• Published 22nd Nov 2013
  • 718 Views, 11 Comments

A Change of Pace - Discord_Nations

A mistake he cannot escape, a home he had to leave behind, a new world with old pain. Coming from a world ravaged by war and pollution, how will this man come to terms with what he has done and the world he has found.

  • ...

Lessons Learned

I awoke with a start in ... my bed? I looked around and sure enough, I was in my home again. On earth. The picture of me and my brother was on top of my dresser, unbroken. Everything was as it was supposed to be.

Had it all just been a dream? It seemed like it I thought to myself. I started to wander around my small home. Everything was right, nothing broken, misplaced or even moved. Something was throwing me off, but I couldn't think of what.

I sat there in silence until it hit me like a bear running at me. “It's silent. ... There's no sound coming from outside!” I rushed out my door and nothing changed. It was still dead silent. No sound of armor clanking, guns being shot off or even the sounds of old rusty vehicles running. I stood out there for a good couple minutes before trying to piece it together.

"Am I dead?" I announced to no one in particular. "If this is where I have to spend eternity then this MUST be hell. Forced to forever remember what I've done. Funny, I just thought death was the end. Nothing more."

There was some sound of slow movement behind me. Instinctively I reached for my sword, but I had forgotten it. I turned to see what was moving in this empty world. I was surprised to see Luna standing before me.

"So ..." I began, "How are you here? I thought this my personal hell."

"Worry not yourself Alex. Thou art not dead. Though thou came very close." She replied, only adding to my confusion and angering me.

"Did you say I'm not dead?" I asked in a cold tone. She simply nodded for a reply. "I’M NOT DEAD!? Why am I not dead!? I stabbed a sword through myself!" I emphasized my words to get my point across, while raising my voice to almost a shout.

"I have spent dozens of sleepless nights reliving the memory! The night I took my brother's life! And now you save me from my release!?" I felt the pressure rising in myself, my anger reaching a new height.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and looked at Luna. "So where the hell are we? I know this isn't my world, so what is it?"

"’Tis is a dreamscape, created of thy own memories. They took a form familiar to you. We must say, this isn't what we expected." She looked around with a curious gaze and the mostly barren land, save for the village garden and what few plants grew beyond the settlement. "We had expected more.... plants and life. Even though what you told us of your world we didn't think it looked as such."

I gave a slight laugh, "Trust me, it was just as weird for me to see your world so full of life and plants everywhere. So if this is a dream," I gave her a mischievous grin. "Am I able to control it?"

She gave me a smile and put a hoof to her mouth to try to suppress a laugh, "Of course thou can. We apologize for laughing, but thou looked like a foal that hath got a new toy. It is most interesting."

I just shrugged. "Good, because there is something I would like to do." I made a cannon appear into of me, aimed at Luna. "I would say this should be a good start." I fired the cannon unleashing a fierce volley of small cannon balls at her. She was instantly knocked back being hit in several places with the projectiles. I saw blood coming from her muzzle where one had struck her.

"Art thou crazy!? Thou shalt pay for your actions!" She flew at me at an alarming pace, but I just made a steel wall appear in front of me. The resounding clang of skull meeting metal could probably be heard from a couple miles. If anyone else was here to hear it. I merely stepped around the wall, looking down on a dazed and confused night princess.

"That is what you get for saving me. I don't have the means to do this outside of this dream. So I took what I could get." I gave a maniacal smile, "Think twice about who you save or if they want saving. I was perfectly content with dying where I was. Now leaving me in peace."

I gave her a sneer before going back to my home and slamming the door. I leaned against it and slid down to the floor.

"Well I think you could have handled that a bit better, don't you?"

A familiar voice came from the doorway leading to the bedroom. My gaze shot over there and I started to choke on my response. Standing in the doorway was my brother, fully clad in armor with his weapons on him.

He was exactly as I remembered him. Short black hair, dark brown eyes almost to the point of black, the scar running across his nose with his trademark smirk, ever present on his face.

"G-gabe. What are you..... How did you? Great! Even my mind is making me suffer." My gaze fell to the floor and I brought my knees to my chest. I heard Gabe's footsteps come towards me. They stopped at my feet and he crouched down to my level. I felt a powerful slap to my face and his hand grab the top of my breastplate. He yanked me to my feet and glared at me, right into my eyes. I knew this look all too well.

