43w, 3dDoubled Fun
43w, 3dTwilight is Best Pony
43w, 3dTwilight Sparkle
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43w, 2dThe Hero... Queen Chrysalis???
20w, 2dTwilight's Library
43w, 5dThe Usual
32w, 2dfimfiction's favorites
18w, 3dShining Armor and Cadence
37w, 4dAlternate Perspectives
2d, 2hchangelings need love to
25w, 4dThe Changeling Federation
33w, 2dPower up the Mane 6
33w, 1dChrylight is Awwwwright
30w, 6dSt. Xavier Bronies
22w, 19hChangeling Twilight Sparkle
11w, 4dPonies aren't Monsters
13w, 5dX becomes a Changeling
2d, 2hchangelings are awesome
11w, 3dVallett's Private Library
6d, 8hThe Peacekeepers
If she squinted, she could just barely make out the mountain on which Canterlot was founded. Everything in between there and here was covered in ashes. “I don’t understand.” Twilight said, taking in the image. “Why are you still here?”
“Because this is our home.” Chrysalis said as she moved beside her daughter. “Yes, it’s covered in ash and death but it’s ours. We are safe here.” She said confidently.
“Safe?” Twilight raised an eyebrow in confusion. “My brother was choking to death! How can this place be safe?”
“Let me rephrase that: safe to us.” Chrysalis clarified. “Changelings can survive sulfur-rich environments. Nothing else can.” She smirked. “I’m surprised he even lasted as long as he did. If anypony’s stupid enough to attack us, we just retreat into our hive and watch as they die on the way here.”
“You’re a twisted mare.” Twilight said. But even she had to admit that there was some merit to her madness.
“That’s no way to speak to your mother.” Chrysalis playfully scolded. “You’re not too old for a spanking.”
“Oh, watch as I shiver in my horseshoes.” Twilight rolled her eyes.
They left the wasteland for what it was and headed back inside. Chrysalis closed the door behind them, the room darkening as she did.
“You didn’t answer my question properly.” Twilight said. “It’s highly illogical to stay here. I’m Princess Celestia’s personal student, I’m sure she would grant sanctuary to all of us.” Twilight offered. “She might even be able to help us with that spell.”
Chrysalis’s gaze hardened. “The day I ask her for help is the day I die.” She sneered.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Twilight asked, taken aback by the sudden anger her mother displayed.
“That I’ll be dead before I let that hag lay a hoof on my Changelings!” Chrysalis screamed. “She is no friend to us Amaryllis! She left our ancestors to die in molten rock and poison! She left them for dead!”
“I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for…” Twilight tried to defend her teacher but she fell silent at the sight of Chrysalis’s face.
Her expression had shifted from rage to sadness so quickly. The proud mare seemed to be on the verge of tears.
“She… she left me…” Chrysalis’s voice suddenly broke. She looked down at her hooves. “All alone…”
“Huh?” Twilight could feel the distress rolling off of Chrysalis. “What do you mean? Are you okay?” Twilight reached out a hoof to her but Chrysalis took a step back, staying just out of her reach.
“I… I’m sorry.” The Changeling queen stammered before turning around and running towards the edge of the platform. Her wings flared open as she leapt off the side.
Twilight remained quiet for a while. She was shocked to see the Changeling queen go from utter rage to despair so quickly.
“What was that all about?” She eventually asked out loud. “And how am I going to get down?”
“Stupid!” Chrysalis screamed, kicking her hooves against rocks, gems and the occasional Changeling that didn’t get out of her way quickly enough as she marched through one of the many hallways that made up the hive.
“I can’t believe she still does that to me!” She yelled, her voice echoing through the old mines. The Changelings knew that tone of voice and it meant ‘stay the hay away from the queen or else.’
Chrysalis eventually came to her own room and kicked down her own door in frustration. “OUT!!” She screamed as she stepped over the unhinged door.
Multiple Changelings leapt out of various places and rushed past the queen and out the door. Chrysalis loved all her subjects but some of them did not understand the concept of privacy.
Her horn glowed green and the door levitated upwards. Using her magic she fixed the broken hinges and closed it.
And then she opened it again and slammed it shut for good measure.
