17w, 4dTwilestia is Bestia
71w, 5dDoubled Fun
71w, 5dTwilight is Best Pony
71w, 5dTwilight Sparkle
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17w, 4dProtect Celestia
71w, 4dThe Hero... Queen Chrysalis???
48w, 4dTwilight's Library
72w, 14hThe Usual
60w, 4dfimfiction's favorites
46w, 5dShining Armor and Cadence
66w, 3hAlternate Perspectives
28w, 4dChangelings Need Love Too
53w, 6dThe Changeling Federation
61w, 4dPower up the Mane 6
61w, 4dChrylight is Awwwwright
59w, 2dSt. Xavier Bronies
17w, 4dWorld-Building Alliance
50w, 3dChangeling Twilight Sparkle
39w, 6dPonies aren't Monsters
42w, 1dX Becomes A Changeling
28w, 4dchangelings are awesome
39w, 5dVallett's Private Library
34w, 4dChangeling Infiltration Corps
29w, 1dThe Peacekeepers
18w, 18hTheGreatEater's Buffet
9w, 2dThe 1000 Up Vote Club
14w, 2dssokolow's Recommendations
8w, 4dDriz's Fanfiction Emporium
12w, 6dTwilight's Parents
3w, 1dTwilight's Choice Stories
3w, 5dJourneyman's Private Stock
6w, 5dUpdate on chapter 17!!! 10 comments · 390 views
10w, 19hDue to popular demand, a status update on chapter 17! 8 comments · 214 views
14w, 5dSteady as she goes 4 comments · 209 views
20w, 1dAbout chapter 16 and a live reading 3 comments · 180 views
22w, 5dUpdate on Chapter 16 6 comments · 205 views
24w, 1dI'm not dead! 21 comments · 221 views
42w, 3dApologies for the delay 18 comments · 368 views
53w, 1dColored cover 22 comments · 136 views
55w, 2dSome more fanart! 27 comments · 78 views
56w, 3dNew fanart and apologies for taking so long 17 comments · 52 views
Twilight twisted and turned in her bed, wrapping herself up in the sheets as she dreamt. She saw terrible things, strange and foreign ideas which didn’t make any sense to her. A strange longing pressed down on her, urging her to give in to it.
With a yelp Twilight woke up and tried to scramble out of the sheets, only to fall out of bed and onto the cold ground.
“Ouch.” Twilight muttered as she freed herself from her silken prison. “Spike, turn on the lights will you?”
“Spike? Are you awake?” She didn’t hear him breathing or snoring, so he had to be awake.
“Never mind, I’ll do it myself.” Twilight used her magic and grabbed the candle she kept next to her bed at all times.
Her magic wrapped around a vast lack of wax and wick, much to Twilight’s surprise.
So instead, she lit up her horn. She took in the faint details that she could make out in the dim light. “This isn’t my room.” She eventually concluded.
The light on her horn grew as she funneled more magic into it. Now she could see the bed she just dropped out, a drawer, a strange monster in the shadows, a few crystals and a-
Twilight froze, her heart skipping a beat. There was something in the room with her!
Ever so slowly she turned back to where she had seen the monster before.
It was still there.
Twilight dimmed her horn, hoping that it would not see her.
She had no idea if it actually worked as the monster didn’t budge.
But Twilight could still see it. The unknown creature’s eyes glowed in the dark. An eerie glow, like two fireflies hovering in the darkness.
“H-hello?” Twilight called out, taking a chance to put her friend’s lessons to good use. Perhaps it wasn’t aggressive, she figured. Maybe it just needed a little kindness, as Fluttershy would put it. She smiled.
The creature flashed its fangs at her. But Twilight would not be deterred. Having just woken up weighed heavily on her ability to make good decisions.
Twilight took a step forward.
So did the monster.
Twilight hesitated momentarily but took another step. And another.
The creature came closer. And closer.
And since it hadn’t made a move to tear out her throat just yet, Twilight figured that it was safe to approach even closer.
Twilight came to a stop right in front of the creature.
It stopped too.
“Hi.” Twilight tried again.
The creature didn’t respond.
Twilight narrowed her eyes. There was something very obvious she was missing here but in her sleep addled condition she failed to put her hoof on it.
She focused her magic once more. The tip of her horn began to glow and bathed the room in a soft purple light.
Twilight looked at the creature again.
It was strange. She couldn’t make out the details but it didn’t look like anything she had ever seen before. It looked strange, wrong even.
“This is it.” Twilight said to herself. She held out a hoof to the creature. It responded by mimicking her action.
Twilight reached out and touched the creature’s hoof, only to be met with a solid, cold surface.
She moved her hoof around. The solid surface was everywhere in front of her.
Her sleepy mind took a few moments to realize what was going on.
Twilight chuckled at her own silliness.
“Oh silly pony.” She said to herself. “You’re afraid of your own reflection!” Twilight giggled.
Though the giggling quickly stopped as Twilight got a better look at the mons- herself in the mirror.
All the sleep that still clouded her mind faded as reality set in.
The rehearsal, Cadance, the cocoon, the Changelings! It all came back to her in a flash.
Twilight stared at herself. She stared back.
She lifted a hoof.
Her mirror’s image lifted a damaged limb. Twilight looked down. It was her own hoof. Holes riddled it up to her knee.
