Nameless Changeling

by Cutrose1985

First published

Entering into a world full of magic, tolerance, and ponies is the fantasy of every Brony. A chance to become the next hero, explore a new world, and of course make friends would be guaranteed. But what happens when that dream becomes reality?

Entering into a world full of magic, tolerance, and ponies is the fantasy of every Brony. A chance to become the next hero, explore a new world, and of course make friends would be guaranteed.

But what happens when that dream becomes reality? What if the creature you become is on the top ten most wanted list?

Welcome to my world; where lies and deceit are my allies by nature.

Where my friends and enemies are one in the same.

Special thanks to BluegrassBrooke and listener

Well this is awkward

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A changeling. Really? It couldn't have been something useful like a pegasus or a unicorn? Heck, even an earth pony would have been preferable! Nope, I had to end up an equine insect that got mixed together at swiss cheese factory wearing a full body bondage body suit.

Yep. Fate, you are a royal pain in the ass. Or should it be flank now? Eh, I'll figure it out later as soon as I get out of this cocoon. Sac. Whatever it is that is keeping me prisoner. Though I highly doubt I’ll be seeing myself emerging becoming a butterfly any time soon. But, anyway, lets start an hour earlier, because landing in cartoon world was always a great start after a rather rough morning.

***About an Hour Earlier***

The day started out pretty standard to say the least. First involves waking up to the blinding light flooding in from window near by. Followed by slur of curses developed from all the years of gaming.

Pulling the sheets over my head. I could hear my parents bickering back and forth from the other side of the house. Grumbling for the fact sleep was no longer an option I took a glance out the window. Looking down the driveway my brother’s car was missing. Odd I don’t remember him having college today…whatever.

After my sun cursing ceremony, I half crawled out of bed, turning on the computer to read some more MLP fanfics for the day. I live a rather exciting life of a drone of a human overall, as you may guess. But today was my first day off in the last two weeks and I just wanted to be left alone to enjoy some peace and quiet. That, as always, seems to be my first mistake of that day.

Its almost as if the world was notified that I just woke up. "You coming to help me get this tractor fired up? Or are you going to be useless for the day?" Came a deep and overly sarcastic voice.

Being the only one down at the other side of the house. The question pretty well narrowed down it’s suspects.

I gently rubbed my temple before returning with a question of my own."Depends, is it only the tractor you plan to work on, or are you going to socialize with the neighbors for a few hours?" Though the tone of annoyance was clearly evident.

"Forget I asked!" Came the only reply before a door slammed shut signaling his departure.

"He woke up in a good mood, anything I miss?"

"Not really, he is just pissed that he has to take it easy and can't drink." Came the ever soft answer from my mother. To her credit, after more than thirty-five years she still had the patience to put up with him. Which to be honest women like that deserve a plaque.

"Well once he gets better I plan to move back into my place again. I hate not having a quiet atmosphere to come home to." I lied, though there was some truth. I needed a break from living as a hermit in my place, because being alone brings more depressing thoughts than necessary.

"No need to lie, we both know you just don't want to have to cook for yourself. Speaking of which, when do you plan to find a girlfriend?", she gave a soft chuckle. This has become an ongoing obsession with my parents, mainly for the fact I haven't dated in over a year and they really want grand kids.

As for my brother, yeah... I seen people faint from blood, but he comes close to that just holding a baby! So that leaves me the responsibility in my parent's eyes. Unfortunately for me, all the good women are taken and the ones around this area are not exactly the type you want to take home to meet your parents.

"Depends on when I find one that isn't fifteen years my senior." That normally keeps her her from pressing. "Anyways, I better catch up to dad before he does something stupid."

Personally I would have just went with a 'screw you' attitude towards my dad if it weren’t for the fact he just had a heart attack a few weeks prior. So that tossed that option out the window, no matter how bad things got between us.

Heading down the hallway I attempted to dodge walls while clearing out the crust in my eyes. Soon as I reached the screen door though I caught a glimpse of the truck pulling out the driveway leaving a growing line of dust as it went.

“Well shit.” I deadpanned turning around shaking my head in annoyance.

Thanks for the helpful reminder pay day was still a week away, being the only coherent thought rattling around in my groggy mind recalling the quarter tank of gas I had left.

After a few minutes of changing from my sleep wear to some work clothes, I did a quick list of all the things I would need placing them in my pocket as I went. "Ok. Keys, Ecig, ID, bankcard that will drop my account into the negatives as soon as I get gas, cell phone, and earplugs. Yep. All set to deal with dad." I mumbled, trying to avoid a morning migraine that was starting to form."Hey mom! I’m heading out, need anything on the way back?", I past the living room heading for the front door.

"Just a bag of ice if you don't mind."

"I can do that, I have to swing by the gas station on the way back through. Anyway see you in a few hours." I called back in a happy as possible tone. In truth, I could have sworn the bed was calling me back to comfort it.

Closing the door behind me, I grudgingly went and stepped into my Scion or also known as a 'box with wheels' as my friends have come to call it. Though I still referred it as 'the short bus'. Sitting down to get comfortable I begun the motions of driving for me, seat belt check, ear plugs in place check, phone clicked to random play list check. With everything in order, I turned the key to bring the car to life. First song to blare in my ears from the selection was Discord. Maybe this day wouldn't be bad after all, I thought before singing along to the lyrics. Dropping the car into gear, I headed down the dirt path in pursuit of my dad.

The drive wasn't far. Maybe 30 mins away on a two lane road that occasionally passed through a small town here and there. The biggest risk factor, was that its followed along a logging truck route to supply local mills for whatever they needed. It was a pretty straight forward route where most of the speed limits where 65 miles per hour, unless coming close to towns or around sharp turns.

Distracted by the music blaring in my ears my mind was able to run off on it’s own for a bit. They really should have a class in school on how best to approach your parent’s while they are in a ‘great’ mood. Breaking my chain of thought a growl came from my gut snapping me back to reality. Wish I grabbed something for breakfast well crap happens. I thought as I took another hit from my Ecig.

Now being smart when it came to my body wasn't something I can claim as my strong point. I blame my younger self for all those years of gaming. But, it got worse after I joined the Navy to only end up as jack of all trades kind of guy. I did learn a lot in that short time. Doing everything from welding to teaching my Marines to not goof around with their tourniquets or quikclot kits. They always did love to mess with me as their 'Doc'.

I still recall when running 3 miles was considered fun. The motivation I use to have was destroyed after a training exercise shattered my knee, forcing me out of the military. That was 2 years ago. I did keep a little active, going on nice walks for a few hours during sunny days, or the occasional convention when time and money allowed. But that was about the full extent of exercise I was going to get.

Fourteen minutes into the drive, the speed limit does one of its drops from 65 mph to 45 around small blind curve. Nothing so great about it really, but I wasn't in the caring mood to pay attention. Instead I decided to play with my cell. Pulling up the music options I started switching through a few till I could find one that I would enjoy. A where a couple of songs on my phone wasn't even that good, but still had them on my playlist for whatever reason. While I was goofing around Fate decided to rear its ugly head around and bite me in the ass. I don't know if the logging truck was new, had to much of a load, the lack of my attention, or even the combination of it all. Whatever the circumstances I was not ready for the encounter.

There is a rumor that claims time slows down during a accident, well its true, and in this case I didn't want to see the sight of a truck flipping in the middle of the road with the classic matrix slow motion effect. An here I was going too fast around the curve, heading straight at it. The timing of the whole situation couldn't have been more perfect, even if a stunt performer planned it out themselves.

Upon impact my 'short bus' transformed into a smart car, crushing the entire front end. The engine burst through the center console, pushing everything out of in its way like a runaway freight train. The huge piece of fabricated metal slammed into my right side breaking my right arm in multiple areas, while pinning my legs tightly together, essentially cut off any blood flow.

Past the windshield, the fallen load of trees pole vaulted the whole car into the air giving way from asphalt to a upside down horizon before shattering into a cosmic spider web of broken glass with a sudden stop. The result left one of my arms laying awkwardly against the crumpled roof while the other became more of a mesh consisting of broken exposed bones and hanging flesh that pumped profusely of the precious life fluid. My head swam in and out of consciousness from the sudden impact, while my wounds happily left a trail of ever growing pool of blood to cling to my hair.

I thought I saw people getting out of their cars yelling to call the ambulance though that was my best guess at the time. The ringing in my ears muffled all nearby sounds, so they couldn't be heard clearly.

The smell of copper and gas filled the air for a bit, before quickly being overpowered by a faint smell of smoke. This caused me to semi come to some sense, but not in time before my airbag went off dazing me further. Sending new pains into my mangled arm and blocking my vision. Somehow through all the commotion, the years of training kicked in on how to deal with rollovers. My good arm moved to instinctively find the seat belt harness following it along in the hopes of finding the belt release. Only to locate the hot engine sitting on top of it, making me rip my hand way reflexively from the burn it just gave me.

That was when the sight of green flames licked around my peripheral vision, greedily swallowing up the everything around me. I knew I had real issue due to the memory of a recent purchase of at the local car store for a oil change supplies. All the materials were suppose to be in the back seat somehow made their way up front to the engine and the plastic on a few of them was melting from the close by warm flames that protruded out of it. At that point all I could manage realizing what was about to happen was let out a scream of desperation. Just as the green flames took to my body stealing the very air around me.


Thrashing frantically about I found that I could barely move in my confined prison and the air around me didn't exist yet I was breathing? That's when a few things started to dawn on me. My movements were hindered as if I was under the water in a pool trying to swim around in a circle, the burning wasn't present, and I could make out voices.

"Quickly the queen wants the new warriors ready now." A hissing voice sounded near by, though it was as if he was talking underwater.

"They will be ready, but some will need time to have their bodies harden or they will die quickly." Came from a slight closer direction to where I was wrapped up. "Tell queen they will all be awake in short time, they will be ready for the wedding." Opening my eyes they slowly adjusted to the low light from the surrounding area. When they finally did, I wasn't sure if I was to be happy to be alive or confused, but at that particular moment it was a toss up.

There is always a point when one has to question their own sanity. I knew I was either losing my mind, which wouldn't be far from the truth, as moments ago I could have sworn I was being burned alive. Or am I still asleep? I would have chalked it up to a very very bad dream inception, but the pain from just moments ago should have woken me up and this didn't look like my room.

Taking a look at the surroundings through the clear substance were a pair of insect like creatures about a yard away. Each was decked out in abyss looking skin with small insect like wings protruding from their backs. They each had a horn, two sharp looking fangs, blue colored eyes, multiple holes through most of their appendages. Scary at the moment really, if it wasn’t for the fact they resembled something that belonged to a chiwawa’s as a chew toy.They reminded me of the changelings from My Little Pony. I didn't realize right off hand how true that was, or for the fact they were staring back at my direction.

Gazing past them, I could make out rows upon rows of sacs hanging or mounted to the floor like a bad copy of the old aliens movie. Each cocoon seemed to also have a transparency form about them showing inside what looked to be a insect per sac and there was easily a hundred of them. At this point, my mind clicked into a panic mode again where thrashing about trying desperately to break out of my prison seemed like the best course of action.

"Look that one moves, now open the sac. She needs to be prepared for armor." The underwater voice sounded.

Suddenly I quit moving as much still trying to process what was just said. Did it just say she!? Ok maybe its talking about another sac, yep that must be the case cause..... I started to move my hands to my lower area only to find grasping things wasn't possible. Looking look down I had few more pieces of information to work with and none were pleasant. Noticing the most obvious at the time were having hooves sticking to my limbs that had holes in multiple areas and the joints sticking in the wrong direction. My nose was sticking out of a broad snout, and to the most important issue for a guy. Oh no, no no no nope not happening, this isn't happen and if it did please just kill me now... mentally whimpering to myself.

Mind reset from panic mode




My struggles became a lot more violent inside this little prison. All I wanted at that moment was just to get out and run for the closest exit, wherever it may have been. This had better be drugs really really good drugs, yeah that's it the EMTs must have gotten there seconds later, put my body out from a smoking husk and loaded me up with LSD makes perfect sense. Came the most rational thoughts my mind could muster at the moment.

"She violent maybe to violent should we-"

Before the changeling could finish the sentence, my sac burst open from the multiple tears I was able to cause from my hooves to the newly decor on top of my head. Leading me to land face first into the solid muddy like ground, bringing a new set of pain rocketing through my body.

Yep definitely not a dream or drugs. I thought to myself on the now slippery floor from the sac's fluids that spilled out.

The pair of changelings just looked at me before returning their gaze to each other only seconds to fall to the floor in what I can only assume was laughing, even if it did sound like someone was choking a hyena. After a few moments they finally was able to compose themselves long enough to watch as I started to stand on what felt like stilts. Just as I took a step forward I begun walking in a zigzag pattern before finally flailing around trying to gain any type of balance.

Needless to say I got to try out the taste of dirt for the 2nd time while hearing a new set of laughter burst out from my small crowd of onlookers.

At that point I was no longer in a moment of panic. Pissed off was more appropriate. Here I was in a situation where I somehow become a BDSMS wanna a be, had a sex change after getting caught on fire, where I was pretty sure I died in a rather unpleasant way, trying out the local soil samples, and all while being laughed at by two annoying voiced creatures from my favorite cartoon show. All I could think about was wanting to do was burn a hole in one of the little pricks before a light above my head begun to glow a green.

"Did you see that...*gasp*... warrior can't stan-" was all the little changeling could muster in between breaths before a sickly green blast hit him dead center, sending it well over 20 feet through the air.

The other one watched in amazement as it's partner became a uncontrolled skeet, sailing through the underground cavern air before slamming into a stalactite with a gut turning crunch. The body slid down the rough surface and ungracefully fell to the floor in a mangled smoking mess. As I'm wondering what the heck just happened, the other changeling came up to me where I was laying on the floor while I focused in the direction of the burnt corpse. I tore my attention away just in time to witness a rather blunt looking, black, raised hoof that struck me in the face leading me into darkness.

***In the center of the Hive***

My sense of hearing came back first to the sound of wings beating against the wind as if a bee was right next my ear coming louder and louder. I tried to move my arm to swat the annoyance away in hopes that whatever it was would go bother someone else, but my arm wouldn't move as if it was being held tight. Suddenly everything became silent as I became weightless for a brief moment before my ragged body fell to the floor knocking the wind out of me.

Opening my eyes was more than difficult as I was only able to get them into tiny slits blurring all my vision. I could make out that this room seemed a great deal larger than the one I woke up in. Looking ahead, there seemed to be a large type of couch with a huge back end to it laying in the center being surround by a few more insects. That's when a blurry sight of a large creature came into view and began to pace in front of me, no more than ten feet away.

"So this female killed another changeling out of anger hmmm, that is interesting to say the least." The female voice rang out in leaving a echo in the room, but despite the harmonics, it did sound very familiar. "Well if what you say is true, this could be a problem, especially if I can't sense any of her thoughts being this close. Well no matter." She waved her arm dismissively through the air. "Killing one of my children means death, even if it was my one of my new offspring. So take it out to the Badlands and leave it there to die a slow death. Keep a close eye on the others to ensure they don't have the same habits as this one." She pointed at me with what looked to be her hoof.

