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The Preservation of Innocence (Part 11)

By Wall-o-text
Created: 2023-03-10 09:23:32
Expiry: Never

  1. >after getting onto the hot air balloon it was quiet for a bit
  2. >it was nice to be on one for the first time
  3. >but the sheer amount of distance between you and the ground was discomforting
  4. >so you opted to sit, leaving the interior to block your view of the ground
  5. >you look to the doctor
  6. >both of you remain quiet for some time
  7. >before you can think of anything to say he speaks
  8. >”Anonymous, right?”
  9. “You can just call me anon”
  10. >he takes a brief pause
  11. >”I want to apologize for the change of plans”
  12. >”but I assure you we had a good reason”
  13. “Apologize? I’m only going to be gone for a day, I can’t find a reason to complain”
  14. >your words don’t change his demeanor
  15. >”I’m finding it difficult to explain the circumstances we’re in right now”
  16.  
  17. >https://youtu.be/Rw8FGiXT6ro (Maybe this is worse)
  18.  
  19. >”After the canterlot incident we were able to interrogate one of the changelings”
  20. >”they said that they were starving after their queen, chrysalis, abandon them”
  21. >”the complete absence of their queen caused them to be cut off from their only source of energy”
  22. >”canterlot wasn’t a planned attack, it was a desperate attempt by the changelings to stay alive”
  23. >”this means that any amount of organized society that changlings had is now gone”
  24. >”which also means that a war is unnecessary”
  25. >”by the time Celestia and her army arrives, she won’t even find an anyone to fight against”
  26. >what he says sounds like nothing more than a relief to you
  27. >as depressing as it must be for the changelings, it sounds like equestria just evaded a massive war
  28. “What about the conscripts? Shining armour told me I was going to fight a war or something, hell, he told me my friend back home was going to get re-conscripted just for this”
  29. >”well, the good news is that when they get called into action tomorrow morning, all that will happen is they would make their way there only to find nothing and eventually head home”
  30. >”so you’re friend will be out of harms way completely”
  31. >you let out a sigh of relief
  32. >that is until you fully process his words
  33. “Tommorow morning?”
  34. “Wait, what about us, aren’t we way ahead of schedule?”
  35. >he stays eerily quiet
  36. “Hell why are we even going, there’s no war, nothing of valu-”
  37. >”DAMMIT, can’t you think straight for a second”
  38. >”you get some new disease that could have killed you, and less than a week later an entire race dies off”
  39. >”can’t you make the connection, of course there’s something to go there for”
  40. >”because whatever the hell they had could just as easily come to us”
  41. >”the only fix we have is this stupid labor-intensive magic we use for most things we don’t have a specific cure for”
  42. >”but there’s no way we could ever treat a large population with that effectively”
  43. >”it would spread faster than it would be cured”
  44. >”and we’re going to get samples so we can at least get a grasp of what this ‘thing’ is”
  45. >”and all we have to go off of are those we cured in the early stages, not once have we seen someone with it fully developed and you sure as hell don’t count”
  46.  
  47. >you both sit there awkwardly quiet after the doctors outburst for a few minutes
  48. >but your curiosity just couldn’t be held back
  49. “But why me, couldn’t you have just as easily done this alone?”
  50. >he sighs
  51. >”maybe, but if we’re wrong about the changelings being as near extinct as we think, I would rather have you there”
  52. >”besides, I’m going to need as much help as I can get and with the change of plans that happened, throwing you into this was more than just convenient”
  53. >you sit there in silence again until you speak
  54. “What was the deal with shining armour about celestia, something about ‘off the books’”
  55. >the doctor contemplates for a while longer than usual
  56. >”shining armour thinks celestia’s gone mad ever since the war with king sombra, she’s been extremely meticulous about the military ever since, micro-managing ever aspect and upgrade”
  57. >”but he doesn’t understand the psychology behind it, of course she would, with how close it was, especially at the end, she’s just so hung up on keeping equestria safe”
