• Published 13th Sep 2014
  • 5,653 Views, 258 Comments

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 32: The News

Chapter 32
The News

We lost all track of time, holed up in the windowless studio. Dinner was very late, and Blaze wasn’t asleep until almost midnight. I had to be better about maintaining a structured routine for him. Perhaps the kitchen clock could be moved to the studio.

Discord hadn’t been back since his initial visit; he explained that if he came too often, it could attract the Princesses’ attention and expose us. Still, it had only been a week. I was quite surprised when he appeared in the art studio the next day, critically looking over all of our work through a monocle. “Well, well, well. You’ve certainly been busy; especially for somepony who at first refused to let me add a studio.”

“That didn’t stop you,” I smiled, trotting up next to him. “You were right; it felt good to paint again.”

“Obviously,” he casually yawned, gesturing to the collection of paintings large enough to fill a museum around him. “But who’s this?”

“You don’t know Heckley?”

“Heckley?”

“Oh. Sorry. He was acting so strange I thought you might have influenced him. He’s an eastern garter snake I found in the woods. I brought him in where it was warm, and then he did... that. I named him Heckley, and now he’s my pet.”

“That is rather odd, but I had nothing to do with it, this time. Sorry to disappoint you.” He moved away from my first work. “I particularly like this one.” He coiled his elongated body around the easel still supporting his own portrait.

“I thought you might.”

“Though I was quite surprised to find these.” He moved on to the ones of the very six ponies I’d run from.

“So was I.”

“I thought you never wanted to see them again. Now you have them plastered on your wall!”

“It’s actually a canvas, not a wall.”

“But where does a painting go? Do you hang yours on the ceiling, too?”

“Fair enough.” I searched the painting again. “I don’t know... I just... miss them, I guess.”

“Come again?” Discord stuck a finger in his ear to clear it, not believing that he’d heard me correctly.

“I tried to stay angry with them, Discord. I really did. But that was the thing; I had to try. That’s too much work. And a lot of stress. I figure, what’s done is done, and there isn’t anything anypony can do about it. I don’t have to like what happened, but it is what it is.”

“They say my chaos makes no sense, but I have a harder time figuring out you ponies sometimes.”

“Let me put it this way; I don’t want to be angry anymore, Discord.”

“How odd.” He finally shrugged. “Your choice. I assume this means we’ll be taking a trip to Ponyville?”

“NO!”

“No?”

“I can’t face them. Not after what happened.”

“So you haven’t completely forgiven them, yet.” Comforted by the realization that he was still following me, Discord curled up on a cloud he’d plucked from the painting.

“I have,” I corrected. “I just don’t know if they’ve forgiven me.”

“Forgi-” he exclaimed, jumping off the cloud in frustration. I’d lost him again. “Oh, for Celestia’s sake! What do you have to be sorry for? They took your wings and cutie mark, remember?”

“I lied about who I really was. And I left them when I needed them the most.” He only shook his head, confused.

“I must still be new to the whole ‘friendship’ thing. I don’t see what you have to be sorry for.”

“I hope you never have to find out,” I sighed. “You only truly understand when you’ve gone through it yourself.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”

“You haven’t come for a social visit, have you?” I prompted.

“What? Don’t friends drop by every now and then?”

“Well, sure, but you told me your visits would be few and far between because of the whole Princess issue. It’s only been a week. You must have a really skewed idea of what ‘few and far between’ means.”

“Alright, you got me. I came to say goodbye.”

“Where are you going?”

“Home.”

“Just... home?”

“Where else?”

“I don’t know. You made it sound like you were going away for a while.”

“Well, I figured I could cut my visits down even more if one of your dragon friends was taught how to send and receive mail. Then we could still keep in touch.”

“You mean like Spike did for Twilight?”

“I suppose so, yes.”

“Well, if you could not only convince one of them but actually teach them, be my guest. I haven’t the first clue as to how that might work.”

“It would be my pleasure.” After a brief bow, he teleported out of the room.

I situated the clock, and returned to the kitchen to fix breakfast. Blaze was now awake, and was being drafted by Discord to be our intermediary. I had a feeling Garble wouldn’t consent, but he still listened in on Discord’s lessons. I tried to do the same from the pantry, but Discord’s logic was indecipherable. Blaze must have been getting something out of it, because by the time he sat down for gemstone-sprinkled cereal, his red flames were tinted with the sparkle of the magical properties allowing teleportation of small objects.

