• Published 27th Jul 2021
  • 2,898 Views, 98 Comments

BuggyCYOA - Krivvy

It was just another routine trip deep within the Everfree Forest when you stumbled upon a most unlikely companion...

  • ...

Know Thy Neighbor | Parts 108B - 114

Once inside the bathroom you place the fresh clothes and lantern on the vanity. Next, you strip down and place your dirty clothes in their designated basket.
Noticing that the clothes basket is almost full, you make a mental note to do some laundry soon. Either by yourself, or dropping them off at the cleaning mare in Ponyville.

You proceed to take a quick, yet relaxing shower before drying off, getting dressed, brushing your teeth and exiting the bathroom with your magic lantern in hand.
Taking a detour before retiring to your room for the night, you walk back into the living room to check on Notaulix, who you find snuggled up on the sofa with his blanket covering him, staring off into the warm fire in the fireplace.

"All good out here?" You ask him.

"Yes Anon, thank you." Notaulix says while looking up at you with a small smile.

"I'm glad. Well... Good night then." You say to Notaulix as you walk towards your room.

"Good night." You hear him say behind you.

Closing the door behind you once inside your bedroom, you glance at the neat stack of the three books that Twilight loaned you resting on your desk, the books involving the races of the world.
While you are eager to read them, you know it would need to be done by the light of the magic lantern. Though, after the long, busy day that you've had, simply going to sleep sounds wonderful.

Walking over to the desk, you examine the three books before deciding on one in particular, a medium sized book titled Know Thy Neighbor: A Racial Primer.
Beyond the promising title, the book appears quite old compared to the other two that Twilight loaned you. The cover is well worn, and the outer edges of the pages have discolored with age.
With the old book in hand, you step over to the side of your bed where you place it on the bedside table, after which you strip down to your underwear before climbing into bed.

After taking a moment to simply lay in place and enjoy the comfort of doing so, you roll over onto your stomach and prop yourself up on your forearms.
Reaching over to the bedside table, you preemptively activate the magic lantern, followed by grabbing your book of choice and setting it on your pillow in front of you.
Opening the book, you take a moment to study the first few pages, where you find that this particular book is a reprint of an older work.

Despite being a reprint, the book is marked to have been produced about 136 years ago, if your memory of the current age and year serves correctly.
Moving forward in the book, the first section you arrive in is unsurprisingly dedicated to the intelligent races that dwell on this world.
You quickly flip through the pages in an effort to find a section on changelings. As you move from race to race, however, you can't help but slow down and enjoy the beautifully done illustrations that accompany each one.

While searching in the book, the transition from day to night unfolds, soon leaving you with the cool glow of the magic lantern to read by.

After some time, though, you find yourself turning from the last page of the races section of the book, and into one dedicated to common animals.
Feeling disappointed that there was no information on changelings, you decide to scan through the rest of the book anyway, just to enjoy the illustrations.
However, you pause when the section on animals ends, and a section on monsters begins. A small section at that, judging by the relatively few remaining pages in the book.

As you continue forward into the new section, your progress slows as you spend more time staring at the illustrations of horrors that you have neither seen nor heard of.
Horrors being an apt description of what you are viewing; the previous illustrations were done in an elegant, classical way. These illustrations of the monsters, however...
The once pleasing style gives way to a more surreal one, inspiring fear. You can't help but look over your shoulder and peer into the dark corners of your room as a sense of paranoia gnaws at the back of your mind.
Turning another page, your heart nearly skips a beat as you find a page dedicated to changelings and its accompanying illustration.

The illustration depicts many changeling heads emerging from the darkness, almost as if they were a swirling mass, their dark bodies blending together.
They are depicted with featureless red eyes that glow, prominent fangs, and open maws lined with razor sharp teeth.
At the top of the illustration is the profile of something different, something larger than the rest, with a single glowing eye featuring a slit pupil staring directly at the reader.
You continue to study the illustration for several minutes, unable to peel your eyes away from it, until you suddenly hear the sound of steps approaching your bedroom door.
Startled, you quickly whip your head back to look over your shoulder in the direction of the door, as your mind races with adrenaline filled thoughts.

You stare at the bedroom door, listening to the steps until they come to a stop just outside.
A few seconds later, the handle begins to turn, and the door slowly opens just wide enough for Notaulix to poke his head into your room.
In this low light, you can't help but notice that Notaulix's blue eyes stand out from the rest of his body, similar to what you see in the old books illustration.

"Notaulix? Is something wrong?" You ask him.

