• 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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Brothers And Sisters

The crystal pony guarding Pharynx’s cell gave Thorax a questioning look as the drone came walking into the dungeons with a distant, sorrowful look in his eyes. When Thorax didn’t even bother to say anything to him as he passed, the guard came to the accurate conclusion that, right now, bothering him was ill-advised.

Thorax trotted past cell after cell until he found Pharynx’s. He came to a stop just shy of being able to see inside so he could martial his thoughts and reign in his emotions. Then, with a deep breath, he slowly strode forward to stand in front of the cell and look at the drone inside. Pharynx was sitting down on what constituted as a bed, looking at Thorax out of the corner of his eye with a grimace. For several seconds, the two just stared at each other in complete silence.

After a while, Pharynx became tired of their little starting contest and turned to face his younger brood-mate directly. It was then he noticed the look in his eyes. Pharynx recoiled at the sight, clearly taken aback. But after a few seconds of studying Thorax’s face, his eyes narrowed. “What’s got you looking so miserable?” he asked bluntly, sliding off of the bed to approach the transparent wall that separated them.

Thorax sighed and looked down at the ground. “...I’m leaving, Pharynx. I’m going back to Canterlot,” he explained simply, forgoing any pleasantries and cutting straight to why he was here. The older changeling paused as he heard this, tilting his head in curiosity.

With a quizzical look on his muzzle, Pharynx tilted his head. “Is that right?” he asked in surprise. “Why? Are you turning yourself in?”

Thorax lifted his gaze and shook his head. “No. I’m going there to help Rainbow Dash’s forces retake the city, free the princesses and…” he hesitated while his eyes flicked down to his side. He had already gotten so used to Wind Whisper standing there... “and I’m going to rescue Squall Dreamer. Wind Whisper’s big brother. I’m going to keep my promise to her.”

Pharynx watched Thorax for several moments, analyzing him intensely. Then he began to laugh. He closed his eyes, hung his head and shook it in disbelief. When his chuckles died down a moment later, he looked back at Thorax with tears in his eyes. “Wow. You are really going all out on the whole traitor thing, aren’t you?” he tried to joke in a quiet, trembling voice.

Thorax winced at that remark, his ears falling back. “I’m not trying to betray the hive, Pharynx. I’m just trying to save who I can and stop some of this suffering. It’s completely unnecessary.”

Pharynx rolled his eyes and leaned against the wall of his cell. “You know that still makes you a traitor, right?” he pointed out in a deadpan, gesturing at Thorax with a hoof.

He gave a grim nod. “I know…” he mumbled before falling silent. Pharynx raised an eyebrow, having expected Thorax to say something else. After a few more seconds of silence, he did indeed speak again. “Look, Pharynx, I didn’t come down here just to give you a status report or anything.”

Pharynx snorted. “Yeah, I can tell. So let’s just cut to the final act and be done with it; why are you telling me this?”

Thorax shuffled back a couple of paces from the hostility in Pharynx’s voice. He paused, took a moment to compose himself, then stood up straight. He looked into Pharynx’s eyes, silently pleading with him to heed his next request, “I’m telling you this because I want you to come with me. We’ll have a much better chance of winning and living through Chrysalis’ wrath if you do.”

Pharynx’s smile faded away, replaced with an irritated frown. “Again with this? Thorax, I admire your tenacity, but you seriously need to get it through your thick skull! You know I won’t do that. My loyalty is to the hive. I cannot betray it,” he growled out, making his stance clear.

“Look, Pharynx, please-”

“I’m not going to join you on your crusade, Thorax,” he spat before turning around and sitting down, his back pressed up against the transparent cell door. Thorax stared into the back of his big brother’s head for several moments before sighing, turning and sitting down as well so they were back to back.

“I know… your loyalty is with the hive. You swore an oath; we all did...” he said gently, making Pharynx’s ears perk up, “never fail the hive, never hinder the hive, follow the queen’s command without question, and work always to ensure the continued prosperity of the hive and your fellow Changeling…”

Pharynx audibly sighed as he recalled the words. “Yes, Thorax, I remember my oath perfectly fine…” he mumbled, closing his eyes and letting the back of his head thump against the wall.

Thorax was silent for a good few moments. Then, with the faintest of smiles, he spoke up, “you know… one of those conditions doesn’t really fit with the others,” he commented in an almost teasing voice. He heard Pharynx let out a disinterested scoff. When he did not reply, Thorax took that as his cue to continue. “Specifically, following the queen’s commands without questioning her… but what if those commands hinder the hive, or make it harder for our fellow changelings to prosper? What if she’s leading us down the road of our own self-destruction?”

Pharynx scoffed even louder, driving one of his elbows into the crystal behind him. “Don’t get started, Thorax. I don’t want to hear it,” he snarled in warning, turning a bitter eye to look at the back of Thorax’s head.

But Thorax was undeterred by his brother’s hostility and kept going. “Chrysalis ordered us to invade Canterlot, replacing ponies and stealing the love that was meant for them. But what if we had tried to be peaceful about it? What if, instead of appearing as snarling and vicious monsters who pony-napped their nearest, dearest friends, we came to the ponies on peaceful terms? What if all of the love we got from them was meant for us?” he slowly lifted a hoof up to rest over his stomach, smiling warmly. “What if we’ve been doing it wrong the whole time?”

“Love is love, Thorax,” Pharynx spat, standing up and starting to trudge to the back of his cell. “It doesn’t matter how we get it. It never has, it never will.”

Thorax stood back up as well and turned to face him with a steely glare. “You’re wrong, Pharynx. And do you wanna know how I know that?” he asked intensely, giving Pharynx pause. The older drone slowly turned to glare at Thorax, albeit with a question burning in his eyes. Now that he had his attention, Thorax allowed a warm smile to spread on his muzzle. “Sure, love is love… but none of it has ever been for us. It’s always been meant for the creatures we replaced or the identities we made up for ourselves to blend in. So the love was never going to us; not enough to matter, at least.”

“What are you getting at?” Pharynx snapped impatiently rotating fully to face Thorax.

He just smiled even wider. “Pharynx… I’m full.


Nothing moved.

Pharynx blinked, shook his head, and gawped wide-eyed at Thorax like he had grown a second or additional leg. “Wha… what?” he asked quietly, slowly starting to trot towards the cell door. “You can’t be serious…”

Thorax simply nodded. “I am being serious. I’ve spent the last few days getting to know Wind Whisper, and she’s been getting to know me, the real me, for who I am. We’ve gotten close… and she cares about me. Me,” he lifted a hoof up to his chest to emphasize his point. “Not someone I was disguised as, not a fake identity. Me, Thorax the changeling. And when she really let it all out…” he allowed that hoof to slide down to his stomach. “When she willingly shared her love with me, I… I was fed. The pain in my stomach went away.”

Pharynx just blinked, seemingly unable to believe what the other changeling was saying. He narrowed his eyes and stalked a few paces closer, trying to get a good look at Thorax’s face, to see if he was lying. But then his mind wandered back to the love energy that had lingered outside of his cell when Thorax visited last. He remembered how it had smelled, and how much he had wanted to feast on it, only blocked from doing so by the cell he was in.

But he refused to speak again. His eyes remained intensely glaring into Thorax, who visibly sagged. Disappointed, he nodded slowly and turned to go. “My point is that Chrysalis is leading us down a road where we can never really stop being hungry. And that means that following her command without question is the same thing as violating all three of the other parts of our oath. So if you want to uphold that oath… then please, come with me.”

Pharynx didn’t reply, standing perfectly still. After almost thirty seconds of silence, Thorax sagged, sighed and began to trot for the exit. However, before he could get very far, Pharynx hurled himself against the crystal wall, slamming against it and making a rather loud sound. “Thorax, w-wait!” he called, his voice making his desperation perfectly clear. In response, Thorax turned around with a look of surprise on his muzzle. Pharynx slowly let himself off of the wall, sagging in resignation. Then, the tiniest ghost of a smile appeared on his face. He laughed softly under his breath before wiping a foreleg over his eyes to dispel his ears. “Thorax… oh, Thorax… my little brother… Look at you…” he whispered, his voice full of pride.

Thorax shifted uncomfortably, taken aback by just how much raw emotion his brother was openly displaying.

“Just…” Pharynx gestured at the other changeling loosely. “Look at you. Who’d have ever thought that my wimpy little brother would figure out what our entire species has spent centuries looking for…?”

Thorax’s eyes widened. “Wait, do you mean…?” he began hopefully, but unwilling to finish the sentence in case he was wrong.

“I don’t know how you managed to do it… but I do know this…” he leaned forward again to put one of his hooves against the crystal wall. “I am so proud of you. So proud...” he managed a tiny smile, just one little droplet starting to roll down his cheek. “And if I didn’t go with you, then… I would be ashamed of myself...” a look of determination began to burn in his eyes. “And if I have to go out, then I might as well go out with what little pride I have left still intact.”

Thorax’s eyes widened, and a gigantic smile appeared on his face. “Really?! Oh, thank you, Pharynx!” he all but cheered, throwing himself up to the crystal wall and placing his hooves on it. He grinned ecstatically at his big brother for a few moments before glancing over his shoulder. “The guard has the keys. I’ll go tell him to let you out.”

Pharynx managed to widen his smile into a full-on cocky grin in return. “Make it quick, eh? My wings are getting stiff in here!” he called out after Thorax as the younger drone turned to gallop out of the hallway.

Fluttershy had not been in her room when Wind Whisper entered, leaving the little filly to her own devices while she waited for her to come back. For the last ten minutes or so, Wind had been sitting on the older mare’s bed, crying to herself with her head hung low and her mane hanging loosely around her face hiding it from view. She ran a hoof over her eyes to try and wipe her tears away, but much to her growing frustration, more of them immediately took their place to roll freely down her cheeks. She tried to take a deep breath, but it did little to quell her grief.

After another few minutes, the door swung open. Sadly, through her shaking breaths and quiet sobs, Wind Whisper didn’t hear it. She did hear Fluttershy’s shocked gasp, and her hooves cantering across the floor, however. She looked up to see the worried look on Fluttershy’s face as she trotted over. “Wind Whisper? Are you okay? What’s wrong?” Fluttershy asked quietly, hopping up onto the bed next to Wind and draping a wing over her shoulders.

She leaned into the embrace, grateful for the company of an adult. She took a moment to compose herself before managing to get her whimpers under control enough to speak. “Th-thorax is g-gone…” she choked out, closing her eyes and burying her face into Fluttershy’s side.

“What?!” Fluttershy asked in alarm, pulling Wind closer. “What do you mean? What happened?”

“He l-left… he’s going to Canterlot to save everypony… he t-told me to stay with y-you until Squall comes to get me...”

A look of realization slowly dawned on Fluttershy’s face, then, followed by a small smile. “He’s going to save your big brother...” she said in a soothing whisper, starting to rock both of them back and forth. “He’s a good changeling…”

“Yeah…” Wind managed in a stifled murmur before another sob slipped out of her throat. Fluttershy just began to quietly shush her, hummed to her and held her close.

“I know he can do it. And soon you’ll have your big brother back, and then everything can start going back to normal,” she said in a soothing voice, although it did little to calm Wind’s distress.

Wind hiccuped and nodded against Fluttershy’s side. “Y-yes… b-but I don’t want Thorax to go… he might get hurt. I don’t wanna lose him, too…” she stuttered out, slowly leaning back from the embrace.

Fluttershy gave a hum of sympathy, petting the thestral filly on the back of the head. “Well… uh... ” she mumbled under her breath, doing into deep in thought for several seconds, trying to think of what to say. Her muzzle scrunched up with focus before the metaphorical light bulb winked into life. An almost mischievous look appeared on her face. “Wind, didn’t you say he promised to protect you and bring Squall back before his mean big brother showed up?”

Wind nodded again. “Mhmm… he said that ‘if he only ever got to keep one promise, let it be that one.’ And he’s been keeping it… he promised me, and he didn’t lie…” she said slowly, her eyes finally starting to run out of tears to discharge.

Fluttershy’s smile grew even wider. “Wow… it sounds like he takes promises really seriously…” she began in a leading voice, slowly sliding out of the bed. Wind turned her gaze to look at Fluttershy questioningly, her confusion doubling when she saw the smile on her face. Fluttershy then leaned down so she was muzzle-to-muzzle with Wind, grabbing one of her hooves in a firm but gentle grip with her own. “So… let’s find him before he’s too far away and have him make one more promise for you.”

Wind’s eyes slowly widened. “Wha… what kind of promise?” she asked, clearly confused.

Fluttershy began to pull Wind for the window, the thestral closely following her. Then, with a reassuring nod, Fluttershy pushed the door’s to the balcony open and grinned down at the filly by her side.

“The kind of promise that I know he won’t break.”

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: Either next chapter or the one after that will mark the beginning of the escalation towards the climax of the Changeling Arc. All of the pieces will be en route, and the time for preparation will be over. So prepare your butts and grab onto something sturdy, cuz things are gonna get intense.

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