Just within the night before, Changeling soldiers #186 & 760 were battling it out against each other. #186 was fighting to protect himself and keep the survival of #457 (a.k.a. Dragon Heart) a secret! #760 wasn’t planning to lose though, for he always acts on his queen’s wish until it’s fulfilled. In the end, #186 was defeated and knocked unconscious. Afterwards, he was taken back to the hive and presented to the queen, Chrysalis. After hearing upon what had happened, she gave orders to throw him into a cocoon prison. Once he awakens, she would deal with him herself.
In the late morning…
Chrysalis stormed down the hive walls with pure anger within her emerald eyes heading towards what was the equivalent of a prison where those who’ve done wrong is cooped up in a slimy entrapped cocoon while awaiting judgment. Chrysalis soon came upon the confined object holding the Changeling solider #186. The soldiers guarding it quickly bowed before their queen and backed away.
“Well, well #186,” she said looking down upon him with eyes of rage, “I should‘ve known that your so-called request was nothing but a hoax; a cover-up for your real objective.”
#186 just stood there looking at his queen with an amusing expression that did not falter, “Morning my queen; I’m pretty sure you slept well.”
“Oh believe me I have my young Changeling;” Chrysalis responded, “and while I did you were out deliberately going against my Changeling law! You have delved yourself into deep and dangerous waters.”
“Dangerous waters that I deliberately risked to swim through,” #186 continued, “After all, I was only looking out for someone I cared for.”
“#457 is no longer our concern,” said Chrysalis, “and should no longer be yours either. She has been exiled, forced into a world that will no longer accept the love of Changelings; and in her recent condition, I bet her body has given up on her already; heh; good riddance!”
#186 had a hidden smirk on his face knowing that she was completely unaware of #457’s present condition. Unfortunately, approaching from behind Chrysalis was the soldier that turned #186 in; it was #760 and he had quite a boastful smirk on his face as stopped and bowed down.
“Well my queen… I wouldn’t say that.”
#186’s eye grew wide with worry and his body tensed up.
“According to what I saw last night, it seems that #457 is still very alive and well.”
“Really,” said Chrysalis with a curious thought, “I’m quite surprised that she has lasted this long. Heh, it won’t be long now.”
“Oh, and that’s not all,” #760 continued, “Not only is she in a more than healthy state, it also seems that she hiding out amongst the citizens of Ponyville.”
“Shut up,” said #186 in a rage of anger, “leave her out of this!”
“I think she was actually staying with a familiar young purple unicorn named… Twilight Sparkle.”
Chrysalis made a menacing low growl at the mention of that name; the young sister of the stallion who banished her away from Canterlot. Some of her guards cowered a little as a result.
“She’s getting awfully strong for a sole Changeling,” #760 continued, “and if I recall correctly, she was really bent on proving you wrong about this whole food gathering process thing after you banished her. Ever since she reached that town she has been receiving nothing but continuous love and compassion. If we allow this to continue on she’ll absorb so much energy that that she’ll become even stronger than you, my queen.”
“What,” said Chrysalis in a sudden uproar, “That ungrateful little… this must have been her plan from the very start, right from her sudden slap to my face. She probably plans to take me down as an act of revenge and take my place as the ruler over our kind!”
#760 was actually planning to make her think that #457 was planning to become stronger than her and that she’d be jealous because the others would respect her more; banished or not… but what she thought instead works too.
“Ummm… yes, exactly what I thought. But you know, she never revealed to the town of who she really is yet. If we can somehow get her to blow her cover, the ponies will turn their backs on her and her plan will all be ruined.”
#186 slammed against his cocoon prison and hissed at him, “I’ll kill you #760, I’ll kill you!”
#760 gave him a look of annoyance, “Says the one imprisoned in his cocoon.”
As far as Chrysalis was concerned she didn’t care what #457 did outside her nest, but she still really didn’t like her and wasn’t going to risk having her start a revolution against her. She decided to take action.
“That little wretch thinks she can try and best me at my power using her stupid little method; I don’t think so! You, #281, assemble the main raid troops and prepare for a little interference mission; just enough in case there’s trouble. #457’s plan ends now!”
“Please my queen,” said #186, “#457 is too happy with her new livings to think such things! Can’t you see that #760 is trying to trick you?!”
“Hmph, please #186,” Chrysalis retorted, “I think I’ve seen enough of your actions to realize whom I should trust; and for you, all it took was this one foolish act of attempting to make a fool of your queen!”
