• Published 6th May 2019
  • 3,211 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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The storm of emotions raged in me violently, driving out enough tears to fill an ocean. It was like a wildfire, spreading unstoppably further into every corner of my being, bent on destroying every remnant of everything I held dear in life. I had no strength or will left to battle it; I just let it ravage my soul. I’d lost everything already; whatever little remained didn’t seem to be worth salvaging any longer!

Eventually the wretched tempest in me died down, leaving a painful emptiness, a dark and hopeless void that swore to never be filled again. The river of tears reduced to a trickle, and though nothing in the world would heal the gaping wound in my heart, I begged the tears to never dry out.

I was still lying disheartened on the icy ground, resigning to the devastation of my lifelong hope, when I heard steps approaching down the tunnel. I knew immediately who they belonged to, without having to hear him call my name. I didn’t want to see him, or talk to him; I didn’t want to have anything to do with him after what he’d done! I couldn’t even bring myself to walk up to him and yell at him to go away!

I transformed into a rock, expecting he would give up eventually and leave on his own if he failed to find me.

“I’m sorry, Thorax! I should have stood up for you!” Spike was persistent. “Where did you go, anyway? At least let me explain myself! Please? C’mon, Thorax, I know you’re in here!

By now he was standing right next to me, facing the crevice. On an impulse, I let my disguise drop, revealing my tear-filled eyes and face distorted by pain and resentment.

“Leave me alone!” I snapped at him and let out a threatening hiss, this time deliberately.

He recoiled and slipped on ice, falling at the very edge of the crevice.

“I’m so sorry for betraying you, Thorax! I lost my head... please forgive me!” he begged.

“Why should I? You promised to help me; I can’t believe I trusted you! Were you planning this all along? To act friendly long enough for me to drop my guard and then deliver me to the ponies?”

“No, of course not! Please understand! Haven’t you ever caved under pressure of expectations of others?”

He did have a point, but I was too furious, too disappointed in him to care.

“You made a promise!” I got in his face.

“I know, and you have every right to- ah!” In his attempt to back away from me a little, he moved too far and fell into the crevice... but still held on to the edge with one claw. “A little help?” he pleaded.

“And just why would I help you? I’m an ‘evil changeling who doesn’t care about friendship!’”

But even as I said that, as much as I wanted to mean it in my obstinate fury, I felt something break in me. The walls of vindictive hatred I’d tried to build to contain my shattered heart were crumbling down as if they’d never existed!

Who was I fooling? I could never hurt my friend or let harm come to him, no matter how sorely he may have hurt me!

“Because you are my friend,” Spike echoed my dawning realization. “I just wish I’d been one to you.”

As if on cue, the chunk of stone he’d held on to broke off, and he was falling again.

Throwing away all the doubts and rancour still lingering in my mind, I rushed after him again, refusing to let the abyss claim the life of the only friend I’d ever had.

He’d been right about something at least, whether he’d realized it or not: I too was guilty of failing to keep a promise made to myself in the past. A pony from a town in northern Equestria could attest to that, assuming she was still alive after what I’d done to her! It would be wrong of me to judge Spike for faltering in the same way, especially because the consequences of his actions were far less serious than mine might have been!

He grabbed onto my outstretched hole-riddled hoof and I pulled him back out. This time, I carried him further away from the crevice; I wasn’t going to let him fall in the third time!

“It’s okay, I know it’s hard to trust an enemy, even when a friend says it’s fine,” I reassured him. “And I understand it’s even harder to give up all the love and respect of an empire to stand with a hated outcast.”

“Well, watch me do it,” he declared with determination.

“Oh, Spike… I couldn’t ask that of you! Go back and forget about me! I’m not worth it!”

“You’re wrong about that, Thorax: you are worth it! And I’m going to make them see it no matter what you say!”

“But they could turn on you too! What if you end up banished or imprisoned?”

“Thorax, I’ve made up my mind! I failed as your friend once and I’m not letting it happen again! If I have to suffer banishment or worse for befriending you, so be it! Now, either come with me or wait here. It’s your choice. But I’m doing this with or without you!

With tears filling my eyes again, I wrapped him in a long, heartfelt hug.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

“Don’t mention it,” he smiled back. “Now, to get you there safely.”

The city was in a state of a panicked chaos. Guards were running about in groups, peering behind every corner, under every bush and object, shouting commands to find the changeling and replies he wasn’t here, there, or anywhere else they looked. The few crystal ponies who happened to be out in the streets would retreat immediately upon coming close to any search party or risk getting trampled in more ways than one.

The Crystal Castle was in no less of an uproar. The guards were checking every bit of it too, seemingly even more so than the streets, but with no success either. That was to be expected and they must have known it; the changeling they were hunting for had no reason to still linger about and had left the castle long ago, but they had to try to find him regardless!

Nopony paid any attention to Spike as he walked on through this fiendless warzone, through the streets of the Crystal Empire into the castle at its center, and then up the stairs and down the hallways, all the way to the doors leading to the throne room. Nopony cared to ask him about the little yellow flower he carried gently in the grasp of his claw.

Once at the gate of the throne room, he waited a moment for a group of guards to move away, then set the flower down on the floor.

“Okay, coast is clear,” he whispered.

A burst of blue flame enveloped the flower, and a moment later, revealed a changeling that had been hiding in plain sight.

“Ready?” Spike asked.

“I don’t think I ever will be,” I confessed, “but let’s do it before I change my mind.”

Voices sounded from within the throne room. Somepony asked if all this was really necessary, only to be told that if there was one changeling here, there may as well be a whole army. Twilight, however, expressed concern the situation was getting out of control despite their best intentions.

“I understand, but I can’t risk them hurting Flurry Heart or any of my subjects,” Princess Cadance sighed as Spike and I stepped through the gate. “I just don't know what else we could do!”

“I do,” Spike declared, drawing everypony’s attention.