• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,221 Views, 969 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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Brother's Quarrel

“Pharynx, what are you doing here?!” Thorax asked in abject disbelief, taking a step back. Was this real? Was Pharynx actually here? When he saw the vicious look in his elder brood-mate’s eyes and the way he was baring his fangs, though, it became perfectly clear that this wasn’t some sorrow-induced hallucination.

Pharynx growled and took a threatening step forwards. “I’m here to take you home, Thorax,” he stated plainly before his eyes darted past Thorax to look at Wind Whisper. His expression turned even more hostile, eliciting a terrified whimper from the little filly. “And I see you’re still running around with this little filly…”

“G-go away…” she pleaded in a trembling voice, taking several steps back and shrinking down to the ground.

Thorax looked over his shoulder at her and saw the fear on her face. He felt his face heat up with anger. He quickly put himself between Pharynx and Wind, snapping out his wings and spreading his posture into a defensive stance. “Wind, stay behind me!” he ordered firmly, eyes never leaving his brother.

Wind’s eyes widened slightly, and her ears perked up a little bit. “Wh-what?”

“Stay back!” Thorax said more forcefully, stamping a hind hoof for emphasis. Wind yipped at that and didn’t question him any further, slipping further back against the wall at the end of the alley and keeping herself hidden behind the blue-eyed drone.

Pharynx snorted derisively as he continued his advance. “How cute… but the game’s over Thorax. Come quietly and this won’t have to get violent,” he threatened before pausing his advance, his next words coming out much softer. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

“I’m not going back with you, Pharynx,” Thorax shot back, though the strength and confidence in his voice were very quickly fading away. He took a step back, memories of all of the times Pharynx had physically overpowered him and hurt him resurfacing in his mind.

Pharynx narrowed his eyes dangerously. “You don’t have a choice. I don’t have a choice!” he shouted before lunging forward with staggering speed. Thorax tried to react, to dodge or block, but he was too slow. Pharynx’s hoof slammed into the side of his head with enough force to send him tumbling to the ground, a pained shout slipping out of his lungs. At the back of the alley, Wind Whisper screamed, cowering even more against the wall, tears starting to trickle down her cheeks as she watched the scene unfold.

Thorax, gasping for breath, struggled to get back to his hooves. He rose up just in time for Pharynx to grab him by the back of the head with one hoof and drive his face down into the other. Sparks exploded across his vision before he was hit in the face again, and again, and again. Now dazed, he weakly flailed against his attacker, trying desperately to pry him off. It was to no avail, his hooves uselessly sliding off of Pharynx’s smooth carapace before he found the ground flying up to kiss him on the horn. More pain exploded across the entirety of his skull, his two-toned voice ringing out in an agonized scream.

Wind watched the fight carry on with her entire body shaking. Fearful cries and wails let themselves out of her throat in a wanton stream as she watched the changeling that had just sworn to defend her being brutalized. His cries of pain were growing quieter, probably from how dazed and confused he was becoming with every blow to the head he took. Pharynx drove his head down into the ground again, and this time there was a blood-curdling crack. When Pharynx pulled him back up, there was a fresh pattern of cracks along Thorax’s cheek. For a second, he managed to look in her direction, his eyelids starting to swell up from how horribly bruised they were. The look in his eyes was one of apology, regret, and resignation.

Wind saw that look, and her coat bristled. Somewhere, deep in her head, something snapped. It was almost audible, like a branch being broken, or a rope being cut. With tears still flowing down her cheeks, she shot up to her hooves, baring her teeth. “S-stop hurting him!” she suddenly shouted in desperation before galloping forward and tackling Pharynx’s hind leg, knocking him off balance. He grunted in agitation, his horn igniting with green magic and grabbing Wind’s tail in telekinesis.

“Let go of me, you stupid bat!” Pharynx snapped, trying to pull her off with his magic. She could feel her grip getting loose, and started to panic. Acting quickly, she opened her mouth as widely as she could and then clamped down on the knee joint. The sound her teeth made when they pierced his chitin was similar to that of a particularly crunchy apple and a very juicy orange being bitten into. She shuddered in revulsion at that awful taste in her mouth, but she did her best to keep her jaw clamped down.

Pharynx dropped Thorax to the ground and let out a scream of agony. His purple eyes looked down at the thestral, burning with a ferocity and rage that made all of Wind Whisper’s bravado and sudden bravery evaporate like a shallow puddle in a dessert. He gave another hard tug of his magic and, with her confidence gone, Wind was powerless to hold on. He pulled her off of him and then hurled her against the nearby trash can hard enough to knock it over. She cried out in pain, the contents of the can spilling over and partially burying her in old, stinky garbage. From her lying position, she began to cry all over again, this time from the pain.

