• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,295 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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Masks Off

“How much longer do we have to wait?” Wind Whisper asked in a drawn-out whine, leaning against Thorax’s side while the disguised changeling draped his fake, leathery wing over her. She looked up at him and gave a pitiful pout and pawing one of her hooves against his foreleg. “I’m bored…”

Thorax looked down at her, letting out a quiet snicker when he saw just how adorable her face was. He reached out with the leg she touched and ruffled her mane and giving her an affectionate squeeze with his wing. “Not much longer now, kiddo. Not much longer,” he expressed in a hushed tone before looking over at Starlight, who was presently seated at one of the desks, sipping down some tea they had managed to macgyver from a few crystal berries once Rainbow and the others had left. His smile fell away as she looked at her horn, which had been letting off more and more sparks ever since the others had left. Her posture was getting more slouched as well. It was becoming increasingly obvious that she couldn’t maintain this flow of energy for much longer. Tentatively, he cleared his throat. “Starlight? How are you holding up over there?”

She looked his way after a second or so of not reacting whatsoever, her eyes showing her answer clear enough. The dark rings under them had gotten several shades darker and grown in size. Her forehead was creased with stress, strain, and discomfort while she maintained her stream of energy into Twilight’s spell. “Do I have to answer?” she shot back bluntly before taking a very deliberate sip of her tea. The slurp made Thorax cringe.

He gave an awkward, sheepish shrug, then turned his attention to Spike. The baby dragon had opted to stay behind when the others left, citing that ‘he would probably just get in the way.’ He had belched up a couple of new letters from Manehattan and Cloudsdale while they were waiting, and was currently reading through the latter of the two with vested interested.

Deciding that ‘not much longer’ was not a satisfactory measurement of time, Wind Whisper let out an indignant puff of air before squirming out of Thorax’s grip and then cantering over to one of the baskets full of food he had brought back. Curious, Thorax stood up and followed after her at a more leisurely pace. The little filly dug into one of the buckets and rummaged around for a little bit. When she came back up, she had a really big crystal berry held in her hooves and a hopeful smile on her face. She then turned and held it out to Thorax. “Catch?” she chirped out with a huge smile.

Thorax eyed the berry, then Wind with a mixture of surprise, skepticism, and adoration. This little filly could sure be creative when she needed to entertain herself. Hide and seek in the castle of the two sisters, and now catch with food. “You wanna play catch with a berry?” he asked through a small fit of amused giggles, drawing an enthusiastic nod from the filly.


Spike, having been listening in on their chatter, looked up from the scroll and put on a playful smile of his own. “Hey, you could put a reward on it. Make it so that if somepony drops or misses the berry, the other one gets to eat it.”

“What?” Thorax looked over at Spike incredulously. As he did, the berry Wind had been holding went rocketing by his face at an alarming speed, eliciting a startled squeak from him. The berry soared through the air before striking the end of a bookshelf with a sharp ringing sound and clattering to the floor in three pieces. Some pink juice splattered out and stuck to the bookshelf and floor, filling the air with it’s sweet aroma. Thorax looked at the shattered berry, then turned to look at Wind Whisper, about ready to gently reprimand her for wasting some food. Of course, the fluffy little bat didn’t bother waiting for him and went barreling by his other side for the juicy and sweet remains.

“Hey!” Thorax protested, doing a full three-sixty spin before he finally got Wind in his sights and frowned disapprovingly at her.

Spike let out a hearty laugh and set aside the letter in his claws before standing up. “Ha! That’s one point for Wind Whisper and one tasty treat!”

“What are you doing?” Thorax asked in an increasingly flustered voice. Spike smirked and winked at him.

“I’m being the referee. Twilight and Rainbow had me keep score during their contests all the time when they were fillies. I like to think I’ve developed a flair for commentary,” he explained casually, putting one claw on his hip and lifting the other to his face and twirling a non-existent mustache.

