Twenty-four hours after Shy and I spend quality time with each other, it was apparent that some new powers appeared to have surfaced.

I wake up in the clearing, marefriend snuggled up against me, wing draping over her body. Perfectly content with the positions, I continue to lay there, mind wandering as it usually does. The sun is well above the horizon, suspended directly overhead, signifying midday. I realize that I slept part of the day away which seems odd.

Shrugging the strange occurrence off, my attention turns to Marly. She stirs lightly and my wing retracts slightly in response. Her eyes open and she turns her head to look at me.

"Mornin Golden," She says tiredly but with a sweet smile.

"Afternoon to you too," I reply, stretching my wings out.

"No, it's-" She trails off as I point out the suns position. "Afternoon, isn't it? Yeah, that's what I assumed by looking at the sun." She stands up and I get up with her, nuzzling her side ever so gently. She stretches out as I do that and emits a small groan.

Sensing her pleasure, I continue to nuzzle her, moving up her side to her neck.

"You... really are good at that," Marly observes, smiling softly.

"I am?" I chuckle. "Good to hear, would you like more of it?"

"Maybe later," She yawns again and I stop. "For now, being with a sweet pony like you is all I need. Thanks for helping Shy make me live again." She kisses my cheek affectionately. I grin and nuzzle her side once more.

"Anything ya wanna do?" I ask, looking at Marly.

"Hm, normally I'd get muffins but that gets old after a while. I love them but not enough to have a few once a day. You feel me?"

"Oh, I understand completely. I'm much the same way."

"Where do you want to go today?" Marly pokes my side playfully. "I mean, there isn't many places to go. The village, Ponyville, the Everfree... that's all."

"The library is a viable option but, I am not in the mood to read. Maybe we need to... broaden our horizons. Ya know, explore farther out than the forest."

"O-oh," I respond, knowing exactly what is past the clearing. "Um... I won't do it mainly because I know what is past here."

"That's okay, I haven't seen it though. Would you deny a mare as sweet as me?" She moves a hoof down my side seductively with a coy smile. I look at her hoof as it moves.

"N-no, I don't want to. Hell, I wont deny a mare as... special as you." I say, smiling slightly. "Special in a good way, of course." She stops lightly brushing my side.

"So what are we waiting for? Let's go!" She trots to the back of the clearing and heads down the trail. I follow her, the memories flashing through my mind. I point out where I woke up the morning when I met Shy, along with various other places. She turns to look at me when we near a grassy field.

"It's amazing how you remember all this stuff," She says. "My memory isn't that great at all." She smiles shyly. "How do you remember anyway?"

My gaze moves to the edge of the field. "I relive it in my dreams..." And so my mind flips back to one of the recent memories:

A large field stretches far in front of me, as far as my eyes could possibly see. Much like the few miles I traverse, nothing is heard at all. Birds fail to chirp and the large field is as silent as any place always has been. Sitting down I pull out my gold colored notebook. Looking at it, I turn it in the light. Nothing seemed to change, which was expected.

My thoughts remain turned to what lies ahead and what exactly I gone through. The memories ran through my mind as usual, tightly shutting eyes in response.

"N-no, please no, anything but this, not now," I whimper. I see imagery of a scene from my old home, figure of my mother looming over me, something blurred held in a hoof as she advances.

"STOP! STOP IT!" I cry, curling up as the flash of a knife danced in my visions. "PLEASE!" Sadly, the cry of desperation is largely unheard except for a being that lived inside my mind ever since I left that hellhole of a home.

Are you alright? The voice says, concern laced through it. I wanted to respond with something to make him feel at ease. I never did that though, it seemed totally wrong to do that and I never lied to him.

"N-no! G-god no! I'm not alright!" I yell, shuddering as the memories get progressively worse. Whimpering, the memories fade after a while leaving me shaky and drained. I reopen my eyes, very exhausted. I eventually drift off to a fitful slumber.

"Hey..." Marly's voice is soft, nuzzling my cheek worriedly. "Hey Golden... hello?" She begins poking my side. I remain silent, not responding. She sighs, horn glowing as a stick breaks off, catapulting towards me. It slows down to whack my side several times. I flinch and snap out of it, remaining silent. "Are you okay?" She asks, looking me over.

