• Published 28th May 2019
  • 328 Views, 23 Comments

Changeling of the East - Wingnut



A mutualistic changeling crosses the great ocean to observe the lifestyle of ponies in Equestria.

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Just Wing It

Bits. This whole new world appears to run completely on these bits. Want tickets to a sporting event? 30 bit. Want to enjoy a stout drink? 3 bits. Want to acquire that one strange cube computing thing in the market? 64 bits. Shave and a haircut? Two bits.

Watching several ponies make exchanges I discover that bits are simple small coins made of plated gold. I'll have to learn later how to acquire these bits for my own use.

In a way, I am lucky to have shipwrecked come ashore in a populated area where I can satisfy my basic needs without bits. Drinking wells are found all over this city within parks and plazas. Strangely enough, I manage to obtain some bits from the bottom of these shallow wells. Interestingly, when I drink from the well the surrounding ponies become very curious and amused. Still unable to make a friend though.

As for food, well that is where I made one of my most favorite discoveries yet. After the sporting debacle I spent the following day looking for other locations where emotions weren't as mixed in the air. This search led me to the local eateries called "Bars". They are similar to an inn from the pony villages in the homeland serving drinks and acting as a social gathering area. The best part? Since most ponies come here to have a good time the air is filled with positive emotions.

With the sun setting lazily beyond the horizon I trot through the city in search for a bar. I eventually find one called "Charlie Hops" and eagerly open the door. I immediately regret doing so.

Oh sweet merciful heavens! What is that ear screeching noise?

I'll discover later on that every Thursday night is open karaoke night. Tonight just so happens to be a Thursday night and some colt decided to try out his very own rendition of "Hoodoo" by some musical group called Goodsnack. I plead for the Queen to protect my ears as they take cover against my head.

I take a seat at the bar. I use the few bits I procured from the wells to acquire a couple of stout drinks. I find myself disappointed that what comes across as stout here is more or less a lite drink back home saturated with sugar. The colt on stage didn't make it far into the song before he was "calmly asked" to get off the stage. And by that I mean some old mare came out swinging an old broom at him. I let out a long sigh of relaxation and I lose myself in the sweet aroma of emotions which fills this place, blocked from the diluted air from outside. That sweet, sweet moment is then rudely interrupted with twitching eyes and ears as another pony starts singing "Tarzan Colt". If you can call gryphon talons scratching a chalkboard singing.


It ends. By the Queen the terrible singing ends. I will never coming back to this place on a Thursday ever again. And yet, the frustrations are not over. Sitting just behind me are a mare and stallion. If one were to listen to their conversation (something that I adamantly will deny doing) you'd think they are the best of friends in the world. I imagine they are, but I sense a deeper bond there that they appear to be unaware of. They both have fully fell in love with each other. It would be adorable, if it isn't the fact that it's grating on my nerves how oblivious they are to each other.

"So, any pretty mare catch your eyes yet?"

Oh, I see what your doing there.

"Eh, there have been a few lookers for sure. Just none that I'm feeling. None worth getting to know better, you know?

"Yeah, haha, I hear that."

"Take it that means no stallion in your life either?"

Come on mare! You got this! Tell him! Yes!...Wait, doubt? No, don't do that! Don't back down now.

"No. Same boat as you really. Just don't feel like looking for a relationship at the moment."

LIAR!!

I let out a sigh of frustration and let my head drop onto the bar table. The mare behind the bar raises a brow at my actions. Curious at the double shot of love, I risk a glance at the couple. They are not even looking at each other as both have found their hooves to be more interesting than each other. I hold up a hoof and order the strongest drink they have. We changelings have a habit in getting involved with ponies and their relationships. It's just an easy thing to want to do when you can sense the true emotions that the ponies always want to hide. Doesn't mean all of us know how to handle a situation like this. Normally, I would pass the details to a more skillful social changeling like my friend Wave. Now I find myself in a situation where that isn't possible I'm debating playing matchmaker to help the two behind me. I try talking myself out of it saying that my mission came first. What an awful excuse, I mean, I was trying to make friends just yesterday. I down my drink in one swig with a singular thought.

I'm in way over my head here.

Soon after the mare trots out of the bar leaving behind a pale yellow stallion staring longingly with his blue eyes. I can't stand it. I decide to help out the two lovebirds. Now for the hard part, introducing myself. Any earlier attempts ended in catastrophic failure. The ponies here are suspicious of anypony they don't know it seems. How any of them meet anyone new beyond me. So what happens if take a page from the ponies in the homeland and act like we already know each other? As I glance back at the light orange mane colt I decide it's worth a shot. I leave my seat and quickly, and rather smoothly if I may add, sit in the seat previously occupied by the departed mare.

"How are you doing buddy!?"

I watch as he flinches at the sound of my voice and turns his attention to me breathing heavily. After a couple of deep breaths he finds his voice.

"Fine I suppose. Uh... do I know you?"

I drop my ears, force my eyes to water, and place a hoof over my heart. "You mean, you don't remember me? Your greatest friend you've ever known?" He wears the most blank expression I've ever seen.

