My Life As An Interdimensional Insect

by XenoPony

Chapter 7: More Than You Know

Never before had I felt so transfixed as when I was staring into the sharp green eyes of what I could only believe was death itself. I'd never seen another changeling before, let alone a queen outside of images of the orange winged Queen Scolopendra and her green carapace boasting mother Queen Chrysalis.

This aged and weary figure looked akin to neither as I knew them, she was broken and battered, with a glare that looked liked it had seen far more than eyes should. Yet looking at her, I felt overcome by a sudden rush of vigor, exhaustion seeping away as, for some reason, I felt a spark of power in my chest far more than simple adrenalin.

She looked back at us with the expression I imagined a patient predator would have when stalking its prey after countless days, right before the final strike. Emotionally, she was like a stone, I could pick up nothing and her face was just as stern a mask. Yet for a brief moment when I dared meet her eyes, it was almost like the wall slipped, chipped sand, loose bricks crumbling. Was that relief I saw, the look of somepony who's lifelong ambitions had just paid off? With all that I'd heard about the queens of my kind, from the monster that had invaded Canterlot, to her daughter that had driven my kind to extinction for her own selfish gaze, I could not help but sense something sinister behind that momentarily stunned gaze.

"You should not be here. I never thought that after all this time you would be so unwise!" It was the Starlight disguised stranger that ripped the queen's gaze off of me as they called out.

Flurry shoved me back as she staggered to her hooves. Without thought, I bolstered her side as her legs seemed to turn to jelly under her. The princesses' panicked emotions I could sense, she did not need to speak for me to know that what she'd just seen had sent everything she knew about her life and what she'd sacrificed into a spiral of doubts. Seeing the stunned look on the odd queen's face disappear threw my doubts into the air too. Now to was displaying more of the sly, hungry expression I'd expect from the ruler of an evil hive.

"I'd have thought you'd have known better than to leave your trail so obvious on this day above all others, assassin." The broken queen flicked a gnarled forehoof. "Churnabo really must get somepony else to do her dirty work."

The Starlight impostor's face contorted as she growled. "Then I guess I'll just have to get rid of you too, given you've offered up such a grand opportunity."

She reached into her bag, another swarm of the spiked orbs she'd used on us tossed towards the queen. Without even flinching she caught the projectiles in her magic, then grinned cruelly as she ignited each with green flame and tossed them back at Starlight. The things popped and crackled like firecrackers, bright flashes forcing me to wince as I nudged Flurry.

"Hey, are you okay... Come on, we need to find somepony to help, now." I kept my voice low as she shook her head, mumbling to herself like she'd seen a ghost.

"No, it's impossible, we defeated them." There was a bang as the queen repelled another set of traps, only for the fake Starlight to dodge and weave with far more precision than I was used to seeing from a pony.

One larger coil of wire found purchase around the queen's left foreleg and began to glow red hot. The grizzled mare's face contorted, broken fangs flaring as she snarled. She staggered, my stone necklace kicked away from her and to the floor as I smelled smoke, and what I was uncomfortably aware may be the flesh of one of my kind burning. Shaking off the dread, I shoved Flurry up hard, forcing myself up under her wing.

"Hey, snap out of it, Flurry! You always wanted action now come on!" It didn't feel right to play on how she always acted like that, I knew for sure that when she'd longed for action, bringing back a changeling queen was not what she had in mind.

The hiss like roar from the broken ruler in question sent a shiver down my spine as she ripped the molten band off of her legs with a fearsome tug of her teeth, face snarling like a savage dragon as she tossed it back at the imposter. Starlight leaped aside, only to become entrapped in a sickly green magical aura. The imposter's eyes bulged, cheeks puffed as the magic constricted and they were brought kicking and thrashing up to meet the queen's face as she rose back to full hight.

"You're little tricks have become quite impressive since the last time we met... But I'll be taking back everything you stole from me now, starting with this," she hissed, green fire blasting over the imposter's body to strip away whatever charmed disguise they were wearing.

What was finally uncovered was not what I was expecting, not changeling or pony. There were large feathered wings, dark blue and tattered like some kind of rotten crow. I saw talons with serrated metal extensions, the forelimbs of a sparsely feather covered body that merged awkwardly with a stitched suit of dark fabric and black metal. The head was covered too, sleek metal from a smooth brass mask complete with cloudy lens-like eyes and a ragged hole for a scared beaked to poke through.

