“I don’t like Spike!” Alice shouted stomping her foot. She was a girl of twelve, pale and skinny, and since last year, tall enough to see above the back of the throne. “I don’t!”
Chrysalis sighed. Why is it so difficult to raise a human child? She leaned on her forehoof. It was constantly one thing after the other. Limited self preservation skills, a constant fuss about clothes, refusal to clean any mess made in the hive, and now this. At times it seemed that attacking Canterlot head on would result in far less pain and damage to the Queen’s psyche.
“It’s just icky and purple, and...” Alice crossed her arms. “I don’t like Spike!” She said once more.
“Now, look here, young lady!” Chrysalis raised her voice. “There are changelings starving the badlands, so I won’t have you be picky about your food! This is what we have and I don’t want to hear another word! Understand?!”
“But, Mooom!” Alice stomped the on the floor again three times. “He’s horrible! Why can’t we have some Cadence?”
“Do I look like I own Equestria?!” the queen growled. “And don’t you think I’ve forgotten what happened on your last birthday! I went through all that trouble to get you some Twilight and what did you do?” Chrysalis glared at her adopted daughter. “Took a whiff and announced you were too old for sweet stuff.”
Alice turned away, pouting. Where did I go wrong? Chrysalis slid a hoof down her face. She had given the girl anything a princess could ask for: shelter, protection, magic, love—often in three different flavors. And what did she get in return? Constant complaints and open rebellion.
“Listen, sweetie.” Both Chrysalis and Alice winced. As much as the changeling queen hated uttering the word, she knew that her daughter loathed hearing it even more. “Times are tough. We cannot always pick what we eat. You should be grateful there’s Spike at all!”
“Ptooey!” Alice grimaced. “Can’t I have some Ember instead?”
“Since when did you become so accustomed to luxuries?” Chrysalis stood up from her throne. “Have you any idea how much preparation is needed to get love from a dragon? It’ll take a mountain of gems just for a teaspoon of feeling! And you want a Dragon Lord, because why not? I swear, next time I infiltrate Canterlot I’m leaving you there!”
“Fine! I bet the food is better there anyway!”
Chrysalis took a deep breath and massaged her temples. This discussion was giving her a migraine. Of course food is better in Canterlot, but that’s not the point! Twelve was the worst year yet. Chrysalis regretted even thinking that eleven was picky. Back then it was a feat to get Alice to eat larva goo. Now, it was a feat getting her to eat at all.
“Look, just eat your Spike and afterwards I’ll see if I can’t get you some Cadence, okay?” Chrysalis lied.
“Why must you be so difficult? Most changelings will give their wings to have a taste of Spike! Have you any idea how difficult it is to get dragon love? Didn’t you hear what I said a moment ago?”
Alice frowned, not in the leased convinced.
“You know, Spike might not taste nice, but he’s extremely healthy and nutritious.” The queen tried a new approach. “You want to grow up big and strong like me, don’t you? If you eat your Spike every month, you’ll soon have a hive of your own and then you’ll be able to eat anything you choose.” And by then you’d have left the hive, so I wouldn’t have to put up with you anymore. “Being a Changeling Princess is all about sacrifice, putting the need of your hive above your own.”
“Hmph! If Spike is so healthy, why don’t you eat some?” Alice glance at her mother from the corner of her eyes.
The question caught Chrysalis off guard. The queen opened her mouth to provide a well thought out and logical answer, but the only thing that came out was silence. Her forehoof rose in the air, only to slowly move back down. Stinkflies! Chrysalis swore. There was no explaining that. She absolutely hated Spike—the sweetish sniveling love he let off left such a horrendous aftertaste that the Queen had explicitly ordered that he not be touched during the last three infiltrations. Even now the memories made her want to choke.
“Fine!” The Queen capitulated. “We’ll have Griffin takeaway again. Happy?”
Alice nodded eagerly a large smile appearing on her face, then ran to the nearest chair at the dining table and climbed on. I’ve spoiled her, Chrysalis thought. Utterly and completely. How could such a picky princess lead changeling armies to victory? With her “sensitive” palate it would be a miracle if a tenth of Equestria was conquered, possibly even a twentieth.
Children. Chrysalis sighed. What could you do? Taking her time, she went to the small stone chest by the throne and took five shiny bits from inside. That was enough for a standard course of Griffin love. Being a regular client she’d might even get a free side dish of affection. After a few seconds of hesitation, the Queen took another two bits—it was for a birthday, after all.
“Do you want the happy one again?” Chrysalis looked over her shoulder.
“Yes, please!” The girl beamed.
Oh, so now it’s “please” is it? Chrysalis shook her head as she trotted towards the door. So much take away could hardly be healthy, but at this point there was nothing that could be done. Taking a deep breath, she opened the door.
“Hey, Chrysalis!” Spike said eagerly from the porch. “All ready for dinner?”
“Hello, Spike.” Chrysalis leaned away from him. She could feel the sweet stench or mushy emotions surrounding him. “Unfortunately, Alice isn’t feeling very well today. Rain check?”
“Again?” The dragon sighed. “It’s the fifth time this month. If this keeps up you should get a doctor, you know? She needs lots of love and a healthy diet growing up.”
“Tell me about it,” Chrysalis said with a level expression. “Sometimes I don’t know what she’s thinking.”
“I know, right? Twilight is still upset she was turned down last year. You know how sensitive she gets when she fails at something. She almost forced me to take her along, but I said nuh-uh!” Spike shook a finger.
“Wasn’t that thoughtful of you...” Chrysalis gritted her teeth. Things would have been so much simpler if Twilight had come. Much cheaper as well. “Anyway, I was wondering if you could do me small a favor.”
“Anything, Chrys!” Spike smiled. “Just ask!”
“I need you to send a scroll to Griffinstone.”