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Changing Flask

Terrarian
Status
Open
Artist Request Conditions
Friends Only
Hello. I will drop all the fictions that I'm writing there - given that the wordcraft would work with me, I can give on some of the... more interesting titles for you to read.

Poems:

A soldier, who is he in current world?
Is he one who sacrifices themselves for country?
Or perhaps the country sacrifices them for needless cause?
Would he have better livelihood somewhere else?
Perhaps he would've wanted to live peacefully instead?
No one knows, as the roses are always thrown for the fallen.

A soldier, tool of the current, yet cruel age,
Marches everyday for the next mission,
Awaiting the fate that the people give him,
Just like an enslaved gladiator in the Rome,
Fighting for an Emperor that an Eagle had appointed,
Either he shall live and go on the next fight,
Or he shall stain the sands with his blood.

So who is he in current world,
Where no one cares about his destiny?
What cause he supports,
Where there's no truth to defend?
Which life will he save,
When he can't even save his own?

Alone in a cell,
Together in suffering.
Locked inside the room,
Jailers unseen, unheard.
A screen that keeps sanity,
A false hope in a bright future.
When it shatters, what will be left?
Nothing is the same any more...

Alone in a cell,
Together in suffering.
Harsh reality outside the window,
A comforting bubble we're living in.
The world is calling for help,
No one will reply to its call.
And yet we can't do anything to save it,
As we're locked alone in a room...

(Dedicated to Upper Karabakh civilians.)
The war's over, a vulture is approaching.
Dead for the wasted lands, for the homeland.
A sound of a widow crying goes from the window,
As the man collapsed to the wounds caused.

Vultures are flying over the man, as they hunger.
Soon they arrive, and begin tearing his dead body,
As the new order shouldn't have happened normally,
Now it has happened anyway from the hands of other man.

The mountains salute for the dead,
The forests mourn the lost caretakers.
The ruins frown upon their new fate,
Will they be saved, or will they be doomed?

Elsewhere a trumpet of victory deafens the tears of the widow,
A new occupant had entered the city the man fought for.
They forced the widow out, and planted their flag,
Over the pile of broken bricks that once was called "home"

So you too, mourn for the land that was lost,
For the widows left without any comfort,
For the country torn apart by vultures,
For the man that lost their own fight.

Two Words, One Destiny: [My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic crossed with In Real World]
Status: Abandoned.
Genre: Slice of Life / War-time

Premise: The world was relatively calm as it should've been, from the end of the Cold War, thirty years ago. However in summertime of 2020, a mysterious portal opened in Breton, France. The Princesses had decided to evacuate from the doomed homeworld of Equestria. But rather than being blatant enemies, Celestia wants to merely save her subjects from certain doom. Two extreme factions formed from the discontent and hopes that they want to make real. The pro-Pony faction liken themselves to be the true rebels against humanist supremacy, and accuse the Princess herself of collaborating with humans. The pro-human faction instead hate the ponies with all the hatred, and blame the French president of being too soft and ceding the land for the ponies.

Beldour Barcuda is just an average citizen of Paris, attending to a school and sharing responsibilities with his parents. One day he hears the news and the other day, he gets called to the military. How will the fate of France and Equestria mix together? And what will Beldour truly witness?

NOTE: While based on real world, there are some adaption changes in said Earth. Ponies are just as mortal as humans in this fan-fic (the exception being age-related mortality in case of Alicorns - those can't be outlived).

Changingverse: The Seven Species
Status: 2/7 ministories written so far. All went through quality control positively so far.
Premise: The seven friends are somehow tied in to each other by a net of friendship - Changing Flask, Firewing, Fallacy Logic, Vitrolic Medicine, Trachea, Fading Hourglass and Jasper. It's also a (hopefully) prequel to a main Changingverse fanfiction.
Main Cast (revealed so far):
Changing Flask
Fallacy Logic
Vitrolic Medicine
Necessary conventions:
Moons are interchange-able with years, but only used by batponies or on official dates. Years are for informal dates.
One year is divided into four seasons, each having two months, and two months having 20 days each, for total of 160 days each.
Equestrian ponies mature in 2720 days, about 3/2 the rate of normal horses (16 equine years), and have average lifespan of 60-100 equine years.
Alicorns, like their usual nature, are biologically immortal.
Writers:
@Firewing
Quality Control:
@Dragonwolf73

Content list:

Diaries:
I. Alchemist [Done]
II. Gambler [Done]
III. Art of Deceit [Done]
IV. No Longer My Queen [In progress]
V. The Cover and The Contents [TBD]

Storyline:
I. The One Long Night [TBD]
II. Theoretical Problems, Practical Problems [TBD]
 
Last edited:

Changing Flask

Terrarian
TWOD content:

- "Wake up Beldour, you shouldn't be lying on bed for such a long time, you lazy bum!"
Waking up wasn't exactly what I ever thought it to be. But it had to be done, so I woke up-
- "You're late for the school as usual. Well, one more infraction and you're going straight to military."
And this happens. Ugh, I hate my prospect being the military-man, it's not really necessary. So I tried to argue with my mother like that. - "But what would they do with me? Send me on some impossible mission for me to die?"
- "No! They'll make you a real man! Not the lazy bum. And no, they won't have you to die, forget it!"
Grudgingly, I accepted that I had no real say in my matters despite being an adult. Being twenty and still learning at school, basically this was my life. Ocassionally I could read my newspapers, do something on my laptop or watch the news channel, but well, let's say nothing interesting was there. Besides, this was first scolding in a year.
- "Fine, parents..." - Groaning in disappointment, I've said. I could put time in something more useful than disputing with parents over a want of nail. So I've started doing my chores. Washing dishes in hot water, cleaning my own bedroom, feeding a cat... it is called 'Delicia', because my little sister, Mea Barcuda, named it such, but never fed it. Yeah, guess she can be a bit annoying with her habits, but why would I feed her own cat is beyond my own understanding. Some time later, knowing my breaktime was there, I went towards the living room, where our modern, flat-screen, 48 cals TV was located. I grabbed a remote and pressed the power button, which flashed the screen. Yeah, always need to wait some moment before we can see anything. I've quickly switched channels until I saw a right one.
And then there's what I saw in channel 23, the news one.
- "According to negotiation tables, Princess Celestia and Emanuel Macron agreed upon non-violent way of solving the alien crisis. North-Western France, including Breton peninsula, will be ceded for Canterlot for the sake of peace. It also agreed upon that the aforementioned country will join NATO in 2022, two years after formalization, and EU in three years." - What was that country upon? I don't really understand the fact that my country could sacrifice the lands to maintain the peace, I am just worried that it was too generous of my country... I mean, this could quickly devolve into the war. And what about other citizens of that regions? Oh, this explains it.
- "Frenchmen that evacuate from North-Western France are guaranteed for financial aid for settling in different countries. Those who don't, have a guarantee of Celestia herself that as long as they do no harm, they are welcome to stay in Principal Republic of Canterlot." - Guess that these aliens really wanted a peaceful life and had the same intentions. I've then heard a few more news. Nothing interesting - Poland still having its troubles with law... tphe, boring. ISIL still having a last hold-out... yeah, nothing different. Then I shut the television off, and continued doing my chores. At least until I got really tired.
- "Well, I'm done for today." - I said to my parents cheerfully, but tired, really tired.
- "All right then, guess you can go outside and do the shopping."
- "Argh, fine..." - Like seriously, always after I'm done I must go shopping. At least I can't complain, since there's always a newspaper there in a list. Oh, and we're living in Paris, capital of France, known of its Eiffel Tower, Louvre and of course terrorist attacks. Ugh.
And so, I began walking towards the supermarket, to buy her groceries and a newspaper, cause' why not. It didn't usually take this long, but one conversation stopped me in tracks.
- "So, there are news that weak Macron did that again. First Kaczyński, then Trump, now Celestia out of nowhere. Give me a gun, and I'll overthrow Macron and reconquer that part of France, because France should be French, not shared between us and some saccharine-dosed horses!"
- "Then by your logic we would declare war to Switzerland, Italy and Belgium for exact same reason. It's illogical, even Equ-"
- "Equestria... pfft, who are you, brony? They do not prosper in society, they can't even create their society without being based on the show. Like seriously, Macron's weak, Celestia's invader there, I wish I was in society where there's no pony there! Oh, and no brony either!"
- "You sound like Nero before burning the Rome there with your speech. Not to say any about his modern counterpart, the racists never prosper."
- "Oh, you dare calling me racist? In future humanity will be PROUD of me and will call me a hero, simply because ponies aren't any more a race!"
I couldn't really treat this one seriously. Like who he was kidding? France was peaceful country, why would someone wish a war to be there? It'd just hurt both sides. But yeah, I did complete shopping at very least and started returning home. On an alleyway, I heard another conversation.
- "Equestria. Sounds like dear utopia. Well, we need to spread it to all the world, Earth should be all ponies no humans. Like... everyone is a stallion, mare... yeah, and pegasi and unicorns sound awesome. So are Earth Ponies."
- "Let me guess, you're a diehard brony, right? Y'know, there's no way you could take over the world like that, since NATO will strike back and your utopian dream will fall on your head."
- "It's not that. If we manage to fiddle with Celestia enough so she would actually support the ponyfication of Earth, maybe we could-"
- "No, it doesn't work like Hearts of Iron where you could just walk in with a brigade of soldiers and cause every country to surrender. Modern world isn't easy to conquer. Either that or you'd just get nuclear bombed and your name being written as the criminal against the humanity."
- "Oh what now? Do you really think that NATO is that clever? It's a failing alliance, it can't even graze anything in Syria, and most wars after 1950 were lost or ended in a draw, including the Korean War. So yeah, you'd get a point. And with Celestias support, we all would have awesome powers. Imagine. You soaring into sky, me using magic and stopping fourty the size of army..."
And what was that now that others wanted to make people the ponies? Are they really losing their minds there? I returned home, sat on my chair, and began reading the newspaper after I unpacked the groceries from the bag. Yep, there will be a meeting of Celesti- wait, this was in news already, and it was solved. But yeah, there's worries written in newspaper about duration of the solution. Since it may be not enough to quell the aspiration.
Finally, I've looked at internet, booting up my laptop, logging in and being greeted by the Yoda from Star Wars background. Yeah, I love Star Wars too, I guess. So I've opened the browser and typed in the adress of the same forums I used to be in, Spacebattles... and WHOA. What happened in there? It looked like a giant flame war was spewed already. I couldn't believe it, so I just shut it down and went to sleep. I just didn't care about it.

Next day I woke up, and the realization hit me. Perhaps the situation is way too surreal to happen. So I sneaked near my laptop, booted it up, and did the same routine... and holy hell, this flame war just became even more messed up than before.
Apparently the two parties were led by "ponies4earth" and "theHumanist" respectively. The former seemed to be pro-Equus, the latter pro-human. Their arguments... hold it for the moment, are they about similiar to that I heard while going in and out the supermarket and in alleyway? And... and I had seen some freshly-created profiles.... most likely consisting of one side or another. Thankfully it was my day off the school... or so I thought.
- "Apologies to you Beldour. You're going into army, six days from now. Despite us not finding any faults. It's just... we're worried of ponies, okay?"
I was thoroughly surprised. I thought that they would, if not postpone it as usual, at least punish me when I would slack in my chores or school. - "Wait, WHAT!?" - I yelled, maybe a bit angered, but mostly confused.
- "I know it's not easy to hear of this... but trust us on this one. Stay safe in case the war breaks out." - They kind of want me safe, but why in military? I responded with that:
- "And why would soldier me be safe in war? They'd just throw me in frontline."
- "Because anyone would be proud of the patriots." - Can't argue with them, after all French patriots are respected in our country. And then they left me to do their own business. Still, kind of interesting how that peace between our France and the strange pony-alien Equus worked like.
Except, it was only a day from the announcement. And maybe even less from first hearing these extremes. So I, having nothing to do for today, continued browsing the internet. Give or take, the luxury of having access to it will quickly end for me. So yeah, what's better than spending last six days of my normal life doing nothing productive. I continued looking at the flame war. From what I've detailedly seen, both sides started from simple trolling, and ended up threatening the sides that were hostile to them, either by death or by 'having you becoming a newly created pony foal'. Like seriously, the latter threat is not serious nor funny at all. Who would throw that dumb insult there? At least forums are quick to ban these flaming trolls of internet. Merde, if I was a moderator of the website, I would do the same, just quicker. Also, some people already were putting the posts, often called "friendly ponies." Most locked, and redirected into "friendly alien equines compilation", where people just seem to be doing the photo shots on them and the pony. And those look strange. I remembered equines quite differently, they weren't dyed or having different colours.
And here goes ring... I mean, I always answer those, maybe it's just my parents returning as usual- nope, it was that one strangely-looking equine being. I was just scratching my head, considering I've seen nothing like that.
- "Greetings, and excuse me, did I get to the right house? Paris, Saint-Alqoure Street 59." - It's somehow talking. Well, this would explain why would Macron talk with the white equine called Celestia. I've replied, but a bit... flabbergasted with the situation. It didn't happen before at all.
- "Apologies to you, but you're in wrong street, we're in Bonaparte Street." - At least we're not living in that street, so my excuse was valid after all. But then another dumb question, unless I'm missing something in history of their country.
- "My bad, I should read the town map more... why are those 'human' towns that big?"
- "Development and time. Now goodbye." - Frankly I would rather just enter inside and contemplate about my life as a soldier, and spend my time free.
- "Bye, thanks for reminding me anyway. At least you were one of the nicer ones, most people would just close the door in front of me." - Then he trotted away, I entered back inside house, and continued checking, until evening, when I got into my bed, under blanket and fell asleep again.

Another day, more chores, that's how I say. I didn't care much for the fact I have much of chores to do, at least they just kept me busy. Dish-washing, cleaning my own room, vacuuming the floor where my little sister didn't care about cleaning - her own room... I really wanted sometimes that my younger sister just helped me for once. When she got back... that little brat even dared cry because she liked that messy! I just bit my tongue before I could actually yell at my sister, since my parents almost always sided with that brat ever since she was born. And she had higher grades while doing nothing, while I had to work just to get miserable but passing grades. Then she yelled at me.
- "BELDOUR! Why... why you tidied my room? It was my mess, it was organized mess!"
- "Mess is mess, Mea, you should know that. Sometimes you're impossible, sister." - I wanted to go back to my chores, so I replied so she would just give me peace I wanted-
- "NO! You just don't know how to take others feelings!" - And she even dare cry in front of me. That's just asking to be called a bratty sister. I left her room, annoyed and angered. Another time she's being bratty like that and I'll personally teach her a lesson while parents aren't looking. The parents then came, and jinxed me to that.
- "Mea, you're acting unfair to your older brother, lazy daughter. Y'know, grades aren't going to excuse you, say sorry to Beldour..."
- "B-but it was an or- WAAAAAAH!" - Great, she's trying to be crybaby now. At least Arthur usually takes my side there and tells her not to cry.
- "Don't be such a crybaby, crying won't make it better for you. Admit it, you were slacking in your chores." - Phew, I was right there.
- "Agreed. Mea, I know the older brother has his mistakes, but at least he's working pretty hard. So apolo-"
- "No."
- "Why not?"
- "He ruined my me-"
- "He just cleaned your room, you should be cleaning it every week, or at least take some weight off Beldour! Also bad news, he's going to military."
- "Oh? Finally fourteen days without my older, annoying brother!"
- "Er, not that, you'll have to do his chores."
- "I HATE CHORES!" - By this yell, I was already back to work... but there wasn't any, so I was watching TV. Boring, uninteresting, already watched... wait, what was that? God no it's cringe for my eyesAAAAAAAAAAAA! I changed the channel as fast as possible. Why would they air that show... on pretty normal channel!? Anyway, I re-checked news channel...
- "Marie Le Pen had scolded Emanuel Macron for being too soft for the ponies, saying that Frenchmen are embrassed of his weakness, making the popularity of current president down six points from yesterday. First clashes between humans and winged equines and horses over jobs. At one side, winged ponies would 'steal their maintenance and building jobs'. At other side, normal ponies report that human surplus and superior farming techniques will lead to equine farmers losing their jobs. The orange pony reports: 'We have a big o' orchard near Ponyville, wherah we buck the 'pples off the trees. With so said 'Polish Apples'... shoot, we miht(might) losh(lose) the jobs in no time, forced to sell th' orchard. As Flim Flam broth'rs wheran't enouff.' From Apple Family Orchard, Nathanel de Miragious."
Then father decided to visit me. - "I see you know the truth now... I'm just scared that we won't be able to pay our rents. And the fact you being a soldier would help you. Miniscule is that help, but better for one to be a recruit than family to starve to death. I fear... the winged sentient horses will take away my job. Without job, no money." - Huh, why he wasn't yelling at me right now?
- "Tell me, Arthur, why aren't you yelling at me?"
- "Son, I would, but at least you used the free time on checking the important news. And the fact you're going to have some work in case I lose it." - He then left before I could try asking why was I excused all of sudden? This wasn't right. My parent fearing they'll lose their job... I sighed, before hearing more of news. But seems like France and Canterlot were the main focus for now. Not blaming anything, but... they're hogging the world news spot for themselves. Oh right, barring another Trump being idiot moment. Seriously, why is this president still leading United States, one of our allies? But after that I was mood in no more and began reading a book to spend rest of time. Then I fell asleep per usual.

Then I woke up again, a bit nervous about being the militaryman. It was two days already, et all. Still, I wanted to be as productive as possible. Doing chores like I did, watching internet forums and news channel, shopping for groceries, I just had that routine in my head. Except for the fact I also had to cook the soup for us. I didn't mind cooking, at least I could make an edible soup after all. And so I did, per tradition.
- "Well, Beldour, I hope those chores you do make you the good soldier." - Huh, my mother spoke that.
- "Tristina... I know this... I know why I have to... I... I just will try to be such." - I spoke with heavy heart. The separation will hurt us all badly, I just hoped no one will get doomed, me or others. Which... I just didn't know, maybe being in army wasn't that bad.
While at lunch, we had the postman come to us, again. So I was the one to go outside and get the letter. Maybe two. I looked at them. "Barcudas, Napoleon Street, 21a" I opened them as fast- I just couldn't believe that there were two invitations. One to apparently 'saviours of humanity against ponies and vigilantes of Earth', another to 'the sure-fire new ponyfication front of Earth.' I just sighed, and decided not to get in contact with any. Spam, that's how I treat these messages. I decided to trash them, remove them from the e-mail.
- "No important letters there." - I've not lied - they weren't important to me at all. Besides, I already am busy with me becoming one of those soldiers, but that would wait.
Then after we finished eating soup, I continued looking for postmen for a while, before deeming it useless, and decided to surf in internet again, booting up the computer prior. There were no words to how surprised I was. Basically some people were showing the same letters, but blurred names, some topics called "bug in mail-giving or feature?" Those got swarmed and flame-warred upon. Geez, how much people would need to be there to be jerks to each other? Out of anyone who could at least show some sympathy, there were 15-25 trolls or one-siders who... someone more savvy in forums would get the point.
After all that internet surfing, I decided for going asleep again, early now. Not even night. I just wanted to be well-rested for what tomorrow would give. So I got into pyjamas and whispered 'good night'.

The hell was that noise again? I thought as I just woke up, just changing my clothes as quickly as possible. I should check that, maybe that's just parents going home and I'm simply late to wake up! I can't imagine what will happen if that happened! So, after I was up and in new clothes, I went to corridor, where the entrance was, and opened the door... and promptly got said corridor stormed by ponies and... a hatchling of a drake? I quickly closed the door, but they were already inside.
- "Okay, so what is going on there? You three scared me into thinking that the parents were coming home and that I'm late!"
- "Sorry mr... human? Ack, h-h-humans!" - I sighed, I wasn't evil, and yet he was trying to scurry.
- "Apologies if I may sound a bit menacing to you... what had happened to you there?"
- "T-t-they... they chased us! And that dragon and the little pegasus!" - I heard an adult... stallion?
- "Y-yeah, y'know... totally not cool. All I was doing was to check on Twili, but then the humans stepped in front of me! Then they were talking something to each other in alien language, before chasing us! Then I saw Scootaloo being chased by same humans..."
- "Scootaloo? Who is that?" - Not to mind dragon suspiciously able to speak French, but whatever, maybe it's their official language after all. Unless I did a critical research failure there.
- "I! I am!" - I looked at the small pegasus foal, cute as nothing I've seen before. And I thought cats and dogs were cuter.
- "Okay, before you overload me with glucose, mind you ex-"
- "I was with Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, before they began chasing me... and them... they disappeared... but..." - Oui, she appeared to cry there.
- "Well, great. Who are you then?" - I talked to stallion. I swear I shouldn't be able to hear them, yet I can hear them.
- "I'm called Changing Flask. Not without a reason in a cutie mark, anyway."
- "And what happened?"
- "The chase... one could say 'get that alchemist, we need ponification serum!' And the other yelled 'death to ponies!' So I ran, and ran, not paying attention that the two others were following me, until you opened, out of all the humans, the door."
- "Yeah, yeah, Changing... who's that dragon anyway?"
- "Mind you introducing yourself first?" - Maybe getting all the names without introducing myself was a bit selfish of me... I looked heavily at the drake hatchling before replying.
- "Names Beldour Barcuda. Be my guests as far as anyone's concerned. Let me show my room for now." - I let them into my semi-tidied room, with still signs of hurry here and there.
- "Whoa, it looks like Twilight library after she is done with studying and forgot to clean up. Still better than once where her friends made such a mess. I had to help cleaning her library again. Oh, my name? Spike, totally awesome dragon." - I could barely hold a chuckle. Would a newt be awesome? More of cute.
- "Yeah, can see it from you." - I had my snarky humour activate instead. - "Give or take, without any ceremony, make yourselves at home." - But this part I spoke without any bite.
- "Whoa... so elegant... like Diamond Tiaras house... and it isn't owned by that bully." - That foal was quick to praise it... well, I don't think I deserve that though, I simply keep it in good state.
- "Uh... I didn't know your emotions are carousel - you cry one time, and yet you smile next time. Also thanks, but... I don't know who Diamond Tiara is, barring a word 'bully'..."
- "She's uh... gray Earth Pony. She has her friend, and they two are laughing because we're blank marks."
- "What blank marks?" I didn't understand. After all, only four days passed from the announcement. - "I mean - you look pretty much normal for a foal."
- "Filly..." Spike was quick to correct me. - "She's a filly, don'tcha think? She's adventurous and can be mistaken as one, so remember - short snout is filly at youth, mare in age of Twi."
I sighed to the dragons explanation, then sat on my bed. - "Anyway-" - I got interrupted by Scootaloo being a bit too curious about my room. Or so I assumed, as she had just hijacked my office chair.
- "Whee! That's even better than a-"
- "Peace, Scootaloo. I really don't want to excuse myself being in contact with horses and seem stupid due to that. Besides-" - The parents interrupted me in middle, as they entered the room.
- "What's going on there? What did you-" - I sighed as my parents were asking and stopped dumb-folded.
- "They came in because some people chased them in." - I replied, but I had seen the uncertainty my parents were having. After some time everyone looked at everyone oddly, including myself, my parents finally replied.
- "Guess we have... strange guests. I don't know what are they, or why did they captivate us easily. Maybe since two of them looked like sweethearts, but fine. They can stay for lunch. We're not intolerant." - The mother finally stated. - "But you clean up their mess, Beldour." - Towards me too. I just accepted that silently, given that I let them in. She then left.
- "So, this wasn't as bad as I expected... I expected being yelled at, but then again, my family has a tradition of letting the guests in." - I spoke, with everyone listening.
- "You at least aren't alone, on your own, I'll say it better." - The stallion remarked. - "For since two years ago I parted ways with Zecora to start my own business making remedies and potions. My parents thrown me out after a misadventure one time, the friends never come. The customers may be a break from loneliness, but not big either, they're not like a close friend." - He told me that. I guessed that he must've had a miserable life, but...
There was one but. The stallion continued talking, and I listened to him. Each moment that passed I thought less and less that he was having a bad time. Rather opposite - he was free as a bird. And me - three-four days and I'm going to serve in military, want it or not.
- "I see. Despite it all, you could shape yourself. And me, despite learning well enough, pursuing education for career... yeah." - I sighed.
- "Whoa... so, you didn't even taste a proper life full of adventures?" - The little pony asked. - "Not even you know... thinking of ways how to gain a cutie mark?" - I... er, had an objection to Scootaloo.
- "Hold on a second... I don't really know what it is." - I replied to the filly, given it still was sitting on the chair. I then opened a browser, decided to check a wiki aaand...
Yeah, the site has been taken down by hackers. - "Some... uh... one wants to explain me what it is?"
- "A cutie mark is like a certification - that you're both happy with the job, that you're good at doing. Apparently she has none." - I heard the words of Changing Flask. - "She's pursuing that, naturally."

