My name is Moth, I'm a changeling, I have never been a pony, nor were my parents...does it shock you that much? That we have parents? We aren't just all mutated ponies or grown like a fungus with no heart of my own?...Maybe I don't.
If we changeling are so big on being hidden, why do we not just feed on each other's love? We tried, it was like a snake eating its own tail. We can't simply feed on our Queen's love and her on ours. We NEED other creatures who can love to live. It's the law of nature, no animals can survive on their own...even herbivores need grass and even flowers need the sun.
We HATE it. That we NEED 'inferior creatures' to live...so what makes me a freak? So why do I see my food as people?...Funny story that. Wait, not very funny at all.
It wasn't just one grand moment that changed my life. When someling's truth is challenged, they become even MORE defiant in protecting it. You fight back with everything you have.
If someling told you friendship was worthless, you wouldn't suddenly give up that just because of one time would you?
So what makes you think I gave up on what I had been taught my whole life because of one day? Just because something is wrong, doesn't make it any less difficult to break the belief.
Before I was born, all changelings were granted the honor names on top of our serial numbers. My parents named me Moth.
I'm not a brainwashed pony hero, or a changeling princess in disguise, I was a changeling among a swarm of changelings.
I was taught to manipulate and control the reactions of zebra, ponies, griffins, all creatures that felt emotions. I was a gatherer after all, I wasn't a worker or a soldier. It was my duty to go beyond the hive and gather love to return to the rest of the hive. So my storage capacity had to be bigger than an average changeling.
I enjoyed the circus maximus on the rare occasion I returned to the hive instead of simply relaying the mass amount of love I had gathered to another changeling to return to the hive.
I replaced many ponies, adults, children, stallions, mares, each presented their own unique challenges, but I never bothered to remembered their meaningless names once my mission was done, do you remember the individual names of apples in a cider? For the record, my base form IS female. Sometimes I invented new identities and worked with that in societies and communities where paper work or background checks weren't mandatory.
The ponies I replaced?...Sometimes they were converted if useful to the swarm's collective knowledge and skill, just taken to be more home-stead cattle (though we don't need to do that as much now), or left in an empty dazed state and we quietly let them slip back into their lives, or...we disposed of them.
Choosing between individuals of another species or providing for my own community, my own species, my own race, my friends and family, my own people, you think I ever felt a shred of hesitation or guilt? It wouldn't have been a life changing realization if I'd already felt what I was doing was wrong, would it?
Do you feel hesitation or guilt for the flowers you eat?
My nymphhood wasn't special, I was taught to obey my superior without question, and the queen was superior to all. That was the efficiency of the great machine.
That's a difference between ponies and Changelings. Ponies come to the conclusion that Celestia is an almighty force of nature. Changelings are taught that the Queen is one. The fact that the only way a queen had died in our memory was at the hooves of another Queen only reinforced it.
That changelings need love to live, and what we did was no different from a spider eating a fly.
Those who vomited love back at prey were insane. And I didn't question any of it, you don't question superior.
Prey was food that talked, their games of 'right' and 'wrong' didn't apply to us.
Once, workers were considered the least, next came the cattle, next came the gatherers, then came the soldiers, then came the Masters, and above them the Queen herself. Now all the castes are equal.
I didn't think prey fools, do you think apples are fools?
A gatherer I was born, and a gatherer I will die as, that's what the swarm needs me for, and for that, I won't abandon my responsibility to my hive-mates for my own personal whims of wanting a new profession. A screw can not become a cog.
Those were all my truths, and my reality!
Then came the day, when I became even more zealot of them.
It was just another day. Before I became a full fledged gatherer and left the hive. The Queen feels us being able to interact grants us stronger loyalty to the hive. I speak with a nymph disguised as a zebra filly. She talked about her love for the hive, her honor in serving it, of being a part of her, the honor of her responsibility in providing for it. She was wonderful to be with. We shared a undying loyalty to Queen and Swarm.
Then a herder came, and I found out the reality, I had been talking to a cattle this whole time! Then the next reality I found out. She didn't have the tell tale green tinted eyes our magic can't hide, because she had been born here. The hive was the only home and life she had ever known. She considered herself part of the swarm, and counted herself among our numbers, seeing her providing love as just another duty for the swarm.
HOW DARE SHE?! HOW DARE A CATTLE THINK OF ITSELF AS EQUAL TO US?! HOW DARE SHE THINK OF HERSELF AS PART OF THE SWARM! She degraded the honor of the swarm with such thoughts that we could be lowered to her level! I HATED HER!
You think I had a moment of doubt to that? Of questioning? I only grew more hostile to cattle. There WERE NO ifs, ands, buts, thoughs, or howevers!
My responsibility was to the swarm and nothing else, not these walking love batteries!
I was proud when I was let loose upon the world, when I slipped into the horse-shoes of ponies and zebra, I slipped into the cracks of other ponies' lives and told them what they wanted to hear, then sucked them dry and discarded them like the rind of an orange!
I was good at what I did, I wasn't the best, that was master Jewel Wasp, and her apprentices, but I proved I didn't need to be taught by the best to become talented! I was recognized for my skills and I was taught the languages and cultures of was different prey that I'd be sent out against.
On one of my first visits to the Land Of Love, as we changeling nicknamed it as love was so available, I had never felt so alive. I became too drunk on how easy it was to draw love out of these creatures. I was disguised as a pegasus at the time. While my classes had covered the alien and bizarre land of the Everfree Forest where weather, plants, and animals were wild, unpredictable and savage, it had failed to mention that just cause Ponyville was the only settlement right next to it, didn't mean rogue weather didn't wander out from it elsewhere. I ran right into a wild storm. I crashed and was knocked out of my disguise and forced into my true shape.
I had recently passed on my collected love to a courier, healing my damage would take reserves I didn't have, but I did have enough to make sure I was never found.
Our bodies naturally crumble into dust anyway unless we're sucked dry by a Queen, but if we feared we'd be discovered, we had other options. We must be as ghosts. The hive's secrecy must be protected until the Land Of Love is our new home.. I prepared to trigger my, well, for lack of a better term let's call it 'apoptosis.'
"Hello, are you alright? Well, from the crash I can guess you're NOT alright."
I would die with dishonor, I had been seen. I looked at the pony who had spotted me on the ground. A unicorn.
What had to be the most perfect luck in the history of the swarm, the stupid creature was blind!
I'll admit, as a changeling, I suffered from a slight handicap, sometimes I forget myself and do a completely different voice if I didn't pay attention. The fact I had been chosen for the Land of Love IN SPITE Of my handicap is something I take pride in. I focused and gave the most sincere sounding and pitiable voice I could imagine giving.
"Please, help, I'm hurt."
