• Published 26th Oct 2019
  • 1,938 Views, 91 Comments

Winds of Change - theOwtcast

Only months after being accepted in the Crystal Empire, Thorax puts his life on the line to help his friends and save Equestria.

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Do or Die

“What are you looking for, traitor?” Chrysalis openly relished the emotional storm that she’d triggered in me, now intensified beyond measure by the revelation of Pharynx’s absence. “Expecting your brother to save you? I wonder if he would! Too bad he isn’t here anymore!”

“Did… did you…” I finally managed to utter a sound.

“Did I kill him, you mean?”

I forced out a quivering nod. She smirked again.

“And what if I have?”

My whole world collapsed at the sound of her words. How could I have been so foolish? Chrysalis had always held him responsible for my behavior; though he’d worked harder than anyling I’d ever known to prove his loyalty and earn her trust, his failure to turn me into a passable warrior had remained the one stain on his otherwise spotless record, and she hadn’t forgotten that! Of course she would have punished him for my betrayal when I hadn’t been around to take that punishment myself! I should have known her wrath would have needed an immediate outlet! Why hadn’t I anticipated that my brother would have become the target of that wrath in my absence? Why had I put him in that position? Why had I left the hive on an impulse? Why hadn’t I stayed a little longer, planned my escape strategy differently, maybe faked my own death somehow to avoid all the consequences that had followed? I may have proven it possible for changelings to share love and friendship, but I’d never meant for it to happen at the cost of someone’s life!

My face distorted into a pained grimace and rivers of tears burst from my eyes.

Oh, Pharynx, if she’s telling the truth, I’m so sorry… please forgive me…

If it’s true, she didn’t kill you… I did…

I flinched when Chrysalis burst into a full-blown, maniacal laughter that even Discord would struggle to surpass.

“You are so hopelessly gullible! No, I didn’t kill him; he wasn’t going to be let off that easily, and it would have been a shame to lose a military commander of his capability! Such talented warriors don’t hatch in every generation!”

“Then… what-”

“If he wanted to redeem himself and regain my trust, he had to earn it! I sent him to hunt you down!”

“I think you can call him back now,” I whispered, both relieved and horrified at the revelation.

“Oh, he’ll be here alright! I don’t know how he did it, but he avoided getting close to you deliberately, and covered his tracks pretty well; but all things considered, I’m going to give him one last chance to show whose side he’s really on!”

I shuddered at the ominous tone of her voice. She hadn’t noticed; she’d already turned to one of the guards.

“Bring me my sword,” she commanded.

He bowed and flew away, and Chrysalis turned back to me.

“You know whose blood will be on that blade soon enough,” she declared, “but if Pharynx refuses to put it there, his blood will be there too!”

The room was once again filled with deafening hisses of the guards and the thumping of my heart.

“And you have something that belongs to your Queen,” she added.

Her eyes glowed brighter as the commenced the gruesome, familiar act. A glowing tendril of aura of love was pulled right out of me, its rippling stream heading straight into Chrysalis’ mouth.

She may have wanted Pharynx to kill me to declare his allegiance and possibly suffer the consequences if he chose wrong, but she wasn’t going to let the love inside me go to waste, not when she could devour it!

My first instinct was to resist, to give nothing away; but though I was doing my best to hold on to the love inside me, her pull was too strong! No matter how hard I tried, she would drain me completely sooner or later!

My gaze fell onto the unconscious Starlight beneath Chrysalis’ hooves. She’d made an admirable effort, but even her best hadn’t been enough to thwart Chrysalis’ plans! Soon, I knew, she would be put in a cocoon and added to the trophy collection that made up the chandelier above.

I’m so sorry, Starlight! If I’d acted sooner, maybe things would have gone differently!

I looked at the chandelier again. Nearly all important figures in my life were trapped in it: the ponies who had opened their hearts to me, welcomed me into their land and their homes, and taught me all I knew about friendship, a draconequus who had never needed to ask for proof that there was good in me, and the little dragon who had helped start it all. And I had just let them all down!

Even if for all the wrong reasons, Chrysalis was right about one thing: I didn’t deserve to live, not after I’d failed so thoroughly to defend everything I held dear in life!

The guard returned with Chrysalis’ sword and placed it obediently next to Starlight’s unconscious body.

I stared transfixed into the sharp blade, even though I could hardly see it through the stream of love seeping out of me. If anything, it made it easier to imagine what it would soon look like, stained with my blood.

I just hoped it would be my blood only - not Pharynx’s too!


