Gasping, I threw myself against the door of our club. It opened with a loud bang. I started yelling before I even hit the floor of the tree house, “Tentacle ponies are coming!”
Apple Bloom and Scootaloo lay on the floor, blankly facing each other, with their heads on the idea circle. They didn’t even turn their heads; only their eyes rolled toward me.
Scootaloo snorted, shifting her eyes back to Apple Bloom. “…and by doing it my way, we are sure to earn our cutie marks.”
“And die as we get them.” Apple Bloom rolled her eyes. “Probably just die.”
I sighed. “You’ve already heard…”
“Everypony’s heard of it, Sweetie Belle,” Scootaloo said in a monotone voice as she slid her forehoof over the idea circle. “Celestia ordered your sister and the rest of the Elements to spread the news. They’ve been going around and telling everypony about it since morning. I’m surprised it took you so long to find out about it.”
“And it’s just one,” Apple Bloom said.
“There could be more,” I persisted. Many of them creeping around would sound way cooler than just one coming for a visit.
“An ambassador.” Apple Bloom waved her foreleg at me. “It means one.”
“You can never know with Tentacle ponies.” I tried to save what was left of my enthusiastic announcement.
“What do you know about them, anyway?” Scootaloo said, as she sat on her flank and leaned her head to the side as she looked at me.
“I didn’t even know they existed before today, but I heard they have tentacles instead of their manes.” I stood up on hind legs, pressed my forelegs on my head and wiggled my forehooves, attempting to act as a Tentacle pony that I imagined. “I’m coming to hug you!” I said with my deep voice.
“He-he. That’s a good imitation.” Scootaloo rolled on her back, giggling. “But don’t forget the tail ones!” She wrapped her hind legs in her tail and kicked in the air.
Apple Bloom smiled as she observed our show of wiggling legs. “What about the belly button ones?”
“What?” we asked in unison as we turned our heads to Apple Bloom. Scootaloo rolled over as I dropped on all four legs. We approached Apple Bloom with our eyebrows raised.
“Don’t ya know? There are tentacles inside their belly buttons that they can extend.” Apple Bloom touched her belly with a foreleg and stretched it forward.
Scootaloo twitched, obviously not enjoying the thought of a belly button being extending.
“Ugh! That’s gross!” I put out my tongue in disgust.
Apple Bloom sat down. “Imagine one coming at you with all those waving around.” She leaned back on her plot and waved all four legs at me.
“I wouldn’t be afraid!” I lifted a foreleg at her and turned my head away as if I was ignoring her.
She snickered as she leaned in close to whisper in my ear. “I heard they attacked a pony village.”
I swallowed then slowly put down my foreleg. “Okay, maybe I’d be scared just a little bit.” I bowed my head in defeat.
“And they didn’t even have any—provocacation—for the attack,” Scootaloo added.
“What’s… uh… provocacation?” I asked as I looked up to her.
“I don’t know, but they didn’t have any,” Scootaloo explained.
“I reckon they just used their tentacles instead of it.” Apple Bloom turned around and looked through the window, toward Canterlot. “The ambassador is supposed to be meeting with Celestia today. They’re going to talk about the release of the Tentacle ponies that Celestia imprisoned after the attack. We probably won’t be seeing the ambassador in Ponyville.”
“And if we do,” Scootaloo jumped in, “we’re supposed to not engage, but at the same time, not ignore.”
“How can you even do both?” I asked, unsure what Scootaloo meant.
“Beats me.” Scootaloo shrugged her shoulders. “I’d probably just stare.”
“Cutie Mark Crusaders, Tentacle pony stalkers?” Apple Bloom asked as she crouched down.
“I can’t crusade today…” I looked down and pawed at the floor with a hoof. “Rarity wants me right back home. She only let me come to tell you about the Tentacle pony, in case you didn’t hear about it yet.”
“Ah came here, even though Applejack forbade me from comin’ to the clubhouse today. She even stood guard at the house, but I snuck out the back—”
“I just came…” Scootaloo lowered her shoulders and stared into the distance.
“—Sis’ probably figured out by now that it’s just pillows under the blanket on my bed. I should head back home, too.” Apple Bloom stood up.