"I don't-"

"But to answer your question, no. This is the first time we've ever met. Hi! my name is Arctic." I extend my hoof for him. I can nearly pluck out his hesitation and spread it on some toast. Hmm, now I have a craving for toast. It has no taste like the rest of pony food, but I still like the texture. The stallion shakes my hoof.

"Pitch Out."

SUCCESS!!

...

Now what do I do?

"So, can I help you with anything?" Pitch asks

"Oh right, I wanted to ask you about your mare friend."

"Marefriend? No, Meadow and I are just. Wait, why?"

"You two are just what?"

"We're just friends. Now w-"

"Interesting. Are you sure?"

"Tell me why you wa-"

"Are you sure there's nothing more behind how you feel?"

"I. Huh?"

"I mean, just look at her. She is definitely easy on the eyes you have to admit. Cute mane, beautiful color scheme, amazing figure, and don't get me started on the curvy rump of hers. Hot dame!"

ANGER

That was all the warning I got before I am knocked out of my seat. I start to clench my chest and gasping for breath. I thought the conversation was going swimmingly. My new friend disagrees. I remember once upon a time Wave telling me my brazen approach to everything is going to get me killed. I'm starting to believe her.

"Listen here you... you stuck of pile of pig shit! If you ever! AND I MEAN EVER! Talk about Meadow like that again I'm gonna shove my hoof so far up you tail vent you're not going to ever know which way is up again!"

If the look in the stallion's eye was any indication then the day of reckoning has reached me at last. Every cough I make sends a little pain to my chest. Still, a point needs to be made to Pitch.

"Ah ha! So there is something more."

"This is none of your business!"

"Oh I completely agree, trust me. But I just can't stand by the side while you two are completely oblivious about how you two truly feel towards each other. To put it simply, It's way too painful to witness. Even more so than your right hook. Great form by the way."

I think I broke him. The stallion is completely flummoxed as he retakes his seat and tries to process what I told him. He tries to form words several time, each time with a different emotion behind him, yet fails every time. I return to my seat and wait patiently. I don't get what is too hard to process. I must have made my intention clear by now. Oh, I think he's finally coming out of his stupor.

"You're... I don't even know what." He shakes his thoughts away and begins again. "Are you saying you are trying to get Meadow and I together?"

"Of course, what else would I have been trying to do?"

Pitch narrows his eyes for a split second before slumping back in his seat and calling over a servant. It's at this point I notice something slightly odd with the bar we're in. The once nicely neat, organize, and clean bar is no more. In its place are smashed bottles, overturned tables, and broken chairs. I'm not sure when, but apparently a brawl had broken out even though I didn't sense, and still don't sense any lingering aggression in the air. In fact the whole bar seems to be hugging it out with one another. I glance at the bar table and see the bartender still cleaning glasses as if nothing happened and then I notice that at some point a pony had started playing some old time ragtime on the grand piano in the corner with the actual pianist laying unconscious on the top. I shake out my confusion and return my attention to the cautious pony across from me. I can tell he doesn't trust me. I don't blame him, but my direction is set. He's in need of a changeling.

"Why?" Pitch asks.

"Hmm?" I drag myself out of my thoughts as I ponder the question. "Why what?"

"Why do you want to help me? What do you get out of this?" He eyes me suspiciously as if trying to find a hidden motive behind my fake eyes. I, on the other hoof, am caught off guard at the last inquiry. I do not know what he means what I get out of this. What I get is the satisfaction of another job well done and a potential meal. It's at this point I have to remind myself that the ponies here do not know about us changelings. It is a new world after all. Perhaps the ponies here always have a hidden agenda about them. I'll have to explore this line of thought later. I can still answer his first question.

"Listen friend-"

"I'm not your frie-"

"I sensed the love and affection you two have. I also notice that the two of you tended to avoid any subject of deeper relationships."

"Where you spy-"

"I also know that if you two stay on this path that eventually that love is going to fade when one of the two of you get swept off your hooves by another. It's not about if, it's about when."

"But meadow and I are-"

"Best friends? I understand that but tell me, truly tell me, don't you want to go further than that? I know what I sensed. I know you love her." I motion my hooves for him to continue. He thinks for a bit, then lets out a deep sigh.

"Yeah you're right. I do love her but-"

"Unless the next words out of your mouth is some conviction of asking her out I don't want to hear it."

"Bu-"

"Not a single word."

"I-"

"Listen!" I slam the table in emphasis. "You are going to ask that mare out if it's the last thing you do. Understand?" He nods his head, rapidly, in understanding. He then takes a drink and raises a brow at me.

"Are you a matchmaker or something?"

Oh the irony. Is this irony?

"Or something," I chuckle. I may have done the smile a little menacingly as his eyes shrink at my response. I also notice that my teeth feel a little jagged than they should be. Did I forget to completely change them to pony teeth? Oops. I quickly clap my hooves in order to hide my mistake.

"Well, I've given it some thought and I think I got the perfect plan in place." I rub my hooves together in anticipation. "We're gonna give her the old number 34!" His eyes once again shrink to pinpricks as his face turns beat red. He almost loses his balance in the chair but regains it just in time to shout.