After three hours spent on talking casually, the dinner was ready. We all ate it, except for sister, who fussily decided to feed the filly a bit more. Sure, the parents glared at her not to throw her food away. And I guess all the ponies had left the chicken fillets for the drake, as they... didn't really eat meat. After all that, the stallion got up, and looked at us. I looked back.
- "So, we're all departing. While it was a good talk, we still have jobs to do." - He spoke, with a dragon adding this: - "Oh, and I think Twi's worrying about me. Goodbye!"
I checked the time on the clock. It was afternoon. - "See you again, then." - They were leaving, and I had to clean the ruckus mainly Scootaloo had done. Two hours passed, and such, after I finally did my chore for today, I sat on the chair... and noticed one orange feather. Huh... did it fall? I asked myself. I inspected it, but finding nothing, I just decided to put it on the table. And so I checked the mail again. Spam, spam, more spam. I just wondered when this will end.
I checked the forums. Apparently, the written response options were blocked due to massive flame war it had spawned. Great, I thought. As if people could be more clever than that... I sighed, before checking the news. And yeah, not much interesting. A peace ongoing, and- hold on a second.
Emanuel Macron does a suspicious U-turn on NATO spending.
That headline seemed odd, and so were the news, as they apparently cut the funding by 25%. No, not something like 2-3%. A 25%! I just looked at the news in the disbelief, blinking occasionally.
Please tell me we had elected a right president. I muttered to myself, as I closed the laptop, sat down and started reading a book, before falling asleep at night.

Fortunately, two next days did not give any adventures like the one where two horses and a hatchling visited us. Neither the headlines gave the more suspicious headlines, other than possibly Trump getting angry at France. Ha, stick it to yourself, Trump. I thought to myself. I took a walk later on afternoon of the latter day.
That's when someone attempted to knock me out. I leaned in bit too much in a walk, noticing a mug. "Merde! What's going on?" Three people were rushing towards me aggresively. And so I had to run. And run.
And that's where police stopped the three. Sometimes cops are good, I admit. I panted heavily from the exhaustion and stress.
- "You're safe now. We can't summon you to court as a victim, since you have no wounds or anything. Be safe in the future though, okay?"
- "A...all right." I shakily replied and moved on, back to the home. Stressed, I decided just to take a nap.

It all went downhill the moment I woke up again, a day later.

- "Beldour, we need you to see the news." My father called me, so I came. The headline? Mysterious kidnapping in the church. Thirteen people missing, offender not found. As if there's nothing worse. The news expanded upon, and I felt gut-punched. My cousin had been kidnapped in the wedding. Maybe I wasn't there, but still, something like that wasn't common.
- "Oh... crap. So, what are the other news?"
- "You'll see."
Another bad news headline.
Germany, Equestria and Spain worried about recent behaviour of the president of France.
Again, it expanded upon, with one of ponies being interviewed. An unicorn, but I don't recognize it. The armour is definitely shiny, but Europe didn't use it for five-six centuries already. Then a Prime Minister got interviewed. - 'I don't know why he verbally insulted us. I thought he was a good kind of president. Hopefully that's just a temporary mood caused by the kidnapping.' Then another.
- "We... we're sorry, Beldour. We can't cancel your enrolment, but the situation is not good either way." - My mother seemed a bit guilty. I looked at my mother.
- "Don't worry, let's just hope it's just... a temporary hiccup." - I tried to comfort my mother with words, but she didn't seem to calm down. The rest of my day was spent on comforting her in a chair, and doing more chores instead. A clock is ticking, and my enrolment day is coming at next morning.

Hopefully the headlines were all, but a bad dream.

I woke up again, numb from the stress. Today was the day of the parting. A day when I am supposed to become a soldier. I weakly got up, and changed clothes to not look like a lunatic who walks at night and hadn't shaken himself off the sleep.
After ten long minutes, I was ready to exit. Two soldiers promptly came. - "Beldour, I suppose, as I see from the card. You've been drafted into army. Follow us." - I followed them slowly, but surely. I then sat where they had shown. The bench, not comfortable. Three people were sitting when I came in. Then more came. There was a narrow light that oxygenated the air thankfully.

After a hour of driving, I felt like my back hurt from the upper legs to the lower spine. The sitting definitely wasn't good.
- "Get out of the truck! This is an order!" - There was a shout. I had to comply, so I quickly rushed out of the truck. And found myself on military training course.
- "Rise up!" - The seregant shouted. - "Attention!" We had to go stiffly upright.
- "And listen! You, as the soldiers, are fighting for France! So I expect you to work hard and train well for this! Now Byr, STOP BEING DISTRACTED!" The seregant made a slap. We all moved our heads at that. "This is but a taste of the training you shall do. Lesson Zero - listen to the authorities! Now, march ten laps around the field! Whoever can't do that - thirty pushups!" I felt thirty kilogram weight worth of equipment being strapped to me. "MARCH!"

And so I began marching. It was an exhausting march - the field might've had two hundred and fifty metres worth of a lap, but I was weighted down by the equipment, the seregant was watching me so I couldn't really take a break, and I knew what will happen if I won't march. They're free as birds. I am only a recruit. I muttered to myself, before getting whipped. "FASTER! Keep it up damnit, Beldour! Chris, NO TAKING A BREAK! Nichol, DO NOT MAKE A SHORTCUT! ONE MORE LAP FOR YOU!" After nine and half of laps I felt like I'm going to collapse. And I did, one step after marching two and half of kilometres. Most of them did. "Now, get over the barracks!" I felt the weight taken off my body. "Now!" I started running towards the barracks. I made it and stood still when I saw a group. They were now waiting. Just like I was.

Just then, a headmaster came. A woman, although clothing simple. "Get your piece of paper and move to where it leads you." I picked up one. It read 'Wing C - Assault Quarters.' I started walking there. 'Lower bed #32, room 16'. I went to the room. There was nobody, but the motivational clips looped in ceiling TV, a working wall clock as well as posters. Two simple basic metal chairs, a metal table, a set of cards, and an empty room. So far, anyway.

Then the megaphone blared up that it's a ration time, and we had to go to the canteen. I waited in a queue. Nothing much, just a fight I've seen, and a queue skipper who got beat down. I waited, and got some chicken roast with mashed potatoes and carrot salad. I just ate it patiently, sitting on a bench. No one did a prank on me, it seems like there was a discipline in the barracks. So, after I finished eating, we were called to some room. I arrived at there, where I listened to a commander teaching us about guns, bragging about French weapons, as well as giving us the learning plan.

Three exercises a day. Mornings I have daily exercises. Afternoons have the gun usage lessons. Evening on Sunday is free, but Monday to Saturday I had to run with weight on my back, on Monday and Thursday, or to do an obstacle course, for rest of the days. I silently read what it spoke. "Dismissed." The commander spoke, after which I got back to my room, where I saw an uniform. I guess I'll have to wear it in the army. I then fiddled with cards, before going to a rest at evening, with only a clock ticking as far as I'm aware.

The next day, the megaphones made me make up. And so, I changed my clothes for an uniform, and reported to the seregant. A day in, he gave us all fifty push-ups and pull-ups. I did them as hard as I could. Mostly because I had hard-working in genes. But right after that, a seregant held me for a moment. "You think a hard work can save you? Wrong! Another fifty pushups! For yesterday that you were lucky to not have the push-ups!" And I had to do this exercise again, him standing over me. I barely did the fifty by the time I was exhausted, and couldn't get up. He just kicked some of dust on me. "MOVE!" I hastily stood up, as in energised. "To the barracks, now! To the shooting course!" I started moving towards there.

After I had arrived to the course, I saw an unexpected by me event.

The president himself had come to the facility. He appeared to be silent for the moment, before sighing. "So, I am there, and there's a glaring lack of... pony-sized targets. Don't worry, we had just delivered some. As the one of first groups who are getting them, I expect you to train well how to defend from them." The trucks arrived, and many targets, looking like horses, appeared. "Well, my time is there, back to ruling France... my France." I stared at him, as Emanuel exited. One thing I've remembered though - his eyes were... odd. I didn't know why - maybe he just had been exposed to radiation, or I was having a headache... or it was his natural eye color all along. It was hard to get it out of my sight.

I was given a gun in meanwhile. It sounded empty. I examined it. A lecturer spoke, and I listened.
- "All right, since he left, let me speak then. What you have are various weapons used in our military. For starters, most of you got FAMAS assault rifles, model F1. Now, those guns have an impressive firing rate of 1100 bullets a minute. They eat the bullets fast, but are good for suppressing your targets."
He paused a bit, giving an explanation to those rifles, like where is the trigger or safety lock. It seemed near alien, but that is a weapon, it has to be that way.
"Now what some of you have are FR F2s, a long-range rifle. Those eagles shoot a long way, up to 800 metres away without any trouble. Please now look at your weapons for a moment. And don't fiddle with them yet"

I continued looking at my assault rifle, curious. I never had a gun in my hands. It felt heavy, like a live weapon. After that I was dismissed to my room for a hour, before somebody else arrived in my room. Purple eyes, general disregard to his clothing, tall and thin build, and of course the same skin as I had. I could hold a composure, but I suspected everyone else wouldn't. He then spoke.
- "Your fate, my fate, guess we both have the same job then."
- "Excuse me, who are you first? I don't think we had even met yet."
- "I'm... ehm..." - I awaited his response patiently. He seemed to be a bit stuck. - "Adam Fouerau?" - I sighed as the person clearly improvised his name.
- "I guess that's a solid name. I'm Beldour Barcuda." - I replied to him. - "You too are there?"
- "Yes. From orders of my que- er, nonono, from the order of a... recruitant." - I raised an eyebrow. France never had any queens recently, and it abolished the monarchy after last Napoleon, third one. But I had some barely hide-able chuckle with his words.
- "I guess they are sending all lazy and ungifted students there." - I added to his comment.
- "Hey! I'm not lazy!" - He protested my speech, then looked at the cards curiously. - "What are those?"
- "Cards. They're means to play sometimes, at school or elsewhere... I had a complete set at home."
- "I see." - They spoke, as they felt a bit more confident. - "Listen here, Beldour. How come you're stronger and I'm the weaker one?" - I decided to reply.
- "I'm just hardworking-"
- "Don't you think the strength doesn't come from hard work? Else I would be stronger. Come there, a fistfight. En garde!"
- "Wait, what-" I got a fist in my mouth, making me spit some blood. Damn it, a co-locator fights me just after me getting back. So I decided to punch back. He blocked and attempted to kick me. I sidestepped the attempt though, looking for a chair, grabbed it and swung it at him. He ducked, and immediately took hold of the chair. The fighting was stuck in place, me trying to push with enough strength to knock him to ground, him pushing to knock me into table. No one came.
- "This is getting awkward..." He remarked, as I felt a kick to my leg. I moved the chair left and right, shaking him off, and limping, I slammed him on the leg. - "A tit for tat, we're equal." - I summarised, before - surprise, he had probably done a flash, as after I processed that and blinked, a bug stood in front of me. I tried to smack it again, but it didn't let me, as it held me in a tight spot with the same chair.
- "So... you may be strong, but also guile." - It spit on ground, staring at me. - "How come both Frenchies and ponies are made of innocence?"
That got me thinking. But why would it punch me? For sheer sensation of pain? I sighed, before slamming back at its argument. - "Yet you were the first to initiate that fight with a fist."
- "Aaand? No one would believe you." - It changed into a figure similar to me, barring the fact their eyes were still purple. - "Now listen, if you don't want to get replaced, do not speak too much about the takeover we did on your leader, okay? Because elssssse..." - It then changed back and started shining its horn. The queen card was placed on my throat. - "She'll have a feast of your love." The card dropped on ground, and the chair unpinned me. I was too shocked to process anything, so I hastily agreed. I couldn't do anything to it. And I knew that my fate is in hooks looking like hooves of that bug looking like a horse.
Distraught, I skipped the feeding time, and spent the evening on the another march. This time, a weakness and the stress got me collapsed halfway. A thirty push-ups on me were issued, with full equipment. I did thirty, and after I got to the room, a human... er, bug disguised as one was waiting.
- "You seem very tired, don't you? Well, you now know how it goes, once on the wagon, once under it." - It spoke to me.
- "Oh, shut it, b-"
- "Shh-h, we did agree to something, didn't we?"
- "All right, all right..."- He would then sigh, after seeing the panic in my eyes.
- "Now sleep." - I got to my upper bed, and slept.

It was an uncomfortable night, made worse by the fact 'it' was free to interrupt me every so often.

At morning, I woke up to a pulsating pain on my arm. Adam was already awake, and looking at me. Or whatever that Adam was.
- "I see you're awake. Hmm, humans always are slow to wake up, aren't they?"
- "Shut it you... Adam... you made me bleed."
- "Knew you'd learn not to make mistakes. Took you some time. Also sorry, guess one of the cards simply flung itself in air and hurt you." - I sighed at the bugs explanation. The card didn't work that way. But then again, I had to play along, as he wouldn't leave me alone otherwise. - "Anyway, you gotta train more, waste some time trying to best me..." - It rubbed salt to my wounds, but at this point I didn't care. After another fifty push-ups and fifty pull-ups I was discharged. Someone else was held, I guessed to make an example of a day. I then weakly arrived to my room. He was gone, which was relief. I sat on the chair, for thirty minutes, before I was summoned again.

To the course I went, with all targets being... horses. - "So, there are your targets. Humans are easy to kill, on the other hand you'll learn to shoot, on ponies. At least, at ponies that the president gave us to train on. They aren't live. Now, we shall give you a training pistol." They then gave us some... pistols of sort. After some time learning where we pull off the safety trigger and back in, we were given training rounds, as well as assigned to stands. And to my surprise, the bug was there as human. I knew I wouldn't do much, anyway.
- "Just watching how you shoot." - He spoke, as I reached for the training rounds- and they were snatched. He would give them back at some time later, after I did what he said - aim at the pony head. I loaded up the gun and shot the targets. Three hits out of nine - two bodyshots, and one headshot.
- "Well, you killed one. And another would bleed out, but two would get you... joking, they won't, they're weaker than you. They'd just cry." I wanted to shoot him for remarks, but again I remembered that he would simply replace me, and my claims would look like a bad lie.
- "What's next then, Adam?"
- "What next?" - He would look at me. - "Shoot them more. Look at me, how a real professional does that." - He would shoot. But I would've chuckled at his aim. All the shots missed horribly! It was only him that I didn't laugh. "Nevermind, save me, and I'll give you some peace." - I would then shoot on his field, hitting four out of nine, then back at mine. Three, but two were headshots. The examiner arrived, then after examining the targets, spoke.
- "Well, you two did... well enough. Low accuracy, but it works. Dismissed until evening." - I felt a bit bad for cheating for that bug - I should've been ignoring it. Yet I felt like its own tool. It made me feel bad. We both then came to canteen. Ate our rations silently and went back to our room.
- "Well, technically I already did by now." - He would cut my arm with a card. Enduring the pain, I sighed and sat on chair.
- "So... why are you cutting me?"
- "Just to make sure you won't do your punchout like a day ago, and blown out my cover."
- "If I could, I would've done so right after."
- "If you could." - The bug repeated. - "But since you can't blow it out, I'm sure you won't disobey her." - It seemed to be a bit too reckless in speech.
- "Gh." - I finished wrapping the wound with a bandage he provided to me.
- "So the real reason why I did? I'm marking you. In case you tried to disobey, this mark will be enough of alarm and you will be pacified."
- "I... I see. So I have to obey?" - I was terrified in my thoughts. I was bound to be free man, not a slave to a bug!
- "Yes, else you know what will happen. Now, guess we have an obstacle course. You go, soldier. You go." - I ran towards the obstacle course. The seregant also seemed to be running it.

And then I didn't know why, but I began taking it the moment he had whistled. Given, it was hard, I wasn't as agile as a sportsman. And after one painstaking hour, I would complete it, in middle.

- "Dismissed." - The sergeant would simply say. - "You're lucky you're a minute before average." - I would then struggle to walk towards my room, go to the bed again and fall asleep.

Hopefully it really is just a bad nightmare that I'm experiencing currently. I hope it's just bluffing... I hope my cousin is safe and sound.

I woke up again in the bunk bed. A headache slightly grew because of the recent events... at least I thought it would. First off, ponies somehow made concessions with France, before I heard about the discontent. Then I was invited to army. Then of course three ponies somehow made it to my home and began telling how scared they were, but ended up toying with a chair - er, Scootaloo did. Then I saw first strange news, got attacked, other two strange news - cousin being kidnapped and rude president. And then army happened and I have to obey the bug that disguises as a human. Meanwhile I'm not sure what news I'll get in the facility.
Adams was already awake, sitting on the chair, looking at me. He seemed a lot smugger than the first time where I met him. I uncovered the bandages. An ugly scar that the blood and the wound had left, revealed a 'C' symbol, although quite different, as it more of looked like '<' shape.
He clearly seemed happy that his identification plans were successful. And me, who couldn't resist him... I was all but downed and having a headache. This didn't seem like a nightmare either. Guess I am still in reality. I decided to ask him some questions instead.
- "Okay, since you've basically blackmailed me into submission, what exactly are you?"
- "Don't you know who we are?" - He asked, as if surprised.
- "No, I didn't hear anything about you." - I replied to him. not telling a lie. - "But I want to know now."
- "Right. If you desperately want to know, we are the Changelings. You aren't, but if her plan is successful, and Equestria is ours for once, perhaps she'll let you be one of her underlings. Of course, if you're obedient, because traitors always end badly." - I had gripped my head again, having an episode of worse headache. The bug that met me, that shifted. It had a species name, it was a Changeling. And... I don't know what is worse - being obedient without question or being subjected to cruel death.
- "Okay, before my head splits in half, maybe we'll just drop the topic and forget." - I spoke, as I felt like I just couldn't talk about that any more. It nodded and dropped the conversation.

The whole day went without any misadventures. It seemed boring compared to day or two ago. Or even to the day when I was enrolled. But one thing literally bugged me. 'Why would I even prefer being an underling of a foreign nationality? Am I going crazy? Just why would I collaborate with an invader, who I can't really disobey, as one is watching literally every single step I made?'
I was greeted by the same Changeling. He seemed to be happier. And still had some migraine in my head. He invited me to the cards. I agreed, although a bit curious where did he pick it up. He served the five cards to me - Ace of Spades, A nine of chestnut, a Queen of Spades, Ten of Diamonds and a Valet of Hearts.
- "This is what apparently you play often. A Go Fish, they say. Eh, they're clever, but whatever. I have to guess what your cards are, and if I can't do it, then I pick it up from a deck. Then it's your turn to do that."
I never knew that game, so I expected myself to lose that, to a bug. Whatever, one game has to be lost in order to learn. So he then asked me.
- "Have you got any... Kings?" - I looked at my cards.
- "Go fish for it." - I mockingly spoke. He drew a card, and knowing it was my turn, asked him instead.
- "You got any... Queens?"
- "Dratttts..." He would hand me two queens.
- "What about Valets?"
- "Go fish." - I drew a card and added it to my deck. I had one... Two of Hearts.
So the Changeling asked me instead. "Have you got any Aces?"
I gave him the Ace.
- "What about nines?"
I gave him my nine too.
- "Threes?" - He stumbled his decision.
- "Go fish." - I had him draw a card. Now I only could ask about queens, tens, valets and twos.
I decided to pick the one left from my original deck..
- "You have a ten?"
He didn't have it, so I had to draw a card. I drew three of Spades...

The match took a whole hour, with both of us taking set after set. I had three, the bug had six after the game. Four sets were still on hands. It was my turn.
- "I want your threes."
- "Go fish."
I grabbed the card nervously. I hoped it was a Three, because if it wasn't, I won't be able to win. If it was, then I would win by one.
Nope. It was a Four. I had now three fours. Bewildered, I looked as the Changeling just gamed me to loss after I had to hand rest of my cards, ten to three.
- "I guess I am just lucky." The changeling remarked. I was about to insult him, but bit my tongue until blood came in teeth and accepted my defeat calmly.
- "Okay then. I guess it took long enough. I'm going to sleep, I'm just too tired right now." - I would then get to sleep, but not before watching him go under my bed and sleep too.

Losing to a bug... I need to act well to my bad game. I admit - he starts acting nice somehow, don't know why.

The next day I got up from the bed, then collapsed from migraine too major for me to function. I had to skip the morning exercises, but at least the Changeling had been saving my skin, by saying I was too weak. I didn't know why, but it put me on the chair. - "Listen there now, I've saved you just like you did. So that's now a draw, too." - It would leave me for three hours then. "I have an exercise to do." It would leave. The ticking made into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days. The migraine passed away after two hours, and I still sat on chair, fiddling with the cards, and noticing I had just stepped on the gunk. Couldn't it just... clean after itself? Now that's gonna need cleaning up... Just after the bug, The Changeling, or in how I have to speak to him - Adam, got in, I just looked at him.
- "Here, have this." - He would show me the painkillers and cup of water. I took one pill, and swallowed it, with a sip of water.
The headache passed a bit, enough for me to stand up. Still, I felt a bit weakened. - "So, where did you get this?"
- "I asked the field medic for some mean to kill the headache. They gave me those pills, and I assumed those would work." - The Changeling seemed to be not that well versed in our world, but at least it redeems for being just nice enough.

Then I looked at time. Midday. I looked back at him. - "Also, three more days, and we're all in the front." - 'Hold on, why did he say - three more days? Does it... what does it mean?' I had to ask it what was the cause, but I felt like my speech would stop at this point.
- "What it means Adam?"
- "That you'll have some live practice. Nothing big, I'm sure you'd like more practice, but they spoke that they want the war to end in a week, so..."
- "Hold on, a war!? Is Emanuel crazy?" - I thought he wouldn't come to this extreme, but here we are. A war with ponies. That's just... funny, too funny. Surreal, I'd say. A friendly president declaring a war to pony nation... maybe even ridiculous. - "Listen, that... that's just too ridiculous to be true." I almost choked on my laughter, the Changeling snapping me outta it.
- "Okay, you stopped laughing? Good, because this might be funny for you humans. But not for us. Our hive almost got starved out by Celestia and her so called 'Royal Guard', when they found out that they could just cut us out of supplies, by bringing us away from lesser sources of love. All but wild animals, that feel much less than what we did before. And after being starved out of it, only she, our Queen, let us live. She, who saved us all, attempted to pay in kind by draining Shining Armor and whole Canterlot, just to make us satisfied." - I still couldn't believe his claims. But I didn't interrupt him yet. - "And after the world merged, our hive somehow got destroyed. That was the last straw. So we decided to enact our plan. With help of humans like you, maybe this will force Celestia to roll back her plans?"
I sighed. Wouldn't bugs eat flesh or something?
- "Hold on, why love out of everything? If they cut you from all sources of food but animals, why didn't you just try to eat them?" - I asked it, confused.
- "We... we tried. But we only have four fangs. And we can't really eat anything other than love. Our Queen tried that once, but she just got sick, and we had to help her somehow."
- "You... basically can't eat anything? Like, at all?" - I raised my eyebrow in confusion.
- "We really can't do that. But at other point, I'm pretty sure you'd starve to death without food to feed on." - The bug changed the topic somehow.
- "True. We can't live more than 60 days without anything to eat." - I spoke.
- "So, we still live for longer when starving, ha!" - And then he just got a bit rude.
- "Adam, stop comparing us-"
- "Or what? Remember? You weren't free to begin with." - That hit me a bit too hard, especially since I had a memory of some pony speaking about a freedom-laden adventurous life. I sighed.
- "Grrfh, fiiine, Adam." - I had a near hissy fit of anger again. But the realization again hit me real hard. If he wasn't honest, then he would've been suspecting I'm a bit too disobedient instead. But to be honest, he seemed to have been suffering hard back before meeting me. I felt guilty for its state, no matter if it was a torturer or just abusive friend.

