• Published 11th Feb 2021
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Changeling in a Changing Land - Podrick Equus



After Queen Chrysalis learns of a faraway island nation inhabited by harmonious changelings, she sends a diplomat to learn more about them, and to make them an offer.

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4 - Patience

"Felim? Why stop?" asked Gerhard with increasingly apparent exasperation. It hadn't even been thirty minutes since they'd left the house and they had already stopped five times to look at miscellaneous shops.

If Felim noticed Gerhard's tone, he didn't show it. He seemed to be mesmerized by a display case full of winter coats and other cold-weather clothing. "Spear! You've got to see what they sell here!"

Gerhard whispered a prayer to the Hatcher, then sighed, "No. Want to leave."

"But Spear! Let's just go inside real quick to see what they have. I promise that we'll be in and out and on our way in no time!"

"Fine," grumbled Gerhard. Maybe the sixth time's the charm?

Felim practically catapulted himself into the shop. Gerhard looked up at the sign written above the front door. Éadaí Abhainn. How informative. Taking another look at the display case, he saw some signs next to a few coats bearing the flag of the River Republic. Imported clothing, perhaps? He turned his gaze to the front door. The thought of abandoning Felim again popped up in his mind, but it was quickly dismissed upon thinking of how disappointed Aoife would be in him for making her brother sad...

Gerhard shook his head. No, no, his reason for staying with Felim was simply one of logic, that was it. He had no other assets in this country to utilize, and there was no telling how many other changelings here would be willing to help him, or even ones that knew the Old Tongue. There simply wasn't a-

Felim poked his head out of the front door to beckon Gerhard inwards. "Hey Spear, are you coming? There's something really cool in here! I think you'll like it!"

Gerhard mentally kicked himself for thinking like an infiltrator again. There might be time for that knowledge later. For now, he was simply a glorified tourist until he found a proper interpreter. "Yes. I come."

A little jingle announced Gerhard's entrance into the shop. He looked around to see apparel and attire unlike most of what he had seen from the locals thus far. Brightly colored heavy coats, fleeces, scarves, hats, and so on, all of which seemed to be from various nations around the Riverlands. He wasn't too familiar with the cultures of those nations, but the clothing here seemed to speak for itself. There was even a section of tunics and odd-looking helmets next to the flag of... Nimbusia, was it? Something to keep in mind for later, perhaps.

Felim stood next to a mannequin adorned in what looked like a gray naval uniform, examining its every detail. "This looks kind of like your clothes, Spear. Isn't it neat?"

Gerhard suddenly became aware of how uncomfortable his uniform truly was, as he wasn't accustomed to wearing such things. In stark contrast, the clothing in front of him seemed to look quite snug. He tried to read the description but found that like everything else, he couldn't understand it. "Felim? Where from? How..." Gerhard struggled to remember the word for expensive.

Fortunately, Felim seemed to know what he was trying to ask. He pointed at the flag on the price tag, which appeared to be a ship's helm above wavy blue and white lines. "Bakara! The seaponies of the south! And it's not too pricey either, by the looks of it."

Gerhard frowned. Seaponies? Here? This was about the furthest place from Hippogriffia, why would there be- Wait, perhaps Felim wasn't talking about them. The Old Tongue was notorious for not having words for certain concepts, so maybe Felim was referring to seafaring ponies. That made more sense.

Suddenly, he heard an unfamiliar female voice from the other side of the shop. "Fáilte romhat! Conas is féidir liom cabhrú leat?"

It must be the shopkeeper, figured Gerhard. He wasn't especially keen on buying anything, especially since he hadn't been given any money on the assumption that he would be treated as a proper diplomat and provided for. He didn't want Felim to get anything for him either, but Gerhard did need him to tell the shopkeeper that he couldn't understand the language around here. He turned his head towards the speaker to wave hello and-

Across the room from him was a smiling earth pony standing behind a counter.

Gerhard felt the urge to immediately escape the pony's line of sight and shift into one of his many disguises. With great restraint, he forced a smile and nodded curtly to the mare across the shop from him. She once again said something in the Greneclyfian's native tongue, then gestured to some of the many clothing items around her. Gerhard turned his head away and tried to pretend that something had caught his attention.

Felim seemed to notice Gerhard's anxious posture. He tapped on Gerhard's back and pointed at the clothing near the mare. "What, are you scared of ponies? Let's go see what she has to offer!"

Oh, Hatcher below...

Gerhard steeled himself and followed Felim as he approached the pony running the shop. Felim said something incomprehensible, then the shopkeeper giggled. She replied to Felim and winked at Gerhard, causing the lost changeling to look at Felim in confusion. "What she say?"

Felim smiled widely, "Oh, I told her that you get nervous around ponies and she said she has that effect on most stallions."

Gerhard's eye twitched. He stood there, mouth agape in equal parts astoundment and bewilderment.

The mare batted her eyes and said another indecipherable sentence to Gerhard. With a mischievous grin, she beckoned him over.

