From Under the Love Seat

by Lightstruck

First published

A foal abandoned for his own good. It is found by two ponies who never knew what they were in for. What could possibly happen?

Willow and Shield led a rather normal life, nothing out of the ordinary. Until one night, strange sounds wake them out of their slumber. What are they to do with the young foal they have found?

Featured July 2019! (Found out recently)

Art by -
Ambris Art (Cover)
Pridark (Grieving Together)

Please forgive my inconsistency with the childrens vernacular. I feed on feedback so please leave comments, good or bad.

Violence and death tags are there to warn but violence does not play a major role in story nor do they have anything to do with one another. :fluttershysad:

Shivering Cold

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One of the residents ear twitched whilst they slept.


“Hmmm? You say some'n hon?” A stallion asked sleepily whilst raising his head.

“Go back to sleep,” his mare muttered.


“I think something might be hurt out there.” The stallion yawned as he rolled out of bed onto the cold floor. He cursed the weather team for this late fall downpour. He shook his light blue and white striped mane back. “I’ll be back hon.”

“Mhmm.” His bed mate rolled over trying to get back the perfect comfy she once had.
The dark grey unicorn stallion descended the stairs leading to the entrance hall. He had lived here many many years and didn't even need light to navigate the home. Even without conscious thoughts he knew to skip the fourth step from the bottom to avoid the loud groan from the wood.


He looked through the window lining the door to the porch. Sitting just at the top of the stairs outside was a tiny equine silhouette. It raised its head upward.


“Oh sweet Celestia! There’s a foal out there!” The stallion flicked the switches for both the inside and outside lights simultaneously. He quickly opened up the door to help the poor lost soul. The scrambling of hooves was heard as the foal dove under the patio furniture.


“Hello?” The stallion looked around for the source of the sound. “It's ok little one, I’m not gonna hurt you.”


‘Ah there you are!’ He thought to himself. Lying down on his belly he peeked under the outdoor couch.

The rain decided now was a good time to quicken its pace. Thunder and lightning also decided to make their appearance.

“Come on out little one.” A pair of entirely light blue glowing eyes stared back at him.
‘Are they blind with cataracts or something?’
“Dear is everything ok?”

The figure under the couch glanced quickly at the new voice before returning to the stallion.


“It’s ok. It's ok. Sh sh sh shhh.”

“What is it?” The mare asks.

“It’s a foal, but they’re extraordinarily scared.” The stallion shivered a bit. “It's getting colder and I have no idea how long they’ve been out here.”

At that moment the foal expelled a small sneeze, Achu.

“Oh no the poor things gonna get sick, we have to help them.” The mare sat next to her stallion and draped a wing over his back.

He sat back up and leaned into the embrace. “I could just yank them out with magic but that’s probably make things worse.”

She rubbed her snout into his shoulder, “Yeah that could be bad.”

They turned their attention back to the couch to see a small black snout poking out. It was sniffing the air almost desperately. The small up down motions with each small sniff were adorable.

“See, its ok. Come on out.” The orange mare motherly intoned.


“Oh dear. The poor little guy had to have been out here a while. We’ve got to get them inside, just use your magic. Be very gentle with them though.”

“Yes hon, I know how to handle a foal.” He lit his horn up with a light blue aura. The area behind the foal glowed the same color and slowly moved forward, pushing the body out from under the love seat.

The black foal scrambled and whimpered as their hiding place shrank. It let out another chirping sound but this time seemed stressed, as one would imagine it would be.
“Sh sh shh. It's ok little one. We aren't gonna hurt you.” The pegasus reassures. “It's gonna- oh my word.” She said lifting a hoof to her chest.

“Honey, it's… it's a changeling!” The unicorn male started to lose the compassion he once held for this lost foal.

The little changeling felt the change in them and started to fuss. Truly its fuss wasn’t that bad, it made a louder chirping sound and tried once again to go back under the couch.

“Shield, you stop that right now! You’re scaring them.” The orange pegasus looked back at the miniature black bug pony. She laid on her belly with her chin resting directly on the floor. “Come here sweetheart, no one’s gonna hurt you.” The voice she used was almost disgustingly sweet and caring. It was a voice she developed through years upon years of working with yearlings.

It seemed to have a positive effect on the changeling. They stopped squirming and chirping, choosing to look curiously at the downed pegasus.


“Shh.” She cut off her husband. “Come on.” She smiled a smile that could melt ice.


“See, its ok.” She said a little louder to make sure the stallion heard her as well.

Achu, the little bug pony sneezed. Its eyelids starting to droop, their resistance to moving growing weaker, and a big yawn followed. The two little white nubs of fangs barely showing as the thin tongue stretched itself before quickly retreating. It was adorable to even the hardened ex-royal guard.

The tiny changeling couldn't have been more than a year old. Looked to be just a week or two out of their larval stage. The poor thing practically dragged its shivering body to the pegasus. It’s back half actually dragging a bit.

“Oh my goodness, Shield, get a warm bath going after that setup the bed.”

“Willow, you cant be serious?”

“If I ask you again so help me I won’t make another carrot cake as long as you live.”

“But I love carrot cake…” He shuffled his hooves a bit. “Fine I’m going.”

“Thank you dear.”

“Yeah yeah, can’t believe she’s bringing that in here. Why if…” he moved out of earshot grumbling to himself.

Willow felt a bump to her chest.


It was very strained and almost inaudible. Their legs wobbled violently before it collapsed on the floor. She watched as the breathing became shallow and slow.

‘Ok ok. Nice and gently.’ She thought to herself as she scooped the poor thing up and held it tightly to her breast. “Its ok little one. I’ve got you, I’ve got you.”

She pressed the small bug to her chest to let her warmth help the transition between outside to warm bath. As she walked to the downstairs bathroom she hummed a tune she's used with other fillies and colts, gently swaying with each three legged step.

Chrdrd, the small bundle hummed gently.
She passed softly by her stallion on their routes to opposite ends of the house. “Thank you.”


“I’ll be upstairs in a bit.” She continues to hum as she checks the water temperature. Once she finds it's perfect she lowers herself in first with her belly up so she can make sure this foal doesn't get hurt.


As a true testament for knowing his mare the water level rose to an inch and a half above her barrel. The perfect height for maintaining control and maneuverability. Using a small loofah Willow gently scrubbed this foal down. Head to hoof to tail was cleaned of mud and debris. Some of the hoof holes had twigs and leaves wedged in while others were full of mud. Turns out, this foal is actually a colt.

“Shh, it’s alright. You’ll be clean in a moment.” She watched the little colts' actions as he splashed softly in the warm water. “My my, somepony's feeling better.” She brought a primary feather to break the surface of the water.

The little colt batted at it with a small chrrr sound. Again letting out a small yawn. He splashed in the shallow water along her belly making her giggle.

“Ok little guy, it’s time to dry off and get you some sleep.” She picked up the changeling and stepped out the tub onto a towel before drying the two of them off and draining the tub. “If I remember correctly you shouldn't really need much to eat. It looked like earlier you were trying to nibble on mine and my husband's love. You sneaky little thing!” She chided softly.


“I know, its not your fault. Just as a spider eats bugs.” She stiffens at that, “Maybe that’s not the greatest analogy I could have used, considering.”

She passes by the full length mirror on her way out of the bathroom. She stops to make sure her coat is in good condition and just to see herself as she always wanted to.

She was a pegasus, a dirty-orange colored pegasus. Her mane was a faded yellow at least through her own green eyes. She looks at the changeling through the mirror and chuckles lightly at the sight of the colt seeing himself in the mirror. But before he can really recognize what it is she exits the bathroom.

She gingerly climbs the stairs so he doesn’t shift or fall. “Hon, please.” The unicorn stallion pleaded as she entered their room.

“This is not up for debate. Tomorrow I will go see Princess Twilight and see what his options are. For all we know his parents or hive are looking for him.” She took the foal off her back and pushed him onto the bed before herself jumping on to meet them.

“His? How would you know that?”

“Did I not just bathe a yearling?”

“Alright, fair point. But why is “he” in our bed?” He was getting nervous as it stumbled across the bouncy surface towards him.


“No no, go over there.” His statement went unheeded while the changeling continued it path. He looked to his wife for an interception. She just sat there watching with this smile that said ‘hurt him, I hurt you.’

The foal trudged along slowly and then tripped on a fold of the comforter. He fell into the indentation of the older ponies weight on the bed.

Willow just smiled as the youngling tried to wiggle deeper between Shield and the bed. ‘Is this the joy of parenting?’ She saw how uncomfortable her husband was but figured it was good for him.

Her thoughts turned a bit sour at how things have gone in her life. She loves her stallion dearly and wouldn't leave him for anyone. But she wishes that there was no such thing as sterile. A good job, a loving husband, and great friends just never felt as fulfilling as they could be.

“Willow, you’re doing it again.”

“Oh, sorry Shield.”

“I know that look hon. I won’t fight this anymore tonight. Go ahead indulge yourself.” He has seen that look of longing when they’ve gone for a walk through the park and seen the fillies and colts playing and chasing each other.

‘She wants a family that I cant give her.’ He sighs watching her almost tremble in place, caught between grabbing the colt and just watching this scene. ‘I’ve talked adoption with her but she says she's fine and it’s not really bothering her.’

Willow scoots over to the pair of equines and scoops up the colt. She kisses her husbands cheek, “Thank you.”

“Well at this small I doubt it could do much harm.” He watched the little guy open his mouth and seem to breath deeply for a few seconds. The colt calmed way down to the point of almost a stupor. He instantly recognized that look.

“Hon, he was just stealing love from us.”

“Shield, he cant control that he’s still an infant. It’s like telling a manticore to not eat animals.”

“Ah…” Feeling stumped he laid his head down to go back to his disrupted sleep. “Good night, love ya.”

“Love you too Shield. Do try not to roll over in your sleep.”


Willow looks down at the sleeping colt in her hooves and makes a decision internally. ‘I don’t care if we aren't allowed to keep him for some reason, but we are getting one!’

What is a lost changeling called?

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Celestia's sun began its daily climb over the horizon to start yet another day. Its warm and comforting rays lit the small town of Ponyville where only a few have already risen for work.

The home of Willow Breeze and Shield Polish steadily filled with light as time progressed. But the light would never take hold of one room, the occupants made sure of that. After all what was the point of having midmorning shifts if you couldn't sleep in a little? The sun never stood a chance with this room. No little stray beam was going to wake these ponies.

No, that honor went to the little changeling still cuddled into the mares’ forelegs. The little one first began to squirm before making noises the couple were unused to in their empty home. When that went unnoticed it grew in volume until someone was forced to pay attention.

“Whatzit?” The pegasus muttered, mentally collecting all the gears she would need today.

A chirp entered her ears and the machine was built from the ground up in seconds; a new all time record! “Oh, hello!”

The colt stopped its fussing and stared at her in what seemed to be confusion. Chiir? He never moved as the mare nuzzled his side.
He sneezed and was once again active. Moving around the mare but never away, almost like he was asking for something.


“I get it now. Somepony's hungry.” Her freshly assembled machine produced a question. ‘How do we feed a changeling intentionally?’

“Honey, go back to sleep we’ve got at least an hour.” Her husband muttered.

‘That’s it!’ She made sure the colt wasn't between them and she laid her side along the stallion’s and just enjoyed lying there with one she loved.

The little bug stopped fussing entirely, opening his mouth and breathing deeply. A few seconds later he closed his tiny mouth and his eyelids drooped as one may after a feast.

She watched him lie back against the base of her neck. Sleep took him back while she just enjoyed a feeling she had never yet to experience. ‘This is nice.’

Life had a playful joke planned, as someone knocked on the door. The sound echoes around the home and does a far better job than the suns best efforts in waking the couple.

“Is she here already?” Shield grabbed his pillow and buried his head under it. “Tell her to go away!”

“Dear you’ve got to get up soon.”

“Ten more minutes, you and that damned thing kept me from sleeping properly last night.”

She rolled her eyes choosing to ignore the last part. She'll let him have his ten, she’s got other things to attend to. Cuddling the colt close to her chest she popped her aging joints, hopped off the bed, and made her way to the door downstairs.

Same routine as every morning baring weekends. This day had a little hole in it though. What is she going to tell her co-worker? Probably the truth as nothing was done to harm either party.

Willow opened the door so her friend could see themselves in as per routine. “Morning Redheart.”

“Good morning Willow, is something the matter?” Redheart questioned.

“Not really, what do you mean?”

“Willow, you're walking with a limp.” She got real close and asked, “Did Shield do this? You can always tell me.”


“Bless you, now come on.”

“Red! Shield and I have been married for ten years. In those ten years he's never even hinted at using violence.” The pegasus scolds.


“What was that? It sounded so adorable, like a parasprite. It's not one, is it?”

“Oh, last night we had an unexpected surprise show up. Oh and now that you’re here can you let scheduling know I can't make it today.”

Willow turned to look at her best friend. In the process finally showing what impeded her walking ability.

“Oh ha ha Mrs. Funny trying to pull a fast one on me.” The nurse scoffed.


“Y-y-you m-mean that’s real?!”

“Yeah, we found him on the porch last night. I think he’s got a cold.” Willow commented sadly. She felt attachment to the little black bug setting in.

“I may not be a pediatrician but I can take a look,” the professionalism in her voice perfectly hiding any true emotion.

“All I can say about him is that he’s been fed. Before our house is another topic that I’m unsure of.”

Nurse Redheart searched in the bag she carried with her on her way to work. After a moment she pulled out a stethoscope and went to work on checking the foals vitals.


“Celestia bless you little one.” Willow offered, rubbing a cheek against his side. The little changeling leaned into it surprisingly siphoning off just a little love.

“Making up for lost time?” Red stated with an almost sad look. “You still haven't told me why you're skipping work with this.”

“Redheart!” The orange mare exclaimed. “He, a foal, was on our porch in the middle of the night in a thunderstorm. If that’s not enough of an excuse to see the Princess, then count me as no show. I will not abandon anything in need of a little help. Especially those that can't physically take care of themselves.”

“I’m just teasing you, but you said ‘see the Princess’ correct?”

“Yes I did. If anypony can help or has a recommendation, it would be the Princesses.” She gave her friend a serious look, “I’m going to discuss this with Shield but I’ve decided it's time. The time I spent last night with this ‘foal' in my hooves finally shattered my resolve. I want a family Red, I’ve always wanted one but this was the straw, yada yada.”

“Have you discussed fertility or potency potions?”

Willow sighed heavily, “Discussed, discovered, dissatisfied.” She raised a hoof to stop Redheart and added, “Surrogacy is out of the question for both of us. We’ve had this conversation before Redheart.”

Red shook her head, “Yeah yeah I know. I just don’t like that you're both unhappy with this subject.”

“We’ll talk more about this later, right?”
Redheart turns to leave, “A. Yeah, I’ll let scheduling know a royal emergency arose involving you. B. I want to hear what they said about all this later over our double date night tonight. C. The little changeling seems healthy and happy but may have a cold.”

“I got ya, now hurry before you end up late.” She shooed her out the door.

“Dear?” She called into the house.

“Up and ready already!”

“Making sure. I’m gonna head out in a minute, Shield.”

“Yep, you have a good day hon. Oh, and do what you can to find ‘him' a home, will ya?” He walked downstairs after his shower using magic to dry himself off faster. “I’d go with ya but we’ve got a large school group coming through today.” He looked at his lovely wife, “I want to go but this has been on the books for weeks.”

“I know, I wasn't blaming you I know you’re busy today.” She pointed at the calendar next to the door. “It been there for a while. It’s ok, I got this.”

The unicorn stopped next to his wife on the way out and kissed her cheek. “Love you.”

“Love you too dear.”

The two ponies left their home after locking the door. At the end of the walkway the couple split up going separate ways. The little changeling decided it wasn't completely comfortable with leaving the home and started to squirm in the little sling he was in.
“What’s wrong little one?” she looked down into the sling the best she could.


“No no, it’s alright.”


Since she was in no rush she sat down next to the gate and watched her husband trot down the road to his job. She hummed another small tune, swaying to and fro to calm the colt.

While she swayed she glanced around after her stallion had turned a corner. But something caught her eye, what looked like paper was wedged between her mailbox and the post. Willow thought it was a piece of trash and grabbed it to throw out. But when she moved it, it unfolded slightly revealing some rapidly scrawled words.

-Manticore… can't escape.. please… son-

Just the few words she saw held enough intrigue to make her unfold the letter while she rocked and hummed the colt back to contentment.



Willow looked at the letter, that had every chance in the world to just blow away overnight, in disbelief. Either this is some horrible plan for something or those poor, poor changelings had met their end in a very bad way.

‘What will I tell him when he's older?’ She pauses at that thought. ‘Did I decide he's mine already? Well Shield did say do what I can…’

She folds the letter and trots back into the house. She looks for a small watertight baggie before putting the letter into an envelope and sealing them in the bag.

“C-come on little Chitter. We need to see what we can learn about and for you.”


The pair arrive at Princess Twilight's crystal tree castle in good time. They approached the door preparing to knock but it opened right up letting out the one they sought.
Twilight spoke over her shoulder into the castle. “Don’t forget to put away the returned books!”

“Yeah yeah Twilight, same thing every time.” Spike mumbles from inside.

The Princess turns her head as she walks and bumps straight into a pegasus with a foal sling. “Oh my, I’m so sorry. Are you two ok?”


Willow sits down quietly, scoops the bundle with practiced ease, and begins to console the frightened yearling.

“Oh no no no. Shhhhh shh shh. It's ok.” After a while the bundle calms down and drifts into sleep.

“I'm sorry for bumping into you and your colt.”

“It's fine Princess, we came to ask for help and options.” Willow gestured to the door,
“Do you think we can speak in private?”

“Sure! Come on in.” She turned around and entered her castle. She lead them up a flight of stairs and to a beautiful crystal room with a replica of her mark on the floor. There were a few bookshelves scattered along the wall split by large windows letting in generous amounts of light. Twilight made a motion for her to sit on a couch.

Willow graciously accepted the invitation and hopped up on the luxurious plush surface. She watched as Twilight lit her horn and the doors closed and began to glow faintly.

“So what can I help you with?”


“Please, just Twilight.”

“Twilight, last night my husband and I were awoken to a weird noise outside the house. We thought maybe an animal was hurt or something so we went to find out.” She took a breath and continued. “We found a foal on our porch in the middle of last night's thunderstorm.”

“Ohh, did you tell the guard?”

“Both of us figured this required a bit of a lighter touch.” She reached gently in the sling and wrapped her hooves around Chitter. She lifted his sleeping form out and just held him.

“That would explain why me I guess. I’ve never seen a changeling so young before.”

“He came with this,” Willow took the baggie from under her wing and passed it to Twilight.

With Twilight taking about three seconds to read the letter Willow could see the well oiled machine behind Twilight's eyes move. Twilight lit her horn again and opened the door. Then cast a small cloud of magic around the changeling’s ears. “SPIKE!”
She let the cloud go off of Chitter's ears and waited for spike. Soon enough the sounds of small padding steps could be heard hurrying to the room. Spike rounded the corner and was halted by a lavender aura over his snout.

“Spike, keep quiet while in here for now, ok?” He nodded eagerly and she let go of his face. “I need you to send a letter to Zecora. Dear Zecora, I need to know if something was going on last night with a manticore or two of noteworthy points. More specifically two manticores and a couple of changelings. Please let me know immediately. Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

“Got it Twilight.” Spike whispered. He breathed a small curl of green fire that engulfed the letter and flew out the window.

“Spike how much do you remember about changelings or their needs?”

“Thorax said some stuff but not much interesting.”

“Well look on the couch, quietly.”

Willow lifted a wing to give the drake a view of Chitter.

“Is that a baby changeling?” He asked with surprise. “It's so adorable and small.” Spike made his steps light but quick, padding over to the couch for a better look.

“Shh, he's sleeping for now.” Willow warned.

“Spike, can you let us know what Zecora says? We still have a few things to talk about.”

“Oh, yeah, sure, Twilight.” Spike replied distractedly. He started his little waddle out of the room and closed the door behind him.

“Always such a nice little dragon.” Willow commented.

“He is. Always has been since we were kids together.” Twilight shook her head lightly,

“He's older than he seems, but for a draconic youth he’s still a baby.”

“Ah, anyways what are we going to do with this little guy?”

He stirred awake with a yawn again showing the nubs of his fangs.


A rather unusual event happened when he sneezed this time round. Two separate rings of green fire spread over his wings, replacing the insect type wings with an almost perfect replica of the wing he was under. Resulting in a changeling colt with rust orange pegasus wings.


“Well look at you little one. Though it looks like that surprised you, so I'm going to assume that was your first transformation.”

“This is perfect!” Twilight exclaimed with glee. “I can study a newborn changeling first hoof!”

Deciding to be formal Willow called to the Princess. “Princess Twilight, can we get to the heart of matters first?”

“Oh, right; and please, just Twilight.” The Princess took a moment to collect her thoughts. “Ok, first. He's abandoned correct?”

“Well forcefully abandoned I guess.”

“Second, he needs food, shelter, and care.” Twilight rattled on.

“Since he’s been with us he’s received all-"

Twilight again cuts her off, “Thirdly,” the rest becomes incoherent as she mutters to herself as she writes out a checklist that wasn’t there a second ago.

Willow sits back on the couch, she's heard of Twilight’s zoning out skills but wow. She feels a bump to her leg as she thinks about what to do. Looking down at the little changeling sitting next to her hoof she giggles. He’s sitting as she is as though trying to copy her with his rump against her hindquarters and his forelegs even with hers.

Achu. His wings are again enveloped in flame as they shift to normal.

“What am I to do with you little Chitter?” He leans his head against her leg and let’s out a weird noise like a sigh crossed with one of his chirps.

“Ok!” Twilight nearly shouts startling both of them. “First I need guards to search for parents. Till they are found he has to be watched here in the castle 24/7. Second, I am actually unsure of how to feed him.”

“Twilight, may I interrupt you for a second or two?”

“Oh, uh, sure.”

“Twilight look at him.” She gestured to the foal at her legs. “I think he’s quite comfortable. Also I do in fact know how to feed him. Can’t we watch him until you find his parents?”

“Well… I don't see too much of an issue with that if you can meet the foster care requirements. If you can meet those a guard will remain posted outside any room that he goes in."

“Ok, my husband was a guard so I think we can handle royal decrees.”

“Good. I’ll send a group of guards while we inspect your home.”

“Can the inspection wait a few hours so I can get the spare room setup?” Willow asked hopefully.

“Unfortunately not.” Willow’s hopes shattered with the sound of heavy glass breaking. “If the home is not ready at time of inspection, then the care cannot continue with those guardians. A suitable home must be in order for anypony to serve as a temporary/permanent foster home.” Twilight sighed. “The best I can do for you right now is to schedule you for an inspection tomorrow and hope you pass. If you don’t he will go to either an orphanage or a foster home willing to accept him. Let's be honest, he'll probably go to an orphanage as I doubt many ponies would want him.”

“But but but, I want him!” Willow was nearly in tears. “Do you have the checklist for the inspection? I want to get it right.”

Chitter, sensing her agitation, became increasingly upset: though he didn't know why.

“I will have a duplicate for you before you leave here. I'm sorry but it’s just how these things work.” Twilight gave a weak smile, “It's good to see that he's already made an impression on you. May I ask why you're so attached to him already?”

Willow picked up Chitter and held him close because he was fidgety. “I’ve always wanted a family, Twilight. My husband however is, well sterile. I’m sure I don’t need to explain further.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to dissuade you from him but surely you've tried other methods?”

“We have but surrogacy is not an option. Other things we’ve tried simply don’t work.”

“Ok I understand, but why him?” Twilight asked cautiously.

“I got to take care of him as a mother should. It was the greatest feeling in the world for me. To have something so completely dependent on me was just… I cant even describe it. Besides he's just so cute, oh and cuddly.”


“Indeed little pony, indeed.” Willow replied to the noise. “Twilight, is this part of the interview/inspection phase?”

“Correct. I’ll have to speak with your stallion tomorrow to get his profile as well. Now what do you and he do for a living? Do you make enough to support a foal?”


Meanwhile at the museum:

“In this room we have the evolution of the royal guards uniforms. Between you and me this has always been one of my favorite exhibits." Shield continued with the tour he's given time and time again. As this is an easy part of the tour he let’s himself run on autopilot as he thinks.

‘Knowing Willow she’s going to try and keep that…changeling.’ He didn’t really have anything against them. Just as he followed orders from the Princesses so did they, but from their queen. ‘If she is, she probably hasn’t given much thought to living arrangements.’

“In this display you can see the weapons the guard have used since Nightmare Moon's banishment. Each has been enchanted with the highest level protection enchantment possible so they can exist long after they should have deteriorated.”

‘She jumped the gun and doesn't have the house even prepared yet.’ He understood why she had to go that day then but just knew it wasn’t going to go how she wanted it to. ‘If I can setup a way to get everything maybe she can have her wish. I can't give her a foal but I can make sure she has the best chance of keeping this one.’ A metaphorical lightbulb appeared over his head.

“As we proceed to the next room you'll be shown a re-enactment of a battle long long ago. Parents if you can meet me outside the room for a minute or two. We have the curator explaining the film and keeping an eye on the foals.”

The parents volunteering for escort happily agreed for a brief break from that many fillies and colts all at once. They gathered in the indicated spot where there youngsters would exit the room.

“Ok everypony, I have a quick question for you. Is there anyone here looking to sell foal equipment? My wife is trying to adopt suddenly and we need the gear. We're looking for a crib, changing table, the works.” He looked over the gathered parents. “Now I’m willing to pay so don’t think I’m looking for handouts. If you can help out or know somepony who can please let me know."

The rest of the tour continued as it always did, colts not paying much attention, while fillies did but didn’t absorb much of it. After a while more, lunch was had and the end of the tour came to the interactive area. Replica armor and foam weapons were there, so they could beat on each other. During this part colts took on colts and fillies beat up some colts too. More tomboyish ones even took on each other.

Shield looked on at the scene he'd seen a hundred times. Likely one of them would get their cutie mark in something to do with the guard as he had. Happens often enough to be common occurrence.

“Excuse me Mr. Polish?”

He looked over at the yellow earth pony with brown hair. “Yes Ma'am, how can I help you?”

“I was thinking about what you asked earlier and I have a lot of the items you were asking for. My husband and I were saving them in case we had another. But recently we decided against it and now it’s all just taking up space.”

“That’s great! How much were you looking to get for it?”

“Oh no no no!” She replied shaking her head.
“We couldn't ask for anything for it. We just want it to get some use.”

“I can’t just take it Ma'am, my wife would say the same thing. Your kindness is gracious and wonderful but we can't just take something so worthwhile."


“One hundred bits is as low as I’m going for it all.” Shield stated with finality.

“I suppose it couldn't hurt, deal.”

“Well thank you very much Miss. If you give me an address I’ll get a few friends along with myself to retrieve it and bring payment."

“Sure, we actually live next to the schoolhouse.”

“Could I get your name?”

“Name's Sunflower.”

“Well thank you, Sunflower.”

The school group started to get ready to leave not long after. “Alright my little ponies, do we have everything?”

A chorus of responses followed, “Yes Miss Cheerilee.”

“Ok let's go back to the school for release.”
The schoolmarm lead the children and adults back out of the building and down the road.

Once the noise died down the curator came over to Shield. “You ok?”

“Huh, oh yeah I’m fine Mr. Display. I just need to ask a favor.”

“Go ahead Shield, take the rest of day off.”
Shield just sat there flabbergasted. “How?”

“I overheard your talk to the parents.”

“Ah, that'd do it.”

“Now go before I make you stay and clean.” Mr. Display watched Shield trot out the building. “He deserves a family after all I’ve heard these last few years.”

“Why's that sir?”

“What, get your flank back to work. I’m not paying you to ask questions.”

“Ugh, yes sir.”


“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Cake do you know if Pinkie is around?” He always loved coming to Sugarcube Corner, whether to pick up stuff for his wife or himself. It always smelled great, like fresh baked sweets as anyone could possibly imagine.

“Oh, hello again Shield Polish! What do you need Pinkie for?”

“Well I need some assistance in setting up a foals room and planning a surprise par-"

“Did you say surprise party?”

Shield recoiled and broke right then and there. Pinkie seemingly just popped into existence on top of his head staring at him straight in the eyes. She waved a hoof in front of his face but got nothing.

“Pinkie, at least let the customer know you're there. I'll get the smelling salts… again.”

“Okie dokie lokie, Mr. Cake!” She leapt off his head with a small springing sound causing Shield to fall over like a statue.

Mr. Cake came back with a small packet and waved it under Shields nose. “Wh-what happened?”

“Pinkie Pie.”

“Oh, right.”

The bubbly pink mare sproing'd in from the back after checking the oven. “So you said you needed a party planner? Huh-huh-huh?” She bounced in place with that eternal noise that followed her.

“Well yes actually, I need some help moving some foal stuff. After it's been moved I want to have a small surprise for my wife. Like a foal shower.”

“Awww, what is it?”

“He's a colt, we're adopting him.” Shield said a bit cryptically.

“Silly, is he a unicorn, pegasus, or an earth pony? Pinkie asked with a huge grin.

“D. None of the above.” Further narrowing his chances at an easy escape.

“Oooooo, 20 Questions time! I have seventeen left right? Oh now sixteen.” Pinkie let out a giggle snort at her own antics. “Does it live on a mountain?”


“Okay, so not a griffon. Does it live in a

“Pinkie Pie, I cant stay long I’ve got a lot to do in a short time.” Shield was starting to get antsy.

“But I already moved all the stuff!”

The sound of a loud and drawn out car crash could be heard as Shield again broke mentally. A tire could be heard bouncing away as he rocked back and forth before falling over again.

“Hey author, What’s wrong with this guy?”

“What, hey! Get out of here! Celestia damnit, now I gotta reassemble my story notes.” I started picking up the scattered papers.
“Look Pinkie just do what'd you would normally do, just back in there.” I said pointing back to the screen.

“Okie dokie lokie!”

*Ahem, sorry.*

Pinkie grabbed the pouch of smelling salt they used not even five minutes ago. She waved them under his nose as she had seen Mr. Cake do.

“And to think I used to be a Lieutenant in the royal guard.” Shield muttered as he picked himself up off the floor again. “At this rate today I’m going to have an aneurism.”

“Well that’s no fun.” Pinkie pulled a small flip top spiral notebook from out of her mane. “Add to file, easily broken.” She closed it, grabbed the top in her teeth, and flung it into the air. With perfect precision it landed in her mane like it never existed.

“I’m going to ignore that.” He gave his head a thorough shake. “Please have mercy on my psyche! How did you know to do it and how did you?”

“Well my tail itched and my ankle tingled so that meant somepony's going to plan a party! But I was on a delivery to the curator’s office when I overheard you talking to Mrs. Sunflower. So I went and talked to Mr. Greenhouse, her husband, and we took them to your house with a promise of payment.” She took a loud gasping breath and continued. “When we got it all to your house the door was unlocked so we put it inside.” SPROING “Now we have more time to surprise your wife!”

“Hey Mr. Cake? Has Pinkie used the mirror pool again?”

“Shield, she had coffee this morning.”

“It was only four cups!” Pinkie protested.

“That'd do it.” Shield mumbled.

“Now, you meet me at your house and we'll finish the plan and setup. I have to go talk to some ponies.” She was gone in a gust of pink wind leaving a small, lime green, derp eyed alligator on the floor. “Oops, come on gummy.” She was off again.

“Here take two of these it’ll help. Mrs. Cake and I had a bit of trouble adjusting to it when we first met her. Now it's “just Pinkie”.”

‘A wise sentiment indeed,’ came the thoughts of everyone who had witnessed it.


After hours of questioning while simultaneously taking care of the changeling, it was over. The questions stopped and the conflicted look on the Princess face set in.
“I don’t know what to make of this.” Twilight stared down at her paperwork. ‘This has to be possibly the most qualified mare to be a mother in Equestria. She is the exact type of pony to abandon a foal to.’ Sighing out she finally let her eyes fall on the little changeling again.

He was no different than any other changeling, black chitin, dark blue back plate, greenish insect like wings. There was truly nothing wrong or dangerous about him.
Twilight watched him interact with Willow.
Willow laid on her belly opposite Chitter. She was making faces at him and he was “laughing”, well as close to a pony laugh as a baby changeling could manage. She stopped and he tried to mimic her by sticking his tongue out and shaking his head.

‘They bonded so strong so quick.’ Twilight let out another sigh, ‘I can’t split them up.’
Twilight cast an invisible noise bubble over the two and yelled for Spike. She turned and just watched the two interact.

The orange pegasus made every single move as carefully as handling glass. But like a glass worker she knew it could handle more than it seemed, at the same time a tap in the wrong place could be bad. It was the motions of an experienced mother. Given Willows job in foal care she had ample opportunities to learn; which she had.

Spike came plodding in again but this time didn’t even attempt to say anything. He was happy to watch the two goof around. Slowly walking toward Twilight he watched Chitter open and close his mouth in an exaggerated fashion looking silly. “Yes?”

Twilight just kept watching and handed him a scroll labeled “Princess Celestia: Mild Urgency". Spike took it in claw and breathed some magical fire and it was gone. Two minutes later came a knock on the door to the room they were in.

“May I enter?” Princess Celestia poked her head in the room. Her mane flowing in an ethereal wind taking up most of the doorway.

“Sure, come on in Princess.” Spike replied easily.

“They’re in a “bother bubble” I like to call it. I didn’t want them to know you’re here so you can see what I’m talking about.” The purple princess said to the white one.

The pegasus and changeling were completely oblivious to the entrance of two more entities in the room. Nope, Willow grabbed Chitter, rolled to her back holding him high. She brought him in quickly and blew raspberries into his belly.

Twilight lifted her spell so the rest of the group could hear what was happening.

Chitter squealed with glee flailing his little hole filled legs and buzzing his wings. “Bleh bleh bleh!” He did his best to copy the noises. “Chiiiiii!”

Princess Celestia looked on with a maternal smile of her own. “Twilight.” She whispered. “Pass the home for temporary foster care immediately. If anypony says otherwise send them to me or Luna.” She looked at the babbling foal. “As you said in your letter she has got to be the most qualified mare to handle this situation.” Princess Celestia cleared her throat to disrupt the scene.

“Bah ba-" Willow looked over and saw two princesses and a dragon staring at her. “h bahhhh.”

“Bleh, chirp.” Chitter batted lightly at her chest to get her attention back.

Willow Breeze began to panic, not at having the audience but who the audience was. “Princess!” She scrambled to grab the changeling and flip over.

“Be still Willow Breeze, no need to bother the little one on our account.” She made sure the pony stopped moving. “I have some things to discuss with you.”


“My my, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone so enthralled with just being a parent.” Celestia added.

“Thank you, Princess. It's been something I’ve always wanted but just couldn't really have.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“Well, uhh… my stallion is infertile.” Willow looked away in a sort of shame.

“Well, these things happen.” Princess Celestia said with certainty. “So in your words what's going on with this little colt?”

Willow recapped the same story she gave Twilight word for word. “Anything else your highness?”

“Actually, yes. I have a few…questions to ask and a couple permissions to be granted.”
Willow nodded her head after getting into a sitting position.

“Brbrbrbr!” Chitter buzzed his lips.

“Shh little one. It's alright.”

“Alright first, I need to meet your husband before we finalize the adoption. I have sent a few guards to escort him here. Second, by the day after next, you must meet adoption standards or you will lose him permanently. With this leniency in place I will personally see to it that you and your stallion will not be able to apply to adopt him a second time should you fail this inspection. I will also notify your places of work so no unfortunate happenings take place within this timeframe.” Princess Celestia took a seat behind a coffee table. “Spike, how about some tea please?”

“Oh, sure Princess! Right away!” Spike gave a salute and ran off toward the kitchen.

“Should I be worried about something? I mean if Spike can't be here to hear it.” Willow asked worriedly.

“Oh, no. I just would like some tea is all and I haven't been in Twilight's castle enough to make some myself.” Celestia stated with a gentle smile as though it were obvious. “But the next thing is going to require your and Spike's permissions. We’ll wait for him to get back, have some tea and talk.”

It only took Spike a few minutes to get a kettle of tea brewed up and serving ready. He brought the platter to the room where everyone was talking. “Okay everypony, I made extra for all of you. Plus I brought some gems for myself of course.”


Princess Celestia spoke up, “Spike, could I borrow two of your gems? Just two little gems, a sapphire and a Diamond, if you have them.”

“I’ve got plenty of sapphires but I only have this rare diamond shaped diamond. It’s supposed to be super tasty. Do I have to?”

“Yes Spike. I will make sure to replace both of them for your kindness.” Celestia assured the dragon.

“Ok, here.” Spike handed over a rather large diamond with four points about the size of a large grape and a small round sapphire no bigger than a pebble. “What are these for?”

“Well these are going to be enchanted with certain spells to do two things.” Celestia picked up the sapphire in her magic, “This gem is going to cancel out any influence from a hivemind. If he is to be adopted by a pony and live with ponies, he needs to be unaffected by a queen's will. This gem will be embedded under his chitin at the base in the back of his neck. It will be unaffected by growth and can never leave his body.” She set it down much to the uneasiness of the other two.

“Doesn't that seem a bit harsh, your highness?” Willow asked tentatively.

“Willow Breeze. These two gems are my conditions. As unfortunate as it is, if you fail to accept, the alternative is banishment to the badlands.”

Willow couldn't look at the princess. It was cruel that the little colt would be banished if he didn't receive these. At the same time it made sense, but she still needed to find out what the diamond was for.

“Should I continue further?”

“Yes Princess.”

“Alright, the diamond,” she lifted the gem as she had before, “is going to be an identification piece. It will be placed into his breast just below the neck. However, this gem will show at all times. It will be unaffected by his transformation abilities and will always show. It will contain an enchantment, set by both Princess Twilight and myself, that will prove he is legal resident and citizen of Equestria.” She set the gem back down next to the other.