#760 smiled realizing that his plan of ridding #457 was working; he then asked her, “Shall I accompany you on this mission my queen?”
“No,” Chrysalis answered, “that will not be necessary. When we depart, I wish for you to stay here and make sure that our new little traitor doesn’t try to escape.”
“As you wish, my queen.”
After bowing to Chrysalis, #760 looked over at #186 who was constantly snarling at him; he gave him an assured smirk mentally telling him that there was no hope for #457 now; he won.
Meanwhile… Chrysalis was walking with some of her soldiers preparing for what was to come.
“Make sure we gather enough muscle for the road ahead! Today, we leave at the start of sunset!”
Back in Ponyville, we see Spike wandering around the streets trying to find Dragon Heart (a.k.a: #457) who suddenly ran off crying from her own welcoming party.
“Dragon Heart,” Spike yelled out, “Where are you Dragon Heart?! Dragon Heart!”
Suddenly he happened to look over at the little mini bridge only to finally see Dragon Heart who was hanging over the side sobbing to herself. He slowly made his way over to her side and spoke up to make his presence known.
“So here you are, Dragon Heart.”
She gasped and suddenly perked her head up. She looked to her right side to see Spike showing a face of concern and worry.
“Dragon Heart, what happened back there,” he asked her, “Why did you suddenly just ran off crying like that?”
Dragon Heart hesitated with her speaking again, “Umm… i-it’s nothing! I just… had a-a… a stomach ache… from all that delicious food.”
Spike gave her a low-eyed look; he wasn’t fooled this time, “All of that commotion… for a stomach ache; really?”
Dragon Heart tried not to expose her lie, but it was obvious that it wasn’t a very good one.
“Dragon Heart, what’s really going on? You don’t have to hide anything from us anymore. We’re your friends and you can trust us. Please, just tell me what’s wrong; I’m… I’m worried about you.”
Dragon Heart knew that she couldn’t keep her true identity from her crush any longer. But first, she wanted to see if she could truly trust his judgment towards her.
“Spike, have you ever… tried to hide something with a lie because you feared that you would lose your friends if you ever revealed it to them?”
“Well… I can’t say that I haven’t because, I have,” Spike responded, “I mean… there was one time that I accidentally burned one of Twilight all-time favorite books and I thought that she would hate me if she found out, so I lied and told her that it was missing. But that only made me feel guilty and the situation only got worse.”
“Yeah, she eventually found out. She was so mad at me that she yelled at me with much anger. At that point, I only assumed that she didn’t love me anymore.”
Dragon Heart felt a little uneasy; hearing this made her hate to think what her friends would do if they found out about her lie.
“So… w-what happened?”
“Well in the end… it was alright; she didn’t hate me.”
“Nope; she was only angry because I lied to her and tried to hide the truth. I let fear get the best of me and only made things worse than they should have; but she didn’t hate me and she forgave me. Twilight’s a good friend and she will always be my friend.”
“Well…” said Dragon Heart, “what if someone you loved and cared for was not who they appeared to be and was hiding their true identity from you. If you found out that they were and looked completely different like say… being a different species, would you still love them?”
Spike wondered what she might be going with this, but he went on and answered her question, “Well… why would it matter? They’d still be the same friends I had, right? Sure it would be a bit weird if not shocking to find out the truth, but that wouldn’t mean that their personality would change. It really wouldn’t matter about how they look outside, but how they’re like inside. Even though they would look different, they would still be the same beings I became friends with; that would never change.”
Dragon Heart felt a little relaxed from Spike’s words and felt that she was finally ready to tellSpike the truth.
“So… what you’re saying is that you would still love someone even if they turned out to be entirely different?”
“Yep,” Spike responded, “that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“Well in that case, I… I have a confession Spike; I’m not what I appear to be.”
“Huh, I thought you were just giving me an example to build up to tell me what’s going on and…”
“I’m not lying, Spike… not this time. I thought I could go by lying, but the guilt is just eating me up inside!” She stepped down and made sure that no one else was around to see them. “The truth is… I’m not really a pony; far from it actually.”
Spike got in front of her fearing what she was about to show him, “Wh… what do you mean?”
“I mean… that this is what I really look like.”
Suddenly, Spike jumped back as a small pillar of green fire engulfed her entire body. Spike looked on in slight terror wondering what was going on. Then, emerging from the flame was another creature; a dark body of black with wispy holes in the legs, glowing blue eyes, and razor sharp frontal teeth and clear wings that buzz in the wind.
