• Published 6th May 2019
  • 3,088 Views, 268 Comments

Walk Where There Is No Path - theOwtcast

When everything you’ve ever known goes against everything you believe in, can leaving help you live with yourself?

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A Blast from the Past

The next day, I walked out of the ruins and into a bright and sunny morning. Although still present, my anxiety had died down even more during the night, and I was feeling better. Even that shoulder had stopped hurting!

Wondering about yesterday’s side-effects of the zebra’s ointment, I tried to shapeshift and found it marginally harder than usual to form a particular disguise, but not so hard to doubt my ability to turn into something else if the need arose. Maintaining the disguise didn’t seem to be a problem, either, so I decided I was good to go.

It turned out I’d been closer to the edge of the forest than I’d expected - only a half-hour’s walk by a rough estimate. I wasn’t going to miss that place at all!

Ahead of me lay a nice-looking town bathed in sunshine. This must be the Ponyville the zebra had mentioned, I thought to myself. I wanted to see it up close; I had a good feeling about it. But first things first: no use marching in there looking like myself and causing a mass panic! A songbird should be more welcome, even if it didn’t actually sing.

I spread my new feathered wings and flew into the town. It was mostly rustic houses with trees and parks in between, but one feature stood out: a large, crystally, tree-shaped castle shimmering in the light. A castle worthy of a princess, I thought, awestruck. But didn’t all three princesses of Equestria live in Canterlot? The briefing for the invasion had said so! So, either something had changed in the meantime, or our information had been wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised about either!

Getting closer, I noticed a group of ponies approaching the castle on hoof, and almost dropped my disguise in astonishment upon realizing I’d seen them before, in what seemed like another life now. They were the same ponies I’d observed during the invasion of Canterlot, the same ones whose courage had fascinated me so immensely, the same ones whose spirit had awakened my long-lost dream of finding a friend! And there was so much love coming from them, I could barely contain my exaltation!

But hadn’t there been a sixth pony with them before - a purple unicorn, one that had freed princess Mi Amore Cadenza? Why wasn’t she around now? Had something happened to her? My thrill was quickly turning to worry.

And then the castle’s door opened, and my purple unicorn stepped out and waved cheerfully to her friends, inviting them inside.

But was I seeing it right? The purple unicorn had wings now! If I understood pony hierarchy correctly, she’d become a princess in the meantime! This was her castle! I shed tears of pride at the thought. I didn’t know anything about her, not even her name, but I felt in my heart that she deserved every bit of her royal status!

I sat on a branch of a nearby tree, taking a moment to relish this new realization. It warmed my heart to know that despite all the evil and darkness in the world, good souls prevailed and got rewarded for their efforts to make the world a better place. I knew that, no matter where my journey took me, no matter what happened to me, this knowledge would always be my pillar of hope, my guiding star, my shining light in the darkness of despair.

My reverie was interrupted by a loud crash so suddenly, I almost dropped out of my tree in apprehension. I looked around for the source of the noise and saw a large hole in one of the walls of the castle’s upper segment, a pink blur that might have been one of the six ponies rushing away as if her life depended on it, and the other five peeking through the new hole in only a slight puzzlement, as if they were used to this kind of behavior, however crazy that idea was. Surely the pink pony can’t be doing this kind of things all the time, can she?

I kept watching as the princess used her magic to collect the fragments of the wall off the ground below and fix them back together. Soon the damage was repaired as if nothing had happened, and I could no longer see the five ponies inside. Not expecting anything interesting to happen here any time soon, I left my branch and flew away to see if I could find the runaway pink pony. I was eager to try to figure out what kind of thing had caused her to run straight through a wall!

I crossed the town from one end to the other twice, but there was no sign of my pony. Instead, I came across another of the six: a yellow pegasus. Most ponies in town had barely even looked at me all day, so I expected nothing more from her, but her face lit up with joy upon seeing me, and with a few flaps of her wings, she was right in my face, despite my panicked attempts to stay out of her reach.

“Awww.... aren’t you simply the cutest little birdie?” she cooed at me. “Have I seen you around yet? I don’t think I have! Welcome to Ponyville, my little friend! I hope you’ll find yourself a nice home here!”

And then she proceeded to nuzzle me. The pure, sweet, innocent love she radiated was a blessing for my starving body! I could stay there forever!

No - I couldn’t stay there forever! I couldn’t stay there one more second! This was so wrong, feeding off of her like that! I’d made a promise to myself I wouldn’t take one bit of love gained through lies and deception, only the love given freely by someone who knew and understood what I was and accepted me as such! And what was I doing now? Feasting on the love of an unsuspecting pony like all the others of my kind, the same ones I’d abandoned because I couldn’t stand their need to steal love! I had to stop - I had to get away from here before I betrayed everything I’d stood up for!

I broke off from her and took to the air again, leaving the pegasus confused and a little saddened by my sudden departure. I was sad too for having to leave her, but it was for the best. Knowing that she’d fought the other changelings in Canterlot, I didn’t think there was even a slightest chance she might be interested in letting me become her friend; and even if she herself did let me, would her other friends be so willing to give me such a chance? I didn’t dare to try and find out!

I had flown off in a random direction, wanting only to get away from the kind pegasus, not particularly caring where I’d end up, but pretty soon I arrived at the town’s train station. I sat on the roof to plan what to do next.

A train was just arriving. Presumably it would stop at the station while ponies got off and others boarded it, and then it would move on to its next stop and eventually the final destination. It would be easy to board it and see where it would take me, and knowing now who lived in this town, I dared not stay. I didn’t have any money for a ticket, but if I chose my disguise wisely, that might not be a problem.

What did I have to lose?