• Published 11th Oct 2019
  • 4,590 Views, 209 Comments

All That We Are - Marezinger Z

All processing their encounter with Aurelian very differently, the three villains part ways on paths that will ultimately lead them back together in a way they did not expect.

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Chapter 3

After a day long talk with his brother, a full meal and night’s sleep unlike any he had enjoyed in longer than he could remember; Tirek awoke feeling a welcome ease. He could hear work being done at the forefront of his brother’s workshop and went to investigate.

“Ah, good morning brother.” Scorpan hailed as he labored over a grandfather clock. “It’s late, you must have slept well.”

“It’s the first night in ages I haven’t spent in a cage or on a rock.” Tirek looked over the clock. “What is this?”

“There is an old pony who lives in this town.” Scorpan began as he continued his work. “He collects antique clocks and usually brings them to me for repair.” He laughed. “Having opposable thumbs helps when it comes to fine labor such as this.”

“Is this what you do with your time?” Tirek asked sourly.

“I do many things, brother.” He answered. “My life has given me experience in a variety of trades and fields; I’ve become a renaissance creature as it were. I earn my keep offering whatever skills I can to this city.”

“Your magical ability and power are beyond such menial tasks.” Tirek noted.

“Perhaps.” Scorpan nodded. “But my heart is not.” He set his tools down and looked to Tirek with serious consideration. “If you are to change your view of the world, you must stop seeing all others as lesser than yourself. We are powerful, yes; but we are far from perfect and there are other creatures that exude that which we lack.” His gaze drifted to the window and out at the city. “I have a route of jobs to tend to today, why don’t you come with me and see the city for yourself.”

“The world still thinks me in Tartarus, brother.” Tirek reminded. “Seeing me would only lure all of Canterlot’s guard here.”

"I can remedy that.” Scorpan’s eyes shone with light, he laid his hand to Tirek’s shoulder and his brother’s form began to augment. His horns turned downward, skin changing to a light tan and fur to a rich cocoa. “There.”

“What kind of trick is this?” Tirek looked himself over.

“One required back when I needed to lay low for a time.” Scorpan returned his attention to his work. “Allow me to finish with this clock and we’ll be on our way.”

Tirek hesitantly followed Scorpan out onto the streets. He was able to see firsthand how beloved his brother was to the creatures of the city; nearly everyone they passed waved or greeted him with all the warmth of a longtime friend. As the day went on, Tirek’s constant guard began to lower as he realized that, for the time being, he wasn’t a wanted villain. That simple peace of mind was something he had all but forgotten over the course of his life and he was careful to take note of the fact. At the cusp of the afternoon, they found themselves at the docks where Scorpan was meeting up with a visiting ship captain whom he had developed a lasting friendship with.

“Scorpan!” The old dragon was quick to embrace him. “Never forget my schedule, do you?”

“Of course not, Singe.” Scorpan chuckled. “How are the seas?”

“A kinder mistress than my last.” He laughed. “We just returned from Maretonia; we’ve got several shipments to unload for pickup.”

“Anything interesting?” Scorpan asked.

“Ahh, fancy wares and materials that are lost on us sea faring types.” Singe looked back to his ship. “Lost a hand too, poor lad.”

“Did he perish?”

“Worse, married.” Singe slapped his back with a hearty laugh.

Scorpan shook his head with a smile. “Well, as it happens, I’ve an extra pair of hands with me today.” He looked to his brother. “Perhaps he could aid your crew with the shipment?”

Tirek took the hint and nodded. “I suppose I could use a workout.”

“Thank you, stranger.” Singe smiled brightly. “The auburn barge with six sails in mine.”

Tirek slowly made his way down the dock to the aforementioned craft; he saw a pair of Dragons, a Unicorn and a Hippogriff moving crates down the gangway. They took notice of him as he approached and one of the Dragons halted his work to meet him.

“Seen you down the dock with Scorpan.” He began. “Friend of his?”

“Yes.” Tirek nodded. “I am merely visiting.” He quickly changed topics. “Singe said you were a creature down and could use a hand.”

“Well, we certainly won’t turn down the offer.” The Dragon held his claw out. “Whiterock.” As Tirek took his claw he pointed back to the others. “That’s Spade, Summer Sun and Altor.”

“Nice… to meet you.” Tirek offered a light wave. “So, what exactly are we doing?”

“Moving heavy things from one place to another.” Spade laughed as he hoisted another crate.

“Easy enough.” Tirek boarded the ship.

“Hey, this is highly skilled labor.” Summer Sun assured.

Altor flew back aboard the ship. “We have to tell ourselves that once a day; otherwise we’d throw ourselves into the ocean.”

“It has its perks.” Whiterock lifted a crate and passed it to Tirek. “Keeps us in shape.”

