By Wanderer D
“Family!?” Sweetie Belle stepped back, shaking her head as she stared in horror at Chrysalis. “I’m not a changeling!”
“By adoption,” Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “You ponies always jump to conclusions.” She shook her head.
“Like Twilight when she jumped to the conclusion that you were really not Cadence?” Sweetie Belle asked innocently.
Chrysalis narrowed her eyes. “Yes,” she hissed. “Just like Twilight.” She gritted her teeth. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s the right answer every time.”
“But she was right that time!” Sweetie Belle argued. “If she hadn’t jumped to conclusions you would have conquered Canterlot and we would be all living as part of your evil empire!”
Chrysalis’ eyebrow twitched. “Even she had more reason to jump to conclusions than you do right now.”
“Listen lady, I just saw my sister turn into a changeling and talk to another in clicks and taps. I think I am entitled to think whatever I want.”
Chrysalis blinked then started laughing so hard she rolled onto her back.
“What?” Sweetie Belle growled. “It’s true! I wanna know where my real sister is! Where is Rarity?”
When Chrysalis didn’t stop laughing Sweetie Belle started hitting the floor with her front hooves, tears forming in her eyes as she shouted in anger, “I want my sister back! Why did you take her away from me, you monster?!”
Still chuckling, Chrysalis shook her head and sat up. She grinned at Sweetie. “Do you really want to know?”
Sweetie barely nodded, the tears of frustration still present in her eyes.
“Probably worried sick about you having gone missing,” Chrysalis shrugged. “I imagine she’s kicking herself for not telling you sooner.”
“Telling me what?” Sweetie mumbled as she dropped on her haunches, staring at the ground in annoyance.
“That’s she’s a changeling queen, of course,” Chrysalis said.
“But that’s not Rarity!” Sweetie insisted. “That’s some changeling called Purity!”
Chrysalis sighed. “Yes, that’s my nickname for her, since she’s both, my sister Pupa–”
“Aha!” Sweetie Belle jumped to her hooves.
“-and your sister Rarity. So I called her Purity,” Chrysalis finished.
“Huh?” Sweetie’s face went blank. “But that- how does that even work? It’s impossible! Infeasible! Inconceivable! It’s–”
“What are you, a dictionary?” Chrysalis growled. “Shut up already.”
“Sorry,” Sweetie muttered.
“Listen, Sweetie,” Chrysalis held the filly’s shoulder with a hoof. “Pupa and Rarity are the same pony. And she’s your sister as much as she’s mine. She- at least you had her with you all this time. I don’t even remember what it felt like to have a sister.”
Sweetie hesitated, looking up to stare at Chrysalis, who was looking away with what seemed to be a bit of regret tinged with pride. “What do you mean?”
Chrysalis closed her eyes. “A long time ago... I thought Pupa had died. I never thought I would see her again, and so I just carried on as usual. But- when Purity revealed herself to me, I remembered so many things that I had not cared about back then,” she sighed. “It made me all nostalgic and melancholic.” Her eyes opened and her gaze centered on Sweetie Belle. “Emotions are not a good thing for merciless queens. I did the right thing by coming back here to the Hive and becoming the Queen. I will never think otherwise.”
Sweetie was quiet for a moment. “So... if my sister really is Pupa... and I am not saying she is,” she clarified. “Why didn't she return here? Why did she pretend she was dead?”
Chrysalis smirked. “Life in the Hive is not... as happy as life in pony lands. We are constantly being tested, be it by nature, enemies or ourselves. Pupa was never cut to be as... cold as she needed to be to survive here. It’s clear to me she chose the softer life of a pony because of that. It was probably for the best, otherwise she would have died.”
“I don’t think Pupa is Rarity,” Sweetie said after a moment contemplating the horrible notion of not having a sister because she died. “Rarity has always been in Ponyville...”
Chrysalis nodded. “There is a magic we changelings have called ‘soul meld’, which is exactly that; it takes the souls of two or more changelings and mixes them together into one being. It’s usually done to create the stronger and smarter captains out of several drones... but what happened is that my and Purity’s sister, Cocoon, used that spell to save the lives of both Pupa and Rarity. Or at least that’s what I think happened.”
Sweetie Belle sniffled. “Why didn’t she tell me, if that’s true?”
Chrysalis snorted. “I don’t know about Rarity at that age, but Pupa was always a very sensitive little princess. She was probably terrified of what would happen if anypony found out. I don’t think she even knew what a soul-meld was. She was probably very confused for a while... imagine you are thinking in two different ways at the same time. The same problem you see in front of you gives you two consecutive instinctual reactions. Occurrences or objects or conversations give you equally strong conflicting feelings... it’s not easy. Can you imagine what your sister went through when that happened? How scared she would be of ponies finding out?”
Sweetie looked away. “There was this one time...”
“Sweetie! Sweetie Belle!” Rarity called, looking around the house. “It’s time to go to school, Sweetie Belle!”