“So any form he takes, when he learns to use it, will always have the diamond on its chest?”

“That is correct, I know it's a lot to take in but these are my terms for ease of adoption.” Celestia sipped at her tea calmly. “Ohh, Spike this is a good blend.”

Willow thought hard as the others talked.
“It's something Twilight got from Rarity on her trip in Manehattan.” Spike replied. “I personally think it needs some gem dust mixed in.”

‘Should I do this? What right do I have to choose this for him?’ Willow spiraled out of control in her thoughts. ‘If I don't, I'll lose him.’ She shuttered at that. ‘If I do this he can be a citizen and never hide or worry.’

“I can do that for you as thanks Spike.” Celestia took another small gem from his pile and squinted her eyes in effort. The gem cracked as she applied pressure to it. She focused more magic around the pieces and they slowly crumbled into small bits. She eased up a smidge as each bit was obliterated into powder.

Willow’s existential dilemma came to the conclusion of, ‘I cant lose him or have him replaced if I do this.’

“Thanks Princess!”

“Princesses I'm willing to go through with it.” Willow stated, hugging Chitter close as though she'd lose him.

Chirrr achu

“Get him a checkup too. I know you work in foal care so you know what to do.” Celestia thought for a moment before adding, “I will speak about getting him into surgery this coming Wednesday.”

“Your highness!” a pegasus guard slowly entered.


“As requested, we have escorted Shield Polish to meet with you.”

“Show him in.”

“Yes Princess.”

Shield walked into the room after being informed that he was requested inside. “Your highnesses.” He said with a bow.

“Hello, Shield. It's been a long time.”

“It's been a long time since I was a part of the royal guard.”

“It has, but let us get down to business.” Celestia looked to Willow. “Could you bring little Chitter out of the room? Don’t leave the castle please.”

“Sure Princess.”


“Princess Twilight do you know where the kitchen is? I want to get him something to drink. I might be adopting him but I’m not “his” mom.”

“Oh, right. Downstairs left hall third door on left.”

“Thank you.” Willow turned and left for her destination.

“If I may Princesses, how long is this going to take? I was talking with Pinkie Pie about a small surprise for Willow.”

“When did you talk to her?” Twilight asked.

“About an hour ago.”

“I'll be back, I’ve got to slow that down with out causing chaos.”

“Why a surprise party today?” Celestia inquired.

“Well after last night and knowing my Willow, I knew she planned on trying for custody of the changeling.” He slightly grimaced after saying it like that in front of the princess. “So today while giving the tour at the museum, I had an idea. I asked the chaperone parents if they had foal equipment. A mare said she did, so after talking with Pinkie Pie I went and paid for it all.”

“Really? Well that helps out on everything. Now just an interview, setup, and an inspection.” Celestia grabbed a few papers off the table. “Now, how do you feel about Chitter?”

Grandma knows best, right?

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There were ponies spread out across the living room. All smiling to the soon to be family, many have been waiting for this announcement for years.

Pinkie brought everyone who knew the couple. Even managing to get Willows parents out of the nursing home so they could meet their grandfoal. Nobody was exactly sure how Pinkie knew all of these connections to them but they let it go so their heads didn’t hurt.

“Mom? Dad?”

“Ahhhh-hh-hh-hh!” Chitter yelled out, now full on crying.

“Pinkie Pie, a foal was attending this party, remember?” Shield asked as Willow tried to calm their soon to be son.

“Awwww, I’m sorry little guy. This party was just to welcome you to your new home.” Pinkie said sadly.

Willow's mother made her way slowly over. “Outta da way young'n, I gots myself a grandfoal to see.” On her approach she hip checked Pinkie out of her way.


“Mom, there's something you need to know about him.”

“Yeah yeah, he's adopted. Big deal.”

“No mom, it's not just that. He's a changeling.” Willow nervously added.

“Whoopdie do! I gots a grandfoal after all this time. I cou' care less if he were a brick. Lemme see em!”

“Ok mom, just calm down, you aren’t as young as you used to be.” She picked up Chitter, who was still sniffling, and passed him over to the older mare. “Oh be careful mom, he has a bit of a cold.”

“I raised an airhead like you didn’t I? I think I have some experience.” The rest of the onlookers watched the two without much sound.


“Celestia bless you small fry.”

Chitter stared at her for a long while before seemingly putting two and two together. This wasn't his food giver and that upset him immensely. “CHIIIII,” he struggled against this earth pony’s grip, getting a hoof caught in the temporary pendant containing the now enchanted sapphire and diamond.

“You stop that right now little colt!” She handled him firmly but again with the experience of a mother. “Let grandma get you free and well go get some candy.”
The colt calmed down a bit as he nibbled on the affection being given to him.

“Elm, he doesn’t eat food like that exactly.” Shield stepped up beside her. “As a changeling they feed on positive emotions, mostly love and affection.”

“Well he and I are gonna make some cookies anyway!” She placed Chitter on her back and just started to walk away. “Let’s go bake some treats!”

“Ma'am if you wait just a second I have a bit of info for all of you.” Twilight added to the small amount of chaos going on as she trotted up to them.

“Oh, hello Twilight! Did I forget something there?” Willow asked while trying to sneakily take back Chitter from her mother.


“Did I not teach you manners when you were a child? You bow to your princess and address them by their title.” Elm bowed without disturbing the now amused changeling, a feat made possible only by the fact she's a grandmother now. “Pleased to meet you Princess Twilight.” Her voice completely changed to address royalty.
Willow rubbed the lump on her head.
“Ma'am I told her to call me Twilight.” Twilight told her.

Elm didn’t apologize or miss a beat when she replied, “Don't matter much Princess. You’re never too ol’ to be re-taught a lesson.”

The gathered group laughed a bit and a mare at the back called out, “Yeah that’s Elm!”

“Now pardon me Princess,” she said borderline sarcastically, “I’ve got a grandson to show off.”

Willow just stood there in shock, “So this is what Princess Celestia was talking about. The older the mare the less they care.” Twilight gave a little chuckle at the memory. “So Willow, I came to see if Pinkie had heard the change of plans and make sure she didn't think Shield was skipping out on her. Now I’m here to deliver some information for you.”

“Huh, what?”

“I said I have some information for you about Chitter.”

Willow smiled broadly, “Oh that's wonderful!”

“Keep your hooves on the ground for a minute, you won't like what I’ve been told. The guards found the remains of at least one male changeling. Tests shows that was the father. The mother wasn’t found, but by the scene encountered and her own ichor, was pronounced dead. The father had a small chain wrapped through his hoof.” She took a moment to collect herself.

“Oh that’s horrible, …h-how?”

“Manticores. Zecora replied back to me saying that last night there was quite the commotion in the forest. She didn't see it but heard the roars.”

“There well… wasn't much to be found. But the chain stated “To my Family: Be Kind”. We're going to leave it to you to reveal to him what happened and give him this.”

“Thank you Pri- Twilight.” She took the small gold chain with a plaque on it. She held it close like it would shatter if she let it go. “Was there anything else?”

“Oh, yeah. Princess Celestia and I decided to give you a copy of everything we know about the maturity of changelings.” Twilight produced a stack of papers in a flash of magic. “This is very incomplete and we wish to check up weekly on him to get more info. Would you be ok with that?”

The pegasus thought it over for a minute, “I guess that’s ok, on one condition. He get’s to call you Aunt Twilight, it should be easier to explain why he goes over there every week.”

Twilight’s brilliant mind stumbled for a moment. “Aunt Twilight? Me?”

“It would be more of a formality than anything. Just a better way to explain when he's older than saying time to be studied again.”

“I guess I could live with that, I’m already an aunt once. Why not again?” She asked rhetorically.

“I’m not looking for you to actively participate in his life, it’s just an excuse.”

“Yes I understand that, but it could be fun!” The gears in Twilight's head turned smoothly as a plan was pieced together.
“Oh, there was one more thing to give you.” Twilight lifted a rather large gem the size of a can of soda. It looked to be a ruby, maybe a garnet. “This gem is very, very special. It will passively gather positive emotion and store them.” Twilight sat down, lifted the gem, and gestured at it. “As you can see right now it's dull like something took some of its color. As it fills with energy it will steadily grow brighter. When full it'll be approximately the same brightness as a glowstick.”

“What's it for?” Willow questioned, keeping an eye on her mother and baby. Elm trotted group to group showing off her new grandson. Most ponies were happy to see Chitter as she carried him around. A few though, looked at him with contempt.

“Well as he grows up you won’t always be there to feed him love. So think of this as his bagged lunch.”

“That makes a lot of sense actually.” A grin spread across Willow's face, “Well put Twilight!”

“I do have my moments. Now why don’t you go talk with your friends and steal back your colt.”

“That obvious?”

“I’ve watched you track him across the entire party. I want to let you know, you'll make a wonderful mother.”

“Thank you Twilight,” Willow turned and tucked the two new items and the stack of papers in a drawer under a side table. After they were stored she started the chase of her own mother.

Shield watched from his little conversation group as his wife snuck up behind Elm and tapped her left shoulder while sneaking on her right. Elm turned left to show whoever it was her new grandson but Willow picked him up from her without Elm even knowing. Shield chuckled as he watched his wife.

“How did someone like you get someone like that?”

“You watch you mouth Spear Tip or I’d think your trying to steal my wife.”

“Oh please, and upset mine? She's already hormonally emotional.”

“Rub it in why don't you.”

Spear Tip actually wilted a bit, “Look, that's not what I meant and you know it.”

“Yeah I know but the look on your face!”

“Oh buck you! Jerk!”

“You better believe this is a lucky stallion to get my baby.” An old stallion meandered up to them.

“Look Glider, I’ve said it time and time again. I’m about the luckiest I’ve ever been.” Shield sighed, “There are still mornings after these ten years I expect to wake up to an empty bed because of my condition.”

“Dear, this story again?” Shield nearly leapt out of his fur as his wife managed to sneak up on him next. “Tell it if you must but watch him for a moment. I need to use the bathroom.” She placed Chitter on his back and left without a word more.

“She runs the house doesn't she?” Spear asked jokingly.

“They all do.” Came the defeated response of Glider. “Anyway, what's the deal with the bug?”

“We found him on our porch last night. Willow brought him in, cleaned him up, and brought him to bed. After all these years of wanting, I think she just latched on to him as he did to her.

Glider watched the little pony lookalike look around for something. He didn’t fuss much now that he was back with Shield but that was probably just recognition. He took a good look at the changeling as this was going to be his only grandchild.
“Well hello! What's your name?” He asked knowing full well the question was directed towards Shield rather than the changeling.
Chitter just sat there but watched him curiously.

“His name is Chitter, or according to the letter I was shown Love Bug.”

“How fitting.” Glider vaguely watched as Elm moseyed over after realizing she no longer had her grandson.

“Glidey have you see-” Elm nearly gasped as she finally found Chitter again. “Shield! How could ya steal ah foal from an old mare?”

Shield grinned a bit playfully, “First, I didn't steal him. I took something that already belonged to me, well Willow. Secondly, you’re not a mare, you’re now grandma.”

“Damn straigh, now I want ‘im back!” Elm replied loudly.

“Oh no you don't mom!” Willow trotted up and snatched Chitter back up. “I've only so many years left to baby him and I want to do so.”

“You an’ me both sister!” The two wandered off to the kitchen leaving the stallions behind to chat.


Willow flipped through the checklist they were given for the inspection.

In regulation: The physical requirements for adoptive homes include, but are not limited to, the following:
• The home must be clean, safe, free of obvious fire and other hazards, and of sufficient size to accommodate comfortably and appropriately all members of the household and the approved number of adopted foals.
• The home shall have adequate lighting and ventilation, hot and cold water supply, plumbing, electricity, and heat.
• The home shall have sufficient furniture to allow each foal to sleep in a separate bed and to have adequate storage space for his or her personal belongings.
• The home shall be equipped with smoke detectors in working order.
• If the home uses well water, it shall be tested and determined safe.1

Shield and Willow have done every single possible thing they could possibly do or imagine to the home. Plug guards were installed, cabinets proofed, certain doors locked, foals room prepared with things they wouldn't even use due to having an unorthodox case.

The two prospective parents were leaning against each other in the foals doorway. Panting slightly as they had set up the foals room. Both were super grateful that Pinkie Pie cleans up after her parties like they never happened. Chitter slept in the new crib, breathing deeply as his lips buzzed with each exhale.

Shield looked over the little bug and allowed the thought to sink in that he was about to be “dad”. Sometimes he’d imagine a genderless, subspecies-less pony foal looking to him for guidance and protection, but he was never as satisfied. This little colt needed himself and his wife to continue to live. That alone was infinitely better than those dreams, he just wished it was his foal.

Chitter twitched in his sleep, achu. The sneeze itself startled him but he dozed back off. “I'll take him in tomorrow.”

“Mhmm,” Shield mumbled in exhaustion.

“Come on, let’s go to bed. Who knows how long he'll let us sleep.” Willow grabbed the receiver end of the monitor and guided her husband back to their bed for a hopeful good night’s rest.

1 Actual adoption requirements per my state government, edited slightly to fit their world.

Dirty Ceilings and Bad Jokes

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“Willow calm down. We don’t want to fail because we need to replace the carpet.”

“But, but, what if we missed something?! Where's the list?!” Willow's mane was beginning to look frazzled and she was developing an eye twitch.

“You’re holding it hon.” Shield stated calmly while sitting on the couch.

Chitter, being the source of all this worry, sat right next to Shield on the couch. He was trying to mimic Shield by babbling nonsense (not even in equish) and sitting as the older stallion was. He watched Willow move around the house dusting, straightening, and cleaning anything within her reach.

At one point in Willow's whirlwind like movement, she picked up Chitter and wiped him down. Having a semi-hard outer shell meant he was easily cleaned. She put him back down in the same exact position he was sitting before she moved him. Quickly running a brush over her husband she raced all over the home again, and again, and again.

Shield looked around in amazement. Even though nothing was rearranged, the whole house looked different after this thorough of a cleaning. Things were polished to a reflective shine, others were also nearly polished, like the couch. Shield on more than one occasion had to remove some cleaning agent from his wife's grasp, due to trying to polish something that didn’t need to be.

Knock, knock.

Willow wailed, “We’re going to fail!” She rushed over to Chitter and pulled him to her chest just a little too tightly. “I didn't even have time to clean the ceiling! What kind of a mother can't even find the time for that?!” She wept into the wiggling changeling.

"CHRRRR." He grunted.

“Willow, what are you talking about? Who in their right mind scrubs the ceiling?” The unicorn stallion got up off the couch and trotted to the door. He peeked through the door side window to check who it was. “Hey honey, we have company.”

“I can't lose him!”

Through the door came a muffled, “Shield, open the door already! It's chilly out here!”
Shield opened the door to let Redheart in.

“She needs your help right now. I’ve tried for the past few hours and have gotten nowhere.” He gestures with a hoof, “Your turn.”

“Wow some help you are.”

“I’ve been at it for hours already! Why do you hate me?”

“Ha! Like I’d tell you.” Redheart laughed.
Shield was always weirded out by Red, he could never tell if she was serious or just messing with him. He was pretty sure that she did hate him though, coincidentally he thinks its because he was the one to win Willow’s heart. He knew they were close in med school but Willow just never felt as Redheart did.

Redheart walked into the living room seeing Willow bawling her eyes out into the colts side on the couch. “Aren't you supposed to be getting ready for an inspection or something.” The pure teal eyes looked to the newcomer.

Willow's head shot up and her grip lessened on the struggling changeling. “Red? What are you doing here?” She sniffed, “Did they send you to take him? To lessen the blow?”

“Mare, get ahold of yourself! You haven't even had the inspection yet!” She shook her head. ‘So this is what he was talking about,’ she thought to herself. “I'm here to provide an outside reference to your parental qualifications.”

“Red, they're going to take my colt!”


“Willow, they aren’t taking him! I’ve been telling you all morning. We have everything and then some. The house is the cleanest I’ve ever seen it, and he is satisfied with being here.”


“This is the royal guard on behalf of Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight. Open up at once.”

“Lieutenant! I think that's a bit much.” The faded voice of Twilight Sparkle filtered through.

“Red get her a towel and a comb stat!”
Redheart rushed to quickly get this mare presentable for the inspection. Making sure to not muss up the house she grabbed a brush and a hoof towel.

“Ba ba?” Chitter offered innocently.

“You had to go for a changeling didn’t you Willow?”


“Its ok little one, mommy's ok.”

“Willow quickly! The Princesses are here for the inspection!”

Willow went ramrod straight grabbed the brush, swiped it once over her face, and resumed her usually groomed self. No tears, redness, or worry, just a happy go lucky smile.

“Ho-how did you do that?”


“Exactly!” Willow chimed, once again chipper. She lifted her soon to be colt onto her back. “Are you coming Red?” She turned and left to greet their guests.

“Wait, what just happened?” She slapped the side of her face lightly, “Was I seeing things?”

Willow walked into the entryway and discovered Shield trying to buy just a bit of time. “Princesses! Why don’t you have a seat in the living room instead?”

Everypony in the small hall noticed the look of relief on Shield’s face. “Weren't trying stall were you?”

“I beg your forgiveness, I was just giving Willow a moment to adjust herself. The preparation was wreaking havoc on her.”

“Indeed Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight.” Willow reached under her wing a produced a stack of forms. “As requested all paperwork and legal forms have been properly filled out and signed. Do you wish to start the tour?”

The inspection of the home was short but thorough. The Princesses themselves found nothing out of place except for an unwashed ceiling. Princess Celestia was satisfied with the outcome but just one thing was missing.

“Willow Breeze and Shield Polish, the home looks spectacular just one thing though.” Celestia states firmly while flipping through their paperwork. “I see here that you’re missing your F.O.A.L form. The Foal open adoption legalities form, pretty much the most important form to have. Without it I cannot allow you to adopt him. It is however obtained through final adoption proceedings though.” She finished with a smile.

Willow sat there for a minute, her eyes glassed over. Not a muscle moved, she wasn't even sure if her heart still beat. Everything was black and quiet in her mind.

“Willow Breeze?” Twilight asked softly. She looked at Celestia, “Princess?”

Willow exploded in tears, “BAH-HA-HA-HA!” She wrapped herself around the changeling protectively and cried.

Every single soul in the room except for Willow stared at Princess Celestia. Celestia herself looked a little sheepish. “That didn’t go as planned.” She barely muttered.

“You want me to “Princess”, well I’m going to,” Twilight looked to the older Princess, “Fix your mess!” Twilight knew occasionally that Celestia was a jokester but this went way-way too far. “I’m not doing it this time.” She folded her hooves over her chest.

The guards accompanying them let the Princesses solve these matters. Unless they were to take the changeling, or defend the Princesses they were to do nothing.

Shield hugged his wife close to him. “Why-hy-hy? I did ever-ryth-thing!” Chitter started to get upset because she was. “Why can't I be-he a mo-ther?”

“Princess please reconsider! We had no idea that was a form! We'll fill it out as soon as we can get ahold of one, we swear!” Shield pleaded.

Celestia sat there in a form of mental lock up, ‘The joke was fully said, but they didn’t hear it!’

“That’s it! I’m getting Luna.”

Within seconds there was a bright light and a dark blue alicorn stood in the center of the room. Celestia's mind was still slipping gears as she tried to piece together a way to undo this. A plan was quickly formed when the unexpected happened.

Luna reached up and slapped her sister, “ART THOU OUT OF THINE MIND?” Luna began to yell at her sister, “DIDST THOU THINK TWAS A BRILLIANT IDEA TO JEST DURING SUCH SERIOUS MATTERS?” Celestia sat there completely stunned. “VERILY?”

“Okay okay! First stop yelling, it's upsetting to colt. Second, Willow Breeze and Shield Polish I'm immensely displeased with my own actions and wish to make it up for this bad joke.” Everyone was surprised when Celestia looked down at the floor in shame. “For my actions I will personally pay the medical cost for the gem implants. Consider it an apology and congratulatory gift.” Celestia quickly lit her horn and teleported to who knows where.

-Meanwhile at the castle-

Celestia popped into her room after her visit to the hospital in Ponyville. “Really?! I said it but they didn’t catch it?! It was planned out so well!” Celestia slammed her pillow over her head. “Got to give it to Luna though, that was a nice hit.” Her cheek still burned in both shame and more readily, pain.

-Willow/Shield residence-

“We are truly sorry for mine sister's mistimed jest.” Luna smiled at the little bug. “But twas splendid to correct such behavior! Congratulations on thy family! Twilight Sparkle, please finish up here.”

“Will do!”

Luna also disappears to whence she came. Twilight looks to Willow, “For the record, I had no idea she was planning that.” Twilight coughed into her hoof and changed the subject. “Well all that aside I’m pleased to say your inspection passed with flying colors.”

Chitter voiced his glee with a loud, “Chiiii!”

“Well someone is at least not shaken up by earlier.” Twilight lit her horn in a lavender aura and summoned a pot of ink and a quill that almost didn’t exist anymore. “Oh,” Twilight muttered as she looked at her quill, “That report last night must have been a dosey.”

Twilight levitated the stack of form required for the adoption process. “Do you mind if I use your kitchen table for a few minutes?”

“Sure thing Princess.” Shield said happily. Out of the two new parents he succeeded in moving past the bad joke. Willow lie on the couch, still shaking and stroking the colts fin like mane. Chitter cuddled up close to her with his eyes closed enjoying the attention.


Minutes passed, then fifteen, going on a half hour. Twilight sat back in her chair, “Done! Compared to the normal paperwork I have to do, that was easy.”

“Sooo that’s it? Does he belong to us now?” Willow asked with hopeful eyes.

“In a moment, Princess Celestia sent you this,” Twilight floated a paper towards Willow. “As she said she would, the hospital bill was paid in full with a date already scheduled. She has great health care benefits as a Princess of Equestria.” Twilight jumped off her chair and beckoned the two to follow her.

With guards outside the door Twilight turned around in the doorway. “I want to be the second to congratulate you two. Legally this colt is now yours, please take care of him and remember our weekly visits with Aunt Twilight!” She shook hooves, turned, and left.

Shield closed the door and sat down behind it. Red who almost was ignored the entire time let out a laugh as she walked up to Willow. “Ha! See? I told you it’d go well.”

Willow smiles broadly and squealed, “We did it, we did it we did it!” She playfully tossed Chitter in the air fully intending to catch him.

Problem was he didn’t come back down. Everyone looked up and he was just flapping his little wings. He fluttered in the air looking down at “mom”. No one seemed to notice the slight movement backward as he hovered, no the new parents (Willow mostly) were happy to see he didn’t have detriments so far.

He had drifted a couple hoof lengths away when he stopped beating his wings. Shield leapt to catch him, as did Willow, resulting in lumps for them and another gleeful squeal from Chitter.

“Note to self, keep eye on flight at all times,” Willow said to herself.

“You're a pegasus! How did you forget?” Redheart asks from her spot on the couch.

“As bad as it sounds, that wasn’t quite the first thing on my mind after all this.”

Shield interrupted, “Welcome to the family our little love bug!”

Family First

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Shield sat in the waiting room reading a magazine about the guard. Willow was attending the actual surgery while he had to wait outside. He looked up at the clock, “Hmph, 3:00. They’ve been in there for hours, what’s taking so long?

Honestly Shield was thrilled the day arrived finally. His boss sure didn’t seem happy about another day off request but he had plenty to spare after the last seven years working there. Willow at least was technically on the clock so she could be in the room.
Willow had to be in there, he didn't.

During the week between adoption and surgery they had discovered that Chitter hated to be without one of them. He often started this unusual screeching sound. It wasn’t loud, just worrying and mildly annoying. Hence why Willow has been there before they even ran the nerve block and anesthetic.

Shield had been there for that, it was almost one of the funniest things he's seen since the time Spear Tip ended up with his face stuck in a mailbox. Well, funny after he didn’t have to harm the doctor.

The little changeling had a special needle designed for hard shells put in his hoof. Willow was again making faces at him while the doctor worked. This practically made the doc invisible, though Shield watched every single move he made. He wasn’t taking a chance with anyone performing any form of hate crime to his… son, yeah son.

Chitter played along with her until he stopped suddenly and fell over on the pillow. It looked like someone had flipped a switch.
Shield tensed up preparing to assault the doctor to figure out what he did.

“Oh good, the medication worked.” Willow seemed happy and Shield calmed down. “We weren't exactly sure that it would work on him. There isn’t much medical knowledge about changelings.”

Shield looked back at the clock, 3:05. He tried to go back to his magazine but couldn't focus on it enough to actually get any reading done.

3:30 – Shield was now up and pacing a bit.

4:00 – “Nurse is everything ok back there?”

“Sir calm down, we’ve never operated on a changeling before, let alone a changeling foal. Last I received he should be done within the hour.”

4:43:17 – The door opened up, “Shield Polish? Please follow me to the recovery annex.”

Shield followed beside the nurse as she took him to another wing of the hospital. “Princess Celestia made sure that he had his own room so when he wakes up he doesn’t disturb the other patients.”

“When will he be cleared to leave the hospital, if you know?”

“Sir, that is a question for the doctor examining him.” She opened a door a directed him inside.

The inside of the room was white, a single medical bed with devices next to it sat in the center of the far wall. Two couches of a tan color were on either wall next to the bed. On the bed was Willow, she was laid back cradling the newest member of the family.

His son, ooo did he like the sound of that, was passed out after another dose of painkillers. He was covered in thick blue bandages right around his chest and neck.

Shield was confused by the blue bandages. “How did it go?”

“It went just fine, the Princesses sure know what they're doing when it comes to magical gems.” She stroked Chitter's mane fin. “We cut the chitin to fit the gem and placed it. The gem, being a rare identifier piece, bonded itself to the surrounding area of his body.” Willow grinned, “You can't get that bad boy out with a crowbar. Well not without trauma, both physical and psychological.”

“Well that's good. What about the other gem?” Shield inquired.

“That one gave the surgeon a bit more trouble. He cut a section out to get at the location-"

“Wait why would they have to remove a section?”

“Shield look,” Willow lifted her front leg and tapped it with the other then repeated the unusual exercise with Chitter's. The sound alone made Shield realize that question was pretty dumb. “He doesn't have skin, he has a shell. It cannot be stretched or pulled.”

“Okay, okay, I get it!”

“So they had a bit of trouble grafting the piece back after getting the gem situated.”

“I'm not even going to ask, but it looks like he's ok now.” Shield watched their son sleep peacefully.

“It was hard getting it back in because our little colt woke up mid surgery.” She rocked him gently in her hooves. A look came over her, “Shield, we finally have a foal! I'm just, just so excited!”

“Yes, well honey if you keep yelling like that and we'll have an upset foal.”

“Nah, he just had another dose of medication and won't likely awake for another few hours.” Willow began humming the same song she used that first night.

“What's with the blue bandages?” Shield asked.

“Honestly, it’s just a color preference. He won't have them long with all the healing spells he has to get the next couple days.”

“When can we all go home?” Shield yawned, the stress has weighed on him. He wasn't sure how Willow did it but she just shrugged off mental stress about medical procedures.

“Don’t know yet. The doctor is supposed to run some blood tests if he can. We won't see those for a while anyway.”

A few minutes later knocking could be heard.
“Come on in doc, he's still out cold.” Willow called to him.

The door opened without a sound and a brown unicorn stallion in white lab coat entered. “Well I officially get to put that into my resume, “First changeling patient in history”. Do you two have any questions before I rant a bit?”

“Actually just one, do we get to go home today?”


“Shield! Jeez let the poor dear heal properly.” Willow scolded after retracting the wing she used to snack him upside the head.

“Ahem, yes, well he should be good to go in an hours time.” The doc shuffled a bit,
“Princess Celestia added a request/demand that we do not keep him here for study. That itself came with being told to relay that exact message to you.”

“Thank you for being clear.” Shield compliments from the foot of the bed. He had been sitting there as sentry to the room since entering; nothing was going to bother his family on his watch.

“If I may sir, all doctors are sworn to the Hippocratic Oath. I don’t care what species come under my care, they will be treated equally.” The doc stared directly into Shield’s piercing gaze. “As long as I shall live I guarantee you that no harm shall befall him under my care.” Many ponies would have caved in at this small interrogation, yet the doc held strong. Every single word he said the absolute truth in his own mind.

Without breaking eye contact former Lieutenant Shield turns his head slightly. “Willow, make this his primary doctor. You listen to me and you listen good.” Shield had a glare that could make the Princesses themselves think twice. “You'd better make good on those words or somepony may just vanish. Understood?” he offered a hoof.

The doctor took that hoof firm and steady. “Damn. Straight. Forgive my unprofessional manner there.”

“You might want to get ahold of as much information on changelings as you can. I will not take accidents as an answer.”

Shield backed off, sat down and watched the door again. Internally he was calming down after making the threat against another pony’s life. ‘It is what I'm supposed to do as dad right?’

“That’s too far Shield!”

“With all do respect Mrs. Breeze, that was perfectly acceptable. He's a father protecting his family. Besides, no harm in agreeing to something that’s already my job.” He looked to his fellow unicorn, “I know what you said and agree. One thing to note, we still don't know everything about changelings and medicine.” He took a breath and moved along, “That said, two weeks from today I want to run an allergy detection test.”

Willow answered for them, “Will do, doc.”


The rest of the visit went great with the new family doctor. “Chitter should be fully recovered in about four days time with magical treatment.”

“Thanks doc, hope you have luck on your studies.” Shields adds not so subtly.

The adapting family trots home with Shield himself actually carrying the sling holding his son. A question is slowly invading both ponies thoughts. Willow voices it, “What are we going to do with him when we go to work?”

“I've been thinking about that. Daycare seems logical but which would accept him?”

Willow knew they were going straight into the deep end of the pool, but she didn't know they were going off the diving board. “Oh right, our little colt is a changeling.” She thinks for a moment leaving them to walk in silence.

“A babysitter would probably end up the same way. Maybe I should quit my job?” Willow looks to her stallion for his opinion.

“You can't do that! You love taking care of all the little ponies! Maybe I could switch to part time at the museum. It's less we have to worry about in the long run except maybe finances.”

“Hey! Why should you spend all day with him and I shouldn't?”

Shield just raised an eyebrow in a manner that said, “Really?”

She just laughs leans in close and whispers in his ear, “See I told you, you would make a great father. But I actually agree with you. Combination part time and stay at home dad could work out.” She dips down quickly and removes the sling from him and puts it over herself.

Chrrrrrrrr, little Chitter added in his sleep. He shifted slightly in his sling.

“It's ok sweetie, momma's got you.” She let out a quiet squeal, “I've always wanted to say that! Mom, mom, mom, has just such a nice ring to it!”

“Calm down dear, we still have a bit of time to baby him. He's what, one, at most?”

“But I missed an entire year!”

“Willow, you need to calm down a bit. You’re starting to sound a bit creepy.” He stared at his wife before going on, “Just remember once he's old enough he still has to live his own life. Meaning you can't baby him forever.”

“Yes yes, I know. But while I can, I’m going to.” She resumes her humming and adds little dance steps.

Shield falls back a little and just watches Willow slowly make a fool of herself. Not in a bad way, she was dancing and humming in the middle of the street. He feels better somehow just watching his beautiful wife caring for their son. For that, she can make the biggest fool of herself and still be thought no less of.

‘Well I gotta say, Shield is taking all this quite well. It's been a week and we’ve adopted a changeling foal.’ While she ponders this thought her hoof catches a rock in the path bringing her face in for an overdue visit with the dirt.

She expects some pain and potentially some screaming from her foal. But she never even hits the dirt as a sky blue aura surrounds her and keeps her face and her foal from eating dirt. ‘Brownie points!’

The aura lifts her back to her hooves but takes the sling from her once there. “Hey, I wasn’t done with that!”

“Now now little missy. You can have it back when you prove to be more responsible with him.” Shield said jokingly behind the serious manner of saying it.

“Hey, I tripped! It could have happened to anyone!”

Tsk tsk tsk, “The excuses mares come up with these days.” Shield walks past Willow, “Come on Chitter let’s go learn sports and burp!”

“Oh har har har, mister funny. Those just cost another week of Carrot Cake.”

Shield chuckles as he checks the mailbox, “So worth it.”

Love can be Blind

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2 Years Later
Hearthswarming Eve

Snow covered the slumbering earth while strings of colored lights lit it from above in a multicolored light. The sky is still a dark gray after the snow had stopped. The weather was to remain as such until tomorrow morning then sunlight was the forecast.
All the homes of Ponyville were shut tight and families spent the day preparing for Hearthswarming. This was true of the home containing an unusual set of family members as well.

Their home had a wreath on the door, lights strung down the path and across the fence. Lights also adorned the household exterior in an easy but cheerful fashion. The interior was well decorated too, from the present lined tree to the tightly stuffed stockings set aside from the lit fireplace at the moment.


“Over here.”

A soft buzzing moves from room to room. THUMP “Oww." The buzzing continues again trying to find his intended target. It stops after finding a dirty orange colored pegasus in the kitchen. “Momma, I eat?”

Said pegasus looks down to the black bug colt. “Can I eat?” She picks up a sheet of cookies and puts them in the oven.

“C-cn I eat?”

“C-A-N.” She pronounced out.

“Momma!” He looked at her in childish seriousness, “I want food.”

“What do you say when asking for something?”


“There we go, good job!”

The changeling colt looks at his mother in pride for remembering his, uh what were they, manders?

“Well come here and get lunch.” She holds out her forelegs inviting him in for a hug.

“Hold on a second!” The unicorn father walks into the room after finishing the shoveling. “And why was I not invited for the lunch ceremony?”

“Dad! Help lunch?”

“Well of course I wanna help my two favorite ponies.” He walks over to his wife and son and pulls them into a big hug. He loves his family and makes sure they are well protected and provided for.

Chitter adores anytime he gets to eat, whether its sitting at the table eating something that agrees with him, or out and about with his grandparents.

He doesn't understand other ponies though, some are just as happy to see him as he is to see them. Gram and Gramp love to see him. Red visits most mornings but she and mom leave fairly quickly. Aunt Twilight sometimes comes over to see him and he enjoys his time with her and Spike.

Others want absolutely nothing to do with him. Still some say mean things to mom and dad. Chitter remembers that time a mare came up to momma and said she should be ashamed. Some other words were said to mom that he didn't understand, like decency, or self-respect.

Chitter began to laugh, lunch was fun. His dad asks him, “What are you laughing about Chit?”

“Momma hit mare nose!” He laughs more,
“She go, oh oh oh, how dare you!”

Willow looks guilty, “I told the guard that investigated that she was using covered threats against my family.” She gets serious and directs Chitter’s attention toward her. “Momma was bad, my little love bug. We don't hit ponies.”


“Shield.” Willow buries her head in Chitter's side.

“Well, uh. Hitting ponies is wrong. It hurts them.”

“Hurt?” Chitter askes in foalhood innocence.

“Hurt… Ow!”

“Ow! Hit make ow? No like ow.”

“Very good, we don’t hit, right?” Shield verifies.

“No dad, no hit.” He smiles proudly.

“That’s my colt!” Shield loves his son. Every day the family exists, the more he can't be without them. Gone were the thoughts of wishing this colt was his blood. “So how was lunch?”

“Did you get enough?” Willow finally joins back in.

“Full momma!” The changeling rubs his belly, “No more!”

“Alright Chitter go ahead and play. Don't go outside without us.”

“Love momma. Love daddy.” He hugged each parent before trotting into the living room to play with his Legos. His dad followed then jumped up on the couch and just watched.

Sitting near the fresh pine tree, Chitter gathered his preferred toy. He liked the blue blocks but didn’t have enough for the idea in his mind. He wanted to make something he saw earlier in the yard, but couldn't seem to get it to his liking. He tore it down and started adding grey bricks. He worked and worked and got so close to what he considered a perfect replica.

“Dad! Lookit!” He holds the unusual block structure up for him to see. A grin taking over most of his face.

Shield looked at the colts toy and honestly couldn't tell what it was. But he wasn't stupid, oh no this was hard work for the changeling and he didn't want to ruin his fun.

“That's very good Chit! Now we’ve been working on it, what’s it called?”

“A bard! Tweet tweet!”

Ok so it’s a bird, good to know. “That’s a very fine looking bird.” Mentally he shook his own hoof in triumph at successfully hiding his cluelessness.


Before he could think of much there was fire throughout the house. Shield leapt like a mad stallion and scooped up Chitter.


Shield ran through the house to the front door in an effort to escape. Fire blocked the exit as the front porch was covered in flame. He made a dash for the bathroom. Turning the shower on full blast he ran a towel under it then stuffed Chitter inside of it. “We'll be ok!”

Shield coughed while he dipped himself under as flame started to engulf most the house spreading extraordinarily fast. The heat was intense and he was pretty sure his fur was singeing.

Making a break again for the front door he leapt through the flame, over the porch, and landed on his front left hoof badly: it snapped. Both tumbled to the snowy ground, Chitter still tightly wrapped in the damp towel. Both gasped for clean air.

“Well well, you actually made it out. Too bad it survived though. Oh well, we can have more fun with it this way.” A stallion's raspy voice casually remarked.

Shield fought through the pain and tried to stand. He had to get his son back. The hooded pony kicked him in the head rendering him unconscious. No mercy was shown to him.

“Dad, daddy! MOMMA HELP!” Chitter screamed. Flailing as much as possible wrapped in the towel still.

“Those two idiots can't help you now.” The black hooded figure makes a dash for the front gate while magically choking Chitter.

Chitter coughs and gasps as he cannot fight against the attacker because of the towel. But instincts kick in and a green flame crawls across just his neck. It dissipates leaving him with the wooden neck of a Timberwolf he’d seen in the Three Little Pigs book.

He can breathe again. “MOMMA HEL-"

“I SAID SHUT UP!” The foalnapper strikes him across the face. Chitter screams as his chitin cracks, drawing blood.