"THE WHAT!?"


Turns out the ponies here hear the number 34 and think of something sexual. I don't understand why, but I keep it in mind for the next time it comes up. I was able to calm Pitch down after that little cultural misunderstanding. Naturally, he wanted to know what plan 34 entailed. I told him that I needed to gain some information first. I didn't have the heart to tell him that plan 34, also known as the "Wing It" plan, was 80% improvisation. The other 20% is basically getting meadow to realize her love for Pitch and then getting them together for a date. The greatest plan? Not by a long-shot, yet it has a surprising great success rate. I think Wave would be proud.

I spend the next day getting to know Pitch. Turns out he's an up and coming baseball (not rounders) pitcher who's currently playing in the minor leagues. He met meadow during his college days where she helped maintain the baseball field and they've been best friends ever since. After several inquiries, it seems that their love grew rather slowly, yet I can sense it grew very, very strong. Anytime Meadow gets brought up the colt practically becomes a high production love machine. I learn that he is starting in a game tomorrow and that Meadow is attending. Sensing an opportunity, I ask if Pitch can procure me a ticket. He hesitates, but gives in only after 15 minutes of begging. My personal best time yet.

It is on this day, on my way back to my ship that I spot a seemingly abandoned complex on the edge of the harbor. It's an old wooden structure about the size of a large mansion. It's not in the greatest shape with rotten wood, growing vines, and broken boarded up windows, but it catches my eyes all the same. With the sun sinking in the horizon I don't stay for long. I make note of nearby landmarks so that i may locate this building again and continue to my ship.


Pitch owns me big time for this.

Ticket in hoof, I'm on my way to the baseball game. I figured last night that going to this game will give me an idea how much the powerful emotion of a sport game will affect me when I'm not the direct focus of attention. The second reason, Meadow is also attending this game and this will give me a chance to forward my plans to get the two lovebirds together. But my plan calls for a new disguise. For the first time in my short life I became something other than a stallion. Yup, a mare. A petite little mare with the reverse color scheme of my main disguise. A blue coat with a very stylish white mane and long flowing tail with a blue streak in both. Don't ask me about the eyes. At this point, I'm just hoping they at least match the rest of me in someway.

Forget big time. Pitch owns me a lifetime for this.

Needless to say I feel very, very uncomfortable. Not that there's anything wrong with mares. For the first time I feel very pretty and giddy, I even have a slight urge to skip everywhere I go. Which is weird for me. Maybe I'm over doing the femininity a little bit. Kind of hard to get into the female mindset when it makes absolutely no sense on any scale. I can feel the stallion in me cringe in embarrassment. I remind myself that this is only temporary and continue with my method acting.

At last I spot the diamond complex in question. Pitch told me how he is currently in a more minor, minor league and the field reflects as such. In hindsight, calling such a sight a "complex" does it a grand gesture. The place is nothing but a simple field with a few stands just on the other side of a simple turnstile. A single guard stands by to collect the tickets before anypony enters the park. I lose focus of my surroundings as I examine the field that I'm taken completely by surprise when I'm blindsided by a galloping pony. Next thing I know, I'm on the ground chasing the stars around my head. My attempt to stand nearly fails before a helping hoof helps steady me on my hooves.

"Sorry! I'm so sorry! I was in a rush, and I wasn't looking and I'm sorry!"

I turn towards the soft voice of my assaulter. A rush of familiarity comes over me as I take her in. She is light pink in color. Her long flowing tail and mane are a two-toned color of salmon and coral. Her mane is gracefully pulled back in a ponytail held by a simple red bow with a pink flower clip. Her light blue eyes stare at me with concern. She is word for word how Pitch described her to me.

Coincidence, thy name is Meadow. Alright Arctic, it's now or never. Time to mare-up.

"Like, OMQ! That like, hurt!" I say in much higher pitch than I meant to.

If Wave was here, I don't know if she would tease me to no end or kill me. Probably both.

I didn't know it was possible for Meadow's expression to get any more apologetic, but here she is, somehow pulling it off.

By the Queen! She is absolutely adorable. How can anyone even pretend to stay mad at her. Perhaps I should lay off a bit. The emotions in the air are starting too sour for my taste.

I do the most mareish thing I can think of and pull her into a hug.

"It's okay. I like, forgive you and stuff." I can feel her start to get uncomfortable. I'm not sure what is the main cause, though I do try to fix the problem. Perhaps an introduction will help. "My name is uh..."

Right, I probably shouldn't say my real name in case Pitch asks later.

*Ahem*

"Like, excuse me. My name is Hydro Thunder."

*sigh* Just shut up me.

"Like, I know how strange it sounds but, like, there's nothing I can like do about it and it's, like my name and I like, like my name and stuff."

Shut up me!

"My friends call me Hydie though and so can you because, like, I'd like to be your friend and stuff."

Shut up and let the mare go me!

