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The world was dark and damp. The world of the changelings lay beneath the surface, inside their deep, complex, and humid tunnels. Resident changelings were used to the conditions and went about their business. Noises were all over, whether it be buzzing, drip dropping, or sounds of chatter. The flapping of wings, whether they be from changelings or bats, always accompanied these sounds.
One changeling sat in silence in a corner that none except for one frequented. The noise was slowly driving him mad. A drop of water fell down on his head from one of the smaller stalactites on the ceiling and he wiped it off. He stared at the moisture on his hoof for a second before rubbing the moisture over his face. The only other being in his vicinity ignored him and watched the others go about their business.
No one spoke to the silent one in the corner and only spoke of him on very rare occasions. They liked to pretend he didn't exist. Every so often a changeling would stop and gawk at him and ask the one standing guard who he was. Most of the time the guard would tell them he was nothing of interest, but if they truly persisted, the guard sighed and spoke.
"That is a creature not worth being called a changeling. He disobeyed the rules of our race for years until we caught him in the act." When asked what he did, the guard merely sighed again. "He was committing...odd behavior. Now, you may think he was just doing this to feed on love. Oh, no. He was abusing his power to change his form to cook, of all things. Instead of spending his time wisely like a good changeling and to hunt for more to feed upon for the rest of us, he ignored the rest. He ignored us for his own greedy purpose. His sick purpose. What sort of changeling wants to cook? Who could do such an un-changeling-like thing without good reason?"
This caused the listener to grimace and give the one who had so offended his people a glare before walking along. Scales, the one who was alone in the corner, didn't care anymore. He was used to those glares. All he did was dream of the next time he would be able to bake something. It was all he thought of.
When he was a child, he had found a recipe for rhubarb pie. In spite of fully well knowing changeling law, he found the ingredients and did as the recipe told him. It could not satiate any hunger, but the flavor was fabulous. He guessed he was the only changeling to ever experience the flavor of food other than love. And so he began to bake treats over and over again in secrecy, until one day he was caught. Scales had been shunned since. Eventually he forgot how long he had been stuck in the tunnels after that event; it seemed like forever. Life was monotonous and horrid. Being under constant watch, he couldn't transform himself and flee.
One day that all changed. It was the evening, and Scales was snoozing when the guard came and pushed him until he woke up. "Come along. Queen Chrysalis has requested all the changelings to meet in her court." the guard said. Scales stood up and followed him, stretching his stiff legs. Bats were flying around the room and the tunnels, confused by all the activity. The first thing he noticed was that the tunnels were extremely crowded. He and the guard had to fight their way through the crowds. When they arrived at their destination, the court of the queen, it was already filling with changelings. Yet there was plenty of space on the ground and in the air for the residents. The court was also filled with multiple glowing green sacs that were changeling eggs. The eggs glowed dimly and lit up the court. Ancient stalactites were dripping down on stalagmites, like the rest of the underground they resided in.
The two found a spot in the back and waited. Soon the room went silent. Queen Chrysalis entered from the highest ledge and stood over her subjects. The changelings on the ground all fell to their knees and bowed in respect. Those that had taken to the air had tilted their bodies into a bowing position. The queen raised her hoof and the group arose. "My dearest subjects! The time for us to become the greatest and most powerful nation in the world has come! The Royal Scouting Party has returned and reported to me a land rich in love. The native inhabitants are ponies, something most of you have seen before. It has such a large quantity of love that it could feed us forever. I went and I viewed this land of blessings myself, and it is everything my spies have foretold. It is a land known as Equestria. We have found ourselves at a prime moment to take control, starting with the capitol, Canterlot. There is a royal wedding to occur. I shall go and mask myself as the princess. Then I will feed off of the groom and marry him. From there we will be able to storm the capitol. First Canterlot and then Equestria! I need you, my loyal subjects, to be in my army. Who shall serve their people with honor and join my ranks? Who will get us out of these vile tunnels and get a castle? Who shall help us escape these bonds to the underground and allow us to fly out into the surface world permanently, free from our segregation?"
The room filled with cheers and shouts of excitement. Almost all raised their holey hooves into the air; all except for one. Scales stood back, horrified; he could listen no longer. The plan disgusted him and filled him with fear. It was then he realized that the guard he had come with was no longer paying attention to him. The guard was too excited and too busy cheering and had forgotten all about Scales in the action.
Scales watched carefully and slowly backed into one of the tunnels, into the murky darkness. He looked up at some of the bats flying around; the bats had gotten clearly startled. They were all squeaking in alarm. "This is my chance at freedom!" Looking back to make sure not a single soul was watching him, he ducked into one of the rooms. A green light surrounded him and he became a bat.
He flew out of the room and joined the crowd of confused bats and hid among them. Without taking another look back, he began to fly towards the exit of the caverns. Scales subconsciously followed the path he had known all his life, the only thing on his mind being freedom. Soon enough a splash of fresh air buffeted his face and he realized he was no longer underground. It was so late and so dark out that he could not tell the inside of the cave from the outside until he felt the night air wash him. He bathed in the night and his new freedom and carried himself a few miles further into the night.
Soon he became tired when the sun began to peek over mountains, and turned himself into a flea and hid on some phoenix who began to fly over a mountain, capped with snow and eternally white. He did not know where this bird was going, and he did not care. Anywhere away from the monsters. The changeling stayed with the bird for a few days.
The traveling was taxing. He was very hungry; he had not fed in days, but he could not stop now. The moon and stars were his only companions in the night. Scales was afraid of stopping yet wanted to stop so badly. His vision blurred and he wasn't sure how far he had gone. Soon he gave in to the conclusion if he did not feed soon, he would surely perish. He changed himself back into a bat, startling the poor phoenix in the process. He ignored it and aimed for the land. His eyes scoured for towns he could seek out love in.
Alas, he grew weaker and weaker. After only a few hours of solitary traveling, he couldn't carry on much longer. Briefly in his blurred vision, he could see a cottage in a tree a ways away from a dark forest. The cottage was dark as its inhabitants slept. He aimed for it hopelessly, figuring whatever or whoever was inside wouldn't even notice him. This was it. His vision blurred further and his eyes closed. The next thing he knew, there was a smack and a burst of pain as he crashed into a window of the cottage. He faded into the abyss of unconsciousness almost immediately after, but he heard a voice as he faded. Scales wasn't sure if he was hallucinating or dreaming or if he had gotten genuinely lucky, but the voice was soft and loving. The voice of an angel. "Don't you worry, little one...you're safe now...you'll be okay."