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Just writing, don't mind me


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He thought back. He thought back to the time they spent together. The concert. The dinner at that little cafe. Walking back to her house, slightly chilled in the night air.

He remembered thinking that he had fallen for a mare who didn't love him back, only to be surprised by her kiss.

He remembered, and felt the warmth, the peace, the comfort, of that memory again, if only for a moment.

The rain beat down on his head, he lay with his back to a tree. Or rather, a large bush, it wasn't exactly deserving of the noble title of tree, what with it's scraggly, misshapen branches.

Newsworthy sighed deeply as the icy rivulets dripped down his fur and onto the ground. The 'tree' wasn't much protection from the weather, but he would have to take what he could get.

Out here, any advantage was a positive one. A flash of lightning silhouetted the mountains in the distance, with the wide plain stretching beneath. With all his heart, he wanted to press on, but his body was simply too weary and cold. He shivered, his saddlebag and hat scant covering in this weather.

He closed his eyes, willing himself to return to the happy memories. Just think of her. Think of the reason why you're doing this. Think.

It was hopeless. A suicide mission, if there ever was one. But, he had to try.


He forced his eyes open the next morning. The thundershower had moved on, taking its miserable, dense blackness to somepony else, leaving behind its ugly stepchild, light, bone-chilling sleet. Lovely.

Newsworthy stretched his aching wings and slung his torn saddlebag over his middle. He checked the pocket, dismayed to see his ration of dried apples running thin. Oh, Tartarus take us all, he thought, munching a stale, soggy piece. I certainly hope we have enough for the return journey. Celestia only knows how hard it is to find any decent food out here.

It took him longer than he expected to preen his wings, due to the mud caking his fur. His feathers tasted gritty and slimy, a very unfortunate combination. There was one consolation. He was able to refill his water skin from the least-muddy-looking pool nearby. Finally, he knew that it was time to take off again. He gritted his teeth, unfurled his wings, and leapt into the air. His wings burned, he needed more rest, but he couldn't stop now.

He was so close.


He flew for what seemed like forever. By the time he reached the foothills, dusk was turning the grey mountains into a line of foreboding black spires. He landed clumsily, panting. No matter how much he wanted to fly up that mountain right away, he simply couldn't. Though he could fly as well as the next pegasus, Newsworthy was not particularly athletic. He lay his head down on the wet grass, feeling like a complete failure. I can't do it. I just ... I can't. Too tired ... too ... cold ...

Again, he thought of her. She was probably dead, a wispy little pile of bones somewhere. Why would they care. They wouldn't have kept her alive, his friends had said. They ate ponies, as soon as they were through with them. Through taking all that was meaningful, beautiful or precious from them. Or, at least, so they had all said.

And if she was alive, what horrors was she being subjected to? He feared he wouldn't even recognize her. Perhaps, she would look at him, call out, and he would be dragged away.

Realistically, he thought, the best we can hope for is for us to suffer together. We can give them what they want, the heartless fiends. Let them take me. Let them do what they like to me. I just have to see her one last time.

His heart pounded. This was no time for rest. After nearly two weeks of flying, here he finally was at the Mountains of Fanghorn, and he was not about to stop now. It was too important. If it was still a race against time, he had to beat the clock. And if not, then it didn't matter. He would rather die trying.

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Getting over the first mountain pass was the hardest. After he flew through that first one, he was too tired to care how badly he felt. His eyes drooped, even while flying, which his barely conscious mind knew was a bad thing. Finally, he rounded around a jagged cliff, and saw the green glow on the horizon, signaling his destination. A tiny flame of hope surged in his heart. I'm finally here. I did it.

Hold on, Persnickety. I'm coming.


At first, it looked like a giant, misty vortex, enveloping the top of the tallest peak in sight. As he drew nearer, Newsworthy started to make out the spires of a city, sticking out in all directions.

Surely they won't be expecting a pony, Newsworthy thought, grimacing. What would they have to guard themselves from? Only pegasi and dragons ... and certainly pegasi are little threat to them. Griffons, perhaps. He prayed desperately to Celestia that it was some type of holiday for guards.

Of course, it wasn't. Even from this distance, he could see swarms of soldiers flying in formation around the city.

He collapsed in a crevice in a nearby mountain to 'plan his attack.' After careful deliberation, he came to the vague conclusion that he should sneak into the hive without encountering the guards. He rubbed his eyes, sheepishly. I'm getting nowhere at this rate, he thought, as sleep enveloped him, his vision growing dark like the landscape around him. His mind fought against it, but he was overcome.


When he finally came to, he had a horrible cramp in both of his wings, and a burning pain in his side. He winced, kicking himself for falling asleep at all, but especially on these rocks. The clouds were so dense here that it looked like it was still a moonless night, even though his watch said it was just after sunrise. He shook himself all over, making his coat fluff out hideously. He couldn't help but chuckle a little. If only she could see me now ...

As he nibbled at one of the apple husks, Newsworthy tried to think of a better plan. These oversized bugs were entirely different than anything he had ever faced.

Finally, he made up his mind. He hadn't come all this way to back out now. Even though his plan was ridiculous, it would just have to do. And, there was literally a one in a million chance he would be incarcerated next to her. He liked those odds. They were much better than his chance of surviving.


Newsworthy panted, straining to get up the mountain in the thin air. The hive was just before him now, a sickening expanse of swirling cloud. He could see the individual sacs now, and he shuddered to think that there was some ... thing, whether pony, griffon, or other creature, within each one. They covered every structure he could see, looking like a porcupine covered in glowing green beads.

There was no point in even trying to sneak. There were even more guards than he had thought at first. As was inevitable, one spotted him as he approached.

"Halt! Who goes there?" it hissed, it's blue, lifeless eyes looking over Newsworthy with suspicion.

"Please, I am weak and hurt. I need to get to the medical facility right away," Newsworthy said, imitating his interrogator's voice.

It squinted at him. "Can you show me your true form?"

"No. I am too tired to change."

"Very well. I will escort you to the sanatorium, where you will be given serum injections to restore your strength. Come, it is near."

Newsworthy couldn't believe his luck. The trick had actually worked! He didn't trust this guard any farther than he could kick him, but at least he was getting inside unharmed.

They glided on an air current through the jagged, rusting doors of the structure. He was in. For the first time in who knows how many centuries, a pony had made his way through these gates of his own free will.

So, this is it, Newsworthy thought. The Changeling Hive.


The colony hummed with activity. The beating of millions of wings, the hissing chatter all around, a deep moaning and clanking all around from the many machines the workers were operating. Newsworthy saw giant vats of goo, and piles of rotting flesh. He held his nose, ducking under one of the conveyor belts taking who-knows-what around the hive at top speed. He could barely keep up with the guard, and of course the situation was complicated by the fact that he looked almost exactly the same as all the other workers. Newsworthy briefly considered ditching him, but then remembered that he stuck out like a neon sign in a dark street. He would have to find some other way to find her. And then what? Escape? Even if they could make it out, there was no way they could get past the guards, especially not together.

"We have arrived."

Newsworthy looked around, trying to find the hospital.

"In here, you imbecile. What did you do, injure several of your brains?"


"Thought so."

The guard grabbed Newsworthy roughly by the hoof and dragged him inside a small hole in the wall. It took a minute for his eyes to adjust, but finally he could see that he was dark, cave-like room. He thought fast. If I can get rid of this ... thing, then all I have to do is find which one of the million or so cells she's in ...

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