• Published 20th Apr 2014
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On The Wings of Wind - Chazonic

When an adopted pegasus stallion with no memories of his early colthood travels to ponyville in search of his place, will he find the friendship he never knew existed? or will his secret be the ruin to his new life?

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Chapter 16 - Death's Cold Embrace

Why... Why did this happen?

He was so full of energy when I last saw him a month ago... so full of life.

The only other pony in my immediate family...

The only other pony to witness my cutie mark, my coming of age.

And now? he's gone forever...

Two hours earlier

The day started out normal enough. Weather and wind duties went flawlessly. Apple bucking only had one incident involving the crusaders. Even after that, I still had a fair a mount of energy. I probably wouldn't ever get to Pinkie Pie's level of energy like Twilight said, but energy is energy.

Speaking of Twilight, I found out from her personally that she eavesdropped on the story I told Spike last night.

"You could of just knocked and listened to me inside." I gave her an annoyed look.

She bows her head in shame. "I'm Sorry, it's just that... I was worried about Spike, yet I didn't want to interrupt you. D-did that story really happen?"

I sigh heavily. "Yeah. Don't worry, my irritation comes from your act of eavesdropping, not you actually hearing the story. That being said, I'd prefer it if you don't spout off about it willy nilly. I would rather avoid others casting a critical eye on my mom."

"Is it ok if I share it with my friends? I want them to know the lesson I learned hearing it." Seeing my confused look, she elaborated, "What you went through with your mom was something that almost happened to me and Spike. I want to make sure nopony else makes the same mistake."

"That was the reason why I told it to him. Nopony should ever go through what we went through. I had hoped to use my own bitter memories to prevent more from being created."

I still can't believe I cried a little after that. I'm supposed to be stronger than that. After all, colts don't cry. I shake my head.

She smiles before giving me a hug. "Thank you, Zephyr. I promise to hold your lesson in my heart, always." I nod to her before she walks away.

I went back to my happy, energetic self and trotted off for a pleasant stroll.

"U-um, Zephyr?" I look over and was greeted by Fluttershy with the thing I hated feeling.

"What can I do you out of?" No headache was going to get the better of me today.

"I-I just wanted to thank you for the ticket to the concert. N-nopony has ever given me something like that, y-yet I kept forgetting to thank you for it until now."

I tilted my head in confusion. "Do you not like things like that?"

"Oh, I do! I-I mean... n-not really. Any place with big crowds scare me."

I can relate to her somewhat. Especially if the attention is on me.

"But I-I couldn't turn down your offer. This ticket must of taken a lot of effort to get."

I give her an apprehensive look. "It actually didn't. And you know you don't have to go if you don't want to."

She squeaks and shakes her head quickly. "N-no, it's fine. Maybe there will be animals there that have a love for pony music."

"If you're sure about it then--"

"Hey Zephyr." I look up to see Ditzy flying in from above, albeit clumsily. It would of been slightly funny if it weren't for the sad expression on her face.

"What's up? That face is unlike you."

"I... have a letter for you. Special... delivery." The way she choked it out... my joy and energy turned into fear.

When she brought out a black envelope and gave it to me, Fluttershy gasped. "N-no, t-thats..."

I didn't need Fluttershy's reaction to feel like something dropped a weight on my heart. I opened the envelope and read what was in it.

I only read the first sentence before I bolted, the message on the letter I left behind firmly engraved in my mind.

Dear Zephyr;

Your grandfather, Spearwing, has contracted a deadly variant of the feather flu, and currently lies in the Canterlot main hospital.

I didn't read who had sent it. All I cared about was reaching Canterlot as fast as I could. I didn't even bother with the train, it served only to slow me down.

I had to reach him...

The hour and a half journey left my wings burning, but I didn't care. Remembering when grandpa took me on a tour through the city, I rushed right to the hospital.

Grandpa... please be alive...

I burst into the front entrance of the hospital, much to the surprise of the mare at the front desk.

"My grandpa... Spearwing... where is... he?" I was out of breath

"Sir Spearwing? Room 124 to your right." I give her a quick nod before hurrying as fast as I could down the hall.

When I entered the room, the familiar beeping of the heart machine hits my ears. Another sound, one I had hoped to never hear, entered my ears as I approached Grandpa. The sound of life support, pumping painkillers into his system so that he may rest comfortably while attempting to make up for the possible failure of one of his organs.

My mom was there too, looking like she's trying to put on a strong front but failing.

I didn't recognize him at first. He used to be a bright, golden yellow, despite his age, with a white mane. Now his coat is a lackluster grey and his once cerise eyes were now dull.

