The Kobold of Ponyville
Chapter III - Mothershy
“So why are you here anyway?” Scootaloo asked Tak.
“Tak is great adventurer, what do you think?” he replied with a snort.
“Yeah, I got that,” Scootaloo said with a roll of her eyes, “I mean, why Ponyville.”
Tak gave a nervous chuckle as he rubbed the back of his head.
“Tak… just walked in a straight line, Tak didn’t know where he was going.”
“Isn’t that a little reckless?” Scootaloo asked.
“Oh, and a filly going into a forest alone isn’t? Tak would’ve thought that was pretty dumb.”
“Hey, I’m not that young!” Scootaloo protested, “I’m thirteen!”
“And?” Tak asked unimpressed.
“Well, how old are you then?”
“Tak is…” he paused as he slowly counted using his claws, “fourteen, nearly fifteen… Tak thinks.”
“You’re only a year older than me!” Scootaloo cried.
“And?” Tak asked, “Tak doesn’t understand.”
“But... you... what? URGH!” Scootaloo groaned loudly. “Never mind! We’re nearly at Fluttershy’s house.”
Tak blinked and shrugged his shoulders, putting it down to some silly pony thing. A short distance away, he could see a small building residing on the top of a hill. He assumed this was the home of Fluttershy.
“Fluttershy!” Scootaloo called out as they approached. “Are you home?”
Tak heard a squeak coming from nearby and looked over to see a yellow pegasus poke her head out from behind a tree.
“O-oh, Scootaloo it’s just you,” Fluttershy smiled as she slowly made her way over. “How are you?”
“I’m alright,” Scootaloo replied. “I, uh, have a friend I want you to meet.”
“I-is it a new f-friend from school?” Fluttershy asked, nervously retreating behind her mane.
“No, I met him in - I mean, near the Everfree.”
“Oh my!” Fluttershy gasped, her expression changing nearly instantly. “Is it a little critter?”
“Uh…” Scootaloo paused for a moment, “kinda?”
“Where is the little critter?” Fluttershy asked, a smile on her face.
“Tak? This is Fluttershy,” Scootaloo said turning her head.
Fluttershy tilted her head as she tried to peek at what was on Scootaloo’s back, but she could only see a tail dangling off the filly’s side. The tail was attached to a body that was currently hiding in Scootaloo’s mane, or at least, it was trying to.
“Tak, you okay buddy?” Scootaloo asked.
Tak poked his head out and glanced over at Fluttershy. The mare gasped loudly which prompted Tak to retreat back into Scootaloo’s mane.
“Is that your clan leader?” Tak asked with a quiet, nervous mumble.
“What? No, she’s a friend,” Scootaloo giggled.
He slowly looked over to Fluttershy whose eyes were wide and alert. Tak chuckled nervously and gave a meek wave before he was suddenly grabbed by a yellow blur and held onto tightly.
“A kobold!” Fluttershy squealed in delight. “Oh my goodness! you poor, poor little thing. What’re you doing so far away from your clan? Did they kick you out?”
Tak gasped in surprise as Fluttershy cuddled him close to her, he looked over at Scootaloo who was looking at him with a matching expression.
“Tak is confused,” he mumbled softly. “Is this normal for ponies?”
“I’m… not actually sure…” Scootaloo replied.
“You must come inside at once, I’m guessing you’re pretty hungry?” Fluttershy cooed.
“Tak is hungry… Tak hasn’t eaten today…” Tak murmured.
“Oh, we simply must get you some food. Would you like some fish?”
“You’d give Tak fish?” Tak gasped in awe.
“Of course,” Fluttershy giggled. “Come on, let’s get you inside.”
Scootaloo chased after Fluttershy as the mare carried Tak into her cottage, closing the door behind them.
“Spike? I’m home!” Twilight called out.
She closed the door behind her and took a few steps into the front room of the library before she noticed the rubbish had yet to be taken out.
“Spike, I thought I asked you to take the rubbish out before I got back.”
“Making toast!” Spike called from the kitchen.
“What but— fine,” Twilight groaned.