If the feeling of Meadow being uncomfortable was subtle before it's a damn beacon now. After seeing her pleading eyes I sheepishly let go of my hug. Meadow starts to slowly back away from me.

"Yeah, well, as much as I like making new friends I do have somewhere to be."

"Oh, like the baseball game? I'm like, totally heading to the game myself. We can go together. *Gasp* We can even sit and like gossip and stuff!" I end that last sentence with a wild grin. Meadow, for her part, is trying to keep her composure, but I can sense the rising panic inside her. I wonder what I'm doing wrong? Still, something I said gave her pause.

"You're going to a baseball game?"

"Yeah! Is that, like, some problem or something?"

I'm really starting to hate that word.

Meadow stares me down through narrow eyes for a brief second before she shakes off the expression. She then tries her best to look anywhere but at myself.

"Oh, no! No problem! None whatsoever! Definitely no problem at all. I just didn't think somepony like you would be interested in sports." She quickly raises a hoof to her mouth in shock. "I'm sorry, that came out wrong."

I wave her off to let her know there was no harm done.

"Like, normally you'd be right. But then I found this, like, super hot stallion that plays on the team and I just, like, can't keep my mind off seeing him working out a sweat playing."

SHUT UP M- actually, this could work out.

"And who would that be exactly?" She keeps eyeing me suspiciously. If I can pull this off right, I can use her jealousy to my advantage.

"Oh, like, I don't know his name yet. But I will. Hey I got an idea!" I hook a hoof over her withers and start to drag her along to the entrance. "Instead of talking about him, I can show you instead."

"Oh, that's okay I wouldn't want to imp-"

I drown out whatever excuse she tries to escape with. She is in my clutches now and I am not letting her go without progress being made. She gives up and walks alongside me once we pass the entrance. Meadow and I take our seats on the top of the bleachers on the left side of the diamond. Meadow is shifting uncomfortably, though I can sense some curiosity rooting in place. She probably wants to make sure the stallion I mentioned earlier isn't hers. It is of course. Well, personally I'm not sure if I consider him to be "hot" so to speak. I mean, Pitch does have that athletic build going for him I suppose. I can definitely see a mare similar to me being interested in his looks. All I know is that I prefer mares. I wonder, does that mean I'm a straight stallion but a gay mare?

Not important right now mind of mine.

"So..." I tilt my ears to meadow as she takes a long pause. I can't quite gauge what she is feeling as her feelings constantly shift from one to another and back again.

Mares...

"Do you, uh, see this stallion of yours yet?" she chuckles nervously.

"Hmm, not ye- OMQ! There he is!" I bounce about in barely contained excitement as I point towards the yellow earth pony taking the mound. I have to act at my very limit as I sense the aghast mare beside me. My mind takes me back to the bar when the then hopeful mare asked if Pitch had an interest in any other mare. I told him afterwards that someone may take interest in either him or Meadow if he didn't act in a timely manner. If the shifting eyes and sense of dread told me anything, I believe that Meadow is starting to have her own revelation on the matter. It lasts only for a moment though as she becomes determined.

"That's Pitch Out, he's actually seeing someone else at the moment."

"Aww." I chuckle a little on the inside as I see the triumph in Meadow's eyes. Still I am not done yet. "Well, I can still, like, admire the eye candy." That sent Meadow back, just a little though.

"Well, I would be careful arou-"

"Besides, If I, like, know anything about HPRs, that's high profile relationships BTW, is that they, like, never last, like, at all. I'll get my chance yet."

"I wouldn't cou-"

"Like, who even is his marefriend anyways?"

"Well, it's uh... It's... It's me actually. Yup, I'm Pitch's marefriend. So, like, back off yeah?" Meadow stands and prods a hoof into my chest. I stare blankly at her for a moment, and then I start laughing like a mad mare. Her ears wilt for a brief second before she composes herself.

"What?"

"Hahaha! You!? Yeah, I, like, know that's a complete lie. First off, you completely waited until I asked to say anything, even then you hesitated. Second, I know mares like you. You all are the ones staring from the sidelines wanting to ask out a stallion but are way too afraid to until some other mare beats you to the punch."

"What? I-"

"Well guess what little filly, I'm that mare. You, like, had your chance."

At this moment I am half expecting Meadow to do a similar action to what Pitch did to me at the bar. She stands there, mouth moving up in down searching for a response. Rage bellows out of her in waves, I brace myself according. Then all of it dissipates in an instant. To my bafflement, she completely turns around and storms the field, interrupting the teams warm ups. I watch as Pitch is flabbergasted as Meadow trots straight up to him and shouts out loud enough for me to hear.

"Pitch, I like you. And I mean I really, really like you. I've actually had a crush on you since our university days, but I was too nervous to tell you how I felt in case I ruined what we had and so I waited. I waited to see if you felt the same way about me. But I can't just wait around anymore. If I do, I risk losing my chance with you. I risk the fear of what may happen if I ask becoming a regret of what could have happened if I ask. So, Pitch. Will you go out with me?"

