Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
About Deviant Remember...Male/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 12 Years
Needs Core Membership
Statistics 411 Deviations 13,308 Comments 17,716 Pageviews
×

Newest Deviations

Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 8 of 8
Epilogue
The dull familiar aches greeted the stallion as his dreams left him, becoming more acute as he awakened. He always looked forward to sleep, for it was the one respite where he didn’t hurt and the only place that he could still fly.
Cloud Blazer opened his eyes, his gaze happening to fall toward the window. Darkness covered the land, but for the pale light from the sliver of the moon that heralded the coming day. It provided just enough silver light for the stallion to be able to see. He gently shifted his weight, turning to face the mare that lay next to him.
Pixy slept soundly, her face uncovered by bandages or the mirrored glasses she had taken to wearing. Scars from the injury that blinded her had left a rough texture on her eyelids and the surrounding area on her face. It marred what would typically be considered any semblance of beauty, but the stallion found his mate attractive nonetheless.
It had been nearly a year since he and Pixy had decided to get married, mor
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 2 2
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 7 of 8
Epilogue
Pixyglitter felt warmth on her face as the sunlight streamed through the open window. Considering how poorly she’d slept, it was nice to have not been awakened early for once. She listened to her surroundings for a moment to assess what was likely to be found once she abandoned the bed.
It was mostly quiet, but she could hear somepony moving about downstairs. The scent of freshly baked biscuits lingered in the air along with black pepper and flour gravy. Pixyglitter wrinkled her nose at it, as it was far too early in the morning for her to desire food.
The pegasus stretched before throwing off the covers and standing on the coarse carpet that covered the creaky wooden floor. She unfurled her wings slowly, taking care not to hit anything as she spread them against the soreness from her long flight the previous day.
That taken care of, she quickly found her cane, the saddle bags she had prepared, and her mirrored sunglasses. They were far more comfortable than the bandages
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 2 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 6 of 8
Epilogue
Birds sang cheerful melodies as sunlight danced through the trees. The stallion awoke with a satisfying stretch. Turning to his right, LD grinned at the stallion that had huddled beside him for warmth in the night. Unceremoniously, LD threw a hoof out and struck his twin to wake him. Seven grunted at the assault and returned a single blow in kind.
LD took the hit to his side and laughed, “You hit like a mare.”
“What time is it?” the identical twin asked.
“Daytime, the sun is up.”
Seven grunted and spoke more deliberately, “What time is it?”
“Do I look like I have a clock?”
The other stallion sighed, finally opening his eyes. LD stood and stretched his wings. Digging in his saddle bags, he found his toothbrush and a bottle of water and set about to freshen himself even before he felt nature's call.
They had stayed the night in a wooded area where the foliage was a little thinner than the surrounding area. LD returned t
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 3 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 5 of 8
Epilogue
Smoke from a thousand burning carcasses filled the blood-red sky, flooding the nostrils and stinging the eyes of The Hero of Justice as the warrior and his companions strode atop the hill.
“Watch out!” The Shield-Maiden cried, leaping into a defensive posture.
She expertly positioned her aegis to deflect the arrows and bolts of magic. Dozens of slimy demons with limbs beyond number clambered up the other side of the hill, surrounded by their army of the undead.
“Stand ready!” The Hero of Justice roared as he brandished his halberd. “We shall strike them all down!”
“We are with you!” The Divine Thaumaturge shouted, lifting his oaken staff.
The Shield-Maiden let out a battle-cry as she raised her blade against the oncoming foe. They rushed to meet each other without hesitation. The halberd came down like an avalanche, slicing through grotesque limbs and separating them from the putrid forms.
The demons closed in with their minions,
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 4 of 8
Epilogue
The sun crested the horizon, sending its cheerful rays scattering across the land and through the window, striking the slumbering mare across her eyes. She inhaled deeply and stretched, energy beginning to work its way through her body.
Though the bed was perfectly comfortable, Lavender Pompon pushed the sheets back and set her hooves against the wooden floor. She shuffled into the bathroom and prepared herself to face the day.
The house seemed oddly quiet.
Upon completion of the necessary tasks, she made her way to the kitchen, where she discovered a note on the table beside a plate of muffins. The mare unfolded the message.
‘You looked so peaceful that we decided to let you sleep. I took the little ones to pick berries near Fluttershy’s cottage. Maybe we’ll be able to make a pie when you get off of work this afternoon. Ditzy’
Lavender Pompon smiled. Raising foals on her own had never been her first choice, but having a room mate that was happy to help
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 3 of 8
Epilogue
Consciousness, though confused, came instantly with the ringing of the alarm bell. Fumbling through his blankets, the stallion managed to swat the top of his clock with a hoof and successfully silence the racket on his second attempt. The unicorn took a deep breath and stretched, desiring to linger on his mattress a bit longer.
Lighthoof threw off the covers and rolled to the edge of his bed, planting his hooves on the floor. He grunted to himself and then stood on three legs. Following his normal morning routine, he quickly did a few sets of push ups and sit ups before ambling through his dark apartment and into the bathroom.
The light was blinding in the darkness of morning, but his eyes adjusted and he soon saw his reflection in the mirror. He grunted at his appearance, but the unicorn worked his magic to make himself presentable. He looked at the scarred stump where his right font leg had been and gave a sigh at the ever-present pain in the phantom limb.
The talisman aroun
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 4
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 2 of 8
Epilogue
The silence of night was interrupted by the deep inhalation of the sole occupant of the domicile. The mare stretched and let out a moan as she became fully awake. Her alarm hadn’t yet sounded, but she prepared herself to silence it.
Like a springing trap, Java Chip reached out and disabled her alarm clock the moment it cried out. She grinned to herself and climbed out of bed. After brushing her teeth and making herself presentable, she looked to the mirror to cast a final approving glance at her light brown curly mane.
She walked down the stairs and into her coffee shop, turning on the lights and the machines before unlocking the front door. She pulled a clean apron from the shelf and donned it. Her equipment hadn’t even come to heat before the doorbell rang, signaling that somepony had entered.
“Good morning, and welcome to Java’s!” she called out with professional cheer.
“Good morning miss Java Chip!” an overly-eager colt greeted her
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 1 of 8
Epilogue
The room was dark in the early morning hours as the changeling’s eyes opened. His instinct was to continue sleeping, as he had no love for being up before the sun. However, the grogginess quickly faded and his mind sharpened as he realized that this chance awakening would provide a singular opportunity which he may never again receive.
Slowly, cautiously, Ash Eater slithered out of his bed. He gently took his weight from the mattress to avert the creaking of the springs. It seemed to take minutes to go from laying to standing, but he completed the task without making so much as the slightest sound.
His eyes were accustomed to the low light, a gift of his species. Stealthily, he padded on three legs in search of an appropriate weapon. The kitchen seemed the most likely place to find something that would be both available and effective to the task at hoof.
He had dreamed of this moment a hundred times over, but chance had never afforded him the right moment to pull it off
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 9 of 9
Resolutions
Scootaloo was alone in the throng making small talk with guests and was beginning to realize how stifling it was to be in such a crowded room of strangers. It was at that time when she noticed Princess Twilight Sparkle sneaking out into the garden. The pegasus worked her way through the sea of ponies, with only a moderate amount of hoof-shaking and well-wishing before she found herself in the peace of the outdoors.
The purple alicorn ambled evenly away past dead trees that stood as a reminder of what had been. The garden once had the distinction of being the most beautiful place in the city. The timberwolves had destroyed it.
Ever since the ponies had retaken Canterlot, cleanup efforts had been underway. By spring it would no doubt be a beautiful place again. Flowers would be blooming, grass would be reseeded, but the trees would take years to replace.
There was a crisp bite to the gentle breeze that tickled the mare’s mane and made her shiver. Scootaloo pursued the a
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 8 of 9
Resolutions
Scootaloo felt honored by all of the pomp and circumstance, if not a little embarrassed by the attention. The horrific nightmare through which she’d fought seemed distant, almost like a dream. Presently, she began to feel sad. The tribute for those who had been killed in battle was an upsettingly lengthy affair. Most of the names, listed with their deeds, were unfamiliar to the mare. She instead focused her thoughts on those she had known.
There was her first squad when she was still a cadet: Thunder Boomer, Sky Burst, Flame Out, Treble Cleft, Rain Dancer, and Cherry Blossom. The group she went with into the Everfree Forest: Regal Masquerade, Nimba, Nitro, and Lightning Dasher had died more than anypony else. Ponies she’d met along the way: Brax, Featherplume, Digger, Swiftlight whose body they never recovered, Mane Crusher for whom she held little sorrow, Radiant Pyre about whom she still felt immeasurable guilt.
There was her squad that she had trained: Jewel,
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 0 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 7 of 9
Resolutions
Duster fidgeted as his mother straightened the collar on his dress uniform. Two weeks had passed since the tentative cease-fire had begun. It was no secret that hunger was the driving factor. Even still, rumors and the hope of peace were on everypony’s ears. It was widely assumed that the changelings had expected a much faster victory against Equestria. The resistance the ponies had offered had crushed any hopes of a swift end by fighting it out.
"Hold still," Twinklestar scolded her son.
The dress she wore was beautiful. It wasn’t made from any special fabrics, but the details of the design were magnificent. One of Major Scootaloo’s friends had made it for the occasion.
"Sorry," Duster croaked.
His throat was still sore from the would that Ash Eater had inflicted. The doctors told him that his voice would likely remain rougher sounding as a result. The mare stood back and admired her son.
"You look so handsome," she said sweetly.
It was terribly embarrass
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 0 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 6 of 9
Resolutions
Scootaloo was beginning to believe that she had been banished to some dark corner of Tartarus and that this great meeting to talk of peace was simply a single moment of failure, doomed to repeat itself for all eternity. She could only wonder what hideous sin she might have committed to have herself so damned.
They would always begin somewhat cordially, but Chrysalis would inevitably steer the conversation toward some point to which she could strongly object and then demand to return to her ‘cage’. If Scootaloo remembered correctly from the last several meetings, the deflection should be coming any moment.
“How many times have we been through this?” Chrysalis sneered. “You want a cease fire, that’s all. I get it. Listen and tell me if I stutter. Release me, and then we can talk terms.”
A wry grin formed on Scootaloo’s face… the queen was right on schedule.
Celestia stared back, a bit harder than usual and asked, “Ho
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 5 of 9
Resolutions
Scootaloo felt her eyelids getting heavy. Their second meeting with Queen Chrysalis had gone much longer than the first, though as little progress had come of it. The third meeting had seen them talking in circles for nearly an hour, and an equal amount of headway seemed likely.
“We’ve been over this a dozen times,” Chrysalis spoke at a soft growl, “We will never be your servants.”
Celestia seemed weary, but she tried once more, “Please don’t misunderstand, we are not  calling these meetings to discuss surrender.”
The changeling queen seemed surprised by the statement, her first noteworthy reaction to date. Chrysalis didn’t reply. She instead waited for Celestia to continue. The princess seemed somewhat energized by the changeling queen’s reaction.
“There is currently far too much bad blood, and far too many sacrifices have been made by both of our peoples. For the moment, the only thing I wanted to sugg
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 0 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 4 of 9
Resolutions
Duster stared at the stone sculpted fountain in the Ponyville square. No water ran from it, which seemed to be by designed. The only noticeable damage to the statue of a pony on the pedestal in the center was a broken ear. It now lay in the drained basin below. Duster mused that it was not that unlike his own shortened ear, though, his had been a victim of friendly-fire.
The stallion admired the craftsmanship. He allowed his mind to become lost in thought as he took in each curve, each tool mark that would be invisible to the untrained eye. The simple beauty of the work resonated in his soul. In truth, his own skills were not honed just yet, but he still felt the calling of his cutie mark.
His mother was having new shoes made for the little ones, and he’d opted to stay here and wait for them. Rediscovering true boredom was a glorious thing for Duster. He had forgotten the joy of simply becoming lost in a moment.
His thoughts quickly turned to more recent events. The t
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 0 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 3 of 9
Resolutions
Scootaloo felt out of place. She sat in an elegant chair in one of the smaller ballrooms of the Canterlot castle that had been converted into the appropriate setting for a meeting. There was a ring of tables that effectively formed a modestly-sized circle in the center of the room. Rainbow Dash sat to her left, closer to the princesses. To her right were Flittergear and Pacer.
Rainbow Dash had given him strict instructions that he was not so much as to say a single word if he didn’t want to be busted down to private and cleaning latrines. Scootaloo couldn’t help but grin at the shade of pale his face had turned during the warning. It was a thing of beauty.
There were a few others seated around the ring, including the commanders of the zebra and griffin forces with one aide each, but it was a relatively small group, not counting counting a score of EUP guards that stood around the perimeter of the room.
The large and ornate doors opened. Prince Shining Armor ente
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0
Literature
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader 41, Part 2 of 9
Resolutions
Cloud Blazer winced at every bump that jostled the train as it sped across the countryside, bound for Ponyville. Much to his dismay, though in line with his expectations, the stallion had been of no use to the princesses now that they were free.
They had him stay in the castle and share meals with them while they recovered their strength. It was far less glamorous than he might have expected. He’d known Princess Twilight Sparkle in passing for years, but the others had still held some regal mystery for him.
That expectation was somewhat disillusioned now that he had seen them with their hair down. There was little by way of ceremony, pomp or circumstance. Still, they were gracious and welcoming, and more than once he was asked to tell his story.
The princesses all seemed genuinely interested in the dreams from the stallion’s perspective, as Luna’s experience on the other side had been far different. The princess of the night had difficulty in putting into
:iconJatheus:Jatheus
:iconjatheus:Jatheus 1 0