“Yeah, to impress all those girls we never see.” Spade added.

Tirek took the crate and balanced it in one palm. “I can take another.” He offered his other hand.

“Well now, get a load of this one.” Whiterock obliged the request.

“Hey now.” Altor toned. “Don’t go trying to upstage us. We can’t let the captain see how much we’re really capable of or he’ll expect it all the time.”

Tirek smiled as he walked down the gangway. “If you consider this upstaging then I suppose I’ll have to hold back.”

Summer Sun eyed Altor with a grin. “Uh oh, our meat-head ratio is all thrown off now.”

"If you trained your magic as much as your mouth you could move this all in one go.” Spade jabbed.

“And give you even more reason to slack?” Summer Sun scoffed.

Tirek found himself enjoying the rough and off color antics of the crew, loosening up and firing his own shots into the conversation. The crew took to him as well and within the span of the job he was all but one of the boys. Wrapping up as the afternoon grew late, Tirek returned to his brother and followed him back home. After a shower, the smell of dinner caught his nose and led him to a pot of stew on the range.

“Feeling better?” Scorpan asked as he stirred.

“Yes.” Tirek nodded. “Would you mind changing me back now?”

“Of course.” Scorpan left the stove and undid his spell, returning Tirek to his proper form. “So, what do you think of my city now?”

“It is very… down to earth.” He answered. “I can see why you are fond of it.”

“It seemed to be fond of you as well.” Scorpan noted. “You must have many thoughts on the matter, brother; tell me of them.”

“At full power, I can level a mountain if I desired.” Tirek stared at his clenched fist. “But performing such a simple task, alongside creatures who didn’t even so much as ask about who I was or where I came from… it was more pleasant than I would have first thought.”

“Even when we were young, you always focused on growing stronger and more powerful." Scorpan filled a bowl with stew. “Your quest to control the world around you only saw to it that you were further and further removed from that world.” He set the bowl before his brother. “But today, instead of trying to stand above the world, you stood at its side.” He filled a bowl of his own and sat across from his brother. “What you feel after today, when was the last time you felt anything similar?”

“I don’t remember.” Tirek looked down into the bowl. “Perhaps never.”

“Today was an experiment and you now have the results of that experiment.” Scorpan smiled. “I hope they help inform your decisions moving forward.”

Tirek absorbed the advice as he silently began to eat.

Celestia and Twilight flew towards the Changeling hive, having received word from Thorax that Chrysalis was there with him.

“This is turning out to be some week.” Twilight noted. “What do you make of all this?”

“I do not know, Twilight.” Celestia shook her head. “Thorax’s letter took us by surprise and lacked any sense of concern. Whatever is happening, I intend for her to explain in full.”

“Thorax is sweet hearted to a fault.” Twilight sighed. “I can’t help but worry he’s being manipulated.”

“Pharynx acts as his counter balance.” Celestia pointed out. “If something was amiss, he would have said so.”

Upon nearing the hive, they descended from the sky and headed for the Changeling throne. Thorax patiently awaited them, greeting the pair with his usual cheer.

“Princess Celestia, Twilight, welcome back.”

“Hello, Thorax.” Celestia greeted. “We came as quickly as possible.”

“Oh, that’s alright.” He promised.

“It is?” Twilight looked up at him unsurely. “Where’s Chrysalis?”

“Well, she isn’t exactly taking to the majority of the activities around here.” Thorax scratched his chin. “But she has taken to spending time with the hatchlings; she’s probably in the nursery.”

“Is she not under guard?” Celestia asked.

“Oh no, it isn’t like that.” Thorax shook his head. “She’s been settling in pretty well.”

“Please take us to her.” Celestia gestured for Thorax to lead the way.

Thorax escorted them down into the subterranean areas of the hive. They came upon a quiet section where a distinct, musical humming could be heard. Crossing into the sheltered nursery, Celestia was brought to full pause at what she saw; the fearsome and malevolent Changeling Queen with a pair of hatchlings held against her breast. Aided by a team of three, she busied herself with the dozens of little ones that crawled about.

“Chrysalis?” Celestia called.

Chrysalis glanced over at them, an unsurprised laugh leaving her. “I was wondering when you’d show up.”

“I called them here, mom.” Thorax explained. “I wanted them to see that you weren’t here to hurt any creature.”

Setting the two younglings to the ground, Chrysalis made her way over to her rival. “Well, you know I am here.” She stared calmly yet fearlessly into Celestia’s eyes. “What now?”

“That depends on you, I suppose.” Celestia answered. “You and I have battled and battled with no signs of stopping; and now, out of the blue, it is suggested that the battle is done. I hope you understand my hesitation in believing that.”

“I do.” She nodded.

