Reforming the Sirens Part 2 - by Anonymous

>Twilight's book drops onto the kitchen table, shaking nearby cups and plates >You clear enough space to open it to the most recent messages and take the pen from your pocket "Aria, will you go upstairs and check on Sonata and Adagio?" >Your focus is split as you listen for her reply, and brainstorm possible responses to Twilight >Straightforward? >Cryptic? >Hostile? >Not TOO hostile. What if you're wrong about this? "Hey, I know you heard me." >You turn to Aria. She stands just outside of the kitchen >A powerful, spiteful glare takes you by surprise "...Something strange is happening and I have to look into it. You're mad at me, I know, but could you please... do what..." >She walks to the counter beside you, takes a forgotten bag of tortilla chips, and marches through the living room, to her bedroom >The sinking feeling in your stomach sets in with the slam of her door "Wait!" >You lunge forward, then come to a sliding stop on the tiles >There are other things that need to be addressed first "God... damn it..." >With your free hand mashed into your mouth, you return to the book >It's been several minutes since the last messages >Most of which have been sloppily placed periods, in an attempt to draw your attention (with the flash and chime the book emits when it's closed) >Your hand can do little more than shake in anticipation >Better bite the bullet >You jab the page, leaving a dot of your own. Text appears below in just seconds >"Anonymous why didn't you respond?" "I was busy. Sorry.' >"No worries. What are you up to?" "Cleaning up. You're coming over right? By the way yes I would love to go back to the book store. Twilight." >"Yeah I'm coming over" >"to your house. Soon. I hope you'll be there" >Your eyes narrow "Why are you coming to my house?" >"To celebrate" "To celebrate confirming that the necklace was enchanted?" "You're coming to my house to celebrate that thing that didn't happen?" >"I just want to see you." "Why are you leaving Equestria?" >"huh?" "the examination isn't over right?" >"no" "So what are you doing?" "is there something I should know?" >"no" "We're partners. If there's something going on you can tell me." >"I'll tell you in person." "Twilight." "Either you think I'm an idiot, or lying just isn't one of your talents." >There it is. No more beating around the bush >You cross your arms and wait >The silence previously warded off by the hum of the refrigerator alone is pushed further away, by muffled yells upstairs >What could be wrong? >How do you argue with an obedient slave? >Unwilling to leave the book, you lean in, with the empty page space below your blunt accusation in your sights >... >"Aren't you one, though?" >Your jaw drops >Surely you misunderstood. So you read it again. And again "?" >"An idiot. I'm calling you an idiot." >The unintelligible argument on the second floor gets louder, while you become more passive, choosing to stare dumbfounded at the response >Nearly a minute passes by >"What's wrong? No more questions, Anonymous?" >"Go ahead, send some." >"Ask me anything you want." >"There are some things I KNOW you should ask." "like what?" >Larger, lopsided letters appear: >"If a human being" >"and an equestrian creature" >"fall in love..." >Your heart skips a beat >"and decide they want to" >"start a family, what happens?" >"Can the creature get pregnant?" "What are you talking about?" >"No good? How about this:" >"In Equestria, what is the punishment" >"for sheltering criminals?" >You can barely keep from dropping your pen in-between the pages >"What is an Equestrian dungeon like?" "Wh" >Her writing overlaps yours: >"Are prisoners ever executed in Equestria?" >You start again below... "Who are" >...and are interrupted >"Are inter-species relationships" >"illegal in Equestria?" >... >"Am I going to shame" >"the entire human race" >"with my crimes?" >"Am I a liar and a pervert?" >"Do I deserve my easy life?" >"What is wrong with me?" >On the next page over, you too write in large text: "who are you?" >Hers returns to its original tidy form >"Twilight Sparkle, at your service!" "She wouldn't say any of that" >"Are you kidding? Criminals are a blight on society. You can burn in hell for all I care!" "Who is this? How do you know so much?" >"How do you know so little?" >"Oh, right, because you're an idiot." "Why do you want me to stay at my house so badly?" >"Oooh, you better do that." "Why?" >":)" >You repeat your question several times, with no response >Hearing a slammed door and feet stomping down the stairs, you shut the book and pull away to the living room in time to meet Sonata >Her face is stuffed into her arms "What in the hell is going on up there?" >Her right hand flies from the handrail to your chest >You stumble backwards into the couch "Hey!" >"Shut UP!" >She runs into your bedroom on the left and shuts the door >Before you can go after her, a figure emerges from the unlit hallway upstairs >A wall of hair drags behind timid footsteps. Two hands cling to the handrail in terror >She carefully tests each step with the ball of her foot before committing, and her balance is secured and double-checked before taking on the next >You reach out a hand as she passes the middle step >Not entirely sure what happened in your absence, you brace yourself for anything >"Anon-" >She cautiously extends her left arm >Her hand hangs limp >"Anonymous?" >You take it and guide her onto the carpet >The living room's various lights give you a clear view of her face: >Sweat. Pale skin. Big eyes. An open mouth. Lips plastered with dried blood. All accompanied by bright red marks on both cheeks >A delicate smile appears, one quickly replaced with shock >"Your face!" "It's fine. Don't worry about that." >Her hand approaches the bandages >"I... but, I ruined..." >Fingertips brush against you. Hard enough to revive the stinging pain >You back away, and so does she, before frowning and fighting off tears >"You were perfect, and I ruined you." >Time seems to slow as the two of you exchange stares >Hers is of disgust and regret. You... can't believe what you see >Having been absent from school during the Sunset Shimmer incident, Twilight's book that writes itself before the reader's eyes was the most magical thing you'd ever seen >Even that is nothing compared to this girl crying over you, when she has every reason not to >"You still look perfect though!" >She switches to the other side of your face - perfectly fine, aside from hints of bruises Aria once left there - and caresses it >"With or without cuts, no one can compare. It will heal. Don't you think scars are attractive?" >Not really >It hadn't occurred to you until now that your face will probably be permanently marked >You shut your eyes and sigh >"What did I say? What's wrong? Do you not believe me? I love scars, Anonymous. I LOVE them. I love them, I love you, I-" "What?" >She jumps at your unintentionally loud voice >Amid all the confusion, that phrase still packs a punch >To think the first girl who'd say it to you would be her... the necklaces are no joke. So then why- "Adagio, who was yelling?" >"That was Sonata." "Why? You seem to be..." >You gesture toward her "...agreeable, right now. How did she get mad when you're her biggest fan, so to speak?" >"There's a misunderstanding. I am your 'fan', and no one else's." "But she sang, right?" >"Yes." "How can you be sweet on me but not her?" >Adagio looks more and more uncomfortable as she formulates a response >"My affections for you are... uh... they're... um... when it comes to magic spells, I know slightly more than I claimed. They can be open-ended." "What does that mean?" >"They can change in small and big ways." "Your magic seems straightforward to me: sing and everyone close enough is captured by it." >Adagio rests a hand on her chest >"That makes it sound so primitive and ugly, Anonymous. The magic is in the composition of the song, as well as the nuances of our performance. Emphasizing certain notes or changing the timing is almost like writing a new spell. In this case, Sonata wrote a spell to..." >She squints >"" "Make you adore me, but not her? Why?" >After shaking her head to get rid of the discomfort, she smiles sweetly >"The spell has a cost, one that rises when fewer sirens are contributing. That's one of the reasons we were a group in the first place." "So Sonata-" >"Is a worthless idiot, lacking both the intelligence and the strength to control both of us. Don't think this is the first time she's let someone down. And the reason she was yelling? It's silly." "...Tell me." >"I hope you won't get upset." >Twilight's book chimes from the kitchen "Adagio. Spit it out." >She lightly bites her damaged lip >"I told her about your feelings for Aria, as well as the true nature of your punishment sessions with her. I've meant to make these things clear to her for a while, and what better time?" >You grip your hair and hold your breath >"It's embarrassing to admit this, but I assumed she would find out on her own. Surely Aria would mention it to hurt her, causing a big fight between them. But that never happened, did it?" "...No..." >The book chimes a second time >"Aria's feelings for you must be stronger than I thought." >Adagio frowns >"Your feelings for her aren't genuine, are they? You just want her body." >She rests a hand on your shoulder >"And she's just a confused girl. It would be a disaster of a romance." "Shut... up..." >You drag your feet into the kitchen, not bothering to avoid the drying blood on the tiles >With the book pulled open, you read: >"Interesting! Are you in charge of her?" >"Does she do whatever you tell her to?" >Your vision nearly blurs as you slump over the book, reading the messages over and over >An urge to go outside and investigate comes, and goes >The pen in your shaking fingers produces ugly writing: "where are you" >... "who are you" >... >":)" >"Bad news!" >"Someone is speeding to your house right now and they intend to search the place." ___ >"Fucking LET! GO!" >Aria's pulled through the kitchen, into the hallway and toward the punishment room door >The paintings she latches onto fall one by one >"LET GO OF ME!" "Calm down!" >She's like a wild animal dragged by its tail >A bit earlier on trip number one, you scooped up a sobbing Sonata and placed her on the punishment room's single chair >Now on trip two the door creaks open to reveal Adagio relaxing in that chair, with both feet planted on Sonata's back "What the hell..." >"LET! GO!" "For fuck's sake, Aria, I told you!" >You drop her onto the floor, then hold her tight by both shoulders until the struggling stops "S-Something weird is going on. Someone is... f-fucking with me." >"Huh?" "I don't know what to do." >Your hands tremble so badly that Aria is easily able to slip from your grasp and stand up, pushing you back onto your ass >"What's going on?" "Do you think it's someone dangerous? They know about... everything." >Aria looks to Adagio for an explanation, but the glare she gets turns her back around "They can hear me." >"What? Who?" "They can hear what we say." >You hide your face "If I go outside, should I bring a weapon, or is it pointless? If it's an Equestrian..." >Adagio raises her hand >"I will go if it's dangerous." >After a moment of silence, Aria leans in close to you and whispers: >"If it's dangerous and you send her..." "I wouldn't-" >"Don't even think for a second I'll let you get away with that." >You stand and shake your head "I wouldn't do that, God damn it!" >Adagio raises her hand again >"Is this man bothering you, Anonymous? Looks like he's a poor companion to all... not just me." >Aria spins around and, still pretty tipsy, falls into your arms >"You're one to talk. What kind of leader can't resist SONATA? Unbelievable." >"If it upsets you, perhaps you should have rushed into the guest bedroom and stopped her. Worthless as ever, twin-tails." >"...Shut up." >Sonata looks anxiously between the two, then crawls over to the wall on the right "Guys..." >"Did I hit a nerve? Sorry about that, twin-tails." >"Shut! Up!" >"Be thankful to Anonymous for that nickname. The real one is bland, and easily forgotten. Much like yourself." >Aria steps toward Adagio. Before she can take hold of her shirt, Adagio has slid off of the chair... and raised it overhead "ADAGIO!" >They both freeze "Drop it!" >... >Some part of it cracks when it hits the floor behind her "Jesus! You don't hurt your friends. Understand?" >You rest a hand on Aria's back >Her lowered head and defensively raised arms remain, even after Adagio sits down on the carpet and nods >Catching the chair would have been easy. Aria must be more shocked than afraid >The room falls into a deeply uncomfortable silence. And thanks to that, something catches your attention: >The faint thump of a car door thrown closed ___ >"Anonymous!?" >You stand in the living room, staring at the front door >"Your car is here. Don't try to hide!" >It shakes as she knocks full-force >Every hit sends another wave of anxiety. Turning your stomach, pricking your entire body with pins and needles... >"Let me talk to her!" >You take a deep breath "...Talk to who, Rarity?" >She gasps >"Open the door!" >The knob rattles "Talk to WHO?" >"Sweetie Belle!" >...What? >"I know she's here!" >What!? >"Open! The! Door!" >You turn the lock, open it up, pull her inside by the wrist and lock it again >A corner of her large, blue book bag is caught by the door >She's quick to pull it out and back to her side "Sweetie Belle is NOT here. Go home." >"She IS here. I'm going to find her." >She takes off, and you pull her to a stop by the back of the shirt "Did someone tell you that?" >"Anonymous, watch where you put your hand..." "Answer the fucking question." >Her face would make someone believe you'd just threatened her life >"It's none of your business." "Who said it? Did they say it in person, or send you some kind of message?" >"Let go of my shirt!" "This is serious! Start talking!" >As she twists in an attempt to pull the fabric from your fingers, the book bag swings into your leg >Your reaching for it gives Rarity all the strength she needs to break free and escape to the other side of the living room >"Boundaries, Anonymous. Goodness. If you MUST know, Sweetie told me that she came here once before, when she was upset. She's upset right now, so there!" >...Why would Sweetie tell her that? >You watch Rarity march into Aria's bedroom >The closet, beneath the bed and under its blankets are checked >"SWEETIE!" >She hurries out, around the couch and into your bedroom on the left >Women's clothing is probably laying around somewhere... >...but suddenly, you're not too worried >With crossed arms you step inside and watch her rummage through the closet >"Sweetie Belle!" >Each time she calls out she gets a bit more quiet >Opening the bathroom door leaves her stunned >"You have a..." >She shakes her head and shuts it, before pushing past you >"Sweeeeetie!" >Her black boot hovers over the first step leading upstairs >A moment later, she walks a bit further right to inspect the kitchen, instead >"Beeeelle!" >That's... enough >You follow her into the hall beyond the kitchen, turn her by the arm and pull on the front of her shirt >"H-Hey!" >Her arm flies to the stretched neck hole to block any potential sneak-peeks >"What in the world are you doing!" "Rarity." >She's pulled a little closer >Probably too close >Thoughts thrash about so wildly in your head that it takes time to sort out another sentence: "...I've got a question for you. And it's a real fuckin' burning one." >"I-Is this the best time? Our parents are fighting, and they'll be very upset if I don't-" "Rarity." >You pull her even closer >A flowery perfume overpowers your sense of smell >"What? What, Anonymous..." >The color in her face slowly warms to a pretty red >"I n-need to find my sister." "Rarity." >She shuts her eyes tight "There's something different about me. It feels terrible, and it LOOKS a lot worse. I find it hard to believe that you of all people could overlook it." >You let go. She holds onto the wall to keep from falling down "I'm going to ask you again. Did you receive some kind of message? Because otherwise, I'm going to draw some conclusions you don't want me to." >Rarity holds her book bag close, and stares at the floor >The hair she loves to parade around so much hangs limp and messy >On top of that, she's not wearing a bit of makeup >Is that how she'll play it off? >Darling, presenting myself in this state left me flustered! >It'd be an