• Published 28th May 2019
  • 324 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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Come Home

Aware.

For the first time in a millennium she is aware. Her powers have returned, but she is still trapped in this prison. No matter, now that she is awake she can easily break from her chains. It will take time, yet she needs not to pass it in stillness. With her power returned, she can now access the dream realm once again. The ponies of Equestria will know of her wrath.

What is this?

Her night sky clearly dominates over the Equestria, however, very few ponies populate the dream realm. Ah, she sees now. It appears that Celestia's pride has only grown during her absence. She has formed a tradition of staying up the night on the eve of the longest day of the year. No doubt to increase her subjects' admiration for the lone princess. Her downfall will be most enjoyable when the time comes. In the meantime, she will focus her rage on the few that sleep.

How curious.

Lost and alone with none of his "family" around. Yet, not driven to madness. Just what is the story of this changeling? Perhaps she will satisfy her curiosity.

The stars begin to shift.


There's something else here in the darkness with me. I can't see it, but I can sense it. It's moving around, silent as fog, hovering just beyond my reach. It's searching for something, maybe me.

Who am I?

Parasite.

That's what the thing whispers to me. It tells me that's what all changelings are, nothing but parasites.

Changeling. Yes, I'm a changeling. But that's not right. Changelings are not of the parasitic nature. We are of a mutualistic nature. That is how our Queen taught us to be.

But, who am I?

'It's time to come home.'

The thing, I feel it crawl in my mind. Its will forces the darkness to take shape, the dreamscape bends to its wishes. It calls up a memory.

Flying.

The winds batter against my wings, snow pelts my eyes as I try, in vain, to keep them open. I'm desperate. Searching for a city in the clouds I know must exist. It has to exist.

'Lightning, it's time to come home.'

'I can't.'

Lightning. That's who I am.

No.

Lightning was who I was. I'm something different now, I have a better name.

But, who am I?

The thing. It questions my search. Why am I desperate to find a city of pegasi? It thinks my hive is starving, that it's looking for another place to feed off ponies like the parasites we are.

I'm not a parasite.

There's a rumble in the clouds, then another. I'm too busy fighting against the winds and snow to notice.

'It's time to come home.'

My fur starts standing straight. My mane defies gravity as it starts floating upwards. It's my final warning. A flash of white, the smell of burnt fur. All my limbs start to spasm out of my control. The pain, it hurts. It hurts so much. I fall into a snowbank on the ground. My power fails and my pegasus form dissipates. A scar forms on my left wing. The spasms stop, and I curl up, waiting for death to come.

But, I'm not dead.

'It's time to come home.'

'I can't.'

The thing, it laughs at my fate. It says that is how every changeling should parish. Alone, in a frozen wasteland. It's curious, it wants to know what happens next. This memory fades as another takes its place.

I'm awake, still alive, but I'm very drained. I know I don't have much time left. I cannot fly. My wings took most of the damage from the lightning strike. What little magic I have left is able to start a fire. The Princess, she's frantic. She doesn't want to lose me, but she doesn't know what to do. She calls upon The Queen for help. She comforts me now, The Queen does. It feels like she's here with me, hugging me close to her body. She thinks I'm going to die, I can tell, and I think she's right.

But, I don't give up.

Time passes, I don't know the amount. I'm standing along the coast, watching the ice flow in and out. I found a piece of driftwood, just big enough to stand on. I have an idea, it's a long shot, but it beats waiting around for death. My wings may be too damaged to fly, but they can still catch wind. I transform my right wing into a wing of a pegasus. I place the driftwood into the water and step on. I raise my wing into the air at an angle to catch the wind. I feel the wind push against my wing and I cling to the wood as best I can. It starts to move.

The thing, it calls me clever as it observes me sailing parallel to the shore line. Home is still far away, but I have a chance. My wing grows stiff and the pain saps my energy. I fall off a few times, but I always recover. I struggle, I want it to end.

But, I'm a survivor.

The Queen notices my journey. She tells me to keep going, to not give up. Her elder daughters, the two Princesses, join in as well. The journey is long and rough. I find my resolve wavering, but I push through it. Hours pass, maybe even a whole day, then I spy the sights I so longed for. I see the towers of home. I fall again, before I can recover, I'm plucked out of the sea. It's the Queen. I'm finally able to rest, and the memory fades.

Darkness wraps me in its shadow. Its confused, it doesn't recognize the land in my memories. It creeps through my mind, searching for answers. It commands memory after memory to form in the dreamscape, I don't have the strength to resist. Its disgusted to learn of our deep infiltration in the local pony towns.

Integration. We changelings integrate.

It ignores me, but stops at a memory of a campfire. A small band of traveling ponies have stopped in the wild lands for the night. My father and I found them and decided to partake in the sharing of tales. The eldest of the ponies is spinning a tale about a civilization that can be found across the sea. What he says captivates me. He tells of architectural marvels; a city built in the mountains. He tells of sights to behold; a river of rainbow and rainbow falls. I wish to hear more. My father warns that these places are nothing more than fantasy; but, the way this pony moves, the way he talks, it can't be simple fantasy. I'll prove it. I may not be able to sail across the sea, but this city in the clouds sounds promising. From that day forward, I train myself to become the strongest flying changeling ever. A dream left dead in the land of snow and ice.

But, I continue forward.

The entity seethes in anger. How dare those ponies foolishly give any information about Equestria to a hive of parasites.

We're not parasites.

More and more flashes of the past go by. I'm watching waves strike the rocks. A noise comes from behind. It's the Queen's youngest, she's been following me for a while now. Tonight she doesn't approach.

Flash.

Back at the beach. The tide is coming in on time. I've been here nearly everyday since my return, I can pretty much predict everything these waters can throw at me. The Queen's youngest has followed me again, this time she moves to sit next to me. We don't speak.

Flash.

"I don't know what to do," I say.

"Start again," she says.

Flash.

It's finished, time to test it out.

Flash.

The mast breaks apart in the wind, another failure.

Flash.

The hull is damaged beyond repair, another boat scuttled. I'm getting closer.

I'm determined.

Flash.

"You've come far," she says.

"I have you to thank," I say.

We sail down the long winding river to places unknown.

I'm a seeker.

Flash.

"Honestly, I think about that day every night. I lost a piece of myself back there, I know I did. But, I refuse to let it control me. Any other changeling may give up the kind of life I live, and I wouldn't blame them. I'm not them though, I want to live my life the way I want that's right for me. I'm going to find my way to this new world. I'm going to find out if the tales are true.

"I've been thinking, about what you've told me. I think your right, in more ways than one. I've changed so much that it's like the old me died. Call me sentimental, but I wish to commemorate my new life. I've decided to change my name."

I am Arctic Thunder.

I'm determined. I don't give up. I move forward. I survive. I don't hide. I venture.

And it's about time this, thing, stops messing with my head.

