• Published 20th Jul 2012
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The Conquering of Love - Littlecolt

Twilight finds she and her friends are trapped in their own minds and must escape.

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Corruption Ch 5 - Hunger

Book Four: Corruption

Chapter Five - Hunger

Mulcibar leapt past the illusion wall at the cave’s entrance, landing upon the damp forest ground. He turned his head back and forth, looking for any sign of who had screamed a moment ago. A flash of magic to his right caught his eye and he charged toward it. The forest was dark, and without his focusing gem he was unable to cast a light spell, but after several yards he finally caught sight of Sweetie Belle backed up against the cliff face. The shadows in front of her were advancing slowly towards her, accompanied by a hiss and several dots of red that seemed to float in the air.

Sweetie Belle heard the pounding hoofbeats from her left and turned her head. She saw the familiar changeling charging right at her and screamed. The pendant around her neck flashed with light and she let loose a blast of magic from her horn. The beam missed its mark and struck the cliff to Mulcibar’s right, blasting rocks loose from its surface. The rocky discharge pounded against him, and he felt his balance deteriorate. He fell against the ground, sliding to a stop several feet away from the foal, who stared down at him in wide-eyed fear.

“Don’t just stand there!” Mulcibar managed to cough out. “I doubt those things just want a hug! Run along the cliff behind me and feel against the wall. You’ll find an opening disguised as a rock face.”

Sweetie Belle turned her attention back to the shadows, too terrified to move. Jagged rows of teeth floated through the air, now speeding towards her, the searing red eyes behind them staring past her skin and into her soul. All she could do was shake.

Mulcibar groaned and pushed himself back up to his feet. “You’ve got that magic pendant, don’t you?” He barked out. “Use it!”

Sweetie Belle tightly shut her eyes and cried out, firing a beam of magic into the general direction of the shadows. The forest lit up as the beam blazed through it, revealing dozens, if not hundreds of the shadowy creatures. She opened her eyes just in time to catch a glimpse of the ocean of monsters and fell back to her rump.

Mulcibar lurched toward the filly and grabbed her, pulling her up against his chest. He turned and ran back along the cliff towards the cave. “Plan B!” he shouted. “We’re getting out of here!” Sweetie Belle could only nod her head, her body paralyzed with fear. He saw the illusion wall ahead of them, but there was a collection of the creatures between them and safety. Several of their jagged maws opened before him, hissing loudly as he approached. From their open mouths, pale red tentacle-like tongues fired like spears . He ducked to the ground, shielding Sweetie Belle underneath him. The sharp tips of three of the appendages stabbed into his back and shoulders.

Mulcibar growled in pain, but then pushed himself up and pulled back against the freakishly long tongues. The creatures they were attached to were flung up and over his shoulder, causing the spear-like objects to eject from his body, which only served to send another jolt of pain through his system. He took it in stride, though, and charged forward, barreling through the beasts like a bowling ball through pins.

“Brace yourself!” he said, and then threw Sweetie Belle into the cave as hard as he could manage. He skidded to a stop and pressed up against the rock wall on the other side of the cave opening. He stared out at the creatures and grinned, baring his own teeth. “I was really enjoying sitting at fireside with a lovely mare, but no, you had to ruin it. Bad move.”

The shadows in front of him swung their mouths open, hissing and launching their tongues in his direction. A second later, the changeling’s horn erupted with magic. The force of the massive magical explosion tore trees from the ground, shook rocks loose from the cliff, and sent the shadows, sometimes in pieces, flying. After mere seconds, all that was left in a several yard radius was earth stripped bare of grass, jagged tree trunks, and remnants of the shadow creatures dissolving into a steam-like vapor and flying up into the starry night sky.

Mulcibar took two steps toward the cave opening, but collapsed onto the ground. The glow from his wings faded, and the illusion wall vanished. Fluttershy stood at the mouth of the cave, her hoof outstretched, staring out at the scene of destruction. She hobbled forward as best she could until she caught sight of the changeling lying on the ground. In that moment, as if her wounds suddenly meant nothing, she ran to him.

“Sweetie Belle!” Fluttershy shouted, glancing over her shoulder at the foal who was now peeking out at her. “Help me pull him into the cave!”

After a moment of hesitation, the filly compiled and used her magic to levitate him above the ground while Fluttershy pulled him back to the fire. A trail of blood lined the path they moved him along. Fluttershy laid him down upon the bed of hay that she had been using. She turned her head to Sweetie and pointed her hoof towards the gaping wounds in his back. “You healed Twilight before, right? Can you do the same for him?”

