Chapter 1 - Henry Hoof
"I can change my disguise, but can I change who I am as well?"
The days has become repetitive...
There is nothing to do in this boring old place... More importantly, there was nothing to feed on...
I am hungry, and so is my mother, and as well as her subjects...
She has been planning, and I am her second-opinion about her plans...
They were all...what would be the right word for it...'evil' seems to be the only thing on my mind right now but, that word is far too strong...
We have no choice, she said... And she was right. If this keeps up, we'll all die from hunger for sure...
A slow yet very painful death... I don't want to imagine it, but I still am...bits of it...and I'm scared... She's scared...
Although it pains me, I asked my mother to bring her plan to action...
We feed on love...
We don't know why, but that's what we are, that's what we eat, that's what we feed.
A single couple's simple love is enough to nourish me for a year, or, if divided, twelve of us will be nourished for a month.
As the day draws to a close, my mom executed the first phase of the plan.
But as three of her loyal subjects transformed into tiny birds as they flew away, I wondered...
I wondered, why are we like this?
Why are we so different from any other living creature?
Why is 'love' the only thing that will help us survive?
Why is our own 'love' insufficient?
This lonely mountain we rule, once full of loving creatures — now dead after decades of slowly feeding on their 'love'...
How can we kill them in the process anyway?
We only feed on their 'love' for one another...
Is 'love' something really — and literally — to die for?
Or maybe we're feeding on them on something else...?
Their spirit? Their emotio—wait, love is an emotion, so scratch that...
Maybe we're feeding on their life? I can't explain it very well what I mean, but...
All other intelligent beings eat grass, or flowers, or hay, or fruits.
Some animals also eat those as well, and they're called herbivores.
Some animals prey on those herbivores, and they're called carnivores.
But what about us? We...eat...love...
We're the only different beings on Equestria—no—probably in the entire planet.
I just realized that my mother's three subjects just arrived.
They spotted a herd of ponies not far from our kingdom.
If we try and change ourselves to look like them, we can take a little of those ponies' love, enough for us to last a year or so, and then we go back and do whatever.
It's risky, and could probably cause a scene—I don't know what yet, but still—but we have no choice...
If we wish to survive, then.
That was very very scary...
Not only that it was my first time to change myself and to try and act like them, but it was our—OUR—first time to feed on intelligent creature's love.
I'd had to admit, though it was frightening if ever they knew about our true intentions, it was very very very...satisfying... I don't think there are words to fit what I've felt.
I've fed—for the longest time—I've fed. We fed, and it was enough.
My mother acted like a pony leader, and we were her pony followers, just passing by to settle down for a while.
The plan was to feed on different ponies.
If two or more feed on one, that pony might faint, and then we might get into trouble.
Although we were really hungry, my mother's subjects were good at following orders—all forty-eight of them.
How would I explain it...
Somehow, I can feel a pony's love towards someone, or something, and then I'll...insert...myself in between that line of love, and feed.
Hm... Maybe we really are feeding on emotions: emotions of love...
Whatever, we've satisfied ourselves, and me as well, and it's time for me to sleep.
I haven't slept feeling satisfied for years, and now, good night.
It's been four days since we came in that pony settlement.
I've been having dreams about it though.
And somehow, I'm having this strange urge to get back there.
I don't know why, but it was just a strange feeling...
And I've been having weird dreams lately...
Also, now that I think about it, in my dreams, there was...a brown-thing covering thin pieces of flat-white-stuff...
I don't know what it was, even when I was born, but ever since that day, I suddenly knew what it was: a book.
A brown book... With white blank pages... Why do I know these all of a sudden, and why the sudden fondness of books...?
Books books books books books...
It kept echoing inside my head ever since I first woke up from a satisfying sleep... Books...
I think I'm going crazy...
I wanted to ask my mom about it, but something within me...somehow...stopped me?
It's been a week now, and I think I'm really getting crazy, plus, I think I mom must have noticed.
She asked me if something was bothering me.
Of course, but I said, no. Why did I lie?
I've been lying here and there, and believe me, I'm not really good at it, but this time, I must have looked like I wasn't lying at her at all. I was even able to look straight at her eyes as I replied.
I've never ever done that in the past if I was lying.
Hm... Maybe that's why she knew if I was lying or not... Eye contact...
She sounded like she was convinced of my answer, and quickly left me all alone after one of her subjects called her attention.
I want to go back to that pony village...
Hm... First, settlement, and now, village...
My vocabulary is expanding!
Should I be happy?
Should I be scared?
Maybe if this continues, my brain will explode from vocabulary overload!
Wow, I'm filled with random words all of a sudden, and look, I didn't even notice that I was already in the middle of the forest!
I don't think my mom would like that: me leaving the kingdom to go to that village.
I'm at the edge of the forest now.
And there it is, the village from a distance.
The sun is still high up. It's pretty hot, but I didn't mind.
I was about to go there until something hit me—change.
I need to change the way I look.
All I need to do was to focus on a pony image in my head, and presto—where did that word came from?—I'm a pony.
After I took a few steps outside the forest, a soft voice from behind me said "Hello."
I was terrified—I wanted to run away, or maybe duck, or hide!
But before I could do anything, a yellow pony walked pass me from behind and stopped right in front of me.
"Is something the matter?" she asked. The pony's voice was so soft, and, gentle, and...calm, perhaps?
I tried to calm myself down, but I couldn't...
I didn't even notice that I already took two steps back, head down, but still looking at her—maybe I looked really scared.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you," she said, still on the same spot.
I stopped from stepping back. I don't know if she really meant it, but it sounded like she did mean it, so...
She's a yellow pony—not too yellow, just as yellow as a...I looked around, and there, I saw a sunflower—no idea how I knew about that flower—but yes, she's as yellow as that sunflower...maybe a bit darker than a sunflower.
Her hair, I think those are called manes—at least, that's what I remember from last week—is as brown as that sunflower's stem, or a tree's trunk...
Her eyes match her hai---mane, as well as her tail.
And there's a weird drawing on her skin near her tail.
I think she noticed me looking at that strange drawing, so she quickly stood sideways for me to see it properly.
"Oh, you're looking at my cutie mark?" she smiled as she looked at it. It has...three white circles forming a horizontal line, and under the circles was a...black line-thing...
"I call it," and she turned to me, still smiling sweetly, "'miss the mark'."
Miss the mark. What does that mean?
"I like to think that there are other ways to do things than the usual way to do it." she smiled.
Her words echoed in my head.
There are other ways to do things than the usual way...
I can't keep my smile. I wished it was true in my—in our case.
I wish there were other ways for us to feed, to really belong.
My mother told me that the other intelligent races despise us, because of our appetite.
It weakens them, and they hate that.
We get killed if we walk into their territory, so we stayed quiet in our lone mountain kingdom...
I noticed her looking at my tail, or somewhere near my tail.
"Oh, your cutie mark's a book?"
I blinked. That made me look at the same area of my body where her weird 'Miss The Mark' is with her.
And look, there it is. A book. It really is a book.
"You know, I love reading books," she said, no idea what her expression was, since I was still looking at that small drawing of a book near my tail. "Especially adventure-themed books. I love them." she said, sounding really happy.
"So, what are you doing here?" I asked as I turned to her. I don't have any idea why I asked her that question. She could asked me the same!
"Oh, so you can talk! That's great!" she looked really glad.
I just felt glad that she didn't—
"But, I could ask you the same thing..."
...never mind what I was about to say...
She invited me over to her 'house', a wooden place she calls her home.
Walking through the pony village made me feel excited, and scared at the same time.
There were a number of ponies walking around.
They don't seem to mind us though, which was a good thing for me. It made me feel less scared, but still scared.
She said she loves books, and indeed she does.
Inside her...house, there are lots of books in different colors, arranged in a wooden thingy standing against one of her home's walls.
While we were still on the way—me following her—she introduced herself as Daisy Hoof, and she kept asking for my name.
I don't even know my own name, yet...
My mom said that we are the ones who'll discover our own names when the time is right...
She stopped asking for my name after she noticed me looking like I'm worried, at least, that's what she told me.
I wasn't worried... I was just thinking, but...
She made me sit on this wooden circle thing, and made me face a more taller and wider wooden-but white circle thing.
On this white circle were things she called a 'cup', and a much taller and bigger and weird-looking 'cup' she called a 'teapot'.
I don't want to ask something which I think would have been common sense for ponies to know but, I couldn't avoid asking some.
She sat on the other small circle thing and faced me. In between us was the white circle.
She bit the handle of the 'teapot' and tilted her head, making the teapot pour this weird brown water to the cup near me, and then she poured some on the other cup near her.
I have no idea what that was for. Also...it smells...er...
After she puts down the teapot, she bit the nearest cup and lifted her head up, and she made drinking noises.
Oh! So that's how it's done. I better try it myself, but...drink this weird brown stuff?
Well, she did drink it, so it's safe to drink it too...maybe?
I lowered my head to bite it, but I stopped after I heard her wondering.
"Um... Aren't you gonna...you know...use magic to lift that cup?"
Oh yeah... I can use my magic to change my form, but to lift this cup?
I never ever used my magic to lift something—anything—ever...
"I invited you over 'cause I've never seen an alicorn before, aside from Princess Celestia, of course," she chuckled.
Is that how I look like?
What in the world is an Alicorn?
No... What does an Alicorn look like?
I never actually saw what I look like with this form though.
Sure, I have wings, my feet, my mouth, my horn, my tail... I can still feel all of them.
"Are you all right?" she asked, sounding and looking really worried.
"What's an Alicorn?" I suddenly asked her.
I forgot about not to ask about something that might be obvious to the ponies...
And after remembering about it, she—obviously—was surprised to hear such a question...
It's a very quiet evening, as always.
My mother and most of her subjects are asleep now.
I am lying down on this cave floor beside my mother, my back facing her.
Usually, at this hour, I'm already asleep, but I've been thinking about that little visit of mine with that pony.
What was her name? Um... Daisy. Oh yeah. Daisy Hoof...
I tried to forget about it though, but what I did was—now that I'm thinking about it—was somehow, very embarrassing and rude...
I felt ashamed for asking her something that would be too obvious for others to know.
I quickly jumped off from that little wooden circle, dashed to the opening-and-closing large wood we used to get inside, and flew away.
I heard her shouting that she was sorry, but, why did she apologized?
I should be the one to apologize...to her...
Apologize to her...
Should I go back and apologize to her?
I should go back and apol—no...
I don't think going back there would be a good idea.
What if she finds out I'm not really an...alicorn...?
What if she finds out—and everyone there finds out—that I'm...a...changeling...?
A creature that feeds on love...
A creature that every other intelligent beings neglect and despise...
I wanted to go back there.
Maybe even to apologize but—
No, I think it's best for me to just stay here.
Stay here with my mom, and with the rest of my kind.
Here, in this lonely mountain of ours...
I thought I told myself not to go back here again.
I thought I told myself that I shouldn't go back.
It might put me in trouble.
But here I am again, in this pony village, but this time, I'm sitting under a tree, my back against the base of the trunk of this big tree, in the center of the village.
Daisy is also sitting on the other side.
It's like, our backs are facing each other, with a big tree in between.
She's the only pony I know around here.
The only pony I feel like talking to.
Maybe it's because...she's the pony I fed last week. Her love, I mean.
Her love towards books.
I've been thinking about a lot of things while I was in the forest, slowly walking towards this village earlier today.
And somehow, I recalled the event from last week. We, feeding the ponies' love.
I couldn't quite remember who I fed on, but I'm a bit sure it was Daisy.
Why the sudden love for books, anyway?
I saw her sitting on the spot where we first talked to each other; outside the forest.
She saw me, and was happy, and immediately apologized about yesterday.
I told her that I should be the one to apologize but, she insisted that it was her fault.
The easier the better, I suppose...
She invited me here, in the center of the village she called 'park'.
While we were on our way here—me still tailing her—we stopped in this weird house she called a bakery.
Sugarcube Corner... I think that was the name of this house.
Inside, she looked through this transparent-but-solid thing, and inside that weird thing were these different shapes of what she called 'bread'.
Then, she gave this very small yellow flat circles to the yellow male pony.
I don't know how many, but after he took them, he gave Daisy a brown bag full of light brown 'bread'.
She gave me some when we arrived in the 'park'.
It smelt really really delicious.
But... I don't know how to feed on it.
I couldn't sense it's 'love' emotion.
Maybe this thing's...dead...?
I don't know why, but she asked me to look at her.
She took a 'bread', opened her mouth, and bit it.
She ripped some of it and started chewing...like a carnivore ripping the fle—I don't wanna think about it...
She swallowed it after a few seconds of chewing, and then she sighed and smiled.
"And that's how you eat," she said.
I saw the remains. This 'bread' isn't an animal.
I'm not sure what this is, but at least it's not a dead creature.
I tried it, and it wasn't as delicious as how it smelt, but, it was okay.
And now, we're sitting under this big tree.
"Did you get amnesia or something?" she asked, breaking the silence.
It wasn't really quiet here though.
There are small ponies playing around the other parts of this park.
"N—" I quickly closed my mouth.
Me and my stupid habit of automatically answering to questions if I'm thinking too much about something else...
If I tell her I didn't have amnesia, then she'd—
"So you didn't have amnesia?" she turned, looking at me.
I didn't move my head, but I can see her at the corner of my eye.
What to say? What to say...?
I heard her stand on all her four feet and started walking, and stopped beside me.
"Hey, come on. Don't be shy. You can tell me," she said with the most melodious voice ever.
I was tempted to say it. I am really wanting to tell it. But...
I don't think it's a good idea to tell her what I am...
She sat beside me, still looking at me, while I'm staring at the ground, my head tilted down.
I don't want her to dislike me...
I don't want her to leave me...
She's like...a sister to me...
"I miss my sister..." I gasped. I thought it out loud, as I always do when I'm feeling lonely back home...
My mom would hug me.
I quickly turned to her and apologized, but she waved her head left to right with a smile.
"Missing someone is really painful..." she looked up in the sky. "But this pain we bear makes us strong."
...I have no idea how pain can make us strong...
"I miss my brother too..." she continued, her smile fading away...
I looked at the sky, looking at those white fluffs she called clouds.
"We always eat here, in this very tree..."
I wonder what happened... I should ask her.
We both turned our heads, facing each other.
I was about to ask her, but—
"So, what happened to your sister?"
"Uh... Well..." I frowned, feeling sad, really sad.
It was a few years ago...
My sister and I were inside our cave.
We were still small back then, and dad was also still alive.
Our kingdom was glorious that time, even though the other races started to despise us.
We were smart enough not to cause chaos, so we decided to step away from them, and they did the same.
After hours of playing, we finally decided to play hide and go seek.
My elder sister found me easily, and so it was my turn.
After I finished counting to ten, or rather, after I felt like I finished counting to ten—since I don't know how to count back then—I went around looking for her.
I went outside the cave, where I saw my mother.
She was talking to another big Changeling with green colors.
I think she was Chrysalis...
I was about to go back inside to look for my big sister when they started shouting at each other.
My dad wondered what it was, so he went out the cave as well, and asked me to get inside but...
That was when that evil Chrysalis and her subjects started attacking us.
Those green eyes, they were scary.
My sister jumped out from the bushes, and rushed back inside the cave.
I saw a green-eyed Changeling chasing her, wings beating as fast as a bee, and it was gaining on her.
My dad's attention was to my mom, who was about to run and help her, while my attention was on my beloved elder sister.
Seeing my big sister in danger sparked something within me.
I quickly ran towards her, jumped high right before we collide, and tackled that meanie to the ground.
It quickly got back on it's feet, and instantly it was hovering in the air.
I noticed it's mouth was glowing, and I think I know what will happen next, so I hurried back inside the cave before—
"She saved me from a monster..." I slowly said...
Unlike those green-eyed Changelings, our eyes are brown, and we rarely fly, but if we do, we flap our wings the same way as birds, not like bees.
"The monster attacked me... I was knocked out." I took a deep breath before I continued, my sight on the ground. "When I woke up, I saw my mom, being treated. My dad and sister, didn't make it..."
My mom told me that after I got knocked out, my sister turned around to help me, but she was overpowered...
We barely won that battle, but it costs us a lot.
"Oh..." I heard her soft yet low voice.
I looked at her. She was looking down on the ground, the same I was doing earlier.
"Well, my brother saved me from...a monster as well..."
She then slowly turned to face me.
She was about to say something when a soft blue ball hit me on the head.
A white little female pony with blue-colored mane and tail and with a horn on her forehead quickly went to me and apologized, "Oops! I'm sorry mister...! Please don't be angry..." That last part sounded too low.
It didn't hurt, so why would I be angry?
"Oh, Rarity. Do be careful next time, okay?" Daisy said with a smile as she puts one of her hoof on the little pony's head, patting her gently, as I took the ball and lend it to her.
She took it, but she was still looking worried.
"Rarity!" another little orange pony shouted. She must be her playmate.
"Oh, coming Applejack!" she shouted back as she turned to her.
She, again, turned to me. "Sorry," she bowed.
"Say something." Daisy said, facing me.
