Within every pony, ofttimes, there dwells a mighty and raging fury.
The sun rose brightly that very special morning. It shined over the field of dandelions, illuminating them with hues of white and gold. A young Pegasus raced through the dandelions. Seeds dancing through the air with every step she took. She giggled as the seeds soar all around her. Closely behind, a stallion and a mare trotted together, their bodies tightly against one another. Love was in their eyes as they gaze into one another’s. A passion filled their hearts... a happiness that they felt the day they were wed. They took a glance towards the filly as she raced through the meadow and smile. The happiness they felt on their wedding day was nothing compared to the joy they felt at the arrival of their daughter. Their little angel.
The filly rushed towards her mother and spoke, “Mommy! Come on!” The mare smiled as she began to playfully chase her daughter through the flowers. Laughter filled the air as the filly skipped around the fields with the earth mare closing in. The mother finally caught the little angel and hugged her so very tight. The father laughed as they roll into the ground, seeds flying all around them. The filly hugged back and sunk her head into her mother’s arms, smiling a sweet smile. The mother softly stroked the filly’s pink mane and kissed her forehead.
“I love you, my little angel,” the mother whispered in her daughter’s ear.
“I love you, too, mommy.”
The stallion appeared beside them, taking each of them in his arms. “I love you both.” He brought them closer to his body, tightly wrapping them in his bright brown wings.
“I love you, too, daddy,” the tiny filly replied.
“And I love you,” the mother said as she gazed into her husband’s eyes. The daughter looked up to see her mother and father kissing. She laughed. Not at the kiss. Not because her parents were in love. But because she was happy. She always felt like she was the luckiest pony in the world. The father gazed down upon her and as if sensing her daughter’s needs, he leaned down toward his daughter and kissed her on the forehead.
The day had ended so quickly. The sun began to set. It was time to head back to the car, but the filly was too excited to go just yet. She was so happy in that field. The flora, and of course, the fauna.
Just as they began up the steep slope that led to the road, she saw a butterfly pass her. She liked butterflies. They were her favorite animal in all of Equestria. In all the world. Her face lit up as she saw it. The way the beautiful creature seemed to perform ballet in the air as it flew. She wanted to dance with it. She was mesmerized by the beauty and elegance of the flying dancer.
The stallion smiled as his little angel ran off chasing her new friend. The mare just shook her head and giggled. Daddy pulled his wife closer to him and held her tight. She rested her head against him. They smiled as they watched their little angel enjoying the world that was so beautiful.
The husband looked to the distance to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful sunset. Its combination of reds, oranges, and purples made an image of beauty and wonder. He could only think of two things more beautiful then that. His wife and his daughter. As he began to enjoy the final moments of the day, he saw something that shattered their perfect world. A pony in a military uniform crawling through the meadow, lying low as not to be seen. But the stallion could tell the soldier was anxious. It gave away his position, which was his advantage. But where there was one... there was likely more that were hidden.
“They found us,” he whispered in fright. He urged his wife to bring their daughter to the car.
The daughter’s instincts of panic and fright took over. She was able to sense her father’s fear and followed it quickly. The mother took her by her hoof and dragged her to the car. The daughter fought her hardest to keep up. The fear and panic her mother felt influenced her, making it even harder to keep calm.
When arriving at the car door, they flung it forward as fast as they could. The daughter hopped in the backseat behind her mother. The filly looked out the window to see several ponies coming straight for them on hoof. Tears started to developed in her eyes. She would always have nightmares about them. Nightmares about them coming to take mommy and daddy away. Her mother and father would always reassure her it would never happen. Regardless, it was always her greatest fear in a long list of fears.
The father leaped into the driver’s seat and started the car in a frantic hurry. As soon as the car’s engine was running, he floored the gas pedal as fast and as hard as he could.
