• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,289 Views, 989 Comments

Little Consequences - Skijarama



Princess Rainbow Dash and her friends have found themselves in the newly restored Crystal Empire, and now struggle against the forces of Queen Chrysalis and the enigmatic King Sombra in an effort to reclaim Canterlot and save Equestria.

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Hunger

Thorax’s tongue fluttered and danced erratically in his mouth. His nostrils flared and he had to struggle against the urge to start licking at the air. His stomach growled loudly, announcing his discomfort to Wind Whisper, who was hiding under a desk behind him and curled up tightly into a ball. She eyed him in concern but chose to remain as still and quiet as possible, like he had told her when he came back in.

After they had all been ordered back into the library, Thorax had immediately sought out Wind Whisper making sure she okay and the standing guard over her. The roars of King Sombra were heard beyond the walls for quite some time, and Thorax found his resolve dissolving with every passing minute. After a time, those monstrous sounds had died down, as had every other noise beyond the walls. The eerie silence would have made Thorax tremble at the possibility that Princess Rainbow Dash and the others might have failed, that there would be nothing but darkness and despair beyond those doors.

But then he glanced out a nearby window, letting his eyes adjust for a moment. When his sight came back into focus, he had seen an insanely thick layer of love energy blanketing the window, obscuring what his normal vision saw as slowly clearing skies. The more he looked, he realized it was inside the library, too, rising up from the floor and filling the entire building with a thick haze of deliciously pure love. It wasn’t just love, of course, but other comparable emotions were woven into the mix. Respect, admiration, relief, and gratitude were the big ones, and their presence made one thing clear to Thorax.

Everything was fine.

Probably.

Not that he could actively reveal that he knew that without drawing some unwanted attention to himself. So he chose to play along, acting afraid and standing guard over Wind. He glanced back at her every now and then to give her reassuring smiles or nods, and every time he did, she seemed to relax just a little bit.

The rest of the group were off to his left, each one coping with their anxiety and the passage of time in their own little ways. Fluttershy was busying herself by tending to the frightened mare from earlier, who had identified herself as Scarlet Heart. She was still terrified, but thanks to Fluttershy’s assurances and some help from Pinkie Pie, she had managed to tone down her hysteria to simple anxiously pacing off in one corner of the library.

Rarity was looking through the history book they had found intently, hoping to maybe find some useful information before Twilight and Rainbow got back. Spike was by her side, trying to help wherever possible, though for the most part that amounted to reading with her. She seemed pleased by the company and effort, giving Spike small, charmed smiled every now and then.

Meanwhile, Applejack was also pacing somewhat deeper in the library, though not out of just fear like Scarlet Heart. Applejack was impatient, frustrated and worried for her friends on the outside, and it showed in the stiffness in her muscles and the perpetual scowl on her face. She constantly looked at the door, becoming visibly more and more agitated as time went on.

Thankfully, the wait finally ended when the doors to the library suddenly swung open, banging against the walls rather loudly. All eyes flew over to watch as Rainbow Dash came trotting in, looking a little tired and battered, but otherwise fine. She turned sharply the moment she was passed the doors and gestured for somepony unseen to go past in a ‘you first’ motion. Twilight and Starlight then came trotting in, their horns glowing brightly with sweat pouring down their foreheads. They were also looking a little worse for wear, but the fact that they were there at all was a huge relief to the others.

“Twilight! Rainbow!” Fluttershy called loudly in relief before galloping up and throwing her forelegs around the latter mare in a surprisingly tight hug. Rainbow yelped in surprise and stumbled back a few steps before returning the hug tightly. Fluttershy took a shuddering breath in before leaning back and checking Rainbow’s body for wounds. “Oh, I was so worried about you two. Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

“Easy, there. I’m alright, Fluttershy,” Rainbow assured her with a small laugh before gently prying her off. She reached over and ruffled Fluttershy’s mane before looking over at Twilight. “We’re all okay. For now, anyway…” her voice lost some of its confidence and she glanced over her shoulder to look outside.