Blackness descends once again, but this time I'm not alone. Shadows pool together into a solid blob, it then transform into a wicked mare of darkness. Her pitch black form bares a set of dark blue armor. Her mane is like the night sky, it flows with a power unseen. Her cutie mark is that of a crescent moon. Her wings flare out, horn alight. Her green, cat-like eyes are locked onto me. A sinister scowl reveal hidden fangs.

"Foolish insect. You dare challenge me in my own domain?"

"I dare."

She snarls and I brace for a fight. Suddenly, she lets out a bone chilling laugh.

"You don't even know who you face, do you? Yet, I know more about you than the others you lead on."

She starts moving, trotting around me in a circle. I hold my ground.

"You say how you are not a parasite. Yet, all I see is a leech in denial about his true nature. The nature of all changelings. You can try to do so all you like. But you can only resist your calling for so long."

She stops in front of me and leans in.

"Let's explore who Arctic really is, shall we?"

I try to move, to strike. But, to my horror, I cannot move my hooves.

"How about those words you first used in justifying your crossing of the sea."

'The swarm continues to grow in numbers and soon the small towns and settlements of ponies of this land may not be able to properly sustain us as we outgrow their numbers. Connecting with ponies across the ocean may bring in new opportunities to continue our prosperity without threat of famine'.

My eyes shrink as the echo of my voice fades into the distance. Then I remember the actual conversation.

"That wasn't even the true reason I had in coming here."

"And yet, you still told your Queen this in an attempt to appease her. To approve your foolish journey. What does this tell me about your "mutualistic" hive?"

"That-NO! Just because we are dependent on ponies' emotions for food doesn't make us parasites!"

"Doesn't it? Tell me, insect, you claim to have come here due to a drive in wanderlust. But, what exactly have you done since you've been here? You've certainly explored Manehatten enough. Why not leave and explore the rest of Equestria like you claim to want to do? What's keeping you here?"

"I-I got shipwrecked I-"

"And what good is a ship when you're in the very heart of Equestria?"

"I...also need to f-fulfill my duties to the hive."

"What, finding a suitable place for your little 'sub-hive'? We both know the Queen let you come here to fulfill your so called 'dream'. She doesn't truly expect to send her changelings to a land she can't control them. It's why you chose the first city you landed in. A city the first few days in. No, your still here, because you found a large influx of food and you can't help but indulge yourself. Sucking out the positive emotions until you can barely stand, unable to tell when you've had your fill. All of this, without needing to lift a hoof."

"That's...not true. If it was, I wouldn't have sought after friendship."

"The emotions were good, but, just like every greedy parasite, you wanted something more, something pure. So when you came across a pair of friends, easy for the pickings, you manipulated them into falling in love just so you can suck on them to fulfill your desires."

'What I get is the satisfaction of another job well done and a potential meal.'

"No! They were in love! I helped them!"

"You secured yourself a pure food source! It was even a bonus when you found out he was a rising star so you could feed off his fans admiration as well as get free access to those games, to feed! And don't get me started on the singing and that band you joined. Face it! You and your kind are nothing but parasites! Leeching off the love and joy of my little ponies!

"GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"

"Humph, very well. But know this, as soon as I'm done dealing with Celestia and her elements, I'm coming to squash you like the bug you are."

The nightmare ends.

Am I a parasite?


It's still dark when I open my eyes. I can't find the motivation to get up. The question still running on repeat in my head.

What am I?

Is it true? Am I nothing more than a parasite, leeching off the friends I made? Are my friends really my friends? My friends...

Adrenaline floods my system. I stand up in a panic, the cold realization of the night's events come rushing back to me. Meadow saw me transform into my natural from. The form I'm still in. She knows that I'm a...I'm a...

"Arctic?"

I dread that voice and who it belongs to. I brace myself as I turn to look at the pink mare. The expected horrified look from before isn't there. There is only concern in her eyes, in her movements, in the air, nothing but concern. Concern for a...

"Arctic, its okay, your okay."

She enters the small room I'm in. I'm too terrified of the unicorn to truly get a good look at the room. Am I terrified of her? Or what I am to her? She hovers in a glass of water and offers it to me. I step back from her magic and I see her ears wilt. She places the cup on a nearby table and takes another step. I follow with a step back. She stops trying to advance and instead sits on the ground. I remain standing, looking around for an exit.

"Arctic, it's me, Meadow. I'm your friend remember? That is you, right? You are Arctic?"

At this point, my natural instinct as a changeling hide our true form from others starts to become too painful to hold back. I give into its demands, as well as answer Meadow's question, by transforming back into my pegasus form. I spy Meadow's eyes temporarily widen before becoming replaced by concern once again.

"Arctic, come on, talk to me. What's going on? What are you?"

"I'm...I'm a...a..."

'Parasite.'

I fling open the window behind me and fly out into the city. I can hear Meadow call after me, but I can't face her. Not after what I did, not after learning the truth. They'll be safer away from me. It's time to return home. Tears fall from the sky as I make my way back to my ship.

'It's time to come home.'

Can I?


"Arctic! Arctic, come back!"

Meadow's pleas are of little use as Arctic's form fades into the night sky. Meadow bolts out her door and onto the streets. She gallops in the direction Arctic took off in in hopes of finding the white pegasus. No, not a pegasus. Pegasi don't transform in fire. But what was that other form? And why did he seem so scared of her?

Meadow catches a speck of white in the corner of her eye. It's not Arctic. A star speeds across the midnight background. Meadow stops to look at the unusual phenomenon, only to spy three other stars; all on a collision course. The focal point of their course? The moon itself. They reach their destination and release a blinding light. When it fades, Meadow is dumbfounded. The Mare in the Moon, the stuff of legends, myths, filly tales, and the inspiration for Nightmare Night is gone.

Commotion in the streets start immediately. Ponies flood the roads looking at the missing image of the moon. They ask each other on what this means. In the rising panic, it doesn't take long for the theory of Nightmare Moon's return. True or not, the story starts spreading like wildfire. Ponies begin to run to and fro while others barricade themselves in homes and stores. Another spreading message adds fuel to the sustaining fire. The sun should be up by now. Could something have happened to the Princess?

Among all the chaos, Meadow pushes through the crowd. She hears the spreading rumors and, although scared herself, she's more concern about her friend, alone and in a low mental state somewhere in the city. She also worries about Pitch, somewhere in the heart of Equestria. In the end she knows she is not going to be able to find Arctic, so she turns back the way she came. She isn't heading to her apartment, however, and instead a familiar house shows up near the edge of the city. She knocks on the door and while she waits the events of the night springs forth in her mind. When the door opens, Meadow doesn't hesitate to dive into the waiting hooves of the white mare. A red stallion comes up to them and starts rubbing her back.

"It's okay, Meadow. It's okay, we're here," says Mom.

