Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 25

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Chapter 25

I get to the sweet shop and sit down at a table. Mr. Cake comes over with a notepad. “Hey there, Anthony. What do you want today?”

I let out a sigh. “Ten screwdrivers on the rocks. Very high rocks.”

“Uh... I don’t get it. There’s a hardware store to the East of here...”

“Just forget it. Gimme a strawberry milkshake.”

“You got it, champ!” He seems so happy. I see Pinkie Pie come down the stairs, and she rushes over to me. “Hi there! How are you doing?”

Mr. Cake hands me my milkshake and I grab the cherry off the top, tossing it at the wall, but Pinkie catches it in her mouth with her strange speed. “Thanks!” She grins, the realizes my rather depressed mood. “What’s wrong Anthony?” I decide keeping it bottled up doesn’t help, so I tell her what happened with the Star-Swallower.

After I’m finished, she looks kind depressed too, but also a bit quizzical. “So this thing eats stars... and it came for you... but you’re not a star, you’re a humananan!”

“It thought I was a star.”

“Why would it think that?”

“Stellar physiology.”


I Spark up as a demonstration. “This. Like this, I’m pretty much a baby star.”

“Wow! That’s amazing!”

“Yeah, but I don’t even know why I’m like this. I just... am. I thought this was a gift with all the things it lets me do but.”

Pinkie Pie shakes her head. “No, it is a gift. You’re a hero Anthony. You help anypony who really needs you. Even when Discord was causing all that trouble, you did something, because you didn’t want anypony to get hurt. You’re a good person, and your powers help show that.”

“Wow Pinkie, I... I... thanks.” I give her a big hug. I needed this. She hugs me back and we stay like that for a few minutes. Her coat is soft, and she’s warm. I feel so much better. I feel comfortable. I needed this. I know she isn’t fully aware of the less-than-heroic things I’ve done, but it still helps. Element of Laughter my ass, this pony right here is the Element of Confidence.

I’ve left Sugarcube Corner a lot happier than... well, happier than I’ve felt in a long time, even before I came to Equestria. I’ve already accepted that I may not go back home, but right now... I think I can consider these ponies my family now, and I intend on protecting my family.

I think about Chrysalis and the things she said, about how she needs my help. I don’t want to just stand by while a species goes extinct if I can help... but I also remember how I got in that position. I need to know more about these creatures. Twilight’s smart, I’m sure that if she doesn’t have a book on Changelings, she can tell me a bit about them.

I walk in the library and look around. “Twilight?”

Spike speaks up from a desk. “Not here, man. You just missed her. What do you need?”

“Well, I suppose as her number one assistant, you must be pretty smart too...”

He puffs out his chest. “I don’t like to brag, but...”

“How much do you know about Changelings?”

“Uh, not much. Actually, not many ponies know a lot about them. I think Twilight has her notes on them somewhere in this pile over here.” He begins rifling through the mass of information the librarian has gleaned over her life. It is quite impressive, I must admit.

“Found it! Changelings. That’s... all it has as the title.”

“Oh well, let’s see what she’s discovered.”

I sit down in my chair and flip through the notes. I then come accross something Chrysalis didn’t mention, and probably would avoid if asked. The process of ‘feeding’ involves taking the form of the victim’s loved one, posing as them, and feeding off the love that the victim feels for the loved one. The process is painful and draining for the victim.

I don’t believe it, the Changelings are parasites! A bunch of deceiving, abducting, scheming, mindless emotion-leeches. I can’t believe I might have trusted Chrysalis! Although... These are Twilights notes, they must have been gained from personal experience, which means that it’s possible they could be biased, even just a little.

I think back to Discord. What Twilight described him as. Yes he was dangerous, but Twilight made him seem like a monster, not just an irresponsible prankster with no thought of ramification. Perhaps... could it be the same with Changelings? Is Twilight exaggerating? I can’t tell.

I continue poring over all of her notes late into the night. I don’t realize I’ve fallen asleep until I wake up, sunlight streaming through the window. I stand up and stretch. My back aches.

“Geez, how does Twilight do this without getting a sore back?”

“Well, I usually have a bit more support for my spine, for one.”

“Oh, ‘morning Twi.”

“Good morning. Wait... are those my notes?”

“Er... yeah. I don’t know much about Equestria, and since you have firsthand experience with a few things, I figured I could see what you’ve discovered.”

“I see, well, thank you. I’m glad you trust my expertise.” She looks very proud of herself, like she’s expecting a gold star sticker or something. “So, what are you looking at now... Changelings?”

“Yeah, the name sounded interesting, so...”

“There’s not much you need to know, Anthony. They are heartless, emotionless beasts that want nothing more than hostile takeover and total control over Equestria.”

“That’s... a bit harsh. How do you know?”

“I know because my friends and I had to fight them and their queen! If it weren’t for my brother and Cadence, Equestria would have fallen into Queen Chrysalis’ hooves already.”

