ah mean look at 'em all starin' at us constantly. Ah can understand bein' curious about new folk but after a point it's just creepy!
Fluttershy: Applejack, they're just being good hosts and being attentive in case we need anything!
Double Diamond: (Seated at the building across the road from them) Need anything?!
Twilight Sparkle: No, we're fine, thank you!
Double Diamond: Anything at all?!
Twilight Sparkle: Nothing coming to mind!
Double Diamond: Not the slightest thing in the least?! I can get you some pamphlets!
Twilight Sparkle: WE DON'T WANT ANY PAMPHLETS THANK YOU!
Fluttershy: See? He's so helpful!
Applejack: If'n he wanted to be so dang helpful he could've come over here and chatted with us instead of hoverin' just outta eyesight shoutin' at us across the street, that's just rude!
Rainbow Dash: Know what else is rude Applejack? INTERRU-
Applejack: Dang it all Twilight I can't help but get the feelin' ya'll just let your own boredom make ya drag us all out here without understandin' nothin'! Were there no books in your castle about this region of Equestria we could've researched first? For all we know we might just be settin' the record for the worst tourists ever!
Twilight Sparkle: So, what is your suggested alternative Applejack? Hrm? Did the castle just spring up out of the ground and then give us a map months later to give us a geography trivia game? Your cutie mark goes to some place and you have to name it to score a point? Or hey, maybe it's a DEATH MAP, and the entire key debacle happened just to show us the place we're all going to die!
...
Twilight Sparkle: Oh wait, I actually made one of those a month ago come to think of it.
Rainbow Dash: What the...why would you make something like that?!
Twilight Sparkle: (Shrugs) I was bored...by the way Rarity, delay going to Trottingham as long as you possibly can.
Rarity: (Eyes widen)
Sugar Belle: Excuse me, can I get something for you or is this a bad ti-
Twilight Sparkle: But really Applejack can you take a look around here and not feel that SOMETHING is wrong?
Applejack: Eh...can't really argue with that one, this place ain't right.
Fluttershy: Oh so just because they don't make the same choices as we did suddenly they aren't right?! You're almost as bad as Twilight!
Twilight Sparkle: I'm ignoring Fluttershy for the rest of this conversation.
Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Rarity: Agreed.
Fluttershy: (Gasps!)
Sugar Belle: I'll just come back late-
Pinkie Pie: HOLD IT! I'm hungry and you will NOT go back in there without at least leaving a menu.
Sugar Belle: Oh, well then, we have fresh muffins...
...
...
...
Twilight Sparkle: So...you only have muffins?
Sugar Belle: Um, yes?
Twilight Sparkle: Why did you trail off like you were going to list more things then?!
Sugar Belle: ... (Looks around nervously)
Twilight Sparkle: (Sighs) Fine, six muffins.
Pinkie Pie: Make that twelve!
Sugar Belle: (Nods, jots down the order, and retreats into the building)
Rarity: Excuse me? Are you going to eat six by yourself? I don't feel like having two!
(The others murmur in agreement)
Pinkie Pie: Suit yourselves, I am starving!
Applejack: Ain't like she can't just take home any she doesn't finish anyway.
Rarity: Hrm, true enough.
Rainbow Dash: And once we finish here we can look around some more, maybe there's still some gigantic monster I can brag about beating up later!
Fluttershy: Oh, my, um, I wouldn't mind there not being a monster, but these ponies have been so nice that if there is a problem I also certainly wouldn't mind helping them.
Twilight Sparkle: That's the spirit Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash!
...
Fluttershy: (Whimpers sadly)
Sugar Belle: (Emerging with a tray of muffins) Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear, and I certainly apologize if I'm intruding by asking, but how did you all do that?
Twilight Sparkle: (Looks clueless, turns to her friends and finds them looking back at her equally as confounded) Um, do what?
Sugar Belle: You sounded like your friendship was ending when I came out, but now you sound like everything's fine. How did you do that?
Rainbow Dash: Pfft! Seriously?!
Applejack: Sugarcube-
Sugar Belle: Belle.
Applejack: Pardon?
Sugar Belle: My name, it's Sugar Belle, not sugarcube.
Applejack: Oh right, well Sugar Belle, we've stuck together through a LOT worse than that little round of bickerin'.

