The streets were silent, with only the occasional breeze making the torn pages of a book take flight for a few seconds, before returning to their resting place amongst the many other pieces of paper that lay on the ground. Shards of broken glass littered the outside of various tall houses of a victorian style, all due to the ransacking that had taken place no more than a couple of months ago.
Slowly, the bright, yellow ball that was the sun started to hide behind the horizon, waiting to be given the final push by part of its avatar. Ponies began to exit their broken homes, all of them heading towards what used to be the city’s school. It was that time, feeding time.
Gilda sat behind a table, with several bags of oats and bottles of water surrounding her. This was one of many tables, now occupied by Gryphon soldiers rather than foals. She watched as the malnourished ponies approached the entrance to the school, putting on an angry expression. One by one, the ponies were given a single bag of oats and a gallon of water, supposedly enough to keep them fed for at least one or two days, but the corpses being buried along the outsides of the city told otherwise.
“You can’t carry it?” came the gruff voice of one of the Gryphons in charge of feeding the ponies. In front of the table was an elderly mare, her bones visible and her joints stiff. She was trying to lift the bottle of water with her mouth, but the effort proved to be too much for her.
“If you can’t hold it, you don’t take it. Next!” the Gryphon called. Gilda frowned as the mare pleaded, only to be pushed away by the soldier behind the table, allowing the next pony to receive their meal. The mare then slowly walked away, tears streaming down her face and falling onto the ground.
“Uhm, excuse me?”
Gilda stopped following the mare with her eyes and looked forward, finding a unicorn stallion standing in front of her table.
“Oh, yeah. Here you go.” Gilda reached behind her, taking a bag of oats and a bottle of water. She placed them on the table in front of the unicorn. “Next!”
And so the rest of the day went on. Pony after pony stepping up to receive their daily supply. Eventually, the moon rose up, signaling the end of that day’s feeding time. Those who had come too late were denied of their nourishment, a stiff punishment for those who simply lacked the energy to move to the school in time.
Gilda found herself behind the same table, with a small colt of a white coat and brown spots standing in front of it. She forcefully denied him the only food he would have for a day, as were her orders. The colt looked at the ground and turned around, leaving Gilda alone behind the table, with only a few other Gryphons nearby.
She sighed, looking back at all the food that was still there. After a few glances to ensure that she was not being observed, she grabbed a bag of oats and a bottle of water. Carefully, she spread her wings and took flight, going towards the many alleyways that formed a sort of labyrinth all throughout the city. She stood in the shadows, only meters away from the streets.
The same colt from before walked by. She caught his attention by whistling lightly. “Psst! Hey,” she whispered, “come here.”
The colt reluctantly walked into the alley, looking up at Gilda. “D-did I do anything wrong? Please, I didn’t mean-”
“No! And keep it quiet.” She dropped both the bag of oats and the bottle of water in front of him. “Here you go, but you can’t tell anyone, alright?”
“I... thank you so much, miss!” the colt said. He looked up at Gilda, smiling.
“Yeah yeah, just go now.” She waved her claw, gesturing for him to move on. “But uh, kid, what’s your name?”
“Pipsqueak!” the colt said, grabbing the bag of oats with his mouth and pushing the bottle of water towards the street.
“Heh,” Gilda chuckled, “Take care, kid.” She then spread her wings open and took flight, heading back towards her barracks. An odd feeling made her pause. It was different, unknown, yet it was comforting. She sighed, opting to think about other things for the meantime.
Special Thanks To: