• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,227 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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Promise of Return

Pharynx’s muzzle scrunched up with distaste at all of the Crystal Ponies wandering about the streets of the Empire, their vibrant colors and melancholy moods being such a stark contrast that it hurt his brain to think about it. Thorax trotted just at his side, looking far less disgruntled and more determined, his eyes locked on the south. As they pressed on, Thorax began to shoot the other drone curious glances, making Pharynx feel even more uncomfortable. “What? Is there something on my fangs?” he asked bluntly, letting his long, forked tongue dance over the sharp appendages.

Thorax jumped slightly at the harshness in Pharynx’s voice. He gave a sheepish chuckle as his response and looked dead ahead. “Oh, sorry about that. I’m just,” he paused mid-sentence and looked at Pharynx a bit more critically. “I’m just trying to figure out what you’re thinking, is all.”

“I’m thinking that you should stop staring at me,” Pharynx rebuffed with a roll of his eyes. “Seriously, it’s like you’ve never seen me before.”

Thorax managed a tiny smile. “Oh, no no, I mean…” his smile turned into an inquisitive look. “I’m trying to figure out what it was that made you take my side so quickly. I was expecting you to really argue against me, but you kinda just-”

“Thorax,” Pharynx cut him off while raising a hoof. “I had nothing but time on my hooves to think about what you and those ponies said to me. And… I saw some love hanging around outside my cell after you all left me down there. I could see it, practically taste it…” his ears drooped, as did his voice. “But I could not eat it. It was driving me insane, despite it being a relatively small amount. I didn’t understand, then,” he then smirked at Thorax. “Now, I do…”

Thorax raised an eyebrow. “Then why did you deny it at first?” he questioned plainly.

Pharynx sighed and shook his head. “...Because I didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t want to think that the Queen has been leading us astray this entire time,” he replied in a solemn voice before standing more upright. “I devoted my life to her rule. It’s no small thing for me to choose anything else over her.”

Thorax nodded slowly while looking straight ahead, a look of understanding on his face. “Well… for what it’s worth, Pharynx… thank you.”

“Hmm.”

The two pressed on in silence, and Pharynx made the most of the opportunity to really take in his surroundings. He eyed the city around them for a good several minutes, his eyes displaying both curiosity and distaste. While he had to admit to himself that the architecture was impressive, being entirely constructed of rare, valuable gemstones that had powerful reactions to magic, he found that the brightness of its colors and the way the city all but glowed were not to his preference. Even now, while he and Thorax drew closer to the edges of the Empire, he cringed back from the bright colors. “Do these ponies even care that they’re advertising themselves?” he asked bluntly, drawing a small chuckle out of Thorax.

“Well, they’re peaceful,” he pointed out while turning to look out at the city. “And it’s pretty.”

“Pretty, and pretty bad at keeping them safe. They don't even have a wall or a front gate!” Pharynx pointed out with a grimace. “Any enemy could come waltzing in here and breach the city with barely any effort at all.”

Thorax nodded along. “Well, they do have a Crystal Heart. That thing is apparently all they need to keep this city safe. Although, King Sombra compromised that…” he reluctantly admitted, his voice turning somewhat sheepish.

Pharynx just rolled his eyes before coming to a stop at the very edge of the crystal street, the green grass of the surrounding farmlands tickling the tips of his hooves. He took a moment to scan the horizon and feel the wind gently moving through the holes in his hooves and wings before looking at Thorax to his right. “Well, are we going to go or not?”

Thorax didn’t answer right away, instead choosing to look over his shoulder at the palace in the distance. His ears drooped and his posture slumped. His eyes locked onto the crystal palace in the distance, and any mirth in his expression was replaced with longing and regret. “...Uh, y-yeah,” he finally stuttered out, snapping out of it and looking to the south. “Let’s go…”

Pharynx looked at him with worry, reaching a hoof out to touch Thorax’s shoulder. “You sure you really want to go through with this?” he asked in the softest tone his naturally gruff voice could manage.