------{STATIC}------

(The mane six are standing in Twilight's library, Applejack holding a gun to Rarity's head, Rarity holding one to Rainbow Dash's, Rainbow Dash to Twilight's, Twilight to Pinkie Pie's, Pinkie Pie to Fluttershy's, and Fluttershy to Applejack's.)
...
Applejack: Ya'll ready to admit it's toe-may-toe and not toe-maw-toe?!
Rarity: (Narrows eyes in grim determination) NEVER.
(Six gunshots go off as the windows of the library are splattered with a red chunky mess that dribbles downward)

------{STATIC}------

Rarity: Thank goodness we all missed and coincidentally hit the jars of strawberry jam that Pinkie Pie had just so happened to put near the windows!
(They all laugh about it as Sugar Belle looks on wide eyed)
Sugar Belle: Oh uh...well then- (glances over nervously at Double Diamond across the street) -do enjoy the meal!
Pinkie Pie: With gusto! (Munches an entire muffin in one bite) ... (Chews slowly once) ... (Chews slowly twice) ... (Removes muffin bits from mouth and then calmly places her hooves on the table looking at Sugar Belle) You said your name was Sugar Belle?
Sugar Belle: Mhm.
Pinkie Pie: Right. Okay. Um, Sugar Belle, I don't know how to put this delicately but...this isn't just bad, this...this took a bit of goodness out of the universe. Baking as a whole is now lesser because these things exist. Do you understand?
Sugar Belle: (Blinks) ...um, I'll be inside... (Glances over to Double Diamond a second time then stops to whisper) Meet me downstairs inside before you go. (Hurries inside)
Twilight Sparkle: (Waits a few moments then leans in close and whispers) Okay if that wasn't enough of a hint for all of you, I don't know what would qualify, something's up here.
Rainbow Dash: Aww yeah, time to get to the bottom of this, let's g-
Applejack: Wait, we can't go down there until we have some excuse that doesn't look suspicious to DD over there.
Fluttershy: Oh I don't think he'd mind if we just stepped inside for a bit would he?
Rarity: If he'd be fine with it then why did Sugar Belle have to talk us in such a discrete manner?
Twilight Sparkle: Exactly, any ideas?
Applejack: We could have Pinkie Pie eat all our muffins and make it seem like we need to go inside to get more because she gobbled all of 'em up.
(They all look towards Pinkie Pie)
Pinkie Pie: (Narrows eyes) I will fight you.
Twilight Sparkle: It's the only way Pinkie!
Pinkie Pie: Bull! How about instead we just all bite the bullet and eat two muffins each, then pretend we liked them so much we want to go in to get more?
...
(Pinkie Pie is gripped by Twilight's magic before her mouth is forced open and muffins propel themselves into her mouth)
Pinkie Pie: MMMMFFFFFFRRRRRKK!!!

------{STATIC}------

(Pinkie Pie tumbles down the stairs into the bakery's basement, bloated with the awful un-muffins)
Pinkie Pie: Uuuuughn...this is still revenge for killing the clones and then blackmailing you isn't it?
Twilight Sparkle: (Strolls past) No...maybe.
Pinkie Pie: (Whines) Fine, just give me a second to return to normal size while I’m not in the shot.
(They all reach the bottom of the stairs and peer curiously into the darkness)
Twilight Sparkle: Hello? Sugar Belle?
Sugar Belle: (Steps out of the dark) Thank you for coming.
Twilight Sparkle: Why did you want us to come down here?
Sugar Belle: (Leering as Party Favor and Nightglider emerge from the darkness as well) So nopony could see what's about to happen.
(They all back away fearfully as the three approach)
Pinkie Pie: I DON'T LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING-wait why is this scary? Aren't there like twice as many of us as there are of them?
Sugar Belle: I LOVE your cutie mark! (Puts her hooves on Pinkie's flank to get a closer look)
Pinkie Pie: (Flinches briefly in pleasant surprise) Ooh nevermind I like where this went!
(They're hit by an excited onslaught of questions by the trio of village ponies that have suddenly sprung to life now that they're in a private setting, Sugar Belle touching all the butts as she goes from cutie mark to cutie mark)
Twilight Sparkle: Whoa whoa whoa one question at a time please!
Nightglider: Oh, sorry! How can you remain friends with different cutie marks? Don't you end up hating each other?
Twilight Sparkle: It comes and goes-STOP TOUCHING MY BUTT PLEASE.
Sugar Belle: (Backs away) Sorry! It's just, I envy ponies like you very often, I know I could make something else besides those terrible muffins if only I had my special talent again!
Rainbow Dash: That's a thing that can happen? Getting it back?
Party Favor: Yes, but it's mostly just a daydream we have from time to time. Actually going up to the vault where they're kept and having them put back on would be a bit on the extreme side.
Sugar Belle: Starlight Glimmer would be so disappointed, she wants us all to be happily in unity with one another!
Applejack: But technically nopony's stoppin' ya'll from doin' that if ya want?
(The three shake their head)
Twilight Sparkle: How does a cutie mark get from your flank to the vault anyway?
Nightglider: Starlight Glimmer uses the Staff of Sameness in a wonderful ceremony known as the cutie unmarking. Then our cutie marks are kept in the vault, inside a cave in the mountains where we can revisit them to remember the pain of our old lives if we're so inclined.
Twilight Sparkle: Interesting...so where is this cave?
Pinkie Pie: Okay Sugar Belle, my turn!
Sugar Belle: What do you mean? What are you doi-