adorable defense >... "Rarity." >She plays with the flap on her bag "You're going to have to say something." >... >"I'm going to open the door." >She stands up straight, and gradually, her eyes meet yours "That's a four on one fight, you know." >She smiles >"I'll take my chances." >Rarity cautiously backs away from you >When the punishment room door is directly behind her, she takes two tiny, bright orange items from her pocket and stuffs them into her ears >All three of the girls jump at the flimsy wood cracking against the doorstop >Sonata then continues lying on her side and moping >Aria assumes a hunched, drunken version of her usual aggressive posture >Adagio raises her eyebrows and watches closely >You follow the wannabe fashionista inside >"Do I even want to know what you do in here, Anonymous? Goodness. Well, line up! Let me take a look at you." >Aria steps forward with her fist raised >"What is going on?" >"Hello! It's been a VERY long time since I've seen those purple twin-tails of yours." >"...Twilight's friend?" >Rarity fans the air in front of her face >"Breath as off-putting as her appearance. I'll never understand why you've gone to so much trouble for these three, Anonymous." >"Wh- you know what?!" >"I'll get right to the point. You girls are criminals!" >They each look to each other, as if they needed confirmation >"Say it with me now, tomboy! Cri-mi-nals. Bad guys. Creeps. People like you deserve to be locked up in jail, yet for weeks you've gotten off easy playing... house, with Anonymous. I hate to burst your bubble, but-" >A sudden slap of her hands startles you >"Pop!" >She hums and taps her chin >"Did I say people? You'll have to excuse me. I meant creatures." >Aria throws a punch, grazing Rarity's side in her frantic sidestep >"Whoa! Down, boy! Down!" >Rarity digs into her bag >What looks to be a notebook is flicked open >"Want to try again? You're clearly under the influence, so I'll stand still." >She hums in the face of Aria's long wind up. Something is taken from between the book's pages, tucked between her thumb and index finger, and held up toward the attacker >"This isn't a ball game, sweetheart. Throw it or don't." >Aria rolls her eyes and puts all of her strength into the next hit... but it stops short, doing little more than pushing Rarity's arm back an inch >"Goodness!" >Rarity looks a bit like a child, hopping away and exaggerating her pain with a waving hand >Aria on the other hand, freezes. Arm outstretched, body bent forward in the middle of a punch that would have ended the fight >Her eyes go wide >She mouths words that can't be heard >Relaxing her fingers happens one at a time in painful spasms "Aria?" >Forcing the arm back against her stomach jolts her entire body >She gasps and collapses onto her side "Aria! What's wrong?" >Rarity once again flicks open the notebook and reaches inside >"Now then... I'd give you a fighting chance, too, but let's be realistic. Girls like you get boys to do everything for them." >"...What?" >She pulls on Sonata's arm until she's sitting up straight against the wall >"Never mind." >You're startled by a second slap: this time Rarity's palm against Sonata's forehead >Her eyes close. She grits her teeth so hard you think they might shatter >"Yeah, I bet that hurts." >As you move toward the girls, Adagio finally stands >She runs through the room (keeping plenty of distance from the others) and pushes on your chest with both hands >"How about making our exit, Anonymous?" "Would you fucking move?!" >You push past, and she circles around to stop you again >"My guess is that she's a second agent from Equestria." "She's not! I can deal with her!" >Adagio rises on her tiptoes and whispers: >"We'll take care of her later. Don't forget about the items in your pocket. I would hate to lose them, almost as much as I would hate to lose you." >You look up to see Rarity rush forward, book bag and notebook tucked under an arm, and another of the strange objects raised into the air >Just before she's in range of Adagio you shove her away >"Anonymous! No!" "Shit!" >You hold your breath >Having just missed her target, Rarity's wide swing pins something to your wrist >Fuck... >Fuck! >It- >It! "It doesn't hurt..." >She digs out the notebook again and sighs >... >You slap it out of her hand and push her to the floor >"Ow! Hey!" >With a knee on either side of her, and a hand pressed firmly into her chest, you pin her down "What is this, Rarity?" >"Ow! Ow! Don't touch me there!" >She squirms around >"Anonymous, you're hurting me!" >One at a time, you pluck the orange plugs from her ears >The complaints immediately stop "What did you do to them?" >She watches you slide the notebook to her side "...Twilight's." >One of the thin and square objects, half-fallen from the notebook, marks a page >Upon turning to it you find about a dozen of these "stamps" resting in pockets, formed with construction paper and tape >Glued onto the top left corner is a card, filled with tiny print but headed with a large warning: >DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE FROM TARGET WHILE DEVICE IS ACTIVATED. >DO NOT LEAVE ACTIVATED FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. >USE AS A LAST RESORT. "What ARE these?" >... "How do I deactivate it?" >You scan over the small print on the card and find what appears to be legal information "If you don't start talking, I swear to God-" >"Careful about manhandling me Anonymous. I don't appreciate it. It might convince me to leave them like this forever. And