Out of all the things that Gerhard had prepared for in both his civilian life and time as an infiltrator, a pony flirting with him in his natural form was not one of them.

Felim laughed and patted Gerhard on the back again. "All right, we can go now. We can buy something on the way back!"

On the way back? What? Why was Felim implying that he'd still be with Gerhard by the time he got what he needed in Bugsmere? Unless... unless this odd drone fully intended to hang around a complete stranger for the foreseeable future. Gerhard shivered at the thought.

Greneclyfian changelings were weird.

Another thought struck Gerhard as Felim was guiding him out of the shop: He suddenly really wanted to know what that mare was saying. Not for any particular reason, of course. "Felim, what she say?"

Felim stifled another laugh, "I'll tell you later."

Gerhard ignored his now-burning desire to know what the mare said. Just curiosity, he lied to himself, nothing more.

With Felim's window-shopping habits seemingly sated, the two changelings turned towards a path that led further inland, away from the various shops and buildings. As the two walked, Felim attempted to teach Gerhard a few words from the Greneclyfian language. Despite having some trouble pronouncing the odd phrases, he managed to add a few basic greetings to his repertoire of foreign words. At least, he hoped they were basic greetings. Felim hadn't stopped smiling the entire time he was trying to get Gerhard to say certain words correctly.

Gerhard made a mental note to not use these new words under any circumstances.

The two continued to travel for some time. As the hours passed, the city fully gave way to the countryside, which Gerhard had to admit was quite beautiful. The lightly forested hills and calm scenery reminded him very much of Equestria. The only real difference between the two that he could see were some unique plants every now and then. He surmised that the island must have a fair number of flora and fauna not present anywhere else in the world.

A sudden brisk breeze and the soon-to-be setting sun reminded Gerhard of one detail he had yet to ask Felim about. "Felim? Where shelter?"

"Oh! We will stay at my cousin's hive! They are very nice, you will love them!"

Somehow, Gerhard doubted that. If they were even half as energetic as Felim, they'd drive him insane before morning. But what choice did he have? He dared not risk braving the elements in an unfamiliar environment. Gerhard took another look at the serene landscape, wondering what unknown dangers might be out there, then sighed in defeat.

Felim seemed to hear Gerhard's sigh. "You are tired? Don't worry, we'll be there soon!"

He grimaced. Patience, Gerhard, he reminded himself. If this gets him closer to a real interpreter, then he would endure anything to get there.

Not but a few seconds later, Felim began to barrage Gerhard with all sorts of information about his extended family. From names, to ages, to hobbies, to favorite colors, the drone seemed to have an endless supply of things to talk about.

Gerhard discreetly retrieved a pair of earplugs from his bag and granted his ears solace from Felim's ramblings.

Almost anything.

Author's Note:

Story is not dead. No promises on next chapter's ETA, though. Gonna try to make them longer.

Comments ( 5 )

yay, update! thank you :)

Glad to see this up and going again, can't wait for the next chapter, thar cionn ar fad!

I'm so happy that it's not dead I've waited patiently for a new chapter I can't wait to see what happens next I'll wait patiently for the next keep up the awesome work your awesome

"Felim? Why stop?" asked Gerhard with increasingly apparent exasperation. It hadn't even been thirty minutes since they'd left the house and they had already stopped five times to look at miscellaneous shops.

Felim: "Its about the journey, not about the destination."
Gerhard: *suppressing unhappy bug noises*

The thought of abandoning Felim again popped up in his mind, but it was quickly dismissed upon thinking of how disappointed Aoife would be in him for making her brother sad...
Gerhard shook his head. No, no, his reason for staying with Felim was simply one of logic, that was it. He had no other assets in this country to utilize, and there was no telling how many other changelings here would be willing to help him, or even ones that knew the Old Tongue.

That may make sense, but does he truly believe it?

He wasn't especially keen on buying anything, especially since he had no money.

Didn't he bring any Changeling coins?
Even if those aren't a currency there he might be able to exchange them somewhere.

Gerhard's eye twitched. He stood there, mouth agape in equal parts astoundment and bewilderment.
The mare batted her eyes and said another indecipherable sentence to Gerhard. With a mischievous grin, she beckoned him over.
Out of all the things that Gerhard had prepared for in both his life and time as an infiltrator, a pony flirting with him in his natural form was not one of them.

Better get used to it.
Besides, it's not that bad, is it?

Greneclyfian changelings were weird.

Femlin: "Maybe, but still less weird than those from Vesapolis. I mean attacking and hurting their food source sounds kinda stupid, right?"
Gerhard: "Well, uhm... You see..."


Good chapter!
I enjoyed reading it.

11428094

Didn't he bring any Changeling coins?
Even if those aren't a currency there he might be able to exchange them somewhere.

You know that's a good point. I'll add a tidbit to address that (He had been briefed that the Greneclyfians would be expecting him as an official diplomat and would provide for him, so no money would have been necessary)

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