A Gourd Fest to Remember

by Orcus

Sweetest Serendipity

A harsh soreness was the thing Thorax experienced first when he felt himself waking up. He groaned as a flash of mild pain shot through his head, but thankfully that was that. His eyes opened, and the first thing he did was shoot them upward. The sun was a little more further along in the sky, telling him only a few hours had passed.

Looking around, he noticed he was sitting within a deep crater, no doubt formed by the impact from Twilight's shielding orb of magic. The shapes of treetops emerged from its edges, telling him that he was still within the boundaries of the forest.

But where was Twilight? Frightened by the thought of her being hurt after the ordeal he created, Thorax began looking about the crater and readied himself to leave when he saw she apparently wasn't here; he was more than willing to scan his eyes over the entire forest if it meant finding her. It was as he started moving his legs, when he heard a soft mumbling from... below. It was only then that he realized that whatever he had woken upon was rather soft in its texture, indeed much too soft to be meager dirt, and so he looked down to see just what he was laying atop of.

To his utter shock and terror, there Twilight laid underneath him, unmoving. Her body, upon a quick inspection by Thorax, looked completely, and thankfully unscathed. With the calm expression on her still, unconscious face, she seemed not in pain, but peaceful rest.

Thorax dared not move. He dared not move a leg, nor twitch a muscle, or even so much as blink an eye for fear of disturbing the pony laying underneath him. She had saved his life, twice, during that encounter with the beast he had unwittingly unleashed. The last thing he wanted at all to do was irritate her.

Alas, Twilight's stillness did not last. Thorax's heart nearly skipped a beat in his chest when her face's features began to curl and move, followed by a small, weary moan. Biting his lip, he watched the princess regain consciousness. Blinking several times in groggy fashion, she was fast to become aware of what sort of position she was in.

"Thorax?" she spoke to the sun-silhouetted figure looming over her prone shape. "Is... that you?"

"Um... yes," he said uneasily. "Are... do you feel hurt?" he was quick to ask next.

"No, no. I just... feel sore," she answered with a groan. "Very, very sore."

"Thank goodness..." Thorax sighed in relief. Yawning, Twilight turned her head around for a few seconds, looking over the environment they landed in.

"How long was I out for?" she inquired in a groggy fashion.

"I don't know for sure, but I think it was at least a few hours," Thorax replied.

"A few hours?" Twilight scratched at her temple with a hoof. "That tatzlwurm really knocked me silly, huh?"

"Knocked us silly, heh. I was out, too. I woke up only a few minutes ago. On top of you." As he finished his sentence, he prepared himself to move, so the princess could stand and stretch those tired limbs out. "I'd... better get off you..."

"No, wait," she suddenly said, holding onto one of his hooves to keep him rooted where he was.

"What is it? Is something wrong?" Thorax asked in a concerned tone. Twilight shook her head.

"No," she bluntly stated, her grip tightening on his hoof before slacking when she knew he was going nowhere. "It feels... nice." Inhaling a deep breath, she looked around again, as though making sure nopony was there to disrupt this moment, and then gave a warm look to the changeling above her. "Not sure why it does, really. But it feels nice."

"Nice?" questioned Thorax, his voice cracking a tad.

"Yeah," answered Twilight, moving herself about in the dirt just a little bit to a more comfortable position.

"It feels... nice?"

"That's what I'm saying."

"Really nice?"

"Really nice." Twilight chuckled at the last question, practically eliminating the tension Thorax once felt hanging in the air. And with it gone, the last of his fear went with it. Setting his hooves around Twilight in a way both found much more pleasing, he laid there atop her warm body. And for a good few, silent minutes, all they did was stare at one another.

Unable to help himself, Thorax soon found himself smiling along at what he could only describe as Twilight's beautiful face. The joyous face that pleasantly warmed the very blood running in his veins. The one and only face that enamored him so. So much in fact, that the wings and shell casing on his back suddenly lifted up and rasped together in a brief movement, making a short, sharp, high-pitched sound, one not unlike that of a cricket's pretty chirp. And in the second that followed the delivery of the note, Thorax's grin vanished. As soon he realized what he did, his face blushed and he shot a hoof to his mouth; his expression curled into one that could only be described as shock.

Twilight's brow furrowed when she saw his expressions shift in such a brief and odd manner. "Thorax, what's wrong?" she asked him.

"O-oh! I, uh... I seem to have... I... Oh, dear..." Thorax, careful in his motions, stood up and got himself off of Twilight. He walked to one edge of the crater's interior, his thin legs shaking all the while.

Twilight was immensely confused by his actions at this point. "What was that noise?" she soon asked, tracing his perplexing behavior to the sound he made a few seconds prior.

"I-it was a... chirp. I... chirped," he squeaked. "Changelings... male changelings... only do it when... when we feel an a-a-attraction t-toward someone else. And I just... I... just did it in front of... you. Oh, dear..."