let me nip this in the bud: the notebook doesn't have any instructions inside of it." >...Shit >You look up to Adagio, who hovers beside you >Then you force yourself to look back at the girls >Aria lies with the stamped arm tucked close, staring into space and shaking with every weak breath she takes >Sonata's eyes have yet to open. Her tears stopped the instant the stamp was applied, yet she looks more miserable than ever "...Adagio's bruises are my handiwork, you know..." >Rarity shoves the side of her face into the carpet and squints "I bet she's a lot tougher than you are. If she couldn't handle it-" >"Y-You w-wouldn't hit me." "Oh yeah?" >"Y-Yeah. Besides... delaying things is a b-bad idea. They'll probably die." "What?!" >"Having one of those things stuck on you looks p-pretty intense. What if they both have a heart attack? We can't know for sure until it happens. But what I DO know f-for sure is that I'm used to a lot worse than some... slaps." >She looks at you from the corner of her eye >"So go ahead. Waste our time. It's their funeral." >You stand and scoop up the notebook and book bag. Adagio is quick to take your place on top of Rarity "Rarity... just..." >Next to Aria and Sonata, you drop to your knees and let everything scatter onto the floor >Several unmarked books. Papers with familiar handwriting on them... >If the instructions are even in here, it'd take so long to find them "Please. Make it stop." >For the most part the two girls haven't changed a bit, barely bothering to even breathe. But one change sticks out: two short trails of blood running from Sonata's nose "Oh God." >You run the bottom of your shirt across her lips a few times, smearing and then cleaning it up "Adagio... the necklaces." >"What?" "Put on a necklace and make her reverse this." >"That would grant me... im... immunity. Which means-" "Right. That's right." >... "Run then!" >She frowns >"I can't do that." "Go!" >She hops to her feet and backs away to the door >Rarity, clearly nervous, looks between Adagio and the book bag beside you "Do you want this to happen to you? Go already!" >"Take her things and come with me. She can't stop you by force." "I can't leave the girls." >"Forget them, Anonymous! They would have been nothing but a burden to us anyway!" "Adagio! They're your friends!" >She shakes her head "Your ONLY friends. I'm staying here, and you're running until you can't run anymore. Pick a direction and avoid the road." >"But Anon-" "That's an order!" >She bites her lip, and takes off through the doorway >"Wait! Wait!" >Rarity nearly falls over trying standing up >Her pursuit only lasts a few steps >"...crying out loud... ridiculous..." >She stomps on the carpet >"Fine! Run! Two is more than enough! Besides, you won't make it on your own!" >With cupped hands around her mouth, she yells: >"When you come crawling back it's all OVER!" >The front door slams >... "Rarity." >You reach out to Aria's side, but hesitate to make contact in fear of causing more pain "You win. Just make it stop." >She steps over Aria and stands in front of you >With one foot forward, she bows as far as she can. Hair falls over her face >She raises her left hand, fingers prepared for a snap, and as she returns from the bow, her right hand wipes the hair out of her eyes and holds it tightly in place >She ends up in a pose straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon >"Okay." >A loud snap breaths air into the girls' lungs >Sonata falls to her side >Aria feels along every inch of her arm "Guys! Are you alright?" >They don't respond. They don't even look at you >"Anonymous." >Rarity holds out her hand >"I'll take my bag, and my notebook, please." >You reluctantly hand over both >"Thank you." >Her boots track mud in Aria's sprawled hair as she walks by >She pauses at the door >"I'll give them a few minutes to stop overreacting. When they're ready, pile everyone into the kitchen." ___ >For the past ten minutes, you, Aria and Sonata have sat around the dinner table >Not a word has been spoken between the three of you >In fact, only two things have distracted you from dwelling on the situation >First: the occasional cough from Sonata, followed by specks of blood raining onto the tablecloth >Second: questions from Rarity each time she's popped back into the room >"Is that a POOL in the backyard?" >"Does it stay warm here in the winter?" >"Where is the closest store?" >You've mumbled out halfhearted responses, watched her nod and walk away, then ignored the urge to say something - anything - to the girls, over and over >Every second that goes by makes it seem more pointless >What must they think of you? >"...Anonymous!" >This time Rarity returns with one of the fuzzy blue pillows you bought for Sonata some time ago >She runs fingers from its top to its bottom >"Why do you own so many pillows?" "...Mom." >"Oh. Well, she has very good taste. >This time you stop her "Rarity, hold on." >"Yes?" >She steps inside and rests the pillow on the counter "...Why are you searching my house?" >"Hmmm!" >She taps her chin >"I'm only looking around." "But why?" >Her strange smile leaves you unsettled >"Would you prefer for us to start our meeting?" >Neither of the sirens look at Rarity as she walks around the table, stopping at the fridge >She takes note of the blank whiteboard and feels along its top for the marker >"After all, I have a lot to explain. Bimbo? Tomboy? Pay close attention." >Only Sonata looks her way, and reluctantly at that >"My name is Rarity. I am a human