What should I say?
"Um... Go on and play?" and finally, the little white pony smiled and ran back to her playmate.
It was almost sunset and I needed to go.
She invited me to her house again for some 'tea'.
I think that was the brown liquid I tried to drink yesterday.
She told me that this little circle is called a chair, and this wide, white and tall circle is called a table.
Somehow, I'm getting a weird feeling that she thinks I don't know any of these stuff, but, of course I don't.
I don't think I should complain though. I liked to know more about this place anyway.
She didn't mind me imitating her way of drinking it, and...
I didn't like it, and I accidentally dropped the cup.
Good thing it didn't break, she said.
"I guess you don't like tea," she said, chuckling a bit.
Somehow, I felt a bit embarrassed...
She went and took another teapot, and this time, she said, it's filled with water, and not tea.
At least now I know that I'm really sticking with water now, and not with tea.
"Did you ever wished your sister was still here with you?"
"Of course!" I quickly responded with a tone that sounded like I was angry.
"I'm sorry..." I quickly apologized.
"It's okay... I do, to... My brother, with me, I mean..."
Of course I know what you mean... I don't think you'd like my sister to be around with you, anyway...
She doesn't like changing forms.
"Hey, I got an idea," she said, breaking the silence while I was sipping my second cup of water.
"Maybe we could be, you know, brother and sister."
That doesn't sound like a bad idea.
I do like to be with her, to be around her.
I don't want to lose her, to be away from her.
But... I'm a Changeling...
Maybe I should tell her that first.
"What do you say?" she asked.
"I'm okay with it." Wait... I was suppose to tell her what I am first!
"You're visiting that town, aren't you?" My mom asked.
She knew! She knew! What should I do?!
I was feeling tired after I got back.
I went inside the cave and went to my usual spot.
I was about to drop myself on the cave's floor to sleep when my mom came in.
She asked me where I was the whole day.
I couldn't answer her... I haven't prepared a good lie for this...
"You know what could happen if they find out..." she said, though calm, I can feel the secret angry tone.
I looked down on the cave floor, staring at a small grey pebble.
My mom's rambling went on for almost half an hour...
I actually listened to every word she said, but I never got the chance to reply.
I just, absorbed it all...
It wasn't the first time she scolded me like that.
In the previous times, every time I try and talk back, her rambling would be prolonged.
So I stayed quiet, so it'll be over quicker.
I do understand the risk but I couldn't help myself.
Daisy gave me a name...
That was the name of her little brother.
I was actually okay with it.
At least I, once again, have a big sister again.
But she didn't like the idea of being the big sister.
For one thing, she said, I looked older than she is.
I didn't believe her.
She has a tall reflecting thing she called a 'mirror'.
That was the first time I saw myself as a pony.
I was a green pony, as green as...uh...a fresh grass sprout, under the shade of a big tree, maybe?
It would be simpler, she said, if I'll describe my color as dark-green.
I was about to compare my color to the leaves but, the leaves are all red and yellow for some strange reason...
My mane and tail are brown. Almost as brown as Daisy's, but a bit darker.
My horn is pointed, just like that little Rarity, though a little bigger.
I also have my wings. Same color as my body color.
I tried spreading my wings, it was white underneath.
Somehow, I liked my wings looking this way.
And oh, that book near my tail.
I think she called it a 'cutie mark'.
It really is a book.
An opened book, with black white pages.
I wanted to ask her about this 'cutie mark' and some other things...
But I guess I couldn't go there tomorrow...
I'm sorry, little sister...
Here I am, the black Changeling, looking down on his reflection in this little pond near the cave...
I should have been there hours ago but, sigh...
My mom suddenly sat down beside me. I can see her reflection. She's looking at me.
"Why are you so fond of that place?"
"I don't know... I don't really know..."
I quickly answered.
That was no lie.
I honestly don't know.
Maybe it was because of books.
Maybe because I was looking for something new, other than caves and trees and other look-a-like Changelings...
Maybe because of Daisy?
I can't believe my mother would let me go back there!
I'm running as fast as I could, only to reach disappointment...
She's not here...
She didn't wait for me...
No, I shouldn't blame her.
She might just got tired of waiting, that's all...
The town is really quiet today...
There are no ponies walking around.
I can't open the bakery's 'door'...
I can't even open Daisy's 'door'...
I called out her name...
I should probably go to the park.
No one's here, either...
What's going on here?
Okay, that's it.
I'm flying for a better view!
Oh, there are lots of ponies down there near that big red wood-house.
I better check it out.
I don't know why, but I was really really glad to see Daisy there!
She was standing outside this place she called Sweet Apple Acres.
She did waited for me, but her friends called her to get here, or she'll be late.
She told me I was late to see Princess Celestia, and her opening speech.
As we walked inside the acres, she told me that the town is celebrating the annual celebration of welcoming Autumn.
She also told me that the race just got started.
What race, I asked.
We stopped in front of a white 'fence', it was as high as my neck, but I still have a nice view.
Daisy stood on her two hind legs, and rested her front legs over the fence.
Too bad though, the racers are already too far away.
And these red and yellow and brown leaves are falling everywhere.
While she was explaining the purpose of the race, this tall white winged pony stands out over there, enjoying the scene of the falling leaves.
She's really different... Far too different from the rest of the other ponies around here.
"That's Princess Celestia."
Daisy said after she got my attention through poking my neck with her hoof.
"Were you even listening?"
"Oh, sorry sis..."
"Well, too bad, 'cause I'm not repeating all of it," she stuck her tongue out.
I really never would have expected that the winner of the race would be a small pony.
The very same orange pony I saw yesterday, the one Rarity called Applejack.
Still so young, but already achieved something great.
Oh hey, she has a big brother.
A red pony.
They look really happy together.
"Just like you and me, brother." Daisy smiled.
Just like...you and me...
There's a long line of ponies, all waiting their turn to meet and greet Princess Cele...whatever...
Daisy said they do this annually...
Why are the ponies so excited to meet her, if they do this annually?
Anyway, it was our turn.
We went inside the red 'barn' where Pricess Cele'stia' is seated behind a more wider brown table.
There are other serious-looking winged ponies standing like rocks, forming a path for us to take.
Daisy said these are the princess' royal guards.
Midway, I saw the princess looking at us...
Or, to be more specific, looking at me...
At me... But she's still smiling.
"Hello princess," Daisy bowed right after we reached the other end of the table.
It wasn't as wide as I thought.
No, yes, it is wide, from my left to my right, almost reaching the two walls of this 'barn' but, the two ends of the table, from us to the princess, is really really narrow.
We could even reach her, but I don't think that's a good idea.
"Bow down..." she whispered.
"Oh, sorry..." I quickly bowed.
I saw Daisy rose her head, so I raised mine back as well.
Well, she's pretty...bright?
I mean, she's pretty bright for my eyes...
I'm a cave-dweller, and it kind of hurts my eyes to see white stuff...
I just hope she wouldn't mind...
"Hello, my little ponies," the princess gracefully said.
I don't know why I said gracefully but, to me, it does sound graceful.
Not soft like Daisy, but, oh, I give up...
She turned to me, still smiling.
"Ah, so I did see you right."
No idea what she meant by that. I better listen...
"You're an Alicorn Pony," she blinked her eyes. "Alicorns usually possess great magic, and often come from royalty."
Royalty is right. My mom's the queen of our tribe. Maybe 'chief' would fit?
Not quite sure about that magic part...
Anyway... I should think of an excuse now...
"Um... Well... I just live with my mom in a—"
"Oh? I'd love to meet her."
My mom said it's rude to butt-in when you're not yet finished talking...
Some princess this princess is...
"Of course, she's an Alicorn as well?"
I think I just remembered something...
My mom said something about Princess Celestia hating us Changelings...
Though she showed us mercy and let us be, as long as we won't cause trouble...
Now, I'm right in front of her, about to—
"I'm sorry to interrupt, princess, but..." Daisy suddenly said, with her soft toned voice.
Honestly, I forgot she was beside me...
"Yes? What is it dear?"
"My brother here somehow couldn't remember...anything...at all..." she replied, tilting her head down a bit.
Princess Celestia seemed to be surprised.
"Oh my. That's terrible."
Thank you, little sister.
We couldn't stay there for long.
There were still a lot of ponies in line, waiting for their turn.
Before we left, Princess Celestia asked us about our relationship: about if we really were a brother and sister.
Daisy told her about it, and soon, we left the princess after bowing to her.
We eventually ran into the champion of this year's race.
Or to be more specific... She bumped right into me.
And wow! Really, wow! She knocked me!
Daisy was beside me, so I fell on her, and we both fell to the ground.
That little orange pony was one tough pony...
It's natural to get angry but, I'll let it go.
It hurt, yes, but she's just a small kid.
Daisy had it the other way.
She scolded her, but I stopped her after she said a few words, giving the little pony teary eyes.
I apologized to my little sister's behavior to her, and to her grandmother and her big brother.
They apologized as well.
I pulled Daisy out of there, for I thought if we didn't, our apologizing will loop and loop.
I never thought my little sister could get angry like that.
And she is still grumbling...
She bought an 'apple pie' before we went back to her home.
All the trees' leaves around town are all gone now.
How did that happen? I thought the race was in that acres?
The green grass and yellow-brown sand and brown soil are all covered with red, yellow and brown leaves.
Ponies loved it. It was beautiful, they said.
I find it...messy and annoying.
I don't think I've said this yet but...
'Eating' stuff doesn't really help satisfying my hunger.
I'm not hungry yet, by the way.
I ate some 'pie' anyway...
We chatted about what happened earlier that day.
Or... She talked and talked while I listened, and answered if she came up with a question.
I don't talk much ever since my real sister was gone.
I talk much in my head...
And I noticed... I've been even more talkative inside my head ever since we fed.
I guess a satisfied belly can do wonders.
I am now at the foot of our lonely mountain, and the sun was already down but it was still giving off orange rays filling the sky.
I almost forgot to change back into a Changeling before I came out of the forest.
I went inside the cave. My mom wasn't there, as usual.
I went to my usual spot and lied there—near the 'end-wall'.
That's what I call it, anyway.
While I was walking home, inside the forest, Daisy's question kept echoing inside my head...
"Why won't you stay here with me? You can live here in Ponyville with me."
I'd love to, but—
Oh, there's my mom.
I rose my head and locked my sight at her.
She seemed to be troubled by something.
"Come with me, my dear."
We went on a cliff, a few distance away from our mountain.
Just the two of us, mother and son, looking at the evening horizon.
The stars are glittering so brightly.
None of us said a word during and ever since we got here.
I wonder if my mom wanted me to ask her why we're here in the first place.
I'm feeling a bit tired, from all that walking from the village to home, and then from home to here.
I took a look down the cliff.
It's not really deep, but, a wingless creature can have enough time to spell 'death' before they touch the ground.
"While you were away..." she finally said, breaking the silence and making me look at her.
She's still looking at the horizon.
"Chrysalis came back."
Chrysalis and my mom look pretty identical but, there are a few differences, from what I can remember...
My mom has a few holes. My mom's eyes are brown, like mine, and the rest of her subjects.
My mom's wings are thicker and wider, but still a bit transparent, and her horn doesn't look like a messy thunderbolt—whatever.
She was here?
"I felt her power. She's stronger than before."
That's not good.
She finally faced me.
"Whatever it was you were doing in that town, better end it tomorrow."
I couldn't believe what I'm hearing...!
She closed her eyes as she nodded.
She then faced the horizon after opening her eyes.
I was still looking at her, still couldn't believe what I just heard...
"That witch wants us to join her."
Join her? No way!
"That's why we should leave this place..."
But where to?
She sighed and was silent for a while.
"Cloth and his brother found a good place for us all."
Ever since my father and sister were gone, Cloth somehow became my mom's most trusted subject.
He's good at anything, and he's so loyal to my mom.
He even respects me.
I couldn't believe we're really going away...
But I couldn't believe even more at what I just said!
My mom simply sighed as she slowly faced me.
"You've grown attached to that place, haven't you?"
"Tell me your name..."
I don't have...
...I have a name...
...I do have a name...
Daisy gave me a name...
She smiled after a moment of pause.
"Mom, this is Daisy..."
I nervously said.
My mom and I just exited the forest, and Daisy was still on her usual spot.
Daisy doesn't really know what to say, but she just bowed down.
I think I can feel her nervousness...
She rose her head up, and the instant she did, she was terrified and immediately screamed.
I quickly turned to my mom, who—to my horror—was not my mom, but Chrysalis, smiling evilly and staring at me.
The sun wasn't up yet, but I was.
That was a dream—no, a nightmare.
How long has it been since I last saw a nightmare?
I couldn't remember...
And I should try and forget about that weird dream...
Okay, I couldn't get back to sleep...
I went outside and sat on the side of this little pond, staring at the Changeling looking back at me...
I have to admit...
Being able to stay with my little sister feels great but...
...I have to leave my mom and the rest of the Changelings...
I told my mom about Daisy, and how I got my name.
She said that she has heard even weirder ways for Changelings to earn their names.
She said she was proud of me, being able to earn my name all by myself.
But she was sad that I found it there in the pony village.
This is probably the worst of all the choices I face.
I love my mom my whole life.
Daisy is just some pony... Some pony who somehow I feel really attached...
Don't want to leave either of them...
Daisy and I are in the park, under the same tree, but now it's leafless.
I told her about it, excluding the parts about Changelings and earning names, and other things.
I told her that my mom was the leader of the pony nomads that visited this town last week.
She remembered it.
She even told me she remembered seeing me.
My mom and the town leader, or 'mayor', talked, and after a few minutes, the 'mayor' allowed us to stay for a while.
The ponies welcomed us, though they don't treat or talk to us the same way to their well-known ponies.
I couldn't blame them. It's normal.
Daisy said she was watering her flowers in front of her house when she saw me.
At first, she thought I was a unicorn pony.
She didn't notice my wings at the time.
She kept watering her plants, though at the corner of her eyes, she can see me, staring at her.
That was probably the time I was 'feeding' on her.
She wanted to talk to me, but after she finished watering her plants, I was already on my way to my mom.
She suddenly felt dizzy for a little while, so she dropped the idea and went inside her house.
I must have fed too much.
"I have an idea," Daisy suddenly said, "why don't I come with you and your mom?"
That took me by surprise.
Not a bad idea...
That's a really bad idea...
My mom and her subjects need to look like ponies for the rest of their lives just for her?
I or we could show her who we really are, and risk my chance of ever talking or seeing her again?
Maybe I could leave her and be with my mom...?
Stay with her, and leave me mom...?
"What about your mom?" I asked...
And soon, I felt guilty for asking such a question...
Her smile completely dropped after I asked her that question.
"I don't want to talk about it..." she quietly said...
I rubbed her back with my front 'hoof'.
Earlier today, she told me that they call their feet 'hooves', or 'hoof'...
It's high noon now...
It's the time I should give my decision...
My mom or my little sister...
I hate deciding...
As always, Daisy walked with me to the forest's edge.
I'm really surprised to see my mother at the forest's edge.
Not as a Changeling Queen, but as a big 'Alicorn' pony.
She's probably as tall as Princess Celestia.
She disguised herself as a grey-colored alicorn, and her mane and tale are colored black.
Her eyes are still brown.
I don't really know what to say or what to do.
I couldn't see Daisy.
She's probably beside me, but I couldn't see her on the edge of my eyes.
She's probably a bit behind.
"So this is 'Daisy', your little sister...?" she asked, with a bit of anger on her tone.
I looked back and saw her bowed down.
"I'm not of royalty whom you should bow to, my dear," she said, feeling a bit embarrassed as she waved one of her front hoof.
I haven't seen my mom like that in a long time. It was quite funny.
Daisy quickly returned her head up and looked at me.
"You two really look alike," she said, faking a smile.
I don't know how, but I could somehow tell her smile was fake.
"Of course, he's my son, after all."
My mom then faced me.
"Dear, have you decided?"
"Um..." Daisy said with a very low tone.
My mom and I looked at her.
"I could go with you."
I am surprised she would ask my mom that!
"You can't, my dear," my mother quickly said. "You belong here."
"B-but. I want to be with Henry, your—" she quickly stopped herself.
"I-I'm so sorry... He's your son, so I'm sure he already has a name you gave him..."
No idea what she meant by that...
Aren't ponies also going to name themselves one day?
Or is it just us Changelings?
"It's fine, my dear. 'Henry' is a good name," she said, though I could sense sadness in between those words.
"Well..." Daisy said, "I don't really belong here... Not anymore..."
Why is that?
Her mom, maybe?
"I have nopony here anymore... I lost my brother... My father left me and my mom, and my mom..."
She started crying.
I don't know what came inside my head, but I hugged her, rubbing her back gently.
Tears falling out from her eyes, rolling down her face...
I always hated seeing my big sister cry...
I always get into fights because my sister was always being teased by other Changelings during my childhood.
Now, my little sister is crying, and there is no one for me to fight because of it...
I couldn't sleep...
I don't really know why.
I feel happy, yet, I'm feeling sad at the same time...