The light emanating from her horn caused strange shadows to form in the dark room.
Twilight looked up again. Her counterpart did so too.
Her face still looked the same, though she could see fangs gleaming in her mouth. Her mane was riddled with holes as well. The light from her horn obscured the true color of it though. But it was different. Blue perhaps?
She’d need a real light to tell for sure.
Her wings fluttered nervously, portraying their owner’s feelings.
She had wings. The real deal, not some two bit magic trick. But they weren’t Pegasus wings.
They were more insectlike, Twilight figured. Like a dragonfly or something. They too were pierced with several holes, though none of them looked like they would hinder her flight. She somehow knew this to be true.
Twilight laid a hoof on her face. Her coat was coarser and darker. Almost black now.
But that wasn’t bothering her.
Her hoof slid upwards, past her glowing eyes and to her horn.
Her beautiful little horn…
It was now twice as long and crooked. The tip felt sharp.
Twilight wasn’t a vain pony. Nor was she a pony anymore. But she was never vain, except when it came to her horn.
Like for every Unicorn, her horn was special to her.
And now it was twisted beyond repair.
She wanted to scream, she wanted to destroy, she wanted to cry.
She wanted to just lie down and die or even beg to Celestia and Luna to have them change her back into a little pony.
But instead of doing those things, Twilight got back up.
And with a buck that would make Applejack envious, she kicked the mirror into a thousand little pieces.
Shattered glass rained over her, miraculously not harming her.
Twilight waited for the last pieces of glass to settle before inching her way back to the bed, treading carefully as to not step on any shards.
She laid down on the bed again and pulled the covers over her eyes, hoping that it was still just a bad dream. One that she really wanted to rouse from.
Applejack yawned obnoxiously as the first rays of sunlight poured in from the window. She got up and looked out at the sky. Pegasi and birds were flying amidst the clouds, not a care in the world it seemed.
The orange mare narrowed her eyes. Did the sun just wobble a bit?
“Nah, must’ve been mah imagination.” Applejack told herself as she went back to her seat.
Applebloom was still asleep at Big Mac’s bed end and the red stallion was…
Gone! “Big Mac? Where’d ya go?” Applejack uttered, her head moving from corner to corner of the room.
Her brother was gone! How could she have missed him?
She rushed out into the hallway and threw herself at the first doctor she could find. “Mah brother’s gone!” She said, panic clear in her voice as she grabbed the doctor’s shoulders.
“What?” The doctor, a tall blue Pegasus colt, asked. “The big red one, brought in last night?”
Applejack nodded. “That’s the one. Ah woke up this morning and he was gone!”
“Don’t worry miss, in his condition he can’t have gone far.” The doctor assured her. “I’ll inform the security personal immediately.”
The doctor rushed off towards the nearest office, leaving Applejack alone again in the hallway.
“Where could he have gone?” Applejack muttered to herself. “Applebloom, wake up.” She said as she walked back into the room. The little filly didn’t budge and continued to softly snore.
Applejack prodded her little sister.
“Granny, ah don’t want to go to school.” Applebloom sleep talked, turning over and facing away from Applejack.
“Ah ain’t that wrinkled just yet Applebloom.” Applejack poked her sister a few more times, until she finally gave up and opened her eyes.
“Hi Applejack.” Applebloom said, suppressing a yawn. She instantly noticed that her brother was gone. “Where’s Big Macintosh? Is he up? Why didn’t you wake me?” The little filly sat up, a disgruntled look on her face.
“Ah’m sorry Applebloom.” Applejack said. “But ah didn’t notice big brother waking up either. He just ran off!”
Applebloom’s eyes widened in shock. “What? Why would he do that? Oh, ah’m gonna tell Granny on him when we get- waah!” Applebloom tumbled backwards off the bed, landing on the heap of sheets Big Mac had left. “Ah’m okay!” She called out.
Applejack sighed as she trotted around the bed and helped her sister back up.
“D-do you think he’s okay?” Applebloom asked, her misplaced anger quickly forgotten and replaced with genuine worry.
“Ah don’t know.” Applejack wanted to lie but Applebloom could always tell when she did. “Ah’m worried. He’d never just leave us like this.”
A stumble and a crashing sound were heard outside the room, disrupting their conversation.
“Excuse me!” Somepony called out in a haughty tone of voice. “A little help please?”
Applejack and Applebloom looked at each other in confusion. They quickly headed out into the hallway.
“Big Mac?” Applebloom shrieked in surprise.
“What the hay’s going on here?” Applejack asked.
The scene before her was a strange one.
Big Mac was being wrestled down by a white Unicorn of similar size. “Is this yours?” The Unicorn struggled to keep the other stallion under control.
“That’s my brother!” Applebloom yelled. “What are you doing with him?!”
“Trying to get him out of my sister’s room!” The Unicorn huffed.
Applejack vaguely recognized the unicorn. “Ah know you-”
“Introductions later!” Blueblood yelled, struggling profusely. Big Mac was too strong, even in his weakened state. “And help me get this beast back to his room!”
“Applebloom, go get a doctor or a nurse.” Applejack said to her sister.
The little filly nodded before rushing down the hallway.
“What happened?” Applejack asked as she grabbed Big Mac’s hind legs. Together they forced Big Mac back into his room.
