• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,307 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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A Changeling's Hunger

Hours later, Thorax and Wind Whisper had returned to their room, the latter propping herself up on the railing of the balcony to look out at the Empire, trying to distract her mind with all of the pretty sights. Thorax was sat down on the edge of the bed, his eyes glued to the floor and a thoughtful expression on his face. He didn’t really know what all of the others were up to, or how Rainbow Dash was faring at this point. The last he had seen of her she was limping towards a chair in her room with Twilight supporting her.

The look on Rainbow’s face had been that of hopelessness. The face of a mare who had given up. Thorax grimaced at that thought.

“Thorax?” Wind Whisper’s voice suddenly drew Thorax out of his ruminations, and he lifted his gaze to meet hers. She had dropped down from the railing and was slowly walking up to him, a questioning look in her eyes. She stopped in front of him and scuffed the floor with her hoof, looking down slightly. “Do you think Princess Rainbow is gonna be okay?” she finally asked, her voice timid.

Thorax hesitated in his reply, his face twisting somewhat as he thought it over. “I… don’t know, Wind. I think she’ll pull through if we give her some time, though,” he answered, trying to sound confident in his answer. “I mean, she’s been through a lot. She’s tough.”

“I know,” Wind Whisper nodded, hopping up onto the bed and sitting down next to him. “But… she looked so sad. And she looked like her leg was hurt.”

Thorax cringed and looked down, wringing his hooves together in his lap. “She was. Glass shards in her leg. She punched a mirror, I think,” he recited what he had heard Twilight and Fluttershy discussing. “She’ll be alright, though. It was mostly surface damage, I think. Give her a day and she’ll be okay.”

“...What did Starlight mean?” Wind asked after a few seconds, looking down. “She called Rainbow a bad pony, didn’t she?”

Thorax sighed and closed his eyes. “She did…”

“Why?”

“Because…” Thorax opened his eyes and gazed directly ahead before puffing out a breath between his lips. “Because she was angry. I can’t say I blame her, either. Rainbow Dash made a pretty big mistake, after all. But I’m sure that once she calms down a little bit, those two can start to patch things up.”

Wind didn’t seem convinced but chose not to question it further. She did, however, lean against Thorax’s side, closing her eyes and letting out a quiet hum. Eventually, she sat up again, opened her eyes and lightly poked his shoulder. “So… what is this stuff that you have instead of fur?”

“Hm?” Thorax blinked and lifted one of his hole-filled hooves. “Oh, it’s Changeling Chitin. It’s a lot like the exoskeleton of things like beetles. It’s thick and strong, and fairly flexible… although…” he lifted that same hoof up to brush against the mostly healed cracks on his face from his fight with Pharynx. “Not as flexible as your skin.”

Wind, fascinated by this, reached over and poked a hoof against one of Thorax’s transparent wings. “And your wings? What are they made of?”

The runaway drone couldn’t help but chuckle in amusement at that. “Why are you so interested in my body all of a sudden?” he asked, shifting so he could face the filly more directly.

“I’m just curious,” Wind replied, poking his wing again. “I haven’t really had a chance to really look at you. There’s been a lot going on, we’ve always been running somewhere or doing something, or you were off looking for that Diamond Heart thing or something.”

“Crystal Heart,” Thorax corrected with a teasing grin.

Wind pouted at him in disapproval. She then jabbed him in the wing a bit harder, drawing a small yelp from him. “Tell me.”

Thorax’s wings buzzed slightly from discomfort her hoof had caused before he relented. He turned slightly and extended the one that wasn’t being abused all the way out so Wind could see it. He shifted again and gestured to it with a hoof. “Well, it’s actually made of more or less the same thing as the rest of my body. It’s just thinner and structured differently,” he explained while giving it a few slow flaps. "Hence the see-through surface.”

“And why does it have holes in it?” Wind furthered before glancing at his legs. Her muzzle scrunched as she leaned in to get a closer look. “And why do your hooves have holes in them, too? Isn’t it painful?”