"I'm sure whatever is going on, the Princess will pull through," says Dad.

If only it were just that.


The sun returned. A full day since that night and still nopony knows what happened. The News haven't received word form Canterlot yet, so the local paper contained articles upon articles of theories, doom speak, and tales of heroism. Meadow glanced at a couple only to lose interest after the first two. Instead, she stands next to the train platform, counting the seconds. A whistle announces the arrival of the train. Once the steam engine makes a complete stop, the swarm of passengers quickly fill the platform. Meadow searches, but is unable to find her query.

"Hello there."

Meadow jumps several inches off the ground before whirling around to stare down her smug smiling coltfriend. She trots up to him and firmly places a hoof on his chest, fully preparing to give him a piece of her mind for scaring her. Yet that smile, that sparkle in his eyes. She decides to play along.

"General Pitch Out! You are a bold one."

Pitch chuckles which soon turns into a full out belly laugh. Meadow catches his contagious laughter and lets loose several giggles herself. During their little session, Pitch gently takes Meadow's hoof off his chest and draws her into a full out embrace. After the chaos of the previous night, Meadow admits that it's nice to feel Pitch's fur brush against her own. It brings a sense of calm within her that, to her surprise, she couldn't find with her own parents. She nuzzles her way deeper into Pitch's chest and he is all too happy to nuzzle her in return. They stay that way for a long while, blocking out the noise around them. Both are happy to just be in the presence of another. It isn't until Meadow feels something wet drip on top her head that they separate from the deep embrace.

"Pitch? Are you okay?"

"Sorry, I am. I really am. I think it's just hitting me all at once. You're here, you're safe. The nightmare is over."

"It's okay, Pitch. It's okay. I stayed the day with my parents. Nothing happened here outside of everypony running in a panic. Besides, if something were to happen, I'm rather scrappy in a fight if I do say so myself."

"Is that what you call charging a row of bushes while wielding hedge clippers and shouting 'death to the overgrown'?"

"I-What!? No! How do you even know about that?"

"Oh, I have my ways. You make a cute hedge guard by the way."

"Shut up, no I don't."

"Yes you do."

"I'm not cute."

"You're right, you're absolutely adorable."

"Yeah? Well, you-mmpph!"

Pitch silences Meadow with a kiss. She resists at first, only to melt into the affectionate stallion's hooves. In a rare turn of events, Pitch wins this round. They pull away with Pitch sporting a grin. Meadow did as well, but it soon fell into a frown as she stares off into the distance.

"Actually, Pitch. Something else did happen..."

"What? What happened? What's wrong?"

"It's Arctic. Pitch, I'm don't think Arctic is a pony. At least, he's not a type of pony I've ever seen before."

"Say again? He looks very much like a pegasus to me."

"Oh there is no way he's a pegasus. He is capable of performing magic, unicorn type magic. I saw his spell of illusion fail right in front of me."

"Okay, something tells me this is going to take a bit of explaining. Do you mind filling me in over lunch." Pitch's stomach growls as if to emphasize his request.

"Do you have a place in mind?"

Pitch simply smiles sheepishly. It only takes a mere moment for Meadow to catch on to the meaning. With a roll of her eyes, she grabs Pitch's hoof and starts to drag him out of the station. Along the way, they leave the topic of Arctic alone and move onto lighter subjects. This, of course, ends up with a rambling Pitch Out going on and on about how exciting his first days in the Equestrian Baseball League were. Meadow is happy to just listen. It's rare to see Pitch get as excited as he is and she's trying her best to hold in her laughter at the bouncing stallion. This goes on until they reach their destination.

Yes, it's Charlie Hops. On a Sunday this time.

They order their drinks, then Meadow tells the story of the night's events. Arctic came over to her apartment to invite her hang out at Charlie Hops. With nothing to do at the time, she accepted, wanting to get to know the strange (not) pegasus better. Upon their arrival, Arctic then surprised her when he announced that he knew the bar had a portable radio and that they can tune into Pitch's game. Meadow explains how smooth the evening was going and how she was enjoying listening to the game with Arctic, even if he got a bit inebriated. Finally, she gets to the roller coaster of emotions she went through when Pitch entered the game. Pitch kept focused throughout her story, though his ears did welt at the reminder of his first outing.

"When I heard the sound of the ball off the bat, I thought it was over and wanted nothing more than to be by your side. But then, it got caught, and I was so, so happy for you. I must have been the loudest one in the bar."

"Yeah you were."

Two pairs of ears perk up in surprise as Meadow and Pitch turn toward the voice. A green stallion, beer in hoof, waves at the couple and takes a sip. Meadow narrows her eyes as Pitch goes with a flat look.

"Do you mind?" Pitch asks.

"Not at all," The stallion replies.

Before either Pitch or Meadow can respond, a mare sitting at the same table of the stallion hooks one of her orange hoof around the stallion's muzzle and forces him to look her in the eyes. The mare then starts to berate the stallion with words best left unrecorded. Pitch and Meadow, now with horrified expressions, awkwardly turn away from the scene and back to the topic at hoof.

"Anyways," Meadow continues, "I went to celebrate with Arctic, only to find his seat empty. I spotted him stumbling towards the back door. I got a bit concerned and followed him to see what was wrong. When I got to the door, I saw him fall to the ground and then..." Meadow pauses, taking in a deep breath. All the emotions she felt then come rushing back to her. "...I saw him look at me and just burst into flames. Next thing I know, I'm staring at one of my friends sprawled out on the ground, not moving, with what looks like blackened fur. It was horrible, it was-" Feeling a hoof starting to rub her backside, Meadow opens her eyes, unaware she had closed them at some point. Pitch had scooted closer to her and smiles reassuring at her. Meadow wipes her eyes and gives her own gracious smile in return.

"I didn't know what to do, I just stood there petrified. Eventually I went to take a closer look when I saw his chest move up and down. His fur wasn't charred like I thought. In fact, he didn't have any fur at all, instead he had some sort of hard shell. His wings changed as well, they were translucent and looked like insect wings. He also had a horn and holes in his legs."

"Wait a second, Arctic has both wings and a horn?"

"Yeah..."

"Are you saying Arctic is some sort of bug-like alicorn?"

"I- I don't know, I haven't thought about that. I guess, yes? It doesn't feel like it fits though."

"I guess that will be something to ask him. He is still around, right?"

"I'm not sure."

"You didn't leave him there did you?"

No! Of course not! You know me better than that. I was confused, but thought it best if I took him home with me and keep an eye on him."

"That- normally I would agree with that decision. But, we don't know all that much about him. Yeah, he's fun to be around and he's been a good friend so far. Yet, he hid this from us. Why is that? What else could he be hiding? Was it really a good idea to bring him home with you?"

"Well, what would you have me do, Pitch?"

"Take him to a hotel, or a hospital. I don't know, anything but be alone with him."

