• Published 14th Apr 2018
  • 1,695 Views, 219 Comments

A Time to Think - The Sonic Mage

Mercy isn't just about sparing others. It's about helping them to their feet, and keeping them steady as they travel forward.

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Chapter 8: A General Performance

Chrysalis emerged from her room a minute or two later. She didn’t do too much to her look. She had brushed, un-knotted, and straightened her hair, as well as wash her face. But aside from that, there were no other alterations. It wasn’t like Thorax minded though. He would have been just as happy if Chrysalis had “Yes”, and left immediately. She was getting out of that room, and that was what mattered. Still, complements where they are due.

“You look great!” He said with some enthusiasm.

Chrysalis winced as her eyes adjusted to the light of the hallway. “T-Thank you...Your Majesty.” She said, almost as quiet as Fluttershy. Thorax’s smile faltered just a tad. Chrysalis’ quiet voice was another indication of her lack of comfort. And...she called him “Your Majesty”. “Your Majesty”. Of all the things he expected her to call him, that was not one of them. He didn’t stress about it though. He just viewed it as another obstacle to overcome. It wouldn’t exactly be easy, but it wouldn’t be impossible either.

“Please,” he said said softly with his kind smile regained, “let’s do away with the formalities. I’m noling special. At the end of the day, I’m just a Changeling.” The level of humility Thorax was displaying was equal to that of Celestia. It was somewhat surprising considering he went from seeker, to deserter, to king in a relatively short amount of time.

“O-Of course, sorry” Chrysalis said quickly.

Thorax gave a small chuckle. “It’s okay.” he said. He began to walk down the hall, motioning for Chrysalis to follow. “Come on,” He said with a wave of his hoof, “We don’t want to be late.”

They walked past room, after room. Occasionally, they would walk past a Changeling, or group of them. At these moments Chrysalis felt compelled to hide, to use her shape-shifting abilities. But a pulse from the inhibitor that adorned her neck reminded her she couldn’t.

Yet, when they were noticed by these Changelings, an odd thing happened every time. Rather than be disgusted by her presence, they greeted her. They addressed them both by name, with a smile. It was as if they didn’t mind her presence. As if they didn’t notice that her appearance was that of a Changeling that needed to steal Love in order to survive. Or at least thought they did.

As they continued walking, one question couldn’t help but come up in Chrysalis’ mind. “Uh...pardon me asking, but what exactly do we not want to be late for?” She asked as they walked side by side.

Thorax looked at her with a knowing smile as he said, “The morning drills.”


Pharynx was waiting for them on the balcony that overlooked the courtyard. On the ground below, pony soldier trainees were lining up in formation, preparing to meet their drill instructor. A little grin graced Pharynx’s face at the site. There was one thing he was sure of in that moment, ‘These ponies have no idea what their in for.’

The sound of hoof-steps behind him caught his attention, as he turned to see the two Changings he was waiting for.

“Ah, the guests of honor!” He said. “Thorax, brother! Glad to see ya!” He turned his attention to the reason they organized this. “And Chrysalis, good to see you out of that room of yours!”

“It’s good to see you to Pharynx.” Thorax grined. Chrysalis was stunned by the show of care from the one who technically arrested her. She didn’t know what was going on. It purely confounded her. Meanwhile, the brothers continued talking as they looked out onto the courtyard.

“So,” Thorax began, “These are the recruits you were sent?”

Pharynx nodded, “Yep.” There was a moment of science, when Pharynx turned to look at him. “I’m sorry I keep asking, but are you sure you want me to-”

“Pharynx, if I didn’t want you to, I would never have given you permission.”

Pharynx smiled wide, “I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: You are the best.”

Thorax returned the smile. “I know.” He motioned his toward the troops gathered outside, “Now, get out there and do your thing.”

Pharynx saluted his sibling with a prideful smirk. “Sir, with pleasure, Sir!” He said jokingly, as he marched off, down the steps to the courtyard.

Thorax’s horn and antlers glowed with magic, bringing over two lounge chairs. “Please, take a seat.”

“Um…” Chrysalis spoke up after Pharynx had departed,“If you don’t mind me asking…what exactly did you give him permission to do?” She asked, as she cautiously settled into her own seat.

“I gave him permission to go ‘over-the-top Drill Sergeant’ on the recruits.”

Chrysalis’ mind did a double take. “Wait, what?”