"Yes my queen." Came a pair of voices from both sides of me.

"Oh by the way, you can take some revenge out on it. Wouldn't want her to be able to walk or fly anywhere now would we?" I could hear the malice almost dripping off her words.

"Hehehe with pleasure Queen Chrysalis."

As soon as I realized who it was that matched the voice, my world went dark once again from another strike to the back of my head.


I regained my senses a while ago, but I had a few more important matters at the time, since both of my escorts were going leave me to die out here. I knew I had wings, or I think I did judging by the odd feelings coming from my back. Though I'm not sure that was normal at the time, even if this whole situation was far from it. The complication I had with the wings is I had no idea how to fly, use them, and the fun fact we was a couple of hundred feet up, so yeah I can wait. Yet, overall I figured I could get a free ride out of it, hopefully closer towards 'civilization.'

A good three hours went by before a particularly foul smell attacked my sense of smell. Cracking one eye open I soon realized why. Hundreds if not thousands of changeling bodies littered the area. Some were deformed beyond any means of recognition, others looked like they been chewed apart, while even fewer had the resemblance of mummies probably from the harsh environment...I hope. Whatever the case I didn't plan to be a new addition here.

"Grahhh this place smells worse every week. Why does the queen want bodies placed here?" One changeling complained in a whiny voice.

"Cause it keeps the beasts far from the hive and closer to the ponies that's why." The other grudgingly stated as if it was common sense. "We must hurry and get rid of this bag of chitin. Dark is hour away and we shouldn't be here that long."

As we descended to grave site I went over a few things. Pony civilization is somewhere near by or closer than the hive. Something about it dark around here is a bad thing, and by the way the one on the left twitched at the idea means they are in a hurry which can lead to 'accidents'. Almost breaking into a smile...almost.

The changelings landed to the ground, tossing the their cargo somewhat ahead of them, leaving me to grown a bit upon impact. I could hear them giggling like a few school girls about to pick on the local nerd. Letting my senses open up, I felt the heat beating down from the sun as it was starting to waver in preparation to give way to the moon. Shortly a cool spot came across my head which was more then enough to signal the oncoming attack.

Rolling into the direction of the shadow, I quickly kicked all four of my legs in hopes to make contact with something. Luckily for me I did. The surprised changeling landed a small distance away grunting with annoyance more than anything. It wouldn't take long for it to regain its bearings, but that left the other to worry about.

I quickly blinked opened my eyes to see the second changeling preparing to ram me with its horn. Normally, this wouldn't be a issue with a pair of hands and two legs. But lacking my normal limbs it made things a bit more difficult, including rolling out of the way. That left me with one stupid I sat up.

The changeling stampedes right past me, going as fast as his little legs could muster, and set on a collision course for his friend. The other one catches sight just in time to dodge and avoid be gouged to death by his own hive member. Hissing in spite of this, he hops back up onto his hooves and prepares to attack me in the same manner his friend.

Slowly I was able to stand up, trying to impose a more threatening stance, but my legs just didn't agree with me. I stood there shaking like a angry leaf towering about a half a foot taller than Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

I'm going to die cause I can't even stand. This is bad and even if I could fire whatever I did last time, I am still a stationary target....this isn't good not good at all, if only I could have been a griffin or something! Was all I could think about before green flames licked around me.

Just as soon as the changeling was about to charge in for the kill, the female changeling's horn quickly lit up. Eerie green flames swarming around her, leaving a griffin standing in her place. Un-phased by the change in appearance, the changeling took action charging with full force.

First thing I noticed was that I was on two legs with semi balance and coated in mainly coal black fur and feather, with sharp looking talons and a beak. Before I could take more details, the prior smacked over changeling launched its attack. Unfortunately for it, I used to do fencing in an organization similar to renaissance fairs, and was trained up to Green Belt in the Marines Corps Martial Arts. With two balanced legs, I now held the advantage.

As soon as the little insect came close enough, I did a simple side step, letting it pass in front of me before performing a thrusting knife hand only made more lethal with the sharp claws aiming for its throat. Feeling instant satisfaction as the razors passed into its neck cutting through the body easily using its own momentum of its own attack against it. The changeling went limp and the fresh green blood flowing down my talons as I pulled back out. The victory was short lived as I felt the impact of the last changeling ramming its horn into my midsection. We went tumbling into the ground sending dirt and rocks in all directions.

The remaining changeling sat on top as victor, putting all its weight on top of my chest while pinning my arms under its back legs. It then started punching me repeatedly in the face with its hard hoofs. With each blow the stinging become less and less apparent as it brought me closer to passing out. With a quick lunge forward with what strength I could muster, I did the last thing I could think of...I bit down. The series of attacks halted and a blood choking scream took its place. The changeling brought it hoofs up wrapping around my beak trying to force me off. I kept the pressure on its neck, even as the blood ran down my bruised face into my mouth with a sickening taste. I pushed back the nausea that was building, and held firm for a what felt like a lifetime before the noises and flailing stopped all together. Satisfied that the changeling was dead, I tossed it off of me with a heavy heave only to start gasping for air as I coughed up the corpses’ blood.

Awkwardly standing up on two legs, I assessed the hole in my side from the short battle. It seemed to be a few inches deep, but wasn't bleeding out profusely. So with a heavy grunt, I applied as much pressure as I could with my talon.

The sun begun falling over the horizon with maybe thirty minutes of daylight left, if I was lucky. Recalling a few memories of the show during season 2, I tried to recall how the queen was launched away from the castle. “She was heading away towards the badlands after the bubble shield so that means..." I trailed off as I caught sight of a forest off in the distance. "Bingo." I smiled.

"I seriously hope that’s the safe forest they used in the show during the 'Running of the Leaves' event. Cause if it isn't, well this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better." I stated before gulping what saliva had built up forgetting it was mixed with blood making me immediately regret that idea. Clutching the wound I started to walk away from the graveyard towards the distant field of trees with hopes for a better day tomorrow.

Soon the moon rose up to take its rightful place in the sky bathing the Badlands a peaceful low hue, till a single traveler broke the silence. "God I wish I had a cigarette."

Getting the basics down

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The winds swept through the Badlands, tossing dust and dirt aside as it traveled along its journey. Like so many of it’s nights nothing disturbed it gently song. That was till a solitary figure decided to break the monotony of it all.

"Graahhh, I can't take this anymore!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, flopping to the hard packed dirt.

My griffin form slammed down onto the spot below me, as a shot of pain raced up from my lower spine. The newly acquired tail was last on my list of concerns, till I put the full force of the morphed body on top of it. Yelling a line of a few choice words didn’t help the pain, but did make me feel emotionally better.

Falling to my injured side, I reflexively curled up to a fetal position. Holding myself tight, praying that the multiple degrees of suffering that wracked my body would be eased. The world passed by, as I laid there whimpering for close to an hour. Waiting till most of the pain finally eased to more tolerable levels. Once they did, I pushed myself up to a comfortable position before trying collect my thoughts.

"Okay, what do I know for certain?" I mumbled to myself, creating a mental list as I continued my solitary rant. "I'm hungry, in pain, without supplies, no idea where civilization is or even how far it could be, and to make matters worse. I'm on the top ten list of the most feared creature in the pony universe that is known to suck the love out those they are near." Mulling over the present issues, I came to the most reasonable answer I could muster. "Welp, I'm screwed", bursting into a maddening laugh.

Calming down from my little episode, I returned my focus on the task at hand. The forest was still a good few hours walk away silently waiting. While the moon was reaching its peak in the star filled sky.

Looking up towards the night sky I become entranced. Such a beautiful sight. I wish home was like this. The low light pollution of the small rural area I was use to, was non existent here. Leaving the stars to shine their full glory, over the black tapestry hanging just above the world. The moon gave off a majestic glow like nothing else I’ve ever seen. It was purely breath taking.

Taking in the view, I automatically began looking around for any constellations I could easily recognize. Though there were only about three that I knew by heart, and two of them involved the big and little dipper. Finding nothing, I resigned defeat. Struggling back to my feet, the day’s walk kicked back in protest. My back leg muscles burned from overexertion. My padded paws felt on fire; bleeding in patches from the cuts that the surrounding environment tore open, which I swore was sandpaper covered acid in disguise.

I desperately needed to find shelter for the rest of the night before continuing forward. Looking quickly around my surroundings, I noticed distant mountains, the forest near the horizon, and more cracked plains.

"Ah fuck it...." Were the last words to come out, before collapsing forward on the ground, passing out.

***5 years ago***

Explosions erupted around as the sirens went off around the base.

I rolled instinctively out of my cot, landing on my gear, pulling my M16 to a ready position tight into my shoulder.

"Get the hell up! You can sleep when you’re dead!" A booming voice echoed around the building we was using for a forward operating base.

"Corpsman up!" Came another voice from outside the room.

Donning on my flack gear, I grabbed the nearby medical bag. Slinging it across one of my shoulders, half way securing it before racing towards the entrance. Looking out into the night air, fires were erupting around the nearby buildings, as tracer rounds flickered over in the distance. The whole village was under siege, and under a collapsed building across the street, my friend Smith was applying pressure against what looked to be Revera's chest from behind a hastily made cover.

Running on pure adrenalin, I made my way across the open, keep low as a few shots zipped past me. Skidding next to Smith I motioned that I was in control of situation. Instinctively assessing the injury.

"I got you Revera, give them hell Smith!"

Quickly unzipping the bag the full spread of the field kit laid bare. Grabbing each side of Revera's uniform, I ripped the center apart before cutting the undershirt in a single fluid motion, exposing his chest wound in all its glory. Noticing the small entrance wound, I placed a hand over top, slowing the blood down while simultaneously grabbing the necessary dressings. Revera's skin was still warm, and his heart beat could be felt where my hand lay.

Revera was looking at me with concerned eyes. "Don't worry man you’re going to be okay. Just talk to me, and we will patch you up in no time, hell you'll even get a medal for this." I grinned wiping the blood clear around the penny size hole, Placing a plastic dressing over top of it preventing the air from entering his chest cavity while he breathed. "So how you feeling man?"

"Like... I just... been shot Doc." He managed a smile while giving shallow short breaths. Taking that into account, I knew his lung was collapsing from air that must have gotten in before I got there, and I still needed to check for the exit wound.

"Well you're not to far off from the truth." I chuckled, ducking from a small barrage of fire over my head. "I'm going to roll you over to check for an exit wound, hope your in a hugging mood."

"Ah Doc I didn't know you cared." He chuckled.

“I really don’t, but your wife would kill me if you died. Especially, if she didn’t get a chance to beat the hell out of you first.” smirking as he rolled his eyes.

Getting into a laying position, I heard a very familiar wheezing noise erupt through the air getting louder. "Shit get down!" Smith screamed tucking into a ball, as I laid over Revera to guard him from the blast.

Suddenly a loud dominating female voice came from everywhere "ENOUGH fear not thine nightmare."

I looked around as time seem suddenly stop around me, "The hell?" I muttered completely dazed by the situation. Moving into a sitting position I glanced around, searching for the source of the voice.

A strange silhouette walked out of the building in front of me, quickly reacting, I raised my weapon ready to defend myself from the shadowed target. "Stop or I will open fire!" I yelled out in a demanding voice ready to open fire.

"WHO DOES THOU THINK THEY ARE TO DEMAND US TO STOP!" She barked loud enough to leave my ears ringing. Shaking my head, I tried to clear out the infernal noise. Then something dawned on me.

"Luna?" Came the only word I could muster as I lowered my weapon with a raised eyebrow.

Remembering this particular nightmare as it often haunted me throughout the years, and the fact I was no longer overseas, I just started to laugh like a lunatic. "Oh this is rich. Years of replaying a unwanted memory and it gets interrupted by the princess of the night herself. Well I guess it could be worse." I wiped the tears out of my eyes with a blood covered hand.

"DOST THOU THINK THIS FUNNy....what are you?" she trailed off coming into full view. The surrounding light from the near by fires lingered unmoving, bathing us in a orange hue.

"Who me? I'm your standard PTSD riddled human." Grinning as sincerely as possible. Slightly nervous and hoping that I didn't just piss off my favorite pony ruler by pointing a gun at her. Though I doubt she would know what it was.

"Also, sorry for the whole pointing a weapon at you deal. I kind of got caught up in the moment." Damn it brain don't tell her what it is...fuck. I shook my head slowly while pulling myself off the ground. Letting the M16 hang on my side, I knocked the dust off, smearing the blood onto my pant legs.

She reluctantly took a step back realizing how much larger it got when it stood up on two legs, though it only towered over her by a few inches. "Humans are a myth...a mere legend to frighten foals into behaving. Why dost thou try to deceive us with thine lies?" Flaring her wings while stomping a hoof into the ground, emphasizing her frustration.

"Well trust me on this 'Humans’-” I quote with my fingers, "-do exist, but if it makes you feel better, I thought you were just kids entertainment show less then a day ago. So I guess that makes us even." stating as sarcastically as possible while lowering my hands around my weapon out of habit.

This must have gave her the wrong impression as she quickly lowered her glowing horn in my direction. My eyes grew in realization, as I witnessed a blast of dark blue magic slam into my chest throwing me over the bullet ridden cover. After performing my forced back flip, I scurried closer to the defensive barrier putting it between me and a pissed off Luna.

"Damn that hurt." I whispered in pain holding my chest. Thank god for sappy plates. "Guess we can forget diplomacy at this point." I yelled over from my hiding spot.

"FACE US COWARD." Came the Canterlot royal voice before another blast hit the barrier.

I stuck my rifle out the side of the barrier, and fired a few blind shots. Pulling it back in time to feel several more small explosions barraging the dwindling cover. "Okay, this is a dream, I am not waking up yet. So I can't force her out of my head, but I can try to control my environment." I whispered to myself.

Concentrating hard, I recalled the old paintball park I use to play at, as the very air shimmered to form the old memory. Everything disappeared as empty cable rolls, barriers, plastic tunnels, and small wooden buildings took their designated places on the now rubber cushioned floor surrounded by netting on all sides.

"Sweet" I chirped. Thinking again, I changed the M16 into a pro paintball rifle loaded with a extra capacity hopper. Not wanting to hurt her as much as she wanted to possibly hurt me, she was still a princess in this world after all. And possibly going to be hunting me down after I wake up, so may as well try to have fun while I can.

" magic is this! How did you change your own nightmare?" I heard a very confused princess from the other side of the barrel.

"Rule 1, when fighting a gamer, we are known to change the situation of our dream. Oh and before I forget rule 2, we like to have FUN!" I yelled leaning to my left firing a few rounds at the startled Luna.

As the shots flew through the air, she turned her head, clenching her eyes closed. She was barely able to raise a shield in time, stopping several of the shots, as they hit against the magical wall. But she wasn’t quick enough the first one as if flew unhindered, giving a pleasant sounding splat of pink paint on her exposed collarbone.

"Ha one point for me!" I screamed running into one of the hollowed out buildings.