She strode over to her bed and unceremoniously flopped down on her bed, reveling in the silky soft feel of her black sheets.
Hearing Twilight speak about her teacher like that… it brought back memories. Memories she wished had stayed buried deep. Ten feet at least. Maybe twenty, just to be sure.
Her disguises were perfect, her acting skills were phenomenal. She had had a thousand years of time to practice, after all. Every pony she ever met was just a mask for her to wear, in order to gain what she wanted.
Yet the greatest mask she ever devised was the one that she had held up during the royal wedding: her own. Cold, calculated and focused. Just the way a Changeling queen should be.
But that didn’t mean that she was like that on the inside as well. Deep down, she just wanted to scream at Celestia. Even when she was disguised as Cadance did she have trouble keeping quiet.
But she kept her eyes on the prize, her daughter’s wellbeing and her safe return home.
In the end, that was all that mattered to her. And nothing Celestia had done to her, past or present could compare to that.
Even so, her face to face meetings with Celestia had not been what she expected. She knew that the sun princess would be angry for impersonating her niece and threatening her rule. Of course she would.
But there was no true malevolence behind her words. Celestia didn’t hate her, even as she laid at Chrysalis’s hooves.
It confused her greatly. Had the countless years finally caught up with Princess Celestia, making her feeble of mind and prone to forget? Perhaps she was merely concealing her true thoughts, to maintain her image as an infallible and kind leader.
Chrysalis leaned more towards the first explanation. Because somehow the two of them had a seemingly heartfelt conversation after the wedding, away from any of her ponies. There was no yelling, no name-calling, no public denouncing and ripping to shreds of her heart.
She could even feel Celestia’s regret through her Changeling…
It just didn’t make sense to her.
“I wonder…” Chrysalis said to herself. Her horn shimmered and her magic reached under the bed. A small jewelry case was pulled out and levitated in front of her. “Are you sorry for what you did to me? No, that makes no sense. You would have apologized the moment you saw me.”
The two of them had not left on friendly terms. There was much shouting, crying and anger.
Her magic fiddled with the enchantments on the box. Chrysalis had placed ten different kinds of enchantments and charms on the box. One would think that they were to deter curious Changelings but Chrysalis knew better.
They were there to keep herself from opening the box. There was only pain and regret to be found in her personal Pandora’s box.
Her magic flickered and the first charm dropped. “Too easy.” She told herself. “Use stronger charms next time…”
One by one the spells fell to her magical lock picking skills.
The lock clicked and the lid swung open. Chrysalis dumped the contents of the little white box on the bed and picked up the one thing that mattered to her right now.
A picture frame. Nothing special, just wood painted a faded red color as the frame and slightly worn glass to protect the picture.
She levitated it front of her and let out a loud sigh. Her magic flared as she dug into the wood at the corners. With a flick of her horn her horn pulled outwards at the four corners, shredding the frame. Shards of glass and wood splinters flew everywhere.
But the photograph remained firmly in her grip, floating just in front of her.
She wanted to destroy it so badly. It could be so easy. A simple spark at the bottom and watch as the image was cleansed by fire. Or just finish what she had started a thousand years ago, the small tear at the top of the picture. Just close her eyes and rip! No more picture.
No more pain, no more memory.
She lowered the photo again.
A stray thought could tip the scales in favor of what she really wanted. She could unleash her wrath on the picture, making it share the same fate as the frame that had held it.
But as much as she wanted to, she just couldn’t. Instead, she just closed off her magic, allowing gravity to take its course. The photograph flipped and floated like a leaf in autumn before coming to a rest on the soft sheets.
The photograph was old and worn, the corners bent and the edges frayed and the image yellowed by time. But she could still make out a little yellow Unicorn hugging a tall white Alicorn.
Luna loved the throne room. The high walls, the grand windows, Celestia’s overly comfortable throne. Why wasn’t her throne like that? Knowing Celestia, she had probably enchanted her own throne to massage the royal buttocks.
Just like her, Luna figured. To obsess over her plot like that.
Luna just wished that her sister would share that spell with her…
A loud noise interrupted her train of thought, thankfully before it strayed too badly. The sound of hooves clopping on tiles came closer and closer, accompanied by cries that she, unfortunately, knew all too well.
