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Cynbel Ferode
by on July 22, 2020
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Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a fondness for rats. Not only are they an essential part of the food chain, but we wouldn’t have the breakthroughs we have today without them. Even in nature they have a use by scattering seeds, replenishing the woods. In return? We trap them in glue, we snap their necks, we encourage our pets to hunt and kill them. Such an important species, and yet we dub them carriers. Pests. Vermin. Their reward for attempting to coexist is death.
Click! A twist of the skeleton key signaled the end of the work day for Cynbel, as did the setting sun. It wasn’t a particularly profitable day, but he would at least break even. A marginal success, but one the young alchemist felt he needed to celebrate given his particularly sour mood. For the past few weeks, he’s been silently accepting that his shop, Splendor Solis, may be in its final stages. Business just wasn’t outweighing the cost of keeping the doors open Customers were becoming less frequent, even trusted clients and longtime business associates were taking their money elsewhere. Cynbel wasn’t surprised; it was only a matter of time before they remembered who he was, but that did little to cushion the blow. He cast his frustrations in the form of a barrier spell around the building, a blue shimmer shone around the perimeter of the building before it dimmed and faded. That would protect it against any would-be thieves for the night. Now he began the walk home.
A sign he was unfamiliar with lit in a cozy, tempting glow halfway through his walk. Heavenly Star Café. Temptation is not a beast that speaks to Cynbel often, but when coffee’s on the table, he loses all sense. Perhaps a small cup will give him the energy to work in his lab tonight. He quietly steps into the café and immediately felt a collective, chilling stare. The bell’s chime at the top of the door drew their attention toward him, customers, workers, all of them took a second to have a look at the newcomer. It was a strange trait that everyone shared. Cynbel was guilty of it as well, whenever he was the one at the table. It was normally over as soon as they give him a brief glance, however their stare continued... it was harsh, and went much deeper than “Who’s coming in?” it was more like “Who let him in?”
Having pushed the unwelcome wagon in the back of his mind, Cynbel approached the counter while keeping his eyes on the menu. His eyesight was poor, but he could at least make some words out until it cleared up. A macchiato was his go-to drink. The sweet warmth would take away the chill that constantly nipped at his skin.
“Excuse me,” Cynbel said to the stern-looking older man at the register. “I’d like to order a—”
“Sorry. We’re out,” the stallion replied. Cynbel was taken aback. He didn’t even get the words out, yet he was still silenced. “I didn’t even order yet,” the unicorn spat.
“Doesn’t matter. We’re out and about to close. Come back some other time.”
One peek over the counter could easily disprove that lie. He saw plenty of beans, and a younger mare in the back working on an order. He didn’t recall the store hours, but it was only six O’Clock. What kind of café closes at six? “Bullshit. I can see the girl over there making a drink right now.”
The older stallion turned to look at his subordinate and shot her a frown. Before Cynbel could say any more, the man stepped closer, now leaning on the counter and blocking Cynbel’s view from the back. “I’ll just flat out say it since you’re not getting the hint: get lost. The Heavenly Star is no place for you, Demon.”
Cynbel’s blood froze. With trembling disbelief, he stepped away from the counter. He tried to open his mouth, but no words came out. The man continued, “What’re you waiting for? Go.”
His breath quickened. Suddenly it all dawned on him. The sour looks... they all believed the same thing. How many times? How many times must he hear that damned word? He swallowed the lump in his throat, and stared back in contempt. “I wouldn’t waste my money on your god damned coffee anyhow. If the smell in here’s anything to go off, it tastes like dirt and disappointment!”
He took one last look at the room, hoping someone may come to his aid. His disappointment swelled when he saw they all remained seated. They all looked frozen in fear. Fear of him. His ears pinned back. He wanted to scream something back, something like “Go to Hell,” but the gall in his throat disintegrated any words that would have come out. Instead, he backed up until his flank hit the door and the magic opened up the door for him, like a cornered rat who finally found his escape.
—————————————
Later that night, Cynbel paid a visit to the dungeon-like complex beneath his home. The oppressive lighting of the flickering sconces hanging on the chipped stone wall did little to ease his mind... but there was someone down there he liked to make visits to. Especially on the tougher days.
“Tonnage... what have I done wrong? Why can’t they see that I’m trying to save them?”
A distorted, low growl behind a set of thick iron bars acted as a response. The creature itself was obscured by a thick curtain of shadow. The soft noise was drastically different than the usual groans of discomfort... a soft, almost coo-like noise that Cynbel hadn’t heard before. He wiped his eyes and took a deep breath. “No. No... You’re right. They don’t know— It’s impossible for them to know. It’s... It’s not their fault, and yet my heart still aches.”
An elongated limb emerged from the shadows and placed its hoof-like structure on the ground behind the bars.
“You remember the bars will hurt you...” Cynbel said through a soft gasp. His mind was retaining memories, at least. “It’s nothing personal. A special coating around the iron that zaps anything magical... given the methods of your transmutation, it would hurt exponentially worse. I am so, so sorry... you were feral when I rescued you. I didn't know how else to contain you, so--"
The creature tapped its hoof twice. Another guttural coo.
The tapping derailed Cynbel’s manic train of thought. Though the creature couldn’t verbally speak it, the gesture was enough to softly reset Cynbel’s mind. It gave him time to think, to simmer his sporadic thoughts and think of better things. Some good news ought to put a song in both of their hearts. “Research is coming along, my friend. I will undo what they did. I promise you. I-- I have someone lined up to give you a new identity. A new name, career, even a new birthday! We can celebrate your current one in secret, but this is your chance at a new life. I remember you talked about wanting to see the Griffonstone when we were children. I hope you like it because that... may be where you're to start your new life. Sorry I didn't ask before."
The monster neither said nor did anything. An idle chirp, but nothing that signified annoyance or amusement. He may be getting tired... "I bet you're hungry," the alchemist mused. He dug into his saddlebags and pulled out a delicately wrapped whole fish. Fresh from the market, apparent by its still clear eyes. He slipped it in between the iron bars and let it fall near the hoof-like appendage. The creature prodded it with his hoof, then dragged it back into the shadows. Excellent. He's still hungry. Cynbel began to make his way up to the stone staircase, but stopped just at the “For now, eat. I'll be hard at work to find a way to fix you. Thank you, Tonnage."
If anyone took two seconds to learn about rats, they’d understand that they’re complex creatures. They’re social. Few know that they clean each other, they laugh when they play, and best of all, their loyalty to their pack is nothing short of admirable. They’re not so different from us... yet we push them away because we view them as less than. Why? Because we’re told to. Because that’s just what they are, and they will never be anything more than an extra two bit charge for rat traps at the grocery store. So yes, I do have a soft spot for these rodents. Their kindness and loyalty is far greater than anything I’ve ever been shown. So when rats are blamed for the next plague, I already know I’ll be lumped in with them as well. Ignorance has steep price.... Equestria best be ready to pay for it.
Amity Guard
I love Tonnage. This hurts me.
Cynbel Ferode
and i love you, friend :satisfied:
Amity Guard
uno reverse