“I don’t wanna!” Sweetie’s voice came from the floor above. “When I come back you’ll be gone!”
Rarity smiled a bit sadly. “Well, I know I’ll be gone, Sweetie, but I promise you can visit anytime! A pony needs to set out in the world, and my boutique is the first step in becoming my own mare. I’m sure you understand.”
“No! I don’t want you to have your own place! I want you to stay!” Sweetie Belle’s voice retorted, prompting Rarity to start walking towards its originating point. “I want my sister here!”
“Sweetie,” Rarity smiled. “That’s very sweet of you dear, but it’s simply not possible. Why, with all my equipment I’m already incapable of sleeping in my own room! I need more space dear, and I cannot have it here.” She stopped in front of the door that led into her own room. “Please, Sweetie, come on out, we don’t want you to be late.”
Sighing, Rarity’s horn lit up and the door opened. She barely had time to stare in horror as boxes, ponnequins, a desk, travel bags and sewing equipment spilled out on top of her knocking her back and following her, bouncing, down the stairs.
The whole thing crashed loudly on the floor and Sweetie Belle ran out of the room, terrified. “Rarity! Are you okay?” she shouted, running down the stairs and jumping or dodging pieces of Rarity’s luggage.
“I- I’m f-fine Sweetie...” Rarity stammered. “Just... shaken. Promise me you’ll never pile anypony’s things like that again! That was v-very dangerous!”
Sweetie sighed in relief and nodded, then frowned, looking around for her sister. “Rarity? Where are you?”
“I’m right here, Sweetie... I’m sorry, that really scared me and–”
Sweetie was staring at the roof, where Rarity was standing, upside down and breathing hard, obviously still in shock. Little transparent wings fluttered on her back, buzzing nervously.
Rarity seemed to get back to her senses and blinked back at Sweetie. “Um... I can- I can explain this.”
“Rarity,” Sweetie raised a hoof and pointed at her. “You’re mane’s green!”
“What?! No! Not green!” Rarity shouted, panicking as she saw her mane indeed had green highlights now. In her panic, she let go of the roof, crashing into her bags.
Sweetie stared as the random stuff was moved about and Rarity stood up, wings buzzing, blue-green hair a mess, and a long, twisted black horn running through the neck of one of her ponnequins. Her eyes rolled and she passed out.
Sweetie woke up a bit later and shook her head, groggily. “Wh- what happened?” she muttered, rolling off the sofa. Suddenly what had happened came back to her and she ran to the stairs. The whole place was clean.
“Oh, Sweetie, you’re awake!” Rarity called as she trotted up to her with a smile. “I didn’t know you felt so strongly about me leaving... when you passed out I didn’t know what to do!”
“But- the stairs and... and the green mane and t-the ponnequin...” Sweetie trailed off as Rarity put her hoof against her forehead.
“Hm, you were tossing and turning, dear, I fear you might have had a nightmare.” Rarity sighed. “I’m sorry my leaving is causing this to you, Sweetie... maybe you could skip school and help me move?”
“I–” Sweetie shook her head, then smiled a bit shakily. “I would like that, sis.”
Rarity’s embrace was as warm and loving as always.
“And you believed her?” Chrysalis laughed.
“Hey! I didn’t even know changelings existed back then!” Sweetie replied a bit defensively, although the corner of her mouth betrayed her amusement.
Chrysalis shook her head. “That was priceless!” She opened her eyes wide and waved a hoof in front of Sweetie’s face. “It was aaaaall a dreeeam...”
“Ha, ha,” Sweetie muttered, making a minute effort to bat the hoof away. She glared at Chrysalis. “Well, since we’ll be here for a while, it’s your turn.”
“My turn?” Chrysalis blinked. “My turn for what?”
“For a story!” Sweetie rolled her eyes. “Duh, I just told you one! Now you tell me one.”
Chrysalis frowned. “I don’t know any stories.”
“Yes you do!” Sweetie insisted. “Tell me one about Pupa or Cocoon. What were they like?”
“No,” Chrysalis stated. “I don’t have time to be nostalgic.”
“Pleeeease?” Sweetie Belle asked, big puppy eyes looking deep into Chrysalis’ soul.
The changeling gritted her teeth. “You are far more effective at that than Shining Armor ever was,” she reluctantly conceded. “And even then I couldn’t turn him down all the time...”
“What? Why would Shining Armor do that?”
Chrysalis blinked and looked at Sweetie with a carefully deadpan expression. “No reason,” she said quickly, “Now, about that story...”
“Ugh, what does mother want now?” Chrysalis grunted as she followed her older sister, Cocoon, into the throne room.
“I don’t know,” Cocoon shrugged. “Maybe she has another quest for us.”
“Where does she get those things?” Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “Go fetch a flower! Go catch a diamond dog! Find the golden idol! Doesn’t she know how utterly ridiculous ‘questing’ is? She should simply make me queen and skip all the horseapples.”