The doors were thrown open and a white Unicorn came running in. “Aunty!” He cried out, his voice sounding both urgent and distressed as he rushed towards her.
“Watch out!” Luna called out. “The royal cleaners have just-”
Luna cringed as her nephew slipped and landed on his back. He still slid forward though and ended up at the base of the throne.
“They just waxed the floor, dear nephew.” Luna said, though her warning was obviously much too late.
“I’ve noticed.” Blueblood groaned. He rolled back onto his four legs and took a moment to assess the damage done. “My mane is ruined.” He eventually concluded, though that wasn’t much of a surprise. He had been running all the way from the hospital back to the castle at high speeds. The royal hairdo was just not up to such abuse.
“I assume that you didn’t run here just to ruin your precious hair.” Luna said. “What were you yelling about Bluey?”
“Do not call me that aunty Lulu.” Blueblood said. “And no, I ran here after I heard the news about Twilight.”
“I see. Didn’t anyone inform you of the situation?” Luna asked.
“Only partially, it would seem.” Blueblood said. “Imagine my surprise when I came home to find my city overrun with creatures and my sister half dead in the hospital.” Anger laced his words as he went on. “But no one told me about Twilight! Who kidnapped her? Was it that queen I’ve been hearing about?”
“Overrun?” Luna laughed, disregarding her nephew’s major concerns. “Bluey, you’re my favorite nephew but you blow things out of proportion. The only Changelings that were sighted in the city were the queen and her copies, as they fled with their tails between their legs!” She laughed. “Though I will admit, we have no idea what happened to the ones that Sir Macintosh took down.” She frowned. They had been thought down for the count but they fled in the confusion and hadn’t been seen since.
“Sir Macintosh?” Blueblood’s face fell. “That slobbering savage? I left Cadance’s side for five minutes, only to find him drooling over her!”
“I know nothing of his condition but Big Macintosh will be knighted soon for his services to Equestria.” Luna said. “He single hoofedly took down nearly a third of the invading forces.” Luna said with pride in her voice. “Before succumbing only to the queen herself, or so I’m told. She did something to him.” She said, recalling the images of the cocoon and the struggling pony in it. “Not even Celestia could take her on one on one. Only through superior numbers were we able to scare them off.”
“And still you claim that I exaggerate.” Blueblood said, not believing what he was hearing. “You just admitted that this queen was too strong for Aunt Celly!”
“Believe it or not, we are not all-powerful.” Luna said. “We may be immortal but we are not invincible. We can be hurt, we can fall ill. We can fail.”
“I am sorry, aunty.” Blueblood sighed. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“I know nephew, I know.” Luna nodded.
“So what are you doing about this new threat?” Blueblood asked, returning to the subject at hoof. “Have you begun preparations?”
“Preparations?” Luna asked. “For what?”
“For what?” Blueblood mimicked. “War, what else? They stepped out of line and attacked us in our capitol!”
“Indeed.” Luna said. She knew where this was leading.
“So, sharpen the swords! Polish the shields! Construct additional pylons or something! I don’t know!” Blueblood’s voice grew louder and louder as he spoke. “Just do something! They stole one of our own! We need to get her back!”
“Two.” Luna corrected. “They took both Twilight and her brother with them.”
“All the more reason for us to launch a full-on frontal attack!” Blueblood claimed. “We need to save Twilight!”
“What about Shining Armor?” Luna asked, noting her nephew’s one track mind. “Honestly nephew, I love you very much but you are letting your infatuation cloud your judgment.”
“I am not!” Blueblood countered.
“Do you even understand what you are saying?” Luna asked. “You are telling me to send an army of ponies, who have never even seen battle, into the Wastelands against an enemy we know nothing about.”
“Well, what else do you suggest?” Blueblood asked as he began to pace around in front of the throne. Luna’s reluctance to act was annoying him greatly.
“Celestia and I have agreed to try our hoof at diplomacy.” Luna said. “We both feel that this may be the superior way to end this conflict before it escalates.”
“Diplomacy?” Blueblood stopped his pacing and stared at her. “You have got to be kidding me! How can you come to an understanding with such savages?”
“By the use of fancy words and promises. That’s what diplomacy’s about, right?” Luna joked, despite the severity of this situation. “Violence only begets violence, dearest nephew.” She turned serious again. “And it should stay our last resort.”
