Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 47

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Chapter 47

My speech done, and Ponyville now aware of my sexual disinterest, I decide to check on Fluttershy. I haven’t talked to her since I was committed, so I might as well see how she’s doing.

I make my way towards her cottage, it’s a bit far though, so I decide to speed up a bit. I make decent time, getting to her front door in about five minutes. I knock on the door, and wait for the usual slow, cautious hello.

Instead, a thin slot opens in the door, and a pair of fearful, cyan eyes look out, sweeping back and forth until they settle on me. Almost like magic, the fear disappears, and Fluttershy opens the door. “Anthony! You’re up and about! Ooh, are you in pain? Do you need help? Come in, you can lay down on the couch.” Fluttershy seems worried about something, in my estimation.

“If it’s about my cast, I’m perfectly fine, ‘Shy. As long as I don’t bang my arm, there’s no problem.”

She sucks in a breath of relief. “Oh, thank goodness... oh, but please, come in. I was about to start dinner. Did you need something?”

“Nah, I just came by to say hi, see how you’re do-”

“I’m fine!” Shy’s response was rather too quick, especially for the shy pegasus, and her grin was a little too forced. Instead of the small, pleasant smile I was used to, I’m instead getting the full cheshire treatment again. What is it with ponies and giving disturbingly large smiles to me?

“Jeez, and I thought Sweetie Belle was a bad liar.” I muttered, before continuing, louder. “Alright, what are you hiding?” I walk inside.

Fluttershy looks rather worse for wear once I’m inside. There’s faint patches under her eyes, as if she hasn’t been sleeping so well, and her movements are a little more jittery than normal, which also feeds back to the not-sleeping prognosis. Several animals are standing protectively near her, but aren’t doing more than giving me dirty looks for disturbing their mistress.

“So what’s wrong? You don’t look so good. You have a cold?” I decide to play dumb, see if she’ll admit her troubles.

“I- uhm... n-no...” Suddenly, her eyes are full of tears, and she’s stuck like a limpet to my chest, bawling her eyes out. “W-why would somepony be so me-hee-hee-ean?” Her tearful question was broken by her sudden and strong crying.

“Who, Fluttershy? Who’s being mean? What did they do?”

“Th-that monster you had t- to- t- k- k- to kill.” She sniffled, a loud messy affair with all the snot dribbling from her nostrils. I didn’t even want to think about what Rarity was going to do to me when she saw the crusty remains of this. “He j- just hurt ponies, and now Rumble’s dad isn’t going to walk ever again...”

“Well... he was... a demon. They don’t exist in my world except in fiction, but they are evil. They hurt and kill people for the sole sake of causing pain and misery. Some stories say doing so makes them stronger and meaner.” I curled my arms around her protectively, trying to help her feel better by patting her on the back.

“That thing... he was human once. And, I suppose that he still was in a way. Just one that was sick in the head.”

She looked up at me, eyes still watery and nose still snotty. “H- humans get like that when you’re sick?” I noted the pronoun change, and paired with the increase in pressure from her grip.

“No, not naturally. There was something that made him change. When I said he was sick, I meant he was disturbed... er, well.” I sigh. “He was insane. His brain was messed up. Humans are... violent by nature. We fight and hurt others, but most of us have moral standings that tell us hurting others is wrong.” I look down at the ground. “But that person had a different moral standing... he enjoyed killing and hurting. I don’t know how he became a monster like that, but there are people like that in my world, but they’re still normal humans on the outside. We call them psychopaths.”

Fluttershy was still crying, but calmed down. “So... you won’t end up like that?”

“No, I won’t, but I guess that’s an example of what evil humans can become if given the chance. We aren’t all nice, but most of us try to be.”

Fluttershy looked a bit sad, still having tears in her eyes, but she wasn’t crying anymore. “W- would you like to stay for dinner?”

“I’d like that a lot.” I give her a gentle squeeze and set her down and she leads me to the table. In a few minutes, we’re sitting down with plates of fish salad and talking about animals.

“I have to say, as much as I like mammals, I’ve always found reptiles and amphibians fascinating.”


“Yeah, I even spent a few months at a nonprofit center that took care of hurt or homeless frogs toads, turtles and tortoises.”

“Oh I just love turtles! Aren’t they adorable?”

“Yeah, and they make the cutest faces, even if some people don’t think they have emotions.”

“Perhaps they just need to get to know the turtles, they show plenty of emotion.”

“I agree. But as for the most adaptable creatures, I’d have to say birds.”

“Really? Why’s that?”

We continue our chat all throughout our meal and even a while after that. Before we know it, it’s nighttime. I offer to stay the night to keep her company, and she agrees completely. She didn’t want me to be walking around near the Everfree forest at night. I mentally question why she lives so close to the forest once more, but I assume she has her reasons so I don’t bother asking. At least not this time. Fluttershy sets up a place for me to sleep on the couch, but I decide to stay with her in her room until she falls asleep.