Thorax’s face fell, and his wings tucked themselves back up to his side. “It kinda is, yeah… see… we Changelings are always hungry, Wind,” he began solemnly, lifting one of his forelegs to show the holes. He slowly rotated it, letting the little filly get a good, long look at all of the details. “Some of the oldest and smartest drones in the hive’s history have speculated that, if we can ever really feed ourselves fully, then these holes will fill up. That they’re a symptom of our hunger. Like when you’re hungry, your stomach starts to hurt a little bit, right?” When wind nodded, he traced the tip of his other hoof along the edge of one of the holes and exhaled quietly. “I don’t know if they’re right or not, though… another theory, the one I personally believe, is that it just looks creepy.”

Wind nodded and reached out to touch her hoof to his foreleg, sliding it over one of the holes that ran all the way through the leg. “Woah… and you said you feed on love, right?” she suddenly asked, looking up at Thorax.

He nodded with an awkward smile. “I mean, yeah, kinda. Love, trust, admiration, respect, comfort, lust, affection; pretty much any positive feeling you could have for another creature generates a sort of magic energy. It comes off of the body naturally, creating a cloud of love around whoever it belongs to. That energy is what Changelings eat. We can pull it directly out of other creatures if we have to, but...” he cringed. “It’s… not pleasant. It’s extremely painful and can poison the love we’re eating with fear and hatred. Bad feelings like that ruin the taste and, more importantly, make it less filling...”

“So you can’t eat physical food?” Wind was quick to ask when she saw how uncomfortable Thorax was with that train of thought.

“Oh, we can. It just…” he shook his head. “Doesn’t do much for us. You might be full after eating a tub of ice cream, but I’d probably just get kinda cold. Y’know, because it’s ice cream.”

Wind nodded, making an ‘o’ with her mouth. Then, without any other warning, she leaned over and wrapped her hooves around Thorax in a really tight hug. He went stiff from the contact and looked down at her.

“Wind? What, uh, what are you doing?” he stammered, squirming in her grip.

Wind just held him tighter. “I’m giving you some love,” was her reply, nuzzling into his shoulder.

Thorax’s jaw dropped in shock. Was she…? He looked back up into the air and let his eyes refocus so he could see any love in the air. His stomach audibly growled when he saw the thick pink haze in the air around the two of them, and it was steadily getting thicker. His tongue instinctively rolled out of his mouth to taste it, flicking like that of a snake. His eyes widened and he inhaled sharply through his nose when he tasted who the love was meant for.

Him.

It was all meant for him. Nopony else.

He licked his lips, his mouth watering, but tried to refrain for the moment. “W-wind… are you sure?” he asked quietly, his voice and lip trembling. “I might get kinda… snarly…”

Wind nodded into his shoulder. “You’re hungry… and you took care of me… it’s the least I can do to say thank you,” she whispered, giving a reassuring squeeze. ‘Eat up.”

Just like that, Thorax’s restraint fell away. He opened his mouth and began to suck the love out of the air and down his throat. It was delicious, he realized as it slipped down his tongue and swam down his throat. It tasted even better than the love he had sucked up in the alleyway a few days ago. He didn’t understand why, at first. He racked his brain, trying to think up a good explanation for why this love energy was so much tastier and… filling. His eyes widened even more.

No way.

A dull pain that had been in his stomach since the day he was born began to decrease. His brain stalled, instinct taking over. True to his word, he began to snarl and growl at the air as he drank in all of that wonderful love, and his body began to shiver in abject ecstasy as the pain faded more and more.

Sadly, Wind Whisper could only generate so much energy so quickly, and Thorax had eaten most of what she had to give for the moment. The pink haze in the room was almost gone, now, and what little was left was not enough to draw in. Thorax refocused his eyes and looked down at Wind with a look of shock on his face while his brain caught up with everything that had just happened. He mouthed like a fish for several seconds before lifting a hoof to his stomach. The pain was still there, of course, but it had been numbed. “Wha… Wind… what did you do?”

