Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 155

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Chapter 155

A few days later and it seems that my little ‘experience’ with Rainbow Dash at the Nightmare Night party has been totally forgotten. I recall that Fluttershy had that photo, but come on, Fluttershy wouldn’t do anything with it. She definitely couldn’t do it anonymously since a good portion of the town knew she had it. Besides, it’s Fluttershy; it probably wasn’t her idea to stage that in the first place.

I get up and walk downstairs to see Twilight already up. Eh, stranger things have happened. I get to the table and sit down with a book, when Twilight giggles. Must be something funny.

I continue reading but every once in a while Twilight just laughs again. “Alright I’ll bite. What’s so funny?”

Twilight gives me an innocent smile. “Oh nothing. I just never figured you for the type to try starting a herd is all...”


“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Twilight chuckles some more. Okay, time to get to the bottom of this.

“What are you hiding, Sparkle?”

“Nothing, really! I didn’t write it, I didn’t even know about it *snicker* until this morning that is. So who’s next on your list?”

“Well what is ‘it’ anyway? Why would I try and start a herd?”

Twilight shrugs, still grinning. “I’m not sure, why don’t you ask Rainbow Dash?” She passes me a newspaper. The date on it says it’s from today. I flip through it finding nothing at all. But then on the third page, I see the photo of Rainbow and I at the party. Oh god. Fluttershy. She didn’t... she couldn’t!

“She didn’t.” The local news printer said before going back to work. “Haven’t seen ‘Shy since Nightmare Night. The fact that she actually went out was kind of a shocker. The boss wondered if we should’a printed that but everyone else figured it wasn’t big enough and we’d look kinda desperate. But then that thing with you and Dashie?” The pony whistles in amusement. “Now that sold papers!”

“But who gave you the photo!?” I was starting to get a little agitated.

“Dunno, I wasn’t here when it came in. ‘Sides, I just do the printing. I don’t choose the stories or the pictures.”

Goddamnit! I run out of the newspaper office place and start looking around, as if I could just find the culprit walking around. Suddenly Rainbow wings out of the sky looking pissed and holding a newspaper. “Why in the world would you do this to me? I haven’t done anything to you!”

“Chill Dash, I’m just as upset as you are! I was just trying to figure out who gave them that photo. Last person I knew who had it was Fluttershy but I got confirmation it wasn’t her.”

Rainbow Dash wasn’t really listening just reading and rereading the article over and over before she just reads the thing out loud. “Ponyville’s newest couple makes their move on Nightmare Night, as hero of Equestria Anthony ‘saddles up’ with daredevil speedster Rainbow Dash after a wild night at Sugarcube Corner and- and- Augh I don’t have time read this any more!”

She buries her face in her hooves as she rockets away, saying something about having very important places to be.

“So, two girls wasn’t enough for you, Playboy?” Myrna snides as she unfurls out of a tree practically like a liquid. “I thought you said you weren’t into ponies. Or where you just trying to sound desperate so you could get Anne and I to pity-date you?”

“Listen Myrna, I am not in the mood for this.”

“Oh come on it’s not that bad! You look good together. Besides, you both certainly look to be enjoying your nap. Now we just have to know when to plan the wedding.”

“I am not going to marry Rainbow Dash! Ever!!” I yell indignantly.

“Ooooh, moving straight into the kinky stuff, huh?”

“That was a setup! We didn’t know what we were doing! We just drank too much-” Myrna’s grin widens further. “And passed out! We were moved into that, it wasn’t our choice!”

“Well, then maybe you should watch what you drink. Y’know, like generations of college kids have either learned to do or dropped out from failing to do.”

“A few months ago I outdrank an entire barroom! I didn’t think I could get wasted so easily!”

“And you didn’t think to ask what was on tap? C’mon, Anthony, even I know to ask the bartender what the free drinks are.”

“Oh shut up. I’ll just wait for next week when this whole thing blows over. Pretty soon everybody will wise up, or forget that this ever happened. In the meantime, I’m gonna go have a chat with Fluttershy.”

Myrna wiggles her eyebrows. “And by chat you mean...”

“Interrogation! I’m not gonna- Augh! Women!”

I walk through Ponyville, heading for Fluttershy’s cottage. Normally the long walk wouldn’t be so bad, except now pretty much everyone I pass either laughs or gives me ‘meaningful looks’. Fluttershy didn’t have the photo after I saw it. She must have passed it off to somebody. But who?

I get to Fluttershy’s door and, as usual, Anne answers. She sees me and gives me a look I can’t quite describe... but she does let me in. Fluttershy’s out back dealing with some animals so I’m left in the sitting room with Anne for a bit.