I don’t know any lullaby’s and I can’t sing anyway, so I just decide to use a bedtime story instead. I read

Howard the Fluffy Bunny until she’s asleep. Once I finish the story, I take a look at the sleeping pegasus.

She’s all tucked in, her hooves partly above the covers, a small sweet smile on her face. Seeing her peacefully sleeping like that makes me feel... really nice. She’s safe, her worries are over, and she can rest easy. I give in to the moment and give her a gentle kiss her on the forehead before I get up to leave. I take one last look at her from the doorway. She's absolutely adorable...

I head downstairs and to the couch. It took a lot of effort to convince ‘Shy that I was perfectly fine with just the couch. I wasn’t even sure if we could both fit in her bed anyways. I pull up my blanket, and eventually I drift off to sleep.

I wake up when I feel something on my chest. I groggily open my eyes and suddenly I see a pair of very angry eyes staring at me.

“Woah!” I roll over and end up face-first on the floor, my nose hurts but I’m awake. I look up and I see the same pair of angry eyes, this time accompanied by a smug grin attached to the body of a small white rabbit, it’s tiny arms folded in superiority.

I got punked, by a fucking rabbit! I pick him up and plan on cooking myself some bunny breakfast, but then Fluttershy walks in. “Oh, there you are, Angel! Saying hello to Anthony?”

I sigh inwardly. I can’t do this to one of Fluttershy’s animal friends. I just put the rabbit back on the ground and he hops towards Fluttershy, and she picks him up, cradling him like a baby. “I was about to make some breakfast, would you like to join me, Anthony?”

“Breakfast sounds nice. Of course I’ll join you.”

“Alright, what would you like?” I think for a moment, but the I just give her a shrug.

“Surprise me, I’m not picky.”

Fluttershy nods and walks to the kitchen to prepare our meal. After a few minutes ‘Shy calls me to the table.

“I wasn’t sure exactly what you’d like, so I hope this is okay.” She puts a plate in front of me and it’s a large omelette. It smells absolutely incredible. Peppers, mushrooms, cheese, onions, tomatoes... the only thing it didn’t have was ham, but that’s forgivable, given Fluttershy’s opinion on eating pigs.

“Do you like it?”

“This is perfect, ‘Shy.” I give her a quick hug and begin my meal. It’s even better than I expected, and by the time I’m finished, I feel the urge to ask for another, quelled only by the fact that I’m full. We continue chatting about animals and such while she eats.

“You know so much about animals, have you ever thought of becoming a professional veterinarian?”

“Oh, no! I couldn’t expect money for helping all of these animals!”

“Alright, if you say so, I just think you’d do an amazing job.”

After a while, I decide it’s time I left. I thank Fluttershy for the omelette again and walk out the door, heading for Carousel Boutique. I hadn’t forgotten about that bit of information Rarity had promised me. Now I really want to know.

Unfortunately, it’s still rather early in the morning, so I decide to find something to do. I then remember I’m out of coal. Not even half a lump for emergencies. I head over to the train station. I had already kind of quit my job there a while ago, I just didn’t really need the money as much as I thought. Perhaps the best gift I could have received as a hero would be an unlimited use free train pass to wherever the trains went.

I’ll think about how I could get one later. For now...

I get on the train and sneak some coal out. Turning it all into dust, I manage to pack about four and a half lumps into my pouch. Satisfied that I should have enough for at least medium-sized tools, I take my leave. There’s honestly not much to do this early in the morning, so I just end up walking around town, trying to think of something I could do to pass the time.

Looking in each direction, I decide to simply start walking down a randomly chosen street.There’s much fewer ponies on this road, and I keep walking, resisting the urge to whistle a jaunty tune. Last time I did, it took Fluttershy’s help to get the birds to stop roosting on me.

The sun was just peeking up, enough to have a bright morning, without being right in my eyes anymore. The pegasi were already working the weather over to prepare it for the day. Looking at their efforts and what I recalled of the weather schedule for the week, it’s probably going to be an overcast, but generally bright and rainless day.

One of the pegasi waves at me for a moment before going back to work, and I wave back. Ponyville is really nice, when it isn’t being ransacked by random monsters and disasters.

Finally, I find my feet have brought me to a large, luscious park. There’s carefully tended trees, flower beds, and green grass. Many of the trees are flowering, including a large weeping willow bending gracefully over a large pond. Several park benches sat here and there, near the few jogging paths scattered about.

Laying on her back, a mare was on one of the benches, staring up at the sky above her. A lone butterfly had settled onto her nose, and she was smiling gently at it. The mare had a seafoam coat and was wearing a warm-looking hoodie. A simple harp was propped against the bench next to her, and one of her hooves dangled over it.