As I approached, my mom looked up at me, now on the verge of crying. "He hardly recognizes anypony anymore... He is constantly in pain, despite what they are giving him."

"He was so healthy when I saw him a month ago." I almost choked it out. Walking to his side, I grab his hoof that was close to me and held it tight.

"... Zey...phr..." He's suddenly looking at me, his eyes showing a bit more life than before, like he had been staring off into nothing earlier.

"Grandpa... I'm sorry for not coming sooner. I--" I was fighting desperately to keep my emotions in check.

"It's ok, child." He smiles before going into a coughing fit. "It's not your fault."

"I... I..."

"Think about it," he whispered. "You finally have more than one friend who values you for who you... are." His eyes flutter, like he's trying to stay awake. The heart monitor starts beeping slower.

"It's meaningless without you or mom."

He shakes his head slightly. "I always told you, child. I wouldn't be around forever." He takes in a ragged breath before continuing, "Value the friends you have... made. They will be... your support."

"D-dad..." I head my mom sob behind me.

"I'm... sorry you two... had to see me... like this."


"Just remember what I've always told you. You are who you... are... and nopony... can...change..."


It was an instant that felt like a millennia. When the hospital staff rushed in to try and save him, my mom and I got out of the way. For a full minute, we waited to the side.

"... I'm sorry. He's gone." The message that nopony ever wanted to hear. My mom clutched me while crying into my neck. I simply stared listlessly at the body that was once my grandfather.

He bore witness to my cutie mark... my coming of age.

Inside, I was all torn up, yet...

"I can't cry. Colts don't cry."

Why couldn't I cry?

It's been three days since Zephyr returned from Canterlot, but he has yet to open up. The day he returned, he brushed off his friends, who were happy to see him after a long absence, and locked himself in his house for the rest of the day.

Even after that, he never came out to work on the weather with Rainbow Dash on his own, or to help Applejack with her farm. Not even the Cutie Mare Crusaders have seen him outside a lot, much to their sorrow. The only time anypony would ever see him is when they visit his house, which was seldom, or if he got nudged out to do his job.

All encounters were the same; a listless look in his eyes, a monotone voice, and an unwillingness to do anything. Rainbow Dash even got a brief glimpse at the inside of his house one time. It looked somewhat destroyed, but she didn't get a long enough look at it to really think about it.

Twilight eventually got her friends together at Sugar Cube Corner.

"Girls, you all know why we're here, right?"

Applejack gave a solemn nod "Ah know. It's because Zephyr's been actin' weird lately, never comin' to the farm anymore." The farmer shook her head. Applebloom had gotten sad a few times over the green pegasus not visiting her and her friends.

Rarity frowned. "I've seen him a few times whenever Rainbow Dash drags him out to do wind management. He looks absolutely horrible."

"You've no idea, Rarity," a somewhat dejected Rainbow Dash stated. "It's like he's only an empty shell now."

"I wanted to throw him a party," Pinkie Pie piped up with a sad tone. "But I wanted to keep my pinkie promise to Twilight about not throwing him a party directly and he keeps turning down invitations to other parties."

Fluttershy simply whimpered, catching the attention of Rarity beside her. "Fluttershy, darling, you've been clammed up for a while yourself."

"I-it's because... of t-this." She holds up an opened black envelope in her hoof. Twilight and Rarity look at it curiously, Pinkie Pie frowns a bit, and Applejack looks a bit scared of it.

Much to the surprise of everypony present, Rainbow Dash looked horrified. "Fluttershy! Don't tell me your dad didn't--"

"O-oh, no he's just fine, thankfully." The blue pegasus breathed a sigh of relief, but continued to look at the envelope with worry.

This earned more confusion from Twilight. "I don't get it. What's got you two worked up over an envelope?"

"T-Twilight, i-it's because y-you never want t-to see one." Fluttershy choked out a sob

"But why not?"

Rainbow Dash shuddered. "It's... for when somepony in your family is... dead or dieing." This drew horrified looks from the non-pegasi in the group. Death was a topic no-pony liked bringing up.

"So that's why Big Mac an' Granny Smith feared getting those things..." Applejack shot a look at the black paper.

"Fluttershy... is that the reason why you stopped me from using black envelopes for invitations to one of my theme parties?" Pinkie Pie whimpers when the butter mare nods.

Rainbow Dash sighs. "I know this.. because I was with Fluttershy when she got one saying her mother was suffering from a fatal strain of the feather flu." She would never forget the heartbreaking moment when she bore witness to Barricade Windstorm dieing in front of her frail friend. It was one of many reasons why she was so protective of her.

Rarity had a worried look. "Then perhaps... one of Zephyr's family members has..."

"I-it was his grandfather. H-he passed away." Fluttershy held up the letter that was in the envelope. "H-he suffered the same thing... m-my mom suffered from."

"B-but what can we do?" Twilight had never dealt with anything like this. She had half a mind to bolt to the library and look up 'How to comfort a grieving pony'.

"Something we all, especially myself, neglected to do; simply be there for him." Rainbow shuddered. "I've... been rather horrible with it. I was blinded to his feelings by some of the frustration that I felt towards him initially. He may not want to see me at all..."

Fluttershy shook her head. "Rainbow, we have to try. I still remember that you, even through all of Flight School, stood beside me to comfort me."

Applejack lowered her stetson over her face a little. "Should we go then?"

"Fluttershy, dear, what about your headaches?" Rarity shot another concerned look at her friend.

"I-I'm still going. I... I want to be there for him."

"Then let's go. I can't stand it when somepony can't smile at all. It breaks my heart." Pinkie let out a small whimper. Her mane somehow looked a little 'deflated'.

The distance between Sugar Cube Corner and Zephyr's house was miniscule, but all six mares had a slow pace. Even Rainbow Dash was going slow.When they finally got to his house, Fluttershy shuddered before quickly knocking.

All six of them flinched when they heard a crash from the other side of the door. After what felt like an hour later, the door finally opened.

The mares had to suppress the urge to gasp when they saw Zephyr. There was a small cut under his muzzle and the one front leg that could be seen had what appeared to be several bite marks, some of them with dried blood on them.

"C-can we come in?" Fluttershy had a look of worry very similar to whenever she deals with seriously injured animals.

Zephyr said nothing but pushed the door further open and turned to move out of the doorway. His other fore-leg had a similar amount of bite marks, but it was his wings that caused everypony to finally gasp.

Feathers had been plucked out forcefully, and some of the remaining feathers were caked in what appeared to be fresh blood from bites. He also looked a lot thinner than before. The level of self-abuse his body was giving off was astounding.

The damage wasn't limited to his body. When the mares entered the house, they saw destruction in what was assumed to be the living room. A table and a few chairs had been smashed, some glass and ceramic shards lay on the ground, and torn fabric covered some of the carpet. Luckely, the kitchen had no damage.

"Would any of you... like a drink or something to eat?" His monotone voice made it near impossible to discern any emotion, which only served to break the mares' hearts even more.

"It's... ok." Twilight was the first to say before the others agreed. He adopted a slightly dejected look before wandering over to the living room, sitting in front of the destruction.

Fluttershy approached him, carefully brushing away a shattered mug before sitting right behind him. "H-how are you feeling?"

"I'm... fine." The monotone was starting to waver.

"Zephyr, you can talk to us."

"I said I'm fine!" he snapped, though he shuddered when he saw all the mares recoil.

There was a long silence before he finally sighs. "He... looked so healthy... when I last saw him... so full of life." He slowly turned to face Fluttershy again, the rest of the mares looking on with concern. "I was there... to hear his final words... when he took his last breath. I'm so devastated, and yet... why... why can't I cry for him?" The agitation became a bit more clear in his voice. "Is it because I don't actually care for him? Was he so miniscule in my life that I can brush him off just like that?"


"What if I hadn't left home? What if I never bothered moving away from Manehatten? Would he still be around, still healthy like he was before?"

"Zephyr, please--"

"And why... why do I feel like... I failed him? Why do I--" he cut himself off when Fluttershy held one of his badly damaged fore-hooves between both of hers.

"Please... stop blaming yourself. Your grandfather wouldn't want that." She briefly looks at the destruction behind him before looking at him, tears in her eyes. "He wouldn't want you to torture yourself like this."

"But... I... I can't..."

She starts stroking his side, careful to avoid his damaged wing. "Shhh... it's ok... it's ok to cry."

"I.. I can't c-cry." He starts choking a bit. "C-colts don't cry."

Fluttershy draws him into a hug. "It's ok, Zephyr. It's ok to cry... to cry for him."

"I... I..." he finally buries his muzzle into her shoulder, beginning to sob.

"It's ok. Let it out..."

He had finally started to cry. Rainbow walked over and joined the hug, letting him know of her presence, that he wasn't alone.It wasn't long before he had a cocoon of mares hugging him as he cried his heart out for his deceased family member.

"Hush now, quiet now..."

Author's Note:

This chapter is dedicated to my Grandad, who had recently passed away.

Though he may never read this...

I loved you...

I miss you...

I failed you...

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