The trials and tribulations of managing your own personal pony village.
Total Quest Duration:2 years, 3 months, 1 daysTotal Word Count:493,197Total Quest Posts:1361/1535
Avg Thread Duration: 1 days, 22 hours, 6 minutesAvg Word Count:3,600Avg Thread Posts:11
Current Thread Duration:0 days, 0 hours, 9 minutesCurrent Word Count:2,633Current Thread Posts:8
Total Threads:137

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:45:46 No. 32645304

> Pulling from under his touch, you rear back enough to look him head-on.
"If you could free me right now... would you?"
> "There'd have to be recognition of Special Circumstances, or-"
"Forget that. Forget the laws, the rules, the expectations. If it was just your decision, would you free me? Would you let me choose my own path, go to see my family?"
> "I..."
> The words catch in his throat, indecisiveness sticking them there.
> His hand trembles with uncertainty.
> Like a window into his mind, his eyes show the thoughts churning and processing within.
> You suppose there ought to have been some comfort in that:
> Mere months ago he would have answered that you were to serve him, without question.
> Now, seeing your pain and your love has softened him.
> But right now, it does not feel like comfort.
> It feels like an affirmation:
> Despite all of that softening, he could not accept the idea of seeing you out of his grip.
> In the end, you were still a slave to him first and foremost.
"...I see. Thank you, Master, for answering honestly."
> He recoils, having realized too late the blow his non-answer had struck.
> "Cadance, wait-"
"No. I understand, Master. What was it you once told me? I am too important to this place for you to lose."
> Your eyes fall to the floor.
"Nonetheless, I would ask that I be allowed to take tomorrow off from work. To be with my Shining Armor, before he must go."
> "Of course, Cadance."
> He knows it won't make up for what he has just told you.
> But it is all the apology he can give.
> Turning for the door, you mope (or stumble) back into the camp.
> For a moment, almost by instinct, you draw your head up into something approximating your standard walk.
> Regal.
> Leader-like.
> But only for a moment.
> What was it Shining Armor had said?
> 'You're allowed to be a mare?'
> Well, that's all you are now:
> Not a princess, just a mare.

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:46:48 No. 32645310

> Grieving for the looming loss of the family she had only just rediscovered.
> You trudge through the camp on heavy hooves.
> At this late hour of the night there are few ponies about to see you; those who do watch with expressions of concern and worry.
> No doubt tomorrow your condition would be fodder for the camp's rumor mill.
> Let them worry.
> You were fed up with having to put masks on over your emotions.
> This time - this one time - you could let them see the grief-stricken pony beneath.
> Shining Armor is already waiting for you in the quarters when you get there; avoiding a gallop straight into his embrace is all you can do.
> Instead you climb up beside Shining and settle against him.
> He nuzzles into your neck, breath puffing on your mane and whickering softly, while you lay your head across his hooves.
> A gesture of simple comfort:
> 'I am here.'
> That knowledge is something you throw yourself into:
> Relishing in the simple awareness of his closeness, bathing in it as if the feeling was something that could be harvested before he vanished again.
> "Cady?"
> Soft lips touch a spot behind your ear, drawing a flick from it.
"I'm tired of it, Shining. Every time I think we're finally getting somewhere - finally taking steps towards setting everything right - something else is taken."
> Rolling over, you peer up at his concerned eyes.
"Don't I ever get... ‘us’ again? Is that too much to ask for, to even get to pretend for a little while?"
> Leaning down, his lips softly meet yours.
> Not with desire, but as a tender touch of love.
> "Yes. We will, Cady. One day, we will - all three of us."
> On any other day you would have found this reassuring.
> Not today.
> Shining can tell, too.
"I... asked Anonymous. If he would free me, if he could - to let me be with you."
> You don't need to say what the answer was.
> It's plenty clear already.
> Cradling your head in his hooves, Shining frowns.