I'd seen a griffin a few times. Scootaloo's friend Gabby, the other creature she'd been intent on getting a cutie mark for alongside me. I would have been tricked into thinking that was what this creature used to be, if not for the distinctly equine like rear beneath the barding behind the assassin's wings. They had rear hoof-claws and a tailed laced with barbs. Voice like a broken radio, the assassin gave a shriek of pain akin to static as the queen crushed them, ripping away a green charm that had been fastened around their neck.

"So long and you still overestimate yourself," The queen mused with a sly grin and a flick of her head as she tossed the amulet aside. "Looks like I'm the one who's going to be getting rid of–"

Her words were cut off as I felt a shudder beside me and caught a cry of furious pain as Flurry's broken horn sparked to fire a wayward beam of golden light at the queen. Without even turning around the changeling summoned a perfect shield to deflect the weak shot, severing one of the branches above us. She casually glanced back over her shoulder and tossed the metal assassin to the ground like a crumpled soup can. Her smirk did not disappear, and this time when she looked at me all I felt like doing was sinking into the floor and pretending I did not exist. At least until I glimpsed the necklace stone that had started all of this on the floor to my left.

"Princess Flurry Heart, I presume," the queen began, a forehoof pressed to her chest as she turned to face us properly. "I do not believe I've ever made your acquaintance."

"Yeah, well forgive me for saying it's not an honor... Who are you, you're kind's been extinct for years!" Flurry spat, wavering even as she tried to stare the changeling down.

"Hmmm, extinct... Now that is interesting." The queen tapped her chin with a forehoof. "I'm surprised you don't recognize me. I am Queen Chrysalis, your mother and father would be able to tell you all about me."

The way she licked her lips as Flurry staggered made my chitin crawl as I slowly crept away to snag the stone in a forehoof.

"M–my mother's dead... You're daughter killed her but... You died, this is impossible!" The look on Chrysalis' face at that was just as shocked as Flurry's for a moment, clearly, the revelations to them both were unexpected, yet the royal changeling was first to recover.

"A daughter? Interesting, not something I remember." She motioned dismissively with a forehoof as Flurry bristled. "But I assure you, you have no idea what's possible."

"You're lying, this is some changeling trick... What have you been planning all this time? Where did you come..." She paused and looked at me, the look in her eyes so cold it chilled me to the bone.

What did she think I was a part of this? I wasn't... How did I know that for sure, did I know what I was or why I was here? She appeared on that table with a stone like yours... Just like you. No, I'm not a monster, I care about them, I have the wings to prove it!

Chrysalis started to laugh. "Oh, all of five seconds and she already doubts you." She looked at me and I felt like I could disintegrate under those eyes once again.

"So long I have looked for you and here you are, gallivanting with ponies and princesses." she jabbed a hoof at me. "Impressive wings, it's been a long time since I've seen a traitor so glamorous."

I took the stone in a trembling hoof, proving that Flurry's faith in me all these years was not misplaced as I forced myself to stammer.

"Yeah well... I got this, so you leave us both alone or I'll... I'll..." I looked at the stone, part of me wanting to smash it, even as the part that long for the truth wanted nothing more than to somehow use it.

"You don't even know what that really is or how it works do you?" Chrysalis deadpanned, then chuckled. "Well, time for an education, little nymph."

The gnarled spire atop her head sparked to life with a vicious green glow, her grin back as she targeted a new spell right at me. I froze, fear gripping me like a vice as my wings wilted and my hooves dropped. What could she do to me with her magic, mind control like the last queen? Turn me against the ones I cared about? My heart hammered, yet the flash of magic I saw was not green, but purple. The queen gave an agitated hiss like growl as she was blasted back and off of the table, shattering Rarity's throne.

"Flurry!" The doors to the room had been flung wide open as Twilight darted over to her weary niece.

I fell to the floor, adrenalin and the newfound rush from the queen's presence coursing through me as I heard hooves gallop to my side too.

"Digit! Oh Celestia, are you okay?" The real Starlight was pretty obviously genuine as she pressed a hoof to the underside of my chin and lifted my eyes to meet hers. "What's going on?"

"I... I don't know, this disguised assassin just showed up then..." Words died in my throat as I trembled and Starlight's face contorted with confusion.

"I picked up your teleport jump, it was so off target we had to find you!" Twilight declared as she helped steady Flurry.

"Auntie... Twi, there's... She's back..." Flurry's words were cut off by a sharp hiss and a buzzing of wings as the queen hovered up from the dust of the broken throne.

"Twilight Sparkle, what a surprise," Chrysalis mused as the princess of friendship rounded on her.

