. . .
. . . . . .
I blinked. Where was I now? Everything was a big white void. I didn't see anypony else.
I looked down at myself. The claw marks had healed over, though they did leave some recognizable scars. Guess I was going to have to rely on Fluttershy to do the modeling after all. Too bad, all that attention, all those ponies looking at me, it appealed to me, even if it scared 'Shy silly.
Then I noticed, almost passively, that I wasn't quite all there anymore. I was still standing just fine, but one of my wings and part of my hind left leg were turning into little pieces of light before my eyes and floating away, becoming impossible to tell from the white void. It didn't hurt, I don't think I even felt it. I couldn't see my insides where the little bits floated away. Maybe I never had insides, wouldn't surprise me. It was spreading.
Why wasn't I scared? I was dying, wasn't I? Oh right, you had to be alive to die, so it wasn't like I was losing anything by dying in the first place. Or was that last place? Oh well. What could have caused this though?
"Oh right. Stupid me. Guess 'Little-FlutterRage' was right. I'm the daughter of the old man's magic ... and he's about as far from harmony as you can get. So makes sense using an Element of Harmony and getting a full, a point blank blast from the peace and love laser canon would erase me too. Meh. Least I didn't go out with a whimper this time, and the bearers all saw it." I threw back my head and laughed as part of my shoulder dissolved.
"Pst. Good riddance to a farce of a fake existence. Good riddance to nopony who was never anypony, good riddance to something that was never anything."
I laid back on whatever I was standing on, though the view didn't change one bit.
"'Time to be cruel.' Those were the first words I heard when I was born, who'd have thought I'd go out doing the exact opposite? Bet the old man would love that surprise. Oh well, now it's time to not be anything."
"Sorry dear, you're too young to die. You just earned your cutie mark." A hoof gently touched my shoulder.
The white sparkles stopped, then 'scattered' and I was surprisingly whole again. I looked up into Fluttershy's kind and understanding eyes. Fluttershy; the butter yellow, pink maned Pegasus with bright blue eyes, not Princess Gaia the Alicorn, nor the Nightmare. "You haven't even had your Cute-ceañera yet. Do you think you'll pick out a Cute-ceañera Name? Lots of ponies do that during their Cute-ceañera. Should be easier for you, since you don't have any paper work to fill out. Maybe something like Helping Hoof? Like your cutie mark?
I mean if you really like that name, it's what you'd be called for the rest of your life, so it should be something you like
Still laying on my back, I glared at her. "I told you, 'Fluttercruel' might be just a name, but it's all I have and I'm keeping it! And dammit, since when do YOU enjoy torturing others! That was supposed to be my job! I don't have a purpose! I'm just a loose thread for a scheme that fell apart! I don't have a past or future! I'll always just be nothing but a bucking carnival mirror reflection of you! I'll always be exactly the same until you grow old and we die together!" I rolled over on my belly. "Just go away and let me die already." I said sulking, crossing my forelegs. "I'm the one who did this to you. I've earned oblivion. So just let me take my end with some dignity this time."
"No. You're my responsibility. You wanted to teach me. It's my fault for not being able to take the lesson like a mare and acting like a filly. And none of my friends are permanently hurt and I'm fine now. I forgive you."
"You can't forgive something that doesn't exist."
"Ponies who don't exist can't earn their cutie mark. And that doesn't look like a blank flank to me."
I glanced at my flanks, seeing the two hooves. "You'd think I'd get a big mallet or three spiders or something. It's funny, I don't really feel all that different. Where's the big change inside? Where's the ... ya know, 'inner awakening' or whatever?"
"Erm, sorry if I sound too much like Twilight but, uh, ahem: 'There is no grand realization of self. The self simply is.'" Then Fluttershy's voice took on a stern tone, "Now stop all this nonsense about not having purpose and not existing. 'Nothing' couldn't have used the Element of Kindness to wash away the darkness. A pony without a spirit wouldn't fight so hard to save somepony else. A pony without a purpose doesn't earn her cutie mark. A poor reflection of a pony can't earn a unique cutie mark," Then came the softness that was Fluttershy's signature. "And, I have to say, for someone whose not even six months old, earning your cutie mark is something you -really- ought to be proud of." Fluttershy hugged me. "I know I'm proud of you
She said she was proud of me. She hugged me. This was ... this was the first time anyone in my life, yes, LIFE, had ever hugged me. Why did it feel so nice? Why didn't I want it to stop? Why did I want Fluttershy to just stay here beside me? What was this feeling? It was all like invisible weights I didn't know were there were just falling away, something that had been holding me in, something that had been caging me.
"I ... I'm free."
"WE'RE FREE!" Corrected Fluttershy with more conviction then she could remember having in her life.
"So ... what now 'Shy?"
"I think there's one last part of me that needs help finding her way back, but that's something only our friends can do. Come on 'Cruel, let's go home."
"I told you not to call-... alright, let's go."