posted by NocturnalMirage
Fiery waves – the ups and downs of Summer Pride
Chapter 11: Meltdown
I ran off into the dark, cold night to clear my head and to decide what should I do with Ricochet. The changeling stallion clearly expressed his প্রণয় to me, but his act sent me into a deep pit of perplexity and despair. Up to that point, I never did consider him as a possible suitor and I needed some time alone to think it over...
Yes, I see আপনি have প্রশ্ন again. Well, আপনি better ask them, before I সরানো on, because this পরবর্তি part will not be pretty. All right, first of all, the hive mind... that did not exist yet; this was the era of free changelings. They were a very young race, only a few generations had evolved to the form we all know. For hundreds of years they've been living in their underground kingdom, as I ব্যক্ত and the crystals which provided them light and warmth to grow food, also radiated with a strong magic, which eventually altered them. They were once ইউনিকর্ণ like us, but became something different. I still always see them as ponies, no matter what they call themselves. The appearance of the কুইন caste was far away in the distant future at that time; the changelings were independent, free spirits back then AND, to answer your সেকেন্ড question, no, they did not need প্রণয় for sustenance. To disprove the old টাট্টু legend, let me tell you: the individual Equus Insecta does not need প্রণয় to survive, only the কুইন needs it. This dominant caste enslaved their own race with their congenital mental powers. If all the Queens in the world were to be destroyed, the changelings would be free once again... I just wanted to let আপনি know all of this before আপনি প্রশ্ন my motives. Because what I've done later in the desert... I've done for them. To avenge my changeling বন্ধু to be exact.
So as I said, I left our camp to get some fresh air and think about Ricochet's proposition. I don't know how far I got অথবা how long was I in the dark. I didn't feel the need even for a simple illumination spell, I let the darkness মোড়ানো itself around me, and it felt good. It helped me calm my swirling emotions. I was undoubtedly sunken into my thoughts, but I'm sure I would have heard the screams if there were some. Loud noises can travel a large distance in the open fields and as আপনি know, my senses are quite acute.
But when I returned to the camp the sight shocked me. There were signs of struggle everywhere; debris, scattered equipment... and everything was silent. Too silent. I called for Ricochet, but there was no answer, except the echoes of my own voice. A sudden sense of worry began to overwhelm me. It was very dark, even the Moon was hiding behind a thick layer of ebony clouds. The gloomy light of my horn was not enough to খুঁজুন the premise in detail, so I preformed a flare-spell. Just in case if you're not familiar with it: it's basically a medium sized sphere of magic, with a very bright glow. If আপনি send it high enough in the air, it can illuminate a very large radius. When the scarlet light of my magic enlightened the area, I immediately saw it: the lifeless bodies of the changelings. I sensed the lack of magical aura that surrounds us all, that's how I knew they were gone...
I will not go into the ghoulish details, but let it be enough, that even my stomach turned upside down because of the horrible sight and I'm not exactly the টাট্টু who faints at the mere sight of a blood drop. At first I thought it was a sudden attack দ্বারা bandits. But our supplies were intact. The flaring orb of my magic died out and darkness settled on the land once more. I sent up another one to examine our destroyed camp even further. I've spotted some tracks in the sand. It pretty much seemed like it was a manticore attack. I lowered my head in sorrow, I didn't want the changelings to end this way... especially not Ricochet...
I don't know for how long I cried... the thirsty, dry earth drank up all the tears I've shed. Then I evaporated the remains with magic, according to the Insecta tradition. They never bury their dead in the ground, because they believe the negative aura of the decaying body makes the plants wither.
I was about to leave the place, but an unexplainable inner instinct made me turn around. I looked at the tracks in the sand once more. They did indeed resembled a manticore's paw... yet something wasn't right. They were too organized and too many. Manticores never hunt in packs, they are vicious, but lonely predators. This aroused my suspicion, so I grabbed some supplies and decided to follow the tracks. I kept the light of my horn as weak as possible, for I knew I could be spotted from miles away in the open landscape.