  58. >”more so because she doesn’t know how it ended, but when shining armour said you were ‘off the books’ he might have meant that literally”
  59. >a tinge of concern grows on your face
  60. “So he didn’t tell celestia about my involvement, I mean, I’m not trying to say i need the recognition or anything, but with something this serious, wouldn’t it make more sense to inform celestia of my involvement and put her mind at ease?”
  61. >”telling her the truth of what happened to king sombra would surely get you tied to this equestrian military improvement phase celestia’s going through and i can assure you, you would have no time for anything else for quite a while, and we need you for this anyways”
  62. >but not all of your questions are answered
  63. “But this research, isn’t it equally as concerning if not more than the equestrian military right now, think about it, the changelings even admitted that their queen never gave the order to attack canterlot and they were starving, if anything celestia would understand that the changelings are no longer a threat”
  64. >”the reason we’ve been keeping this whole concern a secret from celestia is, at the present moment, she wouldn’t see it’s importance, under normal circumstances i’m sure she would see the value of our research into it but bringing it up would only serve to alert her to what she might consider ‘a distraction’ from her sole focus of military improvement, making this research far more difficult to do especially with celestia needing armour’s help with it, besides, she’s convinced that there’s more of those stray changelings waiting to attack, she’s become utterly obsessed with the military at this point”
  65. >”The good news is that once she sees the state of the changelings, I’m sure she’ll come to her senses about all this, and by the time we see eye to eye on it, we’ll have a head start on finding a cure, or at least an efficient treatment”
  66. >it’s a lot to take in
  67. >it’s difficult to grasp it all
  68. >you feel that the doctor knows what he’s doing, but his anxiety is rubbing off on you in ways you can’t seem to describe
  69.  
  70. >”hey, wake up, we’re here anon”
  71. >you tighten your eye lids before opening them
  72. >it was a lot darker out but the moonlight at least helped make things more visible
  73. >”it’s gonna be a long day for us, but the job is pretty menial, just grab some samples of anything that looks like that stuff you were coughing up before”
  74. >as you began to fully wake up you could process his directions much better
  75. “That’s it?”
  76. “How much of this stuff are we going to need?”
  77. >”as much as we can, the plan is to send it to laboratories across equestria once we get approval from celestia”
  78. >he opens a duffle bag with what looks to be high grade containers
  79. >”all you have to do is hold the thing open and close it tight once i put it in, can’t have you grabbing the stuff cause of cross-contamination”
  80. “Sounds simple enough”
  81. >”keep that weapon of yours with you though, who knows, maybe celestia’s right about there being more changelings”
  82. >hearing those words seemed to wake you up a bit more than you already were
  83. “Alright, let’s just get this over with”
  84. >you throw the duffle bag on your back and stand up to see the surrounding area
  85.  
  86. >https://youtu.be/YmmnMnSp3qE (this is so much worse)
  87.  
  88. >the surrounding area felt lifeless
  89. >it’s not that there was no signs of life
  90. >but those… things… they seemed more like zombies than anything
  91. >your thoughts went silent just watching their slow aimless walking entirely unaware of your presence
  92. >neither of you spoke
  93. >you simply just observed
  94. >you both took your first cautious steps out of the balloon, retaining the silence between you
  95. >you felt like a ghost among them
  96. >their starvation was clear
  97. >every sign of it shows on their bodies
  98. >it was unnerving how unaware they were
  99. >the silence breaks when one stops and coughs up a substance eerily similar to the one you did
  100. >with no signs of reaction to it, they just kept walking
  101. >one of them stops in their tracks only to fall over
  102. >only then did you realize how many more of them were on the ground surrounding this place
  103.  
  104. >the silence between the two of you breaks
  105. >the doctor, despite his professionalism, turns to you clearly affected by what he saw, and barely speaks loud enough for you to hear