Before being able to say anything, my ear flicks and I hug her tightly. "I'm fine, I really am. It's just... let's just go, let's go back to the clearing." I let her go and trot out of the area, almost nervously. Marly follows me, glancing at me with concern. I recall the moment when I snap out of the trance that I was in. I felt something intimidating nearby and I didn't like it, instantly fearing the worst. One or both of my parents are coming

"Dear, you seem off, what's up?" I falter slightly, not wanting to answer but not wanting to worry her further. I answered as plainly as possible, with a hint of fear, small but evident in my voice.

"They're c-coming," I respond, hugging her even more tighter. "I-I can't face them... b-but you need to go when I do."

"Absolutely not!" She says, "I'm not going to leave you so soon."


"No buts," She says, determined. "Absolutely no buts about this one. I love you, I'd move the earth just to be with you." I am extremely nervous about letting her be with me. I know exactly what they would be like and that terrifies me. I never wanted to have somepony with me when I face them but circumstances now change that. I could eventually accept that nothing I'd say could ever change her mind.

Trotting into the fated clearing where my life was changed for the better, I look at my marefriend, staring at marvelous body, I nod.

"Alright, I know I can't change your mind. As long as we get to see Shy immediately afterwards."

"Fair enough," Marly smiles, nudging me.

"Anyway..." My gaze moves around the clearing edge, trying to find the ones who ruined my colthood. I slowly begin to inwardly seethe, not seeing any sign of any other pony.

What kind of game are they playing? I swear to god... My thoughts get cut off as my hearing picks up a slight displacement of brush not too far to my left. My head turns to that point.

"Alright," I say again, advancing on that area. "Where are yo-" Before I could keep going, I am tackled and rolled onto my back, knife held to my neck.

"Hello there, little Goldie," The assailant said, pressing knife down slightly, drawing a thin, but painful line of blood. I growl and kick at the pony.

"Don't call me that, Mother," I respond, kicking again. She grunts and gets off. I spring to a stand and slash at her with my knife. Her horn glows and the knife smashes into something invisible but extremely tough. A shield appears to have erupted around her. I take a step back, growling.

"I can call you whatever I wish. I brought you into this world." She says with a sneer, orange eyes narrowing.

"Yeah, and you obviously tried to take me out of it repeatedly." I respond, raw hatred being channeled. "Ponies like you sicken me. How was I different? How!?" I began to get angry, some spark being lit inside my heart and mind. I now learned that I hate her, beyond any doubt. Some silvery substance began leaking out of my body, it starts swirling as my anger rises.

"Heh, getting a little mad?" She asks, gazing at me coldly. "Good, I can't wait to get my hooves on you." She crouches down and lunges at me, a flash of silver slicing at me. Caught off guard, I dodge the silvery attack and get struck by her. Growling, the aura sinks into me and a rush of power causes me to kick her off and tackle her. She brings her knife out in response and strikes at my neck, laughing. My eyes glow, a stream of magical energy halts the blade and makes it fade away. Her eyes widen slightly.

"What? You actually inherited that?" She yells in disbelief. "Ah fuck... I don't care... you use magic, I use magic." Several silver swords jump to her sides, turning into raw energy and flying at me. By the time she finishes speaking, I'm back a safe distance, watching the silver swords. They swiftly close in on me and I form a shield, a newfound power. I grunt as the impact causes it to buckle slightly. Taking another step back, she spreads her wings and takes to the air, silver energy gathering around the tip of her horn.

Shit, I realize, eyes following her ascent. My hoof grip my knife and I throw it almost expertly, silver aura trailing behind it. She evades the knife and a silver beam erupts from her horn, aiming right at me.

Or so I thought until it phases through me and continues onward. I turn around, eyes widening as it heads towards Marly.

"Look out!" I call out, Marly turning around and looking at the blast, fury in her eyes. Her horn glows and she leaps to the side energy pulse moving out of her horn and striking my mother. My mother grunts as it hits her and she collapses.

"...You bitch," My mother remarks, glaring at Marly and I. She then teleports away. A second figure, hiding in the shadows disappears with her. Marly snorts and turns her back to me.