Wind tilted her head and blinked up at him, totally oblivious to his confusion. “Huh? What do you mean? I just hugged you and you got all snarly. Did something else happen?” she asked curiously.

Thorax looked straight ahead, his breathing getting a bit heavier in a strange combination of excitement and confusion. He gently nudged Wind off of him and hopped off of the bed, his wings buzzing on his back erratically. He began to pace back and forth, trying to figure it out. “I don’t get it. I’ve had meals dozens of times larger than that before, and they kept the hunger at bay, but you…” he turned and pointed at her. “Somehow, you managed to feed me. Like,” he slapped a hoof to his belly. “I feel fed. Actually fed. My stomach doesn’t hurt anymore! How? How did you do that?!”

Wind shrunk back, looking worried by Thorax’s sudden rush of questions, confusion, and enthusiasm. “Uh… I dunno…” she mumbled, raising a hoof to play with her mane. “I just hugged you and thought nice things about you… like how you protected me from your big brother, or how you promised you’d bring Squall back.”

Thorax froze. An idea came to him. “Wait… wait, wait, wait…” he slowly stepped forward again, his ears standing up tall. “When I was disguised as Squall, you genuinely believed that he was right there, right? That I was him?”

Wind visibly wilted at the reminder of her brother’s absence, but still nodded. “Mmhmm…”

“So whenever we were hugging or talking or playing games, you were thinking about Squall, not Thorax,” he pressed while planting a hoof to his chest, drawing another nod from Wind. And with that, it clicked.

He understood.

“Wind,” he began in a voice so filled with ecstatic delight that the thestrals’ own somber mood was quickly dispelled. Thorax lifted into the air on buzzing wings and flew right up to her, grabbing one of her hooves with his and grinning like he was the excitable little filly. “Oh my gosh, that’s it! Of course! Oh, you are amazing!”

Wind blinked and looked down at her hoof. “Um… thanks? I don’t understand.”

Thorax let go of her hoof and lifted higher into the air. “Don’t you see?” he asked with a delighted laugh. “Changelings have been stealing love all along! We’ve been taking love that wasn’t meant for us! That’s why it wasn’t filling! That’s why we’re always hungry! But you,” he pointed at Wind. “You just showed love for me. You shared love for me, and you did it freely! It wasn’t for somepony or something I was disguised as!”

Wind’s face began to blossom with a smile of her own, and she giggled when she realized that the insect-like creature was flying in circles near the roof. She leaned forward and grinned widely. “So ponies just have to like you?”

“Yeah!” Thorax nodded along, his wings buzzing even harder. He had to duck slightly when he almost smacked into the ceiling, and he, too, laughed merrily at the realization. “Oh my gosh, THANK YOU!” he then stopped flying in circles, touched down by the bed and practically tackled Wind Whisper. His hole-ridden hooves wrapped her up in a bone-crushing hug, one which she returned quite happily. The two fell over onto the bed, both of them managing to laugh with joy at their revelation.

Eventually, their giddy giggles died down, and the two separated from their hug, flopping down next to each other. They took a few moments to catch their breath and let their laughs die down, laying on their backs and looking up at the ceiling. Thorax let out another quiet laugh and closed his eyes. “Oh, man… so this is what a full stomach feels like...”

Wind nodded and scooted over to playfully pat Thorax on the belly. “Yay! You. Are. Full~!” she sang with each word coinciding with a smack.

Thorax laughed again and nudged her hoof away with his own. “For now, yeah. Oh, wow… seriously. Thank you,” he said again, smiling over at her warmly. “I dunno how I went without feeling like this for so long…”

Wind rolled onto her belly and propped herself up. “Well, I mean, if it’s so simple, why aren’t most changelings nice?” she asked innocently.

And like that, Thorax’s mood dropped. His smile fell away and he looked up at the ceiling. “It’s… complicated…” he began in a solemn whisper. He slowly sat up, and Wind scooted up to sit by his side.