“I never agreed to this,” Thorax protested, turning and watching helplessly as the thestral filly ravenously devoured the berry on the floor. She did it so quick he didn’t even get the chance to remind her to not eat things off of the floor. She stood up tall and licked her lips, shuddering with ecstasy as the sweet, crunchy treat traveled to her stomach.

“Oh, I love this game…” she cooed before turning a hungry eye on the bucket. “C’mon, Dreamy! Grab another one!” she squealed out, practically bouncing in place. Her wings gave a few eager flaps as well, further emphasizing her desire for treats.

“But, I, what about… uh…” Thorax stumbled over his words before looking to Starlight pleadingly. “Starlight, a little help?”

She just shrugged. “Hey, don’t look at me. They’re picking on you,” she pointed out coyly, a teasing smirk on her face in spite of her clear exhaustion. She lifted her tea up and took a far more taunting sip.

Could a sip of tea be taunting, Thorax wondered. Eh, Questions for later.

His attention was pulled away from the unapologetic unicorn when Wind Whisper let out a tiny sniffle. “Come on Squall… pwease…?” Wind stuck out her lower lip and widened her eyes as much as they could while also shrinking down so she looked tiny against the ground. “We haven’t played catch in a long time…”

In that moment, Thorax learned another thing about the filly he was defending. Wind Whisper had the most adorable puppy eyes he had ever laid eyes on. He couldn’t have resisted that face even if he wanted to. With a charmed smile, he relented and trotted over to the bucket and reached in to grab another berry. “Heh. Alright, sis. Anything for you.”

Wind Whisper clapped her front hooves together and let out a high-pitched squee, the look of joy on her face melting the hearts of all present. Spike chuckled merrily and stood up tall, pretending to hold a microphone up to his mouth. “And now fillies and gentlecolts, Spike is proud to present, a game of catch with berries!” he bellowed out in an announcer’s voice. Starlight rolled her eyes before levitating up the scroll he had discarded, rolling it up and smacking him in the back of the head with it.

While those two were interacting, Thorax withdrew another sizable one and grinned at Wind. “Just don’t expect me to easy on you, alright?”

“Just throw it!” Wind bounced in place before lifting into the air with a flip of her wings and holding out her hooves. Thorax just laughed and reared back to throw the berry.

He stopped, however, when an incredibly powerful scent drifted up his nostrils, making his muscles lock up and his stomach growl.

Love. Lots of it.

His eyes refocused to see an impossibly thick pink haze in the air, growing more and more intense with every second that ticked by. Even just inside of this library there was more pure and unconditional love energy then he had ever seen before in his entire life, and it was still growing thicker. A low throb began to form in his belly, reminding him that the hunger of a changeling was everlasting. His tongue wriggled in his mouth, his eyes went wide and unfocused and his throat began to swallow instinctively. At the same moment, the light on Starlight’s horn flared up before sizzling out, drawing her attention. “Huh?! Twilight ended the spell!” she squawked in surprise, reaching a hoof to touch the pointy appendage.

Spike looked over at her with a cocky smile. “Ha! Rainbow must have totally told Sombra off! I knew she could do it!”

“I hope your right…” Starlight replied nervously before turning her gaze back to Thorax. She frowned when she saw that he wasn’t moving. “Uh… Squall? Are you okay in there?”

Thorax wasn’t listening. His breaths were coming in heavier and heavier gasps while his eyes locked on Wind Whisper. His tongue fluttered behind his lips, and it took every ounce of restraint he had to not drop his disguise and feed on her then and there. The berry slid out of his hoof and struck the floor. The clang it made was deafening in his ears, and pained groans began to slip into his breaths. Wind noticed his discomfort, her ears slowly lowering before she took a couple of steps closer to him. “Dreamy? Are you okay?”

The haze was only growing thicker. He couldn’t resist any longer.

