• Published 15th Apr 2021
  • 1,024 Views, 76 Comments

Bound Snow - notaproxy



A human makes a faustian bargain to save their own life, ending up as a griffin chick in the care of Fluttershy. With dark powers hanging over their head, will they be able fulfill their end of the bargain even if it means betraying their new family?

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Getting Answers

995 CE
(Fluttershy)
I awoke looking up at a strange celling. I felt exhausted, it was like when I had the feather flu; every part of me was sore. Reluctantly, I looked around the room where I found myself. It wasn't hard to figure out I was in the Golden Oaks Library. The library had lacked a full-time librarian for years, so some townsfolks would volunteer on the weekends to keep it open. I had volunteered a few times; usually, when there was a book on animals I wanted to read. It was a pretty boring job, not many ponies would come in, so it there was always plenty of time to read. That did leave the question of what I was doing here.

"How ya feeling Fluttershy?" Came a worried voice, alerting me of Applejack's presence.

"I'm okay." I lied, hoping to reassure my friend.

"If ya say so," Applejack said with suspicion, "I'm go'na tell the girls you are up. They are all downstairs worried sick about ya. Apparently, Redheart an't got no idea what's wrong with ya, and they gota get some fancy magic expert from Canterlot to help. Anyways, I'll be back in the shake of a tail."

Applejack was gone only moments before Nurse Redheart came in to check on me, accompanied by the mare who interviewed me and another S.M.I.L.E. agent. As the nurse was doing her job, the agents introduced themselves.

"Fluttershy, my name is Agent Tight Lips, and this is my partner Dramatic Recreation. Do you remember me?" I nodded. "Good. You fainted well we were talking. What is the last thing you remember?"

"Um,... You were just finishing up I think. Then my hoof started to get really warm and itchy, and I started to feel really dizzy. I get dizzy sometimes when I am helping my animal friends too long and forget to drink enough water. I'm sorry I scared everypony over a little dehydration."

"Fluttershy," Nurse Redheart spoke up, "You have been unconscious for an hour. I have seen a lot of cases of dehydration in my time, and none of them look like this. I can't find anything wrong with you. As far as I can tell, you should be perfectly healthy."

That sounded good, everypony was just overreacting. Before I could reassure everypony, Applejack came back in. "Mighty sorry to interrupt, but that fancy wizard of yours is asking for Fluttershy."

"Good," Tight Lips replied, "It would be best you could come down to meet her. Any objections?" She asked, looking at me and the nurse.

We both gave the all-clear, although Redheart did so reluctingly. I got out of the bed, my earlier soreness already fading. There was a tense atmosphere in the rest of the tree library. About a dozen ponies filled the main room around the central reading table, clearly divided between my friends and S.M.I.L.E. Of my four friends, only Pinkie was not glaring at the agents, instead looking to the floor with a worried expression. I don't think I had seen her hair at full volume since yesterday morning, I think all this drama was hard on her.

Of the strangers, one stood out. Unlike the rest of the outsiders, this mare wasn't wearing a suit, meaning she must be the magic consultant. If I was to describe her in one word, it would be tired. She had dark circles under her eyes, visible even against the purple of her ratty fur. Her mane was so bad, I was sure Rarity would have dragged the mare to the spa kicking and screaming if they meet under normal circumstances. But these circumstances were not normal.

The mage's attention was focused on the root of all the tension in the room; an innocent-looking egg. Judging by the glow of the lavender mare's horn, I assumed she was scanning the egg, and by the look on her face, the results were not good.

"Miss. Sparkle, the mare you wanted to speak to has woken up."

"Hum," The mare said, looking up from her task. "Great, come down here. I have a theory I need to test."

I nervously headed over to this Miss. Sparkle. Meeting new ponies is always so scary. And this one looks like she is in a bad mood. What if I make a bad impression and she hates me. She is probably really important if S.M.I.L.E. is coming to her for magic advice, it would be a disaster if someone like that didn't like me.

"Hi, my name is Fluttershy.."

"We can skip the formalities," The mare cut me off. I could see my friends glaring at her like they were about to tear her horn off. This is why I hate meeting new ponies, everypony is always so protective of me and blows things way out of proportion. Miss. Sparkle is probably just very busy and wants to help as quickly as possible.