Sweetie Belle stared down at the changeling. The sight of him only brought back memories of how he had trapped them in an illusion and attacked them before; How Linnai had tried to kill Princess Celestia and Twilight. She clenched her teeth and turned her head up to Fluttershy, her eyes tearing up a little. “Why?” she asked plainly. “He was so terrible! They both were!”

“Sweetie Belle!” Fluttershy gasped in shock.

The filly continued to speak, shaking as she did. “I hate this! He was so mean, and yet… I can’t stand seeing him like that, but... I don’t want to help him! We shouldn’t help him!” Her eyes danced across his body, bloody and bruised, and thought back to how he’d just saved her life not two minutes ago. “It’s not fair! Why did he have to save me?”

Fluttershy smiled bittersweetly down at Sweetie Belle. “I know,” she said calmly. “He saved my life, too. He may be part of the enemy team, but we can’t just let him die. Not after what he’s done for us, Sweetie. We must repay his kindness with our own, even if his intentions were different.”

“The foal is right…” Mulcibar wheezed. “You know… she is. You two would be fools… to help me now. I did this to myself.”

Sweetie Belle frowned and clocked the changeling over the head with her hoof. She then closed her eyes and began to concentrate. Her horn and pendant both shone with a radiant pink light and the wounds on Mulcibar’s back began to glow as well. The blood around them seemed to evaporate and the holes began to slowly but surely close. After several minutes, he was left only with some scars and his breathing had improved slightly.

Sweetie Belle stopped casting her spell and fell back to a sitting position. She breathed heavily, the output of so much magic having taken a drain on her. She looked back at Fluttershy’s hind leg and shook her head. “I’ll heal you next, Fluttershy. Just give me a minute to rest,” she said. She took a few steps around to the other side of the fire and then fell forward, seemingly uncontrollably, and her eyes shut. “Don’t worry… Fluttershy. We’ll be okay…”

Fluttershy smiled down at the drowsy filly and then looked back at Mulcibar. He was gazing up at her, a weak smile spread across his lips. His wings flashed and began to glow blue once again, though dimly, as the illusion wall rose at the cave’s mouth once more.

“You said you were repaying my kindness,” he said. “So, does that mean you weren’t so mad at me after all?”

Fluttershy sighed. “No, I really was mad. Maybe the fact that you were being so nice to me all of the sudden made me even madder. I still haven’t forgiven you for all those weird things you said to me,” she said.

Mulcibar blinked. “Weird things?” he questioned. “What sort of weird things?”

Fluttershy blushed. “Oh come on, don’t make me repeat it,” she said, flustered. “You know, about having a good time, and wanting me to enjoy it.” Her voice trailed off and became barely a whisper by the end of the statement. Her flushed red cheeks only grew brighter as she spoke.

Mulcibar smirked. “What is so weird about that?” he asked. “I meant every word of it.”

Fluttershy turned her face away from him and closed her eyes, letting out a slight “Hmmph!”

Mulcibar coughed. “What? I did! Who wouldn’t mean every word of that to an attractive mare like you… not that it matters anymore,” he said. “I really do appreciate the healing spell that filly used on me, but even that can’t stop the inevitable.”

“What do you mean?” Fluttershy asked and looked back down at him.

“I’ve used up too much energy. I’m fading away,” he said. “Starvation has its cold talons wrapped around my throat. Hunger is not something that a changeling can just brush aside. I won’t last much longer after using so much energy.”

Fluttershy gasped and leaned down toward him. “That’s not true. You’ll be okay. We’ll find something to get your energy back somewhere, somehow. Just don’t talk like that,” she said.

“I don’t think so, but...” Mulcibar said softly. “Will you please… grant me a selfish request?” He gazed into her eyes, his light blue irises fading to gray.

She gazed back at him and simply nodded her head. I know what it’s like to be selfish, she thought, remembering the time when she and Rainbow Dash were trapped in that cramped tree in her dream world.

“Please, let me have one more moment of bliss,” he said. “Allow me to… feel the soft touch of your lips.”

The yellow mare pulled back a bit in response, her face exploding with bright red color. Flabbergasted, she stuttered as best she could manage. “Y-y-y-you mean like.. k-k-kiss you?” she asked. “I, I don’t… ummm…” She shrunk down lower to the ground and averted her eyes. She could feel heat rising from her cheeks and her heart was pounding just from him even asking such a thing.

“Sorry,” he said, his voice sinking. “It must seem like such a strange thing to ask out of the blue.”

It’s not that! Fluttershy thought, turning her head back to him and looking into his cool blue eyes once again. I just… I’ve never… She shook her head.

“Sorry, I just… I’ve never… kissed anypony before, and I guess I don’t really…” she said, her voice trailing off yet again.