The blind creature a short time later lifted me on his back and took me to his home in the middle of nowhere.
He lived alone and had no neighbors. I don't know what god was showering me with such luck but I hoped their whims didn't change too quickly!
I worried he might realized something was up with me: Then again, this creature was blind and lived by himself, he HAD TO BE stupid!
Then things got weird.
I couldn't just drain him dry and go, being hit by lightning and crashing into the ground hadn't left me in perfect shape. And what he was feeding for me was compassion, not the same thing as love. The default amount of love he had wasn't the gigantic amount I needed to heal myself enough that I could move without splitting my exoskeleton in two.
So I was stuck there for weeks, forced to heal the old fashioned way. He gave me water, bandaged me, and of course, fed me, or what ponies ate to live. It barely took anything to fill my tiny stomach, and my body wasn't built to process what was in there anything, we were built to feed off of love, if we could live off of grass and flowers we wouldn't have to risk living the way we do. No, our stomachs weren't completely nonfunctional, they could digest food, we just got nothing from it except the taste.
His cutie mark was a butterfly, I'm surprised his brain knew what one looked like. He was also a poet I guess. He introduced himself as 'After Image.'
The weird thing was, I felt myself getting stronger, but I wasn't feeding, but I felt love storing up inside me! I didn't understand it at all.
I stuck to my cover story. He politely accepted everything I said. He said things like, "Oh is that right?" or "I understand." He barely questioned anything! I couldn't believe my luck.
There's only one punishment for breaching the masquerade. The ultimate failure deserves the ultimate punishment. His discovery of what I was would only mean me reporting my failure followed by an execution for having failed the swarm. Yes I'd turn myself in. Why shouldn't I?
I never knew what she was. I knew she wasn't a pony. All I knew was that was somecreature who was horribly hurt and in need. If she had a reason for keeping her identity and species secret, I was going to respect that. I hope she found what she was looking for. I surprised myself, I did love her company.
When I was strong enough to leave, I thanked him without thinking about. Then again, that was what ponies did with each other.
But the mystery remained, how had I fed? I hadn't drawn anything out of him at all. So why? Why? It made no sense. Creatures don't get fed just by being NEXT TO food.
And when I left, he was still every bit as strong as when I'd met him! He hadn't lost an ounce of energy! Even if I HAD been feeding off him, how could he have so much love in him that it didn't leave a dent? A female mosquito doesn't feed off its pray without drawing blood!
In some ways, it felt like I was BETTER fed than I was normally. Almost like I'd gotten a continuous stream instead of one big rush. Like it'd be flowing nonstop instead of in bursts like it normally did during quick feedings.
I hadn't even TRIED feeding (as said, I needed him), he hadn't seemed to weaken one little bit, but I'd still got fed well. What the Tartarus was going on here?!
And I couldn't just ask back at the hive. Asking about it would mean exposing myself to the others. Saying that I'd let myself get hurt and raised back to health by FOOD! It was one thing to report a failure, it was another to report what amounted to humiliation! We Changelings had our pride!
It just kept eating away at me. It made no sense!
And it would come back to those second-generation-plus cattle who had never had mind control magic used on them in their lives who would prattle on they were happy to have such a vital and indispensable function as part of the swarm! Little rats! Would we keep them around if we didn't need to?
Okay. Maybe I was a little defensive. My entire live and function in the hive was to be a gatherer, if the population of the livestock got big enough some day to provide for the entire swarm, I wouldn't just be out of a job, I'd be out of why I was born! Imagine trying to realize your Cutie Mark was something the world didn't have any used! So of course I cheered for changelings who petitioned the queen that the livestock were a clear and present danger would ultimately turn on us once their numbers were big enough.
I was actually angry the live stock never showed any interest in rebelling against anything, they considered themselves part of the swarm if they were changelings or not.
The herders never even TRIED to discourage them from thinking of themselves as part of the hive rather than the live stock they were!
Can we...can we stop please?...Just for a little bit? Looking back at myself, how I was, how I used to think, it's...it's hard...I don't like doing it. It reminds me how I would have looked at Lyra and Bon Bon, and not even have seen people. It scares me to think about how I used to think.
Like I said, me realizing non-changelings were people, and 'nature taking its course' wasn't an excuse as I had been taught all my life, wasn't a laughing matter.
I fought it, kicking and screaming, leaving hoof marks in the dirt. Please, please I don't want to talk about it in detail. Please.
I dared to ask the natural rival of a gatherer, a herder, about the nature of harvesting love from such complacent and willing cattle. I didn't give any details of course of why I was asking, and the chances I could ask where slim as I spent most of my life away from the hive.
They told me, there were times working with the cattle, they would forget to feed themselves, but they wouldn't grow weaker, in fact, they would actually feel stronger. Those who relayed this strange happenstance to the higher ups were ignored.
It couldn't be.
I asked questions of the higher ups myself and was ignored, again, not revealing the nature of my questions, until I was told to stop asking questions.
I obeyed of course. Obey your superiors. They is the changeling way. So why was I so scared?
And it struck me. Why. Why had the changelings who had fled with a single stolen first generation cattle brought to the hive only needed that one cattle to live?...As a gatherer, it had been part of my duty to spot rogues and runaways (I don't know what if anything was done after that). So why...why had they only needed that one host to live? Our hive was literally in the middle of nowhere, there wouldn't be any food for miles.
Nothing made sense anymore.
Was our way of feeding...wrong?
I brought this up with my superiors, and I was told never to speak of it again. I obeyed.
I remember once, a cave in, a herder had dug to save a cattle who had been caught, he had risked his life, it wasn't part of his duty, he wasn't a worker, but he did it anyway. I thought nothing of it at the time, it wasn't part of my duty to the swarm.
Now I tracked him down, and I did ask him.
"It's not a matter of being superior, it's matter of us living, we need them, and they need us."
Ants and aphids, of course, ants and aphids. You know I actually felt relief. Ants and aphids. Ants and aphids. It was nature at work again. Ants and aphids. We were the ants, and they were the aphids. They provided for us, and we took care of them, no wars, no crime, no rape or murder, we kept them happy and they provided for us. Ants and aphids. Simple as that.
And I was more afraid of my duty as a gatherer were truly destine to turn to dust. But the same time I felt guilt and confusion, for the cattle, but for why the swarm was ignoring a better way to feed ourselves, even at the cost of the gatherer caste, did they think we weren't loyal enough to the hive that we wouldn't sacrifice our purpose and function for the good of the entire swarm?
The worst part was, was when it happened again. It was like fate took delight in torturing me. When I crashed, no, it was the ceiling that crashed into me. Flying in my true form was something I could only do inside the hive's cavern. Even us, who could change into any species of animal, we wanted to be our true selves....Like ponies and their cutie marks.