“Violence may just be the only thing these creatures understand.” Blueblood countered. “What if they attack again, huh? What if they strike while you’re waving the white flag?”
“You know what, you’re right.” Luna said as she stood up and walked down, towards her nephew. “Let’s go pillage their lands, burn their homes and hang their people.” As she spoke her eyes began to glow. “Maybe we can drop a meteor or two on their capitol! Would you like that Blueblood?!?!” She screamed as she came to a halt in front of him. Thunder and lightning were seen and heard as the princess raged, despite being clear outside.
“You know nothing of war! You have never seen what it brings! You dare suggest that we take up the sword once more?!” Blueblood shrank back as Luna’s screams shook the entire throne room to its foundations.
“Ponies die when you go to war, Blueblood!” Luna’s screams were like the frigid northern winds, even managing to push Blueblood back a few feet. But the mare calmed down again, her eyes returning to normal as her rage subsided. “Celestia and I have done terrible things throughout our immortal lives. Things I will not speak of. Things I still dream of.” She looked her nephew in the eyes. “Do not ask us to become those monsters again.”
“I-I’m sorry aunty.” Blueblood said.
“I know you are.” Luna sighed. “Please, Bluey. Give us a chance to do it like this.”
“Very well.” Blueblood said. He knew he wouldn't be able to persuade her.
He bowed before his aunt and turned around, gingerly trotting back to the door.
“Wait!” Luna yelled. “Before you go: I haven’t asked Celestia’s opinion of this yet but I am planning on heading into the Wastelands tonight, along with some of Twilight’s friends. Will you come along?” She asked. “We could use a skilled cartographer.”
“I’m sorry.” Blueblood said. “I have my duties to attend to tomorrow.”
Luna hadn’t expected him to decline. “I see. Well, if you’re busy then I won’t press on. Have a good day, dear nephew.”
Blueblood nodded before walking out the door.
He closed the doors behind him.
“I’ll be busy.” He said as he walked away from the throne room, the sound of his gilded horseshoes echoing through the hallway. “Very busy indeed.”
“Let me in!” A much younger Chrysalis screamed. “I’m Starlight, I need to speak to the princess! It’s urgent!”
“You are not setting a hoof into our city, you bug-eyed freak!” One of the guards said.
“What is the meaning of this?” Starlight sighed in relief as she heard that familiar voice.
“Oh Celly!” Starlight cried out. “You don’t know how happy I am to see you!”
“That’s Princess Celestia to you.” Celestia said coolly as she stepped between her guards. “And what are you anyway?”
“What? But Celly, it’s me!” Starlight pleaded. “I’m Starlight! Your student!”
“I sincerely doubt that.” Celestia said, a look of disgust in her eyes.
“But… oh right.” Starlight looked down at her twisted body. “Don’t worry! I can fix that!” A wisp of fire travelled over her body, changing it back to the way it had been before.
Celestia stared at the yellow Unicorn.
A swift blast of her magic sent the faux Unicorn flying backwards and throwing her to the ground. Starlight was taken by surprise and her disguise dropped, revealing her near black fur once more.
“There’s no way that you are my student, you monster.” The ruler’s words cut into Starlight like razors. “Look at you, there’s no way anypony could ever love a freak like you.”
“B-but you promised!” Starlight screamed. “You said that you’d always love me!”
“Guards, make sure that she stays away.” Celestia said, her voice cold and uncaring. “I’d hate to gaze upon such a monstrosity for much longer.”
The two royal guards moved forward, their hooves reaching for their blades. “Move along now, you freak, lest we need to use force.” A white Unicorn guard said.
“I’d hate to sully my blade with your blood.” The other guard, a grey Unicorn, said. His horn ignited in a green glow as he pulled the sword out of its sheath. The cold steel shone in the evening sun as it was aimed at Starlight.
“I trusted you!” Starlight screamed as she scrambled to her hooves. “I loved you like my own mother and now you just reject me! I was there when you were too weak to stand against Nightmare Moon!”
Celestia’s eye twitched at the mention of her sister but she said nothing. Instead she just turned around and walked back through the gates.