  106. >”open a canister”
  107. >he took careful steps toward the substance in an uncharacteristically anxious way
  108. >you open the bag on your back the best you can with minimal noise
  109. >grabbing a canister you pop the lid
  110. >as quiet as the noise was, it echoed throughout the wasteland you’re standing in giving you a jolt of worry
  111. >the doctors magic lifts, what can only be described as sludge
  112. >presenting the open canister, the doctor morphs the substance to enter the canister without any spilling
  113. >the tense feeling the place gives you two leaves you to search the place for hours without speaking
  114. >it was only until you filled most of your canisters did the doctor bring up the final job in a similar tone as before
  115. >”let’s check the castle”
  116. >as much as you objected to it, the feeling that conflict of any kind could cause you troubles overrides your worry, albeit just barely
  117.  
  118.  
  119. >entering the corridors of the castle gave the both of you a sense of security
  120. >despite this your speech remained whispered even when yelling
  121. “What the hell was that huh? Did you know about all that shit?”
  122. >”dammit you think i knew what we were in for? It’s called research for a fucking reason anon”
  123. >you traveled through silently for a while
  124. >”they say the rooms are supposed to change in this place, but everything is stagnant”
  125. >”whatever made it happen stopped working”
  126. >you didn’t care much for the topic
  127. “Why are we even here, we got the stuff we need can’t we just go home?”
  128. >the doctor grits his teeth at your remark
  129. >”look, if queen chrysalis abandoned the changelings, then it should be safe to be here, and if it is, then surely the place with the densest population of changelings might have something worth finding, especially regarding the queen's absence”
  130. >as much as you despised it, his reasoning made sense, besides, you felt far more comfortable here than outside
  131.  
  132. >the rest of the journey was quiet
  133. >that was until you entered the throne room
  134. >it was completely barren besides a single changeling
  135. >the doctor stopped in his tracks
  136. >he looked at them with a curious look
  137. >”I can’t believe it…”
  138. >”The queen is still here”
  139. >her body was much like the other changelings
  140. >frail and weakened
  141. >but it was different
  142. >she laid on the ground sniffling
  143. >where as other changelings seemed mindless, the queen was conscious enough to feel her sadness
  144. >the doctor went ahead first
  145. >as you followed behind him you noticed how unaware of her surroundings she was
  146. >the both of you were able to get quite close before she noticed you
  147. >she opened her eyes slightly but looked off into the distance
  148. >”please, I can’t move… I haven’t left this place in so long…”
  149. >the doctor thought of what to say
  150. >neither of you expected to find something like this
  151. >finally, the doctor opened his mouth to ask her
  152. >”what happened here…”
  153.  
  154. >https://youtu.be/t0BtXHWveCw (End of the world scenario)
  155.  
  156. >chrysalis shuts her eyes upon hearing this
  157. >she didn’t seem to want to remember but she forced the words out
  158. >”that damn cloud… it starved us…”
  159. >it took her a great deal of effort to speak
  160. >”by the time it came we were already running low on energy”
  161. >”we thought it would be fine, that after it passed we had nothing to worry about”
  162. >”it wasn’t until the symptoms came days later that we suffered”
  163. >”the hunger set in wasting away our supplies”
  164. >”by the time we had noticed, it was already too late”
  165. >”any chance of getting ourselves more was pointless”
  166. >”we were all too weak to even move”
  167. >”rationing wasn’t a choice”
  168. >she pauses
  169. >”I had to horde what was left…”
  170. >her face displays something you couldn’t understand, a mixture extreme emotion
  171. >”even that wasn’t enough”
  172. >”no matter how much i had the hunger stayed”
  173. >”and when the hunger passed, this, thing, appeared”
  174. >”they didn’t speak to me yet, but i could hear so many terrifying voices”
  175. >”it’s been a waking nightmare the past few days”
  176. >”the voices, they talked of the kirin, the griffons, and the zebra lands”