She was too tired to argue with the dragon. Ever since Spike had turned thirteen last year, he had developed some typical teenager traits that fillies and colts would often display.
“Butterin’ toast!” Spike replied.
Twilight rolled her eyes as she took a seat on one of the sofas.
“At least make me some,” she sighed.
Spike eventually came out with two trays of buttered toast. He handed one to Twilight and took a seat next to her, hungrily devouring his share. Twilight levitated a slice to her mouth and took a nibble just as Spike finished his.
“Sheesh, Spike,” she giggled, “you really should slow down, you’ll get the hiccups.”
“Nah, I’ll be fine. Dragons don’t get—” Spike was interrupted as he hiccupped with a loud squeak.
They stared at one another in complete silence, Spike’s eyes widening. Twilight grinned smugly.
“Don’t hiccup, eh?” she teased.
“I’ll go throw out the rubbish now…” he muttered.
She burst into a fit of giggles as Spike blushed. With a grumble, the dragon grabbed the rubbish bags and quickly walked out into the kitchen.
It wasn’t long before Twilight had finished her toast and Spike had left the library to go and help Rarity out over at the boutique. He had done the rest of his chores, at least. Twilight took her plate into the kitchen and put it into the sink before returning to the front room.
“Okay, time to find that book…” she muttered to herself.
After an hour of searching, Twilight had gone through several books on Equestrian races and hadn’t found anything of use.
“Come on, there has to be something that has what I saw in it!” she groaned in frustration.
She pulled a book off the shelf that caused her to cough as a cloud of dust assaulted her. After she was done with her fit, she looked over the cover and a large smile formed on her face.
“The Definitive Guide To Equestrian Races by Starswirl the Bearded,” she read aloud. “This is perfect!”
Twilight trotted back over to her seat, the book levitating behind her. As she sat down, she opened the book and began skimming over the contents page.
“Let’s see… ‘Giant’... ‘Human’... ‘Ibiki’... ‘Jackalope’... ‘kobold—” she stopped after seeing the entry picture and blinked, “ah, here we go!”
Her eyes scanned over the text as she muttered the entry under her breath, squinting as she came to the end. Suddenly her she jumped up in alarm.
“Oh no! If there are kobolds living nearby, it could cause some problems,” Twilight gasped. “Ponyville could be under attack! I must get a letter to the princess at once! The town guard must be alerted, just in case!”
Twilight rushed to the door, but suddenly she stopped herself. “Calm, Twilight,” she muttered, taking a deep breath and relaxing her shoulders. “I should go and see if that really was a kobold I saw with Scootaloo before I do anything rash.”
“Are you enjoying your fish, Tak?” Fluttershy asked.
Tak could only nod in reply and wag his tail happily as his mouth was stuffed to bursting with fish. He was sitting at the table in Fluttershy’s cottage, and in front of him was a plate of steaming, cooked salmon that she had made for him. Scootaloo and Fluttershy were sat opposite him at the other end of the table and eating some salad. The filly watched Tak with fascination, despite his lack of manners.
“Still weird to see somepony eat meat,” Scootaloo said.
“It takes some getting used to, I know. But we do live in a world where many creatures like griffins, dragons and even diamond dogs eat meat,” Fluttershy replied.
“True, some ponies seem to forget that a lot.”
Tak interrupted their conversation with a loud belch, causing Scootaloo to burst out laughing.
“Nice!” she smirked.
“What? Tak is just showing appreciation for good food,” Tak replied. Scootaloo only laughed harder as she realised he was being sincere.
“Aww, thank you, sweetie,” Fluttershy smiled to him, “I’m glad you like it.”
“Best meal Tak’s had in ages!” Tak grinned before digging in again.
Fluttershy giggled at the kobold’s large appetite, yet watching him carefully at the same time.
“You okay, Fluttershy?” Scootaloo asked as the mare stood on the spot for a few moments. “You kinda zoned out there.”
“Hmm? Oh yes, sorry, Scootaloo. I was just thinking,” Fluttershy mumbled.
“I was just wondering about his clan,” she sighed, quiet enough that Tak couldn’t hear her.