“I found this beast sitting by Caddy’s bed.” Blueblood huffed. “When I ordered him to leave he said something about a queen of sorts. He continued to refuse my orders to leave, so I made him!”
“And here ah was, thinking you prissy Unicorns were afraid to get your hooves dirty.” Applejack muttered as she tried to think of a way to keep Big Mac from getting away again. If only she had her trusty lasso with her.
“Applejack!” Applebloom came running with a nurse and the blue Pegasus from before.
“Nurse, prepare a sedative! Now!” The colt yelled out as he helped force Big Mac onto the bed again.
“Don’t hurt my brother!” Applebloom called out. “Please!”
“It’s for his own good.” The nurse, a white Unicorn with a red mane said as she levitated a syringe in front of her. “Hold him still!”
Applejack, Blueblood and the doctor did their best to keep the stallion down. But they called him ‘Big’ Macintosh for a reason. The stallion struggled fiercer than Applejack had ever seen him do before and threatened to overtake them.
“Now!” The doctor called out. The nurse didn’t hesitate and swiftly jammed the syringe into Big Mac’s front left leg.
The red stallion’s eyes widened at the sharp pain. He continued to struggle but his agitated state caused the sedative to work quickly. Applejack could feel him weakening in her hooves and together with the two other stallions she hefted her brother back onto his bed.
“Well, now that that’s been taken care of.” Blueblood said as he made an attempt to fix his mane. “Care to explain how that savage managed to escape his room and assault Cadance?”
“He wasn’t locked up.” The doctor explained. “He has been nearly comatose since yesterday.” He moved over to Big Mac and checked his pulse.
Applejack ignored the squabbling ponies, instead opting to sit next to Big Mac again. Gently she stroked his face with her hoof. His look was that of pain.
“What did that hag do to you?” Applejack whispered. “When ah get mah hooves on her, ah’ll… ah’ll…” Applejack broke down and began sobbing into her brother’s chest.
The doctor stepped back. The situation was seemingly under control now and Big Mac appeared to be okay. Physically at least.
He and the nurse took their leave. “If anything happens, just yell.” He said before closing the door.
Blueblood remained behind, patiently waiting for Applejack to stop sobbing.
He cleared his throat to get her attention.
“Oh, right. You.” Applejack said, her voice flat and lifeless. “Thanks for wrastlin’ him back here.”
“I did what I had to.” Blueblood muttered. “I do not appreciate my sister being stalked by strange stallions.” He frowned. “Especially after what happened yesterday.”
“Where were you anyway?” Applejack asked. “We didn’t see you there.”
“I was away for weeks.” Blueblood said. “Imagine my surprise when the wedding date was moved to yesterday, as opposed to next month.” His stoic face hid the anger he felt inside. "I barely made it back here in time."
“The queen must’ve wanted to get things over with as quickly as possible.” Applejack reasoned.
“I suppose so.” Blueblood said.
“What was Big Mac doing anyway?” Applebloom cut in, tired of being ignored. “And who are you?”
“It's rude to ask somepony's name without introducing yourself first, little filly. But I am Prince Blueblood the twenty-seventh.” Blueblood said, holding himself regally as he introduced himself.
“Ah’m Applebloom.” The little filly said. “The first. Ah think. Applejack? Are there any other Appleblooms?”
“Ye’re one of a kind lil’ sis.” Applejack chuckled, momentarily forgetting her worries. “My name’s Applejack.” She added.
Blueblood nodded, trying his best to look interested in these two ponies. He was a prince after all.
“Now as I was saying, this savage-"
“He has a name: Big Macintosh.” Applejack cut him off. “And he’s no more a savage than you are.” She said calmly.
Blueblood narrowed his eyes. He was not used to being interrupted by other ponies.
But he quickly regained his stoic look.
“Mr. Macintosh here was sitting by my sister’s bed, practically drooling over her.” Blueblood said with a sneer. “He was rambling on and on about some queen.”
“The Changeling queen.” Applejack muttered. “She did something to him.”
“I suppose.” Blueblood said. “Anyway, please keep him under watch. If he so much as comes near Cadance again, I will not refrain from using excessive force.”
“Is that a threat?” Applejack got up and stepped towards him.
“A promise, miss Applejack.” Blueblood said, not backing down. “I will not allow my sister to come to any harm.”
“Ah feel the same for mah brother.” Applejack countered. Suddenly she remembered where she had seen this stallion before. “You were at the gala last year, weren’t you?”
Blueblood was a bit taken aback by the sudden change of topic. “Indeed.” He said. “The one that was so utterly ruined.”
“We already apologized for our behavior.” Applejack said.
“Oh, the gala can go to Tartarus in a trolley for all I care.” Blueblood waved his hoof dismissively. “All I wanted that eve was to dance with the pony I’ve always admired from afar.” He sighed. “And that prissy Unicorn kept me occupied the entire evening.”
“That prissy Unicorn happens to be mah best friend.” Applejack said flatly. Not that she and Rarity were all that close, but she needed to defend her against this uncouth prince.
Blueblood shrugged. “I see mares like her at every gala, every party, every social gathering I ever attend.” He said, his stoic mask slipping as he allowed his annoyance to be heard. “I do not appreciate being thought of as a prize, miss Applejack. But that’s all I am in the eyes of mares like your best friend.”
“Ah never really thought about it like that.” Applejack had to admit.