“Not a month ago; you, Tirek and Cozy Glow were returned to Tartarus for your crimes.” Celestia recapped. “What has changed?”

“My perspective.” Chrysalis laid her hoof to her chest. “The last few days have been a lot, the weight of which has made me reflect on many things.” She took another step forward. “I lost my home and my brood, all because the desire to dethrone you and control this world was more important to me than they were.” She pointed to the hatchlings behind her. “Losing them, seeing them move on and leave me behind… sent me to the brink of madness which only fueled the fire of hatred inside of me. I thought nothing would quell that flame until I was given a stark look at the future the light of that fire was leading me towards.” Taking a moment to calm herself, Chrysalis shook her head longingly. “I’m done wasting my life fighting with you. I’ve been given an opportunity I didn’t deserve, an opportunity to have my family and home back; and that is enough of the world for me.”

Thorax proudly went to her side. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from ponies, it’s that nothing is more important than family. She’s our mother, and I want her here with us where she belongs.”

Celestia looked to Twilight who could only offer a considering smile. The Princess nodded and returned her gaze to Chrysalis. “Alright, if that is truly your wish then I will not interfere with your life here. Thorax is the ruler of the hive and as fellow royalty, I accept his decision.”

“That’s great.” Thorax hugged onto Chrysalis. “Aren’t you happy?”

“Yes, yes.” Chrysalis lightly patted his back.

“Chrysalis.” Twilight spoke up. “Even if you still aren’t too keen on ponies; as the Princess of Friendship, I’m glad to see the fighting between us stop. And I’m happy you’ve been able to reconnect with your family.”

“I… appreciate the sentiment.” Chrysalis pried herself free of her son’s hug.

“I still have some questions, if you would oblige.” Celestia continued. “Do you know where Tirek and Cozy Glow are?”

“No.” Chrysalis answered. “Tirek left first, but he did not say where he was headed. I left Cozy Glow in a cave, but by the time I returned she was already gone.”

“I see.” Celestia pondered the implications of the news. “I have only one more thing to ask you then. How were you able to escape Tartarus?”

Chrysalis looked at her with intrigue. “Were you aware that there’s an Alicorn in Tartarus?” She asked in kind.

“What?” Shock washed over the Princess’ face.

“Another Princess?” Twilight asked.

“No, a male.” Chrysalis informed.

Twilight’s eyes harried in confusion. “That’s a thing?” She looked up to Celestia.

“I… do not know.” Celestia admitted. “I have never heard of one before.”

“His name is Aurelian.” Chrysalis continued. “He says he is the first, dating back over ten thousand years.”

“That predates any information in my oldest history book.” Twilight said in amazement.

“I had no idea such a creature resided there.” Celestia confirmed. “Was it he who freed you?”

“Yes.” Chrysalis nodded. “And it was his words that led me back to my hive.”

“This is incredible.” Twilight grew excited at the idea of a creature so knowledgeable of the world’s history.

“If he is in Tartarus, that means he must have been an enemy to the world at some point.” Celestia surmised.

“You have no idea.” Chrysalis noted. “He said that Tartarus itself was built to be his prison. He can leave anytime he wants, but he chooses not to as he feels he has seen all that the world has to offer and no longer desires to be a part of it.”

“That sounds sad.” Thorax frowned. “He helped you, right? From all that you’ve told me, he sounds like a good creature.”

“He isn’t.” Chrysalis looked to him sharply. “At least... not entirely. The only reason that he does not rule this world is due to the simple fact that he chooses not to.” She looked back to Celestia. “He spoke with us because he wished to warn us away from a path in life that he has already seen the end of more than once. His philosophy and wisdom are derived from a life so long, he claims to understand the ebb and flow of existence itself; and I believe him.”

Celestia weighed Chrysalis’ tale in her mind. “That is certainly a deal to comprehend; as if recent events weren’t spectacular enough already.” She sighed.

“If we’re done, the little ones need to be fed.” Chrysalis headed back into the nursery.

“Chrysalis.” Celestia halted her. “Thank you, and know that I do wish you well here.”

Chrysalis looked back over her shoulder. “Just because my perspective has changed, doesn’t mean my feelings have.”

Thorax gave her a disapproving look. “C’mon, mom.”

Chrysalis rolled her eyes with a light sigh. “But… thank you.” With that, she returned to her caregiving.

“So, what now?” Twilight asked as Thorax rejoined them.

“We must track down Tirek and Cozy Glow.” Celestia began. “At least we know Chrysalis is in good hooves with Thorax, so that is one less worry.”

“Well, if we can help, just let us know.” Thorax offered.

“Thank you.” Celestia nodded. “For now, let us return to the castle. The news about this Aurelian leaves me troubled.” With more questions than answers, the Princesses flew from the hive and began their return to Canterlot.