“What do you mean by ‘clan’?” Scootaloo asked with a tilt of her head.
“Well, from what I know of kobolds. They live in clans and very rarely ever leave them. If you find a kobold by themselves, it usually means they’ve been abandoned by their clan,” Fluttershy breathed sadly.
“How can you tell?” Scootaloo continued.
“When kobolds hunt or travel outside of their camps, they travel in groups rather than alone,” Fluttershy replied, “Going out alone is often very risky for them.”
“It’s because there are bigger things then kobolds,” Tak answered, making the pair jump, “Things that can smash kobolds into pulp.”
Scootaloo cringed at the idea of a kobold - or anything for that matter - being reduced to a pile of mush.
“How do you know so much about kobolds anyway, Fluttershy?” Scootaloo asked her. “I don’t think even Miss Cheerilee knows as much as you do.”
“Well, I’ve read a lot about them,” she replied.
She walked over to one of her bookcases and scanned over the books before pulling out a finely leather bound tome. Fluttershy returned to the table and placed the book down for Scootaloo to look at.
“The Definitive Guide To Equestrian Races by Starswirl the Bearded,” Scootaloo read aloud.
“Mhm, I saw it in a bookshop on one of my trips to visit my parents in Cloudsdale,” she explained, “I was curious and started reading it in the shop and simply had to buy it, I never knew Equestria had so many fascinating creatures and races.”
“So the book isn’t just about races like kobolds and ponies?” Scootaloo said, flicking through some of the pages.
“That’s right, Starswirl wrote entries about almost every living creature in Equestria. Even after all these years, the entries are surprisingly accurate. It’s one of Starswirl’s less well-known works. I don’t even think Twilight has a copy.”
At the mention of books, Tak stopped eating, and his eyes widened.
“Oh no! Tak forgot his book in the forest!” he cried in alarm.
“Whoa, calm down, dude. What’s the matter?” Scootaloo asked.
“Tak’s book! Tak must have left it in the forest,” he replied. “That nasty chicken-demon must have taken it along with Tak’s meat!”
“Chicken-demon?” Fluttershy asked. “You mean a cockatrice?”
“Yeah! That,” Tak nodded.
“Oh, you poor dear, what book was it? Maybe we can go to the library and—”
Tak didn’t wait for her to finish and instead hopped off his chair and bolted for the door.
“Tak won’t be long!” he shouted as he ran out.
“Tak, wait!” Fluttershy called out after him as she rushed after him. Pausing at the door she turned around. “Scootaloo, can you keep an eye on my animals for me? I want to go after Tak to make sure he’s okay.”
“Alright, Fluttershy,” Scootaloo nodded.
Fluttershy quickly left her home and flew in the direction of the Everfree forest. She could just see Tak sprinting away in the distance.
“I hope there isn’t a cockatrice this close to Ponyville,” she murmured under her breath.
Twilight quickly made her way through the town and towards the main bridge out of Ponvlle with the book sitting comfortably in her saddlebag. She’d decided to hurry to Fluttershy’s as she figured that that was where Scootaloo had been heading for. She still hoped that she had simply been seeing things due to her lack of sleep the previous night. That would make her day a whole lot easier.
However, a niggling thought sat in the back of her mind like a parasite. She’d only ever read about kobolds a couple of times many years ago - back when she lived in Canterlot - but she didn’t really give the entry much thought. She’d actually skimmed over it as she searched for more information about dragons, hoping to glean some knowledge from one of their close relatives.
She soon quickly found herself at Fluttershy’s house and knocked on the door, waiting for a response.
Twilight blinked, recognizing Scootaloo’s voice. She jumped when she heard a loud crash come from within followed by the sounds of squawking and Scootaloo crying out in alarm. Twilight quickly used her magic to force open the door and rush inside.
She was stunned into silence by what she saw.
Scootaloo was in the middle of the room, clinging onto a rowdy-looking chicken who didn’t look very pleased. The filly sheepishly smiled at Twilight who raised her eyebrows in amusement.
“I was trying to feed her…” Scootaloo chuckled nervously.