Spike just laid there frozen in shock, witnessing Dragon Heart’s true form.
“Dr… D-Dragon Heart, y-you’re a… Changeling?”
In an instant after that she changed back into her cover-up form as the unicorn pony named dragon Heart.
“It’s true, I am a Changeling,” she said in a sadden tone while lowering her head away from Spike, “I never showed you or any-pony else my true form because I knew what you guys thought about the whole invasion thing at the Canterlot wedding.”
Then it hit Spike square on his noggin, “Wait, so when you asked Twilight about what she thought about the invasion you were… ooooooh.”
“Yeah… I mean, my heart wasn’t 100% with the mission but I was still a part of it; that’s all that mattered to me. But now I felt that it wasn’t any better fooling all of Ponyville like this. But then again, after all that my kind has done, why would it matter anyway?”
Spike felt very heart-torn by her story knowing what she must have gone through, “Dragon Heart, I…” He didn’t know what else to say yet.
“Well,” Dragon Heart continued, “you’ve seen me for who I really am. I won’t mind at all if you wish to dismiss me as your friend; I’ll completely understand.”
“What are you talking about,” said Spike so suddenly, “Have you not been listening to anything I just said? I mean sure, this does feel shocking and a bit… awkward, but it’s fine; my mind hasn’t changed a bit.”
Dragon Heart looked over at him, “Really? You mean you don’t mind that I’m…”
“… A Changeling,” Spike finished, “yeah. It’s like I said, it doesn’t matter what you are and how you lookon the outside, it’s only what’s on the inside that counts; and what I see on the inside is a Changeling with a kind heart and a passion for friendship. You’re unlike any Changeling I’ve ever seen that’s for sure.”
Dragon Heart smiled out of relief, “Thanks Spike, I’m glad you didn’t turn me away.”
“But now that I’ve seen who you really are,” stated Spike, “I have a question. How did you get here and why? I’m pretty sure that the whole orphan thing and being homeless was obviously a lie too.”
“Actually that’s partially false and true.”
“Say what,” excalaimed Spike.
“Yeah, you see… I wasn’t abandoned, I was banished.”
“Chrysalis, our Changeling queen, was trying to figure out how to make a comeback from being beaten so badly three weeks ago. I did give my opinion, but not only did she deny it she practically insulted it, making it seem like I was a complete fool to even think of it. I lost my cool and let her have it right across the face in front of the entire nest; not exactly the best reaction. She then delved an even harder blow on me that not only fractured one of my wings but literally sapped me of my strength. After that she banished me, left me to wander out her alone; doomed to die eventually. I would have too, but then I found your town. Every-pony here has shown me so much affection and compassion I’ve become stronger than I have ever been.”
“Wow, you really have had it rough,” said Spike, “But what was your… idea? How could it be so bad that your queen rejected it?”
“Sharing others love; you know, actually giving love to others and receiving it through true friendship.”
“Wow, well I guess if I were her I’d think the same thing… oh, not that I’m actually thinking that!”
Dragon Heart leered at him then just smiled again, “Well… would you actually believe that Changelings weren’t always showing love to others through fear?”
“It wasn’t,” wondered Spike.
(*Sigh* Imagine another Flashback)
“There once was a time where Changelings could live in peace amongst the ponies. Pones showed love to us in many different ways, and we never became scarce because of it. However, there were those who never trusted us Changelings and wanted us to be gone. So one day, those exact ponies attacked our nest and literally wounded many of us in huge numbers; but some were not so lucky. The leader at the time didn’t understand this, why would the peaceful creature they came to cooperate with attack us so suddenly? Was it all a trick, have their attitude towards us change? Maybe they became fearful of their power and didn’t trust them anymore! But it was them that help them become strong by sharing love and friendship, now it seemed that it no longer be possible feed from their source in that way. So the leader waged war against the ponies of Equestria declaring that if they no longer trust us and won’t give us their love, then we would just take their love out of force and fear. We have become enemies with the ponies ever since. I wasn’t born at that time of course, but I heard stories from others.”
Spike was leaning towards Dragon Heart getting into her story but also started to feel a little sorry for her kind.
“Wow, that’s terrible.”