“What does that mean?” Rarity asked in a hesitant voice, sounding like she didn’t really want to know. Spike decided he didn’t care much to wait for an answer either way and bolted over to Twilight, giving her the same tackle-hug treatment that Fluttershy had given Rainbow only a few moments ago.

Starlight answered in Twilight’s stead, clearing her throat and peering up at her horn. “We were able to force King Sombra to the edge of the Empire, then Twilight and I used a super-sized barrier spell to keep him out. The thing is…”

“We can’t maintain the field forever,” Twilight finished, shaking on her hooves a little from Spike’s collision. She wrapped a foreleg over him and pulled him closer, nuzzling the top of his head in relief. She lifted her gaze to the others after a moment and let Spike go. “If we don’t find another way to keep him out, then we’ll all be at his mercy when the barrier fails,” her eyes then drifted to the history book still floating in Rarity’s magic. She pointed directly at it. “Find anything useful?”

“Nothing yet,” Rarity sighed, closing the book with a heavy thump and a sad shake of her head. She passed it over to Twilight, expecting the other unicorn to take it in her magic. Twilight’s incredulous look and gesture towards her already occupied horn made Rarity rethink her decision, laughing sheepishly. “Ahem, ah, research was always your area of expertise, Twilight.”

“Then we can’t waste any time,” Rainbow agreed, nodding sharply and looking around the library carefully. “We need a spot that’s quiet and isolated so that these two can focus on their spell and Twilight can do her research without any distractions.”

Twilight looked over at Rainbow with a dubious look on her face. “Rainbow, the spell isn’t that fragile. We don’t need an isolated room or anything like that. The middle of the library should be fine for now,” she rebuked bluntly, making Rainbow flinch.

Spike rolled his eyes and shot Twilight a sly smirk. “Oh-hoh! Wow, Rainbow’s really getting protective,” he said playfully, poking Twilight in the ribs with a claw.

Rainbow coughed loudly and shot Spike an annoyed glare while Twilight gave him a disapproving smack on the back of the head. He just chuckled and stepped aside, removing himself from their path and the effective range of their hooves. Fluttershy tittered behind a hoof, much to Twilight and Rainbow’s chagrin.

Thorax watched them all from a little ways away, a relieved smile on his face. He then turned around and lowered himself to his belly to coax Wind out from under the desk. “Hey, we’re safe now. You can come out, Wind” he called gently, offering her a hoof.

Wind shot past the hoof and tackled him, tightly holding onto his neck in a bone-crushing hug and breathing raggedly into his shoulder. He quickly brought his own hooves and wings up to return the embrace, nuzzling her atop the head in an effort to ease her distress. She tightened her grip on him, and his eyes refocused to let him see more love drifting off of her in copious amounts. Reminded of just how hungry he was, his tongue started to wriggle in his mouth again, moving like an angry snake trying to squirm out of a cage. His stomach grumbled loudly and he physically went rigid with strain, struggling to contain his desire for food. I can’t eat. Not here, not now!”

“Squall?” Wind asked in a timid whisper when she noticed how tense he had suddenly gotten, leaning back to look him in the eye. “What’s wrong?”

“Stop being cute, stop being cute,” Thorax repeated to himself in his head over and over. Despite his best efforts to appear fine and confused by Wind’s question, the extreme discomfort he was feeling made his face twitch and his smile falter. Wind saw this and put a hoof to his chest, leaning up a little.

“Dreamy?”

“It’s nothing,” he quickly dismissed her, his words slipping past his clenched teeth in a strained hiss. He shook his head and screwed his eyes shut, trying to shut out all of the love Wind was throwing at him- no, not him. This love was meant for Squall Dreamer, not Thorax. Thinking fast, he lifted a hoof to his neck to rub at it, twisting his face in fake pain. “Just, ah… made my neck a little sore when you hugged me is all. I-I’ll be fine, Wind, no worries.”

“I hurt you?!” Wind gasped, reaching out to his neck with her hooves. “Oh my gosh, I am so sorry! Is there something I can do?”