“Language,” Cocoon chided without looking back. “It’s tradition, our grandmother probably had her do the exact same things and I will have to do the same to my daughters when I am named queen and you are dead from one of the quests or, if you survive them all, at my hooves.”
Chrysalis snorted. “Whatever.”
The pair reached the main chamber and were allowed in by the guards. Chrysalis and Cocoon stepped forth, slowly making their way to their mother, who stood at the center of the room.
“We are here, mother,” Cocoon spoke.
“So I see,” Queen Metamorpha said. “I called you because you are now both going to witness the arrival of another princess.” She stepped to the side, where both of them could now see a black, egg-like pod resting on the ground, held upright by root-like appendages. The soft sack in the middle glowed a muted green.
“Are you for real?” Chrysalis snorted. “Another princess? Mother, what is the point? This little one doesn’t even stand a chance, we should get rid of her now.”
“It’s funny,” Metamorpha deadpanned. “That’s exactly what Cocoon said when you were born.”
Chrysalis shot a glare in Cocoon’s direction, but the elder sister simply shrugged.
The sack began to pulsate and the Queen turned around. “She is about to be born,” she said over her shoulder.
The sack burst, and green ooze slid down to the floor as a small black figure inside shivered.
Cocoon blinked and took a step closer while Chrysalis trotted after her mother.
“Mother, really, Cocoon wasn’t much older than me when I was born, this little one is at a severe disadvantage! It’s cruel to let her live!” She followed the Queen to the edge of the chamber, and their conversation faded.
The little new born changeling shivered once more, blinking as it tried to make sense of the world around her. Already she was ready to cry in hunger and needing attention. Cocoon smiled a bit as she leaned in and nuzzled the newly born carefully, allowing her emotions to seep through and feed the little princess, who cooed happily.
Cocoon giggled. Then her eyes went wide and she quickly pulled her head back, turning to look in Chrysalis’ direction.
Apparently neither her mother nor sister had noticed anything. Cocoon sighed in relief, not noticing the evil glance and smile Chrysalis gave her once her back was turned. She would use this weakness of her sister’s to her advantage.
“That’s it?” Sweetie’s expression was not amused.
Chrysalis raised an eyebrow. “Well, what did you expect?”
“That’s not a story!” Sweetie protested.
Chrysalis’ shoulders slumped as she rolled her eyes. “Fine.”
“Sister! Look! I found a shifting barnacle!” Pupa called, galloping towards Chrysalis with her prize held in her mouth.
Chrysalis nodded, erecting a transparent shield around the exit. Pupa, being distracted by the large barnacle, didn’t notice until it was too late. She slammed into the force field, dropping the barnacle into the floor and bouncing back.
Chrysalis barked out a laugh as Pupa struggled to her hooves.
“That’s not funny!” Sweetie admonished Chrysalis.
“Eh, you had to be there to see her expression,” the changeling retorted. Then her eyes brightened. “Maybe that way you’ll get it!”
Sweetie Belle took a step back as Chrysalis stood up, horn glowing with magic. “W-what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to let you see my memory!” Chrysalis stated. “It was just sisterly games, that’s all! Here, look!” She leaned down, touching her horn to Sweetie’s and suddenly Sweetie was in a damp cave, looking at pupa galloping happily towards her.
Pupa bounced off the invisible shield, landing painfully on her side. She groaned and shook her head, confused and not noticing the flash of magic as Chrysalis released the spell.
She stood up on shaky legs and would have fallen were it not for the sudden appearance of Cocoon, who provided a steadying presence, letting Pupa lean her weight on her.
“Here,” Cocoon said, dragging the barnacle on the floor until it was in front of Pupa. Cocoon kept her eyes on the laughing Chrysalis. “Don’t stumble next time.”
“I- I won’t,” Pupa said, not looking up. She dragged herself away from Cocoon, pausing only to carefully lift the barnacle off the floor.
Cocoon’s gaze followed the morose princess until she passed by Chrysalis, who gave Cocoon an annoyed look and turned around.
“See?” Chrysalis asked. “Wasn’t Pupa’s face priceless?”
Sweetie Belle remained quiet, thinking of the look Cocoon had given Pupa. It was very similar to the one Rarity had given her when she had turned to run away. It was a very sad look.
“Well, what did you think?” Chrysalis prompted.
Sweetie Belle looked up, ready to tell off Chrysalis for making fun of Pupa even now. But her words died in her throat. There was something about the changeling queen’s look and body language that made Sweetie think that there was more going on here than making fun of Pupa.
“I- I would like to see more memories,” she finally whispered. “Please?”
Chrysalis perked up. “Sure! There’s this great prank I played on Pupa and Cocoon during our mother’s birthday celebration...”
A/N: Again, just a reminder: no edits and chapters as long/short as I feel like making them. ~WD