Lost In The Herd: Three. Letters From Home.
By Jennifer Diane Reitz



Chapter Five: Always In My Heart



There is probably little reason to write this letter, or so they tell me, but I just can't seem to accept things. Perspicacity suggested that I try writing to you, that it might help me work things out. She's a lot smarter than I am pretty much about everything, so here I am, wondering what I am supposed to say to you.

None of this seems real to me. There has to be a mistake somehow. It's all so hard to accept. I guess I'm writing this, and sending it to your sister in Grand Rapids, in the hope that you may somehow see it. I want to believe that you could somehow see this. That you can still see it. I don't know what else to do.

I am told that you... are dead. I am told that you died flying an attack copter into the Great Barrier at full speed. That you conspired with your ladyfriend Hannah to - I can't wrap my mind around it - assassinate two of our Equestrian ambassadors. And the worst part is that it is my fault, my fault that it was possible at all.  

You know you were my best friend, back in the human world. We knew each other from grade school. We went to the same high school, and then college. We shared an apartment for I don't know how many years. I was there when you married, and divorced, Ashley. Remember the divorce party we all had? That was such a strange year.

I thought I knew you, I thought I understood you down into my bones. I thought of you as the brother I never had.

I just can't accept that... any of this could be true.

Maybe it isn't, I keep hoping. Maybe, someday, you will show up, here in Greater Fetlock, clopping down the cobblestones, some fine stallion I'd be proud to show off to my wife. You and Rocket and Perspicacity I could enter the Running Of The Leaves together, and my son would finally get to meet my very best friend. You could be his uncle. Oh, Celestia. Celestia.

In case it isn't all true, I'll tell you about the past six months. Maybe it will help me make sense of it all, to put it down on paper.

I passed my tryout for being a Firepony. Both me and Rocket got in. We had set up a little practice area near the newfoal barracks. We borrowed a hay cart and practiced pulling it, we pretended ropes were fire hoses and memorized the city. Rocket and I really bonded trying to get those jobs. I guess that's part of the reason Perspicacity and I adopted him. We're a family now, all living together above the telescope shop.

Beloved Celestia and Luna, but I love that filly. She has stood by me through all of this, and there is no way I deserve it, but she did. Rocket really is a 'luck pony', I guess, at least for me. He didn't get a clover-leaf like I thought, but he did get his mark. So have I. We both have matching flames and waterdrops. His mark has the drops on the left, and mine has them on the right. I guess being Fireponies was our true destiny in life. It definitely feels like it to me. Those matching Butt Marks really make us look like father and son, too.

I hadn't heard from you for four, almost five, months, but I wasn't thinking about that at the time. I was so busy learning how to be the best Firepony I could, and helping Rocket to be one too. Being a Firepony can be demanding, and dangerous work. But it is so very rewarding. I feel like a hero, sometimes, when I know I've rescued somepony, or at least saved their home or business. Most of the time, though, we all just wait around the hall. That part is really hard.

You would think being able to sit around and play games or talk would be an easy life, but it really isn't. Always we wait for the bell, always we are half on edge waiting for the call. Half of me dreads the call, because of what it means, and what we'll all have to face, and half of me is frustrated that the call hasn't come yet because waiting is so hard. Being a Firepony is a strange occupation.

But I am so fortunate - I have a career I am grateful for, I can help support my family, and I have a son I feel genuinely fortunate to have. Rocket has turned out to be a young colt I am really proud of. It's hard to imagine I ever thought he was a punk. All he needed was a little love and someone to show him how to be a stallion in the world. He was cited for bravery, I'd like to brag. He managed to save a little foal that was inside a burning barn, just before it collapsed. I almost had a fit at the time, I can't help but worry for him, but it was what needed to be done, and he did it, without once thinking of himself.

About a month after Rocket and I got hired, I proposed to Perspicacity. I had a solid job, a good future, and dammit, I knew I loved her even then. I guess I probably knew pretty much from that first time I met her, catching all those telescopes. I was afraid, of course, when I proposed, because we hadn't known each other for all that long. But sometimes, when magic happens, you just have to go for it, and I did. Luna only knows what she sees in me, but whatever it is, I am grateful for it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, it had been five months without any response from you, and I had just started to wonder if you were ever going to write back when there was quite a commotion in the street. Remember how I wrote that nobody famous ever visits Fetlock? Well, that's no longer true, and I can't say I ended up very happy as a result.

When I peeked out of the firehouse, the first thing I saw were these four amazing, armored pegasai. White as snow and covered in plate, with really fierce looking helmets. This was something to see, but there was more. They were pulling an amazing carriage, the Royal Carriage of Equestria, and you can guess who was riding in it. I felt a strange feeling of fear and devotion. Celestia. Princess of all Equestria, Goddess of the Sun. Here in Greater Fetlock.

When she started heading towards the Firehouse, my legs just buckled. I was down on the ground, bowing without even thinking of it. You don't need that training they give you at the pony school. You just can't help it. She has this presence, this majesty, that you can feel. It just fills the air. It fills the mind, it gets into the bones. It isn't like meeting some earth president or CEO. She is the real thing. Power incarnate.

I can say that she is definitely not of the world. Close up - her mane is not hair. I don't know what it is, energy, a curtain of light, pure magic flowing out - whatever it is, it is a badge of otherworldly something. It flows in currents beyond any wind, and to look into it is like looking into the colors of infinity. Celestia is absolutely a supernatural being.

I no longer doubt that she truly causes the sun to rise in the sky.

As glorious as this was, it did not go well. I was arrested - well, not exactly arrested, not like on earth, but taken into custody by a pair of those armorplated pegasai. I was never beaten, microwaved, plasma-whipped, pain-sticked, tortured or crippled. It wasn't like dealing with police on your side of the barrier. Everything was remarkably civil and polite. But I felt like I was in trouble, and honestly, I just plain wanted to cry. I wanted to cry like a foal.