Favourites

Twilights Magic by Muffinkarton Twilights Magic :iconmuffinkarton:Muffinkarton 38 2 Happy Farmer (Color sketch) by Yakovlev-vad Happy Farmer (Color sketch) :iconyakovlev-vad:Yakovlev-vad 1,666 100 Mares in Black by AndoAnimalia Mares in Black :iconandoanimalia:AndoAnimalia 67 25 Stellar Watcher by blueshywolf124 Stellar Watcher :iconblueshywolf124:blueshywolf124 49 6 Twilerina by NCMares Twilerina :iconncmares:NCMares 967 51 Taking A Dip by VanillaGhosties Taking A Dip :iconvanillaghosties:VanillaGhosties 517 57 Night Glider (Patreon reward) by Yakovlev-vad Night Glider (Patreon reward) :iconyakovlev-vad:Yakovlev-vad 1,002 57 I wish we could fly away with them... by DVixie I wish we could fly away with them... :icondvixie:DVixie 1,890 68 First Date [C] by Scarlet-Spectrum First Date [C] :iconscarlet-spectrum:Scarlet-Spectrum 291 11 Royal cake by MagnaLuna Royal cake :iconmagnaluna:MagnaLuna 1,803 51 Magic paws- revised by MagnaLuna Magic paws- revised :iconmagnaluna:MagnaLuna 1,979 78 Commission - Butter Cream and Gallant Sentinel by FidzFox Commission - Butter Cream and Gallant Sentinel :iconfidzfox:FidzFox 186 29 Forsaken by DiscordTheGE Forsaken :icondiscordthege:DiscordTheGE 640 39 Forgotten sorcery by DiscordTheGE Forgotten sorcery :icondiscordthege:DiscordTheGE 412 37 The Love Bugs by Pony-Berserker The Love Bugs :iconpony-berserker:Pony-Berserker 367 118 Fog Alley by Leonid Afremov by Leonidafremov Fog Alley by Leonid Afremov :iconleonidafremov:Leonidafremov 1,638 65

Activity


Epilogue


The dull familiar aches greeted the stallion as his dreams left him, becoming more acute as he awakened. He always looked forward to sleep, for it was the one respite where he didn’t hurt and the only place that he could still fly.

Cloud Blazer opened his eyes, his gaze happening to fall toward the window. Darkness covered the land, but for the pale light from the sliver of the moon that heralded the coming day. It provided just enough silver light for the stallion to be able to see. He gently shifted his weight, turning to face the mare that lay next to him.

Pixy slept soundly, her face uncovered by bandages or the mirrored glasses she had taken to wearing. Scars from the injury that blinded her had left a rough texture on her eyelids and the surrounding area on her face. It marred what would typically be considered any semblance of beauty, but the stallion found his mate attractive nonetheless.

It had been nearly a year since he and Pixy had decided to get married, more out of a deep friendship than a romantic bond. The time they spent together every day for so long made it seem the logical step to take. Certainly, their unique situation made it difficult for either of them to even consider allowing a romance that would drag them away from each other. It also delighted a dark corner of Cloud Blazer’s soul for the way it had infuriated Pixy’s father.

His mind wandered across their adventures. The inseparable pair had forged their bond in the midst of a mighty upheaval. Since then, they had helped rebuild New Cloudsdale, where they had lived since. As they were able, they traveled to many cities across Equestria. They had been at Baltimare’s dedication when the rebuilding had begun, as well as the Canterlot gardens when they bloomed for the first time after the war.

Cloud Blazer’s nose began itching, which drew him from his reverie as he scrunched his muzzle before alleviating the situation. The mare still slept soundly, but he had no more time to stay. Cautiously working his way out from under the covers, the stallion slunk out of bed, careful to not make a sudden move that would disturb the slumbering pegasus.

The dull aches from old injuries reminded him to step lightly, but he no longer had trouble moving about freely. Quietly accomplishing his morning grooming rituals, he left the bedroom, silently shutting the door and creeping down to the lower level of the house.

The light in the kitchen caught the stallion’s attention, and he paused for a moment, noticing Duster staring in his direction. The other stallion looked to be half-asleep, so Cloud Blazer decided to not say anything, waving only. The gesture was not returned; he continued outside.

The morning air was crisp and cool. Orange light on the horizon was following the crescent of the moon to herald the breaking of day. Most mornings, Pixy would fly with him, but having just flown all the way to Ponyville the day before, he knew she wanted to sleep in and had decided to settle for a morning walk instead.

Without a real destination, the stallion set forth into the orchard, walking at a brisk pace. He thought back on the events that had led him here, reflecting on his own choices and the way random chance intervened for good and ill.

He still longed to fly again, under his own power. He knew that this would never happen and did his best to accept this. Even so, he wasn’t sure he’d have ever even met Pixy if he had not lost his wings. The fall that crippled him had completely altered any possible outcome his life might have taken.

If he had not fallen into Ghastly Gorge that day, perhaps he’d have been by Sparklefly’s side through the siege. Maybe he’d have been in a position to help them during Mane Crusher’s rebellion. Possibly he could have been valuable to the Taskforce and the hunt for Queen Chrysalis. If he made it through all of that, would he have been in the battle to the south? Could he have survived that nightmare?

And what of the princesses? Might they have found somepony else to contact that would have been able to gather Twilight Sparkle’s friends and unlock the pocket dimension?

These thoughts rattled around in Cloud Blazer’s mind as he welcomed the golden light of dawn as it cascaded through the trees and slipped over the rolling hills of Sweet Apple Acres. Birds sang cheerful melodies as the stallion found himself leaving the orchard and heading into town, the sun climbing higher all the time.

Cloud Blazer was glad that there was not an option to go back. He might be tempted to restore himself, but there would be no telling what consequences could have emerged from such a scenario. Losing Pixy was not acceptable. All things considered, he was pleased with his own accounting of himself, mostly.