A huge force slams down from the sky right on top of the assailant. While pinned down, a swift rear hoof comes down on their head snapping the horn clean off.

“You picked the wrong mother bucking family!”

Any chance at escape has been well and truly busted. The hooded pony writhes, screaming on the ground, bleeding from his broken horn. By this time more ponies start to show up to see where the smoke is coming from. Even Princess Twilight had gotten the news of a fire.

Willow grabs Chitter and pulls him protectively to her chest. There was a frenzy in her eyes most ponies saw as ‘stay away from my baby!’ She backed away from the gathering crowd to her downed stallion. She'd protect him too, she has to.

“What happened here?!”


A guard was in front of her, “Ma'am, you need to calm down. We aren't going to hurt you or your family.”

“Back off!” She squeezed Chitter tightly as he cried into her chest. “Momma's here, Momma's here. The bad ponies won’t hurt you.”

“Daddy ow!”


Two very enraged Princesses of Equestria landed with small tremors, the dry dirt cracking. Willow flinches for a second before backing away on three hooves.

“WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!” The sheer volume of the Princesses combined literally pushes ponies away from them.

Chitter finally gets his forelegs free and drops the supposed toy bird he made. It falls to the ground and practically explodes into bits. “Momma, I oww." He slowly brings a hoof to his injury.

“Shhh baby it's alright. Momma will make it better, I promise.”

“Willow Breeze, what happened here?” Princess Celestia asked.

“Princess, I need the hospital right now! Hooded ponies attacked! He's badly hurt and so's Shield!”

“Twilight, teleport them to the hospital, Luna search the back of the house. Guards, pick that pony up and bring them and any others there might be to the prison hospital.”
All the ponies set upon their tasks as Twilight teleports the injured to the local hospital. A guard is waiting and snaps to attention with a salute.

“Momm-" Chitter's head slumps down, his body going limp, a nasty horseshoe shaped crack along the side of his face. His face bleeding a blue ichor slowly.

Willow's panicking doubled in an instant. “We need a doctor!” She trots in place hurriedly.

A nurse at the desk jumped up and hit a large blue button on the wall. A loud but not overwhelming alarm sounded. She then picked up the intercom microphone. “Doctor Quick Shot to the emergency entrance immediately! Code blue, two ponies.”
Willow held her injured colt despite her own injuries. “Momma's here.”

“Ughh, Willow?” Groaned the stallion brought with them.

“Shield, oh my. What happened?” She received no answer as the doors burst open and two separate gurneys were maneuvered out.

“Doctors, all three were in a fire and need oxygen immediately!” Twilight states as they start moving the colt and his father.

“Understood Princess.” The family doctor turns to Willow, “Please follow me.”
The family are guided away from the Princess and into the facility. “Hey Mr. Shot, you do know that-"

“Mrs. Breeze, I am well aware of Chitter's needs. The nurses are preparing a room for the three of you. Now please follow me, we do not have any idea how bad the smoke inhalation is.”

“Doc please, I’m fine just save my baby and husband!”

“We will do everything we can for them. For now see one of the nurses and don’t argue! I will personally see to Chitter's injuries and another will check on Shield Polish.” Without another word he moved toward the unconscious colt and examined the cracks in his chitin.

“Ma'am I was told you aren't to leave this room but please come over here and sit down.” She rolled up a tank with a face mask. “Here, breathe normally and let’s check you for injury.”


Shield laid on his medical bed with his hoof in a cast. He was absolutely fuming with rage. ‘That pony nearly killed my family. When he didn't succeed, he kicked me in the head.’

Every second he sat there the higher his rage went. He wanted to beat that pony to a bloody pulp and burn the rest.

“Shield, Shield!” Willow's voice disrupts his thoughts.

“WHAT?” He lashes out verbally, his face burning with anger.

“Don't you yell at me!” Willow was weeping. “We nearly lost our son and our lives!” Willow clutched Chitter whose head was wrapped in a thick white bandage.

“Daddy mad me?” Chitter whispered, “Dad vew mad.”

“Did you forget that our son can read emotions like a book?” She looked at the stallion. “You just being angry upsets him. You, are in a full on rage and that's physically hurting him.”


“I'm right here Chit.” Knowing that his emotional status is hindering his son, Shield tried to let the rage slip away. It was very difficult, but he had to for his family's sake. “I’m sorry Chitter. Dad's not mad at you, dad loves you very much.” He made grabbing motions in his direction while lifting him with magic.

Chitter squealed as his was lifted from his mother. “Momma help!”

“Chit, it's ok! It's just dad, I'm lifting you.” The changeling lands softly on the bed with his father. “See? It's ok.”

Chitter cowered, “No ow Daddy, no ow.”

“I'd never hurt you. Daddy loves you.” He pulled Chitter to his chest careful to avoid the cast. With the final bits of rage dissipating, Shield let his love for his family fill him.

Chitter slowly stopped shaking as his father held him protectively. After a while he spoke,
“Daddy can I eat?” Chitter asked, finally getting back to his usual self.

“Good job! You're getting so smart!” He smiled and lightly rubbed Chitter's mane fin.

“Go ahead little one, it's dinnertime anyway.”

“Yumm!” Chitter did his usual absorbing motion. After eating his fill of love he sat back against his dad's side.

“Willow, I-I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. I just hate everything and everypony involved.” He sighed dejectedly, “Willow, they-they took everything from us!”

“Oh Shield, we have everything we need!”

“How? We have no home, no bits, or belongings. Our son even lost that bird he made! We lost everything, and without any of it we'll lose him too!” The big bad ex-royal guard was on the verge of tears himself. “Hearths warming is tomorrow too! We had presents for everyone…”

“Shield, look at me.” His wife was sitting next to his bed. “The house and the things in it are replaceable, the ponies are not. You made sure you got Chitter out and out unharmed.”

“I got myself knocked out and nearly lost our son, is what I did.” Shield grumbles.

“Dear, you saved him from fire! Actual fire! If anything you deserve a medal.”

“Yes that’s quite right.” Came a voice from behind Willow.

“P-Princess Celestia!” Willow bowed.
Chitter waved at the new pony, “Hi, Lady!” Sure someponies don't like him but he always wanted to make a friend.

“Evening Princesses.” Shield bluntly stated, barely giving the respect they deserve.

“Ant Twi!” Chitter exclaimed happily. “Play Spike?!” Over the last couple years he and Spike became good friends. Not best friends for some weird age related reason, kind of like when a younger cousin comes over.

“Sorry Chitter, he's at the library finishing chores. If your parents are ok with you going I'll take you.” Twilight directed the remark to his family.

Celestia leans toward the family, “I brought her specifically to watch him. There's a lot I need to discuss with the both of you. I personally believe he should get some distraction from this whole mess.” Celestia leans back, “While I’m getting answers from you he will be guarded at all times by a trained guard.”

“I-I don't like that idea Princess. To be completely honest I don’t want him anywhere we aren't. I mean he was attacked while we were next to him.”

“That's understandable, Twilight do you think you can bring Spike here, and maybe a few toys of some sort?”

“Toys? I want toys and Spike!” Little Chitter nodded his head vigorously. “Ow, Momma ow.”

“Be easy Chit; it’s going to hurt for a while.”

“Okay!” He started swaying back and forth, “Spike Spike Spike!” He coughed a bit,
“Mamma, can have water?”

“Sure, come here.” She picked up a glass from the bedside table. Willow brought the straw to his side of the glass, but before he could drink a nurse came in with a sippy cup.

“Pardon my intrusion, Doctor Shot sent me in with this special formula for-" She looked down at a clipboard she carried, “Chitter?”

“Ohh ohh, me!” Chitter waved at her, “Hi lady!”

Princess Celestia sat to the side, ‘Even after being attacked by ponies he still just wants to meet new faces.’ She smiled, ‘I hope you remain this optimistic throughout life.’
The nurse leaves after giving him the foals cup, which he eagerly stuffed into his face. Celestia decided to speak up again. “So what exactly happened?”

“Princess, we had just fed Chitter lunch and Shield was watching him play in the living room. I was in the kitchen making something small for Shield and I. The was the sound of multiple windows breaking and then fire was in the house! Shield yelled for me to get out the back door and fly straight up.” Willow takes a calm collective breath. “I decided to exit through the window that was smashed and found a robed unicorn waiting outside in the backyard. They saw me and cursed my family and said that I didn't even have the dignity to die with them. Before I knew what I was doing I was standing over them with their head bleeding. I was then trying to find a way to see if they were in the house but couldn't see inside anymore. That’s when I heard the scream from the front.”

Willow hugged Chitter close as she began to sob, “I heard my baby screaming for Momma to help. I don’t recall making it to the front of the house just seeing Chitter flailing in the other robed unicorn’s magic, held by his neck alone.” She sobbed loudly. “They were killing my baby! That pony then struck him in the face and cracked his shell! I remember slamming into them and yelling. Chitter was safe and they wouldn't hurt him. Then you showed up, Princess.”

“Momma, ow, ow!” Chitter winced in pain.

“I'm sorry little one, Momma's sorry.” Willow looked at her foal and was met violently with the realization that her foals left eye was faded.

“Momma mad me?” The changeling looked sad and confused. He wasn't sure why mom was mad at him.

“Princess look at what they did!” Willow lifted and turned the colt to face the white princess.

Even Celestia herself was taken aback at what the pony had done. She silently prayed to herself that his eye would recover without incident. ‘Who in the wide world of Equus would strike a foal in this way.’

A barely noticeable knocking was heard at the door. “Yes?” Princess Celestia inquired.

“Oh, I just need to check a bandage, if that’s okay?” The voice heard was as soft and timid as the knock had been.

“Yes yes, by all means.” Celestia allowed.
The door opened gently and a butter yellow pegasus stepped in. “Oh, there's so many ponies. I think I’ll just come back.”

“Nonsense Fluttershy! You're already here might as well. Though I need to ask what you’re doing checking bandages. You’re not a doctor or nurse.” Celestia leaves the statement hanging in the air garnering the attention of the rest for the answer.

“Umm, I was sent for to give Doctor Shot a turtle shell patch. To fix a patient here.” Fluttershy kept her gaze on the floor. “I just need to check it worked but I didn't know they used it on a Changeling.”

A few more knocks could be heard on the door. “Please make it stop with all these ponies! I just want some time with my family!”

“Shield, calm down. It's probably Princess Twilight.”

“That's where you would be half right.” The aforementioned Princess walked in with a bag and toolbox in her magic, and a purple dragon on her back.

Chitter removed the cup from his face with a pop. “Spike!”

“Hi Chitter, you ok?”

“I ow.”

“I bet, that looks pretty bad, but look what we brought!”

‘Great job with that Spike.’ Twilight mentally cheered at him getting straight into distraction. She did take note however of the dulling in Chitter's left eye.

“Hello again Polish family.”

“Hello Princess.” The two greeted.

“Welcome back Twilight.”

Twilight lifts the bag she brought in to the couple. “I’m sorry it took so long but I went and did a search through the remains of your house.” She motions to the bag, “This and that toolbox were the only things found. The rest was destroyed beyond recognition or repair. But you’ll be pleased with what I recovered.”

Willow dived into it while the two Princesses talked quietly and the two young ones played. She pulled out a blackened photo album, that was more or less ok.
The next item out was a small metal box, blackened by the fire but sturdy nonetheless. Willow checked inside the box hoping to see what were supposed to be in it. She let out a loud sigh of relief. “Shield, look.”

Shield glanced over from watching Chitter and Spike. “Well looks like those bits I paid were worth it.”

“They better be, these are our wedding rings! We need to have these forever!” Shield raised an eyebrow in her direction. “Ok maybe that was a little creepy sounding but no less true.”

Twilight spoke up, “We have no idea what that toolbox is made of but it survived both the fire and the house collapse. That’s not the interesting thing, it did that while not having any of the Legos in it melt!”

“Yeah, that’s grandpa Smelt's work.” Shield chuckled. “He was the most unusual unicorn, a unicorn blacksmith. I don't mean anything by it, it’s just that earth ponies usually do that, don't know why but I’ve always seen it that way.” Shield was about to continue but Twilight interrupted him.

“Well actually it has to do with biology, earth ponies are generally more gifted in talents related to ground based tasks and activities. So working with iron let’s them get a much higher quality ore and metal as compared to say a pegasus or unicorn.” Celestia just looked at her. “Sorry, sorry, please continue.”

“Annnyway, he was as skilled as the best earth pony smiths there. But it seemed that whatever he made would always catch fire, so he started making everything out of a special metal. He was so worried that he made his own tools out of this metal for fear of burning down the shop.” Shield laughed, “Oh sorry, long story short, that’s not a toolbox but actually a toy chest he made for me as a colt. So it being fireproof isn’t a big surprise.” Shield started to chuckle, the laugh, before being in a full gut grabbing fit.

“Momma? Daddy ow?” Chitter and Spike both looked at him in confusion.

Willow was just as confused but reassured her son regardless. “Daddy’s fine, go ahead and play.”

“Ok. Momma home?”

Willow ignored Shield for a bit, considering what Chit said. Best she could guess it meant when are we going home. “Later love bug. Go play.

Chitter scrunched his face a bit, she wasn’t telling him something. Her emotions betrayed her against his senses. To him each emotion was an ingredient, and his mother and father were chocolate cakes made of lemons. His mother was worried and dad was well, dad.

“Go ahead, it'll be ok.”

Twilight knew something was off with Chitter and went in for distraction duty. “Hey Chitter. How are you?”

The little ling looks away finally, “Ant Twi, fire hot, pony ow daddy, pony ow I, momma ow pony.” He looks back at his dad who finished laughing. “Daddy very mad to pony.

“Chitter, it's ok now the bad ponies aren't going to bother you anymore. Why don’t we go play huh? Sound like fun?” Mentally she was taking notes about his behavior.
‘He seems to be in synch with his parents emotions on a scale I’ve never seen. He knows something is wrong but due to his lack of learned skills, he doesn’t know why or what to do about it.’

“Want momma no sad!” He yells out.

“Chitter it's ok.” Spike tries to cut in. “Why don't we look at the houses through the window?”

“NO!” He sprints as fast as his little legs will carry him towards his mother. Poor little guy didn’t see the chair on his left side and bounced off of it landing on his side. He just lay there crying his eyes out.

All conversation stopped when he had yelled no. Upon crying on the floor, a mother was set on the move. Poor Celestia stood no chance to get out of the way of that speeding bullet.

Spike sat back with his arms folded. Watching the scene made him miss their own parents a bit. “Hey Twilight, when are we going to Canterlot next?”

Twilight sighed from her place next to him. “We were supposed to go today, remember?”

“I do now, but when were we going to leave? Because if it’s now aren't the trains no longer running?”

“Well Spike I guess it's just you and I this Hearthswarming.” She pulled her little brother in for a hug. “I’ll just tell mom that some unexpected events took place and made us miss the train. Well get there in a few days.”
Spike sniffled a bit, “This,” he gestures to everyone, “makes me miss mom and dad.”

“I know Spike, I know.”

“My big question is why don't you fly or teleport Twilight?” Celestia chimes in. “You can always go with me. I’ve still got to go home too you know.”

“You'd do that for us Princess?”
Princess Celestia smiled, “Well of course. It is Hearthswarming eve-” she trailed off.

‘It's Hearthswarming tomorrow and these ponies have nothing.’ Celestia sat in silence for a few moments. “Polish family, I'm sorry I can't do much for you at the moment. But I can promise this, the ones responsible will pay for all damages, medical expenses, and their crimes.” She gave a sad smile, “For all that it's worth, do try to have a happy Hearthswarming.”

Celestia turned to leave, “With everything that went on, I will be sending a guard to investigate. Come Twilight and Spike, we must go.”

“Can I say goodbye Princess?” Spike asked.

“Of course you can.”

Spike plodded over to the two still on the floor. Chitter was still sniffling in his mom's embrace. “Hey Chitter, I’ve got to go home.”

“Spike bye?” He asked with a sniff.

“Yep, bye Chitter. By everypony.”

“Goodbye Spike.” Willow said with a small smile.

“Bye Spike.”

He turned and followed the others out of the room. The room returned to the silence that had gotten Shield into trouble.

“Ummm, excuse me.”Both parents eyes snapped to the sound.“I just need to check on his shell and I’ll be on my way. If that’s ok I mean.”

“Yeah sure, just please hurry.” Willow was borderline mentally snapping herself.

“Of course.” Fluttershy flitted about checking the injury and shell repair compound.
After a moment she looked to the mother with concern. “I’ve seen this before.”

“Well with as close to a vet as you are I’m sure you’ve seen a lot.”

“Well, I’m not that good. But I have seen an eye that looked like that before. One of my choir birds flew into my window.”

“I don't like where this is going.”

“He went blind. I’d recommend calling the doctor immediately. Other than that he'll be ok, I’ll leave you alone now.” She flew out the door faster than anybody could open their mouth to stop her.

As soon as Shield’s brain caught back up he punched the call button. A few moments later a nurse came in, “Is everything ok?”

“We need doctor Shot immediately.”

“I’m sorry, but he left already. But he did assign someone directly to Chitter I believe the name was.”

“Well get them, please hurry.” Shield demanded. The nurse nodded and left the room.

Willow huffed, “I can’t believe Fluttershy would just say something like that and then leave. Is she trying to get us to have a heart attack?”

“Well it may have been a little rude but she probably just wanted-" Shield was cut off as some more knocks echoed in the room making Chitter jump. “Come in.”

The door opened and a golden unicorn mare with a silver mane walked in. “I received word that you needed to speak with me, correct?”

“Were you the one Doctor Shot assigned to Chitter?”

“Yes sir. My name is Clean Slate. You had a question about your son?”

Willow beckoned her over and her out her son. “Look at his eye! We just heard he might be blind and that we should get it looked at immediately.”

“Well let me take a look.” She took a seat in front of Chitter once his mother had set him down. “Well hello, I'm doctor Slate. Who are you?” She spoke to him in a friendly tone to make the process easier.

“I Chitter!” He exclaimed excitedly. This pony wanted to be his friend and he was happy about it.

“Hi there Chitter, can you help me?”

“Help?” He questioned looking excited to be able to help.

“Yep, can you do this?” she used her hoof to cover her right eye.

He smiled and covered his left eye.

“No no Chit. The other eye.” His dad corrected.

“Kay daddy.” He changed eyes and his smile fell. “Daddy dark!” He uncovered his eye. The world returned to light and that confused him. He didn't close his eyes so why was it dark?

Chitter experimented on his own. He brought a hoof to his left eye but couldn't quite see his own hoof. “Momma, I hoof wrong.

“It appears as though the assessment is correct. He does seem to have no sight in his left eye. We'll do some more tests to be sure.

The doctor did some more tests before calling in an optometrist. Willow and Shield just sat with mouths agape in an exasperated silence. “Ma'am, Sir, It is my unfortunate conclusion that Chitter may be blind in his left eye permanently.

The eye doctor took off his magnifying glasses and cleaned them with a wing. “Chitter seems not only to have suffered a traumatic cataract causing the cloudiness of his eye but was also inflicted with a detached retina.” He slipped his glasses back on his muzzle. “In my professional opinion, he will remain blind in his left eye indefinitely. I just can't accept that somepony could be so species-ist that they could do this to a foal. I mean I know they did but, just how could you?”

The parents asked question after question after question for what felt like an eternity

“Before I leave to go home to my own family I will get you a copy of medical records concerning his eye. You'll need them if you have to go to court. Now please excuse me while I get those for you.” He turned to leave the room he mumbled to himself, “Striking a little foal and on Hearthswarming eve!” His mumbling faded as he trotted down the hall.

“I know it's a lot to take in but is there anything else I can help you with?”

Willow and Shield didn't respond, but a rather chipper voice cut in while shaking a cup. “Juice, Please?” Chitter looked up at his parents for praise for his “manders”.

Shield looked at his son with a genuine smile, “Good job Chit!”

Chitter himself beamed with pride.

The doc smiled too, “Sure little guy I can get you more of the mix Quick left me.”

Willow finally spoke up, “That's all thank you. I believe we all need some sleep after this.”

“Of course.” The doc left and returned a few minutes later with the drink and the aforementioned documents. “I'll just leave you to yourselves. Try to have a moment's rest, Princess Twilight sent a couple guards to guard her nephew.” Doctor Slate left for the final time that evening.

“Momma, go home?”

“I'm sorry sweetheart. Home is gone.”


“Err, no more.”

Chitter's ear fins drooped, “Home, no more.”

Shield lifted up his son with a free hoof. “Now you listen here mister. Mom and dad will take care of you, with us you're safe.” He pulled him into a firm hug. “Mom and dad love you Chit.”

“That's right. We love you very much. We always will.” Willow added as she joined her family on the bed.

Chitter brought the cup of juice up and tried to drink from it as his eyes grew heavy. He got a few sips in before the sippy cup slipped out of his hooves and he was fast asleep.

“Goodnight love bug.” Mom whispered, kissing his cheek.

Mining A Mystery Pt.1

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“But mom!”

“No buts, you're going to school next week.”

The little changeling buzzed his wings in frustration. ‘Mom doesn't understand that I already know what I need to.’ “Why do I need to go and learn? I know lots.”

Willow shook her head with a small smile. ‘Foals, I swear.’ “Fine answer this correctly and you won't go to school.” What is X, if ten equals X times four?”

“Six.” Chitter confidently answered.

“And just how did you get six?”

“Six, because five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.” He replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“No, Chit. It's two and a half.”

“I know that!”

“Sure you did, but you didn't tell me correctly and now you go to school.”

“Mom, let me try again!” Chitter pleaded.

Willow put her hoof down, “Chitter this is not up for discussion. You are going to school, and you're not getting out of it.”

“Ugghhh!” The colt groaned exaggeratedly.

Willow gave him a look, “Let's get a move on. We still have to get your supplies and a saddle bag. Your old ones are getting small.”

“Ok.” He walked alongside his mother through the market. “Ooo, can we get hayfries? Pleeeeease, momma?”

She scrunched her face up in mock thought.

Chitter looked at her with anticipation. “Pleeease?”

“Hmmm, I don’t know. Are you going to complain about school again?”

“No I won't, I promise!”

“Welllll, alright. I guess we can.”

“YES!” He danced a small circle around his mother. “Hay fries, hay fries, gonna get some!”

“If you want them we have to finish shopping first.”

“Hurry mom!”

“Alright, alright, let's go.”

She led the way to the first of a few stalls. Chitter couldn't see what was on the stall counter from his position near the ground. His mom glossed over the items on the stall.

Chitter was curious about what was up there but he was just too short to see. But he knew a way to see up there! Taking a few steps back from mom he buzzed his wings and jumped to his mother's back. He struggled to stay on and twice a back hoof slipped.

“Be careful sweetie. Momma doesn't want to see you get hurt.”

The stallion behind the stall scoffed. “Sorry Miss, but we don't serve his kind here.”

“Well thank you for your honesty. Now if you don't mind, I was the one shopping. So how about you leave him alone and help me instead?” Willow wore a smile that just challenged the attendant.

He decided to accept that challenge. “Like I’m going to serve you. You associate yourself with that and just expect to get away with it? Now move along before I call the guard to remove this filth.”

“We will leave after I get what I’m here for. Don't make this hard and we'll be on our way.”

“Would you and that thing just move? I have a business to run without ponies like you ruining it.” The stallion sneered.

“Chitter, sweetie go in momma's bag and get that crystal we talked about.”

“Okay!” Chitter laid down on his mom's back and searched through the saddlebag for the item. “Found it!” He sat back up with this bottle cap sized light blue crystal in his hoof. “Here mom.”

“Thank you sweetie.” She faced the stallion again but this time she stared him down. “You have two options: one, you sell us the items we need and we leave. Two we call his Aunt here to have a chat.”

“Go ahead and call her. I’m not afraid of some little whorse that is related to this.”

She started laughing, “Oh just wait till she hears that.” She flipped the crystal over three times and waited.

“That’s it, I’m getting guards. GUARDS!”

There was a bright sphere of light and then a pony Princess was left in its wake. “Willow, is something wrong?”

“Aunt Twilight!” Chitter exclaimed.

“Twilight this stallion is refusing to sell me school supplies because of Chitter here. Oh, and he called you a whorse.”

A guard rushed up, “Princess, what's the matter?”

“Stand down.” Twilight ordered tinged a bit red in the face, “I have half a mind to have you escorted straight to the dungeon!” Princess Twilight started to get this eye twitch. “You're denying a foal an education? EDUCATION? Because of something so petty? Then you’re calling me names! What kind of pony does that to a foal, never mind insulting a Princess!”

The stallion looked like he may just melt. “Y-your highness, I h-had no idea it was you!”

Twilight's face grew even more red as she ground her teeth. “You have violated decree 47.4 stating that any legal citizen regardless of species has the right to purchase self betterment material unless reasonable evidence can be provided to deny such. Also civil decree 78.5 section 3 which states that abuse of a foal, through any means, will result in punishment at determination of officials based on severity. I will not stand for this!” Twilight stamped her hoof in the dirt.

“Your highness, I never even touched the thing!”

The ends of Twilight's mane started to smolder. “Thing? THING? That thing is my nephew! He is worth more to me than you are! So how about we start with an apology?”
The stallion sat there hyperventilating as he watched a Princess of Equestria nearly burst into flames in his face. ‘Apologize you idiot!’ his brain scolded. “I’m sorry Princess!”

Chitter poked his head from around his mother's neck. Watching his aunt do Princess work through his good eye.

“Don't you apologize to me, you have disrupted the schooling process of a foal. If there's one thing that I will not stand for, it's that.”

“I would do as she asks,” the much larger guard said, stepping up beside him. “You're not just against the Princess on this…” He left his statement hanging in the air.

“I-I-I,” He stammered, “I'm sorry! Please forgive me!”

“There all better. Now finish up with this sale before I conduct an inspection into your business practices. If I hear about you denying anyone access without reason I will shut you down, understood?”

“Clear as day Princess.” He greeted Willow and Chitter in a rushed way. “How can I help you?”

“We just need two notebooks, two folders, what color sweetie?”

“Blue momma!”

“Yes, two blue folders, a box of pencils, and a box of crayons.”

“I WASTED ALL OF THIS TIME FOR THAT!” His eyes glossed over, rolled back into his head, and he fell over into the dirt with a puff of dust.

“See what happens when you are a mean pony?”

“Willow! That's rude and not something you should be teaching him!”

“Anything non-abusive I can use to teach him to be a better pony, I will.” Willow looked over her shoulder and continued, “See we don't hate somepony just because they are different.”


“Because it makes you look dumb.”


“Fine! Treat others as you want to be treated.”

“Ok Momma,” Chitter didn't understand but just gave mom the answer she wanted.

Twilight poked the stallion, “Come on, wake up.”

“Huh, wha?”

“No it was not a dream. Get up I’ve got things to do.” Twilight was unusually blunt.

“Hey Twilight, you need to calm down a little. It's not like he dragged Chitter out of school.” Willow whispered into the Princess's ear.

“Yes Princess.” The stall owner got back on his hooves but flinched when the guard coughed. Doing some quick math he gave the total to Willow. “That'll be thirteen bits.

Willow dug out the bits needed and collected the items she purchased.

“Willow can we talk for a moment over there?” Twilight nods her head to the left.

“Sure, but I have more school shopping to do for Chit's big day next week.” Following Twilight she asked, “What did you need?”

“Willow, you can’t just call me for little things like this.” Willow tried to protest, “Ok, so maybe this time had some merit to it but you can’t always rely on us for these little things. Now if you’re in trouble or something by all means, but-"

“I'm sorry for this one Twilight. But it is the first time I have used this since receiving it after the fire two years ago. I figured there were some things you would like to know with this. I can’t just go around breaking ponies to get what I need.”

“Momma, hay fries!”

“Chitter, we don’t interrupt ponies while they’re talking.” She glanced over her shoulder at her son. “We will finish shopping in a bit. Anyways Twilight, a school supplies shop was denying rights to ponies buying materials. Oh and called you, a Princess, a whorse. I just thought that warranted the Princess of knowledge…”

“I see your point but just don’t make a habit of it please. Oh, and it's friendship.”

Willow raised a hoof to her chest, “I promise to use my power only for good.” She grinned.

Twilight chuckles, “You’re spending entirely too much time with Spike. I trust you Willow, please take care of yourselves.”

“We will be okay, thank you.”

“I’ll see you guys at our weekly visit!”

“Bye Aunt Twilight!” Chitter waver from his spot on his mother’s back.

“Bye you two.” Twilight teleported away after leaving the guard with further instructions.

“Well let’s go finish our shopping.”

“Yeah!” Chitter was excited to get back to what they had to do. The faster they were done the faster he got one of his favorite treats. Unfortunately he would be delayed in his quest when a voice was heard.

“’Bout time you’re done. All you do is chat huh?”

“Well, if it isn’t dear old sis!” Chitter hid behind Mom’s mane the best he could.

“AUNTIE WILLOW! I got my cutie mark!” A little pink filly squealed happily.

“Who said that?” Willow looked around.

“Auntie Willow! I did.”

“Where is that voice coming from? Is it from behind this mare in front of me?” She looked around exaggeratedly, “I thought I heard my niece! Lightstruck have you seen her?”

“I'm right here silly!”

“Oh there you are! I almost didn’t recognize you with your cutie mark! Well well, look how big you’ve gotten!”

Chitter clung to Mom as he looked around her mane at these new ponies. The youngest of the three was a small pegasus like her mother. Her coat was a dark powder pink with light blue eyes peeking through her magenta hair.

Standing next to her was an average sized pegasus. This pony assumed to be the mother was dark violet with lavender hair done up in a bun with a bow on it.

A confident voice was heard out of Chitter’s sight, “So what’s with all the hubbub earlier?” He wanted to see who it was but with his bad eye couldn’t see them without revealing himself. So naturally he peeked around the left side so he could see.

The unicorn mare he saw standing on the filly's right was tall. Probably a hoof shorter than Fleur De Lis from Momma’s fashion magazine. Her coat was a dark earthy brown, which was topped by forest green mane with a light green stripe through it. Chitter didn’t know why her hooves had tan fronts to all four. He was starting to shiver when the orange eyes locked onto him and widened. He ducked back behind mom’s neck in fear of this pony.

“Will, there’s a Changeling on your back!” She lit her horn in fire (in reality was simply orange colored magic) summoning a weird curved "T" shaped tool and the mother grabbed her filly.

“M-mom-ma!” The poor little guy burst into tears while his mother raised her wings in his defense.

“Lightstruck, that’s my son!” Mom shouted at her friend.

She didn’t lower the tool but stopped moving towards them. “Wait, what?”

“Just put that away Light.” She sat down so she could get at the little bug. “It’s okay sweetheart, they won’t hurt you.” Willow pulled him to her chest and pet his back. “Light, Mystery, he's had some bad experiences in the past.” She mouths ‘Fire'.

“Light, put that thing away now and don’t you use more magic. I mean how many times do I have to tell you not to carry that with you?” The purple pony scolds.

“I will carry this as long as I live. It has saved me more than once and I will not abandon it.” She rubbed a hoof along one of its arms. However even as she held her ground about bringing it with her she did return it from wherever she kept it.

“Mom, what is that?” The filly pointed to Chitter.

“Not a what, Bubblegum, a who. He is a changeling, they can look like anyone when they want to.”

“They can? That is so cool!”

Chitter was no longer crying but was still shaking and trying to hide behind his mother. “It’s alright. See they aren’t trying to hurt you. No fire, just magic.”

“Lightstruck, you better go apologize for terrorizing the poor colt.” Mystery shoved the taller mare forward.

All eyes watched the brown mare as she stumbled forward. “Oh, uh hi…”

“Chitter.” Willow stated.

“Hi, Chitter. Is this your mom?”

Chitter looked cautiously at her, “Yeah… Momma?”

“She’s okay Chit, that’s my “all but” sister.”

“I’m sorry I frightened you.”

Chitter hid his face behind his mother’s leg. “You’re scary.”

“Good to see those pony skills hard at work Light.” Mystery comments.

“Yeah way to go dad.”

Willow crouched down, “Come on Chit we still have to finish shopping.” Chitter eagerly climbed up to get away from the tall mean pony. “Come by my house for dinner we’ll catch up there.”

“Bye Auntie!”

“Goodbye Bubblegum. You be good for your parents there and keep them out of trouble.”

“I will.” Bubblegum nodded her head.
Willow leans in closer to the filly, “Especially that trouble maker of your dad.” She retook her proper stance, “Mystery, can I speak with you for a sec?”

“Yeah, sure.” She trots closer as Bubblegum goes back to her father/other mother.
Willow whispered, “Stay on our right please.”

“Well hello Chitter. Do you mind if I talk to your mom?” She took note of the severe discoloration of his left eye.

“She's not come?”

“No, she’s going to sit right where she is for a bit. But please be nice to her. She is a nice pony, just protective.”

“What that?”

“She keeps us safe like your mom and dad do for you.”

“Shield and I try our best. So Mystery, has little Bubblegum had any medical issues after…”

Mystery just shook her head slightly with a smirk. “Not-a one. She’s the same as any other little filly despite her parents.”

“That’s great news! I haven’t really seen her in so long since you guys moved.”

Chitter sat back and tried to follow along with the conversation but couldn’t. ‘Why wouldn’t she be normal?’

“Hey, save some gossip for dinner. We’ve got a lot to cover.”

“Okay, well we’ll see you around five. Come on Gummy.”

“Ok, bye Aunt Willow, bye Chitter!”

Chitter meekly waved a hoof, “Bye.”

Lightstruck waved bye then began to chat with the filly as they left. “Was that so bad?” Mom asks.

“The brown pony is scary.”

“It was an accident, Chit. You know, like the vase you broke.”

Chitter didn’t answer, instead choosing to hide his guilt.

The rest if the shopping trip was pretty calm and quiet. After what had happened with the vendor earlier, the rest of the stalls had no qualm with little Chitter. To be fair, none really had any to begin with and agreed with the Princess.

Mining A Mystery Pt. 2

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After stopping for an order of hay fries as promised they made their way home. After the fire, Willow’s father graciously offered them the house they weren’t using.

Like many homes in Ponyville, this one seemed cookie cutter in design. The outside was a white adobe like substance with a thatch roof. Wooden planters lined the windows and a cobble path lead to the front door.

Opening the door let them into the living room. Furnishings were orderly but a bit mussed up. This space was quintessentially the family; neat but happy. Hanging on the walls were a few hoof paintings and drawings from Chitter, family portraits, and other family members photos.

Some things however, never change even if your foal is a changeling. The best example is the various stains and marker that dotted the bottoms of different walls. One wall even had a plaster patch from when Chitter got his horn stuck in it after a game of tag.

Willow sighed as she reminisced about it. ‘The look on his face when we had to cut a section out so we could get his horn unstuck: priceless!’

“Is that you hon?”

“Yeah, Chit and I just got back from the market.” She paused as a mischievous grin spread across her face. “Guess who I found in the market today.”

“Oh did you finally meet up with Lyra for his music lessons?” Shield asked hopefully, meeting them in the living room.

Willow just froze up, “I actually had before.” She gave a nervous frown, “She said absolutely not. She’s still petrified after the ‘Canterlot Incident’.”

“Oh.” They both sat in an awkward silence as Chitter rummaged through his toy box.

“Anyways, I saw Mystery Fix, Lightstruck, and little Bubblegum.”

“When did they get back in town?” Shield scratched his chin, “It has been what, six years?”

“Five, but yeah. I invited them for dinner tonight.”

“Daddy, Miss Lightstuck is scary!” He clung to his dad’s leg, holding a stuffed bird. “Please no.” Shield raised a questioning brow.

“She saw him and thought I was being attacked…”

“Ah. Well, Chit; she is a good friend of moms. Don’t be afraid of her, especially as we’re right here for you.”

“She’s scary.”

Shield had an internal discussion on how to best handle this. A metaphorical lightbulb appeared as he had a solution. “How about this; if she tries anything bad we call Aunt Twilight over here?” He smiled, “Right? She makes the bad things stop or go away remember?”

Chitter nods but doesn’t say anything.
“You’ll be fine. Now,” Shield smiles, “why don’t you come help me make dinner? We have guests coming over.”


“Come in, come in! It’s so good to see you all again.” Willow showed the family to the den. “Shield will be here in a bit. He is finishing cooking up dinner with Chitter.”

Mystery looked around the house in confusion. “Wasn’t your previous house larger?

“It was…”

Mystery looked confused by the reaction but didn’t press it for now.

“So Willow, how bout that elephant?” Lightstruck questioned cryptically.

Mystery and Willow looked at her strangely, “Light, what are you talking about?” the former asked.

She smiles as she adds, “It must be hard to breathe with an elephant that big in this room.”

“Alright alright just ask the question.”

“A Changeling, really?”

Willow rolled her eyes with an exaggerated grunt of frustration. “Well before I tell you that do you mind if he and Bubblegum go play?”

Lightstruck looks down at her daughter,
“What do you think Gummy? Care to make a new friend?”

“He won’t bite me?”

“BUBBLEGUM!” Mystery scolds, “That was very rude. He is a pony as much as you are.”

“I’m sorry mom.”

Chitter took this opportunity to come out of the kitchen in a different color. “Momma, daddy say dinner done.”

Willow looked him up and down. “What happened in there?” She asks the white changeling.

“I try magic on flour bag, blew up.” Chitter answers.

“Well go clean up for dinner, I’ll set the table.”

“Ok!” He skipped off not noticing the extra ponies.

“Unstable magic, been there.” Lightstruck rolls her eyes.

Willow sets the table as Shield starts bringing out the food. She gestures to her guests to sit at the table. “So one night Shield and I are sleeping. At around one in the morning a noise wakes up.” Willow sets down a collection of plates. “So Shield gets up to investigate, I hear him yell there’s a foal outside.”

“While normally a bad thing, this was far worse. We were having a downpour in late fall so it was freezing and wet.” Gathering the silverware she continues, “I rush outside to help and see Shield laying on the floor looking under our loveseat.”