“Same time tomorrow?” I asked.
They both nodded and passed me as they walked through the door.
“I have another plan for tomorrow’s crusade,” announced Scootaloo as she turned to Apple Bloom.
“Is it dangerous?” Apple Bloom asked, without turning her head.
“You can bet your apples on it!” Scootaloo said.
Apple Bloom sighed and walked down the ramp.
The warped door grated against the floor, refusing to close as I jerked at the darn thing. It was time to change it. Again.
“See you tomorrow,” Scootaloo said as she turned back to Apple Bloom. “You’re gonna love this plan!”
“Ah bet I will…” Apple Bloom shook her head.
Scootaloo and Apple Bloom walked on, because the shortest way to my home was in the other direction, anyhow. Well, at least, they waved me goodbye.
“See you tomorrow!” I yelled to them and waved. Realizing that nopony was looking at me anymore, I put my waving foreleg back on the door knob. It was embarrassing. Good thing nopony saw me waving without anypony noticing it.
I gave up on the broken door. Huffing through my muzzle, I walked across the ramp.
“They already knew…” I whispered, dragging myself toward Ponyville.
The news about the Tentacle pony ambassador didn’t impress them. Again, I was the last one to find out about a new event. Nopony ever bothers to tell me anything interesting that I could then tell others.
Most grown-ups talk about boring stuff until I stop listening. After that, they slip in something important. Then they get angry as if I was the bad one for not paying attention. It’s like they’re trying to keep things from me and then blame me for not knowing them.
I kicked a stone on the path, sending it flying into a bush I was passing. For once, I wish I had something new and interesting to say at our get together.
Hearing a stone rolling from behind me made me stop in my tracks and perk up my ears. As it hit the back of my forehoof, I looked down, recognizing it. It was the same stone I kicked!
I spun around, looking back. My body tensed, as the thick branches before me moved. I wasn’t alone!
“It hurt!” said the bush with a burbling sound.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t know anypony was there. Are you alright?”
“I’m not supposed to be seen.” More branches were pulled together, thickening the cover.
“Why not?” I approached the hidden stranger. “Who are you?”
“You ponies hate us. You’ll try to hurt me!” the voice from within the bush exclaimed as the leaves rustled.
“I swear, I didn’t mean to kick a stone at you. It was an accident. Please forgive me.” I reached out with a forehoof to spread out the branches. “I’m Sweetie Belle. What’s your name?”
Something touched the forehoof I was standing on. Looking down, I saw a tentacle wrapping around it.
I gasped. My body froze.
“I’m not like you.” Another tentacle launched forth from the bush, brushing across my mane.
I put down my foreleg to catch my balance. “Aa…” I tried to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. I started breathing really fast as I stared at that—thing, wrapping further up my leg.
“I’m a Tentacle pony.” The bush bristled around her. “One of those who you hateful ponies want to lock up in a dungeon just for existing! But I’m not afraid of you. I’m not!” The branches spread apart, revealing the creature.
She had many more tentacles than just the ones that were touching me. Some of her tail ones were spreading the branches, but most of them were pressed between her hind legs, along her chest and up to the bottom of her neck. Clenching on those was another set of thinner tentacles, coming from her underside. They must have been the belly button ones. Pressed over the tail tentacles on her tummy, they were stretched up and over the flanks, wrapping together on her croup.
I tried to shake off the tentacles, but it was to no avail.
“You can’t scare me!” She leaned her head back as she glanced at my horn. “Not even with that clam opener on your head.”
“Clam opener?” I touched my horn with a hoof.
“I won’t let you take me!” The branches of the bush closed behind her as she stepped forward. “Run!”
My heart pounded. I clenched my teeth and tried drawing back the foreleg wrapped in the tentacle, but it was pulled back.
Feeling more tentacles slip across my mane, I shivered. A warm liquid wetted the coat on my inner thighs. Pressing my hind legs together didn’t help. Even though I wasn’t a small filly anymore, I just couldn’t stop myself from peeing.
She leaned to the side and raised her eyebrows. Her tail and belly button tentacles spread out. “Why are you afraid? Don’t you know what’s coming to you?”
“You’re—touching me…” I slipped between my gasps.