"I couldn't just dump him off after that; besides, it's Arctic, he's our friend."

"Is he though?"

"Pitch!"

"It's a valid question, Meadow. Think about it, what do we truly know about him? All we know is that he claims to be from across the sea. We don't know why he came here, where he's staying, we don't even know how he came here. He never talks about himself or his interest, instead he's always about us and what we do. Now it turns out he may not be a pony at all. That doesn't inspire confidence."

"Are you saying everything about him is fake? Because he seems very genuine to me. Sure, we don't know much about his background, but that doesn't mean we don't know him. Tell me, Pitch, what has he done since we met him. He helped us get together, he saved us from a very awkward first date. Yes, it was awkward, I said it, but Arctic helped fixed that. Didn't you also say that he had a heart to heart with you about what it meant to him that you were his first friend here? And yet, you accuse him of having some sort of ulterior motive? That we don't know anything about him? I say that we know that he is kind, generous, and cares very, very deeply about who he considers his friends!"

During the monologue, Meadow nearly climbed up and over the table to get to Pitch who had scooted away. She ended her thoughts with a dramatic flop back into her seat, hooves crossed. Pitch works his mouth up and down trying to find the words to respond. She is right. He didn't like it, he felt like there was something missing in this puzzle, but deep down he knew she's right. Arctic had shown to want nothing more than friendship.

"Okay," Pitch says.

"Okay?" Meadow asks.

"Yes, okay. You're right, Arctic has been nothing more than a friend to us and I should give him the benefit of the doubt. But, something still doesn't sit right with me. Why hide behind illusions?"

"I don't know. Maybe he's afraid of what would happen if we found out? It would explain what happened."

"And what happened? Other than the whole, Mare in the Moon disappearing act."

"Well, I stayed up for the Summer Sun Celebration of course, though I think it was more due to me worrying what was happening to Arctic rather than tradition. He slept through most of the night, but woke up before the sun was supposed to be raised. He looked frightened, terrified. He burst into flames again, but this time, when they dissipated, he looked like the pegasus we knew him to be. I tried reassuring him and asked what he was. He threw open the window and fled into the city. I attempted to track him down at first, but then the whole Mare in the Moon thing happened and ponies started panicking. Arctic was lost in the city and you were halfway across Equestria, I didn't know what was happening with you and it all was just too much. I spent the rest of the day with my parents.

"Pitch, I haven't seen any signs of Arctic since. I have no idea where he is, for all I know, he could be hurt. I wandered the city for a bit to see if I could find him, but I mean, this is Manehatten. Finding a single pony here is neigh impossible without knowing exactly where to look."

"We'll find a way, I know we can."

"I may be able to help with that."

Meadow nearly spits out the drink she tried to take while Pitch slams his head on the table in exaggerated frustration.

"Does nopony here know the meaning of private conversation?" Pitch asks.

"Honey, you're in the wrong bar for any conversation of the sort. Now, who ordered the hayburger and fries?"

Meadow raises her hoof. Pitch looks up at the blue coat, silver mane mare as she sets down his meal of alfalfa hay and a corn on a cob on a bun, also known as a corn dog.

"How much did you hear?" Pitch asks.

"Only just that my favorite customer appears to be missing in the city of Manehatten." Silvia floats out a small notebook and pen and begins writing. "As I said, I may be able to help you. I personally don't know where he tends to stay or hangout, but I do know somepony who might." She rips the page from her notebook and levitates it towards Meadow who takes it in her own magic. "Once you find him, tell him I said hi and to stop by more often."

Meadow giggles in her hoof. "Oh, we totally will, don't you worry." Silvia smiles and returns behind the bar.

"What was that about?"

"Oh, nothing much. Just that I think our friend here may have a crush on little old Arctic."

"Ah... if everything works out, we're going to return the favor and play matchmaker aren't we?"

"You bet your flank we are!"

Meadow hovers the piece of paper over the table and sets it down. The paper reveals an address, but doesn't include a name. Meadow and Pitch shrug at each other and move to quickly finish their meals.

After paying, the couple trot toward the nicer residential district in the city where the skyscrapers end and the houses begin. Turns out, the address listed is right near Meadow's parents house. This fact gets the two to be slightly nervous as who they are to meet as this is where the more snobby ponies tend to live. They end up at a simplistic two story house and proceed to ring the doorbell.

They don't wait long before the owner answers leaving the couple frozen in place. A passing mare in the background looks over to the house. She lets loose a high pitched squeal of excitement before slowly collapsing into a heap on the ground. The stallion she's with rushes to her in concern. He looks to see what caused her to fall and lets out a high pitched squeal before fainting on top of his wife.

Standing in the doorway, with his gorgeous black mane and his beautiful shimmering red coat, is none other than teen singing sensation Shiny Teeth and his handsomely brushed, perfectly aligned, shiny smile. Meadow knees go weak standing in front of her celebrity crush while Pitch can't look away from the pretty colt's teeth.

"Can I help you?" Meadow and Pitch nod their heads. "Are you two fans of mine?" More nodding ensues. "I always love meeting with my fans. Would you like an autograph?" Once again, more nodding.

Shiny Teeth reaches for something out of sight. He returns with two signed copies of a picture with him posing dramatically while showing off his perfect pearly whites. Meadow takes hers with a squee which knocks Pitch out of his stupor.

"Actually, Mr. Teeth sir."

"Please, call me Shiny."

"Shiny... we were told you may know where Arctic could be."

Shiny blinks several times as he stares at the couple. He then gives a gasp of surprise and cuts in between them, wrapping a hoof over their withers. This causes Meadow to stiffen once again and intake a sharp breath of air.

"Oh my gosh! You two must be Pitch and Meadow!" Meadow tries to hold in a squeal which causes her to squeak instead. "Arctic talks about you two all the time. You have to come inside."

Shiny let's go of the couple and spins around several times followed by three different poses, including one where he does a forehoof stand. He then dances back into his house to the beat of the music playing in the background. Pitch tilts his head and flops down an ear at the teen's antics. He tentatively takes a few steps towards the door, only to stop when he notices Meadow still frozen in place. He rolls his eyes, moves behind her, and starts pushing her inside.

The house isn't as large as Pitch would expect a celebrity to have. The entrance leads to a cozy, decent-sized living area. Three couches are placed in the middle, next to a fireplace, and around a glass coffee table. On the other side of the room is a doorway which appears to lead out to a hallway. The walls are covered with pictures, awards, and records.

One picture Pitch observes shows Shiny, wearing a pure white jacket, with four other stallions wearing the same type of jacket. What really catches Pitch's attention is who else is in the picture. In the center of the group, wearing a white brimmed hat, is Arctic. Pitch ears fold back as he examines how happy the (not) pegasus appears. He had his hooves over two other members of the band and seems to be laughing at something. It's hard to see him as anything more than just a content stallion pegasus, and yet, he felt like he had to hide his true form from everypony.

