• Published 9th May 2012
  • 40,341 Views, 851 Comments

Thrown Abroad - Niaeruzu

A changeling is thrown out of the changeling hive and ends up in a familiar village.

  • ...

Chapter 5

The doors suddenly opened, flooding the barn with light.

“Mornin’, Suncloak!” Applejack almost yelled, “sorry, but we kinda need the barn!”

The changeling let out a loud yelp, rolling out of the bed with something entirely unlike grace, taking his improvised blanket with him. “Gah! You startled me!” he called out as he stood up, quickly putting on the sunglasses to hide his eyes. Miraculously, his cloak was perfectly wrapped around him.

“Sorry,” Applejack said again, “but that’s life on the farm for ya. But look on the bright side, if ya’d been sleeping in the house, I’d have woken ya up half an hour earlier.” She walked over to a corner to grab some baskets. “Maybe ya can even help out around the farm a bit.”

Suncloak pondered his choices. The small bit of love he was able to steal the night before had been tasty, but nowhere near enough to end his hunger. He needed to go out into Ponyville and find some lovers, stat.

On the other hoof, sticking around and helping his host might help keep a roof above his head, and he’d be able to get a little bit closer, maybe steal a bit of that stray love again. That is, if Applejack and her family were the source.

He shrugged. “Sure, why not?” Because she’s one of the Elements of Harmony, you backwards-laid egg, he thought to himself. His thoughts could go take a hike; he’d rather have a little meal than take a chance and maybe get a larger meal.

Applejack headed for the orchard with Suncloak in tow. “Ya could try applebuckin’. Ya don’t really look all that strong, but hey, looks can deceive, right?”

She had absolutely no idea.

“Sure,” the changeling said, “I’ll give it a go.”

They reached a tree full of apples, where Applejack set down her baskets. She gave the tree a powerful buck, causing all the apples in the tree to fall down. Most of them fell in the baskets, while the rest fell on the ground. Applejack picked them up and deposited with their brethren.

The apples in the next tree wobbled every time a gust of wind passed by. “You give it a go,” Applejack told Suncloak as she set down the baskets.

This would be easy. The apples were more than ready to fall, and any buck would make them all go. The cloaked changeling turned around and gave a hard buck, while making sure Applejack wouldn’t see any part of his body.

The buck connected to the tree with little more than a squeak from the wood. Suncloak turned around, counting on all the apples falling down.

The apples stopped wobbling around.

Both changeling and pony looked at the tree like they had just seen a glass of burning water. His buck couldn’t have been that weak, could it? Applejack summed up both their thoughts nicely with a simple, flat “what.”

“Stupid tree!” Suncloak yelled at it indignantly, then turned to Applejack. “It’s probably broken.”

“Ooookay,” Applejack said, still somewhat surprised. “Maybe ya can do somethin’ else.” She thought for a moment. “Oh, Ah’ve got this book we borrowed from the library, maybe you can go return it. Just hang on a sec, Ah’ll get it.”

As she headed toward the house, Suncloak shot a piercing glare toward the tree. “Mark my words, tree. You’ll pay for this,” he told it.

The tree shuddered.

Although honestly, that could have been a particularly strong gust of wind.

Applejack returned a few moments later with a saddlebag, in which rested a book. “The library’s in this big tree house near the town square. Ya can’t miss it,” she told him.

He took the saddlebag and fastened it around him. “There are ponies who live in houses in the trees?” he asked. Up in a tree was an odd location for a library.

“No, it’s a tree house. Not a house up in a tree, but a house inside of a tree,” Applejack corrected him.

Riiiight, a library inside of a tree. “Isn’t that sort of... I don’t know, weird? All that paper inside of a tree?” Suncloak asked.

“Ah... guess?” Applejack gave him a confused look.

“Whatever,” the changeling said. He noted that the saddlebag was doing a nice job in keeping his cloak together. “I’ll get going.”

During his walk, Suncloak had enough time to check for ponies in love, or places where he could find them. He had found some signs telling him where the park was, which would be an excellent location.

