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The First Fish

By Wingnut
Created: 2022-04-30 19:50:52
Updated: 2022-06-12 23:32:48
Expiry: Never

  1. >You are Sunflower, and you are terrified.
  2. >You have been terrified for so long now, for so many reasons.
  3. >Unicorns, pegasi, windigoes, cold, freezing, starvation, fear of the future...
  4. >Your leader saw the writing on the wall and lead your tribe far away from the feuding madponies.
  5. >Likely, they're all dead and frozen by now.
  6. >Going North seemed counterintuitive, but it was actually far warmer here than under the icy breath of the windigoes.
  7. >You have survived here, in these odd snowy plains of the far north.
  8. >Your people recovered a little and started to settle down, building the beginnings of a village in this snowpit.
  9. >However, it is autumn, and winter will be upon you all soon.
  10. >You did what you could, but there were too many things to do to, the land too foreign to know where and how to forage best.
  11. >There are no sunflowers here...
  12. >The supplies are meager, and ponies are rightfully afraid of dying from starvation.
  13. >The elders are already openly talking about not eating so the children can survive.
  14. >And so, here you are.
  15. >Carefully following bear tracks to see how they manage to survive around here,
  16. >You heard they eat berries and honey, besides other animals.
  17. >That means you could probably find something edible, even a berry bush, even some leftovers, if you followed their tracks.
  18. >As long as you don't become the food.
  19. >You're not the first to have such an idea, but ponies so far avoided tangling with the wildlife, as they were too weakened by the long march here.
  20. >Soon, you hear the sounds of rushing water.
  21. >It sounds like a fairly large river.
  22. >You find a convenient rocky outcropping from which you can watch the river, but which is too steep to get up to from the riverbank.
  23. >You examine the shore thouroughly.
  24. >There are no berry bushes here.
  25. >A couple bears are in the river, just standing there, looking downstream.
  26. >It doesn't take long to see how they get food here.
  27. >It's almost ridiculous - the fish are practically jumping in their mouths.
  28. >You watch for a long while, envy and hunger burning in your gut.
  29. >It looks so damned easy!
  30. >Eventually, the bears get their fill and leave.
  31. >One of them looks at you, but seems completely uninterested.
  32. >Likely stuffed with fish up to it's ears....
  33. >You stand on the outcropping a while longer, your emotions raging while your head is empty.
  34. >Without thinking, you stomp down to the riverbank, looking around.
  35. >There are some fish bones and nasty leftovers scattered around.
  36. >There's one that's practically untouched, though, just cut open with a few bites taken out, almost like it was left for you.
  37. >You stare at the fish, wondering whether you're really about to do this.
  38. >Your stomach growls, a sound you're very familiar with.
  39. >BUCK YES YOU'RE DOING THIS
  40.  
  41. >The first bite is terrible, as you get a bunch of scales in your mouth.
  42. >Undeterred, hold down the fish with your hooves, spitting out the scales and going for the flesh.
  43. >It's... not the worst thing you ever ate.
  44. >It's not good, but you don't think you're going to throw up or anything like that.
  45. >It takes a while, but eventually, most of the flesh is stripped from the fish.
  46. >You stand there, thinking about what just happened.
  47. >You lick your lips. You taste blood.
  48. >For the first time in a long time, you feel full.
  49. >Not simply satiated for a while, but really full.
  50. >No wonder these bears like the fish so much.
  51. >And it looked so easy to catch it!
  52. >Your gaze is drawn towards the river.
  53. >You can actually see the salmon jumping over the rapids, right there.
  54. >No, Sunflower.
  55. >Don't be crazy.
  56. >...
  57. >All aboard the crazy cart!
  58. >You wade into the river, careful not to lose your balance on the stones.
  59. >It's a bit deep, but you find a shallower spot eventually.
  60. >You stand in the freezing water like some idiot.
  61. >You hope no one is watching.
  62. >Something flashes in the corner of your eye.
  63. >A fish!
  64. >Too far, though.
  65. >A few more fish jump through the water to either side of you.
  66. >You lunge towards them, but your reach is too short.
  67. >Then, a fish jumps right at your face.
  68. >You actually shout in fright, opening your mouth.
  69. >You get a mouthful of fish.
  70. >It's slimy, wet, and VERY wriggly.
  71. >Your first instinct is to spit it out.
  72. >But a flash of anger passes through you, and you grit your teeth in rage.
  73. >You're not going let anyone die of hunger, yourself or others!
  74. >Gritting your teeth helps you clamp down more firmly on the fish's tail.
  75. >You blink for a moment, wondering what are you supposed to do next.
  76. >Probably get out of this river.
  77. >Once you get to the shore, you remember that you don't really have any sharp claws or tools to cut the still-struggling fish with.
  78. >You decide to gallop back to the rest of your tribe.
  79. >The looks you get when ponies see you carrying a weakly-struggling fish are priceless.
  80. >Everyone is utterly flabbergasted, to say the least.
  81. >You carry it where ponies are making dinner, finally spitting it out on a table.
  82. >"What the hay, Sunflower?!"
  83. >That was Allspice, one of the cooks.
  84. >"Not hay, fish," you say smugly.
  85. >Before they can get too disgusted or throw away the fish, you immediately launch into your explanation.
  86. >The fact that you were willing to follow a bear earns you a lot of respect from the rest of the ponies.
  87. >More ponies join the forming crowd to listen to you.
  88. >Some gag and make sounds of disgust when you describe chewing on the dead fish, but you persevere.
  89. >That respect you earned probably goes a long way to explain why they even consider your proposal.
  90. >Also the fact that eating the fish didn't seem to make you sick at all.
  91. >After some more reassurances that you're fine, all eyes turn to the fish.
  92.  
  93. >It stopped struggling, likely suffocated.
  94. >Ponies shuffle awkwardly, unsure of how to proceed.
  95. >You try to remember the way you ate the first one.
  96. >The scales on the outside were unpleasant, like the rough, inedible skin of a fruit.
  97. >The guts were slimy and nasty and you ignored them.
  98. >The flesh was pretty good, though.
  99. >A few ponies step up, not cooks, but ponies who used to be fighters.
  100. >They gut the fish awkwardly, but in the end, you're left with some fairly nice-looking cutlets of meat.
  101. >Then there's another round of shuffling as none of the ponies dare to try it first.
  102. >You roll your eyes as you try a tiny bite, showing that it's safe.
  103. >A couple more ponies take tiny bites, chewing on it experimentally.
  104. >When they don't throw up, others look more interested.
  105. >But Allspice intervenes, scoffing loudly.
  106. >"Oh, cut it out, you savages! Of course it's not going to taste great raw! "
  107. >"Now, I haven't got the foggiest idea about cooking fish, but let's try adding it to the stew I was making and go from there."
  108. >The ponies agree, and eagerly await the results.
  109. >It's... good. Honestly quite good.
  110. >Obviously, one fish doesn't really feed anyone, but lots of ponies try it, just to make sure it's good.
  111. >There's already plans being made to go fishing tomorrow, with all the important elders and warriors asking you for details and advice.
  112. >You feel awkward for being called a hero, but you agree to lead the ponies to the river tomorrow.
  113. >You no longer feel terrified for the future.

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