Guilt stirs inside Pitch when he remembers how he accused Arctic of not being his friend. He's happy that he didn't have the opportunity to accuse Arctic face to face, else he'd be really depressed at this moment. Pitch feels a hoof rubbing his back and turns to find Meadow's reassuring gaze. He faces the picture once more and sighs. Pony or no, Arctic is his friend and right now his friend needs him. So where could he be?

Shiny Teeth trots back into the room with a couple of glasses and a pitcher of water which he sets down on the table. He offers Pitch and Meadow to sit which they accept as Meadow pours herself a cup.

"So, you mentioned you're looking for the lovebug?" Shiny asks.

Meadow inhales more water than she intended and goes down the wrong pipe. She starts a coughing fit while Pitch comforts her and Shiny looks on with concern. Eventually, Meadow gets her fit under control.

"You know?!" She shouts.

"Know what?" Shiny asks.

"That Arctic i-" Meadow is interrupted by Pitch shoving a hoof in her mouth.

"Lovebug?" Pitch asks.

"Yeah, Arctic is pretty passionate about the power of love so me and the boys all came up with different love nicknames for him. Lovebug is mine, he seems to find that one the most amusing."

"I can't imagine why," Meadow mumbles when Pitch removes his hoof.

"Out of curiosity, what all do you know about Arctic?" Pitch asks. Shiny rubs the back of his neck.

"Not all too much, to be honest. None of us do since Arctic doesn't really like to talk about himself. What I can tell you is that he is very passionate about his work, he's always hanging out by the old lighthouse, and he loves talking about the two of you."

"Wait, what was that last one?" Meadow asks.

"He loves the two of you?" Meadow places a hoof over her heart as Pitch continues.

"And the one before that?"

"He's always hanging out at the old lighthouse?"

Meadow and Pitch share a glance at each other. They're thinking along the same lines. It's the best lead they have and it's worth a shot. They nod and return to the conversation.

"Thank you for the hospitality, Shiny, but we need to get going now," Pitch says.

"Anything for my fans."

Shiny gets up and moves to open the door. Pitch and Meadow trot out and give a final thanks to Shiny.

"Remember, the album comes out July 24th. If you see Arctic, tell him I said hi and to stop by more often." Shiny poses one last time before dancing back into his house as the door closes.

"So... you think he has a crush on Arctic as well?" Pitch asks.

"I don't think so," Meadow responds thoughtfully, "But, you never know."

With nearly an entire city to cross, Pitch and Meadow canter their way towards the docks. Upon arrival, they rent out a rowboat and row their way to the old lighthouse just to the North of the city. As they draw near they are surprised to find a small, single mast wooden ship beached upon the rocky outcropping. Pitch maneuvers as close as he can to the rocky shore while Meadow uses her magic to tie the boat onto one of the larger rocks. They search the lighthouse first, but find it abandoned. As they move towards the shipwreck a wave of magic blasts a hole into the ship's keel. They share a look of concern with each other before quickening their pace. It's very possible they found their missing friend.


It's no use. The structural integrity of the ship's hull is far too compromised. There is nothing I can do to make her seaworthy again. I blast another hole in the hull. My stomach lets out a growl of protest, but I refuse to go back, to leech off the ponies, to be the very thing I hate. I came here with the hopes of bettering the lives of both changelings and ponies. The more I think, the more I wonder. What exactly can we changelings bring that would be of benefit to the ponies here? They made it farther than the ponies found on the homeland, and they did this without us. All we would be doing is leeching off their success.

The Queen, she must have known this. She must have known how naive I am. Maybe she thought I would learn the truth on my adventure, or maybe it was a convenient way to remove me from the hive. The pressure in my head becomes too much. I curl up on the ground, rubbing my hooves on my head. Maybe the Queen knew, maybe she didn't. I stop pretending I have the answers. All I want to do is go home.

The sound of hoof beats on the top deck snaps my focus back to the present. Muffled voices drift down to the hold I lay in. I recognize the voices immediately, and, honestly I'm amazed as to how they found out where I've been staying. The voices draw closer and I resign to my fate. Even if I could push past them, I simply have nowhere else to go. Besides, they deserve to know what I am.

Pitch and Meadow descend the stairs and stop dead in their tracks when they find me. I continue to stare at the ground, head bowed in submission. They don't say anything, but their dual concern tells me all I need to know. They still think of me as their friend. I fear what they may feel after the truth comes out.

"Arctic?" They ask.

"Hi, Pitch. Hi, Meadow. You found me, sorry about that."

"Sorry?" Pitch asks.

"Arctic, why did you fly away? Is it because I found out that you're a...whatever it is you are?" Meadow asks.

"Because, you know, ponies around here would love to welcome a new species to Equestria," Pitch lies.

"Changeling. I'm a changeling, and you wouldn't welcome us after you learn about what we are."

"Let us decide whether or not that's true, Arctic. Don't just assume what we would think," Meadow says.

"Come on buddy, let us help a friend out. We are still friends, right?" Pitch takes a step forward, followed by another when I don't dissuade him.

"I...don't know. Can I truly be considered a friend?"

"Why wouldn't we consider you a friend? Please, talk to us. We just want to know what's happening?" Meadow asks.

"Changelings, don't exactly have a normal diet compared to other species."

"What, you eat meat? I saw your fangs, we do have gryphons here you know,"

"No, we feed off the emotions of other ponies."

...

"Like a vampony or something?"

"Huh?"

"Pitch!"

"What? it's a valid question."

"How is it valid exactly?"

"You just said he has fangs, Meadow. Fangs! And he's worried about how we'll feel after learning this. How is it not a valid question?"

"He doesn't suck out emotions like a vampony."

"How would you know?"

"Do you see any bite marks on either of us? Plus, I'm sure I'd remember being bitten."

"Well, he has magic. Maybe he made us forget and covered up his tracks. Arctic, back me up here."

"We don't bite ponies, Pitch."

"Ha!"

"I said back me up, not Meadow. Why have fangs in the first place then?"

"I don't know, extra grip maybe?"

"Extra-"

Pitch proceeds to slap his face with his hoof. Meadow tries to stifle her laughter, but ends up failing to do so. Despite everything, I end up catching her infectious laugh and let loose a few chuckles. Pitch joins in and steps up to me, patting my back.

"There you are, Arctic. I was wondering when you'd show up," Pitch says.

I try to smile, but the small upwards curve of my lips soon fall flat; the words of the nightmare echoing over and over in my head. I look at both Meadow and Pitch in turn. The shock and disbelief of me announcing how we feed on emotions barley lasted a second in either of them. It's clear they worry for their friend that I use to be, though I think it's because they don't really understand what it means.

"Guys, I really appreciate what you are trying to do. But trust me when I say I don't deserve your friendship."

"Arctic..."