It's a really weird mixture of emotions...
I'm really having a lot of new words to use...
My mom said if I couldn't decide, then she'll decide for me.
And she decided for me to stay with my little sister.
Before she left, I asked if she'll be able to visit us one day...
She didn't say anything. She just left after hugging the two of us, and making Daisy promise to look after me...
"Promise to visit us one day!" I shouted as she flew away.
I have a very comfortable bed.
Daisy said this is called a 'double-deck bed'...
She's sleeping on the top bed.
She always sleep on top, and her brother on the bottom.
I slept on my side, facing the 'window'...
The only thing I could see through that window is another house...
The only sounds I could here are the 'ticking' of her 'wall clock' and the noise I make each time I change my sleeping position...
I really need to go to sleep...
Hm... I wonder how we can tell the time with that 'wall clock'...
I was awakened by a very loud and ear-killing scream.
The instant the scream started, I quickly opened my eyes, and the first I saw was Daisy, screaming and facing me.
She took quick steps back that made her accidentally bump on this huge wood thing that has lots of books.
A number of books fell, some directly to the floor, and some on her head, especially that very thick red book.
She lost her consciousness soon after.
We apologized to her neighbors after she got her consciousness back.
After, we sat down on these little 'chairs' again, right next to another 'window', and in between us was the tall and wide white 'table'.
She drank some tea to 'calm her nerves'.
Although I know what happened and what she saw, I asked her anyway.
She said she saw a black pony-thing.
And the orange-glowing eyes terrified her even more, making her walk back.
She convinced herself that she was just probably halucinating, or something around that word.
She never had anyone else with her in this little 'house'.
I quickly jumped off the bed to help her, but I stopped myself after I put my hoof on her head.
I saw my hoof... It was black.
I turned to the mirror...
I was a Changeling again...
I carried her to my bed before I changed myself to my pony-self.
I change back to a Changeling if I fall asleep...
I really should tell her the truth about me sooner or later...
But if I do tell her...
...and never want to see me again...
I'll end up all alone...
...my sister doesn't want me...
...I don't know where my mother is...
"Share some," Daisy suddenly said.
"You think too much..." I guess I do...
"I'm your little sister, remember?" she smiled, "You can talk to me about anything, right?"
I sure hope so...
She got eager to listen.
"What if what you saw was really me?"
It really was me...
A defensive type of revealing who I truly am, maybe?
"What?" She thought about it for a while.
She took a sip.
She looked out the window.
It became quiet for a while.
This time, though, she's the one having a lot on her mind.
And I'm very eager to know what she's thinking.
She suddenly shook her head.
"I think...what I saw...was..."
She slowly faced me.
Her face, still the same, but somehow, it was full of sadness.
She knows what Changelings are.
So... Is it okay to say I'm a Changeling too?
That was the first thing I thought, but...
"My brother was killed by a monster..."
That was the first thing she said about her brother.
And just now, she said it again, the second time, more clearer now...
"My brother was killed by a Changeling..."
I dropped my mouth wide open.
I couldn't believe what I just heard.
That only made things worst for me...
If I tell her, she'll definitely want to send me away!
She shook her head once more.
After she did, she flashed a smile.
I find it weird though...
"Let's not talk about gloomy stuff."
She turned to the window.
"It's a fine day today!"
It is a fine day...
Maybe I shouldn't worry about it for the time being...
End of Chapter 1
Chapter 2 - Daisy Hoof
"All I wanted was someone to love me and take care of me..."
Is this the cave where he and his mother used to live?
Walking inside this cave...
It feels so...lonely...
What have I done...?
I want to go and look for him, but the storm...
The storm is so violent...
The wind is whistling so scarily...
The trees look like they could be pulled out from the ground.
I'm really scared...
I don't want to be alone...
I want you back...
I want my brother back...
This is all my fault...
I suddenly remembered that dream I had...
I shook my head, trying to remove my mind off of that dream, and all those bad memories it carried...
They're gone, but not entirely gone.
They're still flashing in my head, but they're easier to ignore now.
I flashed a smile, so he would know that I'm okay.
"Let's not talk about gloomy stuff."
I said to him, as calm as I could possibly be.
It didn't seem to work.
He's still looking worried.
I looked out the window, and my! What a beautiful day it is today.
"It's a fine day today!"
I saw him look at the window as well, and from his smile, I could tell that he agrees.
An idea sprang inside my head.
I quickly turned to him, "Hey, I know. Do you want to come with me at work?"
He asked stupidly again, smile fading away...
I don't really want to tell him how stupid his questions are but, I do try to understand.
Maybe something happened to him.
I wanted to know, if something did happen, but, I'm afraid to ask.
Anyway, he doesn't know a lot, but I find it fun to teach him about stuff.
But it does make me feel like the older sister again...
"Yes, work. You know."
"I...don't know..." he slowly said.
"Um... How should I explain it..."
I searched for the right words in my mind.
"Work is like this..."
We went to Sugarcube Corner, the place he identified as the place where I bought some bread.
We went to the counter.
I explained to him—as an example—Mr. Cake here works as a baker.
He asked about the word baker.
I was about to explain it to him anyway...
Bakers make bread, cake, muffin and others.
Mr. Cake bakes these stuff because that's his work.
A working pony will earn Bits.
He asked about Bits. Sigh...
Bits are money, the pony currency.
I hushed him when he was about to ask about currency.
I don't know a lot about currency as well.
Customers pay Bits to Mr. Cake if they want to have some bread.
The amount of Bits depends on the required Bits the worker asks.
As an example, inside this clean glass stand, bread and other pastries are lined up, with price tags standing in front of each.
Price is the amount of Bits you need to pay if you want that certain thing.
Well, I think that's about it.
He seemed to be satisfied about my first example about work.
I bought two pieces of bread before we left.
Think of it as, a practical example of my example of work.
Mr. Cake played along 'til we went outside.
I think he's giving us a strange look...
"Well, we're here." I said happily.
I turned to him, since, as usual, he's tailing me.
I saw his amazed-looking face as he stared at the big ol' tree where I'm working.
"I've never seen a tree this big..." he slowly said.
That made me chuckle a bit.
This tree is really one giant tree.
It's not even affected by the magic of seasons.
"...and a window...and a door...?"
"Well, I think this is the only tree with a window and a door."
I said as I turned to the big tree, slowly approaching the door.
"This is where I work."
I said as I opened the door with my hoof.
I heard his slow footsteps behind me.
He's probably getting close.
I walked inside, and turned to him.
He seemed a bit scared to enter, though.
I looked around.
The place does look gloomy.
It won't be once I turn the lights on.
"Come on in."
After he got inside, he looked around slowly, and then faced me.
"So... Where are the price tags of these books?"
I took a deep breath...
...and let out a heavy sigh...
I told him that I'm a librarian, and, as predicted, he asked what a librarian does.
I told him that I am the one managing the books: keeping them clean and neat and orderly arranged.
Not only the books though, but also the other things around here: the chairs, tables, lamps...
I'm also the one to assist the pony folks who wants to borrow books.
How am I going to get Bits, he asked.
Well, the mayor gives me a monthly pay.
Monthly pay is a bag of Bits that you'll receive for working at the last day of each month.
He looked puzzled.
Since he didn't have any work at all, I asked him to help me clean.
Heh... I don't want him to be a freeloader forever, I teased him.
He didn't like that idea as well, so he took the bucket and the mop.
I instructed him about how to use those tools.
He looked like a natural, mopping the floor I mean.
He gave me an angry look, and I stuck my tongue out at him as I wipe a book with an old piece of cloth.
Somehow, for some strange reason, he chuckled after I said the word 'cloth'...
He didn't give me a proper reply why though.
I've lost track of time, but I think we've been here for an hour and a half now.
I really need to put a wall clock here.
My brother moved from mopping, to putting the books on the table, to dusting and wiping the bookshelves.
Wow, I guess males do work faster and get tired slow.
Someone's knocking on the door.
Henry is close to the door, while I am on the second floor, still wiping half of the total books here.
I asked him to open the door, and he did.
It was little Rarity.
Her horn's glowing though, and as she walked inside, the book she borrowed four days ago is floating behind her.
"Oh, Rarity! Hello."
I greeted as I walked down the stairs.
My brother didn't said a word though.
He just blankly stared at the little filly who walked inside the library.
"You could have at least greeted our guest, you know."
I said after reaching the last step.
"Oh, uh... Sorry."
He quickly turned to Rarity, who was just staring at him.
"Um... Hello and good morning...?"
He then looked at me.
His eyes were somehow asking me to grade his performance on his greeting skills.
"That was good," I chuckled.
"Is he your coltfriend or something?" Rarity asked.
That made me look at her as quick as lightning.
"No, of course not!" I snapped.
Why would you thi---
"I'm her brother," Henry calmly said with a smile.
Rarity came to return the book she borrowed, and she wanted to borrow something about sewing, again.
She said something about making her own clothes in school.
I asked Henry to assist her, but...
He told me he doesn't know how.
Each month, I am changing how I arrange the books.
This month, the books are arranged by category.
I told him to look for the shelf that has sewing and garments on them but...
He told me something I couldn't believe, even little Rarity...
"I couldn't read..."
Little Rarity gasped in disbelief.
I just noticed that the sun is at its highest peak.
And look, I'm almost done cleaning everything here on this small second floor, and my brother's just returning the books to their original places.
Wow, he's good at remembering things.
Maybe I could teach him how to read.
We ate bread on the second floor, near the window.
I asked him if working as a librarian's assistant was fun.
He replied with a neutral 'it was okay'...
"Hey, we're almost done cleaning," I started, "do you want me to teach you how to read?"
He quickly replied.
And honestly, that surprised me a bit.
His habit of suddenly answering with a high voice is a bit annoying though...
He quickly apologized.
"But yes, I would love to learn how to read."
I don't know why, but the way he said that sentence, somehow, I feel like he emphasized the words 'love' and 'read'.
Well, he does need to learn how to read if he wants to read books.
I wonder how he got his cutie mark if he doesn't know how to read...
We've finally finished cleaning, and I made him sit on a chair, the very same chair he sat on while we were eating lunch.
The sun is still pretty high, so he have enough light.
I flashed a filly book.
I don't know how long this will take us but...
Oh well. It's better than not doing anything.
I've completely lost track of time, but, the sun was still out, but is ready to set.
We've made a lot of progress.
I couldn't believe he could learn so fast.
Maybe he does know how to read.
Maybe he knows, but he forgot, and we're just unlocking it, together?
Also, the filly book I took was a story about a little filly and her...mom...
I think, he noticed my tone changes from time to time.
He asks if something was bothering me though.
I don't want him to worry about anything else right now.
Right now, all he needs to worry is to learn how to read.
I hate my mom so much...
She left me, my brother and my dad.
I don't know why, I don't know where she is, and I don't care.
My dad died from a disease.
Since then, my brother and I have been taking care of each other.
We worked together in this library as apprentices to earn some Bits.
We were able to own the house we're living through saving some Bits.
We had a rough time, being alone, without parents.
Sharing my past with my new brother somehow felt, good inside...
I've been wanting to have somepony to talk to.
I do have friends here, but...
I don't feel like sharing my problems with them...
We're home now, night already governed the sky.
We ran into some of my friends earlier; Cheerilee and Ditzy, while we were on our way home.
I introduced them to my brother, and I introduced my brother to them.
And I explained why we're a brother and sister.
They didn't believe me though. Predictable.
They gave me evil grins and raising eyebrows and weird looks.
I just rolled my eyes.
Henry however, seemed confused.
Is he this innocent about these things?
And now, we're here, inside this quiet house, enjoying some tea.
Well, I'm enjoying tea, while he's having plain water.
I'm expecting him to say something, but I guess he doesn't know what to say.
Something to say to make me feel better.
But it's okay.
Knowing that he's here, listening, is enough.
I feel like crying though.
But I suddenly remembered him saying that he doesn't like to see me cry.
So I won't.
Strangely, I woke up, from a dreamless sleep...
What time is it?
Four in the morning...
I feel like taking a peek, to see if my brother's asleep.
Now that I think about it, I haven't seen my brother asleep.
I'm feeling a bit scared...
What if I'll see him as a black figure again?
Oh, what am I thinking...
I was hallucinating that time.
He's not asleep?
He's just lying there on his back, our eyes locked.
"Sorry... I couldn't sleep."
He slowly said. I wonder what's on his mind.
I better a—
"I've been thinking..."
"Care to share?"
"Well, I feel like...I want to see my mother..."
What does that mean?
"I just...want to see how she is doing..."
"I haven't really been separated from her for too long..."
He looked away...
"...not used to it."
"Well, I'm sure she's fine."
I said, trying to cheer him up, but, it didn't seem to work...
"I sure hope so..."
And we became quiet for a while.
"What about you, sis?"
He suddenly said, startling me a bit.
"Huh? What about me?"
"What's on your mind?"
Well, I haven't really been thinking about anything...
I just woke up...
He simply replied as he looked at the window.
We were quiet for a while again.
I'm sure there are still things bothering him inside his head.
That caught me off guard.
He's thanking me... "...For what?"
Although we have spent a lot of time together...
Somehow, I feel like he doesn't want me to know him...
I feel like he's still hiding something from me...
But... Don't we all?
I hide my reason for hating my mom from him.
I don't know why, but I just don't want him to know...
Maybe I don't want him to carry this hatred I feel towards my mother?
Maybe he's also thinking the same...
Maybe he doesn't want me to carry his troubles, his problems, but...
I better get some sleep...
We're going to the library once again.
The sky is gloomy today.
I think the pegasus ponies are planning to let it rain.
Maybe they have an oversupply of water?
They are preparing for winter, after all...
After we...or, I, bought some bread from Mr. Cake, we ran into the mayor.
Henry recognizes him though, and the mayor recognizes my brother.
After an ordinary greeting, we were on our way.
I looked back and saw Henry looking at the sky.
Or maybe he's looking at the pegasus ponies putting all those gloomy clouds up there.
I bet he doesn't know what they're doing.
I looked ahead.
The library's only a few hooves away.
"What are they doing up there?"
Somehow, that made me smile as I looked back to him, still walking.
I was about to reply when he suddenly bit my tail, making me stop.
He bit my tail!
My long and beautiful tail!
"Watch wer ya goin', mis!"
A loud, dark and cracky voice said in front of me.
I turned to where that voice came from, and right in front of me was a big blue stallion.
He looks so...so...charming...
He gave me an angry look, a dry 'hmp!' and he walked away.
Henry walked beside me.
"Who was that?"
"Beats me," but he looks so totally charmingly cute!
We began walking again.
"He's probably just a visitor." I said weirdly.
He does look so charming.
His image is stuck inside my head.
I think I'm in love...
"Wasn't he charming?" I suddenly said.
I gasped. Why did I said that?
Oh well. I'm feeling happy about it.
"Well, I think his partner thinks the same way..."
Wait... What? What!?
I quickly turned to the direction to where that charming stallion took.
Aw... He's already wed to that red beautiful mare...
...and they have a baby...
Oh well... At least m---!
Oh geez, the library's door sure knows how to hurt a pony... Ow...
"You okay, sis?"
"Fine!" I snarled.
I opened the darn door and went inside.
'Are you okay, sis?' he asked. Of course I'm not okay!
My poor heart's broken, and the door slammed into me!
Strangely, my brother suddenly started patting my head, and...
...it made me feel better, well, not really...
Yes, I feel a bit better, but I also feel a bit guilty of snarling at him earlier.
"Thank you..." I slowly said...
It's raining now.
This rainy day is going to make the library quiet...
No visitors... Sigh...
A few minutes ago, I told my brother that the pegasus ponies were putting up those clouds to make it rain.
And as usual, he gave me a dumb look.
And after that, another predictable question.
"Why would they put clouds to make it rain?"
I do wonder about that myself.
Why would they ruin such a beautiful day?
The only answer I gave him was for everything to be in balance.
Ponyville's been having wonderful days for a number of days now.
I guess it's time for a rainy day.
I just hope it won't turn into a storm.
I think it has been an hour now, or two...
My brother's on the first floor, reading by himself.
That gave me a smile.
He learned how to read in just one day...
Or half a day...
I'm on the second floor, near the window.
I've been busy with my sketches.
Not only do I love reading, but I also dream to write my own book one day.
I need inspiration.
I need a theme.
I need a setting.
I need...whatever else is needed to write a good book.
It's still raining outside, and the wind is a bit strong.
I think I should stop drawing now, and time to think of a good story.
Well, I like adventure, so maybe I'll write about adventure.
But I need a character first...
A main character.
Will this pegasus do?
Maybe a winged adventure is a bit boring...
He just turned to a new page, and the page has a big image on it that I can clearly see.
...is that a Changeling?
Why is he reading a book about Changelings?
Is he a Changeling?
Is he reading about it 'cause of my hallucination?
Instead of thinking of a story, the only thing rambling in my head is one question...
Why is my brother reading a book about Changelings?
He turned to me.
"Something wrong, li'l sis?"
Should I ask him?
Why shouldn't I?
"What's that book you're reading?"