They lost the soldiers in the meadow in a matter of seconds. Then from behind them, just out of the wilderness to the right, appeared two large jeeps. The jeeps carried several ponies in military uniforms. They were gaining fast. The father pressed on the gas pedal even harder, hoping for more speed. He looked in the rear view mirror to see them approaching; it was only a matter of seconds before they caught them.
Just then, another jeep appeared in front of the family. The father didn’t even see it until his wife cried out to him. He looked ahead to see he was almost at the jeep. With only a split second to decide, he turned his car to the left as hard as he could, hoping to get around the jeep. The car was going too fast, it swerved out of control. It smashed the gate on the side of the road, soaring down the steep hill. It rolled down the hill, flailing around the passengers inside.
The father was thrown from the vehicle and skidded across the field. He brushed the dirt from his face. His breathing became her rapid as he turned his head behind him. His thoughts turned instantly to horror as he stared upon the accident. The car was on its top and fire was spreading fast. His only thoughts were on the safety of his wife and child.
He cried out in terror for his family, “Posey!” He rushed to the car as fast as his legs could get him there. He looked inside to see the beautiful mare that he loved with all his heart, unconscious and trapped. His heart felt as if it had just been jab. He needed to get her out of there. He needed to save her. His thoughts then wondered to his daughter. He looked throughout the car, but didn’t see his little angel.
“Fluttershy!” he shouted. He franticly scouted the surrounding area to see where the tiny filly had gone. He then found her heading straight for him, her eyes consumed in tears. “Honey, listen to me,” the stallion pulled a roll of papers out of his pocket and handed it to his child. “I need you to take these and I need you to run, okay?”
Fluttershy sobbed uncontrollably, “D-daddy.”
“Just go where mommy and I told you to go if we got separated. We’ll be right behind you! I promise! Go!” his voice was racing, frightened.
Fluttershy didn’t want to go, but she did what her daddy told her and ran as fast as she could, tears rushing down her face. She ran and ran, breathing heavily as she ran. She heard her father scream her mother’s name. She wanted to go back. To see her mommy and daddy. To be a family. But she kept running. Her heart raced as she plowed into the near by sea of trees. Branches scratched against her as she moved past them, but she was too frightened by the soldiers to even notice.
“Mommy and Daddy will come! They’ll come and we’ll be together! Together forever!” she kept telling herself. She ran and ran. Everything was so loud. The heavy panting mixed with her sobs, her heart beating like a bass drum, the engines in the jeeps revving as they sped towards them, her father screaming her mother’s name. All these sounds overwhelm her until a huge explosion overpowers everything.
Fluttershy gasped as she awoke from her horrifying nightmare. Her heavy breathing filled the air around her as she was once again over taken by silence. Her face felt cold. She wiped away the sweat from her forehead. Tears started to develop in her eyes until they finally rolled down her cheek. She looked towards the window, as the sun slowly rises over the mountain. She wiped away the tears from her face. “231 Days,” she thought to herself, “since the last time... she came.”
‘She’ was the pony Fluttershy feared the most. And she wanted to keep ‘her’ away as long as possible.
As for the nightmare, it had occurred for years now. If only it would stop. “Will it ever stop?” she thought to herself. She sat upon her bed, still sobbing, when she heard a knock on the door.
A much larger mare opened the door, “Shutterfly, are you alright?”
“Yes... yes, I’m fine,” Fluttershy replied, wiping a tear from her eye. Blackberry was the largest and most intimidating mare Fluttershy had ever met, but she had a heart of gold.
“Alright,” The ebony mare shrugged. “Come on, let’s get some breakfast.”
The Pabulum Circus, run by Monsieur Pabul, was one of the finest circuses in Equestria. Very few circuses compete with this one and Fluttershy counted her blessings upon stumbling to this place. Many of the ponies she met were very nice, but none where nicer than Monsieur Pabul and Blackberry. Monsieur Pabul wasn’t even a pony, but a griffin. A very nice griffin. The nicest Fluttershy ever met.
