There sat the chunk of rubble. Perfectly innocuous. No-one would look twice.
No mere chunk of rubble this, no, this chunk of rubble was The Queen in disguise!
And also present, finally having wandered into the danger zone, was her target: Richard.
Standing there, drinking his tea. Like an imbecile.
He’d been getting far too familiar lately, taking advantage of the lapses in concentration the strained situation she was in had been throwing up. Lapses that might have been mistaken - by the idiotic and presumptuous! - as warmth or kindness. Shows what he knew!
He was due a timely reminder of his place in this arrangement, and the element of surprise was key in this. Would put the fear back into him! Keep him on his guard and twitchy, as he should be. Not comfortable and relaxed around her! Who did he think he was?
Just had to wait for him to turn his back…
Patience was a key virtue of a Queen, after all. A Changeling Queen doubly so. All about waiting for that single, exquisite moment when just one strike was all it would take…
And when he turned, she pounced, shedding her disguise and lunging silently from hiding, streaking across the room, barrelling towards him! Flawless!
At the very last possible moment Richard took a single, smart step to the side and all at once the spot where he’d been standing - the spot she had aimed at and launched herself towards so perfectly - was nothing but empty air.
“What?!” She shrieked, sailing past and hitting the floor, tumbling over once or twice before arresting her momentum and digging her hooves in, turning sharply in place so she was facing him.
Not by actually turning around (like a prole) it must be said, but rather by individually turning and flipping every body part so she just-so happened to be facing the opposite direction to the one she had been a second before.
Times like this it paid to have joints that played by no-one’s rules but their own.
“How did you know?” She asked, advancing on Richard who slurped some tea.
“I always know,” he said.
“How?!” She asked with force, craning up so her face was in his. Richard didn’t seem especially concerned, though he did find it harder to drink tea now.
“Because I know where things are, and where they aren’t,” he said.
‘-make sense’ would have been the rest of that sentence only, much to her frustration, she realised partway through that it actually did. She had indeed managed to make herself the most perfect, flawless piece of rubble that could be conceived of, so that couldn’t be faulted, but she had then decided to be rubble in one of the rooms that Richard had cleared of rubble.
Cur. That wasn’t playing by the rules.
“We are going to try that again, and this time you shall do as you are supposed to do and not move!” She said, poking him in the chest.
“As you wish,” he said, setting his mug to one side.
“Turn around!” Chrysalis shouted and he did so, standing with his hands on his hips, waiting.
She did consider turning back into the rubble for the full effect but then reasoned this was just a waste of time and so without further ado just pounced, knocked him over and pinned him down flat on his back where he lay, obligingly, smiling up at her as though this was perfectly ordinary.
For him, at this point, it kind of was.
“It is important you remember who is in charge,” Chrysalis said, standing over him.
“It would be difficult for me to forget, your majesty.”
That! That kind of thing! That kind of light, breezy comeback! There wasn’t any fear in it!
She supposed she could always just out-and-out command him to stop being so casual, but that solution lacked elegance in her mind. Too blunt, too straightforward. Not becoming a Queen, certainly not. So no, not that.
Best to just keep on with the things the way they were, she reckoned. Even someone as dense as Richard would have to get the point eventually. The true nature of their relationship was plain as day!
And why was he frowning at her like that?
“When was the last time you slept, your majesty?” He asked, the sickly tang of concern accompanying his words.
“That is no business of yours! A Queen sleeps when she wishes, and does not sleep when it suits her not to sleep!” Chrysalis all-but spat.
“My mistake,” he said, though still plainly just a tiny bit concerned.
She leaned in closer, to make sure he was paying attention.
“The instant I am restored to my rightful position and have reliable servants and a proper food supply and no further need of you, you shall be disposed of Richard. I hope you understand that.”
“Was never under any illusions, your majesty.”
Chrysalis had expected at least a flicker of something close to worry at that - her leaving his life! He should have been in pieces! - but Richard remained just as cheerful as he always did. It was enough to even unsettle a Queen. And by unsettle we of course mean annoy enough to momentarily baffle.
“Good,” she said, unable to come up with anything better.
She then stopped standing over him, feeling that it was the right time to do so.
“Did you get the camera?” She asked, moving on with business, walking off as Richard hauled himself back up to standing, dusting himself down.
“Yes. Complete with that neat little neck-holder thing you guys apparently need. Question: Why were cameras designed like this when-” he said, Chrysalis cutting him off.
He gave a small bow.
“As you wish. It’s by the front doors. With film.”
He wasn’t lying, either, once she went there, there it was.
How Richard got the things he did was something of a mystery to Chrysalis what with him being a freakish alien and all, but it wasn’t the interesting sort of mystery a Queen might actually bother to solve. It was one of those tedious mysteries for lesser beings.
All that mattered was that he did what she told him to do, and he did, so that was that.
“Gratifying to see you can handle simple tasks,” she said, not looking back to Richard who had, as he usually did, followed behind her.
And in flash Chrysalis was gone, replaced instead with an utterly convincing unicorn who took the camera and set it about her neck, adjusting it just-so.
Richard always wondered where the extra mass went when she got smaller like that, but this was another of those things that Chrysalis didn’t see much point in explaining to him.
Once she was ready she trotted up to the big front doors, paused, then turned around again.
“I won’t be coming back, Richard. Success is assured, so once I’m gone I shall be off and onto better things. I won’t be coming back!” She said. Paid to repeat herself for Richard. He was a dense creature, after all.
“As you say, your majesty.”
Why wasn’t he begging her to stay?! Or for her to take him with her?!
What was wrong with him?!
“I mean it, Richard! This is the last time you’ll ever lay eyes on The Queen! S-so if there’s anything you feel like saying, n-now’s the time to say it!” She said, standing up straight, glaring as best as a pony face would allow.
He gave a bow. Deeper than usual.
“It was a privilege failing to live up to your standards, your majesty. I’d wish you luck, but I’m fully aware you don’t need luck,” he said.
Her eye twitched. For some reason.
“Yes! No! I don’t! Goodbye, servant - I’m off to make some better ones!”
She slammed the door behind her.
Richard pottered off to tidy up something.