“Are you going quietly or do I need to strike you down?” The white Unicorn guard had drawn his sword as well now and levitated it dangerously close to Starlight’s throat.
Starlight backed away again. “That’s a good little freak.” The guard said, sheathing his sword again.
The guards moved back through the door, the gate closing behind them.
“Fine!” Starlight screamed. “I hate you! I hate you!” Tears streamed down her cheeks as she turned around and ran.
Her tearful eyes left her blind as she ran. It was by chance that she stopped just before tumbling into a small pond beside a forest.
She took some time to dry her eyes but the tears kept flowing.
“I-I loved you.” Starlight said, looking at her reflection in the still water. She slammed her hoof into it, the water rippling and distorting her image.
“Maybe… maybe she was right… yes… St-Starlight is dead.” She said. “She died when somepony important to her stopped loving her.” Starlight stood back up.
She refused to shed any more tears for that monster that had been like a mother to her. But it was so hard…
“Starlight is dead.” She said again, her eyes still stinging with tears. “From this day forward, I am Chrysalis.”
“I am so proud of you.” Chrysalis was startled by the sudden appearance of somepony else.
“Queen Amethyst?” Chrysalis asked. “How did you find me?”
A tall Changeling strode over to her. Her mane and tail were a deep purple, as was her stomach. “A mother knows these things.” The queen said as she came to a stop in front of Chrysalis. “And don’t call me by my title, please.”
“Fine, mother.” Chrysalis sighed. “Happy?”
“Very much so.” Amethyst said. “It hurts, doesn’t it? Being rejected by those you thought loved you? Did I not warn you?”
“You did.” The filly admitted. “But I thought she would be different. W-why did she have to say those things?” She was about to burst into tears again.
“There, there, my love.” Amethyst stepped towards her and laid a comforting hoof over her. “Do not shed tears for those unworthy of them. They are nothing more than food for us.”
“But I-I lost my mom and dad.” Chrysalis sniffed. “And now I’ve lost Celly. I-I just don’t know what to do anymore.” Amethyst pulled her closer and allowed the confused filly to sob into her chest.
“What you do now is come back home, where you belong.” Amethyst said as she ran her hoof down Chrysalis’s back in a comforting gesture. “Where no one will hurt you like this ever again.”
Chrysalis opened her eyes. “Liar.” She muttered. Her thoughts had strayed back to that awful day as she dozed off, sending her into that awful dream.
A loud knock interrupted her musings. “Come in.” She growled. She really didn’t want to see any Changeling right now. But as the queen, she still had her duties, personal crisis or not.
“My queen!” A tall Changeling opened the door, nearly stumbling over his hooves as he rushed into the room. “Are you alright? We sensed your distress and came running!”
“Distress? I did not-” She stopped midsentence. Her mouth fell and her eyes widened. “I-I-I did not, no, I mean…” She stammered, struggling with her words.
In her emotional state, she had accidentally broadcasted her dream to the entire hive!
Every Changeling had seen that memory of hers. And so had her daughter…
Twilight was a bit woozy, her headache having returned again with a vengeance.
“What the hay was that!?!” The Changeling princess muttered as she picked herself up from the cold ground. She was lucky not to have tumbled off of the cliff when she was forced into this strange trance.
“Did… did that really happen?” Twilight asked herself. She had seen the world through her mother’s eyes. It would seem that long ago, she had been Celestia’s student as well. Perhaps even more than that, a daughter maybe.
And Celestia had tossed her out like she meant nothing to her.
Unlike most ponies, Twilight knew of Celestia’s dark past. The kind and benevolent ruler had not always been like that. The stories she had told Twilight had led to her fearing her teacher just as much as she loved her.
But the whole situation made some sense now, Twilight figured. Chrysalis would refuse Celestia’s help because of old grudges. But would Celestia even offer help? Were a thousand years enough to change an immortal’s mind on the matter?
Would Celestia toss her out as well? That was one thing she feared. The walls around Canterlot had been torn down centuries ago but the royal guard still had ways of keeping unwanted guests out of town. Twilight sincerely hoped that her name wouldn’t become the latest addition to the list of undesirables.
But she needed to know for sure.
The Celestia she knew would never do something like that, whether they were ponies or Changelings. She had changed.
