• Published 24th Jun 2015
  • 7,711 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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Decisions

Fluttershy glanced around at her friends nervously. The silence and stares lasted for a full five minutes. Then everypony reacted at once.

"You have an alien creature that eats ponies?" Twilight demanded. "What have you been feeding her? How long has this been going on? What-"

"Now hold on there!" Applejack yelled. "You're gonna try ta feed us to your critter? Since when did you get like that? Since when did you start with-"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Rainbow gasped in shock. "She's some kinda alien space parasite? Is she gonna take bites out of us like a zombie? Drain blood like a vampire? What is-"

"What do you taste like to Sapphire?" Pinkie demanded. "Butterflies? Sauerkraut? Cupcakes? Oh, I wonder what I'll taste like! I bet cotton candy! Or balloons! Or raspberry jelly! Or chimicherrychangas! Or-"

Rarity had fainted.

Fluttershy folded in on herself. "Perhaps I could have phrased that better," she whimpered, mantling her wings protectively around Sapphire.

"Hang on!" Spike shouted, jumping onto the table and getting everypony's attention immediately. "Lets all take a few deep breaths and think. Fluttershy wouldn't be feeding ponies to her animals, even if they did eat ponies! But she says she's been feeding Sapphire, but Sapphire won't eat now. So let's hear her out, okay?"

Silence reigned for a few seconds, and then the others lowered their heads, mumbling apologies.

"You were saying?" Spike asked as he sat back down. "Oh, and sorry about stepping on the cookies."

"It's quite alright," Fluttershy assured him. "And thank you, Spike." She then turned to the others. "I...I'm not sure exactly how it works, but...Sapphire eats energy. I'm not sure if it's life energy or magic, but she needs to drain it from a living creature. She can do so without causing permanent damage...if the feedings are more spaced out than they have been with me...and probably if the one being fed on gets more rest than I've been getting. It won't be harmful. I'll make sure Sapphire understands not to eat too much and hurt you." She turned her most pleading expression on all of them. "Please help...I...I couldn't bear it if she died..."

The table fell silent once again as everyone turned to their own thoughts.

Twilight was torn between fascination and fear. A chance to study a creature from another world! And one as fascinating as Sapphire seemed to be. Ever since Samus had left, Twilight had turned back to her studies to put off addressing the emotional turmoil the war had left her with, and something brand new to study was almost too good to pass up. But at the same time, there was a high probability this was a Space Pirate creature. She still had nightmares about the Space Pirates...especially the one she'd been forced to kill in her own library. The war had violated the sanctity of the Golden Oaks, her sanctuary, and with Samus gone, every noise at night had her startling awake, envisioning the armored aliens crawling through...

She banished the thoughts, turning her focus back to Sapphire. The Space Pirates didn't care about others. Sapphire was refusing to feed off Fluttershy - to the point of starvation - rather than hurt her. That was...fascinating.

Rainbow Dash was a little nervous about the idea of letting a creature feed on her. That raised all sorts of unpleasant possibilities out of her comic books and the Daring Do novels. But at the same time, she knew there was no way she could let Fluttershy lose Sapphire. Just thinking about what that would do to her set Dash to shuddering. Besides, she didn't use all that much energy on a normal day anyway. She could just take longer naps.

Applejack, now that she understood what Fluttershy had meant about letting Sapphire 'eat them just a little bit', failed to see the conflict. Ponies ate fruits, vegetables, grain, and a few other things depending on preference or diet choices. Dogs, cats, and griffons ate meat. Dragons ate gems, and whatever else they could get their claws on. No creature could help the way they were made, only how they behaved. It wasn't Sapphire's fault she ate energy from other creatures, and she was making the choice to find a way to do it without hurting anyone. Far as Applejack was concerned, that meant Sapphire was good. It wouldn't be right of her to turn her back on a good creature in need.

Rarity felt a little queasy at the idea of letting another creature feed on her. On the one hoof, she'd read a few too many vampony novels to greet the idea of being fed on with equanimity. On the other hoof, she'd read one too many vampony novels of the other sort to not be at least a little fascinated by the idea. And beyond that, it was Fluttershy begging her help for her poor, alien child. There were tears in her eyes as she pleaded. Rarity could never bear to see Fluttershy cry. She would have to do this.