He took the book with both his hooves: one to act as a bookmark on the current page he's currently reading, and the other to turn the book to it's cover.
"'Research About Strange Creatures', written by 'dee' 'ar' Glass...?"
He raised his voice on the last word, making it sound like he wasn't sure what he just read.
"'Dee' 'ar'?" I thought about it for a moment...
"You mean, 'doctor'?"
"Oh..." he looked at the book again.
"So... Is this another one of those abbrevi—whatever things?"
"Yep." I laughed. He felt embarrassed, I think.
"N-no. That just means I still have a lot to learn," he smiled and returned to reading the book.
"Why are you reading that book, anyway?"
"Well," he replied, not turning to face me, "you saw me as a Changeling... I am..."
His voiced trailed off.
He may be thinking about what to say.
"...just...interested..." he slowly turned to face me. "Maybe...?"
"Also..." he added, slowly getting back to reading.
"I find this book quite interesting to read."
"Well, there are so many creatures being described here that I haven't heard about."
And he turned to me, flashing the current page he was currently reading.
It had an image of a phoenix printed on one whole page.
Ah, finally, it's time to close the library.
And it just stopped raining.
I better compile these drawings of mine.
"What are those?"
I gasped in surprise!
I quickly turned and saw my brother behind me.
"Don't do that again!"
I angrily replied...
He looked away, and I suddenly felt ashamed, "S-sorry..."
He just smiled.
I saw his eyes, they're looking at the table where my drawings are...
...his looking at my drawings!
I quickly stepped in his way to cover the table where my drawings are.
Somehow, I'm blushing in shame, looking down on the floor.
"Don't look at them..."
"I think they're good drawings."
"They're not that good..."
I don't know why, but somehow, I added a bit of anger on my tone.
"Yes they are."
I looked at him, and he was smiling.
I stepped aside.
He took a few steps towards the table, and looked at my drawings.
I wanted to pull him away from them but...
"I didn't know my li'l sister can draw!"
"You're just teasing me..." I looked away.
"But they really are."
I slowly turned to him, and he was looking at me.
"D...do you really think so?"
He nodded, smiling.
He looked at the drawings again.
There are notes on each of my artwork...
But each one has two big words on them.
He read the two big words on each of the drawings out loud...
"It's a lame name, I know..."
I turned away once more.
I felt his hoof on my shoulder.
"Why would you think that?"
I couldn't answer...
I've always been shy to show my artwork to any pony...
I have never got the courage to show my artwork to any pony...
"I don't know what your Cutie Mark is...
But it's not related to books!
So stop writing and stop drawing!
Drawing isn't your talent!
Stop wasting time!"
"But I love to write! And draw! AH!"
"Don't you dare talk back to me!"
I accidentally shared some of my hatred towards my mom.
He started, breaking this awful silence.
"You showed it to me..."
"And I think that took quite a lot of courage."
You're just saying that...
My brother said he wanted to go back to where he and his mother used to live.
He said—and he hoped—that 'it' was still there.
I don't know what he meant.
He did said that he missed his mom.
Maybe his true intention was to see her, and not to search for 'something'...?
The sun's already down...
The forest is probably dangerous at night.
And the sky is still gloomy...
What is the time, anyway?
Three 'til seven...
If he won't come back soon, his bread will be cold by the time he returns...
I just wish he'll come back soon...
"What's this?" I asked as I took this weird item off of my brother's hoof.
He just arrived, a few minutes before the rain started, again.
Now that I am holding it, it feels, wet, but it's not wet.
This little, tear-shaped blue crystal...I've never seen anything like it before.
"That's called an Ocean's Tear," he smiled.
"Ocean's Tear," he said again.
I guess I looked like I needed him to repeat what this is.
Okay, an Ocean's Tear...
It really feels wet, and I'm having the urge to wipe my hoof dry, but...
My hoof isn't wet. It just feels wet.
This is one weird stone.
It kinda glows in the dark a bit, too.
"Why are you giving me this?" I suddenly asked him.
He was now sitting on the wooden chair, eating his cold bread.
I tried eating cold bread before...
...I didn't like it.
"It used to belong to my sister, but, well...you know..."
So, you are now giving this thing to me?
"And earlier, I saw your drawings, and I read some of the text on it."
"So I thought I'd give that to you."
"To inspire you to write a story."
"Um... Is something wrong?"
"You...read my writings?"
I closed my eyes and sighed...
I sadly said as I dropped myself on his bed.
Well, technic'ly, it's still my bed.
I'm staring at this weird stone-thing.
"My sister used to make up stories and share them with me when we were still young."
Somehow, he made me feel interested to listen.
"She used to bring almost anything to life: how the sun was born, why is the sun and moon never rose together, how did mountains became...mountains, where did trees came from, rain, clouds, storm, stars, rocks..."
His voice trailed off. He then sighed, smiling.
"Those were the crazy days... And I believed every word of it."
That must have been amusing.
I couldn't hold to laugh a bit.
He didn't seem to mind.
"So... Since, somehow, you two have weird imagination..."
That ticked me off a bit.
"I felt like wanting you to have that."
I woke up from a dreamless sleep.
Somepony was knocking on the door.
I was too sleepy to move...
I am really really sleepy...
Oh, three sets of annoying knocks...
Did my brother just rose up from his bed?
Please check and see who it is.
The door opened.
I think I can hear them whispering.
I better take a small peak.
I can't see who the visitor is.
Maybe he, or she, is still outside.
My brother's there, his head is covered by the door.
And they really are whispering.
I can't seem to make out the words...
They're quiet now...
Oh, flapping sounds.
Was the visitor a pegasus?
My brother came inside, and he was somehow looking a bit surprised to see me awake.
He...he has a grim look on his face...
What's going on?
We're suppose to be at the library now.
We're still here, sitting on chairs.
I can feel my brother really needs to tell me something, but...
I can also feel that he's truly afraid to tell me...
"Is... Is it about your mom?"
I finally said.
I really don't want to be the first to say anything but...
...I also don't want to stay here, sitting all day.
He slowly nodded.
He said my name...
This will not sound good.
I don't know why, but I gulped.
He's looking really grim and scared, and...
"I've been hiding a secret from you..."
"A...secret that I'm too scared to tell you..."
He stood up, took a few steps away from the table.
He took a deep breath.
Why aren't you facing me?
"I don't want to see your face when I'll tell you this..."
I suddenly said.
"If... If it's that grim, then don't tell me anything about it..."
But I really want to know about it.
"I'm afraid that you might no longer want to see me..."
"I'm scared that maybe...maybe..."
He turned his head, facing the mirror near our bed.
"...maybe...you wouldn't want me to be with you..."
He took another deep breath.
I'm really hating the sound of this.
"Please don't tell me... Please..."
If this is a sick joke, then believe me, I won't laugh!
I'll kick you so hard, you'll kiss the mare in the moon!
Am I seeing things?
His four hooves are slowly turning black...pointed...clawed...
It suddenly became short and black...
I woke up!
A bad dream!
But it's dark...
Is it still night time?
Where am I?
Henry puts a hoof on my back.
That felt really reassuring...
I quickly jumped off the bed, and quickly turned to face him!
Oh my gosh!
We slept on the same bed!
"What's wrong!? What's wrong!?"
You dare asked a stupid question like that!?
"We slept on the same bed—together!"
A weird silence followed.
Not really quiet.
My fast and deep breathing is the only thing I can hear.
"What's..." he started, "wrong with that?"
I can't believe this guy...
How could you be so...so...innocent!
He looked around the bed.
"I used to sleep with my mother and sister whe—"
"That's not the point!"
I snarled and walked to the window.
I looked up to the gloomy night sky.
Did I fell asleep on his bed?
Oh, so it's my fault now?
He could have just woken me up.
"No... I'm sorry..."
It's my fault, anyway...
I slowly faced him.
"I'm sorry if..."
He'll be the one to figure out the rest of that sentence.
There's something glowing on his side of the bed where I slept.
That must have been the crystal...
I hate this awkward silence.
I forgot to bring my spare wall clock again.
We came to the library, even though it was raining a bit.
I only got one umbrella, so I gave it to him and told him of it's use.
He insisted of letting me use it.
He had wings, he said, so he can cover his head with them.
After we arrived, we started cleaning the library again, excluding mopping, 'cause the floor was still looking pretty clean.
And then, I promised my brother, that after we're done cleaning, I'll tell him why I got angry earlier.
Birds and bees...
I was feeling as awkward and red as my brother after he learned about it.
I closed the book, and slowly went up the second floor to put it back in the 'adults' section.
I heard his low voice echoed through the quiet library.
"I...think that...was too much information, li'l sis..."
He awkwardly smiled.
"But I promise I won't do that to you."
"I know you won't." I stuck my tongue out to tease him.
Teaching him that stuff was so so wrong...
But, a stallion at his age, I think he needed to know that sort of thing...
I think he's even older than Big Macintosh...
Me, on the other hand... Well...
"But... Why did I learn that again?"
"Well, it's because...that's what ponies think...if you tell them we slept together...on the same bed..."
I think I felt my cheeks are burning...
"So don't tell them!"
"I'll...try to remember that..."
I didn't do a 'practical example' this time, if that's what you're thinking.
"Do you have any filly books I can read?"
To shake your mind off of what you just learned?
I couldn't hold to smile.
He is reading the book he was reading yesterday.
The one with Changelings on it...
It got me thinking...
I saw my brother as a Changeling.
And then I had a dream about him turning into a Changeling...
What does this mean?
Is my brother a Changeling?
Is he really a Changeling?
If he is, then...
...what am I suppose to do?
He's very nice and all but...
...maybe this is all just a trick?
I've read about Changelings.
Princess Celestia allowed them here in Equestria, since she has no right to remove them from their home.
According to pony history, Equestria was once ruled by all sorts of races: ponies, griffons, changelings, dragons, and some more.
Changelings also helped in the war against Discord.
But their reputation of leeching the life of others alienated them...
They're a lonely race—at least, that's what I thought—until one day when...
If my brother's really a Changeling...then...
...what should I do?
I looked at the Ocean's Tear on the center of the table of my artwork.
I can't draw an answer...
Maybe the window?
The rain makes me feel sad...
...and it made me feel worse...
"Manticores were created by Discord? I never knew that..."
I overheard my brother talk to himself.
I turned to him, and he then turned to me, smiling awkwardly.
"Sorry li'l sis... I thought it out loud."
I gave him a weak smile.
I didn't mean to give him a weak smile, but I hoped he didn't notice.
The light from the window would probably cast a shadow around my face, wouldn't it?
He went back to reading.
He turned a page, and I can see a large image of a Manticore.
Maybe he wasn't really reading all about Changelings yesterday.
Maybe it was coincidence that I just saw him reading the page all about Changelings?
I haven't really read that book he's reading yet.
I just inserted my drawings in between two large books here on the second floor when the door suddenly burst open.
I quickly turned to the door, and was just in time to see my brother got surprised by the sudden slamming sound.
No one was outside...
The wind isn't even that strong to do that.
The wind couldn't even blow a leaf from the ground with it's current state.
The rain already stopped a few minutes ago.
My brother went towards the door to close it, I assumed, but after he grabbed the door, he let it go and went outside instead.
Something must be outside.
I better go down and check it out.
My brother was outside, and he noticed me coming out, so he moved a few steps to his side for me to walk out of the library.
We looked around.
Nothing out of the ordinary...
I heard my brother. We didn't looked at each other, we just continued scanning the area.
"...I feel like...it's too quiet..."
It's too quiet.
I noticed a nearby house's window slowly opened, and a young mare shakily waved at me.
She's somehow, signalling me to...get back inside.
She then quickly closed her window.
"I think we better head inside..."
But my brother, on the other hoof, started walking away.
I turned to him, and he was walking towards a...
...What's a lone Changeling doing there?
"Oh, you're finally awake."
I slowly opened my eyes and saw my brother, smiling at me.
"This time, I woke you up."
I think he was teasing me, but I didn't bother.
I didn't even notice I fell asleep...
"Why are your papers all wet?"
Eew... I was drooling while sleeping!?
I was about to open our home's door when a black pegasus pony landed beside us and started talking to my brother.
"Are you Henry?" he asked as soon as he landed.
My brother was startled a bit, and so was I.
His completely black, aside from his dark gray mane and tail, and green eyes.
"C...Cloth? Is that you?"
Somehow, my brother knew who this weirdo was, and the pegasus pony nodded.
But after he raised his head back again, I noticed, he has a horn as well.
Another alicorn pony?
Well, alicorns are a rare sight.
Maybe it's my lucky day?
"Well, if you're a friend of my brother, then you're a friend of mine as well."
I happily said, even though he complete ignored me.
It was as if I suddenly came into existence when he turned to face me a minute later.
Oh, wow. I just—
"Anyway, that's not important."
I'm not important!?
"Your highness, I need your assistance," he said to my brother...
I turned to face my brother, and he was completely frozen.
I can clearly see his eyes, as if he saw a ghost or something.
I faced our visitor.
"Cloth, is it?"
"I have nothing to discuss with you."
He quickly said.
Now that's just plain rude!
"Let's talk inside..." my brother slowly and suddenly said.
From his voice, I can tell, that this will not be good.
Cloth just finished explaining to my brother that his mother and the rest of her subjects were all in trouble.
Something about this Cloth guy and his brother being the only ones managing to escape, but then he got captured, but his young brother rescued him, but then his brother got captured instead.
Instead of rescuing him, his brother shouted to finish the mission.
Which is why he is here.
I didn't understand it.
And somehow, it was frustrating to hear.
My brother, on the other hoof, absorbed it all...
He was looking so sad, and often times looking through the mirror, and then back at the table.
The three of us are all seated around my tea table.
The sun is setting, and the sky is gloomy, so I had to turn the lights on.
We've been sitting here for minutes now.
This Cloth guy is just staring at my brother.
My brother is looking down on the table.
I'm looking at them both.
This is getting us nowhere.
"What the hay are we—"
"I told you, I have nothing t—"
"Cloth, please..." my brother said, "...she's my..."
He slowly turned to me.
"She's my sister... So please..."
Cloth immediately bowed at me.
"My sincere apologies, mistress."
I'd like to shout at him, but he's very...royal...
I turned to my brother.
"Why did he call you 'his highness'...?"
He turned away, facing the window.
"How should I address you, mistress?"
He's really weird.
He bowed again.
"Please, don't add 'lady' on it..."
It makes me sound old...
"Just, Daisy will do."
He bowed again...
"As you wish."
He then cleared his throat.
"Sir Henry here is..."
My brother interrupted him as he quickly turned, facing him.
He let out a sigh.
"Allow me to explain..."
"Of course, your highness."
"You better explain all of this..."
I dared him.
He looked at me.
They made me remember that dream I had...
And strangely, he said the very same words.
He said my name...
He's looking really grim and scared, just like in my dream.
He turned to the window.
"I've been hiding a secret from you..."
"A...secret that I'm too scared to tell you..."
He stood up, just like in my dream, and he took a few steps away from the table.
He took a deep breath.
"I don't want to see your face when I'll tell you this..."
I tilted my head down, facing the floor...
"I'm afraid that you might no longer want to see me..."
My eyes are getting teary...
"I'm scared that maybe...maybe..."
I couldn't believe it...
"...maybe...you wouldn't want me to be with you..."
He took another deep breath.
I'm really hating this...
How could he have been lying to me all this time?
I slowly looked at him...
Even if I already knew what'll happen next...
His four hooves are slowly turning black...pointed...clawed...
He waved his head.
"She needs to know..."
It suddenly became short and black...
He closed his eyes before slowly turning to face me.
I felt a tear ran down my face.
I couldn't believe it...
I couldn't accept it...
But it's true.
It's all true...
This is all so true...
He opened his eyes, and his brown eyes glowed with sadness.
How could I have been so blind?
I have been letting a parasite feed on me all this time!
I couldn't believe it!
Why did I waste all those time on a monster!?
I slowly woke up from a dreamless sleep...
I sniffed the instant I completely woke up.
I rose up...
Sleeping on a soaked pillow is...
I went down to the floor...
I need some tea...
A tear ran down my face.
I don't care.
I need to set all of these out.
Twenty-seven minutes after five...
I never got the chance to teach him how to tell the time...
It weirdly gave me a smile.
I shook my head.
Why the hell would I teach a monster that!?
I carried the teapot on the table...
I forgot the cup...
I went back to the kitchen...
It's just me now...
Alone, as I always was...
I sat down...
I poured some tea.
Blew it to cool it a bit...
I stared at the empty chair in front of me...
It's missing somepony...
There's nopony missing.
I took a small sip...!
I dropped the cup, spilling the remaining tea on the table.
Lucky it didn't break...
...strangely...that made me smile...
Oh? Leftover bread...?
Never mind... It's cold...
Another gloomy day.
I just arrived at the library before the rain started.
He was right.
The air is getting colder...
After I put the lights on, the library seemed so... empty...
It always was...
But... This time... It's...emptier...
Oh, who am I kidding.
Any pony can tell that this here library's empty.
Who could it be?
I opened the door and saw a little white unicorn wearing a raincoat.