  177. >”I don’t understand it, i thought it was just delusions, but when it finally spoke I knew what the voices meant”
  178. >”these creatures, they’re spreading, they, think…”
  179. >”it looked at me in disgust, angered by my condition, without any energy I was useless to them”
  180. >”I couldn’t move on my own, even if i had the energy to, i couldn’t feel my body, all i could do was listen”
  181. >she begins to choke up
  182. >”and… when… he siphoned off all the energy I had, he vanished…”
  183. >”like the clouds from before, he just drifted away…”
  184. >”when he left I was so weak I couldn’t move, I’ve stayed like this for hours”
  185. >she lets her body go limp
  186. >”that’s most of it anyways…”
  187.  
  188. >the two of you stand there soaking it all in
  189. >neither of you looked at the other
  190. >you were both in your own personal hell
  191. >it felt as if everything you cared about was destined to go away
  192. >you couldn’t even process the horror in peace over the queen’s demands
  193. >”please… you have to get me out of here… I’ll die here…”
  194. >the isolation between you two breaks as you share looks of terror and hesitation
  195. >without communication you equally understood the predicament you were in
  196. >something out there is taking over
  197. >”don’t leave me here…”
  198. >it took the last of her energy to push those words out
  199. >she collapsed, only able to manage desperate breaths
  200.  
  201. >after standing there and staring between each other and chrysalis for over a minute you force out your words
  202. “Do we take her with us?”
  203. >the doctor was hesitant
  204. >thinking over every single word she had said as well as the implications of taking her
  205. >his eyes were glossed over staring at her
  206. >within a few seconds he blinked and his breathing quickened as if he just now came back to consciousness
  207. >”we need to go… we need to go immediately”
  208. >he started walking around aimlessly for a moment before whipping his head to face you
  209. >”WE NEED TO LEAVE NOW GRAB HER!”
  210. >you rushed to pick up chrysalis and the two of you bolt for the exits
  211.  
  212. >the minimal comfort being in the castle gave you was taken away the minute you stepped outside
  213. >still sprinting, you try your hardest to keep chrysalis from falling out of your arms
  214. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON, JUST HOW FUCKED ARE WE REALLY?”
  215. >”YOU THINK I KNOW? WE’RE GONNA NEED A DAMN GOOD EXPLANATION WHEN WE TALK TO CELESTIA ABOUT THIS, ESPECIALLY WITH CHRYSALIS”
  216. >the both of you feel like you’re running for your lives, and at this point, you might be
  217. >right as you get to the balloon you toss chrysalis in carelessly
  218. >the doctor makes every preparation to leave as quickly as he possibly could
  219. >with the flame turned up to the maximum, the balloon steadily rises
  220. >the built-up anxiety makes you wish this thing had a jet engine
  221. >once you finally got into the air you felt a small piece of the worry leave you
  222.  
  223. >mere minutes after reaching the desired height to travel, you saw the equestrian army flood in from the nearby woods with celestia, luna, and twilight in the front
  224. >with nothing to confront, they pause along the borderlands where the forest ends and the barren changeling lands begin
  225. >celestia alone flies into the sky and pauses
  226.  
  227. >https://youtu.be/hZ3HS_ANyak (Celestia’s rage)
  228.  
  229. >her head thrashes back and forth as she scorches the entire area in dense lines with each movement of her head
  230. >her mane flashes with fire briefly between her every strike against the land
  231. >the intensity of it reaches all the way to your balloon
  232. >you could feel the heat radiate around you but the distance muffled the sound
  233. >the presentation of her anger makes you question the doctor's confidence in her seeing eye to eye with us
  234. >and you could tell your research partner felt the same way

The Preservation of Innocence (Part 1)

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The Preservation of Innocence (Part 2)

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The Preservation of Innocence (Part 3)

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The Preservation of Innocence (Part 4)

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The Preservation of Innocence (Part 5)

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