Not having anything better to do, I decide to walk over. “Heya, what’s your name?”

The mare’s eyes flickered over to me. “Hello. I’m Lyra. though I suppose names are just things we call each other. Visual displays are so much more interesting to watch.” Her gaze returned to the little butterfly on her nose, which still hadn’t moved. The butterfly flared its wings for a moment, revealing a pair of harp-shaped marks on the undersides of the wings, before it flapped away.

The seafoam mare rolled sideways, toppling off the bench and onto her hooves in a graceful, almost boneless manner.

“Well, that’s something you don’t see every day. You get a lot of practice doing that?”

“Laying on my stomach hinders my ability to think by almost forty percent.” She looked me up and down. “You are bored, searching for something to do, and wandered here without conscious thought.”

“Let me guess, you’re the town oracle?” I check her flank for an image of a crystal ball or something, but it’s just a gold harp like the one she had with her.

“No, I’m an entomologist. And smart. Did you know, music is a numerical formula? By the look in your eyes when I said that, I’d guess you’ve already heard that view.” All the guessing was leaving me a bit peeved, I’d like to have a part in the conversation, too.

“Hey, I like math, numbers are fun, and music being numbers makes a lot more sense to me, honestly.”

“Of course you do, you’re only fitting in here in Ponyville because we’re all odd in some way or another here.” She grinned broadly. “I’m a master-grade musician and have been since I could physically hold an instrument, and I prefer to look at centipedes. Which only have about thirty-seven pairs of legs, in spite of the name.”

“Well, aren’t you knowledgeable. So, you know what I’m doing, or rather, not doing here. What about you?”

“Clarsach Butterflies only show up in Ponyville once a year. they’re very rare, and have no place in any ecosystem they’ve been encountered in. Their caterpillars are laid wherever they wander during their migrations, and eat any kind of leaves they can find and are too toxic for natural predators to eat. So I catch them and feed them to my terra-tula.”

“Uh... do you mean ‘tarantula’?”

“No, terra-tulas are mineraloids, but have many spider-like properties.” she tilted her head in thought. “Such as being spiders, with stone armor in place of the normal chitin.”

“Mineraloids? Dang, you certainly have interesting creatures. The only rock monsters humans have are all fictitious.”

Lyra shrugged. “Terra-tulas aren’t monsters; that’s a different classification altogether. Although, tecto-rantulas are classified as ‘great-monsters’, or kaiju.”

That surprised me. “Uh... I assume you mean ‘kaiju’ as in ‘it’s very very very big’?”

“Yes. Most mountains that are permanently dormant are actually tecto-rantulas. They sleep a lot, but some dragons remember losing parents and elders to them. For some reason, dragons don’t like tecto-rantulas.”

“Well, I wouldn’t like something that ate my parents, personally.”

Lyra looks at me pointedly. “Well, that seems prejudiced. how you like it if your food disagreed with you, just because you were eating it? I’m sure seeing screaming cauliflower would throw off your appetite.” Strangely, her smile hasn’t left her face. I can’t tell if she’s teasing me, having an honest debate, or some combination of the two.

“Well, the fact that it screams wouldn’t matter, I don’t like cauliflower in the first place.” I stick my tongue out.

Lyra nods sagely, then climbs onto the bench, sitting up into a position that looks supremely uncomfortable for ponies: like a human. She pats the bench beside her, indicating for me to sit down.

“Well, I suppose that is a wise choice. Cauliflower sometimes contains vegetables, there's usually a high chance of that.” She reminds me of someone, I just know it, but I can’t put my finger on it.

“Well, you certainly are an interesting pony. Probably the most interesting I’ve met so far...”

“Probably because I’m ‘whimsical’, as most ponies say. Oh, would you like me to play a song? I brought my lyre, but I haven’t gotten around to playing it today. It wouldn’t do to become rusty and maybe crack a spring.” I have no idea if she’s being serious, lost in thought, or what, but the idea of a relatively private music number seems nice.

“Sure, let’s see what ya got.” I sit back, and wait for her to begin.

The harp hovers into her grip, and she begins to play. Instead of plucking the strings with magic, though. she instead uses her hooves. I’m not really sure how, but she does. A strange, haunting melody begins to pour forth from the instrument.

I just stay still, and wait until she’s finished. Once she’s done, I speak up. “That was beautiful. I don’t know how you ponies can do things like that with hooves, but I guess that just makes it more impressive to me.”

“Harmony guides all things. Some of us are guided more strictly, and others...” she trailed off, staring at the instrument in her hooves. “Some of us help guide harmony.” she looked up at me, and smiled again. What she said next, I’ll never understand how she did it. How she knew, or how she could’ve found out, or anything.

Somehow, she called me by my real name, first and last.

Next Chapter: Chapter 48 Estimated time remaining: 28 Hours, 56 Minutes

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