“You never do.” Blueblood said under his breath. “Anyway, you are Twilight Sparkle's friend too, am I right? Do you know where I might find her?” He asked. “I've been meaning to speak with her.”
“Tw-Twilight… she… didn’t they tell you?” Applejack asked. “She was kidnapped.”
Blueblood’s eyes widened. “What?” He uttered, panic clear on his face. “How? When?”
Applejack opened her mouth to answer but the prince rushed out of the room.
“Aunty!!!” She could hear him yell as he ran through the hallway.
Applebloom and Applejack stared at each other for a bit. Eventually Applebloom spoke up. “Are all princes like that?”
“Ah sure hope not.” Applejack frowned. The way Blueblood had reacted, was he sweet on… nah, couldn’t be.
A groan interrupted her thoughts.
“Queen…” Big Macintosh muttered. “Need to get…”
“Big Macintosh?” Applejack rushed back to the side of the bed. “Ah’m here, are you okay?”
Big Mac didn’t hear her. He just kept muttering incoherent things.
“Please big brother…” Applebloom pleaded. “Wake up, please.”
Big Mac’s eyes shot open.
His sisters gasped.
Big Mac’s eyes were glowing green.
“Huh, who would have thought.” Queen Chrysalis said to herself. “To think that silly would-be Praetorian was affected like that.” She could feel the presence of the stallion in the hivemind. It was faint, but he was there.
Every Changeling was linked into this hivemind, giving her direct control over each one of she so desired.
Though some Changelings were more linked than others.
Eleven of her best soldiers were still in Canterlot and this irked her beyond reason, as they were perfectly synchronized with her will. A mere thought was enough for them to know what she wanted. There were times they knew what she wanted before even she did.
And unlike most other Changelings, they had no pesky consciousness to get in the way. They didn’t refuse, they didn’t talk back, they cared only about food and what their queen ordered them.
Chrysalis found them boring as hell.
Her mother had always pressed for unity. The Changelings themselves wanted it, the old queen wanted it.
Chrysalis wanted it too.
A stray vision interrupted her train of thought. She sat up in her bed as she blocked the new and unfamiliar thoughts. She knew where they came from.
Her daughter was dreaming.
And her dream was leaking into the collective.
With a smirk she rolled out of bed and headed to her daughter’s room.
‘She’s going to eat our foals!’
‘No!’ Twilight yelled. ‘I… I would never!’
Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie surrounded her, calling out to her, calling her names.
Beyond them she could see Shining Armor and Cadance, their eyes fixed with hatred.
Princess Celestia was there too, a look of shame on her face.
Her parents were crying. ‘Why did you kill our daughter?’ they asked.
‘I didn’t!’ Twilight cried.
More ponies showed up, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Zecora, Mayor Mare, Caramel, Big Macintosh…
All of them had angry looks on their faces.
‘No!’ Twilight cried out.
Twilight cried out as she woke up. She struggled against the sheets that kept her captive. Somehow she had managed to get herself entangled in them. Again.
She managed to get out of them without falling off the bed this time though.
What a strange dream, she thought. More like a nightmare.
Would her friends turn on her?
They had been friends for more than a year now. They had braved monsters, galas and parasprites together.
And still, doubt filled her heart as she sat upright in her bed.
This was a situation she wasn’t familiar with. None of her books had ever spoken of somepony becoming a Changeling.
Nopony had even heard of Changelings before, as far as she knew.
Twilight took a moment to examine her hooves. They didn’t make sense. Why were there holes in them?
Maybe… A strange thought occurred to her.
She lifted her left hoof.
Chrysalis arrived at her daughter’s room. She sensed that her daughter was awake, so she knocked on the door. “Amaryllis? Are you decent?”
“Go away!” Came the muffled reply.
“Amaryllis, I am not going anywhere.” Chrysalis said firmly. “I know you have doubts right now and I want to help you get over them!” She called through the door.
“Also, you’re projecting your dreams into the hivemind. Every sleeping Changeling saw your little drama.” She said.
As she said this, a few Changeling drones and a Behemoth arrived at the door. All of them looked rather tired.
The Behemoth was even wearing a sleeping cap with little hearts on it and a pompon at the end.
Chrysalis never did find out where in the Wastelands they found them. Or why the Changelings were so fond of them.
“Yes, yes, I know.” She said to the gathered group, dismissing them with a wave of her hoof.
“Is the princess safe?” The Behemoth bellowed. “We felt her dream, we felt her distress.”
“It was just a nightmare.” Chrysalis said. “I’m taking care of it.”
The Behemoth nodded before returning to the sleeping quarters. The other drones quickly followed, as they knew they were of no use at the moment.
“Amaryllis, can I come in now?” Chrysalis asked.
“No! Please, don’t come in!” Her daughter called through the door.
“Are you still not decent?” Chrysalis tapped her hoof in frustration. “Wait a minute, we don’t even wear clothes!” She hissed before pushing the door open.
It was still dark inside the room. Chrysalis gave the crystals on the walls a quick jolt of magic, causing them to bathe the room in an eerie blue light.
She wanted to give her daughter a lecture about wasting their precious time. She quickly stopped in her tracks though as she saw her daughter's predicament.
“Don’t you dare laugh.” Twilight Sparkle said.
Somehow she had managed to slide her crooked and curved horn through one of the holes in her hoof.