But it came with risks, and there was an accident, at least it wasn't life threatening this time.
I thought it was a doctor of my own kind who healed me in the hive, who was currently in the form of a zebra for some reason, that's what I told myself. Turns out his 'superior' was out at the time, but having been at his superior's side all this time, providing love for her, he was able to repair the damage done to me with acquired expertise. Taught by changelings of course, so not that strange.
But...how was that any different from when the blind unicorn healed me?
Now I was terrified.
I WAS HAPPY when I was sent to the griffin kingdom instead of the land of love again.
And that was when everything for me changed forever.
However, it turned out what I THOUGHT would be an escape was more...complicated.
It was just a routine gathering mission. It was a little village in the middle of nowhere. Which Griffin Nation? I forget, I didn't know it by its 'pony name' at the time. But point was, the village didn't have anyone anypony important would miss...which was exactly why the next part was so shocking.
First I noticed ponies that were visiting the village. Observing them, I overheard enough to figure out they were simply tourists traveling through the country. No one expecting them, middle of nowhere. They were perfect...But then something happened.
One of them just happened to trip and hit their head on a rock. A Griffin rushed to help them.
They were an Earth Pony, so they were okay, but they were bleeding...and that's where the shock came from.
The Griffin finished up tending to them and wiped the blood off, giving a somewhat hungry look at his talons. Even I could smell the blood.
It was no secret that Griffins were ponies' natural predators. But the wars ended long ago. However, instincts were still instincts. I'd always assumed that Griffins just didn't want to have the world angry at them...however, a couple ponies from nowhere going nowhere in a village in the middle of nowhere? I thought somegriffin's instincts would get the better of them eventually (why I'd become a Griffin). That if there was no logical way it could come back to bite them, they'd follow their instincts.
But here was a Griffin, with pony blood on his claws. Predatory instinct HAD to be kicking in. But he didn't lose it, he didn't hurt them. he didn't even go get a snack or anything, he just went about his day.
I normally would've overlooked it...but with my brain already in doubt, I observed. I was HOPING one of the ponies would get taken by the Griffins so I could take their place with the other. It never happened. They came and went on.
The Griffins had let their food walk into a perfect location to pounce, smelt its blood...and just let it leave in peace...
The SHOCKING part was that none of the griffins took note or disdain at this griffin that had let their natural food go when it made less sense NOT to claim their prize! The ponies might as well have been hanging signs saying 'Free Food!' around their necks. And the griffins just let them go. And the griffins all treated it as normal.
If they had been afraid of revenge by Princess Celestia if it could be traced back to them, that still wouldn't make sense. Griffins were not cowards, anyling who tells you different has never met one. I don't care if they lost their war with the ponies. Even the wrath of the sun goddess wouldn't be enough to cow them.
So why, why had that griffin HELPED that injured pony? My thoughts continued like that for a while. Going in circles. Seeing but not understanding.
So I dared infiltrate deeper into these griffins. I didn't have orders to ingrain this deep, but if I didn't find an answer, I'd go insane, and then I'd be no use to the swarm, an unforgivable failure.
What confused me further, was that the griffins called their own ancestors "dweebs" for keeping ponies as slaves and livestock. And I broke the most basic rule of a gatherer, I didn't just smile and nod. I played Tirac's advocate. I was the only changeling here, noling would ever know.
I cited how the griffins was only doing what came natural, that the ponies under them had had peace and protection, that there was no shame in treating prey like prey, and it was just the natural structure of nature.
I completely destroyed the usefulness of my persona as a love harvesting tool. And I was lucky to get out of there without being knocked into my true form. Griffins do not shy away from a fight nor expressing themselves physically. And as far as they knew, I was another Griffin who knew and should have expected that.
My persona was called a bigot and much less kinder things. What I was able to shift through the insults, and death threats, was talk about respecting other sapient creatures and that there was no such thing as the 'master species', and treating others like you wanted to be treated, and that it was disrespectful towards yourself to lower yourself to the level of an animal that couldn't control or chose when to obey or ignore their instincts.
If I had been in confusion before, then now I was drowning in an ocean of it. How could griffins, creatures who should have been in the same boat as us, ones who many changeling masters had cited an alliance was only logical (we'd take the emotions, they'd take the flesh), be so against having ponies fulfill their natural place in nature?
I had always told myself, it was because the rest of the world would become their enemies if they tried to do what was their natural calling due to the world ruled by prey, an upside down absurdity of how the world was supposed to be. But these griffins, retaliation by prey hadn't even been a major part of their verbal beat down! And as far as they knew, I WAS a Griffin, they had no reason to lie!
I actually cried myself to sleep that night. Why. Why didn't the world make sense anymore?
We were still better than griffins. We weren't killers. We merely feed on emotions from our prey, we didn't kill them. What did it matter?! THEY WERE JUST CATTLE!!!!
But if that were true, then why was I the one questioning why the Griffins hadn't made a meal of those ponies? Why did THEY accept killing was wrong and condemn the idea of it while I was the one looking for a reason why they SHOULD kill them?
Because it was the natural thing for griffins to do! It was their NATURE TO EAT THE FLESH OF PONIES!...Yet why were none of them sick or miserable? We were always taught that creatures who resisted or fought against their instincts were always struggling against it constantly, living in perpetual agony and misery struggling against their own flesh and blood! It's why everyling thinks those vampire pony novels are STUPID after all! It's why everyling hates it! A vampire pony falling in love with a pony who is his natural food source? It would like an addict dating witch weed! It's MORE stupid for changelings, vomiting love BACK at prey? It's insane!
Oh? We changelings kill each other? Of course we do. It's how our Queen became Queen in the first place, she has taught us not to fear weak leaders and those who can't carry their own weight need to be cut loose. We're creatures with free will after all, I just meant we don't kill our prey to survive like griffins would.
Then why do we treat ponies like animals when they can think and speak? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE TO US! It's what's natural! It's what nature intended! It's the natural world! It's what Mother Nature meant for us to be, what we were intended to be! It's what evolution HAS MADE US! Why should we do something as ARROGANT and SELF-DESTRUCTIVE as try to go against what we NATURALLY DEVELOPED TO BE?! Lions can't eat grass to survive, and deer can't live off sunlight like grass can. We can't eat meat or plants to survive either, love is what we NATURALLY live off of! WHY SHOULD WE TRY TO CHANGE WHAT WE ARE JUST BECAUSE the world wouldn't approve?!
But then, you know what I found out? The symbol of peace between the ponies and Griffins is a HIPPOGRIFF. As in a HYBRID of the two species.
At first, I naturally thought it was a mythical creature. A hybrid of predator and prey couldn't ACTUALLY exist, right? There was no way!