So she needed answers to her questions.
But first, she needed to get down. She had her own set of wings but no clue how to use them. If only there was some way to get help.
“You rang?” A low voice startled her and made her lose her train of thought.
“Who’s there?” Twilight looked around. “Show yourself!”
“Pardon me, princess.” A Changeling shimmered into existence. Twilight blinked a few times. That Changeling had just appeared out of nowhere.
“What are you?” Twilight asked.
“A Praetorian.” The Changeling said. Twilight got a proper look at him now. He, she assumed it was male, was a tall, muscular Changeling. He reminded her of Big Macintosh, only not as bulky as the farm steed was. Other than that, there weren’t any distinguishing features that set him apart from any other Changeling she had encountered.
“Could you do that again?” Twilight asked. “The whole ‘blinking into existence’ thingy?”
The Changeling didn’t speak. He just stepped back and pressed into the wall. As he did, his coat took on the color and texture of the rocks behind him.
Twilight could still see his eyes as he blinked. She stepped over to him and laid her hoof on his side. “Some kind of camouflage?” She asked.
The Changeling appeared again. “We heard your cry for help. I was close by. Very close by.”
“But I didn’t yell.” Twilight said.
“We heard.” The Changeling stressed. “Come.” He moved past her and towards the cliff. Twilight trailed after him and looked over the edge again.
“It’s so deep.” She couldn’t see the bottom and that didn’t exactly fill her with confidence either. She knew from experience that the chasm was deep, after her mother had shoved her in. And now they were on the highest peak of the hive.
The Praetorian wrapped his hooves around her and took off. Twilight refused to look down as they made their descent.
“Care to explain how exactly you heard me?” Twilight asked with her hooves in front of her eyes.
“You are our princess.” The Changeling said. “We are linked to you just as we are to the queen.”
“I see. Is there any way for you not to hear my thoughts?” Twilight wasn’t exactly keen on the idea of sharing her deepest and darkest thoughts with every Changeling around.
“You will learn.” He said. “You can open your eyes now.” The Changeling said as he landed.
He gently put her back down. “Thank you.” Twilight said but found herself to be alone all of a sudden. “Hey, where did you go?” She was alone again, the Praetorian seemingly disappearing into thin air.
“A good guard isn’t seen or heard unless it’s necessary.” The wall next to her said. “The queen is looking for you. She’ll be here soon.”
“Thank you.” Twilight said. The Changeling didn’t respond.
“Are you still there?” She asked. But the Changeling still didn’t respond. “Weird.” Twilight said to herself. Still, that had been the first conversation she had had with anypony besides the queen since she got here.
“Twilight?” Twilight’s ears perked up as she heard her name being called. The queen came down the hallway. “Twilight, I am sorry for leaving you like that.”
“It’s okay. One of the Changelings brought me back down here.” Twilight said awkwardly. She tried her best to avoid eye contact with the queen. “Uhm, was… that memory. I think it was a memory.” She muttered quietly, doing her best Fluttershy imitation. “Was it real?” She suddenly lifted her head and stared the queen right in the eyes.
Chrysalis met her gaze, though she quickly broke away. “It was.” She said. “Over one thousand years ago, I was Celestia’s student. Just like you.”
“She never mentioned you.” Twilight said. “I mean, Starlight. Which is also you, right?” She stammered.
“She once was.” Chrysalis said. “Sometimes, I still am her. But those moments are few and far between.”
Twilight stayed silent. “D-did she really say those things?” She asked once she found her voice again.
“She did.” Chrysalis said. “You’re lucky you only saw that part. My so-called friends were harsher than she had been.” She said darkly.
“Friends?” Twilight’s eyes widened. How would her friends react to all of this?
“Yes… friends.” Chrysalis drew that word out. “Ponies who stand beside you unconditionally, who love you for who you are. Or at least until they find out you’re an emotional vampire.” A chuckle escaped her mouth.
“No, I know my friends.” Twilight said, stomping her hoof. “They won’t reject me.”
“That’s what I thought.” Chrysalis sighed. She motioned with her hoof for Twilight to walk with her. Slowly they descended back into the depths of the hive.