“You really don’t need to,” Thorax tried again, trying to gently push her away. She was stubborn, however, pushing back against his hooves and reaching out for him.

“But Squall-”

‘Wind! Stop it!” Thorax suddenly snapped in a voice that was far louder and angrier than he had intended. Wind Whisper gasped and then scrambled backward and away from, her ears going flat against her head. For several seconds, everything was absolutely silent. Wind blinked, then began to slowly lower herself down to the ground. Her eyes were shimmering with fresh tears, and her lower lip began to twitch and tremble.

“Wha…” she hiccuped slightly, scooting farther away from him. “What did I do wrong?” her voice was a quiet whimper, and Thorax could tell from the silence behind him that everypony was watching them.

He saw the look in her eyes, and immediately, felt an overwhelming sense of guilt building in his chest. With his own ears falling to rest flat against his skull, Thorax lowered himself down to his belly, his eyes never once leaving Wind Whisper. Gingerly, he reached a hoof out to her while letting a reassuring smile spread on his face. “Wind… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you,” he offered her carefully.

She shuffled back just a little bit more, sniffling quietly. She couldn’t quite look him in the eyes. “...I’m sorry, Squall… I made you upset… I’m such a bad sister...”

Thorax felt his heart go cold at the sound of her voice and the words she just said. He scooted himself forward a few inches, pleading with his eyes for her to come over to him. “Hey, that’s not true at all,” he chastised her gently. “You have nothing to be sorry for, Wind. You’re the best little sister a pony could ask for, and that’s a fact.”

“But… I made you mad...”

“And I’m sure I’ve made you mad a few times,” he countered her, praying to whatever would listen that he was right about it. “We’re all on edge here, but that’s not an excuse for me to take it out on you…” he inched just a little bit closer. “I yelled at you, I shouldn’t have, and I am very, very sorry. You didn’t deserve that,” he could almost touch her now, he was so close. “You’re a wonderful little sister, Wind, and I love you very much. C’mere…”

Struggling to contain a sob, Wind Whisper finally relented and eased herself into another hug with Thorax, burying her face into her shoulder and crying quietly. Thorax did his best to comfort her for several seconds, shushing her and petting her mane. He nuzzled her atop the head, then put his muzzle next to her ear. “Don’t you ever call yourself a bad little sister again, okay? Just don’t…” he whispered into her ear before slowly turning around. Just as he had suspected, all of the others were standing around, awkwardly waiting for them to finish their little moment. He gave a sheepish grin. “Ah, sorry you all had to see this,” he called out softly, pulling Wind a little closer against his chest. “We’re okay over here. You girls do whatever it is you’re doing.”

Rainbow and Twilight narrowed their eyes skeptically, while Starlight simply nodded uncomfortably. Fluttershy had a hoof up to her mouth while her eyes showed off her sadness at having to see a little filly feel like that. Rarity looked like she wasn’t sure if she should feel offended by Thorax’s outburst or charmed by how quickly he had acted to make up for it, while Applejack merely held a frown of solemn understanding on her face. Pinkie just looked uncomfortable and confused, looking around as if to find something she could use to make this situation less depressing. Nothing presented itself, of course. Spike, for his part, just watched the scene playing out from Twilight’s side, awkwardly pressing the tips of his claws together.

Eventually, Twilight broke the silence. “If you say so…” she said with an understanding tone of voice, although her eyes conveyed a certain intensity which Thorax received clearly. With that resolved for now, however, Twilight opted to slowly trot down towards the center of the base floor of the library with Rainbow, Spike, and Starlight following close behind. She looked at the others with a small smile, and they fell in behind her, eager to learn what their next step was going to be and how they could help.

While they did this, Thorax slowly released Wind Whisper, patting her on the head a few more times for good measure. She was letting off love again, and it made his stomach growl very uncomfortably. He grimaced before slowly getting back to his hooves. “Hey, why don’t you go and see if you can help Princess Rainbow Dash?” he suggested softly, nudging her towards the group. “It’ll take your mind off of things.”