Twilight giggled as she helped the filly by levitating the chicken from her and placing it on the ground. The chicken huffed and fluffed its feathers before quickly running out of the front door and back to its chicken coop.
“So, where’s Fluttershy?” Twilight asked.
“She’s out chasing Tak,” Scootaloo replied.
“I see,” Twilight frowned, “Wait, who’s Tak?”
“Our new friend! And I think Fluttershy was being oddly motherly to him…”
“You’d better start from the beginning,” Twilight sighed.
What in Celestia’s name is going on…
Tak had arrived at the spot where he and Scootaloo had met, already searching desperately for his book. He clambered over the fallen tree with a grunt, using his spear to boost him.
“Tak knows it was around here somewhere...” he muttered.
Scanning the area, he spotted the book in question leaning against the tree he had been sitting on earlier. He grinned and quickly hopped down from the log he was on and ran over to the book, hugging it to his chest.
“Now Tak can go back and—”
He was interrupted by a hiss that came from behind him. Turning around he came face to face with a cockatrice. Tak glared at the abomination, noticing the bruising around its face. It was the one from earlier.
“What do you want? You already took Tak’s meat, you’re not taking Tak’s book!” he growled.
The cockatrice squawked loudly and charged at him suddenly, Tak barely had enough time to cry out before it rammed its head into him. He gasped as he was knocked back and collided with the tree log. As she got up, he goaned and rubbed his head. Glaring back at the cockatrice, he swallowed the lump forming in his throat as his earlier confidence started to fizzle away.
“S-stay back! Tak means it!” he shouted, trying to sound threatening.
The cockatrice gave another loud squawk and flapped its wings at Tak. The kobold panicked and threw his spear at it, hoping to kill it. The cockatrice, however, merely dodged the projectile as it sliced through the air. The pair watched as it embedded itself into a nearby tree.
Returning his gaze to the cockatrice, Tak’s heart sank as he realized he was completely defenseless. With his back pressed against the log, Tak gasped as he looked into the eyes of the cockatrice and started to feel a tingling feeling in his legs.
Tak looked down and began to panic as his legs slowly turned grey, the tingling feeling slowly running up his body. He whimpered as he tried to will his body to move, but it was to no avail. He shut his eyes tightly and gritted his teeth, waiting for the embrace of death.
He opened his eyes as he heard Fluttershy’s angry voice. Looking up, he saw his saviour standing on the tree he had climbed upon before and glaring down at the cockatrice.
“What did I tell you last time, mister?” she roared.
The cockatrice - much to Tak’s surprise - began to shake with fear and back away slightly.
“Now, unpetrify my friend this instant!” she commanded
The cockatrice nodded frantically and turned back to Tak, and the kobold felt the feeling stop and instantly vanish. Looking down, he realized his his legs had been freed.
“Now, go back to your home and think about what you’ve done!” Fluttershy scolded.
The cockatrice once again nodded frantically before it took off into the forest, disappearing into the distance.
“Are you okay, Tak? You’re—”
Fluttershy squeaked as Tak interrupted her by tackling her and hugging her tightly.
“Tak is free! Fluttershy saved Tak’s life! Fluttershy is best clan leader!” he cheered happily.
Fluttershy smiled and picked him up, returning the hug.
“You’re welcome, sweetie. But don’t run off like that again, okay? You might not be so fortunate next time.”
Tak nodded and quickly pulled out his spear before grabbing his book. Fluttershy saw the cover and giggled to herself.
“A fan of Daring Do are we, Tak?” she asked.
“Uhuh, she’s the best adventurer in the world! You know, besides Tak,” he replied with a grin.
She giggled once more and picked him up, allowing him to ride on her back as she started to make her way back to her home.
“Well then, seems we will have to go to the library at some point. Twilight has all the Daring Do books.”
“Wait, there’s more?” Tak gasped.
“Mhm,” she replied.
Tak cackled in glee as he cuddled into Fluttershy’s neck excitedly. She couldn’t help but smile to herself as the two reached the edge of the forest.
I can’t wait for the girls to meet him.