My next few hours were some of the hardest in my life. I spent a long time just waiting in the city hall. They had appropriated the mayor's office, and that is where I sat. I don't know if they posted a guard, I was too afraid to move. I had no idea why I was there. I figured that maybe it was just because I was a newfoal, a former human, and maybe I had somehow broken some law by marrying Perspicacity. I was so afraid for her. What had I gotten her into, thinking I was good enough for somepony like her? I felt so ashamed and sad.

Finally Celestia, herself, entered the room. Tea was brought for her. She sipped her tea and regarded me. That was probably the longest few minutes of my existence. I couldn't bear to look her in the eye. I just kept staring at my hooves. I wanted to beg her on behalf of Perspicacity and Rocket, whatever was wrong with me, they were innocent.

In the end, it turned out to be about that schedule I sent you, the one Skysinger had gotten for me, the one that told which Bureaus Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie were visiting. I was informed that an attempt on their lives had been made, that Hannah had opened fire in the Lancing Bureau, that innocent humans and ponies had been hurt, even killed. I couldn't take it in. It was like a horror story just to hear such things.

But the worst was hearing that supposedly you had been working with Hannah all along, that I had been used to gather information, that you had betrayed our friendship, my... trust.

Celestia asked me questions, explained things, I can't remember everything that was said, or how I answered - the whole experience has blurred in my memory. I know I broke down and wept at least once. She was never unkind, I remember that, but I think she was somehow looking right down into my very soul during that talk. She was very gentle with me, but I was under no doubt, even for a second, that if I had been to blame, if I had actually plotted against her, I would not have survived that day. I don't know what she could or would do to an enemy, but I have no doubt it would be final. Celestia is both lovely and terrifying. She is sublime, fear and wonder and awe.

That said, I would never want to do anything to even upset her. Not because she is powerful, but because I genuinely don't wish to. If anything, I want to serve her to the best of my ability. I'm not sure that I can explain to you why, but the best I can offer is that she is worth devotion. You can feel it, right down to the marrow. I've never felt anything like that, even as a human child, not for any flag, or corporation, or earth leader. It's like not wanting to disappoint your own mother, only more so.

The one lasting memory I have of meeting Princess Celestia was a look of pity on her face. It didn't shame me, but it did make me feel very sad. She didn't pity my naivety, or that I had trusted without caution, or that I had failed to even imagine that the information I got for you could ever be used wrongly. I think, to this day, that she felt sorry for me, because she knew my heart had been broken.

I am so angry at you. How could you do such a thing?

Maybe this all isn't true. I want to believe it isn't true. But Celestia is a goddess. A living goddess. How can she be in error? She can raise the very sun into the sky. I want to believe that even a goddess can be wrong.

I want to believe that one day, I will see you, all ponified and fine, trotting up to meet me. My old friend, still my best friend.

I don't know if I can ever completely accept this. Probably to the end of my days, some part of me will be waiting for you to show up on our doorstep, even after Purification, even after there are no more humans. A part of me imagines you are already here, in Equestria, starting out in one of the many other newfoal schools.

My life went back to more-or-less normal after The Royal Visit. Someponies kind of treated me a little funny for a while - I mean it isn't everyday that Celestia Herself comes to a town like Fetlock just to talk with some pony. Especially about something like... what happened. Apparently a copter managed to through the Barrier and there was all kinds of fuss. I hadn't heard anything about it until that meeting with Celestia. Greater Fetlock isn't exactly an important hub of civilization.  

I hear that Skysinger was called on the carpet too. I haven't seen Skysinger since then. That hurts me a lot. My first pegasus friend, and I don't know if he will ever want to talk to me again. He has no reason to trust me anymore, and every reason not to, I understand that. I just wish I could talk to him, explain that I didn't know not to trust.

But I am just an earth pony. I can't fly. I wouldn't know how to find him, even if I could be sure it was the right thing to do at all.

Perspicacity has been wonderful through all of this. She has put up with my grief over all of this, and she never doubted me once. I wonder if, as a unicorn, she can see into ponies souls too, or if it is just that she just loves and trusts me that much.

Rocket and I work hard at being Fireponies, and on weekends we run together all the way to Just Fetlock and back, and sometimes Perspicacity joins us, and we are our own herd, running, running like the wind.

I always keep an eye on the sky, in case somehow I might glimpse Skysinger again. I guess I just can't help being the hopeful sort.

And I keep you, my old friend, always in my heart, and every corner I pass, as we run, I look to see if maybe, just maybe, it could be you galloping up to meet us. I guess I know it is unlikely, maybe even impossible.

Equestria is a magical land. Maybe there is enough magic even for the occasional miracle, If I just hope enough.

Rest easy, my old, dear friend.

I forgive you.

- Wildfire 


The End


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The Lost In The Herd Series:

One: The Big Respawn,

Two: Euphrosyne Unchained,

Three: Letters From Home,

Four: Four: Teacup, Down On The Farm


The Conversion Bureau Novels:

27 Ounces: A story of eight and one half ponies

The Taste Of Grass

The Conversion Bureau: Code Majeste

The Conversion Bureau: The 800 Year Promise

The Conversion Bureau: Going Pony


The Novellas:

The PER: Michelson and Morely

The Reasonably Adamant Down With Celestia Newfoal Society!


The Short Stories:

Her Last Possession

The Conversion Bureau: PER Equitum

The Conversion Bureau: Brand New Universe

Tales Of Los Pegasus


The Non-Conversion Bureau Fanfics:

The Ice Cream Pony Summer

Around The Bend






















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