I left them to it in the living room. I wanted to return to the studio. I’d allowed Heckley to sleep late this morning, and he now slithered out to meet me halfway. He didn’t do much painting today, but proved to be a big help in retrieving brushes for me. When I had nothing for him to do, he began cleaning up the remnants of yesterday’s mess. I’d gotten it semi-clean before falling asleep on my hooves. I wasn’t sure who reminded me of Spike more; Blaze or Heckley? Blaze might be a baby dragon the same age, but Heckley was a surprisingly capable assistant. Discord got a kick out of my pet snake, anyway.

Recalling my feelings toward the group portrait yesterday, I experimentally painted Luna and Celestia, curious as to what emotions they would evoke. I was a little stiff, looking up at their stern expressions, but no more hatred bubbled up. There was no more anger. Whether their spell to remove the ‘evil’ in me had worked or not I didn’t know. I just knew that what had happened, happened, and there was no changing it. Dwelling on those ugly bits in my past only made me miserable. Why live like that when I could be happy again? I’d achieved a natural high yesterday, painting and playing with my adopted family. That’s what these ponies had been to me before it happened. Family. Could I ever have that with them again? Could I ever have that with Torchwood?

I longed to know how he was. I couldn’t go to him without risking somepony seeing me and giving up my location. There was no way he could come here; it was bad enough that I was in exile, but the freezing climate would be hazardous for him. Even indoors where it was warm, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see him. Was it better to keep pretending that he missed me or to find out for sure whether I’d been rejected? I longed to know, but what I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me. I’d surely gone through enough pain to last a lifetime.

The addition of the clock did wonders for my schedule; I had lunch prepared on time, even though I was cooking for four. Heckley snaked off to prey on small insects for lunch. The rest of us ate daisy and diamond sandwiches, mine lacking diamonds. Discord, however, decided that he wouldn’t allow gemstones or flora in his diet, and instead feasted on a spread of numbers taken off of a clock, the clock itself serving as the bowl. Garble helped himself to the extra sandwich portion. While the dragons finished their meal, I got Discord alone.

“I’ve just got to know one last thing. How’s Torchwood taking this?” Discord looked as though he’d rather have been asked something else, but obliged.

“Not well. The last time I saw him, he kicked Rainbow Dash and I out in an angry fit. Judging by the barriers erected around their camps, I’m no longer welcome.”

“So Rainbow knows about him now?”

“And all the others.”

“Has she told the Princesses?”

“Yes, though I don’t see how it matters, now.”

“Neither do I. I really messed up, didn’t I?”

“Not at all!”

“What?”

“The Princesses are looking for the thestrals now.”

“WHAT?!”

“To ask them if they would rejoin Equestria,” he quickly finished. Hope flickered in my chest like a candle light in a dark hall.

“What?” I softly repeated. “Thestrals... they’re coming back?”

“That’s what I’ve been told, along with the rest of Equestria. Messengers have been sent out to scour the Everfree, carrying peace treaties.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Thestrals? Coming back? Even after what had happened?

“But I thought the Princesses had their minds made up that we were evil.”

“I believe it was meant more as an effort to right the wrong.” He stared at my covered, wingless back as a hint.

“You think they’re trying to make up for taking my wings?”

“Perhaps.” The look on his face told me I’d hit home.

“What if it’s a trap? What if they’re luring them out so they can all be reverted to earth ponies?”

“Come, now! I know taking your wings was a bit extreme, but even I couldn’t picture Celestia taking to such... unethical tactics.”

“You’re right. Still... I think I’d better keep laying low until they’ve been reintegrated into the system of things.”

“Suit yourself,” he shrugged. “But I’m only a letter away. You can always write me if you feel like paying your ‘friends’ a surprise visit.”

“Is Blaze ready?” I cocked an eyebrow, almost surprised at Discord’s incredible teaching skills.

“He’ll need some practice to perfect the technique, sure, but he has the ability.”

“Thanks, Discord. I owe you one. Well, more like a lot. Keep me posted?”

“Of course.” The draconequus promptly teleported away, not even bothering to bid the dragons farewell.