“Good morning, Shutterfly,” the trapeze sisters greeted as they passed by.
“Good morning, Quartz. Good morning, Sapphire.” Fluttershy replied. Shutterfly was the guise she was living under. She needed to keep the illusion that she was some pony else. Any time any pony would ask her about her life story, she would bore them with a story of how she ran away from home. If only that where the truth, she often thought. She hated lying to them, but it was better this way. For every pony.
“Good morning, Shutterfly,” a duo of garbage collectors smiled as their coworker trotted by.
“Good morning, Lancer. Good morning, Ace.” Fluttershy worked the grounds at the circus. While every pony else was preparing their act, Fluttershy was busy cleaning the grounds, running maintenance on the machines, and taking trashes to the dumpster. It wasn’t the job she dreamed of, but she was working. There was one thing she loved about her job, however.
Suddenly, a huge gray snake-like appendage wrapped itself around Fluttershy’s body. It lifted her off the ground and pulled her towards whatever creature controlled such a limb. Fluttershy, hovered high above the ground, was face to face with an elephant.
Fluttershy smiled as she beheld the giant, “Oh, hello Bertha.” Fluttershy hugged the elephant’s trunk. “I couldn’t come by without say good morning to you, now could I?” The elephant set Fluttershy down gently. Behind the larger elephant’s leg, a baby elephant, no bigger than Fluttershy, appeared. He let out a screech of joy and darted towards the mare.
“Good morning, Tommy,” she greeted the baby. “You are getting so big.” She hugged the baby and the baby rested his head against her.
Fluttershy couldn’t stop thinking about Tommy, the baby elephant. She was working for the circus when Bertha gave birth to the young pachiderm. It made her happy to see that young innocent life being brought into the world. It reminded her of her own family. How she felt when her mother would hold her so tight. Like she never wanted to let go. The warm touch of her mother’s hooves, the soft voice that sang her to sleep, and the endless love and affection she displayed. She missed it. She missed everything about her. Not a day went by that she didn’t think about her mother. How she would have traded everything she had to get her mother back.
“Shutterfly!” an accented voice called her back from her thoughts. Fluttershy looked towards the lion cages to see Monsieur Pabul and two other ponies near one of the cages. The lion inside seemed to be acting up. It was growling in a way that was unusual, especially for this lion. It wasn’t like him to be aggressive towards other ponies. He was usually a calm lion. Fluttershy instantly knew something was wrong, even if she didn’t know exactly what. “We need you!” Monsieur Pabul shouted.
Fluttershy rushed to the griffin’s side. “What’s wrong?”
The griffin wiped his brow, “It’s Alex. He’s been acting up all morning and we’ve got a show to do tonight.” The lion was important to the show, without him, the amazing Lion Tamer would need to be cancelled. It was one of the highlights of their shows.
Fluttershy smiled, “Don’t worry, Monsieur Pabul. I’ll see what’s bothering him.”
The lion growled as the cage opened. He wasn’t usually this rowdy, especially to Fluttershy. Something was obviously bothering him, but Fluttershy wasn’t sure what. Regardless, she decided to be cautious.
“Easy, Alex. Easy.” She slowly approached the lion, being ready at any second the lion might jump and attack. Alex wasn’t one to attack, but with the way he had been acting today, she didn’t want to be caught off guard. She wasn’t sure what she would do if he did attack, but she didn’t want to find out. Whatever was to happen, she knew it wouldn’t be good for any pony. For Alex. For her. She finally came within striking range of the lion’s massive paws. She felt a sweat as she stared into the beast’s eyes.
“What’s wrong, Alex?”
The lion growled as it turned its massive paw to reveal a thorn.
“Oh, you poor, poor, little baby,” Fluttershy spoke in a very motherly voice. “Now this might hurt for just a second.”
