Fluttershy found herself facing a dilemma.
The cute little jellyfish creatures she had just adopted weren't exactly behaving themselves. They clambered over the walls of her cottage with their tentacles; they leered at her ordinary animals from both near and far; they floated about scaring everything in sight, both in air and water. And they weren't all that little, now that she thought about it — they were nearly her size even when they weren't trying to puff themselves up. She couldn't remember how she'd thought even one of them looked that small at the adoption center, much less five of them. The worker had been very persuasive when she'd been perusing the selection. Perhaps too persuasive.
She wondered if she shouldn't have done some research on these creatures before adopting them. True, she had been the first in all of Equestria to excitedly hoard pamphlets when the princesses had announced the importation of several new species. Not even her friend Twilight Sparkle had so thoroughly pored over what little information they possessed. But there were so many different kinds to study that she hadn't had the opportunity to go over every last one, in spite of her best efforts. She knew the ins and outs of Zigzagoon diets, Pichu grooming, and Torchic breeding, but the creatures floating around outside her cottage were almost a mystery to her.
She knew they were called Frillish. She also knew, thanks to the worker at the center (who, in retrospect, seemed to be greatly relieved when the little jellyfish had left the building), that they could excrete a poison through special glands in their tentacles. Not fatal poison, but it could easily paralyze its victims for several hours. A few unwary birds scattered across the grass had learned this the hard way.
They were also carnivores, which didn't bother Fluttershy that much. Her friends frequently thought she was ignorant of the fact that some animals ate other animals, and often shushed each other whenever the topic of conversation happened to stray in that direction. She wasn't sure how they had come to that conclusion. How could anypony spend time with animal friends like Harry the bear or Reynard the fox and not know about meat-eating? It did disturb her sometimes, but she had learned to simply live with it, sending her predatory pals to the Everfree Forest when they felt pangs of hunger. It didn't make her happy, but she knew she couldn't take care of every animal in Equestria. Carnivores didn't deserve to starve, no matter how much she disagreed with their dietary habits.
She'd assumed that she could simply let them off their leashes in the river close to her home, where they could hunt freely for fish before heading back to her cottage for the afternoon. They hadn't been all that hungry, though. Instead they'd darted off after her furry and feathery friends, chasing them around her chicken coop and lurching after them over the lawn. Now she stared wide-eyed at the chaos surrounding her, already regretting her mistake.
They had been well-behaved enough at the center, but now they were quite mischievous at best. There were five of them, four blue males and one pink female, all chattering in excitement as they chased their quarry. She'd felt sorry for them, being left alone at the center as they were, but now she was starting to understand why.
As she watched, not quite sure of what to do, she felt a tug at her left hoof. Angel Bunny gestured at the floating Frillish angrily, silently ordering her to set them straight already. She sighed and nodded. "I know, Angel. I just don't want to hurt their feelings all of a sudden. They must be excited from all this change."
Forget their feelings! Angel didn't say. They're little monsters! You have to show them who's the boss around here, and it's sure not them. He stamped his foot for emphasis.
"Okay," she said. Clearing her throat, she addressed the Frillish as a group. "Um, hello? Can you all please stop picking on my animal friends? They've just been fed an hour ago, and running around like this isn't good for their tummies."
The Frillish paused, studying her. The males all looked to the female, who rolled her eyes and nodded. Grudgingly, the five floated towards her with some caution, tentacles waving in the breeze.
"Oh, thank you," she gushed. "I'm so excited to show you around. You're going to love it here, I promise." She beamed and gestured towards the chicken coop. "This where Elizabeak and her sisters live. It's so nice of them to provide eggs for us. If you want, I can cook you some for dinner, but only if you behave."
The coop was surrounded by exhausted chickens. At least the Frillish had the decency to look properly abashed at their lack of well-deserved scolding.
"Now, over here is where I often have picnics ..."
The Frillish were facing a dilemma.
They were ghosts; that was obvious. Mischief and chaos were in their nature. They thrived on anxiety and negative emotions. The prospect of uprooting this peculiar pegasus' entire livelihood had been too good to pass up at first. It was all part of the daily unlife, and they would be thrilled to be a part of it.
On the other fin, they couldn't find it in themselves to disobey her as they traveled around the cottage in a wide circle, pausing often whenever she thought of something to point out to them. She was gentle but firm, softly requesting that they behave themselves whenever temptation took over. She was thoughtful, often asking them if they were hungry or wanted to go inside. They weren't, and they didn't. They were too fascinated by this pony's unflappability to indulge in their usual trouble.
What separated her from the others? What made her so willing to take them in after others would not? She had not retaliated as others would; she had not lectured or punished. She was incredibly patient instead, taking their ways in stride as she had cleaned up their mess. Something about her was different, they knew. Something in her soul was accepting in a way that not even all of these colorful ponies shared. Her brightness washed over their shadows, and they were enlightened. This pony was attuned to nature, smiling over each flower and humming with each bee.
How could she be a pony, and yet not a pony? She was thoughtful and cautious, embracing the differences of others with ease and grace ... as if she were one of them. One of the Pokémon.
"There's nothing else," she admitted as the sun began to set. They all stood at the cottage door, exhausted from traipsing about. "I'm sorry. But it's time for dinner now, so if you want to come in that's all right with me. Oh, as long as you behave."
They smiled and nodded. Perhaps they could get used to this new way of life.