But with my thoughts in such disarray, I couldn't help myself...I assumed a new Griffin form (my old one now an outcast) and asked around. It turned out that one of the countries ambassadors was one! Yes, I know that makes perfect sense! I knew there were some pony/zebra crossbreeds who did much the same elsewhere, and even some Deer hybrids, but there was one BIG difference: two prey species mating? THAT makes sense. A prey species and its natural predator? HOW?! How is that PHYSICALLY possible?! See my anti-vampire-novel argument for why that seemed utterly insane!
And yet apparently, it happened frequently enough that Griffins didn't doubt they could exist! I tried to write it off as a political move, but there was one small detail that made no sense: the Griffins didn't consider the existence of one a big deal! If this was some one of a kind thing, why WOULDN'T it wouldn't be 'yeah, they're real, by the way, our ambassador is one,' it'd be 'I know they're real BECAUSE our ambassador is one!'
Had nature itself gone crazy?
I was able to make my quota, but that was it, as a gatherer, I was supposed to deliver what I could to the hive and take what was left over second, but I had been so distracted that I barely absorbed enough extra for me to keep going!
'For the good of the swarm', that was our vow of any changeling alive.
Maybe us gatherers weren't what was best for the swarm, if our livestock could function without us feeding on them directly without them being all used up, then why did we need to risk exposing ourselves? Maybe we should be just phased out after all.
...And everything I had seen and heard just continued to make me more confused and insure. I was barely able to function. But I had to keep going, it was for the good of the swarm after all.
Griffins. Why? Why have you become this? Why did your entire species drive to this? They've stopped harvesting meat from cows that were sapient in favor of the ones that COULDN'T think or reason. But ponies what were their NATURAL prey. How could they do this to their bodies?
And more importantly, why did they seem so...happy about it? WHY? I'd been taught all my life that defying nature would HURT you and they didn't FEEL hurt. They didn't look hurt. Being around ponies didn't even seem TEMPTING to them, even when the ponies were bleeding. WHY?!
My thoughts wandered back to that Hippogriff and I wondered if their parents loved each other or if they were just some sort of accident. I checked into it and found they were LEGALLY MARRIED. An entire family that stood for the OPPOSITE of what I believed in.
One crack made new ones and made old ones larger. It was like my world was falling apart.
...they abandoned the hive...they abandoned the swarm...they betrayed us...there...is no...excuse...for that. They were being selfish.
What's selfish, about wanting freedom and a better life for someling you love?
AGH! Where did that thought come from!?
I'd been infected somehow!
Then another aspect of the pony/griffin relationship hit home. Ponies were their PREY...that meant by their NATURE ponies shouldn't have even BEEN in a Griffin Nation. They should've been instinctively TERRIFIED of willingly coming within five feet of a Griffin, let alone come to an entire nation FULL of Griffins...or for that matter, mate with one!
We'd 'domesticated' our cattle, they were no longer afraid of us because we'd RAISED them that way...Griffins hadn't kept ponies as cattle. A pony who'd never encountered a griffin should've had an INSTINCTIVE fear of one...so why didn't they?
The cracks just kept spreading. I kept seeing OTHER things that threw wrenches in my works.
Dragons should want everything they see, so why did they NOT wreck pony mines and take them over? That was their NATURE...and yet it was right there in the treaty between dragons and the rest of the world. EVERYTHING else should just run for the hills when they so much as HEAR one...and yet they're allowed to visit other nations, their migration path passing near CITIES.
Not only that, but my research revealed there had been cases of dragon/pony hybrids in the past, one of which was part of Nightmare Moon's army during her war with Celestia and well documented by history!
Zebra? Same as ponies, they DIDN'T follow the natural prey response to Griffins and Dragons...but DID to lions and other predators that WEREN'T sapient!
I asked my next questions carefully, I didn't want to have to create a third persona for one gathering (which was I was at the tail end of, with griffins at the edge of beginning to ask questions of their own).
I introduced myself as a 'griffin naturalist' and made a point to be as respectable and polite as possible. I asked about how griffins should return their natural instincts since that was 'what nature intended' and it was a more healthy and honest way of living than denying your real self.
I was surprised when I got polite and respectable answers back.
"If we just did whatever our instincts told us to do, we'd be fighting each other to the death and eating the loser's chicks, fighting each other over who's the toughest rather than who has the best idea, and eating creatures that can help us a lot more than just be a one time snack."
"So what?" Animals of the same species killing each other is part of nature. Our Queen did to become Queen that way after all, and Cocoon's death helped the hive. So why was I using equines not harming each other as justification for us using them as cattle?
"So WHAT? Every life is precious, every life is special, every life is unique, and if we spent so much time killing each other just to be on top, or that it was our DNA that got passed on, how many useful ideas would be lost? How many works have we built that would never have existed because we were too busy fighting ourselves? Or others? Working with others gets a lot more done than working against each other. And we learned a long time, strength isn't everything. Sometimes a WEAKER griff has better ideas than a stronger one. And ponies? Griffins might be STRONGER, but we still lost the war, didn't we?"
"Hey...if that's the case, maybe there should be a way to make those who'd be helpful griffins themselves, instead of being something that nature says we're supposed to be eating?"
We had converted prey into changelings on occasion, those who showed traits that were helpful to the swarm, those who'd rather be one of us than one of them.
"If they're so cool, that they'd make a great griffin, then doesn't that kinda defeat the point of them being something uncool to begin with?"
It was like a knife in the gut. Oh, Queen Chrysalis. No. No. No. No. No!
"B-But if they were a griffin, couldn't they do more to help the group? There wouldn't be prejudice."
"True, but think about it this way: Griffins are tougher and stronger than a most ponies (we ARE their predator after all), but the pegasus has got us beat at agility and speed most of the time. We can't do magic like unicorns or make plants grow like Earth Ponies. That's NOT saying it sucks being a Griffin, FAR from it, but it's kinda like in one of those Power Pony shows from Neighpon. Ever notice a team's never all ONE species? Normally they've AT LEAST got one of each pony tribe, sometimes a Griffin and a Zebra, but NEVER all one type of creature. And it's not just because they're strong-armed to include 'token minorities!' It's because they balance each other out. A unicorn can use magic, but isn't physically strong, a team of unicorns would be powerless if something showed up their magic COULDN'T work on, wouldn't they? But if they were all Earth Ponies, then what if they fought something that could ONLY be effected by magic? Then they'd be droppings out of luck, wouldn't they?"
We changelings, we could become anything we wanted, with a good enough memory, enough love stored, and if we had what we needed to copy in the first place...but we needed creatures who could make love to live. We've always hated that. Love being is what we had to live on to live. We couldn't live like they could. I thought of someling changing all changelings permanently into whatever species they were disguised as at the time. I was horrified at the idea.