She magically removed the water off of her raincoat and poured them out of the door, and then a book floated in front of me.
"Thanks for letting me borrow this book."
I took it as Little Rarity walked around the library.
After I put the book down on the nearest table, I heard her whine.
"Aw... Where's Henry?"
I turned to her, trying my best to smile.
Hopefully, it'll be—
"Did something happen?"
The smile was fake... Too fake for even this little filly to see through.
I sighed. Slowly nodded my head.
I've been staring at my drawings for a while now...
Usually, I tend to draw random stuff.
Not even a single dot from my pencil...
"Even though he doesn't look like your brother..."
I suddenly remembered what Rarity said to me earlier today...
"...you two really looked like you really cared for each other..."
"...But I still don't think he's your brother."
I slowly smiled.
"...I think... He's your very special somepony."
Remembering that little filly's childish grin made me smile.
That little silly filly...
Still too young but thinks like a young adult mare.
I give up...
I couldn't draw something...
I decided to clean the books with a duster.
Eventually, I saw the book my...that monster was reading...
'Research On Strange Creatures'...
Hah! Monsters would have been the right word to use!
I took it anyway, and started reading it after I settled on the nearby table.
It's still raining outside.
Plus, I couldn't bring myself to draw something, so...
This might be interesting...
Let's see how many 'love' did that monster took from me.
Changelings are known to absorb the love of other creatures...
Changelings helped defeated Discord....
Changelings were killed if they get close to other races...
Fear of death from absorbing their love...
Don't believe that Changelings are absorbing love, but life itself...
All but theories...
Dragons almost annihilated all Changelings...
Celestia stopped and reasoned with them...
In the end, Changelings were asked to avoid other races.
Known to live longer than even dragons...
Difference in eye color...
Metamorph took the thrown of the brown-colored Changelings...
Chrysalis took the thrown of the green-colored Changelings.
"Changelings! Run for your lives!"
I heard a cry from a distance.
Our little town is in flames.
Black figures fly around, spitting green slime at ponies and houses.
I looked around, too terrified to think of what to do.
A black figure spotted me.
It gave an evil smile, and spitted at me!
I suddenly woke up...
I'm breathing deep and fast...
Two thirty in the morning...
I haven't had that dream ever since—
A blue light?
The Ocean's Tear...
Outside, it suddenly flashed white, and faded back to black.
A thunder roared soon after...
Wasn't really a dream...
But a sort of reminder...
Reminding me of what happened that day...
My brother covered the attack to save me.
After that, Princess Celestia arrived...
Along with her royal guards...
They arrived in the nick of time to save Ponyville, but were too late to save my brother...
How I miss my brother...
A thunder roared once again...
I lied down on my bed...
Maybe it was him that made me feel dizzy that time...
When they first arrived...
A Changeling is a Changeling, no matter what their difference may be!
It's still raining, but I needed to go to the library.
That's my job anyway...
Ah! The library.
Only a few hooves away.
Who needs a fake-brother-changeling anyway.
I have friends.
I have the library.
Why is Big Mac at the library?
And it's raining!
He'll get sick!
I think he heard me coming.
He turned to face me.
He usually flashes a nice smile, but...
Something must be really bothering him.
I invited him inside the library, of course.
I quickly went to the second floor to grab a towel.
He thanked me as he wiped himself dry.
Big Mac is a really sweet and hardworking stallion.
He's also a few years older than me.
I've been having a li'l crush on him for a while now.
Luckily, I'm good at hiding lovely feelings...I think...
Did I just thought the word 'li'l'...?
I usually start to clean the library the first few hours I get here.
But here I am, talking to Big Mac about what's troubling him.
He said he's been really missing his li'l...his little sister; Applejack.
He said she went to Manehattan the day after the Running of the Leaves.
He and Granny Smith has been missing her ever since.
Then he told me that he came here to try and 'help' me with my problem with my 'brother'...
He ran into Rarity yesterday. She told him about me and Henry...
He gave me some advice, advice that Granny Smith shared to him as well.
There were a lot, but one sentence really...somehow...moved me...
"There's nothin' more special than your family"...
...Even if you're not related to them...by blood? ...by specie...?
He slowly nodded his head...
"...no matter how different they may be..."
Why did I went at the edge of that forest, anyway?
What was I doing there...?
I closed the library too early just to answer that stupid question...
It's still raining...
The wind's so chilly.
The usual busy streets of Ponyville is empty.
Here I am now, at the edge of this forest.
I looked back. Even though it's gloomy, I can see Ponyville from here, and further...
...the Everfree Forest...
...or was it Evergreen? Evertree?
I faced the edge of the forest...
...Somehow... I feel strange here.
Why did I came here that day, anyway?
"What's so important that you dragged us all the way out here, Cheerilee?"
I asked after the three of us reached the edge of the forest.
"Oh, nothin' really important, girls."
She smiled, while Ditzy and I frowned.
She turned to face the forest.
She took a deep breath, and let out a sigh.
"But, doesn't it feel wonderful here?"
Ditzy and I looked at each other awkwardly, and then back at our friend.
"I don't...get it..." Ditzy started, and I agree with her.
"What's so wonderful here?" I slowly asked.
She turned to face us, smiling.
"Oh, can't you just appreciate nature?"
I gave her a lame look.
"I work inside a giant tree. I think that's enough appreciation."
Ditzy still didn't get it.
This forest is gloomy.
Why did I went inside anyway, and why am I still going further inside?
I hate to admit it...
...but I miss my brother...
She finally stopped laughing.
"You know, Daisy..."
She sat down on the soft grass.
Ditzy and I did the same.
"When we were still kids, your brother and I used to go here."
I never knew that.
"Just the two of us..."
She looked up at the sky.
She took a deep breath and sighed.
"He asked me to go here. He always said that he loves this place."
He does, huh?
Somehow, I felt sad... I stared at the grass...
He never told me about this place.
He never asked me to come here with him.
To spend some brother and sister time.
"He was a bit sad the first time he took me here..."
I lifted my head to face her, and she was already facing me.
My brother was sad? Why?
"He wanted to show this place to you first, but..."
She gave me a pity-smile.
"You were too busy in the library almost everyday."
...I guess I am...
...I always work so hard in the library...
"Also..." she added, "...I just thought that maybe..."
"...this place would cheer you up a bit?"
I lost my brother for three years now...
"Thank you, Cheerilee..."
I spend so much time in the library...
Maybe to drown all of my frustration, I tend to work hard?
Frustration towards my mother...
Frustration of losing my brother...
Oh, a clearing...
A mountain's base...
Caves on its walls...
Did my brother live in a cave? Here?
I walked inside the nearest cave, near a pond.
And after I got myself in, the rain started to turn into a storm.
Is this the cave where he and his mother used to live?
Walking inside this cave...
It feels so...lonely...
What have I done...?
I want to go and look for him, but the storm...
The storm is so violent...
The wind is whistling so scarily...
The trees look like they could be pulled out from the ground.
I'm really scared...
I don't want to be alone...
I want you back...
I want my brother back...
This is all my fault...
"I want you back...!"
"I don't care if you're a Changeling...!"
"...I miss you..."
Nothing will happen, no matter how hard I try and shout...
I lied down near the cave's wall, facing the exit...
Another lightning flashed...
This time, however, a shadow was casted onto me rather than the light of the lightning.
I rose up...
And right at the cave's entrance...
A black silhouette, and green glowing eyes...
End of Chapter 2
Chapter 3 - Cloth of the Green Changelings
"I hold true to my duties, and so to my brother."
The wind is so strong, but I didn't care.
I flew my way back to the mountain.
Never did I expect her highness to be inside this cave.
She looked straight at me, horrified.
I didn't bother changing my form.
It would be a waste of energy.
"Mistress. May I ask why you are here?"
She is not of royalty whom I should pay respect to.
But his highness said this pony's his sister.
And therefore, she would require my respect...
...no matter how much I hated the idea.
"My brother..." she began, "where is he?"
"Forgive me, mistress..."
"But I remember you not wishing to see his highness."
I could not believe what his highness is doing!
Why is he turning himself back as a changeling, in the presence of a pony!?
I managed to say, but he just shook his head slowly.
"She needs to know..."
And after he's completely normal, he slowly turned around and opened his eyes.
I could hear Miss Daisy sobbing.
She shouted again, and quickly ran towards a rectangle thing ponies call as a bed.
"I'm not your sister! And you're not my brother!"
She cried, frustrated...
"You're a monster! A monster!"
"Just...get out...and don't come back...!"
I have heard of this before.
My little brother used to shout the same message when we had a misunderstanding.
It usually means that they need you to stay.
But his highness must not have figured this out yet.
He slowly changed himself back and slowly walked outside.
It was not my place to give out my opinion.
I simply followed him outside.
He took a long while looking at the place before he asked me to lead the way.
"That was before!"
She shouted at me, standing on all of her four feet.
I remain my posture.
Surprised or startled, I was not.
She begged. A tear escaped her left eye.
She may not be of royalty, "he was captured," but if his highness wishes it, "by Chrysalis," then I should obey.
She cried, dropping herself on the ground.
"Cap...tured?" she said in between sobs.
I bowed before I turned my back on her.
I do not wish to treat her of royalty.
But my own needs must come second.
King and Queen Metamorph gave me the respect I seeked.
In return, I'll give them my loyalty to my last breath.
I am Cloth, and I will not stain my name of betrayal.
"Why didn't you helped him!?"
I turned to her, still lying on the cave's floor.
Her head, up high, her face, full of emotion.
"And stop bowing!" she hissed.
"Can't you talk without the need of a bow!?"
"My apologies." I managed to hold myself from bowing this time.
"Concerning your previous question, his highness ordered me to leave him."
She gave me no verbal response.
"Forgive me, mistress, but I must search for something."
She simply stared at me.
Normally, I would bow before I walk, but she asked me not to bow, and so I didn't.
I disregarded the darkness.
My vision, as a Changeling, is superb.
"What are you looking for?"
Mistress' voice echoed through this cave.
I put my search to a hault to face her.
"Shouldn't you be doing something to help the other...Changelings?"
"Yes, I should, but I am only following orders of his highness."
I allowed two seconds of silence.
"I was asked to search for his Ocean's Tear."
"I am sorry. That information, I do not know."
There was nothing more to discuss, so I resumed my search.
"If... If you find this Ocean's Tear... Will it help my brother escape?"
I halted my search once more to face her.
"I do not hold such information, mistress."
"I don't care about information!"
She snarled. I remained as I was.
"I asked for your opinion!"
Only four Changelings asked me of my opinion.
King and Queen Metamorph, the prince, and my brother...
Before I'll drift away from the current state, I took a breath.
"I believe it may help with his escape."
I allowed another set of seconds of silence.
"I believe he will not give me such a task if it would not help his escape."
"You don't sound so sure..."
Yes, indeed, I am not.
It's because I based them only on my opinion.
She turned away.
"I have the Ocean's Tear."
"I beg your pardon?"
That is a relief to hear.
"I said I have it."
I wore a smile.
"But I'm not giving it to you!"
"Ah! But, his highness requires it."
"Then you'll have to take me with you."
What is this?
"Mistress, with respect, the idea would only slow me down."
"He's my brother and I want him back!"
It would seem I could not win this one.
"Very well then, mistress."
"And stop calling me your mistress. My name's Daisy and I'd like it if you'll call me by my name!"
Only my brother is the only one I call with his name.
The others, I address them with titles.
But if the mistress wishes it.
"As you wish, Miss Daisy."
For an earth pony, Miss Daisy ran faster than I'd imagine.
Fortunately, I am able to catch up.
I disguised the way I look as a black alicorn.
We went back to her home, where she said she left the Ocean's Tear.
Despite the storm, she is determined to come with me to Mount Edge.
From it's name, the mountain is located far west from our current location, at the edge of Equestria itself.
The journey would take two days in flight, five hour sleep of each day included.
On foot, I do not know.
I only wish for Miss Daisy to be able to catch up the pace.
She came out of her home.
She now is wearing a brown item to carry stuff with.
I believe it's what ponies call a side bag.
"The gem's inside. Now lead the w—"
A gray pegasus pony was running towards us.
Shouldn't ponies be taking shelter during a storm?
She appears to be of no threat, however, I stood right in front of Miss Daisy, on my stance.
"Cloth, what are you doing!? She's a friend!"
I stepped aside as the pegasus reached us.
"Who's this dude?"
"It's a long story, and we really need to go."
"Oh! Am I holding you two up?"
She panicked, and for what it seemed, she's jogging in place.
"The mayor wants to see you!"
"What? Why now? It's not the end of the month!"
"He said something about Princess Celestia coming over in a few days."
"And he needs me for what?"
"He wants the library to be in top shape."
The pegasus smiled.
Miss Daisy, however, doesn't seem to know what to do.
"Miss Daisy," I caught her attention, "forgive me for interrupting, but me must make haste."
"I know that!" she hissed.
She turned to the pegasus, "Ditzy, I'm sorry, but I really need to go!"
And she suddenly skipped towards the forest.
In all honesty, I was startled by the sudden event.
"Tell the mayor I'm sorry!" she shouted back as I flew to follow her.
We passed the mountain a few minutes ago.
This forest we're going through is much too different from the forest to the town.
Here, the trees are thicker and closer to each other.
Although it allowed us shelter from the storm, a misty fog blocked our vision of the forest floor.
This chilly wind is piercing through my scale-like skin.
Sharp tree branches and twigs are hanging on each tree.
I got myself a number of scratches and cuts before I gave up flying and joined Miss Daisy on going through this forest by foot.
In all honesty, I am more of a flier than a walker.
My kind; the green-eyed Changelings, are more adapt to flying than out brown-eyed cousins.
I need to make haste.
No time to waste.
Miss Daisy's following me, and we need to get there soon.
From what I've heard, cats are afraid of water.
I am clueless as to why these four large cats are here, surrounding us and preparing to attack.
Miss Daisy picked a large stick with her mouth.
I gave them a warning growl, but they remained vicious.
A few seconds, and I heard the one from behind me jumped towards us.
As I turned, I saw Miss Daisy swung the large stick, throwing the attacker under the foggy mist.
Another one jumped. This time, the one in front of me.
I spitted slime on that cat, throwing it back.
I noticed the other two took a step back, still growling.
The other one, the one Miss Daisy took down, stood up and ran away.
I growled again, and this time, they got the message.
The other two ran away.
I walked towards the panther, the one I slimed.
It's struggling to set itself free.
How unfortunate of you.
I couldn't hold my grin.
"W-what are you doing?"
The green slime around the cat glowed, and so did I.
I absorbed it's emotion for my own strength.
The forest worn me out.
But now, I feel strong again.
Stronger than earlier.
Stronger than yesterday.
I heard a gasp.
That made me stop.
It was Miss Daisy, horrified at looking at the cat.
Earlier, masculine, now, thin as a bone.
"We should resume, Miss Daisy."
I climbed on a tall root of a tree to see the surroundings.
The fog got thicker.
Night must be near.
It's too early to camp for the night.
Miss Daisy complained of the darkness.
She could no longer see through our terrain.
It would seem that we need to stop and wait for the day.
I turned to her, noticing her bag glowing in blue.
She just noticed it as well, and she took out the Ocean's Tear.
It's glowing so brightly, bright enough for Miss Daisy to see a few feet in front of her.
"We should continue, Miss Daisy."
She is breathing deep now, but she nodded.
Her determined smile reminded me of my brother.
No time to waste.
We need to go.
It is of no use.
Even with my sight and Miss Daisy's Ocean's Tear, the fog is thicker and taller now.
We camped under the root of a huge tree, where the ground is cold yet dry.
She gathered some sticks, and started rubbing two sticks against each other.
I am clueless to what she is doing.
But I'm in no position to question her actions.
After what seemed to be minutes, she managed to summon fire...with sticks.
In all honesty, I was impressed.
"Good work, Miss Daisy."
She smiled back.
Now, at least we could stay warm.
Now, she complained of food.
She looked around, and to my surprise, she took a loose part of the root.
She wiped it with her hoof, and bit it.
"Not bad," she said in between her chewing.
I find it disgusting.
"You should try it."
"Forgive me, but I would decline your offer, Miss Daisy."
She said something about reading it in a 'book', that 'barks' are edible.
For ponies, I assumed.
It felt like we've been lying here for enough time now.
The fire Miss Daisy made is now nothing but ashes.
I stood up and looked around.
The fog is still thick, but it's thinner from before we camped.
I heard Miss Daisy mumbled something.
I failed to make out the words.
I turned to face her, but she's still asleep.
I noticed the Ocean's Tear glowing faintly on the ground near her.
It must have fallen off of her grip.
The Ocean's Tear.
If I'll take it, I could be on Mount Edge in an instant.
I would of taken that chance, but I couldn't.
I need to wait for her to wake up.
And then we can continue our journey.
This time, I clearly heard what she mumbled.
I sat on where I lay sleeping.
There is something I don't quite understand.
Both Sir Henry and Miss Daisy claim they're brother and sister.
Even though his highness clearly showed her of who we are, she's still determined to save him.