"Nothing is wrong, Anon. I am fine. On my way to the bathroom, I saw a light coming from underneath this door." Notaulix explains.
"What are you doing, Anon?" The curious changeling asks you.

"Just reading one of those books I borrowed the other day to see if it had anything to say about changelings... By the way, you usually knock first before you enter someone's room when they're inside." You respond.
"...Or using the bathroom." You quickly add.

"Oh! I'm sorry, Anon! I... I..." Notaulix stammers as he looks down at the floor in shame.

"Ah, don't worry about it. I'm not upset, it's just something you should be aware of." You reassure him.

"Okay..." Notaulix quietly says before a period of silence falls between the two of you.

You wonder if you should say anything else while Notaulix continues to avoid looking at you. You're not sure if he is embarrassed by his intrusion, or possibly bothered by the book you are reading.

You don't have to wait long until the changeling resumes eye contact with you, though. "I... I'm sure it isn't good, but... What does the book say about us?" Notaulix asks you.

"I don't know yet, actually... It took me awhile to find anything on your kind in this one, I just found something a few minutes ago. Haven't read anything yet, but there is an illustration I've been looking at." You answer.

"An illustration?" Notaulix repeats while cocking his head to the side. "Do you mind if I look at it, Anon?" Notaulix asks.

"Uh..." You pause as you take a moment to glance back at the illustration in the book. "...I don't mind, but I don't want you to be insulted by it. The art is... How should I say it? Some creative liberties were taken, I think." You say in response.

"I understand." Notaulix says.

"Well, alright then. Come over here." You say to him.

You watch Notaulix fully enter your room as he makes his way over to your side of the bed. Once near the head of your bed, he rears up and rests his forehooves on the covers, in order to get a clear look at the book.
Turning the book in your hands, you reposition it so that it's easy for Notaulix to examine.
Notaulix, in turn, silently studies the illustration. At first, his ears perked up in interest. However, that quickly changed as his ears gradually drooped to the side.

"We don't look quite like... that." Notaulix quietly says while averting his eyes from the book.

"It's an old book, it shouldn't be too surprising that there's inaccuracies." You say in an attempt to encourage Notaulix.

"Yes, I understand." Notaulix says as he lowers himself back onto all fours. "Good night again, Anon. I'm sorry for bothering you." He continues while walking out of your room.

"Good night." You say just in time before the door gently closes.

Pondering the interaction that just took place, you can't help but feel bad for Notaulix. You could tell what he saw in the illustration was upsetting to him, even if he didn't let it fully show.
Letting out a small sigh, you simply hope that whatever thoughts that may be going through his head now, won't interfere with getting a good nights rest.
Turning your attention back to the book, you delve into what it has to say about changelings. While only a single page of information, you pick out a few key statements...

- Changelings are magical transforming fiends of the earth that prey on the life force of ponies

- Changelings are known for abducting family members and replacing them with one of their own

- Changelings attacks are carried out by crafty magic and other trickery, ending in them sinking their fangs into their prey to drain their life forces from them

- Changelings make their home in the dark bowels of the earth, where they are led by a great evil one; The Queen

- Changelings are indeed a very poor choice of neighbor

- If a changeling is sighted, or if there is suspicion over a friend or family member being replaced, a letter must be sent to The Princess immediately

While staring out at nothing, your mind runs wild as you meditate on the things you just read.
From your interactions with Notaulix up until this point, you have doubt that very little of this information is true, but you know that you need to keep an open mind for your own safety. There's still so much that you don't know...

One thought that you cannot shake from your mind is that of Notaulix's fangs. In the back of your mind, you've wondered what purpose those could possibly serve.
They didn't seem necessary for eating, attacking or defending himself. And yet, they are a prominent feature. Could they really be used to drain whatever this book is referring to as life force? You think to yourself
Additionally, as you glance back at the illustration, you can't help but wonder if Notaulix's mouth is filled with such razor sharp teeth, as it occurs to you that you never bothered to look before.
You continue to think about such things until a yawn interrupts your thoughts.

Having read enough for the evening, you close the old book and set it aside before reaching over and turning the magic lantern off, plunging your bedroom into the darkness of night.
Turning over onto your back, you rest your head on the pillow and settle into the familiar comfort of your bed.
While the luxuries of Canterlot are nothing short of exquisite, there's nothing better than coming back to your own home.
Staring up at the dark ceiling, you mull over the events of your busy day until sleep eventually takes hold of you.