“I am not laughing.” Chrysalis said. “Honestly, what were you trying to achieve by doing this?”
“To tell you the truth, I have no idea.” Twilight admitted.
Chrysalis wanted to facehoof at that moment but refrained from doing so. It was unbecoming of royalty after all.
“Let’s get you out of that predicament.” Chrysalis eventually said. Using her magic she grabbed her daughter’s hoof and followed the natural curve of her horn.
“Don’t cut yourself.” She warned as the Changeling princess was freed once more.
“Cut myself on what-ah!” A thin stream of blood oozed out of the hole in her hoof. “What happened?” Twilight applied pressure on her cut.
“Your horn.” Chrysalis clarified. “It’s as sharp as a razor and as strong as a sword in battle.”
“This thing’s a weapon?” Twilight shuddered.
“Of course it is.” Chrysalis said. She wanted to continue on the subject but then she noticed the broken mirror. “What happened here?”
“Oh that.” Twilight muttered. “I got upset.”
“Apparently.” Chrysalis said, levitating a few shards of the mirror up to her face. She could still see herself in them and smirked. “I honestly can’t understand why though. You inherited all of my good looks.”
“Good looks!” Twilight screamed. “You call these good looks? My horn looks like a bendy straw! My hooves have holes in them! I don’t even get what they’re for!”
“In terms of Changelings, you are very beautiful.” Chrysalis tried again. “A trait that will help you more often than not.”
“For what?” Twilight calmed down again. The queen was soothing her through the connection they shared. Twilight didn’t like this one bit, but there wasn’t anything she could do about it.
Chrysalis took a moment to collect her thoughts. “Listen, maybe it’s for the best if I start at the beginning.”
“Fine by me.” Twilight said. She still had many questions.
“Like I said yesterday, I am your mother.” Chrysalis said. “Your birth mother at least. When you hatched, I was forced to hide you amongst ponies. That was to make sure that you received all the love that you required. I was unable to provide you with such large amounts of love, as it would mean starving the rest of the hive.”
“You keep saying that.” Twilight cut in. “Love. How can anypony feed on love?”
“Love is a powerful force.” Chrysalis said. “It can move mountains, divide families, break hearts. It can crumple entire empires. It can drive ponies to put their very lives on the line for those they love. It gives them strength. And it gives us life.”
“That didn’t make any sense.” Twilight complained.
“It is pure, unbridled energy.” Chrysalis said. “It makes us tick, grow and live. Very simply put, love is like sunlight. We bask in it.”
“So it’s like photosynthesis?” Twilight asked.
“Uh, sort of.” Chrysalis shrugged. Not really what she meant but close enough, she figured. “There’s a few ways for us to feed. Changelings can obtain love individually. But then it only feeds the individual.” She explained. “If I obtain it, I can feed every Changeling. Do you understand what I’m saying here?”
“I think so.” Twilight said. She wished she had a notebook on her, to take notes. “Can we feed on anything else besides love?”
“Everything.” Chrysalis said. “We can consume it all. Love, compassion, sadness, joy, regret. Everything but hatred. That consumes us. It breaks us.” She said darkly. “You will need to learn to shield yourself from hatred.”
“Uh-huh.” Twilight nodded.
“Come along now.” Chrysalis said. “I’ll order some Changeling to come and clean this mess. Perhaps replace the mirror too.”
Chrysalis opened the door and motioned Twilight to follow her.
“Your actual name is Amaryllis.” Chrysalis said as she led Twilight through dimly lit hallways. Twilight could see glowing eyes everywhere. Changelings were everywhere. In the halls, in the walls, on the roof.
“Amaryllis?” Twilight repeated. “It’s beautiful. But can you call me Twilight? Please?”
Chrysalis sighed. “Very well. Twilight.” The Changeling queen said reluctantly.
“Anyway, if you’re to be my successor you’ll need to know about our people.” Chrysalis said.
“Who says I want to be?” Twilight said defiantly. The calming pressure the queen put out had dimmed and she was feeling a bit more rebellious.
“It’s your heritage.” Chrysalis said. “Without you, the Changelings will die out when I pass.” She said casually.
“Sheesh, talk about guilt tripping.” Twilight muttered under her breath.
“I’m just stating the truth.” Chrysalis said harshly. “No queen means no future. They need guidance, Ama- Twilight. They need a firm hoof to lead them.”
“And I’m to be this firm hoof?” Twilight asked. “Sorry if I don’t sound overly enthusiastic about this.” Now, Twilight would be lying if she said that she never dreamt of being a princess. But she had thought to be ruling over the beautiful lands of Equestria, not some dank and dark hole in the ground.
“Not to worry.” Chrysalis said. “Soon, all will be clear to you.”
They had arrived at a door. It was at least twelve feet tall and stuck out like a sore hoof amongst the other dull and boring doors.
Twilight noticed elegant carvings of ponies on it in white and gold. It looked ancient.
“This is one of the few remnants of the Time Before.” Chrysalis said as she ran a hoof over one of the carvings. “But it’s what lies beyond that’s truly amazing. I know you’ll enjoy this.” She swung the door open with her magic.
There were books everywhere! More books than she had ever seen together in one place, not even the Canterlot Royal library and the public library combined could stand against this collection.