We are Changelings.
Neglected by other races.
Why is this pony doing her best to save his highness—a Changeling?
There are many questions in the world.
This may be one of those without an answer.
If that is it, then so be it.
I do not wish to distract myself with other thoughts, but having nothing else to do...
She yawned, mouth wide open.
"We should go when you're ready, Miss Daisy."
She picked the Ocean's Tear.
Now it's glowing faintly, she puts it back inside her bag.
Since we began to continue going through this forest, according to Miss Daisy, it took almost three hours before we saw the sun.
The fog is gone, and now that we have clear view, we can properly make haste.
The wet forest floor made us slip a number of times.
Even the overgrown roots are slippery.
We saw a deer up ahead.
I don't feel like feeding, so I ignored it.
There's three of them.
Again, no time hunt them.
She is chewing 'barks' while we go through the forest.
And often times, she shares a story about how he met his highness, and the stuff they did which she refer to as 'boring'.
Listening to Miss Daisy's story didn't help in our journey.
It, however, helped attract a black bear living near the area.
I spitted slime in front of it, enough to scare the beast away.
As we moved on, the mosquitoes have started to swarm on Miss Daisy, and on me as well.
Her immediate solution was to cover herself with mud.
In all honestly, that was clever thinking.
I did the same.
"When this mud dries up, the mosquitoes won't be able to sense our body heat."
As long as their needle mouths won't go through my skin.
We're on a dead-end.
We shook off the mud around our bodies.
We're on a cliff, down below's a rapid flow of water.
Unlike yesterday, today seemed to be just cloudy.
It indicates no sign of rain.
Although the wind is strong.
I could fly all the way to the other side, but Miss Daisy...
She's still determined to rescue his highness.
From where we are, we can already see Mount Edge from afar.
It somehow strengthened her determination.
She quickly looked around.
She saw a hanging vine.
It was too high for her.
I took it and gave it to her.
"Why didn't I thought about this sooner!?"
She completely forgot about loud voices attracting predators.
Thankfully, none appeared.
She suddenly wrapped the vine around my abdomen.
A bit tight, but I'm in no position to complain.
"It'll be faster if we fly there."
Indeed, but with you adding to my weight, my thin wings couldn't lift us up.
Rather than going with her suicidal plan, I flew straight up, for, in case something wrong happens, neither of us will fall down the rampaging water down below.
And as I thought, I couldn't lift the both of us.
For a pony...she's...heavy...
Miss Daisy quickly got another idea.
She asked me to tie one end on a tree on the other side.
I looked at the other cliff, and both cliffs are on the same height.
The distance between the two is impossible for an earth pony to reach.
I flew to the nearest tree on the other cliff, tied the vine on it's trunk.
And the instant I turned to face her, she jumped off the cliff!
What in the world!?
I flew to the edge as I heard a thud.
There, I saw her, biting the vine, her two front feet holding the other parts of the vine, and her two hind feet, seemingly walking on the vertical edge of the cliff as she pulled herself up.
The wind is strong here, but she disregarded it.
We continued moving onward after she climbed up the cliff.
Somehow, she showed me so much determination.
The forest before us was full of slippery surfaces.
The forest we're in now is very dry.
The sky is still covered by the thick blanket of leaves.
The air is warm.
Large rocks and boulders on every small clearing.
Roots looked like they danced sideways before digging themselves down to earth.
There are a lot of crawling reptites here.
With long fangs, and poisonous acids dropping like rain.
Slender bodies to easily wrap their prey.
How unfortunate for them to face a Changeling.
They knew the threat I bring, and they kept their distance away from Miss Daisy and I.
The predatory cats however are tougher and more determined here.
They attack in groups.
And we barely escaped the first two encounters.
Miss Daisy will bring a scar on her face for her life.
I felt ashamed.
I allowed her to be hurt by the devils.
It will not happen again.
Miss Daisy said behind me.
I turned around, and I saw her, breathing deeply, leaning on an thick uproot...root.
"Miss Daisy, we—"
I stopped myself.
I forgot, she's a pony.
Ponies get tired easily than Changelings.
"No..." she said between breathing, "...You're right. We should continue."
"You are not looking well, Miss Daisy."
I walked towards her, stopping a few feet in front of her.
Black bags under her eyes. She's tired...
She took out the Ocean's Tear from her bag.
And...she's giving it to me.
"Bring it to my brother..."
She took my foot, and puts the gem on it.
"Tell him I want him back..."
She shook her head.
"Tell him I need him back..."
She let's me go.
I have the Ocean's Tear now.
No... I shouldn't disobey an order.
Miss Daisy's Sir Henry's sister.
Therefore, I should treat them equally.
She gave me an order.
And therefore...I must do it.
I turned to Mount Edge's direction.
"We'll continue after you rest, milady..."
"You are in no condition of protecting yourself from the dangers of this forest."
I am disobeying orders...
"When I grow up, I want to be just as strong and loyal as you are, Cloth!"
A young brown-eyed Changeling cheerfully said to me.
The king and queen, after accepting me in their kingdom, gave me the responsibility of training their Changelings.
They informed me that leeching on 'hatred' makes them feel sad.
At the time, all they want me to do was to teach them how to leach 'love'.
And some fighting techniques.
I gladly accepted the job.
Out of all the young Changelings, this little one got most of my attention.
He would do anything beyond his limits to impress me.
Over the years, somehow, I grew attached to him.
One day, however, he accidentally called me his 'brother'.
Since then, I'm stuck being his brother.
But I didn't regret it.
I never will regret it.
Miss Daisy forced herself to continue after, from her calculations, thirty minutes of rest.
It was also after I shared her some of my story.
The gaps in between the trees are starting to get wider, to our convenience.
We no longer need to climb up tree roots.
After a while, strangely, it would seem like we are walking on a normal earthy path, where trees are at each side of this path, a slightly swirling pathway after observing our walking pattern from the first step we took.
Above, the leaves of the trees are still blocking the blue sky.
Though we can see through the small gaps.
We spotted a bear up ahead.
It carried it's young on its back as it stood there with all it's four feet.
After our momentary pause, it went to the trees.
We started hearing the birds chirping.
Squirrels running through branches.
I turned to Miss Daisy.
"Miss Daisy, I need to check our current location."
She nodded, and I flew straight up, flying through the soft leaves above us.
And there, Mount Edge, from a distance.
One more day if we keep this pace up.
The mountain looks strangely quiet.
I don't like what's waiting for us there.
I flew back down, and Miss Daisy greeted me with a smile.
"I thought you already left me here."
"I wouldn't even dare of thinking of it, Miss Daisy."
I remembered not to bow. I quickly lifted my head back.
"I apologize. Avoiding to bow in your presence slipped my mind a while."
"It's no problem. Let's go."
Indeed we shall.
We continued walking on this path until night fell.
She insisted to continue, but I reminded her of her current state.
She looks rather ill.
She didn't believe me.
We gathered around the fire Miss Daisy summoned.
We sat there in silence after I returned the Ocean's Tear to her possession.
I know she's feeling uncomfortable with this silence.
I need to say something then.
"Why sacrifice so much for a Changeling?"
She looked at the fire with a sad look.
I didn't bother to ask.
"He's my..." she started, "he's my brother."
She faced me with an angry stare.
"So of course I'll sacrifice so much to save him."
"I, too, would do the same for my brother."
"I mean no disrespect, Miss Daisy, but, even if you don't know what lies ahead, you're willing to sacrifice?"
She slowly turned to the small fire.
She slowly nodded.
"No matter the conseq—"
"Yes. Whatever happens, I'll do my best to get him back."
You don't even know what happened to his highness...
I stayed awake.
I couldn't sleep.
I feel something is stalking us.
There are a lot of them.
But I couldn't see them.
Miss Daisy is sleeping in peace.
I need to keep it that way.
No matter what happens, I—
"Cloth... Please bring the Ocean's Tear..."
"Where is it's current location, your highness?"
"'Your highness'? Hah! You make me laugh, Cloth."
"Silence, you devil!"
"Yes Cloth, do what your little prince orders you too."
"One more word from you, you devil, and I'll—"
"And you'll do what, Cloth? Don't forget; your queen, your prince, and your...hahahah...you're little brother, are all under my mercy."
"Spit it out, little prince, where is it?"
"You hear that, Cloth dear? All you have to do is—"
My head, it's aching...
I feel like...
I'm hanging... My front feet are upwards...
I can feel a wall on my back...
I better open my eyes...
A flat floor.
What is this place?
Where have I been taken?
I looked up...
My front feet are chained against this wall.
A small three walled chamber of some sort.
My right side, an exit, to a dark pathway.
Am I inside a dungeon of some sort?
To my left...
Ah! Miss Daisy, and Sir Henry!
They're both hanging on the same wall as where I'm hung, chained, and both unconscious.
Nothing on the wall in front of me...
In front of us...
My hind legs are chained as well?
I need to think of a way to escape.
I looked up...
It's impossible for me to aim at the chains...
I can't tilt my head further down to aim either...
My slime is not an option then.
What else do I have...
I can try and fly to break free.
It's of no use...
I cannot break myself free...
That bright torch burning on the left wall...
I turned to where the voice came from.
Miss Daisy has recently awaken.
"Forgive me, milady. I do not know as well..."
She slowly turned to her right.
"Is... is this my brother...?"
"H-Henry... I'm so glad he's okay..."
She breathed deeply.
"Henry... Henry, wake up..."
"Let his highness rest, Miss Daisy. He may have—"
It was not my place to express my opinion...
"'He may have' what?"
She turned to me.
"His highness may have worn himself out from whatever wrath that devil Chrysalis brought upon him..."
Anger grew on her face.
"I swear to Celestia, I'll kick Chrysalis' flank so hard, she'll kiss the mare in the moon!"
And she struggled to set herself free, only to accomplish nothing a few moments later.
I heard his highness' voice.
The rattling chains must have woken him up.
Miss Daisy quickly turned to him.
"Henry! You're awake! Thank goodness!"
Miss Daisy is blocking my sight to see his highness.
Not her fault, for we were hung this way.
I could see his highness' head looking around our whereabouts.
"'Thank goodness' would have sounded a lot better if we were outside, li'l sis..."
"You complain too much!"
I can hear buzzing sounds echoing.
Miss Daisy and Sir Henry must have noticed as well.
The three of us looked right, and there I saw six green-eyed Changelings and the devil herself!
"Well well..." she landed in front of us, "look who just woke up..."
"I swear when I get down from here, you'll be sorry!"
Miss Daisy snarled.
The devil laughed devilishly.
I couldn't hold my anger, but I must, for I need to think of a plan.
Spitting might only bring myself unconsciousness.
"Chrysalis, let my sister go!"
"Well well... What a weird world we're living in."
She drove her face near me. Oh, how I want to spit on you.
"First, we have a traitor little Changeling who became brothers with his cousins."
She flew to Miss Daisy.
"And now we have a prince who's sister is a little pony," she smiled, "how sweet."
Miss Daisy spat on her, drawing the devil's head back.
"Really sweet..." she continued, sarcastically, as she wiped the spit off of her face.
"What do you want from us, you crazy witch!?"
Miss Daisy snarled once more.
"Crazy is right, my dear..."
She walked to Sir Henry.
"All this wait truly made me go crazy..."
She licked Sir Henry's cheek... The devil!
"Leave my brother alone!"
"Oh, I couldn't possibly do that... I planned him a little reunion with his dear beloved mother."
I swear, if only I could break myself free...!
"You promise my mother would be safe!"
"Relax, little prince. You'll see your beloved mother soon."
Her tone dropped to as if she was bored.
"Cloth, my dear..."
She walked towards me.
"I trust you have the Ocean's Tear with you, hm?"
"C-Cloth?" Miss Daisy's broken voice echoed...
"I don't turn back my word, witch! Now, release Sir Henry, as well as the queen, Miss Daisy, and my brother!"
"...demanding, are you not?"
"Fine," she rolled her eyes, "I'll release them like you asked, but later."
She slowly hovered away to the dark narrow path to my right.
I heard her minions little smirks as they removed the chains on us.
One of them, however...
...made sure I couldn't fight back...
They're...absorbing my energy...
Miss Daisy...and Sir Henry as well...
"I welcome you all..."
I managed to open my eyes...
I was unconscious once again...
"...to the peak of Mount Edge!"
We're on a flat surface of the mountain...
Mount Edge isn't really the highest of mountains, but...
From the strength of the wind here, even a clear day such as this one, I know we're high above the earth.
Two Changelings held my fore feet tight as they hover on the air.
My hind feet could barely touch the ground.
Chrysalis is a few feet in front.
Behind her are her Changelings.
They've grown and multiplied from the last time I remember.
They're strangely just standing there, as if they don't want us to see what's beyond...
No, no time for that.
I need to make a plan, fast.
On my right, Miss Daisy was held by two Changelings, the same as how I am held.
Sir Henry, on the other hand, is chained on a rock pillar thing.
What could this devil plan to do!?
"Chrysalis! My mother, where is she!?"
"Like I said, prince," her toned, quite annoyed, "you'll be reunited with her soon, but..."
She smiled, the devil!
"The Ocean's Tear. I need it."
"I want to see my mother first!"
"Hush, little prince. You're not the one I'm offering this deal."
She looked at me.
"Cloth dear, where is the gemstone?"
"Do first what his highness asked!"
She rolled her eyes.
She turned her back on us.
Her Changelings are smiling.
"But I must tell you something first, little prince."
"What is it?"
"Your mother, no matter how, oh how many times I try and asked her to cooperate, she wouldn't..."
These two Changelings are smirking, softening their grip.
"So, I had to do...oh, 'something', to make her cooperate."
"What did you do her!?"
"I'm getting there," she hissed.
"But, oh, little prince," her choice of tone is annoyingly childish, "I didn't mean to, but I somehow, overdid it, and..."
A number of Changelings in front of her flew high, revealing before our eyes—!
"She became all so skinny, and somehow, she died..."
She turned to us to see her devil face!
"Oh, by the way Cloth..."
"Tell me something you'll regret, you devil!"
"Maybe, maybe it won't."
"It all depends. But anyway, there's also this 'one' 'little' 'changeling' that really—"
"—caught my attention—"
"—and somehow, I grew to 'like' the little bug."
"—the devil DID YOU DO TO MY BROTHER!?"
A set of Changelings flew to reveal...my...
"I'm really sorry, little Cloth... But it seems, I gave too much of my love... Hahahah-hahahah!"
"Stay true to your word, witch!"
"Oh don't worry, I will."
"Just don't bore me to death in waiting."
How could I have foolishly believed her word!
Was I too loyal?
Please forgive me...
"The gem, darling."
I hung my head down...
I couldn't believe it...
"I know you have the gem, darling, so give it to me."
"All these for a tiny gem!"
"You're a monster! A heartless monster!"
"Yes, yes, now hand it over. My patience is running thin."
Chains are rattling.
"Don't waste your breath, little prince. I'm saving you for last."
"I swear to the sun you'll burn in the lowest pits of hell!"
"You amuse me. I just visited hell itself, little prince. Trust me, the three of you are going to LOVE it there."
Trust her, she says...
"Ah... What's that blue glow in your bag, little pony?"
"Stay away from me!"
"Oh, hush child. You're in no position to make threats."
Chains are rattling again.
"That's mine! Give that back!"
"Finally, two more to go, and we can finally reclaim Canterlot!"
Her Changelings cried for victory.
"When I grow up, I want to be just as strong and loyal as you are, Cloth!"
I will never be able to see that day come...
You laugh at our loss...
I swear to the sun you all will regret this...!
Despite my dread loss, I need to execute the plan.
I still have Sir Henry and Miss Daisy to save.
It's up to me now.
Smirk, my fellows...
I quickly lifted both my hind legs, and exerted all of my strength to push my right hind foot to the side, kicking my captor, losing his grip on me, and smashing right next to Miss Daisy's captors.
Now, I'm on the ground.
My other captor, startled, I took this quick chance to kick the little devil to hell care where the demon flew.
I am free.
The devil was startled.
I quickly hovered myself over Miss Daisy, kicking the head of her other captor.
Before I took my eyes off of Miss Daisy, I saw her instantly putting a large rock inside her bag.
As I landed in front of Sir Henry, I heard a smashing sound, and a Changeling flew pass right in front of me.
Miss Daisy must have swung her bag and sent the little devil to kingdom come.
His highness shouted. It could only mean one thing.
I hovered up quickly, just in time to dodge a group of green slime.
There's too many—
No! Numbers won't win a battle!
All I need is skill.
And I had years of experience of it!
I'm pinned down by a number of them...
...I underestimated their strength...
"That was quite a show, Cloth dear..."
I can see her slimy feet walking pass me...
...the devil stopped in front of Miss Daisy, pinned down as well.
She grabbed her mane, and lifted her up to her head level.
Miss Daisy, weakened, still struggled to set herself free.
"Put my sister down! She has nothing to do with this!"
"Get your devil-arms off of Miss Daisy you witch!"
She ignored our cries as she turned to his highness, still chained.
"Oh, but my little prince... She looks oh so tasty..."