"I know, don't assume what you all think right? Well, then let me explain in full."

I take a deep breath. It goes against my very instincts, but if I'm going to explain everything, then I'm going to do so in my natural form. I let the small pink flames of transformation magic flow out, slowly revealing my black chitin, glowing blue eyes, and insect-like translucent wings, the left wing bearing the lightning shaped scar from my snowy misadventure. Meadow simply stares in curiosity while Pitch's eyes goes wide as he falls flat onto his rump.

"Whoa."

"As I said, we changelings feed on the emotional energies of ponies. We can do the same with other species, such as gryphons, but no other species expel the same substance and power as ponies, possible due to the inert magic present in all of your kind. This essentially makes you our food source, our prey. In order to get in close to feed and harvest, every changeling posses a powerful transformation magic to blend in as well as an ability to sense whatever emotion a pony is feeling to better extract the more pure sources of energy. This not only feeds us, but fuels our magic as well. The more pure source a changeling can leech, the more powerful the changeling."

"Okay," Meadow says, "Granted, that's a bit disturbing to hear how we are a food source. I still don't understand how that affects our relationship precisely. Why would this make us not friends? You can't exactly help what species you're born as. It also doesn't seem that feeding off of us does any harm."

"Whoa."

"How can you not see the problem? We infiltrate pony societies in disguise, feeding off the populace. If I wanted to, I could completely drain a pony dry until they're nothing left other than an emotionless husk. We're par-" I hiccup at the word, sniffling as I try to force the words out of my mouth, "We're parasites, pests, leeches. How can you be friends with a disease?"

My admission leaves Meadow speechless. I can imagine that the gears in her head are finally fitting the pieces into place and I soon expect the two to either leave or worse. I can't quite get a feel on what to expect as I block out their emotions to avoid leeching off them anymore, nor can I see their expressions through my water laden eyes.

"Whoa."

I blink rapidly to clear my vision. Pitch is still sitting their mouth agape. Meadow, on the other hoof, has her brows furrowed and a scowl on her muzzle.

"I can't believe you."

I'm not able to look at them face to face anymore. I tilt my head downwards and prepare for the assault I know to be coming.

"I can't believe how you can just sit there and say such blatant lies about yourself!"

"Huh?"

"Whoa."

"Pitch, will you snap out of it already and help our block headed friend see how irrational he's being."

"Arctic, you're an idiot."

"Huh?"

"You're not a parasite, Arctic. A parasite will keep taking and taking with no concern for the well being of its host. Now, as disturbing as it sounds, I'm sure you've fed off both of us did you not?"

"I- yes, but-"

"Well, last I checked I don't feel the least bit drained, let alone an emotionless shell. Do you Meadow?"

"Nope."

"But, I could do that."

"And I could chuck hard leather balls at 100 mph at any pony that steps up to the plate and take them out of the lineup. Have you ever drained a pony like that before? Have any of you changelings?"

"No, we only feed off the excess so we don't harm anypony."

"And that makes you a parasite? Doesn't sound too convincing to me."

"But, we feed off of you. We leech off of your happiness in secret without warning, concent, or payment."

"Excess happiness as you said. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm pretty sure there's not much I can do with that."

"There's no way you can just be so accepting of this. What about you Meadow? Surely you can understand my point. I'm the mastermind behind the plan to manipulate you into falling in love with Pitch!"

"If I recall correctly, I've been in love with Pitch for a long while now, I just received a push in the right direction to act on that love before I lost the opportunity forever. Not quite the manipulation you're referring to."

"But, I did it so I could feed off the love you have for each other."

"Did you? Doesn't sound like the Arctic I know. Besides, didn't you have to feel our love in the first place to convince us we did love each other?

"I- you two are impossible!"

"No, you're just doing a poor job at convincing us that your anything other than our friend."

"How? You don't know about changelings. You don't know about me."

"Tag me in, Meadow, I got this." Meadow and Pitch bump hooves. Pitch moves up to me and lays a hoof on my shoulder.

"Why did you want to get Meadow and I together?"

I raise a brow at the question. "To secure a pure food source."

"Uh, huh. Right. And the real reason?"

I think back to that day. Blocking out the memories of the nightmare to find what was truly in my mind back then. The words of the Nightmare ring in my head, assaulting my brain with lies. Yes, they were nothing but lies and deceit because my true motivation was... I chuckle as I remember.

"Because it was very painful to listen to the two of you be so oblivious to one another that I just had to step in."

"And that day on the bridge? What did you say after I announced that I was leaving."

"That you meant a lot to me as my first friend here."

"Why did you bring Meadow to the bar to listen to my first game?"

"Because I figured she would worry and miss you and I thought hearing the game would make her happy."

"And the band? I saw the picture of the five of you smiling and laughing."

"Yeah, the picture was taken before our first show. We were all nervous so Shiny told a story about how a crazed fan tried to marry him against his will, only to break up with him after learning he wasn't all that rich."

Pitch smiles and pulls up onto my four hooves. He then wraps a hoof around my neck in a hug which Meadow also joins.

"Arctic, you are a kind, caring changeling that loves to make and do great things for his friends. If this is what a parasite is, then I'll be your host anytime."

"Okay, that has to be the single most sappy thing I've ever heard, and I come from a hive of matchmakers."

We all laugh at that as the group hug ends. I cautiously allow myself to feel their emotions again and find a large amount of love hanging in the air directed towards me. I draw in the love which satisfies my complaining stomach once and for all. The haunting echoes of the Nightmare still float in my head, but now I recognize what they truly are and I shall never let them define me again.

I am Arctic Thunder. A mutualistic changeling from the hive of Shinuie. I sailed to a far away land seeking adventure, and instead, I came home to Equestria with friends who love me, and whom I love in return, always and forever.

'It's time to come home.'

I am.


My dear Arctic,

I am saddened to hear and witness the trauma you have gone through and that I could not help you in time. I am proud that you managed to make friends that showed you light once more. It is possible that the mare in your dreams was the Night Queen who disappeared from the moon just a few nights ago.

Please note, that I am neither upset at your discovery of being a changeling, or your accusations of us being parasites. I am disappointed that you did not trust enough in what you are to avoid such ways of thinking and I trust that you will never doubt yourself as such other again.

Allow me to reassure whatever lingering doubt you may still have. Yes, we changelings have the capability to live the way of the parasite and it is possible that is what we started out as. However, just because we may be made to live one way doesn't mean we are forced down that path. I have taught my hive to encourage and form relationships between themselves and others not as a means to secure food, but as a means to live happy and fulfilling lives while using our inherent powers for the good of all species. Allow this to put your mind at ease and know just because we feed on emotions, doesn't mean that ponies are our prey. When ponies thrive so do we, so let us strive to better their way of life so that they will, in turn, better ours. That is the way of the changeling.

