• Published 23rd Aug 2016
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The Pony Dreadfuls - No one is home

A series of stories about ponies. Dreadful in both subject and quality. Enjoy :)

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Chapter 25 - The Lost Foals

“Why are you doing this?” Diane sobbed, glaring at the changeling spider thing. “You know him! He only builds things so he can tear them down! He’s going to laugh while you burn!”

“”Perhaps he will. Perhaps it is worth it.” Night Shift scuttled up to the bound filly. “Did you really think we would forgive you, brat queen? Switch Shift is dead little Dragonfly. Did you really think some goat’s card game would make that go away?”

“You had every chance darling,” Sweet Shift smiled coyly, flashing into a wasp-like countenance, “We’ve been waiting with bated breath since the invasion, living in the shadows of this rather… pony… city. You were supposed to be our great hope. But all you ever fed us was self loathing, shame, and regret. Fast Change was really the last straw.”

“You gave up on us!” Split Shift’s form melted into a sickening chromatic fly-pony. “Did you even know Day Shift was dead? Did you?!?! Or were too busy playing love-struck school filly?”

“Please! I didn’t know!” Diane closed her eyes against the onslaught. “I thought you had all gone back to…”

“Back to where, sister?” A pale yellow mosquito-like changeling emerged from the shadows. “Chrysalis would never take us back. I’m sorry, but you always knew that. We’re the nightmare’s brood. There was never a place for us there.”

“Ah recon you brought this on yerself, little filly.” A thickly carapaced changeling with too many legs and a nasty set of mandibles protruding from her toothless maw emerged from the shadows.

“You’ve all been here… since the invasion?” Diane cringed. “Where are…”

“Our escorts?” Night shift laughed cruelly. “After we lost the stupid little brat queen, they moved on to Fillydelphia. Nopony cared what happened to a gaggle of lost little freaks. We were only drones after all. After you killed Switch Shift, why would anypony bother?”


“I’m a prince… sort of! Let me in!” An angry lunar colt struggled against the changeling guard. “I demand to see Diane!”

“We’re sorry, Prince Moonbeam.” The closest guard responded with firm respect. “We have a security issue. Nopony comes in, nopony leaves.”

“The Moonbeam will prove he is the Moonbeam, NO SAFE WORDS!” The guards shuffled aside to make room for the angry changeling mare who emerged. “He will will prove to Z-978 he is the Moonbeam, or he will sleep in a pod until her sister is returned!”

“I- Diane said Train Wreck left, sh- she told me to meet her here,” Moonbeam backed away slowly.

“That is not good enough little pony, Z-978 is sorry,” the mare bowed her head sadly as the guards advanced.

Something embarrassing that only he knew about? "I was the one that recruited my mom into the whole Am-Neigh thing. She was totally into it to, made me a lot of bits." He rubbed one hoof against the opposing leg. "I'm not proud of it, looking back…"

"Z-978 has heard of this Neigh of Ams,” The changeling nodded. “The Samantha has spoken with Z at the association of parents and teachers. But many ponies know of what you did because they are the ponies that you did it to. Why would Z’s sister call the Moonbeam to meet her here? Why would she tell him the Train Wreck has left the hive? This is Moon Pie information. Even Z’s sister Carrot does not know Train Wreck is not with his family!”

His ears sagged a little before their tufted tips jerked upright. "She trusts me, you know, to help." He stood a little taller. "If I can, I want to. She's, you know, a friend. Friends help friends." He put a hoof over his own chest. "Mom taught me that, cheesy as that sounds."

“And you will help Z’s sister? Because you are friends? Or because of the pancakes you think Z is too stupid to know you are making?” Z fixed a stern gaze on the young lunar.

Moonbeam glanced away a moment. "What we do in the kitchen ain't nopony's business." A hoof scuffed the ground lightly. "We're better friends than just that."

“Does the Moonbeam know where Diane is?” Z’s interogation broke down into a note of desperation.

He looked lost a moment before he thrust a hoof at Z. "She said somethin'. I think it was a, uh, code, sorta. There was this place, a, uh, private place. Only we knew 'bout it. She, uh…" His stammering grew a bit worse under the pressure. "How can I be sure you ain't part of the problem?"

“Is it the place where Z’s sister once hid… or is it the place where Z’s sister saw her die?” Z’s eye’s turned to steel. “It is one of those places. Unless it is another place.”

His swallow was audible across the room. "I… guess you're legit alright." He turned half away. "I could show you, if that would help. Luna take it, I don't know what helps anymore!"

“If you can show Z-978 where her sister would have gone… where would she go when the Train Wreck left?” The changeling mare shuffled in despair. “Surprise would have known! She would have kept Z’s sisters together while the stupid Train Wreck had his sulk!”

Moonbeam knew little about the family as a whole. His own family was quite bizarre enough to keep track of. He took a little breath, trying to calm himself. "I can show you where we usually meet. I can't promise she's there, alright?"

“Z-978 will follow the Moonbeam. She will trust him. Z cannot lose her sister.” Z nodded with resolve. “She cannot lose another sister.”

“Z, is there any word on Di-... what are YOU doing here?” a young minotaur bull ran out, only to glare at Moonbeam.

Moonbeam started back, but recovered quickly. "This where you ran off to? We're busy, you know, getting things done." Someone was feeling like a protagonist. "Would you know anything about that?"

“I- how can we even trust him?!?! Half of upper canterlot is already compromised!” Rock Steady countered defensively. “What do you know about anything, living up on the hill in a big fancy castle? I bet grandpa married-to-the-crown doesn’t even know there’s an invasion! Why would he? Not like any of you snobs noticed the last time this happened!”