But for now, he had to deliver a book. Sure, he still needed love, but to his surprise, he had felt more love in the air around him when he left. It wasn’t as much as the night before, but it was something nonetheless. He still hadn’t figured out where it came from, though. Not a single pony had noticed it, however, so it was a suitable alternative.

The library was indeed a large house made out of a tree. He walked up to the door and knocked. No need to just barge in and be uncivil.

“Come in,” a colt-like voice called, “it’s open!”

Okay, so he could have just barged in. At least he was still civil about it.

The library was a mess. Sure, most books were neatly stacked on the shelves, but quite a number of them, together with a large number of scrolls, were strewn about over the floor.

A purple baby dragon with green spikes was in the process of cleaning up. “Twilight!” he yelled, “there’s somepony here!” He took a large stack of books in his arms and climbed up a ladder. He set the stack of books on a shelf and started putting them away. “She’ll be down in a moment, I guess she’s still busy,” he told Suncloak.

The changeling took the book out of his saddlebag and put it on a table. “It’s a mess here,” he noted. Not entirely unlike the changeling hive, actually. Except this had less stones and gunk, and more books and paper. Somewhat of an improvement, at least.

“It happens,” the baby dragon told him. “I don’t think I’ve seen you in Ponyville before. You new here?”

The changeling nodded. “I’m...” What was it again? This name business is annoying. “Uh, Suncloak. Got here yesterday.”

“Cool,” the baby dragon said, “I’m Spike.” Great, more names to remember. “Nice to meet you!”

The changeling couldn’t say it was. But he had to, considering he had to play nice to blend in. “Nice to meet you too.”

They continued the small talk for a bit, with Suncloak experiencing it as probably the most nonsensical conversation in his life. Just small talk about this and that, while Spike put away books.

“By the way,” Spike said, “why are you wearing a pair of sunglasses?”

To conceal my identity from buffoons like you because I don't have enough energy to change my appearance, he thought. Since that wasn’t exactly something he could afford to say, he decided to stick with a simpler explanation. “Because of the weather.”

Spike glanced outside through a window. The sky was filled with white clouds, blocking the sun. “But it’s not even sunny.”

Oh, right. He needed some kind of save. “So?” he asked. Great save indeed.

Spike sighed, not wanting to further pursue the subject. “Twilight’s taking a long time,” he said to himself. He leaned back on the ladder he was standing on and yelled, “Twilight! Did you hear-”

He was interrupted by his own sense of balance, as the ladder stood straight up thanks to his leaning, and it was now threatening to fall backward.

Suncloak quickly shot forward and pushed the ladder back to the shelves, preventing it from falling over. He wiped the sweat from his brow and sighed.

To his dismay, he had pushed the ladder too hard, and with a slam the books jumped off of their place, now teetering on the edge.

“Oh, brother,” he managed to say before an avalanche of books covered him, with the appropriate cacophony of noise to go with it.

He could vaguely hear somepony stumbling about outside of the mountain of books which covered him. It was kind of comfortable, really, if he ignored the massive bump that was forming on his head and giving him a headache. Oh, and if he ignored the fact that he had difficulty breathing.

Libraries are stupid, he noted.

Suddenly, the books were all pulled off of him at once. A concerned-looking purple unicorn with a dark purple mane, with a streak of pink and purple, stood there. Her horn was alight with magic. “Are you alright?” she asked, arranging the books in neat stacks.

“Did you get that elephant’s license number?” was the most coherent thing he could say while stumbling about. He managed to collapse into a chair standing next to a table. “Ow,” he said as he laid his head on the table.

“Oh goodness,” the mare said as she walked over to him. He could recall her as well. Was she one of the elements of chocolate as well?

...Wait, the what now? That table was really comfortable.

The mare turned toward the baby dragon. “Spike, could you make some tea, please?”

“Aye aye,” Spike said as he left the room.

Tea would be nice. Tea was good. The changeling would’ve never liked to admit it to other changelings, but he liked tea. It was the sort of thing female changelings drank, not the males, which was a shame, because it worked wonderfully for the nerves which came with staying in a role, sometimes.