------{STATIC}------

Pinkie Pie: (On other side of window locked inside the house at the end of the row) Okay, obviously there were some miscommunications made.
Twilight Sparkle: Damn it Pinkie she touched your flank once! We incidentally touch those all the time! Here, look, I'll touch Applejack's! (Touches Applejack's flank)
Applejack: Meh.
Twilight Sparkle: See?! That does not invite HER to touch my...everything further back you shouldn't touch!
Applejack: Nope. Bleh.
Pinkie Pie: Look, there is a time honored butt touching code that has existed since time immemorial and it's what separates us from the animals! And aside from that YOU are probably the single worst pony to be lecturing me about this after the whole Flash Sentry 'body pillow' thing!
Twilight Sparkle: (Groans and turns to Starlight Glimmer) Oh for goddess' sake I am so sorry about her Starlight, I hope Sugar Belle is alright and we can just move past this.
Starlight Glimmer: I'm sure she'll be fine, and Pinkie Pie can leave with you but she's to stay in that house until you depart. Now I believe you wanted to see our cutie mark vault?

------{STATIC}------

(The five non imprisoned friends follow Starlight Glimmer through the desert with Double Diamond bringing up the rear)
Twilight Sparkle: (Hushed tone) Getting the cutie marks from the vault must be why the map sent us here.
Fluttershy: For shame Twilight! Why does our purpose here have to be subjugating a perfectly fine alternative culture just because its different from-
Twilight Sparkle: Motion to reinstate ignoring Fluttershy, yea or nay?
Rarity: Yea.
Applejack: Yea.
Rainbow Dash: Abstain.
Fluttershy: ...Nay?
Twilight Sparkle: Motion passes.
Fluttershy: (Sniffs sadly)
Starlight Glimmer: (Motions toward the cave entrance at the oncoming end of the path) Here we are my friends, the cutie mark vault lies just within!
Twilight Sparkle: Hold on a minute Starlight, something feels off about this, can we roll a Sense Motive check?
Starlight Glimmer: Certainly no harm in that, feel free! (Glances back to Double Diamond a bit nervously)
Twilight Sparkle: (Tosses a 20 sided dice) Ooh, ouch that's low. Good thing I took training and have a high wisdom score, 18 total!
Starlight Glimmer: Um...alright, with an 18 you feel that nothing is amiss in the slightest and this can't possibly be a trap.