Thorax, again, was silent for a moment while he considered his response. He straightened his posture, set his jaw and gave a sharp nod. “Yes. I am. Let’s go…”

Before he could take a step, though, a sound caught his attention and made him stop. It was distant, muffled, and largely lost as an echo. His muzzle scrunched up with confusion, he turned and perked his ears up, trying to figure out exactly what it was. It came again after a few seconds, louder this time. It almost sounded like a foal’s voice, shouting long and loud. He strained his ears even more, turning all the way around and looking back into the city to try and hear it better. Pharynx finally noticed his brother’s distraction and turned to look as well.

The sound came again, and this time Thorax realized what it was. His eyes widened and an audible gasp slipped out of his lungs when he saw the source of it fluttering up from behind a building. It was Wind Whisper, soaring around in the air with Fluttershy flying with her, both of them calling out his name and searching for him. Pharynx shot him a small grin. “Well, look at you, Thorax. Seems someone is looking for you,” he jabbed cheekily, though Thorax opted to ignore him.

Why? Why was Wind out here? Why was Fluttershy out here? What were they up to?

After a few seconds of calling out again, Wind finally caught sight of Thorax. Her eyes widened, an enormous grin of relief split her face, and she gave her wings a powerful flap. The drone had never seen the filly move so fast before, and she came rocketing at him so quickly she became a blur. Knowing what was coming, Thorax barely managed to brace himself and outstretched one of his forelegs. When Wind collided with his chest, carrying more than enough force to send them both sprawling to the ground in a heap. Thorax yelped in surprise from the force of the impact while falling to his back. He took a moment to gasp for breath before wrapping both of his forelegs around her in a tight hug, one which she had already initiated.

“Thorax, is that tiny bat attacking you? Do you need assistance?” Pharynx jokingly asked while the younger drone struggled to sit upright, an amused look on his face.

Thorax just shot him a dirty look before gently prying Wind off of his chest and looking into her eyes. She had a forced smile on her muzzle and tears in her eyes. She took a second to breathe before putting a hoof on his chest. “I found you,” she whispered lightly before shoving past his hooves to hug him again. Thorax mouthed like a fish for a few seconds before returning the hug again.

“W-wind, I… what are you doing here?” he asked in a hushed voice, although he would never be able to deny that he was glad she was here. He didn’t even try to stop himself from reaching down and nuzzling the top of her head.

She slowly leaned back and looked up into his eyes again. It was at about this time that Fluttershy came in for a landing, a small smile on her face. Her eyes fell on Pharynx and that smile fell away, replaced by a slightly worried look. Still, she drew closer and touched down a few feet ahead of Thorax and Wind Whisper. Her eyes locked with Thorax’s, and her smile shifted into a much more stern expression. “Thorax…” she greeted in an unreadable tone.

Thorax gulped and shied away from her, afraid she was about to chew him out for leaving without saying goodbye to anypony else, or for leaving Wind Whisper like this. “Fluttershy…” he managed to mumble in response, his eyes flicking between the yellow pegasus and the green thestral.

Fluttershy’s blank look persisted for a short time. Then her smile returned. “Wind Whisper has something she wants to say to you,” she said gently before nodding at the filly in question. “Isn’t that right, Wind Whisper?”

Wind hiccuped, took a deep breath, and leaned back into her hug with Thorax again. “...Do you really have to go?” she asked softly while he began to rock them gently back and forth.

He nodded. “Yeah. I do. I gotta get your brother back. I promised you I would,” he replied, giving her a gentle squeeze. “I’m not breaking this promise. I won’t.

Wind managed to smile, returning the squeeze and taking a great deal of comfort in the gentle back and forth motion. “Promises are important to you, huh?”

“Very.”

Wind hummed quietly, then leaned back again, fully disengaging from the hug and looking Thorax squarely in the eyes. “Then make me one more promise, okay?” she said in the firmest voice she could manage.

Thorax stared at her for a few seconds before briefly glancing at first Fluttershy, than Pharynx. When neither spoke up or said anything, he slowly lowered himself onto his belly so he was eye-to-eye with Wind. “What is it?” he asked her, his eyes searching hers.