With an overwhelming clarity, I realized there was one more important figure in my life beside those who were, or would soon be, trapped in the chandelier above: one who had been there before all the others, one who had stood by my side even when no one else would, who had protected me relentlessly even if it meant defying everything we’d ever known and relied on… and if Chrysalis was telling the truth, one who had chosen to throw away everything he’d ever done for the hive and betray his whole world rather than let me come to harm! He’d loved me so much without realizing it, and I was about to cost him everything: his rank, his reputation, the trust he’d worked so hard to earn, maybe even his life!

He would be hurt by it, I knew, but like the soldier he was, he would take that blow bravely and work twice as hard to restore his old glory. He might even succeed, eventually. But he would be forced to make the most difficult decision in his life, one I suspected now would hurt him more than anything: if he spared me, he would never get the chance to serve his home again, and if he didn’t, no matter what he did later in life, he would always carry the disgrace of having to kill his own brother and the bitterness of having to do it for the sake of the hive he’d cared so much about.

He’d given everything to the hive and the Queen, and what was he getting in return as a result of something that hadn’t even been his fault? If only there was something I could do to spare him of it!

I became aware of the sword on the ground beneath me once again, even though I’d never stopped staring at it. If only I could get to it; I would drive it into my own chest and at least spare Pharynx the humiliation! But Chrysalis was still holding me in her magical grip! Even if I asked to be killed immediately, I doubted she would allow it, not until she was done draining the love out of me!

An idea clicked at this thought. I couldn’t make her kill me sooner than she planned to, but she was already feeding on my love and would take it all sooner or later. Maybe she would let me keep just enough of it to survive until Pharynx was back, or maybe her hunger was so strong that she’d be unable to stop herself. But I wasn’t going to wait and see; I could give it all away freely until nothing remained to be taken! It was mine to give, and I would give it to everyling in sight; let them take it!

I couldn’t save myself anymore, let alone my friends or the whole Equestria; but I could still spare my brother of having to choose between me and himself, and if I showed the magnitude of my shared love to the other changelings in the process, all the better! With any luck, it might inspire them to reconsider everything they’d ever been taught and to walk on the path of friendship!

Whether or not it happened, I’d have done as much as I could. I’d already proven that friendship was not only possible, but salutary for changelings; it would be up to them to accept or dismiss that discovery. But I’d fulfilled my life’s purpose: I’d left a mark on this world and showed a better way not only for my kind, but for all the others who came in contact with them as well, and Chrysalis knew that, even if she refused to admit it. Killing me would do nothing to change that! Too many ponies knew my story by now, and not just ponies: I knew of at least one zebra and buffalo, and my pony friends would have told their griffon, dragon, and yak friends about a kind changeling they’d befriended. My story could have spread throughout the world by now! Chrysalis could do her worst and track down and exterminate everyone who knew of me so my legacy would be lost to history, but she could never be sure that she hadn’t missed anyone, not until the world crumbled and nothing was left but dust and ashes! That must have been the reason why she hated me so much: no matter how many times she killed me, no matter how painful and gruesome she made it, I, a lowly and despised drone, would remain undefeated to her for the rest of eternity!

My conscience was clear, my mind serene. In my final moments, I was at peace with myself and the world like no changeling had ever been before.

There was just one thing left to do.

I focused all my remaining love and unleashed it in a powerful burst, the strength of which surprised me as well as everyling else. They were thrown into the throne room’s walls by the shockwave, and Chrysalis crashed into her throne with a loud crack. The sticky slime holding Starlight in place came apart and melted into a harmless liquid, and the sword was launched somewhere out of my sight.

I’d barely registered any of that. All my being was condensed into one single thought.


You were always there for me, my brother, and you’ve given me so much more than I could have asked for.

You have given me Honesty: in order to build my strength of character, you never hid or toned down the awful truths and brutality of our lives.

You have given me Laughter, even if it wasn’t your intention: by exposing me to the darkest side of life, you have taught me to see the light and hope in even the most dire situations.

You have given me Loyalty: you bravely stood by my side even when the whole world rose against us.

I was still blasting love everywhere, having tapped into its reserves and sources within me that I hadn’t even known existed.

And with my final breath, I will repay you with all I have left to give.

I will give you Kindness, so that it may heal the wounds I caused you and shield you from suffering any more.

I will give you Generosity: I will lay down my life so you can enjoy whatever beauty you find in the rest of yours.

Because I’ve always offered you nothing but Friendship; maybe, one day, you too will understand the power of its magic.

With that, the last bit of my love was spent completely, and I let myself fade into the overwhelming light.