"You wouldn't mind, would you?"
"Let her go!"
Miss Daisy's swinging her hind legs, trying to kick the devil, but she couldn't reach her.
She's too small for the devil.
"Do unto me all what you like, but spare her, please, I beg of you!"
"Henry... Don't sacrifice yourself just for my sake..."
There was a moment of silence...
A miracle to my ears...
I need another plan...
"Eat me... Drain me... Do whatever you want, but let my brother go!"
"What a fool of a pony you are, young one. Are you suggesting that you would rather die just for this poor creature you call your 'brother' to live?"
Somehow, she sounded confused.
"I never realized the queen would be deaf...! Ack...!"
She lifted Miss Daisy, and quickly moved her arm from her mane to her neck...
"Chrysalis, let her go! Don't hurt her!"
She turned to Sir Henry...
I am only guessing she's grinning devilishly...
"I'll let her go."
She moved her arm holding Miss Daisy near her face.
"...and I won't hurt her..."
To my horror, she threw her off the mountain!
"The rocks will do the hurting!"
Miss Daisy is screaming.
The whole moment...seemed...like...everything slowed down until we could no longer see her...
"If only it was raining..."
The devil said in between her laughter...
"...it would have added more effect to this lame drama...!"
Everything became silent...
It was as if my ears no longer serve their purpose.
Chrysalis is laughing...
Sir Henry was shouting...
The Changelings are cheering...
I can hear nothing...
I don't know why, but I won't end it this way...
Suddenly, out of all the noises that are present, only the devil's voice reached me...
"The last of the brown-eyed Changelings... Henry, was it?"
The last of the brown-eyed Changelings...
So my brother...really is...gone...
I shouted as I managed to bring myself back on my four feet.
Unable to figure out how I managed to lift those pinning me down, but I don't care.
The devil standing before me must perish!
Quickly to her neck, I dug my fangs onto her devilish flesh...!
Never in my entire life have I felt so alive.
I thank thee, Chrysalis!
She shook, I dug my claws onto her neck, securing my grip.
I felt her arms pounding on me, I didn't care.
I drove my fangs even further.
I swear I could rip it off now...!
My vision blurred. Her neck's the only focus.
This time I feel powerful attacks, from her Changelings perhaps?
I don't care.
I dug my claws deeper, my fangs.
I swear I could taste her blood flowing down my throat.
Scream, devil, SCREAM!
"You forgot your place, you fool!"
"I am your queen, and I can do things even hell itself couldn't handle!"
I'm lying down on the ground...
My eyes are partially open...
...is still alive...
Even with my faintest senses, I could swore I heard the chains just snapped.
Instantly, I saw Sir Henry, standing on all of his four feet.
Chrysalis must have been startled.
Suddenly, his horn glowed brown.
He...he is using magic?
I then saw a Changeling slamming on the ground right in front of me.
And I felt the ground shook.
The other Changelings went down as well?
This Changeling in front of me, enveloped in brown aura, lifted up beyond my limited sight, and slammed back down again.
Instantly after it slammed down, the brown aura vanished, allowing the demon to bounce off of my sight.
I saw Chrysalis' looking at her demons, shocked.
Seeing her that way satisfied my soul.
His highness' horn is glowing furiously, like a wildfire.
"You wouldn't dare!"
The devil hissed after he turned to Sir Henry, her horn glowed in green.
"You killed my mother... You killed Cloth..."
...still hanging...my prince...
"...You killed the rest of my kind, and what's worst! You killed my SISTER!"
And without warning, from his glowing horn he blasted a furious brown energy beam straight at Chrysalis, who countered with her own green beam.
The two casters' feet were shaking.
Sir Henry's beam slowly crept closer to the devil.
I swore I saw his highness' eyes burning with power and anger.
"I've always envied you, Cloth."
"Why is that, my prince?"
"You and the other green Changelings draw power from love... While we draw power from hate..."
Smoke, from my sensation, covered the entire flat peak after Sir Henry and the devil's beams exploded.
I was thrown aback, it seemed like I was just dragged away for a few feet...
It was quiet...
I couldn't hear anything...
...My ears must have died now...
The smoke cleared after moments of wait.
Chrysalis, she's standing, with Sir Henry...!
The devil held him on his neck with her bloody fanged mouth!
His face...stunned and horrified...!
His blood, rolling down his neck to his feet...!
Another explosion...from afar...
It startled the devil, dropping what it seemed...like...a lifeless Sir...Henry...
A multi-colored wave passed through the sky...
The devil stared at it, and smiled.
"A sign of my victory!"
Soon, her Changelings slowly hovered around her...
I am sorry...
I have failed you...
End of Chapter 3
Mount Edge, located south-west, on the edge of the continent of Equestria.
Mount Edge, long ago, was but a peaceful mountain homed by the early Earth Ponies.
They made the whole mountain into a dungeon-like labyrinth, with dried clay from the earth.
The peak was where they used to worship their gods and goddesses.
The rock pillar's purpose was for them to put their offerings; food and flowers.
Their gods at the time, were the pegasus ponies, who will fly down to take their offering, and in return, they'll change the weather to the earth ponies' desire.
After the war against Discord, the mountain was slowly abandoned.
It would have been a perfect home for the brown changelings, but unfortunate circumstances led them to their extinction by the green changeling's queen, Chrysalis.
The four changeling races feeded on emotions; green for love, brown for hate, yellow for happiness, and white for loneliness.
Each were given the four pieces of the Emotion Stone; Heaven's Tear, Ocean's Tear, Forest's Tear, and Earth's Tear.
Celestia gave them each of these pieces, as a way of showing them her trust towards them, and to hold true to their promise not to cause chaos.
This vow was broken by Chrysalis after she became queen of the green changelings.
She believed that the stones may hold the power to make them powerful.
Or it could possibly manipulate a creature's heart.
Theories existed, but the real power of the stones, it was unknown.
Now, Mount Edge is the resting place of the fallen brown changelings.
Under the wonderful bright day, that place holds none to value the joy of the day.
A yellow earth pony, clearly severely injured, had recently regained her consciousness and immediately greeted by a powerful pain her body was aching.
Her mind couldn't handle all of those painful aches at once, and she swore she'd faint from it all.
Earlier, she swore she'd be dead.
It was impossible for her to survive such a fall.
But earlier, one faint explosion sound, as if by a miracle, made her open her eyes in the slightest, just in time to catch a glimpse of the multicolored wave that passed through the heavens.
What it was, she did not know.
The only thing she knew, that it saved her from escaping life.
Regaining control over her entire body, she discovered her right hind leg is broken.
She couldn't feel her hoof on that leg.
She would be crying from such horror, but no, it was not the time to cry.
She found herself on a large boulder, sticking out of the perfectly vertical cliff.
She looked up, she had to.
There, on top of that mountain, that's her destination. That's where she needs to be.
Now, she's almost there, climbing up towards the flat peak of Mount Edge.
If she were to fall again, it'd be her end, but she had to do this.
Her body cries to die instead of prolonging the pain, but she didn't care.
She needs to be there; to save her brother, to be with her brother.
She needs her brother, and she knows her brother needs her.
It was clear to her, a few days ago, that his brother was not a pony.
But she disregarded that fact.
She felt him true, his love was true.
What she seeked was with that one brown changeling; brotherly love.
And now that she reached the peak, her body begged to rest, but no, not yet.
She saw everything, through her blurred vision.
Dead black creatures around the peak, and there, near the rock pillar was one black changeling.
The one she seeked, the one she needed, the one she loved.
Though tired, she dragged herself towards her brother, even able to create the tiniest smile.
There he is...
Just a few more steps...
She knew she can reach him...
And finally, she sat down, right next to him.
She slowly put her brother's head on her hind legs, his dying face facing hers.
Her vision was watery.
Tears started to form, and as quickly as they appeared, they too quickly ran down her scarred face.
It dropped to his brother's face.
And as if a second miracle had happened...
No... She thought, this is too good to be true.
This must be a dream, but no, this is all real.
His brother slowly opened his eyes.
His brown eyes, though out of glow, was still catching the small highlights of the sun.
She can see her own face, reflected back to her.
He smiled. He remembered his goofy joke when they were captured.
He was able to say it. His voice, too dry, but she knows it's his.
This is his brother.
And finally, they're together again; a brother and sister.
And of course, her smile widened.
They both heard something moving nearby, but they payed it no mind.
All they needed was each other, and nothing more, or so they thought.
They need help.
They need to heal.
They are both badly wounded, and so was the one who knows this fact.
The yellow earth pony slowly turned her head towards the source of the voice.
There, before them, was a changeling, recently got back on its four feet.
His green eyes, like her brother, was also out of glow.
She knew him, but one thing stood out; he is skinnier than before.
"Miss...Daisy... and Sir Henry... I'm really glad..."
He stopped himself, and tried to bow.
"I ask...for forgiveness... I have..."
The yellow pony interrupted him. Cloth slowly returning his head to face them.
Daisy flashed him a weak smile, and she then turned to her brother.
His eyes are closed, but his shallow breathing and the smile on his face assured her that he's alive.
She just noticed something...
His brother's neck is still bleeding.
"Brother... Your neck...!"
"I know... I...know..."
He slowly said.
He knew his blood is slowly flowing out of him.
He knew that it'll only take him a few more minutes before...
"No... Please... I need you...!"
And after a moment of silence, she received no answer.
Ponyville is too far away.
Where in Equestria will they be able to get help?
Their bodies will not be able to serve them on their way back.
She remembered what she read, a few days ago...
The thought scared her, but...
"Take my life..."
The sudden offer shocked both the brown and green changelings.
Henry, despite his tired body, qiuckly opened his eyes, seeing his sister, her face, full of determination.
"I could...not do that..."
"I want you to live...!"
"And so do I...!"
He realized that he used the wrong words for some reason...
He looked away.
"I mean...you, to live..."
"This is no laughing matter..."
"I'll...give you my life instead..."
They both turned to the green changeling.
Henry didn't like the idea.
And it would be a lie if Daisy thought the same.
"Cloth, you can't..."
Cloth raised his foreleg, a sign to stop what his highness was saying.
It was also a sign of disrespect, but he didn't care.
He failed to protect them. It was suppose to be his job, his duty.
What is worst...
"Consider it...my way...to be reunited...with my brother..."
It was a stupid idea, both Henry and Daisy thought.
You are alive. You should continue to live to honor them.
You may not know it, but they must have sacrificed their lives to save yours.
And you will simply throw it away?
They did not bother looking back at the days.
The only important thing was they're here... They're home...
Henry, Daisy, and Cloth walked through the forest for days to no end.
Despite their crying bodies, they made it.
Cloth gave a bit of his energy to Henry, enough to at least stop the bleeding on his neck.
He may have failed to save them back there, but he had a new mission.
A mission to safely bring the two back home.
He remembered the day when he was still under Chrysalis.
Their attack in Ponyville, for him, it seemed like it was just yesterday.
He locked his sight on a small yellow filly.
She was sure to be a good meal, he thought that day.
She was just trembling in fear, somehow disabled herself from fleeing.
No more time to waste. It was time to feast.
But as soon as he spitted green slime towards the small prey, a much older orange pony blocked his attack's path.
He regretted what he did back then, more when he found out it was her he tried to kill.
He took someone important from her, but now...
As he stared at them as they exited the forest, a smile flashed in his face.
Finally, he accomplished a very important mission. Two, in fact.
One, he safely guarded them back to their home.
And two... He was able to return something he stole.
And after he felt the feeling of accomplishment, he faded into the shadows.
Henry, leaning on his sister to aid his walking, somehow felt his most loyal subject's joy.
He couldn't hide his smile.
"Cloth, are you...?"
Daisy slowly turned her head back towards the forest, but all she saw was nothing but the trees and the shadows.
Worried, she slowly turned to her brother.
She wasn't able to continue what she was about to say after she noticed her brother's warm smile.
"He'll be fine..."
He assured her.
He remembered one certain day.
An hour before they flew to Ponyville to feed, he was able to gain the courage to talk to his mother's most loyal subject.
That is, after his little brother left him alone, and then he went to him.
"Yes, your highness?" the green changeling quickly turned to him and bowed.
"I remember you said you feed on love."
Cloth simply nodded.
"And I remember that we are suppose to feed on loneliness..."
"That is correct your highness."
"Well, what if, we're not really feeding on emotions?"
Cloth couldn't stop himself but to give him a confused look. "What do you mean, my prince?"
He looked to his left, staring at the trees. "Well... Uh... What if...we're really feeding on a creature's life? And..."
"And...? Please continue, my prince..."
"And um... What if this whole emotion thing is just a lie?" He faced the green changeling.
And both became quiet for a while until Cloth was the first to break it.
It was his first time to be asked for his opinion, and he was obviously not feeling like himself.
"Uh...Then it...would probably mean that we truly are feeding on their lives..."
He doesn't seem to be convinced. It only sounded like Cloth repeated his question, and simply turned it into a statement.
Ever since Cloth came in their kingdom, he trained each of them to sense and feed on 'love' instead of 'hate'.
"He accomplished...a lot of things..."
Henry said with his eyes closed, still wearing the same smile.
"I'm sure, he's going to accomplish a lot more."
But as he finished, he immediately dropped himself to the ground, surprising his beloved sister.
She quickly tried to help him get up, but he no longer had the energy to stand.
She remembered the days when they were getting through the forest.
Cloth was able to take down a number of predators, and even allowed his brother to absorb their energy.
But, where did all those go?
Why is his brother still weak?
She's in Ponyville.
Help must be within reach here!
She quickly looked around, and found that they're just outside Ponyville.
But, to her surprise, ponies have already gathered a few distance away in front of them, gasping and whispering.
The fear in each of their faces made her realize something; she was helping out a changeling.
But despite this, she was desperate to ask for help.
She cried at them, shouting and begging for help.
Anyone to help, not her, but his brother.
Henry's no longer moving, and his breath are swallow and slow.
The thought of him to die like this scared her, and realizing that none would offer help...
The crowd broke a path, for a large white alicorn to pass through.
The commotion had probably made her wonder what this was all about, and to her surprise to find out what it was.
The yellow pony, despite her broken hind leg, quickly worked her way towards the princess, begging her to help his dying brother.
Her cry to help a changeling took her aback as two royal guards blocked the yellow pony from reaching the princess.
Her tears flowed down her face.
She shouldn't be doing these in front of their princess, but all she cared about now is her brother.
Losing him is definitely not an option for her.
The princess however, was still doubting to aid her, and the changeling.
Ponies and Changelings are not suppose to make contact.
After Chrysalis' attack, she was sure to dispose of them if ever they'll threaten ponykind again, but...
"PRINCESS CELESTIA! PLEASE SAVE MY BROTHER!"
End of the Epilogue
Cloth and Henry crept behind the trees around the mountain, and from there, they stared at the only entrance available.
The chilling wind and the icy-cold rain violently showered the earth.
Henry said something, but it wasn't clearly heared to whoever was looking at them in a third-person-like view.
They carefully took down a number of green-eyed changelings they met inside the labyrinth-like dungeon inside the cave. They went through dim pathways, took both the dead-end and correct paths, and went up staircases. They had to be careful, they needed to, for they don't want to alarm the others who are unaware of their presence, especially their target.
Cloth crept behind a corner, looking for any signs of anything in the next path they're going to take.
There was nothing on the dimly lit path.
There was a stairway at the end of the path, leading up to the next floor.
This was probably the last staircase they need to take before they'll face their target.
As they reached the final floor, what they saw in front of their eyes were a number of unconscious changelings. Their wings are different from the ones they took down, so they concluded that they're the brown-eyed changelings.
But that was not what truly caught their eye. There, on the opposite end of the dungeon floor was the Changeling Queens Chrysalis and Metamorph.
The queen of the brown changelings was chained on the wall, behind the grinning Chrysalis, who somehow was expecting them.
"Cloth, dear..." said Chrysalis, grinning evilly, "did you truly believe you can sneak up behind your queen?"
"Silence, devil!" Cloth shouted furiously beside Henry.
Chrysalis laughed, igniting Cloth's anger even more, but Henry wasn't paying enough attention. His mother, he couldn't believe her situation. His mother is weak, her life almost absorbed to her end.
He wasn't even sure if her condition gave her the thought that her son was here to save her.
Finally, his focus towards his mother broke after Chrysalis called his attention.
"Ah, little prince," Henry's worried look was instantly replaced by anger and revenge, "your mother doesn't have what I seeked. Maybe you have it? Hm?" she continued in a childish way.
"I'll get you, Chrysalis!" Henry shouted in anger as he started running towards Chrysalis.
Cloth called out his name, but he ignored it. His anger was taking over his mind. Nothing was clearer to him now but to get rid of the witch standing right in front of his sight.
Just a few more steps, and he will satisfy his anger.
"Henry sir!" Cloth shouted, flying after him, but he was too late.
A group of green-eyed changelings, who hid themselves under the shadow of the ceiling, dived down and pinned Henry to the dusty floor.