"Agents TL and DR have already briefed me on your situation. You said you felt suddenly tired around 10 last night? And again just before you fainted? When you first encountered the object, did you feel anything strange? Like a sting or a burn?"

"Um," This mare was really intense. But there was one thing I had to correct. "It's a living creature, I don't think you should call it an object."

"Semantics. Do you mind if I cast a spell to see through some of your fur? Nothing inappropriate of course."

I give a nod. I was having a hard time deciding if this mare was rude or just plain mean. I could tell what my friends thought though; Rainbow had already started mumbling threats under her breath.

The magic expert grabbed one of my hoves and begin to examine it. A quick flash of her horn and my soft yellow fur became transparent, just barely visible against the skin beneath. It was kinda weird. I usually only see skin like that right after a cut or something similar. The mare finished examing my left hoof and grabbed my right. When she activated her spell this time, there was a collective, worried gasp from my friends.

There, hidden under the fur of my right hoof, was a ring of arcane runes. They were carved crudely into the flesh of my hoove, looking like something done with a dull knife by a crazy cult. The runes completely encircled my hoof like a twisted wedding band, and unlike a tattoo, they had depth and texture to them, like long healed scars.

I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe. What had happened to me? Who did this? How? Why? When? I needed more air. These marks were a defilement, an impurity, a brand. Did something brand me? Was some terrifying beast going to come and take me away? Was I going to be a sacrifice for some crazed moon cult, like in that Daring Do book? Was I going to have to explain these scares to my grandfoals years from now? What would my parents think? What was going to happen to me? What did they mea...

"Fluttershy! Calm down!" I suddenly became aware of somepony shaking me and calling my name. It was Rainbow Dash. She and the other girls were huddled around me, trying to comfort me. The S.M.I.L.E ponies had all backed off with worried and sympathetic looks. Even the mage looked on with empathy, the most emotion I had seen from her since she had arrived.

I took a moment to calm down in the embrace of my friends. I was going to be fine. My friends would be there to support me. Rainbow and AJ would never let something bad happen to me. And even if something scary got me, I know Rarity and Pinkie would be able to find me. Who knows, maybe it can be fixed? That is what S.M.I.L.E. was for, after all, solving magic problems.

"Um, sorry to interrupt," The purple mare interrupted our hug, "but I think I know what is going on." That got the attention of everypony in the room, although my friends were still huddled around me. Is it bad that I was relieved they stayed?

"Those ether runes on your hoof, they confirm my theory. I believe those runes serve as a sort of arcane map in five-dimensional aether-space-time, in addition to being a spell source."

All of us, even most of the S.M.I.L.E. agents give her a blank look.

"In practical terms, they act as a teleportation spell connected to the egg. If the egg gets more than a few miles away from the anchor, the spell activates and teleports the egg to the anchor. That leads me to another thing I would like to test. Miss. Fluttershy, would you mind trying to fly for me?"

That earned some distrusting looks from my friends but after some reassurance, I managed to get out from the pony pile I was in. Once I had enough space, I spread my wings, planning to just do a little hover in the confined library. Nothing, the few flaps that would normally send me into the air did nothing more than blow around some dust. It was a little worrying, my wings felt almost numb. I could still feel them just fine, but the strength that had always been there was gone.

"That is what I suspected," The magical mare mage responded to my struggle. "The energy for the teleport had to come from somewhere, and taking it from an egg would kill it, so it has been using your magic. That is why you can't fly. If I had to guess, you probably will not be able to use your cutie mark talent for a while either. This also explains the fainting and tiredness. You didn't have enough normal magic to teleport a living creature through anti-magic fields or all the way from Canerlot, so the spell had to use something else instead. Your life force."

Even the S.M.I.L.E. agents begin muttering amongst themselves after the diagnosis was given. My friends let out another gasp and huddled around me again. I felt strangely numb. Is this what it feels like to learn you have cancer? I just tried to save a poor griffin's life and now it is sucking mine?

"Now what, exactly, does that mean?" Applejack slowly asked. I could tell she was afraid of the answer. I think we all were.

