• Published 28th May 2019
  • 326 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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The Catch

Pitch stares at the sign hanging over the park entrance. He reads it once more while trying to calm his nerves. Circle-Change Park. Meadow trots up to him and places a hoof on his withers.

"Hey, I'm sure it's going to be okay."

"Yeah, you're probably right. But what if-"

"Even if the worst should happen. Just know, I'll be there with you every step of the way."

"Even if I would have to leave the city?"

"Even then."

I watch the two share a kiss and give them a little privacy. Those words by Meadow did a great deal in settling the anxious stallion. Those two are truly made for one another, I'm happy to have helped them find that out. But, as they separate, the anxiety peaks again within Pitch. I don't know what to say, since I don't know what kind of scenario he faces. Instead, I give a reassuring grin and smile as he trots past and enters the complex. I can't do much for Pitch, but I can help distract the equally anxious mare he left behind. I trot up to Meadow and tap her on her withers to get her attention, then gesture to the open gates.

"Want to play some catch?"

"I'm not sure we are allowed on the field, even when it's empty."

"Don't know if we don't try."

"I'm pretty sure that's not how that saying works."

"What's that? I can't hear you on the other side of these very secure gates."

"Arctic, you can't jus- Hey! Get back here! Wait up!"


Pitch stands outside the door and stares at the bold black letters.

RUMBLE PONIES MANAGER: DIAMOND DASHER

With one final deep breath he knocks on the door.

"Enter."

Pitch trots into the small office. The plain room only sports a filing cabinet, a desk, three chairs and a couple of pictures of past athletes on the walls. behind the desk sits an earth pony mare with a navy blue coat, red mane, and silver eyes. She is currently reading through a player profile. Pitch's player profile.

"Have a seat, Pitch."

Pitch complies and makes himself as comfortable as he can. Which, to say, is not all that comfortable. He waits patiently as his manager continues to read through his profile. Seconds tick by until finally, Diamond sets down his profile and regards Pitch with an unreadable expression.

"Pitch, I'm going to be straight with you. You're one helluva player, one of the greatest I've ever had the pleasure of mentoring. The amount of work you put in, not only in the game, but in getting to know the ins and outs of your teammates is sorely needed in this league. The effort you put in shines both on and off the field, and I'm not the only one to have taken notice." Diamond closes her eyes and lets out a deep sigh. "Which is why I'm sad to see you move on from our team."

Pitch's throat goes dry. It's difficult for him to form the words he wishes to say.

"D-Does that mean that I'm getting t-tr-traded?" Diamond gives him a reassuring smile.

"Nope, it means that you're being called up." An electric pulse shocks Pitch's body into a frozen state.

"The Bats are calling me up?"

"Not exactly."

Diamond reaches for an item hidden below her desks. What she reveals puts Pitch in a state far removed from reality. Laying on the desk in front of him is a white pinstriped uniform with red trimmings. A large number 33 is stitched into the back, and written just above, is the name Pitch Out.

"Welcome to the Manehatten Loyalists, Pitch."

Pitch sits there silently. His eyes never leaves his name stitched into the back of the uniform. Diamond quietly observes, allowing Pitch to soak in the moment. Eventually, Pitch reaches out and feels the soft polyester fabric. After some encouragement by Diamond, Pitch slips on the uniform and completes the ensemble with an authentic Loyalists baseball cap. A few words are exchanged between Diamond and Pitch. Then, with one final look around the office, Pitch leaves his old team behind.

Pitch trots down the long hallway however, he's not heading for the exit. Rather, Pitch heads straight to the tunnel entrance leading to the field. He's surprised to find me, and a very paranoid Meadow, casually tossing a baseball back and forth. Upon noticing the new uniform, Meadow shouts in joy and tackles Pitch to the ground. I help detach the over affectionate mare from him and assist in getting him back on his hooves. I sense the overwhelming joy radiating off both of them and I too, can't help but be happy for the big guy. Pitch gets a distant look in his eyes and asks for a moment. Upon spotting the baseball I hold, he alters the request and asks for Meadow to stand behind home plate and for me to take a batters pose at the plate.

Taking the ball in hoof, Pitch slowly walks up to the pitcher's mound. He takes a long look around the stadium as the stands begin to fill with ponies standing and cheering in excitement. The old scenario from years back takes hold. It's the battle for the pennant, series tied, 3-3. It's the top of the 9th inning and the Loyalist are up by one with two outs. But, the tying run is on second and one of the greatest hitters in all of baseball is up to bat. The crowd dissipates as Pitch stares down home plate. The manager wanted to take him out of the game, but Pitch is confident. He knows he can complete this game, and so, the manager gives him the green light. But the manager doesn't exist for Pitch, nor does the crowd, his teammates, or even Meadow or I. All that exist is this one moment, this one on one situation. Number 33 pitching to number 33. Brother against brother. Pitch Out vs. Fly Out.