Pinkie Pie wondered whether Sapphire would prefer strawberry or chocolate for her birthday cake. This wasn't because she considered the issue at hand unimportant, or had forgotten what was being talked about. She'd taken one look at the situation and realized that of course they would agree to feed Sapphire from their own energy. She just needed to wait until everyone got over the shock of the introduction and event long enough to realign their moral compass to their usual north. So, since it had already been resolved - but hadn't already been resolved yet - she decided to move onto more important thoughts, such as planning Sapphire's birthday and Welcome to Ponyville parties.(1)

She could see that Spike was of her opinion, since he had pulled out a scroll, wrote six names on it, and then torn it up and tossed the pieces in a hat, just in case the order was decided to be random. She wondered how Twilight would feel about Spike volunteering to feed the baby energy eater. Spike may have been a baby dragon, but dragons had tons of energy, especially since he could grow super giant overnight just from hoarding.

After a time, Twilight raised her head and glanced around at everyone. Rainbow gave her a firm nod. Rarity's nod was a bit more hesitant. Applejack's was just as firm as Rainbow's had been. Spike gave her a thumbs up. When Pinkie finally noticed the question in her gaze, she grinned widely and nodded vigorously. Twilight sighed, steeling herself. "We'll do it," she told Fluttershy.

"Oh, thank you!" Fluttershy squealed happily, lunging forward to hug them all.

"Hungry..." Sapphire skreed weakly. "...hungry..."

"Oh no!" Fluttershy whimpered. "She needs to feed soon..."

Steeling herself, Rarity stepped forward. "For you, Fluttershy, I will go first."

Fluttershy nodded. "Sapphire, Rarity says it's okay for you to feed on her. She's at full strength, but don't take too mu-"

"FOOD!" Sapphire skreed aggressively. Before anyone could stop her, she'd lunged forward and wrapped her tendrils around the tip of Rarity's horn.


Sapphire ate greedily, barely remembering the Queen's warning not to take too much, doing her best to slow down. But it tasted sooo good after eating so little for so long. And there were two types of Food here coming out the point she'd latched onto, targetted for the high concentrations of Food she could sense inside. Not only that, from what Sapphire could tell, the not-Food-that-is-sometimes-Food, queen-like-that-is-not-Queen that she was currently feeding on was enjoying the feeding, which added an extra tasty tang to the Food.

She continued to feed until the hunger pangs eased enough for clear thought. While she didn't detect any weakness yet in the one she currently fed on, she didn't want to take too much. She released, floating backwards, skreeing apologetically, expressing apologetic intent rather than any actual words.


Once Sapphire released Rarity's horn, the unicorn staggered back before quickly sitting down, her face burning with embarrassment. Twilight had her hooves over Spike's eyes, much to the young dragon's confusion.

"Oh...my..." Fluttershy glanced up at Sapphire, who was now blue with streaks of yellow nervousness and red hunger, but having lost all trace of grey. "Sapphire, I think maybe you shouldn't eat from horns anymore."

"But Food so tasty there," Sapphire skreed, pouting. "Get two foods, need less."

"Get two foods?" Fluttershy asked in confusion.

"Fascinating!" Twilight gasped eagerly. "It seems Sapphire feeds off life energy and magic! Feeding from Rarity's horn allowed her to absorb both, meaning she needed much less to fill up. Probably feeding from the focal point of a pony's magic would do the same thing, whatever that focus was. For unicorns, its the horn. For pegasi..." She turned to Rainbow. "I need to test this! Rainbow, let Sapphire feed from the base of your wings!"

"Wait, what?" Rainbow demanded in shock as her eyes and wings popped open in response.

"Food!" Sapphire skreed, diving in to latch onto Rainbow's left wing joint.

Rainbow tensed as the feeding began, then slowly relaxed. "Huh. Looked a lot more intense for Rarity. It's...kinda soothing."

"That's because all the energy was being drawn forcefully up the entire length of Rarity's horn, causing a physical and magical sensory overload," Twilight explained as Sapphire released Rainbow, once again fully blue. "The same thing would have probably happened to you if she'd latched onto your wing tip instead. She should probably stick to the base of the horn from now on."

Sapphire started to skree her understanding, only to let out a loud, "Skrr-rupur!"

"Sapphire!" Fluttershy scolded. "Say excuse me!"

"Excuse me," Sapphire skreed back as many present laughed.



(1) This is my perspective on Pinkie Pie's thought process, especially after Party Pooped. She's certainly not an idiot, and not really scatter brained. She's highly intelligent, but has a hard time connecting one thought to the next in a manner that's logical to others. A good metaphor would be an nth-dimensional pachinko machine, with each ball being an individual train of thought, with every peg and exit being a different aspect of information stored in her mind.

Author's Note:

I did not expect this chapter to necessitate bumping the story rating to Teen. But after that bit with Rarity...I decided to err on the side of caution. This is Hasbro and Nintendo after all, not Disney.