• Published 24th Jun 2015
  • 7,712 Views, 271 Comments

Equis: Interlude - Tatsurou

When all seems calm and peaceful after the Space Pirate invasion...Fluttershy begins raising an infant Metroid.

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She had only just hatched, and already the world was so strange. Her instincts told her things should be different. There was too much life in the air. It was confusing, and she didn't know how to feed. She could sense dozens of creatures around her, far too big for her to handle as she was.

She was going to die in the middle of a feast.

"Someone...help..." she skreed. She didn't think anyone would hear her. She could feel none of her own kind. She was going to die, alone...

And then she felt it. A Queen. She could feel the mind impressions of a Queen, right there in the center of all the life forces she could sense. The others...they obeyed her. A Queen that could control the prey? She would help her!

Floating forward, she nuzzled the Queen which was not of her kind, but had a mind strong enough to make Queens bow. The confusion of emotions settled.

The Queen spoke, but the sounds had no meaning to her. Her thoughts, though...her thoughts came through clear. What are you, little one?

She did not know how to communicate well yet. She was only just hatched. But perhaps the Queen could understand her. "Mama?" she skreed. "Help?"

Motherly love wrapped her in its warm embrace, stronger and more full than any she could have imagined. Again there were words, but the thoughts were stronger. I'll take care of you...I'm your Mother now...

"Mama..." she skreed happily, nuzzling the Queen, for she was her Queen now.


That thought came through with images. One image was a gemstone, but the other was...her? She did not understand.

Come, Sapphire.

As she felt the Queen's call underlying the meaningless words, she understood. The Queen had given her a name. Her name was Sapphire.

"Coming Mama!" she skreed happily, eagerly floating after the Queen, orbiting around her obediently. The warmth of the Queen's thought and heart sustained her in this earliest stage. Soon, the Queen would guide her to food. Then she would feed, and grow strong, to obey the Queen's will. This was The Path.

It did not matter that the Queen was the wrong shape, or too small. The Path was not wrong. It could not be wrong. The Queen would guide...Sapphire right.

Fluttershy led the strange creature back to her cottage. She had never seen anything like her. A tiny blue jellyfish that levitated on its own...

Then again, she was probably an alien creature, something left behind during the recent conflict. The egg sac had been in the wreckage of a ship, after all. At first, Fluttershy had been terrified. So much of what had come from the stars had been...scary...

But then the little one had called for help...and then nuzzled her. She had called her Mama. Fluttershy knew all about imprinting, and knew that the little one had imprinted on her. That wasn't something she would ever back away from.

And so Sapphire would have to be introduced to all her other animal friends. Mr. and Mrs. Deer seemed a little nervous about her, but were relaxed in Fluttershy's presence. The other larger animals had similar viewpoints at this point.

Entering the cottage, she smiled at Sapphire. "This is your new home," she said softly. "I hope you'll be comfortable here."

Sapphire floated around the front room of the cottage, nuzzling various things, investigating. Fluttershy couldn't help but giggle when she attempted to explore the sink and got flustered when she got wet.

Most of the smaller animals of the cottage stayed in their little homes, whether holes or hanging houses, watching Sapphire warily. "It's alright, everyone," Flutterhsy said softly. "This is Sapphire. She'll be living with us now. Come say hello."

While her reassurances calmed them somewhat, most of them only stuck their heads out a little to look. Angel, however, hopped up firmly, ready to establish his usual dominance of the household.

Fluttershy smiled. "Angel, this is Sapphire," she said softly, making introductions. "Sapphire, this is-"

"Food!" Sapphire skreed, diving forward and latching her little tendrils around Angel's face. Angel screeched in fear and pain, flailing around as both began to glow with a rainbow light that flowed into Sapphire.

"Sapphire, no!" Fluttershy commanded firmly. "Stop it right now!"

Sapphire froze. When the Queen had brought the small creature and indicated it, she had thought it was food. But when she began to feed, the Queen's anger had struck her. She didn't understand. Had she done wrong? "Food?" she skreed her confused question.

"No." The Queen's thought was firm and angry. "Friend, not food."

Sapphire released the creature, which backed away, giving off fear and anger. "Friend?" she skreed, not understanding the concept.

She felt pain from the Queen, but it was quickly pushed aside by warm love and comfort. "You will learn," the Queen's thought instructed.

Sapphire accepted this. The Path decreed that the Queen would teach the Hatchlings how to live in the world. Still, the small taste of Food had awakened Sapphire's hunger, and she needed more. "Food?" she skreed hopefully.

"Food?" the Queen's thought inquired.

At first, Sapphire didn't understand the question. The Queen, not knowing what Food was? But then, the Queen was the wrong shape. Perhaps her senses weren't quite right. "Food!" Sapphire skreed, doing her best to convey the image of the world around her that she saw, the delicious Food contained in each creature and floating through the air, the floating food beyond her ability to eat.

The Queen was silent for a time. Then the Queen's leg rose against Sapphire's tendrils. "I feed you," her thought declared.

Sapphire hovered, confused. Feed? On the Queen? This was not right. This was not natural. How would she survive if she ate the Queen?

"Not too much," the Queen's thought instructed. "Just what you need."

Sapphire's confusion did not abate, but she obeyed. Wrapping her tendrils around the Queen's leg, she began to feed, going very slowly, much slower than she had with the Food-which-apparently-wasn't-Food. She could not take too much. She could not kill the Queen. That was wrong...unthinkable.

The Path was strange, but obedience to the Queen was absolute. Still, Sapphire observed the Queen's emotions and thought firmly. She promised herself to stop the moment either began to flag, whether she was full or not.

Fluttershy steeled herself as she felt some of her energy draining into Sapphire. The image she was able to get from Sapphire seemed to indicate that she ate magic, or possibly life energy. She didn't really understand enough about the various kinds of energy to know which Sapphire had meant, but she could tell that all the animals around her - including herself - had it, and that a good amount was floating in the air. Perhaps it was simply energy that Sapphire fed on.

Either way, Fluttershy was Sapphire's Mama, and that meant it was her responsibility to provide her with food. She hoped Sapphire understood what she'd said when she'd instructed her to control her feeding. She was still newborn, and babies understood so little. Sapphire didn't even understand the concept of a friend yet.

Fluttershy would teach her. That was all there was to it.

As Sapphire released her, Fluttershy smiled. "There now," she said softly. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" She felt the beginnings of weakness and exhaustion as she pulled Sapphire close to nuzzle her.

"Mama..." Sapphire skreed, nuzzling her back. Though Fluttershy didn't catch it, worry was palpable in the little creature's voice.