Everyone's jaws join mine in hitting the floor while Meadow tosses a glare my way before looking meekly at Pitch. I don't hear the response, but if the embrace is any indication I'd say he said yes. He casts a curious glance my way and I return with a wink and a smile. I don't need sensing abilities to note how dumbfounded everypony is.

With my objective finished, I quietly make my exit as Hydro and return as my regular old self for the game. I spy Meadow relaxing back in the stands looking as if she just stepped out of a dream. I find a seat near her and harmlessly drink in the extra excess emotions she is giving off. I'll catch up with Pitch the next day feigning ignorance, though I think he'll know I must have had my hoof in this in some shape or form. It matters not. What does matter is that I'll be able to figure out where they're going on their first date.

Charlie Hops.

On a Thursday.

This is going to be a disaster, isn't it?


The last few days were uneventful. I mostly spent the time mapping out the city and noting key locations. Afterwards, Pitch and I would meet up at Charlie Hops for a couple of drinks. He still believes I have something to do with Meadow asking him out and I think this is his way to show appreciation. I find it great to finally have a friend in this new world.

"You're not from around here are you?" I let out a haughty chuckle.

"That obvious eh?"

"Absolutely, everything about you screams, 'hey everypony, I've never seen a city in my life'."

"Well to be fair, I indeed never have seen, or even been near, a city before. Just the odd small town here and there."

"Explains why you try to go up to everypony expecting you two to be instant best friends." I smile. Ever since I made friends with Pitch I tried to make more friends in a similar way with no success. I swirl the drink in my hoof as I think about the villages in the homeland. Everypony there treated each other as some form of extended family. All you have to do is simply start talking about anything and you'll end up befriending the entire town. I once remember talking to another changeling in a village only to have a complete stranger trot up to us, grab my friend's hoof to look at the time on the watch he was wearing, then simply trot away without a single word spoken. We caught up to him later and he greeted us as if we were old friends of his. Eveypony here, however, keeps a sort of formal distance from each other. It's kind of depressing to think about.

"Hey, it gets easier the longer you're here. Trust me on this one, I grew up in a small town as well. It was overwhelming for me when I first moved here as well, but you start to pick up the little ways city life works and it all gets easier."

"Yeah, that's what I tell myself every morning at least." Deafening silence dominates our table. I don't think either of us know how to continue the current subject forward.

"So, where are you from then?"

"Far away in yonder that direction." Pitch looks towards the direction I'm pointing to. He tilts his head and then turns back to me with a single brow raised.

"Uh, there is nothing that way except the ocean."

"Yup."

"You're telling me you're from Gryphonia or Zebrica or something?"

"Or something." I smile at his puzzlement and chug down the rest of my drink. The name Zebrica is new to me, but I am aware of Gryphonia. It is a land a bit south and a fair distance west from the homeland. It's also the place where I first heard about a land of paradise.

"Well, welcome to Equestria I suppose. Land of harmony united under sun and moon."

'Remembered forever, the Land of Equestria~'

I perk up, head on a swivel as I try to identify where the sudden lyrics came from. I find that the entire bar came to a complete stop in order to sing the one line and then continue as if nothing happened. I give Pitch a quizzical gaze. He simply shrugs in response.

"You'll get use to that as well."

Thinking I don't have nearly enough alcohol in my system I order a double shot of whiskey. Even if my visit here goes awry I can at least return to the hive with stories of the most bizarre land in all the world. I'm about to open up with a new subject when I spy a certain light pink unicorn enter. I alert Pitch with a nudge and wish him luck on his date. I move to the bar table just behind Pitch's table.

From my understanding, the date started off very well. They were both nervous, but relaxed as the night went on. It isn't until halfway through the meal did I notice a problem. The date is stalling out. Behind the passion I feel they have for each other is an awkwardness. As such, they both were treating this date as if they were still just best friends and nothing more. All their talking is a about their respective days and other mundane things and not about their feelings for one another or anything deeper than the surface. I had an ill feeling this may happen once Pitch told me he was taking Meadow to a bar for a first date. This just wasn't the right kind of atmosphere needed.

I try thinking of ways to get their date back on track that doesn't involve walking up to their table and demanding them to make out already. It is then when I notice the open mic on the stage. An idea clings to my mind and won't let go. I can set the atmosphere needed and perhaps even give Pitch the hint he needs to confess to that mare. I spy the electric blue spiky mane of the guest DJ resting her head on her hoof and make my way over to her. Her ears perk up as I motion towards her and tell her my plan. She grins and removes a guitar from behind her set and trots with me towards the stage.

As I make my way up to the microphone I see Pitch notice me with shrunken eyes. I give him a wink and he mouths to me 'don't you dare'. Meadow, for her part, is looking ahead with curiosity. Meanwhile, the other patrons appear to be bracing themselves for another terrible singing performance. It's clear to me they never heard a changeling, with full control over their vocals, sing before. They are in for a surprise.

I send a glance at the DJ who has taken a seat near the back of the stage. She gives me a nod and I return with one myself. She then starts to play a few cords in preparation. I clear my throat and address the crowd.

"I dedicate this next song to all you would be lovers out there."