The battle has been tough. Both brothers are putting out the best they got. Their eyes have been locked on each other since the start. Blue eyes baring down on Golden ones and vice versa. Ten pitches have been thrown and the count is 3-2. Pitch hides a small smile from his brother's gaze. Pitch has trained hard for this very moment. This times, he knows he can ring his brother up.

Pitch takes his two hooves pitching stance and winds up the throw. In one smooth motion he releases the fine tuned heater. It's the pitch Fly Out has been waiting for. A fastball down the center of the plate. He doesn't hesitate, he swings the bat with all the power he can muster. But something happens that Fly isn't expecting, the ball starts to break. The once promising 97 mph fastball down the center has revealed its true colors. A 67 mph change-up low in the zone. Fly's swing is high and too early. As the ball finds its home in the catcher's glove Pitch throws his into the air. He's done it, he won the sibling rivalry. And as his team surrounds him in praise, the fading image of Fly Out gives his brother a nod of respect.

Meadow and I trot up to Pitch as he slowly re-enters our reality. While Meadow goes up to hug Pitch with all her might, I can't help but notice the tears staining the ground below him. As well as the sense of loss.


The next day finds the three of us back at "Charlie Hops".

On a Thursday. Always a Thursday.

There are no songs from me tonight, much to the crowds disappointment, as I'm more interested in spending time with the two lovebirds. Luckily for us, the ponies doing karaoke today are actually pretty decent. I guess miracles do happen. I don't buy it for a second, something is bound to happen. Thus, I keep my head on a swivel.

"So, Pitch, did you find out why you were called up?" Meadow asks.

"I did, actually. Turns out, several weeks ago there was a very controversial game between us and the Monarchs. This lead to a complaint which lead to an investigation. The end of that investigation came out a couple of days ago and resulted in a couple of players being let go from both teams for cheating. Some umpire named Blue was also suspended for failing to call the game correctly." Pitch shakes his head in disgust. "Shame really, but I don't feel sorry for any of them. They reaped what they sowed. Anyways, there was a space for a pitcher after that and, as it turns out, I was the one they felt best prepared for the next level. Hey, Arctic. Are you all right?"

"Yeah."

*Cough*

"Just, down the wrong pipe is all."

I try to get my coughing under control after incorrectly inhaling water. An event caused by my sudden realization of which game Pitch is talking about. The same game I took over as home plate umpire.

Sugar plums and applesauce! Did I really botch the game that badly? I thought I did a great job.

"So, when is your first start?" Meadow asks.

"Tomorrow actually. I'm leaving tonight to catch up with the team on their final game of the series. But, uh... there's a catch."

"And that is?

"I'm not being called up as a starter, not yet anyways. I'm filling in a relief role until they feel like I've caught up to the speed of the major leagues."

"Well that's not fair! You were signed on as a starter, so you should be starting!"

"Easy, Meadow. For what it's worth, I agree with them. I am skipping an entire level of baseball after all."

Meadow plops back into her chair with a humph and folded hooves, muttering under her breath about still not being happy about it. Her eyes suddenly widen as she seems to make a connection of some sort.

"Wait, that means you're not going to be around for the Summer Sun Celebration?"

"Summer Sun Celebration?"

"Now is not the time for your ignorance Arctic. Well, Pitch?"

"I'm afraid not, Meadow. I'm sorry. I know you wanted to spend the day together. I'll make it up to you, I promise."

And with the mood properly soured, I try to turn things around for the better.

"Can't you just go with him like before, Meadow?"

"I wish I could, but I can't. I have to work tomorrow."

"Could I take your place instead?"

"Not if I want to get paid. How would you even attempt that anyways?"

"Uh..."

I would simply take your form and act like you for a day. It couldn't be that hard.

"...I got nothing."

"Thanks for trying, Arctic. It's very sweet of you."

"That's what I'm here for."

"Really?" Pitch cuts in. "You sailed all the way over here to help us? Two ponies in the middle of the biggest city in Equestria?"

"100%"

"Right, and the real reason?"

"LOOK! A distraction!"

"What? Oh, very funny Arctic. huh? Hey, where did he go?"

Pitch and Meadow search the bar for their mysterious disappearing friend. I am still there, of course. I changed forms while they, and the rest of the bar, were distracted by my clever distraction. I call this one Fire Flight. An orange coated unicorn with a bright red mane and golden eyes. I smile at the confused couple before I take my leave. I need to complete the final payment for Smokey's inn and the small prank provided a good as time as any to let the two enjoy each other before Pitch leaves. I'm sure they won't mind.