“Sooo... you read the morning news I take it?”

“Oh, yes. Rain on thursday, with light showers, and saturday it’ll be clear again. As well, a decent chance of a certain star-cored human snuggling with a national hero. But that was only page three, so it must not have been too important.”

I sigh. “Listen, I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. Granted I kind of expected something like that to make front-page.” I shake my head and get back on track. “That entire fiasco was staged. Dash and I had a bit too much to drink, we both passed out, and some wiseguys had the bright idea to put us together like that. Fluttershy had a photo of it, the same photo in the paper. I’m just here to find out who she gave it to, because she only had it for about five seconds.”

I take a deep breath and continue the last, most important bit. “I have absolutely no interest in Rainbow Dash whatsoever, and I bet she hates the idea more than I do.”

“You certainly seemed to be enjoying it then.” Anne points out, an eyebrow arched.

“For the record, I was only somewhat aware of what was going on. I felt feathers and... thought it was you...”

Anne’s eye go wide, and her face goes bright blue. “Oh... Well, if that’s the case, I would’ve come to the party.”

“Well, actually I hadn’t really planned on anything like that happening, it just sort of... did. Again, I didn’t even end up that close to Dash as I recall we were... moved. I admit I was pretty okay with the whole deal when I thought it was you, but waking up... kinda changed that. Quite a bit.” I decide that this has gotten awkward enough so I change the subject. “So what’s Fluttershy doing back there?”

Anne seems to also be desperate to avoid the subject and is... polishing herself with some kind of liquidy stuff. Whatever it is, it hisses slightly on her feathers, little puffs of smoke rising every so often.

“Uhm, well... she’s helping some of her animals. Apparently, a timberwolf mauled a giant spider, and now she’s tending to the spider.”

“Timberwolves are... wooden constructs here, right? Like made of actual timber... What do they eat?”

“From what Fluttershy said, apparently magic. They’re forest magic or something in a wooden body, and they eat magical beings to replenish that. I think. It might be they plant seeds in bodies or something, I’m not sure.”

“So... a predatory creature that is not prey to any carnivore, putting it at the top of the food chain. I can see why they’re dangerous. Not like Ponyville needs some form of apex predator coming out of the woods. I wonder why they aren’t coming down here and just eating the magically-saturated ponies like a buffet?”

Anne shrugs, not really having an answer and after a few more minutes of waiting, Fluttershy comes in. “Sorry for taking so long.”

“Yeah. Now down to business: Who did you give that photo to? Apparently you didn’t turn it in, and that means someone else did. If that picture never existed none of this crap would be happening. So who was it?”

She gives me a look of perfect innocence, eyes huge and adorable as fuck. “But- what photo, Anthony? I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“The photo I saw you had at the party that mysteriously is exactly the same as the one that was submitted to the paper. That photo. I’m glad that you got into pranking finally, but... there’s a fine line you need to learn. I’d be happy to educate you as long as nothing like this happens again. And you tell me who you gave the picture to.”

“But Anthony, I never took any photos at the party!”

“But you had a picture for five seconds, dropped it, picked it up, and then you suddenly don’t have it. Who took the picture isn’t the problem. I want to know who had it last!” Even as I get more and more frustrated, I see Anne on her perch, covering her mouth and trying not to laugh.

“Anthony, calm down. I know you’re upset about everypony finding out you think Rainbow Dash is cute, but you don’t need to yell.” Fluttershy still has the ‘butter wouldn’t dare melt in my mouth’ expression.

“I don’t think she’s cute, damnit! I have absolutely no interest in that pegasus, any more than any other pony around here, I just want to know who submitted that picture!”

I hear a throaty, deep laugh from across the room, and see Discord reading the third page of the newspaper. “Anthony! You never told me Rainbow Dash was your beau! How could you keep such a juicy secret from your best pal, Discord?” He grins far too smugly at me. So help me, if he’s the one who gave the photo over...

“It’s not a secret!” I pause for a moment to register what I said. “I mean-”

“Well, it’s not a secret any more!” Discord says, guffawing, even Anne and that traitor, Fluttershy joining in.

“Look, guys, just drop it for a sec, alright? Fluttershy, I don’t care how you got the photo, I just want to know what happened to it after you had it.”

Fluttershy slowly stops laughing, wiping a tear from her eye and trying to quash her smile. “Hee, heh, alright, heh, Anthony. I gave it to-”

Tales would later be told of the scream heard as far away as Appleoosa, chilling and terrible in its fury.

The scream shook snow from the mountaintops, and scared many a foal indoors midday.

CLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRK!!! Next Chapter: Chapter 156 Estimated time remaining: 10 Hours, 47 Minutes

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