Mystery spoke up, “Awww, I assume that was Chitter?”

“Yeah that’s the first time I met my little love bug.”

“Heeheehee,” Bubblegum giggles at the name.

“It is pretty funny, but I didn’t give him the name!” She turns morose, “I found a note the next morning on our mailbox. His parents had to abandon him to try and lead away manticores. They didn’t make it.” Willow sniffles but goes on, “An orphaned changeling foal stood no chance of a life but instead, we adopted him.”

“Indeed, she went to the Princess the next day and had custody a couple days after.” Shield adds as he finished bringing all the food.

Chitter also entered with a towel on his face, giggling as he had left it on. “Momma, can’t get neck, can you please?”

“Sure.” Mom takes the towel off her son’s head and is reminded again of the torturous night in the form of his bad eye.

“Momma, don’t be sad.” He smiled really big at her.

“I’m ok Chit, just thinking.”

“Eye don’t work momma. Don’t be sad.”

She pulled him into a hug, “But I couldn’t protect you! This is my fault!”

“Momma don’t cry, make me cry.” His eyes started to water literally uncontrollably.

“Hon, remember what you told me in the hospital. Our son is tied to our emotional state. Plus he’s a Momma’s colt.”

“Yeah what daddy said!”

“Will, knowing you leads me to know for a fact that you did everything you can.”

Shield started guiding Willow to the table. “Come on everypony, let’s eat.” After getting Chitter situated in his booster seat, as he wasn’t quite tall enough to sit at table unassisted, he then put Chitter’s re-heated order of hay fries on his plate.

“Dad why is he not eating what we are?”

Lightstruck shrugged, “Well he isn’t exactly a pony so I guess he can’t eat everything we can.”

Chitter nods his head vigorously, “Some food hurt tummy.”

Everyone sat eating in comfortable silence until Mystery spoke up. “So want to finish your adoption story?”

“Mofa, fwhy doff fwe call fer faf?” Chitter asked with a mouthful of fries.

“Chitter we do not talk with our mouth full of food. Finish chewing, swallow, then ask your question.” Dad said narrowing his eyes at the changeling.

Chitter then decided to swallow everything in his mouth and started to cough. Shield reached over and patted his back, “See we chew our food so this doesn’t happen.” He rolls his eyes, “Foals…”

“Been there, ay Myst?”

“Yes Light, but usually it’s the foal not a mare’s wife.” Lightstruck blushes furiously.

“Oooooo! Mom got you good dad!”

Cough cough Chitter wipes the tears from his eyes. “Thanks daddy.” He coughs again then asks, “Why she a daddy?”

Willow decided to answer this one, “Well sometimes two ponies love each other very much and want a foal.”


“So sometimes magic is used to help.”

“They mares, so no daddy.” After everything he had learned he knew a foal had something to do with a mommy and daddy. After that was completely unknown.

Mystery chimes in, “Actually it’s easier than that. Bubblegum called me mommy first so we taught her daddy.”

“Couldn’t have said it better myself, good job sweetie.” Lightstruck says while giving Bubblegum a gentle noogie.

“Besides we all know she’s more stallion than I am.”

Lightstruck sagged a bit in her chair, “We’re all vegetarian but for some reason I guess we’ll have roast Lightstruck tonight huh?”

Shield sat back and watched the three mares and Chitter talk back and forth about whatever topics come to mind. It reminded him of the time during high school when they’d all hang out. Every now and again he’d give his two cents on a tangent they’d gone down. But mostly he kept to himself just like the old days.

“So Shield, last I knew you were still in the royal guard. What do you do now?”

“Huh? Oh, I just give tours of the local museum and whatever other work we have there. What about you Light? What ever happened to that weird stint with the diamond dogs?”

“Oh I never told you that? Heh, it's a funny story.” She had a pained smile at first. “Ok so I’ve always been good at digging right?”

Shield nods, “Yeah and not just the ground either.”

“...Well I was digging around up in the mountain flats for my senior research project. I didn’t realize that was diamond dog territory and was completely unaware of how deep I’d dug. So I crack through the ceiling of their hideout and fall in. You’d think Celestia herself had fallen in there with the way they ran.” She takes a sip of her water, “So I start digging around down there studying how they build their caves.”
“Suddenly I was grabbed by this big one they called Runt. We struggled to gain the upper hand on each other and ended at a stalemate. He demanded I dig gems for them and I told him I dig for myself. Eventually we came to an agreement; I dig for them, I keep a twentieth of what I find and I get to roam free.”

“Wow, working with/for the diamond dogs. I heard Rarity had a run in with them. She came back with soo many gems. It was the talk of the town for a while.”

“Really?” Light looked curious, “Might have to chat with her then. But, after school I had to go to college for my degree in geology. After which I found an entry level job mining coal and other minerals at a quarry near Dodge Junction. Ironically that’s where I met Mystery again after we all went our ways.”

“I remember that but I don’t remember the details.”

“Short version, she was researching for her spy novel and wanted to explore a mine, so I showed her around. When we were done I asked her if she would like to get some coffee some time and she agreed. Couple dates turned into a couple years, couple years turned into our marriage.” She had a bright smile on her face.

“Well, Willow always knew you would, you two were practically inseparable in school.”

“Yeah.” She sighed. “But so anyway, after being with this mining company for two weeks, I begin to make everypony mad. I kept suggesting changes to different operations and tactics to make things safer, faster, yada. Apparently no one could stand it anymore and went to the foreman and complained. He tells them that these were actually good ideas and plans to implement them. About four years later somehow I own the company with a fresh rebrand: Torch Co.”

“Wait…” Shield was wide eyed, “You; own Torch Co.? The same Torch Co. that donated all that antique mining equipment to museums across Equestria, has provided funding to one hundred schools and hospitals as well?”

“That’s us!” She had the biggest grin a pony could possibly achieve. “The board advised against this much public action but I make the rules and I’m not going to just hoard all this money to their paychecks.”

Their conversation was ended with a loud, “What?! Why?!”

“Hon is everything ok?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine. We’re talking about the “incident” and somepony has a loud mouth!”

“Eheh, I wonder who that could be?” Mystery replied sheepishly.

A chime sounded in the living room.
“Momma, I don’t wanna go to bed! Please?”

“Now now, it is late for a certain changeling. We have something special for tomorrow so you might want to go to bed soon.”

Chitter’s eyes widened, “What’s tomorrow?”

Willow just shrugged, “We'll see tomorrow if you go to bed.”

“Okay momma.” He hops out of his seat, buzzing the small distance to the floor.

“Wash up first and brush!”

“Yes momma.” He rushes to the bathroom for the nightly routine.

“Well isn’t he just precious.”

“At least he wasn’t afraid of you the whole time.”

Lightstruck chuckled, “Yeah that wouldn’t have been fun.”

Shield perked up as a question was realized, “Hey, how long are you guys going to be in the area?”

“Oh, we aren’t visiting. We actually just purchased a place by the schoolhouse.”

Lightstruck whispered to Shield, “I purchased…”

“Such is a spouse.”


Chitter stumbled out of the bathroom with his eyes looking tired. “Come on Chit, time for a story and bedtime.” Shield pushed the changeling’s side with his muzzle to guide him to bed.

Willow watched her stallion guide their son to bed. She loves them both greatly and cherished every memory with the two together.

“They grow up fast don’t they?”

Willow flinched after zoning out for a moment. “Oh, yes.”

“Hey you want some help in the kitchen for a bit before we head out?” Mystery offered.

“No no, you’re guests and guests don’t wash.”

“Nonsense! Light honey.”

She looks up from their daughter, “Hey what’s up?”

“Mind helping Gummy with her homework?” She bats her eyelashes at her.

She gets a raised eyebrow in response. “You just had to ask no need to go all out, jeez. You heard the mare Gum, go get it.”

“Ok, dad.”


“ ‘Oh no! Mom will be so mad when she finds the vase spilled!’ So they try to clean the water with a broom. That’s not right, what would you use to clean a spill?”

“A towel!” Chitter exclaims.

“Very good!” He continues to read, “The mess only gets worse with the broom, so they drop it in the puddle. Before they can clean it their mom comes in, ‘What a mess!’ Uh oh mom found out, ‘A broom won’t clean this little ones. You have to use a towel!’ ”

“Yeah a towel little ones!”

“The mom gets a towel and dries it up. ‘See all clean.’ One pony grabs the vase and the other fixes the table. ‘The ball is for outside, so let’s go to the park with it!’ ” Shield closes the book, “Alright Chit, that’s enough for the night.”

Chitter gives him a sad look, “Please daddy?”

“Nope, time for bed.” He leans over and gives a goodnight kiss just below the small horn on his son's head. “Goodnight Chit, love you.”

“Love you too daddy.” He yawns and lays his head down.

“Sweet dreams buddy.” Shield makes sure the nightlight is on and leaves the door open a crack. ‘Went down easy tonight, must have been a good fright Lightstruck gave him.’
He makes his way back downstairs and found the living room almost empty. Little Bubblegum was sleeping on the couch. Other than her, nopony was around. ‘Must still be in the kitchen then.’ Upon entering the kitchen he found the three mares all deep in serious conversation.

“So this pony just grabs him and punches him? Who could do such a thing?”

“Yeah, but we got him back, the Princesses show up, then we were all taken to the hospital.”

“I bet you all needed it, so is that how he lost sight in one eye?” Lightstruck asked.

“Yeah, we are still fighting with their lawyers about getting reparations. I hate bureaucracy.”

“You’re telling me, owner of huge company, about bureaucrats?” Light shook her head,
“Even after I acquired the company it took two and a half years to get everything under my name and setup correctly. It was a living nightmare. Ask Mystery just how many nights I spent awake to get everything done asap.”

“She passed out after a week with no sleep. Right in the middle of a meeting, just BAAM face into table.”

Shield cleared his throat, “Excuse me mares, but it appears as though you have a sleeping foal on the couch and it is getting rather late.”

“Oh sure just kick us out why don’t you?”

He just grins, “That’s the idea isn’t it?”

Mystery speaks up, “We should be going Lighty, Gummy has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. You also have that meeting with the board.”

“Eh they can wait on me. I pay their checks, so I control time! MWAHAHAHA!”

BAP “There’s two foals sleeping in the house. Keep it down, I swear I tell you this every day.”

“Eh, volume control isn’t a strong suit. But yeah I guess we should go before it gets really late. Well it’s been fun, we’ll have to do it again.”

“Yeah, I had a good time. If you’ll excuse me, mom has a foal to get.” She turns and leaves the room.

“I’ll show you out.” Willow smiles and leads Lightstruck out. Leaving Shield again alone with his thoughts. ‘This was fun.’ After which he followed everyone out.

“You two have a goodnight, we’ll see you around.” The group of mares hug.

“Shield,” Lightstruck states, “you have a good one too.” She had always made a point to talk to him because Mystery hardly ever did.

He chuckles at that, “Will do.” They close the door as their friends walk away.

A Brief Nighttime Encounter

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All was silent in the house. It was about 1:00 A.M three days before kindergarten started for the year. Two parents lie in their bed while their foal lies in his own room.

The quiet little skitters and chattering snores escape the foal as he sleeps. He snorts as his legs twitch, a frown spreading across his face. He jerks awake, gasping for air. Light shines from the Daring Doo nightlight and in through the partially open door easing his mind some.

‘In bed nothing can get me. Momma said so.’


Chitter whips the covers over his head in fear.

“Midnight Moon! We do not scree in the middle of the night around homes.”

Curiosity overrode his fear and Chitter gets out of bed to look out the open window. Outside in the road is some unusual ponies pulling a cart of strange objects. Some of it appeared to be furniture and potted plants.

“Now shush. We still have a bit before we get to our new house.” The father and mother start pulling the large cart while the little filly follows beside.

‘What are those, they look like pegasus ponies but different.’ Chitter pushes his window open further and prepares to leap.
[Disguise] a little feeling in the back of his mind warns.

‘Ok!’ Chitter flashes his special magic and green flames race across his body. In a second the changeling is gone and a small dirty orange pegasus with a diamond in his chest takes his place.

He looked himself over and laughed, “I look like momma!” Chitter leapt out the open window and glides after the ponies.

Following them was easy enough but staying hidden wasn’t so easy. Mom and dad often joked about how shiny the diamond in his chest was. Also, orange isn’t exactly easy to hide in. Keeping a fair distance from them let him follow them easily but couldn’t tell what they were saying.

This left him in a bit of a pickle. Get closer and figure out what they are or stay hidden and struggle. The decision was fairly simple to a five year old: closer. So he did exactly that and move towards them.

“… so we had to move Mini.”

They turn another corner on their trek through town. By now they had taken enough turns and distance that even if the changeling had been paying attention he would have been lost. Yet on and on he trekked, drawn to follow the love coming off the family. He followed along not making a sound until he stumbled on a discarded bottle. The bottle made the decision to make as much noise as possible by bouncing into a wall.

To his credit, Chitter figuring that’s a bad sound, jumped behind a bush (making more noise.) He tried to peek around the backside of the plant but only saw the foal and mare.
A deep male voice asks, “Now what are you doing out, little colt?”

Chitter’s ears drooped as his face fell. He slowly looked over his shoulder at one of the ponies he had been following. His jaw dropped and he was struck soundless.
In the light from a porch nearby he was able to finally get a good look at him. A mostly pony build was mashed together with a pair of bat like wings and a mane not too different from his own. Golden cat like eyes stared at him in amusement.

Finally getting over the shock, he asked the first thing that came to mind. “Are you me?”

He chuckles, “No, I’m me. You’re you. What are you doing out here this late?”

“You’re me!” He raised his pegasus wings.

The dad was confused and waved his family over. He points at Chitter, “Pegasus,” then to himself, “Thestral.”

“Not a pe-asus silly!”

The stallion raised an eyebrow, “Sure you aren’t, explain these.”

Chitter was momentarily confused, ‘Oh disguise!’ He drops the disguise in a ring of green fire. “See, not pegasu!”

Before he can blink he feels sharp pain from his tail up his “spine" to the back of his neck. Too stunned to do much of anything he fell off the wall into the dirt.

“GAURDS, GUARDS! You stay away from my family you damned thing! GUARDS!”

Tears start to fill Chitter’s eyes as the stun wore off. “Sniff…bu bu BAHAHA!” He cried openly and loudly. “M-Momma!” His face was slowly coating in dirt and mud from the wetness there. “Momma, Daddy!”

“GUARDS, CHANGELING!” The stallion bellowed. A few house lights went on as ponies peeked through their windows.

Chitter struggled to move his limbs and when he did a hoof pinned him to the ground. Now he couldn’t even move his bruised wings. “Momma!” He struggled but couldn’t move. “Daddy!”

“Where’s the changeling?” The guards demanded on arrival.

“The little bug is right here. He thought he could get away.”

“Sir step away, its not going anywhere.” Chitter laid in the dirt bawling his eyes out “Lift his head up.” A guard ordered another. Chitter could do nothing to stop them as this happened. “Oh sweet Celestia! It’s Princess Twilight’s nephew! I’d recognize that eye and gem anywhere.”

The other guard approached the thestral stallion. “Sir, what happened here?”

“That changeling has been following us. I wasn’t too sure but then it kicked that bottle. At first I thought it was a lost little colt.”

“Was he in disguise?”

“Ya, as a little, dirty orange pegasus.”

“It’s definitely him sir. Disguised as his mother.”

“Good, I’ll hold things down here. Fetch his parents, they may be buddy buddy with the Princess but they still let a colt roam at night.” The guard turned to the stallion, “You aren’t going anywhere either Lieutenant. You, struck a foal. Despite being a changeling, he’s a legal resident. In fact he has an adoptive family here in town, with an aunt who happens to be Princess Twilight.” The thestral stallion’s face flushed in horror.
He looks at the other guard, “Well what are you standing around here for? Go get them!”

“Yes Sir!” He quickly takes off.

“Chitter, are you hurt?” The remaining guard asks.


“Hey hey, it’s alright! She’ll be here soon.”

The family’s filly breaks away from her mother and trots to the crying changeling.
“Midnight Moon! You get over here right now little miss!”

She ignores her mother and stands in front of Chitter. She joins him in the dirt while the two stallion’s talk. Reaching out a hoof she pokes his nose. “Boop!”

The distraction worked, he was no longer yelling but was still crying and sniffling. She smiled real wide and poked his nose again.
“Boop! Hee hee.”

He smiles through tear filled eyes, “Boop.”

“You’re funny!” She looks at him curiously. With a tilt of her head she asks, “What are you?”

He sits up and wipes his nose with a hoof. “Chan-geling, what are you?”

She sits up as well, “Pony.”

Chitter frowns, “Nuh uh. He pony.”

“Yeah, I’m pony.”

Chitter stands and begins to shift his form. He tries really hard, fighting his minor injuries. Green flames start around his hooves and work upward. The mother gasps and grabs her filly away from him. He finishes transforming, “Now I’m pony! Like daddy.”

“Chitter!” He was picked up and squeezed tightly. “Sweetie you can’t just wander off at night.”

“Momma!” he returned to normal for his parents.

“Mom’s right Chit. We were worried sick about you.”

“I’m sorry daddy.”

“Now that everyone’s here we need to talk.” The guard stated firmly. “We have two issues, first is the act against the young changeling.”

The thestral father speaks up; Chitter loses interest in the conversation and again looks to the filly. She smiles and blows a raspberry; he responds in kind and does one back. She sticks out her tongue at him. He does it back.
This goes on and on while the adults talk.

“Bat pony.”


“See?” Midnight extends a wing so he can see.

Chitter looks over it as best he can from a distance. Concentrating as much as he can he let his magic weave his new form.

The other foal stared in awe as he became a mirror image of her save the diamond. “Whoa! Mom, mom! Look it me!”

“What was that Mini?” The thestral mare breaks from the discussion and looks to where she is pointing. “Wait what’s going on?”

Unfortunately at that moment Chitter sneezed and lost control of his form and was forced back to normal. Now he stared back at them with a smile. ‘She’s fun!’

The mother visibly recoils, “D-don’t do that! You leave our daughter alone.” She leans her head toward the foal, “Leave that alone.”

“Mom he’s funny!”

“Momma get down?”

“Only if you stay next to me, ok?”

Chitter nods a lot, “Ok!”

“And Chitter, we ask ponies before being them.” Willow sets him down. Never in her life did she think she would have to say a sentence like that.

“Momma can I be you?”

“If you stay near me Chit, go ahead.”

“Thank you!” He hugs her leg, ‘Momma’s always so nice!’ He again concentrates to transform…but nothing happens. “Momma!” Weakly buzzing his bruised wings, “Momma it no work.”

Willow sighs as the other mother watches the changeling closely. “Chit, it’s nighttime and you need sleep.”

“But I sleep before?”

Searching her mind for a better explanation she came up with, “Magic gets tired too. Yours went to sleep. See look at daddy,” She points at Shield, “See daddy’s not using his magic either right?” Chitter nods his head. “See his magic is asleep too. It will be ok tomorrow.”

“Promise momma?”

“Of course I promise my little love bug.” He sits in front of her and runs his face in her chest floof. “Now why don’t you climb up and see if you can sleep with your magic huh?”

“Ok momma.” He sluggishly clambered up and laid down on her back.

“It’s alright Chit, go to sleep.” She cooed at him softly then started softly hum as he often enjoyed.

The thestral mother just stared in amazement as this other mare just seemed to tame a changeling toddler before her eyes. It occurred to her then that if that was his parents then they were changelings as well. Though it was mesmerizing watching her gently sway and hum a nameless tune to her foal.

When she finished the other mare spoke softly. “I guess I can safely assume that you three are changelings?”

Willow kept her voice low and her movements minimal. “Actually that’s where you’d be wrong. We’re just an average pegasus and unicorn, with an unorthodox foal.”

“You’re telling me that a changeling foal has pony parents? I honestly don’t believe that.”

“It doesn’t matter that you don’t, if I’m to be frank.” She looks directly at her, “Let me ask you this though; If my husband and I are changelings in disguise, why do we let our son be visible to the whole town? Wouldn’t that just draw unwanted attention to us?”


“Momma’s right here.” She glances back over her shoulder. “He may not be my flesh and blood but he’s my son now and forever. So take your cursed accusations elsewhere.”

“I don’t mean to offend but changelings don’t exactly have the best reputation.”

Willow sighs, “I’m well aware of that and our son has seen it firsthoof. When he was three a couple ponies burned our house down and tried to kidnap him. He has damage that will last his life.”

She said nothing as her foal leaned against her leg.

“Friend okay mom?”

“He just needs to sleep little filly.” Willow answers for Midnight’s mother. The other mother looked like she wanted to say something but didn’t.

“What his name?”


“Ch-it-ter? That’s a funny name.”

“It is, now you two have a good morning.” She moved closer to the rest of the ponies.

“Now we can agree on that right?” The uniformed guard asked.

“Yes, next time is punishment from a fine up to having him taken away.” Shield answers.

“And you?”

“Next offense is jail time.” The thestral stallion answers morosely.

“I would also suggest you make good on them not pressing charges. Ponyville in general does not take kindly to foal abuse.” The lead guard look at the collected ponies. “Alright well, you DO have to go home and you can’t stay here. Come on junior.”

“Right behind you sir.”

The two families just kind of exchanged glances now and again.

The thestral father spoke up first, “Well, I do owe the little guy an apology. He appears to be asleep at the moment so I’ll offer you this. Feel free to join us for some dinner sometime.” From his sitting position he rubs the back of his head. “I want to say I’m deeply regretful about the incident.”

“I can’t say we are happy about it but we hope to forgive you.” said Willow.

“This is my wife, Willow Breeze. My name is Shield Polish and this is our adopted son, Chitter.”

“Pleasure to meet ya. This is my wife and daughter, Planter and Midnight Moon. Say hi Mini.”

She waves a single hoof looking adorable, “Hi.”

“My name is Sharp Point and I couldn’t possibly be sorrier about hitting him.”

“Sharp, was it? Do you know why I didn’t press charges?” He looked at the thestral, “I am a guard myself, well former guard, and I know what happens to guards in trouble. I don’t want you to lose your career over an accident.”

“Dear, accept the offer and let’s go home. Chitter still needs to go to bed.”

“Mini also needs to adjust to the new schedule too.” Planter adds.

“We’ll talk more at another time, alright?”

“Sure, again I’m sorry.”

Shield looks to his wife for her answer but she’s not there. Instead, she’s walking away into the night carrying their colt. “Uh yeah gotta go!” He chases Willow down the road.

“They’re changelings, you know that right?” Planter says.

“They are not. The only one that is, is Chatter.”

“Chitter, daddy.”

Educating Your Foal Pt. 1

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The sounds of tiny hooves creep closer to his parents bedroom. They echo softly through the quiet house.

He approaches the door and focuses his magic. A green glow surrounds his horn but doesn’t grab the door knob as he plans. He shrugs as this is normal, turning he heads to the bathroom.

He enters for a moment then exits dragging a step stool. Placing said item in front of the door he climbs up. He jiggles the knob as he gets a good grip and turns it. A soft buzzing emanates from him as he uses his small wings for balance. The door swings open with a small squeak, causing one occupant’s ears to twitch.

He excitedly trots to the bed intent on disrupting the bliss of sleep. Like something straight out of a nightmare he sticks purely to the shadows. He grins in the perfect cover for his movements, its dark throughout the room and one occupant is snoring gently.
The intruder moves to the base of the bed, finding a good location to start the ambush. He gets a good grasp on the comforter and begins the short ascent. Once at the top he crouches for the pounce.

“Don’t you dare Chit.”

“Aww, how you know?”

“Next time don’t drag the step stool.” His mother raises her head to look at her son. “Sweetie if you don’t go back to bed you will be grounded after school.”

“But mooom, I can’t sleep!”

“You march back to your room right now.”

“Hon, what is it?” Shield asks sleepily.

“Chitter just needs to go back to bed.”

“Mmm, ok. Chit at least stay in your room until morning and I’ll make your favorite breakfast.”

“Really daddy?” Chitter asks, shaking his rear end excitedly.

“Yes now go on.”

“Ok daddy!” He turns tail and rushes back to his bedroom.

“Dear, why do you have to give him stuff like that?”


Willow rolled her eyes, “Stallions.” She lays her head down and tries to go back to sleep.


Chitter sits in his room with the lamp on. In one hoof a stuffed blue bird, the others hoof full of bricks.

“No, bird going to get candy!” He motions the bird towards an empty wrapper. “Stop the bird!”

He pushes some pony figures toward the candy cache. “We stop him.” He says in a mimicked deeper voice. The ponies start tossing bricks at the bird.

The little bug yawns, “The bird go down…” He lies on the floor, his chin on the vanquished bird of terror.

The town of Candyland thanked him and shared their delicious treasure with the hero of the town. He unwraps the first piece of the prized chocolate gem but something seems wrong.

The candy tastes funny, like cloth. It also didn’t break off in chunks. In fact, it didn’t break at all.

“Don’t you want your reward sir?” A townsfolk asks.

“Yes please!” He nods eagerly.

“Well you have to wake up Chit.” The townsfolk says.

Chitter tilts his head in confusion, “Why I wake up?”

“Chit, sweetheart, wake up for school.”

Chitter opens his eyes and finds four orange legs in front of him. He yawns and smacks his lips. “Momma?”

“Good morning sweetie. Who wants hashbrowns?”

“Me Momma!”

“Well then stop trying to eat your bird and let’s go.” Chitter looks at the toy and its soaked wing. He laughs and follows Willow to breakfast.

Shield was in a rhythm, making food for everyone. It’s not often Willow does the cooking now that Shield is the house husband. He sways to one of his favorite tunes.

“Bah-do da da da-dul!” He hums out loud as he tosses some more chopped potatoes into the pan. “Bah do do-" He feels something grab his hind leg.

“Daddy!” Exclaims the little bug.

“There’s my little ‘ling. Did you stay awake all night?”

“No, Momma come get me.”

Shield just chuckles, “Well let’s get some food and love into our growing colt. Then we can get ready for school.”


“Maybe she’ll be there.” He can only guess that Chitter was talking about Midnight Moon, the little thestral filly. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“Ok daddy.”

Willow walks into the kitchen with tiny saddlebags resting on her back. She stops by the door and drops them on the floor. “Well, I have now double checked his bags for everything. He was missing his crayons, again…” She gave Chitter a knowing look. “Those are for school sweetie not for home. Besides, you already have crayons here.”

“Those more fun.”

‘I swear, I don’t know whether to be mad or love him more.’ She thinks to herself while prying Chitter off of dad’s leg.

“Go sit down for breakfast Chit.” Shield tells him.

“Ok daddy.” He lets go and Mom helps him up into his chair.”

The rest of breakfast goes by as usual with Chitter making only a small mess instead of his normal ones. Willow helps him clean up and gets him ready to go.

“You ready sweetie?”

“Momma, can take bird?”

“I’m sorry sweetheart, but bird has to stay.” She looks at the sadness spreading across his face. “Don’t worry Chit. Bird will be right here when you come back.” She places his toy on the table by the door. “See bird isn’t going anywhere.”

“Momma, I want bird go!”

“He can’t go to school with you sweetie.”

“Whyyy momma?”

“Because you might lose him.”

“Nu-uh. I won’t.”

Willow takes a deep breath with her eyes closed. “Fine, you can take bird. BUT, you have to keep him in your bag all day.”

“Ok momma!” He hugs her leg then grabs the toy off the table and stuffs it in his bag.
“Remember Chit, the big gem is very very important. Daddy and I won’t be there for lunch. But it has your favorite; love!”


“Is everyone ready?” Asks Shield.

“Yep let’s get going I still need to talk with the teacher.” She pauses with a cheeky smile.

“Hey sweetie, why don’t you climb up?”

“Ok Momma!”

Willow tosses a side glance at Shield, “Try to keep up! Hold tight to mommy’s neck Chit!” She opens her wings as his hooves wrap around her neck. She takes to the air in the direction of the schoolhouse.

Shield smiles and follows on hoof with the occasional teleport. He keeps an eye on the paths as Willow does basic flying maneuvers above him.

Chitter squeals with glee while he goes through the various stunts. Up ahead he sees a large red building with a playground next to it. His smile fades as they approach the building, but widen when they see a familiar face.

Willow banks hard to the left and spirals downward. She lands without incident next to Princess Twilight. “Well good morning Twilight! What brings you here?”

Twilight perks up, “This is like the most special day if his life! I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I mean he begins to enjoy the wonder of studying!” She had this overly happy expression on at the thought of somepony else studying.

“I never really cared for school if I’m being honest.” Shield admits.

“When did you get here?” Willow questions with a surprised expression.

Shield laughs, clearly trying to hide his heavy breathing, “I watched you land. I wasn’t a guard for nothing you know.”

“Hmph,” pouts Willow.

“So are you excited Chitter?” Twilight asks.

“Midi coming?”

“Who?” Twilight asks.

“Little thestral filly,” Willow adds.

The group hears a loud yawn as a couple more ponies land nearby. “Mom, tired, bright.”

“Well Mini we have to get used to it. We now live during the day.”

“Midi!” Chitter shouts.

The thestrals all flinch briefly before the father recognizes the voice. “Oh, hello you guys. Didn’t honestly expect you guys to be here.”


“Hi Midi!”

“You go school too?”

Chitter nods, “Uh huh, momma make me.”

“Mom said we do crafts!”

“Use crayons?”

“Aaannd scissors.”


As the little ponies talked about school the big ponies talked about the schooling.
“I just don’t know if I’m comfortable with him being here Princess.” Planter mumbles.

“Yes, I understand your concerns about changelings, but he is a legal citizen and has precaution built into him physically. The most that will happen is that he gets in a scuffle as all foals do from time to time.”

“Plant, just let it go. He’s going to be here whether you want him to or not. Besides he and Mini seem to get along well. Just look.” The adults look to the two foals and see them chatting together like they grew up with each other. “I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of him over the years.”

Willow speaks up, “Excuse me for a bit. Shield, keep an eye on him?”

“Of course.”

Willow wanders over to the schoolhouse and knocks on the door.

“School doesn’t start for another thirty minutes.”

“I’m sorry to disturb you early but we really need to talk.”

“Rosie, now is not the time. I have school starting and I won’t get into it right now.”

“Sir, my name is Willow Breeze and I’m here about Chitter the changeling.”

The door opens and a middle aged stallion looks at the mare like he’s been preparing a speech. “Ugh,” he lightly groans, “Yes, a changeling will be attending the school this year. If you have any concerns please speak with Princess Twilight who is out front.”

“Yes, that’s all well and good but the changeling is my son.”

“Oh my, I apologize. I was expecting quite a few parents to be a little uh, worried. What can I help you with?”

“I just need help with one particular thing. In his bag is a very large gem, that is very, very important for him. It pretty much is a bagged lunch and snacks for him. It has to arrive, which I will make sure it does, but it has to leave with him to recover.”

“So in short make sure he doesn’t loose it or the other foals try to take it?”


“How ‘bout I just take it from him when he gets here?”

“That could work.”

“I will keep it in my desk daily till lunch and take it back after lunch. Just before he leaves every day I will give it back to him. Sound okay?”

“I believe we can work with that.” She smiles and holds out her hoof. “Thank you, my name is Willow Breeze.”

He shakes her hoof gently, “Pleased to meet you. My name is Blackboard. Would you mind if I met him before we start school today? I don’t want to give the wrong impression but I’ve never worked with changelings before.”

Willow gives him a raised eyebrow, “Sure, but his father will also be here.”

The teacher’s demeanor never wavered, “Fine by me, I’d like to make his acquaintance as well.”

“Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go get them.” She turns and starts to leave but sees the changeling in question.

He bounced along followed by both father and “aunt.” Chitter walks straight up to his mother and leans against her leg.

“Hi Sweetie, this is Mr. Blackboard, your teacher.”

Chitter waved, “Hello.”

Mr. Blackboard smiled, “So this is Chitter? How are you little pony? Ready for school?”

“Momma say I have to go.”

“Well don’t you worry, class will be fun.” He pauses for a moment. “Chitter, may I hold onto your lunch until lunchtime?”

“No, Momma said keep safe. Bird keep safe.”
Blackboard looked at the parents, “What about a bird? He’s not allowed any pets until show and tell and that’s only one pet a week.”

“No no, no pets it’s his favorite stuffed bird. He wouldn’t leave home without it. But he knows where bird stays, right Chit?”

“Bird stay in bag Momma.”

“Good job!” Chitter smiles happily at the praise. “Chit sweetie, go ahead and give your lunch to the teacher. He is going to make sure you don’t lose it.”

“Ok.” He noses into his bag and removes the gem. He hesitantly gives the gem to the teacher.

“Thank you Chitter, you will get this back at lunchtime, ok?”


“Well now that that’s taken care of; How can I help you Princess Twilight?”

“Oh, I’m just here with them.”

Chitter wandered over to the alicorn, “Aunt Twi, hug?”

“Huh, oh! Of course I will! Especially for my favorite nephew.”

The teacher blinks a few times, not sure if he can trust his eyes. “He… is your nephew?”

“Yep, and since I can be here for him more often than Flurry he gets a little spoiled. Isn’t that right love bug?”

Chitter nods his head, “Uh huh!”

Any further conversation was halted when the bell rang. “And that means school has started for the year! Let’s see who we have this year.” Mr. Blackboard nearly hopped over to the door.

Willow pulls Chitter into a tight hug, “My little colt is already starting school. Now you behave for the teacher, daddy and I will be here to pick you up when school’s over, okay?”

“Have to?”
“Yes Chit you have to go to school.” Shield says.

“We have to go, Goodbye Chit!” Twilight rushes.

“Good luck and make some friends, love you!” Willow yells out as she’s pushed out the door by Shield. “Daddy loves you toooooo!” Her voice fades out the door as Twilight follows behind them.

“Good luck Chitter!”

Chitter slowly waves goodbye and is left alone in the room until the sounds of a small group start to fill the building.

“Alright little ponies, find a seat and sit down. If you don’t find a seat I’ll find one for you.”

Educating Your Foal Pt. 2

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Fillies and colts start to move around seemingly unaware of the changeling. He looks around a little perturbed by all the motion.

“May I have Midnight Moon and Chitter come to the front of the room?” Mr. Blackboard asks aloud.

Everyone in the room froze and talking ceased as two of them had already been singled out. Chitter did as he was told although he was hesitant about being in front of the entire class. He saw Midi was almost as scared about being called out. Worst was he could feel her anxiety in the air. It was a sour emotion he didn’t like one bit.

They both walked up to Mr. Blackboard and he motioned for them to face the class. “Ok little ponies. We have a lot of introductions to do so let’s get some things out of the way.” He leans down to the two ponies on either side of him. “When I say your name wave at the class, ok?” They both nod quietly.

He clears his throat, “First, we have Midnight Moon with us. She is a Thestral all the way from Thestralshire. Let’s make her feel at home in a new city!” Many foals just looked confused about what she was. Mr. Blackboard motioned to Chitter now. “Now everyone keep calm, This is Chitter. Chitter is a changeling.”

Not a sound was heard till a pencil box slipped out of a set of hooves and clattered on the floor. From the back of the room one filly's voice was heard, “What a changeling?”
“A changeling can mimic almost anything their size and sometimes bigger.” He sighs internally, ‘At least they aren’t yelling.’ “Go ahead Chitter, show them.”

He was really weirded out by all the stares but being in disguise sounded wonderful. He looked out over the crowd choosing his copy target. Instead he had an idea. Green flames raced across his body as he changed. When he finished he looked exactly like Midnight Moon. “Midi watch.”

She started to forget about the other foals and let a smile slowly spread across her face. Chitter started to mimic her every move like a living mirror. Now she was having fun making faces and random moves.

The rest of the fillies and colts ooh'd and aah'd. Even Mr. Blackboard was taken aback by the actions. “Alright you two, now go take those seats.” He said pointing at two separate seats.

Chitter felt better now that Midnight wasn’t so anxious and afraid. He dropped the disguise before making his way to his seat and saw a sheet of decorative paper in the center of his desk. He sits down with his bag next to his desk.

“Okay class, now does everyone have their crayons?” He was answered by a series of yes then a single almost unheard no. “Who doesn’t?”

A colt in the desk next to Chitter’s raised a hoof. “Me.”

“Momma got big box! Want some?” Chitter asks.

The colt looked at him and started shaking. “N-n-n-n-o-o-o-o.” He stuttered.

Chitter could practically smell the anxiety coming off of this colt. “It ok, I no bite.” The colt wouldn’t respond, instead just leaning away from him.

Mr. Blackboard comes over with a box of crayons. “It’s alright Slick Brush, we have extra. Thank Chitter for offering to share.”

This rather scrawny grey earth pony apparently named Slick Brush didn’t seem to want to look at him. He tried to hide behind his black long cut mane just to avoid eye contact.

“No that will not do, we thank ponies for their kindness. Tell him thank you.”

“Thns…” It vaguely sounded like a thanks but Chitter wasn’t sure.

“Very good! Now, what do we say back?”

“You’re welcome!” He excitedly replied.

“Good job, now I want everyone to draw you and your family on the paper in front of you. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look exact that’s alright.”

Chitter looked down at his own paper wondering how to start. It came to him if he wanted to draw momma why not be momma? He changed into his version of his mother.


Willow tags the front gate as the clear winner of their impromptu race home. “Oh yeah, Momma’s still got some fight left!” She sat back on her rump and raised her hooves up. “WHOOT WHOOT!”

Shield finally catches up, panting. “Alright, alright, you win!”

“Kicked your flank is what I did Mister Royal Guard.”

“Former Mister Royal Guard hon, I haven’t been in that kind of shape in years. In fact I think I’ve seen a bit of chub edging in on those flanks of yours too.” He teases playfully.

Willow’s entire demeanor changed instantaneously, “Am I starting to get fat?! NONONONONO! I’ll have to start a diet and start taking Chitter with me on walks with more often!”