“They were the only thing that kept me going.” Chrysalis said as they followed the winding hallways, no true destination in mind. “They and Celestia. I was confident that my friends would be there for me. That they’d keep me safe from my mother, Queen Amethyst.” She cleared her throat. “But they didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore.”
“I’m sorry.” Twilight said.
“Don’t be.” Chrysalis said. “I have my children, I have you. I don’t need them anymore.” She smirked. “Of course, it helps that none of them are alive today.”
Twilight didn’t say anything to that. From what she had heard, Chrysalis was over a thousand years old. So it was likely that she too would reach such a high age. Her friends on the other hoof would be lucky to live to be a hundred or so.
Rarity might push one hundred fifty, being a Unicorn. Spike would be around for at least five hundred years, maybe more.
But what good would that be, if they hated her?
Like it or not, Twilight had to consider that possibility. That Celestia would denounce her, just like Starlight. That her friends would turn on her. The situation with Zecora came to mind as well. Everypony had been so mean to her because of her exotic looks. Compared to her, Zecora blended in perfectly…
“Something on your mind, my child?” Chrysalis asked as they came to a stop.
“I want to go home.” Twilight said. “Back to Canterlot and then to Ponyville.”
“Those places aren’t your home anymore.” Chrysalis said. “The Wastelands are. The Hive is your home now.”
“Please.” Twilight pleaded. “I just need to know. I have to talk to my friends!” She needed to know for sure that her friends wouldn’t hate her!
Chrysalis rubbed her chin in thought. “You know, when I asked my mother to let me go back to Canterlot, she sealed me into a cocoon for three weeks. I escaped on my own and made my way back to Canterlot through the ashes outside. I struggled for days and the reward for it was only pain.”
She sighed. “Fine. You can go. Experience is a better teacher after all.” Chrysalis relented.
“Really, just like that?” Twilight hadn’t expected that answer. It left her highly suspicious of her mother.
“I could seal you into a cocoon and watch you struggle for a few weeks.” Chrysalis offered. “That would be highly entertaining for me to watch but the results would be the same.” She smirked, showing off her fangs.
“But…” Chrysalis started. “I have a few conditions.”
“I should’ve known it wouldn’t be easy.” Twilight sighed. “What do you want?”
“That you promise to come back.” She said. “The Hive needs you to lead it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it will one day. And you’ll need to be ready.”
“That is doable.” Twilight said. She hadn’t asked to be born into this position but she would take the responsibilities forced upon her. “Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.”
Chrysalis stared at her. “Don’t ask.” Twilight just said. “It’s just a silly promise my friend made. This way, I can’t break my promise.”
“Huh, reminds me of somepony.” Chrysalis said, before returning to business.
“That was one condition.” The queen said. “The second is that you leave tomorrow, not today. The day is young and I still need to show you so much here, before you go. How to transform, how to feed. The basics.”
“Deal.” Twilight said. “But only if I can take that scroll and the diary with me.”
Chrysalis laughed at that. “Are you still thinking about that spell?”
“I am.” Twilight said. “If I can show it to Celestia, she might be able to help us.” She looked down. “If she’ll even want to.”
“Somehow, I sincerely doubt she will.” Chrysalis gritted her teeth. “Fine, take it. But she still isn’t laying a hoof on my Changelings!”
“Why continue to live like this if you can be ponies again?” Twilight asked angrily. “It just doesn’t make any sense!”
“I’d rather live the life of a monster and live in the shadows as who we truly are, than live in the sun under her rule.” Chrysalis countered. “Yes, our life isn’t easy. Yes, we hurt other creatures so that we may live. It isn’t pretty but it’s ours.”
“And if she can and wants to help us?” Twilight asked. “Will you consider it?”
“I will if she crawls here on her knees and begs for my forgiveness!” Chrysalis screamed.
Both of them fell silent after that.
“Deal.” Twilight eventually said, breaking the awkward silence. “Can we go check on Shining Armor now? I’m worried.”
“Of course.” Chrysalis’s features softened a bit. “Can’t let good food go to waste.” The queen shot Twilight a wicked grin. “Kidding.”
The sun was being guided by Celestia herself once more, after wrestling it back from her sister's grasp. The sun was hers and there was no excuse to leave its orbit to her little sister's care.