Thorax saw this transpire with horror. All of the anger and rage he had felt when Pharynx scared her exploded into his mind again, and his resignation to his fate was burned to cinders in its wake. His eyes widened and he wasted no time in getting back to his hooves to tackle the still off-balance Pharynx as hard as he could, driving him back into one of the other walls of the alley and trying to pin him there. Sadly, Pharynx’s far superior combat training allowed him to recover and, with a quick flick of his wings, gain enough altitude to drive his hind legs into his little brother’s chest and shoulder. Thorax stumbled back from the force, while Pharynx kept using his wings to keep his hurt leg off the ground. He hissed angrily and lurched forward again, driving his good hind leg into Thorax’s side in a powerful kick, sending him sprawling to the ground yet again in a crumpled heap.

Wind Whisper, her head feeling fuzzy and heavy while her side throbbed in pain from her collision with the can, slowly pulled herself into a sitting position, garbage and junk sliding off of her to clatter to the ground. Her eyes struggled to refocus for several seconds, finally giving her a clear picture. She saw Thorax on the ground again and stood up to try and help, her wings flaring open.

“Wind, Stay back!” Thorax shouted at her, lifting a hoof in her direction even as he tried to stand back up. Pharynx didn’t let him talk anymore, flying down and driving his good hind-hoof into Thorax’s face again for good measure. The younger drone’s head slammed into the street from the force, and he slumped limply to the ground. His breaths were coming in ragged gasps and his eyes lazily drifted to look up at Pharynx, who’s horn lit up with more green magic. Thorax felt himself being lifted up by his hooves, soon hovering in mid-air in front of his brother, all of his limbs restrained.

“Please, stop!” Wind begged, her voice breaking with emotion again. She ruffled her wings, but a look from Thorax made her reconsider leaping to his aid again. “Stop hurting him! Please! Just leave him alone!”

Pharynx shot the little filly a sideways glance, then punched Thorax in the face one more time. His head snapped back to look up at the sky with the smack of the impact reverberating in the air around them for several seconds. A shaky exhale slipped out of Thorax’s lungs before his head came falling forward to limply hang there, his eyes barely open.

For Thorax, alongside the unbearable pain rushing through his skull, there was also an impossibly loud ringing sound in his ears to go along with it. He thought he could hear someone, a female, crying out his name, but he couldn’t be sure. Every beat of his heart sent more white-hot nails of pure agony stabbing through his cranium and his ribs. It was hard to breath, hard to open his eyes through the swelling and the bruising on his face, and hard to think through the dizziness. He felt something touch itself to the base of his horn and slowly lift his head up. He saw Pharynx there, looking at him with a mixture of anger and… sorrow? What was that glistening in his eyes?

Was Pharynx… crying?

“Why?” he asked quietly, putting his hooves on Thorax’s shoulder once he was sure the other drone could keep his head up. “Why are you fighting back? You know what Chrysalis is going to do to you if you resist!”

Thorax blinked slowly before shaking his head. “Pharynx… you… you know that… that I’m already done for… if I go back...” he mumbled out, his words coming out slurred and quiet. ‘Besides… you know why I’m doing this…”

“NO! I DON’T!” Pharynx denied in a shout, harshly shaking Thorax. “I don’t know why you’re doing this! I don’t understand! This filly should mean nothing to you, but you’re going so far out of your way to protect her! Why? You know full well that Chrysalis is going to kill you if you keep doing this! I won’t be able to convince her to spare you... I can’t lose you, Thorax! You’re the only family I have!”

Thorax groaned in discomfort from the shaking, his head burning in protest. “Then… then don’t take me back,” he said slowly, his voice steadily gaining back some of it’s lost strength. “Come with me. If you help us, maybe we can both survive this. We can take Chrysalis down and work through all of this together.”

“Thorax, nothing can stop her now,” Pharynx argued, his grip on Thorax’s shoulders tightening and his ears drooping. “She has the combined powers of three alicorns and the entire population of Canterlot! There is not a force in this whole world that can stand up to her anymore. Trying to stop her is a fool's errand.”

“You’re wrong. If anypony can stop her, it’s these ponies,” Thorax replied sternly, his voice softening somewhat, like he were trying to calm a wild animal. “In the time I’ve spent with them, I’ve seen them pull this entire city back into the world after it was banished for over a thousand years. I’ve watched just three of them drive back a monstrous king made of shadows and evil, and then one of them talked that king into backing off. And besides… these ponies have something that Chrysalis will never have and never understand.”

Pharynx was looking more and more unsure of himself as Thorax spoke but narrowed his eyes questioningly at the remark about Chrysalis. “And what might that be?” he asked slowly, backing away from his brother.