“Hon calm down, what’s wrong with your mom bod? You are a mother aren’t you?”

“But I’m getting fat!”

“You are not, a little chub is attractive.”

“Really?” She asked almost desperately.

“Yes hon, has anyone besides me called you fat?”

“You did!”

Shield rolls his eyes, “As a joke I did. But has anypony else said anything about your weight?”


“See, you’re not fat. Now haven’t we been planning something since Chitter was accepted into school?”

“You called me fat!”

“So? Who did Chit draw with a big belly on the wall, certainly wasn’t you. Hon you look great, I swear.”

“Am I really getting fat?”

“Willow, we both know that Red is jealous of your figure to this day.”

“Hay yeah she is, and Momma’s looking good!”

‘Mares.’ Shield mutters internally. “Come on you crazy mare. We’ve got plans and only a few hours till Chitter comes home.”

Willow takes of into the house, “Race ya!”

With another roll of his eyes he meanders inside. He heads to their room and sees Willow pulling some hair ties out. “Good to see you letting your hair down again.”

“Yeah well Chit's been having me run around all week when I’m home.”

“And now we have some time to relax.”
Shield pushes her gently to the bed. “We’ve been waiting for school to start and I’m not going to miss a moment of time we have.”

“Yeah I’ll admit to that. I have been waiting for this too.”

“Shall we?” Shield nods to the bed.

“Of course my handsome stallion.” They both climb up on the bed and immediately fall deeply asleep, exactly as planned.


Chitter struggles to get the picture to come out as he wants. ‘Mr. Blackboard said I couldn't change at school anymore. Don’t like it.’ He keeps going based on memory though and tries his best.

He looks up from his drawings at his classmates. Some are keeping to themselves drawing, some are talking to each other, others are looking around as he is, and a couple were fighting over a crayon one dropped. He caught sight of Midnight Moon at her desk.

She looked like she was possibly having a hard time or being given one. Just like at his table group, they weren’t talking to her either. She was being ignored so she just drew with a sad look. He looks back to his paper.

Chitter finds it’s kind of hard to think here. Too many emotions, most of them not even a particular one. Some were scared of being away from home, some of Midnight, and quite a few were afraid of himself. Foals were happy, excited, scared, bored, and a few other emotions he hadn’t learned yet. He couldn’t really get a good read on anyone other than the colt next to him.

He was afraid.

“Why scared?” Chitter asks. “I no bite.”

The colt just looks at him then goes back to staring at his blank paper. He sniffles a bit, “Want go back.”

“No color?”

“No home for color…” He stares at his desk.

‘No home? But everypony has a home!’ Chitter thought to himself. “Where you mommy and daddy live?”

The grey colt’s eyes started to water as his lip quivered. “No family.”

Chitter watched as the poor colt began to cry. He tries to pick apart the emotions surrounding this colt, ‘No family, so he's very sad and has no love at all in him.’ A line Momma tells him comes to mind. “How about friend?”

He sniffles, “No pony but Miss Tear.” Chitter stares at him through his good eye, trying to figure out what this meant. “I alone.”

Now that was something he could work with. ‘Momma said it’s good to make friends. Be kind, listen, and look past flaws.’ Chitter knows he can listen but only one of his eyes work, so it will be hard to look past flaws. Whatever that means. “Why no friends?”

“Don’t know how.”

“Want to?!”

Slick Brush was hesitant, after all; What could a changeling know about friends? “Owww! I bith ma thongue.” He watched the cross eyed changeling fan his burning tongue. At first there was a chuckle that turned into a laugh.

Chitter watched with his tongue hanging out as Slick Brush laughed at his misfortune. In that moment though, he learned a new thing; getting laughed at wasn’t always bad. It made this lonely colt feel better and that made him feel better, literally! He pulled his tongue back and laughed with him.

Once they stopped laughing Chitter offered his hoof. “My name Chitter, you?”

The grey colt trembled slightly before shakily raising his own hoof to bump together. “I’m Slick Brush.”

“Cool name!”


Chitter starts adding to the stick family he’d been drawing. With broad strokes of the blue crayon he adds the sky. “I like blue,” he says mostly to himself.

“R-red…” Slick mumbles.

“Silly blue no red.”

“I l-like red.”

“Cool!” Chit keeps coloring, continuously coloring over previous drawings.

“B-black crayon?”


“Can have?”

“Ok!” He rolls over the black crayon. “Momma pesus, daddy corn, me chaneling!” He scribbles some more colors and shapes.

“Ok everypony! Put down your crayons and come sit over here on the mat.” Mr. Blackboard called out.

The foals all made unhappy noises about having to stop drawing, but went to the indicated area. Once they all gathered Chitter found Midnight and sat next to her. Surprisingly, Slick sat next to him.

“Okay, so who knows all their ABC’S?” Quite a few hooves were raised. “Well, who can tell me what this is?” He tapped a guitar in its stand next to him.

Chitter wasn’t really sure what it was. Mom and dad didn’t have one and he wasn’t sure if he’d even seen the stringed object. But a filly towards the front yelled out, “Guitar!”

“Good job Glitter Glaze!” Mr. Blackboard picked up the guitar and strummed across its strings letting the notes ring. “Alright! Now let’s sing our ABC’s!” With each letter he strummed, “A B C D E F G, H I J K LMNOP, Q R S, T U V, W X, Y and Z. Now I know my ABC’s next time won’t you sing with me?” He looks over all the foals, “Wanna sing again?” The roar of yes was deafening. “Well alright, here we go!”

Another Adoption?

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The hustle and bustle of the classroom was full of excitement as it was time to go home. The parents waited outside for the opening of the floodgates.

“Does everyone have everything they came with? Chitter come get your gem.” From appearances only Chitter heard him, he knew they all did but it was useless to try too hard. ‘They’ll be back tomorrow anyway but the changeling needs the gem or an alicorn is going to drop through the roof.’

“Here Mr. B!”

Blackboard puts the gem in the foal’s bag. “Now you make sure Mommy and Daddy get that, ok?” Chitter nods his head and skips off. “Alright everypony, line up along the wall like we practiced earlier.”

The noise was intense while the class lined along the wall. Chitter found himself somewhere around the middle of the line. He stretched his restless wings briefly before the teacher started to lead them out of the room.

Parents smiled and called out to their foals as they emerged from the schoolhouse. “Alright little ponies, I’ll see you all tomorrow. If your parents aren’t here for you yet wait with me.” He waves them all away and chaos ensues as all the ponies rush in different directions.

“Chitter! Over here sweetheart!” He looks around, he heard her but can’t see her. “Over here!” He spots them over by the playground.

“Momma!” A grin explodes outwards as he runs as fast as his little hooves can carry him.

“OOF,” Willow cries out as Chit slams into his mother’s chest.


Both Willow and Shield had absolutely no clue as to what he had just said. Shield opens his mouth to speak but Willow is startled by Chitter grabbing her hoof and pulling her with him.

“Whoa! Easy Chit, I’ll follow, I promise!”
The other parents looked at the changeling and ponies in a bit of shock. “Momma, friend!” A few of those parents seemed to need to speak to the teacher. Most decided to wait as that’s where the changeling was going.

“Momma, go!”

“Alright, alright, I’m moving.” She is forced to a stop in front of the teacher and this almost pathetic looking colt. “Hello again Mr. Blackboard.”

“Oh, hello Mrs… Breeze was it?”

“Correct,” Willow looks down at her colt while is trying to get her attention. “What did you want to show me Chit?”

Chitter stands next to the scrawny grey colt. “Friend!”
“Oh yeah? And who might you be?”

Slick Brush looks at Chitter’s mom and dad staring in disbelief. “You not changeling?”

Shield laughs chuckles, “Nope we are just two regular ponies. So who are you?”

“I’m Slick Brush sir.”

“So you’re the one who has Chitter all wound up?”


“Where are your parents?”

“Don’t got none.”

Both Willow and Shield looked at him in bewilderment. “Who are you waiting for?”

“Slick Brush!”

“Miss Tear.” Slick looks at her almost sadly.

“I’m sorry that I’m late. We have another meeting scheduled!”

“Yay…” Slick mumbles looking at the ground.

“Silk, why sad?” Chitter questions with a tilt of his head.

“No adopt, never will…”

“Now you listen here! The right ponies will come along and you will have a family! We just haven’t found the right ones yet.”

“He’s an orphan?” Willow inquires.

“He is, but the two mares looking to adopt him seemed absolutely thrilled to find somepony like him!”

“Yay…” He wasn’t impressed.

“So who might you all be? Also who i-AHHH A CHANGELING!” She finally noticed Chitter.

Willow grabs him and holds him close as Shield steps in front of them.

“Miss Tear, that Chitter (ch-I-tter).”

“Momma, make no yell.”

“There is nothing wrong here Ma’am. This is our son.”

“Like Tartarus he is, that’s a changeling.”

“Hon, for once we’re not being accused of being one ourselves.”

“I know right?” Willow laughs out.

“Miss Tear was it? This is our adopted changeling son, Chitter. He was here for his first day of school today.”

“It- wait what?”

“Yup, first day of school. Seems to also become friends with your charge.”

Slick barely smirks, “Friend…”

“F-friend? You and… him?”

“Uh huh.”

“I don’t want to come off as rude after a first meeting so I’m sorry. I would like to hear more about this but we have to be going. We have an appointment with a prospective couple.” She starts pushing Slick Brush along,

“Again, I’m sorry.”

“Bye Silk!” The other pony waves as he leaves. Chitter glances around searching for Midi but doesn’t spot her.

“You ready to go home buddy?”

“Uh huh!”

“Hey, where did Blackboard go?” Shield looks around in confusion.

“I’d place a wager on cleaning the classroom as we are now the only ponies here.”

“Right, let’s get going then.”

The family walks home as Chitter goes on and on in almost gibberish about his day.

“Momma what that?” A small shape darts between trees.

“What’s what Sweetie?” She didn’t really have much notice of what was going on before Chitter shifted shape. He looked like her but was completely black, like he’d forgotten to include color in the disguise.

He flaps his new much larger wings and takes off after the shape in the nearby woods. “CHITTER NO!” He doesn’t have the best control but is quickly learning the new wings.

The long shape dodges between a couple of trees with Chitter hot on its tail. It tries to lose him under a branch, through a fallen tree, through some brush and brambles. It head swivels while searching for its follower, but to its relief hears nothing. As it catches its breath a twig snaps. Perking up its ears, it backs up into a tree.

“Hi!” Chitter happily greets in his normal form. The cornered creature startles and swings its paw. The claws rake ineffectively across his chitin. He decides he will not stand for it, he leans down with fangs bared.


The long creature falls on it’s back preparing to meet its end with tail tucked. What feels like forever passes by for the animal but nothing else happened. But its minimal sense of relief is eliminated when it is rolled over and teeth close around its scruff lifting it from the ground.

“TURY! TURY! WHERE ARE YOU? Oh no, oh no, oh no.”



Willow and Shield tried their best to keep up with him. Chitter was small and easily left them behind in the forest. “CHITTER!” Willow is close to hyperventilating, “Shield we have to find him!”

“Honey, calm down. He’s no ordinary colt. Besides, this isn’t the Everfree Forest, nothing here is really capable of harm.”


A strained shout came from somewhere near them, “TURY WHERE ARE YOU?”

“Well we now know what Chitter was after; someone lost a pet.”


Chitter struts through the forest towards the sound of his parents. He grins the best he can after catching his target.

The “target” swings gently by its scruff that’s held by the Changeling. It doesn’t brood or struggle, it knows it’s been outsmarted soundly. So it hangs there just hoping to not be eaten.


“Chitter! There you are!” Mom sees that he is carrying a long reddish brown animal.

“Chitter, you spit that out right now!”

“Ner, min.” He replied through clenched teeth.

“TURY?” The other pony called out again.

“EXCUSE ME BUT WE MIGHT HAVE YOUR PET!” Shield bellows into the woods.

“Oh my!” A yellow pegasus burst out of the bushes after a few moments. “Oh, hello again. Thank goodness, you found Tury.” Fluttershy goes to grab the animal but Chitter pulls back.


“Chit you give Miss Fluttershy back her animal right now.”

The bug foal lets it go but grabs it with a hoof. “Stripe, mine.”

Willow blinked in astonishment, ‘He completely ignored me! What just happened?’

A rare occurrence happened when Fluttershy hardened her eyes and gave Chitter “The Stare.” “You listen to me mister! You don’t just take something that doesn’t belong to you. Now give him back.”

Chitter is frozen in place by the stare but slowly starts to give back the animal. The emotional freeze is quickly thawed and he pulls back. “N-no.”

Shield has had enough and wraps the animal in magic before pulling it out of his grip. After the animal was free Shield swats Chitter on the bottom. “You were told multiple times to let it go.” Chitter sits on the ground crying fake tears as foals do when in trouble.

“B-b-but D-a-addy,” He cries out between sobs, “Li-ike it!”

“It is not yours and you can’t have it.”

Dad wouldn’t push over this time so he had to try and win mom over. “Momma, please?” He wore the most adorable puppy face he could muster. His eyes shining (from tears), ears drooped, bottom lip quivering, “I'm sorry.”

Willow stayed in a stunned silence as she dealt with the over abundance of cute. Slowly but surely she powered through it,

“No; It belongs to Miss Fluttershy, we cannot have it.”


“Actually, I’m looking after him till he finds a new home.” Fluttershy smiles, gently pushing the idea.

GASP, “Please Momma?”

Willow looks to Shield for backup. He raises an eyebrow as if to say, ‘This is all you.’ She gives a great sigh, ‘If I don’t he will not shut up about it for a long time. But maybe we can use this to teach him responsibility.’

“Weeeelll, I guess. BUT, when we get home you’re going to have some things to do. If you want it that badly you are going to have to take care of it, ok?”

Being young, all he heard was, “You can have it.” The rest didn’t matter as he got what he wanted; being a little spoiled didn’t help. He nods energetically , “Yep!” He looks at the thing his father still held in his magic and for the first time wonders what it was exactly.

“Miss Futterhi, what is it?”

“This is Tury, he’s a Champagne Ferret.”

“Ch-amp-pane ret.”

Willow speaks up again, “Say it with me, F-er-ret.”


“No no. F-er-ret.”


“That’s right, and if you want to keep him I would suggest you ask Miss Fluttershy for help.” She hinted obviously.

Chit turns to the butter yellow pegasus, “Please?” He drops his ears and widens his eyes, ‘It works good.’

Fluttershy looked uncomfortable with all the socialization but ecstatic that she had one of her animals adopted. “W-well I guess you can have his cage and some food to start, IF you promise to take good care of him.”

“Uh huh! I promise!”

“Ok, let’s go.” She starts leading the family to her cottage.

“Daddy can I have?”

“Let’s wait till we’re sure he’s not going to run away. Then you can have him back.”

“Stripe, not hide from me. He too slow.”

“Chitter, I said you will wait, therefore you will wait.” Shield commanded.

The growing changeling wanted his pet but dad held firm. He knew this time he couldn’t win, so he just slumped his head. “Ok, Daddy.”

After a while Chitter did cheer back up, especially with an abundance of joy flowing from Fluttershy. He moved around the floating pet, talking to him, chasing him as dad tried to keep Chitter away from it for now.

‘I hope you know what you’re doing Will.’ Shield mutters internally as the family (and Fluttershy) walk to get some of the needed items for the new family member.

Chitter and Midnight: Path to the Sunset Orb

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Stripe scurries down the hall of his new home trying to outrun his owner. If he can only make it to his cage he’d be in the clear. He dodges through the stretchy play tube to throw off his follower.

There it is! At last, he found the cage, now all he has to do is get to it. Hooves graze his side as he dodges to the right. He leaps in the door as the equine-esque skids to a halt.

“Play, please?” Chitter begs his ferret. Stripe climbs into his covered hammock refusing to come out. “Stripe?”

“Sweetheart, ferrets like the night more than the day. But as he gets older he’ll learn what goes on here.” Mom walks to the cage, closes, and locks it. “Now how about we go to dinner?”

“We going to Midi house?”

Willow smiles and nods, “Yep and I heard they’re going to have a cookout.” Chitter paws at the cage some more trying to get the critter to play with him. “Come on sweetie, we need to get ready to go.”

“Ok. Bye Stripe.” Chit follows mom as she picks up a few items they might need and gathers the food they are bringing. “Why now?”

“Midnight’s father wants you two to play.” Willow leaves out that it’s about showing he could accept the Changeling. “They even made a special dessert from their hometown.”


“Go ask daddy if he’s ready, Chit.”

“Ok momma!” Chit skips off to find his dad. It didn’t take long as he was still the last place he remembered.

“HNNNNNN, come on you stupid thing!” Thud. Shield lie on his back with a few boards lying over and around him.

“You ok Daddy?”

“I’m fine buddy, just a few… uh, technical difficulties.”

He didn’t quite know what that meant but dad said he was ok. “Momma ask if ready.”

Dad pushes the wood off and rolls over. “Yeah, I’ll finish this when we get back.” He kicks one of the loose boards with a huff. “Let’s go.”

Chitter practically prances to the front door.
“Hurry, go see Midi!”

“We will get there when we get there. Calm down and wait.” Dad says as all dads do.

Chitter trots in place by the door, ‘But I want to play now!’

“Hon, you got everything? Need any help?”

“Nah, I got it.”

“Alright, well let’s go.”

They leave the house locking the door behind themselves. Chitter, ever the energetic foal, bounces around his parents on the walk to his friend’s house.

Shield sighs just a bit; he is, to this day, ecstatic they have a foal. It’s just the questions that do him in.

“Why? What’s that? Who’s that? Why? How come? Why? Please? Why? Why?”

Sometimes Shield feels as though he has heard enough whys to never answer another question in his life. But this is the exact thing the both of them have wanted for a long time, so he just deals with it.

Willow on the other hoof, has worked with foals since leaving med school. Questions were nothing new, and it filled her with joy to keep him learning at all times. Sometimes it did become a little much but that is fixed by passing him off to her spouse.

Chitter loves his parents, as best a changeling can. Something about him was broken but he didn’t care. He never needed, or was starved, and had a home with a caring family.

‘Silk doesn’t have a family and was sad.’ Slick hadn’t been at school since the meeting and Chit was wondering if he was ok. He got to talk to Midnight during lunch and recess, but the others at his table ignored him. He missed his new friend and hoped to see him soon.

Chitter perked up at the smell drifting in the breeze. “Mmmm, smell good.”

“It does and I believe that signals we’re getting close.”

The family stops at the home the letter indicated. A standard house with thatch roofing the same as their own stood before them. The flower pots were empty, and the lawn hadn’t been cut in a while.

“Seems ominous…” Shield mutters.

“Maybe we have the wrong house?” Willow spreads her wings, “I'm going to take a look around.”

The door opens before she can take off. “Hey, you guys made it!” Sharp Point steps back, “Come in, come in! I just finished mowing the backyard where Planter is. Midnight is finishing up in her tree house.”

“You’re letting her build?! She’s only 5 or so!” Willow exclaims completely baffled.

He laughs it off, “No, she’s not ready for tools yet, besides she likes being pretty. The tree house was here when we bought the house, it’s really strong too. Mini’s just putting in small furniture for her clubhouse. Now before I give the tour how about Chitter there goes to play?”

“Can I momma?” Eyes sparkling with hope.

“You can, BUT, you cannot leave the yard or house.”

“Okay!” He starts to run out the door leading outback.

“Woah, hold on there little fella. When you go out there I need you to say ‘Mrs. Planter I’m here.’ Ok?”

“Uh huh!” He runs outside to the sizable yard. “Mrs, Planter I’m here!”

She jumps, “Oh it’s just you. You startled me.”

“Where Midi?”

“Mini is over in her tree house. Play nice you two.”

“Ok!” Chit skips over to the big tree with a house in it. “Midi!”

“Itter?” She pokes her head put of a window.

“Hi! Can I come in?”

“Yeah, come on!”

“Ok!” He climbs the wooden ramps to the door. “What you doing?”

Midnight looks up from the table she’s moving. “I want to make pretty.”

“Oh.” He didn’t have a response to that. She moves the small table under the window, followed by the chairs. Chitter just helps as he can, where she directs.

After a time they finish moving the small items. “Nice.”

“Yeah, now we find treasure for table.”


“Uh huh! It in temple, like Daring Doo!”

“Ok! How we get?”

She tosses him a pith helmet, “We go get it.” Putting on her own helmet she leads him outside the clubhouse. “Come this way.”

“Ok.” He follows her through the rolling fields to the edge of a huge wall separating the field from the mysterious jungle.

She adjusts her helmet, “How we get over?”

Chit glances around spotting an ancient structure to their right. “We climb that.”

Mini smiles, “Yeah, good job!”

Chitter smiles happily at the compliment, “Let’s go!”

“Yeah!” She helps Chitter up onto the slippery structure, then he helps her up. She uses her wings to help them both lift. They both leap to the next platform that leads over the wall.



They both cry out, “Three!” They leap over the wall and glide down to the jungle floor. “Wheeeeee!”

They land with Mini stumbling slightly, “Wow, tall plants.” Chit gazes up the tall stalks and trunks.

Mini takes off her helmet and takes out a map. She and Chit look at the dotted line and figure out their course. “This way!” Mini declares.

They struggle their way through the dense jungle till they find the castle like temple in a clearing. “Whoa!” They both exclaim in excitement. Running towards it they stop short of the entrance.

“Uh oh.” Mini points to a wire going across the entrance, “Traps. No step on, or no treasure.”

They tread carefully over the wire and head to the massive door. “Help up.”

“Ok.” Mini climbs on Chitter’s back reaching for the release mechanism. The massive stone slab slides out of the way allowing the two to see deep into the surprisingly well lit structure.

“Come on.” Mini waves forward.

“I here.”

They slowly make their way down the halls of the temple avoiding any traps the may come across.

“Quick hide, shhhh.” The pair dive underneath a raised pedestal.

“Where did they go? I could have swore I heard them.” The guardian moves on without detecting them.


“Yeah, almost there.”

The main room was covered in stone tiles that were amazingly clean for such an ancient ruin. Each tile was a slightly different color but all led to the pedestal in the center of the room.

Chitter looks to Mini, “Look like trap.”

“Yep, go dark pieces.”

They each take a line of tiles to cross making step on only the dark ones. Chitter’s hoof grazes one of the light tiles and it crumbles taking some of his unprepared weight with it.

“Nooo! I’m falling!”

“Itter!” Mini leaps to the nearest dark tiles.
“Grab my hoof!”

With his remaining hooves struggling to get purchase he reaches for her outstretched hoof. Mini quickly grabs his hoof in hers and helps him get back up on the dark tiles.
Chitter pants heavily, “Th-thank you.”

“See only dark.”

“O-ok.” They continue to traverse the room heading for the pedestal. Not much longer, they reach their goal. “Up?”

“Uh huh, help me?”
Standing and grabbing the pedestal Chitter stayed still so Mini could climb him. She climbs up, “Ow, wings soft, hurt easy.”

“Sorry.” She gets to the top and steps on his head to get high enough to climb on. As she puts her full weight down the light tiles all over the room fall into the awaiting lava.

“Be safe!”

Mini looks toward the treasure, an offering plate topped with the magical sunset orbs. They are the perfect item for her needs. She approaches her prize but one of the slabs was loose enough to make her lose her footing. She corrects herself but steps on the edge of the offering plate sending the precious orbs careening over the edge.

“Noooo!” They watched in horror as all of the orbs either went well out of reach or fell into the holes.

Chitter grabs desperately to save at least one but isn’t fast enough. He watches it fall but it stops as a green glow surrounds it.

“Itter catch it! Yay!” She doesn’t have time to celebrate as the ground starts to rumble. “Run!”

Chitter doesn’t need to be told twice and flees with the sunset orb. Midnight glides down to meet him at entrance to the room.

“Oh no, way back gone.” She looks for new routes out. “Follow me!” The two take off down a different path,

“There they are!”

“Run Itter!” They flee away from the temple guardians all the way back to the field. They scamper up the ramp to their base and slam the door behind themselves. They giggle to themselves as they hear the guardians lose one of their relics.

“Hey you two, put that back! You’re going to spoil your dinner!”

“Midnight Moon! How many times do I have to tell you, no mangoes till after dinner?!”

“We got none!” Chit yells out. Giggling more as he tries to hide their treasure.

“Yeah, not here!” They share a laugh and bump hooves. The “fruit” of there effort firmly secured in their fortress.

Excitement and Art

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“Alright Buddy, you behave yourself. I’ll be back to pick you up later.”

“Okay daddy, love you.”

Shield hugs his son, “I love you to buddy.” He shoo's him off in the direction of the other ponies.

Chitter meanders over but is brushed off by the other foals. He doesn’t see Midnight yet so he just sits dejectedly by the door.

“Mrs. Valley, Thank you.”

“You are welcome, we are glad to have you.” She goes to shoo him off as well. “Now why don’t you find your friends? I bet they miss you after these last few days.”

“Mrs. Valley, only have one.”

“Oh and where are they?”

Chitter perks up after hearing the familiar voice, “Silk?” He looks toward the source of the voices. “Silk!” He stands and trots over to his friend.

Slick likewise perks up, “ChItter?”

“Hi Silk.”


“Where you go?”

Mrs. Lily sits there wide eyed.
“I gots adopted!”


“Have family now.”

“Oh.” The changeling does in fact notice that he’s much happier than before.

“Your friend is the changeling?”

“ChItter.” He nods and smiles.

“So this is the little changeling around town the last couple of years?”

“Hi! I here for school!”

“You are, are you? Well I hope our colt is excited about going to school again.” She seemed a bit hesitant about leaving the colt around the changeling. Unfortunately for her the bell rang, letting all the students and parents know that it was time. “Well you two have a good time at school.”

Slick waves bye, “Bye Mrs. Lily.”

The foals line up by the door waiting for the teacher to bring them inside. “Alright everypony! Who is ready to have fun today?” Mr. Blackboard was almost more excited about school than they were. They all walk to their seats after being lead inside. “Sit down and let’s take attendance.” He grabs a clipboard and starts reading down the list of names.

Chitter sits patiently for his time to call out.


“Here!” He sits back now that his part is done. That is, until he hears one particular name.

“Ruby Bliss?”

“He~re.” The burgundy unicorn filly sings out.
Something about the way she is towards anyone just made Chitter upset. She was full of that spicy emotion dad calls overconfidence. She wasn't mean per say, it was just that she thinks she’s somewhat better than others.

“Slick Brush?”

“Here sir.”

“Oh, welcome back.”

“Silent Stack?”


Chit looks over to Slick and sees him scribbling on the page left there before. He is adding a yellow colored pony with orange hair. He then works on another pony but this one was pink with straw colored hair.

“Who they?”

Slick moves his paper closer to Chitter and points to the pink pony, “This one Mrs. Lily.” He points to the yellow pony, “This one Mrs. Carrot. They my new moms.”

“You have family now.” Slick Brush simply nods.

“Chitter, Slick, I know both of you are excited to see each other but pay attention.” Mr. Blackboard turns his attention back to the class collectively. “Now, today we’re going to make a BIG mess. How does that sound?” Most of the class went nuts besides Slick Brush and Midnight Moon. Even Chitter cheered at being able to make an authorized mess. “Well today we are going to cast our hoofprints.”

“What that?” Asks a colt towards the front.
Mr. Blackboard picks up this white stone with a hoofprint in it. “See the hoof? Now we are all going to make one of these. Then you can bring these home for everyone to see.”
The teacher starts grabbing materials out of the supply closet. “Spring Fever can you pass out one of these cloths to everyone?”

“Okay!” The purple filly agrees.

Chitter sits with baited breath to make a mess. But something is off about Slick Brush, emotionally. He watches his friend return to drawing his name plate picture. Slick was happy but not excited. As he watched there was a faint flicker of love amongst the admiration.

“Love family?”

Slick looks up from his drawing, “Love having family, I not alones no more.”

Chitter doesn’t quite understand but gets interrupted again. A large cardboard ring and some wax paper are placed on his desk.

“So we are going to do this one group at a time. When I get to your group we will start. Do not do anything with till I get there, ok?”

“Ok.” The class echoed.

Chitter stayed silent for a while just watching Slick color. Before long though he grew bored and picked up the cardboard ring. He rolled it back and forth, twirled it around a hoof, then picked it up after dropping it. Chitter the tried to see how many hooves it could fit in it. His forehooves both fit with room left but there was space needed to fill.

“Silk help me please?’

Slick Brush looked up curiously from his paper. “Help what?”

“Need hoof to see if fit.”

“Oh.” Slick scoots his chair closer and the participates in the small experiment. The pair find out that the ring is just large enough to fit three hooves, but only just.


He looks up from his musings, “Midi?”

“Can I sit?”

“Uh huh.”

“What you doin'?”

“See how many hooves go in.”


Chitter just stares blankly, “Dunno.”

“All do it?”

Chit gasps, “Yeah, friend do together!”

“And just what are you three planning, hm?” Mr. Blackboard asks behind them.

“We do it as friends!”

“So you three want to do yours together?”

“No Mr. B, We do one.”

“Oh! Well I suppose friends should have a keepsake. So let’s grab your material and I’ll show you how.”


By the end of the day there was plaster on everything and everyone. The once nice clean desks are now covered in a white chalk like dust. There are hoofprints across the floor and a few on the walls.

Out of everyone, only one was almost completely spotless. Somehow, Midnight Moon was clean.

On the flipside however, was Chitter; he had a casting upended over him. Now he was actually having a hard time moving as a bunch of the slurry made it into his joints.
The class cleaned up under the guise of winner gets two pieces of candy. Meanwhile Chitter was being looked over by Mr. Blackboard, who was helping him get the crud out.

“ChItter you ok?”

“I is sticking."

“I am stuck.” The teacher corrected.


“I can help.” Midnight grabs a cloth too and helps clean Chitter’s carapace.

“Thank you.” The small changeling is motionless as Teacher and friend try to make him functional again. “Oww!”

“Sorry Chitter but that had to come off or it would hurt a lot worse later.” Mr. Blackboard assures. “But that should be better. Clay Cutter, come here.”

A light brown unicorn wanders over. “Yes, Mr. B?”

“You need to apologize for dumping plaster on Chitter here.”

“But he scary.”

“He is still a pony and you will treat others as you want to be. You wouldn’t like it if he did that to you, right?”


“Then say your sorry and don’t do it again.”
He didn’t even really look at the changeling as he said his sorry. Then he ran off before a response could be given. ‘It was bound to happen.’ Blackboard muttered internally. “Ok everypony, let’s go get washed up.”

The teacher pushes out a wash bin so all the fillies and colts could wash their hooves.

“Can I have Slick Brush and Midnight Moon to my desk once clean?”

Everyone finishes washing up and the two called out approached Mr. Blackboard’s desk. “We have our winners; Midnight and Slick. Slick washed seven desks and some of the wall. Midnight, was the only pony willing to help a classmate in need." He pulled out a jar labeled “Rewards”, “Go ahead and pick two you guys.”

Chitter sat as his desk as he watched his friends pick candy. He felt funny inside, he wasn't getting any candy why do they? He wasn’t sure why he was feeling like this but he couldn’t really control it, especially with so many ponies having the same emotion.

Things started to change however when the teacher walked around to each desk and let everyone pick one. Chitter felt his mood change drastically for the better. He popped the piece of hard candy into his maw, ‘Mmmm, Butterscotch!’

Slick pushed the drawing he had been working on before towards Chitter. “Look my family and friend.”

The image showed a red house with four figures in front. There was Slick Brush himself, a small grey stick pony in the middle. Behind and to both sides were two bigger ponies, one pink and yellow the other yellow and orange. Standing just off to the side of the family was a black figure with green on its back.

“I got family like you now.”

“You no sad no more!”

“Uh huh.”

The bell rang signifying lunch.


Lunch was a standard affair, then recess, learning, and end of day. Every pony got their castings and was released to their families.


“Hi there Chit! Have fun?”

“Uh huh, we made hoofprints.”

“Well let’s go home and when Mom gets home you can show us together.”

“Ok daddy, can Stripe play?”

“If he wants to.”

“Let’s go!” Shield chuckled and leads him home.

Wait, WHAT?!

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Willow sits at the oaken kitchen table, staring at its marred surface deep in thought; her favorite book long forgotten. ‘It can’t be true, it just can’t be.’ She tries to reason with herself.

“You ok Mom?” Chitter asks as he moseys into the bright kitchen as well.

Willow jerks out of her thoughts, “Huh, oh. I’m fine sweetie, you need something?” She watches his face as she knows he can sense their emotions.

The growing bug looks his mother over with a judging eye. “You are nervous, why?” He tilts his head further to the right to get a better look at her through his only working eye. The lighter portion of his solid turquoise eye indicating where he was focused.

“I’m just a little worried, but nothing you can help with. So what’s up?” She diverts with a smile.

He immediately lets go of the interrogation with a pleading expression, eyes wide and ear fins down. “Can I stay at Slick's house tonight after school?”

With a raised eyebrow, she asks, “If I were to ask Mrs. Edge about your homework this week would she be happy about it?”

Chit grins ears returning to normal position, “Well dad helped!”

Willow chuckled, “Be nice to your father.” She thinks to herself for a moment, ‘

Chitter pushed the subject, “I did my homework, can I?”

“If I found out you didn’t, you’re going to be grounded for a month. But I suppose you can, as long as it’s alright with Lily and Carrot.” She liked the parents of Chitter’s friend: Slick Brush. They never really had a problem with Chitter once they got to know him.

Chitter rushes forward and hugs his mom,
“Thank you!” He runs his muzzle into her floof.

“Of course, sweetie.” She hugs him back before pushing him to sit in front of her, “My, you’re getting so big! I remember when I could hold you with a single hoof.” She sighs as she reminisces, “I would just hold you and rock while humming your favorite lullaby.”

“Mom! I’m not a foal anymore!” He stomps in mock frustration. She shouldn’t baby him anymore!

“Oh you naïve little colt; you’ll always be my foal.”

Chitter lets go but can’t escape the iron grip of the aging pegasus. “Mom I got to go to school.”

She lets go but holds his shoulders, “I know, but I just want you to know Mom loves you.”

“I know, I ate this morning.” His expression neutral.

She shakes her head gently. “No no Sweetie. You mean more to me than you may ever know.” Willow smiles her warmest smile. “Just don’t leave your old mother behind huh?”

Chit goes back in for another hug, “I love you too.” A series of knocks echoed through the house. He lights up as he hears this, “Oh! Midnight’s here. Got to go.” He slips from his moms hooves, “Bye Mom!”

She tried to hold onto him as long as she can but he wiggled loose. “Goodbye Chit. I’ll see you after school.” Her voice a little shaky.

Chitter trots to the door stopping to straighten his mane fin. Putting on an exuberant smile he opens the door. “Hi Midnight.”

“Hey Chit, ready?” She pushes her long dark orchid mane back for what she feels like is the hundredth time already today. “Ugh, this stupid mane.”

He raises an eyebrow, questioning his friend. “If it’s so bad, why do you keep it long?”

“Cause long manes are in like the magazine says.” Rolling her eyes like it is completely obvious.

“Psshh,” He leaves the house and closes the door. “Well lets go before we’re late Miss Fancy.” They begin the trot to school, talking about their homework.


Willow stares blankly at the dark stained door after watching her baby colt leave. Her mind in utter turmoil as thoughts race through her mind like a Wonderbolts derby.
She is ecstatic, frightened, anxious, nervous, and several other emotions even she can’t separate out.

‘How am I going to tell Shield? How could he possibly understand? For that matter, how will Chitter react?’ She could lose everything if things go badly. Letting out a heavy sigh she looks away from the door.

Willow is nearly in tears from the sheer horror and utter joy. Unsure of what to do she stands and makes her way back into the kitchen. She needs something with pickle.


“Yo Slick, what’s up?” Chit asks as they approach their friend.

“Oh me, nothing.” Knowing he had been caught staring.

Chitter stares at him knowingly. Puppy love practically poured off of him every time Slick is near Midnight. Chitter thought it’s weird that someone can love someone not of their own family. ‘Girls are still gross.’

Slick Brush the grey earth pony has put on a little weight since kindergarten. The skinny colt now has a more balanced figure after four years of home cooking. His mane and tail were cut short, fur better groomed, and a much fuller smile adorned his face.


“Yeah Slick, tell us what’s the deal?”

He holds up his hooves defensively, “What? I’m just happy to see my friends.”

“Wait what’s that sound?” Chitter strains his neck and looks in the direction of the Castle of Friendship.

“What sound?” The other two ask following his gaze.

Turning to them with a cheese eating grin, “I thought I heard Aunt Twi's lie detector going off.”

“You should know you can’t beat the living lie detector Slick.” Midnight laughs out with her practiced dainty voice. “So what does have you so happy?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Slick says dodgily.

Midnight shakes her mane, turns her head, and huffs at him, “Fine be like that.” Chitter watches his male friend as Slick has a pulse of higher infatuation.


“Come on guys we don’t want to be late, it's Friday after all.”

“Hey Chit, what did your mom say?” Slick questions.

“She said I can as long as your moms are okay with it.”

“They actually like you.”

The group is stopped by a loud gravelly voice, “Well look who it is, the freak squad. The deva demon, the fraidy-cat, and the bug.”

“What do you want Beaker?” Chitter asks as their constant pain in flank and tormentor blocked their path. Beaker, a chestnut colored griffin has been after them since 2nd grade.

“Well I was thinking to myself this morning-"

“Wait, you can do that?” Midnight asks feigning bewilderment.

“RRRRR, you better watch yourself, bat. Or your precious mane might end up shorter.” He threatens flashing his talons as Midnight grabs her mane protectively. “Like I was saying, I haven’t had bugs in a long while. I used to like them, so how about I have some of you?”

“Hey y-you c-can’t do that!” Slick says trying to stand up for his friend.

“Or what, wimp? Going to tell on me?” He starts sucking his claw, “Ooo, I’m a little cry baby tattletale.”