“This is the private collection of the queens before you.” Chrysalis said as they stepped into the gigantic room. Shelves upon shelves of books stood before them. “Twilight? Are you okay?”
Her daughter’s face was frozen in delight. Chrysalis waved a hoof in front of her face but she didn’t seem to notice.
Chrysalis allowed her daughter to recover and walked to a particular section. Shoved between shiny new books was an old, worn book.
It had no title and was seemingly bound together in a hurry.
“Twilight, pay attention now.” Chrysalis said. “This book is over ten thousand years old. It’s the diary of the first Changeling queen.”
Twilight snapped out of her stupor and stared at the book in Chrysalis’s magical grip. “T-ten thousand?”
Chrysalis nodded. “Indeed. It tells of the origin of the Changelings. Where we come from, what we are. And more importantly, what we were.”
“Were?” Twilight was intrigued. There was almost nothing on record from more than three thousand years ago, so this diary was a one of a kind thing. “What do you mean?”
“Over ten thousand years ago, Queen Flutterheart ruled over the ponies in Flutter Valley.” Chrysalis started. “Unfortunately for them, Flutter Valley was a deathtrap, waiting to be sprung. When it finally did… well, let’s just say the results weren’t pretty.” She gave the book to Twilight.
“Read it.” She said. “In the meantime, I’ll go prepare lunch. You must be feeling peckish by now.” With that Chrysalis took her leave, leaving Twilight behind in the library.
Twilight was very conflicted at the moment. Now that the queen was out of her immediate neighborhood, she didn’t feel the calm anymore.
Chrysalis seemed nice though, if a bit odd… Twilight wasn’t sure if she could ever call the queen ‘mother’ or ‘mom’.
She had a mom. And a dad.
But here she was, her body unlike that of a pony. She couldn’t be their child.
Would they accept her back?
What about her friends?
Or the princess?
Shining Armor and Cadance?
Twilight shuddered at the thought of the dream she had had. Could it come true?
She shook her head. “No.” She said out loud. “We will find a way.” She said confidently.
But for now, she was content with her book. Her inner historian was too powerful to ignore right now.
Second summer moon, first quarter.
The kingdom has fallen. Fire rained from the sky. Many have died, though miraculously I have survived. I’ve send out distress calls but our allies are nowhere to be seen. Celly, where are you? We need you!
Third summer moon, final quarter.
Our food supplies are running out. I’ve refused my own share, I can live off of magic for a long time. But it isn’t enough. By now, I’ve accepted that no help is coming. All I could do was gather as many survivors as I could and take refuge underground. My poor innocent ponies, what did they do to deserve such a fate?
Second fall moon, first quarter.
The mushrooms we found deep in the caves have kept us alive so far but our numbers are dwindling fast. There are many natural shafts leading into these caves and the sulfur keeps finding its way to us. Poisoning has claimed three more ponies today. One of them was a foal. He was born underground. He never saw the sun…
Third fall moon, second quarter
Something came by. Some strange creature with a peculiar sense of humor. I do not trust him. How did he find us? Did the mountains stop spewing fire and smoke? He says nothing of the matter.
Instead, he showered us with food and water! Rocks turned to potatoes under his hand, dust became water with a snap of his fingers. The stranger helps us with a smile on his face and his laughter is quite endearing and infectious.
But he warned that the food would not last. He promised us a chance for survival. I seized it with both hooves. He claimed that we’d never need worry about poison or famine again. I wonder what he wants in return…
Second quarter, continued.
It seems too good to be true. He just gave me the spell, written on the finest parchment, rolled up and sealed with a beautifully formed golden ring. I have no idea what this will do. But I’m getting desperate. The food has run out and he claims to be unable to make more. He looks exhausted, so I’m inclined to believe him. But my ponies are weaker than ever and are on death’s doorstep.
I will not fail them.
That creature tricked us! His spell turned us into monsters! My once beautiful ponies are now no more than bugs! The food turned back to the dust it came from and laughter filled our halls again, only now it was mocking and cruel. The trickster disappeared, leaving us to our own devices.
Yet, we are still alive… perhaps we can rebuild our society now. I don’t know what the future holds for my little ponies… no, they need a new name. They have changed too much to be called ponies. Change… yes, Changelings.
And I am their queen.
Hours had passed in the blink of an eye. Twilight closed the diary again. Instead of giving her answers, it made her even more confused.
Most of the earlier parts were badly damaged by time and wear. The parts that were readable were written in such thick ancient Equestrian that even she had trouble deciphering what it meant. And Twilight knew her obscure and ancient forgotten languages like nopony else.
“Did you enjoy yourself?” A familiar voice spoke up. Chrysalis walked in.
“I did.” Twilight admitted. “A very interesting book but it failed to mention any details.”
“You can’t blame her, after all she had been through.” Chrysalis noted. “To see your ponies starve and die and be unable to do anything about it.” She fell quiet, as if in deep thought. "Come along now, it’s time for lunch.” She eventually said.
Chrysalis led the way and Twilight followed. Once again she felt the soothing pressure coming from the queen. It didn’t bother her as much as before though, now that she was used to it.
“So… do we link horns or something?” Twilight asked nervously.
“No, we do not.” Chrysalis smirked. “You’ll see when we get to the dining room.”
The dining room turned out to be just another bland, rocky room. Only difference was the table in the middle of it.