“Wind… oh… oh no!” in a panic, he suddenly scrambled back and away, tripping on the bucket of food and knocking it over. Dozens of berries were sent scattering and rolling along the floor, sounding not dissimilar to small marbles or pebbles rolling across the smooth surface. He toppled after them, his back hitting the floor with a loud thump and crunch, many berries crushed beneath his weight. Pink and blue juice expanded out from the source of impact, sticking to his fur and filling his nose with just one more sensation to overwhelm him with. His hooves clamped over his muzzle and he squeezed his eyes shut, on the verge of hyperventilating.

“Squall?!” Wind shrieked before sprinting over to his side, their game of catch completely forgotten. Spike and Starlight also got up, moving to offer him whatever aid they could. He saw them coming and shook his head violently.

“Get away!” he barely managed to gasp out, trying to back away with his hooves still on his muzzle. He couldn’t make much progress, barely squeaking along an inch at a time, but luckily Spike and Starlight headed his words, halting their advance.

Wind Whisper, sadly, did not listen.

She slid to a halt right next to him, putting her hooves on his chest and shaking him. “Dreamy! What’s wrong?!” she asked in a desperate and scared voice. His eyes opened to look into hers by reflex. Time crawled to a stop when their gazes met, and a million thoughts raced through his mind.

She felt worried, scared and powerless… worried and scared for her brother, and powerless to help him. A brother that she didn’t even know had been taken away from her weeks ago. Thorax’s heart twisted with guilt and regret, looking into those enormous, ice-blue innocent eyes.

The fear and worry that she was feeling for the pony he was disguised as… it became too much. Before he could do anything to stop it, a wave of green fire swirled around him, burning away the facade of Squall Dreamer replacing it with the true form of Thorax the changeling drone. His wings buzzed aggressively as he shot up to his hooves, his forked tongue flicking out of his mouth to taste the air and the love in it, emphasizing his long sharp fangs. A horrific snarling hiss bubbled up from his throat at the same time.

Wind Whisper screamed.

When that horrible sound hit his ears, Thorax froze, sucking his tongue back into his mouth and silencing his snarls. His vision had blurred with hunger and primal feelings there for a second, but now that he was looking again…

Wind Whisper had scrambled back from him, her eyes wide with terror and her ears flat against her head. Spike and Starlight had similar expressions of shock and horror, not sure if what they were seeing was real or not, both of them having taken several fearful steps back. Wind choked down a sob and backed away a few more steps, her entire body shaking and her wings twitching on her back. Thorax also took a step back, still struggling to force down his instincts. “W-wind… I-” sadly, it wasn’t enough. His words were interrupted by another hiss and snarl of starvation, his tongue again licking at the air. Again, Wind Whisper backed away, a heart-wrenching wail tearing itself out of her throat.

Starlight seemed to snap out of whatever trance she was in when she heard that, and she lit up her horn again with powerful magic. Her eyes narrowed with disgust and hatred, all of it directed directly at Thorax. As sparks began to fly off of the tip of her horn in dangerous amounts, she briefly looked to the terrified filly and the flabbergasted baby dragon. “Wind! Spike! Both of you get behind me, NOW!” she barked without any room for debate, stepping in Thorax’s direction aggressively.

He managed to reign in his instincts long enough to take several steps back, his own ears drooping. “W-wait!” he begged, raising a hoof in an effort to placate the advancing unicorn. “Please, let me explain-”

“Shut the hay up!” Starlight snapped, a beam of magic flying from her horn. It tore through the air and struck Thorax squarely in the chest, exploding on impact and hurling him across the room and into a bookshelf. An agonized cry of pain ripped itself out of his lungs before he fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. The force of the impact knocked most of the contents off of the shelves, sending an avalanche of ancient books falling down to bury him. Wind Whisper cried out in fear from the action before following Starlight’s advice and scampering to cower behind her along with Spike. Without waiting a second, Starlight used her magic to pull away the books, sliding them off of the drone so she could then lift him into the air with her own magic.