She felt rejuvenated, having slept until late in the afternoon. Spike had run off before she had awoken to join Twilight’s friends once more.
And right now, those same ponies were gathered in front of her in her throne room. She stood by her ponies, instead of sitting on her throne. The reason for that was that she had an important task to discuss with them and she preferred to do so as an equal.
Another reason was the fact that Luna refused to give her back her seat.
“My little ponies.” Celestia said, ignoring the usurping of her throne and its magical massaging capabilities for the moment. “I know you’re all worried sick about Twilight Sparkle. And Sir Macintosh, as well.” She frowned. The brave stallion had sacrificed too much for their safety. Something that Celestia may never be able to thank him enough for.
“My sister has decided to venture into the Wastelands, to bring both her and Shining Armor back to us.” Celestia continued. “As well as offer a hoof in peace to the Changelings.”
“What?” Rainbow Dash uttered. “Peace? With those things? No, no, no! You do realize that they wanted to brainwash you, right?”
“Don't yell at the princess.” Rarity gently kicked Rainbow Dash to reprimand her. “And while I hate to admit it, I agree with Rainbow Dash. Doesn’t it seem brash to just travel into their land and hope for the best?”
“It is a bold move indeed.” Luna admitted from her perch. “But we have no other means of contacting them at the moment. The Changelings in our holding cells refuse to cooperate, even after being provided with chocolate. They will not contact the queen.”
“Well, if you’re going, then ah’m going.” Applejack said. “Ah can’t see my brother like that anymore. Ah need to do something. That queen changed him, she can change him back.”
“Well, if Applejack’s going, then I’m going too!” Rainbow Dash said proudly. “It’s time to kick some Changeling rump!”
“Rainbow Dash, this is a mission for peace.” Princess Celestia scolded the blue Pegasus. “No violence, unless it’s necessary.”
“Fine.” Rainbow Dash scoffed.
“Can I come too?” Pinkie Pie asked, bouncing in place. Overnight her mane had poofed back into its normal curly style.
“Pinkie Pie, I have heard that you have a license for heavy artillery.” Luna said. “So yes, you may come.”
“Woo-hoo!” Pinkie cheered.
“I hope you don’t mind me staying behind.” Fluttershy said with a small voice. “Unless you do mind, then I will come along… please don’t mind.” The yellow Pegasus shrank back, ashamed of her own cowardice. She truly wanted to help Twilight but she was just so scared of the Changelings.
“Chin up darling.” Rarity strode over to her friend. “If you don’t want to go, then nopony can force you to.”
“Thank you Rarity.” Fluttershy smiled, happy to have the support of her best friend.
“I will stay behind too.” Rarity said. “My parents are out of town and Sweetie Belle’s my responsibility.”
Applejack nodded. “Rarity, could ah bother you to take care of Applebloom too? Granny Smith ain’t the youngest anymore, so until Mac and ah get back…” The old gal could still take care of herself but she just wasn’t fit enough to keep up with Applebloom anymore.
“Of course dear.” Rarity said as an idea struck her. “She and Sweetie Belle could have a slumber party! Oh, we can have makeovers and talk about colts…”
Applejack forced a nervous smile. “Great… ah’m already regretting this.”
“I kid, darling. I kid.” Rarity assured her.
“Then it is settled!” Luna cried out. “Tonight, we set out to the Wastelands! I am glad to have you all alongside me on this quest!”
“Oh, we’re going on a quest?” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Can I be the bard? Look, I brought my lute just in case.”
Somehow and somewhere, Pinkie pulled out an oldfashioned string instrument. “Tralala, a questing we shall go!” She sang, horribly off key as she played the instrument.
“Is this… normal for her?” Luna asked as the pink mare bounded around the room in obvious excitement.
“Pretty much.” Applejack said.
“Get used to it princess.” Rainbow Dash said. “Because you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
So… did I save the plot or did I screw it over entirely? Damn this fandom for making that sound dirty…
Just so you know, I had planned the Celestia situation but not this early. I wanted it to happen at the end but for obvious reasons, I moved it. And I think it’s for the better.
I’ve also added a little extra chapter. It’s not mandatory reading, it’s just a list of Changeling classes and what they do for the hive. Not all of them have been mentioned yet but there should be no real spoilers in it.