Hissing at the stinging pain, she lifted a hoof to the radiating spot right below her neck. Rubbing the tender area, she looked at her hoof, expecting the worst, yet only to see pink? "WHAT HAS THEE DONE TO ME!" Striking at the barrel with a blast of light. It tumbled over with nothing behind it. "WHERE ART THOU HIDING?" She continued stomping in place, while making small circles, scanning in every direction for her prey.

Suddenly, she yelped and doing a forward hop, as a new stinging sensation struck on her right flank. "AH HA THE FUN HAS BEEN DOUBLED!" I yelled out, before ducking back behind the cut out window heading out the back door. The next blast took out the section of wall I was hiding behind just moments ago.

"QUIT THIS FOOLISHNESS AND FACE ME DEMON!" Lighting stuck out in the background of the netted room.

A crackling came over the local intercom, raising the mic to my face I spoke clearly hoping the words would sink in. "Lets get a few things straight. I'm not your enemy, nor do you want me to be. I didn't willingly come here to Equestria to cause havoc or disruption to your way of life. I am not your subject, so drop the Canterlot royal voice already cause nothing personal, but its grating on the ears. I am willing to call a truce and speak plainly, if you quit trying to blast me into next week." Dropping the mic to the ground, I got into a crouching position. Quickly moving away from the intercom box and prepared for my next ambush.

Laying in a plastic tunnel near by, I could almost see the gears turning, as the new information rattled around in Luna's head. Hopefully I wouldn't have to get my point across any more this night, even though I was having fun. Smirking to myself, I waited as the silence lengthened.

Luna continued to look around for this creature that called itself a 'human'. She begun going through the entire encounter from the horrible fight, to the violent, yet somewhat entertaining game it seemed to be playing. She realized that a few of its words were too much to be considered a coincidence, and wished to have answered before it would wake. Yet at the same time, she felt the burning want for revenge against her attacker.

Curiosity got the better of her in the end, and she finally spoke at almost a whisper. "Truce"

"See was that so hard?" I asked, coming out from the tunnel. Slightly shocking her on how close I really was to where she stood.

" are rather sneaky, I shall give you that." Luna almost hissed the words out. Looking the bipedal creature over in the strange clothes and helmet.

"Please, no need for aggressive behavior when you call a truce." I smiled holding the rifle in the air in away from myself, trying hard to show no hostile intent. "I'm going to put this down slowly so don't get jumpy and do a repeat session of blowing me across the room."

Slowly lowering the paint ball gun to the rubber filled floor, Luna's eyes dart back and forth between the weapon and my face. I set it gently down before standing back up straight. With my hands halfway up in a surrendering posture, I had to ask. "So how are you?"

Luna stood confused by the simple question for just a moment, before shaking her head, dismissing it just as quick. "I have many questions 'human'." she rolled the last word off her tongue as if she bit into something offensive. "What form of nightmare did you conjure? What is PTSD? How did you come about the phrase 'The fun has been doubled'? What is a gamer? Why did you hit me in a paint substance? How did you get here---"

"Whoa... whoa... whoa slow down, how about this we exchange information a question for a question?" I suggested, quickly cutting her off at the barrage of questions.

Taking a moment she shook her head in agreement, knowing that she had to get as much information as quickly as possible to relay to her sister on this creature. "Very well. I shall go first. Why are you here?"

"Cutting to the chase I see. Well for starters, I think I died. Then next thing I know, instead of being put on a meat wagon and served up as a orderve on the roadkill cafe-"

"-What is a meat wagon and this roadkill cafe? Both sound rather unpleasant." tilting her head to the side in puzzling manner.

God, why must she be so cute when confused. "Sorry. I forget where I am at times, even though I'm talking to my favorite princess." I blurted out, before catching the mistake.

With speed that would impress Rainbow Dash, an excited Luna hops towards me, almost touching my face, a wide grin stretching across her own. "Dost thou really think we are the best princess, and not our sister or Princess Cadence?" She beamed happily.

Slightly shocked that she could even move that quick, much less change her attitude, I took a hesitant step back. "Um nothing too personal, but your in my private space." I gave a uncomfortable chuckle. Don't get me wrong, she maybe my favorite, but having someone or somepony that close that quick; it took every ounce of strength I had to not put her in a blood choke out of reaction.

Sensing my discomfort, she lowered her head in an apologetic manner, and took a few steps back. "Sorry we..I mean I didn't---"

Cutting her off again with a held up hand, I waved it dismissively, continuing on with the conversation. "Its ok, Luna."

"Its Princess Luna." she retorted.

"If I was addressing you in Canterlot, I would use your title, but you invaded my nightmare and shot me first so you kind of lost that respect. Now do you want to argue about titles or would you like to have a few of your questions answered?" I snapped, while glaring directly at her.

For a brief moment, I thought she would have sent me back a few yards with the stare she was returning. But after a few awkward minutes, she finally nodded her head grudgingly while mumbling "continue." She was not happy.

This is going to be harder than it should be. Sighing, I sat down on the tube behind me, rubbing my temples before restarting this train wreck of a conversation. "Okay, 'Luna,' like I said, I died or pretty sure I did. Burning alive was the last memory I had before I ended up in your world, and no I will not tell you where I am, in case you were wanting to know."

Before she could say anything, I raised my hand once more. More annoyed than anything, she finally plopped down on the ground almost pouting. "A meat wagon is in short a carriage that you load your dead on. Roadkill cafe is term used for dead animals on the road that are cooked and served, though its meant as a joke. Why I am here well that's something I have no real answer for in all honesty, but I will say this. I do not wish to cause any disruptions to you or your subjects nor take over the world." Hopefully that’ll make make her happy, cause I really don't know how better answer that question.

"That is most disturbing on hearing of how you passed on from your world." She said with a cringing look on her face, as if trying to imagine it. "You are obviously not a phantasm for they do not dream, but why will you not tell me of your whereabouts?"

"Sorry, my turn to have you answer a question, and technically I gave you three, so its only fair I get one." I grinned mischievously. Luna on the other hand crossed her front legs, slumping a little bit in disapproval for being caught in the questioning game. "Now I realize that your job is to end nightmares to ponies, while giving words of inspiration to stop them altogether. But I am not exactly one of your subjects, much less a pony, so why are you in my dream?"

Luna thought a few moments, rubbing her chin with a hoof before answering. "That is simple 'human', I reach out to the minds of all those close to the castle and expand outward helping all those in need. Be it griffin, pony, cow, or any other sentient creature in distress. Though..." she trailed off a moment, contemplating how to word this without offending me. " I can't seem to know how to give true guidance to one such as yourself. For you see for your mind is...'blank'. Though I mean it not as an insult." she quickly slid the last part, grimacing at her choice of wording.

I just gave her a deadpan stare. Blinking a few times, I busted out into a fit of laughter. After several moments of clutching my chest, I finally got my breathing under control, while wiping away any tears that formed. "Well, you’re not the first woman to ever say that. Though you are the first mare to, so you get that brownie point." I chuckled. " But don't worry I won't take it as a hurtful statement, so you’re covered on that one. Now I believe its your turn."

"I would ask your name, be fear that it would take away my question, so I shall ask another instead. How did you know about my nightly charge if you just came to our world?" Luna asked glaring at me.

"You’re right, it would have taken your turn." I chuckled. "As for the statement, like I mentioned before you launched me like a rag doll. In my world, you are thought to be nothing but a kids’ show. But despite that, you have a lot of fans that wish you and this world was real. If only they could see this now..." I trailed off recalling everything I left unfinished and family that must be in mourning.

The princess noticed the slight change in my mood. Lifting herself up, she gracefully came to my side, wrapping a gentle wing around me. Hoping to comforting this strange creature she quietly spoke, "Do you miss your home?" Stating it as a questionable fact."If you wish we could talk about it."

"Nah. I'm good. I just need some time to deal with it is all. But anyways." Leaving the feathery embrace, I walked a short distance from her. Not turning around, I asked, already knowing the answer. "After this dream, you and Celestia plan to look for me. Don't you?"

"Afraid so....please understand. If you were in our position, with a new creature appearing to claim itself as a human from the legends, would you not do the same?" Luna asked, taking a few steps closer. "If what you claim is true about your intentions, then you have nothing to fear. Just tell me where you are. I’m sure my sister and I can help you."

I shook my head without turning to her, "I can't do least not yet, maybe in time. Right now I have to figure out who I am in this world, before I can make any decisions on where I need to be. Though I have a good idea where to start." I spoke aloud, more to myself then to the princess behind me.

An air horn rang throughout the arena making Luna grimace, while I practically jumped out of my skin. "What was that?" She asked.

Quickly recovering from the sudden noise I replied. "It was a air horn. Guess its time for us to part ways." I turned around with a smile plastered on my face. "If you find me again, it means I’m still alive. But if not, then it was a pleasure meeting you." Giving a moderate bow of respect.

A wind started in a slow gust, picking up with ferocity. It tore the outskirts of the paint ball pit apart piece by piece. Luna stared at me with disappointed eyes. "Please do not speak as if you’re dying. It would be a true tragedy for one to suffer death a second time so quickly." she spoke, lowering her head. Her mane slightly faltering under its unseen breeze.

Closing the remaining distance between us. I placed a hand gently upon her withers, making her glance up re-actively. I found myself lost in her seafoam green eyes, smiling the whole time. "I don't plan on dying just yet. I still have things I need to do before Death can have his say in things." I reassured her. Removing my hand from her soft dark coat, I took a step back giving us both breathing room.

Luna stood there puzzled, showing a confused, if not cute look on her facial features. "If not coming to us for help or to cause distress, then what is it you plan?"

"Me? Oh that's simple. I plan to meet the all the ponies that I possibly can, including the elements. Don't worry no harm will come to them or anyone else as long as I’m not threatened or attacked. I only wish to meet them, talk a bit, and depart. Nothing more, nothing less."

Her eyes went from confusion to a glare instantaneously. I swore she was trying to burn a hole right through me, with as much focus she put into that look. After a moment she recalled my warning and regained her regal posture.

The winds whipped wildly, closely around the two, threatening to engulf them at any moment. "At least tell us your name before we depart." she spoke above the raging tempest.

I had to chuckle at this, thinking it would have been obvious, due to the uniform I wore. Looking down where the velcro tags were suppose to be. I was mildly surprised to see both of them blank. Return my focus to her, I developed a slight smirk, "Seems in a new world, I require a new name. So you may call me Nameless." As the last syllable escaped my lips, the storm slammed together, bringing me out of my dream state.


Waking up from the dream, I instinctively tried to stretch, realizing my movements were once again restricted. Instead of thrashing about, I took a moment to get my bearings. Reaching out, I touched a almost plastic like substance that surrounded me on all sides. Poking at a spot a few times with my talon I could feel it give a little. Whatever it is, it wasn’t meant to contain me. With a bit more pressure I pushed the sharp razors past its thin layer. Once a large enough hole was created. I reach both claws in, pulling apart the elastic material, much against it’s protest.

"SHIT, DAMN IT, SOMEONE KILL THE LIGHT." Yanking the flaps back in place. Blinded, I blinked a few times, removing the dots that littered my vision.

This time, I slowly peeled the edges apart, letting my eyes adjust to sun. It was rising just beyond the distant mountains, shining directly into the freshly torn gap. Even in this world the sun hates me.

Climbing out less than enthused, I squinted around, making sure nothing was laying in wait, ready maul me to death. Satisfied, I looked back turning back to what kept me confined. "The hell?" I muttered, prodding what seemed to look like a cocoon. "That's just weird." Shaking my head of it’s sleepiness. "Nameless? What type of lame crap is that?" I chuckled, sitting down.

Doing a quick once over, I started with my wounds. The abrasions on my paws were gone, as well as the hole in my side, leaving a only faint scar as a reminder. Seems the cocoon was useful after all. Getting up, I did a full stretch reaching into the boundless sky. Relief washed over me, as my joints sporadically popped and the muscles cried out in pleasure. That's when I noticed a new and unknown set of muscles joined in the ritual. The wings almost took a life of their own during the process. Only going back to their resting place as I relaxed.

Oh right, I forget about those. Well, I got some time, may as well figure them out for a bit. It’s not like I gave my location to her majesty. After several stretches, I was finally able to narrow down which muscles controlled them, and begun to move them accordingly. After playing with them for an hour, I felt pretty confident on using the new appendages. Standing up straight, I gave them a gentle flap, growing accustomed to the airflow underneath them. With a newly memorized effort, I gave them a healthy thrust. Which had a completely different reaction, that I neither intended or expected.

First lesson I learned about wings. When standing up straight and unbraced. Doing a forward thrust will have an effect of throwing you backwards. After a moment, the dust started to finally settle. *Cough* Well lets not try that one again for a bit." *Cough* Wheezing out, before getting back up. "Lets try something a bit different."

Second lesson; when standing on all fours, a same preformed thrust will barely give you any altitude, but will succeed in making a miniature dust bubble. "Damn it, *cough* what the *cough* hell am I doing wrong *cough*. Securing dirt free air after my second dust bath. I took a few moments to ponder why it wasn’t working. Then it dawned on me, years of owning a conure, I remembered he always did a slight jump, before taking to the air, leaving me to chase after him.

Third lesson; always learn from your mistakes and weaknesses. Bending my newly acquired knees a few times, I got into a small crouch. Not wanting to chance anything, I tensed the required leg muscles. Jumping straight up, I flapped my wings one time, very hard. The effect was immediate. Being airborne about 35 feet up, I suddenly recalled how I much I was afraid of heights. My wings magically clenched tight against my sides, and gravity took this as it’s queue to enter on stage.

Dropping like a lead weight, I frantically flailed my limbs around like a mad man, cursing the whole way down. “Shit. Shit. Oh fu-”, luckily for me, the ground broke my fall. I laid sprawled out in the dirt there for good while, aching everywhere. At least the sun was kind enough to beat down on me from above with its hot glow.

Fourth lesson; learn to properly prioritize, walk before flying, it’s 'safer'. Picking up any dignity I had left, I did a check for injuries. Strangely enough, all that seemed to be wrong was a few sore spots under the fur and feathers. Much like one would feel from tripping on the ice, before super manning across the air, landing hard on the unforgiving surface.

Flexing my claws a few times, testing my range of motion, I was satisfied with the results of nothing being broken. Okay, let’s just try walking. I placed right claw out in front of me, followed up by the right leg, and then the left front claw leaving me very unbalanced. "Shit!" *Thump*....

A few attempts later, I found walking on all fours was very similar to crawling, just without the normal knee pain. Practicing for a few minutes, my confidence exploded as I worked up to a jogging pace. Going around in circles practically giggling to myself. Realizing what I was doing I came to an abrupt stop. "Oh god, I’m becoming Twilight!" My eyes darted around nervously, searching for any signs of life. Satisfied knowing that my secret was safe, I decided to try out some new forms.