You enjoy a peaceful sleep, until you wake up and find your room to still be dark.
Groaning as you turn over onto your side, a glance at your bedside clock, which tells you that it's still about two hours until sunrise.
Feeling perfectly comfortable in your current position, you close your eyes to drift back off to sleep. However...
Much to your dismay, your bladder is telling you that it could stand a trip to the bathroom.

Wanting to get things over with quickly so that you can return the comforts of your bed, you throw back the bed sheets and climb out of bed.
Taking a moment to slide your shirt on, you walk over to the bedroom door and quietly make your way from the hallway to the bathroom.
Despite there being no lights in the house, there is just enough ambient light filtering in through the windows from the bright moon and stars, which help you discern where you're walking.

After relieving yourself, you walk back out into the dark hallway. Instead of returning to your room, however, you decide to check on Notaulix.
You can't help but feel bad for when Notaulix looked at the illustration of his kind in the old book. In the back of your mind, you wonder how you would personally feel if everything written about you was negative.
Moving as quietly as possible so as to not disturb the changeling if he's sleeping, you slowly approach the sofa in the living room.

Once there, you find Notaulix to be bundled up in his blanket and sleeping peacefully.
Satisfied that he appears to be doing fine, you turn around and return to your room.
Upon returning there, you remove your shirt once more and eagerly climb back into your still warm bed, pulling the covers up around your neck as you settle back in for sleep.
Before you know it, the restful embrace of sleep comes over you once more...

Sometime later, you open your eyes to find your room bright with daylight. Taking in a deep breath, you stretch some of your muscles before exhaling.
As you lay in bed and work on waking up, you hear the sound of hoofsteps coming from elsewhere in the house, no doubt those of Notaulix doing something.

After several minutes, you finally rise from your bed, get dressed, and stretch some more to wake your muscles up for another busy day.
Opening the door to your room, you step out into the hallway as you make your way to the living room in order to see how Notaulix is doing.
While rounding the corner into the kitchen, you find Notaulix to be standing on one of the countertops, much to your surprise.
Notaulix, who was filling up a glass of water, turns to look at you as he hears you approach.

"Good morning, Anon!" Notaulix cheerfully greets you with a smile.

"Good morning." You say with a chuckle. "You're full of energy today, aren't you?" You add.

"Yes, I am!" Notaulix says in response before drinking from his freshly filled glass of water.

"Well, I'm glad to hear that. Did you sleep well last night?" You ask.

"Yes, I did." He says while nodding in response.

"Mm..." You hum as you lean up against the countertop. "Last night, did that book... Well... Did it bother you at all?" You ask him.

Notaulix's happy expression turns to a more neutral one before answering. "It doesn't feel good to know what bad things others think about you, but... I expected it." He responds.
"Knowing that you don't feel the same way as those books do helps me to not feel hurt by them." Notaulix adds, his smile returning.

"I see. That's good... Maybe we could sit down together one of these days and read some of those books? You could tell me what's accurate and what's not." You suggest.

"That would be fine." Notaulix says.

"Great! Now, we have another decision to make today." You say while peering out the kitchen window, where you find it to be a slightly overcast, but otherwise nice day outside.

"What kind of decision, Anon?" Notaulix asks.

"Now that we know you can transform well, and that the saddlebag fits you, do you want to put some of those book smarts to work and make a little trip into the Everfree today?" You ask in return.

"Yes! I would love to! When do we go?" Notaulix eagerly responds.

"Right after breakfast?" You suggest.

"Okay! Let's have breakfast now!" Notaulix responds with enthusiasm, making you laugh.

"Alright, slow down now. Is there something in particular you would like for breakfast?" You ask.

Notaulix pauses as he considers his answer. "I don't know, Anon... How can I choose? Everything you have made for me has been delicious; I can only dream of what else you know how to make!" He says.

"Hah! I think you're thinking too highly of me. How about something quick and easy? Could do some scrambles eggs, with a little of that extra Pepper Jack cheese mixed in." You suggest.

"Yes, let's do that!" Notaulix agrees

"Let's get started then. Do you want to grate some of the cheese while I get the eggs ready?" You ask him.

"Okay!" Notaulix happily responds.

You proceed to make cheesy scrambled eggs with Notaulix. In addition to having him grate the cheese, you also had him try his hoof at scrambling the eggs in the hot pan, which he was quite successful at.
While Notaulix was working on his task, you prepared some simple toast to go along with your meal.
In little time, the two of you were sat down in the living room, enjoying your hot breakfast together.
Notaulix was particularly impresses by how much more flavorful the scrambled eggs were with a little cheese added, and expressed his interest in trying different kinds of cheese.
Soon enough, you both finish your simple meal as you begin to think about what to do next.