Then the megaphones sounded again, and I walked towards the training field. I expected myself to continue a training, but then I saw the vehicles.
- "As far as you all can see, you all are going to the frontline. We require you to be prepared. The rest of the training will be done in the base on western Pays de la Noire. Now get a gun and into the trucks." I picked up a FAMAS F1 as well as a pistol, and got into the truck. There were fifteen other recruits inside it. The truck then was closed, as it started driving.

It was late evening when we arrived at the base there. It looked like a polygon, with barracks there serving as our accomodiation. I left the truck after some time, and after being assigned to a squad, was motioned towards the room. It was bigger and more spacious. Two tables, eight chairs, four bunk beds. I was tired, being awake for long, so I decided to just take a rest again. Before the sleep, I thought. Why am I already going to frontlines? I'm... I'm not ready yet, and it's not a war yet. What will happen if I get sent to my home in a coffin, or worse, never return? What if its words are true and I return as one of them, just to be on mercy of their queen? Is that even reality?

I woke up after being poured a glass of cold water on my head. Someone else did that. Migraine didn't stop, but at least I still stood up, and, seeing the squad going, I started running towards them. 'Two days... just two days. And I'm so nervous right now. Why?' I thought as I arrived at the real course. After arrival, I saw another commander in a light suit. "Attention! Group A will go through the battle course today. Group B will go through it tommorow. Secondant and Capral, Filippe de Allemaegne, mind you bringing me what groups are going through it today?" - I saw another person, handing the note to the commander. He started reading, I tried to listen the best I could. The line-up seemed to be shorter by now. And then I heard my name.

"Group Merci, Adam Foureau, Beldour Barcuda, Nicol Bevito... ...come to course. Rest of you have a free day in today." - Quickly, I rushed towards the course. I was given a full inventory, just like others did. Three training clips for two guns, two training 'nades, as well as supplies backpack. The whistle was sound, and off I was into obstacle course. The only whispering was somebody whispering. "'Just act like the ponies are your mortal enemies.'" I was first crawling through ground, getting through the wind acting like gunfire. After we, as in squad, crawled through it, I had to shoot ten targets. Each one of us got ten. I loaded a clip into FAMAS, and then, after pulling a safety trigger, fired at the targets. Full clip, ten targets down.

The next order was to get through the obstacle course. Knowing what obstacles were two days ago, I could get through them, although barely. Adam briefly got stuck, but somebody else helped him. After we did, we had to get through the field on odd whistle, hide behind cover on even whistle. I barely passed that somehow, I think luck was the factor, with two of squadmates failing and probably having to retake that part of course. The next part was easiest - unpin a grenade and lob it the furthest we could. At young age we threw pebbles. Even Adam did a better job than expected, given his aim normally was terrible. The last obstacle in the course... or actually, the last thing we had to do. Storm a building. It was pretty quick, given the fact they specified how we had to infiltrate it. So we did that, I didn't even recall how did we do it. We just... had done it... well enough. As another two failed it.

We then ran back to where we began. The commander shouted at us. - "Attention!" - We would then stand up.
- "Well done, you four. France is proud of you soldiers. I shall now give you the dogtags. Do not lose them, they are your emblem of success. As for other four... I think they have to repeat it in evening. Dismissed!" We got back to barracks, where, on the table, warm rations were there. Adam didn't seem to eat at all, even though we did.
- "Adam, what's wrong?"
- "I don't feel hungry right now. And probably won't be, unlike you. So come on, eat them. I'm not touching them anyway." - We all looked at him, but the situation de-escalated as quickly as it did, when he bit on potato and... didn't take it well, as he had spewed it out.
- "Guess he's right." - Another person spoke. - "We have a day off tommorow though, as they have a break. Hey, anyone willing to play a few rounds of poker? Tommorow. Only pen and paper."
We all accepted his idea. After the rations were eaten, we all got to our beds and slept. My head was still hurting from all the... troubling thoughts, though, as I couldn't sleep. 'War is coming awkwardly close. What will tommorow give, then? I know that it's a last day of peace I'll know. But... I really hope Mea will be safe back at Fr-AAAUGH.' Then I lost my consciousness.

And then I woke up a day later with the same heavy migraine. This day was our final peacetime day. My heart was racing, my head was even number than before... and again I got poured with cold glass of water by the changeling itself. The rest of squad was merging two tables into one. I got up and sat on the chair.
- "I heard the news. Seventeenth hour, we have to be sent to Equestria-French border. We're going directly to frontline. Now it's tenth hour. So, we can play it for six hours." - I heard from a squadmate. - "Also, repeating the course was bit too harsh... I got back there, and the rations were given cold."
I listened to him, before we both played a long game of a poker. At beginning I was just a wild-card. I didn't know anything, I hoped on luck to carry me. I saw one squadmate being eliminated due to lack of funds after a hour. Then three hours passed, I got some hang of it, but my balance zero'd, so I was out too. At 15:20 only Adam and the other guy were playing. The other one won, just before rations were delivered for us to eat, and gear for us to pack.
- "Everything we need to pick on them." - Adam was quick to reply, before others followed suit. The clock ticked, as we ate the last warm meal, and changed into proper military uniforms, put pistols on holsters, a rifle on our backs, a backpack too on our back. And two grenades on their slots. I also put the spare clips to the reloaders, as if - a pocket in front that holds the bullets. Just after the final preparations, we got out of the barracks, loaded full of weapons. My heart still raced with brain. But I couldn't afford being nervous. The trucks were waiting for us. Twenty, for twenty of us are assigned.
- "You will be the first strikers, on wartime orders of Emanuel Macron. Roughly at midnight we'll drive you to Bretonia. There, you'll conquer the border cities, and start pushing towards New Canterlot." - They would select the key targets we needed to attack. - "Good luck, soldiers." - I then looked at truck, getting into it, others following suit. During six hours, nothing much happened, apart from us having difficulties getting there.

We got deployed at 23:50. Ten minutes, we heard on the radio. It's going to be a very long night. Everything is getting to my head. Family, Adam, everyone. Everything I could think of.
Three minutes. I barely gathered my thoughts as my feeble feet carried me towards the outpost.
One minute. The war is coming... I couldn't really gather my thoughts.
Thirty seconds. I'm still worried of what will happen next.
Fifteen seconds. I saw a pony.
Ten seconds. Adams told me to shoot it.
Five seconds, pulled a gun... three, two, unlocked the safety... one...
I pulled a trigger.

///
BREAKING NEWS: France declared war to the Principalty of Equus.

The world itself is shocked by the declaration. A civilian pony killed from the bullet fired at midnight, 26th July 2020.
///

The horse silently collapsed, killed by my rifle. I felt a bit bad about doing that, before Adam cheered me up. - "Don't worry, at least you get a first kill. Now we're moving to the outpost, two kilometres in. We silently capture it and signal the military to move in." - I sighed and just moved along. After thirty minutes of the march, we arrived at the outpost. It looked like repurposed military base, and some nightguard was there. The squad I was in awaited for numbers to arrive. - "Today, them, tomorrow, Rennes, day after that, the entire Equestia." - I heard from the Changeling. He seemed quite optimistic about our chances. So, after the preparations, we have stored the base. There was about no resistance from the ponies. None, but some winged ones. I shot one as soon as they approached me. In both fear of the repercussions they could give me if I don't... and to cover up the crime we're actually doing. A yellow pony with orange mane crashed in front of me. She began defiantly speaking something, and Adam just whispered. "Just finish that Spitfire off. Pretty sure that'll break Dashie, she always brags about Wonderbolts."

I pulled a trigger again, firing the bullet straight into her head... oh God, what I'm becoming. I thought the war would be simple, but we're... doing a crime after crime. I am doing that, because if I don't... then I myself will be imprisoned or worse. If I won't follow orders, I might be seen as a traitor... oh God, help me...

She's gone after a moment, the bullet made the wound bleed badly, as a pool of the blood formed behind her head, and much smaller on the left side where the wing was shot. Adam pointed up at the rainbow-maned pony, barely visible at night. I pointed the gun. And she fled, probably scared off. In midnight moon, no one would truly notice her intentions. - "Hah, not so loyal, is she? A gun is enough to scare her out." - He was inconsiderate. More than perfect soldier. I still had guilt. Already from his recommendations two probably innocent horses have been killed in the middle of night.

The fighting continued for some minutes, as another pony arrived, and then got shot to death mid-air. It plummeted to the ground, splatting into pile of flesh and organs. The letter somehow survived, and I took it to my hands. Adam looked at me. I opened the envelope, then gave it to him, after not knowing anything about it.
- "So... they know we had declared an act of agression. Well, we should be quick then, a quick rest in the field today, as we cleared it, then tommorow march at Rennes." - He seemed to sigh. I looked at him.
- "Well, if you say we can rest..." - I replied wearily
- "Yeah. The outpost was easy... eerily too easy." - Adam spoke, as I went with other squadmates to rest in the barracks.

What did they deserve to die from my bullet? Why am I the tool of death that they had received? Hopefully it goes as planned, three days and I'm at home.

I was awakened to the shells dropping at the conquered outpost. I didn't have so much of migraine today, but we were in hurry to man the outpost anyway. I looked at whoever did the bombing, as it seemed very severe. What did I see? Humans, of course, using artillery pieces as well as mortars, with a... different flag than French own, firing the napalm shells. I went back to the group, only to notice he was following me. But I didn't mind that.

Adam spoke to us. "This is getting complicated. There might be people that are collaborating and creating more of those cute horses somehow. Whenever you find one, just kill them. We need no third side to beat us to the means. There are also people helping us killing ponies using dubious means such as suicide trucks. Don't worry about those, they'll die for naught. And then there are people who are fighting back. Take those prisoners."
- "And how do you know that?" - One of the squadmates asked.
- "A... a radio of course."
- "Oh, right." - They sighed, but weren't relieved, just like me.
I took my voice. - "What today, then?"
- "We get out of the outpost and attempt to besiege Rennes." - Adam sighed. - "Get into trucks, they'll drive us over there." - I followed him to the trucks, and got into it. Directly in front of exit, as it was closed by the driver. We prepared the guns to fight off any dangers, as the truck started driving. Turbulences were felt, as the shelling of the outpost continued. One of the trucks got blown up by the explosive shell. And no one of them survived. A waste of lives, of course, but mission still needs to be done.

Fifty kilometres in, some more trucks got destroyed in the convoy that was supposed to arrive at the city. Then Adam shouted up suddenly. - "TO THE FLOOR!"
I got knocked out cold after falling to the floor instinctively.

I woke up again. The leg was in severe pain, as if a piece of metal had impaled it. No one else, but the Changeling was alive. I crawled out of the wreckage of the truck, carrying it out. I just... felt like leaving it there would be wrong, just like my and its actions before. I didn't want to let it bleed out. It then woke up in my grip. - "W...what..." - It looked at direction of truck that we both got out. At this point the interior was set on fire, engulfing the bodies. - "B...beldour? B...but why?"
- "I... I couldn't not help..." - I sighed. - "Besides, even if you are rude... you're still one who... was simply left."
- "Right..." It got on fours. "Let me get out that shard out of leg." - I bit my tongue until the blood came out of my mouth when the Changeling pulled it out of my leg. - "Here." - He would then clean up the wound and bandage it. - "We're still going then... but not on foot with your state." He would then set me on his back, and gallop. I noticed his husk in some places was cracked.

I didn't care much, but we arrived at Rennes, where I got out of him, and limped towards the suburban area. The city seems to be bombed by the French, and ponies being crushed, as many of them laid dead. The only resistance, surprise, came from natives to the area, as they held the city.
- "Thiss seems more like a longer war now... I don't think Chrysallis thought about natives fighting back." - Adam... or the changeling, hissed, as we both entered the intermediate area, which appeared to be the residential area.

The fighting there was severe, and... it was weirdly a stalemate. Often I saw skirmishes that ended with Frenchmen surrendering. I looked at Adam. He looked back, and spoke again. - "They aren't even trying to fight? How come?"
- "Those were French territories. Some of them still live there, but for why they seem to find no point at fighting, I have no clue."
- "I see. No one has any clue- oh, right." - The changeling turned back into military man. - "Forgot my disguise."
- "Right. But even then... I don't really care any more. I'm just a soldier, on the same side as you. We can help ourselves, I guess." - I sighed at his explanation. Sometimes I felt like it was wrong to be friends with one who abuses me, but at the same time, a friend, especially at the time such a war, is a rarity.
I suddenly felt radio vibrating. I decided to accept the call.
- <We're retreating from there. We need to suppress rebellions in the homeland instead. No reply.> - I raised an eyebrow, before looking at Adam. - "We're on retreat now... well, nice knowing that we'll have to take it on our own turf."
We had to get into the room though, as it was getting dark, really dark due to cloudy sky blocking the sun and moon. We had to find anything liveable to sleep in. I found an abandoned house, and motioned Adam to get in there. He followed, and we both entered it.

It had no furniture, and the freshly dropped shards of bomb were on floor, coming from ruined ceiling and roof. The walls had two electric sockets and a switch. But without light, it seemed useless. They were painted blue. It was also recently made - maybe someone moved outta there?
We both just decided to sleep on the rough floor for the night. Next day we should return to homeland, though.

Sometimes I ask myself why are we dealing with a war? It shouldn't be mine to fight, yet... we are there, fighting on orders of someone else.

//BREAKING NEWS:
A major uprising funded by Front of New Equestria has been staged in France by unknown forces. Suspicions seem to vary - Celestia, ISIL, Russia, Poland and Hungary, United States, China, or even India.
Two thousand dead ponies and two thousand five hundred dead Frenchmen in the war.
Celestia on verge of nervous breakdown due to death of so many ponies, calls for any help.
Germany declares France to be governed by rouge government on basis "Emanuel doesn't even act like he should be at this point", and sends interventional troops to investigate.
//

I woke up in the same building. The headaches passed. As usual, the changeling was awake, and looking at me. I felt like it's going to be a long time we both are going to be together. I counted the days we were together, fighting, or rather training and having misadventures. On Monday I met it. Sunday was as well seventh day, so this Monday is eighth day.

I still limped quite much, and I didn't feel well-rested. Floor is a poor place to begin with, even without all the shards, dust and whatever. I decided to break the silence by speaking to it.
- "Good day, guess today we're retreating..."
- "Yes. Nuisances making us retreat. And if you fight along me till the very end, you'll find them just the same." - The changeling sounded aggressive. I just noticed that my uniform got ripped by the accident that happened yesterday with a transport truck. More specifically - the arm was revealed, with the same '<' symbol. - "Okay, so first, we need to see where is nearest city. Second - go there and quell the uprising there. Third, we go back there and finish them."
- "Seems good enough... just my heart's racing at the very thought..."
- "Ah, don't listen to heart, it's quite the useless sense. Listen to orders, working hard pays back." - They spoke as they started heading out. - "Follow me, then." - I followed the bug out of the ruins. The town seemed to have more patrols now, more ruined buildings, and of course, firefights occassionally triggering between militia and other bugs. Adam seemed to be grumpy, so I asked what did happen there.
He replied back. - "They're just... idiots sabotaging the plans, acting on instincts only. That'll only increase the difficulties." - He seemed to be aspiring and feeling like everything had to go according to a plan, that got ruined really fast. Sometimes though I think he's overly ambitious, but that is just my opinion.
Anyway, we both started leaving the boundaries of the Rennes. We were lucky not to be caught in one of the patrols on the way out, and so we were in an open plain field. The planes were flying above us. Mostly French and Breton ones, but one or two pegasi appeared from time to time to cross the sky. I had no good reflexes to shoot out ones, and Adam, despite being annoyed, seemed to concede those.
Another thing had hit us though. The fact the supplies were only for three days.
- "I only have supplies for three days. Not sure with you, but I really need to restock, or somehow hope somebody carries us out of Brittany."
- "I can't fly much with a human on back, so don't look at me as a potential mount. The only reason why I did was because we had to hurry for the siege." - He sighed. - "To be frank, I only expected that Celestia will fall flat in three days. Now it feels like we all need is a miracle from our Queen." - He spoke. While before this situation I would've taken it out without ifs, I thought it would be more interesting to ask him.
- "I see. Mind you speaking more of your queen then?"
- "Chrysallis. There's no point in hiding that we both fight for her. You, me..." - I got quite shocked, but... still, I had no choice in my matters. I was no rebel, and I felt like with those two shootings, I'm at least as bad as him. He hated them, and I killed them, ponies. - "...weird why you didn't interrupt."
- "At this point... I'm as well a crime partner of you, just because I feel like I won't leave unscathed either way. Either remembered as a traitor, or as a criminal." - I admitted. The killings we did together, they aren't going to disappear as if nothing happened. They're dead by my gun, by his recommendation. Then my train of thought got interrupted.
- "Well then, time to tell you. She needs the love to feed on, just because without it, we all are weakened or worse. The first thing a starved Changeling needs is love. Without it, they're more and more feral. If they aren't fed in one month any love, maybe even less..." - He stopped us both for a moment, took a stick, or rather somehow made it float, and snapped it loudly. - "There's no chance a Changeling will outlive that. The exception is our Queen, of course. She doesn't speak why, but she's most important of all, so I guess her position explains her."
- "Hold on a second. So... if you don't feed on feelings, you'll end up-"
- "Dead? Yeah. Actually witnessed a few Changelings dying from lack of love, during the harshest period." - He spoke and I sat down. He might've had some messed priorities, but even he seemed to cringe on death part.
- "So... that's one cruel way to kill a Changeling." - I thought the revenge on the fallen brethren was cause why he wanted ponies dead. And the dead were reason why he was using sarcasm to push his point.
- "Basically. We could take lots of punishment in Equus, but sadly Chrysallis informed us that some of us are dying just as easily as them ponies from bullets."
- "I see. Any interesting stories you have?"
- "No. I can't really find a good material for a story so far. Mostly because most of them end badly in the end." - I heard him lie, as he probably struggled. But I didn't ask him why he lied. Maybe he just wanted to end the topic and all that?
- "Okay then. Do we have a map of this place somehow?"
- "No, we don't have any. But I see a village about five kilometres away. I'll try to contact the Queen there... our Queen." - I got up as soon as he spoke that, and started limping towards it, just when he got up and started moving too.
- "Hopefully she knows how to pull off a rescue action."
- "Don't worry about that detail. She knows how to impersonate, so she knows how to rescue." - He spoke to me to blow away my doubts... but they still were there. Just hidden.
- "Fine. I still worry for Mea Barcuda... maybe she's a little brat, but she's still my sister."
- "Pff. She'll be safe." - The bug horse seemed to not care about them, or they took for granted her safety. Either way, that was a little inconsiderate.
After five kilometres, going through the fields, we had arrived in the small village, somehow. The locals were nowhere to be seen, and the Changeling that disguised itself as a human seemed to be uncertain. As this had raised his apparent suspicions, he turned to me.
- "It's too devoid of emotions, apart from yours. Still, for a village, there's a glaring lack of them." As soon as he spoke, I pulled out an assault rifle, and held it with my hands. Not that it mattered. A few shots were fired and I felt light-headed. I could barely look around who did that, but Adam seemed to feel the same. I was then knocked out by some hard object.

I woke up in the dark room, with three other people tied with me. My first reaction was to reach for anything sharp, or for any gun. Unfortunately, I found neither, as the whispers appeared louder and louder into proper voices.
Oh :red:, oh god, what I'm going to do now? Is that some sort of torture room? I looked around. No Changeling. The two people I don't recognize. One could probably be an supposed enemy soldier, the other - just a civilian. The problem is - I probably am supposed to be enemy soldier to them.
They arrived, with syringes. - "Whose turn is first to create a new Ponykind in our image? Oh, I know, the one who defended his homeland!" - I looked around, scared of the implications, before noticing someone else was injected with that. It was definitely hell of headaches, as they screamed a lot. And I couldn't look around much. But gradually, the soldier seemed to appear... stranger. As if their emotions just caved in, collapsed, nothing, even fear was heard, nothing, even painful screams that were splitting my head, they were gone. The tail too seemed to be leaning on my back, as I heard cracks of chair and then it just got ruined, fell apart into pieces of wood. I felt pain spike from my left leg. It had impaled it.

They came in. Took the one. Now I noticed - they looked like a caricature of a horse, just like every other horse we fought. Great, if a miracle doesn't happen now... Doesn't help that the pony began parroting the few words. "Join us. Join, and you will never feel negativity ever again. All sides are bad, but not The New And Great Equestria."

I would've shot the pony at this point. They came back with another syringe. They injected the other person too. My heart raced once more in stress, as I desperately looked for Adam. Even when he was a Changeling, they never did such an atrocity, brainwashing people with syringes, and mocking us with that. The other person turned out to be a winged pony. They too started parroting what the first said. Their monotone voices appeared like a torture. I didn't know how long it'll take. Finally they came with another syringe.
And that's where I'm truly... :red:ed.
They were going for a fast jab. I promised myself that one day the atrocities will be avenged.
They swung it.
They got interrupted.
Their eyes rolled up.
They collapsed, dead, blood flowing off from their punctured head, bullet stuck in their brain.
The two ponies started running away, but they too got killed.
I looked at the Changeling. It breathed a sigh of relief. "Beldour, at least those bastards didn't make you into artificial, brainwashed pony... but we have to get out, NOW!"
- "H-how did-" I looked at the ties before they were cut by a knife held by Adams. I then looked at two killed ponies. At least they rest in peace. But why I got saved at last second specifically?
- "No time, we have to escape it, now!" - Upon that I jolted out of chair, and ignoring the pain, followed him. Despite my limp, we had enough time to escape the building I got trapped in. The doors quickly closed after I got out, with a message heard from the megaphone.
<FORCED PONYFICATION IN 10... 5... 3, 2, 1!>
- "They sure attempted to make me a pony." - I breathed in and out, quickly.
- "Funny how they attempted to turn a changeling into pony too, considering I can just feign that. Never mind, at least you are still in, a human, at least unchanged." - He spoke, as he looked at the facility. - "I'd normally finish a job there, but not enough time."
- "I see. If that's the ponyfication... then I'm sure I... I'd prefer death over it." - I sighed. - "Still, my legs hurt badly."
- "Ah, you'll walk it eventually on your sheer hatred." - His speech left me confused. What did that mean? That I'll become some sort of a war veteran who is just determined enough to punish people who wronged me? My friends? My leader? My family?
Regardless of that, it was getting darker by now. We couldn't stop now, though. The territory was already dangerous during the day. And while we didn't know what night would become now, we couldn't stop now, with our dwindling resources. There wasn't much of conversation either - probably the fact neither of us were willing to talk after this incident.

