• Published 10th May 2016
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How Love Works - HypernovaBolts11

Toothless is (sadly, not a dragon) tasked with running New Hiveland, while trying to sort out his feelings for the newest member of the city.

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Chapter III - Arguments

I sat at a lavishly decorated table, only half covered by the tablecloth. Shimmering super-obsidian met with gold trim, bordering the oceans of red. Plates and large bowls of pink fluid had been set out for the royal family, milky and foggy whites only just covering the brilliance of the piercing minus-green.

I had before me a single flask of the fluid, the cork having long since been removed, and half depleted of itself. The only three other royalties were situated across from me, my father to my left, my mother to my right, and my youngest sister in the middle.

My father was mostly without the muscle of many other stallions, but he was witty enough to make up for it. His coat was navy blue, and the velvet on his leathery wings was a faint silver. He had brown irises, and each had a pair of vertical slits for pupils.

His mane and tail were both light turquoise, though they were fading as he grew older and older. His fangs fit well in his mouth, and had always been that way. His legs were full of holes, though he covered them at formal events. His horn was long, with spiraling grooves running clockwise.

He was the son of Princess Luna. He was the last bat pony, a title he wore with both pride and sorrow. He was calm, careful, collected. Unless my mother commanded him to, he wouldn't get into a fight. His life is its own story, one that begins with a burning city, and hadn't ended just yet.

My mother was a changeling, with a blue mane and tail. Her left eye was a piercing pink that had no problem drilling through the wills of those who opposed her. It was part of an experiment designed to understand how changeling eyes worked, and was indeed a specialized camera that had been installed against her will.

Her right eye was a ghostly shade of blue. Her fangs were small enough to fit in her mouth, but were once long enough to reach below her jaw when she opened it. She had a long, pointed horn, ever so slightly curved back, with tiny, straight grooves running up the whole length.

Her wings were clean, as my father reminded her to take care of them more times than he cared to count on a good day. Her chitin was black, and her entire body had no holes, save for a few on her legs, and she also covered them whenever there was a guest at our home. She had been the last queen of the changelings, having decided to serve as their princess instead.

They both wore atop their heads identical crowns, pink on the left, blue on the right, and a solid white band in the middle. They each wore braces over their chests. My father's was blue, with a black disc in the middle, in which a distorted white star with eleven points sat. My mother's was pink, with a white circle in the middle to hold a small illustration of a black heart.

Their decidedly final child was a thing of beauty, with big eyes made of solid gold, wings bundled up into multicolored balls at her sides, a biological queen, who would someday have as many children as her parents. That thought that had played no small part in my parents' decision to stop being rabbits and start being rulers.

She was tiny, smaller than my head, and sat quietly —for the time being— between our parents, her wide eyes bouncing across the room as she suckled on her bottle of the pink liquid that sustained the younger members of the city in place of romantic love.

She wasn't wearing any clothing, as changelings don't digest food in the same way as ponies, and never gave off waste products. The changeling digestive system was simply that efficient, and made use of every chemical compound it could find, so that it never lost anything.

My mother cleared her throat, and I snapped free of my daydream. I looked up at her, and asked, "What is it, mother?"

She placed her knees on the table, and leaned forward on them, a big grin on her face. "You've been seeing someone, haven't you?" she asked me, far too confident in her assumption. Her cheeks came to rest on either of her hooves,

I blinked, and blushed, far too able to imagine what she had already learned from my unconscious behaviors. "Well..." I said, looking down, a smile forming on my lips. "It's not like that, mom." I lifted my flask, drank down the last of it in one swig, then nodded.

She smiled, letting her ears perk up in excitement. "Toothless, who is she? Why haven't I heard about her earlier? How long has this been going on?" she asked me.

My father placed a hoof on her shoulder, and said, "Sweet Tooth, let the poor colt breathe, or he won't be able to answer even one of your questions about his new friend."

My mother didn't even look away from me, and fixed her pink eye on me. It zoomed in and out on its own, trying to focus on me without her conscious help. It was held behind the original membrane of her eye, so she could still blink without hitting the camera.

"Mom, the uh... I don't think the new update worked quite as well as you'd hoped," I said, nervously trying to change the subject.

She wasn't having it, not in the least. She closed the aperture in her pink eye until only a point of pink light shone through. She narrowed both of her eyes into horizontal slits. This was a trick she'd picked up from spending a few weeks with one of the element bearers, and called "the stare".

I whimpered as waves of magic radiated out from her, and right into my eyes. "Okay, okay. I'll talk, just stop doing that," I whined.