It was incredibly hot in the courtyard. The sun was bearing down on the troops. They had gotten into formation a few minutes ago and were now just waiting for their Drill Instructor to begin orientation. It was at the three minute mark, that Pharynx walked up on an elevated dirt mound in front of the recruits. He took a long hard look at ponies before him. From where he stood, it was the perfect crowd. He straightened his posture, standing tall on all four legs. Took a deep breath and prepared his voice…

And so he began.

“LISTEN UP!” Pharynx roared in his military voice, which echoed across the grounds, “I am General Pharynx, of the Changeling Defense Force. Your Captain of Guard, Shining Armor, is preoccupied running The Crystal Empire. As such, he wrote an official statement entrusting your training to me, meaning I will be acting as your Senior Drill Instructor.”

He stepped off his elevated spot to the ponies that he was prepared to break down into tiny glass shards. “However, if you think that changes anything, I don’t think you could be more wrong. I expect you show me the same level of respect you would if Shining Armor was standing here! As such, when you are in my presence, you will speak only when spoken to, or when I explicitly give you permission. And the first and last words I want to hear out of your muzzles is ‘Sir’. Do you understand that?”

“Sir, Yes, Sir.” the troops said with little effort.

“LIARS! I can’t hear you!” Pharynx shouted, less than pleased with the reaction from the trainees. “Sound off like you’ve got a spine!”

“Sir, Yes, Sir!” That was more to his liking.

Pharynx wasn’t finished though now came the more entertaining part, “You might be looking at yourselves and be thinking that because you’ve made it this far, you have a chance. Well let me tell you something: When I received that statement from Captain Armor, I expected to be getting wagons stocked with capable fighters and potential warriors. But instead, all I got was you washed-up, backstage extras, with an accompaniment of rejects!!!” His voice was thunderous, rattling the bones of the ponies he stood before. “You-all-reak of economic instability and teenage angst! Every breath you take is a stunning endorsement of stupidity! You grease stains are a collective masterpiece of failure! You college dropout slackers pulled all-nighter study sessions to exhaustion ruteenly.

“There is a concerning number of you who selfishly signed up to become legends and war heroes, and probably cried like spoiled brats when you realized that half of of your military idols are dead!! The only reason you are able to give me such stone faces is because your sensitive eyes have leaked so many tears you could sail away on a fleet of pity cruisers. Or do you think I’m mistaken?”

The troops shouted, “Sir, No, Sir!” as to not potentially anger their active Sargent.

Pharynx continued his mass orientation speech, “Each and every one of you was sent here to learn. If you end up leaving this place- if you survive recruitment training with your soul and bones intact- you will be a soldier. You will be a guardian. You will have been crafted into a sword and shield that can, and will deployed in defense of this great nation of Equestria that we all call home! But until that day comes to pass, you are all infants. Foals! Nymphs! You are the most incapable life forms on the face of the planet. You are not even capable of walking without explicit instructions. That does not mean it is impossible to teach you. This is not going to a ‘show and tell’ in kindergarten, however. You will get your collective tails pulled on so hard, you’ll think you’re getting sucked through an industrial printing press in Manehattan! I will reorganize the failures that is your lives. I will KICKSTART-your-SOULS!!”

“Sir, Yes, Sir!” The troops did not show the fact that they were terrified, but it was obvious that they were.

“Because I am strict and stern, you will not like me. But if I were anything less you would not learn. I am strict, but I am fair. If I despise you, it is because of what you have done and who you are, not what you are. There is no bigotry of any kind here. I do not discriminate between Mares and Colts. I do not favor Earth Ponies, Pegasi, or Unicorns. I do not look down on Griffins, Hippogriffs, Dragons, or Yaks. Here you all stand on equal footing. Here you are all equally worthless. Meaning that you will all subjected to the same level of punishment and reward, as my orders are to weed out every slacker who doesn’t deserve to serve in Captain Armor’s beloved corp. I will chop off your unkempt tails, put them where your tongues should be. Cover you in paper-mache, and beat you like a pinata! Heck, I’ll make you howl so much you’d put Timberwolves out of business. But fear not! Because by the time this is over, I will have turned you capable few into the warriors that Equestria needs! Do you understand that?”

“Sir, Yes, Sir!”

“LIARS!!” Pharynx roared again, “I can’t hear you!”


Author's Note:

In memory of R. Lee Ermey

I'm back from Canada! And with a new chapter no less!
Yes, I know this seems really bad and out of place, but it does serve a purpose

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