“Why? You’re nice,” Wind pointed out, putting a hoof on his shoulder. “Somepony must know that being nice is better than being mean.”

Thorax grimaced. Of course, she wouldn’t understand… she was just a child. He let out a quiet sigh before sliding off of the bed and sitting down in front of her so they were face to face. He looked directly into Wind’s eyes, his gaze intense. “Wind… look at me. Look at my face and tell me what you see. Describe it to me,” he commanded in a gentle but firm voice, narrowing his eyes somewhat.

Wind didn’t seem to really grasp why he asked that but went along with it anyway. “Um… your face is all black and shiny. You’ve got a curving horn with a sharp tip, and a little nub sticking out of it. You’ve got sharp teeth, and two really big fangs sticking out. Your eyes are all blue and they glow in the dark…”

“Now, Wind,” Thorax continued softly, narrowing his eyes even more. “I want you to think back on how you felt when you first saw me. When you realized that I wasn't your brother. Tell me… how did you feel? What did you think of me?”

Wind’s ears drooped, and she looked away as if in shame. “I… I was angry… I was upset…” she answered before shaking her head. “But I didn’t know you yet!”

“That’s the point, Wind. You thought I was a horrific monster,” Thorax concluded for her, closing his eyes and sighing despondently. “I know because that’s how I felt about myself, too. The things I've done to your family..." he shook his head and carried on, "You know me now, though. You know that I’m not a monster…” he slumped and flopped back onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling. “...That is one thing you ponies have going for you more than other creatures…”

Wind scooted up to him and looked down at his face. “What?”

He smiled weakly and poked her on the nose with his hoof. “You’re all really friendly. I have never seen a more compassionate race… so full of love and trust and understanding… you lot can see the best in just about everyone you meet... But all of the other species we’ve met…” his smile was replaced with a disappointed frown. “...Hated us the moment they laid eyes on us. As far as I know, in the earliest days of Changeling history, before Chrysalis was the queen, we did try more than once to approach other races peacefully. But they were never interested, and always attacked us on sight, driving us away. They thought we were magically tainted abominations. They saw monsters that needed to be destroyed… and they tried to wipe us out.”

“That’s awful…” Wind muttered, shaking her head slowly. “How could they…?”

Thorax stifled a snort and looked over at Wind. “The better question is: Why don’t you?”

Wind smiled and poked him on the nose in turn, giggling when his muzzle scrunched up. “Like you said. We can see the best in everyone we meet…” she then leaned forward slightly and rested her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat through his chitin. “...You just need to make sure it’s where we can see it.”

Thorax slowly wrapped a hoof over Wind’s shoulders to pull her closer, taking comfort in her embrace, and giving some serious thought to her words. He looked down at her, taking in every single detail. This sweet, innocent little filly… this adorable little thing that, despite her troubles with anxiety and her tender age, was able to be so wise.

“I may be a liar, but if I only ever get to keep one promise that I make, let it be this one: I promise you, Wind Whisper, I will get your big brother back, and I will bring him back to you.”

He leaned down to affectionately nuzzle the top of her head before slowly shifting and nudging her off of him. She looked at him quizzically as he stood up and turned for the door. He shot her a small smile. “I’ll be back in a little while, okay? I just thought of something I need to talk to Rainbow Dash about.”

Wind tilted her head. “What is it?”

Thorax lowered his gaze somewhat, not quite able to look her in the eye. “...The best way to keep the promise that I made to you,” he said quietly before shooting her another reassuring look. “Stay here, alright?”

Wind nodded happily. “Okay! Don’t be gone too long. I like talking to you.”

Thorax nodded, smiled weakly, and then stepped out of the room. Once the door was closed behind him, he let out a shaky breath that he didn’t realize he had been holding. He looked over his shoulder, a regretful look on his face. “I love talking to you, too…” he whispered before turning to slowly trot for Rainbow and Twilight’s room.

“Which is why I have to go…”

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