He was not proud of the one friendship that he had helped to destroy in the middle of everything that had happened. Of the losses the stallion had suffered, such a needless one somehow seemed more tragic than most. Nothing had been gained by the falling out. It had kept him isolated from his other friends and set him on course for New Cloudsdale.

Not that all of his experiences building a new weather factory had been bad. The work itself had been rewarding. However, two ponies living on the salary of one had made any luxury a rare thing. Sure, they’d had disagreements and the occasional fight, but he couldn’t help but smile at how understanding Pixy had been through it all.

Pixyglitter… Cloud Blazer felt a shiver run up his spine as he suddenly needed to know the time. No clocks were available, and so looking at the position of the sun would have to do. By guesswork, he approximated the time to be around ten in the morning. He was probably late.

Turning about and getting his bearings, the stallion made his course straight for Sugar Cube Corner. It happened that he was in the general area, so it was a short canter to arrive. The bell rang as he entered. Pixy sat on a stool near the counter and turned as the door shut.

He stood silently a moment before she sniffed the air.

“Hey Brownie,” she said with a  grin.

The stallion couldn’t help but gasp. Mrs. cake entered the room as he composed himself and closed the distance.

“How did you know?” his curiosity had the better of him.

“You didn’t shower after your morning walk. I could smell you.”

His jaw dropped for a moment.

“You silly dear,” Mrs. Cake interjected, “now I heard you say, ‘Hey Brownie,’ to the last three patrons that came by.”

Pixy’s face flushed, and Cloud Blazer erupted into laughter. In the last three years, she’d always had a knack for knowing when he arrived. It had never occurred to him that she might have often been just greeting him by name when anypony approached. Pixy had turned back toward Mrs. Cake with a raised eyebrow. The elder mare grinned back unapologetically.

Pixy turned back just as the stallion recovered from his fit of giggling. She had gained an enigmatic smile that made it seem as though she had a secret.

“What is it?” he asked.

She faced him, saying nothing for a long moment as the smile faded somewhat.

“Tell me!” he insisted.

“So, I didn’t get the job.”

He felt saddened by the statement, and made to move closer, but she held a hoof up, stopping him in his tracks.

“They did offer me an internship. He liked my typing speed and said that a hoof in the door was the best he could do right now. He also strongly implied that there will be a position opening up at some point, but he doesn’t know when just yet.”

He couldn’t help the feeling that there was more, and he voiced as much, “But…”

She sighed, “But, it is an unpaid position.”

Cloud Blazer’s feelings were mixed, especially at the notion of being unpaid for her work.

“Which, if you help out selling apples like you’d said,” she quickly added “maybe we can get by until you can find something better, or if this newspaper job does work out…”

The stallion felt himself smile. He didn’t feel like it was the appropriate place to have an in-depth discussion, but he definitely wanted to be supportive. Pixy needed this job. He could tell. It wasn’t that she wanted to leave him behind, but being completely dependent on him didn’t sit well with her. It never had.

“Well, I think we definitely should talk about all the details…”

Pixy’s brow furrowed in anticipation.

“But I say we go for it.”

The mare grinned.

“I mean, we’ve made it this far on a single salary, what’s a bit longer?”

She leapt from the stool, grabbing the stallion around his neck in a hug. He pulled her into his embrace, feeling the warmth spread through his body as she kissed him on the cheek.

“Well, aren’t you two just the cutest couple?” Mrs. Cake practically squealed with delight.

Pixy grimaced at the remark as the young mates separated. She was careful to not let the elder mare see her expression.

“I’m afraid we have to be going,” Cloud Blazer addressed her.

“Stop by anytime!”

The stallion led the way, and the young mare followed him. They silently ambled through town, leisurely walking toward their destination. As they continued, side by side, Pixy moved closer, bumping Cloud Blazer with her shoulder to push him off balance. He felt himself grin as he returned the assault. She giggled, and the pair continued in silence.

It wasn’t long before they had arrived at Java’s. He and Pixy had not come to the last two of these gatherings, but he felt it was long past time that they did. He took a breath and worked the latch, gently pressing against the entryway. As the door swung open, the rich scent of coffee grounds flooded his olfactory senses, and many familiar faces came into view.

In the corner to the right, sat a lone dark figure who noticed the new arrivals. Cloud Blazer couldn’t help but frown out of instinct. He’d never become quite accustomed to the changelings being around so commonly. Ash Eater looked away timidly, not holding the gaze.

On the other side, were several tables that had been pushed together at which a group was seated. There were LD and his twin, Seven. Cloud Blazer and Pixy had been to visit them once during their many travels, but the things they’d heard more recently about them had been unsettling. It was nice to see smiles on their faces.

Lighthoof was beside them. He seemed happier than the last time Cloud Blazer had visited. Also in attendance were Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and even Princess Twilight Sparkle with her friends. It seemed that all of these in attendance had gained a new appreciation for each other, and the friendships had grown only stronger over the years.

Pixy nudged Cloud Blazer from behind. He looked back at her, meeting the concerned look on her face. He turned to her, playfully nuzzling her neck. She pushed him away in response, rejecting the affection. Clearly, she wanted him to continue forward.

He turned again to the group inside, and that’s when he spotted the other one, Scootaloo. Something in the air tickled the stallion’s nose and he sneezed, still standing in the doorway. The talking died down, and all eyes were on him for a moment. Scootaloo rose from her seat, looking a bit uncertain.

Pixy whispered, “You’ve got this.”

Cloud Blazer met her gaze, and Scootaloo’s lavender eyes were filled equally with hope and fear. Even after all the time that had passed, he still bore deep scars from the way she had treated him, perhaps deeper than those that snaked their way across his body.

The stallion took another deep breath, and gave her a disarming smile. As he did, the fear began to evaporate from her expression. Cloud Blazer entered the coffee house, flanked by Pixy. He was going to talk to Scootaloo. She may have treated him badly, but that didn’t excuse his behavior, and it was no reason to live in the past. Those days were long over. It was time to rebuild.

Scootaloo hesitantly stepped forward, and Cloud Blazer met her in the middle of the coffee house. The conversation they were about to have was long overdue…

...

The End
Epilogue


Pixyglitter felt warmth on her face as the sunlight streamed through the open window. Considering how poorly she’d slept, it was nice to have not been awakened early for once. She listened to her surroundings for a moment to assess what was likely to be found once she abandoned the bed.

It was mostly quiet, but she could hear somepony moving about downstairs. The scent of freshly baked biscuits lingered in the air along with black pepper and flour gravy. Pixyglitter wrinkled her nose at it, as it was far too early in the morning for her to desire food.

The pegasus stretched before throwing off the covers and standing on the coarse carpet that covered the creaky wooden floor. She unfurled her wings slowly, taking care not to hit anything as she spread them against the soreness from her long flight the previous day.

That taken care of, she quickly found her cane, the saddle bags she had prepared, and her mirrored sunglasses. They were far more comfortable than the bandages she had worn for so long when her wounds were healing, but it was no surprise that her vision had never returned.

She made for the stairs, feeling her way with her trusted cane after she had prepared for the day. As she reached the final step on her way downward, a sweet and motherly voice greeted her.

“Good morning, I hope you slept well,” Twinklestar spoke.

Pixyglitter made a half-smile, “Well enough. I got used to being up on soft clouds, so the change in surroundings kept me up a little. Thank you again for having us.”

“Any time,” her host replied graciously. “Would you like some breakfast? Cloud Blazer had insisted we not wake you, but there are biscuits and gravy left. I think they’re still warm.”

Pixyglitter felt her stomach tighten a little at the suggestion, “No, thank you. I don’t do so well eating early in the morning.”

“Oh? You’re not experiencing nausea are you?” the tone in Twinklestar’s voice sounded a bit mischievous.

Pixyglitter’s head straightened and her ears perked up as she worked through what was being insinuated. The tone is what got to her more than the question itself. Sickness… in the morning… morning sickness… The pegasus felt her face flush at the implication.

“Hah, not likely.”

“Just unlikely?” the impish mare prodded.

Pixyglitter snorted, caught somewhere between amused, embarrassed, and annoyed, “How about, not possible.”

Twinklestar let out a giggle, “I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. You wouldn’t believe how valuable gossip is in Ponyville.”

“I can imagine,” Pixyglitter said as she raised an eyebrow. Hoping to change the subject, she asked, “What time is it?”

“Fifteen past eight. I had instructions to wake you by eight-thirty.”

“Good thinking. I know it’s a little early, but I’m going to start heading that way. I guess, if you wouldn’t mind, may I take a biscuit for the road?”

“Of course.”

Once she was additionally laden, the mare stepped out of the house and followed the well-worn path. She could hear birds singing and workers out doing chores in the fields as she passed by. The path wound through the orchard and eventually joined the much wider cart-worn road that led into town.

The air was fresh and clean, and she sucked in a large draft of it, filling her lungs with the earthy sweetness of it. The low chorus of ponies going about their morning became the dominant sound as the blind mare approached the quaint little town proper. Though she paid attention with her remaining senses, finding places to which she’d never been proved difficult. She knew it would pass in time. In New Cloudsdale, she’d been able to find her way to work, the grocery story, and back home without so much as a hint from anypony.

She’d never spent nearly enough time in Ponyville to be quite that independent… yet. As such, she simply asked for directions as soon as she happened by somepony. This was the true reason that she had left earlier than might have seemed necessary.

It wasn’t long before she was pointed in the right direction, and it seemed far too quickly thereafter that she was standing in front of her destination. The mare took a deep breath as anticipation of the moment took hold.

‘It’s going to be okay,’ she thought to herself. ‘You’ve got this. Be confident, put your best hoof forward and let the chips fall where they may. Just keep breathing, one hoof in front of the other.’

She took the final steps slowly, opening the door and entering. Her ears were greeted with the repetitive sound of machines cycling and voices calling to each other in raised levels, but not distressed in any way. She walked forward a few more steps until she found a desk.