"I hate her now, she threatened you and tried to kill you," She says, malice dripping from her voice. "I think it won't be the last time I see her... and when I do..."

"Hey..." I respond, aura moving back out of my body and subsequently calming me down. "Let's focus on the good things, shall we?"

"What was all that about though? What was the aura about?" She asks, hugging me tightly.

Unsure of how to answer, I sigh and respond, "Well, I think it's a power of mine that I always had. An hour after I left Shy, I did some meditation because I remember hearing that it focuses the magical core in the body and also relax you. When calming down, I found something in my mind, a barrier that I never remembered being there. Maybe my mother obliterated those specific memories."

She breaks the hug and sits down thoughtfully as I continue, "When she came back here, I felt something snap partway inside me and I got mad. Suddenly, I felt energy and saw that aura and well, I stopped the blade with a thought. She was incredulous..."

Marly nods, "Wanna go see Shy now? I mean, you don't ha-" She gets cut off as I step back slightly, wincing for seemingly no reason. "What's wrong?"

"O-ow..." I mutter, hoof moving to my neck. "Mother of Luna... that hurts..."

Marly tilts her head, "You just noticed that?"

"Yeah, it was as if I couldn't feel it during the fight at all." I say.

"Hm," she says, kissing my cheek softly much to my pleasure. "Is that all? Anything else?"

I shake my head, frowning as the final blast Marly cast is felt. "I also felt what you did, and I don't know why. I do understand that I can feel a pony's pain literally but this is new. I could have stopped myself from feeling it and I tried. I honestly tried to stop myself from feeling the pain but it never worked."

"At least you tried to stop it, some ponies wouldn't even try." Marly reasons. "Anyway, where is that one purple pony with the cutie mark? I wanna see her... hehe," she giggles and looks around.

"Right here, I felt something go wrong," a voice says, descending from the sky and neatly landing in front of me. Shy looks concerned, looking right at me. "And oh boy, it seems that it did."

I sigh and look at her, "Yeah, my mother came and well, tried to kill me. I fought her off but Marly was the one that actually drove the bitch off."

Shy trots to Marly and gives her a gentle hug. "You saved him... thank you."

Marly looks confused and pulls away slightly. "She attacked me, I defended myself. Golden got injured and I was scared when I saw her fire the beam at me. I then got angry, I was angry at her so I channeled my energy and fired an energy pulse right back at her. It struck and drove her off," She says. I close my eyes and try and fight back anger from both Marly and myself. I stood there for a while, mentally counting down from ten and taking deep breaths.

Shy sees me and trots up next to me, resting hoof on my mane and running her hoof through it with delicate strokes.

"Shhh... everything will be fine." Shy softly says.

"Fine? How would you know? My fucking mother attacked me. She will keep at it until she gets me." My voice comes out slightly irritable and I didn't really care at this point. I was seething inside and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I get up and trot out of the clearing. Shy sighs and Marly follows me, concern in her eyes.

My eyes stare at a tree and I punch it, some bark shredding off it. Growling, I take my knife and plunge it into the wood, metal holding firm and taking the abuse. I then yank the knife out and put it away, some anger draining away.

"Can I just... dammit... DAMMIT WHY!?" I yell out, reminding me strongly of my past flashback. They seem to be occurring more and more ever since I met Shy and Marly and I didn't exactly know why. However, I didn't care at all and didn't want to worry anypony so I just kept quiet. When I feel a hoof touch my side, I whirl about, still not over my mother's appearance.

"What!?" I say loudly. Marly flinches back, hoof dropping back to the ground.

"I-I... I just w-wanted to c-check up on you..." Marly stammers, surprised at my outburst. Guilt settles in my chest and my facial expression softens ever so slightly. I wrap my hooves around her in a tight hug. "I-I... I d-didn't know..."

"Shh..." I say, soft voice contradicting my emotions. "I acted irrationally... I am still angry about my mother. She ruined my life, I was forced to fix it on my own." I was telling the truth and she realizes that. She plants a kiss on my nose and nuzzles ever so softly. My anger simmers down and is replaced with a numbing feeling of absolutely nothing. Anger seems to be all I had inside me and she tames it. I stare at her eyes blankly and she gives me a reassuring smile.