being. We're known for our intelligence and compassion! What-" >She points to Aria >"are you, tomboy?" >... "She's a-" >Rarity stamps her foot >"I didn't ASK you, Anonymous!" >You swallow, and beg in your mind for Aria to cooperate >... >"Aria." >"Aria?" >"Yeah." >"You're AN Aria? Are you AN idiot, too? Do I need to repeat the question?" >Rarity loudly taps the whiteboard with the end of the marker >"WHAT are you, Aria?" >... >"A siren." >"That's wrong." >A long, confusing silence compels Aria to look up from the table >"You're a monster. Nothing more, nothing less." >Aria seems more confused than angry, so far >The cap comes off the marker >Rarity writes out "AND MONSTERS ARE:" >Each of the following are added as they're declared: >"Dangerous. Ugly. Immoral. Evil! Stupid! Disgusting!" >That last one is underlined >"Dis-gus-ting! That's what you are. Before this meeting goes anywhere else, I'm going to need you to agree." >The two of them lock eyes for what feels like an eternity. Then, Aria looks down at her lap >"Repeat after me. Yes, Rarity, I AM a stupid, disgusting monster." >Aria shakes her head >"Fine." >Rarity raises her hand up over the center of the table, fingers prepped for a snap >"You're only hurting yourselves by being stubborn." "She agrees! Okay? Don't do it!" >Aria slams a fist against the table >"You don't SPEAK for me anymore, Anonymous, so shut the fuck up!" >Her scrunched nose and misty eyes leave your lip trembling, as you fight back tears of your own >"I am NOT disgusting! I am NOT stupid! Sirens are leagues ahead of humans. You're horrible. Fucking horrible!" >"What?" >You tense up as Rarity leans in, stopping inches away from Aria's face >"Did you call Anonymous horrible?" >"...Yeah." >"What do you mean he doesn't speak for you? Was the argument earlier that bad?" >"Anonymous is a traitor." "...I'm not..." >"I don't ever want to speak to him again." "I didn't betray you. What are you talking about?" >She stands and yells: >"Adagio!" >Rarity chooses to back away, and listen close >"How could you do that to her? She'll never forgive you! She'll never forgive US!" >Tears come rolling down her face >"She's protected Sonata and I our entire lives. And you do this?!" "I had to do it!" >"Bullshit!" "I had to, Aria! She tried to BLIND me! How could I work with someone like that?" >She slaps both hands onto the table >"Did you ever think maybe it was because she was SCARED, Anon?" "...What?" >She's paused here and there by stifled sobs >"You tie us up, you treat us like garbage, you torment us... we can't even fight back thanks to these fucking bodies. OF COURSE we're scared of you! ...At least Equestria would give us a trial first." "A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL is hunting you down!" >Thoughts race through your mind, most of them gut-wrenching "Government... official. She has meetings with your world's LEADER. What if they put you to death?" >You do everything you can to avoid crying in front of these three >"That sounds great right now!" "Aria, come on!" >"Compared to falling for a lonely, scheming human's tricks? Compared to betraying my leader for a fucking-" >She grabs a tea cup and throws it as hard as she can, shattering it against the wall behind her >"-BEDROOM? For a JOB? Do you have any idea how I feel right now, Anonymous?!" >She forcefully wipes the back of her hand across her mouth, and spits into the floor >"...Adagio was right about you." "We can't turn on each other now. I had to get Adagio on our side... this was the only way I could do it." >Sonata stands >"That's a LIE!" >Her... too? >You... sink into the table... >"Adagio said she'd cooperate. But Anon told me to sing anyway!" >Aria's shocked expression presses for an explanation "She-" >You... feel sick... "She didn't deserve to be-" >"He said she didn't deserve to be reformed!" >Please stop... >"She was ready to switch sides and he STILL MADE me-" >"This is your fault too, Sonata! Don't try to get out of it!" >"What?!" >"Why did you go through with it? Huh?" >"...Um-" >"How could you do that to Adagio?" >"...Why didn't you STOP me, instead of running away like a coward?" >Aria hits the table again >"Why did you DO IT?" >Rarity waves her hands, and then points at the girls' chairs >"Calm down. Take a seat." >Eventually, they do >"I... didn't realize things were so bad between you three. Interesting. This should be a lot faster, then, since you checked that off the list for me." >She pulls up a chair of her own and rests the book bag on the table >Before sitting down, she takes the communications book Twilight left with you from the countertop and presents it >"Let's skip ahead. You three can argue all you want later. Besides, I think Anonymous is curious about this." >You bring yourself to lift your face off of the table, though you can't help but slouch "I am." >"Good!" >She drops it >The table shakes under its weight >"Because I was, too. So curious that I couldn't sleep. It drove me up the wall, I dare say. Do you know why?" >You have an idea >Too anxious to risk saying the wrong thing, though, so you shrug >"Because unlike you, I understand how big a deal this book is." >From the bag, Rarity retrieves a similarly large and well-built book >Its cover wears a sun emblem, colored with red and yellow >"Do you remember the name Sunset Shimmer?" >Of course you do >"How could you not? She made quite a scene at our high school, not so long ago. Sunset is a unicorn, once trained by the ruler of all of Equestria. Yet even with that