"Here you are, one beat up radio, tuned into tonight's game."

"Thanks, Silvia! You're the best!"

"Anything for my favorite customer."

Silvia gives me a wink before returning to tend the bar. I pick up the radio and take it to the table occupied by Meadow and myself. As I take my seat I see a glimmer in Meadow's eyes as well as a knowing grin.

"What?"

"Oh, nothing," she giggles.

I roll my eyes at her antics and turn on the radio. Sure enough, the radio begins to broadcast the game between the Loyalists and the Detrot Tigers. As the game gets underway, Meadow and I order our first round of drinks, as well as some bread sticks. The game starts out slow, with both teams unable to solve the pitching of the other. Upon hearing a comment on how both teams are starting their aces, I look up and notice several other ponies gathering around the radio. As the game goes on, more and more ponies pile in to hear the game. I finish my fourth round of drinks and ask Silvia about using the microphone. With her go ahead, I take the radio and place it on a bar stool near the mic. This allows the entire bar to follow the game.

A few hits are made by both teams, but by the 7th inning stretch, the game is still tied at zero. Then the aces start coming out of the game. Suddenly, it's bats out as the score starts to go on the up and up. The Tigers get the first two runs at the bottom of the 7th. Only to have the Loyalists respond with two of their own at the top of the 8th. Disaster strikes the Loyalist at the bottom of the 8th when the Tigers manage to score 4 runs. Their terrible bull-pen can't hold the lead, however, and the Loyalists score 5 on the top of the 9th. By this point, I'm near to becoming completely drunk as I finish my 8th round of drinks. Meadow stopped drinking at her 4th, not willing to wake up with a hangover. I'm unable to stop myself as I order a 9th and 10th round, too excited to hear what happens next. Then they announce the closer for the Loyalists.

"The Loyalists look to close out the game, and look at this Mic, they're putting in the recently called up rookie from the Rumble Ponies."

Meadow crushes my hoof, exclaiming oh my gosh over and over again. Her love for her stallion starts bleeding out and thrashing my head. I worry that 12 rounds of drinks wasn't a good idea after all. Some time along the way, I must have dulled my senses enough to the point I started unintentionally drawing in all the emotions in the air. I feel slightly ill, but it isn't too bad at the moment, so I press on.

You can hear the crowd at the stadium through the radio cheering loudly. The same can be said for the bar as everypony is standing, waiting for the final inning to start.

3 outs remaining.

"Pitch Out is ready at the mound and we're set to begin the bottom 9th at Tiger's Stadium. With the Tigers at the bottom of their line up, looks like we are starting out with a pinch-hit situation as Sunbeam takes the batter's box."

Meadow and the bar hold their breaths as Pitch throws his first major league pitch.

"The wind up, and the throw. In there, for strike one."

The bar stomp their hooves in applause as Meadow finally releases her breath. I catch myself drawing in the relief of the bar and stop myself. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.

"Second pitch on the way."

*Crack*

"Grounder toward 3rd base and its...through for a single."

The bar goes silent as Meadow tenses up again. I hear her mutter encouragements under her breath. I reach for her hoof and give her a reassuring smile.

"He's got this."

She smiles, but it soon fades away.

"And with that Sunbeam's job is done as Forest comes in as the pinch-runner. No outs, runner at first as Bluegrass takes the plate."

"Look at Pitch Out eye the runner at first, look for him to live up to his namesake here."

"I believe your right Mic, let's see what happens here. The wind up, runner goes on the pitchout! The throw to second is...on time for the first out of the inning!"

The bar breaks out in cheers and Meadow slumps down into her chair.

2 outs to go.

"The 1-0 pitch."

*Crack*

"Hit well to left field. Bluegrass in there for a stand-up double."

"At this point, Comet, if I were the manager, I think I would take Pitch out of the game. He's let up two hits already just 4 pitches in."

"Oh no, please no, don't do this to Pitch," Meadow says.

"Looks like that may just happen, Mic, as the manager trots out to the mound."

"Oh, no."

I try to comfort Meadow as best I can, but it seems like she gave in already. My stomach starts to ache as I notice that I'm drawing in emotions once again. I have to leave soon.

"The manager returns to the bench and it looks like Pitch will still be pitching."

I can't leave while Pitch is still in the game though. For Meadow's sake. The next batter he faces goes better as Pitch is able draw a 1-2 count.

"The 1-2."

*Whomp*

"Swing and a miss for out number two!"

The mood of the bar picks up again as the situation makes itself known. Pitch has just achieved his first strikeout.

One out to go.

"Tigers at the top of their line up now as Speedy takes the plate. First pitch on its way."

*Crack*

"Grounder to the shortstop- AND HE MUFFS THE PICK UP! That will put runners on the corners!"

The bar isn't happy and they let it known with a chorus of boos. The final out was there, and an error keeps the game alive. I begin to feel dizzy.

Pitch struggles with the next batter. He works up to a 3-2 count, but can't get the batter to miss as he fouls off pitch after pitch.

"The 9th pitch of the at-bat."

*Whomp*

The stadium crowd cheers.

"Slider just misses the plate for ball four. That will load the bases."

"You can't do that. You can't just let that happen, Comet. Look who he has to face next."

"Arguably the best home run hitter in baseball, Ziggy, is up to bat."

"Now my question is, Comet, do you walk him and tie up the game? Or do you let your young gun pitch to him?"

Both the stadium crowd and the bar are going wild. Everypony is shouting encouragements, to let Pitch finish the job he started. The climax of the game has been reached. This at-bat will be the tell all of this game. Meadow looks sick to her stomach.

"Looks like they're going to let him pitch as the first one goes for a ball."

"I wouldn't be too sure, Comet. They could just be having him pitch around him, see if they can't get him to swing at something."

"1-0 Pitch just outside for ball two. I think you may be right here, Mic."

"Come on! Just let him pitch!" Meadow shouts, making me nearly jump out of my fur. Almost literally in this case.

"2-0 pitch in the dirt, that will be ball three."

Now Meadow is on her hooves screaming expletives at the radio along with the rest of the bar.

"The 3-0 goes right down the center of the plate for strike one."

The emotions in the air is becoming extremely overwhelming for me. I place my head on the table, hooves over my head, trying to block it all out.

"The 3-1."

*CRACK*

All at once, the mood in the bar comes crashing down from it's positive high.

"Hit well, to deep center field!"

Among the chaos of the night, I feel something shift on my form.

"That ball is going, going, and its..."

I attempt to stand on my hooves.

"CAUGHT AT THE WALL!"

I lose my balance as the sour mood turns positive at the drop of a hat. The windows shake at the power of the cheering ponies. I try to stand again.

"Golden Glove, has just made, the catch, OF A LIFETIME!"

I push through the crowd of celebrating ponies. Trying to reach the nearest door I can find.

"And just like that..."

I'm able to make it to a door in the back of the bar.

"...the game..."

I push open the door, making my escape into the back alleyway.

"...is over!"

I try to trot away, as far away as I can from the bar. It's all too much. The alcohol has dimmed my senses way too much than I expected. It caused me to unintentionally suck in, not just the positive emotions, but the negative as well. All this led to a perfect storm of trouble. My body is unable to process the amount of positive and negative I drew in. My power is failing. I collapse onto the ground. The last sight I see, is that of Meadow's horrified look through a pink flame-like haze.

Author's Note:

Well Arctic, you've done it now. On the same night as the Summer Sun Celebration no less. Welp, it can't get much worse now can it? Anypony else hear crackling laughter?

'It appears that a certain bug has been hiding his true motivations. Let's go expose them together, shall we?'

That can't be good...




A bit of a shorter chapter this time. My goal is to average about 5,000 words per chapter, but just wasn't able to reach that this time. Not without drawing out the chapter anyways and I want to avoid doing that when it's not necessary.





Hey, Xanderfox! The overloading, and subsequent failing, of Arctic's power was slightly inspired by that comment you made in the chapter "Blind and Plumb". Though it wasn't purely a mix of alcohol and love, it still planted the seeds for what I came up with.

Xanderfox: So much like Energon for Transformers too much love makes your drunk. Changelings clearly can't be heavy drinkers, they encounter a happy drunk and end up smashed at mach speed on alcohol and love.

Wingnut: I am now trying to picture a changeling smashed up on both love and alcohol. It makes one wonder...

*A sly grin appears*

Fun Fact: The color scheme of Diamond Dasher is based off the team colors of the real life Rumble Ponies.

Arctic's form of Fire Flight was planned to show up earlier in a scene I wanted to dedicate to Fire Fighters. However, I was never able to figure out how to incorporate the scene properly and, thus, threw the idea on the back burner. I still have the scene floating around in my head from time to time so it is possible Fire Flight will return at one point, just not guaranteed.

The Detrot Tigers. Because if any team out there would be robbed of a walk-off Grand Slam, it would be the one based off my favorite baseball team. yay, Detroit sports, woohoo.




The silly times are ending.

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