"H-hey," She says softly. "T-that's quite alright." She runs a hoof down my cheek much to my enjoyment. "It happens to the best of us."

"Getting royally angry at your very best friend who saved your own life? Doubt that." I sigh lightly, looking past Marly. "I want to apologize..."

"I know you do, but she knows what stress you went through. You two are connected, never forget that," She kisses my cheek and I return it by one on the lips. She smiles and brushes past me, whispering in my ear. "Nightmare Night is coming up in a week, just to let you know."

"Nightmare Night?" I ask, staring at her questionably. "Care to elaborate?"

"Of course!" She happily prances around me, bumping and brushing against my body. "Nightmare Night is a special night where ponies dress up as something else and go door to door asking for candy."

I perk up at this, "Wait, really? Heheh, I'm in!" I say with a grin.

"D'aww, cute grin," Marly grins as well and nuzzling my neck softly. I blush ever so slightly and turn head to kiss her cheek.

"You stop being the adorable one," I mutter in her ear. "Or else I'm gonna cuddle with ya." I smile softly, liking the contact between us.

"I know you will," Marly quips knowingly. "So why don't ya get started?"

"Ah, um... well... I kinda want to do something more productive. Cyrus tells me that several Changelings were located around Ponyville inside the town perimeter. Since, well, since I want to protect the town, I want to get the jump on the bastards before they get any closer." I explain. "Before you ask, I have felt a rift between the Shadowbornes and the Changelings. I fear that they may not like each other."


"I'm not entirely sure as to why the Changelings don't like them. I'd have to ask Cyrus about that one."

Marly sighs, "Alrighty then, can I come with though?"

"Eh, you might as well, I would need more help."

"If I do go, then you have to promise me something." Marly giggles and whispers in my ear. "We do it later."

I grin as I hear it and nod. "Right on. I just have to summon Cyrus and let him know that I'll go ahead and eradicate the Changelings in the area. Do you think Shy wants to-"

I am cut off as Marly rubs against me again. "No, just you and me for this one."

"But she's in it too," I reason.

She covers my mouth with a hoof, "Shhhh, she doesn't have to come. Just you and me... okay?"

My mind then turns to Shy.

The aforementioned mare is sitting down atop a cloud, belly up. She groans softly, feeling the warm rays upon her soft chest. Her wings stretch out, soaking up the rays.

"Wonder what he is up to? Probably off, shooting things or something. At least I can't feel it when he does," Shy mutters, turning onto her side, folding up the wing she would have laid on. "Lucky me... he's so gentle though, even if he is a tough, mentally conflicted stallion".

Ears perking up, she feels that somepony specific is brushing against her mind. It is a familiar presence and she smiles faintly, feeling that I got over my past anger.

Hehe, he isn't angry anymore, good. Maybe I should check up on him. She stands up, stretching out her wings and looking at the ground silently. But again, I'm on a cloud, they can be moved. She mentally scolds herself and hovers alongside the cloud. Gingerly, she begins moving it towards the sky above me. She hesitates slightly, unsure if telling me that she was going to check up on me is a good idea or not. She shakes her head and continues pushing the cloud.

Eventually, she has it over my position and she gets back onto the cloud, peering over the edge.

I have Marly wrapped up in a tight hug, softly stroking her mane with a hoof. She smiles and nibbles on my neck.

"Ready to go now?" She asks, somewhat concerned, somewhat excited. "It won't take long?"

"If everything goes as it should, it would only take around... ten minutes."

"Ten? Alright," Marly lets go, smiling softly. "Let's go get 'em."

I nod and begin trotting, Marly tagging along with me, tail rubbing a hind leg.

"He should be nearby," I mutter, eyes scanning the woods. "I felt him."

"So did I," Marly agrees, eyes moving around a different sector. "I could locate him for you."

"No need... no need at all." A pair of glowing eyes emerge from the trees just behind us, belonging to Cyrus.

"Cyrus!" I exclaim, wrapping the Shadowborne base leader up in a light hug.

"H-hello there Golden," He says with a light bow. "How are you? Or... how fare you. Or... dammit."

I giggle lightly, "I'm rather well, how has leading the Ponyville division been faring?"