A next day came, and we had made more progress at night somehow. Sometimes travelling through roads, sometimes travelling through farmlands, but never saw any living soul. On the other hand... it should be Wednesday. And I was stopped by Adam again.
- "We need to go to nearby village again. The Queen said that she'll have something arrive for both of us." - He explained, but then added. - "But should we trust those?"
- "Not sure. Either she'll take us outta there, or we're going to be ambushed. The bet is for former."
- "Beldour. As far as I'm snarky, please don't take any hope I'd feed on away."
- "Okay." - I sighed. - "So you feed on different feelings too?"
- "Yes. Pretty much anything positive can stave the hunger. But only love can satiate us."
- "Okay, I understand. Moving on, you see the other village?"
- "Pretty sure I am." - We both had noticed another village at this point. It was pretty large for the French village, not large enough to become a town, though. It too had barely any people.
- "I wonder why both of those villages are empty?"
- "No idea, one seemed like a trap-" - He collapsed after a bullet hit him into legs. I looked at the people who shot him. They shouted around. "We have a traitor there! Open fire at those two!" - I took cover despite the limp as soon as they opened fire. I then looked around. One person was going to attempt to flush me out with a shotgun. I ripped off the piece of wood from my leg, hissing from pain, before staking the militant in the neck with said piece. They dropped the shotgun in shock, choking on blood. I took it, then fell to ground, just before bullet had reached me. This wasn't my reaction, that was merely my legs giving in to pain. But it saved me.
- "Nevermind... why we have gone there for the two when they could just kill one of us easily?" I heard as they stopped. Then the helicopters appeared. The french flag! We're saved! We're finally saved...
I heard people muttering one more thing. - "Or they have a backup." - They weren't going to be nuisances any more. I got up, then checked on the Changelings state. And simply said, he doesn't look... well.
The helicopters landed, and I grabbed him, bringing ourselves towards the helicopter. The first aid was administered to both of us, because of gun wounds, the wounds from truck and the piece of wood.

I looked at the pilots. "What's the destination?"
- "At first it was going to be Normady... but rebels took hold of that place, so we're going to fly you two at Orleans. Also, the Germans, the Spanish, the Italian and the Englishmen are intervening on side of rebellion." - The pilot spoke. "Hopefully there won't be serious riots there either."
- "I see. How much it'll take to arrive?"
- "Some two hours. Also I see you are tired. You should definitely sleep." He pointed out the fact I had yawned... and quite frankly I wasn't going to stay awake for long. After two hours of flight, we arrived at hospital. I fell asleep after being carried to the medical bed.

Sometimes you can only wonder if your relatives are safe, away from action. I still hope that Paris won't become a battlefield.

//BREAKING NEWS:
Rebellion taking France apart. Normady and Occitanie fully under rebel control.
More countries consider France to be ruled by a rogue government that came to power via coup. The list is currently this: Germany, Equestria, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland and United Kingdom.
Celestia denies being the ponyfication instigator, after far-right Front of United Humanity accuses her of making humans become ponies, says that she doesn't even know what some people even did.
A far-right leader killed in what appears to be "Operation Rainbow Factory", made by Egyptian rebels against dictator, who were inspired by the French trying to overthrow the rogue government. They were thrown into the machinery that was normally used to extract resources from mechanical scrap.
Poland vetoes the European Budget for years 2021-2027 due to 'unfavourable funding'.//

Warsaw, 2nd September, 1944. Journal of the Fallen Soldier, p. XIX
---
We found a note in the body of a German soldier. Our partisans are wishing our men had some reason to continue fighting for our independence. But the note seemed to be well-crafted. To read it and see the locations of enemy groups - that would turn the tide on our sides!

But no. It wasn't coordinates.

I read it twice, but couldn't comprehend the language there. It seemed like French or English, but at the same time it looked too fancy to be it. So I've asked anyone with English skills to come. In what they spoke, it was about... we both had a chuckle of the false prophecy. So we decided to gather around, to laugh at the bizarre German note written in English. About what they even thought they've done!

We are busy fighting on the fronts though. We lack ammo, but with this note, we got both a chuckle and some morale back. I shall return and fight for Poland. Poland shall rise again!


[Attached note]
Dear Earth,
We've been terribly sorry for the fact we'll be forced to evacuate there. Our Equus has only two years to live, as given from the prophecy, and this Earth looks more than promising for our resettlement plan. Whether this happens, a portal will open.

We shall evacuate towards the large enough peninsula where the people with baguettes and under occupation have come. We're also terribly sorry if this shakes up harmony of your own world. But Equestrians deserve to live. If they don't make it, then I have failed them, myself, my sister, and the Equus itself.

The Princess of Equestria, the Alicorn of Sol,

Celestia
---

Thus ends page XIX, the last of this soldier. They died three days in the siege of Śródmieście, Warsaw, a bullet hitting him in the heart.

1000 moons after banishment, Equestria, Canterlot. Royal Princess Castle.

Celestia looked horrified at what she had found in the prophecy. In two years, her Equestria, along with the planet, would be gone. She didn't want to alert any Mane over that, hoping that the problem will be solved on its own. Besides, her own sister was undergoing the re-adaption to the world that existed thousand of moons after banishment.

She read it over and over again, blinking occasionally from disbelief, stomping upon a soft rug with a hoof nervously. The princess decided to send a scout somewhere. She charged her portal spell 'somewhere safe' and sent a Royal Guard member to check the 'lands' where this will lead into.

---

1941, France, Brittany, Rennes. Commercial District.

Windy Spear ended up in the large, modestly lighted up city. They looked around, noticing their architecture looks bizarre, yet alien to them. For one, he couldn't understand what are those lightposts. The people there too spoke alien languages undistinguishable to the Earth Pony. All the symbols, looking like nothing he had seen. One of the 'bipedal bears' glanced at him. After that many. He had to hide, which wasn't easy given his armor was weighing him down.

All of them seemed nice, though. One even invited it to some sort of home. He was fed, although not with Equestrian standards, like those 'bears' were. They were fed by the hand itself. He thanked them, but they could only barely understand Equestrian.

Over the stay of few days, one child would try to show him few photos from the Rennes before a war, and in a war. Another would show him an image of baker, as well as a 'French-made', but actually done with English language, childs book. His mood lightened, but then he felt a bit sad. He couldn't be there for long. So he decided just to take silently the gifts and go back through the same portal, back.

---

1000 moons after banishment, Equestria, Canterlot. Royal Princess Castle.

Windy Spear appeared there and began talking about strange things, like the fact he was being fed by strange creatures. That they gave him some images and some book.

Celestia silently acknowledged that and dismissed the guard.

A month later, after she picked up on the alien language, she made a second attempt to contact with them. This time, it landed upon a war-stricken city, Warsaw. She didn't make it far, as somebody started shooting her with 'strange metal objects'. She did a quick shield spell before escaping into Canterlot, gasping heavily.

Luna would then storm in, worried. The bullet hit Celestias left hind leg, that bled heavily. The older princess was shaking in fear and crying in pain. She would attempt to cast a wound-mending spell, one of few she knew from when Celestia had similar misadventures. She cast it, and the bullet popped out of wound, bloodied. Both sisters were equally confused and scared, with Celestia looking for her letter, but finding it nowhere.

They both were scared about the possibility that the world might be not safe enough for them. But they had no choice, both of them put a hoof on ground, reassuring themselves that if they are going to live through the turbulent period, they would do it together.

---

1002 moons after banishment. 1st June 2020, France, Brittany.

Celestia would know time of her world would pass away soon. The sun seared the landscape, and the moon started to freeze it. She had ordered about every pony to stay home, as she charged a spell with Luna. Her linguistics at English were better each scouting, and so she decided to try it.

"Rennes, France, Earth." She would be barely audible, as the world started to be engulfed by the ever-increasing darkness, around her and Luna beginning.

---

The humans who were in Rennes noticed ponies starting to appear. Confused, they decided to call law enforcement - police, only for latter to shrug. One pony landed on top of a car, startled, and looking around for a tree library. This one was Twilight Sparkle, Celestias own pupil. She still looked equine, which... made some sort of controversy in the modern world, as no one was prepared for equines to land. Slowly, more and more ponies landed in there, maybe even eventual Zebra or two. Or Yak, or even a griffon. The reports were amassing, and French police just gave up and decided to investigate what happened.

Celestia and Luna had agreed that the latter will try to make the places the ponies knew again, and the former would try to explain the strange situation.

The police quickly approached Celestia. "I think we didn't ask for horse delivery in Rennes."
"I..." She would stumble a bit, not sure what to say at first, but her head stopped being light, and responded back, just the police waited for her to speak up, even though she had some difficulties, English not being her first language. "We apologise for such a hasty appearance." She replied back, making the policemen surprised.
"She... She talks!?" They would be surprised before regaining composure. "What a... what are you?"
"Princess Celestia. Once again, We are sorry, but after Equus was fated into doom, only a quick evacuation was possible."
"Hold on a second... how can the world be fated to be doomed?" The policemen didn't believe the claims. Celestia would pull out the book with a prophecy in, and read it, translating it. "Three thousand moons had the world lived so far. Thousand moons will the Equus be dying due to imbalance of powers that lived there. Two moons will pass, and the heat shall reduce the world to fine ash."
"Right... and are we going to believe you just like that?" The policemen would ask her. Celestia just looked at them, pleading for mercy. "Okay, okay, we'll attempt to contact the President of France. Hopefully he's having a break from dealing with Polish freeloaders or Hungarian lawbreakers to listen to some talking horse." The policemen would begrudgingly call him.

And thus, this was how the Principal Republic of Equus came to exist in the World. The rebuilding and the negotiations would be unmentioned due to privacy reasons and unnatural means the nation had rebuilt itself, as it did using the magic.

TBD

TBD

As seen from the eyes of Queen Chrysallis, Queen of the Changeling Hive.

Starvation.

This was bad feeling for me and my hive. Month passed since defeat at hooves of those cheaters. I was so close to the complete victory... yet it was foregone that in a blast we were flung back to our hive. Maybe I had fed on some of his love, but I am not sure it was enough for a hive... I rationed the love between each Changeling carefully, just to not make them hungry.

Then the lands froze and seared. I ordered my entire hive to my throne room. If we were to die there, we could as well die like a hive deserves...

...and then a flash of darkness.

I found myself in... quite fancy city. Every single one of us ended there, we were amassed in a pile. Apparently I could see some gray mountain that seemed to shine and look quite like our hive... it just seemed different. The streets also looked a lot more different than Canterlot that I tried to take... oh, how hard I tried to invade those ponies... first replacing Cadance, then acting about naturally as I could try, then blaming Twilight... then if not for her breaking Cadance free somehow we would've had a feast of love for years, if not for eternity.

I hoped that a revenge would be hatching fast, just like the last brood of the Changelings.
Eleven days in the strange town, eleven days since my subjects blended in the surroundings. I turned to the glass window. The presenter sounded funny, but I took offence of the moving pictures. What in SAKE OF THE HIVE HAVE THEY DONE NOW? I blasted the window, and moving pictures, breathing heavily.

Celestia... allied with the strange creatures... I had to devise a plan somehow. I really had to. During the three days, I had heard from my most trusted subject, Triton, about him, who allied the ponies. They're apparently 'hoomans', I'll just call them aliens.

This should be easy to replace him, he's just... one of many. Yet I had no plan, only information. And the hunger was really getting into my nerves right now. The egregious plan hatched in my mind. I'll attempt to replace him before the conference outside happens. The ruling, the revenge can wait until this happens.

Feeling confident about my plan, I decided to go wherever were his headquarters. He indeed was there, but with some guards. Tch, as if the targets ALWAYS need some guards. I put a disguise that sure should distract them to me. Wouldn't mind me some love to drain from them ssssince they were there. And assss I planned, they got there, I drained them, then tied them and called a swarm there. There needs to be replacements if we can't sound suspicious. Then, I looked around. Why would they overcomplicate their homes? Why their residences look so simple compared to pony? I didn't wait long, as he arrived. The alien I saw shaking paws with Celestias hooves. I immobilized him with a spell.

The plan will succeed, and I will know now what IS next. A COMPLETE REVENGE ON EQUESTRIA! But first off, I decided to replace him. So, I copied his appearance, then looked around for any layout, for somewhere I could dispose of the obstacles... but not before draining them. I ordered another changeling to drain some love for me, so I can feed my hive on their love.

I then locked the obstacles to my revenge down in the basement. Only enough food for them to not starve, only enough water to not die, because then I would be disappointed of them. And they're tied by the gunk, so they won't be able to get out.

I wonder how tasty it'll be...

...I wonder how tasty the revenge would be once Celestia is deposed, and only I, CHRYSALLIS, QUEEN OF THE HIVE, RULE OVER HER PATHETHIC PRINCIPALTY! PAH HA HA HA HAA HAAAA!

The Ponyfication Serum advertisement:
"Are you tired of being angry, tired of friends or simply your own life? Are you disappointed in Celestia for not ponifying people? Do you want to live without ruining anything due to lower emotions? Do you feel like you want to become a pony? If you say yes for any four of the question, then this serum is for you!
It removes every sign of bad feelings. Anger? Forget it, you'll always forgive them! Celestia? Who cares! The feats you couldn't do before? You can do it now! Using ingredients borrowed from the Ponies, you can truly become satisfied with your new form. You never ever need to fight with your neighbours if you can convince them to try it too!
And best for all, it's for absolutely free! Check it out, as the supplies are limited. And to spice it up, first 100 people will get the serum for themselves and their friend of choice!
Call now! [Redacted]"


The reality:
The victim called the number to the advertisers. Naively, they said that they want to be a pony. He had answered to all the questions they had given him, positively. He then was invited to test the serum on Friday the 24th.

The human didn't suspect anything, and indeed, on that date, they arrived at the given address. A van drove him into some sort of a facility, where he was immobilised with iron table and leather straps. They could barely ask why. The FfNE employees spoke that it's just in case there were severe seizures. Everyone left the room, before a fine mist of a gas entered the room with victim in there. The victim, suspecting some foul game, would attempt breaking out of the straps, but then the gas would overcome their senses. The lungs filled with mucosae as the horn painfully spiked from his head, as tail grew out of his lower spine that just lengthened. At first, they screamed in pain, as the changes were both very sudden, and very painful. Once five minutes passed, the serum would start overwriting his brain - namely chemically lobotomise its 'bad' parts, which stood for disobedience and any other bad, unwanted feelings. It would also work as strong anaesthetic. Last, they would feel urge to convert anyone into the Newfoal, just like the victim himself.

The scientists returned five minutes later, and gave this Newfoal a new name. "Hopeful Spring." They were sure of their success, as they drove him into reservoir, where the Newfoals were planned to build the New Equestria. With no princess, with no bad feelings, and all obedient to each other. The plans were only turbocharged by the apparent war between Chrysallis and Celestia, as it meant a free smokescreen for them to do their experiments, now on live population of France.

As seen from the eyes of wannabe Wonderbolt, and Element of Loyalty, Rainbow Dash.

I wasn't sure about the new surroundings. Most of that, the familiar Everfree went missing, so I couldn't do much for Scootaloo. Besides, the other... not-pegasi flying their machines... They flew higher, yes, but not faster.

Not like that was important. The clouds are still great enough to sleep on, and at least we border the salty ocean on three sides.

On the evening, I just decided to watch Spitfire do her tricks. It's... complicated, I'm idolising her, while being the fastest pegasus in whole Equestria. Y-yea... couldn't make less sense.

I deliberately took a day off, just to see her in action. But it took longer than expected. Besides, I could've just flown away to help Applejack. But ehh, everypony has their passions.

It took long, and then... A-a what I heard? It sounded like a thunder. It was strange, the sky was starry, there wasn't any clouds nearby, and definitely I didn't jump on my cloud.

Another thunder... I couldn't ignore that. I was going to investigate that, as since I'm the Element of Loyalty, it must've meant friendship problem! Ha, clear in ten second flat, good times.

It... wasn't what it expected to be. The bipedal beings were exchanging thunders between each other... and... and...

...and I saw Spitfire. She did notice me, and pushed me back. She seemed to speak to me something.
[Rainbow Dash! You know we were busy but for love of Celestia, couldn't you find something else to do? We're under attack!]
I tried to rebuke, but my mouth froze at this one word. [B-but-]
[That isn't a place for you, Dash! You're risking your own life! Already two ponies are gone! Not temporarily, FOREVER!]
[B-but-] I froze... Death wasn't what I often heard of. Especially since nopony talked about it. Especially since I witnessed what happened next.

The exchange barely flew over or under me, I didn't know what did happen. But it was... scary. One thing that could kill me. One thing that...

[...Spitfire?] I looked, shocked, as he crashed in front of two upright creatures. One of them had strange rifle, the other one seemed to be whispering to him. In all the honesty... I could only hear them speaking... Spitfire trying to warn me...
[ Dash! Get out of there! Just get out of their weapons! They're... just fly! I'll take care of them!]

I just flew motionless above the air.

[And you, YOU TWO. You don't really care about who you kill, monsters without compassion! Yes, come on, come closer, I dare you, and I'll buck you all the way to-] I had to close my eyes as I heard them interrupted... they... they...

The weapons were aimed at me after I opened my eyes again. I had no option. I just heeded her warning and fled. The weapons... all the idolisation... and she's... just gone.

She's gone... because of two monsters...

She's gone, because they could care less of who they put away!


I promised myself. That if I catch that creature...

...but I still didn't believe she'd be truly gone. Maybe she's not gone... maybe she was just knocked out.

Uneasy, I slept on top of a cloud., still hoping that she'll wake up

The sleep was interrupted at morning, when I heard the explosions. Startled, I hid in clouds and started to cry out. It only passed at afternoon, where I hoped I could see if she's just knocked out.

How I misjudged that assumption...

From her head, a hole that pierced it... the red, sharp-smelling liquid that was soaking her coat, and now my hooves, was making me quite sickened. I tucked my head on her lap. She didn't move at all. She was stiff. Really stiff. And cold... I started uncontrollably crying, disbelieving it all, moving her mane, shaking her to wake her up, bumping my nose on her body... nothing worked.

She's not coming back...

...and it's all their fault...

...it's all their fault for taking the one I wanted to become, away from me.

I'll... oh Celestia, what I'm gonna do when I'll catch them...


I came back home, to my cloudplace, and promptly fell asleep, still eyes full of tears I wanted to cry out for her, Spitfire. But why... why it had to be my idol... Why she died? Just... why?

As both sides of apple-farming competition recall it.

The life in Poland wasn't quite bad, given one knows how to make profit out of that. Not different were lives of Dariusz M. and Michal M., two pseudo-magnates responsible for more than 10% of apple harvests in Poland. It was going easy, multiplying money they earn on farming apples, by investing on the stock market, lending people predatory loans or bribing markets to sell their 'higher' quality apples at higher price. Back in 2019 it was their fifth successful year in a row despite drought. And now it was going to be their sixth, had it not be for certain headline.
[Apple Family apples better than Polish Apples.]
At first, the magnates thought that it's just a sick joke, some brony hating their apples. They even shut down the TV for 12 hours. But the headline did not disappear. Brothers were going to have a discussion with each other.
"We have a problem."
"Which one?"
"We have some competition."
"Lower the prices then. Surely that'll sink them down-"
"We're not even into harvest season, how did their apples go that high in quality!? And they even create alcohol out of it?"
"No idea."
"Maybe some devil pact happened?"
"Yeah, that's the most probable cause. Whatever. They're not cheap anyway. For each their 'apple' comes two of our apples."
"Hopefully the economics finish them off."
The brothers analysed the stock market, the food price market as well as their local market. Thankfully, after a day it was known Equestrians can't oust Poles from their market specialised in cheaper apples.

---

Applejack woke up with a yawn, stretching up her body. For her it was yet another day at her renovated and remade orchard. Helping her were Apple Bloom, her younger sister, Big Mac, her older brother, and Granny Smith, her grandmother. While they did all their work collecting apples with their natural affinity well enough, they had to sell half of their stock to Filthy Rich.

She made a few warm-up bucks on apple trees, not just for that, but also to harvest the apples. The Earth Ponies had learned this technique since their birth. And when she came home, a human appeared in doorsteps of her farmhouse.
- "Excuse ush, ahm too busy doin' my farm chores right now."
- "It's fine. Mind us though, may we have a few of the apples?"
- "Uh... ah want them?"
- "Yes. Five, for sampling."
- "Well then, yah gonna pay... three bits."
- "Can we pay in Euros? We don't even know what that currency is."
- "Ah... fine. How many ah get from these' apples?"
- "About 50 Eurocents each apple - 2.5 Euro."
- "Yah'll got my word on that."
The humans took five apples, and Applejack was paid in Euros. The rest of the day wasn't especially interesting for her, just a weekly visit to Twilight Sparkle and solving the friendship problem.
The next day was more interesting, as in the morning Big Mac himself woke her up. "Eyy, look who still has best apples."
Applejack looked at the newspaper, in positive disbelief. Her apples were indeed the best. However, the writers noted that their orchard is ridiculously small compared to human orchards anywhere, even in some country called... Poland?
Her jaw dropped off the hinges when she noticed how many apples the country harvested at a whole. She regained only some composure later on.
- "Ah not know what to say... Ah assume the 'tonnes' ar' the meashures."
- "Eyyup."
Applejack wanted to blame it on Flim and Flam, as the two recently wanted to claim her orchard as their own. But neither of them lived in the strange country called Poland. So she just came back to bucking apples off the trees, just like her family always did. The forecast at evening did help somewhat, as the writers wrote 'while we don't know what do those equines do to maximise their harvests somehow, they're still behind most countries in terms of food production in general. Normally, they'd become bust in the modern world'.
Still, AJ put her hopes in the fact that eventually she will outproduce the apple farmers from the strange country called 'Poland'. The next day, the next news. Poles had made their apples worth 20 eurocents each somehow, reducing the prices by 20%.
Applejack could only stare blankly at the newspaper she had received.

---

The magnates stared at the news they had watched, then looked at each other. The... horse was responsible for all the harvests, and it felt funny. To all but them, because being bested by an non-sentient animal seemed to be a point of the shame.
"How come a sapient horse is competing against us!?"
"No clue. We only had them for two weeks, allegedly from the news."
"Ah damn it. The newcomers are resilent and of different species. Hopefully the quantity wins."
"Always bet on quantity." The magnates spoke together. "No matter if prices are high or low."
 
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Dark Sunshine

Spazmatism
The last two lines in Soldier got me there, good job!
Edit: scratch that, the whole last stanza got me
 
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Changing Flask

Terrarian
Update: Current progress on Two Worlds, One Destiny is 6 main chapters, 6 side stories.
Going to use the second post for more TWOD content.

[Note: This post is reserved for TWOD content, if the chapters go past XII]
 

Changing Flask

Terrarian
Surprise chapter!

Alchemist
Part of My Little Pony: Changingverse
The ten commandments of Revenville Alchemist Guild:
  1. You shall not get a cutie mark in order to turn evil.
  2. You shall not affiliate with the enemy and support them.
  3. You shall, by gaining the cutie mark in alchemy, seal your choice and forgo your magical abilities for brewing skills.
  4. You shall not give away your secrets to zebras, for We are the Equine Alchemists.
  5. You shall not be lethal without a really proper reason.
  6. You shall change your coat and mane to cut the ties from the past.
  7. You shall not steal from a fellow alchemist.
  8. Negotiate the time, or negotiate the place, whenever you shall have an order from a customer.
  9. You shall not put a mark of shame on the Guild…
  10. …nor on any other Alchemist that there is.