Cloth flew to rescue his prince, but he stopped and stayed hovering in the air after he heard a very familiar cry where Chrysalis stood, and before his eyes, he saw his brother, taken hostage by Chrysalis and another group of changelings.
"You devil! Let him go!"
"Stand down, Cloth!" demanded the Changeling Queen.
Cloth had no choice. For his brother's safety, he needed to do what Chrysalis demanded him to do, and so he did. He landed a few feet from his prince.
"Cloth..." he heard his prince's voice.
"I'm...sorry..." Henry softly said, and soon, he slowly opened his eyes.
He felt that he was lying on a comfortable bed. He didn't move for a few seconds, trying to wait for his vision to focus. But his vision stayed blurry, even after he convinced himself that he was fully awake.
He didn't know why, but the only things he knew were he was lying down horizontally, he's facing a dark-gray ceiling, and he noticed that, other than his head and neck, the rest of his body is covered with a white blanket. Directly to his right was a small table, the same height as the bed he's lying on, and further, was a window; ninety-degree corners on the bottom, and curved corners on the top. The thin white curtains, a few inches taller than the height of the window, was softly dancing with the wind that was entering the room from the blue sky.
'Blue sky', he thought. If he's inside a room, shouldn't there be houses or trees outside that window? It would probably mean, he thought, that he's pretty high up. But he wondered, what kind of a house be this tall?
As he turned his head to his left, he just noticed something on the table, but he didn't bother knowing what it was for he just turned his head left. From what he can see through his blurry vision, is a rectangular brown thing on the wall from the floor reaching halfway to the ceiling. He assumed that it was probably a wooden door on a dark-gray wall.
He turned to the ceiling, but there was nothing interesting there except for it's dark-gray color.
He turned his head left, and stared at the table, where a blue flower vase was on it, and a yellow flower. The flower, however, seemed to be withered.
He blinked, he thought, yellow...
Where he is right now, how he got here, or why, he didn't bother. He quickly rose up, but as soon as he did, a purple unicorn filly jumped out to the floor from the rear-end of the bed, frightened from his sudden action. He, too, was stunned from the sudden action of the filly.
They both stared at each other, blankly.
"Um..." the little purple filly said, shivering from fear, "...please don't hurt me..."
Henry blinked. He looked at his forelegs, and they were black. He knew why the little filly was frightened.
"I'm sorry..." he slowly said, "...I didn't mean to scare you..."
That somehow did the trick, but, it wasn't natural for the little pony to quickly be happy again and jump back on the rear-end of the bed.
Henry was beyond startled or confused. He's a changeling, that is clear, but shouldn't the little pony still be a little bit scared?
The purple filly sat there, facing the black changeling, and then she went back to reading her book. 'A book', Henry thought, 'where did that came from?'
No, there's something more important than such a stupid question.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but..." the little filly broke her focus on reading to face him, wearing a confused look, "...where...am I?"
The purple filly blinked. "Oh!" she shouted, startling the changeling, "I forgot, changelings don't know much about us ponies!"
She jumped to all of her four hooves and went down the bed, and turned to the still-startled changeling.
"Well," she began, looking at all corners of the room, "you are inside a room!" she happily informed him.
Henry gave her a disappointedly flat look. "I...can see that..."
"Oh? But I thought..." she trailed off, thinking.
Still no response... Henry closed his eyes and sighed. He was about to say something when the brown wooden door opened. The purple filly had to move back on the bed so she won't get in the way of the turning door.
Who came inside but a brown middle-aged mare unicorn pony, who has a short light-brown mane and tail, and she was wearing a stetoscope.
She looked surprised to see her patient was already awake.
"Oh, hello Doctor Hoof. Good afternoon!" greeted the filly.
The doctor went to her and patted her head. "Twilight, you shouldn't be here."
"Oh, but Princess Celestia said I could be anywhere around the castle!" she cheerfully replied, snapping Henry's senses. "Except for the---"
"Princess Celestia? Wait..." he thought for a moment after he grabbed both ponies' attention. "You mean... I'm inside her castle?"
Both nodded. Both ponies then looked at each other.
"Twilight dear," said Doctor Hoof, somehow wearing a more serious look, "I need to talk to my patient alone. So if you wouldn't mind, may I ask you to leave us for a while?"
"Oh, uh, okay..." the little purple filly replied.
She jumped off of the bed and headed outside with her horn glowing purple, and following her was her book, floating behind her.
The doctor closed the door, and let out a heavy sigh. She then slowly turned to Henry.
"Henry Hoof, correct?" she rose an eyebrow.
"Y-yes ma'am..." he replied, feeling somewhat nervous.
But, no, wait! He shook his head. Now's not the time!
"I'm sorry, I need to go and find my---"
"Daisy's dead." she quickly said, eyes down on the dark-grey floor, her face, wearing anger and sadness.
"Wh-what...?" Henry was able to say the only word he could think of after quickly hearing those two words he finds difficult to accept.
It was quiet as the doctor slowly walked around the bed to get to the table on his left, where a small little stool was under it. She pulled it out and sat on it, facing her patient, who was still looking really shocked.
Again, she let out a heavy sigh.
"I-I'm sorry..." Henry said, still not believing what he just heard. "But I don't believe you."
"That is to be expected, but as I told you, my daughter's dead." she said calmly yet with a tone of sadness.
Daisy, the doctor's daughter, dead?
No, Henry needs proof. He will not buy it with mere words only.
His face was slowly showing anger and disbelief.
Again, the doctor sighed.
"I've been treating you ever since Princess Celestia and my daughter brought you here six months ago."
He missed winter, his favorite season.
No, not the time.
"I suppose..." the doctor continued, eyes closed, "...you should know what happened..."
She then opened her eyes, "...you are her brother, after all..."
Henry didn't like her tone when she said that he is Daisy's brother, but he was willing to let it slide, and he's willing to listen.
After my daughter begged the princess to help you, she asked her guards to put you both on her royal carriage, and took you here.
I am studying medicine here in Canterlot to find a cure for...
I am the princess' royal doctor, and she gave me the task to treat you...and my daughter.
It was simple to treat you, for you were, after all, unconscious, but my daughter was not.
Yes, she was looking ill, clearly from her scar and her broken leg, but she won't let me take care of her. From her actions, I knew that she grew anger towards me.
She only settled down after the princess asked if she's alright to be treated in one of Canterlot's hospitals instead.
I was not able to tell her the truth of why I left. It took me almost two weeks to save you from death. I could have done the same to my own daughter, but...
It wasn't their fault...
It's mine... I shouldn't have left them without properly stating why.
Henry, the real Henry, understood the reason, and I assumed Daisy understood as well...
She suffered a broken leg, hunger, mental stress, fatigue, and poisoning from the barks she ate.
("Barks?" Henry asked. The doctor slowly nodded.)
She died a few hours after she was hospitalized...
There was a long silence in the room. The doctor was clearly angry, not to anyone, but herself. She was looking on the foot of the bed as she told him the story.
Henry still couldn't believe it, but the way the doctor told him the story...
Tears ran down his face.
Daisy saved him...
It should have been the other way around...
After receiving Princess Celestia's permission, Henry disguised himself and together with the doctor, they went to Canterlot Cemetery.
He didn't bother looking around the place. He followed the doctor straight to the cemetery, and now, they're standing right before a shiny stone tablet sticking out from the ground, like the other ones in this quiet area.
On the tablet, despite his blurred vision, he read out the words, "Daisy Hoof".
And below the large letters of her name was a sculpted drawing of her infamous 'Miss the Mark' cutie mark.
Three circles, aligned horizontally, and a horizontal line underneath the three circles.
Miss the Mark. Doing things than the usual way of doing it...
He couldn't believe it.
He sobbed and sniffed.
He couldn't hold his tears.
How could he? He lost so much, and when he and Cloth and Daisy were able to return to Ponyville that day, he was sure that he'll be together with Daisy again, living a boring life as librarians, but...
He felt a hoof on his back. He didn't care.
The doctor rubbed his back.
She hated this changeling, but after seeing him crying like this, she knew that he really cared for her daughter. A tear run down her face.
It was a few years after me and my husband settled down in Ponyville.
I gave up my position as Canterlot's respected doctor, just to live in peace with my beloved husband and with our two children.
But a few months after, my husband was starting to feel ill. He said it was nothing, and truly, it did look like nothing, but after a year, his condition became worse.
It would be a lie if I'll say that I was not affected, but in truth I was. I was angry, I was frustrated, I was helpless.
The local doctors didn't know how to cure my husband. It took me a few months to convince myself to go back here and study more about medicine. Those months made me a terrible mother to my children. Even when my daughter got her cutie mark, instead to be proud of her achievement, I...
Silence fell once again. The doctor was using her magic to wipe her tears with her small white handkerchief.
Henry just listened, still staring at the stone tablet, as if waiting for yet another miracle to happen, like the faint explosion sound and the rainbow-colored wave in the sky that awakened her sister.
But, no miracles this time. Just the sad and terrible truth lying in front of him.
"Tell me..." the doctor slowly said, with a low voice, "...how is my husband...?"
"He's..." Henry said, the same volume, still not moving, "...gone..."
The brown unicorn felt her heart broke once more. All that research for nothing?
"Daisy said...his father died from a disease when he and his bro...true brother, were still young..."
The doctor slowly faced the stone tablet, feeling horrible. She lost her two children, and her husband. She's alone in the world now.
Henry felt the same sadness. He lost his mother, his friends, Cloth, and his beloved sister...
"I'm sorry..." the doctor slowly said.
Henry simply nodded.
The doctor hesitated to save him at first, and even those two weeks of operation.
Those two words was all she need to ask for his forgiveness.
Alas, it didn't brought her comfort in her heart, not even the slightest.
A moment of silence before the doctor took a deep breath.
"Life goes on," she said sadly.
Henry envied the doctor. She's a strong woman, not disabling her from her sad emotions.
One question is now ringing on Henry's mind.
Before they went back to the castle, Henry informed the doctor of his blurry vision.
They instead went to an eye specialist, who gave him the right glasses for his eyes after he took a few eye-related tests.
He took a train back to PonyVille after he informed Princess Celestia that he needs to go back, to his home. With the princess' presence was the little purple filly and the doctor. The doctor wished him well, and so did Henry to the doctor, while the little filly asked the princess the reason why he was leaving.
It was a lonely journey back. Evening came, and the train was halfway there, but he could not rest himself to sleep.
Despite his disguise, the ponyfolks still knew him as who he really is, but they still welcomed him back.
It, somehow, gave him something to smile about, but it wasn't enough to fill the hole of sadness and loss in his heart.
Cheerilee and Ditzy walked with him back to his home, and waved goodbye after they got in front of the door.
Inside, the quiet aura was immediately filled with sadness and loneliness on his first step inside.
The mayor and vice mayor stopped by, and said their condolences.
The news of her gone reached here. It, at least, saved him the trouble of informing every pony. The two ponies thought that maybe he'll cheer up if he keeps himself busy.
Busy of what, Henry asked. They gave him the keys of the library tree, where Daisy used to work.
Perfect, Henry thought. It might only add more to his sadness, remembering the days he spent with her there. With those thoughts, he let out a heavy sigh and thanked the ponies.
It was still morning, and instead of doing nothing inside her...his home, he instead went towards the library, for at least he'll have something to do.
He replied a weak smile and raising one of his front hooves to a pony he passes by that greets him. Some have told him that Princess Celestia told them that he was a very nice changeling, an exception of the ones they need to hate and fear.
Some gave him advice, and some even tried to cheer him up, especially that one little pink filly who somehow floated in the air, gasping very long and quickly zoomed away like she saw something...something.
Henry payed it no mind and walked on, and soon ran into Big Macintosh and his little sister Applejack. Oh, how he wished his little sister was still with him. He couldn't hold a tear to run down his face. Big Macintosh patted his shoulder.
He thanked him, and told him that his little sister used to mumble the red pony's name in her sleep. He then left the two, leaving the red pony blush with an even darker red.
He soon ran into little Rarity, and gave him a very classy hat. What's it for, the little filly said that after she heard what happened, she felt like she needed to do a little something for him, at least to help him heal the pain in his heart.
The classy dark green hat looked quite nice, for a mare pony, he thought.
Despite his innocence in fashion, he could at least tell what's right for a colt and for a mare.
Trying not to hurt the little filly's feelings, he gave a weak smile and thanked her.
It somehow did the trick and off she goes.
Finally, he's inside the library. A lonely, quiet, gloomy, and dusty library. He sighed, and strangely, he smiled. He turned around to face the open door. Despite the gloominess of the library, it was still allowing light to enter. All it needed was for someone to open the door and turn the lights on. Though he's not poetic, he compared it with his lonely heart. Yes, of course his great loss would greatly sadden him, but, all it needs is for something to open his heart back to the light, no matter how much he hated the light.
Despite him being a changeling, the ponyfolks of PonyVille still welcomed him, and even tried to cheer him up. He just somehow felt the warmth of being accepted. He managed to smile, without him knowing.
He walked up to the second floor, and on the table, covered by dust, was his little sister drawings and sketches and notes.
He softly blew the dusts away. Took him a few tries to get rid of the majority of the dusts.
"Daring Do, and the Quest For The Sapphire Stone..." he slowly said, and strangely, he smiled. The first time he read those, the last two words weren't there.
His sister wanted to write a book. And to write a book, he shall, for his little sister. He'll dedicate it to his little sister.
But first thing's first. He needs to learn, and how great it is to learn but to read all the available books inside this big tree he's going to take care of.
He smiled. Somehow, just like Cloth, he now has a new mission. A new journey.
And every journey starts with the very first step you take.
And the first step is to clean, and so he did.
He's sitting under his favorite tree in the park.
The sun was setting, the time he assumed was the time to close the library.
Finally the tree had leaves, he joked to himself.
He's feeling the cool breeze, eyes closed, and his back on the tree.
He imagined of his little sister, and their days of being together.
The happy and boring times.
He was sent back to reality when a little blue bird landed in front of him and started chirping. It was as though the little bird was talking to him, but unfortunately for him, he understood nothing.
He gave the little bird a confused look as a little yellow pegasus pony slow walked towards him and immediately asked for forgiveness, for his friend here (probably the blue bird) was disturbing him.
He smiled and patted the little filly as he said that it was no problem. And with that, the little filly flew away with the bird, flying very low however.
Finally, it was dark when he reached in front of his home.
He grabbed a hold of the door knob, and before he opened it, he smiled.
He didn't need to hide, he just needed who he is, minus the looking like a changeling.
He opened the door, and once he got himself inside, he closed the door, and right next to him was the light's switch.
He turned it on, turned around, and,
"SURPRIIIIIIISSSSEEE!!!" the pink little earth pony he met earlier popped right in front of him and greeted him, scaring his soul away.
Behind the pink filly were a lot of ponies, even the ones he met on his way to the library earlier today. And a white banner was hung above the crowd, with large words saying "Welcome to PonyVille" with different dark colors to stand out from the white background.
Everyone cheered, and after they allowed a moment of silence for him to talk, he bent down to the little pink pony's level and told her that he's not really new.
"Hm..." the pink earth pony thought for a moment.
And then, she smiled, and instantly vanished, leaving a large amount of air, enough for Henry to close his eyes on reflex, and after he opened them again, there was now an up-side-down 'v' in between 'Welcome' and 'to' on the banner, and above the tortured 'v' was the word 'back' colored black.
"How's that?" the pink pony cheerfully asked as she went out of the crowd.
"How'd you...?" he stopped after a familiar blue bird landed on top of his 'classy' hat. He completely forgot about that hat.
He looked to his left, and there he saw the yellow pegasus filly having trouble trying to behave her little animal friends, annoying the little Rarity who was close by, and the little Applejack having a hard time holding her laughter.
He faced the crowd again.
'Oh well', he thought.
"Thank you every...pony."
And with that, the pink pony declared to start the party.
Just before he started to join the happy crowd, he was stopped by a little blue pegasus with a rainbow-colored maned who 'shooed' the blue bird and took his hat.
"This hat doesn't fit you at all." he said, or she said. Henry didn't know. Her voice was a mixture of both a male and female little pony. Maybe she's a tomboy, a new word he just learned when he was reading earlier in the library.
The rainbow-maned pony threw the hat on his bed, somehow managing to ignite a spark of anger on little Rarity as she marched towards her and asked why the rainbow-maned pegasus threw her wonderful work of fashion.
The little Applejack tried to calm the two arguing fillies.
Henry didn't really like loud noises, but now that he's home, he'll just have to get used to it.
He smiled after he convinced himself that the years he'll be staying here will be really really...
"I dare you to say that, ONE.MORE.TIME!" little Rarity snarled at the rainbow-maned pegasus.
"Fashion..." the rainbow-maned pony slowly said, "...sucks..." and with that, Henry grabbed them both with his hooves, lifted them up and extended his hooves away from the two who were looking really ready to turn the house down...literally.
He sighed as the crowed laughed.
"Oh well..." he whispered, "...my life is about to get really...interesting..."
The cheerful smiles, the happy faces, the positive atmosphere, and the annoying quarrels of young fillies...
"I only wish you were here to spend it with me..."