Mulcibar sighed. “How can that possibly be? Not ever?” he asked. “I would think you’d have more than a few interested stallions knocking on your door.”

“Well, I don’t think there have been,” she responded. “Still, it would be my first kiss, and I guess I’d always thought it would be more… romantic.” She batted her eyes, now looking straight down at the ground, her cheeks a bright cherry red.

“Isn’t this romantic?” Mulcibar asked genuinely. “We’re lying by a fire, out among nature… well, sort of. I guess it doesn’t count since it’s in a dream world. Then again, does a kiss even count in a dream world?”

Fluttershy pursed her lips together tightly, her tongue running back and forth along her teeth as she tried to remember if she had kissed anypony in a dream before. A memory from her dream world appeared in her mind. She remembered sitting at the bottom of the ravine beneath the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, holding Rainbow Dash in her forelegs, her hair draped down over them. I’d kissed Rainbow’s cheek at that time, but had almost considered… She shook her head slightly and raised her eyes nervously back up to Mulcibar. He was looking right at her, and when her eyes met his, she felt her heart rate elevating.

Fluttershy swallowed hard. “Okay,” she said, barely audible. “Here I come.” She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and clumsily pressed her face forward. She felt her tightly closed lips press against his. The sensation was strange and different than she had expected. She felt a small burst of Mulcibar’s breath against her lower lip, which sent shivers up her spine.

I thought it would be warmer, somehow, she thought to herself as her heart raced. Maybe not quite so… bumpy? She let out a slight squeak as she felt another puff of breath accompanied by what sounded like Mulcibar trying to contain laughter. She slowly opened her eyes and was greeted by his forehead. She looked down and saw his eyes, practically tearing up, looking back up at her.

“That’s my nose,” he said, and then completely lost it, somehow managing to erupt in laughter.

Fluttershy fell to the ground, pulling her hair and hooves over her face. Her first kiss, real or otherwise, had been with a nose. “It’s not funny!” she managed. “That was my first kiss!”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry,” Mulcibar said, regaining control of himself. “That double doesn’t count. You’ll just have to try again.”

“Maybe not right now,” Fluttershy said, her voice muffled from her hiding position.

Mulcibar shrugged. “Really? That’s too bad,” he said. “Fair enough, though, your choice. At least you tried.”

“I’m sorr—“ Fluttershy started.

“Thank you,” Mulcibar interrupted, his voice calm and quiet. “Thank you for trying.”

Fluttershy continued to hide, her breathing and heart finally slowing down. What is wrong with me? she thought. Why do I get goosebumps from everything he says? Why did I agree to kiss him so easily? Was it just sympathy? Am I just too nice?

Her hair fell slightly to one side and a single eye peeked out from behind it, staring over at the changeling stallion. He had laid down flat against the bed of hay and was fighting to keep his eyes open, looking toward the cave entrance.

Why does he have to be a bad-guy? What if… She thought, slightly shaking her head. A flashback from the previous dream world quickly put a stop to that train of thought.

“I can be your new Twilight Sparkle!” Mulcibar had said to her, having taken the form of Twilight. “We can be the best of friends!”

Don’t forget who he really is, Fluttershy! She thought to herself. His icy blue eyes flashed through her mind once again and her thoughts drifted. Maybe that’s not how he really is, though. Maybe how he’s being right now is what he’s really like. It’s just so hard to tell.

Mulcibar fell to his side and his eyes closed. Fluttershy perked her head up nervously as he let out a low, raspy groan. “What’s wrong? What’s happening?” she asked.

It’s happening,” he said, barely above a whisper. He opened his eyes and looked in Fluttershy's direction. "I can’t… I can’t see anymore.”

“Oh no!” Fluttershy shouted, pushing herself up and towards him.

“Listen to me,” he said, his voice pained. “Listen well. When I die in here…”

“Don’t say that,” Fluttershy interrupted, her voice wavering and tears forming in her eyes.

“Quiet,” Mulcibar snapped. “It’s happening. If what Nightmare Moon said is correct, I’m going to drop dead on the outside, too. The others will know something has gone wrong and they will be coming after you.”

“What do we do?” Fluttershy asked, trying to stay calm, but her heart so awash with sadness.

“You have to get out of this dream. If The Order comes barging in here horns blazing, you will all die,” he said, his voice becoming weaker and more coarse as he spoke. “Not just you six, but every pony in every cocoon. The shockwave of death will spread through the magic web and they will all die! I can only hope… that I am far enough removed from it that… my death doesn’t… cause the same…” He coughed and his head fell downward onto one of his forelegs as he gasped inward for breath.