Effective 951 A.B. (After Nightmare Moon’s Banishment)





Another long day of work in the sunlight. I think I was used to it, after all I had to satisfy my customers somehow. It was a particularly silent day where I could harvest the ingredients with ease, the horn glowing purple and a scythe of my own magic manifesting to cut the Whitestalks for the potions that could help with bone-centric ailments. I was lucky to take a pair of waterskins (more like a canteen for you humans, because we ponies can't use leather) full of water, with copper inside and fabric outside - to keep water warm, but not hot. The sweet aroma of Whitestalk itself is quite an aphrodisiac in equine culture, with enough of it putting a stallion or mare into a bed. Don’t ask me why however, I may be an alchemist, but I’m definitely not the stallion who cares about love.
As for other ingredients - Purple Tulips and Neverforgets, they were also local to my place. The former was a basis to many of my brews - an alchemist always picks their tulip, they say. The other helps with memory, with ten white, long and small petals and seven purple, short and large pedals.Those wither quite fast, but it’s their withered form that is the most useful there. Always leave them at the wet place, but don’t let mold set in, because moldy items don’t seem to be useful in any way, even for ones like me.
And as for me? I am, as they say, the last Revenville alchemist, a master and student only to myself. An unicorn, chubby magic-carrying equine with a blue mane and navy stripe in the middle of it, blue eyes, gray coat and a green flask as a cutie mark. That being said, I trotted through the field, wind breezing and flowing through my mane. At the end of the day it’s probably going to be messy again, but I would only care if there was a customer there.
There wasn’t any, but it was expected. No one negotiated with me to be in the field, and the next negotiation was explicitly tomorrow. That being thought and me being there for a long time, I felt quite thirsty, so I put the cap off the “waterskin” and downed its contents within three gulps. It was quite refreshing, but I couldn’t focus on that, I had stuff to do. So I continued gathering the herbs, until the ruins stood tall and wide. I blinked twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing my past Revenville. And I did. Twelve years after the attack, standing before my past home. It was somewhat intact, so I decided to go in. There were no skeletons here, just charred walls and floor. It was a large room where my father, Mystic Blade, used to sing to me about his tales as a border guard. I wish I appreciated him more, because now he’s just sleeping with stars. We, Revenvillian ponies, had the belief that ones that fell eternally asleep would be within the sky for eternity - clouds were for normal ponies, stars were for closest ones. I put the basket down, and started looking for the rest of the housing. Sure about, to the left was where I and Misty used to sleep. I don’t know if she was still alive, but I knew that she was older than me. To the right was a kitchen, now empty and devoid of anything useful. There was no attic, it burned away, with its remains having collapsed on the floor.
There was something underneath the rubble. The hatch that didn’t burn down like the rest. I decided to lift it telekinetically, which was a bad idea, as heavy air lingered from it. As if no one vented it for twelve years. This wasn’t my shelter, however. The stairs were quite steep, with my parents having a good reason why they only sparsely went down there. I experienced it now, by tripping and face planting on the ceramic floor, a whine of pain coming off my nostrils. There were some rat skeletons, probably starved there, and off tiles. But not those were the most important things there - the wooden boxes were. I started pulling them off the darkness and opening them, breaking the rusty nails. There were a lot of toys - wooden hammers, pikes, swords, axes, shields in one box. All of them were worn down by age, but I remembered that we often cosplayed in the ‘pony against changeling’ setting. Often I was the one to pretend to be changeling, using a pike and a black and large hoofguard, while Misty was the one to pretend to be a royal guard, with a sword or an axe.
The other box had some wooden helmets, one with holes on the horn, and the other with faded away quills. On the very bottom there was a painting. It depicted me, Mystic Sword - a bulky, white unicorn with red mane and a large, golden sword as a cutie mark - and Misty - a lanky, light purple unicorn with topaz mane and eyes, as well as a yellow swirl with a staff as a cutie mark, smiling together like a family would. Or… rather, my past self, back when I was a Morning Star - a cornflower-coat pony with tan and orange hair and purple eyes. The only thing that didn't change was my horn glow. Always purple.
Another box had nothing in it, so I decided to go back upstairs, and look at the rest of the ruins. I imagined that it was bustling with life, a lot of ponies were there. Everything changed.
That’s when I found the main guild building of my profession. The doors were broken down and charred, and it looked no better than my home. No ponies or pony bodies there either, so I looked at the walls. There was one surviving portrait of the pony that started it all - Transmutation Stone (I suspect the extremely strong substance helped it survive flames and decay). He was a legend for being able to transmute stone into gold, dead into alive… well, not by age, but by wounds, yes. Sadly, he was not immortal, and he passed away at his own old age of… maybe seventy years… something like that. Then I found the most recent group painting, depicting the initiation. It also somehow survived despite various disasters happening. I was in there, with my master Shifting Container, an orange mare with black hair. The gray pony with blue hair standing with her was me. In fact, I was Changing Flask.




Seventeen years ago, I was just Morning Star, a pony that honestly… didn’t seem to be good at magic, despite wishes and encouragement from my father. Almost always dead last in magical subjects, comparable only to lazy ponies that didn’t want to learn anything.
My father tried hard to teach me magic, hence this is only why I know some telekinetics or glowy tricks now. No such luck with more advanced magic like a gem-finding ability. And even that gave me difficulties at that time, with floating more than one thing being a non-starter. Not everypony is proficient with magic - and I’m a living example. I was at home when I had shown the latest results of my homework, yet my father just dismissed it as a sign that I needed to work on my magic a bit more, which often didn’t work.
- “Morny, you… just need a bit more training, all right?” - My father was hopeful and protective, sometimes even stubborn about teaching me magic. My sister also was hopeful I would be raised into a town guard just like him.
However, I had a small hobby. Whenever I got back home, I used to mix things together. Swords and helmets, hay and carrots… sometimes to prank my father, sometimes sister, sometimes both. The two did laugh it off, as at most my actions just meant it took a bit more to sort things. It wasn’t until somepony knocked into the door, with my father opening it.
- “To whopony it may be a concern, there’s the initiation assignment from the guild.”
- “I’ll take it.” - My father returned back to my room, and gave it to me. - “My colt, don’t you think it might be a little beyond your abilities? You barely move the objects with the magic you have, and yet you want to get into the guild? I heard the youngest initiates at least know some telekinesis.”
- “Dad! I’m not a powerless pony! I want to try getting a cutie mark, whatever it may be!” - I protested, him letting out an incredulous sigh for the moment.
- “Listen, Morning Star… I just wish you the best, but you really need to know at least telekinesis if you want to be successful. And that timing… Morning Star?”
I ran from the home, looking for directions to the forest. The town itself felt large at the time, with cobbled roads separating the town into four quarters. I came from the guard quarter, as my father was one. Once every fifteen days he had to depart for three days for duties, and we had a replacement pony to take care of us. This time, however, I departed for a mix of both an adventure, like the soul I was as a colt, and a hope to stop being a blank flank. The road did hurt my hooves a bit, so as soon as I got out of the town, with my father trying to catch me, I decided to hide in a nearby bush, waiting for him to lose sight of me. He did, as he spoke something about telling Misty that I stubbornly ran away.
Maybe it was simply true, but I had a letter, so I started following the instructions. Going through the plains and then into the forest, the latter feeling scary and half-lit for a colt like me, made me shiver a little. However, it asked me to take a snag of a thundertree. Something like that… just felt cool to have, don’t get me wrong, at that time thunders fascinated me just as much. Talk about curiosities that are opposites to what we’re taught to do.
Perhaps it took more or less than well into the afternoon, but my search did give a fruitful result - the tree with branches coloured purple and light-blue needles. Thundertree. As I had almost no telekinesis, I decided to try something else - gnawing on the branch. A jolt of pain spiked through, but so did determination to defeat the task. And so it gave away and fell to the ground after one crunch too many. I picked it with my muzzle with pride, and started returning home, but then I picked up on howling.
Those were Timberwolves, woody wolf-like constructs chasing ponies and preying on colts and fillies like me. I had a bit of a head start there, because I did hear them, and so started galloping towards the outside of the forest. Surprise, I had to turn around and pick a different direction, because they blocked a way out. Going through a thorny area with yelps definitely didn’t help me, but salvation came from the… hut. Back then, somepony was there, and I simply barged in. That pony turned out to be a member of the guild, who noticed my stick.
- “I must salute your… unique way to get the snag, young one. I will be your examiner for your initiation. Let me deal with those Timberwolves first, though.” - She would then prepare some type of flask, light cyan and sparking. It let out a loud bang, scaring both me and Timberwolves. The latter fled, and I was just shaky, not comprehending it. - “Anyway, this is the ingredient for a potion I just threw at those creatures. The Crowsbane. I want you to make one for me. The ingredients are on the table, but there is a twist - you have to determine what proportions they need yourself. You have time until the evening, so I hope you wised up for this surprise exam.”
Of course the letter said nothing about it, but I took up on the task anyway, as the mare looked at me. Operating everything with a muzzle and hooves, the hardest part was weighing the necessary herbs and mixing. Everything else was somewhat easy. I didn’t notice a flash there, as my about-to-be master did, but she told me about that after checking the potion. She did throw some of it after pouring half of it into another flask, and an expected flash did appear.
- “Your destiny is now in my hooves to shape, little apprentice. For you have gained both a cutie mark and a passage to the guild.” - The mare then took the rest of my potion, trotting out. - “Follow me and don’t stray.”
She would soon take me through the plains and most of the town to a large and bulky building, with a large, wooden gate creaking open. Inside, two stallions put a red cape on me, so either I couldn’t see anything or that my new body would be a mystery. That is a riddle that I am not able to solve, not even now.
What I heard was the ten commandments, ringing into my head like an order, which I repeated. I also felt the liquid soaking into my fur and mane, changing their colors. That’s while a stallion led me through something, and unraveled me.
- “And their destiny decoupled with their past, they shall be now called Changing Flask, for a flask is a mark of his, and a change being his spirit.”
I looked at the mare, who smiled at me, like she was proud. - “And I will be your new master to train you until you master your new nature. Call me Shifting Container.”
- “Nice t-to meet you, Shifty?” - I still was flustered about what happened, but she had a chuckle.
- “Hey, no need to shorten my name!” - And that concluded my beginnings as an alchemist. I wished that it would last a lot longer, but that didn’t happen for long.




Five years later, I used to be in the same room as the one I was in during the initiation, waiting for an assignment from my master. She arrived a bit late and excused me.
- “Apologies for being late, Flask, my apprentice, but I’m going to be quick there. Some unicorn pony does require a sleeping potion to stave away nightmares. I trust you know how to do it.”
I nodded, and went to my workshop, a room to the left of the main hall, weighing the herbs for the exact amounts of what I would need to make one. It was quite slow to make, but after an hour of cooking, warming the brew up, mixing and shaking, it was ready. I took it back to the master, before she nodded. “Now do it for yourself. I… I just have a bad feeling, okay?” I was genuinely surprised, but from one hour there went three, because I made another one, plus two extra ones. All from the ingredients she gave me. She just nodded and let me back home, before saying something. - “Stay safe, Flask! Rumors only grow that the regent draconic tribes are about to knock in our doorsteps by tomorrow!” - At first, I thought that she probably just wanted me to keep being careful while brewing; after all, the warning felt like a warning not to stray out much. Going back home, sun fading behind the horizon, I saw my father, who also was more worried about news than a chance that I somehow failed to do my crafts. Like ever I could do that, heh. Wax candles were placed about in our home, for any of us to navigate through the home. He had a newspaper levitated on the level with his head, with the circles on the things on the pages I saw, depicting other pony villages.
- “Ravensdale… razed, Drizzletown… destroyed. Many ponies are confirmed missing or dead. And large draconic forces coming to… oh, hello Morningstar!”
- “Dad… I’m Flask, not Morning Star!” - I protested, but he rubbed my head, messing with my mane.
- “I know, I know, but you’ll always be a Morning Star to me. Now, how did the alchemy go today?” - My father asked, which I found strange for him to not care much about it.
- “Oh! I made some sleeping potions!” I pulled one, smiling. My father just let out a short, but happy smile. Misty was also there, already picking a wooden sword and pike.
- “Hey! I want to play now! But now it’s ponies against a dragon! Who will be a dragon?” - She had a strange idea, but I couldn’t agree more that it was kind of unique. And it took the pressure away.
- “Leave that to your daddy, Misty.” - Then Misty threw me a pike that I took within my own telekinetic grasp, herself taking a sword. And we had fun doing our pretend battle against a ‘big and menacing’ dragon that was just my dad. We were no match, him dishooving and then pinning us both with his forehooves and laughing, trying to play as threatening one, yet not feeling like one. Maybe it was just because he was our father?
- “Grrrr! The big drrragon demands you two surrrenderrrr!” - It took place until the evening, after which I climbed up the other bed, tugged a pillow with my forehooves and fell asleep. But not before putting all the potions on the counter.
- “Nighty Misty!”
- “Nighty Morny!”
The next day I woke up, I packed the potions first into my saddlebags, taking precautions so they wouldn’t break and spill on anypony. My father was absent when I was about to go into the living room to greet him. Then I saw Misty being worried about his absence too. Probably expecting him a bit longer than I am.
- “B-brother? I-is he there?” - I let out a bemoaned sigh, trying not to think much. I just woke up and she asked me about it.
- “No idea…” I looked about, and indeed he was missing in the home. - “Dad?”
- “D-dad…? Where could our pa go?” - Misty was much more worried, I was much more hopeful.
- “Maybe he’s just pulling a prank?” - I just wanted to make sure, because sometimes he doesn’t seem to be there, only to greet us with surprise morning pancakes.
- “Maybe? H-hey, a letter!” - Misty looked at it, while I prepared to go outside, remembering that I had about a quarter of the time until I was expected to be in the building.
- “Ehm… I really, really need to go to the guild now, so see you in the afternoon!”
I started going towards the same bulky building, my sister waving goodbye with her left forehoof to me, when I saw a lot of flying things in the distance. At that time, I thought that those were just birds, a good omen to me personally. Now I know those were dragons, in our culture a very terrible sign. So, back when I thought nearly nothing about them, I trotted into the guild, with commotion being held there with many masters and students. Including Shifting. She caught me and looked at me.
- “I know there’s a rule that says that under no condition you should leave the master’s hold, except one. I want to use the potion you have on me if I’m to be seriously hurt. And if you are the one to be hurt…” - She felt sorrow about that. - “No, I just don’t want to accept that, I’ll do anything to protect you from those mean dragons. The pony that had the nightmares was the only survivor of the herb-gathering group. She still felt too depressed to work on deliveries, so there are no assignments today. It’s just because almost all herbs were processed into bundles of Solarflares, Corrosive Retributions and Crowsbanes.”
- “I… uh, see now.” - I then took my attention to others in the guild to hear what they’re feeling. It was fearful, with tensions brewing. Some didn’t believe them, some did, some doubted, some wanted to kick their flanks.
- “Uncle Silver… a-are the d-dragons real?”
- “Copper Gear… what’s g-going to h-happen?”
- “Whopony told you that the dragons are going to invade us? That’s all but a silly thought!”
- “B-but what if some dragons d-do it?”
- “I am ready to put some Retributions down their hatch so they’d rather stay away from us!”
- “Silverware? T-that’s s-suicide! Y-you can’t do it a-alone! L-leave it to y-your master!”
- “I can do what I want! And they won’t take our town without them suffering!”
There were more ponies conversing with the masters, so I decided to look back at my own master. - “Umm… about Mystic Sword, where is he?”
- “He… I think I should tell you the truth. He was called into emergency guard duty. He is guarding the center, alongside other veterans. As the guild, we all have a duty to go to the town hall, and await further instructions from there, should a town bell ring thrice. And no, there’s no evacuation orders there.” - The bell then rang… once. Twice. - “And I hope it doesn’t.”
- “A-and why is t-that?” - I decided to ask, shaking. The truth is not easy to ignore, especially not when the air was heavy from bad kind of pressure.
- “That’d be when the outer ring of guards engage.” - And so, I let out another kind of a gulp - the one that tried to defy that we could be about to be under attack now.
- “Ung… S-so, w-wha-” The third ring occured, Shifting nudging me with the telekinetic poke.
- “We… we really have to go now. Just keep hoping we'll meet again there, all right?” - For somepony who wasn’t above the order of things, she did hope for the best. So did I start. From the far distance, I noticed the smoke rising up, most streets dead silent. For what I hoped, so far nothing flew above our heads directly, and our path to the tree-laden center with a rectangular town hall having a clock tower was relatively clear. I saw my father, wielding a large silver sword, and iron barding and helmet, as he kept the eyes on us alongside other guards with different arms.
- “Morning Star, I just want your attention for a moment.” - My father looked at me, and I trotted close to him.
- “What, dad?” - I waited a bit, before he spoke again.
- “There were disappearances in the town proper. Three ponies were abducted by dragons. All adults.” - I shook a bit, but at least I knew Misty was out of danger.
- “T-thank stars it’s n-not Misty.”
- “I cannot talk with you for long though, you need to go to the square and wait for the official speech from the Golden Watch. You can notice him by his pink coat and a miniature watch as a cutie mark.” - I nodded and quickly caught up with Shifting Container, awaiting the mayor’s speech.
- “As you all may know, Revenville is under heavy draconic assault, led by a light-purple dragon calling themselves Torxon. Despite the threats against us, with them threatening to burn us alive should we not surrender to them immediately, we are not going to lay down our arms to fade away from the face of Equestria. Now, as for a split of the jobs, please split into two groups. Apprentices on the left, adults on the right.” - I had to go to the left, still confused about the speech. There were about seven other ponies around my age or older. The oldest was a few days from being an adult mare. A guard apprehended us, and gave us a red ribbon for each of us.
- “You’re going to be messengers - you will check on each quadrant. From the youngest to the oldest, starting from the north, each of you will have to report on the state of the field. Now go.”
I was nudged telekinetically first, as I started galloping northwards. As I started going closer to the outskirts, I experienced the horror of the fighting firsthoof. Lifeless guards and innocent ponies laid partially burnt, some coughing blood, unable to do anything else, some pleading mercy. The buildings themselves were burning, with a lot of smoke partially obscuring my vision and having me cough violently. However, I saw that there were still some that kept fighting with the weapons they had been lifting with their horns. One noticed me, and the ribbon on me, lowering the arms. They told me to return and state that they need reinforcements. It just felt… surreal to me, with dragons biting and clawing ferociously on the guards, their methods outright barbaric in executions. It wasn’t like what my father did as a ‘ferocious dragon’ - pinning us down and growling to surrender. No, it was different… It actually happened in front of my eyes as another guard’s life spark quickly faded away to a large, orange winged dragon biting onto their abdomen after flopping them upside down.
With no time to waste, I began galloping back to the square again to report, when the smaller, dark-red dragon attempted to lift me up. I felt the pain searing from the back, as the claws only succeeded in tearing through my skin, as I sped up with a cry of pain. I had no time to look up again, and by lucky coincidence, I heard a draconic deathly throttle, as it was impaled on a guard's pike, likely because the latter used a pike to block the assaulter’s way and it didn’t notice the weapon in a trance. Panting, hurt and scared, I looked about. Only five of us (as in messengers) remained, and it was clear I was the last to arrive. A master specializing in healing approached me, and started tending to my wounds, as I spoke about the situation in the north.
- “That may be deeply worrying, considering the heavy losses being sustained by our guard force. No less worrying than three out of eight messengers out silent and not returning from the eastern parts, fourth barely escaping, getting seriously injured in the process. Even more suspicious is their lack of focus on the western and southern parts. The duties shall now change. The apprentices will act as potion supply ponies. The injured one has to stay in the center, as they cannot exert themselves much. Alchemists shall use whatever it takes to keep the fliers out, the guards will keep out the ones on the ground.”
My father came to me, and tried comforting me, cuddling me. As much as it was inappropriate for now, I smiled. - “D-dad, I lived!”
- “Yes, yes, my little Morny. Just keep out of the dragon’s sight, and all will be good.”
Within a moment, a circle of flames and smoke began advancing closer towards the town square, skies becoming orange as if they were getting stained by equine blood. And from a distance, dragons of various colors started closing in from both the ground and the sky. The world shrunk for me to what little was left of it - the square itself. No one knew much about what was going with our relatives back at home, neither could I know much.
The first hit on the town center was accompanied with another bell, as the town hall’s roof was set aflame, three dragons perching from the edge of it. The other dragons followed, so did “Torxon”.
- “My sincere apology for the situation you’re in, but your unicorn resistance has spilled quite a few inches of draconic blood. I hope you enjoy being our smoked treats, because there’s no way out from there any more.”
The taunting seemed to anger some guards, who appeared to charge at him, only to get roasted in their own armor, collapsing lifelessly. It was scary to think nowhere is safe. And there were just us. At a split moment, when the alchemists collectively threw their corrosive canisters of Retributions, however, it felt like we could get away from being hunted by them.
- "Charging out to attack me, eh? I call it a win for me, I am not the same dragon as the whelplings that try to negotiate terms with ponies. I take no prisoners or gold, just your lives. But throwing those funny things you have just seals your choice in having a violent death. Have at you."
It went downhill fast, as despite some dragons died rather quickly with them being hit on the neck, on the head or on the chest, most have dodged, and closed in further. My father was more or less busy trying to chop a head off a dragon with their bulky silver sword, and my own mentor went from using the canister to using the Crowsbane to try and delay the dragons. For each moment it passed, more guards died off, allowing the dragons to pick on the soft underbelly of our defense.
To my shock, it turned out that my own examiner, mentor and master, Shifting, was the first one to pass away when a pair of dragons bit into her hind and front legs, and tore her in half. She still had enough strength to keep herself alive, but I began crying, uncorking one of the sleeping potions and force-feeding it to her so she could at least have a dignified passing. She didn’t resist it, as she let one last gulp, and a look with her fogging up eyes, fading away in front of me.
I backed away from my master to my own father, trying not to share her own fate. Despite the fact each equine death only strengthened our resistance to their barbaric killing methods, by the time most of the square laid dead or burned my father started growing exhausted, and the rest, mostly the few remaining guards, grew tired, injured or sometimes both. Then my own father, saving the rest of his magical strength, picked me up telekinetically, me not understanding why, and put me under a dying pony, before a dragon picked him up in front of my own eyes. I couldn’t watch, and then a crunch happened, when he fell to the ground from height, as suddenly a member of my own family was forcibly taken away. And all the buildings were now ablaze, heat musking through my mane and coat uncomfortably. I was alone, I didn’t know where Misty was, if she was alive, if I was going to have it fast and painless or slow and cruel, only hearing cruel laughter and roars from the dragons. I did what could be suicidal there, crying even more than I did for entirety of my life (I thought back then it would be short), but a chance to cut off my pain there regardless of the outcome - downed a sleeping potion and cried myself. “H-hush hush little filly… it’s time for you to sleep… together and f-forever… happily together…” - Then I fell asleep, hoping for a painless dying breath. It didn’t come
When I woke up again, I was in the jaws of the big, light-violet dragon - Torxon - teeth painfully clenched on my body that started to bleed from it - it wasn’t the stars for me, it was still the world, and it did hurt badly. I would've flailed my body, but he would have noticed that and... crush my head in his clawed grip if that happened. Trying not to be caught on being alive, as well as him trying to find a way to finish me off, I decided to use the last sleeping potion… it worked on them somehow, with the dragon having an expression of shock, and with a thud it fell on the ground, a bit more of rekindled pain searing in my flanks. I took the chance to pry myself out of the dragon’s mouth with the telekinesis, despite it not being as good as my father’s one, and then I started running as far as I could gallop, away from the razed town, away from the ruins. Away from dragons… just to live on.
The other dragons took the chase after me, and I had to try and lose them. Maneuvering between the buildings that were being burnt off, I managed to find some hideout large enough. I was probably lucky enough to have my wounds treated by heat itself, though it was still painful after a dragon breathed fire inside the hiding place to try flushing me out or snuffing my own life spark. I played dead after rolling and thrashing to douse the flames on me, then after hearing the dragons fly away (apparently writing me off as inaccessible), I started going towards the same hut that began it all. It was empty, the forest was empty too, and I had fainted out of both exhaustion and pain I had experienced after it all had worn out, just after I went inside. After I woke up again and patched myself up using whatever was left to hide my injuries and scorched mane/coat, I wandered to Canterlot, I wandered to Ponyville, and even to Marehattan, but nowhere I felt accepted. I just felt alien in those places. So I returned to the hut after the fiasco and renovated it as best as I could.