Lastly, I will close out in saying that my daughters and I have been reviewing the information you have sent to us. We will be discussing today on which action we deem to take within this new land of Equestria. No matter what, we recognize your will to remain and we give you our blessings to do so. We will miss you, Arctic. Not just I, your family, or Wave, but all of us here in the hive. You may not believe it, but you have touched us all in some form or another. Even as I speak, many changelings have started to teach themselves the art of sailing all because of you.

Goodbye my dear little changeling.

Your Queen,
Shinuie


"So, back to being a pegasus are ya? How does it feel?" Pitch asks.

I stretch out my feathery appendages and give them a little shake.

"Actually, very comfortable. I don't know why, but I always liked being a pegasus more than anything else."

"Have you ever tried being an earth pony, or a unicorn?" Meadow asks.

"I tried being a unicorn once. I kept bumping my horn on anything and everything and I'm not all that great at magic. As for earth pony? Well, no. Why be just a plain old pony when I can either have wings or a horn. Er, no offence."

"Oh, I take offence. Besides, us earth ponies are great, we have a connection with the land you know. Makes us rough and tough. Couldn't throw a 100 mph heater without being one."

"Yeah, but while we can transform into ponies, we don't inherit their natural strengths, so as an earth pony I would have no 'connection to the ground', as you say."

"So, I take it your cutie mark doesn't represent your talent or personality?" Meadow asks.

"Nope, I just thought it fit my name well."

"So Arctic Thunder is your real name then?" Pitch asks.

"Yup, no need to hide our names since the majority of changelings choose pony names anyways. I came up with mine after a life altering event."

"You came up with the name?"

"Well, Wave was the first to suggest it, but the decision was up to me. I can sense your bafflement, Pitch, yes we name ourselves as a sort of rite of passage. We still have birth names our parents give us. In fact, my birth name was Lightning Bug. What's so funny?"

"I'm not laughing," Meadow says.

"I can feel your amusement you know."

"That's going to take some getting use to."

"You didn't answer my question."

"How observant, is that one of your abilities too?"

"Oh, har dee har har."

Before the round of bantering could continue, a blue mare with a silver mane came up to the table to deposit the food and drinks, including a mug of beer for myself.

"Uh, I didn't order that..."

"Consider it on the house as a welcome back present," Silvia says.

"I was only gone for like, three days. But if you insist, thank you Silvia, you're the best."

Silvia beams a smile, but doesn't make a move to leave. Instead she watches as I take a sip of beer. This is followed by gulp after gulp as the heavenly tasting alcohol slides down my throat. Finally, after consuming half the drink, I set the mug down and wipe the frosting away.

"This is terrific! What is it?"

"It's actually one of my own recipes that I brewed myself. I figured you would like it," Silvia replies.

"I do. I really, really do. So what, you're a bartender, brewer, and an actress? Is there anything you can't do?"

I watch as her smile grows wider and wider with every word I say. I almost fear that her face is going to fall off, though it recedes a little after I mentioned being an actress.

"Aspiring actress actually, I still need a lot of practice though."

"Well, perhaps I can help. I'm pretty good at playing pretend if I do say so myself. Maybe I can help you practice and give out some tips?"

Curiously, a hint of red starts to show on her blue cheeks and she moves to hide it behind her long silver mane.

"I'd lo- like that. Anyway, I need to... uh... get back to work and stuff so... yeah. Happy you enjoyed the beer, I got more in the back if you want more. Bye!"

I wave goodbye to her and cringe when she nearly walks straight into the bar while looking back. I turn back to Pitch and Meadow, the former having his hooves cross with a smug grin and the latter having trouble not bouncing in her chair.

"What?" I ask.

Meadow continues bouncing and nudging Pitch who simply rolls his eyes and picks up local newspaper.

"Nothing, Arctic, don't worry about it," Pitch says.

I shrug and return to my drink. I then notice the front headline of the paper Pitch is reading.

"Hey, Pitch. Who is Princess Luna?"

Pitch turns over the paper to read the headline announcing the return of Princess Luna. Meadow also glances over to read, but simply stares blankly at Pitch who glances back.

"For once, Arctic, we're in the same boat as you are."


Smokey Records opens the grand door and we trot into the inn together. I take in the sight of what is soon to be mine with glee. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a bounce to every step I take. Smokey, on the other hoof, looks around solemnly at a dream long gone. He takes off to a nearby platform with a sigh and I follow right behind.

On top of the platform are two chairs, a table, and a lantern. When I touch down, Smokey is already at his chair removing papers from his saddle bag. With every signature written my excitement grows more and more. It doesn't take me long to notice Smokey's dower mood, however, and I wonder what I can do to cheer him up. There is one thing I can do, it may not be much, but it is something.

"Smokey."

"Hmm?"

"I promise you that I'll keep the place to be just as welcoming to thestrals as it is to my kind."

He stops writing for a split second. He doesn't show it, but I felt his appreciation and his mood appears to be lighter. It isn't long before the final paper is signed, and the place is mine. We shake hooves, Smokey with a smile, and he takes his leave. I stay at the table, lost in thought as I hear the grand doors open. Then I notice a second presence.

"Sweetheart? What are you doing here?" I hear Smokey ask.

Curious about who would be here, I make my down to the floor.

"Is this? I'm sorry dear, I already signed the papers."

I reach the ground and turn the corner. I freeze up upon viewing our unexpected guess.

"I'll be okay, Vinyl, I trust this young colt to take good care of this place."

The white mare promptly turns her head to face me, a scowl plastered on her face. Upon seeing me the scowl disappears and her shock hits me like a blast wave. She points a hoof towards me.

"Hi Vinyl!" I wave. "Long time no see."

Smokey looks at me raising a brow.

"You know my daughter?"

"Vinyl is your daughter?"

"Yes. How do you two know each other?"

I rub the back of my neck as I recall our spontaneous kiss. I hope for my dear life that I'm not blushing.

"Oh, it was a Thursday night at Charlie Hops-" I catch Vinyl's rapidly shaking head and waving hooves too late.

"That was you!" Smokey screeches.

I decide to continue with a minimalist approach in order to stop digging this hole I'm in.

"Uh... guilty as charged?"

Vinyl slaps a hoof to her face.

Smokey shifts his eyes from me to Vinyl, from Vinyl to me, and so on and so forth. I'm expecting another beat down to occur, instead, Smokey goes with an insane looking grin.

"You know, she didn't elaborate on what happened that night, but she never can seem to get you off her mind."

Vinyl attempts to appear smaller.

"Really? I don't blame her, it was a very memorable night."

For some of us anyways.

Now she sports a nice looking shade of red on her cheeks.

"Not too memorable I hope," Smokey growls.

Vinyl proceeds to nudge her father hard in the ribs, followed by a shake of her head. Smokey nods in understanding. He then looks at me once more.

"Can you excuse us daughter? I need to finalize some details with Mr. Thunder."