The queen's eyes spared Twilight only the briefest of glimpses, however, their real focus as they narrowed, was Starlight.

"And, Starlight Glimmer. Oh, how I have longed to find somewhere where you're still alive. After all you did to me," the confusion from everypony was like an odd taste overcoming me.

"What, I never did anything to you... Who are you?" Starlight stammered as she shoved me back, stone still clenched between my forehooves.

Chrysalis rolled her eyes, repeating for them what she had told us, and once again the disbelieve was so strong it left a bad taste in my mouth.

"That's impossible, the blast from the wedding killed you... I saw your body," Twilight insisted, but the queen huffed.

"I'd have thought of all of the wretched little ponies I've met you'd be the one to question your reality, Twilight. Did Celestia give you those wings here just for display, hum? The world's bigger than you know." She waved a forehoof again, smirking.

"She gave me enough to deal with monsters like you," Twilight retorted stomping her hoof. "Now you're going to tell us how and why you're here right now."

Chrysalis laughed like she was dealing with a pouty foal. "Need I fight you again? Seriously, after the last twenty times we've crossed paths, it's getting tiresome."

Twilight growled, and I could sense her confusion battling logic. I just blocked out my own perplexing thoughts with purpose. I had about as much idea what the crazy queen was talking about as anypony else, but I did have the only thing I knew could possibly send her back to wherever the map had summoned her from.

I took the stone and crept around the table as Twilight nodded to Starlight. The two stepped forward without a word, and Chrysalis rolled her eyes as if any display of aggression was the most trivial thing in the world to her.

"Okay, if you insist let's just get this over with." The way she looked at Starlight as she flared her horn at least suggested she'd take a little enjoyment from a fight.

The two mares' initial blast spells were warded off by her shielding magic, while a return volley from the queen was blasted away by a set of counterspells. The room became a series of flashes, bangs, and explosions as I scampered my way under the magical fray and up onto the table, taking the stone and pressing it to the dormant map.

"Okay, how does this work, come on... send her back!" I tapped the stone against the map again and again but it did nothing.

"D–Digit, what are you doing... we need to... help," Flurry, still swaying like she'd had one too many ciders, coughed as she staggered to the table next to me.

I had to prop her up with a forehoof before she could fall face first into it, holding her there as I messed with the odd stone.

"I don't know... This thing brought them here, maybe it can send them back!" I declared to the best of my knowledge as another magical explosion sent Twilight somersaulting into the air and Starlight blasting back a beam of emerald magic.

Maybe they're not the only ones it can send back, what about you? My jaw clenched at the idea and I looked at Flurry.

My best friend, the one I'd grown up alongside. Do I really want to leave here to find a home that abandoned me?

"Look out!" The princesses' eyes went wide as she swept me aside with a wing seconds before the claws of the assassin cut into the table where I'd been standing.

Clearly far more elegant in whatever base form this was, the odd metallic fusion of flesh and feathers pivoted on the spot, bucking Flurry in the face with a rear hoof and sending her tumbling away from the table before rounding on me.

"You better be worth all of this trouble," the creature, now sounding distinctly male under the whirring and buzzing of his voice spat as he lunged at me.

I fell back, stone clattering to my right as I lifted my forehooves to cover my face. His serrated claws were mere inches from me as I closed my eyes, and without thought felt a sudden rush of power surge through my whole body. It was like the few times I'd been able to transform correctly, a fire in my chest that surged upward to my horn, burning at the tip of the curved spire before lancing free.

The bolt of green lightning I summoned caught the assassin completely off guard, scorching a charred hole in his mask and blackening the flesh beneath in a flurry of sparks and embers. Blasted off course, he rolled to the side, a claw pressed to the crack in his mask as I sat up and tapped a hoof to my horn.

Did I just... How... Wow, maybe utter peril is a really good motivator? A spell blast from above stole the moment of pride, however, sending me sprawling over the map as the shockwave shoved the assassin off of the table again.

The rock clattered down right in front of me as I opened my eyes, and taking it in a forehoof, I looked around. Starlight and Twilight's fight seemed to be going in the queen's favor despite the two to one odds. Where the two mares look to be tiring, Chrysalis effortlessly darted and deflected against their spells, before retaliating. She looked like a fighter who'd had countless years of training and practice, so much so it may have been every second of her life.

How long to queens live for, has she been fighting for millennia? I thought as to the right of the table Flurry sat up, forehoof rubbing a bloody nose.

I looked at each of them, then the rock hanging from a chain in my forehoof. What is the truth worth really, can I say I'm so unhappy without it?

