Chrysalis’ eyes were wide with amazement – she didn’t even manage to drift into unrelated thoughts before Chip mimicked the stallion with stunning precision. Her trained eye couldn’t find a flaw in the masquerade.
“Not bad, Chip,” she snorted, a form of jealousy pricking her pride. She remembered her first attempts at changing and she was nowhere near the ratio at which the changeling colt improved. “Seems you are done for the day then?” she summarized.
Chip lowered his ears.
“Are you displeased, my Queen?” he asked with an apologetic note in his voice.
“Of course not!” exclaimed Chrysalis, approaching the held stallion and her student. “You make me quite proud, young Chip. At this rate, we will continue with your training in a matter of days!”
“Thank you, my Queen!” said a happy Chip. If he was done for the day, that meant he could spend a lot more time to meet this new type of pony. “Shall I take care of the prisoner then?” he asked with sparkling eyes.
The Queen chuckled.
“Oh Chip, your devotion truly makes my heart sing,” she smiled wickedly. “But you had your fun with the mare yesterday… Time for me to have some fun as well… With this… Not so bad looking stallion.”
Chip felt the Queen prick the colt with a hungry stare. The flailing pony stopped, his body betraying signs of concern. She ordered a dozen of her drones to transport him to her throne – he resisted weakly, probably more out of desperation than the previous spirit of fight he had.
“Now, Chip… Leave. Come to think of it, it is good you finished early. Chrysalis can’t remember when was the last time she had some ‘fun’ .”
As the changeling returned to his cave, his thoughts were conflicted. Why didn’t he feel sorry? He should feel devastated – another pony got wronged and this time, there was absolutely nothing he could do. Even if the stallion survives whatever Chrysalis does to him, there is little to no chance that he will be given to Chip. Why didn’t he feel guilty? Did the feeding do this to him? What about the tears and pain from before? Did they mean nothing? Did he grow numb?
As the black colt entered his cave (feeling the tingling magical sensation of the voice muffling spell) he didn’t expect the welcome the received. The new mare, Hope Dawn, came up to him shyly and… Thanked him. Nuzzled him even. A slight warmth ignited in the young changeling’s heart – the same feeling he got when Night Star got better, when they shared conversations together. So he didn’t grow numb. Mares still filled him with a fuzzy feeling and the urge to protect. Was it just colts then?
“Are you alone today?” asked Night Star. “And why so early?”
“I finished faster than usual. It was a colt this time, and the queen kept him for herself. She said something about having the kind of fun I had yesterday. What does she mean?”
His tone of voice, calm and factual, conflicted with the sudden shift of mood the two mares presented – their faces were drawn by horror.
“What color was his mane!? What did he look like?! What was his cutie mark?!” yelled the ponies.
Chip got confused over the loud racket and silenced the girls with a brief zip-it spell.
“What does it matter? The Queen has him and there is nothing I can do about it…” He paused, seeing tears in Hope Dawn’s eyes. Well, if it was that important to them… “Azure coat, black, shot mane and tail. Bulky, feisty and a grey shield with two crossed swords on his flank,” recited Chip from memory.
“Something like this, ” he added, taking on the form of the recent victim.
The mares were surprised at first, but let out a sigh of relief in unison just a while later.
“Thank Celestia… It’s not my Rufus,” said the green coated mare, sitting down.
“Nor is it my Autumn Leaf,” replied Night Star, lowering her head.
“Why is it that important?” asked the changed Chip. The colt’s voice felt weird, so he immediately changed back to his larger self.
“Umm… Well, you see…” tried the yellow mare, “Some mares care about certain colts… Umm… I don’t know how to explain this to you…”
“Please try?” asked Chip with a spark in his eyes. He read about romances and knew that colts and mares wanted to be together, but he never understood for what purpose.
It was well into the night when Chip finally got his answer – more so, he managed to be annoying enough on the subject of “What pleasurable things can a colt do with a mare?” that Hope interrupted the awkward stalemate with a… thorough and illustrative description. Or at least Chip thought about it that way. He still didn’t get much of it – changelings went about reproduction in a more hassle-free way and on a greater scale. Come to think of it, if this is how ponies mated, why were they the most popular species in the lands instead of more effective creatures, such as changelings?
Before Chip laid down to rest, he had to apply some healing magic to both himself and Hope – in his naivety, the changeling requested that the pony allows him to gain hoof-on experience in the subject, rationalizing that it is what the Queen requested of him anyway. What was supposed to be a 'two birds with one stone' scenario (Chip gaining knowledge and the Queen’s order being fulfilled) turned out to be a 'sore face winded hoof' one. Chip noted that ponies can muster quite a punch when enraged, at the same time remembering not to return to the subject of colt-mare relations around Miss Dawn. And what was Night Star so happy about, anyway?
It was the 6th day of Chip’s shape shifting training. The Queen seemed to be in a foul mood and warned Chip not to anger her today, or ever again for that matter. Did she not have a good time with the colt?
That day was a bit different, as several mares were introduced in succession. The Queen didn’t say if she would give all of them to Chip – if she did, that would be quite some problem. His cave was small as it was, and he didn’t have the time or resources (he already picked up more food than was safe) to support more fugitives. It was imperative to stop delaying and release ponies, starting tonight.
Chrysalis noticed her student observing his victims with a mixture of bewilderment and fascination. She was furious at how her previous night turned out – she wished to erase it from memory, but Chip staring at mare flank only made her remember. The changeling certainly got the hang of it. And why should she reward him anyway? Why did he only get to have all the fun?
“That is enough, Chip,” said Chrysalis in a flat tone.
It was dark outside and the cool night air swept sweat from the changeling colt’s brow. The Queen really wasn’t in the mood today and had all sorts of different ideas – of the five mares that were present, he had to mimic parts of bodies from different ones, change into mares he previously “had dealt with” (all except the colt, strangely), or create totally new ones. He prevailed, however, and would now have to try hard to get all these ponies out of here.
“My lady,” he started, bowing graciously, “may I…”
“Take them away Chip. I don’t care what you do. Just leave me alone,” snapped back the Queen, startling the changeling.
As fast as he could, he took one after the other into his den – it would be easier to teleport them there, but that would blow his cover and unnecessarily raise eyebrows. He had to keep an extremely low profile now – tonight would be the night of the grand escape.