Vinyl looks at me and holds up a hoof to her father. She then marches over to me with fierce determination. She gestures to Smokey, the building, and then stares me down dead in the eyes.

"I'll take great care of this place, I owe it to Smokey. I even promised him that he, his family, and every thestral will be greatly welcomed here.

She continues to stare me down, motionless. Finally, after a few moments, she nods and hugs me before cantering out of the building. Smokey then trots up to me.

"Listen, Arctic. I care very deeply for my daughter. She never lets her handicap get in the way of anything, but she has had very rough relationships in the past. Ponies either don't give her the time of day, or think they can take advantage of her disability. It's gotten better since she started DJ-ing, but it's been a struggle for her, do you understand?"

"Yes, sir."

"Now, what I said is true, she always seem to be thinking about that night you two had together. I haven't seen her this giddy in a long, long time, and I'll be damned if I let anypony breaks her heart again. So if you decide to date my daughter, know that I'll be watching your every move. And if I see you take advantage of her, or harm her in any way, I'll make sure you feel the same struggle she goes through every day. Am I clear?

"Crystal clear, sir."

Smokey Pat's my back firmly. I refuse to admit that this causes me to flinch in fear.

"Good talk."

Smokey leaves the complex leaving alone with my thoughts. Honestly, I haven't given any thoughts to dating as I still feel like I'm not ready. Plus, I'm not 100% sure I want to date a pony, especially one in an unknown land. What is to be expected in this culture? What is considered taboo? I shake my head to clear my thoughts. This is a problem for a different day.

I turn my attention back to the inn. I start trotting to the back portion. Images of ponies start to fill the grand hall. Most are sitting at the ground tables, though I notice a couple of pegasi and thestrals on the platforms. Conversation of all types fill the hall.

I stand behind the bar, serving customers whose bits goes towards the funding us changelings. I admire my selection of real drinks and not that sugar loaded crap anywhere else. The ponies here know where to go for a good stout drink.

A pony walks up to the counter a bit shyly. I ask her what she wants. Maybe the signal is a saying, or a flash of the eyes. Either way, I received it in understanding. I nod to the bartender next to me to take over. Maybe it's Silvia, we could use her homemade brewed beer, plus I trust her with our secret.

I lead my fellow changeling to the backrooms. Up the stairs are many rooms for our patrons to rest, though that's not what she's looking for. Instead, I lead her to the basement. It's large enough in itself, though there is always room for expansion. We pass by several rooms. One of them is the Princess's chambers which she admires.

We arrive at the main gathering site for changelings in Manehatten. I hear her gasp in awe as she takes in the sights of her home away from home. I see a map of the city in one corner which marks places of note. In another is the feeding area where harvesters return with their bounty. A precaution should anyling not be able to feed themselves. Perhaps there is a music player in another corner with dancing and singing changelings. Yes, in fact, there is one who just tripped over himself and landed face first in the padded wall. Laughing fills the area and the poor sap sheepishly stands back up with help from the others.

I chuckle along as I prepare my little I introduction. I turn to face the empty air next to me.

"Welcome from your home away from home."

I turn back to the cold, empty chamber.

"Welcome, to Sub-Hive Manehatten."


Queen Shinuie and her two remaining daughters stand upon the shore, watching as the westbound ship slowly sinks over the horizon. On board, is her youngest daughter and 23 other changelings on their way to begin their new lives in Equestria.

The young, newly crowned, princess stands about a head taller than the average changeling. Her horn is taller than any other changeling, and bears a striking resemblance to that of a pony unicorn. Her long, deep blue membrane mane and tail have been transformed to resemble a pony's mane and tail. Her blueish-green eyes scan the horizon in thought.

A flash of bright yellow pauses her thoughts. She looks down to spy two of her changelings in pony form exaggerating movements. She giggles as she observes the two oddballs.

"Maze, Phalanx! What are you two doing?"

The two ponies, one with a bright yellow coat and dark blue mane and the other with a dark green coat and white mane, turn to face their princess.

"We're just breaking in our new forms and practicing our introductions ma'am," Maze says.

"Since when do introduction start off with insulting a ponies color scheme?" Phalanx asks.

"Since you decided to go with green and white. I mean, those have to be the two most horrible colors to exist with each other."

"Right, because dark blue and bright yellow works sooo much better."

"I'll have you know that these are the colors of champions."

"Champions of what? Getting crushed in embarrassing fashion?"

The two changeling-ponies started growling at each other. The young princess simply rolls her eyes. Though they did give her an idea.

"Hey! Settle down you two. I need you both to round up everyling onto the deck. I'm going to go over what to expect in the new world."

"Yes ma'am," Phalanx says before trotting away.

Maze stiffens to attention and gives a mock salute. "Aye, Aye, Captain!" He then flies his way down into the hold.

The young princess leans against the wheel as she dissects what she just heard.

"Captain Wave Runner. I like the sound of that."

She stares off into the distance once more as the last rays of the sun sink below the horizon.

'You hear that, Arctic? I'm the captain now.'








SEPT 17 21:55

PART 1 COMPLETE

AUTHORIZATION: MASTER WRITER PROGRAM

END OF LINE._

Author's Note:

Tron: Classic anyone? Hello? Anyone? Bueller?


Part one. The part filled with absolute nonsensical stories for the sake of nonsensical fun, is finally over. I enjoyed writing it, but I also want to try and explore different ideas in this world. As such, part 2 is going to have a more planned out plot line as well as some grounded/serious chapters. I do still plan to have a comedic focus in part 2, however, I'm going to be moving towards a less goofy/random style which relies a fair bit too heavily on obscure references and move more towards the characters themselves to carry the scene.


The more I go back to the first few chapters, the more I realize I may need to go back one day and rewrite them. Particularly that first chapter. I mean, oi vey. How did I ever hook you guys to this story?

You know, I kind of feel bad for putting Arctic through this. It was never planned for him to go through an existential crisis. He was still going to be revealed, but it originally was just going to be played off in some sort of goofy way. After all, Ponies don't really become aware of changelings and their capabilities until after the Canterlot invasion. That event was where, originally, I had plans to start up some trouble in Arctic's little paradise. But now, Well, I guess we'll just have to find out in part 2.

My little hint about part 2:
Arctic made one hell of an assumption about Equestria. A very wrong assumption.

There's a reason why Meadow's parents are red and white in color. If you can figure it out you get 1,000 starting bonus points in your next game of "Who's Line is it Anyways?" And even more points if you can guess the color combination of Pitch's parents based off of what you learned from Meadow and her parents, though his is going to take a little thinking outside the box.

I love Baseball. I mean, Hockey will always be my first love, but Baseball can be just so fun at times.

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Comments ( 1 )

True, the starting hook maybe need some work. I hope it isn't drastic or required another read-through. But the story is still great nevertheless.

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