The DJ begins the intro of the song. The barmare rolls her eyes, Meadow slips out a giggle, and Pitch slaps a hoof to his face and shakes his head slowly. I can even feel the DJ's own amusement radiate behind me. So be it. I know exactly what I'm doing. Sort of. Eh, too late to back down now anyways. I alter my voice to be slightly higher in pitch and much softer. With the intro over, I pour every ounce of passion I have as I sing the first line.

'It still feels like our first night together.'

The results are near instantaneous. I've caught the attention of the once cringing bar-goers. The barmare just about dropped the glass she was cleaning. Pitch perks up, but left his jaw still lying on the table while Meadow props her head on her hooves and leans in with rapt attention. The only pony unaffected is the DJ who is absorbed with her guitar.

I continue singing while trying to subtly motion towards Pitch with my hooves. It takes a moment, but he finally gets the hint and gives me a single nod. I see him rub his neck while staring at Meadow, possibly searching for the right words. As I reach the first chorus I watch as he closes his eyes and absorbs the lyrics of the song. He soon reopens them with a soft, longing expression and begins to speak to Meadow. At first, Meadow only turns an ear in his direction, but as he continues he captures her full attention. Pitch's mouth is in constant motion as I can only assume he is confessing everything to her. I can see Meadow's eyes start gleaming, a blush forming in her cheeks. Eventually, she motions Pitch to stop talking. She utters what looks to be three words and as the final notes of my song ends they lean in for their first kiss.

SUCCESS!!

I admire my handiwork for a moment before it's my turn to express some shock. Pitch and Meadow are not the only couple making out. In fact, the entire bar, and I do mean the ENTIRE bar is currently making out with one another. Even the barmare managed to snag a couple of stallions herself. I stare blankly for several seconds before I do the only thing I can do.

I laugh.

The DJ trots up next to me in her own silent laugh. She gives me a nudge and dramatically motions a hoof over the entire bar.

"I have no idea. It's a sight to behold though you have to admit," I say. The DJ nods in agreement and observes the crowd for a brief moment again before turning her attention back to me. She eyes me up in down for a split second and raises a brow. I also observe the crowd for a moment and give a shrug.

"Eh, why not."

With little warning I pounce onto the expectant mare knocking both of us to the ground. Once, when I was young (well, younger anyways) I tried to picture how my first kiss would happen. I mainly focused those thoughts on what sweet emotion my potential partner would be radiating. I imagined the love for one another free flowing back and forth between us. Never did I imagine that she would be emitting complete and utter amusement while trying her best to suppress laughter.

"Oh yeah, laugh it up fuzzball." The DJ actually makes a point to do exactly that; her diaphragm expanding and condensing in rapid cycles. I let loose a chuckle as well. I couldn't blame her, this whole situation is completely absurd. Still, for the brief second we were locked together I did notice a little something that I plan to use against her. I lean in and whisper softly in her ears. "But I know for a fact that you absolutely enjoyed that."

My words get the result I expected as her cheeks completely flush out. Score one for the changeling. With a chuckle, I offer her a hoof and help her up. The bar recovers from whatever strange magic overtook the place and is now demanding an encore performance. I cast a glance to Pitch and Meadow, yet they appear to be lost in their own little world. So instead I look to the DJ to see if she is up for some more songs. She gives me an eager nod of approval. I trot up back to the mic and address the crowd once again.

"Okay, how about this. I'll sing some more, but in return you all provide the drinks. Deal?"

I won't remember the rest of the night.


Pain, my old friend. Nice to feel you once again.

I groan as I lift myself up from the couch. I keep my eyes tight as I rub my temples with my hooves. I am happy to discover I'm still in my pony form, especially since I'm becoming increasingly aware that I'm in somepony's house. This peaks my curiosity as to who helped me and let me stay the night while I was incapacitated. I open my eyes and immediately close them again in extreme regret as the bright sunlight burns my retinas. My stomach decides to join in causing me anguish. It's not to the point to where I have the need to throw-up thank the Queen, but it's enough to make me feel ill enough to lay back down on the couch in moaning defeat.

I know not how long I lay here groaning in anguish. eventually I hear movement and a source of concern come into the room I'm in. though not the greatest option meal for a hangover, I do drink in the concern which succeeds in settling my stomach enough to be bearable. I open my eyes slightly to get use to the light. With that done I fully open them to see who my apparent savior is. Honestly, I was fully expecting it to be either Pitch or Meadow. What I was not expecting was the DJ from the bar. Yet here she is, wearing her signature purple sunglasses and offering me a cup of water. I accept the glass and down the drink in desperate gulps. though she doesn't show it, I can sense the rising amusement at my predicament.

Hydrated and with food in my system I become stable enough to fully regain my situational awareness. I currently rest within a small, yet comfy room. Posters of all types of music adorn the walls and I can see several instruments scatter about. I even spy a smaller version of the turntable from the bar last night. In the corner, next to the entrance, is a bookcase filled with nothing but various vinyl records. On the other side is a half-wall with a gap which leads to the kitchen. I see another door near the kitchen, yet with the door closed I can only assume that it may be the bedroom of this white mare. I start to sit up on the couch, but go no further as my hangover hasn't completely left me. The DJ eyes me patiently before taking a seat on a recliner across from me. She quizzically tilts her head with a mix of subtle concern and curiosity.