“I’m not. My tentacles are.”
“But they are a part of you.” I tried pulling my foreleg again, but there were so many tentacles holding it back by then that it didn’t even move.
“Well, yeah, but they kind of have a mind of their own.” She turned away from me and faced a stone on the ground. “They touch what I look at.”
A tentacle released my forehoof. It slipped across the ground, wrapping itself around the stone. The grips on me started to loosen. More and more of them were detaching. I relaxed a little and filled my chest with air.
“See?” The moment she looked at me, tentacles tightened around my body again.
“Why are you touching me?” I cried out.
“It would be rude if I weren’t. I’m showing you attention.”
“Please stop!” I raised my eyebrows as I looked up to her.
The Tentacle filly sighed and closed her eyes. Tentacles retracted to her mane but still pointed toward me. She slowly opened her eyes. “Happy?”
I nodded and breathed out in relief.
“Just so you know, I’m still not ignoring you.”
… but don’t ignore them, rushed through my mind, as I remembered the warnings. “I’m not ignoring you, either.”
Her face stayed serious. “Aren’t you?”
I gulped my saliva, closed my eyes and touched her neck with a forehoof then quickly retracted it when I felt the first tentacle touch it. I peeked with one eye and noticed that she was smiling.
“If I don’t count my mom, you’re the first pony who touched me in days. I was having to wrap my own tentacles around my body to feel some comfort, but it just isn’t the same as somepony giving you attention. And then you came and touched me.”
“It was nothing, really…” I waved my hoof in her direction.
“It was everything! With my mom gone to the cliff city, I was starting to feel like I didn’t even exist anymore. The swamp, where my mom dropped me off, was so lonely with nopony there. I’ve never been that alone in my whole life. That’s why I didn’t wait at the campout like my mom told me to.” She dug into the ground with a mane tentacle. “I don’t even care if I get punished when she comes back…” She slid her tail tentacles between her hind legs.
“Is your mom an ambassador?” I asked.
Her lips drew back, revealing sharp teeth. “The best of them!” She paused, pressing her eyebrows together. “At least with other races. She doesn’t have long enough tentacles for the home affairs.”
“What do tentacles have to do with it?”
“You see, she’s had a short tentacle defect since birth. Because of that, she couldn’t abuse much in life and rarely got her way by rape.”
I gasped. “You used the ‘R’ word…”
She raised an eyebrow “What’s it to you?”
“Well, I’m not even sure I know what it means, but it’s a curse word of sorts, right? I don’t hear it very often.”
“That’s odd. It’s one of the most common words out there,” she said.
“I think It means something like forced hugs. Just... meaner, right?”
“Yeah, something like that.” She smirked.
“We sometimes do that to a friend of mine. She acts like she doesn’t want to be hugged, but I know she’s just asking for it.”
“That’s what the friends are for, right?”
“Exactly!” I smiled.
“Rape is also a part of my name.” She lifted up her head high, puffed out her chest and tapped on it with a tentacle. “Tenty Rape.”
“They named you Tenty Rape?” I asked.
She pressed her eyebrows together and looked to the ground. “‘Rape Tenty’ is what others usually call out... but I’m gonna change that! My tentacles are already longer than my mom’s and they’re still growing. I know because I measure them every day. Just because my mom isn’t good at it doesn’t mean that I won’t be.”
“I’m sure you’ll be great at it if that’s what you want to do. You said that even your mom—raped—sometimes, right? I don’t see why you’re even worrying about it.”
“Well, she was the one usually getting hurt because she couldn’t defend herself, with her short tentacles and all. At times, she did manage to babble her way out of it, though. She didn’t even use counter rape, and still got her way. That’s how good she is at talking. Being good at uttering sounds also got her into the ambassador business.”
“I’m sorry for your mother. I didn’t know somepony hurt her. Was your dad there for her when it happened?”
“No, he was doing her separately, but stopped after he got a fatal anal infection.”
“A what?” I asked.
“He got hurt badly in his tushy and didn’t get better. He died soon after my mom spawned me.”
“That’s so horrible.” I pressed my head against her neck and gave her a quick hug. “I’m sorry.” I backed off before tentacles managed to wrap around my hooves.
