Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 39

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Chapter 39

I figure I should at least stop by Fluttershy’s cottage since I’m nearby. I really should spend more time with these ponies if they’re supposed to be my friends. I walk up to her door and knock.

Fluttershy opens her door slowly, but then seems to be a bit... relieved when she sees it’s me. This pegasus is such an introvert it’s kinda weird. Anyway, I figure we could just sit and talk while I get a chance to rest.

She offers to make some food, but I’m not that hungry since I just ate.

“Don’t let me stop you though, if you’re hungry, go make something. I’m not in any rush.”

“Okay, I’ll be right back.”

After a few minutes, she returns with a plate of salad with some fish, the scent of lemon and herbs greeting my nose warmly. Fish!?

“Uh... ‘Shy? What’s with the fish?”

“Oh, I like to have some shredded salmon on my salads. I- I’m sorry if that bothers you. I don’t know what humans eat.”

“Oh no, it’s perfectly fine, I just... I didn’t expect ponies to eat meat, I mean... you guys are mainly herbivores, aren’t you?”

“Oh, yes. Well, sort of... W- what I mean is that ponies are technically omnivores, but only pegasi really eat fish. Unicorns usually call it ‘uncouth’, but it’s why they’re usually so skinny. Earth ponies sometimes eat fish, and sometimes even b- b- bacon.” ‘Shy’s squeaking stutters trailed off at that, looking a bit grossed out. “It’s all nature, though, but piggies are just so cute...”

“Well, yeah, pigs are cute, but have you had bacon? It’s delicious!”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I don’t want to eat anything with hooves or paws or little toesies... but rattlesnake is pretty good.” Her last statement sounded almost like a question, as if asking me for permission to like snake meat.

“Snakes? Snakes nothing, ever had alligator before?”

“Alligators have toes.” she countered.

“Alright, fine. I guess we can agree to disagree. Guess I can’t walk into a restaurant and order a steak then.”

“Well, maybe in a gryphon restaurant, but there aren’t any in Ponyville or Canterlot. The nearest one is in Dodge Junction. Dash tried to take me there once, but there were so many eyes...” Her voice trailed off into a squeak, and she was now huddled under her pink mane like it was a safety blanket. I can easily tell why both Dash and Pinkie said ‘no pranking Fluttershy’.

I decide to calm her down. “It’s alright Fluttershy, I don’t mind if you eat cows or not. No need to be scared.”

“I- I’m sorry. I’m just afraid of crowds.” She leaned towards me.

“Well, there’s nobody here but me, so you don’t need to worry about anything.” I pick up Fluttershy and give her a hug. She must be the softest, fluffiest pony thus far! I pet her gently to calm her down. “I’m the only one here. It’s just you, me, and the floorboards.”

Fluttershy smiled and nuzzled my shoulder for a moment, before turning back towards her food. “Uh, if it’s alright with you, could I finish my lunch?”

“Of course.” I set her down in front of her plate.

A sudden, frightening crash resounds through the cottage, coming from the direction of Ponyville. As if by teleportation, Fluttershy is back in my arms, clamped to my chest like a super magnet to a brick of steel. Only, I’m not as tough as steel, and I could feel my lungs being crushed.

I say something along the lines of ‘don’t worry, Flutters, I’ll see what it is, you’re safe’ and stand up. Walking to the door, I open the top half of the inexplicable dutch door design, and look towards the town. A plume of smoke- no, several plumes of smoke are rising, and I can faintly hear screaming.

I prepare to exit the cottage, and only stop when I hear a squeak, and look down to see that Fluttershy’s deathgrip hasn’t let up, but her wings are doing everything in their power to push her (and by extension, me) away from the door. Her huge, watery cyan eyes stare up at me.

“Stay here ‘Shy. I’m going to find out what’s going on. Don’t worry, this should be quick.”

Fluttershy nods at me, reluctantly letting go and sliding to the floor. “I- I’ll j-just go hide under Harry. He’s the bear.”

“Well, that should be perfectly- bear!? Jeez ‘Shy, what don’t you have? Nevermind, I’ll be right back.” I begin running towards town thinking the words ‘I hope’ to myself.

As I run towards the town, skipping over the rough patches of foliage between segments of the twisty road, I can hear the shouts and screaming intensifying. This isn’t the semi-panicked, almost rehearsed ‘oh no, there’s something new in town!’ screams, but the throaty, full-body screaming of someone terrified for their life... or the lives of their loved ones.

I’ve only heard screams like that in movies, but this hit me somewhere primal, well behind my conscious thoughts.


Without thinking, I’d shifted to my Dynamo form, leaping farther and faster than normal. Sparks and arcs of electricity jumped in thin streams from me to the ground, as if to push me a little higher and farther. As I came in sight of the town, I was unprepared by what I saw.

Ponyville was burning.

Next Chapter: Chapter 40 Estimated time remaining: 30 Hours, 9 Minutes

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