------{STATIC}------

Twilight Sparkle: (Looking around as ponies emerge from the darkness in the cave intent on blocking their escape) IT'S A TRAP! (Flies upward as her friends get tackled to the ground, Applejack in particular requiring about 12 ponies piling on before she's finally unable to buck them off into the cave walls) (Her horn lights up and she glares down at everypony holding down her friends) Let them go or I'll turn this cave into your own personal catacomb!
Starlight Glimmer: (Twirling the Staff of Sameness whilst standing next to the altar) Yes, Twilight, about that. (The staff stops, pointing directly at Twilight as it takes half a second to spin up like a drill before hurtling at Twilight with lethal speed)
Twilight Sparkle: (Her horn pulses once and the staff hits a field formed of a concentric purple six sided star pattern) Bitch, PLEASE!
(Her eyes widen as the staff remains where it is instead of breaking apart or bouncing off. Instead, it glows red and is steadily enveloped by a layer of red crystal growth giving it immensely more magical potency and a much sharper pair of tips that begin quickly penetrating past her barrier)
Twilight Sparkle: Wait-
(The now spear-like staff rips through her barrier with ease and pierces through her eye and out the back of her skull, sending blood droplets everywhere as she spins to the ground screaming and lands with a sickening crack. She lies there silently twitching as Starlight Glimmer strides over just in time to see her pupils dilate, a smirk of extreme satisfaction on her face as she witnesses the alicorn perish)
Applejack: (Struggling beneath the pony pile) Ah can't see! What just happened?!
(Fluttershy and Rarity both look on with mouths held open in shock)
Rainbow Dash: (Being held in place by a half dozen ponies) Oh, big mistake! You think that little poke in the eye is going to keep an alicorn down for good?! In about ten seconds she’s going to get back up and liquefy you for this one!
...
...
...
...
Rainbow Dash: Twilight...hey...g-get up! Stop messing around!
...
(Fluttershy and Rarity both look progressively more horrified as their friend continues to not stir in the slightest)
Rainbow Dash: (Tears in eyes as she starts struggling ) Twilight?! Wake up! TWILIGHT!!!
Starlight Glimmer: Somewhat disappointing for an immortal god princess. (Roughly wrenches the staff out of Twilight's skull, causing her blood to start pooling on the stone floor even more copiously. As she raises it into the air, Twilight's cutie mark lifts off of her flank, and her corpse's coat takes on a much more muted color as the empty space is replaced by an equality sign) You four should feel fortunate. Your ascensions shall be the first to be anointed by ROYAL BLOOD!

------{TO BE CONTINUED}------
Somewhat Tarnished S5E1
Welcome to Somewhat Tarnished, the new deviation form of my episode blogs, because Deviantart is more accepting of script style stories than is Fimfiction and they eventually got so elaborate I might as well post them. Consider these bits to be proto-Ruined Forever episodes, a sketch before the lines and colors are added in because it will be a while, if ever, before Ruined Forever catches up with the main series and I still want to write these about the newer episodes. As with Ruined Forever, I'll be saving episode specific commentary until the end of the second part, so seeya then.
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Playing Diablo 3 season 5 on Twitch, so click the link below if you would be interested in hanging out while I blast some demons.

www.twitch.tv/broadside17

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:iconmrbastoff:
MrBastoff Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015
Happy birthday, little boy!youtu.be/fqOgGpgRX6c
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:iconlol3evee:
LOL3evee Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015
Happy birthday! :la:
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:iconladyleomon:
LadyLeomon Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
Hi Brony17! I loved the original Silent Ponyville and the sequels, I'm loving Silent Ponyville Reunion even more now! Just checking are you still continuing it in the future? I'm dying from giddiness imagining Lance when he finds out Posey made Fluttershy do what she did! I'm imagining the Marie/Maria from Silent Hill 2, they looked so similar but we're total opposites ... So which one is Lance with?

Just knowing you'll continue it one day is enough to get me through the days until the next chapter. Amazing work ^_^
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:iconbrony17:
Brony17 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2015
Rest assured I do intend to finish it, and am glad you enjoyed reading it!

And I'm not telling anyone plot details, because what fun would that be? ;)
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:iconladyleomon:
LadyLeomon Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
I'm so glad it is still in progress thank you ^_^

i'm just guessing at what could happen, he keeps reliving memories so if he relives that last day ... Oh I'm gonna love it!

Thanks for your time and thanks again for writing an awesome story with creepy/cool monsters, I especially love the Monarch

Laters ^_^

P.S May I make a small request? I know multiple endings are commonplace with SP fanfics, may I ask you do an ending like Silent Hill 2's ending with the Dog? I laughed till my face hurt seeing Harry having a nervous breakdown over knowing the dang dog did it all! If not thanks for listening :)
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:iconnullsplice:
NullSplice Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015  Professional General Artist
+fav Thanks
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:iconxeno-the-hedgehog:
Xeno-the-Hedgehog Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It would seem that you haven't posted anything in several months.  Are you alright?
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:iconbrony17:
Brony17 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
I'm still here, and I'm planning for October to be a busy month here.
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:icongodzillabadger:
godzillabadger Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanx for the fave! :)
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:iconcheshiretwilight:
CheshireTwilight Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the :+fav: :iconthumbsupplz:
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