Contrary to the horror stories you might have heard, those we've 'uplifted' into our own kind aren't stripped of their free will. DAMMIT! WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?
So...if their personalities aren't remade...then how can we say how different cattle are from us...if they were able to assimilate so well into their new species?
Queen Chrysalis, I'm sick!
I fled! I escaped. There were no other word for it. I retreated in terror from a griffin using nothing but WORDS!
Equines, zebra, griffins, they didn't need their emotions to live, we did need their emotions to live. They didn't die without their love, we did. Zebra would die if a griffin ate their flesh. What right did that griffin have to give us lectures?
I had never been so happy for a gathering to end for me to go home. But I didn't go home soon enough. Not that it mattered as I'd find out.
Fate was not done tormenting me.
News paper. Griffin buck. Head injury. Not himself afterwards. Can't feel or can't express feelings anymore. Loved ones, his sister says it's like he died. Like the TinPony who lost his heart.
I'm lying. I overheard it from the sister, the griffin I had approached earlier, talking about her brother, his name is Leopold. I had been watching her, hoping for some sign of hypocrisy to everything she said, griffins couldn't, ignoring or rejecting your instincts should have made you weaker!
The love I sensed for her brother, it was filled with the same molasses of sadness I'd tasted in the air when somecattle's loved one died, there was no difference.
"He recognized me but, he didn't act like he cared."
I.... I... PLEASE! I DON'T WANT TO QUOTE WHAT THEY SAID! NO! Please! It's...it's too much. No more, please.
...His emotions were as good as gone...like they were eaten out of him...and now his own sister says it's like he's turned into a stranger, like the old him doesn't exist anymore...
Why did I ever have to this horrific land?! I was a part of the hive's sacred machine: except my gears had been stripped.
As a rule, we gatherers don't make friends or enemies, we only have targets we lure in, stimulate, harvest, discard, then melt into the shadows like ghosts. This was so we wouldn't be missed if we vanished, this went double when picking individual creatures we were replacing.
I broke the rules, I betrayed the hive, I said goodbye the griffin I had chatted with, and told her I was sorry about Leopold.
I felt nothing but guilt for my crime.
I had never been so happy to be back in the hive. You have no idea. It was my sanctuary, my rescuer, my home, the big machine where I could fit in like a good cog, and feel safe and alive.
The circus maximus. The entertainment of changelings great and small. Even after Her Majesty has changed the system to weed out Queen Cocoon's mistakes, she knew better than to deny changelings their favorite entertainment.
Her Majesty took satisfaction in the performances she produced for the hive were superior to anything the previous queen had provided. Her Majesty said it was a matter of professional pride. At to times she'd even sing herself still.
Deviants where now free to serve the hive as part of their family's caste rather than being used as fodder for the circus maximus. But there were still plenty of used-up cattle to entertain everyling.
She wasn't the star attraction. She wasn't given any sort of meaningful role. She was just another one of the cattle that had nothing left to take shuffled in the arena perform for the hive.
Her eyes permanently tainted green and wide, the telltale sign how completely she had been emotionally gutted to feed the swarm.
She expressed none of the pride or joy she felt for being part of the hive's beautiful machine, she didn't express anything at all, because there was nothing inside to express.
I had seen countless used-up cattle, like eaten corn on the cobs, this was no different at all. No different at all. No difference what -so-ever.
The zebra filly, she danced with the rest of the puppets, perfectly, obediently, she didn't care if she danced or not. She acted a foal, then bent her body in ways only a zebra can. The hollowed out puppet recognized me, it was emotions we drained, not minds, but she didn't care. She didn't so much as twitch at the sight of me.
And that was when I realized, I never bothered to learn her name, more than that, I felt ashamed I had never learned her name. I was ashamed that I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I was ashamed that I was ashamed...Gahhh. I. I. I. My breathing nearly became impossible.
I ran out of the circus maximus and I screamed, and I didn't stop screaming until it became coughing.
My fellow gatherers asked me what was wrong. I told them one lie or another. I can't even remember. It was something about remembering a nightmare maybe, after all, how would YOUR friends and family respond if you said you had reacted that way towards apple cores?
We don't question orders, that doesn't mean we can't beg for favor or indulgences. I got lucky. I was assigned back to the land of love.
I was a gatherer, it took time to set up and seduce prey, to set yourself up or study a pony to replace, I had feed on the maximum amount of love I could without bursting my insides before I left the hive, even if it now made me sick, and it wasn't from any stomach ache.
I abandoned my post in Appleloosa (I didn't pick where I was sent), and I just fled. Like a creature possessed. I had no idea where I was even going. Just away. Far away. Away from the madness, the confusion, the contradictions, the insanity, the wrongness, the rights-that-were-wrong.
My instincts, my accursed instincts, they led me where it was natural for a changeling to go. By pure instinct, I unconsciously trekked towards the strongest source of love in the land. The love Equestria had was divine, even countless miles away, I was drawn...like a moth to a flame.
I had traveled at night in my true form, making my reserves last longer.
I burned through my reserves, I hadn't fed once since coming back to the land of love. Next my body would began to feed on itself to starve off the end. Part of me wanted it to happen. I can assure you, realizing you're the bad guy? I don't think many things can hurt worse ...but like everything in the world, I feared death.
That was when Lyra and Bon Bon found me. Out on the out skirts of Ponyville, Canterlot where my accursed instincts told me to go, in view, but too far away.
Changeling mind magic is like our shape shifting. All of us can do it, we need to love to do it in the first place, some of us are better or worse at it than others (soldiers suck at it), and the gap in power between us and Her Majesty is like between a mortal pony and Princess Celestia.
I was a gatherer, I had lots and lots of practice influencing minds.
When Lyra and Bon Bon found me, I panicked, and shape shifted to the first pony I thought of, who was closing in. Thankfully I think I was too far away from them to see them transform, I think. I was so disoriented from hunger at that point I have little clue what I was doing.
I think I changed into Bon Bon then, but I was so starved and dirty I could be Princess Celstia and they wouldn't be able to tell.
I doubt they'd have accepted me as a pony in need if they saw me changed from a bug-monster a flash of green flames right in front of them.
I meant to say 'Candy' when they asked me my name, from what I saw on Bon Bon's flanks, but I was so addled that I said my real name instead. I am a total idiot.
I implanted the mental suggestion not to take me to a hospital where I might be exposed, but to care for me themselves, like a parasite.
While they gave me a bath, I sublimely worked on Bon Bon, getting her to let me in (given the situation, it wasn't hard). Implanting the fake reality that I was her twin sister. It was just a little talent of mine among my fellow changelings. A little something special, call it my special talent.