I let out an incredulous sigh as I shook myself awake back from a rest that had been purely accidental, shedding a tear for who I had lost or missed dearly. Misty, Shifting Container and Mystic Blade. Lightsong Ode died two years after I was born, and Spiral Spade is a gravekeeper somewhere. My father never said a word about the latter, but clearly mourned the former. Somepony did know about Spiral Spade being an apprentice somewhere, as I overheard from the tavern, with a grudge to his own father. I decided to check the time by looking at the horizon - as I saw it, it was getting dark, so I had to return back home. Trotting alongside the roads overgrown with grass filled me with both nostalgia and a sense of loss of my colthood to a thing I couldn’t fully understand. Not even now, as an adult stallion. May Revenville rest within the stars for me… may their door still be open to me. I never felt going under my own knife was a good solution either, so I had lived, against the draconic wishes. Against the wrongs done to my own town by them. Against the fangs that severed multiple threads keeping me in the city. Rambling settled aside, I returned to my hut, and made myself some carrot soup, eating it. I was no Mystic Blade of the kitchen, but I was able to learn how to make various meals - after all, cooking is just alchemy with food. Then I realized who I was making the ordered memory potion to. It is a friend of mine who had some difficulty with her other friend having a broken bone. And their name was Fallacy Logic.
Before I could give it however, I had to make the potion. So I put the whitestalk under the mortar and crushed it. All while making a thick brew based on violet tulips and another bottle of water to heat it up. Nowadays, it takes me half the time it used to be for me to make one, but… experience makes the alchemist a master. Maybe even the last from my town. I just don’t feel like I would take a pony as an apprentice - between all the things that happened, I still have flashbacks to that one day that ruined it all. Sometimes I wish I could make a potion to start anew again, but for me? Not a chance, my cutie mark, my destiny.
I put the whitestalk paste in the hot water, before stirring it up and filtering it with a net, leaving only a thick substance to join up the tulip water and color it bright pink. With some more stirrups, it was now ready for drinking. Sometimes I think about my task as an allegory to survival. A pony does their routine to get through regular days - as in making potions, mixing stuff as means to relax, talking with other ponies and maybe with extraordinary things like what happened back there, a pony like me bucks all that aside and tries to survive instead for myself, if not for my own parents.
However, if I had to choose between having my career and having my family, I’d have my family instead. It isn’t an option, but for a pony like me, who has no family to fall back on, it could as well be an option. Too bad another clause says that the dead can only be transmuted alive within twenty four hours. What’s wrong with trying to do it after twenty five hours, anyway? Probably there’s that the soul will be disembodied from the body after such time.
I tried to lull myself to sleep before thinking anything more, but a ghostly pain grabbed me in the back, with a scowl escaping my muzzle. I still couldn’t figure a fix for the problem, nor can I think about any proper reasons. It always hurts like that at least once a day. Maybe it’s just proof that in spite of my wound, I managed to survive? Or perhaps is that dragon still torturing me with the nightmares, with the lost family, taunting me with the ruins? The question is pretty much open.
What I know is one thing. I am the Revenville Alchemist, and I have my ten commandments. One. I don’t serve any dragons. Two. I will take my own life, rather than work by force for dragons. Three. I have sealed my choice to become an alchemist, and I’m pursuing my discipline rather than magic. Four. I won’t be lethal without a right reason. Five. I am Changing Flask, a light gray-furred stallion with a blue mane that has a dark stripe in the middle of it. Morning Star, the light-blue pony with tan mane with orange stroke on it, had died in the draconic assault. Six. I always negotiate the time or the place of the order to my customers, with a default of three days or default of my hut. Seven, I’m not putting my Order to shame, it’s mine to remember and mine to never forget about. Eight. As the possibly last Revenvillan Pony, it’s my duty to remember everypony who died in the assault. Nine. No zebra will tear the secrets from my hooves, not even my dead ones. Ten. It’s my job to not die and keep the memory alive long enough until Revenville gets rebuilt, after which I will tell the colonists about old Revenville. I will keep the memory of the old town only to my friends until then. But nopony other than them.

May Revenville live on in my memory.​
Rev #2: Fixed pacing of the siege, added the story on how Flask gained Cutie Mark.
 
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Changing Flask

Terrarian
Chapter two?

Gambler
Part of My Little Pony: Changingverse

Dear Union Whip. Nothing personal, but I don’t want anything in common with the likes of you. You’ve literally smothered my own mother to the grave, and with such luck I’m having right now, I’m the next one. I’m not going to write any more letters than this one. Back off.
- No longer your daughter, Fallacy Logic.



The old-looking, classical, yet strangely new tavern inside Baltimare felt like a chance for me. Always, the one thing drawing me to other places are simply odds and ends. Those exist for ponies that aren’t masters of gambling to bet on pure chance. For ponies like I am? They’re just another part of our lives, we determine if folding or betting on something is worth more.
I could clearly see a set of mares sitting on the tables, having some card game. Two (a blue mare with violet mane and a cyan one with white mane) seem to lose their bits to the third (navy coat and yellow mane, with blue wave as a cutie mark), who seemed to play a little off for me. As somepony who embraces randomness and accepts that unfairness, creating one just to profit from cheating is a no-go for me. I decided to go and sit on a flat cushioned seat.
I am myself a lemon-coloured pony with a lime, curled mane and turquoise stripe in the middle of it. My eyes are blue (and not lime), as a difference from other ponies that have their eyes generally match their manes. With no time to lose, I decided to do my trickery on a cheater.
- “It appears like your skill is quite good. But if I can spice it up, then I will do it.” - The pony seemed to accept that challenge of mine. He does not yet understand he fell into a fallacy - as everypony can see, I am a known mare there, not just for Las Pegasus poker skills, but for many other luck-based games - set of dice, and the likes.
- “Whopony is she, that mare does mean business.”
A fellow Earth Pony mare to my left had a valid point about me. I may play for sport, but I’m not watching idly - I will do what it takes to rip the logic into a mess of fallacies. Obviously, dealing me a deck of three and six, visible in a split second to everypony, it felt like a cheap trick. Good thing I usually don’t put more than fifty bits per game, unlike other players. I faked strength with all the confidence, so the cheater would feel like I’m just like those two.
- “Ahem, I think you do underestimate me, ma’am. Five bits.”
- “Seven bits.” - I made a snarky response, with other mares betting the same. Three cards were dealt. No matches.
- “Ten bits.”
- “Twelve bits.”
- “Fourteen bits.” - I decided to match the bid there. When you gamble, you should stay close to a multiple of seven for two deals, then a multiple of twenty five for the third round. Sure enough, she tried to cheat me out by getting me to bid… twenty six. Little he knew I had planned to overestimate on purpose.
- “Forty bits.” - I kept ten bits out of her sight, which sure enough, did work. And I did lose those forty as expected. To a ‘royal ace’. I’m not sure if it was indeed a Royal Ace itself, but I saw that one of those cards was inked. Now time for enacting the plan. The mare knew the commission was three bits each, and she dealt me a weak set so she could bleed me out on folds on purpose. Then I made a bet. - “All in.” - And I looked at how she shuffled the cards. Yeah, she didn’t look like a professional, more like a newbie that harassed poor mares.
- “And then the next thing you’re gonna do is take the rest of my bits.” - And that cheat was blatant enough that she just took all the bits to herself without revealing all the cards. Four rather than five, and she declared a… winner because we allegedly collectively folded, despite us still playing.
- “And then the next thing I’m gonna do is take the rest of your bits-wha-?” She didn’t catch on to my prediction, which drew the anger from the cheater, and puzzled expressions on the other two. They could not see the problem there - I played legitimately, with no ink to change card meaning. The mare didn’t catch on, getting up on the table, just exposing herself more as just an impatient, cheaty mare. - “YOU. DARE. TO MOCK. ME? By guessing how that will go!?” - I didn’t feel intimidated by a pegasus one bit, just smiling incessantly, even as she was about to kick me. I had my own reaction ready. And soon after she did try to buck me straight in the face, I let her hit me, and quickly dropped to the ground, faking a fainted pony. Us, earth ponies, need more than that to faint. - “Hmmph, probably just another rat from the royal guard who just knew about my plans a bit too shallowly.” - Little she knew, I didn’t plan to use this facade for long.
- “From the royal guard, eh? Be my guest. For your information, I cracked your logic behind those primitive fallacies.” - I spat on the ground and got up, giving the pegasus a hefty kick on the underbelly, as heavy as it can be. - “First, your cheating is a bit too visible.” - They collapsed, and it gave me time to take the backpack off her. - “Second, you seem to have an anger issue whenever you see the player unmask you.” I put it on the table so the other two mares could see, as I put the evidence of cheating outside. A pen, a blood pen, weighted dice, set of sixty cards (usually we play 56 cards, 2-10, Wonderbolt, Joker, Guard, Princess, Queen), so this did give the other two suspicions that I had mocked her for the right reason. - “Third, there are four extra cards to give you a boost in the odds against the rest of us.”
- “Waterbolt, you dirty cheater! We thought you would play it fairly!” - The mares took away their share of bits, I took fifty remaining. Then I looked at the pegasus mare that was trying to get something from a non-existent saddlebag.
- “Rats! Stupid Earth Ponies and their dirty tricks! They took my saddlebag!” - The pegasus cried, and I spat out again.
- “It’s right on the table if you had wanted to notice it. And I bet the next thing you’re going to do is threaten me with something you have in the bag!”
She did indeed notice it, and shuffled about its contents… for a revolver. It seemed like it was quite large, having five round chambers and made of steel with wooden handling. Urk, this was a lot more threatening, even for my predictions, as I had no intentions to use any. I left my own at home, a silver-coloured revolver with a cotton-covered copper handle.
- “So, your predictions are indeed right, but they aren’t backed by a proper weapon! Well, you can return my hard-earned bits, or you can kiss it goodbye~”
- “Bartender, Waterbolt’s threatening a mare!”
So I did have to raise my hooves, but not for long. She was then approached by a bartender, a black pony stallion with yellow mane, orange reverse V-symbol in the middle of it..
- “Ma’am, it’s forbidden to threaten taverngoer ponies. Drop the gun and leave the tavern before I call the royal guards.”
I just had enough luck to collapse again before the bullet harmlessly passed through air (I think that’s because ponies aren’t supposed to stand on hind hooves only, and even for me, the trick with raised forehooves was hard as it is). And yet, the mare was relentless with the taunting.
- “It’s suddenly forbidden to shoot them? Come on! The guards would only walk, give her a funeral and then leave!” - I was getting tired of her taunts, so I took a low sweep at her, and then got up on my fours, menacingly looking at the cheat. - “No value of- AAAAAAGH!”
- “Allow me to teach the dirty mare a lesson.” - I smiled calmly to the bartender pony, before looking at the pegasus. - “As for you, cheating mare, be lucky the bullet didn’t hit anything.” - I knocked the pegasus out with a well-placed kick and threw them on a bench outside the bar, before trotting back in and sitting on a cushioned seat behind the counter. - “All right, all done, she won’t have any crazy ideas right now because she is out cold.”
- “Ah, m-ma’am, that was quite unnecessary, I c-could help with t-that myself, and risk n-no one’s lives there.” - The stuttering meant that he needed help, though.
- “I think you should invest in a few bloke ponies then, if you find my actions unnecessary.” - The bartender stallion nodded, but no offense there, I don’t feel like it with him. Nor any other stallions.
- “U-understood m-ma’am. Anything y-you’d want t-then?” - The pony behind the counter said, as I was about to remember a situation that defined me.
- “Yes. A strong beverage. I’m about to tell you what her actions reminded me of.” - The barpony did use an apple cider as a base, but a few strong juices were added in.
- “I call it ‘Earth Hammer’, it can make even the sturdiest Earth Pony hammered after two.” - I hooved fifteen bits to the bartender, and took it down the hatch.
- “So… where to start, then.” - I started remembering the events from the past, just when the lamp was emptied.




Sixteen years ago, in Appleossa.

I was just a young filly those days, looking for adventures like everypony would. Like everypony back then, I had a blank flank, a will to gain a cutie mark and maybe six years of my life to back me. Playing it a bit riskier always could be a recipe for a bruise or two, but I took even that sacrifice as necessary for that goal. Sometimes I tried pulling a stunt on the stage, but no cutie marks in acting. Sometimes it was trying to protect another filly. If I had a cutie mark in one, the plot probably could’ve been avoided, but no, Celestia did not make my destiny as a protector either. But I had a lot of luck with getting away with things that would hurt a filly that wasn’t me and a knack on cracking logic behind the actions.
That’s probably why my own father, Union Whip - which was a tan-coated stallion, an Earth Pony just like me, with an ashen mane, green eyes, and a curved whip cracking to the left as a cutie mark - felt like my fate probably would be detective. It wasn’t. It began in the heatwave when my own mother, Fallen Leaves (an orange Earth Pony with long, yellow mane, red eyes and colorful leaves as her own cutie mark) told me to fetch something from the saloon - a keg of apple cider, to quench our thirst. She entrusted me with ten bits of pocket money then, something I was trusted to spend well. Then, I was the only one able to carry it, although I’d need a wheel cart tied to my back for that. I enthusiastically trotted towards the highest building doubling as a resting place for foreigners.
Back then, a filly like me, found the concept of having a cutie mark more important than doing my job. For the curious ponies, yes, I did watch how ponies played their games. Probably more enthusiastically than the old, boring revolver training or evidence seeking. The chance just felt like a spirit that I couldn’t simply ignore. I didn’t know how I would sneak into a game after all, but apparently some ponies looked for a challenge. I took it as one as well, and somehow attempted to sound more serious. Ten bits. Exactly that was an entry requirement for me to get started.
Luck was on my side, as the dice seemed to more often than not roll in my favor. Also given that I had been watching other ponies, and I had my first victory. Tripled the bit amount. Again. Tripled it again. Again. Ended with the amount I probably couldn’t imagine, and a flash from my flanks. I was apprehended by an adult, but rather than with anger, they… smiled.
- “You’re going to have many successes on your path, but let me give a word of warning.” - The smile suddenly became a slight frown, as he looked at my flanks again. - “Avoid going all in next time we meet. If you ever do it, young filly, it’s a recipe to lose it all.”
I didn’t understand it all, but I did nod, and asked the bartender for a keg of an apple cider. It did definitely cost me more than the ten bits I had from my mother… and at that point I just felt like I had a good gut feeling. With a new cutie mark, a keg of apple cider and a new confidence to share it with my brother and mother, I moved into my home, with the earnings and keg on the wheelbarrow.
- “Leafie! Eye! Look!” - My mother suddenly put me in the wardrobe, frowning at something. I thought it was just because she wanted to make it a surprise? But the words were ominous.
- “F-fallacy… d-don’t show yourself near y-your daddy, f-for me, all right?” - The premise was silly, as I thought that she merely wanted to not come until she signals me. But the next part was when I felt panic in her words. - “H-he… he had shooed B-Blazing L-Leaves after A-Absolute B-Blaze got a-a cutie mark in an i-illegal race…”
That’s probably been a bad omen. I barely knew either, but from what she did tell me, they were a mare and a filly, both caramel-coloured with flame-like manes. The only difference was with their cutie marks. The older one had burning leaves on her flanks, the younger one had a fiery horseshoe, apparently.
A few heartbeats later, my father came home, surprised. - “Okay, I can’t believe there are so many bits there, besides the keg from somewhere. Fallen Leaves, I want an explanation for that.”
- “Union Whip, that’s because our F-Fallacy just had found a treasure?”
My mother was a bad liar, as this raised his suspicions. - “Okay, so I trusted you with upbringing my children, I hope what you say is true, Fallen, because your name is going to be literal if you won’t raise her into a decent mare.” - He suddenly opened the cabinet, me falling off it, as I used the doors for supporting my own weight. He just stared at the flanks of mine, before going somewhere, and back. That’s when my flanks seared from the pain my own dad inflicted the first time.
- “I THOUGHT THAT YOU WOULD AT LEAST BE DECENT ENOUGH TO BE A TREASURE HUNTER! But no, you just had to get that mark! Shame on you two!” - He repeated it, with me, each time it hit, backing closer to the corner, with tears of pain starting to flow from my eyes. - “I give you an ultimatum there, Fallen. Either you discard her personally, or raise Bullseye to give a challenge enough to put her to the end. And I’m not going to have any mercy as long as that rascal filly is living in my house!”
I didn’t know why, but the next blow on my head knocked me out and affected me. Somehow. It could be that I became a bit more bitter or less trustful of my father or whatever. But three years that followed was a personal Tartarus for both me and Fallen Leaves. I had to run somewhere sometimes to cope with the pain, and the solution presented itself as Clear Sky, about to be a prospector in Appleossa in thirteen years. His blue coat and cornflower mane, with a pickaxe on his flanks later on, were his identifiers. Also my herdmate from the fillyhood, I kept him away from the problems he could face. And he trusted me, but only at that point I let it be mutual. I cried and shared my thoughts to him, after that he put his legs on my neck and hugged me as tightly as he could.
- “F-fally? Uh… you made me feel safe? I… just cannot ignore that y-you’re hurt! T-tell me, who hurts you?”
- “D-dad hurts…”
- “Y-your d-dad?” - I nodded, with him having a stare of shock at both my flanks that were bloodied from one whip too much, and having a set of two and five dice on them. - ”Um… Fally, I c-can’t help you m-much with that. J-just hang on… for me.”
I nodded. Sometimes the colt I was a protector of, was also my go-to for all the venting of tears I had. It was like my father never forgave me about the incident, with him spitefully letting me home just for another round of a whipping. And another. I also saw his own descent into fermented cider addiction. The room he slept in often felt sour just to come in, and in addition to my own flanks barely handling the whips, sometimes my own mother had the punishments hooved to her. He never did the same to my younger brother - a tan-coated and purple maned colt, having a pierced practice target in a bullseye as a cutie mark. Often she was crying just like me, promising to smother me. She never did. The closest she came to was when she put a pillow gently on me, then suddenly stopped as she didn’t want to lose me. In my eyes, a true heroine.
My own brother also tried supporting me, but it was clear he did it away from my father in fear of punishment. Sometimes on field trips, sometimes on the orchard. Under the tree was where he made a promise to me, which said that if I was about to be killed, he would disown his own father and shoot him. The revolver I have is the only thing that I have as a memory of him.