"Well, using life force like that is extremely dangerous. It can provide considerable magical potential, but it is extremely damaging. It is impossible to know the exact effects, but judging from the power requirements of the spell, it doesn't look good. Using that much life force, you are looking at increased risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's, ..."

"Please stop." Rainbow Dash intervened.

"Right, sorry. I can recommend a few books you should read. You are actually lucky in a way. If the egg had gone further way, say straight to Griffinstone, the spell could have killed you outright."

"This is outrageous!" It seems this latest revelation broke Rarity. "Our sweet Fluttershy saves a life and this is what she gets! A curse that scars her and threatens to kill her! There must be something to do! Can you get rid of it? And what are you going to do to bring whatever ruffian is behind this justice? This is what Celestia pays you for, isn't it? I will not have one of my friends treated this way!"

The lavender mare seemed taken aback by this outburst and several S.M.I.L.E. agents stepped in to protect her. One of them, I think it was Dramatic Recreation, started shouting back.

"Hey, don't blame the messenger. It's not our fault that you idiots messed with a strange egg. That is like magic kindergarten stuff. Don't they teach you anything in the backwards town? "

"Hey, guys?" Pinkie said, eveypony ignored her.

"Who you calling idiot you pigs! Maybe if you spent less time overthrowing democratically elected governments and more time doing your job, this wouldn't have happened!" Rainbow shouted back.

"Guys!?" Everypony ignored Pinkie again.

"That was one time! And we thought he rigged the election! If it wasn't for ponies like us, ponies like you would be hydra meat!"

"GUYS!"

"WHAT!?"

Everypony stared at Pinkie. I was just happy for the distraction. Rainbow and Applejack looked like they were about to lose it.

"The egg! I think it is hatching!"

The fight was instantly forgotten. Everypony looked to the root of all their recent problems. Sure enough, the egg was wobbling seemingly on its own, a large crack having appeared. The tension in the room suddenly spiked, as the first chips of egg started to fall. Everypony waited to see what horrors the strange egg may produce.


(???)

Finally! I was out of the non-space! I was still in a void but was actually dark, and had a concept of down, and time was a thing again. Now I could just put all those memories of the non-space in a big box of things not to think too hard about and move on. Speaking of moving on, I had a body again! And it wasn't slowly dying in a puddle of poisonous water! Improvements! I should probably take stock. I couldn't see anything, but I felt my eyes move, so hopefully, that was all good. My ears were working though, I could hear what sounded like yelling somewhere outside my void, although I couldn't understand what was being said. I could feel two arms, two hands, two legs, although my feet felt weird, and... wings? I think the Figure said something about being able to fly, so that must be how? It was going to be weird having six limbs.

Apparently, all my testing had caused me to move in my comfy void. I slammed my face into some hard surface. It didn't hurt as much as I would expect, and it made clear that my head was not human anymore. Before I knew what was happening, I pulled my head back and slammed into the hard surface again. It must be some sort of instinct. This time, the impact seemed to do some damage as slivers of light entered my void. This was progress! I noticed voices had stopped. Are those my future parents? With all that yelling? Am I going to be born into a broken family? That seemed like the type of thing the Figure would do. But there was only one way to find out.

Pulling back my head again, I struck the hard edge of my void right at the crack. More light streamed in, a proper hole, but too bright to see through and too small to crawl through. I could tell I was almost free, one more good hit should do it. I put as much strength and leverage as I could manage into my next strike and flung myself forward. That seemed to do the trick, seeing as the crack of light spread around the void. And so, with great violence, I entered into my new world.

Author's Note:

Hi everyone, it was finals week for me, so I was barely able to get this week's chapter out in time. Just goes to show I should work on a backlog.

For this weeks lore corner, I want to elaborate on life force. So in my Equestria, all magical beings, i.e. all being, have evolved with magic. That means that every cell in every creature on Equestria uses magic to function. While all creatures produce more then enough magic to function, some creatures, like ponies, can use that excess magic. Life force is thus the name for the 'base line' magic the a creature needs to survive. Using a creature's life force damages every single cell in their body, which is why it can result in such a wide range of issues.