She dropped the stare, and returned to her bouncy composure almost disturbingly fast. She smiled, her wings gently fanning back and forth, sending the cool night air to tickle her youngest daughter's undeveloped wings, trying to dry them. "I'm waiting," she said.

"You know Ladybug Spring?" I asked them.

My mother nodded, and opened her mouth to speak, but my father cut her off, "About that, I was told that you threatened legal suit against Grgrrel over talking to her, and then attacked her." He looked me in the eye and said, "I'm not accusing you of overreacting, but that was a bit much."

I jumped to my own defense. "Grgrrel was using her telepathy to mentally torment our guest. I regret my actions, okay? But it's just as fair that I used Ladybug's emotions to show Grgrrel the damage she was causing. It's past time that she learned how to treat others with basic decency," I said.

"Such consequences would have come to her in time, through the world's work. It isn't your place to dictate the consequences that nature itself will bring upon those who make mistakes," my father said, in his ever calm voice. "You aren't the forces of nature, Toothless."

"Then what the heck am I?" I exclaimed. I took a deep breath, and said, "I remember Grgrrel telling me a story. It was about two parents, who asked the god of the desert to revive their stillborn colt. The desert saves him by melding its soul to that of the child, and he draws his first breath of air."

Both of my parents fell perfectly silent.

"And the thing about that story is, that same day, you mentioned that someone had read your thoughts, and no one else in our family knows that story. Princess Luna doesn't know it, and neither does Chrysalis. None of her subjects know it either," I said. I leaned forward on the table, narrowing my eyes at my parents. "The only reasonable conclusion is that the story is one of yours. And last time I checked, you only have one son."

My parents' horns were glowing faintly, and a tether of white light stretched between them. They were exchanging thoughts through the dreamscape again, something they'd only ever done while engaging in private matters, or dire emergencies. And I didn't smell any lust on them, so this was an emergency.

I looked down from the connection they were sharing, and smiled at my youngest sister. "Hey, do you see that?" I asked her, pointing a hoof at the string of magic above her head. I smiled as she tensed her hind legs, and jumped for the band of magic, closing her jaws around the connection, severing it.

My father spoke his mind for a brief moment, before he realized that the connection had unraveled, "-know that's not the best thing to do for..." He turned to face me, and said, "Toothless..."

"Am I not a part of this city? Is it not a part of me?" I asked him. "Is it not my responsibility to ensure that nature runs its course here? Is there no reason why every time I have fallen into depression, winter came? Is there no reason for the seasons' rapid change and misplacement correlate to my moods and mental state, but that I am somehow linked to it?"

My father's wings stiffened against his sides, and my mother's flitted in turn. They both sat there for several quiet moments, not moving, save for their chests expanding and contracting to allow their lungs room to breathe. My youngest sister broke the silence, opening her mouth wide in a yawn.

My father flinched when the hatchling placed her hoof against his side, and he looked down at the golden foal beside him. He smiled warmly, unable to maintain any other expression while looking at her. He said, "Such a child wouldn't be responsible for the course nature runs, even if he were the land's body."

I narrowed my eyes at them, and said, "Tell me the truth, father."

"I already have," he said, not looking away from his daughter. He reached out a hoof to the youngling, which she wrapped her legs around, and nuzzled her chitin against his soft fur. "Sweet Tooth, sometimes I wish we'd had more children," he muttered, probably as an attempt to change the subject.

My mother looked at him, eyes wide, and cleared her throat. "N-Nightsong?" she asked him.

"Yes," he answered, lifting his daughter up from her chair, and setting his hoof on his mate's shoulder.

"We have three hundred and twenty children. Goddess knows if you think about what you say. Enough is enough, dear," she said, waving her hoof in front of his face. She glanced at her daughter, who was still clinging to the foreleg connecting her to him. She looked away, and said, "I wonder if you're even listening."

He nodded slowly, and said, "I know, I sound crazy, but tell me that this isn't adorable." He lit up his horn, and lifted his youngest off of his leg. He sat down the foal in her mother's lap, and smiled when his wife's expression became one of unabashed joy.

My mother frowned, and glanced at my father. "We talked about this, Nightsong," she said. She looked back at her daughter, and smiled again. "I'm not laying one single egg more than I already have." She picked up her daughter in her front hooves, and gently nuzzled the foal's stomach. "Besides, this one still needs a name."

I groaned, the conversation having lost all of its momentum, and stood up. "I suppose that I'll just go to bed, seeing as how uninterested you've become about my friend," I declared. I turned to my right, and wandered out of the dining hall.