“Welcome to The Ponyville Express, can I help you?” a young-sounding mare asked.

“I’m here to see Blue-Penciler. I have an appointment.”

“Let’s see,” the receptionist flipped through some cards on her desk. “Ah, you must be Pix?

“Yes,” Pixyglitter replied.

“If you’ll take a seat, I’ll let him know that you’re here.”

“Thank you,” the pegasus replied as she turned to locate the chairs.

The plush leather sofa was well-worn but quite comfortable. Pixyglitter’s heart was beating with nervous rapidity for the coming meeting. She kept her breathing slow and deliberate in an effort to calm down. Her efforts were met with limited success.

It seemed an eternity before she heard hoof-steps approaching.

“Miss… Pix?” a stallion’s tenor voice greeted her.

“Yes, sir,” the mare said as she rose from her seat.

“Follow me, please.”

It was not difficult to keep up with the stallion. Pixyglitter gathered from the tone in his voice that he was masking surprise, most likely at her blindness. A few twists and turns through the office and she found herself in a quieter room that smelled of polished wood and leather. The air felt cool as he shut the door, further blocking out the noise of the printing press.

The stallion’s chair creaked as he sat down. He sat silently for a long moment, shuffling papers until he grew still, his breath making a slight wheezing as he exhaled.

“Your application certainly looks good,” the stallion broke the silence. “So, why The Ponyville Express?”

Pixyglitter took a breath, “I am moving to Ponyville, and given my previous experience in advertising, writing copy for a newspaper seemed like it would be a good fit for me.”

“Now, it says here that you type at fifty words per minute?”

“At my fastest, yes.”

“Would you mind demonstrating?”

“Not at all,” Pixyglitter feigned a smile.

Had she been more truthful, she’d have mentioned that it had been several years since she’d used a typewriter, and the speed she had listed was when she had use of her eyes. Within moments, he had prepared the typewriter and placed it in front of her by the distinctive sound of levitation magic.

“What would you like me to type?” the mare buried her nervousness.

“I’ll dictate,” came an even answer.

Blue-Penciler began speaking, articulating a little more carefully than he had in normal conversation. He also was careful to pause as needed for her to keep up.

Pixyglitter gave everything she had to fly across the keys, always finding the home keys as quickly as possible so she didn’t get off-center. As it turned out, her time learning to fly by voice command had given a secondary benefit here, as typing what she heard came almost naturally.

“That’s enough,” the editor finally put a stop to the exercise.

He pulled the paper from the device and hummed to himself as he walked around his desk and sat again in his chair. Pixyglitter remained silent and awaited the verdict.

“Well, not quite fifty words per minute, but over forty, and that’s not bad. Also, very few mistakes.”

Pixyglitter felt herself grin, but tried to squash the expression.

“So, you can take dictation well enough, and clearly you know your way around a typewriter. Can you hunt down stories?”

“You bet. Back in New Cloudsdale, where I’m moving from, I could find my way around town by myself. I’ll be able to do the same here in a matter of weeks.”

“The only thing, and it’s not you, I’m not sure we need another reporter right now.”

Pixyglitter’s heart dropped.

“Now, don’t get down about it,” the stallion tried to soothe her. “We’ve just got a lot of staff that’s been here and knows the ropes. They keep everything pretty well covered.”

The mare sighed, her spirit sinking lower.

“Pix…” Blue-Penciler seemed suddenly distracted. “You wouldn’t be Pixyglitter, would you? The mare that helped save the princesses during the war?”

The pegasus felt her face flush. She certainly hadn’t intended to bring that up. She didn’t want to get a job based on recognition from princesses. She wanted to earn it based on what she had to offer. However, lying to an interviewer would all but guarantee not getting a job.

“Yes,” she said simply.

“Oh, wow! I have heard your story many times. You know we did a special on you a few years ago?”

She was well aware. Cloud Blazer had read it to her many times.

She laughed nervously and attempted to feign graciousness, “I remember. Thank you so much for that.”

“There has got to be something I can do for you,” the stallion said as he shuffled more papers on his desk.

Pixyglitter’s emotions were confused. She wanted a job, but at the same time, she was a little disappointed that it was an unrelated accomplishment that seemed to merit her the opportunity. It felt like cheating.

“I’ll tell you what I can do,” the stallion said. “I can take on an intern. I mean, you’ve never done news reporting work, right?”

“That is correct,” she said evenly.

“Well, how about we take you on and teach you the ropes, three days a week for… say, a six-month term? After that we can see how it goes.”

Despite her disappointment, she felt a little hopeful at the offer.

“An internship… how much does it pay?”

“I’m afraid there is no salary attached to it. You are paid in knowledge, and possibly something equally important.”

She felt skeptical, but decided to hear him out, “What would that be?”

“A hoof in the door,” she almost felt like he had smiled. “As I said, most of our reporters have been here for a long time. Just between us… I couldn’t say for certain, but there’s always a chance that one of them will be retiring at any given time.”

Blue-Penciler’s tone suggested that he knew something.

“Just a chance?” Pixyglitter asked.

The stallion cleared his throat, “Perhaps a strong chance.”

She knew well enough to not ask further on what he was implying. An unpaid position was not at all ideal, but it would, as he said, put her in a position to be hired as soon as they had an opening, and she’d be better trained at that time. Also, in spite of why he reconsidered, it made her feel more like she would be earning the position.

“I accept.”

“Great! When can you start?”

“I just got into town, so we’ll be looking for an apartment. Would next week be soon enough?”

“Perfect,” he replied, his voice sounding joyful. “Be in at six-o’clock, in the morning.”

Pixyglitter groaned inside as she smiled, “Thank you so much! I’ll be here.”

The stallion led her out of the office, and it was moments before the mare was in the fresh outside air. She let out a breath she’d been holding since the previous day. She had been more nervous about getting her own job in Ponyville than she had realized.

Excitement welled up inside the mare. It wasn’t exactly what she had hoped, but her hoof was in the door. She did it without any help from Cloud Blazer. She couldn’t wait to tell him. Not sure where the stallion in question might be, Pixyglitter took the biscuit she had packed and took a bite. Wearing a large grin, she began heading to Sugar Cube Corner to wait for the stallion. She felt far too excited to contain her joy.
The Last Cutie Mark Crusader Epilogue, Part 7 of 8
Final:  jatheus.deviantart.com/art/The…

Previous:  jatheus.deviantart.com/art/The…


I guess we're coming down to it... and I have just decided that this will be my last author's note on this story... since I want to leave you with the end of the story as the last thing.

To all of you who have come with me across nearly half-a-million words about dealing with loss... Thank you. It has always been a bright spot to my day to see comments and questions. I didn't expect that I'd make a few new friends along the way as well. :)

For the future, it is highly likely that there shall be more fictions coming from me... either related to this story or not. I have many ideas working right now, but I'm not sure just yet which one will take center stage first. Hopefully I'll see some of you then. :D


Beginning of this Chapter:  jatheus.deviantart.com/art/The…

The Beginning:  jatheus.deviantart.com/art/The…


Other creative endeavors which I have written or to which I've contributed...
The Forgotten:  jatheus.deviantart.com/journal…
Sweetie Belle's First Time:  jatheus.deviantart.com/art/Swe…
Rarity's Hearts and Hooves Daysaster:  jatheus.deviantart.com/art/Rar…
Screen It or Stream It?:  www.youtube.com/channel/UC51ir…
Loading...
Epilogue


Birds sang cheerful melodies as sunlight danced through the trees. The stallion awoke with a satisfying stretch. Turning to his right, LD grinned at the stallion that had huddled beside him for warmth in the night. Unceremoniously, LD threw a hoof out and struck his twin to wake him. Seven grunted at the assault and returned a single blow in kind.

LD took the hit to his side and laughed, “You hit like a mare.”

“What time is it?” the identical twin asked.

“Daytime, the sun is up.”

Seven grunted and spoke more deliberately, “What time is it?”

“Do I look like I have a clock?”

The other stallion sighed, finally opening his eyes. LD stood and stretched his wings. Digging in his saddle bags, he found his toothbrush and a bottle of water and set about to freshen himself even before he felt nature's call.

They had stayed the night in a wooded area where the foliage was a little thinner than the surrounding area. LD returned to find Seven sitting up, but otherwise having not moved.

"I can't believe I let you talk me into walking to Ponyville instead of flying," Seven groused.

LD snorted, "Grow up, you baby. It's good for you to try something different now and then."

"Whatever. We'd have been there with time to spare yesterday. We could have slept on a nice soft mattress in a hotel instead of on hard packed dirt with tree roots digging into my back."

"Seriously? Are you going to whine all day?"

Seven shrugged, "I might not if I knew what time it was."

The pair chuckled at nothing in particular and were soon continuing their journey. LD had come to enjoy taking long walks on the ground at times, a character trait that Seven did not share, which was odd when considering their common ancestry.

The grasslands had given way to a soft forest the previous day. It was by no means impassable, but it did seem to slow them down. The terrain made for a beautiful hike, if not a laborious one. Still, the nature that surrounded the pair filled LD with delight, even if his twin did not find it as refreshing. LD had not forgotten the hours of music recitals that Seven had made him sit through the previous year.

As they continued forward, it wasn’t long before the scrubby foliage became much more manicured, and the trees seemed to, somewhat suddenly, be arranged in neat rows. LD started laughing when he realized where they were.

"What's funny?" Seven asked.

"Those are apple trees."

"So?"

"This is the orchard."

Seven looked left and right, seeming flummoxed, "This is Sweet Apple Acres?"

"It sure is," LD giggled again.

"You mean I could have slept in a real bed last night?" the stallion fumed.

LD shrugged, "Yeah, I guess so. Sorry about that."