“This can’t be how it ends,” Fluttershy said, her tears falling freely now. “Not for us, and not for you!”

Mulcibar opened his eyes and looked up at Fluttershy. “Don’t cry,” he said. “You’re so much more lovely when you’re smiling.” He couldn’t see her other than a blurry, dark outline, but a crystal clear image of her face formed in his mind.

Fluttershy scooted closer to him and wiped her eyes. “Don’t say things like that,” she said. “You’ll just make me cry more.”

Mulcibar smiled. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you for everything. As fake as this sounds coming from somepony who can’t even properly show you affection, thank you for all of your kindness. You’ve somehow made… my last moments, here in this cave… happy…”

Fluttershy blushed again, her mind racing. What must it be like to be attracted to somepony without having a shred of love in your heart? It must be terrible, she thought. Almost torturous. Even if it’s all he’s ever known… She blinked heavily, fresh tears cutting down her jawline. She stared at Mulcibar’s closing eyes and swallowed the lump in her throat as hard as she could. With a single motion, she reached her hooves out, wrapped them around his head, and moved her face to his.

This time, her aim was perfect. Her lips softly pressed against his, warm and tender. A slight surprised sound escaped him along with a jet of warm air. She felt her lips gently easing apart. If her heart was racing before, it had done a sonic rainboom at this point. Her legs were shaking from the sudden head rush, and she was thankful she’d already been so near to the ground because she fell to her knees. The experience was unlike anything she’d felt before, and from beneath the sadness in her heart came an eruption of warmth and passion. The feeling washed over her completely, an almost magical aura to it. Any second thoughts she’d been having before seemed to dissolve.

I just wish I could have gotten to know you better, Fluttershy thought, no longer crying, but her face still moist with teardrops. You may not realize it, but you were truly noble in your own way.

She felt his shallow yet warm breath pressing into her mouth, his tongue pressing against her lips, soft and warm. She nervously pulled her mouth away for a moment, breathing inward heavily, and then pushed back up against him. She was scared, but also completely swept up in the moment. Without even thinking, she pressed her tongue forward into his mouth and wrapped her forelegs more tightly around the back of his head. As if possessed by the sudden uncontrollable feelings of passion within her, she delved deeply, her mind becoming nothing but a fuzzy haze.

From the depths of her being, she suddenly felt a new sensation. It was warm, sensual, and arousing. Her heart felt like it was burning, but there was no pain, only an intense feeling of warmth and safety. She felt Mulcibar wrap his forelegs around her. At first she thought nothing of it, completely absorbed in the kiss. Shortly after, though, she felt herself being pulled toward him and onto the bed of hay. She felt herself being flipped onto her back, and she felt the weight of his chest against hers. She pulled her eyes opened and was greeted by the sight of his face, eyes closed. He was leaning over her, his whole body aglow with a light pink aura. She folded her tongue quickly back into her mouth and stared up at him, her body still trembling with adrenaline and endorphins. He gently pulled his lips away from her and rose up, standing over her. A visible trail of pink energy continued to flow away from her and into him. He smiled down at her, gazing into her eyes.

“Thank you,” he said softly. “That was truly… breathtaking.”

Fluttershy’s heart was a mix of emotions as she felt a lump forming in her throat once again. She had no idea how she should feel as she slowly realized what had just happened. He drew me in, played off my sympathy, had my first kiss, and then fed on me. He used me, just like the changeling queen has been using all of us... as food. she thought. Her heart began to seethe, but her mind kept reliving the kiss over and over. The feeling, the rush, the sensation of her lips on his, the taste of his mouth. She bit her lower lip and breathed in deeply through her nose.

He looked down at her, his sight having returned to him. The pink aura faded away and his smile disappeared. “Are you upset with me?” he asked.

Fluttershy turned her gaze away from him, unable to think of any way to respond. Her heart was still beating quickly and her body was still shaking slightly. She replayed the kiss in her mind over and over again before finally turning her gaze back to him.

“Maybe a little,” she said, and then reached her hooves up, placing them against his cheeks. “I am glad you’re okay, though.” She pulled his head down towards her and locked her lips against his once more. A tear streamed down her cheek as the minutes passed like seconds. Before she knew it, he was lying beside her, gazing out toward the cave’s entrance, his wings shining steadily again. Fluttershy had entered a state of confusion now, the glow of the moment having worn off, and she was left to ponder what had just happened. Two kisses later in her life with all but a complete stranger who wasn’t even a pony. She couldn’t have imagined it even a day ago.

