• Published 13th Sep 2014
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The Seventh Element - PaisleyPerson



Thestrals are thought extinct. But what will happen when one moves to Ponyville? Disguised as an earth pony, Acrylic does her best to fit in. Can she keep the secret, or will she expose her entire race?

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Chapter 28: Wingless

Chapter 28
Wingless

The last thing I remembered was crashing into something. Hard. The force field, no doubt. Then, I fell. I fell through open air for what seemed like an eternity. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend that this would be my last free fall. Caught in a bubble of levitation magic, somepony led me away. I assumed it was one or both of the Princesses. I couldn’t tell after I blacked out, but when I woke, I faced them both.

“Go back to sleep,” Celestia crooned. “It will all be over when you wake.”

“What? What’s going-” the clanking of chains cut me off. My hind ankle had been encased in a shackle. My pupils turned to pinpoints of fear. “No.”

“Do not attempt to resist,” Luna warned.

“I would have rather put this off until the morning, but now I see that it can wait no longer,” Celestia sighed.

“No, please!”

“I’m sorry, Acrylic, but this is for your own good.”

“NO!”

“It’ll be okay, Acrylic. We’re right here.” I whirled to the comforting hoof of Rainbow.

“You!”

“It’s going to be okay.” I kicked her hoof away.

“You betrayed me!”

“What?”

“Some ‘Element of Loyalty’ you are! You abandoned me!”

“No! I didn’t! I just-”

“You’ve all betrayed me! You’re no friends of mine!”

“Acrylic,” Twilight tried to step forward.

“You stay away from me,” I warned, hooves flaring up. The others were behind her, all bearing their element amulets. The elements? I thought they weren’t required for the procedure. What were the elements doing here?

Rarity was in terrified tears. Fluttershy trembled in the corner. Applejack glared at the floor, apologetic tears in her eyes. Denying that I was her friend was one thing, but me saying that she wasn’t mine was something else. Pinkie’s mane had completely deflated. Rainbow’s expression, though, was perhaps the most pained. She ran from me like she might a nightmare, and eased Fluttershy into a sad hug of consolation.

“ACRYLIC!” Spike burst through the door, terrified at the realization of what was about to take place. Twilight moved to hold him back. She trusted her mentor too much. No pony made a move to stop the Princesses. Though it was apparent that neither took pleasure in what had to be done, I resolved that I hated them. I hated them more than the thestrals of old could have ever thought possible. I’d come to their world in search of love and peace. A home wasn’t much to ask. But this was what I had to show for it.

“Let us begin,” Luna thrummed. She set down the book she was studying, and charged her horn. Celestia did the same. I tugged at the unmoving shackle.

“You CAN’T!” I begged. They weren’t listening to my cries. I tried retracting my wings, hoping to inhibit their spell by denying access to the appendages.

At first, nothing happened. But then my wings were drawn back out, against my will. “No! NO! STOP IT!” They were being yanked gruffly out, and they were beginning to hurt. “NO!” Next, the white flames flickered up from my hooves. But for the first time in my life, I was burned by the fire. “GET OFF!” The flames had no intention of leaving me, no matter how violently I writhed. Rather, it accelerated their speed in succeeding to engulf my entire body. My wings were the last to be consumed by the flames. “NOOOOOO!” They burned. They burned hotter than desert sand. Hotter than magma. I could feel the fire dissolving my wings. They were fading away into thin air, just like my strength.

It was all over. Or, at least I thought. I lay in a broken heap in the floor when one last stripe of fire rose up. It traveled from my head all the way down to my flanks. That was where it really did damage. It felt like a hot iron being pressed against my hips. When I looked back to see what had happened, I let out a horrified scream. My cutie mark had all but faded away.

Time had stopped in the room. I panted, glaring back at the shameful hard-to-see imprint staining my flank. My cutie mark was so faded it could only be seen by squinting.

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?” I screamed, coming nose-to-nose with Celestia. The intense heat had burnt the shackle away to mere ashes. Everypony was astonished. This must have been an unexpected side effect. I didn’t care. They had done this to me. Not only were my wings gone, but now my destiny was too. Who was I supposed to be now? Only a faint outline of where my paintbrush and puddle used to be remained on my hide. Barely visible scars stretched down my side where my wings used to be. Otherwise, I looked like an ordinary earth pony.