"I'm a little ill, but a whole lot better than before." The emitting relief lets me know that she is happy to hear. "Thanks for helping me despite... well whatever happened." She gives a salute in response. She then starts to silently giggle and makes a circular motion next to her head and then points to me. I laugh along with her.

"Yeah, a good friend of mine has often told me I tend to be a bit excitable when I'm drunk. Especially after nights similar to last night in which she typically is stuck helping me." The DJ continues laughing, but raises a brow at me while she does.

"Well, if you ask her then she would say yes, but I swear nights like the last are very few and far between. I like to say I'm in complete control of my actions." The DJ simply rolls her eyes.

"My name is Arctic by the way. Arctic Thunder." I offer a hoof for a hoofshake, though she simply gets up and bumps my hoof before moving to her bookcase (vinylcase?). She picks up a record, points to the record, then points to herself. It takes a moment, but I think I get an idea what she is doing.

"Vinyl? Is that your name?" She nods her head. She then makes a motion as if playing the record on a turntable. "Vinyl Player?" She shakes her head. She makes the same motion, acting as if she is moving the record back and forth. "Vinyl Repeat?" She shakes her head and stomps with frustration. She starts looking around for something to help her get the point across while she absentmindedly scratches the floor. Hmm, maybe...

"Vinyl Scratch?"

She looks back with surprise before giving me a nod of approval. She places the record back on the shelf before offering her own hoof. I take a page from her book and give it a bump with my own. Not knowing where to next take the conversation I settle on the obvious one.

"So... I take it that you're mute?" She gives me a single nod. She hides it, but I can sense a slight amount of sadness behind her action. Yet, the sadness is drowned out by determination and, surprisingly, a large reserve of passion. Glancing over the room once again I start to make a connection.

"You use music to express yourself in place of words?" I watch as her glasses nearly fall off in shock. She nods and tilts her head. In return I gesture to the musical themed room. She looks around herself and seems to accept the explanation as she returns to her earlier seat and gesture to me.

"Well, is there anything specific you like to know?" She ponders for a moment and then points toward my fake cutie mark. The snow filled clouds with a lightning bolt. "Ah, I got this after bearing witness to one of the most rare occurrences of weather in the wild. Thunder-snow.

Witnessing. Being struck down while flying through the storm. Eh, same difference.

The explanation is true enough in it's own right. Just about every element of my pony form is based off that one event in my life. The experience changed so much about myself that I even changed my name to mark the occasion of when I became the changeling I am now. My wings instinctively twitch at the memory. Though no physical scare was left, I still remember the pain and struggle that came after. I return to the present and notice the skepticism coming from Vinyl.

"Hey! It is true! I know the concept sounds absurd but thunder-snow is a real thing that can happen. Trust me. I had to find out the hard way." although she gives me a nod, I can still feel the skepticism leaking from her. I think nothing of it as she isn't the first to doubt me. Truly, only Wave and The Queen believe my words. Now there was something I am curious about this mare.

"Do you live here by yourself Vinyl? Despite your handicap and all that?" She nods firmly and strikes the floor with a hoof with pride and challenging aggression. I hold up my hooves in defense.

"Easy, easy. I'm sorry, I worded that wrong. I didn't mean anything behind that. If anything I find it admirable more than anything else." This causes Vinyl to relax and me to release my held breath.

The room falls silent and I take the time to analyze all that has happened. As the past few minutes float across my mind I laugh at a sudden realization I have. This, of course, cause Vinyl to stare me down questioningly.

"I was just thinking. You know, for a mute, you're one of the most talkative pony I've ever met." Surprisingly to me, this causes her to blush a little. I also start to sense a rising emotion within her. Combine that with her shuffling hooves and I fear what may be coming next.

I'm in shock at the suddenly developing feelings she is growing towards me. I think back about how such a thing can happen despite only knowing her for a few hours at most. I think back to last night. To how she eagerly agreed seeing my plans through despite the skepticism I felt she had for its success. To the spontaneous kiss we shared just to go with the flow of the bar. And although I do not remember much, I have a foggy recount of us giving a performance of a lifetime at karaoke. In fact, I can just recall us up on stage having a blast singing songs, making music, and just being ourselves. I think about the here and now and how, despite her being mute, I feel as if we can converse about anything we want. Finally, I think about how much I actually enjoy her company and how she clearly enjoys mine. If only I met her at any other time. I'd definitely be interested in pursuing a relationship. If only it were any other time...

I sigh.

"Vinyl."

She looks to me with anticipation.

"I know what you want to say. What you want to ask. I too enjoyed our short time together."

She is eager for me to continue. Until she senses a 'but' coming. Her ears drop.

"I simply can't. Not now at least. I have some major things going on right now and I'm nowhere near settled enough as it is, let alone prepared for a relationship."

She understands.

...

I can't leave like this.