“It was,” Dragon Heart responded, “and it only got worse. As years and years and years went by we did everything we could to continue to feed off others love, we even came down to disperse our own love to each other. However, the more wars we get into, the more possible numbers of our kind fell, and we were getting more desperate to keep our kind living. But Chrysalis, when she was just a little younger than I was, her parents were the leaders of the Changelings. To her, her parent’s love was all she needed to survive and be happy; she loved them more than anything. But then… it happened. One fateful day when our guard was at its lowest, a huge attack had befallen upon our nest; a lot of soldiers fell that day, many others became seriously injured… including Chrysalis’ parents. After that happened, she never left her parents side. She kept wishing that they would be alright and did everything that she could do to keep them alive; including trying to give all of her love to them. But in the end it wasn’t enough to sustain their strength… and they passed away right in front of her eyes. She became devastated, her parents was all that matter to her, they were everything to her. But now that they were gone, she was no longer herself. Her heart changed and her true compassion for any other Changeling was clouded by her hatred and rage. Once she became queen of the Changelings she’s been waiting all her life to get back those who took her parents away; dispite our numbers now we’re still struggling to stay in existence. We still lost some of our own whether it was from battle wounds or lack of life energy; that includes my mother, and my father who died before her. The Canterlot wedding between Twilight’s brother and Princess Cadence was Chrysalis’ chance to finally bring her kind at the top of ruling over all. However, despite our efforts, it was useless. After that we have no idea what to do next. The outcome of our future looks very bleak.”
(Whew, End Flashback)
“Jeez,” said Spike, “To think none of us ever realized this; now I feel rather… dirty.”
“Well, any-pony not around at that time had no idea; how could you. But anyway, the thing with me is that when I was banished I was set on proving a fact that we could feed off of love without using force and striking fear in others’ hearts; that ponies and Changelings love each other and live in peace again.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better,” said Spike blushing slightly, “I believe it’s possible. I mean, you said so yourself that it was like that once, right? So it can happen again.”
“Yeah,” said Dragon Heart with a slight blush herself, “but you know… despite all of that, my real reason for coming here was hoping that I could… find you.”
Spike’s eyes grew wide while his face blushed even more, “O-oh, really? I-I’m flattered.”
“I’m serious; ever since I saw you at the Canterlot wedding I only wanted to get near you and share your love. Even after we were tossed out of Canterlot I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I felt a huge fiery ember light up inside me, like my heart was on fire… Um, mind the pun.”
Spike was a bit flattered and shocked seeing Dragon Heart becoming so openly about her feelings for him. “So… do you feel any better; care to get back to your party? The others must be wondering what’s taking so long for us to get back.”
“Well I don’t know, what if they ask about what happened. Do you think it’ll be okay to tell them yet? They won’t be angry with me will they?!” Dragon Heart was panicking again wondering what she should do.
“Hey, you should tell them when you’re ready to tell them,” said Spike feeling confident around her again, “And as far as telling them what happened, don’t worry about it; just leave that to me.”
Dagon Heart got down in a laying position and was pondering about the situation. “I… I-I don’t know. Are you sure?”
Spike suddenly got a little bold and leaned down to give Dragon Heart a little kiss on her left cheek. Dragon Heart’s eyes brighten up and her entire face blushed bright red. She slowly rubbed her cheek and then looked up at Spike who standing there feeling so proud and smiling.
“Does that answer your answer your question,” asked Spike.
Dragon Heart made an embarrassing little giggle come out of her muzzle, “Oh Spike, you’re such a gentlemen.” She got up beside Spike and returned the favor on his right cheek. Then they gave each other a light hug.
“I’m really glad I met you, Spike,” said Dragon Heart.
“Yeah, right back at ya,” said Spike acting all cool, “Now come on, we got a party to get back to.”
“Right, of course!”
As they headed back towards Sugar Cube Corner, we see three familiar fillies secretly hiding behind some nearby bushes, the Cutiemark Crusaders; who heard and saw everything!
“Gross, I can’t believe Spike kissed her,” said Scootaloo, “I knew those two had a thing for each other.”
“Forget that girls,” whispered Apple Bloom, “didn’t ya see, Dragon Heart’s really a Changeling; a Changeling!”
“Guys, I’m not very comfortable knowing that we spied on them,” said Sweetie Belle, “and besides, it’s not like she’s actually planning anything evil.”
“Or so we think,” said Scootaloo.
“No need to jump to conclusion Scoots,” Apple Bloom responded, “but after the party, we need to get some answers… ‘cause nothin’ ain’t gonna get past the C.M.C!”