Chitter speaks out. “Just leave us alone Beaker, we didn’t do anything to you.”

“Don’t have to, you are here.” The bell rang out again, “Lucky I gotta get to class or you’d be in for it. Later losers.” He takes wing and heads into the building.

“We gotta go too guys. Come on!” The group rushes inside.


Shield trots home with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. For him all is right with the world. He has a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, and a nice home. He’s on his way back from the market after retrieving his families favorites.

“Du du do, du dooo!”

“Look at you all happy and proud.”

“Indeed I am Mr. Breezy! Du dododododoooo!” He trots down the street humming that stupid song Chitter had got stuck in his head. Shield looks forward to tonight as it’s the day of the week all the family will be home.

Trotting up to the front door he prepares to open it; from the other side he hears crying. He does his best to open it quietly and sneak in. ‘What is going on in there?’ The carpeted hallway muffling his steps.

‘Well it’s not coming from the living room.’ He follows the sound to the dining room and finds Willow crying but with a pained smile. A tub of chocolate ice cream and a jar of pickles rest next to her.

Shield clears his throat causing Willow to jump. “What’s wrong hon, are you okay?”

“Shield! I thought you were out shopping?” She attempts to wipe the tears from her eyes but she’s pulled into his embrace.

“Hon, tell me what’s wrong.”

“Dear, I’m scared.” She visibly shutters.

Shield straightens upright, “Who or what is it? Is someone threatening us again?”

“I-it’s y-you.”

Visible confusion spreads across his face as he blinks a couple times. “Me? Did I do something?” His mind failing to recall any misdeeds.

Willow stares at a knot in the polished wooden floor, “It’s not you, it’s your reaction.”

“Hon, I don’t understand, what’s going on?”

Willow stares deeply into his eyes with a small smile, “Shield, stallion of my dreams, the one the only, I… I-I’m preg-gnant.”

Shield felt like his heart stopped and he turned cold. ‘That’s not possible.’ He just can't fathom how it could happen.

The seconds tick by as she sits in anticipation, “Dear, speak to me.”

Shield finds his tongue again and forces a string of words out, “That’s not possible.”

“I don’t know how, but it did. Shield we are going to have a foal!” She let a fragile smile show.

Knowing his own body he came to a near unavoidable conclusion. “And you think I’m going to believe that?” He pushes her away. “Do I look stupid to you?”

“Shield, it’s not like that!” Willow pleads.

He stands up with a huff, “Yeah right, we both know that it wasn’t me. Why? Why would you do this to our family?” The former guard couldn’t block his own tears and anger, still refusing to listen to excuses.

Will watches her world crumble, “Shield, I-I swear! There hasn’t ever been anybody else, you’re the only pony for me!” She tries to grab his hoof but he pulls it away. “Please listen to me!”

He rounds on her, “Clearly not! Was it because of me, or did you just find someone else?” He can’t stop himself at this point, “I’m sorry I’m not able to give you what you want. But it looks like someone else could and did.” Shield turns around and stomps aggressively towards the front door letting out a couple feral snorts.

“Shield, please!” She chases after him. “I need you to listen to me! You-"

“No, you- you- you lying whorse! I thought we were in this till the end, turns out I was just a fool.”

“No, please don’t go! I will do anything to prove it! I can’t lose you, I love you!” Tears rolled down her face matting her fur. “Dear please; You could even ask Chitter if I’m lying!”

“You leave him out of this! He’s going to have enough problems with this as it is AND; until we figure out where we go from here he and I are going to be staying somewhere else.”

“NO! I just need you to listen for a moment! Please don’t take our colt away!” Willow grabs onto him but he shakes her off.

Tears now coat his face too, “Yeah well you should have thought about the consequences to your family!”


Willow collapses to the floor sobbing. “Shi-eld…”


Shield stomps along the gray cobble path to their home, the gentle summer breeze stinging his watery eyes. Every part of him a raging inferno of anger and near hatred.
He could never hate her, he could never. He loves her more than he could ever express. He knew this day would come eventually; he knew she would find someone who could give her the family she always wanted. It didn’t hurt any less that he knew, in fact it hurt more. It feels like his heart turned to lead and is now poisoning the rest of his being.

He looked around as he just tried to get away from the home he wasn’t a part of anymore. A crushing thought added to his own misery, he had no where to go, no one to turn to. His parents died his second year of college from an avalanche on a skiing trip. He didn’t have any siblings, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. The only pony he could ever really turn to has been Willow.

He is unsure what to do but one thing was clear; he couldn’t go home anymore. He walks through the nearly empty town park just trying to sort out his life.


The class is quiet at the moment, nothing but scratching pencils to be heard.

“AAAAAAAAHH!” Chitter screams out in the middle of class, scaring everyone. His eyes roll back in pain and he falls out of his chair onto the cold tile floor. He feels like his entire body is on fire as he bites into his hoof screaming.

He can hear the entire class talking and the teacher yelling at everyone to get back. “Chitter can you hear me? Ruby, hurry and get the nurse.” She tells the pony closest to the door.

Chitter lay in agony when only a few moments ago he was just bored listening to the teacher drone on about math. His muscles now sore from the severity of the onset.

He can hear two sets of hooves rushing towards him. “Everyone back up!” He felt weightless for a bit as the nurse levitated him. She carried him down the hall to her office and let him down onto a paper covered bed. “Somebody contact his parents!”


Shield couldn’t sit still even to think, so he was on the move again. Deep in thought, he ran into another pony. “Excuse me.” He mutters flatly.

“Sir, your son needs help immediately! I’m on my way to the hospital for a doctor!”

Shield stiffens and jerks up straight. “Chitter?“

“Yes sir!” He doesn’t say another word before rushing off.

Shield takes off himself, making a beeline for the school. He dodges around and over the other citizens who don’t get out of his way. Thoughts of his fight with Willow are stripped away as his protective instincts kick into overdrive. He has to be there and there is no one to stop him. The new school comes into view at the top of a gentle hill. Once there he slams through the front door, scaring the bejesus out of the office clerk.

“Where’s Chitter?!” He demands from the office worker.

“Sir, calm down. He is being tended to Princess Twilight in the nurse’s office.” Shield took off for the indicated room. “Sir, you need to sign in!” She drops her hoof to her desk, “Why do I even bother sometimes?” She mumbles to herself.

Shield skids into the office and sees Twilight using magic around Chitter’s “collarbone”.
“Chit, are you ok buddy?”

“Shield, stay back for a bit. I’m still trying to figure out what happened. From what I was told, he just started screaming in the middle of class and collapsed on the floor twitching.”

“How long has he been like this?” Shield inquires worriedly.

“From what the teacher told me, about 30 minutes.”

A dozen questions orbited around Shield’s mind but only a single answer could be found. “He’s tied to our emotional state right? I mean as far as changelings go?”
Chitter lie on the bed sweat coming off his forehead. He looked a mess and still in pain but not in agony anymore.

Twilight looks over him as she sighs, “That’s not exactly correct; he would normally be sensitive to them but this isn’t normal. It seems there was a bit of an unintentional side effect from his mind protection gem…”

Unseen by any of the adults a burgundy filly watched through the door window.

“What do you mean by that? Is he going to be okay?!”

Twilight holds her hooves up, “Yes he will be fine but you need to calm way down. WAY down. The problem was a bit of misinterpretation with the spell we embedded into the sapphire.” She closes her eyes, “Princess Celestia and I had the spell link him to your minds as a base control for interference.”

Shield doesn’t follow but the look on his face tells Twilight to explain it simply.

Her ears splay back a tad as she dumbs it down a notch, “Er, You and Willow are templates for his mind. He can’t be controlled because the two of you aren’t. It seems the spell took interpretation a bit too far and applied that to his emotional state. It was weakly connected but something happened and strengthened that connection. Shield, did something happen between you and Willow?”

Not wanting the Princess of Friendship in their business he dumbed it down. “Willow and I had a Tartarus of a fight. We are on bad terms right now.”

“How long ago?”

“By now, 40 minutes.”

“OH GOSH, that means we need to fix that gem soon! It’s increased in sensitivity and is causing physical damage.” She lights her horn and scans the gems again. “Wait, what’s this?” Her magic roots around the bound spell.

“What’s what?”

Twilight blinks a couple times, “There’s five connections here! That’s both impossible and not a good thing.”

“Can you start explaining things…?” Shield is at a complete loss at whatever is happening. He is a simple stallion and this was way above him.

“Like I said before, we connected him to you as a template, right?”

“Uh huh.”

“Then there should only be two at most. There are five here, two large – you and Willow, one unknown medium, and two small somewhat close connections.”

“I don’t know what to say or do about that, bu-"


“Willow, shush! He is right here.”

Before anyone can say or do anything Willow is sponging Chitter with a cool wet rag. “It’s alright Chit, Mom’s here.” She coos.

“Why are you here? You don’t care about us.”

“How dare you?! I have never not cared about either of you.” Willow took genuine offense to his accusations.

Both parents had their mouths magically clamped shut, as Chitter writhed in added pain. “The both of you did this to him, now you’re adding to it. Stop, just stop. What is wrong between you two?”

Willow goes back to taking care of her baby. “I’m pregnant, and Shield is the father.”

“As much as I’d like to be, it’s not possible for me to be. I’m sterile, remember?”

Willow lays the cool cloth over his head, “Mom it hurts.”

“I know sweetie, I know. I’m going to fix it right now.” She looks at her husband, “As I told you earlier, I will take any test I need to prove it. It’s your foal and there is going to be no denying it.” She wipes some of the sweat off Chitter’s carapace. “You hear that Chit? You’re going to be a big brother!”

He let’s out a weak yay then closes his eyes and breathes out shakily.

Shield sits there in silence wondering how it could be possible. Sure the act had been done but he’s sterile.

Once again life doesn’t let him continue to think in peace as Dr. Quick Shot enters.
“Where is he?”

“He’s right here doc. Please help him.”

“I will do what I can for him Mrs. Breeze.” The doctor goes about usual routines for checking patients.

“Nurse, can we use your office for a moment?” Twilight asks.

“Of course Princess, help yourself.”

“Please, just Twilight.” She looks toward the feuding couple. “Follow me, now.” Twi moves toward the office with the parents following with their heads down like foals in trouble. They enter the small office and close the door. A desk, a chair, and a filing cabinet are the only objects of interest. Twilight lights her horn and sound proofs the room. “Tell me what happened you two. You better tell me the truth or I’m going to get Cadence in here.”

Willow spoke first, “Princess, like I said a minute ago, I found out I am pregnant. There is only one possibility of who the father is.”

“You know full well that I am incapable of being the father.”

“Shield, you will wait your turn.” Twilight states with finality.

“Yes Princess.” He mutters sheepishly, suddenly finding his own hooves more interesting.


“There is no doubt that he is the father. I know this because there hasn’t been another ever and I’m willing to prove it.”

“Shield? And keep it civil.”

He took a deep calming breath and tried to explain his side. “I am sterile; So there is no way I could be the father.”

Twilight pinches the bridge of her snout, “Ok, I see where you both are coming from. Let me offer this as a middle ground. First just know this test is only proven to be approximately sixty percent effective.” She motions for both to stop talking as they had attempted to bombard her with questions. “I’m going to perform an aural test. What it does is to check the magical aura of a pony which can then be compared with any number of other samples. Auras are unique to each magic capable individual but can be hard to discriminate between individuals who are similar. That’s what makes it a bit unreliable. It can get close but not exact.” She looks at the two with a flat stare. “I need the both of you to agree before I can start.”

“Will it hurt my baby?” Willow asks holding her belly.

“No. I’m checking magic and that’s all. It’s like looking at the preface of a book, a little info but not the entire story. Regardless, your baby and body will be unharmed.”

Shield steps up, “I agree, now let me go first.” He sits down in front of Twilight, ‘I want to make sure it doesn’t hurt them.’ Inside he is worried but willing to take the risk.

“Can do.” She sits down herself, closes her eyes, and lights her horn. A magenta glow snakes forward through the air between them, it mingles and sways in front of Shield. Like a cobra ready to strike it moved in small motions without touching him at first.

Shield watched the tendril of magic as it moved closer to him. Now it was just a centimeter from him and he felt a little weird, like when someone is about to touch you but doesn’t and just hovers there. Finally it made contact with his head and he felt an unusual tingle, then it was gone.

Twilight opens her eyes, “There, see that wasn’t so bad was it?”

He let’s out a breath he didn’t remember holding. “Not at all.”

“I got exactly what I was looking for, now for everypony else. Ready Willow?”

“Yes.” She also waits for the procedure to end.

Once more the magical snake was let out and it wound its way over to Willow. A brief contact was made before it disappeared into a wisp.

“Aaaand done! Next tester please!” Twilight said with a giggle. “Now are you sure about this Willow?”

“As long as it won’t hurt our baby I give you permission.”

“I promise,” The magic snake now slithers toward Willow’s belly.

Willow sits in anxiety like a pony with a fear of needles getting a shot. The tendril hits the surface off her tummy but like a ghost keeps going. A split second later and it’s gone again.

Twilight opens her eyes wide and blinks quite a few times. “Wow, just wow!”

“Well what’s the word, Princess?” Shield asks worriedly.

Twilight sluggishly turns toward him with an unreadable expression. Slowly her mouth curls into a smile, “Shield, congratulations. You’re a father once again.”

Having not moved since he sat down, he felt glad he was already down. His mouth opened and closed, looking like a fish out of water. “I you we, what?”

“She said what I’ve been saying all this time. We’re going to be parents again!”

His mind ground from second to first gear with a horrible noise. Try as he might he can’t wrap his mind around this new info. “We’re having another foal?”

“Well, biologically our first but yes.” Willow grins.

Twilight claps her hooves together in Shield’s face, “Look at me. I know it’s a lot to take in but I’m about eighty three percent certain that you are the biological father. Now I’m going to leave you two here to sort this out. I’ll check on Chitter then I have to get back to the castle. I need to sort out this gem problem before it gets becomes a major issue.”

“Before you go Twilight, I want to thank you for always being there for our family.” She looked the other mare in the eyes, “As you have been for us, we will be for you.”

“That's so kind of you, thank you. But remember I’m Aunt Twilight, so I need to be there.” She smiles humorously before leaving.

The door clicks shut behind her and the two parents just sit there unsure of what to say to the other.



“Sorry for earlier.” They blurt out at the same time. “No, I am.”

“Willow, no.” Shield speaks firmly and surely. “We wouldn’t be in this mess if I had just trusted you.” He suddenly finds the ceiling interesting to stare at blankly as he continues. “We’ve been through everything and I have trusted you with my life at any given moment.” He sighs, “You were right to fear my reaction. I was a monster. We have a wonderful family with another joining it and I almost threw it away because I didn’t even listen to you.” He looks to his beautiful, pregnant, wife, “Can you forgive me?”

She gazes into his eyes, “Dear, I can’t be mad at you. I’m a little upset that you didn’t trust me after all this time but not mad. The words were in frustration but the trust was hurtful.” Willow lets her eyes drift to the floor.

Shield moves in front of her and pulls her into a firm hug. “Hon, I was a fool after all. I love you and sometimes I don’t feel I tell you enough.”

“True, but I know you do.” She rubs her cheek against his. “I love you too, but we should check on Chitter soon.”

“Yeah, I caused it so I should help fix it.”

“No. We caused it. Now, we’ll fix this together like always.”

Shield smiles and gives a confirming nod. They leave the office and find the doctor and Princess waiting calmly for them.

Princess Twilight starts first, “Ok you two listen closely. Princess Celestia and I will be back as soon as her schedule allows it. We need to wipe the gem of enchantment and try again.” Twilight turns to Doctor Shot, “Anything you want to add?”

“Yes Princess.” He confirms nodding his head gently. “I would recommend taking Chitter here out for a few days to recover. He practically had a seizure and pulled a muscle or two amongst a few other minor injuries. All he needs is some rest and for him particularly; love.”

“Can d-”

“And no more fighting! I know things happen but until his problem is resolved, keep it together.”

“We understand.”

“That’s all I have and I have already informed the school via nurse of his absence.”

“Thank you Doctor for your help.” Willow added before he nodded and left.

“Alright, now you three get home safely. The Princess and I will meet you as soon as we can.” With that she also departed.
The nurse interrupt s them shortly after,
“Pardon me, but I need a moment of your time.” The parents look at her curiously, “I just need you to sign these sign out sheets for the days next week he’ll miss.” She points to a couple papers nearby.

“Oh, yes of course.” Willow nods and moves to fill them out. Shield on the other hoof, moves to their sons side.

“How are doing Chit?” He looks over the poor disheveled changeling.

“Dad, it hurts.” His breathing steady but heavy.

“I know, I know. Mom and I fixed it so it won’t get worse for now. We’re sorry for the pain you’re in.”

“Wh-what happened?”

Willow again moves to help her colt. “We had a bit of a misunderstanding.”

“What?” He replies weakly.

“Your father didn’t listen and so we both couldn’t agree.” She pauses to make sure he understands. He looks at her in pained understanding. “We’re here for you Sweetheart. It’s all better now and you will be too.”


Shield speaks up, “Of course buddy.”

“I’m going to be a big brother?”

“Yep in a while you’ll have a little brother or sister.”

“I hope it’s a filly like you Mom.”

Willow smiles proudly, “And why’s that Sweetie?”

He strains a smile, “Because Mom’s the best. Sorry Dad.”

Shield cracks a grin, “Well can’t argue when someone is right.” He winks at his wife who silently chuckles. “Well if your mother is done with the papers, how about we go home?”

“Yeah, I hope that Slick can get my homework to me.” He mutters.

“You’ll get it or Aunt Twilight will have a fit.”

“Yeah.” He sighs.

Dad moves to the side of the bed, “Come on buddy.” Mom helps him later along his father’s back. He groans. “Don’t worry Chit, we’ll be home shortly.”

Day at the Jewelers

View Online

A lavender pony works feverishly in a special room of their abode. It’s rare nowadays for them to receive time for themselves, and they’re spending it doing the most enjoyable activity they know: Research.

The crystal room was abuzz with motion and action. Everything from the books to the various purpose built machines moved in a nonstop flurry. Six books all with several bookmarks apiece orbited the occupant’s cranium all wrapped in a magenta aura. The same glow seemed to encompass half of the room keeping objects from moving while making sure others couldn’t stop.

To an outside observer, it was a complete madhouse. To the user it was all a gloriously harmonic dance. They swayed to an unknown beat as everything seemed to be part of some ridiculously complicated ballet.
This had been going on for hours, that was until a vial of purple solution missed the slot of its stand. It bounced to the crystalline surface of the floor where an impact trigger caused it to explode. A small explosion to be sure but nonetheless an explosion.

All activities ceased and everything that was not already down, dropped. The one responsible drooped their head and let out a disappointed sigh.

“I was so close making a breakthrough too…”
Twilight Sparkle, Princess, teacher, scientist, medic, and all around friendly pony, had blown up yet another experiment.

The door slams open as a pudgy little purple drake rushes in, “Twilight! Are you ok?”

The Princess just sighs exasperatedly, “I’m fine Spike. Just had a bit of an accident.” Quickly changing the subject she asks, “Well you certainly got here quick, what were you up to?”

“Who me? I was just coming to get you because Chitter is here like you wanted.”

“Hi Aunt Twilight! I came over as fast as I could.” Chitter greets as he walks into the now messy room. “What happened?”

“Oh, hi Chit. Wasn’t expecting you quite so quickly.” She faces him while beginning to tidy up, “So Princess Celestia won’t be here for another hour or so.” The books floated into an alphabetically sorted stack on her workstation. “Are your parents going to be here?” A rag moved to mop up the mess of the spilled vial of which itself was repaired and placed onto its holder.

“Yeeaah,” He answers while scuffing his hoof on the floor, “but Mom’s at work and Dad’s still a little weird after last week. He’s at home cleaning; Again.”

“They need to be here for this Chit.” His Aunt added seriously.

He sits as he raises his charcoal black, hole filled forelegs defensively, “They said they would.”

She takes a calming breath, “I know, I know. I didn’t mean to put it on you, a colt isn’t responsible for his parents.”


“Spike, can y- Where’d he go?”

“Spike left.”

Twilight just raises an eyebrow, “And?”

Chitter just hums “I dunno" as he shrugs his shoulders.

The Princess of Friendship just stared into his mismatched eyes. She just mumbles to herself as she looks away. “Little ponies…”

Chit smiles to himself exposing yet more of the fangs already hanging out of his mouth. ‘Aunt Twi can be weird.’ He had had that thought before whenever his cousin Spike would talk about her or their adventures. He grows bored of sitting and waiting and starts looking over the various bits and bobs of machinery. His limited sight leads him to a variety of vials that spanned the spectrum in color.

A vial filled with a thick, bubbling, lime green sludge caught his attention. To him, it looked like the solution the Maneiac used in The Power Ponies comics. He picks it up using a hoof-turned-claw and looks it over more thoroughly. He feels the bubbles gently nudge the bottle around as they pop at the surface.

A sharp and worried voice yells out, “Hey, you put that down!” He flinches harshly dropping the vial as his talon changed back to a hoof. The vial shatters on the floor releasing a forceful burst of purple vapor flipping Chitter onto his back.

Twilight gasps as she magically throws the windows open and ejecting the hazardous cloud. She rushes over to check on her nephew. “Chitter! Are you ok?!” She looks into his eyes, watching them roll around, dazed.

“Ugh, what was that?” He asks as he shuts his eyes tightly.

Twilight scrunched her snout in frustration, “Chit, I have told you a hundred times not to play with things in here. They can be very dangerous.”

“I'm sorry Aunt Twi.” He rolls over to get up. At first glance he sees his Aunt looking at him weird.

Twilight is trying her best to not burst out laughing. She can’t control herself and the shell of composure is not only cracking but is shattering. “BAHAHAHA!” She almost sounded uncannily like Rainbow Dash. “SPOTS, THE SPOTS!” She is stomping hard on the crystal floor, tears flowing from her eyes.

Chitter feels embarrassed but isn’t sure why she is laughing so hard. He looks over his hooves and sees a mess of purple over them. He needs to find a mirror! Rushing to a nearby reflector array he adjusts an unused mirror to view himself. The sight before him makes him want to hide forever.
In the mirror he looks like a cow like changeling with purple splotches covering his entire body. They wrap around his head, back, belly, rump, and hooves.

Spike rushes back in to see what the commotion is about and his eyes befall the cow-ling. He however has no qualms with immediately busting out laughing. “He looks like he’s going to give milk!”

Chitter starts getting upset from the embarrassment “Stop!” He waits but they are now in pain from how hard they are laughing. “STOOOOP IT!” He stamps his hoof.

Twilight is no longer laughing, but she is heaving silently as her eyes are clouded with tears. Spike is much quicker to recover and wipes his eyes clear as he stands up.

“It’s not funny!”

Twilight perks up while a notepad and quill appear next to her. The quill is furiously scrawling on the page the moment it come in contact with the paper. ‘Changelings can emit emotions of own volition without need for others to imitate.’ She already knows this but if she’s going to document him might as well include everything.

“I'm sorry Chit, but it’s not often I get to see something just so adorable.”

With a frustrated huff he mutters, “Not adorable.”

“Oh but you really are just like Spike and his pudgy belly!” She knew Spike had come back in and wanted to him share in the embarrassment.


“See Chit everyone gets embarrassed sometimes.” Twilight tries to smile disarmingly.

Spike has other ideas, “Like you’re one to talk! How about when you hypnotized the entire town because you were almost late for a report?” He leans back with his arms behind his head, using his tail for balance. ‘Check, Twilight.’ The Princess sits there sputtering and stammering nonsense, her face now visibly rosy.

Chitter feels better now but still is a tiny bit self conscious. “I’ll be back in a bit.” He heads out the door leaving the siblings to argue amongst themselves. His route includes a trip to the kitchen with a bit of a layover in the shower. That is, if Spike left any hot water in the town of course. As he trots along the many familiar hallways a random thought enters his mind and decides to linger.

‘How have I gotten bigger but Spike hasn’t really changed?’ It bothers him enough to take note to ask his Aunt later. He let’s the thought simmer for now while he enters the spacious bathroom. Looking around it occurs to him that spacious is a huge understatement.

Chitter doesn’t put much thought past that as his destination is a shower large enough to fit the environmental protest that would occur from using it. Like most things in the castle, this was also made of an eggplant colored crystal. He turns the hot faucet on with the hope there is hot water. Water dribbles out the spout before the pressure backs it up into a steady stream. He shoves a hoof into it hopefully. He scrunches his face into a scowl, the water is cold.
“Oh come on Spike!”


Willow Breeze moves from room to room collecting trays and requests from various patients.

“Mr. Shine, for the last time I cannot move you to another room because your roommate talks too much.” The light orange earth pony stallion raises his hoof with an open mouth, “Nor can I bind his mouth shut. If you have a problem with him you need to talk to him about it. We are simply too popular after the latest weekly city ending disaster.” The stallion looks away while huffing with forelegs crossed, never having said a word. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience but now is not the time.” She grabs his tray and returns it to the cart then does the same with the other pony's.

Grabbing the cart handle in her teeth she pushes it down to the kitchen’s. Once they were returned she makes her way to the time clock where Nurse Redheart is waiting.

“Hey Will!” The pink maned pony looks her over. She looks beat and a bit fat. She smiled internally at finally having the upper hoof but it immediately dies when she remembers that she’s just got a bun in the oven. ‘I can dream.’ Redheart doesn’t look at her friend the way she used too. Gone was the romantic interest since she herself had gotten married to a nice mare. Now she just admired her perhaps more than she should but wasn’t in love.

“Oh, hey Red.” Willow replies lethargically.

“Everything alright?”

“Yeah, just been worried about my colt, oh and watch out for that rude pony in 224. He’s going on again about his shared room.”

“Yeah, I’ll keep up with that. What’s eating you about Chit?”

“It’s that stupid gem-spell. I don’t understand why he would still need it.” Red just listens as she prepares to clock in. “Who exactly would or could do such a thing and why? Especially after all these years.”

“What has happened to you mare? Why would you even for a second endanger him?”

Willow was tearing up, “Stop yelling at me!”

“I’m not.”

“Not your volume, but your tone is yelling at me!”

Red looked at her for a few moments with an expectant expression, “Hormones huh?”

“I don’t understand what’s happening.” She utters in defeat.

“Pony feathers.” Red gestures over Willow,
“You’re a foalcare nurse with quite a few medical degrees. There is no conceivable way you wouldn’t know what to expect.”

“Stop yelling at me!”

Redheart grabs her friend by the shoulders, “Go home. Get some rest. Take care of your family.” Each task simply and firmly ordered.

Willow gasps as she recalls that her colt needs her. “Oh no! I’m late!” She gives Redheart a quick hug and rushes out of the building.

Redheart herself just watches, “Whew, is she a busy mare.”


Shield Polish trots back and forth through their home cleaning for the third time this week. Chitter doesn’t even make many messes anymore, but he can’t help himself. Ever since he became the house husband a sort of OCD set in about it being clean. He wasn’t neurotic about it, but a clean home was much better suited to a family.

He moves back and forth across the home with broom in hooves, cleaning the dirt dragged in by his family. Glancing at the large wall clock he sees that there is an hour left till he is supposed to meet up at castle. The dustpan glides over in a light blue aura coming to rest in front of the pile of dirt. Pushing all the detritus into the dustpan, he then empties it into the trashcan.

With the basic chores done Shield wanders upstairs to tidy up Chitter’s room. He climbs the stairs to the carpeted upper floor where a hanging photo caught his eye.

An 8x12 hung perfectly level and centered to be in sight of anyone who climbs the stairs. The framed picture shows Chitter in the center with wings widespread as his face is scrunched up in concentration. That was his first time playing a carnival game, in this case the ring toss. Behind him stood his parents, Mom was holding a purple balloon with her left wing while leaning against Dad with her head pressed into the nape of his neck. Dad was holding the tub of cotton candy with a hoof as he watched their son throwing the rings. The image was taken without their knowledge but it is one they’ll treasure as long as they live. He won the stuffed bird he still had to this day on that very throw.

The image next to it showed Willow pushing Chitter on the swing at the park. The beautiful burnt orange pegasus had the purest of gleeful smiles as she propelled the squealing changeling to heights he couldn’t get to himself. Chitter’s mouth was open showing off the fangs that had laid within at one point. His eyes were shut, not out of fear but out of thrill.

One by one he went down the photographs. Willow teaching him to glide, Shield teaching him basic levitation, their first beach trip, and his favorite; a hoof drawn picture of the family during Hearthswarming eve waiting for Santa.

Shield never even made it to Chitter’s bedroom before the sound of clock told him it was time to leave. “These were fun, we should definitely make more. Especially when our newest member gets here.” He smirks to himself.


Shield is about to wall down the path to the Castle of Friendship when a voice stops him.
“Fancy meeting you here.”

“Well hello to you too, sweet thing.”

Willow playfully bats her eyelashes at him, “Aren’t you just the sweet talker.” He just smirks at her remark. “So?”


“When do they want us?”

“I’d assume immediately. After all, why keep two Princesses waiting?”

A look of dread washes over Willow’s face. “What if the Princess deems we aren’t fit to be parents anymore?” She begins to hyperventilate, “What if she doesn’t think we can handle two foals?” Her eyes darted back and forth rapidly.

Shield was quite unprepared for this breakdown and was thoroughly caught off guard. “What? Why would they suddenly do that?”

“Shield what i-”

He covers her muzzle with his hoof, “Willow, stop. None of that is going to happen. There is no possibility for us to lose him. He is and forever will be our colt.” He tries his best to quell this outburst. “I will march straight into the depths of Tartarus to get him if I must. For now how about we go get that gem fixed?” He gently nudges his wife towards the crystal palace. The two trot to the entrance where they seek entry.

Spike rushes to the door knowing full well who is on the other side. Pulling the large doors open he greets them, “Hey guys!” He waves them inside, “Princess Celestia just arrived herself.” He leads them down a few corridors to their destination. Once they are standing in front of a nondescript door Spike knocks a claw against it.

“Mom? Dad?”

“Come in.” The door is surrounded in a golden glow. “It’s good to see both of you again.”

Both parents bow to the Princess with Willow not quite making the motion. “Good afternoon Princess.”

She waved them up, “Please don’t bow Willow. A pregnant mare has certain, exclusions, we'll call them.” Celestia grins knowingly.

“Thank you Princess.”
“You’re very welcome Willow Breeze. I have been around for a very long time and I have seen many a pregnant mare.”

Twilight interrupts their small conversation, “Can we take care of this first? I don’t mean to be rude but I would rather have him covered before something else can go wrong.”

Celestia nods her head, “That is understandable as you have a vested interest in him.”

“He is my nephew and I guess Spike’s cousin.”

Chitter finally breaks away from the Princesses and runs to his mother. “Missed you Mom!”

A tear trickles down her cheek, “I missed you too Sweetheart.” These emotional surges were slowly grinding her down.

“Hi dad!”

“Hey buddy. You have a good day at school?”

“Yeah, we had a spelling test and I think I did good.”

“Well. I did well.” Willow corrects.

Chitter rolls his eyes, “Got it mom.”

Princess Twilight interrupts them, “Can we get this done please?”

“Sure thing Twilight.” Will looks to her colt,
“Go on back over, we’ll help with what we can.” Chitter trots back to the Princesses quickly nuzzling his aunts side before he takes a seat in front of them.

“This time we aren’t taking chances so to implant the spells with little interpretation we will have to make bodily contact. Chit, we need you to stay as still as you can. It’s very important that you remain still so we don’t mess up.”

“Ok Aunt Twi.”

“First we need to remove the old malfunctioning enchantment to be able to implant the new one.” Twilight states as she charges her magic. “Here we go!” A ball of light is launched at Chitter’s neck, surprising him. The enchantment wipe takes all of two seconds and was over. “There all done.”

“Mom… Dad… I-I…” Chitter is frantically looking around at everypony in confusion. “Why is there no love?!” He looks as though he is about to cry.

The rest of the ponies in the room aren’t completely sure what’s going on. “Why do you mean Chit?”

He lies down curling into a ball, “Wh-hy don’t yo-ou love me any-more?”

“Chitter, Sweetie, what do you mean? We will always love you.” Willow moves to his side before picking him up the best she can. Just from contact alone she can fell something off about him. “What’s wrong Sweetie?” He doesn’t have the same rigidity one normally does. She feels like she’s lifting a lifeless ponyquin.

Celestia approaches and scans him over finding something peculiar. “Twilight, the emotional link of the enchantment didn’t unravel. It’s counteracting his emotional sensing ability rendering it null, we’ll need to look into why it didn’t later. For now lets get him fixed up, just give me a moment and I’ll dispel that.” She charges her horn and launches a much bigger charge at him. This actually does the trick and wipes the sapphire gem spotless.

Chitter is hit with a wall of emotion and most of it is concern. “Still love me momma?” He can feel things again but it’s a muddled and out of place. He sniffles and holds tightly to her.

“Of course we do Sweetie! It was just some magic, we never stopped loving you.” She pats his back in between his wings motherly, “Everything is going to be okay.”

Shield stays back while his wife consoled their son. He watches intently as the Princesses finish their discussion and wait for the little ‘ling to piece back together. “Princess, what happened?”

Celestia blocks Twilight from answering and instead answers herself, “The whole spell didn’t completely detach from the anchor. The was a piece that stayed which was a perfect fit for his own emotional sensing. The spell remnant and that ability canceled each other out leaving him without emotional response.”

“I think I understood most of that but what did the last part mean?”

Twilight jumps in, “In short he couldn’t feel others emotions. Since that has always been part of him it was like he went emotionally blind. He couldn’t feel your love for him at the time and he felt abandoned because of it.”

“Oh.” He muttered. “Will he be alright now?”
Princess Celestia raises a hoof and points with a smile, “Why don’t you see for yourself?”

Willow and Chitter were wrestling around as she tried to tickle his belly. He seemed to be recovered as he laughed and tried avoid the tickles.

Princess Celestia clears her throat loudly. “It’s great to see you all better.” Chitter leans forward and nods a bunch. “We still have to finish the implant however.”

“Well we should get that done shouldn’t we Chit?” Shield asks his son.

“I guess, dad.” He seemed put off, even as everypony moved to their designated locations for the final bit of magic.

“Everyone ready?” Celestia asks.

“Ready Princess.” The room echoes in return.

“Twilight, let’s begin.” She and Twilight lie in front of Chitter while he sat motionless. They touched their perfectly manicured horns to the diamond embedded in his chest. Sparks crossed between their horns as gold and violet auras swirled around each other without mixing together. Every few seconds one would race around his neck for a moment, which was then repeated by the other. The two Princesses were starting to sweat from the amount of concentration and timing that had to be performed precisely.

Chitter was immobilized by fear of failure should he move. As time advanced he could feel the gems growing warmer. Though he was fearful he couldn’t help but squirm a teeny bit as the diamond and sapphire became more and more uncomfortable. He tried to fight it but he’s just a young colt…

His parents watched with anxiety as their little one seemed to be wincing in pain. They remained exactly where they were instructed to as even a slight movement from them would also gum things up. It was made obvious why when a string of magic from the diamond fired like a cannon towards the parents in two separate pillars of light. As the light beams pulled backwards it took miniature ghostly versions of themselves with them. The projections retreated all the way back and sank into the diamond shifting half to a dirty orange. The other half was colored a stormy grey, when they twisted and swirled back to the default clear/white of a typical diamond. Once the color had dissipated a half gold/half lavender lock clicked shut over it causing all the magic in the room to halt.

Twilight Sparkle fell to her side, the only indication she was okay was the rising and falling of her breath while she slept.

Celestia herself stayed conscious but looked ragged and a tad winded.

Chitter was fanning his chest with a feathered wing to try and quell the heat in his chest.

Willow and Shield were stunned that it was as intense as it had been. Though Willow was overcome with the need to check her colt for injury, which she immediately moved to do.

Celestia was a bit weak at the knees but powered through it to check on her faithful student. “Twilight? Twilight are you alright?”
Twilight didn’t really respond but did snort/snore in her sleep.

“Is she alright Princess Celestia?” Shield asked worriedly.

“She appears to be fine but seems to have exhausted her magic and most of her energy.” She smiled warmly, “I knew I could count on you my faithful student.” Celestia gaze returns to the parents of the bug-foal. “You are free to leave whenever you’re ready.”

“Thank you soo much Princess! May I ask what changed?” Willows voice full of concern.

“Indeed you may. We took an imprint of your minds and embedded them into the diamond in his chest. The mental protection spell in the sapphire will refer to these as its template this time. This time it can’t transmit emotions and is highly more permanent.”

“Is everything all better now?”

Celestia smiles, “Indeed it is. There shouldn’t be anymore issues with that ever again.” She looks to Chitter, “How do you feel, little one?”

“It started to burn, Princess.”

“We did have to use a fair amount of power.” The smile never left her face as she has always enjoyed talking with young ones.

“Is it alright if we take our leave, Princess?”

“You may. It was good seeing the three of you again.”

“Bye Princess Celestia!” Chitter waves his goodbye.

“Take care Princess.” Shield finishes with a bow.

“Take care Princess Celestia and thank Princess Twilight when she wakes up.”

“I can and will.” She nods softly.
The family excuses themselves and travel through the castle. Not much is said on the trip home though Chitter does start singing to himself. “Winter wrap up, winter wrap up!”


They arrive home in a moderate amount of time. One breaks off at the mailbox while the other two move in without him. Shield hadn’t bothered to check the mail before he had left for their appointment. He pulls out a few letters and a small postcard, then heads inside to start preparing dinner.

Once inside he tosses the mail on the entryway side table. Just as he is about to leave it there a particular header catches his eye.

The envelope is a standard white with standard black scrawl. The giant red cross was a dead giveaway to anyone who saw it that it was some form of correspondence from the Ponyville Hospital. Normally these things would go directly to Willow but this one was addressed to him. He tilts his head in confusion, ‘I never get letters from them.’ Shield lights his horn and expertly splits the envelope open giving him access to the contained paper.

Mr. Polish,

The results of your test have come back. You are already aware of your condition but we have found the cause of your ailment. You have a condition similar to an allergy called Anti-sperm antibodies. The antibodies protecting your system attack the sperm keeping them from fertilizing the egg. As with most allergies, there is no sure fire cure yet developed.
As to the development of your wife becoming pregnant in spite of this infliction; all we can say for sure is that you got lucky. We cannot possibly determine the conditions at time of conception and as such cannot determine the factors that allowed your sperm to fertilize.

- Dr. Search.

Shield read the document over a couple times before simply shrugging and setting the result down on the table. He’s nonplussed by the reveal as he has known he’s infertile for most of his life. The cure? He’d have been cured if there was one. Wife being pregnant was lucky and he’ll take what he can get. Overall it didn’t really affect him and he just continues on to making dinner, “Winter wrap up, winter wrap up.”

We gain some, we lose some.

View Online

Okay everyone; got another out asap so it might be disappointing compared to previous chapters. Please do enjoy anyway

6 Months Later

Our favorite young changeling trots through Ponyville square, but does so cautiously. No he’s not worried about the ponies as they have grown used to him. Most even like him and greet him with friendly waves. Actually, this time around he is on lookout for his own father. He moves around with the bright, warm sunshine overhead.

His goal, seen ahead, is producing the fresh baked goods smell that fills half of the town. Anyone entering its reach had a sudden bliss filled expression as their muzzle was raised skyward. A few pegasi had their own wings guide them to the source. Sugarcube Corner was a prolific dealer of baked goods and home to one very pink, very energetic, party planner and Baker.

Chitter didn’t dislike the mare but he has had a bad dream of her at least twice he can remember. Something about grandma and a party? She was really nice and never once was afraid of him but something seemed off about her. But he was here to get her help, if she’s in that is.

Pushing open the front door a little golden bell chimes. Taking a few steps in he was greeted by one of the aging owners. “Well hello there little Chitter.” The blue and pink mare smiled. “You here for something for your friends?” Cup Cake had know this little chitinous foal since his mother brought him in for his first cupcake. ‘That was like eight years ago.’ “Maybe your just here to get…” She waves her hoof in a lazy circle a few times. “Midnight Moon! Yes! You’re here to get her something, Huh?” She had seen their little group quite a bit and she felt like there was something up between them.

“No Mrs. Cake. Is Pinkie Pie here?”

“She should be. Let me get her.” She turns around to see Pinkie standing there expectantly. “Oh, Pinkie! Didn’t hear you come up front.”

“Just bringing up the croissants.” She bucks her hips sending the rolls flying through the air. Each landing perfectly in the open display counter. “So what did you need Chitter?”

“Wait, where did the pan go? It was on your back.” Chitter questions.

“I put it away silly. I mean why would I just leave it sitting out?”

“But you’ve been standing there the whole time!”

“No, I put it away after putting the croissants down.”

“But, but, but…”

“So did you come to see Gummy? It is his birthday in a week.”

“Actually, my dads birthday is today and I wanted to get your help for a surprise party.”

“SHHHHHH! FOLLLOW ME.” She whisper screams, waving him behind the counter before disappearing through the dual swinging door.

Mrs. Cake just shakes her head lightly. “Go ahead back.”

“Thank you!” He runs around the counter to follow Pinkie. Chitter is thankful that he can change parts of him at will as he makes his hooves a little rubbery on the end. He takes the corner with a fair amount of speed that would normally make him slip with normal hooves. Pushing the door to the kitchen open he pokes his head in looking for the party pony. “Pinkie?”

“SHHH, OVER HERE!” She was just sitting in the corner with a broom leaning against the wall in front of her.

Chitter was starting to get worried, “Why do we have to be quiet? Is dad here?” He turns to check the front of the store to see if he had overlooked him when he came in.

“No, but we have to keep it a secret.”


“Because if others know about it, it’s not a surprise anymore!”

“But if dad doesn’t know, isn’t it fine anyone else knows?”

“No nonononono! The more ponies that know the more likely it gets revealed.”

“Oh, can you help me?” Chitter lifts his left cuticle wing and takes the bank head been carrying underneath. “I brought what I have.” He looks sadly at the orange ceramic piggy bank before offering it to Pinkie with a sad smile. “I hope it’s enough.”

She gazes sternly at the pig before picking it up. She rotates it slot down, “Let’s see. I have 30 seconds to get as much out as I can. That will be my fee, ok?”

Chitter is confused about why she doesn’t just remove the cork on the bottom. “If you want…” This is Pinkie Pie and he wouldn’t be surprised if she had the thing empty already.
“Readyyyyy…GO!” She starts shaking the bank furiously trying to get the coins out. “Ten, eleven, twelve…”

The changeling watches on in anxiety. The seconds tick by as she counts to thirty and his sight is glued to the bank.

“Twenty seven, twenty eight,” a last coin falls out as she counts. “Twenty nine, thirty! That’s it folks. It’s all over. Let us take a look at what the final results are.” Pinkie sets down the microphone she had acquired at some point. Instead she picked it right back up, “Ooooooh, tough luck contestant! Looks like you won a single bit!”

Chit has a questionable expression across his face. “A single bit? I’ve had a couple fall out by knocking it over.”

She shrugs, “Hey, sometimes things don’t go your way.” She scoops the bit off the counter and pushes the pig back to him. “Guess I better get to work on that once I’m done here.”

The emotion feeder tries to see what she is really feeling. What he can tell is… nothing. Her emotions are locked up tight from him, like she doesn’t have them. He knows she is random and unusual most of the time anyway but even the Princesses have readable emotions.

“Hello?” Pinkie asks him waving a hoof in his face.

“Huh? Oh. I can’t stop thinking when you’re near.”

Pinkie actually halts all movements for a few seconds. Slowly her head turns to him before a grin explodes on her face. “Sounds like this colt has a crush on me! Hehehehe.”

“What? What does being flat with you mean?”

“No, a crush is where you think you more than like someone who is not related to you.”

He tilts his head without a single bit of understanding, “But that’s not what crush means.” With his mouth feeling dry he wraps his tongue around a fang then switches to the other.

“Silly, it means two things.”

“Oh. Why do you not have feelings?”

The pink mare was getting a bit uncomfortable with the conversation. “Because I like you as a friend.”

“That doesn’t make any sense! My friends, my family, Mrs. Cake, the Princesses all have feelings. Everyone in town I passed has feelings, why don’t you? There is nothing here?!”

Pinkie's face lights up in realization, “OOOOHHHHHH! Right, changeling. I get it now. Sorry Chitter I forgot feelings mean something else to you. What did you mean by thinking?”

He glares at her in frustration, “Why are things around you so…so… so weird?!”

“Would I be as funny if they weren’t? Now when does your dad get out of work?” Pinkie asks while simultaneously changing the subject and grabbing a notepad from her mane.

“He uh you… 4?” Scattered thoughts and bits came together in random combinations. “Thanks, bye!” He had to get out of there before his head explodes. Making a dash for the front door he left his bank behind without a care honestly. Stopping once he reached Carousel Boutique, he let out a sigh of relief. “She is weird.”


Willow Breeze rests in the tub to soak her aching hooves. In her distended belly she feels a kick. “I know little one. You’ll be here any day and get to meet your family.” She runs a hoof over the taught surface reassuringly.

The last few weeks she’s been having “feelings”. It was something every mare who bears foals goes through. First it starts out with some fleeting day dreams and slowly develops into a recognizable phrase. That phrase gets broken down into a name the foal will carry with them for life.

Her own daydreams started about 3 weeks ago. She lay in the warmth of Celestia’s sun on top of a large hill overlooking rolling green fields. The breeze blowing through her mane carried the scent of the mid summer flowers found in the field. Willow watched a filly rolling playfully in the grass in front of her.

The phrase had come in loud and clear with that very first day dream. “In the heat of the summer sun, she plays.” Though it did take her a couple times to nail down the message the foal was giving her. After a few times of getting upset at herself for getting it wrong she had the eureka moment. “AHA!” She scared the living daylights out of Shield at the time as she and him read their various forms of literature in the living room. “Her name is Summer Sun!”

Willow was waiting for her husband to come home so the family could celebrate his birthday. Hearing the door slam downstairs she figured her little changeling was back from wherever he had gone earlier.

Parents in Ponyville never worry too much about foals old enough to walk to school on their own. The last form of mistreatment involving a foal was Chitter himself, and those two ponies are spending the rest of their lives in prison. The Princesses have always been overly aggressive when it comes to any form of abuse to a foal. The main reason nopony worried about foals is that they are under constant supervision by any and all adults around them.


“In the tub Sweetie.”


She hears nothing but the gentle sloshing of water after. Figuring now was a good time to get out she climbs the tub stairs that most mares use during pregnancy. She dries herself to the best of her ability before tracking down her son. She finds him shortly at the dining table with his book report. “Uh huh. What did you do?”

He sets the pencil down, “I wanted dad to have a party.”

“Why didn’t you ask me? We could do it.”

“But that is small, I want many ponies to come.” His gaze drops. “Dad is stressed.” He just learned to read that emotion. “Will fun help?”

“It might but this isn’t something really fixed by that Chit. But it’s sweet you want to help dad.”

“I went to Sugarcube Corner to ask for help from Pinkie and she said she would.”

Willow beamed, “Look at our little colt trying to do something special for his dad on his birthday! I’m so proud of you!”

Chitter basked in the glow of his mother’s admiration. There was a fast knocking on the door that interrupted the mother son bonding.

“That’s probably her huh?”


“Can you answer that for me Sweetie? Mom’s starting to have a hard time getting around lately.”

“Okay!” He runs off to answer the door. “Hello?”

“HI! Ready for the party?!”


The dark grey unicorn with light blue mane and tail wanders the dirt path of their road. He was a little wary of the fact that quite the number of denizens were missing from town. During prime shopping hours no less! He looked to the skies to see if he’d overlooked a monster or something: nothing.

Wanting to get to some semblance of safety, just in case, he gallops home. He pushes open the door failing to realize it’s near black in the house.

The lights flick on, “SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

Shield nearly wet himself as they scared him. It looked like most of the ponies of Ponyville were here to celebrate. “Oh sweet Celestia! That nearly scared my tail off!” A bunch of ponies in the crowd laughed at this.

“Welcome back dear.”

“Happy birthday dad!”

The look of joy that was on his muzzle was picked up by everyone in attendance. “So who set this up?”

“Pinkie Pie did, with recommendation.” Willow subtly nods to the colt to her left so he couldn’t see.

Shield looked around at various other ponies in mock search. “Hmmm, who would do such a horrid thing like setting up a party? Ah!” His face brightens, “So it was… YOU!” He jerks his head really quick towards Chitter to surprise him. “You set this up for me buddy?” He looks over the sparse decorations.

The room had a big yellow banner proclaiming “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Little streamers of various colors were draped over a few cabinets, on the banister, and over the chandelier. Enough treats and punch covered the table to block the confetti underneath.

“Uh huh! You need rest dad.”

“Yeah and how did you get her help?”

Willow leans over and whispers, “I kept her from overdoing it.”

“I gave her bits from my piggy bank. I wanted you to be happy again.” His look pleaded with his father.

“What do you mean Chitter, isn’t there happiness in my emotions?”

“Well it is, but it’s fading everyday. Mom’s is too.” His eyes roam between his parents, “Why aren’t you happy anymore? Did I do something bad?”

“Chitter, Sweetie. You want to know why we’re less happy? It’s because we’ve got a little filly on the way.” She pauses with a sigh, “We aren’t unhappy, just getting worried about her and you. You haven’t done anything wrong Sweetie.”

“Your mother is right. It’s just nerves and any day now it’ll all be over. Now how about the party? We wouldn’t want to waste the bits you saved.” Shield pulls his son to the center of the room. “Lets dance Chit!”

“Yeah!” He exclaimed almost instantly letting it go.

The two danced like a couple of fools for a while before Pinkie joined in which drew others to join in. Music bumping, ponies jumping (minus Willow), snacks munching, and punch, well… punching?

Willow grabs Pinkie's attention after some more time has passed with a wave. This causes her to front flip over the crowd and land like a stone in front of Willow. “Yeah?”

“You think I could get a slow song?”

Pinkie beams, “Of course!” She bounds to the record player as the song finishes. Lifting the record from the table she flips it over about a hundred times before replacing it. A familiar song fills the air catching Shield’s attention.

Willow walks up to her husband parting the crowd as she does. “Excuse me but can I have this dance?” She motions for Chitter to let them have a moment. “It would make this mare just so happy if she could.”

Shield bows his head, “If it would please the lady, I would be honored to.”

Unseen by either pony, Pinkie rushes around clearing a space for the couple. They take each other’s left hoof whilst pressing their foreheads together. “Forgive me if I’m a bit rusty.” They echoed causing both to smile.

Mirroring each other they took three steps back, turned a right angle before stomping their hooves twice. Pivoting right again though only about 80° where they each took seven steps backward bobbing to the beat. “HEY!” They were now slightly off center to the other. Facing again they grabbed right hooves to pull the other into a chest bump.

“You’ve still got it hon.” Shield whispers.

“So do you.” Letting go they face left and move to be even before prancing a tight circle.

Willow stops suddenly making Shield run into her. “ Did you forget how it goes?”

Willow’s eyes are wide and slightly frantic, “Shield we need to leave now!”

He is baffled till a warm wetness surrounds the tip of his left fore hoof. His eyes shoot open in realization, “Pinkie, stop the party!” The record scratches as the music stops. “Willow remember to breath, I’ll get the bag! Chit head to Slick's like we planned, ok?”

“Ok dad. Is it time?”

“It is, now get moving.”

“Right!” He turns tail and sprints out the door. Moving Willow and himself to the front door he grabs the prep bag from under the door side table. “Sorry everyone! We need to go now.” The couple move as fast as they can/dare to the closest hospital.


Willow now rests on the delivery table with the long awaited time now looming. “Come on hon. Just breath.” Shield stayed towards the head of the bed with her squeezing his hoof tightly.

“I remember Shield but she’s not going to be here for a while still. For now at least it’s just uncomfortable. Soon however; she’s gonna want out.” She lets out a muted chuckle. “Honestly I’m hoping sooner.” Just as she finished her sentence her face scrunched in pain as if a wish had been granted. “HHHNNNGG!”

“Well you got you wish dear.”

“Not the time Shield!” She roped in her voice but only just. “Get a nurse!” Shield rushes to a call button on the wall as told.

Within a minute Nurse Redheart calmly pushed open the door. “Is everything alright?”

“It’s started.” He points a hoof to his pained wife. At that moment he noticed that the sheets were red tinged. “She’s bleeding!”

“Shield, that happens during birth. It's completely natural but I will get a doc in here for verification.”

After some time and various checks a doctor finally comes in to complete the procedure.
“Alright Mrs. Breeze the rest of this is really on you and your filly. You seem to be bleeding a bit more than we expected but there’s not much we can do till she’s out I’m afraid.” Willow shutters and calls out. “They’re getting closer. Get ready for the foal, nurse. Anytime now she’ll be here.”

The rest happened fairly quickly as does most ponies. Their daughter was born, a beautiful little yellow unicorn with a faded blue mane like her fathers. But even with the hard part over there was still a lot of activity going on around Willows… lower half.

“Mrs. Breeze, I know you’re tired but I need you to hang on for me. Do you have anemia or been taking blood thinners?” She weakly shakes her head, fighting the urge to sleep. “We need you to stay awake Ma’am.”

The nurses took the filly away to be washed and cleaned. Shield nearly protested but held his tongue, ‘They’re professionals. They know what they’re doing.’

“Gauze and lots of it. We have to get this bleeding to stop.” The doctor was looking very serious while his words were firm and unforgiving. “Ma’am this is going to be intrusive. There are no two ways about it.”


Chitter waits in the waiting room like the plan that had been set up with Slick's family wanted. “What colors do you think she will be Mrs. Harvest?”

“Oh I don’t really have a guess but I do know your little sister will be pretty.”

A voice called out, “Chitter?”


“Please follow me.”

“Okay. Bye Mrs. Harvest!”

“Goodbye Chitter. Have fun with your new sister.”

The nurse leads him to a door like any other in the hallway. “Go on ahead in.” Her emotions were filled with sadness which confused the small changeling.

He enters the room and the feeling of sadness filled the air. There was happiness, anger, sorrow, excitement all floating around in the sea of sadness. “What’s wrong?”

“Hey buddy. Go talk with mom and meet your little sister.” His eyes never left his wife and daughter.


“Come on up Sweetie.” Her voice was strained while her feelings led to sadness. “Come meet you sister.”

She revealed the unicorn filly to him. “She’s so pretty! What’s her name?”

“She’s Summer Sun.”

“I like it!”

“Shhhh, let her sleep.” Everything turned weird when Mom lifted a gold chain with a plaque on it. “Chit, my little colt, I was going to give you this when you were older but it needs to be done. You already know you’re adopted so we don’t have to explain that. This was found with your biological father. The Princesses wanted you to have this.” She puts it into his hoof. “Shield can you take her now?” Mom sniffles. “Chitter, Sweetheart, Mom loves you soo much.” She hugs him with what little strength she can summon. “I need you to be strong Sweetie. Can you promise me that?” Tears of sorrow filled her eyes.

“What’s wrong mom?”

“Please promise me that you will be strong.”

“I promise. I love you Mom.”

“Thank you Sweetie. Momma loves you very much. I’m so proud of you and I always will be.” She lets him go, “Shield… please, like we talked about. I love you my little love bug.” She sniffs.

He nods quietly, “Buddy can you go get Red for us?”

“Um, ok? Love you mom! Love you dad!”

“Go ahead it’s important.” Shield shooed him out.

Chitter exits the room into the bland white hallway with its grey floor tiles and wooden railings. He looks for an information desk to ask for his moms friend. Instead he just went back the way he came in and found his target seemingly waiting for him.

First thing he noticed about her is that she wasn’t wearing the uniform. Second thing he noticed was that she was sad too. “Dad said it was important I get you.” He looked her up and down, “Why is everyone sad?!”

“I’m sad because I just finished a sad book.” She said trying to be convincing with the fake laugh. “We’re supposed to go get something for them for your sister. While we’re out do you wanna get some ice cream?” She prayed to Celestia she could distract him long enough for the inevitable to occur without him.

“But isn’t it important?”

“They already talked to me about it. It’s just small stuff they need just not immediately.” She lied to him knowing the truth behind it all. His parents were saying their last goodbyes and didn’t want him to be there for the final moment. Red was more than glad they asked her to take him away for a while. She herself wasn’t holding well and if she had stayed much longer wouldn’t have been able to control herself.

During the earliest stage of labor something happened with the filly resulting in a bad gash along the uterine wall. The doctors weren’t able to get at it till it was far to late, even with a blood transfusion. She had been severely bleeding since her water broke and the placenta had been holding back but just a trickle of blood which masked the problem.

She wanted to be there with her best friend but this was a time for what remaining family she had. They wanted Chitter to not know that was the last time he was going to see his mother and leave him with better memories. For now she would fill her promise and keep him away. “Lets go get some ice cream on this sunny day. Maybe we'll even go to the park.”

The Fight

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Chitter follows along in silence as he, his new sister, and their father walk home from the hospital. He was told that something had happened, but nopony would tell him what or why. So many questions fill his developing nine year old mind.

Shield walks along in a different silence. He had just received a devastating blow to his wonderful life when he was informed that his wife would not recover from her injury. He gained a daughter but lost his wife in the process and his heart aches. His faded blue mane seemed to lose more color since the news was delivered in the hospital. The sun on his face holds no warmth, the sky was grey even without a single cloud marring it. He carries their daughter with his son following closely as they head home down the dirt roads of Ponyville.

Many ponies came to make a quick visit as soon as they heard the unfortunate turn of events. Red had whisked Chitter away for a while to save him the heartache. Twilight nearly threatened the doctor if he couldn’t help her pseudo sister. Lightstruck and Mystery had rushed over to get in their final moments together with their friend. Her coworkers all had their visit, but in the middle of their goodbyes she slipped to silence, nevermore to be heard again.

Shield heard the monitor flat line and immediately broke down in tears. For an hour he cried even as the staff moved her body to the morgue. The world collapsed down around him as he lost the love of his life.

“Dad?” Chitter asks as they continue to walk.

“Yeah?” He answers gruffly.

“Why did we leave mom?”

“Chit, not now.” The emotions pouring from his father were enough to get him to drop it for now.

They had met in the lobby a few hours later with nothing that they had left to get. He found it weird that Aunt Twilight was sad now. She had hugged him before rushing away on her own. One pony even gives them their condolences but he didn’t know why they had. He stayed silent for the rest of the walk.

Word of whatever event happened must have spread through the small town as Chitter hears various whispers as they pass by. He watches as ponies stare with yet more sadness in the air. All the negativity was starting to cloud his mind and drain his reserves of happiness and love.

The little unicorn filly rests in the carrier with a snooze that Shield was thankful for. The metaphorical dense dark clouds hanging above him start producing freezing rain that freezes his insides. He is now a father of two and also a widower. Shield shutters as he fights the new depression setting in. ‘How can I provide for them with a foal and a colt in school?’ His breathing quickens as all the partial futures swarm his mind.

Since the re-implementation of the spells in his gems, Chitter’s emotions aren't those of his parents. He could still sense them and like the nature of young foals, this usually lead toward similar emotions anyway. So he knew something was wrong with his father and he wouldn’t talk about it. “Dad? Calm down?” He suggests timidly.

‘Right, just calm down. Worry later.’ They reach their home and step inside the lonely home. ‘It’s so empty…’ Shield’s head droops, ‘It’s gonna keep being empty from now on.’


“SSHHHH! Don’t wake your sister.”

Chitter has had enough, “NO! WHY IS EVERYONE SAD?!”

‘I… I… I can’t. I just can’t tell him yet. I’m not ready to accept it myself; how could he?’ He thinks as best as he can and only gets this out, “Buddy, not now. I will, but daddy needs some time cause it hurts.”

Chitter huffs furiously as he stomps away from his father. He slams his bedroom door angrily before systematically throwing various toys around for a while.

Shield felt for the poor little ‘ling but knew they were in the same boat. Honestly, he is the cruise captain of this sadness ship. He is never going to share anymore days with his soul mate. The last time they were going to see her was the final time anyone else would. Shield was as ready for the coming funeral as Chitter was to find out he was never going to see her again.

A small fuss, that Shield had not heard in years, filled his ears. A dad was needed, so the message had been both sent and delivered to the nearest father available.
“Hey little filly. What can I do for you?” He fought the urge blame this little filly for something she had no control over. He beat it down, but like most unhealthy thoughts it lingered in the background of his mind.


Dad opens up the door to the changeling’s room. His eyes widen at the damage strewn across the floor. He spots his sons saddlebags leaning upside down against the wall with various papers spilling out of it. Stripe stays safely hidden in his open cage only occasionally poking his snout out of his hammock bed. The mattress was 90° to the frame which was also not centered anymore. Books and toys litter the floor but there in the corner was a single large lump under a blanket.

“Chit? Buddy, are you ok?” The lump didn’t answer him as he weaves through the destruction. “Come on, it’s time to get up.”

Wiggling a bit, the growing changeling pulls the blanket off his head. He reads into his dads emotions immediately to see if things had changed. He finds sorrow hiding behind worry but in a much lower quantity. He levels a sleepy glare at his father. “Tell me.”
Shield lowers his head, “Fine. Let’s go to the living room so I can keep an eye on your sister.”

“Dad, why do you smell like rotten apples?”

A shaky, awkward smile is given in response. He lead them to the into living area where dad grabs little Summer Sun and deposits her calmly in the carrier. “Let’s go outside for a bit instead huh? Wanna play catch?”

“Yeah!” Dad shushed him for the time being. “Sorry.”

Dad nods to the door and the broken little family moves outside to the yard. He sets down the carrier as softly as he can as to not wake the newborn filly. He picks up a lime green ball the size of a frog with his magic. “Ready?”


With a measured throw he let the ball fly to his son. “Keep your eye on it Chit.” Chitter catches the ball with his own green magic as throws it back. It falls short, about halfway back to his father. “You’ll get the hang of it.” He and his -now past- wife had been trying to strengthen the changeling’s magical muscle. He can transform freely and levitate objects, but not for long. Shield sighs internally as he scoops up the ball from where he stands. “Here it comes!” He throws it back with a smidge more force this time. “So, there is something that happened at the hospital Chit. No no, harder! Let it go just a bit sooner.”

Chitter runs forward and grabs the ball in hoof then returns to his spot. He tosses it in the air where it is halted by his magic again. “Ok!”

“So at the hospital…” He hesitates he isn’t sure how to break it gently. The ball flies with a much better angle but still only makes it ¾ of the way. “Good throw!” He tosses it back. “Mom had an accident with Summer.” He can see Chitter is listening but still trying to focus on the ball’s flight distance. “The doctors tried to help her get better…” He trails off trying to get his words right but his mind was slightly fuzzy. He catches the ball and immediately returns it. “The doctors tried but she wouldn’t get better. Do you remember what she said at the hospital?”

Chitter launches the ball with his strengthening magic: two thirds of way. “Mom said she is proud of me! And she loves me!”

“And she always will Buddy. But, Mom's not going to come home anymore.” He curses himself as the words left his muzzle, ‘Such a stupid choice of words!’

Chitter doesn’t catch the ball and it bounces past him in the manicured grass of the yard.
“Why, is she sick?”

“No Chit.” The lead brick hits bottom in his chest, “Mom is with Grandma and Grandpa now.”

The air is abuzz with cheerful chirps and buzzing insects but the world has stopped. Chitter doesn’t understand how Mom is with his grandparents. ‘They got too old and went to sleep forever so they could rest. But Mom’s not old.’

“Chit, come here.” His dad commanded.
He is baffled and scared which show in his shaky steps. “How?”

He pulls his son into a tight hug, “Chitter, Buddy. Mom didn’t make it. Sh-She's gone now.” Shield can feel his own heartache resurfacing as he has to shatter this little colt’s world. A new knife digs straight back into that fresh wound they now share.

At first the little ‘ling didn’t feel much, but as the literal seconds went by his heart sank. It started at his hooves as they start to shake, traveling up his spine to his head where the tears began to leak. He grips his father with every ounce of strength his growing body can muster. He cries into the shoulder of his father which was completely mirrored by the older pony.

“Remember what she said Chit. We need to be strong, we both promised. She may be gone, but now she’s in the care of Faust.”
They held each other for long enough for Summer Sun to start to fuss. “Come on Chit, let’s go inside.”


2 Days Later

The hole hooved colt sits in class again for the first time in days. His father knew it wasn’t a great idea to send him but at least in school there are friends and counselors at the ready to help. Help itself was a bit hard to come by as the timing of these events lead Aunt Twilight to be called away to Fillydelphia for a friendship problem. Lightstruck was pulled back to the mines by a cave-in that needed attention for cleanup. Mystery was busy with their own foal and work. Dad’s friend had been in Manehattan for years now and Redheart was at the hospital or with their own family. Shield wasn’t happy to send him so early after the news but there wasn’t much he could do anymore.

The class was focused to varying degrees, with Chitter at the back end of the scale and Ruby Bliss being enveloped by the work. Midnight and Slick were working on a problem with each other and had more than once invited him to join. He just simply refuses and looks down at his still blank as his flank paper.

The charcoal ear fins lay back as the slightly luminous cerulean eyes stare downwards. They hold no visible emotion (not that one could tell usually anyway) and occasionally a tear falls on his paper. More than once Mrs. Straight Edge had asked him if he wanted to go see the counselor or maybe the nurse but each time he waves her off.

The bell rings, startling him with a jolt, “Huh?”

“Chitter? Are you going to be alright during lunch?” Mrs. Edge asks.


“Alright get in line with everyone else and let’s go get some food in your bellies.”


‘He’s not even the same pony anymore. It’ll get better in time but still it’s just wrong not to see him laughing with the others.’ Mrs. Edge thinks to herself as she watches him slide listlessly out of his seat. “Okay everypony let’s go.”


Once in the cafeteria they sit down at the tables or go up to the counters in the lunch line. Chitter takes a seat but doesn’t even move to open his bag.

“Come on Chit, you’ve at least got to eat a little.” Midnight pushes his lunch bag open and pulls the soda can sized garnet colored crystal out.

“Yeah, what’s wrong with your food?”

“Not hungry.” He mumbles.

“Why? What’s wrong?” Midnight is becoming suspicious of him. She tilts her head at the gem, now that she gets a good look at it. “Hey, it’s still dull. Isn’t it normally glowing Slick?”

“Yeah, usually. What’s with it?”

“Nothing.” He fails to meet their eyes and stares at the table instead.

Tired of not knowing what’s going on she grabs his shoulders pulls his face in front of hers, “What happened?”

Tears well up in his eyes as his lip starts to quiver, “M-my m-mom di-ied.” His dad had refused to say the D word since, but Chitter was no idiot and knew what death was mostly; Some kind of forever sleep?

“Oh no!”

Slick was speechless upon hearing that one of his best friend's parents had just passed away. Chit covers his face with his hooves, sobbing into the table.

“Hey, It’s gonna be ok.”

“Well look at the cry baby!”

Chitter doesn’t even look up or acknowledge Beaker's presence. Midnight speaks up for him though, “Not now Beaker, leave us alone or I’m gonna get the teacher.”

“I heard it all. His Mom died and he probably had something to do with it.” Chitter’s ears perk up immediately. “Or maybe she just didn’t want to be his Mom anymore.”

NO, this bully wasn’t going to make fun of this! “AAAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!” Chitter leaps from his seat tackling Beaker to the floor. “YOU TAKE THAT BACK!” His hooves striking repeatedly into the young gryffin's beak nearly ineffectually.

The two mostly wrestle with the occasional punch or swipe. But both sides had a few cheers from onlookers as the teachers try to force ponies out of the way.

Beaker wasn’t without his own shots but they were almost as useless as Chitter’s own. His talons just weren’t strong enough to cut through his chitinous exterior. He was ultimately taken down with his talons pinned under the changeling’s hooves.

Chitter bows his head closer, “HISSSSSS!” Every tooth and long fang on display. “MOM DID NOT WANT TO GET AWAY, STUPID!”

To his credit Beaker at least understood he had been taken down but before it could escalate, teachers pulled the two apart. “BOTH OF YOU BETTER STOP THIS INSTANT! BEAKER, MY OFFICE NOW!” The Principal shouted. The cerulean pegasus had pushed through the crowd with ease unlike the smaller teachers.

“He started it!”

“I said MOVE!” The gryffin bailed out straight toward the office. “Chitter, I know what you’re going through right now but that is no reason to start fighting the other students.”

“It wasn’t his fault!” Slick and Midnight cried out together.

“Then what happened you two?” His face was devoid of any readable emotion. Chitter didn’t sense much from him either, just something akin to boredom. “Scratch that. Chitter go wait outside my office. You four,” He gestures to Midnight, Slick, and the two ponies that had sat behind Chitter at another table. “Go with Mrs. Diagram and tell her what happened. Alright everyone, finish your lunches.”


“Now, until your parents get here you will not move even off of your seat. Pick up your pencils and write, ‘I will not fight in school.’” The two creatures wrote the line down on top of their papers. “Good only ninety-nine more to go. Your parents will be here soon so I suggest you get working.” The principal watched them for a minute before a knock echoed through the room. “Keep working.”

The two keep writing while the he steps out of the room. “This is your fault.”

“Shut up.” Chitter kept his good eye down as he wrote the lines. ‘This stupid gryffin. Why does he always make fun of me?’ Time ticked on as only the sound of scratching pencils and occasional sighs permeated the room.

With a heavy sigh Chitter sets down his pencil as he takes in his surroundings. The two were seated at either end of what looked like a stained mahogany desk. Placed with care in the center was a photo Chitter assumed was the principal’s family.

Two parents stood next to a dirt brown pegasus stallion in his early twenties. In front of them were identical twin earth ponies, one was clearly a mare and the other a stallion. Both were nearly lime green with faded yellow manes with a hoof around each others shoulder, they looked a couple years older than Chitter himself. The forest green earth pony that had to be his wife had her forehooves on each twins shoulder as if keeping them under control. Next to her sat the principal with a wide grin as even while sitting he was still the tallest in his family.

After what felt like hours the door opens back up and the aging pegasus strolls back in. “Chitter.”

“Yes Sir?”

“Please wait in the hall till I call you back in.”

“Ok.” Chitter mutters sadly as his shoulders slumped. He exits the room and closes the door behind him. He sits back along the wall only because at the moment he would love to lie down but with his fangs… well, yeah.

Chit just isn’t sure what’s happening anymore. He gets made fun of, his sister was born, his mother passed on, and Dad is growing more unusual by the day. Everything felt wrong with everything!

His stomach chose then to contribute its displeasure towards the current events. Chitter grimaced slightly as some small part of his mind warned about conservation of love reserves. He didn’t quite get it, but thought it meant he needed to eat more or he would run out and starve. Recently there has been a significant decline in the amount of available love and there has been no available positive emotions at home since Mom had passed.

Without the influence of familiar emotion input Chitter’s stores of usable emotions had dwindled to nothing. He didn’t recognize what was going on but he was truly running out of time himself if things didn’t change. His time in the cafeteria was enough to recover some emotion but it just wasn’t efficient enough to recover what was missing.

“Chitter, come in please.” He stood and moved into the office, passing by Beaker without seemingly noticing him. Before long he stood in front of the Principal’s desk. “Take a seat.” He did. “Chitter, I know things are tough right now. It’s never easy to lose somepony close but you cannot strike out like this.”

“But he’s always making fun of me and my friends, or saying he will cut Mini's mane, or eat me!” He shutters at the last one, “I don’t want to be eaten!”

The principal blinks a few times, “He said what?”

“He says he likes bug and should try some of me! Then he makes fun of us and now says Mom died because she didn’t want to be my mom anymore!” He’s now got tears streaming out, “Mom didn’t want to leave, I know she didn’t. She was my momma.” He finishes softly.

“Chitter, look at me.” He does so, “I know what it’s like, I have lost ponies myself.”


“Of course. I'm getting on in my years, there’s no two ways about it. I’ve had friends in accidents, family pass on from old age, seen bad things in other lands. Chitter I won’t lie to you for a second, things are going to be hard.”

“Why does it happen then?”

“I don’t have an answer to make it easy for you. All I can say about it is that we need to live for what we have now. Cherish the good times and keep your family close.”

Chit has his head down in thought. “Can I tell you something?”

“Of course, tell me what’s bothering you.”

“If my sister hadn’t been bor-"

“NO. Stop that thought right now. This is not her fault, she’s just a filly who can’t even walk yet. It was just a bad coincidence that it happened when she was born.”


“No. You need to be the changeling your mom wants you to be. Be a good big brother and help your little sister. She needs you, just like your father does. Do you understand?”

“It just… just feels like it’s because of her, Mom is gone.”

“What did your mother say to you last?”

“She told me to be strong and make sure Dad is too.”

“Did she blame your sister?”

“No, she just smiled and told me to be strong.”

The principal leans back a bit and smiles, “Then that’s what matters. See, you just need to be a good big brother. That’s all your mom wants from you, to be there cause she cannot. Now we have something to di-"


“Come in.”

“Good afternoon Sir. I’m here about Chitter?” Shield inquires. Chit sinks into his chair hoping to hide as his dad comes in the room. “What happened this time?” He spies a pair of hole filled hooves hanging off a chair.

“Sir I need you to take a seat as well. I make it a point usually to speak to the parents of a foal who just lost someone. Now, while I have both sides and some outside views, Chitter still was fighting with another student. As such he is to be suspended from school for at least two days. The other student will be receiving worse as I have been told that he’s quite the troublemaker.” The old pegasus takes off his glasses and rubs them with a cleaning cloth.

“So he’s in trouble for fighting? Did he start it?”

“All accounts say that he did throw the first punch. I’ll be honest and say it probably had a fair amount of egging on behind it.”

Shield looks at the foal carrier for a moment then back to Chitter. “Buddy, not even one day back at school and you’re starting fights?”

Chit remains slumped in his chair, “He deserved it.” The statement was barely muttered out loud.

“Even so, fighting is wrong and you tell someone when stuff is happening.”

“That’s what adults say and then you’re either a tattletale or nothing happens! Midnight said all this to the teachers before but nooo! They didn’t listen and now she’s called a tattletale too! Adults are stupid.”

“Chitter the changeling! You watch your mouth! There’s more to it than you think, right?” He motions for the principal to join in.

“A lot of times something is said to us but we have no proof of it. Without proof, there’s no response to have.”

Chitter crosses his forelegs and huffs while looking down, “Yeah and none is looked for.” After that he just refuses to answer anymore.


After nearly an hour of the adults talking they exit the school. Chitter, fed up with how today is going, flings his bags over his withers and stomps down the road.

“Chit, slow down.”

Something came over him around the time the low emotion voice pointed it out. He didn’t feel right anymore. In the last week he went from having a perfect life to whatever this mess is. It’s like he’s hungry all the time but he can’t bring himself to do anything about it. The only things he feels much of lately is the fear, the anger, and more blatantly the sorrow.

“Chit, please talk to me.”

“Why don’t you love me anymore?!”

Shield recoils, “What? Of course I love you, you’re my buddy.”

“Dad the only thing from you anymore is sad and mad.” He turns and without any further conversation sprints back home. It is his home but it doesn’t feel like it anymore.


Shield enters the house and figures Chit is in his room again. ‘He just needs some time… We both do.’ He takes care of little Summer Sun before putting her in her crib.

He meanders over to a cabinet well out of Chitter’s reach. A cabinet he has been into more in the past week than the rest of his life. He pulls out a slender bottle, “I just need a little break.”