"Listen, perhaps when things get more stable I'll look you up. And if then you're still intrested..."

Hope.

A stubborn yet extremely powerful emotion. A changeling fed directly with nothing but hope is said to be neigh invincible. Second in power only to the purest form of love. The DJ wishes for more than just words. She outstretch her hoof. I take it with a firm shake.

"I promise."


My Queen,

I have finally achieved success in reaching out to the locals. I was able to achieve a level of friendship with a few of the ponies. Two of which I also help realize their love for one another using our inherent skills. The situation has confirmed that, not only can changelings be able to successfully integrate with the local culture, but that also there are many targets of opportunities available to assist the ponies and harvest the excess emotions. The key challenge is getting a pony to open up enough to allow themselves to make new friends as the ponies here appear to be more naturally suspicious of the intent of strangers. With the help of my new friends I am determined to learn how to do just that and then pass down the knowledge to the hive.

On a more personal side of things I wish to ask for advice my Queen. For you see, I met this one mare...


*Three nights later*

Fish. Fish everywhere. schools of various types and color float around me as I swim closer to the coral reef. Here I am tranquil. Here I am at peace.

'A message, from Daughter Wave Runner.'

Huh, that's unusu-

'ARCTIC!!'

"GAAAAHHHH!!!"

*Crash*

"Ow!"

'You get your sorry ass back to that mare and ask her out this instant!'

"WAVE!"

Author's Note:

And thus ends our little side exploration of romance (If you can truly call it that) for the time being at least. The plans I have for the next chapter though... oh the plans I have. I'm just gonna say, nobody here is gonna be prepared for what I plan to put Arctic through. I will say that I have been listening to a lot of 90s songs recently and it's been... inspiring. Let the cringe commence! Hopefully it shouldn't take as long as this one did. This damn chapter went through so many revisions. So many...

You know, the perfectionist inside me really, really didn't want to release this chapter. It's fearful that each added word within each added paragraph within each added chapter is leading to a complete catastrophic failure. It knows my storytelling is rough at best and demands that I hold onto all I write until I can guarantee it will succeed. Problem is, that's never a guarantee I can give. I truly do fear failure, but at the same time, I know I will never learn, will never improve if I let that fear take hold of me and hide everything I write from the world. I can't let that happen because I DO want to learn and I DO want to improve. I have plans for this world of mine that I know are fun, entertaining ideas and I refuse to let my fear kill another story. I may stumble and fall flat on my face but damnit, I'm pushing through this thick fog of doubt until I reach the end! Besides, I'm an amateur fan fiction writer for Pete's sake. I can't expect every single idea to work and appease every single person. And so, despite my concerns, I hearby release this chapter into the light where it belongs!

Anyways...

let's talk about Vinyl. You know, she wasn't even supposed to be in this story. The only reason I thought of putting her in was because I thought the karaoke scene would be a good place for a cameo appearances. That was what she was supposed to stay as, a cameo and nothing more. Then my brain was like, "huh, what if I shook things up a bit and made her a mute since she never talks in the show? Yeah that would be interesting, it would be like she expresses herself through music!" Then my mind went further as it thought how well an emotion sensing species could theoretically communicate/"converse" with a mute. And thus, it was as if the story demanded me to explore that concept. The end result being Vinyl becoming more than a cameo. Now I'm not quite sure what to do with her. She's going to make another brief appearance near the end (because my brain had another brilliant idea of a background for her), but it's as I wrote previously, this is as far as I had planned to implement romance in this story/arc. Eh, I'm sure I'll figure something out. Main thing is that I'm loving having my mind take me down these paths and exploring different concepts and testing out ideas that may or may not appear unusual from what is typical of other fics. With that said, 10 bucks says this chapter gets me my first dislike.

I didn't realize this until 2/3 of the way through, but Meadow's name actually has a connection to New York (Manhattan). 2 of their teams play in The Meadowlands (MetLife Stadium). This wasn't even intentional on my part. Also yes, I'm aware the actually stadium is in NJ, but it is still the home of the two NY teams.

Song references include:

"Voodoo" by Godsmack
"Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora (Pure 80's cheesiness. Listen at own risk.)
"Land of Equestria" by Evening Star
"Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams


And I guess technically "Beer, Beer, Beer" as that's where I got the name of the bar from.

'The Lord bless Charlie Mops the man who invented beer, beer, beer,
tiddly beer, beer, beer.'

I blame any form of delay on my dog. I swear, anytime I sit down to try and write she always comes to me just begging for attention, climbing in my lap, and shoving her face into mine. It's always when I'm writing and no other time it seems. Now that may sound adorable, IF she was a lap dog and not a 65 pound German Shepherd! Still, I do love her to death. But in all seriousness, this delay was caused by me slightly overtaxing myself (which caused me to step back from the story for a bit) and my cousin/editor being very busy. I'm optimistic that things will improve here soon enough.

On a side note, there exist in this world a mashup of the songs "Thunder" and "Stressed Out" by Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots respectively and it's pretty damn amazing!

And now for something completely different:
nyoooom

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