"Alex!" He snarled, "I have a bone to pick with you." He put his other hand on the top of my chestpiece and slammed me into the wall. I could already tell this was going to be a long talk. He pressed me against the wall harder, slightly lifting me off the ground.

"What the hell is wrong with you!? Why the hell would you do something so blatantly stupid! Are the neurotransmitters in your brain out of order!? Seriously Al! Do you know how disappointed I am in you?" He slowly lowered me and removed his hands from the metal armor. Gabe let out a heavy sigh and continued, "What made you do it? That's all I want to know."

I just stared at him for what seemed to be hours. I finally took a shaky breath, "You know why I did it. I wouldn't let you attack those travellers! Our village may have been in need of food and supplies, but we would NOT resort to raiding innocents!

“I know it isn't against our rules or way of life, but there had to be a line drawn! Everyone was torn between who to follow. I didn't care if people in our village were hungry from not stealing from them!"

I looked down at the floor again, the wooden floor was very interesting right now. "It was our job to hunt animals for food. It was our lack of patience that kept us from doing our job right! People were suffering because of us.

“You told me to go back to the village and wait if I didn't want to help you kill those people. That’s why I did it. I couldn't go back with a clear conscience if I didn't stop you. But I'm regretting that decision now. More than I thought I would. B-but I didn't mean to kill you! I just wanted to stop you! I-i'm sorry Gabe! I'm so sorry!"

Tears started to roll down my cheeks, my breathing was rapid and short. I looked to my brother and only saw him smiling. He didn't say anything, just stepped in front of me. Before I knew it he had his arms wrapped around me, pulling me in tightly. I was as confused as ever right now. But I didn't care, not now. I returned the hug and cried more than I have since the night he died. I don't know how long I stood there, but eventually Gabe pulled away from me.

Remembering this was still a dream I made some chairs appear for us to sit on. We both sat down, I wasn't sure why Gabe was here, but I was going to enjoy it. "Now I want you to know something," He said, "I don't blame you for anything you did. You had a good heart and the right intentions. But let me tell you one of the perks of being dead, you can see all of the 'what ifs'. So I decided to see if we had gone through with my plan, what would have happened. You had honestly made the right decision. We all would have died if we had listened to me. You saved all of our friends from certain death."

He leaned over to me and rested a hand on my shoulder. "You did what you thought was right. It may not have turned out like you had planned. But it was the right thing. I hold nothing against you for it. What happened back when I was alive doesn't matter to me."

He looked at me with a stern glare, "What I do care about is my little brother trying to kill himself! Seriously! What the hell was that shit!? Ramming that long sword through yourself like a blasted idiot!"

I sat there with my jaw hanging open, not believing what I just heard. I shook my head to try to focus again. "So you're telling me, that if I didn't shoot you, we all would be dead anyway." He nodded.

"And that you don't care that you died and are pissed at me for trying to kill myself instead." Again he nodded.

"How do you even know I tried to kill myself? That is if you aren't a complete figment of my imagination sent to try to help me reason my actions."

"A couple years ago I took your favorite magazine and blamed Herald for it."

"WHAT!? Are you kidding me!? I just about rammed my-!....." I sat there in silence. Was this really my brother? That situation with Herald was a little suspicious. It would make sense that Gabe would be able to find it without any trouble and making a minimal mess.

"So how did you find me? And why haven't you come to me before this?"

Gabe leaned back in his chair and smirked a bit. "I have been watching you since I found out what would have happened if I lived. I wanted to make sure you lived a happy life, or a relatively safe one. When you fell into the fissure that brought you here I followed you through it. Only because you are in Equestria am I able to do this. A place full of magic, that is the only reason I can talk to you now. Not without the help of princess Luna of course. Not just any spirit can roam through her territory. But seeing how I was the same creature as you, she didn't have much difficulty figuring out why I was here."

I just sat there trying to piece together everything he had just said. It all made sense, and if Luna could prove it when I awoke then this would really be him. I would have to know one thing before this was all over with.

"So are you able to talk to me anytime?" I asked, giving him a hopeful look. I was heart broken when I saw him shake his head. "Why not?" He gave me a hint of a grin.