"Everypony stop!" I called as loud as I could, hanging the rock where every one of them could see.

"Stop or I'll smash it!" I had no idea if that was even possible, but it got their attention regardless.

"Digit, get down from there, it's too dangerous!" Starlight called yet she was silenced by a bolt from Chrysalis' horn that forced her to dodge.

"I'm serious, I'll break the thing!" The way Chrysalis smirked at my threat made it pretty clear I had no idea what I was doing.

"Oh, you do have a habit of going right where I need you," she mused as she sparked up her horn and retrieved a rock of her own from under the black scarf around her neck. "Perfect little drone."

The purple runes on hers and mine flashed to life and the next moment went by so fast. The feeling that came over me was like an intense, icy chill as I saw the purple runes and heard the clatter of claws behind me. Fear drove me to duck as I saw the assassin's warped reflection in the rock's surface as he pounced. His momentum carried him right over me where he was wrapped in the green glow of the queen's magic as she levitated him up and tossed him at Twilight who was readying a counterspell. The two were knocked down into Starlight as she recovered from the queen's previous attack and scattered like bowling pins.

All of her opponents momentarily subdued by her masterful grace, there was a flash as the queen teleported. Her shadow appeared over me like a looming dread as the vortex that had summoned her here started to spin up and envelop us both. I tried to dart away, fear demanding I flee as my wings buzzed, yet her magic held me back as the swirling wall of purple light cut off my view of the map room. I called out for any of them, yet the feeling I'd played right into her hooves made that cold feeling in me grow even more.

"Digit!" Flurry's voice was the last thing I heard as a pair of wings blasted through the storm of amethyst magic, hooves wrapping around me as the queen hissed.

Then sound and sensation vanished as what felt like gravity in reverse sucked us upwards. Amidst the disorientating hurricane of magic, stars and a stretching sensation akin to clumsy teleportation, left me feeling sick. In the end, the force proved too much for my little, panic filled changeling brain, and my mind did the best it could to save me from madness. It sank me into the darkness of unconsciousness.


"You're rather impressive, I have to admit." That cursed voice was like an icy snake slithering down my neck as my ears perked. "I've waited for this day and that show did not disappoint."

I spun, hooves pivoting through dust as I found myself back on the moon-lit ledge. True to what I could now recall, the zebra mare was there, smiling at me. At least until her look became a little less enthusiastic and she waved a forehoof.

"Still, you could have at least played along a little more... Cooperatively," she huffed with a sigh.

I stomped a forehoof. "What is going on, enough with the games! You know what happened to me, don't you?" I demanded.

"Oh, but the games are so fun, I do love watching you squirm, so powerless, so insignificant." She pressed a forehoof to her chest, looking pained. "What is a being of such power supposed to do when condemned to never leave her cage, but mess with you, hum?"

She said that as if I should sympathize with the vile idea, eyes like that of a pleading filly. With her young looking age it was hard not to see her like that. Nevertheless, my eyes narrowed and my fangs bared.

"That's sick, if you're so powerful like you say, why use it to toy around?" I asked and she shrugged.

"Well, it's not like I don't have plans on the side." She grinned again." Like you, you're such a big part of my plan." Any effort I made not to let her cruel game get to me failed at that, her words making me sick with anxiety.

"Then again I said I'd give you answers when we met..." She tapped her chin with a forehoof. "But you just had to go with her didn't you," she sighed, looking very disappointed with me.

My attention perked. "Her? You mean the queen, you know about her?" It felt stupid to ask, this mare seemed to want me to think she knew everything.

Even so, the zebra nodded. "Worst deal I ever made, still trying to put all the pieces back together." She jabbed a forehoof at me again. "But when some of them tend to run around, it's hard."

I was what, some part in her plan. A deal? The look of confusion on my face must have been evident as the zebra smirked, stifling a snicker.

"Not liking what I'm saying? Awww, but I thought you wanted the truth?" She sneered. "That's right, you're a pawn, a piece on the board and I'm the chess master." She giggled like a school filly. "At least from the moment I put you into that body."

"You did what... I...?" I had a hoof pressed to my chest.

So it's true! This was not the real me. My thoughts were in knots. But if not, then where did I come from.

"Confused? Bet that tastes wonderful, right?" the zebra mocked, pressing a hoof to my muzzle. "Changelings always were such strange, fascinating creatures."

She shoved me back, a sensation akin to falling into a pool of freezing water striking me just as she added. "Then again, now I guess you can just ask your mother... I'll bet she's just dying to tell you how to be a real monster."