Contrary to what you'd think, removing memories for me is harder than implanting them. I know for most it's the opposite, I'm a weirdo. But it had its uses in an emergency.
So like a tumor I implanted myself in her memories.
"Oh there you are Moth! Lyra, this is my twin sister Moth."
"Why haven't you mentioned her before?"
I worked my magic. "That's not important."
"That's not important," Lyra repeated.
Bon Bon and I, 'caught up,' her mind and imagination filled in the gaps, unconsciously assigning me roles that I memorized. Her memories of me becoming more realistic as we talked, it was like a game of story-go-round. Except one tiny contradiction by me or her could shatter everything.
"How could I forget my own twin?"
So we created my 'back story' together. The lie we believe the most are the ones we tell ourselves.
"I'm sorry, Bon Bon, I was traveling and I got lost."
"I can't believe our parents never kept us together. Like having two of us was a problem," Bon Bon commented looking through her photo album, creating a plausible lie out of thin air for herself.
Before you ask, I've been in Ponyville for years before the Summer Sun Celebration. Tootsie Flute, Lyra and Bon Bon's adopted filly, was trivial to work on, and she 'remembered' 'Auntie Moth' in no time, and now has for most of her adopted life.
Lyra and Bon Bon provided me with the love I needed to slowly go stronger, their 'tender loving care' being exactly what I needed.
Why didn't I just ask for help? I am a monster. Who would give a monster help?
Why didn't I ever leave? I had nowhere to go, and nowhere to return to.
I should have left. I had been an idiot to choose Equestria to be where I'd run away to. Queen Chrysalis' promised taking of Equestria. I always figured we'd just silently and slowly take over and replace the entire army's and government's deciding members, and keep Equestria the way it was, draining the population sublimely and providing us all the love we could need. That's the lie I told myself.
My other lie was that Her Majesty would never actually pull it off in my lifetime, I mean, we had been preparing, planning, and readying Equestria for invasion for years. I thought it would last for decades, up until the ponies would welcome their changeling overlords with open arms or barely even notice Her Majesty declaring herself the new master of the land of love. Queen Chrysalis was a Queen, she had all the time in the world to make her vision a reality.
And even thought I created my place in it out of a lie, Ponyville was so accepting that it was addictive for me. It reminded me so much of the hive. Everypony was a part of Ponyville, there were no 'lesser parts.' The community was like a living creature that I was a part of.
Bon Bon offered me a place to stay without so much as one nudge from my mind magic. Lyra and Tootsie had likewise not needed so much as a spark of suggestion from me to accept me living with them. That shocked me more than anything. No I don't think they're fools for it!...Not anymore. I love them for it.
I was terrified when I first met the spa twins, their identical cutie marks making me think they HAD TO be changelings. They weren't. I mentally suggested Bon Bon forget about the incident and she did. It was a rude reminder of reality. But I just hid deeper in the lie. I knew I was doomed, that I'd be found out eventually by the swarm no matter what I did, none escaped the swarm, so I'd enjoy this fake life as long as I could.
Myself, Bon Bon, and the twins now actually enjoy each other's company. Go figure.
I still looked up at the sky in fear, having the image of pegasi who didn't belong appear, smashing into the house, leaving Lyra, Bon Bon and Tootsie empty, and me dragged to my fate for betraying the hive. They had to be hunting for me by now. A rogue changeling was a security liability that couldn't be allowed to exist.
There was the incident, when I acted like the rest of Ponyville and went supermodel Fluttershy crazy, me and Berry Punch. We both went into the Carousel Boutique looking for the fad-idol.
I had no idea who Rarity was, while Bon Bon did. I wasn't lying about being in Ponyville for years, but I made a point of being much like Fluttershy herself, reclusive outside of her my 'family.' Berry Punch also had no idea, but before last year, she had always been relying on salt. And before you ask, yes yes she's gotten therapy is now doing something with her life besides using her special talent to provide herself with more booze to down. Moving on! Seriously, it's like that's the only trait ponies want to give her!
Bon Bon had to explain to Rarity that yes, Bon Bon DID know who she was.
My worst incident was when Lyra and Bon Bon had introduced me to Dr. Whoof (Lyra's biggest source of human lore).
"Hello I'm the-"
It was like a race memory. Every cell in my body screamed to get as far away from this creature as fast as I could, that I was before death itself, that I was before a creature that only brought death and destruction to what I was. That I was in the presence of doom itself.
I had screamed my lungs out at the sight of him, ran away yelling, "I don't wanna die!" hit my head on a pole, and fell unconscious. I'm a gatherer, I'm better at holding my form than a soldier or worker.
I swore when I woke up that I was fine. I had to be. But I made a point to stay as far away from Dr. Whoof as much as possible. I know I had acted hysterical and irrational. But my instincts still screamed at me to avoid me or all I had now would be destroyed.
I was still a monster. I was still a slave to my instincts. I was still nothing more than an animal. I was still just a sub-sentient thing.
You can guess my side of things for the rest. When I vomited back love to Lyra and Bon Bon, I was horribly ill, and single hoofedly proved that I was indeed insane. The leopard can't change its spots. I'll always be a monster.
Does Bon Bon know how to change her voice or is that just me bungling my one mutant (deviant) tell as a changeling? You know? I don't think I'm going to tell you.
I don't just live as Bon Bon's sister, when circumstances force me to, I shape shift into other ponies, absorb love meant for someling else, and assume my cover identity again, I've even appeared as Lyra's twin when Bon Bon was in Appleloosa with some very hectic memory juggling I hope I never have to do again. I am very good at what I do. I think it worked so well, only because Lyra had much more important 'silly dreams' to think about, and trusts me so much. And I betrayed that trust. I am a monster. I may not drain ponies dry anymore, but I still take love that I don't desire.
The Iron Will incident left me starving until Ponyville came to its senses.
I almost DIED because of the Want It Need It spell, if it had lasted longer...I'd have crumbled into dust. That night, I was down to almost nothing, I was actually risking my life not dropping to my default form like my body keep trying to.
"Maybe we can go see Zecora. She might be able to help." Bon Bon suggested.
"NO!" I neighed in full panic mode, "NO! I mean, not Everfree Forest, not the creepy witch-doctor." She might be able to tell what I am. It was a paranoid thought, Changelings had to bluff and be clever with doctor examines before, but...A zebra. It had been so long since I'd seen one . . not since...the circus maximus.
"She's not some wicked witch." Bon Bon assured her 'sister.'
"Who started that witch rumor?" Lyra quipped.
"I didn't!" Bon Bon swore.
"What do you think she keeps in there?"
