• Published 25th Jan 2018
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XCOM: Ranger - Wanderer D

Sunset Shimmer escapes Equestria... with unforeseen consequences.

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Chapter 175: Homeland


Chapter 175: Homeland

By Wanderer D

"Did she just call me mom?" Alejandra asked, glancing at the young griffon who was slowly approaching her, soulful eyes wide and shimmery.

"I-it's you! I-I don't know what to say. I thought you were dead!"

Several other griffons had approached when they had heard the exclamation, and now muttered to each other while glancing at her in a mixture of confusion, nostalgia, distrust and anger.

"Gloria!" an old, grouchy griffon finally shouted, approaching the trio. "How dare you show your face here after making us think you were dead for a decade!"

"And look at the company you keep! And how you're dressed! Did you become an assassin!? Is that why you left your chick behind after Gerard's death?"

"Gloria?" Alejandra repeated, blinking slowly, "Gerard…" she turned to face the young griffon, who was staring at her with wistful eyes. " Um… Galahad?"

"Hello, Grandpa Gruff," Galahad said to the old griffon, smiling pleasantly. "We're happy to see you too."

"I'm not happy to see you at all!"

"I am!" Gabby shouted, bouncing over to Alejandra and resting her paws on her shoulder as she gazed up at the older griffon. "I've wanted to see you again for the longest time, mom! I-I've been good, like I promised!"

"Galahad?!" Alejandra repeated more urgently.

"Mom, you won't believe all the things I've learned to do!" Gabby continued, embracing Alejandra tightly.

Just as Alejandra was about to ask Galahad to intervene for the third time, she felt the younger griffon shake and sob. Slowly, she sat down on her hind quarters as the young female started crying, holding her tight.

"I've missed you," Gabby whispered hoarsely, "I've missed you so much. I've done everything you said. I've tried to make this place better. I've worked hard and like dad said, I tried to be the best at everything I did." She shook as another, strong sob made its way out, "I never thought I'd see you again. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't be a better daughter ten years ago. Please don't leave."

Slowly Alejandra returned the embrace. Not as tightly as the younger griffon, rather gently, as if the young female in her arms would break into pieces if she wasn't careful. "Shh, it's okay."

The old griffon made as if to say something else, but a glare from Galahad was enough to make him snap his beak shut with a click. With a huff, he turned around and marched back into the town.

After a few moments, the other griffons slowly returned to their daily routines, although the stares and whispers continued.

Galahad calmly waited in place until Alejandra sighed. "She's asleep." She shook her head. "I can't believe she actually cried herself to sleep just because she thinks I'm her mom."

She gulped, looking at the cute, sleeping griffon. "She looks a lot like me," she admitted, "Is this one of those discrepancies in the timeline that Twilight was harping about? That old fart called me Gloria… that was my mom's name. My dad was Gerardo."

"Gloria and Gerard," Galahad repeated, nodding. "That little griffon is named Gabby."

Alejandra grimaced, looking down at Gabby, who took a deep breath and mumbled something, twitching cutely. "I was going to be named Gabriella, if I had been born before my brother, but my brother was born first, so he was named Gabriel. That's how my parents wanted it. If he had been the second born, he would have been named Alejandro."

"I had wondered about that," Galahad admitted. "Now, come on, let's get Gabby home… hey, Gilda!"

A griffon that seemed about the same age as Alejandra turned and glared at Galahad. "What?"

"Where's Gabby's house?"

Gilda rolled her shoulders and walked up to them, giving them a slightly forced look of disinterest, although her worried glance at the younger griffon was fairly obvious. "Why? You want to dump her there and leave?"

"No!" Alejandra said forcefully, looking up at Gilda angrily. "I won't do that!"

Gilda snorted. "Fine. Follow me."

Galahad helped Alejandra up, then scooted under Gabby, somehow managing to get her on his back as they started walking. "Let's go."

They followed Gilda through the town, and as they walked Alejandra couldn't help but compare it to the destroyed settlements of her own world. "What the hell happened here, Galahad? Did you go to war with Equestria or something?"

Gilda snorted, looking over her shoulder. "I knew you were from somewhere else. Gabby's mother would have known this." She glanced in disgust at the state of the place. "If we had gone to war with Equestria and lost… we'd be better off. At least the Princess would have made an effort to make things livable here."

Galahad sighed. "There's a long story that goes with it, which I will tell you later, G, but the short of it, is that our people are predisposed to be anything but generous, loyal, funny, honest or kind. And it shows in how we ended up like this."

Alejandra frowned and shook her head. "I refuse to believe that." She glanced at Gabby and her countenance relaxed. "She looks like a good kid. You can't tell me everyone here can be just… categorized as lazy, greedy, angry, layabouts. Life—people are never that simple."

"Oh?" Galahad asked, glancing at Gilda, who was not looking at them. The tilt of her head, however, indicated that she was paying attention to what was being said. "So back where you come from, people don't categorize entire races like that?"

Alejandra was quiet for a bit, then sighed. "They used to. It was a point of most despots, tyrants and sociopaths in my people's history to put entire races or groups of people into convenient little categories. Political. Religious. Race… any excuse to segregate and weaken the bonds that held us together."

She took a deep breath. "But… even though some of that remains, after the invasion… it was mostly eradicated. I guess it's the only good thing to come from it. I don't get called a beaner or a criminal just because I come from south of the border… Ember and Lily are not called demeaning names. Ethnicity and national origin are a moot point now, in the war."

"We're here," Gilda said, stopping in front of a small shack. All things considered, it was in better condition than the other houses.

"Gabby… she fixed it herself. She went to learn from some minotaur carpenters that came through at some point, took some pointers…" she waved her claw. "Ta-dah."

She gave Galahad and Alejandra an odd look. "Who is she, really?"

"Well," Galahad replied, smiling, "It's good that you ask! Because it was you I came to visit and introduce to her, Gilda."

Gilda's body language immediately became guarded. "Oh? Why?"

"She's a friend of Rainbow Dash's, Princess Twilight and my apprentice," Galahad said, as way of explanation as he waved the others into the small house. "And she needs to learn how to be a griffon."

Gilda glanced from one to the other in confusion, and Galahad's smile only grew. "And you, get to teach her."

o.0.o End Chapter 175 o.0.o

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