Seven frowned and let out a sigh. For a moment, it looked as though he might reply, but he just shook his head and continued walking. LD felt a mischievous grin form on his muzzle as he wondered whether he should tell Seven that he'd known how close to Ponyville they’d been the previous night.

Deciding that the reaction would not be worth the fallout, the stallion kept his own council as they trudged through the apple trees. Half of them already seemed far more mature than should have been possible in the time that they had been growing, no doubt due to some clever potions to accelerate their growth.

LD smiled wistfully at the thought of Apple Bloom. He had yet to have any luck on that front, but that certainly would not stop him, or Seven, from trying again if either of them got the chance.

It wasn’t long before they spotted a lone farmhouse from atop a hill they had crested. The pair changed course. There wasn’t a barn nearby. LD concluded that it was Duster’s house.

Filthy from exposure to the elements overnight, LD wanted to get cleaned up before the meeting, which probably wouldn’t get started for a few hours. The pegasus knocked on the door. A light breeze tickled his mane, and the fresh scent of the orchard made him shiver. Seven sneezed.

The door opened, and a mare stood behind it.

“Oh, there are two of you!” Her face contorted in thought as she looked at the scarred stallion, “LB, right?”

“LD, and this is Seven.”

“That’s right! I’m sorry,” Twinklestar seemed to gently scold herself. “Come in.”

“Thank you ma’am.”

They entered the quaint little house, and LD spotted Duster sitting at the table. He turned to speak to him, but caught a look from Twinklestar. She seemed to have caution in her expression and motioned the pair to follow her. They walked away from the kitchen, into a craft-room filled with sewing materials.

Twinklestar spoke in a low voice, “My son is not well.”

“How do you mean?” LD asked, memories of his own troubles coming to mind.

“The war… it… he’s not been himself. He seemed as okay as anypony could be initially, but after the peace was declared and he went to study art… that’s when he really started to change. He failed out of his classes, and we went to pick him up to bring him back. We’ve been to doctors and psychiatrists, even the princesses with all their power… they couldn’t help him.”

Seven frowned.

“And now… Sometimes he just sits all day, wherever I leave him. He won’t even eat if I don’t make him.”

LD’s heart became heavy at the news. He remembered all too well what that was like. He also had not forgotten how difficult it had been to overcome. Some days, he still wasn’t certain that he would be okay. Seven had only recently gone through a similar difficulty. The distraught mare continued.

“I had hoped to get Scootaloo and her friends to try… maybe to make him part of their group and give him something to do, but she’s got that changeling to take care of… I just don’t know what to do for him.”

Seven remained quiet.

LD took a breath and spoke softly, “I’m not sure you can directly do anything more than you have.”

Twinklestar’s head lowered.

“But don’t think for one second that you’re not helping. Yeah?”

She looked back up, the faintest spark of hope barely alive in her eyes.

“We’re going to see Scootaloo and the others later. I’ll talk to her… maybe we can figure something out.”

“Thank you,” the mare seemed relieved. “Would you like to try to talk to him for a bit?”

“Sure, but I think it’d be better if it was just me. Seven, if you want to go ahead and get cleaned up…”

“Sure.”

“I’ll show you where the towels are.”

As the mare left the room, Seven turned to LD and whispered at him.

“I don’t know what you’re planning, but I am not babysitting Ash Eater.”

LD felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end at the mention of the name.

“I don’t consider either of us spending time alone with that changeling an option.”

Seven nodded and hurried after Twinklestar. There was no doubt in LD’s mind that his twin was remembering their time at the mirror pond when Ash Eater had beaten them and Sparklefly. Neither of them could understand how Scootaloo could have agreed to try to befriend that monster. He pushed the thoughts from his mind.

Now alone, LD slowly walked through the living room until he was within sight of Duster. The pegasus sat across the table and was staring in the general direction of the newcomer, but he didn’t seem aware of his presence.

LD strode up, loudly pulled out a chair and sat down in it. There was no reaction initially. The kitchen was mostly clean, a bit of messiness from the preparation of breakfast aside. A few dirty dishes were on the table, as well as a newspaper. It was open to the agriculture section and a headline stood out.

‘Apple Rationing: Daily Limit to Increase’

LD cleared his throat as he looked again across the table. Seemingly unnoticed, he finally decided to speak.

“Hey, Duster.”

The other pegasus blinked, and then refocused his eyes on the stallion who now sat across from him.

“LD?” his rough voice replied; it had apparently never completely recovered from the wound Ash Eater had inflicted.

“It’s been a while.”

“One year.”

LD was bothered by the hollow tone in Duster’s voice. Certainly nothing was wrong with his memory or ability to think in general. It had indeed been a year since they had last seen each other. LD hadn’t been back to Ponyville since Scootaloo’s last gathering. LD decided to stick with small talk and see how things progressed.

“How have you been?

“Okay.”

“Did you ever go back to art school?”

“No.”

“So, what have you been up to?”

Duster stared directly into LD’s eyes, but his reactions seemed slower than one might expect.

“Stuff.”

The short answers were annoying, but LD had little choice but to continue trying for the moment. He decided to attempt teasing.

“Okay… what about mares? Anypony in particular catch your eye? You know if you make a move on Apple Bloom without telling me, there’s going to be trouble.”

“Nopony.”

LD was a little frustrated, but he could only think of one more thing to try.

“Not that it would have mattered. You know I haven’t had any success at all with that farm-pony. Say, come to think of it, your younger sister is just about old enough to start thinking about stallions, isn’t she?”

Duster blinked, otherwise not responding.

“What was her name again?”

LD knew her name.

“Glitterdust.”

“That’s right! Glitterdust. Now that I think about it, she is kind of cute. Would you mind if I asked her out?”

Duster’s expression was still blank as he answered, “Okay.”

LD was uncertain how to continue. He didn’t want to intentionally attempt to anger Duster, but at the same time, he couldn’t think of anywhere else to lead the conversation unless that were his intent. Caution won out in the end, as the pegasus wanted to talk with Scootaloo before he went further. She'd had more recent contact and might have some insight.

The stallion stood and walked away, keeping an eye on Duster to gauge his reaction. There was none. He found Twinklestar standing in the living room, her expression filled with worry.

LD asked, “Is he always like that?”

“He has good days, sometimes,” the mare admitted, “this is as bad as I’ve seen him. He’s like this maybe once or twice a week.”

“I see,” the stallion nodded and thought for a moment. “I’m going to get with Scootaloo today and see if… maybe…”

Twinklestar forced a smile and nodded at LD, wiping a tear from her eye. The stallion was then shown to the restroom where he got cleaned up before he and Seven departed.

Ponyville was just as quaint as he’d remembered, though perhaps even more so. It was no longer teaming with solders and fortifications. There were some remnants of the struggle still visible, but it felt much more peaceful and quiet.

Seven broke the relative silence between the pair, “That was me almost a year ago.”

LD looked over at his twin who had deep lines of concern etched into his face.

“I can’t tell you how upsetting it is to see others still…” Seven shook his head. “If you hadn’t come home and found me, I don’t know what… I…”

“We’re related, what else could I do? But don’t worry. We’re going to help Duster.”

“Our vacation will be used up long before we have time to do much. You know that.”

LD shrugged, “I hate that job anyway. I’ll move here if I have to.”

Seven stopped, looking at LD with unbridled surprise on his face. Then he smiled.

“What?” LD asked.

“It’s just funny to me. I’d have never thought to do that. How did we get to be so...”

“Different?”

Seven snorted a laugh.

“Listen... we are unique. I believe that. I have to believe that. You are Seven. I am LD. Lightning Dasher... that’s who we were, once.”

“I just wish our family had reacted... better.”

LD felt himself scowl at the memory. Both of his parents had accepted Seven. It was made clear when LD went to visit that he was not welcome. That was before Seven had experienced his troubles. They asked; LD helped. His recovery did not solve the tension that had grown amongst them all. In the end, neither of them wanted to go back home.

LD shook his head, “Come on; we’re going to be late.”

Already close, the twins continued toward the coffee house. As it came into view, another party was just arriving, but stopped short when the coming pair was spotted. LD and Seven both locked eyes with the changeling first, giving him a  menacing look. Ash Eater recognized them and seemed to shrink back behind Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and… LD’s heart skipped when he saw Apple Bloom. It was obvious that she did not return the sentiment.

“Hey, guys!” Scootaloo greeted them.

“How’s it going, Scoot?” Seven asked.

The mare frowned, punching him on the shoulder when they got close.

“Gah! What was that for?” Seven pouted as he nursed the injury.

“Only crusaders call me ‘Scoot’,” she smirked.

“Fine, lesson learned. You don’t have to hit me so hard though.”

“Aww, did y’all get a boo-boo?” Apple Bloom teased.

LD jumped at the chance to interact, “Are you kidding? She hit Seven so hard that I felt it.”

“Seven?” Sweetie Belle asked.

LD turned to his counterpart as if offering the chance to explain himself.

Seven sighed, “I picked a new name. It’s a long story, but… I felt like I needed to, you know?”

The group seemed uncertain how to respond and grew quiet until Seven spoke again.

“This one kept me up late and early, so I need some coffee in me, now.”

“That we can help you with,” Scootaloo smiled as she started toward the door.

“Scootaloo,” LD stopped her.

She faced him inquisitively.

“There’s something I need to ask you, before we go inside.”

She seemed to catch the unspoken desire for discretion and motioned for the others to continue ahead of her. Seven cast a final glance at LD, hope in his eyes was mixed with sadness. Once the door was shut, the two were alone.

Scootaloo made a fiendish grin, “If this is about Apple Bloom, she’s definitely still not interested in either of you. And if you’re about to get weird on me, forget it or I’ll give you a bruise to match Seven’s.”

A half-hearted laugh escaped the stallion, “No, nothing like that.”

“What’s up?” Scootaloo asked.