He managed to regain his faculties and started to squirm in her hold. His efforts were in vain, however; her grip was just way too strong. “Please, s-stop!” Thorax begged, fresh tears forming in his eyes. The raw emotion in his voice gave Starlight pause. When he realized she was no longer rising him into the air, he kept talking. “P-please, I surrender!”

With an angry snarl, Starlight slammed him down into the floor on his back with enough force to kick the wind clean out of him. Colorful spots exploded across his vision, and he began to gasp and heave desperately for air. Even when the spots cleared, his vision swam for several seconds, everything blurry and fuzzy while all sound was drowned out by the incessant ringing in his ears. He tried weakly to stand up, but found that all of his legs were pinned down by Starlight’s magic. His vision finally focused enough so that he could see, and he spotted Starlight eyeing his carefully. He looked past her at Wind Whisper, who shrank away even more when he did.

He felt his heart break just a little more. “I…” he began, though his words hitched in his throat when he saw Starlight step forward in warning. He decided that, right now, she didn't matter, and looked at Wind again. “I’m sorry, Wind,” he stated before anything else.

“You’re sorry,” Starlight snorted, stepping up to him and leaning down to look into his eyes. The fiery contempt and rage in hers made Thorax whimper in fear “Really? You’re sorry? Oh sure, that solves everything, doesn’t it?!” the grip her magic had on his hooves tightened, drawing a pained hiss out of him. “You expect any of us to believe that?! And even if we did, do you think that being sorry makes up for all of the horrible things you monsters have done?! The ponies you’ve hurt!”

Thorax weathered her onslaught well, all things considered. He opened his eyes, which had closed on reflex, and looked back up at her grimly. “Of course not,” he muttered solemnly, letting his head thump back onto the hard crystal floor. Starlight blinked, some of the intensity fleeing her eyes at that. She leaned away somewhat before glancing over at Spike, who could only helplessly gesture with his claws that he had no idea what to do. A heavy silence fell over the entire library, every second that ticked by filling Thorax’s gut with guilt and dread.

“Where’s Squall?”

Wind’s voice cut through the silence like a knife, and all eyes turned to her in surprise. She took a couple shaky steps forward, bravely trying to contain her emotions. They still showed through in the tiny whimpers in her throat, the horrible trembling in her hooves and lips, and the fresh tears that freely ran down her cheeks. “Where’s my brother…? What did you do to him?” she asked again.

Thorax looked at her for several moments before tearing his eyes away and screwing them tightly shut. “He’s… back in Canterlot…” he admitted slowly. He could almost feel it when Wind Whisper’s ears fell even further flat against her head. “I took him away before the fighting even started… I’m sorry...”

Wind lifted a hoof up to her mouth in an attempt to stifle a withering gasp. She couldn’t maintain her composure anymore. With a heart-ripping scream of sadness, she turned and fled for the doors of the library, ignoring Starlight’s shout for her to come back. She barreled through the doors, flapped her wings and flew off and out of sight, her cries still echoing in their ears.

Had it not been for Thorax being unable to contain his own guilty whimpers, the library would have been absolutely silent…

Pharynx eyed the crystal city from afar, his lips tightening into a thin line as he analyzed what he was seeing. That towering monster was gone, and the barrier around the city had been dispelled. It looked like a perfect opportunity to sneak in and start looking for Thorax, but he couldn’t be sure. What if that smoke monster came back? He’d be a goner if it did. Still, he didn’t imagine he was going to get another chance to slip in, and the unthinkable amount of love around the city was making it hard to think with anything but his stomach.

He licked his lips before allowing green fire to swirl around him. When it dissipated, he had assumed the form of a white earth-pony stallion with an equally white mane and tail. His cutie mark depicted a set of fox paw-prints in the snow. “Alright, Thorax…” he snarled to himself before starting to gallop for the edge of the city. “It’s time to take you home!"

Author's Note:

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