It was almost dawn when I reached a larger dune. When I climbed it, I was surprised of what I saw. It was a camp, consisting of crudely built, but effectively camouflaged huts. And the tracks were heading right there. As I looked closer, I've seen several figures in the distance. They were moving like manticores, but those creatures are not intelligent enough to build a camp like this. It was odd, to say the least. I stealthily moved closer, using the techniques I learned from the changelings. I felt that certain thrill of the hunt in my muscles as the distance between me and the camp decreased with every second. I approached the first hut and hid behind it. Then I heard some noises. Beastly growls... it was quite startling but my lust for vengeance utterly assumed control over my actions. I saw a creature heading toward me, so I lay down on the ground. Nopony suspects an attack from below. With a simple changeling spell, I turned my snow white কোট grayer, so I'd look আরো like a bunch of stones in the sand from a distance. There were only a few steps separating the beast from me. When it came close enough, I jumped it. The সত্বর blade of my crimson magic did the rest. The monster collapsed onto the ground with a muffled sound and I towered over it to give it a closer look. First, I thought, it was truly a manticore... the color of the fur, the dark brown mane, the claws, even the বৃশ্চিক tale seemed to prove me right. But then I spotted something. I opened the mouth of the beast and recoiled in horror. There was a face of a টাট্টু in it! I grabbed the পশম কোট with my magic and ripped it off. I couldn't believe my eyes...
“It's a unicorn...” I whimpered in terror.
Yes! The beast was a unicorn wearing a manticore's পশম coat! A stallion to be exact. There were paintings all over his muscular body, probably for camouflaging reasons. His face however, was painted black and yellow. I noticed a few ritual symbols as well. I didn't want to accept the truth. But the tracks were clear, they did not even bother to hide them. These ইউনিকর্ণ were responsible for the brutal attack and the pointless destruction of the changelings. I was unable to comprehend how could somepony be capable of such senseless, merciless savagery! Especially a unicorn! The most sophisticated ponies of the world! My own race!
“It's a unicorn... it's a unicorn...” I mumbled louder and louder.
I tried my best to calm myself down, adapting the anger management techniques, my mother taught me long ago. Despite my efforts, I felt the control of my emotions slip away from my hooves, like a slimy eel. My grasp grew weaker and weaker, until I knew I হারিয়ে গেছে it. There was no going back.
And the black flame started burning again. I felt it suffusing my soul, but this time, I had no intention to stop it. I let it convert from rage to something even আরো powerful: hatred. My cutie mark began to glow and my horn charged up with magic. The horrifying mask of fury furrowed my features, my body was trembling and I was taking breaths আরো and আরো rapidly.
“THEY'RE UNICORNS!!! THEY'RE UNICORNS!!!” I roared like a maniac.
My voice echoed around the camp and its feral inhabitants rushed out of their huts, charging at me. The crimson aura of my magic turned darker and darker, until it was black as night. I heard some kind of discharge and neon blue bubbles started to form around my horn. The white of my eye turned utterly black as well, but my iris remained cold green. I was snarling at the approaching enemy and prepared for the fight. A strange, transparent, billowing material came out of the corners of my eyes, sparkling in dark বেগুনী colors, like floating tears. Yes. The balance of my magic was disrupted দ্বারা this emotional cataclysm and my aura went dark. I sensed the enemy's blood thirst and their malicious intentions. But they stood no chance against me. As my every emotion, this was fueled দ্বারা the আগুন as well and the flames of my hatred rose high.
“BURN!” I shouted and sprung into action.
The feral ইউনিকর্ণ were no match, especially because they did not seem to know how to preform even the simplest spells. They were at a very primitive state of mind. But I didn't care! My fury was righteous! I've destroyed them all! Every... single... one of them. And আপনি know what? I liked it. This was the very first time I experienced true hatred and the sweet taste of revenge.
After I calmed down, I don't know when... I had to face what I've done. There was nothing left of the camp অথবা its inhabitants. Nothing, but a smoking crater. I wasn't proud of myself, but I felt no guilt অথবা shame. I'm not saying what I did was right অথবা acceptable... I'm only saying they deserved no mercy. That's when it occurred to me: some ponies don't deserve mercy... perhaps my brother, Forever Wind didn't deserve that privilege either. At least he had a reason to start a war, no matter if he was hiding his own arrogance and hunger for power behind that ideology... And maybe, I truly did the wrong thing দ্বারা letting him escape and I've been punished for it righteously দ্বারা Landslide. Some part of me suggested I was punished because of my weakness. Mercy equals weakness? I'm not sure... the line that separates right from wrong, the line I thought I've seen so clearly in my entire life, faded away that day.
I was terrified of my own powers and the things I was capable of if I হারিয়ে গেছে control. I knew I had to find a way to prevent such “accidents” from happening ever again. But I was also sure I won't discover the solution to my problem in that desert. I headed westward with a heavy heart. It was time for me to go back home. I believe this decision wasn't a coincidence, because it turned out, Unicornia needed my help once more.