"Because I need to choose where I am reborn. I have chosen Equestria to be my new birthplace. So that one day, I might meet you again. I won't remember you. But hopefully I will once again be your friend. Just a little incentive to keep yourself alive."

He gave a wink and smiled. I just laughed in response. I knew his humor. He always took a serious situation and made a joke out of it. It would get me every time.

"So is that the only reason you have come to talk to me? To try to make me keep myself alive?" I asked. I could tell he was trying to form a good answer. The wheels were turning.

"Well that is a large portion of it. Another reason was so I could talk to you one last time before I forget you. I want you to see that your actions haven’t just angered and upset me.” Gabe extended his hand and a faint blue glow enveloped his hand. “A little trick Luna gave to me in the time I was talking to her. Nothing special, just to let me choose what you see from the real world.”

A small window with the blue aura was made and shined brightly for a second before fading and showing me. ... I was in a hospital bed with a large bandage across my chest where the longsword had been. Fluttershy was sitting there, her head resting next to my arm. She looked like she hasn’t slept in days, there were dark bags under her eyes as well as them being bloodshot. The fur was matted on her cheeks which showed obvious signs of her relentless tears.

“Why did you do it?” She whispered to my unconscious form. “Didn’t I treat you kindly enough? Was my home not enough for you? Do you not care about any of us? We haven’t known each other very long, but that’s no excuse!”

Her head rose and a look of anger crossed her once soft features. “WHY!? You said it would be better this way!? You laying here with a gaping hole in your chest!? What was the point of this!? To make me worry about you? You haven’t told me some things, I could see that much! But couldn’t you have tried to talk with me??” She huffed out a few times in frustration, but it soon stopped and she proceeded to start crying again. This outburst surprised me, I have never had her talk above a whisper to me much. She laid her head across my hand, sniffling a bit.

“I-I haven’t seen anything but kindness from you. You helped me w-with feeding my animals, even though mister bear scared you at first. You treated my friends with an open mind, even when Twilight was being mean to you. You even helped take care of D-dash after she attacked you… I just want to know why.”

The window slowly faded away, leaving just me and my brother again. He just had a stern look on his face. We sat there in relative silence for a while. Neither one of us breaking the silence. Finally, Gabe spoke.

“That was the first night you were in the hospital. She sat there with you the entire night, never leaving you.” He adjusted himself to a more comfortable position, putting one leg upon the other. “She has really appreciated what you’ve helped her with, considering everyone here asks her for favors but she doesn’t ask much in return. I was a bit confused at first too, but Luna helped clear that up. I can understand where she is coming from. She does what she can for others, especially animals, and doesn’t ask much.”

I could feel a great guilt welling up inside me, tears started to form in my eyes and I lowered my head, ashamed to look at my brother. I saw him lean forward out of the corner of my and yank me back into a proper sitting position. He had a neutral expression, though his action said there was much more going in his head than he let on.

“If you think I’m going to let you get away with just that, you have another thing coming.” Gabe says. “She wasn’t the only one that has been affected because of your actions. Or should I say stupidity? You certainly didn’t realize the kind of life you’ve had here.” He all but spat the words at me, but each one was dripping with anger and disappointment.

His hand glowed blue again, another window appeared. This one showed a small farm that I knew. It was Sweet Apple Acres. It continued and showed Applejack and Rainbow in the orchard.Applejack was bucking trees with Rainbow hitting another one. She looked frustrated about something. She reared up her back legs and flung herself backward into the tree, slamming into it with a force that made me cringe. I know how powerful that buck is.

“GRAAH!” Rainbow shouted before hitting the tree again, knocking a few more apples to the ground. Applejack looked to her rainbow-maned friend with a look of worry before hitting her tree, knock every apple off it in one strike. I could barely comprehend what just happened. I was suddenly very terrified of angering her.

“Now come on Rainbow.” She started. “We don’t even know why he did what he did. We should listen tah ‘im when he wakes up. I don’t agree with what he did either, but that ain’t a reason to be so angry.”

Rainbow just turned and gave her friend a fierce glare. “He made Fluttershy cry and worry about him. You also didn’t see him as he shoved that…. sword was it? Into himself!” I could see her visibly shudder at the mention of that.

“It was horrible! I can’t believe somepony could actually do that to themselves! But let me tell you, he’s going to get a piece of my mind when he wakes up!”

