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"I Hate You"

by algernon97

The rock bit into her flank. She shifted but only managed to scrape her skin and she sucked air in through her teeth. Lyra Heartstrings planted a hoof into a patch of dirt and pushed herself up.

"Celestia almighty," she muttered as she pulled herself over to the brown wall next to the gaping hole where sunlight poured into the cave. Her hind leg which had not long ago punched kickballs through fences now lay mangled and limp and useless as it scraped through the thin dust coating the floor. She turned and stared into the yawning cavern.

"I hate you," she told the cave. "I hate this stupid, rumbling, crumbling cave and I hate this stupid mountain and I hate the lava up there and I hate this rotten fire and I hate this blasted leg but most of all," she said as she turned to look at her companion, "I hate you."

"And a good morning to you too," the black bug unicorn creature chirped. "I found your favorites today."

"I hate you so much," Lyra said as the bug creature placed a few carrots and potatoes in her hooves.

"It’s not good to lie ya know," the bughorse laughed. It walked to the other side of the cave and plopped itself down and basked in the sun. "Not because it masks the taste of your real emotions, but really because it stresses you out. You need to relax, Lyra."

"I should absolutely hate you."

"I think I saw some turnips further down. Do you like turnips? I think ponies like turnips and I saw onions down there too, do you like onions?"

"I hate onions."

"Oh ho ho, you really love onions. I’ll be sure to get some for lunch."

Lyra glared at the bug creature. A carrot poked out of her muzzle like an unsmoked cigar. "I wish you wouldn’t do that," she grumbled.

"I can’t help it. You know that."

"Yeah. Doesn’t mean I have to like it."

"How’s the leg?"

Lyra stared at the broken lump of flesh. "Same as it was yesterday," she spat. "At least I don’t feel it anymore."

"That’s bad isn’t it?"

"Gee, Doodles, I don’t know. It probably won’t do me any favors if I sign up for track."

"What’s track?"

"Running contest, genius. How did you guys even take over Canterlot if you don’t know something that simple?"

"Isn’t teleportation supposed to be a simple spell for a unicorn to know?"

"Oh, ha ha. You’re so darn funny."

"Anyway I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t on the infiltration team," Doodles said. She stood and struck a pose. "I was on the tip of the spear smashing into the shield. Just, wham wham wham over and over and over until ka-BANG and we were off. You didn’t see that?"

"I was underground, Doodles. Being a mindless zombie slave trying to kill a filly I’ve known since I was a kid didn’t really give me a lotta time to see a swarm of bugponies --"


"-- changelings breaking down a bubblegum field and flying through the city. I just got out of that cave when that pink wall knocked you into me and we got blasted out to who knows where."

Doodles stared at the dirt.

"Well, if it’s any consolation I definitely didn’t expect to end up with you. I thought to myself, I thought Doodles you’re up the hive without a shovel, and then you walked right in front of me. It just kinda, you know, happened." Doodles lifted her head and smiled. "But hey, at least we’re not dead!"

The cave shook violently and deep within they heard the booming echo of stalactites shearing off from the ceiling and crashing down into the wet stone floor.

"Yeah," Lyra said, "not yet anyway."

"It’s fine." Doodles waved her holed hoof toward the crumbling inner sanctum. "It’s totally fine."

Lyra looked out at the endless ocean of treetops that stretched beyond the horizon. Sunlight, Celestia’s wonderful sunlight, warmed her face.

"Where are we? Do you know?"

"Nope." Doodles smiled. "But I’m bound to figure it out sooner or later. And when I do, we’ll get to a doc and you’ll get your leg back and I can leave to find the hive and everything will be fine and hunky dory."

The mountain grumbled once more. Lyra felt the dirt beneath her flank shake. She dragged her muzzle out of the beautiful light and looked at the ceiling. "I think," she said, "this thing’s going to blow."

"Don’t worry," Doodles said, "if it does I’ll just grab ya and run. You’re not that heavy and the lava will take a while to get down here. We can make it, easy peasy lemon squeezy."

"Why are you helping me?"

"What?" Doodles tilted her head and looked at the green pony.

"You tried to take over Equestria, your queen did some funky crap to my brain, and from what I saw it looked like a war in the streets. So why in the name of Celestia’s cake loving flank are you helping me?"

Doodle’s mouth clicked open and shut repeatedly. She got up and walked over to Lyra and sat down next to the broken creature who had done nothing but radiate fear for all the time she had known it. Doodles did not react at all when Lyra tried to shuffle away from her but did catch her when the unicorn gasped in pain and started to fall after turning her bad leg the wrong way.

"You’re hurt," Doodles said plainly. "You’re hurt."

She did not say anything else.

Lyra stared at the changeling. Her muzzle twitched. Her eyes burned and she blinked. She sniffed the air and it was acrid and burning. Lyra Heartstrings felt the mountain shiver like a dancing snake and she leaned against the chitinous hide of the changeling. Hot tears ran down her face and she tried to hide the sniffling under the sound of the crackling rocks falling down the slope outside as the mountain ripped itself apart.

"I hate you," Lyra Heartstrings said.

"I know," said Doodles. "I know."