• Published 24th Jun 2015
  • 7,708 Views, 271 Comments

Equis: Interlude - Tatsurou

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

  • ...


The Queen takes care of me. That is what is supposed to happen. That is The Path.

But the Queen insists I feed from her. She grows weaker. I take less and less each day. Each day, the hunger grows. The Queen should recover, but she does not. She works so hard to tend the others, those-who-are-not-food. She does not get enough food and hibernation of her own to restore the Food I take from her. She is growing weaker.

Those-who-are-not-food are worried. The larger ones speak to each other in ways I do not understand. They try to speak to me, holding out limbs, but I cannot understand. The Queen says they are not-Food, so I must not feed from them.

But if I feed anymore from the Queen...will she survive?

It has been many light-darks since Hatching. I should know the number words by now, but I have not grown enough. I have not eaten enough. The Queen has gone out, to get food for herself and the others. I remain here in the Home.

I have made a decision. I will feed no more from the Queen until she has recovered. If this means I die of hunger, so be it. To take the life of the Queen would be far worse. I will die surrounded by the Queen's love and compassion, surrounded by Food, and unable to eat.

...is this The Path?

Fluttershy walked carefully through the market, gathering the food she needed for the week. She was stockpiling a bit more in the high energy fruits and vegetables than normal, hoping to counteract the tiredness she'd been feeling ever since she started feeding Sapphire. She would never imagine blaming Sapphire for her weakness. She was Sapphire's Mama, after all. It was up to her to feed Sapphire, and teach her how to behave.

Several of her animal friends had been badgering her to let them take some of the burden of feeding Sapphire, to let her feed from them on occasion. Fluttershy had refused each time. With how aggressively predatory Sapphire had been on first encounter with Angel, she was worried Sapphire might not be able to control herself once she latched on. Besides, the larger animals were too big all around for Sapphire to latch on anywhere.

She swayed a little as she walked, smiling shyly at those she recognized around the market. Admittedly, some ponies still avoided her after what had happened with Iron Will's seminar, but she tried not to think about that. Besides, it had made it a little easier to get what she needed at market.

She glanced at her list and blanched. She had looked up an energy restoring smoothie, one that guaranteed to replenish lost vigor and vitality, and had been gathering what she needed to make it for herself. The one ingredient left was cherries...and unfortunately, there was still only one merchant in Ponyville who sold cherries.

As she approached the gruff looking stallion behind the stall, she managed a smile. "I'd...like some cherries, please," she said softly, managing to force the words out.

"Ten bits," he replied blatantly.

"Oh...okay...I think I have that much..." Reaching into her bit pouch she fumbled out three before reaching in deeper. At that point, her hoof slipped and she stumbled against the stall. "I'm sorry!" she said quickly, struggling to right herself, only to fall flat on her rump.

"You okay, miss?" the salespony asked, suddenly seeming far less surly.

"Just a little dizzy," Fluttershy hastened to say. "I'll be fine."

"Fluttershy?" Rainbow called out, winging down beside her. "You alright? I saw you stumble. You never stumble."

"Just dizzy," Fluttershy repeated. "Just needed some...cherries...for an energy smoothie...but I'm a bit short on bits-"

"I'll handle it," Rainbow interrupted. She turned to the stallion. "So how short is she-"

"We've already completed our transaction," he said firmly, taking the three bits on the counter and bagging two baskets of cherries for Fluttershy.

Fluttershy blinked in shock. "But that's not-"

"You really ought to practice your haggling," he interrupted with a wink. "Takes all the fun outta sales if you give in on the first offer."

"Oh," Fluttershy replied, feeling a trifle foolish. "Um...thanks...er, sorry...er, thanks?" She slipped the cherries into her saddlebags.

"You gonna be okay getting home?" Rainbow asked worriedly.

"I'll be fine!" Fluttershy insisted with a smile. "You don't need to worry, Rainbow Dash." Nodding to herself, she made her way home, swaying a bit.

Rainbow Dash stared after her as she left, confused and worried. Turning, she flew off to Golden Oaks, determined to tell Twilight her worries and mobilize the whole group.

The Queen has told me the Friends are coming over today, and that I am to be on my best behavior to make a good impression on them. I do not understand any of this. I still do not understand Friends, nor do I understand behavior beyond doing what the Queen instructs. I also do not understand how a feeding impression can be good or bad, or why she wants me to make a good one on Friends, when I'm pretty sure Friends has something to do with those-who-are-not-food.

I have not yet informed the Queen about my decision. However, I know I will have to today. I'm beginning to lose focus, and it's becoming harder to stay in the air.