Moonbeam snorted softly. "Where'd you get this joker? Acting like I'm one of those pricks up on th' hill or somethin'." Moonbeam turned entirely around and began to walk. "We gonna argue politics or get things done? I vote the latter." He had no idea what he was doing, but doing felt a lot better than not doing.

“Fine! We’ll follow the Con-Pony-Prince.” Rock Steady rolled his eyes when Z brought down an angry hoof.

“This is not a time for these things,” the mare hissed. “If you are Diane’s brother, you will follow. If not you will stay.”

“I got Diane’s back. I been here since the beginning,” The minotaur shot a pointed look at Moonbeam, “She had other friends before you fluttered down from on high, you know.”

He shrugged. "What, is it a line now? Get off your damn perch." He strode forward. It was all he could do, but he'd do it well.

Rock huffed up but fell in line following his rival to, he was embarrassed to admit he had no idea where. They had already searched the old bakery, the circus grounds, and all of the gang’s hangouts around the school. As much as Rock hated to admit it, Diane’s life before the hive was a mystery to him. It was something they just didn’t talk about. Like, ever.

Weaving through the streets, darting his eyes left and right, Moonbeam led the way off that beaten path. It wasn't at the school, or the usual places. It wasn't much of a place at all. It was a quiet little plot of graves that he grew more somber as he approached. "My, uh… My real folks, they're here… I brought her here, you know… to meet them." His voice was strained. "She better be alright…"

The hoofprints were clear but confusing in the soft earth. There had been a meeting of ponies… or more likely changelings here. There was a struggle, that much was clear, but at the center of it there were simply...too many hooves.

“No.” Z’s eye’s narrowed in panic. “Nononononono, NO!”

“It had to be them. Z knew this, but she did not want to know this! They were our sisters! How could you do this!?!? Sweet! Split! She trusted you!” Z scraped the earth with her hoof and circled herself in her rage seeking the offending changelings. “Z was wrong to bring you here! She should have trusted the Princess Fast Change… you should run…”

"Who? Me?" Moonbeam pointed at himself with a hoof. "Not without Diane." He brought down that same hoof angrily. "Some real shit for brains went and bothered my parents' place. We kick them in the face, take Diane back, right?"

“Got a secret, can you keep it? Swear this one you’ll save!” A voice as sweet as honey rang out across the graves as a cheshire smile spilt the night. “Ah, Number 7! And you brought friends. And snacks! Better lock it in your pocket, taking this one to the grave.”

“Graveyard Shift.” Z shuffled in a panic.

“I’ve missed my little sister SO much!” The sing-song voice teased. “We’ve all been waiting. We’ve all been waiting this whole time for a big fat reunion party.” The smile hovered in the dark, one second in front of them, the next leering over their shoulders.

Moonbeam shrieked like any filly half his size. His wings snapped open and beat to lift him off the ground and away from the threat even as he spun in place. "Get 'em!"

“Who do you think YOU are mister?” A bloated spider of a changeling scuttled out of the shadows.

“Y- you shouldn’t be here!” a nervous voice buzzed from the dark..

“Switch, darling, have you finally come to your senses?” Sweet shift emerged, her wasp-body proudly on display. “I know it must have been dreadful for you, pretending to be something you weren’t in who knows where and when.”

“This is so much more fucked up than I thought it was going to be.” Rock Steady took a step back. “And I was was actually there for the circus. Seriously, Diane? Are you out there?”

“Z’s right.” A tiny voice carried from the darkness. “They're giving you a chance. You should run.”

“Why keep up the disguise Switch?” Split shift’s fly-head poked out of the shadows. “They can’t be more scared than they already are.”

“Poor little bat-prince,” Night Shift loomed over Moonbeam, “Are we scaring you? The ‘scary’ nightmare changelings. Imagine if you really saw our queen.”

"I ain't scared none!" Moonbeam lifted up to be even with Night Shift. "Give back Diane! And get offa my parents while yer at it!" His eyes darted nervously to the other threats, but he stayed his ground despite it.

“Oh he’s so adorable!” Sweet Shift gushed. “They both are! Why couldn’t you leave more like these two lying in alleyways, Swing?”

“Leave them alone!” Diane’s voice carried out of the darkness. “I’m sorry! It wasn’t… it-”

“It wasn’t Switch Shift’s Sister’s fault!” Z’s form shimmered in pink flames, becoming something more akin to a pink cockroach than a changeling. “It wasn’t ANY of our faults!"

“She wasn’t a queen! We were not soldiers!” Z shouted angrily. “We were frightened fillies, running from bad into worse!”

“We are the spawn of the nightmare.” Night Shift spat. “It s our place to scrape and suffer!”

“I-Its really better to lie.” The shy voice buzzed from the edge of sight. “It’s not like changeling’s even have fathers.”

“Oh come on!” the cheshire smile split over the would be heroes. “You said there was going to be a party! And snacks!”

Moon couldn't help but to look towards each pony that spoke. They sounded like a mess. What should he do? He thought to his mother, the living one. She would probably want to study them all, forever if allowed. That wouldn't help. "So, uh, hey, since we're all… here, why don't we just, ya know, talk this out or somethin'?" He had heard Diane, he was sure of that.

“Well done girls,” Z flinched at the sound of the new, masculine voice, her chitin visibly paling.

“Moonbeam,” Diane pleaded from the edge of vision, “Please, just run.”

Author's Note:

Super fun collab chapter with David! :pinkiehappy: Things are heating up. And look, it's those other changeling foals who escaped with Diane. :pinkiegasp: Seems I remember her saying something in the comaverse about how they were all way younger than they looked, which means Z is actually :twilightoops: ... Train Wreck, you've got some splainin' to do. :facehoof:

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