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"A Shore Thing" Written submission by Sandy Shores

[plot timeline: before the cat!muse storyline, in early june]

Early one morning, a late spring breeze warmed Ickle’s kitchen through the half-open door.  Ickle sat, as her breakfast settled, at her teak table enjoying “La Fortuna”; a book Penwright had lent her.  It was a rarity of his collection—a romantic needle among the factual haystack!  It had proven an exciting read so far, and different from most romance novels.  Gushy dialogue yielded to historically-accurate adventures, thrilling cart races, and the trials of an impoverished gypsy mare.  She was about to read Verte Sante’s escape from the clutches of the lusty Matadore before a sharp knock at Ickle’s door pulled her away.  With a bit of disoriented surprise, she looked up to see a short, lanky unicorn, patiently waiting at the back door with a cloth-wrapped bundle slung across his back.

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Last Valentine’s Day, in Ponyville Cemetery…

[for context…]

Somewhere, a lone crow gave a harsh caw. A warm, spring wind swept through the cemetery, rustling the grass beside two sets of hooves. One green, one deep blue. Neither pair moved. Another loud caw.   

A dark, all-too-recognizable voice sent a cold shiver down Ickle Muse’s spine as it spoke from behind her “I didn’t think you’d be here”. She shut her eyes and bit her lower lip, trying to keep her composure. She had originally come to honor her mentor, not receive a lesson from his son. "Isn’t Valentine’s Day supposed to be spent with the crowds of stallions who adore you," he continued, "waiting on your every word and bringing you sweets?" His words shook Ickle to her core. She knew he hated the attention other stallions had given her, ever since she was little. It was primarily why she and he were no longer friends; friends like they once were when they were foals.

A deep-seeded sigh bellowed from deep in Ickle’s throat as she spoke in rebuttal, but not in reply, “do you remember how he used to take us to the donut shop every morning before he had class?” She sat on the grass despite its wintery chill. She was determined to remember the best of this stallion, and Inkweld’s cold bitterness would not get in her way. “he would always buy an apple fritter, I’d get a—” 

"—vanilla sprinkle and I’d always stick to chocolate milk. I always preferred to drink my sweets, not chew them." He had started to speak over her, and Ickle finally turned her head to face him. He was sitting on the grass about a few feet from her. Her apprehensiveness grew with every moment he was there. No hint of a smile touched her lips. No mirth twinkled in her eyes as she stared, blank-faced, at her once-friend. 

"You won’t kidnap me." She posed, partially commanding, partially inquisitive. 

"Not in front of his grave, Musical." She flinched at the name, "I can’t do that." At this information, her hair stood on end even more. He never honored her protests but in front of his father’s resting place he was docile as he was as a colt. "He never liked to see us fight—not over anything." His eyes flit from the gravestone to her eyes, cutting into her blue with his sharp amber. "Though it wouldn’t be a fight if you came willingly…just to visit."

A sharp, unlady-like snort came out of Ickle as she glared into his eyes, jagged ice to pierce his thoughts instantly. In measured, clean-cut words, she replied “I don’t want to go with you anymore, Inkweld.” She turned her head back to Water Weld’s gravestone, as if to say ‘I’m done talking with you’. “Leave me alone to mourn your father in peace.”

He stood up. The grass rustled beneath him and his horn glowed dull orange as he prepared to use his illusionary magic against her, but then he spied the picture of his father on the gravestone and stopped. The grass settled, his horn’s glow disappeared, and he let out a huff between gritted teeth. He knew it was foolish to bring the qualms of the living to the resting place of the dead, but he wanted to give her something to think about. Some word to sum up everything he had been thinking about since he had last seen her. But what could he say? ‘I miss who I was, help me change’? ‘My soul is in agony every time we’re apart, please love me again’? So many words, so many thoughts, so many emotions. He was hurt, he was angry, he was jealous, he was ashamed, he was madly, sickeningly in love. He felt his hooves carry himself over to her, as he bent over, craning his neck to bring his high-lying lips to her short, lower ears. She froze as soon as he nipped her ears and whispered into them,

"I still love you. The sooner you realize that, the sooner we can be at peace." 

And with a sharp breeze, he was gone. Ickle was alone, sitting on a grassy knoll, with tears forming in her eyes and regret in her stomach. Her eyes closed and she asked her mentor, shaking slightly, “what do I do, Professor…?”

Question to followers?

((Mod: waaaaay back in february I wrote up a blurb between Ickle and Inkweld from when she visited Waterweld’s grave…it’s in-character and most likely did happen after she paid tribute, but it’s all written. Do you want to read it?))

[click on fullview!]
((mod: posting some commissions between story posts—this time it’s a fully-rendered picture of Bebuzzu’s pony from the Dark Souls universe, taking a much-needed rest from running, fighting, and scraping to live. It’s nice to take off some equipment for a little while.))

[click on fullview!]

((mod: posting some commissions between story posts—this time it’s a fully-rendered picture of Bebuzzu’s pony from the Dark Souls universe, taking a much-needed rest from running, fighting, and scraping to live. It’s nice to take off some equipment for a little while.))