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” I repeated. For once, Celestia didn’t have the answers.

“I-” I cut whomever spoke off with a thunderous whinny. My hooves came down hard on the ground, though the earth-shattering effect was null without my thestral powers. It still silenced the room. The force of my landing had thrown off my precious purple beret, causing it to tumble to the ground. I stared at it, almost brought back to my senses for a split second. Rarity had given me that. It was a sign of our friendship from day one.

No. No more. I had no friends. I was alone. Rearing, I stomped again to completely crush the limp fabric before storming off. This time, no guards stopped the charging mare blundering through the castle. I came to a stop of my own free will near the balcony. “Oh, no.” There stood Discord, still as a statue. They had been wearing the Elements of Harmony. They turned him back to stone. Even Fluttershy, who had publicly sworn never to use her element against him, had gone back on her promise.

My whole world was turned upside down. I draped my hooves over his shoulders, and wept. “I’m sorry. This was my fault.” I heard hoof steps finally pursuing me. I reached up close to Discord’s ear. “You said that you can still hear everything when you’re petrified, and I hope that’s true. When you’re released, come find me in the Frozen North. But come alone, and don’t tell anypony where I am.” I nuzzled his cheek. “I’ll miss you.” With that, I ran for the balcony.

“Acrylic, DON’T! You don’t have wings anymore, remember?” I ignored Rainbow Dash as I jumped over the edge.

Before Rainbow could reach me, I angled myself and used the shop tarps as trampolines to bounce unharmed down to the ground. I ducked and swerved through dark alleyways in an attempt to lose her. I finally slid to a stop beneath a wagon, but she didn’t notice when I disappeared. The dark skies didn’t help either. While she was trying to pick up my trail, I slipped off and headed for Canterlot’s train station.


The barrier posed no resistance to my presence any longer. I was able to sneak aboard a cargo car to the Crystal Empire unseen. From there, I could find a place to stay in the Frozen North, the one place they would never think to look for me. Rainbow knew that thestrals preferred hot climates. I was no longer a thestral, and I barely felt the first chill as snowflakes began floating up through the wooden slats. Even Discord himself had said that the Frozen North was worse than the Everfree. What pony in her right mind would settle up there? One as desperate as I to get away, I supposed.

I had to make a hasty escape from the train car before workers came to unload it. Upon stepping out of the wooden box, I was greeted by a sharp, cold wind. Without the wooden planks and cargo crates to buffer the freezing air, the cold finally seeped down directly into my bones. I shivered. One of Rarity’s scarves would do me good about now. I instantly put the name out of my mind, clenching my jaw at the memory.

The piercing wind erased my hoof prints almost as soon as they were made, which was all the better for me. With luck, nopony would know I was ever here. I trudged through the icy landscape, heading for the mountains. There had to be a cave I could use as shelter there. The explosive fire had burned away my hair ties, so now my mane was at the wind’s mercy. It was lashed to and fro, but the cold made it felt like whips were striking me. While it was in the ties, I hadn’t realized how long I’d let it grow. Now most of it dragged on the ground, allowing the tips to become soaked from the now. When they finally froze solid, I didn’t have to worry about them stinging me anymore.

Lost in an endless white wonderland, I lost all track of time. My frosted limbs felt frozen solid. I could almost hear them creaking. The cold was draining my energy at an extreme rate. I forced myself on. Still, there was no sign of any cave. Even trees were sparse. My entire body trembled from the cold. If I didn’t find shelter soon, I’d freeze to death. And yet, still, there was nothing. One hopeful thought still remained at the back of my mind. Discord knew I was out here. Though he was currently encased in stone, I doubted Fluttershy would agree to keep him that way for long. He knew the Frozen North. He would find me. I could only hope he would find me in time.

My limbs were growing weary. I could barely keep my eyes open. The howling wind whistling through the mountains had an almost soothing effect on my exhausted frame. I could fight it no longer. I collapsed into the snow then and there. It almost felt warm against my frozen body. The soft cushion was too welcoming. I lay down and went to sleep.