A Changeling Behemoth walked into the room with a gigantic serving tray on his back. Twilight noted that he was wearing a chef’s hat and she briefly wondered where he got one in his massive size.
Using his magic, the Changeling lifted the covered tray off his back and placed it on the table.
“Bon appetit.” He said in his best Fancy and lifted the cover.
Laying on the tray was Shining Armor! Trussed up like a turkey and an apple stuffed in his mouth.
Under normal circumstances Twilight might have found this amusing but her brother looked to be nearly dead! His eyes were green and he had bags under them. He looked like he hadn’t had a decent meal and a night’s sleep in days!
“Shiny!” Twilight cried. She pulled the apple out of his mouth and began to untie him. “Are you okay? Please Shiny, answer me!” The stallion remained rather lethargic as his sister cried for his attention.
“You shouldn’t be playing with your food.” Chrysalis said playfully, a devious smirk on her face.
“G-get away from him!” Twilight screamed as she scrambled up onto the table, to get easier access to the knots that tied her brother. “What did you do to him!?!” Twilight breathed heavily as she worked with both hooves and magic at the knots.
“Not much.” Chrysalis said, not making an attempt to stop her daughter. “I drained him of his love over the past weeks and fed that to you. Now you get the honor of finishing the job.”
“Finishing… you want me to kill my own brother?” Twilight was nearing hysterical levels of panic by now.
“Of course not. Just drain him of his love, all of it. He will become a Changeling as well.” Chrysalis said, as though it were the most normal thing in the world. “You will have him with you for as long as you reign.”
“You’re sick!” Twilight screamed.
“Am I?” Chrysalis yelled back. “I do what I need to, to make sure we survive! To make sure you survive! Why else did you think I posed as your darling Princess ‘Mi Amore Cadenza’ for over a month?” She spat that name out like it was something rotten. “Your brother has so much love to give, yet he squandered it on his fiancée. I just made sure it got in the right place.”
“How? What do you mean by that?” Twilight had undone the last knot by now and levitated her brother off of the table.
“Oh, you hadn’t noticed yet?” Chrysalis’s body was engulfed in flames. In her place stood Princess Cadance. “I was more than happy to tuck you in that night.” Cadance fluttered her eyes and made a cutesy face.
“I-I… what did you just do?” Twilight uttered.
“We are called Changelings for a reason, I thought you would have figured that out by now.” Chrysalis/Cadance said.
Another flash of fire engulfed the queen. “I must say, I’m very disappointed in you, my faithful student.” Princess Celestia scolded.
Twilight stammered in shock. “D-don’t do that! How dare you?!”
“Oh but I dare.” Chrysalis turned back to her normal form. “I should have known you would act like this.”
“How else did you expect me to act?” Twilight asked, clinging to her brother. Other Changelings had run into the room, drawn by the heated emotions. Twilight glared at them, daring them to even look at her brother. “You think that I’d immediately accept that my brother’s on the menu?”
“Ponies are on the menu, my dear daughter. Or at least their love is.” Chrysalis said. “The sooner you accept this, the better.”
“Never!” Twilight screamed. She grabbed Shining Armor and teleported away, leaving Chrysalis alone in the dining room.
“I forgot she could do that.” Chrysalis admitted.
Twilight panted as she recovered from her teleport. Bringing passengers was always hard and the bigger they were, the more energy she required to do so. But the distance to the library wasn’t that big, so she managed.
“Hang on Shiny.” She said to her brother as she helped him to a chair. “Just sit tight here.” She told him.
“And what are you up to?” Chrysalis asked, standing in the open doorway.
“You again? How did you find me so quickly?” Twilight asked, scrambling back to her brother and putting herself between him and the queen.
“Mother’s intuition.” Chrysalis said. She wanted to say more but was interrupted by Shining Armor, who started to cough loudly. He wheezed as he struggled for each breath of air.
“What’s wrong with him?!?” Twilight rubbed her brother’s back, hoping that that would help him.
“Sulfur.” Chrysalis said. “Hold on.” She stepped closer to Shining Armor and Twilight.
Twilight however wouldn’t stand for that and pushed the queen back with a shield spell.
“I can help him.” Chrysalis said, running a hoof over the pink shield. It wasn't as strong as Shining Armor's shields, but strong enough to keep her out for a long time.
“How do I know you won’t just eat him?” Twilight asked.
“He will die soon, if I don’t help him.” Chrysalis said.
Twilight hesitated but lowered the shield. “Don’t you dare harm him, I-I will hurt you if you do!” She had never threatened to hurt anypony before in her life, so even she was shocked to hear those words coming out of her mouth.
Chrysalis didn’t say anything. She just stepped past her daughter and lowered her horn to Shining Armor’s chest. She rested it gently on it, so she wouldn’t cut him.
Her crooked horn glowed green. She forced the toxic air out of Shining Armor’s lungs and encased him in an orb of magic.
“He’ll be able to breathe in here. For a while.” Chrysalis said, looking pleased with her spellwork.
“T-thank you.” Twilight stuttered.
“Don’t thank me.” Chrysalis said. “If you had just fed off of him and changed him into a Changeling, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
That gave Twilight an idea.
“Where’s the scroll?” Twilight asked.
“The scroll from the book?” Chrysalis asked. “Scroll section, third drawer, second on the left.”