She seemed to understand that whatever LD was needing would not be a joking matter.

“Duster.”

Scootaloo’s ears folded back, but she didn’t say anything.

“Seven and I saw him earlier. He is not himself. I had last seen him a year ago… and… it’s much worse.”

The mare sighed, “I know a little. I’ve been away a lot, but even when I’m here, his family keeps me at distance because of Ash Eater.”

“I can’t say I blame them for that,” LD seethed.

Scootaloo took a step back, but then planted her hooves in a somewhat defensive posture.

“Easy,” she warned, “You can have whatever opinion you like. But Ash Eater is my friend. I saw the way you two postured at him a minute ago, and that needs to stop. The war is over. He’s not my enemy, and he’s not yours either.”

LD felt his fur bristle at the statement.

“I’m not asking you to like him,” she continued. “Just be civil.”

The stallion gritted his teeth, “Only because you are the one that’s asking… I think I can manage that much.”

“As for Duster… I don’t know how to help him.”

“His mom is doing a good job keeping him going, but he hasn’t moved on. He’s still back there, you know? For him…”

“It’s like he doesn’t want to go forward because it takes him farther from his sister,” Scootaloo finished the thought.

Their eyes met. LD nodded. Scootaloo sighed and looked down.

“You’re right… I had promised…” The mare looked back up, “I hate that I’ve let this go as long as I have, but… before now… I don’t know if I could have trusted Ash Eater.”

LD tried to contain the anger that formed at the mention of the changeling in any positive context.

“I can now. So, I don’t have to watch him constantly anymore. I’m going to shift gears, as long as it’s okay with Twilight, and see if I can focus on helping Duster.”

“If you need anything from me, I’m willing to quit my job and move here. He needs us.”

Scootaloo smiled at him, “I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

LD snorted, “I wouldn’t do that for you. You’re friends with that changeling.”

The mare raised an eyebrow at the stallion. He sighed.

“Sorry, old habits and all that.”

“Fine, but that was your last free dig at Ash Eater. You have to pay for the next one.”

He knew that she wouldn’t hesitate to strike him and smiled nervously.

“Come on,” she tapped him gently, “Let’s go inside before everypony start’s wondering where we are.”

LD felt only slightly better about Duster’s plight as he followed Scootaloo as she opened the door and entered Java’s.
Epilogue


Smoke from a thousand burning carcasses filled the blood-red sky, flooding the nostrils and stinging the eyes of The Hero of Justice as the warrior and his companions strode atop the hill.

“Watch out!” The Shield-Maiden cried, leaping into a defensive posture.

She expertly positioned her aegis to deflect the arrows and bolts of magic. Dozens of slimy demons with limbs beyond number clambered up the other side of the hill, surrounded by their army of the undead.

“Stand ready!” The Hero of Justice roared as he brandished his halberd. “We shall strike them all down!”

“We are with you!” The Divine Thaumaturge shouted, lifting his oaken staff.

The Shield-Maiden let out a battle-cry as she raised her blade against the oncoming foe. They rushed to meet each other without hesitation. The halberd came down like an avalanche, slicing through grotesque limbs and separating them from the putrid forms.

The demons closed in with their minions, encompassing the band of warriors round about. The champions formed small circle, backs to each other, hacking and slashing, their weapons ripping through each foe that came against them. Their numbers didn’t thin.

The Hero of Justice let out a shout that stole the hearts of the demons. With a single swipe, he lopped off heads and limbs as he came around.

The Shield-Maiden’s blade worked quickly like a needle pierces cloth, again and again until black blood and rotten flesh flowed, covering the ground in a thick sludge.

The Divine Thaumaturge protected the third side, expertly deflecting incoming blows with his staff and smashing the enemy foot soldiers that drew too close.

The trio worked their way, tightening their circle, staying close, their flanks nearly touching each other as they continued their assault against the endless horde that continued pressing closer, clawing their way over the bodies of the fallen to get at the warriors.

Pain ripped through the stallion’s flank as The Hero of Justice cried out, thrusting the sharpened back of his halberd through the demonic limb that had dared sink a claw into his flesh, nearly severing the leg.

“All-Seeing Aegis, protect us now!” The Shield-Maiden cried out.

As the words left her lips, a magical shield flashed around them, pushing back the enemies and deflecting blows from the monstrous minions of tartarus that continued the assault.

The Divine Thaumaturge did not waste the moment, spinning about to see the wound that crippled his comrade. He raised his staff, touching it to the torn limb as he shouted.

“Branch of Angelic Fire, mend this broken flesh!”

A flash of light escaped the staff. The spilled blood returned into the wound, which sealed up, knit together as though it had never been torn.

The healed stallion let out a warriors cry and unleashed his halberd with reckless abandon. It ripped through flesh and bone as though it were tissue paper. The warriors did not let up their assault, beating the vile creatures back.

The demons themselves closed ranks with their minions, nearly piled atop each other. They clamored up onto the aegis’ construct, slamming into it in their rage. The Hero of Justice grinned fearlessly as the opportunity presented itself.

“Burn them!” he shouted.

The Divine Thaumaturge held aloft his staff and cried out, “Branch of Angelic Fire, let loose your wrath!”

Golden flames erupted from the staff as fire rained down from on high, conflagration blasting through the minions of the undead and singeing their demonic masters.

The Hero of Justice cut through them again and again, his muscles growing weary, burning from the effort he exerted. In the rage of battle, he ripped through a flaming demon, and feeling a presence behind him, he spun around, his weapon ready to strike. He stopped short, face to face with The Shield-Maiden and The Divine Thaumaturge.

The three of them panting from the effort, they smiled at each other. An ear-splitting shattering sent the warriors diving in opposite directions as massive saber-like claws rent through their barrier and hammered into the ground.

Regaining his hooves, The Hero of Justice took a few steps backward defensively, The Shield-Maiden echoing his movements a short distance away. A great beast stood before them, the king of the demons. It let out a low growl as it strode forward, unafraid.

A deep rumble, like an earthquake, came from the belly of the Archfiend as it spoke, “You puny beings dare to defy me?”

The stallion gripped his halberd tightly as he beheld the foe. It had four legs that ended in long spikes. Above, it had two massive arms with clawed hands. His dark leathery skin bore many old scars. Just above his fiery eyes, a single needle-like horn protruded from the beast’s forehead.

The Hero of Justice taunted the demon, “Your end has arrived.”

“That is an appropriate epitaph for your tombstone. This is the moment when you die,” the Archfiend rumbled.

The Hero of Justice vaulted forward, striking quickly. His halberd sang as it rebounded off of the leg of the beast, and the stallion quickly rolled to his right, narrowly avoiding being crushed by a massive hand. The razor-sharp legs pounded down, making it impossible for the stallion to stand, as he continued evading the counterattack.

The Shield-Maiden roared and struck the Archfiend from behind. She danced to the side, anticipating the first blow, but she was unable to avoid the massive hand that slapped her away.

The Divine Thaumaturge struck at the beast, who recoiled but then vaulted forward, easily outpacing the pony and grabbing his head, lifting him from the earth. It was mere moments before he no longer struggled and the body was cast aside. The staff fell to the ground.

The king of demons rounded on The Shield-Maiden as The Hero of Justice regained his attack posture and launched another assault, this time aiming deeper for the leg joints. The Archfiend parried, and the two crossed several deflected blows.

The beast had hide like iron armor. The Hero of Justice considered his options as the combatants backed away, circling each other for a moment. If they could distract him for a moment, that would be all they needed recover the staff and resurrect The Divine Thaumaturge. The Halberd of Steadfast Destruction could likely cut the Archfiend asunder, but magic of that high power came at a gave cost. At worst, everyone in the area might be killed.

He glanced at The Shield-Maiden, and then to the body of The Divine Thaumaturge. She nodded, brandishing her aegis. She understood the plan, taking note of where the staff lay beneath the great monster.

The Archfiend’s sickening laughter boomed across the countryside, “There were three, but now there are two. Is that all you can bring, little ponies? Your tough words are as hollow as your fortitude.”

“And you? King of Demons? Unable to kill those two little ponies? We are still alive, Archfiend!”

A mighty growl shook the very ground just before the Archfiend sprang forward with surprising agility. The Hero of Justice was prepared, darting left to dodge the coming blow.

Iron rang against bone once again. The warriors worked opposite sides, each distracting while the other attacked. They kept him off-balance, but he didn’t stray from his position directly over Branch of Angelic Restoration. Sweat poured from the ponies as their strength began to wane, and they had yet to wound the mighty beast.

As The Shield-Maiden came into view, her blue eyes locked with his for a moment. The Hero of Justice nodded to her. Without awaiting a reply, the stallion thrusted forward, his halberd deflected, he danced to the right instead of retreating, spinning to strike again.

At that same moment, The Shield-Maiden darted forward, underneath the Archfiend and driving her blade upward into his belly. A deafening cry split the air as the demon king staggered backward. He swiped downward with his mighty clawed hand. The mare dropped low, reaching for the staff and thrusting her blade forward, impaling the palm as fingers closed around her.

The stallion charged ahead, as the beast assumed a defensive stance. The halberd again bounced off of claw and hide. The world spun and the Hero of Justice saw stars, his vision going dark. He rolled to the side, grabbing his weapon and scrambling backward.

As his sight returned, he realized that the Archfiend had thrown The Shield-Maiden at him. She was dazed, and now the stallion was too far away to do anything but watch as the giant-razored claw came down, piercing the mare’s armor from behind, punching through her body and pinning her to the ground.

Rage kindled within The Hero of Justice as The Shield-Maiden looked up to him, pain contorting her face and tears falling from her blue eyes. The Divine Thaumaturge lay dead, and The Shield-Maiden was in terrible danger. The Hero of Justice needed the staff. A snarl escaped the Archfiend.

“Where are your threats now, little pony?” his voice boomed.