"Oh I bet stuff like dragons blood, eye of newt, zombie-powder, toad-stools, timber wolf fangs, leeches-" Lyra quipped.
"Ick. Leeches? Dirty blood suckers."
"They didn't choose to be that way." I dared say.
"Doesn't mean I'm gonna let them suck the life of me! Besides, they're leeches, they don't have feelings. They exist just to feed off others."
"Right. They don't. It's stupid to think they could." I resigned myself to my fate.
Bon Bon and Lyra stayed by my side all night. By dawn, I knew I wasn't going to die. They saved my life.
I dared take part in the Running Of the Leaves. One than one pony asked Bon Bon or me, "How'd you switch numbers?"
I'll admit. I had fun. I felt alive. I felt happy. I could forget it was all just a lie and that Bon Bon and I really were a family.
And Discord...when Discord appeared, he forced me into my true form with a snap his fingers. He had laughed at me for trying to pretend to be a normal pony, for wanting to try and forget what I was, for daring to think I could ever be part of their family. Then he turned me into a pony/leech mix horror and took away my power to transform. He said I could suck blood from now on. Whether I wanted to or not. I hid in the bathroom. I didn't want to hurt Lyra or Bon Bon or Tootsie. Instead all I did was make sure I wasn't there to protect Bon Bon when Discord turned Lyra's voice into an out of tune harp and driven to eat Bon Bon who was now a walking talking pony sized candy. I don't know what was done to Tootsie.
All I could do was apologize to Lyra and Bon Bon, over and over, and over, and over, and over. Even if I couldn't tell them WHAT I was sorry for. I told them I wasn't just a leech using them. Even if most of me didn't believe it. What right did a monster have to be part of a family who loves her?
I'm repeating a lot? Alright. Yes, I was curious about the Flutterponies, but Queen Rosedust doesn't sound exactly like how Queen Cocoon was. Or maybe it was another Queen. Even we don't know our origins though.
But I have a new Queen now.
Princess Gaia's fog came. And for a little short time, I was innocent and free, I WANTED those parts of me gone! I WANTED those events of my life before Ponyville gone! You want to call it a day of ignorance? IGNORANCE IS BLISS!!! I would have been PERFECTLY HAPPY if the world had STAYED that way forever! I was free! Free!
But then the day did end, and all those parts of me I was free came back into me. How dare they call Princess Gaia evil for what She gave? Yes She saw my memories, I don't know if She held onto them. But She treated me no differently if she did. She shouldn't be forced to say what She did for us, for me, for everyling was wrong.
She gave me a chance to be free of my pains and regrets. I will always be in Her debt. And...Lyra, Bon Bon, Tootsie, we were all four sisters four a day. We really were part of a family. And that feeling of family didn't change once Princess Gaia's gift ended. Princess Gaia really had freed me.
What confused me most. It was after Princess Gaia freed me, it wasn't now just the love from Bon Bon or even Lyra I was tasting. It was the love of EVERYPONY IN THE TOWN! I was accepted as one of them, and they shared each other's love freely. And they didn't weaken even in the slightest. It was the same as that blind unicorn. Him? Like I said he didn't live in Ponyville. And I had no desire to ever lay eyes on him again. A monster hadn't deserve his compassion.
That took a long time didn't it? I'm sorry for taking up so much of your time. I'm very very very sorry.
I feel so tied now. Going over everything like that. I'm so sorry.
The wedding? I suppose I can tell you a little part now.
For the record, I help Bon Bon with her out-of-home candy making business. As you can imagine she has a bit of competition with the Cakes, so she also provides cough-drops, apparently she got some good recipes from a Pony Lyra met in Canterlot, I think her name is Lemon Hearts. I don't just sit around the house all day doing nothing. I don't like being a parasite.
With Ponyville most preferred foalsitters in Canterlot, we ended up leaving Tootsie Flute with...I'd rather not say. No it wasn't anyone weird. Well, not weird by Ponyville standards.
Lyra while reading her mail told us the exciting news.
"TWINKLE SHINE AND MINUETTE!!! THEY WANT ME TO BE A BRIDE'S MAID FOR PRINCESS CADENCE'S WEDDING!!! THIS TOTALLY ROCKS!!!"
I think the neighbors heard her too.
Lyra was also allowed to bring two friends with her. Guess who?
We were on the train to Canterlot before you knew it.
When I became friends with Twinkle Shine and Lemon Heart, and went to that birthday party of a mare I didn't know in Canterlot (but apparently Derpy's little girl did! Not that Dinky! Amethyst Star!), and ended up meeting Minuette. They had no idea they were gonna be taking a two year world tour the next day, but they were able to send me a forwarding address before they went.
WE'RE PONIES! Making friends easy is WHAT WE DO! Well, we ponies in Ponyville do! And I don't care what they say about ponies in Canterlot being egotistical snobs, cause I seem to strangely always MISS that mysterious tribe of unicorns who think they're better than everypony else when I visit Canterlot. And I like to think Canterlot ponies, deep down, love making friends too!
They said they wanted to thank me for keeping them company via the letters. Personally I think that was just an excuse for them being nice! I mean they had each other, and everypony else onboard a giant airship, it's not like they were being LONELY! And they had Moon Dancer and Lemon Heart back in Canterlot.
I think they remembered how much I said I liked Canterlot and all the culture AND THE MUSIC! And how much I told them being the hoofmaidens to the goddess of MUSIC rocked!!
And being the bridesmaid to the GODDESS OF MUSIC'S WEDDING?! It was a dream come true!!!! I was gonna remember this as long as I lived! My only regret is that two tickets meant Tootsie had to stay home with a foalsitter. Oh well, I'll be sure to tell her all about it! And take lots of pictures. I hope the Princess is willing to listen to some of my songs!
This is great!
Uh, er, heh heh, sorry if I started sounding like Vinyl Scratch there. That mare has no appreciation for the finer types of music, I don't know how Octavia stands her. Or how those two could have become such friends when their personalities are so opposite.
I know I'm one to talk with me and Bon Bon, but, those two are light night and day...Then again, I guess Minuette and Twinkle Shine are a bit night and day in some ways too.
But still, Canterlot, here we come. All I know, is that I'm going to love it.
The One and only Rainbow Dash here! So ya've all read about our train ride to Canterlot, but you didn't know we had four fillies in the train car behind us nicknamed 'the winds of destruction' by some of Ponyville...Okay not really, but the CMC Plus One really were in the car behind us.
"Help me!" One of those train-worker-pony-guys crawled into our car just as a lasso was slung around his waist.
"Cutie Mark Crusaders Chiropractors, Yeah!"
"Nooo!" He cried as he was dragged back in.
"...Where did they get the lasso?" Trixie asked in surprise. AJ blushed a bit.