Closing my eyes, I pictured a random unicorn in my head. The magic took hold, as green flames sprouted in a circle surrounding me, before dying in the air. Quickly glancing at myself, I took note of a minor, but important detail. The dirt from the Badlands still clung to the gray body, intertwining with the white tail and mane. The wind flowed gently blew through the hairs, keeping them slightly aloft with each gust. The cutie mark of a brightly lit candle was printed on either side of my flank. Shrugging, I took a hesitant step forward, keeping balancing on the four circular hooves. After some trial and errors, I felt I semi mastered walking and jogging with them.

"Now time...for the magics...." Doing my best Photo Finish posture. Looking near by, my eyes landed over small stone laying on the ground. "Perfect." I said grinning like a fool at the helpless stone. Settling down in front of it, knocking on my horn a few times, I felt the new nerves kick back in annoyance. Focusing on the tapped spot, I strained on lifting the rock into the air....nothing. “What the deuce?”

I continued this for a good while, moving around every so often. Even approaching it at different angles, coming up with no fresh results. Rubbing my chin with my hoof, I tried remembering a few ideas based on Fanfics. I tried several different ideas that ranged from mentally overpowering the rock, to screaming at the top of my lungs, nothing seemed to be work. Frustrated, I closed my eyes, rubbing the brim of my nose with a hoof. Why is picking up this damn stone so freakin difficult?

Hearing an odd hum, I opened my eyes. Surprised that there in front of me, was the floating rock, covered by a yellow glow. Rubbing my eyeballs to ensure I wasn’t hallucination, I forgetting about holding the rock. The hum and glow suddenly stopped as the stone plummeted to the ground. Confused on what just happened, I sat there dumbfounded. Thinking about picking up the rock again, it miraculously returned to the air floating weightlessly. "Well I'll be damned” A mischievous smile crept over my face, before something odd clicked in my head at the sight in front of me.

”Wait, isn’t changeling magic suppose to be green?" I stared at the stone expecting an answer. After a while, I decided in the end it was best not to question the color coding rules of magic, especially since levitation was still new to me at this point.

A few more experiments later, I learned that picking up small objects was easy and took no real effort. Lifting larger stones took more focus of thought. After several attempts and many headaches later, I safely deducted that 20 pounds was my max. "Guess that's why Twilight is considered a bad ass in the form of magic." I uttered. "Now lets go try to blow something up." Rubbing my hooves together.

Surprisingly, striking the stone with magic was easier than picking it up. Taking into account what I learned with yesterday’s incident, I aimed my horn down at makeshift quarry. The yellow blast erupted from my horn, slamming into the target. It flew a several feet away, leaving a blackened ash where it originally sat, and on it’s hardened surface. A few magic missiles later, the end result was the same. Severely underpowered when compared to the originally attack, the experiment itself left me sweating, and short of breath.

Moving onto the rest of the self taught lessons in forms. I was successfully able to transform into a variety of different species that were similar in size. Though things like adolescent dragons and minotaurs failed miserably forcing me back to my original form. The changeling attribute of strength was evident in them all, for the aptitude of pushing a large rock barely changed from the unicorn to an earth pony. Yet, as a pegsus or griffin I could see farther than normal, but was nearly blind as diamond dog.

I desperately needed to either beat the information out of another changeling, or find a book, and pray it didn’t raise any suspicions. What I did learn was that the injuries sustained in one form isn't neglected in another form, this goes for hygiene as well. As for gender changing, its possible, but maintaining it is the problem, for it requires constant thought. So for now being a 'normal' man again may take awhile.

Satisfied with my waste of time, I headed off towards the forest. I should get there well before night fall, and still have ample time to find something to eat. Taking the previous form of a unicorn, I levitated a couple of stones along the way, circling them around counter clockwise. Today is going better than expected.As I trotted forward, smiling to nothing in particular. Then I started a new struggle: learning how to whistling with pony lips.

***The Same Morning at Canterlot’s Palace***

Celestia stood on the balcony of her room, moving the sun into place, dawning the new day. Upon finishing, she left her room, passing by the solar guards that stood their silent watch. Down the spiral staircase her hoof steps clicked a harmonic echo along the marble flooring. A smile beamed across her face, as she made a musical game out of the descent, only ending when she reached the bottom of the stairs.

The lower floor opened into long series of hallways, each branching off into a endless maze. A system built as a defense, if ever the outer walls were breached. As Celestia passed the various passageways, guards and maids alike paused, giving her a mixture of bows and salutes only to carry on with their tasks, after her passing. Being early in the morning, court was still hours away, leaving her ample time to enjoy the extravagant breakfast that awaited in the dining hall.

Passing one of the many kitchens, a delicious smell wavered in the air, barely hindered by the closed doors. As she made her way closer to the delightful source, the hint of cheese cake radiated fresh out of the oven, enticing her senses. Putting on her best smile, she pushed past the doors.

"Princess Celestia", the head chef bowed, followed by the rest of the kitchen staff upon noticing the alicorn. Celestia smile radiated, as her warm motherly words stretched out. “Rise my little ponies, I hope all is well this beautiful morning.”

“Yes your highness, as with all your mornings. I would ask what we owe the honor for such a visit, but I sense I already know." The mare waved a hoof to the awaiting desserts as they laid out cooling on racks.

"Am I really that predictable now of days, Honey Sweets?" Celestia giggled.

"Only when it comes to good taste, dear Princess. Though I am afraid I have to ask you to wait for them to cool, for they are not as good when fresh out of the oven. The process should only take a hour or so. But fear not, we shall bring you a slice with your morning tea, if that is acceptable?" Honey smiled.

"I understand, though the smell is alluring enough to make most ponies go mad in waiting, but I shall be patient." Celestia sweetly stated winking to the mare. Turning around, she left the kitchen, smiling as a warmed piece of the delectable cake glided up to her on a plate. She giggled, knowing the chef would find out soon enough.

"Celestia!" Luna cantered up the long hall, her hooves sending echoes bouncing off of the stone walls. "There is an urgent matter that needs addressing."

"Gah!" Celestia started, nearly dropping her precious pastry. She frowned at the distraught mare before her. "-Lulu. You know not to sneak up on me like that."

Luna rolled her teal eyes at her sister. Her obsession with sweets would be her downfall. "Celestia, this is important. Last night, while I traversed the dream scape, I met with-" She gulped, fearing the word. "-with a strange creature. He claimed to be a human. A human Tia!"

The taller mare threw her head back, laughing heartily. "My, my Lulu. You have quite the imagination. You know as well as I that humans are a myth concocted by Star Swirl to scare foals. Truly you cannot believe such nonsense."

"I would not, if it were not true." Luna stamped her dark hooves against the stones. Why won't she listen! "Tia, last night I met with this creature in its dream. I have never seen his like. His appearance was just as the legends state." She cringed on remembrance of last night's meeting. "He claimed to mean us no harm, though I do not believe he was truthful. He was quite…violent."

Celestia chuckled, ruffling her sister's mane affectionately. "Surly you jest."

"I do not sister." Luna's eyes flashed with concern. "He spoke of meeting with the Elements. Sister, I fear the consequences if such an encounter were to occur."

The playful expression stretching over Celestia's face vanished in an instant, a deathly serious one replacing it. "The Elements?" She frowned, looking down at the now quivering mare. I have done it again! I am such a fool. "Forgive me sister, I did not mean to tease. I refused to listen to you once before, I shall not let history repeat itself." With a swish of her tail, she turned towards the antechamber. "Come. We have much to discuss. And, if I'm not mistaken, preparations must be made immediately."

Needless to say, the Canterlot court would be late.

***Meanwhile at The Hive***

Queen Chrysalis laid on her throne, absentmindedly listening to the report of the recent raid on the nearby diamond dog den. The most important details were earlier in the briefing, so nothing else really attracted her attention. But, being that she was bored, she let the drone continue on. Things seemed relatively normal in the hive overall, till a frantic changeling flew into the throne room.

"My queen, there is a problem in the hatchery!" It hissed, quickly bowing apologetically for interrupting.

"Whats seems to be the issue? Are the new born nipping your ankles again." She chuckled, looking into her subjects mind. Within a moment, her eyes snapped fully open, "Guards prepare for combat.The larva are slaughtering everything near them!"

Getting to her hooves, she took flight, heading through the complicated cave system. As she passed other drones she sent out a message for them to take flight around her. After a few minutes, she finally came into sight of the hatchery entrance. With over fifty of her children in tow, ready to defend their queen to the last breath. The sight she witnessed was more than just a minor skirmish of a few dead changelings. It was a total blood bath. Green blood painted the walls and ceiling. While the floor was littered in broken, an shredded bodies, both from the new larva warriors, and those sent to care for them.

Cautiously, Chrysalis took a few steps into the mouth of the cavern, looking for any signs of movement. Scanning from left to right, she noticed something in the far corner, barely moving but what she heard was another matter. *Crunch* *Crunch* *Slurp* Raising her eyebrow she questioned to herself, What would be eating in my hive? Much less, a place now filled with the dead? As she got closer to the creature a *snap* rang out. Looking down, she removed her hoof away from the piece of a hardened cocoon. Brushing it away, she returned her gaze to the form ahead of her.

As expected, it turned its head back to the sound coming from behind it. The gaze of its bright blue eyes fell onto the Queen’s face, standing no more than a few yards away. Seeing fresh prey, it tossed the corpse of a hatchery guard to the side like a discarded toy, before launching at the Queen.

Chrysalis launched a barrage of magic into the oncoming assailant, glancing it as it weaved in and out of the attacks. The hits barely register, before it slammed into her. The two tumbled away, breaking half opened sacs as they exchanged blows. Seeing the queen under attack the drones swarmed into the hatchery ready to kill the perpetrator.

Sliding to a halt, Crysalis pinning the new changeling below her. It continued to growl and snap at air in between them, desperate to taste the sweet nectar of blood pouring through the queen’s body. Crysalis was having none of that, as she applied pressure to each of her front hooves, snapping a few of the creature’s limbs.

"Seems this batch is too violent, having no thoughts other than the lust for blood. If we were trying to kill all the ponies, this would be useful...but, they are mindless spawn. Kill them all as you find them, leave none to live." She lowered her horn towards the changeling’s maw as it snapped open, before receiving a full blast into it mouth, transforming its head into a smoking smear on the floor.

The body twitched momentarily, before finally falling limp. "Make sure all of them are accounted for. And get some slaves in here to clean up this mess." She coldly spoke, stepping off the corpse. Heading to the entrance of the hatchery, she spoke to all those around, "By the way, send for the two I sent out to the Badlands yesterday. I wish to speak with them." As she took flight, heading back to center of the hive.

Fancy meeting you here

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***Ponyville Library***

"I'm just saying, we should get some rubies while we are at it." Spike hinted to the mare in front of him. The green and purple dragon stood atop of a chair, using the kitchen table as a desk, while jotting down a growing list of groceries.

Twilight rolled her eyes, "For the fifth time Spike, the answer is still no. I’m still upset about last month. Besides we wouldn't want to ruin your appetite.”

“Oh come on, that was last month! "He protested. "And besides, when has a few gems stopped me from eating?" Raising a eyebrow.

“Fine, tell you what. We can get a few next week. After all, not all of us can live off gemstones like some dragons I know." Twilight giggled, opening the next shelf, before rummaging through it’s contents.

"Next week! But, you said that last we---- *Burp* really out of all times?” Snatching the letter quickly out of the air. “That's strange, didn't Princess Celestia send you a letter yesterday?" The little dragon said scratching his head, as the scroll suddenly was engulfed in a violet glow. Not letting go in time Spike was pulled off the chair, plopping face first into the floor just a foot short from the lavender unicorn.

Twilight unrolled the parchment, looking at the tiny dragon as he got up. "It doesn't matter how often she sends them Spike, it could be important." Returning her gaze to the levitating document.

As she read her eyes grew wide, the color draining slightly in her face. "This… this can't be right!" She exclaimed, flipping the document over multiple times a few feet away, expecting it burst into flames. Pulling it back, she read it once again, going over every little detail, before letting it fall to the floor. Twilight's left eye started to twitch as a few strands of hair popped out of place.

"Um, Twilight, you okay? Cause you don't look so good." Spike said waving a claw in front of her. Not getting any response he picked up the letter reading over it. "The heck is a human?" he asked, returning a claw to his head, scratching it in thought. After a while he just shrugged, before rolling it up. "Whatever it is, I’m sure its nothing you and the girls can't handle." Placing the letter on top of the kitchen table.

As soon as Twilight snapped out of her trance, she snatched the dragon up in her magic, pulling him only inches away from her muzzle. "Spike we need to get the girls, talk to the mayor, inform all the ponies in town, and prepare for the worst. This human ‘Nameless’ can't be allowed to cause trouble. I know the Princess said not to provoke him, but this could be the biggest breakthrough of our time. I mean just think about it, a walking, breathing, specimen from the legends of Starswirl the Bearded himself.” Gushing with excitement, she dropped Spike unceremoniously to the floor and rushed into the main lobby of the library. Pulling an assortment of books off the shelves, she continued her rant from the other room. “Just think of all the things we could learn from it. We could finally put-".

Spike ignored her at this point, knowing she would be like this for a while, and took it as his cue to leave. Heading quietly out the front door, he went in search to find the rest of the mane six. Figuring Applejack would be the easiest to find, he headed down to the market place. Coming around a couple of vegetable stands he spotted the orange earth pony. She was just finishing up a sale as he approached. "Hey Applejack", waddling up to her. Noticing her brother just as he pulled another bushel of apples out from behind the cart, “Hey Big Mac.”

“Eeyup” came his trademark reply.

"Oh hey Spike, what can Ah do for Yah? Does Twilight know you're out shopping without her again?" She chuckled, remembering how upset the unicorn got last time he bought a few gems with the spare bits.

"What? No! Twilight went on one of her rants. She wants you all to meet up at the library."

“Any idea what for?” she asked raising an eyebrow.

Spike dropped to a whisper, leaning in close enough making sure only the mare would hear. “A letter came in from the Princess and she thinks something bad is going to be happen soon.”

"Well Ah guess Ah could leave Big Mac to take care of things here." Looking over to her brother, he simply just nodded in acknowledgment. "Thanks big brother, Ah should be back before Yah know it, so don't hold up for me." Trotting off with the dragon in tow.

The large stallion walked to the front of the stand and replied, “Eeyup.”

As they walked down the road, she scanned the skies for a certain Pegasus that would likely be taking a nap around this time. After a few minutes, she finally found the rainbow colored tail hanging over an edge of cloud. Applejack stopped just below and yelled, “Hey Rainbow Dash!”

The cyan colored mare raised her head over the edge of the makeshift bed, spotting the two below her. "Oh, hey AJ. What's up, you two on a date?" She snickered, before stretching out lazily, "Because this better be important seeing as how I was in the middle of something."

"Very funny RD. Twilight wants us to get over to her place, something about a letter from Princess Celestia. It's got the poor girl all worked up, Ah don’t suppose Yah could round up Fluttershy and Pinkie?"

"When isn’t that egghead worried?” Looking down from her cloud, she saw the stern look of the earth pony staring back. “Alright, I'm on it. Geez." Dash grumbled, taking off towards Fluttershy's cottage.

"We should hurry before Twilight walks a hole in the floor." Spike suggested, getting a small laugh out of AJ, as they moved forward.