“Promise me that…” Wind’s voice cracked, and she had to take a second to collect herself. Everyone else just waited patiently for her. Then, with her expression hardening with resolve, she continued. “I want you to promise me that you’ll come back, too. When you save Squall, you have to come back to me with him.”

From the side, Pharynx’s eyes widened slightly at that request. He looked at Wind Whisper, then at Thorax with his jaw agape. He allowed his eyes to refocus, allowing him to see the love in the air. And there was a lot. He saw the almost opaque cloud of pink mist surrounding the two, and somewhere deep in his chest, he felt a twinge of jealousy. Alongside that, though, was another feeling. Pride. Pride and Resignation.

Thorax himself seemed caught off guard by the question, his jaw falling open. But after a few seconds of staring wide-eyed at Wind Whisper, rolling it around, he managed to close his jaw and offer her a smile. “Alright, Wind. I promise, when I rescue your brother, I will come back too. We’ll come back to you together,” he said quietly, placing a hoof on his chest and bowing his head as if swearing a solemn vow.

Wind smiled widely, then leaped forward to hug him one more time, a gesture he was only all too happy to return. While those two shared one final embrace together, Fluttershy turned her attention to the other drone with a curious look on her face. “Um… Pharynx, right?” she asked, pointing at him.

He turned to her and gave a nod. “What is it?” he asked bluntly, making her wince slightly. She slowly moved closer to him so they could speak more quietly and not disturb Wind and Thorax.

“You’re going to take care of him, right?” she whispered, to which he merely snorted.

“Take care of him? Pony, I think he is more than capable of taking care of himself now. He doesn’t need a big brother to watch his back anymore…” was his similarly hushed response, a look of admiration in his eyes as he looked over at his little brother. “Just look at him.”

Fluttershy did, looking at Thorax and Wind Whisper, and how they were savoring this hug as much as possible. Then she looked back at Pharynx, her smile growing. “He really cares about her.”

”Yeah, he does… This filly is lucky,” Pharynx replied, his smile slowly fading away. “...No, he doesn’t need me to defend him. He is the defender, now.”

Fluttershy, satisfied with his response, turned to watch as Wind and Thorax reluctantly backed out of their hug, the latter of the two rising back to a full standing position. He then turned to Pharynx. “Alright… it’s time to go, Pharynx,” he declared before offering one more smile to Wind. “Goodbye, Wind. I’ll see you when I get back.”

Wind nodded, her wings giving a quick, excited flap on her back. “Good! I look forward to it!” she chirped before reaching up and poking Thorax’s nose. He chuckled happily in response. Then, with that done, he turned to Pharynx. The two shared a nod, then faced the south. Before they took off, though, Thorax had one last thing to say.

“Fluttershy?”

She perked up, having not expected him to speak to her. “Oh, yes?”

Thorax looked over his shoulder at her. “Thank you… for everything,” he said softly.

Fluttershy’s eyes widened, but she managed to give a shy smile of confirmation. “You’re welcome, Thorax. I’ll take care of Wind Whisper while you’re gone, don’t worry.”

Thorax nodded, his gaze briefly flicking to the filly one last time. She saw this, grinned and waved. One of her tiny white fangs poked out from her upper lip as she did so. Then, without another word, Thorax gave Pharynx a firm look, and the two sprang into flight. The buzzing sounds of their wings filled the air as they began to make their way southward for Canterlot, the noise slowly dying down until it was lost to the distance. Fluttershy and Wind Whisper just stayed there, at the edge of the Empire, watching them go until they were little more than tiny black dots on the horizon. And then they disappeared among the haze of the distant snow.

A chill breeze slowly washed over them, making the grass at their hooves rustle and a nearby wooden sign to rattle. Wind Whisper let out a tiny whimper before shaking her head and standing back up. “...Goodbye, Thorax,” she whispered before turning and starting to head back into the city with Fluttershy at her side. “I’ll see you when you come back…"

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: I listened to this piece of music all through the writing of this chapter

Fun Fact 2: I have had this scene, in some form, planned more or less since before Thorax's disguise failed in front of Wind Whisper.

Fun Fact 3: After the next chapter, we will be speeding things up significantly to get to the big finale of the Changeling Arc, which began all the way back in Little Choices.

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