His cheeks had fully flushed by this point. His lips wrinkling upon noticing what he had just foolishly, impulsively revealed, he sat down on a nearby rock with his head lowered and hooves poking at his temples. "Twilight, I want to apologize for that... I didn't mean it."

"Didn't mean it?" Though sluggish in her movements due to her sore and stiffened limbs, Twilight rose slowly to her own hooves. After making a brief check over the satchel on her side and the book held within it, just to make sure both survived the journey, she turned her full attention onto her friend. Walking over the ground, she moved Thorax's way with a puzzled visage. "How?"

"I don't know," he sighed, unknowing as to how he could remedy the mess the situation had transformed into. "I don't know..."

Twilight grew closer to him, intent on divulging a valuable piece of information that might help the friend she fondly knew, and resisting whatever personal fear she herself felt about it. "Thorax... please, don't get upset. I don't think you're... well, alone on this matter," she spoke, quickly catching the changeling's ears. "Would it seem wrong to you if I... sort of felt a similar way toward you?"

Thorax's eyes widened. Lifting his head, he stared her way. "You... do?" he slowly started to speak, his pitch thoroughly shaken. Twilight, putting on a small grin, shrugged.

"Yeah. I guess I do," she confirmed, unable to keep herself from giving off the perky smile. Barely noticeable as it was, her cheeks gained a brief rosy texture to them as she laid her secret bare. "Thorax, if you think you're the only one holding in a few secrets, then... I think you're a bit mistaken."

Thorax stared at her for a second longer until he finally gained the will to turn away. Disbelief was all he felt toward her statement, even in spite of its seeming sincerity. Though he wished to believe it, he knew he just couldn't. She was merely trying to make him feel better with those honeyed words of endearment, nothing more. It was a kind gesture for sure, he thought, but that was all it was. And that would be proven when he-

Thorax was snapped out of his daydream on the reasons as to why Twilight's claim was obviously faulty when he felt something touch his left cheek. Something small, warm, slightly wet too, and just experiencing it alone was a confounding sensation he'd never perceived once before in his life. In that one, breathless moment, Thorax realized Twilight had kissed him.

It seemed like an eternity later, but in reality only about several seconds, when Twilight finally separated her lips from Thorax's cheek. As it happened, a puckering sound of them went out alongside it, and it rang as true in the changeling king's ear as a bell. As soon as he finished properly registering the new, conflicting emotions swelling up within him like a storm, Thorax spun his head in the alicorn's direction and stared, gawking like a fool, at Twilight's beaming face. His own was nothing short of shocked, nearly like the kind one would put on after encountering something quite terrifying.

"That's for saving me from the tatzlwurm," she smirked at him. Keeping the look, she began to easily stroll past him and up the side of the crater in a teasing stride, making sure to brush her smooth, purple tail in a most alluring way across the changeling's chest as she moved from him. Her hips swayed back and forth while she departed, the movement nearly hypnotic.

Thorax continued to stare; unable to take his eyes off of the mare who had just willingly kissed him. After finally regaining something of his wits, he himself stood back up. Without hesitation he followed behind the alicorn and climbed out of the crater. When he joined up with her at its top, which lay among a cluster of trees and short grass, she turned expectantly in his direction with an arched brow and a wide grin.

"When?" was all he was able to blurt out, breathless from holding the air in his lungs for so long. "When did you start feeling that way toward me?"

To this, Twilight shrugged again. "I don't know, really," she said in a quieter tone. Her own cheeks, as the changeling could see like from before, began to redden a small ways again as she explained herself. "You're a very handsome changeling, Thorax. Even before you became a king I thought you were someone quite attractive. I guess that when you, Starlight, Discord and Trixie saved my friends and I from Chrysalis, I might have gained... somewhat of a crush on you."

She turned her view to the grassy ground in front of her, then to the sky, then back at Thorax. "I just didn't know that you felt the same way this whole time. But looking back at how you acted yesterday and today... I think I see it now."

As she said these words, Thorax could feel the most perplexing, warm feelings permeating like an insidious mist within his body. Warm, passionate feelings. Feelings that practically screamed at him to forget all sense of reason, scoop Twilight up in his hooves, and show her all the love he wished to give to her, then and there. But knowing well enough that such an action was perhaps a tad too inappropriate for such a fragile moment as this was, he chose to remain simply at peace with the wonderful knowledge that she actually reciprocated his infatuation.

"This is... I-I don't know what to say," he grinned at her. "This whole time... you felt like that, and... I felt like that too."

"Who knew?" Twilight's question came in a light purr as she shifted her position closer the changeling's and rubbed herself up against his side in an affectionate manner, humming in delight. Thorax felt a chill race down his spine as he experienced the sensation of her soft, velvety fur once again, but now against his shoulder and neck in such an open, yet intimate way.