A Sense-ful Impact

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The ceiling competes in a staring contest with the rooms only occupant. However, it grows bored of the forced competition.

Chitter sits up and blinks while rubbing his bad eye. “Stupid dust.” He grumbles a bit more as he lays back down to finish his impromptu contest. “Blind in that eye already and now dust in it too. Why do bad things keep happening to me?”

His ears perk up as the sound of crying fills the house. He doesn’t bother to move as his father takes care of that stuff. His thoughts drag him back to the previous stupor the dust had interrupted. Just as he’s about to lose himself again the crying becomes screaming. “UGH!”

Heaving himself to his hooves, he moves to see what the trouble was now. His door creaks open as those darn hinges need oiling. With no particular reason to rush, Chitter mopes down the hall. Reaching the living room he finds nopony present and continues to follow the sound. He halts in front of Mom and Dad’s room where Summer’s cries emanate from. He waits for a few moments before twisting the handle.

The door swings open and inside the normally well kept room was a disaster. The bed contains a disheveled, sleeping father. The covers were bunched up at the foot of the bed with an unmarked bottle sticking out of them. On the dresser, any of the pictures that display his mother had been turned around or laid flat. Next to the bed is the crib that holds his baby sister, with the filly now getting even louder.

“Dad?” He shakes his father who just snores on.


“I don’t know what to do for you.” He says to her. Looking around, he tries to find something that might help him get Dad up. Instead, he sees a book cover up, on the floor and it catches his attention. Till the First Steps: A New Parents Guide, He picks up the tome and rights it in his grasp. “Till the First Steps: A New Parents Guide! Maybe this can tell me what she wants.”

He flips open the book and skims it while searching for anything helpful. “No, no, no, ah- no… Okay here. Crying: Cause and response.” He reads the pages as best he can with the screaming filly in background. “First, check diaper to see if they need to be changed. If not or crying doesn’t slow: See page…” He moves over to her and doesn’t even have to look; The smell alone make him gag.

He reads over the procedure with disgust. “Ponies do this?!” He was absolutely appalled at the diagrams.


“Fine!” In a feat of brilliance, Chitter lets the green flames morph him again. In a really nasally voice me mutters, “At least I can’t smell anymore.”
After making his nostrils disappear he prepares himself for the repulsive mess to come. The book warned him, but he just didn’t know if he was ready for this. He takes a deep breath and with the book open next to him, he opens the diaper.

“EEEEWWWWW! Even without a nose this is bad!”
He rolls up the diaper and deposits it the trash bin. The rest he just does, trying his best to not remember a thing about it. Let’s just say it was bad…

“Cleaned, powdered,” brief muffled gagging, “new diaper. What else does it say?”

Afterwards it may be good practice to see if your foal may be hungry.

‘Right! I’ve seen dad do that. A scoop of formula and water.’ Chitter puts the filly back in her crib for a few minutes as he tries to sort out the bottle situation. He trots to the foal bag at the foot of his parents’ bed. “Formula, formula…” He finds and removes a metal cylinder with a plastic lid. Taking it and the bottle with him to the bathroom he starts to prep a bottle.

‘Clean it out, fill partly with warm water, put in scoop of powder, fill rest of bottle, shake, serve!’ He performs the action he’d learned from watching the few times Dad had done it. Shaking the bottle (without covering the nipple) he returns to Summer Sun. “Here you are little filly! One, fresh, gourmet, baby bottle. Enjoy.” He picks her up out of the crib and while cradling her, attempts to feed her.

While feeding her he looks back through the book.

Be sure to burp your foal after they eat.

Summer eats peacefully as her big bug brother rocks her with a great deal of cautious care. ‘Did Mom and Dad do this for me?’ He continues to watch her as she drinks her bottle.

‘She’s the reason you don’t have a mom anymore.’

‘Remember what the principal and Mom told you. She is your baby sister and needs you.’

Chitter tried his hardest to ignore both of the tiny changelings on his shoulders. ‘She’s my sister, but this is supposed to be Dad’s thing.’

‘I can live with that.’

‘Yep.’ Both of them dissipate into nothing.


“He still isn’t awake!” Chit pulls the bottle away from the filly then moves her over his shoulder as the book shows. He pats her back till he’s satisfied it worked before he attempts to return her to her crib. He holds her in front of him and gets a good look at her for the first time.

Summer Sun was just a tiny thing. She’s so small that if she stood on her hind legs, she might just get her fore hooves level with his back. Her mane is just the shade of faded yellow their mother’s was; the same could not be said about her coat. Her coat was the color of a summer's day sky. Those big amber eyes stare right back into his own cerulean eyes. She decided now was a fine time to just let out a random noise, “Rrrr…”

“Well, you don’t look evil…” He still held her in front of him. “In fact you look absolutely harmless. How could you have possibly taken mom away?”


“See! You can’t even do anything by yourself.” Chitter sets her gently back into her crib in a lying position and starts to leave. He looks back just before he closes the door, she isn’t asleep but she stays quiet while her big eyes watch him curiously. He smirks and she grins and looks away in that weird baby emotional overload. Chuckling, he closes the door to Dad’s room.


Day four after fight.

Chitter is scrounging for any scraps of love he can gleam off of any source. He spends time with his friends when he isn’t helping Dad out. That means he’s seen less of his friends now than when he was grounded. He attempts to get some off passerby as he goes to school, when he does go. His emotions are clouding and seem to be more and more aggressive as the days pass.

Day seven after fight.

Things have reached a point where all Tartarus is breaking loose. Shield struggles to raise two foals by himself while also dealing with the loss of his wife. While raising his foals is difficult, coping with the loss is driving the family down the wrong path. He has recently taken up drinking to the point of blackout most days and leaving the two siblings to fend for themselves.

Little Summer doesn’t know any better and is acting as a newborn should.

Chitter… well, he is almost having a worse time than his father. Starved of most emotions by this time, keeping his sister alive and well, helping Dad, grieving, and trying to keep up in school. It’s more than any nine year old should have to put up with.


Cries of a foal echo throughout the house for the umpteenth time as a drunken father lay passed out on couch yet again. “WAAAAAAHHHH”

A very grumpy, hungry, changeling marched into the room. “What do you want now?!” The filly stopped crying and watched him. “I’ve changed you, fed and burped you, and you should be happy! What do you want?!” Little Summer kept following him with teary eyes, upset about a lack of attention. “Dad is supposed to do this, n-not me! I can’t do it alone…” An idea hit him like a run away carriage, “but I know someone who can!” He moved to the baby prison called a crib and reached down for his sister. “Let’s go Summer.”
He placed her in the carrier and strapped it to his back, shifting his fragile wings out of existence with the last of his transformation energy so they don’t get damaged. Dad completely unaware of anything happening.

With the idea firmly jammed into his head he uses all available emotional energy to carry out the task. Leaving the house he made his way to the first close family he thinks of; The Light’s. The trip took him down the cobble walkway to the dirt roads of Ponyville. Without enough emotional energy, he cannot change to lessen the stares he received as he continued to move forward. Past Mrs. Bonbon’s candy store, Sweetie Drops, further still past the empty, Castle of Friendship, when he is stopped by a homeless mare.

That by itself was unusual as he didn’t know of any homeless ponies, especially here in Ponyville. The tan pegasus was in really bad shape, matted unkempt appearance, missing a front leg that had been replaced by a material he didn’t have words for, her wings were dirty and needed to be preened. She looked disturbing to the nine year old changeling. “Hello there little ones. Did you need help with something?”

Chitter backed away, “No, we’re okay, thank you.” That mare gave him the creeps.

“What’s the matter? You look tired and hungry.”

“No, we’re good Miss. We’ll just be going now.” He said trying to get the two of them away from the stranger. “We need to go.”

“Have I met you somewhere?”

“No, I’ve always lived here.”

“Huh, must be mistaken.” She looks at them in a way that confuses Chitter. The homeless mare smiles a seemingly genuine smile but hidden beneath is something he can’t place.

“Well, bye!” He turns and bails, sister strapped firmly in her seat if the sounds are anything to go by. He continues to navigate the town for a bit, occasionally looking to see if that weird mare is following them. Before long he spots it, “There it is!” They approach the brick two story home. It was so close to the path that it had virtually no front yard. Steps lead up to the front door similar to the Apple's farm. Chitter knocks loudly and impatiently for the occupants.


“I don’t know what you want Summer.”

The door finally opens revealing a magenta pegasus mare with a lavender bun. “Hel- Oh, hey there Chitter!”

“Mrs. Fix, can you help me please?” Chitter looks scared, “I tried to do like Mom told me, but I just can’t anymore! I-I-I don’t feel good anymore. Just mad all the time.”

Mrs. Fix moves aside, “Please, come inside! Of course I can help you.” She finally gets a full view of the object on his back. “Chitter, what’s in there?”


Her eyes nearly bug out, “You brought your sister?! Buh, but what about your dad?”

“Dad is asleep.”

“Did you leave a note at least?”


“I’m sorry Chitter, but you need to bring her home right now.”

“But I can’t care of her all by myself anymore! Please help!” He winces as his stomach rumbles angrily. “OOOWWWW!” His eyes water as it brings him to his knees. “BBAAAA!”

In an instant, Mystery unbuckles the carrier he’d strapped on. “What happened?!” She sets it down with care before checking on the now fallen changeling.

“My belly hurts! AAAHHHAHAH!” He lie clutching his abdomen, “Please!”

Mystery is nearly in a panic as she tries to recall if she knows anything about changelings. She couldn’t bring anything to mind that would be any help. “Are you sick?”

“Hungry!” He weeps out loud struggling to keep from screaming as his body prepares for further cannibalizing of his body. “P-lease love!”

She doesn’t know what to do and is stunned by the starving colt. “How?”


Mystery is grasping at straws now ‘How do you feed someone love?’ Summer Sun is getting upset now at all the noise and lets out her own opinion. ‘That’s it! Happy families exude love!’ “Bubble, sweetie come here please!”

Bubblegum runs in after hearing her name called in all the yelling, “What?”

“Come here sweetie. I really need your help, think you can help me?”

She nods eagerly, “Uh huh!”

“Can you give me a hug and tell me why you love me?”

Bubblegum smiles and hugs her mother’s side. “I love you Mom! You play with me, and help me with my homework, and give me ice cream, and we go to the park…” The list continues as she list thing from day to day activities to family events.
Chitter sobs loudly but a strong feeling of love starts filling the room with its unmistakable scent. In between sobs he tries to drink it in to fill the empty tanks.

The front door opens again, “Now, where are my mares?”

“Light, hurry in here! We need help!”

Hearing her family in distress, the earth brown unicorn drops her mining helmet, smashing the light on the floor. She doesn’t care even one iota as she sprints to help her family. She skids into the room hearing crying, screaming, a stream of babble. Her wife sits in the center of some kind of foal torture circle.

“Come here!”

“What’s going on here?”

“Light of my life, how much do you love us?”

“What’s going on?”

“Light, just answer the question, please!”

Being completely blindsided by this whole development she stutters and mumbles. With a few seconds of gathering , her thoughts are clear enough to at least spit out. “I love the both of you more than anything. I don’t think I could ever live without you both with me. You two mean more to me than the air I breath.” She pulls them both into her embrace and holds them tight.

Chitter catches a few glimpses of the heartfelt family moment. He feels happiness for the first time in nearly a month. He manages a weak smile as the feeling of death wanes. The love in the air is the best thing he’s eaten since before Mom and Dad found out Mom was pregnant. After a few minutes, Chitter feels a decent recharge of positive emotions and is able to compose himself.

Chitter trembles as he rises and resumes duties given by Mom. “Are you ok Summer?” He doesn’t expect an answer but pokes a hoof softly at her tummy. She eases crying now that she has attention and latches onto his hole filled hoof. “Easy, I still need that!”

“Chitter, would you mind explaining why you’re here?”

He didn’t catch who said it but looks at the forgotten family. The two mares watch him curiously while they await an answer. “Uh…”

“Not gonna fly there buggy. Why are you here alone with your sister?” Lightstruck questions.

He tries to get the best words he can about something he doesn’t know. “I was out of love and Dad has none no more. He just drinks the drinks we can’t and usually is sleeping.” Chitter shuffles his hooves some, “Mom told me to help Dad but I cant by myself no more! Summer is always crying, sometimes about nothing! I can’t do it!” Chit’s gaze falls to the floor, “Mom would be mad at me…”

Mystery and Lightstruck are stunned by this. Lightstruck gets visibly red and her expression becomes furious. “Myst, watch them. I’m going out.” Without another word to anyone in the room she storms towards the door.


“Oh no.” Mystery whispers to herself.


She just stares towards the door for a moment. “Your father is not gonna be happy in a few minutes…”


“I get home for the first time in weeks and I’m met not by my family, but by starving and mistreated foals!” Lightstruck snorts angrily and tosses her mane as she trots down the road.

Ponies stay a distance away from the enraged mare. Some give a halfhearted wave, others question who and why that mare is so grumpy.

“I swear to Celestia I will beat his face in if…” she trails off as she approaches the house rather quickly than even she had thought. She storms up the path to the door and throws it open with no regard to anyone who might be home. She sees no life in the house except a loose ferret that scampers around a corner when spotted. ‘Just Stripe.’ Light commences a methodical search of the house for the target of her rage. In the last room she checks is where the target lies. Forgetting she has magic she uses her hooves to flip the mattress and toss the occupant to the floor. “WAKE UP!”

“UUGH!” Shield lands hard on the carpeted floor and is in a stunned stupor.

“GET YOUR STUPID WORTHLESS FLANK UP THIS MOMENT!” She pulls the mattress back to the frame and stomps around the bed. “WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING ON THE FLOOR?”

Gradually things start to piece together and a name enters his cloudy mind. “Lightstruck? Wh-what's happening?” His brain is still trying to process the situation but most of the gears are rusted from their coating of hard alcoholic drinks.

“Stand up before I get really mad. I’m nowhere near afraid to start a fight, especially with a drunk.”

Shield wasn’t sure exactly what she said, “A fight? What? What are you talking about?” his mind cloudy and slow.

The earth colored unicorn grits her teeth and levitates one of the pillows off the floor. She swings it into his face with rage induced force knocking him over. “How dare you treat your children like this! How dare you treat your wife like this! What in the name of Celestia is wrong with you?!” She waits for a response.

Shield brings a hoof to his throbbing head, “What was that for, you crazy mare?”

“Crazy? Crazy?! Listen here alcoholic, this mare hasn’t even started crazy. But if you keep refusing to listen and reply she might just let it out. So I’ll ask; Why are you acting brain dead?”

“You come in my home, assault me, and now harass me?” His face is getting red as he stumbles onto his hooves, “What is wrong with you?”

Lightstruck jerks back in offense, “Me? You need to get your head out from under your tail and start being a father again. Your son looked like he was nearly dead!”

“He’s fine. He’s just upset that he’ll never see his mother again.” Shield sniffs a bit. “I know exactly how it feels too.”

“Shield you’re a fool.” she spat. “You know nothing about his feelings or needs right now do you? YOU NEARLY KILLED HIM WITH NEGLECT!”

“I’m not a violent pony, but you better get out of my face.”

“You’re not listening again!” she sneers, “You want me out of your face?! Bucking bring it then!” She instigates a fight but is more then ready and willing to participate. “When I kick your flank, you better straighten up.”

“Buck. Off.” With impaired judgment and falling health he takes a swing at the mare, catching her off guard as she expected him to back off.

Her head turns from the force and she slowly looks back at him with a smile, “Well well, you started it…” She dips her shoulder and juts forward slamming into Shield’s chest with enough force to put him up on his hind hooves. She ensures the drunkard goes all the way over by continuing the push with magic till he falls. When he lands on his back she puts both her fore hooves onto his chest with her weight pinning him down. “Now you listen!” She presses down slightly making it harder for him to breath. “Do you honestly believe after all that Chitter said he does for you, that he’s just acting out? While you lie passed out, apparently he has been the only one taking care of your daughter. Why do you treat them like this? What would your wife say?”

“It doesn’t matter cause she’s not here anymore! I’m doing what I can for them but I can’t do it by myself either! How am I supposed to take care of two foals, keep a job, and make sure I don’t keel over myself?”

“Shield. Shut your muzzle and get the things the three of you need for a couple days.”

“What ar-”

Light cuts him off, “No. Go. Get. Stuff. NOW!”

The dormant guard pony still inside snaps to attention and moves as ordered. He makes sure to grab Chitter’s gem, the diaper bag with all its accoutrements, and various toiletries. While he does, Lightstruck checks the windows, doors, and appliances for safety.

After a bit they meet up in the living area with Shield feeling much better mentally, but still mangled physically. He sits drinking another cup of water after being forced to. ‘At least she cares about them.’

“Let’s go already. You have a lot of both explaining and making up to do.” Light shakes her mane a bit to get it back in place, “I can’t believe you’d do that to your own foals. They deserve so much better than what they’ve been through.”

A little agitated from all the remarks he lashes out, “It’s been hard, ok?! Everything in life was absolutely beautiful and great, then death came and ruined everything! Willow was more to me than life itself and I would have traded places with her without hesitation.”

“Save it for later.” She grabs one of the bags he’d packed in her magic and slips it over her head. “We need you to be 100% sober before we start talking some more. Foals first, self later.”

With a sarcastic tone and dramatic nod towards the door Shield scoffs, “Lead the way, oh great and experienced one.”


“Are you feeling better now Chitter?”

“Much, Mrs. Fix.” Chitter jumps off the sofa and gets close to his sister, who is in Mystery’s hooves. “Was she better than me?”

Mystery cocks her head to the side , “What do you mean by that?”

“I was starving but she eats all the time.”

Not quite understanding what he was saying she takes a stab in the dark. “She is mostly healthy, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Chit turns his head to let his good eye get a fuller view of his sibling. To him she looks completely fine so he doesn’t understand mostly. “Mostly?”

“Well the little one is a bit chubby, probably not enough exercise between naps.”

The short changeling’s eyes widen and he begins to stammer, “B-but I did what the book said to!”

“Chitter, stop. This is in no way your fault. If anypony is to blame, it’s your dad who is to blame.”

“But I did it for him a lot.”

‘How long has this been happening?’ Mystery questions mentally. “You weren’t supposed to. Your dad is supposed to be the one doing this stuff. I understand times are hard for all of you after you lost your mom but this is really bad for him to do.”

“But Mom asked me to help Dad.”

Mystery shakes her head, “This is not the help she meant and she would be very mad at him for acting like this. She wants you to help them over time not raise her yourself.” Further conversation is halted as the front door opens and a proud Lightstruck with head held high trots in.

She looks around the hall with a big smile before calling out, “I'm back!”

A scrambling sound could be heard, then a bang, finally Bubblegum rushes around the corner with a huge smile, “Daddy!”

“Gummy!” She holds her hooves high in invitation. The lavender filly gasps slightly and sprints into her hooves knocking them both backwards. “I missed you!”

“Me too Dad!”

Light pauses for a moment, “Shield take a seat in the living room and get comfortable.” She refocuses on her filly, “I brought you something we found!”

“What is it, what is it?”

Shield steps by the floored unicorn and pegasus and proceeds to room the filly had just exited.

“Dad!” Chitter runs up to him and buries his face in his dad’s floof before looking up to him with sad eyes, “Am I in trouble now?”

Shield sits down and pulls him into a tight hug, “Oh my sweet colt, as much as I’d like to ground you forever for this, I should thank you.”

“Thank… me?”

“You bet buddy. I have been very bad lately and you and your sister have suffered from it.”

Chitter perks up suddenly, “Dad has love!”

Mystery takes this as the perfect time to inform Shield of just how bad things got. “Shield as much as I disagree with how Light went about things, she had a very good reason to.” She looks between Chitter and Lightstruck, “What happened before she went and got your dad Chit?”

“My stomach made me cry.”

“Why?” Mystery asks.

“No love.”

“Shield, you were starving him. I don’t mean he wasn’t getting enough or was hungry, he was literally dying! You can’t shut him out anymore or… or… Celestia forbid, but we may have to tell someone.”

Shield’s eyes widen, “You can’t take them away!”

“Then you better straighten out and stop acting like a little foal.” Light replies. “I know it’s hard, but you have two foals that need you more than anything else in the world.”

“You can’t ignore them. Not anymore.”

“Myst, hon. They’re going to be staying a while. Could you set up the guest rooms while I keep an eye on things?” Light leans in to whisper in her wife’s ear, “Please?”

“Oh fine. For you I guess I could manage something.” She smiles then trots off towards the stairs.

“Thank you!” She looks back to see both son and father no longer where they were. “Hey, wher-"

“There’s my little filly!”


“I know and Daddy’s sorry. It won’t happen again, I promise.”

Chitter leans against his dad while he handles the filly. “What did she say?”

“Nothing at all.”


“Buddy, I was making stuff up.”


Lightstruck watches from a distance when a force to her foreleg nearly takes her down. “Wha- oh, hey Gummy. Whatcha want?”

“What are they doing?”

“What’s it look like?” She answers playfully.

Bubblegum mocks anger briefly, “Not that, Dad. I mean staying over.”

“Gummy, they need a little help after Aunty Willow passed away. They’re here so they can get back up.”


“No Gum, they won’t share your room.” Light rolls her eyes.


“Be nice.”

“Ok, Dad.”

The two leave and the room goes silent as Chitter is reassured by his father. From the window a hidden pony watches the broken family. “Soon, little colt, soon.”

Who Can It Be Now?

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Things have rapidly started to improve after Shield’s hefty, hasty, reawakening. He is off the bottle (though he can’t say the same for his filly), his son is slowly recovering from starvation, and best of all, the family now has a better means of acceptance.

The poor family has one final hurdle to conquer before it is possible to start moving on, the funeral service. Though she was cremated not long after her passing they had yet to have a funeral for the departed. Although two of the remaining members had no idea of it or its significance, the one that did, dreads it.

Shield moves through the Light/Fix household trying to keep his mind occupied. He cleaned, straightened, and even fixed that squeaky door, all in an effort to not have be subjected to the thoughts of his deceased wife. ‘Strong, loving, and happy.’ Those were the words he was told just before her passing. After his forced perspective adjustment he vowed to follow her words if not for himself, than to the family he had neglected. ‘Never again.’ He mentally bludgeons himself for letting grief take over his life.


“I’m up here Chit.” The sentence was followed by buzzing that indicates the approach of a certain young changeling. “What can I do for you, buddy?”

“Can we go to the park?” He asks excitedly, membrane like tail wagging in response.

“Well… I guess we can for a bit.”


“Just let me get your sister ready first.” Shield turns around and bumps into a smaller pony, Mystery. “Oh, sorry about that.”

“It’s no biggie. But I did overhear you were going to take little Chitter to the park, correct?”

“Yep. Just going to go get Summer ready first.”

“Well why don’t you leave her with me for a bit? I don’t mind.” Mystery offers.

“I would be grateful but, I need to be a better father than I have been.”

“Nonsense. You’ve spent most of your time cleaning a house that is not your own and still taking care of your foals. Take Chitter out for some bonding, after all you owe him the most of all of us.”

Shield glances down at the excited changeling, who is seemingly studying Mystery, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. He did more than should ever be asked of someone his age.” He focuses back on the other adult, “If you don’t mind, I would love to spend some time with my son.”

“Go on ahead. Make sure you take your time too. Poor little guy has been through Tartarus.”
The unicorn father just smiles with a brief, singular nod. He motions Chitter to follow him, but before they leave, Shield grabs a small bag of bits.

‘No lunch for me at work for the week…’

“So buddy, what would you like to do first? We have all day to do almost anything you want.”

“Can we go swimming instead?!”

“If that’s what you want, sure.” Shield is unsure of how much water a changeling could handle. They had taught him to swim but were always careful as no pony had any info about swimming bug ponies.

Chit always loved the water even though they rarely went swimming. He can always feel worry when they do go. Whether it was worry for him or over the water was debatable. Dad was always the first in and Mom had usually stayed behind to read but would happily jump in after them if provoked.

The pair arrive at the house to get a few things like towels, sand toys, and Chitter’s goggles (mostly to protect his undamaged eye). Shield unlocks the door but immediately stops his little changeling from entering.

‘Something isn’t right here.’ He steps inside cautiously, his head on a swivel. Chitter can tell Dad is worried about something and keeps close on his father’s heels. Things in the house aren’t as Shield can barely remember from his drunken state. The whole house looks cleaner, like he’d hired a maid service to scrub the household. Weirdly even all the photos were back in their appropriate places. As much as everything was in place, it made everything feel out of place.

Someone had been here.

Shield racks his brain for any forgotten info that may clarify this but comes up empty.

Hoofsteps can be heard towards the rear of the abode. Shield leans down to whisper in his son’s ear, “Hide behind the couch and do not let anypony know you’re here. Do not speak till I, and only me, let you know it’s safe. Go but quietly.”
Chitter lets the green flames of transformation spread across his body as he becomes a much smaller creature; a very familiar ferret. He scurries behind the couch where not much can be seen.

With his son safe for now, he moves slowly towards the noises. Whoever is in his home is not welcome here and he is going to find out why they’re here.

As he approaches the back bedroom he hears a faint humming that confuses him to no end. His fur stands on end as a look of anger crosses his face, milliseconds after he rounds the corner to his son’s room, "WHO ARE YOU?!" he roars as he bursts in.

The mare that had been the source of all the family's pain recently, stands next to his bed. She is in the middle of making it as she had often done before. With surprise she grins at her husband, "You're back! I've been waiting to see my family!"

Shield feels the onset of a migraine the longer he looks at his wife. "WHO ARE YOU?!" The last thing he sees before turning his head to stop the agony is the orange pegasus stepping toward him slowly.

"Dear, it's me."

"You are not her and if you do not leave my home now, you will be a threat to my family." He can't even bring himself to fight the pain just to look at the imposter. "CHIT THE CRYSTAL!"

After a second or two came the response, "DADDY HELP! CAN'T MOVE!" Came the response of his son. Meanwhile in the living room: Chitter had tried to sneak closer when he was caught up in a spiderweb of green threads that hadn’t been there just moments ago.

"What did you do to him?!" He struggles to fight off the overwhelming clouds filling his mind.

"Why would I ever hurt our son?" He feels the soft touch of a hoof he never thought he'd feel again.
"Calm down Shield. Everything is okay. No one is here to hurt us."

Every word spoken sounded just as it should from his wife's mouth. But what was said just wasn't her. Shield just manages to clear the clouds from his mind and barely gathers enough strength to push her away. "You are not my wife! She is dead. I watched her die in front of me!"

"But I'm right here."

"Get away from me, fake. What do you want with us?!"

"I want our colt to grow up strong and happy. The same thing that led him to be with you."

Shield caught the slip up, "So you aren't my wife, just as I thought."

The faux pegasus grins with a light tilt of her head, "Alright, you got me."

"There was never a chance you'd get away with that. Who are you and what do you want, changeling?"

"I want my son."

The room falls deathly quiet for a few moments.
"Your son?" The unicorn is starting to shake. "Y-you're…"

At that moment Chitter flies in, slamming bodily into the other changeling. "You leave my dad alone!" The unexpected blow knocks the changeling over giving Shield the chance he needs to grab Chitter in his magical aura. He makes a mad dash for the front door.

“You can’t hide him from me! He’s my son!” The stranger’s voice follows them out of the house as they flee.

“Buddy, I need you to get to your sister. Just go and tell Mystery what happened. I love you.”

“But Dad-"

“GO!” Shield smiles gently to his colt, “Everything will be ok, I promise.” Using his magic he tosses Chitter high into the air. A flash of green and Midnight Moon glides off into the distance. Using some techniques taught to him by his own father, he makes a dummy from mud while on the move.

“There you are!”

Shield levitates the basic, changeling shaped, lump of mud in front of him as he gallops in the opposite direction of Chitter. “You stay away from my family you imposter!” A tiny smirk crosses his face for a fraction of a second as he hears the phony Willow in pursuit.

This confidence is short lived as the chasing changeling catches up much more rapidly than anticipated. Shield, in his 40's, after years of minor exercise, and a recent alcohol addiction had left him with a slowly growing gut. That is to say he’s getting old and fat.

The changeling that claims to be Chitter’s true mother doesn’t seem to have these problems however. She catches up in no time and tackles him to the ground. His horn scrapes the grassy field causing his magic to give out. The dummy falls to the ground with a wet, squishy, splat.
“I told you, you could not escape from me. Now- Wait, where is he?!”

The fallen unicorn chuckles, “Ah, the ol' switcheroo. Never a bad plan.” He lights his horn in a golden aura trapping both himself and the changeling in a magical cage. “My turn. Who are you?”

The cornered changeling drops the disguise in a flash of green, hoping to scare him away. “Boo!”

Unfazed and unamused, Shield yawns theatrically. “Wow, you’re actually a changeling… who could’ve guessed? Oh wait, aaah. So scary, a changeling.” The sarcasm in his voice as thick as peanut butter.

“But you ponies are afraid of us!”

“My son is a changeling, stupid.” Shield just raised an eyebrow, “Are you through with trying to scare me? I have many questions for you or you’ll never see him again.”

He takes a moment to look over this mimic insect since a few things caught his attention. First, since it claims to be Chitter’s true mother, so that means it must be female. Second was the missing right foreleg. From the shoulder joint down on that leg was completely missing, replaced with a material he couldn't identify.

“Are you done ogling me or do you want a twirl?” She asks with a wink.

“Oh shush. First question: Who are you?”

“My name, that you ponies would understand, is Carap. I am Chitter’s mother. I hatched him at the colony just before his father and I smuggled him out before any potential culling.”

“Culling? Mind explaining?”

“It’s a thing the changeling queen does to control population. If too many eggs are produced at any given time in the hive, she will clear them out, violently if she has to. We hid his egg and knew she would be after it or him. Once he hatched, we fled.”

“Ok, that explains a little, but how do I know you’re his mother and not just taking him back to the hive or something? He’s my son and he’s not leaving Ponyville anytime soon.” Shield puffs out his chest a little, making sure he stands straight, tall, and menacing to the much smaller creature.

Carap just watches him for a moment before responding, “Trying to show off much? If you are, it’s working, you handsome stallion.”

His face falls and he sighs, ‘What is wrong with this changeling? She keeps trying to flirt or something.’

“Aannd it’s gone. You had such a good thing going there for a moment. I know some don’t like a dad bod but I’m the exception.”

“Alright, enough. Prove to me that you’re his biological mother.”

The changeling turns serious, her only ear swivels toward him, showing her full attention. “That night was the worst day of my life. I had to give my pupa to some random ponies I’ve never even seen and hope they didn’t do anything to hurt him. My mate was torn to shreds by manticores in an effort to let us escape. That night, I lost a leg, an ear, my mate, and worst of all, my pupa. He was left on a random porch to keep him from the heavy rain. A note was left by the mailbox as it was the safest place to make sure it was seen.” Carap closes her solid color eyes and repeats the words found with poor Chitter, “Ponies, we beg you. A manticore has us on the run and wont give up chase. My mate is leading it away to give us time to hide. Another has started to give chase. We cant escape. I beg you! Please watch our son. we have abandoned our hive to live alone peacefully. Please, please. I can hear it coming!” She opens her eyes and stares Shield down as she adds the kicker, “P.S. his name is Chitter. In your tongue it means love bug. Mom and dad love you little Chitter! We're sorry.” Shield’s breath caught in his throat but she speaks again, “Now, does that tell you who I am?” She slinks up to him, “Granted, I can be who ever I, or even you, want me to be. He’s my son but I’m not going to steal him from you either. You’ve raised him into such a good little ‘ling from the little I’ve seen of him.”

The unicorn finally speaks, “You don’t have a choice anyway. He is my son and Princess Twilight Sparkle is his auntie. He has godparents, friends, and even a little sister. His life is here and I will not allow you to get in his way. I can accept that you hatched him, but he is not yours anymore.”

She’s taken back, “How dare you?! He is my son and he needs me.”

Feeling that he is back in control, he adds more, “No, he doesn’t. He hasn’t and won’t need you, ever again. His family is and will always be right by his side. He is the best son and big brother anypony could ask for. You haven’t seen him in years since that night, then march here expecting to waltz into his life. You won’t. You want time with him? Earn it.” He states with immense finality.

‘Who does this pony think he is? And why do I like it?’ She sits but is nearly falling backwards as Shield uses that old guard pony state of intimidation, also know as getting in their face. “But he’s my son! I can see him whenever I want to.”

‘This changeling just doesn’t get it does she?’ With a snort he pushes her all the way over and presses a forehoof to her chest, “Here’s the deal. You will earn your time with MY son, because if you don’t… Well, let’s just say that he doesn’t know his mother is alive. The thing is, that can become a reality in a heartbeat. Capece?”

Carap narrows her eyes, “You wouldn’t dare.”

Shield simply lifts his forehoof off the ground putting all his weight on her chest plates. In her neglected state one of the weaker plates cracks under the pressure.

Carap cries out, “OK, OK! I get it! You win, I’ll earn my time!”

Shield puts his hoof back down but keeps her pinned down. “You don’t buck with my family or you WILL regret it. Until I say you can, you will not tell him who you are.”

“What?! You can’t be serious!”

“You’re really asking for it aren’t you?” He starts to add the pressure back.

“Stop! Just stop! I won’t tell him anything!”

“You better be on your best behavior around my family. Too much has happened us for me to take any chances. If you, or anyone, become a threat to my foals, I will do anything I need to, to keep them safe. If that means putting his birth mother in the ground, then so be it. MY son deserves the best things that can be given to him. My daughter deserves no less either.”

“Stop talking and tell me what I can do to see my son.” She may be pinned down but she sure as Tartarus wasn’t going to give up.

“You want to be known as his mother, start acting like it. You’ve been gone for years and just now show back up. You’re not even against me on this too. Willow was and will always be, in his mind, his mom.”

“By the queen, shut up! What do you want from me?”

Shield is losing his temper with this stubborn bug. “Fine, be at my home tomorrow at 6 A.M. If you follow me to him before you see him tomorrow, he will never know who you are. Remember what I said earlier. That’s a threat and a promise.” He steps off of her and drops the cage spell. “By the way, I know you’ll be just fine. That crack wasn’t even as bad as Chitter has done to himself. You aren’t starving either, don’t think I didn’t notice while I talked.” He leaves her upside down in the field, praying that his bark and bite were enough to deter the changeling.

Carap rolls over and stands once Shield finally let her up. “Well, if that’s what it takes to get close to my son, then so be it.”

“I mean it, you follow or try to find him before your time earning…”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it. I won’t follow you, but can I at least watch you leave?”

“No you may bucking not. What did I just tell you?”

“Oh I know what you said, but who said it was about my son?”

The smoke grey unicorn is a bit disturbed by this changeling, “What in the name of Celestia is wrong with you?”

“Well, my mate has been dead for years, I’m missing a foreleg, an ear fin, and my son.”


“Mentally, nothing. But I do have a hot dad in front of me and I want to enjoy it.” Carap states casually like there’s nothing out of place with her statement.

Shield shivers, not in enjoyment but in slight disgust. “Go away.”

She watches him turn to leave, “See you tomorrow, handsome!”

After breaking eye contact with her, he kept his ears perked and listening for any form of approach from behind. Yet still he was caught off guard as the female changeling lets out a cat call whistle. “Stop that!”


He just trots off, ‘I can’t believe that changeling is my little colt’s mother. She’s a pig.’ After putting some more distance between them he looks over his shoulder. Carap is sitting in the same place watching him leave still and raises a hoof and waves. ‘Well at least she hasn’t moved.’


“One more night won’t hurt anything. Mom will be there soon little Chitter.” Carap turns and leaves, determined to follow the rules given. “I’d rather not end up fulfilling the wrong promise.”


The worried father travels a long and winding path with plenty of checks to see if he is being followed. Just before he arrives at the Light/Fix household, he does a triple check of the surrounding area; nothing. He slips in through the back door, checking the entire way inside.
Once inside he turns to find a pony blockade. “It’s alright now, fou-"

Of all ponies, Mystery was the one to speak first, “Shut it! Who are you?”

Shield stammers as the gears of his mind slip at the sudden questioning, “Uh, uuh, Shield! Shield Polish!”

“Who are your foals?”

“Chitter and Summer Sun.”

“That was an easy one,” Myst scowls, “What happened the day you came to our house?”

“Uh that’s a little hard to answer as I was drunk and hungover simultaneously.”

“Good start.” Lightstruck compliments as she stood guard.


“Too much drinking, not enough responsibility, nearly starved foal.” Short, a bit sour on details but, straight to the point.

As if barely satisfied with the answers Mystery huffs. “If I could think of more things to ask I’d interrogate you for an hour.”

Shield holds his hooves up defensively, “It’s me, I swear. I just wanted to make sure that changeling didn’t follow me. But there is something about them I do need to tell you.”


“So what should I do? I just think it’s far too early to pile more on his plate.”

Lightstruck nods in agreement but Mystery tilts her hoof the other way. “This is his true mom we’re talking about.”

Shield puffs up a bit angrily, “Don’t you ever say that again. She is not and never will be his mother. Willow was and is his mother. She always will be. This changeling is just a donor who hasn’t even bothered to look for him in nearly eight years.”

“She still… how does that work with them?”


Mystery shakes her head a bit, “Weird. Regardless, she is still his biological mother.”

“She hatched him sure, but she is not his mother.”

Mystery looks like she wants to argue the point when Light buts in, “Well, Will did do the raising and she wasn’t around. I’m with Shield on this.”

“Regardless, she wants to be in his life and is his biological mother at very least. I think he should be told. That’s just my opinion but ultimately it’s your choice.”

“That’s a bug no from me.” She chuckles at her terrible pun. “He’s been through a lot right now and the poor little guy is vulnerable. Protect him and worry about that later.”

“My thoughts exactly. For now I’m making her work for his attention. Tomorrow she is going to slowly work somewhat back into his life and if she tries something… he doesn’t ever have to know…”

Mystery’s eyes widen at the implication whole Light just nods, “So be it.”