Thorax smiled at him. “...Honest, pure and mutual love for one another. They have friendship.”

Pharynx snarled quietly. “Thorax, that just makes them food for us. You know that, don’t you?” he asked in an incredulous tone before marching back up to Thorax and glaring into his eyes. “Just stop, Thorax… come back with me. Maybe I can convince Chrysalis to spare you, but you have to stop resisting me… please…” he put his hoof on Thorax’s shoulder again, his eyes and tone pleading. “Just… come home. You’re all I’ve got…”

Thorax grimaced when the bonds around his hooves were released, letting him drop back to the ground. He found himself being caught by Pharynx, who gingerly and carefully helped him to his hooves. He wobbled unsteadily for several moments, but soon managed to stand upright. After a moment of standing still and feeling his brother’s hoof on his shoulder, he let out a quiet sigh and lightly shoved him away. Pharynx stepped back, his ears going flat and his jaw hanging open in disbelief. Thorax, still on trembling legs, put himself between Pharynx and the onlooking Wind Whisper yet again, his eyes narrowed with resolve. “I’m sorry, Pharynx, but no means no. I’m not leaving them. I can’t.”

Pharynx took a step forward, not even trying to hold in his tears any longer. “Why not?!” he demanded to know in a broken shout.

Thorax glanced over his shoulder at Wind Whisper, his still fuzzy vision refocusing enough for him to make her out clearly. She was watching him with wide eyes and a gaping jaw, those ice-blue iris’ shimmering with an emotion he could only describe as… awe? It was hard to pin it down, but he then returned his gaze to Pharynx and took in a deep breath. “I can’t go back with you because I made a promise, Pharynx. A promise that I would be breaking if I went back with you. I swore to keep Wind Whisper safe until her brother is free, and I am not going back on my word, not this time, no matter what.”

Wind Whisper reached a hoof to gently rest over her chest as she listened to Thorax talk like that, fresh tears breaching her eyes.

He lifted up one of his hole-ridden hooves, staring down into it with a look of disgust before he looked into Pharynx’s eyes again. “If keeping my promises and doing the right thing means being branded a traitor for the rest of my life and suffering Chrysalis’ judgment, then…” he swallowed the lump in his throat and continued with finality. “Then fine! I can live with those consequences, but I could not live with the consequences if I turned my back on these ponies after everything they’ve done for me!”

Pharynx visibly deflated on hearing this, it finally dawning on his that, no matter what he did, his brother was lost to him. He looked down and shook his head. When he lifted his eyes to meet those of Thorax again, they refocused on instinct, and a small gasp slipped out of him when he saw love energy starting to flow out of the little filly and into Thorax in droves. For a moment, he shifted back on his hooves, a haunted and unnerved expression appearing on his face. Then, a small, proud smile appeared on his face, just for a moment, before it faded away into a resigned frown. “Fine, then. I guess I’ll just have to drag you back,” he stated matter of factly.

Thorax, too, visibly wilted on hearing this. But he quickly composed himself and braced his legs. He peeled his lips back and hissed savagely at Pharynx, challenging him to come and try.

Pharynx took the challenge, his entire body being engulfed in a swirl of rapidly expanding green fire. Thorax took a step back and squinted against the flames. When they faded away, he gasped when he saw what Pharynx had turned himself into. An enormous and imposing beetle with massive lobster-like pincers reaching out in front of it now stood before them. It’s purple exoskeleton snapped open behind it as two giant wings buzzed in the air, while sharp and twitching mandible on his face spread out to reveal sharp teeth that wiggled and reached like fingers. It’s purple eyes let off a ghostly glow, and a deep chittering sound came out of it.

Thorax let out a yelp of shock before quickly launching himself into the air with his wings, barely avoiding a strike of Pharynx’s new pincers. He looked down, a grimace on his face when he saw the gargantuan creature following close at his hooves. Pharynx reached for him again, and again he dodged around it, even if only barely. Another chattering shriek came from Pharynx in frustration, before he rotated and used one of his six legs to kick Pharynx in the side.

Thorax bit down on his tongue to keep from screaming but made use of the momentum from the kick to put some distance between him and his aggressively buzzing adversary. Pharynx closed the gap pretty quickly, though, snapping and grasping for Thorax constantly. Every strike was just barely avoided, and Thorax knew he couldn’t keep this up forever.

Their chase carried them across the sky over the Empire, drawing the attention of many of the ponies below. Most of them ran for cover, screaming in panic at seeing a monster in their sky, while others made their way for the library, presumably to notify Princess Rainbow Dash of the situation. Thorax momentarily was distracted by the swiftly mounting chaos down below, to the point that he only caught sight of Pharynx’s next attack out of the corner of his eye.