He turned his head and looked down to her. She sequentially looked up to him, and their heads soon started slowly gravitating toward one another as an irresistible force took a firm hold of their minds, replacing whatever fear that once sat in its place. Within a few short seconds their muzzles touched at the tip, and it was like a shock from a discharge of static. No sooner than that was when their mouths drifted up until they took over the places of their noses, and, at last, they kissed.

The feeling of Twilight's lips on his own was like heaven. They were soft, supple and... sweet. The chill that raced down his spine, once as cold as ice, now enveloped his entire being in a sensation akin to white-hot flame. His wings spread from his back, and thrice more he emitted his cricket-like chirps; all three given in quick succession. Her eyes closed as she savored the moment, Twilight heard the sweet music and let out a small giggle, though still kept her mouth fused to his.

The kiss eventually came to its conclusion a short while later. When it did, both of its participants were out of breath, panting heavily from their indulgence and not regretting a single thing about it. Thorax, swallowing in a deep breath of the fresh forest air, was the first to speak. "That's... that's for saving me," he stated, his eyelids half open and tone full of pleasure. "Twice."

Twilight bore a most amused visage, and a satisfied hum escaped her before she spoke with him. "Well, you're welcome, Thorax." Her expression began to slowly fade, however much she wanted to keep it, upon realizing one small, crucial detail. "We'd, um, best... get back to the hive, huh?" she asked, fretful over the fact neither could deny. "Before anyone realizes how long we've been gone and get worried."

Turning himself away as well and coughing into his hoof, Thorax gave a concurrent nod. "Y-yes, I believe that's the best decision." He looked up at the sun in the sky again and whistled. "But there's still some time left in the day."

"Now that we've got that bit of... business out of the way - for now - I'm still feeling up to continuing our search for those gourds," Twilight brought up, gently poking him once on the leg and flashing him another, much more mischievous smile when he looked her way. "Just so long as neither of us chooses to pull out any suspicious-looking ones and release another subterranean monster from the earth, that is."

Chuckling awkwardly at this, Thorax shifted a forehoof to his shoulder. "Yeah, yeah..."

Giving a wink, Twilight was the first to start through the forest. Thorax quickly began following behind her, reminiscing on the moment of ecstasy they shared. Silence fell about the woodland's floor as they trotted along, and all either heard for a time was the sound of the occasional bird chirping away in the trees and sky above. After spending some of their trek thinking on it, Thorax had another thing to say.

"Twilight," he began, breaking it. "This is all fantastic, what we just did back there, but it's all so much in so little of a time. I can't help but think... what does this mean? For us?"

"I'm... actually not sure," replied she, looking his way over her shoulder to him. "This is... a new chapter in my life. One I've never really explored before. But I'm excited to find out what's in it. With you."

The expression on her face utterly mirthful, she turned her view forward again as Thorax kept his eyes on her. This mare... this beautiful mare had kissed him. She revealed that she, too, harbored such feelings as the kind that kept him awake for most of the night before. And now he knew that it was the truth.

He kept his view on the thoughts in his head so much that he only snapped out of it when he realized Twilight had halted abruptly in front of him. He just barely managed to stop himself from bumping into her, and trotted to her side to see if something was the matter. When he got a clean look at her face, he saw it was blank with what seemed like shock.

"Twilight?" he asked her, his brow arching. Thorax stared at her as she kept her gaze held forward. For lack of a better term, she looked like she had seen a ghost.

"Twilight?" Thorax asked again. "Twilight, is something...?"

Blinking once, Twilight lifted one of her hooves without moving her head and placed it on Thorax's cheek before he could finish his sentence. Gently pushing it with no resistance to halt her, she rotated it in the direction she was focusing on. Thorax was fairly confused by what she was trying to do, but once his eyes shifted forward, his face soon joined hers in performing a most dumbfounded visage.

In front of them both, no less than a dozen meters away, was a cluster of trees, practically indifferent to how the rest of the forest looked. However, there was one different thing to them. Beneath every tree, attached to a vine protruding from the base of their roots like something just waiting to be grabbed, was a wyvern gourd.

For a minute longer, Thorax and Twilight simply stared at the gourds. They walked forward, together, and examined the first ones they came across with awe. More still waited further inward, as they soon found out. Indeed, many hundreds of the wyvern gourds were sitting all over this patch.

"There's gourds everywhere." Thorax's mouth gaped. "Hundreds - at least!"

Her face transforming into one more positive than shocked, Twilight's head spun to Thorax. "With these, we can make sure every changeling in the whole hive gets one!"

"You're right!" he nearly shouted with joy, his wings buzzing on his back in unkempt excitement. "And if we plant enough of their seeds in spots around the hive, we'll have more than enough for next year!"

"Well? What are we waiting for?" the alicorn went on. "Let's bring these back to the hive..."