Interesting. I decide to change the subject, but still get a few answers. “So earlier, during events that I feel would best be explained by the princesses, a certain location was brought up.”

Twilight is rifling through some more of her notes, realphabetizing what Spike had messed up.”Oh? And what location is it?”

“What do you know of a place called Everfree?”

“The Everfree Forest?”

“I suppose so.”

“Well, what do you want to know?”

“What do you know of it? Do you have experience with it?”

“Yes, I do. I suppose I can tell you the story of my first venture into the Forest.”

“What happened?”

“Well, let’s start from the beginning. I was in Canterlot, reading a book, when I come across a passage mentioning the Elements of Harmony...”

“And then, there was a huge reunion party for the princesses, and I’ve been living here in Ponyville with my friends ever since.”

“Wow, that’s... quite the story.”


“So the Everfree Forest is dangerous?”

“Immensely so, there's a lot we don’t know about it from what lives in it, to what secrets it holds.”

“I think I’d like to check it out sometime.”

“Really? Are you sure that’s wise? You know even less about it than anypony in this whole town!”

“What can I say? I’m curious. Don’t act like you’ve never had a question you wanted to answer by experiencing it firsthand.”

“As right as you are, I cannot advise that you do this without proper protection.”

“Oh, alright, I’ll bring some condoms.”

“Some what?”

“Nevermind, just...” I chuckle. “Nevermind.”

I approach the forest and I can see clearly that its thick canopy prevents light from shining through. I walk forward into the darkness, some coal fashioned into a machete in case any foliage blocks my way. As I’m walking, I hear something rustling in the bushes. I turn, but see nothing.

“A- Anthony?”

Huh? I turn around and see Fluttershy. “‘Shy? What are you doing here?”

“I- I saw you come into the forest. It’s dangerous in here, we should leave before something bad happens.” She starts looking around frantically. Yep, definitely lives up to her name. Anyway, I’m not in a very contrary mood, so I follow the yellow pegasus and then I realize how she saw me so soon. The Everfree Forest is pretty much her backyard. I’m pretty sure there should be some zoning regulation about that but... whatever.

So I walk into Fluttershy’s cottage and it smells like wild animal. Joy. I sit down on the couch, making sure to stay away from any birdhouses. I don’t trust birds, especially the pretty ones. I see Fluttershy doing something in another room and I start to think.

“Hey Fluttershy?”

“Yes, Anthony?”

“Why didn’t you want me to go into the Everfree?”

“Because it’s dangerous. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

That stopped me for a second. “But, you hardly know me. I mean, we haven’t even seen each other since the day I first woke up here in Ponyville.”

“I- I’m sorry, I didn’t think that would matter...”

“Well, I suppose it doesn’t really, but I don’t see why you’d be so worried about my safety.”

“But, we’re friends, aren’t we?”

“I’m not sure, this is the longest we’ve ever even been together.”

“But you’re a friend of my friends, so doesn’t that count?”

I think for a moment. Out of all the ponies in Ponyville, Fluttershy knows the least about me aside from whatever stories she may hear. I speak up. “Fluttershy, do you think I’m a bad person?”

“Wh- what?”

“Do you think I’m a bad person?” She looks down at the ground and shifts on her hooves nervously.”Well, I... um... I...” Suddenly she finds words. “I’m not sure, if that’s okay with you?”

She’s honest, I’ll give her that. “But you still consider me a friend? Even if you think I’m bad?” She lets out a little ‘Eep!’ at this. Guess that is kind of a big question. Seems she’s going to try answering anyway.

“W- well... maybe you’re not bad? Just, um... confused?”


“I understand that our world is very different from yours, and you come off as... distant. You react to things so differently from a normal pony, and... well...”

“Let me tell you something, ‘Shy. Even back in my world I wasn’t normal. My brain is messed up on the inside. It’s like the world is a puzzle, and I’m a piece that just doesn’t fit.”

“Maybe... maybe you do fit, but not in the place you think you do.”

“You think so? You think I have a place in this world?”

“I’m positive you do, you just have to find it. And you don’t have to look alone, there are friends you can rely on, if you just let us.”

“That’s... kind of the problem.”


“I don’t know this world, how do I know who I can trust?”

“You can trust me.” She gives me a hug. She’s so soft... I hug her back.

“I can?”

“I’ve always trusted others, even if I don’t know them well. You never know what you can gain from being kind to those who you don’t understand.”

“Like the manticore?”

“H- how’d you know about that?”

“Twilight explained the story of how you six met, and your fight against Nightmare Moon.”

“Well, then, yes. Like the manticore. Sometimes we just have to give something the benefit of the doubt, even if it seems dangerous.”

“Okay Fluttershy. I... I’ll give it a try.”

“Thank you, Anthony. Remember, if you ever need help, you do have friends, even if you’re not sure we are.”

Next Chapter: Chapter 26 Estimated time remaining: 31 Hours, 31 Minutes

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