Three years later there were no signs of improvement in relations. Worse yet, my father became so unbearable that I had to spend days in saloon rooms and only do my activities while the moon was up despite many superstitions against night wanderers. That’s when Clear Sky rushed towards me, alarmed, in the middle of the night.
- “Fallie! Your pa’s gone utterly bonkers!” - His alarm was believable for me, so I rushed after him, dust trailing behind us, and after arrival, we looked through the lit window, to notice what would break my heart to stallions like my own father even more than he did during three years of abuse I had. Union Whip… he was suffocating Fallen Leaves with a pillow. Smothering her, many terms for the same crime. This time she clearly was looking at me, somehow knowing I was there, as if painfully telling me to run despite barely recognizing me, before she lumped lifelessly. It was really painful, and at first I was scared for my own life. If he took my own birthsmare’s life, he could as well take my own with ease. Before I got my thoughts sorted out, my father was out to get me too, and I began running away, Clear Sky hiding behind something.
- “You insolent, filthy filly! You think that you can keep gambling under my nose and shaming my own family! Stand down, and know your role there!”
I was already starting to get tired, as the stress and the sleepless nights took the toll on my own stamina. I slowed down a bit, after which I felt the rope tightening on my neck, as he would start pulling me back with insanity in his eyes. - “Her her her, Fallacy. Time’s up for fillies like you.” - I wanted to cry, and fight the rope tightening on my neck. I did try to get it off with my forehooves, realizing something. He was… he was actually going to kill me there. He would probably snap my own neck right there, but then I heard a shot from the distance. It was Bullseye, that damn colt of a socked mare that held his part of his promise to me. I didn’t see anything thereafter, as the rope tightened on my neck so much, starved of the air and trying to gasp for air, I followed my mother’s hoofsteps. Miracles… or in my case, just bad luck for Union, happened, as I did wake up eventually… in a cart headed to Baltimare, with Clear Sky looking at me from the other seat. I was… still alive. Trying to brush the suffocation as a seriously bad nightmare, I looked about with confusion.
- “Uh, Fally, y-you okay? Y-you d-didn’t seem b-breathing f-for a w-while… I-I nearly t-took you a-as goner…”
So I was indeed snuffed out like my mother…? (or so I thought. Celestia, who was replacing Luna in my dreams later said that if I was truly dead, even for a moment, she would need to put me into the star’s blanket). I didn’t reply yet, still shocked from the current events. He told me that while he tried to snap my neck, Bullseye tried to interrupt him, paying with his own life as he was the one with a snapped neck, and that he (Clear Sky) first got ropes off my neck, then shook me, hid me behind a building and cuddled me with their hooves, sinking their head into my chest coat, mourning my apparent ‘death’. What I also got was a distaste of my own father, at first disguised as a slight, but a shy laughter.
- “I- heh, I never am gone?” - I wanted to reassure my friend by patting his head. He was probably the closest figure I had to both Fallen Leaves and Bullseye, the only friend left in the cruelty of a chance.
- “S-stop it Fally!” - He would push my hoof back playfully, then breathing out a sigh. - “Anyway um, I guess you know where you are going, right?” - I wasn’t sure what was that cart heading off to yet, so I decided to ask.
- “Where?”
- “Cemetery in Baltimare, looong way away? J-just say you’re visiting my dead grandpa?” - Clear Sky had their relatives there. I bet if I had died there, I would get buried in that city, or at least cremated. In any way, no more Fallacy, but there I am, defying logic and odds. At least I had a hope that after such a distance taken I wouldn’t be spotted by him for all the ponies.
It was a long road to the big city of chances I’m a resident of. I remember that I had seen a lot of different villages, some populated with Earth Ponies, some with Unicorns. One in particular, Revenville, was where we took our second-to-last stop, just a short trot to Baltimare. Leaving our cart, I felt far too shy about the unicorns… or in fact, anypony. That, until one that was a year older than me offered to help.
- “Hey, heyy! We usually don’t have a lot of Earth Ponies in the town, can I really get you around this place?”
Blue mane, gray coat, a will to help… this is Changing Flask, a strangely kind pony at the time I had to stay in Revenville, but now one of my closest friends. He got me around the place, saying where the town center was, taverns, his own guild, and even inviting me to his home. I was not sure how to respond, but he did look at me with cute eyes, so I accepted his offer and trotted to his home. His father was a lot more chill than my own, though he insisted that Flask was Morning Star. Heh, fathers. Never changing their attitude.
- “So, who is she, Morny?”
- “Dad? D-don’t call me Morny! I’m Flask!”
- “F-fallacy… Logic.” - I was the shy one, as the events still didn’t cool down and I didn’t know how I would live with my father being a whip-crazy marekiller.
- “You seem a little bit scared, Fallacy. Anything happened to you?” - His dad also seemed a lot more responsible, in fact, he reminded me of my late mother so much I started crying again.
- “M-mama… gone… papa… pillow my mama… she...” - I’m pretty sure that he did try to comfort me, but I tried not to get caught in the stallion’s hooves, as I couldn't continue the sentence.
- “I know it’s painful to live through betrayal, and even more through a loss. In fact, I had lost my own mare to illness two years after Morny’s birth. I cannot let the stars take away my children, so that’s why I tried to get him a normal job in magic rather than alchemy… but his choice, his flank. Same as you. Your choice, your flank, do not let your father change it.”
- “Dad… choke me…” - I had spoken with a bit more of fear, and he sighed.
- “I guess you’ll have to fight back then. Where are you headed? We have no psycheponies there, I’m afraid.”
- “B-baltimare.” - I revealed the plans, and he nodded with understanding.
- “Baltimare, eh? That’s a small trot away from our village. Be careful, I heard that fillies get lost far too often there.” - I let a small, yet shy smile. He probably won’t find me there.
- “T-thank-!” - I wanted to say, but then another pony, two years older than him and three years older than me came with the soup.
- “Beetroot soup is ready!”
As far as kindness goes, I really didn’t want to abuse it too much. Still, I couldn’t deny a warm meal. This didn’t remind me of anything, somehow. After the time with the family was over, I had to go back to the cart.
- “F-flask, right?”
- “Yes?”
- “S-see you later!”
I let a less shy smile there, before trotting out of the home and into a cart. Maybe the visit to a stranger's family helped a bit for the confidence. This was how I met my first friend that wasn’t from nearby surroundings. Anyway, a day later, we arrived at Baltimare - it felt more like a strange place to me than Revenville and other villages, given that I was always an Appleossan pony. And we visited the communal cemetery first. A lot of headstones. Also strange, considering we just burn our dead ponies in pyres.
- “U-um?”
- “This is just a Baltimare burial for you, Fally. Well, it would be, if y-you indeed died. T-to be one with earth?” - From his tone, it seemed like he didn’t know much about those traditions, and more or less guessed it, but at that time, I trusted him much more than other ponies.
- “Ah. W-where I’ll l-live n-now?” I decided to ask, stuttering from the fear of losing myself in the streets. Maybe that was a herd instinct… maybe just my naivety, but he started trotting alongside me.
- “Ahmm… not sure? The home for mareless f-fillies should be f-five streets away, left, straight, left, left, straight…”
I blindly followed him, not realizing he’s got lost in the streets. They seemed much darker than before. I didn’t like that any bit, given all of it was darkness. And then… thug ponies. One of them had my special attention however, them having a valve as a cutie mark, rust mane and turquoise coat.
- “Huhuhu… little defenseless colt and filly we got there.”
- “Huhuhu. Works well for our goals.”
I didn’t know why I offered to play dice with them, especially with the stallion having a valve. I just… had been pressurized into a bad idea. Well, as my friend thought about my own idea.
- “I… if I win at d-dice, you l-let us go t-to orphanage?”
- “And if we win, you’re ours to raise. Fuhuhu.”
- “F-fally, it… it’s a bad idea, j-just r-run!”
- “Deal then! Hmph!” - I huffed up as seriously as a filly like me would. Mind you, dice were still on my flanks, and I didn’t know much, except that I did it once and won big.
Actually, it was quite easy to defeat those mooks in a dice fight. Maybe it was because I got a good run there, or maybe because they were bad at weighing their rolls. Or maybe because I had the dice on my flanks. Theories aside, they did hold to their promise, and put us in the orphanage.
- “Fair filly wants shelter. Fuhuhu.”
- “Saint Celestia in the skies, Rusty Pipes. You really need to get to a vocabulary school. B-but we’ll take them in. Thanks for your cooperation.” - It turned out that the stallion I fixated my eyes on had a name. It even confused me why he acted that way (and it’s now lost with him).
Orphanage wasn’t really that good, but it was better than my father. Despite that, I had been growing up to be a bit more responsible for myself and Clear Skies, a fellow orphan as I found out. Except that I wasn’t one. I had abandoned my father, my stepmother fled and my mother died there. I couldn’t tell the whole truth, however. I also had written quite a few letters, but never sent them. Probably a mistake there, probably not. Nopony should judge me for that anyway.
Seven months later, some fillies were adopted, some stayed. I was among ones that still were in the orphanage, a part of one pretty small, but tightly knot herd of fillies. And that’s when my father came. Officially to adopt a replacement colt. Little I knew it was to look for me after figuring out where we went. And he did notice me, with him speaking up about me.
- “Also, I need the lemon filly with lime-turquoise mane and a pair of dice on their flank.” - I gulped silently, hoping that they would say no to that.
- “Sure, just a minute.”
So I had to flee after my hopes that the carekeeper would say no for that demand were dashed. I took a letter into my mouth and started galloping, dashing through the streets. My father followed me, and soon after that, I was cornered in a construction site.
- "Why are you fleeing instead of accepting it with dignity!?"
He seemed to demand something, but I found it unreasonable for me. Then, noticing a possible way out, I had climbed up the beams instead, until I had nowhere to go any more. On the highest elevation, on the highest beam, fairly high above ground, it felt like I was literally on the dead end. I’ve never been so scared in my life, and he actually seemed a bit sadistic now to give me a choice again.
- “Either way, you’re screwed now, Fallacy, so give it up. Your little brother only made things worse to save you, the mistake, so I give you a choice. Drop off the building with whatever decency you have left there, or I’ll hang you by the whip. You have time until noon.” - This was only a moment until fate would seal for me. The shadow was almost at their shortest, but… I didn’t plan my own life just to throw it away to appease his lack of remorse. In fact, whatever anger boiled inside my veins, it decided to erupt inside me. I glared at him.
- “Y-you…you aren’t my father! Y-you are a m-mommykilling m-monster! YAHHHH!” - I decided to rush in and headbutt him to make him flinch and get him arrested for being a marekiller. What I didn’t know is that he… he actually held me with the rope on my hind leg, and started dragging me off the beam after nearly falling. I was holding desperately, fighting against both exhaustion and against my own father.
- “Uh nuh. You think you’re that clever. Well then, so be it. If you’re that desperate to cling on to false hopes, I’ll dash it myself, by getting up and bucking you down to the ground.” - I felt him slowly climbing the rope up, so I had to understand something. I was about to die anyway, but there was still a chance to stop the satisfaction he wanted.
- "Dad... if my life has to end... if I... if I have to s-share my mother's fate... then I won't feel remorse for what I'll do next." - In the end… I let the beam go, slipping away and hoping that if I am going to pass away, so does my father, but also hoping I would be alone in the dreams. I didn’t share the fate of my family, as he made a rough, but effective cushion… or whatever was left of him once I landed. I had broken a few bones and fainted in the process, also having been both exhausted and nearly scared. Also, I never really killed anypony, even by an accident until that moment, not even for revenge or as collateral, so the guilt also weighed in the fainting factor, although not as much as pain, exhaustion and fear.
When I woke up the next day, I found myself in the cell, awaiting a trial. Whatever bones I’ve broken were splintered, and whatever the result was, I was prepared for any sentence, even the worst possible. No one could attend it. It’s clear they’d want it done quickly and efficiently. After six hours I was put before a table for them to interrogate me. I told them the truth. They were shocked to find it out that a filly was nearly murdered by their father, but it was true there. Then the judgment came… and freedom with it. It was because of my story that they believed I was a victim that had to fight back. The letter found beside me was also hard evidence against my father, and for my innocence. I wanted to quickly rush out of Baltimare now, but I still had to say goodbye to Clear Skies. I couldn’t yet.
Another three months later, in the spring season, I looked upon the revolver I received from my fillyhood friend. It still reminded me of a gigantic hole that my own father carved in my life singlehoovedly, but I started to live with it. I coped with it by learning many different gambling techniques, by polishing my fallacy-finding techniques and by trotting in the darkness. But above all, I still had been curious about the one who was kind to me. So I decided to say a goodbye to the orphanage ponies, before tracing my way back through the streets, graves and the paths. I wanted to thank Flask, so I came back to Revenville.
It probably wasn’t what I expected it to look like after a year. The town was eerily empty. A wasteland of ashes, burning and embering (as in the fire having retreated deep inside the wood) buildings and lots of bodies of innocent ponies. I started running after the only track I could see that looked like pony hooves doing those. The only track was coincidentally the one Flask had left. He was in the hut, crying himself and shaking, really badly injured. It was like the only thing keeping him alive was him being nearly burnt. I did my best to comfort him, snuggling him. Knowing that it must’ve been hurtful for him to lose his whole town, including the family.
- “T-tell S-spiral B-blade… chlip… a-about R-revenville… chlip… t-tell t-them about d-dad… chlip… and m-master… chlip…”
- “W-where are they, Flask?”
- “I-in B-baltimare… chlip…”
Our ways separated there. I stayed in Baltimare, he tried to go to Canterlot, but seeing how he’s back in the hut, it means he did not feel accepted there. That, or he missed his old town, despite those being ruins.
As for me? I ventured back to Baltimare, where I told the gravekeeper's apprentice about the massacre. Even when disowned, he felt bad for his father, so he ventured back to Revenville and buried all the bodies. I started gambling as my primary job, and made a living out of it. It was my only redeeming talent alongside my odds determination. I had learnt a lot about the cheap tricks, how to crush the fallacies… and I think I got a liking to mares that lived there instead. As in - no offense - I guess I love mares now. I just don’t like to do it with stallions. Talking? All right, but don’t put me in bed or a season with one. Except for other creatures, but that’d be for another time.




- “Another time, another story, they’d say.”
I finished telling it, and from his flustered expression, he seemed to have tried to bargain with Celestia mentally for me to make an exception for him. No, not even Princesses can change my mind about this one. When I say something, I just fixate myself over that thing. No ifs, no buts. Even if said thing is just my own theory, I still get myself obsessed over that.
- “My, my. A mare like you seems to be a survivor. Too bad you’re not available, ma’am.” - Also from the fact I had somehow told it in two hours, without my head hurting, it means that I had quite a strong head to alcoholic beverages, well enough so I could still stand up straight.
- “Yeah, you got your fallacy straight there. So if you’d please, I have to go, I have a beverage from Flask to collect.”
I spoke with some eloquence, before confidently trotting out the tavern, into the city. It changed a little during the twelve years, more carts, glass and lampposts, less shade and danger. Also no Rusty Pipes, he was caught and executed for fillynapping. I mourned his loss there, but he wasn’t as lucky as me to avoid death multiple times. If he had a shed of luck I had, he would be able to get away, and I could visit him multiple times, even for tea time or a game of dice.
After going to the cemetery and paying respect for the stallion in the far edge of it, I decided to go with the way I always knew. Through the path to Revenville ruins and through the whitestalk plains to Flasks hut. It seems a bit archaic for me, but he said it’d do for him, so I don’t complain about his choice. I knocked on his door with my left forehoof, and the door would open.
- "Hello, Flask-"
- “Ah, Fallacy, I think I remembered something about my past. I think I had put the dragon to sleep when I was about to be killed.” - He would smile triumphantly, but I think he either started forgetting details or whatever. After all, twelve years have passed, he can be forgiven there.
- “Yet at the same time you spoke about the fact that the dragon broke the flask and the potion drained down his neck, causing them to fall asleep so you could escape. Get your facts straight, Flask!” - He might seem like he wants to remember himself as a hero, sometimes he changes his words or narrative if it fits him more. - “He was more likely to stop you from going out on your terms than letting you throw it inside his pipes! You even said it yourself!” - But that could more or less seem like he had problems with dragons, which honestly… I don’t blame him for that. He lived through it, his psyche was out when he nearly died, I still remember the first version he told to me. - “Also, the Bonemender potion. I want to use it on Vitrolic Medicine. She had done that again and pissed a pony too much.”
- “Ah, Vitrolic, Vitrolic… I heard a fair bit about her ambitions. When will she stop trying to copycat me and making the brews that do nothing…” - Flask might have problems with fanmares too, as well. It’s just me who has no problems with any… well, except for Rusty Pipes - he is an example of a fair criminal to me, as much as I don’t want to admit it to my friends. - “Here, take it and rub it on the broken or sprained bones. It would help her recover.”
- “Thanks, Flasky!” - I rubbed his head, him trying to get my hoof off me, but apparently unicorns are weaker than us. - “My best alchemist, hehee!”
- “Stop, Fallacy! You’re going to make me blush there!” - He would say, I would leave the payment on the table so he wouldn’t be able to return it to me.
- “Anyway, I’ll be heading back to Baltimare now! Bye, Flask!” - I started heading off back to my town, back to the home. A new home.
- “Goodbye Fallacy, see you soon!” - His attitude is a heartwarmer, but he probably should see Baltimare from time to time. And now it's off with me, to help my bat friend that helped me cope with the world.

It’s a good thing my father is no more…
…he would’ve ruined it, knowing him.​
 
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Changing Flask

Terrarian
Umm... let me see.

1: Species. If it's human, free pass, 'cause Starbound has that.
2: Theme. Generally humanoids have themes tied in to their weapon usage.
3: Preference of weapons.
4: Personality. I don't want to butcher that.
 

Changing Flask

Terrarian
Vortex is a dragon who has tons of weaponry, mainly ranged
Apparently the closest I can use for Vortex is Elduukar. Wouldn't make sense otherwise, haha.

Anyway, it means that guns, staves or thrown would be Vortex's weapons in that verse.

(Obviously this won't be on main universe, considering how strictly it is a FiMverse)
 

Dragonwolf73

Eater of Worlds
Also Draconis could probably work for dragons, assuming you go with the mods that make them full dragons. And I think there are other dragon mods as well.
 

Changing Flask

Terrarian
Sanity-checked by Dragonwolf, presented to you after three months of delay. Vitrolic Medicine, you can stop annoying me, your part is done.

Art of Deceit
Part of My Little Pony: Changingverse.

You would probably ask me how I am doing. Or how was the previous day. Or what I am. Or even my favorite fruit juice. No, I don’t ignore personal questions, I answer all of those! It helps to give me reliability with customers! How do I deceive the customers into paying for fake stuff? Simply! I give them a sample, they use it, go back happier, and I give more of it for bits! I have my compass though. One - I don’t sell false cures to ponies needing urgent care. There, I turn into Docpony Vitrolic, and genuinely give them a treatment! Two, I don’t give false cures to fix real problems, I only give false cures to help them take their worries off themselves! Three, no ‘cure’ has any persistent negative effects. I am a doctor pony, not a poison pony, and I have some standards!



Ehh… I guess that it wasn’t my best day… I mean, four days ago, it wasn’t. My foreleg was broken when I tried to convince a pony to buy a cure to help them take their focus off anger, and I cannot help myself in that state, except for rolling my eyes at my pushing of a fake not working out. Leathery wings or my other hooves can’t handle tools alone to put my leg into shape, and my muzzle just cannot reach my foreleg either.
What I have, Vitrolic Medicine… gone off with that stupid idea to be a bit pushier… the costumer was a lost cause, yet I still held on that! Everypony knows that batties cannot take much punishment, unlike Fallacy! Especially not me!
My own father, Darkblade, watched over me with an incredulous sigh drawing on his fanged muzzle. Big? Check. Cool castle north of Canterlot? Check! Believed to be a pony vampire? Check! But that’s not what he truly is! He is my parent, just like Nightwing! They two wield a curse though, that makes their batty instincts uncontrollable near fruits. This is probably why they wanted to raise me in a way that avoids their downfalls - to not lose myself near those sweet apples.
I probably should first say where are we? Yep, it’s a gray hospital, hoof-drawn ponies from the filly hooves decorating the walls, the wooden, rough beds that are not comfortable in any way (as I really needed to clench my muzzle and eyes just to sleep!) and a lot of light from lamp posts! Baltimare is just a type of a town I don’t really like for lack of darkness. We, batponies, like it dark, because our screeches (we just call it screes shortly, because we simply can shorten it) can help us in navigating castles or caves or other dark places!
I am a mare with a desaturated dark blue coat and a salmon coloured mane. A stroke of purple is a bit awkward though (I really want to get rid of it, though there’s nothing anypony can do about that), but I can live with that. An orange cross with two red strokes diagonally crossing the lines is my cutie mark - my mother interprets it as if I was destined to be a doctor, my father instead believed I was just perfect for deceiving ponies for their own sake. I just want to make my parents proud there!
- “Oh Vitrolic, tell me… did you try being pushy a bit too much about the stallions again?” - He asked me, letting a beleaguered sigh out like a concerned batfather, wondering what happened back there.
- “Um, Bladey, I kinda… yep… got pushy there.” - I couldn’t try dishonesty on him though, he always beats me at that. - “But at least Fallacy got me here.”
My dad just smiled and patted me on my head, messing my mane up… hey, it took like a good while to get it jagged! And he just undid it in like a moment! But I was still giggling, as I knew my dad would be chill with me.
A nursing pony with a white coat and a red cross as a cutie mark approached me, and put a spoonful of a boring meal in my mouth. I braved it out, but I wouldn’t want to eat it much again after I’m back!
- “H-how long will it regrooow?” I whined a little, impatient.
- “As we said, you might need to take a month of rest until a bone realigns and mends. Just be lucky it wasn’t pulverized by a stallion, those are unmendable without serious magic.”
I made another whine with my nostrils, wishing that it was just a scare, but alas it still wasn’t. I decided to look at my dad. “D-do you think I can tell Fallie our stories?”
- “Sure thing, Vitrolic! Just make sure you don’t get carried away with those.”
And then Darky left me on my own for some time. I don’t know how much passed, maybe a quarter of day? But then a lemon-ish pony arrived soon after, waving to me.
- “Hello, Vitrolic! You have Flask’s deepest wishes of recovery! Though he says you shouldn’t be too pushy.”
- “H-hey, that’s my job to do it, otherwise how would I gain enough bits to support you on a bad day?” - I made a rebuttal on the latter statement, because hey, I do myself, I am an independent mare, not a somepony always needing help!
- “Yea, riiight, Vitrolic.” - She then uncorked the vial with light-purple liquid and smeared it on my broken leg, with me making some whines of pain. She’s a bit too rough with her hoof massages! - “Sorry! It has to be that way!”
- “Fallie, b-but it huuuurts!” - I yelped again, trying to get her attention to that.
- “Oh, sorry. I think I got carried off too much, didn’t I?” - She made it a bit softer, but it still hurt. But at the same time, I felt like the bone’s going to mend a lot faster?
- “Y-yea… anyway, Fally, care to listen to my family’s story?” - I asked her, with my eyes staring into her pleadingly. At first she wanted to leave me be, but with a bit more, she broke down into a groan and a sigh.
- “Fiine, Vitrolic. Just don't tangle your logic too much.” - She… gave me hooves up for my storytelling? I smiled, and decided to tell my parents’ backstory first.






“Twenty six years ago, Sylvena.
My dad, Nightblade, was at first just an unicorn with cream fur and emerald mane. Also, he was called Royal Blade, coming from Celestia’s royal guard! (Now he has no horn, but darker cream batty wings!) He also had his mare, Wingguard, then a pegasus with waxy mane and azure fur. Her cutie mark was a shield with a pair of wings sprouting from it, his was a blade with a golden edge and brass hilt. So they were about to investigate the Sylvenan castle, north of Baltimare, under rumors that there were ponies missing. And the perpetrator called Blood Call. You know, a big, meany pony… actually no, he’s the one of nicer ones, it’s just he was one of more or less… cursed ponies. When a curse strikes, the batpony goes feral and looks for any fruit to drain. No, it’s not blood they’re looking for, but the ponies were kinda scared of them anyway!
My parents ventured into the valley where the so-called Blood Call’s big, spooky castle is placed, and bucked the door wide open. A lot of bats flew out of it, and Wingguard had to cover her husstallion’s eyes, because there were so many!”

Obviously, Fallie had to interrupt my storytelling, as she caught something, like… I didn’t give any amount of the bats. - “Okay? I’m just going to ask - how many, exactly?” - She would ask me.
And then I would follow up with a shrug, because frankly? I don’t know how many of them appeared, my parents didn’t say how many there were at all! Maybe just with time, some details just are forgotten or uncountable? Regardless, I would be back to storytelling.

“There were a lot of bats, like it took a good while for it to clean up! They were at the large corridor, bulky stone columns to the sides, and a massive throne on which a stallion baticorn was sitting on. It had golden ornaments, red fabric and marble base, with a bronze chalice to the right.
- “Hmmph. Ponykind. Always getting into my way. We’re not evil because some other species have fangs and drain you, make no mistake. And I desperately needed some… ponies to repopulate our species.” - The pony looked at the adventurers - would-be my parents.
- “Well, talk about that, but you’re still by Celestia’s name a villain to defeat and ponies to get freed from your tight grip! En garde, bat!” - My father pulled a sword, which got pinned into a wall. - “What-”
- “I could have left you out alone if you didn’t try threatening me. No matter what, I still have hope that with a curse you’ll understand our hardship. You understand that?” My would-be dad tried pulling the sword off, yet it kept slipping off his telekinetic grip. Yes, Blood Call was a great magic user, a baticorn, yet instead of hurting ponies, he settled on tricking them. Then Wingguard yelped as she got carried off towards a nearby room, the one with two chain cuffs. (Fallacy: Wait, why would the curse giver settle merely on them?) I wonder about it myself! Anyway, he was about to cast a spell on her, before Royal attempted to cleave them, only to be stopped midair!
- “W-why w-won’t you accept it and let us arrest you?”
- “Because I, Blood Call, am locking you in your new cursed bodies. Watch, unicorn, it won’t be painful for her. And it won’t certainly be long before both of you give in and bite the apples near you like a starving bat, heheh.” - As the Bloodie put one hoof from each pony on the chain cuff, he channeled the spell and fired it, causing both of them to turn into batpones, losing feathers and horns! And they did bite the apple, both of them shocked to learn they became a batpony family!
It took four or five years until I was born, but they weren’t able to get rid of the curse ever since. No wonder that when I was born, my first name I got was Hope Spot! Because they really hoped I didn’t share a curse. And yes, I was unique in that way I didn’t share it. Obviously we were hiding in a cave, because my parents weren’t sure if they’d be able to return! (Fallacy: Uh, why wouldn’t they? I always thought that batponies are legal citizens of Equestria?)
Weeell, no Fally, at that time they weren’t. But my curiosity, when I was an older filly, about six or seven years old, got the better of me… and spared us from hiding forever?

- “Okay, I still wonder why you were hiding in the caves.” - Fally seemed a bit too curious about that.
- “Didn’t I answer that with the fact Blood Call tried to rebuild his family with questionable means? But… if it wasn’t for that, how would I screeeee?” - I decided to just do that softly as a demonstration of my ability. My ears picked up on every single edge of the room, of course, some cracks in the wall being heard by me.
- “Oh, right. You’d be a pegasus or unicorn should that not happen, yes?”
- “Basically, Fally!” - Yep, she’s often right, and sometimes she’s repeating herself or digging herself deep into her own lies if she wants to prove something ‘wrong’.
It was just a little darker to me, but she did seem to be nearly blind in darkness. - “Eh… it’s getting dark,Vitrolic, mind if I leave now and visit you tomorrow instead?”
- “B-but what about the cutie mark story?”
- “Heard that already like five times.”
- “B-but I bet you didn’t hear it from me, only from Trachea!”
- “Oh, right, that changeling. Hmm, maybe I’ll stay a bit longer for your recount.” - I breathed out a scree of relief, hoping she’d stay until I’m finished with everything.