She placed her teeth on the thorn and pulled it out as gently as she could. The lion growled in pain as the thorn slipped out of its paws. He was upset at the pain, but it was quickly diminished. Fluttershy spat the thorn out of her mouth. She then gently licked the place where the thorn had been, as a mother would lick her child’s injury. “There, all better.”
The lion marched itself back to the far edge of the cage and placed its head in its arms. Then, after taking a deep breath of relief, it slowly drifted into slumber. Fluttershy couldn’t help but smile. She liked Alex a lot. He was a good lion and one of her best friends at the circus.
She turned her gaze outside the cage towards Monsieur Pabul, who was awaiting her company with a pleased smile.
“I don’t know how you do it, Shutterfly!” Monsieur Pabul cheered. “I don’t know how you manage to get all the animals here to like you.” He smiled as he complimented the young Pegasus, who practically begged for a job. “You are better with animals than most of the animal tamers here!”
“Oh, I’m really nothing special. I just love animals,” Fluttershy humbly stated. Monsieur Pabul would always compliment his employees on their good work. He treated them better than most ponies would treat their own families. She once heard that his own family had treated him poorly, so he ran away and joined the circus. Others say, he was once on the other side of the world, but came overseas for a job. When he couldn’t hold one, he started his own circus show. Whatever the story, Fluttershy felt like she belonged with this group. She almost felt like family and Monsieur Pabul was her surrogate father.
“Shutterfly, I would really like you to think about a full time job here. No more of this under the table business.” He placed his claw on Fluttershy’s shoulder. “I could make you an animal act. ‘Shutterfly and her amazing hypnotic powers over the animal kingdom’!” His voice was overdramatic and his body posed with his claw high above his head as if he was giving a performance. Fluttershy gave a smile and a slight giggle.
Hearing the Pegasus laugh made Monsieur Pabul grin, “Okay, admittedly the name needs some work, but we could work something out. What do you say?”
Fluttershy shook her head, “It’s very nice of you to offer, but I love the work I do. And I’m not very good in front of ...crowds.”
Monsieur Pabul sighed, “Well, I can’t make you do it if you don’t want to, but you know, you are always welcome here.”
Monsieur Pabul continued towards the big top to oversee the final preparations of the show. Monsieur Pabul was a very special griffin. Fluttershy had nothing when she first came to him. She begged him for work. She begged him to keep her name off record. She begged him for a place to call home. And every time, Monsieur Pabul’s kindness was only equaled by his generosity. Fluttershy thanked Celestia everyday that she had met a kind griffin such as him. Fluttershy wished she could tell Monsieur Pabul the truth, but it was too dangerous. And she didn’t want to involve him in anything that might get him or any pony else hurt.
Fluttershy made her way into the nearby town of Baltimare. It was a sprawling metropolis, filled with all sort of ponies, griffins and dogs. It wasn’t unusual for this city. However, the diversity of the city caused a lot of local violence. Police forces were often understaffed. Fluttershy, however, didn’t pay attention to those details. Her circus company was heading towards Manehattan in a few days. She only came into town to gather up supplies for her trip.
She readjusted her baseball cap for what seemed to be the millionth time this trip. Her long flowing pink mane all bundled into a clump, all contained in a hot, sweaty piece of stallion’s headwear. It bothered her to wear it, but it was necessary no pony see her face. Especially, some pony that would recognize her.
Fluttershy carried her bags tied to her back. It contained many things that she needed for the work she did. Not circus work, but more private work. She was heading back to the circus camp when a cry stopped her. A small whimper that resembled a cat’s cry was heard. On top of that, she heard several ponies laughing.
“Look at the little stray,” she heard a voice from a nearby alleyway speak.
She looked into the alleyway to see three mares tormenting a helpless little kitten. The kitten moaned again as one of the mares picked her up by her tail. The kitten flailed in panic, trying to loosen its tormentor’s hold. The mares simply laughed. The dark green one with the light green mane spoke, “Come on, little kitty. Let’s see how high you fly.” She tossed the kitten down the alleyway and near Fluttershy. The kitten started to run as fast as it could, as far away from the mares as it’s little legs could get it. This made Fluttershy upset. They shouldn’t be laughing at a poor, defenseless kitty. That’s just not nice.
