“Burn the monster!”
“It needs to be purified with fire!”
Various other proclamations came from a group of ponies, many of the phrases involved fire in some way. They all surrounded a large wooden pole. Tied to it was a vaguely pony shaped creature. It had an exoskeleton and all of its legs had holes in them. It had a horn and wings, but they shared the likeness of an insect’s. Its eyes, like the wings and horn, were insect like. This creature was known as a changeling, but to the scared ponies, it was a monster. It looked down on them with a calm expression on its face. He watched as they threw lumber beneath him. Beneath the calm exterior was fear. This changeling was afraid. He was afraid that he would never see his siblings again, he was afraid that he would never see the Queen again, and he was afraid to die. Changelings are taught to never show fear, when their prey knows that they are afraid, they will see weakness. He kept the mask on, even though he was terrified.
It is said that the mind drifts to strange places when one is about to die. For some, they see certain memories, for others, they have a sudden epiphany. The changeling was experiencing this first hand as he had a moment of introspection. During the Canterlot invasion, he and his siblings were fighting six ponies. All six of these ponies posed a threat to the swarm and had to be stopped. Ordinarily, when a pony faces a changeling, they are filled with fear. Their expressions take one of dread, that expression only makes feeding on them more satisfying. However, one of the ponies was different. A certain pink pony was laughing during the scuffle. When the changeling was attempting to be menacing in front of her, she just laughed.
“Do me, do me!” she squealed. The changeling was confused at the act and obliged. When he looked into her eyes after his transformation, he saw fear. It was not openly expressed like what others did. Instead, this pony laughed. It was confusing to the changeling and he never understood why she did it.
Looking back at that moment, the changeling understood why. She was laughing to overcome the fear. It didn’t make sense, but it seemed to work. The ponies had just finished setting up the lumber and one of them had a torch.
“We will now correct one of Faust’s mistakes. May this fire cleanse the monster, and allow it to be reborn,” the pony said. The torch touched the wood and a small fire came to life. The changeling grinned. He looked at the fire as it was growing. A chuckle escaped his lips. The ponies looked up at him in confusion. The chuckle evolved into a quiet laugh. The flames reached his legs. The pain was unbearable, but instead of screaming, he laughed. He was howling with laughter as the flames were reaching their zenith. The ponies stepped back, their eyes filled with terror. Many of them cringed as the changeling continued to laugh.
As the flames covered the changeling, a terrible laughter echoed from the fire. The fire itself seemed to be laughing, and the sight filled the ponies with fright. The ponies were scared, however the changeling wasn’t.