• Published 22nd Apr 2013
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Snickersnatch - SpiralWriter



Oddjob awakens to a much different Equestria . . .

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XX - Truth

[Snickersnatch]

By: Quisky


Chapter Twenty:

Truth


Keep moving. Keep hitting. Keep alive. Do not allow them overtake. Do not let them get the upper hand. Or hoof in this case, or whatever you called the changeling version. I was briefly reminded of a time from my childhood when I was swarmed in a game of playground football by several kids from two grades above me, or the time I picked the wrong fight and ended up tasting cement on a basketball court, except this was far, far worse and much more deadly. I had to stay one step ahead, or-

Swing swing thrust jab swingOUCH.

One of them bit me, fangs digging into my shoulder. I grimaced. It wasn't deep, but it did draw blood. At least the acidity surprised the changeling enough for it to recoil or have it lose its jaw, giving me a brief window of time to send it flying into an approaching crowd of its swarming siblings, watching it crash into them with multiple sounds of crackling, no doubt their shells breaking from the impact, ringing through the air. Through the haze of battle I could not keep track of Penny in the mass of bodies that tried to overwhelm us, but I could occasionally hear her yell or beep followed by electrical static sounds and various other mechanical noises. Looks like she had turned on the bug zapper again. Just hoped it would be enough, there were too many to count, too many to fight. We had to hold our own until their numbers dwindled, or by some miracle backup in the form of our other companions showed up. It was only a matter of time before we toppled, either from exhaustion, or wounds, or both.

Had to fight. Had to keep fighting. Had to-

And then it happened. Dozens of bodies, biting, gnashing, stinging, pulling and ripping and tearing. I couldn't get all of them off of me in time, and the ones I did manage to rip away were replaced before I could react, rushing back to latch on and drag me down. I fell to the ground with a slow grunt, their growing weight only adding to the crushing pile. I struggled briefly, but could not sum up the willpower or strength. I couldn't breathe, and was fading fast from consciousness. Ceaselessly attacking, blood and bruises formed along almost every inch of my body, my chest feeling like it was going to collapse, struggling just to heave in a single breath.

"Hold."

A voice deeper than the echoes of the cavern we were in carried out, sounding warped and faded, far away yet right beside my ear all at the same time. The swarm instantly obeyed, off of me within the second of the command being spoken. I could still feel myself being restrained, but the weight was off of me, for now at least. I muttered something intelligible, lost even on my own tongue as I tried to muster any sense of feeling that could drag me back into consciousness. Bleary-eyed I gazed upwards, sensing some presence judging me from above. I blinked to clear the blurred tinge of fog that had gathered around the edges of my sight, staring at the figure that controlled the changelings.

Trailing upwards, I recognized the dark chitin that covered the insectous pony mimics, except this figure seemed much more lengthier, taller and more elongated in a sense. I could notice breaks in the armor, as if the body containing it was stretched beyond what it should naturally be. Imprints in the body, like tattoos but pressed inwards into the skin and chit, faintly glowed with a sense of archaic energy, trailing up and over in a ghastly green color. I soon met the gaze of the creature's face, noting the skeletal features, sunken and drawn it, the entire head almost covered in these brandings. White eyes greeted me with nothing but malice, examining me in morose boredom.

"This . . ." It began almost in contempt. ". . . This is the one that shares the chaos? The one who has been seeking us? I would be impressed, but you hardly even seem feet to scrape the dirt from the bottom of my hooves."

"Ooh, this is your whole evil monologue isn't it?" I managed to croak out. "Can we speed this up a bit please? I should probably get back to the front desk and check out of the hotel, or there will be fees I'll have to pay." Being smarmy was most likely not the best idea in this situation, but I really had not much else I could do. I could feel my body healing itself, but it was a slow, excruciating process as sinew stitched and bones mended back together.

"Impatient, aren't we, master Oddjob?"

"You know my name?"

"If one can hardly call it a name. You may refer to ourself as 'Scourge' if you will." The proclaimed Scourge began to pace back and forth in front of me, all I had to do was bide my time until I was back to fighting strength.

"You came rather far in your attempt to 'investigate' the recent changeling sightings, but sadly the Princesses curiosity ends here. They cannot be allowed to interfere with what is to come, and you and your compatriots will not live to tell about it."

"What is coming?" Keep them talking, that's usually how this sort of stuff worked.

"The end of an age." Scourge breathed this almost rapturously, shuddering as if overcome by a great power.

"How very vague." I added snarkily, shooting up sparks from my fangs.

"I do not expect you to understand. Just know that he will be free, his time will come, and vengeance will at hand."

"Don't you mean hoof?" I could feel it. The fire deep down was relit, and it was ready to come out.

"Hand, hoof, paw, claw, it's all interchangeable really. But why am I telling you this? You're a dead man."

"Because-" With a mighty roar I flung the changelings off that held me down, fist clenched and rising. In the cleanest, tightest uppercut I rose with the punch for that extra 'OOMPH!' of momentum, slamming my tightened knuckles into Scourge's chin, expecting him to crumple as so many had done before. Except . . . he didn't it. He stood stoic, unshaken by the blow, and as I removed my hand it quivered. It took me a few moments to recognize it, but my hand was healing itself, for it had broken upon impact, my knuckles misplaced and feeling as if something had shattered. Almost gasping I looked up, the heightened changeling chuckling at my attempt to harm him.