I fell asleep that night, unawakened by the sound of my father's phaseblade being unsheathed, the maniacal laugh, and the clanging of crowns on the cold castle floor.

I made my way through the crowded hallways of the school, my ears pinned down in an unamused fashion. My day had started rather poorly, as I'd woken up too late for any sort of breakfast with my parents, which I assumed wasn't so bad, as they'd have asked a million questions about Ladybug that I wouldn't have been able to answer without running late.

It was three weeks after the first day of school, and I had a study hall after English class. The good part of that was that Ladybug Spring also had a study hall that period, so I was looking forward to a nice hour spent in the school garden, which had been made by the younger clutches, talking to my dearest friend.

I bumped straight into something, took a step back, and blinked confusedly at the purple changeling. She was taller than me, a bit thinner, and somewhat longer. She wore a dark purple helmet on her head, with a fringe of bright pink at the top. She had her chest piece on, as well as her yoke, and three badges on her collarbone, each a five pointed golden star.

"Glados, what are you doing here?" I asked the purple. "You should be at the castle, training the others."

She gave me a look, as though she were looking into the eyes of the most naïve foal, and she carried some very terrible news that the child wouldn't understand the consequences of. She opened her mouth, choked on her words, and said, "The castle is under lockdown, and I am here for you on the highest priority."

I froze, my wings shaking against my sides in anxious preparation. "W-what happened?" I asked her.

She took a deep breath, and said the one thing I'd hoped never to hear. The royal guard used passwords to pass on highly sensitive information about certain events. It was a safeguard against unwanted listeners or gossipers. "Ap. Ognut’yun. Zro. Vaghy," she said.

I bit my lip, and said, "N-no." I swallowed hard, and clamped my eyes shut. "Please, no!" I whined.

Glados nodded slowly, maintaining a solemn expression, something she was especially good at. She said, "I wish I could tell you what you want to hear, but the truth isn't so kind. I will summon your selected consort personally, and see what we can do by day's end."

My breathing grew rapid as the meaning of her words came down upon me. I wanted to run, to get away from everything, to be anywhere but inside the castle. Even as panic set in, Glados teleported me to the castle. I staggered into the throne room, and, ignoring the insistence of my older sisters, stumbled towards the back of the obsidian room.

Morning light was pouring in through the windows to the left, dancing over the floor, warming the cold stone a bit. My mother's throne was on the left, my father's on the right. They were both square, made of right angles, and plain black in color. Between the two thrones was a plate of stone, with a family tree carved into the wall behind them.

At the top, near the ceiling, were two circles, one pink, over my mother's throne, and the other blue, over my father's. A white line connected the two disks, and opened to a bracket, below which all of my siblings were represented by the edges of white circles, with horizontal lines through the middle, which were of the color of their clutch.

A group of white circles with purple lines was at the top, thirteen members wide and four tall. My fifty two older sisters, all of whom were nine months older than me, and went silent behind me as I looked over the diagram.

The outline of a star with eleven points rested just below the purples, with the circle in the middle filled in by a solid disk of silver. It was me, the only son my parents could ever have, as there was a curse placed upon my family a few thousand years prior to my birth.

A box below me of seven by seven circles, lined with orange, made known my peers.

A group of nine columns and four rows marked with green made up the smallest clutch —excluding myself and my youngest sister, who had no others.

Ten by ten red made up the largest clutch, best known as the red legion.

Nine by nine made the blues.

And then, the last one. A golden disk represented the last sibling I would ever have.

My ears rang, and everything sounded distant, save for the surreal thumping of my own heart and the rasping of my hurried breaths. I watched the top of the family tree, waiting in horror for it to demonstrate its magic.

From each of the two parents, a crown appeared. The two illustrations were both red with golden trim, and moved to meet between their points of origin. The two crowns overlapped, melding into one.

I watched through bleary eyes as the two representations of my parents faded to grey, and the crown drifted down the center of the wall, towards my star. It centered itself over the silver engraving, and vanished in a brief flash of light. It left my image on the wall, with five of the eleven arms of the star colored it.

Going clockwise from the arm pointing up, the arms were purple, orange, green, followed by six empty ones, red, and blue.

I sat there for a moment, unable to properly hear anything, and only moved when one of my sisters placed a hoof to my shoulder. I looked at her, then at the metal sword hilt she held. I sniffled, and took my father's blade, slowly looking it over. I clamped my eyes shut, and began to cry.

"N-no!" I demanded, then again, more softly, and less certain of myself. "No... no..." I repeated that word to myself a few dozen times as I wept. Having been tasked with running a nation state, the first thing I did was cry. What else was there for me to do?