***30 minutes later inside the library***

As the last of the main six arrived, Twilight was busy stacking the last of the books regarding myths and legends, particularly any that pertained to humans. Once she finished, Twilight turned her attention to her friends that were waiting patiently. "Sorry for the short notice girls, but the Princess has requested our help.”

“Let me guess. She wants us to kick some evil pony’s flank.” Said Rainbow Dash.

Twilight just shook her head, continuing on. “Actually no, she has requested our assistance in locating a human in Equestria, while insuring that everypony re---." She was suddenly interrupted by the mares across from her, as they broke into a variety of laughs and snorts.

Twilight calming waited for her friends to get it out of their system before she continued. Though after several minutes, the only change they had was the need to breath, before breaking down again. Twilight’s brow furrowed as her patience finally wavered. "Girls, this is serious!" Stomping her hoof down onto the floor, loud enough to get their attention.

Rainbow Dash was first to recover, wiping away the tears streaming down her face. "Sorry Twilight, but come on, you can't seriously believe this. I mean really, a human in Equestria. They’re just a myth for crying out loud. Heck, even Zecora told a few stories about them during last year’s Nightmare Night. Which by the way was totally awesome. But no matter how you look at it, they're just a legend.

"I have to agree with Rainbow darling, I still remember my parents telling me how dreadful those creature were. They even make diamond dogs seem civilized, which is a feat itself. Something like that just doesn't exist. The world is better off that way.” Rarity interjected, flicking her mane out of her eyes.

"That's what I thought too, but Princess Luna claims that she saw one, and that it's referring to itself as Nameless. Now I’ve taken the liberty and gathered all the books regarding humans, so we need everypony to study up. After all, we don't want to make any negative impressions when we meet it." Twilight gleamed, pointing a hoof to the tower of books behind her.

"Umm… if its so dangerous, why do we have to meet it? Can't we just… I don't know, leave it alone?" Fluttershy timidly asked, clocking behind her mane.

"Why not throw it a party! I'm sure even a human would love a party! Though its best if we leave the whole eating foals out of the party plan. Cause devouring fillies and colts is a terrible idea, especially when you have cupcakes instead." Pinkie proposed, as a huge grin spread across her face.

Applejack gave Pinkie a funny look, before shaking her head. Returning her observation towards Twilight. "Ah don't see why we have to be ready for meeting it. Heck, Yah make it sound like it plans to come here just for us." Just as she finished, everypony's attention snapped back to Twilight.

“About that.” She nervously laughed, shuffling a hoof around on the wooden boards. Spike took the opportunity to step forward, holding the letter from earlier in front of the mare's face. Letting go as soon as the magical glow surrounded it. "Oh, thank you Spike." Twilight smiled unraveling the parchment, clearing her throat before reading it aloud.

My faithful student,

I have grave news concerning the future of Equestria. During Princess Luna’s charge, she came across a strange bipedal creature claiming to be a human, and it is somewhere in Equestria. Referring to itself as Nameless, believing that in a new world, a new name is necessary. Luna made it clear that Nameless is not seeking any help from her or myself.

It also seems to have knowledge of past events, though we are unsure how much. It did divulge a few intentions, including an peaceful audience with you and your friends. Presently, we are unsure if this is all it is planning, for it has a rather violent past and behavior.

What is most worrisome, is that this being, is at least capable of dream magic. We are unaware of the full extent of its abilities, but advise on the side of caution. Being that it is a sporadic acting creature, we will be sending a small contingent of our best guards to Ponyville, as well as the elements.

I have full faith in you, and the other Bearers, that this will be resolved in a peaceful manner.

Princess Celestia

Finishing off the letter Twilight continued, "So you see everypony, we have to be ready. We don't know what Nameless’s true intentions are or even what it’s truly capable of. The princess is trusting us to handle this." waving her hoof in a wide arch at the stacked books.

Rainbow Dash was clearly distraught at the thought of studying, decided to give another option, “Well if it's so dangerous, why can't we just blast it with the elements like every other baddie and be done with it."

"Sorry Dash, but Princess Celestia told us it is seeking a peaceful meeting and I doubt ‘blasting’-”, Twilight gestured the word with her front hooves. “-would be considered a peaceful act by the human. If Nameless does attacks us, then we will use the elements, but only if there isn’t any other option." She finished, though in truth she wanted to study the human and find out all she could about it's kind.

A few awkward moments of silence passed, before Rarity broke the silence that settled over the room. "I understand what is at stake dear, but is it possible we can each just take a few books and study at our own leisure? I'm sure this human, “Nameless,” won't simply stroll into town tonight. And I really must get back to the shop. I simply must finish up the latest designs for Hoity Toity in Canterlot by the end of the week.

Pondering at the idea for a moment, Twilight nodded her head in agreement. "Okay, that sounds reasonable. I’ll assign everypony a few books, then we can share with each other what we found out. It will be like just like a book report!" She squealed with excitement, clapping her hooves together. Turning her attention to the mound of hardcovers in the corner, she failed to notice the painful expressions on the mares faces.

As the ponies bid each farewell, each carrying an assortment of different sized books. Twilight stood in the library’s door frame, waving them each goodbye. As the last of her visitors disappeared out of sight, she let out a small sigh of relief before heading back inside. Gently closing the door, she returned her attention to the remaining stack of books. “Well Spike, looks like it’ll be another late tonight." Twilight couldn’t help but smile. "Do you think you could go and get the shopping done without me?

"Fine, but don't think I've forgotten about next week." He huffed, grabbing the shopping list and bits off the kitchen table and making his way out the door.

Twilight’s smile never wavered as she rolled her eyes. Levitating the first of many books, she sat on the nearby pillow and made herself comfortable for the study session. She opened the thick tome across the desk. It took most of the available space once it was fully opened. Reading the first passage, the unicorn couldn’t help but giggle to herself. She levitated a piece of paper in front of herself as she prepped a quill with ink before jotting down a few questions. Its not everyday a myth comes to Equestria.

***Forest Entrance***

Just outside the rather gloomy forest, sat a mare with a gray coat. Her white mane gently blowing in unseen wind. She didn’t move. She just sat there, staring blankly at the mass of trees in front of her. If not for her about to say a monologue, one would have expected her to be nothing more than a wax statue.

"Fate, if you can hear me, I just want to let you know. I hate you. I really do. And if I ever find you, I’m going to-... Actually scratch that. I’m going to make it a surprise, just so you know how I feel." Finishing off my threat to the deity, the forest in front of me seemingly darkened, as if it sucked the light right out of the sky in retort.

"Yeah, well screw you too!” Shouting into the brush. “But seriously, couldn’t someone just put up a big fuckin' billboard out here that says, 'Welcome to the Everfree Forest! It sucks, stay out!'” It would at least made me feel a hell of a lot better, before marching my happy-go-lucky ass all the way over here!"

I waited there for a few minutes until I finally gave up any hope of the sign randomly growing out of the ground. "So much for being a land full of magic,” I said as I waved my hooves in the air for dramatic effect. “Welp, now would be a good time as any for getting over one’s fear." Wincing at the idea.

I looking up at the sky above, the weather was mainly clear, with just a few clouds dotting the blue overhead, adding a forecast to the already dark forest. Taking a slowly breath, I closed my eyes, mentally picturing myself as a random Pegasus. The familiar flames quickly circled around me before dissipating, leaving behind a green colored pony with a single red stripe running through her black mane. Taking a glance at my flank, I was less then entertained to see what looked to be a large boulder with a pair of wings jutting out of it. Though to my credit, I learned growling as a pony is a rather interesting sound.

"Hope this works." I nervously spoke, gulping down a dry lump in my throat. As I got into a small crouch, I shut my eyes tight, before hopping into the air, gingerly flapping my wings. Carefully, I cracked one eye open to glance at the ground below. Immediately, I felt childish. Being four inches off the ground wasn’t exactly inspiring my fear of heights. “Damn it, really!? Well, at least its not as bad as last time.” Beating my wings a bit harder, I slowly ascended, stopping just a few feet shy above the largest tree top.

Ever so slightly, I angled my wings, pushing myself forward. It was working, but if I was attempting to out race a snail, it would have been an evenly matched race. Note to self, get flying lessons. Trying to increase my speed, I tilted a bit more and successfully started moving at a more acceptable pace. Looking at the distance spanning ahead of me, I realized this was going to take a while.

Hours went by as the sun started to dip further towards the horizon. Focusing ahead, a few structures started to litterer the distant ground. After getting a bit closer and with the added help of squinting, I began to make out one and two story structures with small rivers running nearby. Off to the side laid a older style home with a equally large red barn, surrounded by what could have been mistaken as an apple tree forest. "Bingo" I said, cracking a smile.

Further on was a city, just below a grand castle that impossibly clung to the side of a mountain that would make any physicist roll in their graves at it's mention. Left of the mountain and it's defying architectural build, was another marvel blotching the sky, which I assumed was Cloudsdale. Being a puffy white ball of structures, puking out all those rainbow waterfalls, it was an easy guess. As great as things were starting to looking up, I first had to run a few more tests. I'd rather not get knock unconscious by a random party cannon. Because if the show is accurate about changelings, that will disrupt my form, and I'd rather get caught with my nonexistent pants down.

"I need to do this in a controlled environment where the local wildlife won’t end up with an easy meal and I don’t require headbutting a boulder." Looking back at my flank. That’s what my cutie mark is telling me! Shaking my head, “The fuck brain! Where the hell did that even come from!?” After a few minutes of silence, I got back on track to the task at hand, figuring the most closest and most reliable resource was Zecora.

Slowing down, I returned to a hover while I scanned the vegetation for the mysterious hut. As time ticked by, all I could see were more trees then I could care to count and a few faint colors that clashed against their green canopy. “Great now my eyes are playing with me. Well so much for this being easy." I sighed, turning back to Ponyville and increasing my speed as I went.

Before I could even move five feet, frantic screaming burst from somewhere below "AHHHHHH!!! SOMEPONY! ANYPONY HELP ME!" As the terrified shrieks continued, I adjusted my flight towards the pleas. Almost sounds like a child's voice. If I was a betting man, ten bucks says that the CMC are involved. As I got closer to the source, a faint blue glow with a foal outline materialized under the trees ahead of me, followed shortly by an orange snake like silhouette. "I would ask if that was normal, but I think we passed the point of rationality." I said shaking my head.

Mentally steadying myself, I took a long drawn breath through my nose, immediately regretting the motion. The sudden smell of trees and flowers assaulted my senses, reminding me of the holiday sales at perfume stores, making me reflexively gag. Then a lingering smell caught my attention, it was faint, but noticeable. Sniffing again, I did my best to block out the sweet aromas of mother nature, identifying the strange scent; sweat and feathers.

"That's interesting." I muttered, flying a few yards ahead of the fuzzy blue form. Breaking below the tree top, I landed behind a cluster of tall bushes, but ended up tripping face first in the dirt. Grumbling, I got back on all fours and shifted into a griffin, then I laid in wait.

The sounds of labored breathing and tiny hooves clattering against the forest floor became louder as the blue hue got closer. Coming into reaching distance, I quickly lunged out, grabbing a small orange filly before recoiling back to my hiding spot. Hearing a gasp of air, I clamped her little muzzle shut with a talon, forcing her to breathe through her snout.

Past the thick canopy of leaves, the orange snake glow emerged, coming down the path just taken by its prey. As the sound of scales slithered near by, the serpent shape stopped dead in it's movements looking around. After a time, it sporadically circled the area multiple times, clearly confusion in it’s movements.

Holding my breathe, I eased up on the fillies’ muzzle giving her more access to air. I could feel her heart racing a hundred miles an hour, her terrified shaking, and her fearful stare on me. Doing my best to pay her no heed, I kept most of my concentration on the creature in front of me. The orange color changed to a dark muddy red, radiating what I could feel as outright anger. Circling a few more times, it finally stopped before turning to our hiding place. Shit, so much for plan A. Looking at the filly for the first time, seeing that it was indeed a very scared Scootaloo. Her head was against my chest, so she was able to see my face. I tried to put on my best smile to reassure her. Knowing there wasn't an easy way out of this, I decided to go with plan B.

Easing her down, I raised a now free talon to my beak in a quiet motion, then towards the bushes in front of us. Still holding her muzzle, she nodded her head as much as possible in acknowledgment. Satisfied, I released my grip. Her mouth now free from its constraints, greedily gulped in the air. “Who are you?” she whispered.

“The one who saving your flank. Now be quiet!” I hissed, wishing she would have just stayed silent.

She scrunched up her brows, putting on a confident game face, trying to act tough. Though the blue aura around her said otherwise, she was practically dripping with the feeling of fear. Guess that's how changelings hunt. Turning my attention back to the red hue as it stalked closer to our position. Crouching down low, I tensed every muscle in my body. Taking in small controlled breaths, my chest clenched tight and my heart was already beginning to bursting with adrenaline. I could almost taste the blood of the serpent in my mouth and I felt my blood rushing through my head in anticipation. It was a unique feeling like no other, I wanted to kill.

The cockatrice took a while to notice the leaves that littered the ground near a few bushes, but once it did it knew its prey had to be on the other side. Creeping up slowly as not to scare off the meal, the half dragon ferociously licked its beak as the saliva flowed freely down in small streams. When it was a mere inch away, the bushes suddenly burst outwards as a much larger creature’s maw and talons dove into it’s flesh.

Scootaloo stood there quaking where the griffin left her before it had launched out of the bushes like a possessed pony. The noise of the two struggling went on for a while, before abruptly ending just a fast as it began. Fearing the worst she poked her head out into the clearing, ready to bolt at a moments notice. Upon seeing the female griffin, she let out a sigh of relief. Her savior stood over top of the cockatrice, breathing heavily with chips of stone scattered around her. Getting clear of the bushes Scootaloo took a hesitant step forward, stepping on a twig as it made a resounding *snap* under her hoof, before being swallowed up by the surrounding foliage.

No longer concerned with making noise, the orange filly finally spoke up. "Um, are you okay? I mean thanks for saving me and all, but that was really awesome, how you just, BAM! And-" Her words caught in her throat, as the griffin turned around, staring directly at her. Its beak and talons dripped small droplets of the red fluid that stained the ground where they fell. While it’s body was bathed in a crimson color. Fear flooded the little filly’s mind as she took in the full scene of the skirmish. The cockatrice's throat was ripped out, where its body was coated in multiple gouges. It’s heart still pumping blood that formed an ever growing pool around the griffin. The half bird just stood there, simply smiling at her as everything went dark.

"Well, I always told I had a way with kids." I chuckled to myself, looking down at the unconscious filly. Turning away from the passed out fluff ball, I examined the rather large cockatrice that tried to turn me to garden ornament. "Then again, I don't remember you guys being quite this big in the show, maybe the other one was just a baby." Shrugging, I reflexively licked my beak, tasting the blood that covered it, surprised by the taste “Hmm, sweet, yet bitter.” That's when my stomach prompted a reminder, that I haven't ate since coming to this world. I was already starting to feel weak as the adrenaline wore off, unknowingly looking at Scootaloo as my vision hazed..