The stallion said nothing, catching his breath. He knew that the wound was fatal. He wouldn’t be able to take down his foe with his strength alone. There was only one thing left to do. The Shield-Maiden nodded at him, apparently having come to the same conclusion.

The Hero of Justice raised his weapon toward the enemy before shouting, “Halberd of Steadfast Destruction, strike down everything in your path!”

A blinding flash of magical light escaped as the stallion shot forward like lightning, driving his weapon at the heart of the beast.

In a flash, the Archfiend raised up The Branch of Angelic Restoration, using it to parry. The halberd drove into the heavenly artifact, shattering in the magical explosion. A shard of the oak ripped through the stallion’s throat.

A powerful swipe of the demon king’s claw struck The Hero Justice, swatting him from the air. His body smashed to the ground, and the world began fading. Sickening laughter echoed across the land.

The warriors had failed.

All The Hero of Justice felt was sorrow, not for the town that would be lost, but for his steadfast companions who lay before him. The Divine Thaumaturge was dead. The only means to restore him had just been destroyed. The Shield-Maiden was crippled and helpless. They watched each other, even as the life faded from her blue eyes.

“Now, you die!” The Archfiend roared as his massive hand came down upon The Hero of Justice.

The stallion was suffocating, being smothered beneath the weight of the creature. He struggled futilely against it, flailing with his ebbing strength.

His sight returned, but the Archfiend had gone. Shadowy figures surrounded him, though he could not make out their form. Only the black voids, hollows where their eyes should have been that seemed to draw in the world around them.

The stallion looked to The Shield-Maiden. Her armor and power were stripped away. She transformed and was no longer the heroic figure that she had been, but all that remained was a frightened mare. The same was true of The Divine Thaumaturge. He was awake, bleeding from his neck, terror in his crystal blue eyes.

They were now clearly seen.

“Duster, help me…” Beigh implored.

“Please… save us…” Sissy pleaded.

The shadowy figures closed in, surrounding the other two as if to devour the three. Duster lost sight of the others and felt stabbing throughout his body as they tore at him. The stallion tried to fight back, throwing any attack he was able against the ethereal figures. He charged through them, running to find the others. He ran and ran; he could hear them calling, begging to be saved.

“Where are you?” he shouted into the darkness.

“Here!” Beigh yelled back.

“Help us!” Sissy screamed.

Duster’s heart broke at the sound of her cries, and he became disoriented as he kicked shout back. Something was grabbing him, trying to restrain him. He struggled. It was then that he noticed another voice.

“Easy, Duster, easy… It’s okay,” a mare spoke soothingly to him.

As thoughts cleared, Duster realized that he was in a bedroom. There were no monsters or demons, no struggle or death. Both Beigh and Sissy had died long ago.

“That’s my boy,” his mother said as he relaxed into her grip. “You’re okay now.”

The stallion melted into her embrace, tears falling freely from his eyes. She held him until the emotions were all spent. Though greatly comforted by her, Duster’s heart still felt heavy, as if a lead weight was in his chest that seemed to grow heavier every day.

At night, the dreams would come. Dark nightmares of struggle and death. They had taken him to doctors, the finest specialists. They had even spent several weeks in Canterlot where Princess Luna tried, but found herself unable to make them stop. Most nights, she would come and intervene in the nightmares. But sometimes, they simply had to play themselves out.

Soaked with sweat, the stallion didn’t attempt to move as his mother laid him down, turned on the light, and returned with a wash cloth to cool him down. It felt soothing against his forehead.

“Luna wasn’t able to come tonight?”

“No,” the stallion’s voice still had a rough, gravelly quality.

“I’m sorry, dear. Do you want to talk about it?”

“No.”

She spoke sweetly, “I understand. If you change your mind, I’m here.”

His mother turned off the light but sat up for a while longer, just holding the stallion close and stroking his mane until she fell asleep. He had initially been embarrassed for her to stay with him every night, though it was comforting to not be alone. He no longer seemed to feel anything one way or another.

Sleep did not come for Duster again that night. He simply laid awake, staring at the wall until Twinklestar stirred again before sunrise. She went through her morning rituals and walked him through his, eventually leading him down to the kitchen and seating him at the table as she prepared biscuits and gravy.

There was a time when having his favorite breakfast would have been the source of great joy. The stallion didn’t seem to care for food. He ate to humor his mother.

He took little notice of the others that came down for breakfast and went their ways, some to work, some to play, some to enjoy the morning.

He simply sat in his chair at the table as the day wore on, thinking about nothing in particular, feeling as though he were in a daze.
Epilogue


The sun crested the horizon, sending its cheerful rays scattering across the land and through the window, striking the slumbering mare across her eyes. She inhaled deeply and stretched, energy beginning to work its way through her body.

Though the bed was perfectly comfortable, Lavender Pompon pushed the sheets back and set her hooves against the wooden floor. She shuffled into the bathroom and prepared herself to face the day.

The house seemed oddly quiet.

Upon completion of the necessary tasks, she made her way to the kitchen, where she discovered a note on the table beside a plate of muffins. The mare unfolded the message.

‘You looked so peaceful that we decided to let you sleep. I took the little ones to pick berries near Fluttershy’s cottage. Maybe we’ll be able to make a pie when you get off of work this afternoon. Ditzy’

Lavender Pompon smiled. Raising foals on her own had never been her first choice, but having a room mate that was happy to help with them had been a tremendous blessing. It did make the mother feel guilty to take advantage of her friend’s hospitality, but times had been hard for so many, that such arrangements had become rather common across Equestria.

She buttered one of the muffins and took a bite, letting the richness of the flavor and fruitiness of the raspberries fill her with delight. It was then that she noticed a half-crumpled newspaper sitting on the table.

Somepony had clearly already looked through it and then folded it poorly. A headline caught her attention.

‘Friendship Initiative Still Strong’

She pulled the paper close and read.

‘It has been nearly three years since Princess Twilight Sparkle created the plan to disburse changelings throughout Equestria in hopes that we could make friends with them in a one-on-one basis. Though it arguably got off to a rocky start, The Friendship Initiative first demonstrated real results almost a year after it began when Klixis’ treachery was uncovered and reported by his fellow changelings, ending his conspiracy before it was able to gain much of a following. More than two years later, nopony can dispute that The Friendship Initiative has induced a landmark metamorphosis since the end of the Timberwolf War.’

The article continued, but the mare realized that she didn’t have time to read it just then. She didn’t want to be late for work. Quickly drinking a glass of juice and grabbing another muffin, she left the house and walked through the morning toward her place of employment.

Catching sight of a clock as she went, Lavender Pompon increased her pace, finishing the muffin so she could use all four legs to carry her faster.

She arrived at Java’s with two minutes to spare. Straightening herself up, she opened the door. The small morning crowd was already at their usual tables, mostly surrounding the mayor.

“Good morning!” Java Chip sang from behind the counter.

“Morning!” Lavender Pompon replied as she made her way into the back to grab her apron.

Ready for work, she came out to find the boss waiting to give her an assignment.

“What would like first, the good news or the bad news?” Java Chip asked.

The mare felt her stomach knot up at the mention of bad news, “Give me the good first this time.”

“We got another shipment of flour and sugar, so we can try the new muffin recipe you gave me.”

Lavender Pompon felt herself smile but then began to brace herself for the bad news.

“And I need you to fix the espresso machine… again.”

The mare let out a groan as she shuffled into the back room to find the tool kit. She sized up the machine, her nemesis, the demon of Java Chip’s coffee shop. Keeping it working was nearly a full time job in and of itself.

A small spout of vapor was streaming from one of the joints. Unceremoniously, she shut it off and got to work. After stripping down the common parts that needed to be serviced, Lavender Pompon worked at each joint and fitting, carefully cleaning and reassembling the entire mechanism.

She was not exactly gifted as a mechanic, but she did have better rapport with the espresso machine than did the boss. After putting it all back together, she turned it on and listened as the water began to boil inside. It looked as if everything was functioning properly.

Without warning, a blast of steam caught Lavender Pompon in the face.

“Demon!” she growled at the inanimate device as she backed away.

The burst was more surprising than painful, as the small amounts of vaporized water that were able to jet out of the espresso maker cooled quickly. She had learned long ago to keep a respectful distance from the pipe. She felt around for the shutoff and stopped the flow.

"How’s it coming?" Java Chip asked.

"Swell," Lavender Pompon unleashed sarcasm.

Her boss snorted, "Well you seem to have more luck with that thing than I do."

"I still think it needs to be replaced," the mare muttered more to herself than to the boss.

"I couldn’t agree more. If I hadn’t had to replace the roof last year and half the windows the year before that, and if we weren’t paying down the mortgage…"

"I get it, I get it," Lavender Pompon answered with a forced grin.

She turned her attention back to the infernal contraption before her. If she could raise two foals on her own, surely she could keep the espresso machine running. She had been learning to know its cantankerous ways for nearly three months, to some surprising amount of success. Completing her work, she opened the valve again. The small pipes shuddered, but no steam escaped.

"Nice!" Java Chip said before walking away. "I should have hired you years ago."

"It still has to make it through the day,” she replied guardedly, “don’t thank me yet."

She felt pride in her accomplishment, but her attention was redirected as the doorbell rang. Almost by second nature, the mare automatically looked up and greeted the newcomer.

“Welcome to… to Java’s!”

A unicorn stallion had entered, white with a white mane, and the greenest eyes Lavender Pompon had ever seen. His cutie mark was in the form of a forked lightning bolt. The eyes were what had caught her attention. She hadn’t intended to stare, and quickly looked away when she realized that she had.

He approached the bar.

“Greetings,” he said as he looked about. “It seems that I must have arrived before everypony else has had a chance to make it this way. That is, of course, unless there is another area where Scootaloo or the others might have gathered?”