“If ya say so Dash. Ah ain’t gonna stop ya. Just please take it easy on ‘im. Poor guy must have something troubling ‘im big time for ‘im tah do something like that.” Applejack walked over to another tree and started to gather buckets underneath it to catch the apples.

“I’m not gonna guarantee anything AJ. This doesn’t sit very well with me….” She looked off into town before shaking her head. “So not cool.” She turned her attention back to the tree before her and started knocking the apples off it slowly. Again the image faded to nothing, leaving me staring at empty space. Even Rainbow was going to be pissed at me. Great, I wasn’t ready to deal with that particular pegasus being angry. Let any of the others be mad, just not her! But as long as AJ was there as well I shouldn’t have too much trouble from her. AJ did want her to take it easy on me.

“That’s still not a very comforting thought.” I said aloud causing Gabe to look over to me. He raised his eyebrow in a questioning manner and just stared at me. “Thinking even with AJ there, Rainbow won’t go very easy on me. Not very good for my health." I gave a humorless laugh, more to try to calm my nerves than anything else.

"You're still not done yet little brother. There is one more for you to see." Gabe held out his hand for what I hope is the last time. His hand was bathed in a blue glow once again and a window appeared again. This time it showed the inside of Twilight's library house with the element bearers gathered.

"So, I've concluded that the only proper course of action is to have this 'human' locked away. From what I know and have seen, he is too much of a threat." Twilight stated. "I have gathered you all here to give you your respective elements. When he awake he will be encased in stone by us. Now we will-"

"No!" Everyone turned in surprise at the sudden outburst. Fluttershy normally kept to herself and would normally talk in a whisper. Or just above one. "I will not put Alex, " she emphasized my name with a hiss, "turned into stone. He has done absolutely nothing wrong."

"That's not the point!" Twilight exclaimed. "He has dealt near fatal damage to himself, magic can't bind him with his strength. Oh and he has proficient use with lethal weapons that are easily portable. He's a walking mass of danger!"

"I must agree with Twilight on this one darling," Rarity chimed in. "To have such a ruffian roam our streets that would do such barbaric acts simply will not do. What if somepony angers him and he goes on a rampage? We don't know all he's capable of! I'm also thinking of Sweetie's safety too."

"Now listen here missy," Applejack said with a stern glare at rarity. "Mah sister made friends with him while y'all were prancing around like little fillies scared half tah death! Even when Big Macintosh attacked him, he only subdued mah brother, him and his thick skull. He wouldn't hurt anypony."

I just stared at the scene before me. My mouth was hanging open and my eyes wide. I didn't think I would have caused all this trouble when I got here, or with trying to kill myself. I just leaned back in my chair, barely listening to the ponies go back and forth about imprisoning me. Gabe closed the window and gave me a thoughtful look.

"So, have you decided what you would like to do yet?" He brought his left leg to rest atop the other one and interlaced his fingers. I just looked at him and nodded my head.

"I’m going to make things right. No matter what it takes," I said resolutely, clenching a hand into a fist. I looked to my brother and saw him giving me a large enough grin Pinkie would be proud. He extended his hand to me and lifted me to my feet.

"Good. Then hopefully we can meet again. In my other life." He yanked me closer to him and wrapped me in a tight hug. I returned it with an equally tight grip. Eventually though we had to part. My brother clasped his hand on my shoulder and lead me to the front door.

"Well my time is almost up. And it's about time for you to wake up." My brother gave me one last smile before opening the door with a blinding light coming from it. "Remember Alex! Enjoy the life you have been given! I'll see you on the other side my brother!" With those final words echoing in my head, he pushed me out the door into the blinding light. I turned around one last time and looked at my brother.

"See you at home Gabe." With that I walked into the bright light, back to where my friends were waiting for me. I had my whole life ahead of me, and things were finally starting to look up for the first time in forever.

Author's Note:

Sorry this took so long! I was working on this for the better part of three weeks. Maybe 2? I'm not sure anymore. But instead of trying to put my ideas down in just a couple days I gave myself a lot more time to plan stuff out. This resulted in a longer chapter as well as what I think is better quality product. But I even managed to kick my own feels writing this. I didn't know that was possible.

I hope you guys enjoy! Let me know what you think!