The mares continued their cruel laugh when a little voice interrupted, “Um... Excuse me.” The mares turned around to see a yellow Pegasus pony with a blue baseball cap standing before them.
“You really shouldn’t pick on little animals like that,” Fluttershy spoke in what was for other ponies more of a whisper. She wasn’t comfortable talking in front of crowds and she certainly wasn’t comfortable with standing up for anything. Regardless, she decided to be brave. They shouldn’t pick on a little kitty and she was going to make them see that. Somehow.
“Oh, look girls. We’ve got a Filly Scout here!” the green mare, who seemed to be the ringleader, taunted, “Here to save all the little animals!” The other mares started to laugh as the ringleader unleashed another taunt, “Oh, I’m sooo scared.”
“I would really appreciate it if you would not pick on that little kitty again,” Fluttershy murmured. She had hoped that the mares didn’t hear over their laughter, but that was wishful thinking.
“You would really appreciate it, huh?” the ringleader asked. “Tell you what...” Ringleader grabbed Fluttershy by her hoof and pulled her into the alleyway. “You don’t like it when we pick on the little animals? How about when we pick on the big animals?” Ringleader then pushed the Pegasus pony until her flank was against the wall.
The other two mares surrounded the yellow Pegasus. Sweat started to build on Fluttershy’s face as one of the other ponies repeated what Ringleader said. She was breathing franticly and her heart must have jumped 20 beats. She knew what might happen if she lost control of her temper. She didn’t lose her temper often, but when she did... She tried not to think about it. She mustered as much courage as she could and gave a deep swallow, “Please, don’t make me assertive... I don’t like it when I’m... assertive.”
This made the other ponies laugh hysterically. The very thought of this little pony being assertive? Towards them? Ringleader finally controlled his laughter, and grabbed Fluttershy by the ties on her bag. “Look, little filly-!”
“Hey!” They all turned to the street to see a much larger mare coming down the alleyway. She was black with a short purple mane and purple tail. “You want to pick on some pony, pick on me.”
Ringleader let Fluttershy go and started to back away. “Nothing going on here,” she shrugged. She and the others walked out of the alleyway so casually, it was as if they didn’t even realize what they had just done.
Blackberry could have given chase to them, but they weren’t worth it. She turned her attention to Fluttershy, who was taking in several deep breaths. “Are you alright?” she asked.
“Yes... I’m fine.” Fluttershy replied, finally seeming to calm down. Blackberry then put her hoof around her friend. Fluttershy replied with a smile and Blackberry repaid her in kind.
“Come on, we’ve got a show to put on.”
“Welcome, fillies and gentlecolts, to the greatest show in Equestria!” Monsieur Pabul’s voice boomed as the speakers amplified his voice to be heard over the hundreds of cheering spectators. “Tonight, you will see feats of dexterity and strength beyond your wildest imagination!” Monsieur Pabul’s words echoed through the stadium. The ponies in the audience were growing restless every second; they were ready to be astonished. The griffin knew it too.
“Allow me to begin your wonder and amazement with Monsieur Marni and his famous lion, Alex!” The griffin’s spotlight moved towards the back of the stage, to reveal a gray pony followed by a very big lion. The crowd cheered as they stepped forward into the center of the stage.
The lion let out a mighty roar. This was a real lion and one wrong move could spell disaster. This was the pull that caught so many ponies’ attention. The pony stepped up on his hind legs, the lion mirroring his image. Using their hind legs, they began to walk towards one another until they were face-to-face with one using the other’s arms for balance. The audience was soundless as if silently praying for nothing to go wrong. A drum roll begins as the lion opens its mouth revealing its sharp fangs. Monsieur Marni placed his head in between the lion’s powerful jaws, knowing they could drop on him at any second. Several moments passed, as Monsieur Marni removed his head from the beast’s mouth. A fanfare indicates the trick is over. The crowd explodes with awe and amazement. Alex and Marni place themselves back on all fours and give a bow.