She remembered the name, “They’ll be here, but you are a bit early. Can I get you something to drink?”

“I feel it would be most uncouth of me to indulge before the others have an opportunity to appear.”

“Oh,” she replied, her attention caught for a moment by the necklace the stallion wore with a brass locket. “In that case, if you would like to take a seat, you are welcome to wait.”

“You have my thanks,” he replied with a bow.

His gate seemed strange to Lavender Pompon until she noticed that he had only three legs. She couldn’t help but wonder what had become of his missing right front limb, only a small stump of which remained. Given his apparent age, he must have been wounded during the war. The thought of it made her shudder.

As if he had felt her gaze follow him, the stallion looked back up at her once he was seated. In spite of the deformity, he was rather handsome. Realizing that she was again staring, she quickly thought of something to say.

“Would you at least like a glass of water while you wait?”

“Please,” he answered with a disarming smile.

As she brought a cool cup to him, she observed, “That’s a very nice locket.”

He smiled, “It is a mere trifle. Yet that which is contained within is the most valuable possession I own.”

Lavender Pompon let her mind wonder as to what could be so important. Business was slow, and the machines were functioning, so she stood a moment in thought. Gold or a rare jewel seemed the obvious answer, but she knew she would be disappointed if that were the case.

“Not gold or jewels?” she probed.

The stallion smiled, “Nothing so common as that, I can assure you.”

Her interest was peaked.

“Something magical then?”

He tilted his head to one side, “I suppose it could be considered magic, after a fashion, though, not the kind a unicorn would normally have propensity towards.”

“Well, what then?” her curiosity had gotten the best of her.

As the stallion opened the container, Lavender Pompon leaned in closer. She felt her eyebrow raise when she saw the little purple flower, pressed flat within glass. There didn’t seem to be anything particularly rare or special about it. The mare couldn’t help but feel disappointed.

“That’s a flower,” she said.

“Indeed, that it is. I expect you would not find it nearly so unique as do I, though, if truth be told it has no value to anypony in all of Equestria, save myself alone. For you see, this little purple flower is the final gift that my love ever gave to me.”

“What happened?”

“She died.”

Those two simple words seemed to carry a mountainous burden behind his green eyes. Lavender Pompon felt her stomach knot a little. She wished she hadn’t been so insensitive to ask him about something so personal.

“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to bring up sad memories for you.”

He again smiled disarmingly at her, “Do think nothing of it. There are very few subjects I would rather discuss or long to remember than the mare that gave me this flower. Though I live a hundred years hence, my sweet Pibs will always hold a place in the center of my heart.”

Lavender Pompon’s blood ran cold at recognition of the name.

“Did you say, Pibs?”

“Indeed, she was the mare for whom I have waited, though I know she shall not return.“

“She had a pink coat,” the mare began, “a blond mane, and a cutie mark of exotic flowers.”

The green eyes seemed captivated by her for a moment. The stallion nodded.

“I knew her.”

He stood, “Please, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lighthoof, formerly of Her Majesty’s EUP Guard in Canterlot.”

“I’m Lavender Pompon. I’m nopony special; I just live here in Ponyville.”

“I see. Should your duties permit it, I would be most pleased to hear how you knew my dear, sweet Pibs,” he gestured to an empty chair at his table.

She took her seat, and Lighthoof sat across from her, his gaze focused squarely on her.

“The night when Ponyville was overrun,” the mare began, “Everypony was in a panic, and the soldiers were trying to keep us all together and get us to the castle. I had lost my foals that night. We became separated, and I told them… the soldiers… I told them that my little ones would go to the school. They wouldn’t let me leave to find them. They assured me that they were brining all civilians to the castle, and that’s where I had to go.”

She took a breath. The stallion’s piercing gaze did not leave her for so much as a moment.

“I searched the entire castle, but my foals… they weren’t there. I can’t begin to tell you the heartbreak I felt that night. I… I was certain…” tears welled up in her eyes as the sting of the near loss came back. “I believed I had lost them. Everypony had made it to the castle, and they put up a magical shield. And that was that.”

The fear from that night seemed fresh again in the mare’s mind as she shivered. She took a breath and swallowed the emotion as best she could.

“What I didn’t know, was that they were safe. Pibs, your Pibs had found them at the school-house. By herself, she kept them safe and brought them back to me. I met her the next day, after my foals found me. I was able to thank her, but I always wished I had been able to do more. As you know, she didn’t survive the siege.”

Lighthoof smiled, “I am overjoyed to hear that mine is not the only heart in which she holds an important place.”

The pair grew quiet, and sat in each other’s company, each of them recalling how their lives had been touched by the same mare. An instinct grew in Lavender Pompon’s mind, and it wouldn’t leave her. She remembered the words of her father, who had recounted the words of her grandfather, a proud soldier of Equestria.

‘Who dares, wins.’

The mare looked back up at the stallion, her blue eyes capturing his green. She took a breath, steeling her resolve as she turned the thought over in her mind again, ‘Who dares, wins.’

“Is it your intention to remain alone, since you have lost your love?”

Lighthoof’s expression was difficult to read before he spoke, “I choose to wait, though it be to my dying day, for her return.”

“My husband was also a soldier who went out to fight the timberwolves. He was lost on some field and never recovered. Providing for our foals on my own has been such a difficult road…” She took a deep breath, “I apologize if this seems overly forward, but perhaps we might be able to help each other.”

“I’m afraid for the one my heart yearns, there is no replacement.”

Lavender Pompon felt her face flush a little at the rejection, but her grandfather’s words echoed in her mind as she pressed the attack.

“You misunderstand. I would never presume to think I could be a substitute for what you lost. My mate will always hold a special place in my heart, as will Pibs in yours.”

A faint hint of tears could be detected forming in the stallion’s eyes.

The mare continued, “I love my foals, and I love the mare that brought them back to me when I believed they were lost. If the only way I can repay that kindness is to give you some small comfort in not being alone… I’m willing to try. I realize that such an arrangement would be me essentially asking you to help me raise my own foals as well, but,” she shrugged, “there could be more. It may not be the family you wanted to build, but I’m young enough that more foals can come, your foals, if you’d have me.”

The stallion took a breath, his expression still impossible to read as he spoke, “My… you are a rather bold mare indeed.”

Lavender Pompon suddenly became acutely aware of what she had just proposed, and her face flushed again. Perhaps it was the massive coincidence of the meeting that combined with her own propensity to talk far too much when nervous that had caused her to speak like such a fool.

Lighthoof stared back impassively for a long moment that became increasingly uncomfortable. The mare felt magnificently embarrassed as she finally concluded that she had made a monumental mistake and sabotaged any chance she might have had with this stallion. She stood; it was all she could to do not run away.

“I’m so sorry,” she took a step back. “I was speaking pragmatically… just that the possibility… I didn’t mean… I mean… to suggest that we should… we… that I…”

She could not even think of how to complete her thoughts and salvage the situation. The mare turned to walk away, her face having become a bright shade of crimson.

“Miss Lavender Pompon,” Lighthoof said as he stood.

She stopped, turning to face him. Her heart racing as her face became hot.

“Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to dinner on this fine evening?”

She felt her mouth drop.

“As you said, things past will always hold special places in our hearts. Nothing we can build will replace or restore what could have been. I, for one, am willing to spend at least a little more time in the company of one who also understands just how dear my Pibs was to me. I would not presume to speak for the future, as in that regard you seem far more bold than I.”

Lavender Pompon suppressed a giggle and felt herself blush even more as she finally remembered to close her mouth. Suddenly at a loss for words as the warmth of joy spread through her, she nodded vigorously.

Lighthoof smiled at her once more, this time staring directly into her eyes. He had a nice smile.

deviantID

Jatheus
Remember...
United States
Current Residence: Home
Favourite genre of music: Soundtracks & Classical
Operating System: I'll let you know if I find one that actually operates!
Shell of choice: the candy coating M&M shell of course!
Favourite cartoon character: I don't know anymore... so many to choose from... In any case, Rainbow Dash is 20% cooler than all the others.
Interests


So, if you like a good Scary Movie, we did a review for IT. :fear:
  • Listening to: Star Trek Beyond Soundtrack
  • Reading: FIMFic: Emperor
  • Watching: IT
  • Playing: No time for that...
  • Eating: TV Dinners
  • Drinking: Nothing of Consequence

Groups

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:icontdbk:
TDBK Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:wave:
Reply
:iconwilliam5678:
william5678 Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
amazing narratives :0
Reply
:iconjatheus:
Jatheus Featured By Owner May 3, 2018
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmarrow-pony:
Marrow-Pony Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
ohheybythewayiforgottomention HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

I'm working on a gift for you. It will be more than well wishings and warm feelz, but for now please enjoy this appetizer!


O_O <----that is a rough draft of a pony face, you can tell cause of the big eyes :}
Reply
:iconjatheus:
Jatheus Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2017
:rofl: Hahaha! That is a very rough draft! :P

Thank you so much, and I shall look forward to it! Birthday week!!!! :squee: 
Reply
:iconandoanimalia:
AndoAnimalia Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JATHEUS!!!!! birthday cake Happy Birthday Godliek :D Happy DeviantART Birthday Day128 - Happy Birthday Happy Birthday (3) Happy Birthday (2) Happy Birthday (1) Birthday Cake (1) Smiley Happy Birthday Party Cannon Pinkie Pie Party Canon icon You're an outstanding friend! Thank you for all you've done, and may you have the best day of the year! :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconjatheus:
Jatheus Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2017
Thank you so much! My, that is such an explosion of festivities! :D
Reply
:icontreystar679x:
treystar679X Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2017  Student General Artist
HAPPY BIRTHDAY:party:
Reply
:iconjatheus:
Jatheus Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2017
Thank you!!! :D
Reply
:iconpurple-seedrian:
Purple-Seedrian Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Reply
Add a Comment: