• Published 20th Apr 2014
  • 1,896 Views, 135 Comments

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?

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
Chapter 22 - Fallen Feathers Part 2

WARNING: This chapter is a massive exposition dump. Read at your own risk.

Twilight looks at Harpsong with a surprised look before looking at Strings. "Is she the one you went to pick-up?"

"Correct. A few days ago, I managed to send her a letter telling her to come to Ponyville at this time. I've... already filled her in on the situation."

Harpsong kept looking at the tape-player with a sad face until Fluttershy spoke up. "Um... is it true you aren't Zephyr's..."

"Y...yes, it's true. I'm merely his adoptive mother from sixteen years ago." Looking back at the tape-player, Harpsong lets out a sad sigh. "Why would he think I wouldn't care if he vanished?"

Rarity looked dumbfounded for a moment before giving Harpsong a sad face. "Despite not being tied to him in blood... you care deeply about him, don't you?" All she got was a solemn nod.

"H-how did you come about adopting him?" Fluttershy let out a small meep when Rarity and Applejack gave her a curious look.

Harpsong was going to respond when Strings cut in. "You can explain on our way to the lab. I already know where the entrance is, but I need to clear something first." Turning to the younger mares, he asks, "Are any of you willing to at least forgive him long enough to save him from a fate he's condemned himself to?"

Applejack flattened her ears against her head. "Ah dunno... even through that tape-player, he sounded so... honest about everything he said, even his apology. He didn't know we would hear it, yet he spilled himself out anyways." Pulling her stetson over her eyes a bit, she adds, "Hearing him admit to being a coward after how many times WE called him a coward... it doesn’t feel right anymore."

Pinkie shook her head, mane slightly deflated. "I told you he's not a true meanie-mean pants, just... misunderstood."

Twilight sighed. "Misunderstood might be a bit of an understatement now..."

Rarity shuddered. "Sweetie Belle was recently done with telling me how much she didn't like Zephyr anymore either. For all of this to happen to him..." Applejack simply nodded.

Fluttershy looked around with a fearful look on her face. "B-but what can we do?"

"... I'll tell you what we can do." Everypony in the room looked at Rainbow Dash in surprise. She had been silent ever since listening to the tape-player and all of Zephyr's confessions. "We're going to bust into that lab and get him the buck out of there before it's too late!"

Twilight flinched a bit. "Rainbow, weren't you the one who said we should forget about him?"

"I know what I said before! Still... even though he was honest about his indirect apology-- Applejack confirmed that --I feel... hollow with that kind of apology. Plus no-pony, especially pegasi, should be confined for the rest of their lives when they should be flying free. Zephyr needs a second chance!" Rainbow's little speech got somewhat mixed reactions from everypony present.

Strings puts a hoof to his chin. Quite the heel realization for the Element of Loyalty. She treated his actions as a betrayal, yet now that she knows his reasoning, she feels responsible for the situation he's in. Of course she tried to hide this by saying something completely different.

Harpsong started crying when the other mares had unanimously wanted to help. "Thank you... thank you all so much. You've no idea how much this means to me and Zephyr..."

Pinkie hugs the shivering mother. "Hey, what are friends for?"

Strings cleared his throat. "I hate to interrupt the moment, but we need to get moving if we want to break into the lab when security is at it's lowest. It's almost sunset and by the time we get there, it'll be early nighttime, the only window we have to infiltrate in."

Rainbow leaped into the air. "Then what are we waiting for?" With those words, everypony filed out of the house and followed Strings, seemingly headed towards the outskirts of the Everfree Forest.

Fluttershy trotted up beside Harpsong. "S-so... um... how did you and Zephyr..."

"Ah yes... that. Well I suppose it will help you girls understand him a bit more.

"Sixteen years ago, my husband passed away from a type of hereditary disease, something that haunted his family for ages. I understood this, yet when he did pass away, I couldn't move on from it and it resulted in my singing career almost falling to pieces. Every month, I would visit his grave in the foothills outside of Manehatten.

"One day, while visiting his grave for the umpteenth time, I hear a loud bird's cry from the sky. When I looked up, I saw a massive green bird flying down towards me."

Fluttershy and Twilight gasped. "A Garuda!"

"So that's what it was. Anyways, at first I feared for my life, thinking I was picked out as prey. However as the bird drew closer, I noticed something clutched in it's talon."

Applejack nodded. "Zephyr."

"To this day, I wondered if the Garuda and Zephyr were, in some way, a message from my husband telling me I couldn't mourn him forever. Perhaps the bird saved the colt from a terrible fate and, not knowing what to do, gave him to me knowing I would take care of him."

Twilight had a thoughtful look on her face. "In ancient times, Garuda's were commonly associated with strong family bonds, being a bird species where the parents stick together until the last hatching has left the nest and were at their fiercest when defending their young. Perhaps that particular one felt your pain and, through rescuing Zephyr, wanted to ease it by giving you a foal to take care of."

Pinkie on the other hoof looked horrified. "What do you mean by 'a terrible fate'?"

Harpsong sighed. "Excluding the grip marks from the talons, he had a massive welt on his head when I took him in. When he woke up, he had amnesia and could only remember the first part of his name, Zephyr. After that, he started to instinctively ask for a mother he couldn't remember, something I quickly filled for him. I gave him my last name to fill in the part he couldn't remember after the authorities couldn't find his parents without proper leads."

Applejack gave Harpsong a thoughtful look. "An' you took care of him ever since?"

"Long story short, yes."

Strings suddenly stopped in front of an old shack. "We're here."

Rainbow gave an exasperated look. "This doesn't look like a lab to me!"

"Patience, Ms. Dash. With labs like this one, there's more to it than meets the eye."

Twilight gives Strings an apprehensive look. "You stole that line from a sci-fi book, didn't you?"

"Unimportant." He walks into the building with the mares trailing behind him. Stopping in front of a bookshelf, he pushes a book in and the entire shelf slides over to reveal a metal door.

"It's always the bookshelves..." Twilight grumbles.

Snares swipes what looks like a card and opens the door before turning to the mares. "From here on out, we need to keep talking to a minimum or low level. If we get caught, the chances of us getting Zephyr out of here decreases by a lot. Any questions before we continue?"

Applejack stepped forward. "One thing ah don't get. You sent a letter to Harpsong a few days ago, yet you never sent a letter to Princess Celestia?"

"When Zephyr was brought in, the facility went into lock-down and we couldn't send letters unless it was very important. Plus no-pony was allowed to send letters to Canterlot. I was able to disguise my letter to Harpsong as a letter to a family member, yet I couldn't send one to Princess Celestia until I talked to Twilight's dragon assistant. Any other questions?"

No-pony spoke up and he took it as clearance to begin the rescue operation. As the group went down in the elevator, unease grew in everypony's heart, wondering if anything will be back to normal even if Zephyr was rescued.

Strings spoke up one last time. "There's only one floor, but the room where Zephyr is held is on the opposite end of the facility. If we're lucky, we won't need to hide in any of the off-shooting rooms." All he got was a round of nods before the door opened again. They were met with a long, grey hallway with many doors evenly spaced apart, some of them open with a green lamp over them.

This place is so cold and sterile. Fluttershy thought as the group silently made their way through the hallways. There were many branching paths so everypony kept behind Strings as he led them through. They reached a door labeled "Containment Area P-V 2", when he stopped and swiped his card again.

Everypony had different expectations as to what they would see beyond the door. A padded room, a plain room with basic necessities, or even a simple prison cell.

What they saw was Zephyr sitting upright, yet chained to the ground with wings chained open. The mares instantly made a bee-line for him to confirm he wasn't hurt physically.

Rainbow reached him first and stopped dead in her tracks. "Am... I seeing this right?"

There, where his bandages used to be, nestled against his body, was a second smaller set of wings.

Rarity shivered. "Is... this what he was trying to hide all this time?"

Pinkie gave the apparently sleeping pegasus a thoughtful look. "That explains why he reacted so adversely to a jab there. His sides weren't sensitive, his wings were." She gave one of the wings a poke. Zephyr groaned uncomfortably and the wings sprang open.

Fluttershy gaped at them. "T-they're the same size as m-my wings."

"Girls, that's not important right now. We need to get him out of here!" Twilight quickly grabbed a key off the wall and started unlocking his chains.

Applejack took notice of Rainbow's renewed irritated look. "What's got yer tail in a knot now?"

"The fact that he's been holding out on me this whole time, despite him always telling me off for holding out on him whenever we race!"

Harpsong looked at the younger mares with a surprised look. "You girls... you don't mind..."

"The fact that he has a second pair of wings?" Pinkie finished for her. "Of course not, silly! Zephy will always be Zephy despite what he looks like!"

Twilight looked up from the chain she was currently unlocking. "I agree with Pinkie, I don't see any issues with that. It just means he's a better flyer than he originally let on." Fluttershy and Rarity nod in agreement.

Applejack looked at Zephyr again. "In the beginning, ah would of liked him to of been more straightforward about this. But now that ah know about his foalhood, ah can see why he wanted to hide them."

"That's besides the point!" Rainbow cut in. "When we get out of here and he's okay, I'm challenging him to another race. I prefer my opponents operating at 120% capacity, otherwise it's just not right."

Harpsong couldn't believe her ears. Every day when he was younger, Zephyr would always come home, crying at how all of the foals bullied him for having extra wings and calling him a freak. It went so far as to make her believe no-pony in Equestria would accept her adopted son for who he is, not what he is. Yet hearing the mares he thought no longer liked him say that they didn't care about it, their dedication to their friends overwhelmed her.

Bowing her head, she quietly said, "Thank you..."

"Now's not the time for this." Strings cut in. "We need to get out of here ASAP. The fact that there is apparently no-pony around bothers me."

Rainbow shook her head. "Right, escape first. AJ, could you carry him?"

The farm-mare backpedaled. "No way, no how. Last time I came into contact with him, I somehow leeched magic from him!"

This got a startled look out of everypony except for Twilight, who facehooved at forgetting about telling her friends about it. "Right, I forgot to say something about that. Still, he's incredibly light at the same time, so anypony here could carry him easily."

Rainbow sighed. "I guess I will. No use arguing over it." With one fluid motion, she picked up the sleeping Zephyr onto her back. "Wow, he really is light."

Strings sighed. "If we got that sorted out, then we should get a move on--" As soon as he opened the door, he stopped in his tracks. "Great, I knew it was too good to be true. We've got security doors active now." Sure enough, the hallway in front of them was blocked by a large door.

Fluttershy started panicking. "T-then h-how are w-we supposed t-to get out?"

Rarity noticed something. "One of the side rooms is open. the lamp above it is green... an unpleasant shade of green..."

Strings beckoned them to hurry. "We'll have to make due, all rooms are connected in one way or another. Lets use that to our advantage and get out of here!"

The leader of the lab, code name O, sat in the security chair with a thoughtful look on his face.

When he took over for the previous leader, he immediately objected to the harsher ways of doing things and straightened out his researchers. It was the upfront, brutish way that made the previous leader loose sight of Zephyr because of attempts at foalnapping too close to society. Up until a year ago, this division was frantically looking for their target until he took lead.

When O set forward the plans to 'bring in' the now grown up Zephyr, he accepted that the pegasus would of had his spirit broken at least somewhat. However, with how quickly he gave up his fight and the fact that he was willing to stay as a lab-rat, it made O feel a little hollow inside. He never intended to kick Zephyr when he was down, but that's how it happened.

Perhaps sending a fake letter from Harpsong was too much of a stretch...

O heard his right-hoof assistant approach him. "Sir, is it wise to simply let them go?"

"I'm fine with this. I had no intention of keeping Zephyr here, against his will or not. All of the samples and copies of our findings have already been sent to Lab Alpha C-L. We have more than enough to truly go forward with our research. Plus, if the friends he thought hated him rescued him, perhaps his soul can start healing again, like it did when he first moved to Ponyville."

"Still... leaving copies of our findings in their forged path out?"

O chuckles. "I consider that my little apology to them by helping both Zephyr and his friends understand more about his body and magic. Plus, I think two of them are in for a big surprise when they find the results of our genealogy tests."

"You're being pretty kind..."

"Maybe. It certainly help's Zephyr's case since he effectively took over my place in the band I used to be with." O shakes his head. "For now, we should leave this place. No doubt Princess Celestia has been informed about this lab and we wouldn't want to stick around for the royal guards."

In one of the rooms they were going through, Twilight noticed something. "A lot of the equipment in here is used for testing magic!"

Applejack looks around. "Similar to the widget you have in the library?"

"Similar, but more advanced."

"Look at this!" Pinkie holds a few sheets of paper out towards the group.

Initial tests of the subject's magic immediately shows differences from regular pegasus magic. When the subject is unconscious or asleep, it works to lessen the body weight by an astounding 75%, making for easy transportation for any party. This also results in higher immunity to hotter and colder temperatures even while conscious.

Further analysis shows that this magic shows aversion towards unicorn magic, effectively canceling it out and making most unicorn spells useless, though more powerful magic users can overload this immunity. On the contrary, it gets absorbed by earth pony magic because of it constantly going through a magic equivalent of osmosis; the subject's magic has less 'solutes' than earth pony magic, causing a reaction that can be misrepresented as 'magic leeching'. This takes effect after approximately five seconds of contact with an earth pony. Reasons why a similar reaction doesn't occur with regular pegasus magic is unknown, further analysis required.

Final testing with auxiliary facilities show that the subject's magic is malleable similarly to unicorn magic, possibly explaining the aversion. If the subject was a unicorn, or temporarily gained a unicorn horn, this magic can be used to cast unicorn spells with proper training. Results also show an increased vulnerability to negative magical effects.

Applejack shivered. "So ahm not the only earth pony who can 'drain' his magic..."

Rarity simply deadpanned. "He's immune to unicorn magic? That's not something you hear about..."

Twilight sighed. "Another thing I forgot to mention. Seems they were able to find out more about his magic than I was... how frustrating."

"So that explains why..." Everypony looked at Harpsong with confused looks. "There were times when Zephyr was younger where a teacher couldn't get him away from a group of bullies with his or her magic. It caused a lot of confusion." Looking over the beginning again, she frowned. "Higher immunity to hotter and colder temperatures? I'm calling them out on that."

"At least he's still huggable!" Pinkie cheered.

Strings looked at the research notes with interest. "Perhaps we should take those with us. They might be useful in the future." Pinkie nodded and stuffed the papers in her mane.

After running through a few more rooms, Rainbow took notice of a few machines in one room. "Some of these things look like hospital equipment."

Fluttershy took notice of one particular machine. "T-this one has one of Zephyr's feathers in it."

Twilight picked up some paper in her magic. "More research notes..."

Physically, subject is somewhat similar to a regular pegasu. Primary wings have less nerves than a normal pegasus wing and contains a few more 'bone offshoots' in the wing. This leads to the speculation that the subject is able to grip a wider variety of objects with his primary wings. Primary wings also have slightly more muscle mass than normal.

Secondary wings have far more nerves than a normal pegasus wing, sensitive to subtle things not normally felt, like a change in the wind. Bone structure is made of a similar material to unicorn horns; further analysis required for concrete support behind such biological anomaly.

Feathers are more flexible than a regular pegasus feather, yet some aren't as well attached, leading to minor feather loss with sudden movement or if startled. Feather growth faster than normal; able to regrow primaries within three days, secondaries within two. Eyes contain slightly more magic than normal; possible indication of ability to enact 'gale vision' for wind management.

Rainbow huffed. "That one was kind of disappointing outside of the feather growth."

"Guess that explains why his wings are so sensitive." Pinkie pokes Zephyr's 'secondary' wing again, causing him to shift uncomfortably on Rainbow's back and earning a glare from the prismatic pegasus.

"Please refrain from teasing the sleeping pegasus, we don't need him shifting around when it counts." Most of the mares almost giggled at Strings for saying it in a deadpan tone.

Twilight was looking over the notes thoughtfully. "Bones made of the same material as unicorn horns? what could that mean?"

Applejack shrugged. "Probably a bit more of a pain to heal if it gets broken."

"I say, Applejack, what a terrible thing to even consider!" Rarity gasped. Applejack gave a nervous smile as everypony continued onward.

In the last room right before the exit, Fluttershy caught sight of one more research note and paused to grab it, causing everypony else to stop as well. Rainbow huffed in irritation. "Come on Fluttershy. I know Zephyr isn't heavy, but he's kind of uncomfortable on my back."

Strings also huffed impatiently. "The exit's right around the corner. I still don't get why they're just letting us waltz out with Zephyr."

Pinkie tutted. "Strings, just smile and nod at our good luck, no need to question--" She was interrupted by fluttershy dropping the paper with a shocked look on her face. "Fluttershy? What’s wrong?"

"I-It's true..."

Twilight picked up the paper and held it for everypony else to read.

DNA results:

Subject: Zephyr Windstorm
Race: Pegasus(?)
Blood type: B-

Harpsong hummed. "Windstorm... it certainly sounds more fitting for him than Earthwing, I must admit. Kind of hurts seeing that question mark beside his race though..."

Based on a cumulative DNA sample study, subject carries blood relations with the deceased Barricade Windstorm and Medishy of Cloudsdale, and Fluttershy of Ponyville. DNA analysis holds confusion as to what race the subject is, as despite being born a pegasus by a pegasus, the machine was unable to properly identify the proper race. Further analysis required.

Now everypony was gawking at Fluttershy. Rainbow was the first to speak up, "Fluttershy... he's your..."

She nods. "He's my brother... I remember it now. W-when I heard his real name on that tape-player, a flood of memories suddenly washed over me. I-I didn't say anything i-in case I was wrong..."

Twilight widened her eyes. "That could explain the headaches you two got whenever you were around each other; your minds were trying to remember, yet they couldn't so it manifested as a headache!"

Harpsong shook her head in disbelief. "After everything we've found out, we've finally found his true family." This caused her to look at Zephyr with sad eyes, realizing that she wouldn't be together with him for much longer.

Pinkie suddenly squealed with joy. "Oh my gosh, I should totally throw a 'brother and sister finally reunited' party for you two!"

Strings rolled his eyes. "If you’re serious about that, wait until he has a clean bill of health from the hospital. For now, Fluttershy, keep that paper, it's proof that he is related to you by blood. Exit's around the corner, let's get out of here."

The first thing I became aware of when I started regaining consciousness was how comfortable I was, as I never got used to the chains tying me down.

The second thing was the slow, consistent beeping of a heart monitor, something I haven't heard since visiting my grandpa on his death bed.

Wait... if I'm on a heart monitor, then...

I force my eyes open and saw the white room that are the hospital emergency rooms. While wondering how I wound up in one, I felt something shift at my side.

It was Fluttershy. The monitor started beeping faster as I started panicking.

W-why is she here? I thought she--

She stirred and I tried to calm my heart down so I could pass off as still sleep--


Too late.

"Oh thank Celestia you’re awake!" I jolt as she nuzzles my neck affectionately.

"F-Fluttershy... why? I thought you--" I stopped as she put a hoof on my muzzle.

"Please... stop thinking that I hate you. None of us do."

"But... everything... everything is my..."

She frowns at me. "Big brother, please stop making it entirely your fault. We were ignorant of your feelings when we did what we did. We carry most of the blame." She nuzzles me again.

Her calling me "big brother" made me think back to when I was called Zephyr Windstorm for the first time in the lab. A flood of memories had washed over me, but I ignored it thinking it could have been a lie and that it wouldn't matter anyways. Hearing Fluttershy say it now, I can now confirm all of those memories are true.

I sigh as I nuzzle her back. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be."

It stayed like that for a while until Pinkie burst into the room. "Fluttershy, we have a prob--" She saw me awake and gave a quiet squee of joy as she hugs me. "Zephy, your awake!"

"Hi Pinkie."

Fluttershy looked startled. "P-Pinkie, what's the problem?"

"Oh yeah, a certain trio of filly's found the tape-player we accidentally left behind and heard Zephyr's confession for themselves." I winced when I realized that the mares somehow recorded and knew what I had said. "Now they're trying to avoid going to school and want to see Zephy."

"O-oh, I can try and help with that..." Fluttershy took leave after giving me one last nuzzle.

Pinkie squeed again. "You two look so cute as siblings! I'm totally throwing a reunion party for you two!" She gasps. "Oh my gosh, I have to plan it out right now! In the meantime, your mommy wants to talk to you!" With that, she dashes out of the room.

Pinkie will always be Pinkie... in a way, it eases my mind knowing she's still hyper.

"Zephyr?" I look and see my mom standing at the door way. I barely got a smile out before she hugged me, sobbing. "Please don't scare me like that! I thought I lost you!"

"I'm sorry mom..."

"And please, don't ever think I won't care about your well being. I may only be your adoptive mother, but I still love you very much."

I sigh and did the one thing I hated as a colt; I bumped the tip of her muzzle with mine. She gave me a startled look before embracing me again.

I'm never going to live any of this down...

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters Next
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!