But I welcome death over loneliness. I cannot bear to be alone in my core. That is unnatural. That is not The Path.

...I'm sorry, Mama.

Fluttershy carefully set up the tea party with the help of her animal friends. Pinkie had stopped by just a little bit ago - not long after Fluttershy had gotten back from the market - and had asked if it was okay that this week's tea party was moved to today and hosted at Fluttershy's. Fluttershy hadn't had the heart - or the energy - to refuse. As a result, all her friends would be there soon, and she was barely able to stay standing. Making it to market and back had taken more out of her then she had expected. With her animal friends help, however, she had it all ready with time to spare.

Taking a seat at the table, she rested a bit to recover her breath. She'd meant it only to be a few moments, but before she knew it, there was a knock on her door. Before she could react, Angel had hopped to the door and opened it.

Fluttershy smiled as Pinkie Pie bounced in, followed by Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Spike, and Applejack, in that order. Despite her smile, however, every one of them looked at her worriedly as soon as they saw her. As they took their seats, Rainbow turned to the others and said, "See? I told you!"

"I noticed it too," Pinkie pointed out. "Fluttershy, you look kinda...faded."

"Are you alright, darling?" Rarity asked worriedly. "You're looking a little under the weather."

"Are you sick?" Twilight asked, looking terrified. "Did you catch some sort of sickness from our off planet visitors that our immune systems have no defense against that's going to wipe out life as Equis knows it?"

Spike stared at Twilight with flat eyes. "And you said my comic books gave me outlandish ideas," he scolded, getting rueful laughter from some and a roll of the eyes from Twilight. "But you do look bad, Fluttershy, I hate to say."

"You look more worn out than a farm dog keepin' track of her litter o' 20," Applejack added. "Ya need ta take it easy, Flutters! Whatever's got ya like this, it can't be good for ya."

Fluttershy struggled to smile reassuringly. "It's nothing worrisome, everypo-everyone," she said softly, glancing apologetically at Spike, who waved her correction off like it was nothing. "I just recently got a new animal friend to take care of. She sees me as Mommy, and...she's a little more work to take care of than I expected."

"Oh, darling!" Rarity gasped. "Why didn't you tell us?"

"Can we meet her?" Pinkie demanded eagerly. "Can we meet her?"

"You always show off your new animal friends!" Rainbow pointed out. "What's different this time?"

Fluttershy flushed. "Well...I was a little nervous because...I'm pretty sure she's alien."

Twilight gasped. "A creature from another world? An infant you're taking care of? Oh, this I have got to see!"

"Yeah!" Spike agreed. "Don't keep us in suspense!"

"Go on!" Applejack encouraged. "Trot the little lady out here so she can say hello."

Fluttershy nodded. "Alright," she agreed. "Sapphire?" she called, turning towards the kitchen. "Come meet my friends!"

There was a very soft skree from the kitchen. "Mama..." Sapphire slowly floated out of the kitchen.

Fluttershy gasped at the sight. She was no stranger to the way Sapphire's gelatinous body shifted colors based on her mood, as she'd seen it before. Normally, she was a bright blue, filled with love. Fluttershy wasn't surprised to see yellow tinging the blue, signifying her anxiety and nervousness about meeting the others. But crisscrossing her body were streaks of unhealthy looking grey. "Sapphire!" she called out worriedly. "What's wrong?" She hadn't looked like this when she'd left for market that morning.

"...hungry..." Sapphire skreed softly, floating haphazardly around the room.

"Then you need to eat!" Fluttershy insisted, stretching her foreleg out. "Come here and-"

"NO!" Sapphire shrieked, the skree pitched at a tone that grated everyone's ears. "No more Mama Food...Mama weak. Anymore and...Mama die. No more Mama Food...till Mama better..."

Fluttershy gasped. "But Sapphire...if you don't eat...you could die!"

"Then Sapphire die," Sapphire skreed softly. "Die in Mama's love..."

Sobbing, Fluttershy wrapped her wings around Sapphire, hugging her tight. At that moment, the worried babble of her friends broke through her fear and worry.

"Fluttershy, what's wrong with her?" Twilight asked. "Why isn't she eating? Is there anything we can do to help?"

"What does she eat, anyway?" Applejack asked curiously.

Fluttershy swallowed nervously. She knew she had to save Sapphire...but this was asking a lot, even from friends. "Well...there is something..." As everyone looked to her eagerly, she took a deep breath. "Would it be okay if Sapphire latched onto to all of you and ate you, just a little bit?" She gave her best friendly, hopeful smile, a quiet squee escaping her as she did so.

Elsewhere in the house, a pin could be heard to drop.