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:47:50 No. 32645317

> "That's why... I understand why you've made the choices you have about this place. I saw that well enough when he admitted what he'd done to Corona. But someone like him, he'll never be able to let go of seeing you as 'his'."
"I wish I could say you're wrong."
> "But Cadance: There are others. There are humans who don't see us like that. Gracie-"
> And here he winces.
> "-who I will have to explain myself to for leaving a friend behind. Megan. You are right about her - they will see how wrong this is."
"But will it be soon enough?"
> He doesn't have an answer.
> Neither do you.
> Eventually you find sleep in each others' hooves, but it is a fitful and turbulent sleep.
> A night loomed over by the specter of soon being torn from his side.
> By morning, you can tell Shining has had the same reaction.
> And you?
> You have had enough.
> If the end of this servitude is not in sight, then you refuse to let yourself be tossed about by it as a helpless victim.
"Shining, when does your Master go to work?"
> "Uh, not for another hour or so. Why?"
> Even with the timezone difference, there may still be time.
"By afternoon it might be too late; he might have put in the transport order for you. Come with me."
> Not until you slip through the front door of Anonymous' manor does he catch on to what you intend.
> Or maybe that is when he finally feels compelled to bring it up.
> "Cadance, what are you doing?! I think we'll run out of his good will very quickly if he catches us-"
"Anonymous will take a while to be dressed and have his breakfast. He won't be up in his study for a while."
> There's an edge to your voice.
> One that gives Shining pause; he hangs back at your flank.
> "What about Megan?"
"Not up for another half an hour."
> "The other house ponies?"
> Looking back, you brush your muzzle against his.
"They will not say anything. I know your nature is to guard, but please, Shining - trust me."

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:48:52 No. 32645321

> "I'm just worried about you. He did threaten to beat you if you went behind his back!"
"I would take a hundred lashes if it meant you could stay longer. A few slaps to the rump will be nothing."
> "Don't say that, Cady. Please. I don’t want to see you lashed."
> But he doesn't argue further either.
> As you'd expected, the office was empty.
> The computer, however, was locked.
> "Use the phone. I know his number."
> Ring, ring, rin-
> "Hello?"
> Shining draws a breath.
> "...h-hey, Master."
> "Shiny? Why're you - do you know what time it is?"
> "I -"
> He struggles with the question, and chokes.
> "Is Corona okay?"
> "...kinda. She didn't sleep well last night, but I think she's doing better now that you're coming home again."
> You can't help but give a despondent huff.
> "Shiny? Who was that? Who's there with you?"
"Myself, sir. Cadance. No one else?"
> "He let you two call me?"
"We, ah..."
> Hesitation drags the moment on, and Shining's owner leaps into the silence:
> "Seriously, Shining? You're going around behind his back now too?"
> "I had to, Master, I - I can't come home yet."
"I cannot let him go either."
> This time it is his turn to stall in silence.
"Please, I am begging you. If not for my sake, then for his. This is destroying him; neither of us could sleep at all last night!"
> "That true, Shiny?"
> "Yeah. I can't just let myself be taken away from her right after I found her. Please master, I'm-"
> His voice shakes.
> "-I'm begging you too, don't take me away from her just yet!"
> "And I begged you, don't break my trust again. But here we are."
> Ouch.
> You can see Shining flinch from that.
> Leaning over against him, you briefly nuzzle his mane.
> "Master... I'm sorry. I - I had to see my family. And now, I can't imagine going back without..."
> A gentle sniffle is a tell-tale for the tears beginning to dampen his cheeks.
> "I've barely even spoken to my daughter, Master!"

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:50:04 No. 32645326

"Just the few days, like you originally said you were going to let him stay. Just a few days more!"
> "I said I was thinking about it, Cadance. Not said I would."
> Oh.
> "What do I have to do, Master? What is it you want me to say just to get a few more days with my family?!"
> His plaintive pleading is becoming indistinguishable from actual cries.
> It doesn't sound faked either.
> Had he genuinely thought his owner would be more accommodating than this?
> "I..."
> "Is this what you really want to do to me? Pull my family apart, like Gracie's was? Leave my little Flurry having barely seen her father."
> A hiss of rushing static on the line - or a tired sigh.
> "That was a very low blow, Shiny..."
> "It's how it feels, Master."
> “And speaking of Gracie, what do I tell her anyway? Sorry, we found Shining Armor, he doesn’t want to come home?”
> Shining flinches back, and you snarl angrily.
“Excuse me! But for someone who was just speaking of low blows, that is a very low one. Surely simply knowing he will be coming back should lighten her spirits?”
> “...yeah. Okay, yeah. That was. I’m sorry, Shiny. Shouldn’t have - tossed that at you.”
> “No. I’m sorry, Master. I started aiming low.”
> You smile a touch at their reconciliation.
> That relationship was hard to break, and quick to mend.
"If I can say - Shining came here looking to make sure his daughter was safe. Even if he does think she is safe now-"
> "And I... guess I do."
"-can you really force him to come back before he's really had a chance to spend time with her?"
> Still no answer comes, but that still feels like an improvement over a blind 'no'.
"I... I understand you are upset about what happened. But I am asking you - do not take that anger out on Shining Armor!"
> The longer a lack of any response comes, the more it seems less reassuring and more worrying.
> Where the two of you having any effect at all?
> "Shiny... I have to go to work."
> "Master!"