She shrugged her shoulders. “It’s okay to suffer. He got what was coming to him and didn’t run.”
“Why did you tell me to run when we met?”
“Defying the order to run gives victims something to latch on to. A small victory so that their minds don’t shatter. Docile ponies are good; broken ponies, on the other tentacle, are useless. That’s how the ‘run!’ expression started, but it’s more like a custom now. Kind of like saying ‘hi’ to somepony.”
“But you wouldn’t let me run,” I reminded her.
“Of course not. It would be rude of me if I allowed you to ignore your problems. Running away never solves anything.”
“I’m not sure if I understand what you’re saying, but I think I better be going. I’m-totally-not-trying-to-ignore-you, but my sister is waiting for me at home and she’ll be worried if I don’t come soon.” I turned around and waved her goodbye. “I hope your mom does well with Celestia.”
For some reason, Tenty walked behind me in the same direction. “I heard that queen to be Celestia is an alicorn. As far as I know, those don’t even have any tentacles. I’m sure my mom will get her to feel the royal mistake one way or the other. The oppressive army had no right to take away ponies of my tribe. That’s not the correct way to resolve things. I hope mom shows that autocrat mare some of her firm diplomacy.”
“Wait...” I stopped and faced her. “I heard Tentacle ponies attacked first.”
“Did not! We never even mingle with dismissive outsiders. We only made an exception because we ran out of oil. My cousin Slick was volunteered to get some from the Tentacle-less pony village.
“After Slick recuperated a little, he tangled toward their colony. Infiltrating the village, he trailed the trader that was selling oil. His prices were too erect, though. It was a minor issue, though. Slick has always been good with his tentacles. Without breaking a sweat, he managed to negotiate a fair price.
“Just as everything was agreed upon, other Earth ponies came and started calling Slick ‘a rapist’. Can you imagine! As if he didn’t know what he was doing. I’ll have you know he isn’t dumb! Well, he does stutter a bit, but that’s only because of his oral injury.” She paused. “The hateful ponies… They kicked stones at him! For no reason!”
“Poor Slick. Kicking stones at somepony on purpose is wrong! I don’t know why those ponies would do something as mean as that to him. I mean... It’s not like he—raped—a trader, right?” I shook my head and bit my lip as I realized that I just asked a ridiculous question. I wanted to stop that stupid habit. Rarity had been warning me that somepony might think I’m foolish if I keep doing it.
“You’re right. The ordeal turned out differently than how it had gone with the trader. Slick was just one, but they were many. Forcing his opinion on all of them wasn’t doable. He’s good, but not that good.
“After the trade had gone bad, he managed to drag himself back to our swamp. Grown-ups didn’t take kindly to seeing him getting bruised on the outside. He was hurt for the hurting’s sake and they wanted to do something about it. Compassion is something that all of us Tentacle ponies share. It’s what makes us more civilized than the rest of you dismissive ponies. We don’t just stick it to each other; we also stick up for each other.
“My mom was misguided and tried to stop the grown-ups from going back to the village, but she was just one. With her short tentacles, she couldn’t force her opinion on them. After making her accept their views, they galloped forth and surrounded the Tentacle-less pony village. The stone kickers got what was coming to them. It was then agreed upon that they won’t attack any of us again in the future.”
“So, the ponies in the village apologized, and all was well again, right? Right? The ponies of your tribe didn’t—rape—them all, did they?”
She nodded. “There were no disagreements anymore, but Celestia’s army just butted in our encampment the very next day. For no reason! They took half of the ponies from my tribe away. Even though Sun-praiser is a tyrant, she had no right to do that!”
“Well, if your tribe was being too mean to the ponies in the village, I could see why she’d get involved. But I think it’s best if we leave it to grown-ups to work it out.”
“I feel, you don’t see things my way.” She half-closed her eyes as her body tensed.
“Please don’t be mad. It’s okay to have different views.”
“Hm.” She scratched her chin with a tentacle as she looked to the side. “You know what; you’re right.” She smiled at me and took a step forward. “We can just work out our differences.”
I nodded and stretched forward a foreleg to bump it with hers. “Friends?”
Tenty wrapped her tentacles around my forehoof as her smile turned into a grin. “Run!”