I need nourishment, just a bit though. My body started taking unconscious steps towards her, closing the gap between us. Not much, just enough. I bent down, leaning in close, exposing a pair of fangs in my opened beak. No one would be the wiser. Laying the magical fangs on her neck, I felt the pressure of her soft hair start to give. It will be quick, she’ll be fine. Just before I could bury them, she squirmed a bit, moaning in discomfort. It was enough to snap me out of my daze. Realizing I was doing, what I almost did, I fell backwards. Frantically scooting away from her, my eyes wide, as my mind recoiled at the horror of what I nearly done to Scootaloo.

I wanted to scream, to vomit, to take the burning car crash all over again, anything to forget the memory. But I couldn’t, not here, not now. Her life was already in danger, being out here and I couldn’t put her through any more. But right now I had to eat, and I knew of one cockatrice that wouldn't protest.

“Just think of it as a really rare steak.” I kept repeating as a mantra, as I crawled over the corpse. Tearing a fresh piece of flesh away, swallowing it whole. It tasted worse than I could’ve imagined. But to me, it was a better choice than the alternative. In a way, it was a small price to pay for my crime. Eating several large bites of the beast, I was able to satisfy my hunger long enough to think straight.

Staring down at myself, the blood was already drying in splotches, caking the fur and feathers in clumps. With no water around, the best I could do was rub a few plants against myself, in hopes to transfer some of the gore off. I went to work with some leaves, but smeared the stains further.

Sighing in defeat, I turned my attention back to Scootaloo, her chest was rising slowly up and down. Sleeping soundly, completely oblivious to the crime I almost of committed to her. I could have walked away and left her alone, but something inside me told me she wouldn’t make it out alive.

Standing over top of her small form, I inhaled a deep long breath, steeling my mind. Reaching down, I hesitated for a moment, before scooping her up in my arms. Careful to arrange her face away from me. Once satisfied of her position, it was time to get moving again. I looked around at the clearing and grumbled, before getting into a semi crouch.

Upon breaking the canopy, I glanced around, finding the town of Ponyville off in the distance. The forest ending just a mile or so from where I hovered holding Scootaloo. “Don’t worry kid, you’ll be with friends soon enough.” I gently said to her, tilting my body and beginning the slow flight. "And with luck, far away from me.”

Miscommunication is universal

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***Ponyville Library***

The library’s door flung open, slamming against the far wall, as Spike staggered inside, panting heavily. "Spike, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a timberwolf, and where are the groceries?" Twilight asked, slightly annoyed at the interruption from her assistant.

"Blood. Scootaloo. Gilda. Rainbow. Dash." He got out between breaths.

Twilight’s eyes went wide at the short phrased answer. "Wait, what! Okay, just breathe tell me what happened." She said, walking towards the little dragon putting a comforting hoof on his shoulder.

After a few deep breaths, he began to tale the events of what just transpired only minutes ago. "I was shopping, just like you said. I had almost everything on the list before Gilda just landed in the middle of town. She just started yelling at everypony as they ran away. That's when she saw me. She started saying something about the hospital. To make it worse, she was covered in blood and holding Scootaloo. I was so scared Twilight, all I could do was just point. But, then she ordered me to take her there. As soon as we got there, she just barged into the hospital. I heard yelling for a while, before she came back without Scootaloo. That’s when Rainbow Dash flew down and tackled her, screaming how she wasn't going to get away with hurting Scootaloo. That’s when I came to get you." Spike finished, taking in a few deep breaths, to a now, just as shocked unicorn.


"What in Celestia's name!" Twilight yelped, her ears laying back in response of the loud noise. Walking past the nervous dragon she took a careful look around outside as a familiar blue blur flew past, as another crash rang out. “Dash! What in Equestria is going on?” She nearly shouted, quickly following the direction the Pegasus flew off too. Her eyes grew in size as she saw a blood covered griffin was doing her best to dodge the barrage of attacks by the Pegasus.

Rainbow Dash did a quick round house kick, nailing the griffin in the chest and sending it into a nearby bench, shattering the object upon contact. As the griffin tumbled away, bouncing across the ground, it struck its claws into the ground with a single talon, slowing herself to a crouching stop, shaking free the debris of the destroyed bench..

"You're going to pay for what you did to Scootaloo, Gilda!" Dash screamed out, dive bombing straight at the battered griffin.


"For the last time, my name is not G---" Was all I got out, catching the crazed Pegasus in my talons by her front hooves. Using her own momentum as a counterbalance, I chucked her onto the ground as she slid a few feet, quickly recovering on her hooves. "I don't want to hurt you! But if you keep this up you oversized chicken, I’m going to rip off your damn legs and beat you to death with them." I threatened, spitting a glob of blackened blood out, ready for another assault.

"STOP FIGHTING!" A near by voice demanded.

Breaking eye contact with the Pegasus, I looked to my left and noticed the purple unicorn for the first time. She looked completely distraught, while she was surrounded by a yellow glowing emotion aura. Unfortunately for me, Rainbow Dash took the opportunity of the distraction. Hearing a vicious battle cry, I glanced back to catch the sight of a muddy, red covered, cyan torpedo slamming into my gut, effectively knocking most of the wind out of it. I doubled over to try to catch my breath only to receive a hoof shaped uppercut.

Landing on my back, she took no time taking to the air before slamming her back hooves into my chest. I seriously think I heard cracking upon impact, but that train of thought was shortly interrupted. Feeling a heavier weight on my chest I caught sight of her front hooves that began to mercilessly bombarded my face. After a couple of strikes I was able to semi defend myself, by raising my arms to guard against the onslaught. But that just made her hit harder, which to say the least, hurt like hell. My arms were sure to fracture and snap in just a few seconds. Just as I thought I was sure to die by of the ‘Element of Butchery’, the onslaught suddenly just stopped, as her weight lifted off of me.

Carefully, I glanced around my guard, noticing that Rainbow was now several yards away from me, and wrapped in a purple haze. Even though, she wasn't my favorite of the main six, she definitely lost a rank on a very short totem poll. Eyeballing the demon with wings, I secretly wished that she wasn't necessary for Elements of Harmony to work. And if looks looks could kill, I would easily be dead twice over. Yet, for whatever reason, I couldn't help but wonder if poking her with a stick would do anything.

"What the buck Dash! This isn't like you." Twilight tried to rationalize with the angry Pegasus.

"For starters, Gilda! And the moment she comes back to town, shes covered in blood, holding Scootaloo! For Celestia’s sake Twilight, you can still see it drying on her!" Rainbow growled, not releasing her glare off me.

Bring it on cupcake. I suddenly felt the need to cause her immense pain and then some.

"Is that true, Gilda?" Twilight asked, now looking towards me as well.

My mouth dropped agape, as I was brought back from the dark thoughts. Great, even she thinks I'm that bitch bird. Though, getting my ass handed to me by Dash probably didn’t help the case of mistaken identity, even though she started it. Looking at lavender unicorn, I had to make sure that each word that come out, didn't involve me knowing who they were, or their deeds, past, and future. Because, one wrong slip, there was a huge possibility, it would lead to more questions, the involvement of a few monarchs, and blow any type of cover I was trying to have.

Picking myself up, I took a seat on the ground, gingerly rubbing my aching arms. "Like I was trying to say earlier. I have no idea who this ‘Gilda’ is, nor do I care. But, yes, I did bring a little filly to town and got a dragon to take us to the local hospital. Where last I checked, she was being treated for shock. But, instead of a simple thanks, all I get is an overzealous rainbow trying to kill me and a interrogation from…”, I paused for a moment, catching myself from saying what I wanted to, so I went with the next best answer. “I got nothing on you and considering you probably just saved my feathered hide, I’ll be nice to you. But, whatever the case maybe, and with the day I’ve had, it must be a Wednesday." I sarcastically stated, shrugging my shoulders.

"That’s a bunch of horseapples, you probably got caught hurting her and wanted to make up for it." Dash snapped. Her aura increasing into darker red as she stared at me.

Now was my turn to be confused. “What is wrong with you? Why know what? I’m done talking to you, when you get your head out of your rear, let me know.” I turned back to Twilight before continuing. “Now, as for the blood that seems to have every...pony in town all worked up. Its from a rather good sized, but now very dead cockatrice. I'm sure it's something’s dinner right about now or decomposing in the forest. But not before I had a few bites of course." I smiled, gently patting my sore stomach.

The unicorn seemed slightly repulsed by the visual thought, but it seemed to get the point across well enough. "Okay. Say, I believe you. How did you manage to get a hold of Scootaloo, hmmm?" Twilight asked, pressing the matter as the yellow glow around her grew slightly brighter.

Oh, you gotta be kidding me? Really! That the best question you could have thought of? "That's easy, the chicken snake tried to eat your Scootaloo, and I ate it, saving her life in the process. I doubt you still believe me, so why not ask her when she wakes up. Heck, I'll even stick around until then. And if you're still not satisfied, then I will give myself up, willingly." That should keep them busy, at least for awhile.

"I vote we just toss her in jail and let her rot." Dash smugly mentioned.

That idea instantly boiled my blood, reminding me all too well about the freedom I fought for, and had fought for the last two years, was about to be jeopardized by this over sized plushie with an attitude. "You dare put me in a cage like some animal, I will personally remove your entrails through your anal cavity, then hang you with them, before skinning you alive! Do I make myself clear!" I shot forth in anger, glaring at the flying nuisance. Both of the equines faces went extremely pale and Dash's aura quickly became a blue as she swallowed whatever comment she was holding back.

"But you said th-" Twilight tried to respond before I cut her off.

"I said, only if you're not satisfied with the filly's answer, not before." I snapped at the unicorn, not caring that she was one of the Elements of Harmony. That was a personal button and I was through playing their game.

A awkward silence hung over the air, giving me ample time to think. I reeled in my emotions the best I could though the anger was there lingering in the back of my mind. Something about that outburst didn't feel right and I had to fix this situation quick, or it would all be over. "Listen. I'm sorry.” I murmured.

“What?” Twilight replied, tilting her head to the side not budging from her spot.

Taking a deep breath I voiced my reply. “I said I’m sorry. But being imprisoned for doing nothing other than saving a life and defending myself is wrong on so many levels. I have been without food for the last two days, besides the cockatrice, which didn't do anything other than quell my appetite. On top of that I'm dirty, tired, injured, interrogated, and have no idea where the Tartarus I am. So yeah...I’m a bit stressed." Bending my head down in defeat. I had to keep the lies up, but in a sense I was lost, and hungry even though I just recently ate. Something was nagging at my senses on a food source and I didn’t like the idea or where it was going.

Twilight lowered her friend down while shifting in place unsure on where to go with the recent events from what I could tell. But after a few more awkward minutes, Dash decided to say something. "How do we know you won't fly away the first chance you get."

Shaking my head, "I won't fly away, and with the speed you had tackled me with, I doubt I will get very far if I even tried." I replied.

"I am, the fastest flier in Equestria after all.” She boasted hovering in the air. “But, I don't believe you won't at least try.” Edging closer to my slumped form.

"I won't."

"And I still don't believe you." Dash moved extremely close to where I sat, almost daring me to try something.

Shrugging my shoulder, "believe what you want, but what I’m telling you is the truth. Heck, if you want, you can keep an eye on me, till the filly gives you her side of the story." I suggested, giving her something to chew on.

Twilight just sat there listening to our conversation going back and forth, oblivious to the crowd that was starting to form around the scene. Finally she decided to make a decision to end the squabbling. "Alright, Rainbow Dash will keep an eye know, we never did get your name.”

“That’s cause you never asked, then again hard it's to exchange pleasantries when you’re getting your faced smashed in by this thing here.” I commented, pointing to the already too close Pegasus.

“HEY!” Dash barked, not in the least bit amused.

Twilight ignored her friend for a moment, “True we can at least introduce ourselves.” She sat up straight placing a hoof on her chest. “My name is Twilight Sparkle and this here is Rainbow Dash.” She finished pointing towards the suspect.

“Right, well as much as it is a pleasure to meet you and this thing, I rather not give out my name until I’ve at least had a bath.” I said, feeling a tad uncomfortable with the growing crowd and the fact I didn’t really have a name thought up yet.

"That’s not fair!” Rainbow almost growled in my face.

“And neither is getting dealing with you!” I snapped back.

Twilight yelled loud enough to get our attention. “Girls calm down, or do I need to separate you two?”

“Fine!” Dash growled, backing up a bit and folding her forelegs “But, if you take one wrong move I'm putting you down! You got that."

"Fair enough. Though as much as being covered in blood doesn't bother me and I don't think the rest of the town approves." I mentioned, pointing at the gathered crowd.

"Oh good point." Twilight nervously laughed just now realizing all the ponies that came to look at what was going on near her home. "I'll head to the hospital and will let you know when Scootaloo is awake and able to talk. Till then Dash treat her as a guest and not a criminal. Would you mind taking her to your place Rainbow and I'll go check on---"

"YES!" both me and Dash said in unison, though I was pretty sure it was for different reasons.

"That was creepy. So whats wrong with your place?." she asked looking at the Pegasus while raising an eyebrow.

"I'm not taking her to my place, simple as that." Dash replied without much more of explanation.

With that, Twilight looked at me obviously waiting for an answer, but I didn't plan to give it away freely with just a look.

"Well." she plainly stated. She didn't seem to be budging anytime soon and in truth I got tired of smelling like I did with everyone standing around us.

"I'm afraid of heights," I whispered.

She took a step closer, turning her ears towards me. "What was that?"

Knowing I wasn't getting out of this and the daredevil next to me was already cracking up, I looked over to Twilight before saying a bit louder. "I said, I'm afraid of heights." Dash on the other hand, or hoof in this case, burst into a combination of laughs and snorts.

Twilight, along with the rest of the crowd, seemed to be struggling to contain their laughter, though the look I shot them seem to help them regain their senses. She hesitated a moment, swallowing the last of her giggles before responding. "Oh, well that's different. If you’d like, you can use my shower."

Looking down at my appearance, the only thing that was semi clean was the bottom of my paws. The rest of me caked in either blood or dirt, and in some places, a bit of both. "If you don't mind, I would appreciate it. Otherwise, I will just ask my warrant officer to bring me down a rain cloud." I said pointing a claw at the cyan chicken hovering next to me. A small mischievous grin crept her face, leaving me a bit confused till I recalled her spin dry. "But, I have a feeling skinning her would be back on the table." Giving her a dirty look that erased her smile.

"So yeah, the library sounds like a good idea." Dash nervously chuckled, rubbing the back of her neck.

"Good, its settled. After your shower, feel free to walk around. Just please don't leave town until we get all the facts straight." Twilight requested.

Nodding my head in acknowledgment, I got up and walked towards the library, taking notice of the different variety of auras surrounding the gathered ponies. As I neared the center of the ponies they parted ways giving me a wide birth, some ready to make a mad dash at the slightest hint of aggression.

Even though the library stood less than a couple of dozen feet in front of me, I paused in place recalling how I told them I was rather new to the area and still unsure of where I was. Continuing to play dumb I looked back at Dash gesturing for her to take the lead. The Pegasus just rolled her eyes before flying past me warning me to keep up.