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:51:06 No. 32645327

> "Okay, okay! I - I won't send the transport order in today. I'll - have to talk to your Master, Cadance-"
> You wince; that was going to be a fun discussion.
> "-but... you get your few days. And then we can talk about more visits... somehow. If you don't give me any more problems."
> "Yes, Master!"
> Elation lifts Shining's voice; he whinnies happily and does a little trot-in-place dance.
> "Thank you! Thank you so much, Master!"
> "...yeah, yeah. Love you, you big goofball. Even if you are a pain in my ass sometimes."
> You can't help but giggle at that description.
"Needless to say, thank you as well from the bottom of my heart."
> "Yeah. Look, I'll talk later - maybe call back once I'm at work, set this up for certain."
> The line clicks dead, and you sag against Shining Armor in utter relief.
"Thank you too, love. I know that cannot have been easy for you."
> In response Shining nuzzles you back, whickering as his teeth nibble at the back of your neck.

"So, I take it the call went well?"
> Both ponies jump, Cadance giving a half-squelched whinny as they rapidly untangle from their embrace.
> Leaning against the study doorframe, you allow yourself a smirk.
> "M-Master, you heard-"
"The funny thing about a phone, Cadance, is that the display tells you when the line is in use. And when I noticed that particular number had been dialed out to..."
> They have the decency to look ashamed, at least.
> Shining is also shooting little worried looks at his wife.
> You've a fair guess why.
"You know, Cadance, I seem to distinctly remember telling you there'd be some very specific consequences for going behind my back."
> To your surprise, she does not seem particularly upset about this.
> If anything, her previously-ashamed expression hardens.
> "Yes, Master. You did."
"Was making the call worth it, at least?"
> Ducking his head, Shining looks back to Cadance and swishes his tail nervously.

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:52:08 No. 32645334

> Though not a direct answer to your question, obvious excitement boils just beneath his skin.
> Keeping himself from leaping and bucking in joy is all the stallion can do.
> "If you allow it, I am permitted to stay for a few days more."
> You turn the question over in your head.
> It had been something you had considered before - at that point, there seemed to be no downside.
> And, if you were honest with yourself, you held some sympathy for the plight of a broken family.
> After this...
> Well, you couldn't punish Flurry for what he had done and-
> Oh, who are you kidding.
> You're a sucker for this.
"Accepted... if you don't cause me any more problems. If you do, you're on the first ride home I can get you. Understood?"
Now he does buck and leap for joy - whinnying happily with each bound.
> Keeping a bit of laughter out of your voice is hard too!
"Easy there! You'll go right through a wall like that."
> Calming down just a touch, Shining Armor tosses his head and snorts.
> "Can't help if I'm happy about this!"
"No, I suppose you can't. Still, be careful."
> "Master?"
> By far the more nervous of the pair, Cadance shuffles uncertainly with her head still hung.
> "Am I to be punished for this? I... did go back around behind your back, and you did say.."
> That you did.
> A warning - a promise of retribution, swift and stern, should she do this.
> Yet...
> There was no malice or rebellion in this - at least not in your eyes.
> Could you deliver a punishment for merely seeking to gain time with her loved ones?
> What would you have done to avoid Megan being taken from you?
> Pushing off from the wall, you approach Cadance until you can drop to a knee and hold a hand out to her.
"Just - tell me why this couldn't have happened with my knowledge?"
> "It was... after what you told me, about not knowing exactly when it would ever end."

!F9CBa509ak 2018-07-13 10:55:28 No. 32645345

> She swallows, though from the emotions that raises in her mind or from the sense that this would not appeal to your mercies you aren't sure.
> "For once, I wanted - we wanted - to have something of our own. Not given to us, but something we sought out ourselves. So we would not take this lying down."
> That doesn't entirely make sense.
> They'd still have had to ask Shining's owner for him to stay, and then had asked you...
> But who said emotion - strong emotion - was logical?
> What this did say, is that stubborn rebellious streak was not quite suppressed in her.
> Likely never would be, especially if there weren’t repercussions for it.
> Or would punishing her now only reinforce that?

What do we do?
> This desire is something we understand. Let her go with an admonition.
> We understand, but discipline is important. Give her a quick, perfunctory slap on the rump like we did with Thunderlane and Tourmaline Twist.
> This was clear rebellion. Give her “a good few swats” like you’d promised, either with hand or belt.
> Something else?

Also please don't shitpost the thread into oblivion, guys. Actual discussion with raising reasonable points in discussion, sure, but it got awfully full of circular shitposting in here last time.
api | contact | donate | 0.076s | 6