Death of a Mail Pony
A Story by Nathaniel Shepard
They came for her in the night and, for a while, Bright Eyes had wondered if she had done the right thing. Now she was sure of it, and there was nothing they could do to convince her otherwise. It was kind of funny, in a way. After all her adventures traveling with the Doctor, after all the times they had saved the day and all the life threatening moments they had been through… this is where it ends; in a damp, forgotten dungeon somewhere in Canterlot.
She didn’t know the unicorn that had come to her so many weeks ago, but what he had revealed to her was irrefutable. The world she had been raised to believe in was a carefully fabricated lie, a conspiracy designed to empower a dictator under the cover of utopia.
On the day that the mysterious unicorn failed to contact her, she committed herself to the truth. Following his instructions, she delivered the fifty letters to the list of ponies he had told her to memorize. The grey pegasus had known it was only a matter of time before they found her, but her part had already been done. The letter was right, ideas and knowledge never die.
Bright Eyes had lost track of the days she had spent in her cell, but the night she was taken was still fresh in her mind. It was just after sunset when the guards burst into her home. Her pet snake that she sometimes took out on mail runs had leapt to defend her, but was quickly crushed under a sturdy hoof. She didn’t resist. The guards were much larger than she and she knew fighting back would only mean more pain. They bound and blindfolded her, taking her to this miserable pit. Bright Eyes was only able to get a vague location from her attuned sense of direction, speed and travel time she had obtained over her career as a mail pony. That was when the interrogations began.
It started with simple questions, like who she was and where she grew up. After that they got rough. Even now, lying in the cold, dark cell, her body still ached everywhere from the kicks and the bashings. Bright Eyes smiled at the memory, not because she relished the pain but because of the determination she had found. After all, she was no stranger to being beaten. Her father, the pony responsible for her wall-eyed gaze, had taught her how to endure. Day after day, beating after beating she laughed at her captors. They did nothing to her that hadn’t already been done before.
She used to keep track of the time by the beatings, which came in roughly twelve hour intervals. Some days they would just kick her. Other days had them bringing out the whip, or the rod. On very special ocasions they would attach strange wires to her that caused her entire body to go stiff with a jolt. However it was all pain, and pain she could deal with. But lately they had stopped the beatings. The mail pony had been laying in the dark for what seemed like an eternity this time. Stop thinking about that, she told herself. They’re just trying to psyche you out. She didn’t dare admit to herself that it was working.
With a rusty creak, the far door swung open and blinding light rushed into the cell. Blinking, Bright Eyes stared into the light and readied herself for the inevitable beatings to come. However, when her eyes adjusted it was not the guards that stood in the doorway but Celestia herself.
“So you’re the pegasus I’ve been hearing so much about,” Celestia mused softly. “I must say I’m not impressed. Just what exactly did that unicorn see in you?”
Bright Eyes sat up and glared defiantly at the monarch. She wasn’t about to back down now.
“I see.” Celestia laughed. “That glare would be much more effective if you used both your eyes. Regardless, you have some knowledge that I am interested in. If you provide the list of ponies that you sent the letters to for me then we can both forget any of this ever happened, you more literally than me. Your wounds will be healed and you can resume your life like nothing had ever happened. Continue to refuse however and there will be… consequences.”
Bright Eyes scoffed. “You have no power over me.”
A bright light flashed from Celestia’s horn and Bright Eyes gasped as a sharp pain cut across her shoulders. Two grey and bloodied wings flopped lifelessly to the ground. Bright Eyes stared at them in shock. She was dimly aware of a wet sensation trickling down her shoulders.
“Flight, magic and strength are the gifts I bring to the ponies of Equestria.” Celestia smirked. “To deny me is to deny these gifts.”
Bright Eyes fought through the pain, looking at the suddenly cruel dictator before her through tear filled eyes. “I will not submit to you.” Oh goddess it hurts.
Celestia sighed. “Very well. I have tried to be civil with you; many would even call me generous. Unfortunately, the fact that you have been somewhat less then cooperative has forced my hand.” Her horn began to glow. “If you will not give me the information then I will simply have to take it.”
Bright Eyes fell to the ground; eyes rolling into her head as she felt magic fingers pry open her mind. It was if a flood gate had been opened, memories and events pouring into her head and overloading her senses. Her family, her first encounter with the Doctor in her garden before Winter Wrap Up, the day she took her pet snake Trousers in, it all came rushing back. Memories she cherished. Memories she wished had stayed forgotten. The body of the grey pegasus spasmed on the ground, blood starting to drip slowly from her nose. Bit by bit, the flow of memories was trimmed down. Each decisive cut sent a spike of pain through Bright Eyes’ head as Celestia continued to excise the unwanted memories and push them to the side. The mail pony let out a whimper as the memories of the strange unicorn were singled out and…
Celestia grunted, stumbling back a bit. “That cheeky son of a gelding, he knew this would happen.”
The grey pegasus lay gasping on the ground, mind still recovering from the stress it had endured. Her eyes still rolled in terror and her body still gave the occasional shudder as though trying to shake itself free of the suffering it had endured. As the bits and pieces of her mind fell back into place, Bright Eyes slowly realized something was missing. Try as she might, she could not figure out what had been forgotten. She wanted to hide. Blood flicked from the clean cut stubs as she tried to curl up inside wings that were no longer there.
Celestia was muttering curses to herself. “He must have known we’d try and extract the information from you. Some kind of counter spell… something we’ve never seen before. It’s a pity that the unicorn chose to work against us in the end; his talents really were quite remarkable.” She regarded the gasping pony with a glare. “It would seem you no longer have the information we seek. Your friend had at least that much foresight, however I have never been known as one to waste valuable resources. I think we need to make an example out of you for the sake of your companions.”
Bright eyes peered at the monarch with broken eyes. “You would make me a martyr?”
“I would make you a warning,” Celestia whispered.
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Record of Relocation
Subject: Bright Eyes
Former Location: Ponyville
Relocated To: Fillydelphia Mental Hospital
Overseer: Sturdy Step
Summary: Subject Bright Eyes underwent memory realignment procedures to conceal the heretical thoughts and memories she exhibited. Following the procedure, the subject was subjected to a mental scrambling, rendering her speech indecipherable and her remaining memories confused. Following protocol, the subject was admitted to the secure wing of the Fillydelphia Mental Hospital under the pseudonym Bubbly Shines with instructions to observe her closely for memory resurgance. The attending physicians were informed that the severed wings were the result of a self inflicted injury and placed on high alert for further self-destructive activities. Should any sign of memory resurgence present itself, the subject’s incoherent dialogue should provide us with enough time to perform additional realignment as necessary. A follow-up report will be filed in six months to determine the success of the relocation. According to official records, Bright “Derpy Hooves” Eyes died following a tragic flying accident.
Other Notes: A special order was given during the memory realignment and mental scrambling to leave the memory of the sensation of flight completely intact, presumably as a reminder of what the subject had lost as punishment. During a scan of the subjects memories prior to realignment, certain events concerning a mysterious entity known as “Doctor” were presented. An extended investigation of this matter is now under way.