Twilight stared at her. “What?” Chrysalis asked. “I used to write books, I know my way around a library.”
Twilight disregarded her and rushed over to the scroll section. She kept a wary eye on her brother and the Changeling queen as she searched.
“Let me guess, you want to see the spell that made us what we are?” Chrysalis asked as Twilight pulled a weathered scroll out of the drawer.
Chrysalis knew exactly what was going through her daughter's head now.
“Yes.” Twilight said. “If I can study the spell, I might be able to undo it! I can change myself back into a pony and get out of your hair!”
“Don’t bother.” Chrysalis said.
“Like hay I won’t.” Twilight said defiantly as she opened the scroll.
“No, I mean seriously: don’t bother. Roll the scroll open entirely. The counter spell is at the bottom...” Chrysalis said as she looked over Twilight’s shoulder. “… there it is.” She said, pointing at the last section.
“That’s… awfully convenient.” Twilight was suspicious.
“It is.” Chrysalis admitted.
“It requires a lot of magic.” Twilight said as she took a glance at the incantations. “More than I can use. And it’s-”
“Meant for every Changeling alive.” Chrysalis cut in. “There is no way for you to cast it only on yourself.”
“Maybe I can-“ Twilight started but Chrysalis cut her off again.
“I have had the brightest minds Equestria could supply look at it.” Chrysalis said. “And all I got out of it was a few dozen new Changelings.” Waste not, want not after all.
“We can cast it together!” Twilight said. “We can use it to save the Changelings! You don’t really want to keep hurting ponies, do you?” She pleaded.
“I will do what I have to, to save my kind.” Chrysalis said. “And if I need to hurt ponies, then I will. Come Twilight. I need to show you something.”
Twilight didn’t really want to go along with her.
She didn’t trust the queen. One moment she was serving her her own kin as dinner, the next she saved her brother’s life.
“But what about my brother?” Twilight made her decision but didn’t want to leave Shining Armor here alone.
“He is safe inside his bubble, let him rest. He will come to no harm.” The Changeling queen said. Twilight felt another order coursing through the hivemind, once again not understanding it. “I have ordered the library to be off limits.”
Instantly ten Changelings popped out of various places and rushed out the door, much to Chrysalis’s amusement.
She walked through the ornate door and beckoned Twilight to follow, which she did reluctantly.
Chrysalis remained quiet as they walked through the hive, following the rocky halls upwards. They curved around and slightly upwards, as if they lay in a rising spiral.
Gemstones adorned the walls, though the Changelings seemed to have absolutely no interest in them.
Rarity would know if any of these stones were worth something, Twilight figured.
She missed Rarity.
She missed all of her friends. They hadn’t been apart for long but right now, Twilight needed them the most. She felt utterly alone in the hive.
Chrysalis noted her daughter’s feelings of distress but didn’t comment on them. Eventually they arrived at a chasm, where the hall simply stopped.
It was like somepony had hollowed out a mountain, from the tip to the bottom. The massive void seemed endless and Twilight had to strain to see the other wall in the dimly lit cavern.
“Think you can fly?” Chrysalis asked, not looking at her daughter. Instead she gazed downwards, at the seemingly infinite abyss.
“Uh, no.” Twilight said, looking down as well.
“Learn.” Chrysalis said.
“Huh?” Twilight had just enough time to put on a confused look, before Chrysalis shoved her off and into the chasm.
“Aaah!” Twilight screamed as she fell.
Chrysalis was beside her, not falling but flying her way down. “Come on, flap your wings. You have them for a reason.” Chrysalis said.
Twilight instinctively opened her wings, only to be pushed upwards by the draft, causing her to lose all control. She spun around and threatened to crash into the wall.
Chrysalis didn’t let it come to that though and secured her daughter by catching her with her magic. “I’ve seen dodos fly more elegantly.” Chrysalis said, a fanged smile on her face.
“Most dodos don’t get shoved off a cliff!” Twilight screamed. “Also, they can’t fly.”
“You need to learn to take a joke.” Chrysalis said as she flew upwards with Twilight still in her grasp. “Although what I am about to show is no laughing matter.”
Chrysalis flew to the highest point of the cavern and landed on a platform. She lowered Twilight gently onto the ground.
Embedded in the stone wall was a door. Not as ornate as the others Twilight had seen but it was obviously much sturdier, being made out of iron. Which made her wonder how anypony had ever gotten it up here.
“What is this?” Twilight asked.
“This is the reason.” Chrysalis said. “The reason we can’t use that spell. The reason we can’t become ponies again. The reason we need to devour love to survive.”
She swung the door open. Twilight had to shield her eyes from the sunlight.
“Because there is no other way for us to survive.” Chrysalis said.
Twilight stepped outside.
She blinked a few times to get used to the sunlight. And then she looked around.
She could see everything from here.
Only there was nothing to see.
The land stretched out before her was covered in grey powder. Ashes.
She could see no grass, no trees, no shrubs.
The queendom, the land she was to inherit was dead.
I had a lot of fun writing this, though Chrysalis is hard to write. From the episodes, she seems like someone that would go to any lengths to save her kind, no matter who stands in her way. I hope I portrayed her well.
On another topic, what are the holes in a Changeling’s leg for? Find out next chapter! Or not, who knows.
I fixed a few errors in the previous chapters, thank you Goldengriffiness for pointing them out!