"Cute. It's my turn, correct?" His crooked horn glowed bright before it blasted me with enough force to rocket me across the cavern, slamming me into the wall with a painful crack of shifting rock. I gave a weak wheeze, trying to pull myself out of the imprint my body had made in the stone, Scourge casually approaching with amused eyes.

Shit.


"YOU are not Goldguard."

"I am I am! Just . . . different. Hehe." The voice sounded nervous, unsure.

"Silence, changeling." Legion growled, turning from their previous opponent of Agatha the griffon to the changeling that stood before them, fangs bared, claws out.

"I'm not a changeling!! I mean . . . I am, but not a bad one. Not the ones we're looking for, mind you. See?" Before their very eyes Goldguard reappeared in the place of the changeling that had stood in the same spot seconds before, albeit lacking his signature armor.

"So . . ." Agatha began to slowly back up, figuring now would be a good time to try and escape. "Did a changeling replace you when we weren't looking and you're just stupid, or were a changeling this whole time and stupid?"

"Changeling this whole time." Goldguard shrugged but paused, realizing he wasn't really helping his own case with Legion looking ready to pounce. "But-but-but! I'm still G-Goldguard! Really!! I'm with you guys, not against you!!!"

"Why could we not recognize your scent as changeling!?" Legion bayed aggressively.

"Because most of my kind don't bother to change it! I knew I would be working with you, which is why I made it more . . . ponylike. Honestly, you don't give us shapeshifters enough credit." Still not helping, he continued to realize.

"Ten seconds. Explain or we rip out your throat, Goldguard or not."

"Fair enough! Fair enough! Okay, um . . ."

"Nine . . . . eight . . . ."

"ItstartednineyearsagowiththeoriginalGoldguard.Hewaspatrollingnearourhiveandwasgrievouslywoundedbyanursaminorheandhiswholepatrolunitwascutdown.Iwaswanderingnearbytoreturntomyqueenwithlovewhenifelthiscryofemotion.Seeingthathewasinpainwasmorethanenoughformetofeelforhim.Youdontseemtounderstandthatwechangelingshavereallypowerfulempathylinkslikeweliterallyfeedoffofemotionyouwouldexpectusto.Okaysoafterfindinghimneardeathhewasafraidofmebuticalmedhimdownandmadehimoffer.Itsrarebutonoccasionachangelingcanchoosetobecomethatponyforever.Iwouldassumehisroleinlifewithmyqueensfavor.SinceIreallydidnthavetimetoaskherimadeahastydecision.Goldguardacceptedwithhislastbreathandibecamehimbodymindandsoul.WellmaybenotsoulsincemysoulisstillmyownsoulbutnowitsmoreGoldguardlikesinceicopiedhim.Fromthereonoutilivedhislifefoughthisbattlescriedhistearsenjoyedhismoments-" He had to take a second to breathe.

". . . Wow. Impressive. He did that all in under ten seconds." Agatha remarked, sounding thoroughly impressed.

Legion however was still quite wary, the many voices within delegating whether to believe such a tale or not. "What of your true form, deceiver? Who were you before becoming Goldguard?"

"Well . . ." Goldguard looked down at himself, entire form shifting once again, this time slowly and separately instead of all at once. An obsidian carpacian plate grew over and replaced flesh and fur, eyes became pupiless and unblinking with the odd tint of fuchsia as coloring, but the mane lengthened over the shoulders, changing to a shade of softly pastel pink, while haphazard wings of a similar color with random holes shot out of the back, flittering softly. ". . .I don't really get the whole 'evil green' color scheme going on with most changelings. I mean, we've moved beyond that, most hives taking on a different color, but no, my home hive refuses to change." 'Goldguard' spoke with a voice that was far different that what they recognized.

". . . Why are you a girl." It had to be pointed out, and the mercenary was greatly confused to the point even she had to stick around to understand this debacle.

The newly feminized changeling arched a brow, looking genuinely unamused. "Excuse me. Gender really means nothing to a species that can shapeshift. Well, I suppose it does matter in regards to the Queen, but that's simply a title. Automatically assuming all drones are male is pretty derogatory when you can just as easily assume them as agender-"

"Oh my god, shut up I did not ask for a lecture on changeling sociology." She was looking ready to bail once again.

"You're . . . different from a regular drone. Personality. Appearance. You're a-" Legion began.

"-Queenling." The insect finished, looking a tad ashamed.

"Alright can someone explain why changelings add 'ling' to the end of almost everything." The griffon was so close, but the conversation kept pulling her back in.

"They're made just in case the residing ruler over a hive passes, an heir if you will." Legion seemed to be calming down, but still held a tense posture, sniffing the air. It was friendly, but their instinct and senses fought them to try and mangle the creature before them.

"Pretty much. We eat royal jelly and feed off of love until we're strong enough to be the next queen. I just sort of . . . neglected to accept that role."

". . . Which is a reason why you were so quick to become Goldguard."

"Hey, the guy was dying! Plus it . . . hurt to feel his emotions like that. The anguish, the worry of what was going to happen, of what was left behind. I wanted to help put him at peace before he passed."

"So, 'princess', who were you before becoming the biggest loser in the Solar Guard?" Agatha scoffed.

"Husk."

Comments ( 2 )

Maybe it's just me, but this chapter seems a bit short. There's also the problem that they have no way of determining if "Goldguard" is really who he says he is, so why the hell are they even trusting him?

nice hope this updates read the previous book and this in one sitting like what im seeing.

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