Twilight watched as Dash lead the rather odd griffin to her house. With the situation somewhat under control, she released a long sigh before addressing the crowd. "Okay everypony, nothing to see here. Please go back to whatever you was doing." After a few groans here and there they finally dispersed, leaving the unicorn alone. Turning around to go to the hospital, a flash of pink and two bright blue eyes entered her field of vision. “GAH!” she exclaimed, falling onto her back, Twilight then got the full few of her friend smiling wide at her. "Pinkie! Seriously don't sneak up on ponies like that." She groaned getting back to her hooves.

"Oh Twilight, you silly filly. Why would I sneak up on ponies other than to surprise them.” She giggled before perking her head up looking around. “Oh by the way have you seen any pony new? Cause I heard there was a new pony in town and that means I have to make friends with them and throw them a welcome to Ponyville party cause everypony loves parties!" She talked bouncing around the lavender unicorn.

"Yes, I just got done sending her to my place to get cleaned up and she is actually a griffin. But right now, considering everything that she has been through so far, I think its best if we gave her some space for now. Besides that Scootaloo is in the hospital a-.” Twilight explained before getting cut off.

The pink mare’s hair slightly deflated, “Oh no! What happened? Is she okay?”

“That’s what I’m going to find out. Besides I'm sure she could use some cheering up. I’ll fill you in on what I know along the way.” The unicorn said walking towards the hospital.

"Okie dokie" Pinkie replied taking her spot beside Twilight who went over everything that just transpired.


Spike was busy stacking a few books that was cluttering the floor when a knock on the door drew his attention. "Doors open" He called out, picking up the now finished stack before shuffling to a near by shelf categorizing each tomb as he went.

Dash flew inside the library to hover just above the dragon. "Hey Spike, we need to use the shower." She said as I walked in, taking in the sight of the library.

"What do you mean w--" he started before dropping the books in front of him. Slightly shocked while looking at me, he pointed a claw up the stairs stuttering as he spoke. "The s-s-shower is up the st-st-s-stairs, first du-d-door on the left."

"Thanks much" I replied, walking 5past him with a blood covered smile and a slight limp, even though I was trying my best not to show I was in pain.


"N-n-no pr-problem." Spike said, forcing a smile. But, as soon as the upstairs door closed and running water could be heard, he looked over to Rainbow Dash. "What did I miss?"

"Seems Twilight thinks its okay for Gilda to walk around and not be behind bars after everything that’s happened. Odd part is, that feather brain thinks she can fool us by saying she isn’t Gilda, even though she looks and sounds a just like her.” Dash explained as she lower herself to the ground.

“Okay so why is she here?”

“For now just taking a show, its best if we just---" Dash was replying before their conversation got cut off from shriek upstairs.


“Everything okay up there?” Dash yelled up.

A few moments went by before the voice replied sounding a bit flustered. “Yeah, everything is good. Just fine, had a minor incident with the water works.”

The two just stared dumbfounded for a moment before giggling. Spike was the first to say anything, “Wow, I didn’t know anyone sound that happy when taking a shower besides Twilight.” Shrugging as he looked back to the Pegasus.

"Right. Wait? What!?" Dash’s wings fluttered a bit before she corrected herself quickly changing the subject, though the blush in her cheeks didn’t quite go away as easily. "Anyway, don't worry about Gilda. I'm keeping an eye on her till Scoots wakes up and then we can go from there. But, I tell you Spike, something about her just seems off." Silently wondering why half of her attacks didn’t at least break a few of the griffin’s bones or why she wasn’t walking in extreme pain.

"I know what you mean. She seemed actually concerned about getting Scootaloo to the hospital. Speaking of which, did she actually thank me for telling her where the bathroom was?" He asked scratching his head.

"Like I said it doesn’t make sense, especially for a her,” recalling how Gilda normally acted, ”not to mention a griffin.” Dash replied rubbing a hoof under her chin. "Also, what exactly happened with Scootaloo?"

On queue, Spike began retelling his side of the story starting with how he was shopping for groceries before the griffin showed up.


***Upstairs bathroom***

As the water heated up to a reasonable temperature, I decided to try changing to a human form. The green flames took their hold and left me standing there as a short haired female that only stood a little over five feet. Looking into the mirror, a woman with green eyes stared back. “Fate, why must you continue to plague me?” I asked the reflection.

Getting no reply, I silently sighed before stepping into the small tub. Being shorter then normal I still stood about a foot taller then the shower head. Which luckily for me seemed to be detachable. Wiping away the blood and dirt as the water cascaded down my frame, I turned to get more of my back before bumping the shower head with my elbow, where it fell to bottom of the tub in between my legs shooting straight up. “OH HOLY HELL!” I practically screamed, quickly picking up the offending shower head.

As I was putting the head back on its hanger I heard Dash ask from a distance. “Everything okay up there?”

Securing the shower head in place, I finally responded, even though I was a bit flustered at what just happened. Not hearing any sounds of hoof steps, I continued to shower making sure not to repeat the same mistake twice.

Ten minutes went by quickly as I finished cleaning as much as I could with my hands, before utilizing the local scrub brush and body wash that smelt of flowers of some sort. Thoroughly rinsing the soap off, I turned off the water before grabbing a folded towel near by. Briskly drying myself off, I dropped the towel in the cloths hamper before analyzing all the black and blue marks covering my body, generally poking a few here and there. After a bit, I switched back to the griffin form and walked over to the fogged up mirror. Wiping off the condensation, the finished product of the transformation stared back at me. I looked almost identical to Gilda including the chest marking. "That won’t do,” I spoke aloud. After some experimentation I finally got the markings to change into more of a red hue instead of the purple. “There we go, much better. Hopefully no one payed close attention while I was covered in blood." I snickered recalling whole ordeal.

I was extremely lucky they didn’t push for a name, so may as well use a couple from a book I use to read, should be good enough as long as they don't press the matter too much. Insuring everything in my form was correct and there was no telltale signs of changeling magic in my eyes, I turned to head downstairs. Opening the door, I could make out a the hushed voices of Dash and Spike finishing up whatever story they were discussing at the moment. Once I emerged at the top of the stairs they both went quiet, eying me with a hint of confusion.

"Sorry if I interrupted anything, don't mind me." I stated, walking down the stairs on my hind legs dropping to all fours once I reached the bottom. "Oh by the way, I rinsed out the tub the best I could so its ready to go for whoever." I casually mentioned strolling over to one of the book shelves avoiding eye contact with the bewildered group.

Grabbing a random book off the shelf I flicked it open to scan over a few pages before closing it. Selecting another I repeated the process a few more times, before giving up by placing the tomb back in place. So much for hoping this would be easy. Silently protesting my luck I turned around with the two still staring at me. "Um, did I miss a spot?" Scanning over the fur and feathers checking for any type of blood or dirt clinging to me.

"How did you do it?" Rainbow asked, while Spike followed up with a head nod in agreement.

"Did what? Take a shower? I didn’t think it was that hard of a concept.” I said sarcastically, a bit annoyed that they where still just staring at me without any real reasons at this point.

“You're completely dry, even I can't do that without flying around for a while.” Dash explained walking around me scanning every inch of me. “Yet, here you are, with not a single damp spot on you. And to top it off, not a single feather is out of place." She finished as she plopped down in front of me.

Shit didn't think about that one. Okay just remain calm you can salvage this just think of something. Slightly concerned I felt a few beads of sweat starting to form, desperate to fall down my face. Forcing a smile, I quickly spurted out. "I always dried fast, as for the feather they pretty well maintain themselves."

The little dragon was the first to respond to my half lie. "Wow, Twilight would love to have an ability like that, it takes her hours to dry her hair without a spell."

Dash on the other hand, or hoof in this case, wasn't buying it by the look she was giving me, but kept her muzzle shut. Ignoring her, I looked over to the little dragon, "Well thanks again Spike for the hospitality." I said, smiling to him raising my talon.

“It was no biggy.” He said as he grasped my extended talon with a chubby claw. “Wait, how did you know my name?”

I chuckled to no one on in particular. “Dash said it earlier when we entered.”

“Oh right.”

"Thanks again for letting me use the shower and for showing me where the hospital was earlier. But if its okay with my warden, I would like some fresh air." I said before releasing my grip before turning my attention to the Pegasus.

Dash hopped up into the air hovering just inches from me. "Thought you were hungry.” She stated more of a fact then that of a question.

Keeping calm, I found once again my personal bubble being pierced for the third time today. Why do I get the feeling this is going to be an ongoing thing. Straightening up, I decided to try another experiment to see if there is a dominance deal with Pegasi, only problem with that is I had to look into the eyes of the thing that almost ended me less then half an hour ago. "Oh, I still am, but the lack of currency only gets me so far. Besides, this isn't the first time I went without food for a few days. And on that note, I also prefer to work for my meals." I finished looking deep into her magenta eyes.

We stood like that for a bit before Spike broke the tension spoke up. "I'm sure Twilight wouldn't mind sharing some of her food and you could pay her back in no time."

Opening my mouth to argue, but my stomach protested against my attempt. Making sure not to break eye contact, I replied to his offer. "If you don't think she will mind, then I would like something to eat, and I will pay her back as soon as possible. Also, would you mind making it a to go order?”

From my peripherals, I saw him nod before walking through an open door which I guess led to the kitchen. Dash and I stayed this way for a bit, neither one of us breaking eye contact. It was like a really bad staring contest. Once he came back with a picnic basket, I knew she would win if I didn’t finish this quickly. Then a dumb idea struck my head, while taking in my breath I took a bit more air as if to yawn. Having filled up my lungs, I blew a quick blast of air into her eyes.

Dash, caught by surprised, flew a bit backward rubbing out her eyes from the sudden gust. “Hey, that’s cheating.” She nearly growled.

I couldn’t help but smile at the cheap shot. “Didn’t know we had a competition going on. Besides, I got tired of you eying me like a piece of candy.” I finished up before accepting the basket from Spike. Dash was just now putting two and two together and had a slight blush to her cheeks. “Thanks for the food Spike, I’ll bring the basket back later today.” I said waving a small good bye as I left the tree house like structure with Dash flying close behind me.

Stepping outside I put the basket down and addressed the colorful gnat behind me. "Listen, I get the feeling you don't like me, and I can respect. Then again I'm not a fan of yours either, but if you're going to have to follow me around, can you at least try to act like civilized?” I asked, getting an annoyed snort as a response.

"Fine, suit yourself," I said. Looking around I found a creme colored mare with pinkish hair and a single rose as a cutie mark. Walking up behind her as she tended to a flower bed, I cleared my throat to get her attention. “Pardon me ma’am,” as she turned around to face her eyes quickly turned went to pinpricks. Ignoring her reaction, I asked a couple of questions and after awhile, the blue aura the was around her slowly dissipated to more pale yellow color. I ended up having a rather pleasant conversation with her on the weather and the green house that she owned nearby. Eventually I brought the conversation to a close by asking for directions to a local park. Getting the info, I bid her farewell before collecting the basket and going about my merry way.

Along the walk, I took mental notes on my surroundings from the placement of the buildings, to more noticeable landmarks. Including a few that I would need to visit later and any possible areas I could use for cover if things got complicated. Following Roseluck’s directions, I easily made it to the park and found a nice shady spot underneath a tree. Plopping against the trunk, I turned my attention to the basket. Removing the cover I found a nice, yet odd layout that involved a couple of apples, two cucumber sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes, three cupcakes, and a small container of fruit punch.

Starting with one of the sandwiches I quickly scarfed it down. I wasn't a big fan of vegetables, but I was hungry enough not to complain too much. Surprisingly, the aftertaste didn't seem that bad when compared to the vegetables from home. Taking a hesitant bite out of a cupcake, my eyes snapped opened in shock. I practically inhaled two out of the three cupcakes, only to stop on the third to realization something this good can't be healthy. Laying the last pastry back in the basket, I picked up a rather red apple, only to slowly nibble on it. It was a rather simple meal, but was enough to fill me up for the time physically, but I still hungered for some odd reason.

Leaving the rest in the basket, I heard a growl directly above me causing me to look up. There on a tree branch perched like a hawk was my little keeper Dash. "Hungry?" I asked with a slight smirk etched on my face.

"Nah, I can wait. Somepony has to keep an eye on you and I'm not letting you out of my sight for one second." She replied folding her forelegs together.

"Right, well if you want something to eat, here is some extra food." I remarked tossing her the basket before she could protest. "If you need me I’ll be over there." I said, pointing a claw to the open space nearby and leaving her to own devices.

Reaching the clearing under the sun, I moved around feeling the earth below my pads and talons before picking a comfortable spot. Once satisfied, I crossed my hind legs, which was a tad harder than I last remembered, but dealt with it making sure not to pinch my tail in the process. Comfortable, I closed my eyes and began to breathe in slow steady breaths while I took in the sweet clean air. Once calm physically, I moved onto my other senses, closing out each one the best I could. Satisfied with everything, I began to reflect on the past days events and how to proceed from here.


Dash sat on her makeshift seat while keeping a close eye on the ‘guest’. While she was busily snipping away the rest of her juice, she heard her name being called out from below. Looking down, she saw Twilight looking back up at her. "Hey, whats up? Did squirt finally wake up?" she asked descending down next to the mare.

"Yep, seems the griffin was telling the truth after all.” Twilight replied absentmindedly. “You may want to at least apologize to her attacking her and it seems Pinkie is already setting her up a party back at the library.

"Oh come on, what was I suppose to do? She was covered in blood and I heard that she had Scootaloo." Dash almost pouted.

"As much as I would want to argue about what it looked like, we can't deny the facts. It was a honest mistake Dash, just go and tell her you're sorry."

"Fine, but only after I check on Scoots, and how did you know where we were anyway?" Dash asked raising her eyebrow.

"Oh, on my way back from the hospital, I ran into Roseluck. She mentioned that I might find you two over here." Twilight smiled towards her friend.

"Guess that makes sense, well I’m off to the hospital see you ya at the party." She said taking off leaving a rainbow streak behind.

Twilight remained in the shade of the tree for a short while studying the griffin as she sat perfectly still, reminding the unicorn of a decorative statue back in Canterlot. "Well Twilight,” she said to nopony in particular. “You won’t make friends just by sitting around," She said. putting on her best smile she trotted up to the clearing, stopping just a few feet short of the griffin. "Hello Miss, I'm so sorry for the mix up earlier. We were just taken in by the whole ordeal without getting facts and overreacted to the situation." No reply. Ok, maybe she is still upset. Twilight thought before continuing on. "I think we should start over fresh, my name is Twilight Sparkle, personal protege to Princess Celestia." She finished holding up her hoof. Still nothing. She could see the griffin slowly breathing. Curiosity started to take root in her mind at the stillness and lack of response from the griffin before her.

The silenced lengthened at the odd pair, till the lavender unicorn had inched closer trying a new approach. "Hello? Can you hear me? Do you mind if I get a feather? No? Okay thanks." Grabbing a small secondary feather in her purple aura, she quickly yanked it out.