training she was defeated... by Twilight Sparkle and I." >She pauses, apparently waiting for Sonata and Aria to react >They don't >You wouldn't dare correct her by mentioning Rainbow, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and the shy one >"A unicorn trained by the most powerful. Pony. In Equestria. This was in her possession, but Twilight was ordered to inspect it for anything sinister." >The book is slid in front of you >"Turns out it's clean. Soon, it was to be returned to the criminal in question. Thanks to your actions, I was forced to... borrow it, from Twilight's bedroom. Go ahead and open it up." >You turn to a page near the middle marked by a No. 2 pencil >In the corner of the left page, in small box, "Loans and Hesitant Travels" is written. Below it: >"where are you" >"who are you" ":)" "Bad news!" "Someone is speeding to your house right now and they intend to search the place." >You turn to the previous page and find additional familiar messages, and back further, even more >Upon finally locating something you don't remember reading or writing, you check this page's corner and see "Hidden By Shadow Yet Endorsed By Light" >Below it: "Another meeting with the princess?" >"I'm afraid so. Things slow down this time of year, making it harder to hide things from her." "Does she know about the girls?" >"No. Only that I've been stressed lately." "Good. Keep it a secret no matter what." >"Obviously, Anonymous. I'm not a filly." "I know." >... "Rarity, what the hell am I looking at?" >"It's simple. If you bothered to read the instructions at the beginning of the book, anyway. The day Twilight returned to her world, she told me the code 'Hidden By Shadow Yet Endorsed By Light', which is the one she wrote down in her own book." "But..." >"Yes, I told a tiny little white lie." >She measures the air with her fingers so conservatively that they could just as easily be pressed together >"The code I relayed to you was made up on the spot. From then on, I wrote Twilight's code and spoke to her as if I were you. Then I turned around and wrote my code to speak to you as if I were her. Can... can you imagine the rush?" >You rest your forehead against your palm >"You didn't suspect a thing, and neither does she." "What all did you say?" >Another creepy smile appears on her face >"A lot of things." "Like... like what?" >"Things like, 'Twilight, did you drop your notebook? I found it outside of the school!'" >She clasps her hands together >"And I reassured her. 'Don't worry. I'll keep it safe. I just want you to relax.'" "You stole it too?" >"'Oh thank you, Anonymous. I can always count on you!' That led to a lot of interesting discussions, about Equestria, about magic, and about those cute little stamps Twilight had smuggled in early on." >The sirens sink into their chairs a bit, seeing Rarity dig one out >"These were for protection. Just in case. Using magic in this world is tricky, after all." "What do they do? Is Sonata alright? She's been bleeding-" >Rarity flicks the stamp >It flutters forward, landing in front of Sonata, who practically ducks beneath the table >"They force a monster to remember her true form." "Is that all...?" >"Don't underestimate what I said. Tomboy and Bimbo are wearing human costumes. They walk like us, talk like us, and feel like us. With these stamps we can force their brains to revert to their gross, original states." >With pretend tremors, Rarity raises her hands and grimaces >"Suddenly their little human arms are five sizes too small. The space between their fingers are like knives, cutting into their flesh. Their bones are too weak to support their repugnant, hulking bodies. That's what the stamps make you feel." >Jesus... "It's all in the mind though, right? They'll be okay?" >"I don't know. I don't really care." >She shrugs it off as though it were nothing >"Twilight says that the stamps can cause extreme stress on the mind and body, and because of that, she's too afraid to actually use them. Take your answer from that." >You eye the floor and try not to let your imagination run wild >"I know you have more questions, Anonymous, and I'm dying to answer them!" >... "Yeah." >"Well, don't sit there and mumble. Ask me loudly and clearly!" >... "How..." >You clear your throat "How could you hear me earlier..." >"Are you shaking? Oh dear, I hope you're not THAT upset. You and I are humans. To us, the stamps are just pieces of paper with strange symbols." >She walks around the table, rests a hand on your shoulder, and whispers: >"I really am sorry." >After a quick trip into the living room, Rarity places something at her spot at the table >A brown bear, in a black suit. Wearing a smile and a wink >She sits back down holding a small kitchen knife and carefully cuts through the back of its head "Are you s-serious?" >Its eyes grow closer and its snout sinks >Cotton pushes out of the back as she digs in with two fingers >"Here we go." >Out comes a bright pink device, resembling a cheap smartphone >Something round has been taped onto the "accept call" button >A cord running from its bottom, down into the bear, pulls out a second device. Some kind of portable battery? "Is that your cell phone?" >"No, it's my sister's." >She presses the "end call" button and lazily drops it onto the table >"If you think I'd be lucky enough to be given something as expensive as that, you're naive." "So, what? You called it with your phone and spied on me?" >"I was only gathering evidence. All I needed was a single clip with the slut, or