• Published 22nd Apr 2013
  • 1,673 Views, 210 Comments

Snickersnatch - SpiralWriter



Oddjob awakens to a much different Equestria . . .

  • ...
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--Intermission--

[Snickersnatch]

By: Quisky


--Intermission--


Changelings rarely had to communicate verbally. Normally it was through subtle expressions, or through chits and clicks, the common tongue escaping them in most conversations. This situation however warranted shared words and a glance.

"What is THAT?"

"I do not know brother. It's like some kind of . . . tunnel. It must have opened up during the digging."

The Hive had been looking to expand, and a new nest as an offshoot from the main one seemed a perfect place to begin as any. For the past few days a group of builders, scouts and soldiers had been sent to erect this this place for the Queen's children to call home, and things had been going smoothly until a curious new tunnel, one they had not made, appeared. The stone cut out from it was hardened, dusty, not the soft earth they were used to molding. This was far, far older than what they imagined, as if it had been built long ago.

Two changelings, one a builder and another a soldier, shared a glance. Though they were of different occupations they had been hatched from the same egg brood, and thus had been raised together, kept together it seemed on purpose by the Queen. The builder was smaller, sleeker, but the holes in his body denoted not randomness, but purposeful, useful for holding tools or for digging. The soldier, while taller and more solidly built with heavy chitin plates naturally, appeared the more nervous of the two.

"We should investigate." The builder said with a grin, about to enter the tunnel until a foreleg placed in front kept him from proceeding, bumping into it with an 'oof'. He took a step back and glared at his sibling.

"No, we shouldn't, Flick. We have a deadline, and the Queen expects this hive to be done in a few days." The soldier grunted.

"Oh come on Scourge, we're ahead of schedule! I'm sure mother wouldn't mind if we . . . deviated a little." Flick chuckled mischievously with a wink, having to morph a little to actually have an eyelid. He had seen other creatures use the gesture as a form of jest.

"We work tirelessly to do as the Queen wishes. We will not stray, we will not falter. Now, go get some other builders to help seal up this tunnel, I'm sure-HEY!"

Scourge was interrupted as Flick suddenly dashed around him, laughing as he ran into the tunnel. Standing their stunned for a moment, Scourge's face finally screwed into a combination of annoyance and anger, turning around and running into the tunnel as well. Furiously the soldier charged behind, yelling insults and curse words in buzzing and clicking, the sounds echoing off the hallowed walls of the ancient tunnel, their hoofbeats stamping along in grounds that had gone untrodden in centuries.

"Haha! Can't catch me! You were always the slow one, brother!" Flick snickered, turning his head and sticking his tongue out at his pursuer, which only gave more incentive for him to run faster.

"When I get my hooves on you-"

"You won't!" Flick interrupted with a sharp laugh.

"I'm going to throttle you!!!"

Deeper and deeper they ran in, the tunnel coming to a steady incline downwards, as if heading into the depths of the earth itself. They both ran tirelessly, changelings built for the extreme, their bodies adaptable to most anything. Need more power? Give yourself a little more muscle. Better breathing? Widen that torso and enlarge those lungs. Shapeshifting really was the handiest thing.

Eventually they did begin to tire, having ran for the span of half an hour. "Flick, we, we should turn back! See? there's nothing in this tunnel, it just goes on forever!" Scourge breathed out heavily, noting that he was sweating. Must've forgotten to unshift away the perspiration glands from when he had shifted from being a pony earlier while out on patrol.

"Yeah . . . fine." Flick finally stopped, leaning against a wall to catch his breath. "I was sure there was something down here, but guess I was wrong . . ."

"Let's get back." Scourge caught up to him and placed a hoof on his shoulder. "We can take a break then have this thing sealed up."

"Yeah, su-"

Come.

". . ."

The Deliverer awaits. Come.

"Did you hear that?" Flick asked, tilting his head, a faint whisper echoing against the sudden breeze flowing through the tunnel. "I swear there's something . . ."

"I didn't hear anything." Scourge shook his head, turning around. "Come. You must be dizzy from running for so long."

COME.

From deeper in the tunnel, a brilliant green light shone, illuminating old crags and ancient, runic writing upon the wall that had went unseen before with an eerie glow. Now both changelings gazed forward, sharing a glance, noting the nervous energy between each other. They should probably head back up and never come back down here, warn the others and make sure this tunnel is collapsed, but no. Instead they seemed drawn towards the light. With shaking hooves did Scourge lead them down.

It wasn't much longer to the light, nary a few yards before they came upon a wide opening, leading into an enormous cavern. The rush of water flowed below, just beneath them a massive river. Underground waterways were not unheard of, but at this scale it shouldn't be so. It shouldn't be glowing green as well.

"Where are we, brother?" Flick asked in a mildly unnerved tone, peering from behind his larger sibling.

"I do not know . . ."

Tartarus.

"Did you say something?" The two brothers asked one another before realizing the voice from before was echoing once more, this time closer, more powerful, as if it was right behind them yet all around at the same time. Suffice to say it was unsettling.

The River Styx. Come.

Now it was as if the words were coming right from the back of their skull, crawling inside of their minds, creeping into their nerves. "Brother, I . . ." Flick muttered.

COME.

The cavern shook with a deafening roar, rock splitting and ground tearing. A quake began to rip through the area, toppling ancient stone, chunks of earth beginning to fall from above, walls collapsing and even the face on which they stood began to become uneven. They both scurried back, the rumbling continuing to grow more powerful. At once did the ground beneath their hooves giving way, both taking flight to keep from falling.

"Quick! Back through the tunnel!" Scourge shouted at Flick, only for his words to die out as another rumble shook the very air. They both stared upwards, a large shadow blotting them into darkness as a chunk of the ceiling neared them. They both fluttered in space briefly, stunned at the revelation that they might be crushed in an instant. Flick found himself roughly shoved with enough force to send him slamming into the wall adjacent to the tunnel's opening, cringing from the impact as Scourge had moved him right before the boulder's impact.

He caught a brief instance of before the soldier's demise, eyes widening in fear as he watched the wall of earth take the place of where Scourge had been seconds before, falling far below with a mighty crash into the green river. It took him a few moments to process this, breathing becoming heavy, mouth souring into a wide open howl of despair. A cry echoed in the cavern long after its originator had left.

"BROTHER!!!"