He let out a frightened shout when the pincers came short of his face by only a few inches. Any relief he may have felt for evading the attack was washed away when the pincer was engulfed in green flames, embers and sparks flying against his face and leaving several burning spots in his chitin. His hooves flew up to shield his eyes, and he considered himself lucky that the flames missed his eyes. What didn’t miss him, however, were the sharp talons that wrapped around his entire body, constricting his movements and squeezing the air out of him. The deafening eagle’s call he heard, even if muffled by his entrapment, made it clear that Pharynx had shifted into the form of a roc, a giant bird of prey. The talons squeezed on him tighter, forcing the air from his lungs and causing pain to explode along his side.

Two can play at that game…

Knowing that this was going to be really painful, Thorax grimaced and screwed his eyes shut before allowing green flames to swirl around himself as well. Black chitin was replaced with thick skin and brown fur, hooves filled with holes were replaced with paws sporting several dagger-length claws, and his body size increased many times over. The sudden growth of the drone he carried, combined with the green fire burning his talon, caused Pharynx to open up and let Thorax go with an agitated shriek. He was expecting Thorax to have become a flying monster as well, but he was not expecting a grizzly bear that had dug its claws into his ankle and now hung on for dear life.

With an angry roar, Thorax bit down on Pharynx’s leg, causing him to scream and dispell the form of a roc. The green fire began to form, and Thorax was just quick enough to let go and kick off before the heat had a chance to rush down his throat. For a second, he was in a free-fall before quickly changing back to his natural form. He let out a strained growl between clenched teeth before managing to right himself in the air and ending his fall. Panting heavily, he looked up just in time for Pharynx, also back in his natural form, to tackle him at full speed with green flames surrounding his head, adding extra force to the blow.

The impact drove the wind out of him, and Thorax gasped as he found himself spiraling back and down to the ground. He managed to regain his senses enough to look down and regain control of his flight, just in time to avoid slamming into the base of a building. He swerved around it, then duked and weaved through a small gathering of crystal ponies, all of whom let out startled exclamations as he passed them. Once he cleared the ponies, he climbed into the air and rotated to look for Pharynx. He didn’t have to look for long, and saw him attempting the same maneuver again. With a grunt of effort, Thorax suddenly touched his hooves to the ground and vanished in another flurry of green flames. Pharynx went rocketing into the street where he had been, slamming into it hard enough to create a changeling-sized crater, a tiny fly buzzing around it in indignation.

Dust was kicked up and sent flying from the impact, obscuring his vision. Pharynx squinted to see through the haze, an impatient hiss sounding deep in his throat. His eyes widened when that unassuming fly buzzing around his head was enveloped in green. In its place, another grizzly bear reared up and brought it’s paws down on the startled drone before he would react.

The paws smashed into his back, driving him into the ground again with a shout of pain. He turned his eyes up at Thorax, who was rearing up to hit him again. Thinking quicky, Pharynx let a beam of uncharged magic shoot out of his horn, hitting Thorax in the knee and causing him to topple backward with a roar. Pharynx took advantage of his opponent’s prone position, standing back up and charging up his horn, about ready to finish this fight once and for all.

He missed his mark, sadly, when the grizzly bear vanished in another flash of green. His shot hit only the crystal street, while a large constrictor snake lay coiled at his hooves. It hissed at him, then lunged forwards, using the momentum of its leap to wrap it’s entire body around his throat, cutting off his airflow. Pharynx would have changed shape again, but when he felt its teeth clamping down on his horn, he thought better of the idea.

Now struggling to breathe, Pharynx pummeled his hooves against the constrictor several times, it dawned on him that he was trapped. His vision was starting to blur, his lungs were burning and his eyes were watering. He feebly struck Thorax a couple more times before all of the strength left his hooves, and he crumpled to the ground in a silently squirming heap. He still struggled for several seconds, trying desperately to get some breathing room. Eventually, however, his efforts ceased entirely, and he fell completely still.

Everything fell silent, a small circle of awestruck onlookers starting to gather, muttering among themselves about what they had just witnessed. Finally, once he was sure that Pharynx was down for the count, the snake relaxed its grip, uncoiled itself from his neck, and transformed back into Thorax. He fell to his haunches, gasping raggedly for breath and looking down at his unconscious brother with wide, unfocused eyes. Those eyes briefly turned skywards, then rolled into the back of his skull before he toppled over and also passed out, his body slumping over his brother’s.

The last thing he saw before the waking world fled from him entirely was the blurry silhouette of a thestral filly flying down to him, and her young voice crying out his name was the last thing he heard before the world turned dark and utterly silent.

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: I have an entire piece of music that I edited together from many others that goes with this chapter. Here is a link if you would like to listen: [Click me, Please!]

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