Cyrus responds to the giggle with a faint smile. "Hard work, I actually want you to help me some days but with your schedule..."

"What schedule?" I ask jokingly, releasing my long time friend from the hug.

"Touche, so, why have you decided to speak to me?"

"I heard Ponyville has a Changeling issue?" I prod his side, nuzzling it affectionately.

"Ah, it does, you are going to take care of it?"


"Good leader," He smacks my back playfully. "Very good leader."

I grin slightly and nuzzles him slightly, his body tensing up in response.

"Ahem, Golden? We should get going," Marly says, staring at me. I nod and step back before turning and trotting off, marefriend following. "Getting a touch affectionate around him, eh Gold?"

I sigh softly, "Yeah, it's nothing though..."

"You quite sure?" Marly asks, stare darkening slightly. I shrink back under her gaze.

"Y-yeah, I... I am.. I think," I stammer. "It's nothing... just... don't worry about it" Marly's gaze softens slightly and hugs me tightly.

"Please don't ever leave me... you and Shy gave me a second chance and I don't want to blow it."

I nod, understanding where she was coming from. Shy gave me the option to stay and I took it, not wanting to blow it either. My mind turns outward to the Changelings outside town. I feel their presences but something seemed wrong.

Freak. Unnatural one. Various insults ran through a lone Changeling's mind as he gallops through the Everfree Forest, dangerously close to Ponyville. He fights back a sob as he dives into a bush, eyes scanning the ground in front of it. When he sees several ponies pass, he shrinks back and closes his eyes.

Please don't see me. Please don't see me. Please don't see me, he silently pleads to nopony. Nopony will ever come and see my struggle, nopony will care about me because all I am is a freak like they said. He lays down softly, hearing the hoofsteps fade into the eerie silence of the forest.

He continues to lay there, emotions eventually winning control and causing him to break down and begin sobbing. He stopped caring about who would hear him because he is convinced that nopony would care.

A half a mile away, I enter the town of Ponyville and look around, Marly trotting beside me.

"Feel anything yet Gold?" She asks, eyes following mine. I continue trotting, a frown obliterating a slight smile. Something was wrong and I could feel it quite clearly. Sadness resonates through my body and my movements began feeling sluggish. Depression... sadness... Those two feelings were way too familiar to me and I hated them with a passion now.

"Hey, you okay dear?" Marly pokes at my side and I mumble something. "Speak up please, I can't hear you." The request gone unanswered even when I reached the edge of town, looking at the forest. Still ignoring it, I trot in, ducking under a few branches. "Seriously... tell me what is going on so I could help."

I don't hear her, however. I'm too concentrated on the source of the sadness and now the sobbing as my ear flicks, turning towards it and continuing to trot. Marly continues to attempt to ask me what was wrong but gives up, dejected.

The Changeling then notices the faint hoofsteps of an oncoming pony and backs off ever so slightly.

"H-hey... c'mon out," I say softly staring at the bush. "Please, I won't hurt you... I promise." The Changeling is unmoving, still under the impression that I'd hurt him even if said otherwise. He spoke in a shaky voice.

"H-how do I-I know t-that you w-won't lie? H-how do I know that you won't hate me!?" He continues, repressed anger bubbling to the surface "H-how do I know if y-you aren't a C-Changeling and w-want to take me back?!" I step away slightly, blown away by his reaction to my genuine promise and formulate a response.

"Sir, I may not know your exact situation nor what exactly makes you a... freak." I confess calmly, "If I was a Changeling, then I'd strike by now and a normal pony will not help you."

"I know I... won't," Marly whispers to me, I give her a look and she shuts up.

"My promise is genuine, I won't go back on it. Please, come out of the bush, you shall be shielded." The Changeling sticks his head out of the bush, glancing at me. I look into his eyes and see a mix of emotions.

"Y-you sure?" He says softly.

"Yes, would I be the one to lie? Does it look like I'll lie?" The Changeling looks rather unsure.

"You look like you could attack at any moment," He responds, suspicion seeping into his voice. "Hell, how do I know that you won't?"

"You don't, but you have to trust me on this one." The Changeling pauses, before stepping out of the bush.

"Alright, I'll trust you for now. My name is Moonlight Fang and well... love is my lifeline."