Even if it was in a dream world, she thought, I’m pretty sure that still counted. She looked into his azure eyes and blinked, thinking that he somehow looked more regal than before. Any fear she’d had of him had vanished, and she was left only being able to think of him as a puzzle. A creature whom she neither hated nor loved, but felt something strange and in-between for. Her own feelings, along with his true intentions, were a mystery. Without any deep contemplation, she opened her mouth and spoke.

“Why did you want to kiss me?” she asked. He turned to look at her and grinned.

“Why not?” he asked in response.

“That’s not what I mean,” she said. “Did you know? Had you planned to, well… feed upon me like that?”

Mulcibar shook his head. “In that moment, no. I just wanted one last moment like that. But then, in the midst of it all, I felt your love energy practically pouring out,” he said. “Have you ever been so thirsty that just the sight of water makes you want to drink down every last drop? That’s how it was. It was… irresistible.”

“Irresistible,” Fluttershy repeated, nodding slowly.

“Much like you,” Mulcibar added, his grin widening.

Fluttershy sighed. “I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel that way, yet feel no love or affection,” she replied.

Mulcibar laughed. “Well, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be able to do what you do. To be able to feel such a powerful emotion,” he said. “Somepony once told me that giving yourself freely to a changeling is one of the most intense feelings she’d ever felt. So, how was it for you?”

Fluttershy thought back to the brilliant heat she had felt, the butterflies in her stomach, and the feeling of needing more and more. “To be honest, I still don’t know what to think,” she said. “I felt like I was going to lose control of myself. I think… I didn’t ever want it to stop.”

“That’s one of the problems we have, actually,” he responded. “Once we begin to feed, it drives the one we’re feeding from to give more and more. We have to practice our own kind of restraint, as it were.”

“Well, I can’t say it was a bad thing, honestly,” Fluttershy said shyly.

“I’ve heard it’s even better if you take it further than just a kiss,” Mulcibar said, his grin widening.

Fluttershy pushed a hoof against his cheek. “Let’s not get carried away, now,” she said, a hint of nervousness in her voice.

Mulcibar laughed loudly, his voice echoing across the cave.

“So,” said Fluttershy, thinking of ways to get off of that topic. “I take care of animals in Ponyville. There is a thing called a symbiotic relationship where two or more creatures need one another to survive and benefit mutually.”

“Are you calling us animals, now?” Mulcibar said, laughing.

Fluttershy sighed. “No,” she said, “but I somehow recall you making that sort of comparison to us, now that I think about it.”

“Fair enough, I apologize,” he said. “I’ll give you that one.”

Mulcibar turned his gaze downward. “Unfortunately, there are so few who are as kind as you are, my dear. If it were that simple, don’t you think we would have lived like that?” he asked. A flowing wave of light coursed over his body. When the light subsided, he had changed his appearance and looked exactly like Fluttershy. “Why do you think we have to disguise ourselves and steal love from others just to survive?” His voice perfectly mimicked Fluttershy’s own.

With another pulse of light, he took the form of Queen Chrysalis. Fluttershy instinctively flinched away. “You see?” he said in the queen’s voice. “Even knowing who I am, you are taken aback by us. Queen Chrysalis has led us for several generations now. Her wisdom and planning have kept us alive through some very hard times. I must admit, there were some among us who questioned this plan. It just come out of the blue, as if madness had struck her.”

“Then why follow her?” Fluttershy asked. “Why not try and think of some other way?”

Mulcibar flashed back to his own form and turned his gaze to the yellow pegasus, his eyes narrowed in seriousness. “There is no other way,” he said. “No other way but to live as a parasite in that so-called symbiotic relationship.”

Fluttershy lowered her gaze this time. “So that’s really all there is?” she asked. “Just a means to an end? Just using others for your own survival?”

“And pleasure,” he replied matter-of-factly.

Fluttershy frowned and pushed herself up to her hooves. “Well… I shouldn’t be surprised,” she said, another tear rolling down her cheek.

The sound of Sweetie Belle stirring drew the mare’s attention. She wiped away her tears and looked to where the filly had laid down.

“How long was I asleep?” Sweetie Belle asked. “I’m hungry…”

Fluttershy picked up the remaining apple and brought it over to Sweetie Belle, setting it down in front of her. “We all were,” she said, looking nervously back at Mulcibar. “Eat up, Sweetie.”

Author's Note:

I wonder how many readers I'll lose now that the "shipping" has happened.

For those who were saying "Mulcibar x Fluttershy" like 2 chapters or more ago, this is why you all were killing me! :P I don't like acknowledging when people guess RIGHT! ;)

Next chapter, expect a lot less ssmoochy stuff and a lot more Twilight and Linnai!

As always, let me know if you see anything that needs correction. I'm always nervous about that kind of thing :P

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