"Site tight girls Ah've got it this time," AJ said as Pinkie Pie provided her an Columbia army helmet and AJ dove head first into the other car, and then rolled right back out like a ball now hog tied.
"Stir crazy foals make dragons themselves tremble," Rarity said flatly.
"Do not!" Said Spike, trembling.
"In you go!" Twilight said magically lifting up Spike and throwing him into the train car. "Prisoner exchange girls!"
The train-worker-pony-guy then crawled out battered and beaten saying, "Exchange...accepted." Then promptly fainted. Nah, I don't think they meant to hurt the guy, just energetic foals can go a little...overboard.
Spike must have proven to be a better playmate since the train car didn't blow up or anything. I love the squirt, but when she gets together with the others it's a perfect storm.
"It sounds like the perfect storm in there, must be one fun party," Lyra said about the car in front of them.
"Lyra, please," Bon Bon asked. "And Moth, don't just sit there looking out the window. This is a chance in a life time, Canterlot, it's not like we visit there every day. Please promise your sister you'll enjoy yourself."
We're ponies, we needed tah eat, and there was a dinin' car. A really fancy dinin' car. And Ah...wasn't sure how tah eat proper again! Why do yah even need extra forks?!
Lyra, Bon Bon, and her sister were sittin' behind meh. And chattin'. Dang it, why do even they seem tah know better than me what they're doin'?
"Sparkler really acted like that?" Bon Bon asked.
"Yeah, even called herself Amethyst Star, which was the name I met her by. I didn't even know she was Ditzy's daughter at first."
"That's rather...extreme..." said Bon Bon.
"Yeah, but where you're from is a big thing in Canterlot, and so is image," Lyra explained. "There's lots of things most Canterlot ponies keep secret because it's the only way to get ahead. I think some need brought down a peg, but ponies like Octavia? If ponies knew the real them first, they might not have ever given her a chance to show what they could do."
Alright, Ah know she didn't mean that for meh she'd whispered it...but Ah heard it. And Ah thought back tah Fancypants and Rarity.
Fancypants weren't lyin' tah Rarity. But the point is, those noble ponies were right mean tah her for bein' from Ponyville... They'd not have listened tah her otherwise. Ah'm all for bein' true tah yerself (and from what Ah know of Octavia, she IS)...And it made me wonder...how many of these ponies around meh had good reason for wearin' their masks. And if Ah had any right tah see what was under 'em with these eyes of mine...Sure, Ah've been careful round Ponyville, but Ah still have let mahself pick up little white lies Ah know are none of mah business...
Foals aren't the only ponies who go stir crazy, so does the Dash. I promise I didn't smash anything, I just did some zipping through the cars. Yes I could fly there, but why pass traveling in style?
And there was this one mousy tan pegasus with red glasses a black mane. She was wearing a purple poncho, but I spotted her cutie mark, a open book with a magnifying glass. She was sitting all by herself. Normally I just let sitting ponies lay, but she had a stack of Daring Do book with her! Awesome!
Zipped down next to her, she squealed like Fluttershy.
"Hey! Name's Rainbow Dash, you like Daring Do?" I smiled.
"Y-yes I do, very much," Ok, she seemed...not annoyed, but kinda like she put up a shell all of a sudden.
"Ditto!" I grinned. I know sometimes you need to leave somepony alone, but Fluttershy's taught me when that's a bad thing...and so has Twilight...and well, quite a few of my friends. "So do you have a favorite?"
She blushed, "I, uh, I actually really like all of them. I...I...well, sometimes imagine..."
"That yer her?"
She jumped. "Y-Yeah."
"...Hehe, so do I. No shame in that."
"I...I just don't want others to laugh at me. I'm...not that physical."
"Neither is a friend of mine but she comes through when it counts. So whatcha gonna do in Canterlot?"
"Oh .. . there are just some, rare first edition books in the royal archive I want to see. There's just something magical about holding a book you know was around when the author was. They're not Daring Do books, but they're wonderful all the same!"
"I'll take yer word for it. Now you sound like another friend of mine, she's used her smarts to save the day lots!"
"Really? That's amazing."
"Hey there's more than one road to awesome. Anypony can be it."
She sighed, like she was thinking of her favorite dream. "I wish I could be that. Wouldn't be amazing if Daring Do was real?"
"Yeah, but then all the baddies would be real."
"But there'd be a hero to face them. To explore, to discover, to find, to brave danger in the name of knowing! I...I wish my life was like that."
"Hey, trust me, danger isn't-"
"Something you should wish for I know. But I practice witty retorts in my head. And...I wouldn't mind the danger. Because of what you'd find after it..."
Girl's got guts. Uh-oh. "Look, great chatting with ya, what's yer name?"
"Nice to meet ya Yearling, but I have a filly I need to check up on, see ya around."
She zipped off. Intense mare. Wait. Rainbow Dash?! Didn't she save Equestria?! I...I...I think I'm gonna faint.
"Do you mean all that, wanting to be a hero?" Huh? Now there was a mare with a puzzle cutie mark next to me.
"Y-yes, I do." I heard myself say honestly.
"Well, hold onto your courage, if you come through this still wanting adventure, maybe you can help some ponies." Now there was a mare next to me with a birthday present cutie mark on my other side with a photo album. "And maybe you can become who you wish to be."
Now they're both gone? Maybe I... maybe I need a nap...
Hello I'm Doctor, just the, oh you know that already? Sorry. Yes yes we spoken before, force of habit. Where were I and Derpy during this whole mess?
First it turns out dear Captain Shining Armor's force field is a lot stronger than anyone truly gives it credit for.
Second, Sparkler dear was VERY UPSET with me, since she wanted to help Moon Dancer in Canterlot and choose to spend several days with her afterwards as a way of making amends.
Third, we did show up...just...we didn't actually get to help with the living wave of bug ponies. Can't say that's happened to me before. Swarmed by giant bugs, several times, but not bug ponies.
Forth, while I working on the 'back taxes' that 'Princess Cadence' spontaneously gained an interest in just long enough to inform the Equestrian tax-office of my lack of paper work, I found a small note slipped among the mountain of poor mutilated tree.
Dr Doctor, there are NO Cyberponies, vampires, and certainly no Weeping Alicorns hidden underneath neighpon in the underseas cavern of Dracozilla, and you should most certainly NOT bring those closest to you there.
-Sighed, Most definitely not a Cyberpony, vampire, or Weeping Alicorn.
DELETE! Blah! and '...'
P.S. I do not like pears.
Fifth, the wedding was SUPPOSED TO BE a fixed point in time that I shouldn't have been able to meddle with to begin with.
And sixth: Dracozilla is a very temperamental dragon who doesn't like his sleep being interrupted.