So, like I said, it was sixteen years ago, when I decided to sneakily fly from the cave to Uncle Bloodie. I mean, he’s not my real uncle, but he caused me indirectly, so I called him as such? The castle held no scare for a filly like me… well, maybe a bit, but still none! I knocked on the door, with it being opened with a loud creak. And a hug from the baticorn.
- “You know, Hope Spot, you might need a real Cutie Mark soon, and with that a different name.” I scrunched, as my mane was all messy again, but chuckled from his treatment. He had told me many stories about his adventures and stumbling into the castle and getting cursed inside it. He clearly blamed Celestia for it, but held no serious grudge against her ever since I first flew to him and resisted the ‘curse’.
- “Yea, Uncley, I know?” - I had no success at finding any in caves or in the castle, or even in the wild. He did lead me to some room to the right soon after, pulling a map of the region, and putting me on the seat.
- “I know you’re sane enough to avoid negative attention. So your uncle will ask one thing. Fly to Sylvena proper, the village Unicorns and Earth Ponies inhabit. And try to get a cutie mark. It’s for your sake, not for mine, not for your parents. Maybe as an added bonus I can possibly get out of hiding and prove I’m not the crazy vampiric pony they portray me as?” - I looked at the map, where our dot was, where the road was, and where the other dot Bloodie was pointing at telekinetically.
- “All right, Uncley! Wish me luck!” I screed cutely, as I flew out of the castle, and into the village of Sylvena. It had a lot of Earth Ponies and Unicorns, bustling with life. Though I had to avoid guards, they seemed to be nice to each other.
That’s when I saw the pony break the foreleg… in the exact same place I had broken it. I swooped down, them noticing and trying to run away. - “G-guards! F-filly vampire p-ponyyy!” - They didn’t go too far, so I rolled my head. But the stallion in need can’t escape me.
- “Yeeeee! I feed on heelping!” - I don’t know how I pulled that off, but I had found two pieces of wood and a roll of cloth from somewhere and started making a splint for their leg. The unicorn, terrified and confused, looked at me, trying to knock me away, but I was too small for him to find when he aimed it! And so, I made a splint and… well, my flanks just flashed! I had an orange cross and two red lines on them! I was so taken with joy that I jumped a lot and forgot that the guards cornered me with their pokey pokes!
- “Ahem… do we arrest them? They just helped an unicorn.”
- “I don’t know, sir. They seem to be happy, and harmless. Despite being a bat.”
- “Also, don’t bats usually target fruit stands?”
- “Good point, Halberd Axe.” - The guard picked me up, and put me in a carriage.
- “Normally you’d be arrested for being a vampire pony, but… we saw your prowess with the aid, almost like a real nurse pony would. You’ll stand a trial, but we’ll make sure you’ll be released as soon as possible.” - I was confused. Why arrested? Why a trial? Then we arrived in a tower, and they led me… somewhere to the medical section.- “Take a look. If that’s your talent, I’m pretty sure you’ll soon learn ‘bout all the tools we have. Also, just in case.” - The guards left me an apple to bite into and a book - the one that I used to learn after that. But first, I fiddled with the tools. They strangely felt… nice in touch. But what interested me most were varieties of potions used to lessen the pain. Or make the pony less unwilling for a surgery… whatever.
The guards decided to close off the bay for the night soon enough, under the guise to keep me safe. I didn’t question much, but I decided to use the time to observe all the tools, before I fell asleep, draining the apple off its juice.
The day later, the trial was held, but in my absence. The guard just put me on them and sneaked me away, with a warning he whispered to me.
- “Whatever you do, don’t give yourself to Sylvenaponies until your species name is officially clear.” - I nodded and, after the pony gave me a book I hadn't begun yet, I flew back to my family. They were proud of me, doubly so because I got my cutie mark, though they were really, really worried about me. Nightwing in particular thought of my new name as Vitrolic Medicine, and I took it. The years that passed had my parents split in visions on how to train me. My father taught me that not every disease required a real cure - some sort of a fake could work too to cure some diseases, warmed with a friendly word. My mother instead taught me that there’s a fine line between helping and angering a pony. Uncley Blood? He helped me understand the art of tricking a pony! And me? Well, I had learned how to do proper aid and charming ponies into being helped!

Like nine years ago I spotted an injured… pony-shaped thing. This creature was called Trachea. She needed my aid, but then a big mean dragon shot after me, clamping and biting, and even flaming in the general direction of me. At first I decided to go to the thing, which grabbed me, and showed me its fangs, keen to do something… and I didn’t know yet what, so the panic set in and I had flailed my legs about, trying to set myself free from them… yet obviously she was stronger than me.
- “You’re mine now, prey… hsss… whaat…?”
Then they dropped me down and looked at the dragon, instead opting to fight the dragon, and I was really baffled. Why was I a prey to them? What did I do to make them think so? And yet, they fought the dragon instead with ever stronger ferocity the more it was hurt. I barely understood that, but the dragon was defeated, and the threatening thing laid on the ground, really injured! I didn’t have a conscience to leave them be, so I began trying to patch them, and they looked at me, confused and annoyed that I showed her some compassion. But I mean, why wouldn’t I? After all, I wouldn’t be saved if not for them!
- “Hsss… why you… helping… need no help… hss…” - I continued anyway, after which it grabbed me once more… and then something clicked! She actually let me go with a scoff. - “Hmmph. I’ll find different prey.”
She turned out to protect me often in situations where I got into trouble. Too bad a year ago she got caught by the royal guard for draining a lot of ponies prior to the arrest. She sorta was my closest friend… no, second closest to you. You had been in sorta similar situation as me - not exactly accepted by society, yet doing it against all the odds. So this makes it six years, when I met you in a Baltimare. Ah, you and your gambling… you did invite me to the game of Appleossan poker like an innocent mare. In fact, you needed me as a fluke.”






- “Well… sort of. Remember the moment when a cheats-stallion got angry at you and nearly beat you down until you were about to be a cheap skelepony costume after a time?” - I would recall the situation from before, much to my lemony friend’s confused glare!
- “Unh… Vitrolic, we… you’re strange sometimes with your speech. Like… I don’t get why you make it seem like a joke!”
- “Well, because unlike you or Flask, I had a relatively calm life? I mean, I heard from you that Flask lost his only parent and is living in some hut somewhere near ruins of… uhh…”
- “Revenville?” - She would respond to me, as I kinda froze up here. I know that the unicorn friend lived somewhere, but Revenville alwaaays slipped from my memory. So, I nodded and continued telling a story.
- “Yeah, that! So, in the middle of them beating you up, I asked them cunningly. ‘Ummm… kind stallion, need a medicine to keep your anger at bay?’ They answered ‘NO! Well… actually, yes. That mare got me so angry I almost choked the life out of her.’ So I fed them the ‘medicine’ and… well, it worked like a charm! They backed off, and sighed, leaving you be!”
- “S-stop making a cheap joke about that, Vitrolic! I could've died there if your gambit failed, you understand that, right?” - She would roll her eyes… well, I probably could prove my ability to convince ponies, right? She is a silly pony, thinks everypony can see through other ponies… because she does.
- “Uhm, but it didn’t fail?” - I looked at the night sky, and back at my foreleg.
- “Yeah, lucky me I guess. I’ll go now, just catch some rest and your leg is going to be better.” - Then Fallacy started heading towards the door. - “Good night, batty!”
- “May Luna take you under-”
- “There’s only Nightmare Moon, silly filly! Luna was corrupted and then sealed by her sister Celestia, Vitrolic!” - That goodbye always made me wonder if Luna would ever come back… but I still hoped so, as I let out a soft grumble.
- “Aaaw… good night then.” - I decided to rest and sleep, preparing for the very day I could give them a live action take of my own tricks! And I also wished for the day Fallacy stops calling Luna the Nightmare Moon. That’s just a silly name for her! It’s not like she has given me any nightmares so far!

The next day, lazily stretching up, I noticed the foreleg didn’t hurt at all. I already missed hanging from the tail though, it always makes me sleep better after an exhausting day or night. I started trotting off, only for a nursing pony to notice and try putting me back in. - “Nonono, you have to rest, young mare. You still have to, your bone-” - She looked at my own leg curiously. - “-wait, how did- when did- what did-!?”
I simply screed a bit innocently, as I was in an awkward grip, the Earth Pony still holding me by shoulder pits. She let me go soon after, still confused. “Hmmph… so not a month.” I jolted out soon after, with a mare trying to protest my vigor, but I know better than stopping! I just had to find Fallie to thank her and follow up on my thoughts from yesterday to show Fallie how do I trick a pony?
So I went out of the nursery and into the streets, where I started to look for the lemony pony again. I think I had bumped into some ponies though in a rush.
- “Watch it, batty!”
- “Watch where you’re galloping, stupid mare!”
All the buildings just seemed… too samey, like… there were no details in them, like cracks and rough edges in caves or a lot of echoes in castles. Even the edges felt a bit too rounded to me. As I was internally complaining about the city, I had bumped into her too, but that caused me to fall, as I kinda was pushed on a stray wheel that I tripped on.
- “Geeh! Sorry!” - I looked from below at my friend, clearly not amused. She waited until I got up, and sure enough I did, with my face showing that I really was too impatient to wait.
- “Vitrolic, did you daydream again? I mean, you might need to get those under control soon, because you bumped into me, and Earth Ponies cannot be easily moved.”
- “I-uhhhn… yea?” - Mayyybe a tad bit too daydreamish for my own safety, but at least I didn’t sprawl helplessly, asking for trouble. Yeah, it happens way too often, especially near the stallions.
- “You might really need to stop thinking and watch the road from time to time. After all, whopony knows what would happen to you next? Like the misadventure with my father? Of course, I had a bail out of the arrest card-”
- “Umm… I thought you were sentenced and had to serve the time?”
I think I broke Fallie, as she blankly looked at me… and I was proven wrong on that thankfully, as she was asking me by then. - “Wait, when did you hear that?”
- “Oh, me? When we first met, silly filly!” - She seemed to be still confused, denying it.
- “First time speeches don’t count though, they could be made upon pressure.”
- “Your first one wasn’t?” - I still remember the time she told me how she learned those tricks from the dungeons. And she seemed to sigh.
- “Even I am not infallible, Vitro… I guess I simplified that part of my story to the bartender a bit.” - She chuckled heartily, and so did I. It is always nice to have a friend like her, as it kills the boredom from an otherwise bland town.
- “I know? But also you didn’t seem to be punished much by that?” - I recalled the one I helped could use her tips for living in the cell. - “Maybe you could tell my other friend how to live in the dungeon?”
- “Honestly… not everypony has to use my ways to live in the cells, because if everypony did, how could I hold a monopoly on breaking ponies logic into fallacies?” - She appeared to be rather unwilling to share her ways, but for me… honestly, it’s fine. It’s not like I could share my ways with everypony, just my closest friend!
- “I see. Mind if I show something to you?” - I decided to change the topic to something I am an expert at - making ponies happy by conning them into curing themselves!
- “Sure, but it better doesn’t involve a really sick pony being cheated there.” - As she spoke, I made sure to look for anypony that looked slightly sick… you know, coughing, sneezy, all those things.
Well, here he was, a juvenile Earth Pony stallion who had been coughing, lavender coat and white mane. Probably also learning stuff, since he had saddlebags full of books… or so I thought. Well, he wasn’t carrying any, just some hollowed covers! But I can cure the laziness, just she waits!
So I approached him, and with a sweet voice, I spoke out, trying to reach him. - “Aaaaaw, a poor little colt having some little cold? How cooould I help with that?”
He clearly seemed to glare at me, as if I wasn’t really needed, but umm… that’s just juveniles doing that, I guess, to focus away from their problems?
- “C-can you all stop trying to care for me? I am not troubled!” - That would be let with a scrunch and trying to sound angry… I still don’t know how to be angry, after all, nopony ever tried to do so on me? At most, well… they would likely pass it off. - “And stop acting! I-I’m just a bit s-sick!” - Then he would realize and sigh, defeated by cute and batty me! - “All right, okay, I’m sick.”
I was ready to make sure he wouldn’t try to skip another day, so I decided to quickly sneak in a motivational letter to a package that also had some syrup on it, and gave the package to him.
- “Aaaand here, hopefully you do see the receipt inside the package. Also, have a nice day!” - I waved at him, as he begrudgingly put my ‘medicine’ in his saddlebag and left the area. For me? That’s just my job to make sure mares and stallions don’t feel bad! But now I feel a bit bad for Trachea, seeing how she’s still in Canterlot and needing some… help breaking out? Like a buyout or something? So, I decided to ask Fallie something.
- “Fally, do you have enough bits for the buyout? I think it was like three… four hundred bits.” - And then she shook her head. Aw come ON! How much did she lose gambling again that Flasky or I, or even Firey had to bail her out again?
- “Nope, three fifty bits.” - Well, at least she had no unlucky spree now. Then… well, something happened and there was a screaming pegasus, that went crying. So… I decided to investigate that… and nope, they weren’t acting, they indeed were trying to reach their muzzle to their wing to soften the pain here! So, at that point, all the fakes went out of the window, and the genuine help I decided to offer! Even without my saddlebag, I would try reaching for Fallies to see if she had anything! While she was slightly leering at me for unpermitted shuffling about, she did at least understand that I was looking for anything to splint the thing that was broken…
…unh, in some ways there were more than one broken thing, as slightly tapping both a left wing and right upper foreleg was met with pain of that stallion. Calm now Vitro and do the job… calm down…
As I made a splint from some cloth Fallie had and some stray branches (I had to break some of them from the trees, drawing a bit of ire… but in the name of medicine!), the pegasus would start calming down and look at me wondering when I’ll be done. And I was done, soon enough, so I decided to call Fallie and have us two carry them to the same hospital in Baltimare as I landed in, putting him on the bed and avoiding any more pain.
- “Broken leg and a wing, but shouldn’t be too much now. Maaybe a time off from flying, but I think mister would know about this after all!”
The nurse would come as soon as I spoke to them, a bit confused on how I managed to do that.
- “A cutie mark in medicine, silly mare!” - I would respond in kin, but she had more questions.
- “But then… but then why did you land here with a broken foreleg, then?” - The nurse had… slightly valid question? Because Fallie could’ve come with me to Flasky’s place, but then I would probably sneak an aphrodisiac in his soup… and I blushed a bit from my train of thoughts of what could’ve happened next… Trachea would be happy to be fed… but not now, silly Vitro.
- “Because nopony can help themselves if they have no means to do that, silly nurse!” - In some sense, she had conceded that, as I was right here. Without Flasky, it would’ve been at least a month without galloping or doing anything seriously without using the wings instead… and I can’t fly non-stop!
As I was rewarded for helping, I went back to Fallie and decided to mix our money together. Exactly… four hundred bits! Trachey will be freed now!
- “Also, minus ten bits for a pair of scarves that you used up to stabilize the stranger pony with.” - Or not now, as she immediately goes into the shop and buys them, so… we’re left with three ninety? - “Or not, I had ten more bits than I thought I had. Well, let’s go, let your friend free.”
My hopes weren’t dashed, as I immediately decided to tackle-hug Fallie, her cuddling back to me. - “Fallie, you’re the best pony… t-thank you…” - As we continued cuddling, we were met… with a stallion… I thought it was Flask, but Fallie didn’t let go, so I flailed my hooved legs helplessly now. - “Let me cheeeeeeeeck them out!”
- “Nope, it’s not Flask.” - Disappointed again, I wished for him to at least come from his hut once a week. Oh well, I guess it should change soon, once he visits Baltimare…? If he visits it at least?
- “I really wish he would go with us from time to time, though?” - I replied back, as he really does miss out on all the fun otherwise, but Fallie just rolls her eyes, like I was just wishfully thinking.
- “Look, Vitro. As much as I’m concerned about him, he has an actual job to do - making potions, one of which he gave to you. We can just move on to Trachea… but first… you mentioned about your… friend being locked up in Canterlot, right? How am I going to be sure that they’re your Trachea and not for example yet another ordinary lovesucker? After all, you… didn’t share those details” - And then my eyes went wide - of bucking course I forgot to say details about my friend!
- “I thiiink that I know… purple eyes and carapace about… I think between flanks and shoulders? And a jagged mane, of course.” - Still not used to naming… her anatomy, I think, because I’m far too familiar with a pony one. And yet, she did nod.
- “Well, this leaves a map, which I do have, of course, a week or two of trotting to Canterlot, and maybe a week or two of supplies… which are back at my home.” - She would then lead our way back to her home…
And after a quarter of an hour passed, we arrived at the cobbled, little darker street where the home was. It was quite fancy, unlike the rest of them. Maybe from outside it didn’t stand out, but inside, I gazed at all the things she had in awe. Like… that was a lot of them - cards, and what not… and she always had a new thing to show to me, even a dice or a card or whatever.
- “Found the other cheater yesterday night, when you were sound and asleep, tried to scam me into an insurance for you for two-fifty, so I decided… naturally, to dissect a lie. And what she said? She wanted to duel me at cards. So obviously, stacking odds against me, as a dealer has an advantage. They always have one - they can peek at their cards, and then say they play it fairly. Or sneak another set of the cards. And yet, either they were bad at their scamming job or they didn’t know how to cheat, as I did dissect their behaviour in cold fallacies. First one. She always started with an ace. Knowing I had another one, I waited until the second ace was used… to even the field. Second one, she always seemed to use sevens, and even claim they best everything. Since I didn’t have any cards higher than eights in that game, obviously, I sacrificed all the cards except for two eights to save the ace. And she actually started celebrating her victory… but not so fast. So, I had called an ace in the exact same moment as she did. And she thought I was cheating, since she thought I already had lost an ace. And I did not. Alas, when…”
I wasn’t paying attention to the rest of her story, as I decided to look about, and dig my fangs in a nearby apple in the basket, suckling the juices from this one dry, smirking innocously as I did. Of course, after her telling the story, she arrived, and looked blankly.
- “Maybe I overdid my story here… whoopsie, should’ve been making sure you’d listen!” - She would giggle a bit, and so would I, given I don’t necessarily try listening to all the things, just to the ones I need to. - “But for real, it’ll take some time trotting to the mountainous city, so let’s pack the supplies now.” - So we did, shortly after Fallie made a remark for it. I was packing waterskin, dried fruits… because even while fresh apples do work, they rot away far too quickly to be practical. And Fallie packed up the small bales of hay, waterskins and dry loaves, I guess also for longer journeys. We cannot digest grain or hay, but she can, that’s a difference. She also had to pick up some of her ‘tools’ to do some fun with, with me staring at her confused.
- “I thought we were only to pay it for the guards, Fallie?” - She would shake her head.
- “Nope, maybe to also get some bits back from that whole ordeal in that place. After all, I… I just don’t really recognize what Trachea is.” - Silly Fally, but she’s right, she cannot know what I don’t know… mostly, and it’s about my friends. So… after a bit of making sure we were ready to go into Canterlot, we went out of the front door and started trotting our way out, setting up camps for the nights that would come, with me resting on a branch and her on the ground, like how we sleep usually. Probably nothing eventful would happen on our way… but she always said to watch my rears… because what, some stallion would sneak on me? Ah, silly Fallie and her even sillier ideas. But then, after four days of trotting, she was proven right. So… we were ambushed by a stray group of big meanie Graybeasts… I mean, I made that name up, but really, they were gray, acted like wolves and were a bit bigger than me… and yet Fallie had little trouble defending us from them… unlike me, who promptly collapsed out of fright and fainted.
So when I woke up, Fallie was panting, with cuts across her thighs… and well… there was a burning pain on my fores… bitten. I quickly used up the scarves to block the thighs from bleeding after treating them with water, then cleaned the bite from my upper foreleg. Couldn’t do much for myself, and it still hurt like Luna forsaken and b-bleeding, but I could manage it. After all, it didn’t bleed that much.
- “Anf… we need to gait away before those wake up and begin chasing up. I think we’d better hire a chariot back home to Baltimare once we’re done, because that… was kind of embarrassing. A mistake to be exact, to try going on our own.”
While I was a magnet for trouble, and Fallie was just a big, tough mare that protected me sometimes, neither of us had anything to say against the wilderness, I guess? So, we quickly started gaiting away, with us getting in the old… shack. Totally not a complete ruin, a fine place for me even if creeping the Earthie a bit.
- “Vitrolic, a-are you not s-scared of t-the random s-shacks out of n-nowhere?” - I broke a sweat, although I was more worried about her than the building. Living in abandoned places or caves taught me that the superstitions about ruins… are simply silly.
- “And why would I? It’s not like there’s anything to meet us other than cover from the outside?” - I would quickly rebuke, but it would make Fallie a bit more uneasy. To make things a bit worse though… we miscalculated the food amount. I think we were about to run on empty for a few days. Not bad for her, since she still can graze, but not exactly good for me, as I don’t know how to forage! Flasky did try to teach me how to do it, but alas, he simply couldn’t, I kept picking poisonous herbs with no use! Or the Poison Joke and then rubbing it on him… of course I would also be affected, but him speaking with the voice of a mare was always funny to hear about… if I wasn’t constantly hiccuping along his mare voice grumbling and getting us two a cure for that one. Sweet Luna, that… was the funniest thing ever… if she watches us from the moon, of course!
- “Ungh, we still have to clean up the rubbish inside that shack if we’re to spend the day in hope of us avoiding those beasts, and then going on further on.” - Fallacy would then interrupt my daydreaming, as I would shake my head quite violently, scree a bit and get on moving the rubbish into the corner. In all, there was a hay bed, it clearly needed quite a replacement for the hay, a wooden beam that I don’t really trust, some pictures of some ponies, overtaken by moisture, since I don’t really recognize what they are, then there was a wardrobe that had all the clothing… only one of those would work for covering my wound, as I rip out a piece suitable to do that from a half-rotten dress, and cover the dried bite mark with the piece that was sturdy enough. Here was also a shallow log for sitting… and I really hope we wouldn’t have to spend more than one day living here. It’s not even about it being spooky at all, it’s about my tummy, and the fact it would demand food.
Looking out of the window, those Graybeasts were already awake now and, as some of saliva built up in my throat from the fear, I let out a hearty gulp. We cannot fight them in our current state, though.
- “Fallie, Grays outside, what do we do?” - She would then move the ruined things to block the doorway and the window… hopefully they don’t notice us. The cycling would continue for a fair bit, while Fallacy would fiddle with the dice and cards.
- “Well, that’s great. At least you would appreciate that I had an unplanned help for the boredom!” - She would already be shuffling them, inviting me to play indirectly… and what else could we do anyway? Sit here silently or listen to our stories endlessly?
- “Aaaand you mean cards, right? You’re shuffling them, maybe I’ll try that once again? I’ll beat you to it, just you wait!” - While hopeful, I lacked experience that she had to beat her… well, if luck wasn’t a concern to us. - “And if I win, you check out the hatch I just saw under the…” - I took a minute, as I clearly did see some cuts in wood, but… the question was - where? And I found that one. - “Under a counter we just put in front of the door!”
She nodded, understanding, as she smiled heartly to me, but then added a fair condition. - “If I win, you scout that first. And no screeing to help yourself with.” - Maybe not that fair, but she didn’t scree and wasn’t able to locate things with that, so… good enough. And yet, I predictably lost the game, after wasting a ‘good opportunity’, as she spoke about the Princess situation.
- “I really was holding back, and you somehow still lost. Well, I think you shouldn’t have used an ace as a second card in a tri-card battle, because only third card wins.”
- “But-but…” - I wasn’t sure why I made such a blunder… I guess I’m not a good player, and I grumbled, as in saying to myself - good job, Vitro, you made a mistake that made you lose. - “Grrrnf, FINE! I’ll do it, then.” - At least I’m fair enough to do my job, and while screeing helps, in twilight we still see just as correctly as in full light… because we don’t really see well enough in sunlight, I guess?
Helping myself with wings, I lifted the hatch up, as howling came closer to our place, seemingly everywhere! And quickly screamed like a little filly when I saw a pony bones. I mean… it would’ve been a fine scare for Nightmare Night, but it’s way out of the season! Still, I think I disturbed Fallie enough to come in… and make a statement calmly.
- “Calm down, Vitro, it’s just bones, not a giant oversized rat or something.” - As she said so, I slowly was encouraged into booping the bony skull… and… nothing happened, so I calmed down.
- “H-heh, I never had seen a skelepony before… I mean, in anatomy books, yea, but…” - my ears pick up on the door being broken from the outside, and the hatch closing up, trapping us in the darkness.
- “Okay… you can scree, I can see nothing.” - Fallie let a sigh, and I let out a sad scree, still picking up on some surroundings… and here was nothing to light a basement? Come on, Vitro, is there even anything here other than bones, boxes and barrels? There… there was nothing here!
- “Can’t pick up anything to light up for you… so this means… we’re in a pickle?”
- “Not any pickle, I’m afraid.” - She would dash my hopes for if that was just gonna be a moment and it’s over. Because the howling and scratching isn’t stopping. And since we can’t see each other, we settled on sitting down. - “Ya un ah’s dun it.” She would speak in… umm… was it her native tongue? - “Alas, we’re in a big pickle… and here’s nopony going to free us… so what’s the plan here?” - She would ask me, after which, I screed, confused while letting a movement with my shoulders, to signal a shrug. I had no idea what to do here… and I’m afraid that not even her statement is a good metaphor to our situation.



We’re in a veeeeeery big pickle, Fallie…
…and either we try to break out, or hope they go away.
 
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