A few moments later, Spike returned with a pot of tea and three cups. He sat opposite of the changeling and started filling the cups.

Then, they had tea. Suncloak could feel his thoughts returning to him. The first thing he noted was that he had a massive headache, which was to be expected. That sort of happens when you get buried in books. He took a large sip of the tea, hoping it would alleviate his headache.

“I’m so sorry!” the purple mare said, taking a sip. “This doesn’t usually happen.”

Spike gave her a deadpan look and muttered to himself, “If by ‘not usually’ you mean ‘pretty often’.”

The unicorn shot him a glare. “Anyway, my name is Twilight Sparkle.”

The changeling spat out all of his tea in a rather impressive arch, straight into Spike’s face. “Twilight Sparkle?” he blurted out. “Element of Magic? Personal student of Princess Celestia?” He gave short look to Spike, who was drenched in tea and giving him an annoyed glare. “Sorry,” Suncloak sheepishly said.

Spike excused himself for a moment and went into the kitchen to clean up.

“That’s right,” Twilight said. “Is that such a surprise then?”

Not really; the changelings had a pretty good idea of who she was, especially since it was mainly her fault the invasion had failed. Not my fault, Suncloak told himself. Stupid queen.

“Uh, I hadn’t really expected to run into somepony so... special?” He wanted to say dangerous, but thought better of it. Telling ponies you just met that you thought they were dangerous could be considered a faux pas. “And, uh, you’ve kind of... been a hot topic all around, having foiled the changeling swarm and such.”

He had to make sure he didn’t slip up in this conversation; Twilight Sparkle was a very smart pony. And since she was the personal student of princess Celestia, any mistake could be... less than helpful.

Spike had returned, and this time didn’t sit straight in front of Suncloak, but rather one seat to the side.

“Well, we aren’t exactly done with that yet,” Twilight told him, as she took another sip.

“Really? How so?” The changeling took another large sip. Excellent. Maybe, if he gathered some information, he could go back to the hive.

“Well, we’re still finding changelings here and there. Since we don’t know what to do with them yet, the princess has given the order to lock them up for the time being.”

Suncloak spat out his tea in another rather impressive arch. This time, he turned his head to the side to avoid spraying it in Spike’s face.

However, since the baby dragon had decided to sit somewhere else to avoid just such a moment, the tea still ended up all over him.

“This is some kind of bad joke, isn’t it?” Spike deadpanned as he went to the kitchen to clean up once again.

“Oops,” the changeling said. Really, he hadn’t meant to do it!

It was hilarious though, and he had trouble not breaking into laughter.

“Is that such a shock as well?” Twilight asked him. She took a sip whilst eyeing him critically.

No time for horrible excuses, she’s on to you, the changeling thought as he tried to think of an answer. “I... didn’t know? It took me awhile to get here in Ponyville, I guess I missed that bit of news.” He gave her the same convincing grin he had given the three fillies the day before, just to seal the deal.

Twilight waited a moment, thinking. “That makes sense,” she said.

Suncloak released the breath he had been holding, and looked at his cup of tea. Empty. The entire thing must have went straight for the baby dragon.

After Spike got back, they refilled their cups, and chatted about random nonsense, mostly about what the changeling had been doing in the village. He’d sidestepped their questions about his past, though. Making up a backstory would’ve been far too much details for him to remember, and would be too dangerous for his cover, which was already incredibly flimsy, consisting of a cloak, sunglasses and a name.

He handed over the book and made his escape before they could get suspicious.

Mentally patting himself on the back, he made his way back to Sweet Apple Acres. He’d done a good job hiding himself, and now he could go out hunting, but not before returning the saddlebag. It would be something he could be easily recognized by.

Not that there was a huge risk, anyway. If he got captured, he would only be locked up until further notice. And then he would probably be banished! Or, actually, he had already been banished. So, no matter what, he'd be banished and locked up in the place he'd been banished to!

Really, no pressure. It wasn’t as if his life depended on it.