twin-tails over here, speaking. I got that right away. Muffled, but more than enough. However-" "You stole Belle's phone..." >"-it became clear that there was something bigger going on here than I originally thought. Your tall tale about a magical attack got a lot shorter-" "Twilight's notebook. Sunset's book..." >"-and I decided I simply HAD to take action-" "Did you steal my mail? How in the hell did you get my parent's address?" >"...Anonymous." "Is that all you are? A nosy thief? What the fuck is wrong with you?" >From the bag, a small black book is taken and thrown against your chest >You barely manage to catch it >"That's VERY funny coming from the man who sent my baby sister to steal this!" >Its cover is blank >The lock hangs open >"I'll have you know she checked inside my pillow, and when she didn't find it, went through my closet, my drawers, everything. What an example you are, kidnapping people, hitting women, manipulating my sister, telling me lies-" >She claps >"-bravo! Bravo! Meanwhile, everything I've done has been for the greater good, and if you want to hear more about it I suggest you be quiet." >Seething with anger, you grip the diary tight and lower your head >"As I was saying, something strange was going on. Figuring out what kind of relationship you four had was terribly hard. One day twin-tails is begging for your attention with a mile-long report on her finished chores. Then the next, she's reminding the slut about how you kidnapped them, and mistreated them. It's a mess. To make things worse, Rainbow's little music class has made it hard to listen in. That's why I messaged you tonight, you know." "...To get me to send her home?" >"I won't lie. I wanted to frighten you a bit, too. A little bit of payback. If I'd known you would try to run away like that... and to think they used to call you leader!" >Sonata jumps at the pointed finger >"Remind me. What is the name of Anonymous' group?" >"...Um..." >She fiddles with her thumbs >"It was... M-M-Mer... M..." >"Mer-Mer-Mer? Excuse me? Can't you even speak right?" >"...m-m-m-" >The stuttering gets worse as Sonata's entire body begins to shake >She pulls on her hair >" Q-Qua-" "It's Mercy Quartet." >"Incredible. The sirens, who are 'leagues ahead of humans', depend on a human to answer a simple question." >Rarity stands at the whiteboard again and claps a single time >"Here's an even easier question for the village idiot." >She writes "MERCY QUARTET", followed by "BELONGS TO:" down below >"Well? What's the answer?" >Sonata looks to you before giving a reply: >"A-An-Anonymous." >"Ooh..." >For a third time, that unnerving smile appears >"'re wrong." >At an agonizingly slow pace - but with beautiful, swirling letters - she writes out her own name >"Being Twilight Sparkle's closest friend, I feel it's my duty to take over for her while she's gone. I've got some big plans for you." "...Like what?" >"Let's just say... we're going to make sure Twilight catches the big scary criminals she thinks she's hunting down." "What the hell does that mean?" >She winks >"It means we're going to put that thing hanging around the bimbo's neck to use." >You can't be serious "Don't mess with things you don't understand!" >"And you understand it? I heard you ask Adagio how her magic works, after you'd already gone and used it!" "Rarity..." >"Besides, these two can and WILL tell me everything I need to know." >Your weakened legs put up a fight, but you manage to stand "You're going to have them, what, use their necklaces to steal? Then pin it on them when Twilight comes back?" >"Not exactly!" >She stands too, with abundant energy and her hands on her hips >"You don't realize how miserable Twilight has been for the last month, worrying endlessly about these three. Do you honestly believe that catching some petty thieves is going to satisfy her?" "...Then, what?" >"When she comes back, she'll have a deeply personal fight on her hands. When it's over, she'll be a savior again. And I'll be right there by her side." >Her hand trails up her shirt, and she rests it over her heart >"Where I should have been when this started. As for the monsters in the room-" >The sound of MIDI classical music fills the room >"Hold on." >Rarity pulls a flip phone out of her pocket and rolls her eyes at whatever the caller ID displays >Click >"Is this an emergency? It had better be an emergency." >... >"For the love of-" >... >"Yeah! Okay! Fine! I don't need your life story, do I? If you're still crying when I get out there so help me-" >The phone is snapped shut and stuffed into the bag >"...Well girls, use your imagination. I have to go." "What? You're just going to leave?" >She takes Sweetie's phone, Twilight and Sunset's books as well as the notebook, and stuffs it all into the bag >"My, uh, 'assistant' needs to go home right away. They're waiting in the car." >An entire night left to dwell on this? >Left to argue with Sonata and Aria? "I-" >There are no more excuses you can give them "I think we should discuss things more. I still have questions-" >Rarity leans in close from behind >"Don't worry," she whispers, "I'll be back tomorrow. Do what you can to keep the sirens here, Anonymous. Because if I show up in the morning and either one of them have disappeared... I'll snap my fingers and take a nice, long nap on that giant bed of yours." >She pats your shoulder a couple of times and leaves >You're left sitting alone with Sonata, who resumes her pitiful sobbing, and Aria, who refuses to so much as look at you ___