"Ahhh, what the hell!" I screamed snapping back to reality from what felt like someone had just yanked out a few strands of my hair out.

"Oh, you're up, that's good. I asked if I could have a feather and since you didn't say no, I just took a small one." She beamed at me mischievously. Not noticing the flicker of green the feather gave off beside her.

I on the other hand, noticed right it away and had to get that feather back. "Well, I was in deep thought. Thank. You. Very. Much.” I replied rubbing the tender area on my wing. “And next time just nudge me or something instead of plucking me like a chicken. Speaking of which, even if I didn't give permission doesn't mean you can take samples." Holding up my talon waiting to get the feather back.

Taking longer than I liked she finally placed it back in my grasp. Once back in my possession I clutched it tightly, noticing it crumbling rather easily under the pressure, but I didn't dare look at it with the unicorn so close. "Thank you. So what happened to my little shadow? Did she run off?" I asked, looking where Dash previously was perched.

"Huh? Oh you mean Rainbow Dash! No no, she went to the hospital to see Scootaloo. The little filly woke up earlier and was telling everypony what happened. So we kind of owe you an apology." She nervously chuckled.

"Eh, don't worry about it." I waved a dismissive talon in the air. "It was a simple misunderstanding and everything turned out fine. Oh before I forget, your assistant gave me some food, so I actually owe you some free work." I stated while doing a full stretch, grinding the piece of wing into the ground during the process.

Feeling a few satisfying pops in my aching joints, I glanced around for the picnic basket. I caught a glimpse of the red and white checkered cover sticking out near the tree's canopy.

"What? No, you're fine, saving that little filly more then makes up for it. I never did get your name though." Twilight said trying not to grimace from the cracking sounds emitted from my back during my stretch.

Walking towards the tree, I smiled knowing that I semi prepared for this line of questions. Standing up to get a hold of the basket I looked back to the waiting unicorn. "Name's Wren."

"Oh, that's a unique name." She smiled trotting up to me. "So you have anywhere to stay for the night?"

"Nope, figured I would just head out once my name was cleared." Which was the original plan, but with the way my luck has been running, supplies or not, staying here too much longer would only get riskier as time went on

"But its getting late!” Twilight protested at my idea.

Looking back at horizon, the sun was starting to fall into the hills, but I still had a good hour of daylight life. “And your point being?” I asked confused on what the big deal seemed to be.

“Are you not worried about traveling at night?”

“Wouldn’t be the first time and I doubt it will be the last, besides, it has its own charm.” I finished recalling all the late night operations and strolls I made back home when I needed time to myself.

“You are definitely an odd griffin, but why don't you stay at my place for the night. Its the least I could do for everything that has happened." She said walking in front of me and took the basket from my grasp in her magic.

"You already gave me a free meal, and I rather not impose on my welcome."

"I insist." She said smiling in a way that kind of creeped me out.

"Why do I get the feeling I'm not getting out of this?"

"You're smarter then you look. Oh, I mean-I didn't mean-ah shoot." Twilight ears fell back as her cheeks blushed up in embarrassment.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the adorableness of it all and figured I could add more fuel to the fire. “You know, you’re cute when you’re flustered.” I said, smiling wide while locking my gaze into her eyes.

"I...I mean…I didn’t...” Twilight sputtered while back pedaling, nearly turning a new shade of purple. I couldn’t help but laugh till my sides hurt. This caused her to see the joke before chuckling a bit herself. “You're really not Gilda. Though I have to say, you sound and look almost like her, though there are a few minor details that separate you two."

Wiping away the few tears that had formed, I replayed, "I’ll have to take your word for it. But considering the way Dash used me for a punching bag, I have to assume she holds a grudge towards her." I lied as rubbed one of the recent bruises on my face.

"You could say that, but it's best if you heard the story from her. After all, Gilda use to be Rainbow's friend." Twilight sunk her head at the memory of events.

"I may have to do that." I stated, before changing to a more important topic "So, I don't suppose you have any maps back at your place by chance."

"Oh yes, I have a few. In fact, I even have some predating the forming of Equestria. Did you know that before Princess Luna banishment she actually had a---" Twilight switch into lecture mode and I quickly drowned her out. But, after a few minutes that involved the variations of quills used by scribes to the breakthrough of everlasting ink, I had to cut her off.

"Um, Twilight nothing personal. But, its a bit late for a history lesson on maps and their creation." I said smiling at the little tutor.

"Oh hehe, sorry. I sometimes get carried away." She said blushing once again.

"I understand where you are coming from, but there is a time and place for all things.”

"So why were you in the Everfree Forest to begin with?" She asked.

"Passing through really, I didn't really have a true destination, just got a case of wanderlust."

"Really, you have to tell me of your travels." She beamed excitedly.

"Nothing really special about them. Besides that I'm sure you already know quite a bit from all those books you have access to." I said feeling a bit nervous from the possibility of having to use references from fanfics to substitute to what may really be out there including the changeling hive.

"But personal experiences are so much more insightful. Though now that you mention it, I don't hear about many griffins that would risk their life to help somepony in why did you?" She asked stopping me dead in my tracks causing her to look back. "Wren? Is everything okay?"

I sighed, before answering to the unicorn. "I can't speak for others Twilight, but leaving someone to die is the same as killing them yourself. I have caused enough death to realize that the only real way to die is in battle saving another. I have lived that way for the last ten years and have yet to waiver from the course, regardless of the situation." I finished my talons forced into a tight fist. After a moment I released my fist before continuing past her trying to rid myself of the past memories.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything bad about it." She said while tears started to form in her eyes threatening to fall at any moment.

Hearing a sobbing noise behind me I turned back to see Twilight beginning to cry. Great you ass, you made her cry. Well when in Rome. Walking towards her, I surprised her by quickly pulled her into a tight hug while whispering in her ear. "This is not your burden to bear, you didn't know and couldn't have known. So lets put the past in the past and not worry about it, okay?" Getting a nod from the mare I released her from my grip, wiping a few of her tears away with my talon. Once she recovered we continued on our way keeping any conversations to a minimum.

As the library came into view a variety of colors moved around inside the light-less tree, getting me pause as we approached. But, once we got closer the auras took shape of ponies as they moved into a semi circle against the back wall facing the library entrance. Now that I thought about it, I have yet to be mauled by Pinkie Pie, but I got the feeling that was about to change.

Twilight entered first walking into the dark lit room with me following close behind her. Stopping in the center of the structure, my eyes quickly adjusted to the lack of adequate lighting as dozens of ponies materialized in the center of the glowing colors. Are they even trying to hide? Eh, may as well play along. Keeping a calm voice I spoke to the unicorn, "Listen Twilight as much as I enjoy playing hide and seek with furniture, where are the lights?"

As on queue the I heard the familiar flick of switch as the lights flooded the room, while a unison of a good two dozen ponies yelling "SURPRISE!"

"GAH!" I stumbled a step back covering my eyes, not realizing how good Twilight’s lighting worked till it was too late.

"Oh, were you surprised cause this was meant to be a surprise ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party. Cause you see I heard about a new pony in town today and knew that if there was somepony new in town I had to make them my friend and then I found out it was a griffin and the last party I threw for a griffin didn't go well at first but then I heard how you rescued Scootaloo and then I thought maybe you weren't a bad griffin and thought to throw you a 'Thank you for saving Scootaloo Party' even though you were going to get a 'Welcome to Ponyville Party' because everyone gets a welcome party which made this a double party." Pinkie Pie excitably said, hopping up and down in front of me.

Blinking a few times to clear the dots in my sight, I wasn’t quite sure what the hell Pinkie just said, but went with it all the same. "Um okay then? I'm guessing your the reason for the party." I stated it more of a fact then anything as the hyperactive pony nodded her head vigorously.

"Yepperoni," She replied while wearing a huge smile that defied her facial structure. “My name is Pinkie Pie,” she finished lifting her hoof up in front of her for a hoof shake.

"Thanks Miss Pie, but I don't plan on staying too long, yet the gesture appreciated." I said returning a smiling as I took hold of her hoof.


Feeling like I just latched onto a few live wires I quickly yank my talon back, shaking it to try to get rid of the numb tingling feeling that occupied the limb while suppressing a few choice words under my breathe. Giving the party pony a small glare of amusement, I should have seen that one coming.

"Pinkie!" Twilight barked.

The hyperactive pony's mane slightly deflated like she just been kicked. Quickly I interjected, "Its okay Miss Sparkle. I don't mind too much, as shocking as it was,” getting a giggle from Pinkie at the lame pun, “but if you don't mind Miss Pie, could we keep the pranks down to a minimum? I had enough surprises to last me a good week and then some." I finished as her mane popped back up.

"See, I knew she wasn't a grumpy griffin." Pinkie giggled, before hopping over to the punch bowl.

Turning my attention back to Twilight I said, “Well may as well enjoy the party, before getting to bed.” Which she gave a short nod with a smile.

As the hours flew by, I was introduced to the rest of the main six and a few others that gained the courage to say hello, others I had to hunt down myself. Fluttershy was rather meek as expected, but she seemed overall happy to meet a friendly griffin. Rainbow Dash was still giving me a stink eye. Applejack gave me a slightly cold look during introductions, but was nice enough not say anything. Rarity was inquiring about latest fashions for griffins, which I had no clue on, so I gave her my wanderlust excuse and have yet to make it back to the griffin kingdom. Pinkie Pie kept dragging me around to all the games which were rather simple enough, though no one could beat her at ‘Pin the Tail on the Pony’. As for Spike, he fell asleep pretty early and was put to bed.

Meeting a few of the background ponies, I figured tomorrow I should go search for the rest that I wanted to meet. Roseluck seemed to be a bit more friendly as we talked about what my plans were for the next few days, but as the night lengthened, the party slowly died down as the guests left one by one, going about their way home.

As the last of the party goers left, I finished swallowing another cupcake, then walked up to the lavender unicorn as she waved goodbye to all her guests. She closed the door and bumped into me when she turned around. We both stared at each other which was becoming something awkward till I interrupted the tension. "Hey Twilight, some party.” Smooth Casanova.

“Yes it was, but that’s expected at Pinkie Pie’s parties.” She said shuffling slightly in place with a blush slightly on her cheeks.

Taking a step back to avoid making this anymore uneasy, I finally regained my senses on what I wanted to ask. “Not to bother you further tonight, but do you have any beginners books around here, as well as a map I could borrow for a few while?"

Her ears perked up quickly at the reminder of earlier request. “Oh right! Hmm, lets see, I got a few maps in the back that I don't use. As for books, what type are you looking for exactly?" She said heading into a near by room.

"Oh just the basics really, flying would be a good start. Something preferable with detailed pictures." I said walking towards a shelf, scanning the book spines as I went, figured getting an idea on how to fly was better than experimenting aimlessly.

"I think I got a few on flight, though I don't see why you want something with pictures." Twilight slightly yelling back from the other room.

"I'm a visual learner." I quickly replied turning around as I heard her walking back into the room.

"Oh, well that makes sense." She said with a large scroll in tow. Putting it on the nearby table she snatch a hardbound book off one of the shelves sliding it towards me.

Taking it into my talons, I looked at cover that was decorated in few scribbles on it’s surface. Opening it, I began to shift through the pages until I found a picture. Though, instead of flight, it was one of a plant. Ignoring it, I flicked through a few more noticing one after another showed nothing, but of different types of vegetation and irrigation systems. Fuck I looked up at Twilight knowing I been had. She sat there with a smug grin spread across her face. "This isn't about flying." I said closing the book, hoping to pass it off as a bad joke.

"No it isn't. But, I would like you to read the title."

"And why do I have to read it off to you?"

"Cause I don't think you can and you won't be getting this until you do." the unicorn said taking the suspected map back in her magic pulling it closer to her.

Is she blackmailing me to learn? May as well give it the college try I guess. "Plants and irrigation systems for beginners?" I replied weakly.

"No but that wasn't a bad guess. You really can't read can you?" She said sounding rather disappointed.

Signing, I placed the book down on the center table before responding, "What gave it away?" I asked, mentally going through different scenarios on how to get out of town with the map and not have a angry unicorn hot on my tail, much less the princesses themselves.

"I had a hunch considering you were looking at the shelf that had all the books on flying right in front of you." She said, pointing a lavender hoof at a section of books behind me.

“Talk about giving myself away,” I chuckled. “But seriously, I don’t want to be stuck here in town for months trying to learn to read. So is there anyway we can just forget this happened and I can get that map?”

“Nope, not happening.” Twilight said shaking her head.

Great this put a damper on things. “Listen Miss Sparkle, we have a few options since learning to read isn’t on my top priority list due to my own time constraints. One, you give into my request, two, I take the map by force.” That option made the unicorn take a step back, but I knew it wasn’t really an option though she didn’t need to know that. “And three, I walk away. So which would you prefer?” I asked leaning slightly against the center table thumbing my claws against its harden surface.

After a few silent moments she shook her head before responding. “I can’t really stop you from leaving, but at the same time I see that you’re not really wanting to stay here in Ponyville long term.” She levitated the scroll towards me.

Snatching the map out of the air I unrolled it looking at the landmarks dotted across. Hearing a sniffle, I looked up to see that once again Twilight was crying while staring at me. A ping of guilt once again grabbed my heart.

I rolled the scroll up before I laid it down on the table. I walked up to her as she tried to take a step back. Snatching her limb as she tried to get away, I pulled her into a tight embrace letting her cry down my back. After a moment of feeling her fear tension subside, I once again whispered to her. “I’m sorry. If you can forgive me I, will be willing to spend a week here in town. And in that time, you can teach me a bit before I leave.” She was slightly quivering against me but nodded on my shoulder. “If you feel more comfortable, I will sleep outside since I feel I may have overstepped my boundaries with you.” I said as I let her go.

She didn’t respond while she whipped away her tears. Leaving her alone, I went to the front door before it took on a velvet glow and made a locking sound. Looking back, she was staring at me with reddened eyes with her horn aglow. “Are you sure?” I asked her while she nodded her head in response, before letting her magic fade. “Thanks Twilight it--,” was all I could say before being tackled by the mare in a hug.

“It’s whats friends are for,” she said holding tight.

This was rather shocking considering I just threatened her bodily harm for a piece of parchment. I returned the hug and smiled to myself before something new dawned on me. “Um Twilight, as nice as hugging your soft coat is, we are in a rather awkward position.”

“Huh?” She replied as she looked down to see that she was laying on top of me. It took a second for the light to come on in her head, before her cheeks lit up to a cherry red. She quickly got off started to sputter something that I could only assume was an apology.

I couldn't help but giggle at her embarrassment as I got up off the floor. “I think its best if we get some sleep and go from there tomorrow.” I suggested and received a half nod from the purple mare that was trying to avoid looking at me.

"I think that would be for the best." She said, her blush slightly increasing more than I thought possible.

We stood there for a good minute, neither of us saying a word nor looking one another in the eye. Finally I decided to ask an important question. “Um Twilight."

"Yes Wren?" She said shifting in place.

"Where's the guest room?”