• Published 6th May 2019
  • 3,077 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 True Friend

A long, heavy silence filled the room as the ponies considered these arguments. The guards still held their ground, together with Shining Armor. Princess Twilight was lost in thought, heavy decisions clouding her eyes as she weighed the risks and possible outcomes of taking one path versus another... at least I hoped that was going on in her head. Little Flurry Heart was peacefully asleep in her basket, unaware of the grave severity of the concerns that burdened her kingdom’s soul. The others’ faces were unreadable.

What were they going to do? Would they accept my explanations, or would they dismiss them as merely another attempt at trickery and deception? Would they believe Spike’s reasoning, or would they take them for nothing more than delusional misconceptions of a gullible dragon whose mind had been led astray by a cunning manipulator? Shining Armor wasn’t going to accept it, I was sure of that! But what about the others? Starlight’s gaze had softened a little, possibly at the mention of her own wrongdoing. Was she beginning to consider giving me a chance? And if so, would she do that because she was starting to believe Spike… or out of sense of obligation after the same chance had been given to her? I hoped it was the former; she of all ponies should understand my position if what Spike had said was true! Still, of all the ponies I was facing, I put the most faith in Twilight. She seemed to have been the first to really think about Spike’s claims… could she overcome her animosity toward the changelings? And even if she did, would her support be enough to sway the others? Or would she too be dismissed?

I cringed at the thought.

And what about Spike? It was bad enough that they didn’t like me; what if they came to believe he’d gone to the dark side? What if they punished him as well as me?

I was on the verge of panic. No... no matter what happened to me, I wouldn’t let them harm Spike!

Finally, the echoing clip-clop of Princess Twilight’s hooves broke the ominous silence. Treading with determination and grace, she’d dissolved her magical shield and broken through the cordon of guards, and was now approaching my friend.

Moment of truth, Thorax. I took a deep breath in a futile attempt to calm my wildly-thumping heart, and braced myself for the shattering news I was sure were coming.

“Spike, I’m so proud of you,” she said, much to the surprise of everyone in the room, me included.

“You are?”

“Of course! You may have faltered momentarily, but you came through in the end and did what every true friend does: you showed us all that everyone deserves a chance, and that no one should be judged and punished for the faults of others! I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner!”

“Better late than never,” Spike winked at her.

“You can’t honestly believe that, Twily!” Shining Armor protested. “Have you forgotten Canterlot? These abominations are evil, they-”

“I remember Canterlot perfectly, Shining,” she interrupted him. “I remember Chrysalis and her bloodlust; I remember her subjects’ rage and the destruction they caused. But what I see here is a lone, desperate changeling, one who has left his kind despite the punishment he would face for doing so; and judging by what happened in Canterlot, the said punishment would be more horrible than anything we can imagine, let alone decide to exact upon him! So why risk it all unless he really is telling the truth?”

“He could be a scout deployed to the Crystal Empire who needed an excuse for being here upon getting discovered!”

“How long has he been here?”

“Ever since Flurry was born, at least as far as we know. Why-”

“That would be plenty of time for him to either get pulled out of here for getting noticed, or to inform the rest of the hive about the abundance of love here. And since he clearly wasn’t recalled, where are all these hungry changelings?”

He just stared at her.

“Where are they, Shining Armor? Your troops have searched the Empire and its outskirts halfway to Vanhoover many times over and never found a trace of them, and there’s enough love here to easily attract the whole hive! They can’t all be disguised, or you’d notice! So I ask again: where are they?”

“Maybe they just haven’t had enough time to arrive,” he offered, suddenly not sounding so sure of himself anymore.

“And until they do, one good changeling looking to make friends sounds much more likely than some elaborate scheme to throw us off guard for which you can’t even offer a hypothetical outline that makes sense!”

Shining Armor struggled to come up with an answer to that, but could think of nothing to defend his position.

Princess Twilight then turned to me.

“Your name is Thorax, right?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“As the Princess of Friendship, I want to apologize for all the trouble we’ve caused you. I should have known better than to judge you based on my own misconceptions and prejudice that stemmed from the unfortunate experience with the same individuals you came here to escape from! You’ve taught me today that a new friend can come from anywhere, and I wouldn’t deserve the trust and respect of my subjects if I tried to deny there are things even I still have to learn about friendship! That being said, I’d be honored to accept your friendship, if you’re willing to give it,” she offered a wide, sincere smile and an outstretched hoof.

“Thank you,” was all I could say through tears of joy and relief streaming down my face as I took her hoof in mine. Spike had been right all along! And I had been right for believing in Princess Twilight, even when she hadn’t given me a reason to until now!

“As the Crown Princess of the Crystal Empire, I offer you my friendship and sincere apologies for having distrusted you,” Princess Cadance declared coming down from her throne, followed by the two unicorns who had stood next to her. “If you are willing, you may take up residence here, and I will announce to my subjects that you have been accepted as a citizen of the Empire with all rights and obligations that come with it, as well as encourage them to look past their fears and start treating you as an equal.”

“That would be wonderful!” I accepted her offer. “I can’t wait to experience the friendship that I’m sure crystal ponies are more than capable of offering! I’ll be a loyal subject to you - you won’t be disappointed, I promise!”

“I still don’t trust you entirely,” Shining Armor interjected. “I can live with Cadance granting you citizenship if that’s what she wants, but I’ll be keeping an eye on you regardless! Also, now that you’re here and apparently staying, there are things I want to discuss with you.”

“Of course,” I agreed.

“See, told you everything would work out,” Spike nudged me.

I wrapped him in a hug like I’d never get the chance again. Except, I would get another chance; I’d get plenty of chances in the future! He’d done so much for me, there was no way I could ever repay that debt for as long as I live!

Instead, I would erect a monument in my heart to him and his unrelenting persistence to help a friend in need.

Thanks to Spike, I was never going to endure fear and starvation again.

Thanks to Spike, my lifelong hope had finally become reality.

I didn’t know what might eventually happen to me, or where life might take me, but I knew one thing: no matter what happened, I would be grateful for everything he’d done for me; I would cherish this day, always and forever.