• Published 30th Nov 2012
  • 986 Views, 23 Comments

Through Alien Lives - Woorali

With Queen Chrysalis far away, Woorali the changeling must rebuild his life.

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The Chariot

“You’re tellin’ me you didn’t bring anythin’ to Ponyville?” Applejack asked me for the third time in the last hour.

“I travel light.” I replied.

“You sure do, Woorali, you sure do. Still, I figured a scholar like you’d have some books or papers or somethin’.”

“These are unnecessary when I can remember all I need to know, and my fellow scholars are willing to provide whatever literature I require.” The more I opened up without revealing myself, the better. And, offering some kind of explanation would stop her incessant prodding.

“Right. Well, let’s head over to Coffee’s.” she shrugged, shifting her saddlebags.

“Why would we need coffee?” I wondered aloud.

“Nah, Coffee Sparkle! He’s got an adventurin’ store. If we’re gonna go on an adventure, we should be prepared! A hundred bits, and we’ll have everythin’ a pony needs to travel halfway ‘cross the world.” She explained, pointing to the edge of town with a hoof.

“I see. It’s interestin’. I mean it’s interesting.” I said, staring at the place. It reminded me a bit of the shacks built around the Badlands by passing griffins.

The store was a single-story building of wood and brick with a large “Adventure Starts Here” sign over the roof, its paint peeling after years of neglect. Its windows looked ready to pop out from the amount of clutter, and the “we’re open” sign hung crooked, a bandolier of bells attached to it.

Trotting up to it, I noted that the door, unlike most pony gateways had a number of locks, and sparkled in the sunlight with some sort of magical shield. This Coffee understood safety.

“Come on. He’s a bit odd, but he’s as smart as my brother, and sells the best knick-knacks in town. Last one there’s gotta carry the saddlebags home!” Applejack exclaimed, rushing down the street.

I blinked, and trotted after her. My chances of catching up to an earth pony on the ground were next to none, so why try?

“Not much for a mornin’ run, are ya Woog?” she smiled, opening the door for me. I did my best not to collapse as I stepped over the threshold, and into the welcoming darkness of the shop.

The sheer variety of objects inside surprised me. Zebrican masks I saw only thanks to the Hive’s memories shared space with herbs and fungi of the lands south even of the Badlands. Books, maps, and scrolls gathered dust next to a suit of armor meant for a diamond dog. More practical objects lined the shelves behind the counter, such as lamps and rope, but what drew my attention sat under a pile of travel cooking pots. Coffee Sparkle had a changeling molt.

“Hey, Applejack! Goin’ on another adventure?” the owner of the store was a gray pegasus wearing an eye patch. The pony carried himself like a soldier, and I suspected he served Celestia for a long time before settling down among the earth ponies. Seeing me, he narrowed his one green eye, and shifted into something resembling the Hive guard’s defense posture.

“Sure am, Coffee. Gonna need some rope, a sturdy lamp, seven bags of dried supplies, no, make that eight…” Applejack did not even notice Coffee’s sudden change.

“Um, hi? I’m with Applejack.” I ventured. A few of my changeling friends back home needed some reassurance that the being before them meant no harm before they could drop their guard.

“Oh, yeah! That there’s Woorali Hooves. He’s a scholar up from Canterlot. He’s comin’ too. Gonna try and convince Queen Chrysalis we ponies ain’t a bunch of snacks for her swarm.” The orange farm pony explained, hoofing a saddlebag filled to the brim with adventuring gear my way.

“Eeeyup. Good luck with that.” He nodded to me.

“Pardon me, but where did you get that thing over there? It looks like it came off of a changeling.” I sniffed at the pile of pots, levitating the molt. It had a painting of a sunset as seen from the mountain entrance into my Hive’s territory. The traditional changeling inscription below declared it the work of Lord Krrikik.

“It did. The pony who sold me that says it’s from their Hive. Some poor souls went there soon as the wedding ended to try and flush out the leaderless bugs. But, all they managed to do was collapse some tunnels and take a coupla things. I’ll give it to you for fifteen bits, if you want it. Haven’t had many buyers for changeling stuff. It’s all so dark.” Coffee said, polishing the shell of the thing with the back of his hoof.

“I see. I didn’t know ponies tried to visit the home of the changelings. Equestrian military?” I stared at the molt. If a military force invaded the Hive territories, we had no means of defending ourselves without the Queen.

“There was talk in Canterlot of sending some flyers down to the Badlands, but Celestia said it’s not worth it after Shining Armor and Princess Cadence bucked Queen Chrysalis across half the continent. My old guard friends told me Prince Blueblood nearly pulled out every hair in his mane when he heard his ‘noble expedition of peace’ would be cancelled on account of no support from anypony.” Coffee Sparkle grinned.

“Huh.” I said. Pony politics never interested me. That they had two rulers alone suggested weakness in government, and this Prince Blueblood further proved it.

Applejack looked over at me, shook her head, but continued to read off whatever list she memorized for going on adventures.

“One set of lighters. Pinkie blew them up the last time we had to travel. Oh! Got any maps of the Southwest?” she nervously hoofed the ground.

“Sure, I got a map or two. Sorry they’re so old. You alright?” Coffee asked as he slid an ancient-looking papyrus to Applejack.

“Ah! Yes! Sure! I’m not hidin’ anythin’!” she exclaimed, stuffing her purchases into another saddlebag and thrusting it into my mouth. I blinked.

“Right. That’ll be a hundred bits. Ah, make that ninety. You girls are my best customers.” the pegasus trotted over to a large gray machine, which he banged with a hoof until it made a ringing noise and revealed a tray.

“Don’t tell me you haven’t seen a cash register before, Woorali.” sighed Applejack as she pushed a pile of bits to Coffee Sparkle and made her way through the clutter of the store towards the door.

“Of course I’ve seen one!” I exclaimed, dropping the saddlebag I held in my teeth.

“Sure you did.” she said, opening the door for me.

The way to Twilight’s library proved less difficult than I thought. Pony saddlebags were smaller and less rough than any container changelings used. Having fur made the ponies more careful. Within less than an hour, I saw the treetop of Twilight’s library.

Applejack’s odd behavior at the store, however, worried me. Had she sensed something about me? The question would have to wait until we were on the road. If the Elements discover who I am, I will simply hide somewhere until they tire of searching, I decided. After all, I am the changeling who fooled Celestia, I reassured myself.