“Wh-what about you?” Wind asked in a still shaking voice, scuffing the floor with a still-shaky hoof. She looked up at him questioningly, still upset.

“I’m going to go get us all something to eat. We’re low on Applejack’s rations and, to be honest, we could use a meal that isn’t apples. Variety is the spice of life and all that, eh?” he explained to her while turning for the door. “I won’t be long.”

“B-but…”

“Hey,” Thorax interrupted her softly, giving her a warm, reassuring smile. “Tell you what… if you help them out, then when I get back, I’ll give you some of those crystal berries. How’s that sound?”

That was enough to diminish some of her sorrows and put an eager smile on Wind’s face. Her anxiety washed away at the thought of those luscious berries, and her tiny wings gave an excited flap. “Oh, okay!” she said, galloping up to throw one more hug around his shoulders, nuzzling into his neck. “I love you, too, big brother…” she whispered to him. He chuckled and returned the embrace before setting her down and scooting her along the floor towards the others with his wing.

“Alright, run along. I’ll be back soon,” he said before cantering for the door.

“Bye, Dreamy!” Wind called after him, waving energetically before hopping down the stairs and using her wings to stabilize her descent. Thorax smiled back at her before slipping out of the front doors of the library, closing them behind them.

As soon as the latch slid into place, Thorax fell to his knees, his breaths starting to turn into ragged gasps. His pupils dilated and his stomach growled even louder, his entire gut flaring up with pain. The air out here was so saturated that it took everything he had to suppress his need to feed for even a second. Desperate for cover, he half galloped, half stumbled into a nearby alleyway out of sight of the entrance of the library. He was maybe three meters into the alley when his instincts finally overcame his self-control. His disguise vanished in a swirl of green fire, and the form of Thorax the changeling replaced that of Squall Dreamer the thestral.

His long, forked tongue flicked out of his mouth while an almost savage-sounding hiss of hunger and anticipation sprang from his lungs. His tongue was writhing in the air and tasting all of the love that was there, and he almost passed out in ecstasy when he realized just how much there was. He wasted no time, opening his mouth as wide as he could and pulling in as much as possible, greedily gulping down mouthful after mouthful of pure, unconditional love. His legs began to feel like jelly, and a sense of euphoria overcame him as his stomach was gradually filled up.

It was bliss.

But it wasn’t enough. Of course, it was never enough. The hunger of a changeling could never be satisfied, not truly. But this love in the air didn’t even decrease from how much of it he was consuming; if anything, it was still getting thicker. It was endless, an all-you-can-eat buffet of love. His eyes went unfocused and rolled up into his skull even as his legs crumpled beneath him. He fell to his haunches and tilted his head up, eating and eating and eating.

It tasted so good. He needed more. More, more, more, MORE! The whole world was fading around him. All thoughts that didn’t involve him eating everything he could right then and there melted away. He had never felt so good in his life...

The sound of hooves clopping against crystal somewhere behind him snapped him out of his trance. His heart rate spiked dramatically and panic bubbled up immediately in his chest. He clamped his jaw shut, severing the stream of love that had been flowing so freely down his throat. Despite his disappointment, he stood and restored his disguise as Squall Dreamer as quickly as possible, hoping he hadn’t been seen. He looked over his shoulder, seeing a crystal pony stallion trotting by the alley. Based on the mostly casual look on his face, Thorax was relieved to surmise that this pony had seen nothing. The two shared curious glances before the stallion disappeared behind the other building framing the alley.

Thorax released the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding, then licked his lips, tasting some leftover energy there. He had never, in his entire life, had a meal that big before. He was still feeling light-headed from it all, and he drooled a little when he looked into the air and saw that the energy was still thick as ever. “This place…” he murmured, leaning against the wall of the building to his right while he caught his breath. “If we can get rid of Sombra… this place would be any Changeling’s dream!” he then paused, his veins going cold as a thought occurred to him. In the back of his head, he made an amendment to that notion.

This place would be every changeling’s dream.

Including Queen Chrysalis.

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: The first sentence of this chapter is very worrying when taken out of context. ;)

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