Several more minutes pass, as Alex and Marni mirror each other almost in sync. A few of the audience members claimed they were watching a performance based on the books written by Rice E. Burroughs. Monsieur Marni moved like the jungle pony, ‘Tarzan’ as he leaped and bounce around with the king of beasts at his side. With their last performance, they gracefully bow and walk off stage, the crowd continuing to cheer even after they disappear.
“That was a wonderful performance, Mr. Marni,” Fluttershy congratulated. She had been watching from back stage like she always did. She loved watching this act more than the others. It warmed her heart to see a pony care about animals as much as she did. Mr. Marni and Alex always to seemed to work so well together. Fluttershy remembered Mr. Marni telling her that it took several long months before Alex would even let him near his cage. Over time, the others would be allowed near the cage, but never near the lion himself. No pony other pony could gain his trust. At least, until Fluttershy came along. Mr. Marni complimented how short a time it took her to gain the trust of the lion. A few months, and the only other pony that was allowed near Alex was Fluttershy.
Marni smiled, “I’m glad you enjoyed it, Shutterfly, but that performance wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you.” The lion purred as if to agree with Marni. Fluttershy giggled as the lion’s tongue tickled her cheek.
“And you were so good, Alex. You were just wonderful,” she embraced the lion’s large head in her arms, with Alex showing approval by purring.
Another hour of performing passed by, with the audience being treated to fire dancing, flying trapeze, jugglers, and even an elephant act featuring Bertha and Tommy.
After fifteen minutes of cheering, laughing, and discussing with one another, the last of the crowd was leaving. This was Fluttershy and her coworkers cue to start cleaning up after them, which took them another hour. Fluttershy didn’t mind the quite. In fact, she liked it better when there weren’t so many ponies around. She would be off doing whatever needed to be done without the worry of having an audience silently judging her every move. That was something she wasn’t jealous of.
After everything was cleaned up, the workers went to the back tent to relax and revel in another great show. Fluttershy often stood in the corner, either talking to Alex or keeping Bertha and Tommy company. The others were often drinking or smoking as they laughed and told stories to one another. Fluttershy had been offered more than once to join them, but it was often that she was listening rather than speaking. As nice as all of the ponies were, she preferred the company of animals.
Monsieur Pabul took to the air just above the circus crew and started to speak, “Congratulations everyone. You all performed wonderfully!” Monsieur Pabul always spoke like this after a performance; it was something Fluttershy had come to expect. “And I’d like to personally thank Shutterfly.” He pointed to the corner, causing everyone’s attention to be shifted to her. She started to blush as her head sunk into her shoulders. “Without her,” Monsieur Pabul continued, “we wouldn’t have had such a grand show.”
Fluttershy just smiled, but her face was still quite red. She didn’t think she deserved such praise. The group cheered and clapped for the yellow Pegasus, much to her embarrassment. The griffin then made his way down to her and put his claw on her shoulder. His smiled greeted the pony as she turned her head. “You did great today,” he praised.
“Oh, thank you, Monsieur Pabul, but I’m really nothing special.”
“What nonsense is this? Of course you’re special,” he then snapped his fingers as if he just remembered something. “Oh, a package came for you.”
Fluttershy’s eyes widened at hearing this news. A wide smile began to emerge on her face. “Really?” she almost shouted, but even if she did, it wouldn’t have been louder than her casual voice. Her answer came to her in the form of a small brown box made out to ‘Shutterfly’. Fluttershy quickly swiped the box from the griffin’s claws and hugged him tightly, “Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you!” It was finally here. The answer to her prayers was finally here.