Just Like You

by TechyConversant

Chapter 8 - Masquerade

After being caught in thought for what feels like an eternity, the kiss ends, and the crowd's going wild. Partly because it's quite a sight to see a princess, one who may hold complete governing power over an entire region, engaging in an inter-species relationship. Or because 'Aww, young love!'.

In either case, they are dead wrong. Because that is NOT Cadance.

Quite satisfied with herself, the being that is impersonating Cadance smiles, looking right at you. And winks. Oh, that's not completely obvious, not in the least.

You attempt to wrap your head around this. You KNOW who this is. There's literally only one possibility. A few question remain, however. Such as: Where is Cadance? How did she get that heart back? And most importantly, why do you care? This is infinitely better than having to show that witch any public affection.

Though you could strangle Chrissy for putting herself in this kind of danger.

As the crowd settles, Celestia decides to come between the happy couple, meaning you and her. "Everypony, the night is young. Please, enjoy yourselves!" With Celestia's blessing, the crowd gives a little cheer, and disperses lightly, the crowds murmuring among themselves over punch and hors d'oeuvres. That is, until the music kicks back in, and the staring cheering crowd that was erupts into dancing and partying.

'Cadance' trots over to you, wearing the most shit-eating grin you've ever seen. "Come on, sweetie! Let's dance!"

You could kill her, you really could. Leaning in, you angrily whisper, in that 'I wish I could be yelling but need to keep my voice down' tone. "Chrissy, what the HELL are you thin-"

Before you can finish your thought, you're being dragged away from the thrones, right into the crowd. At least she has Cadance's abrasive mannerisms down to a tee. Unable to nag at her any longer, you see the pink princess dancing happily to the beat of the music. As are all the ponies around her. And you.

You. Don't. Dance.

Chrissy opens her eyes while she moves and grooves, sliding suavely over to you. "Ano~n..." She even has the whining mimicked perfectly. "Dance with meeee..."

You can't say no. Not with all these people watching...you still have an image to keep up. After all, Chrissy couldn't possibly permanently replace the young princess...

That thought sent chills down your spine. Anticipation? Fear? Who can say?

Back to the matter at hand. The impostor steps forward, placing a hoof on your shoulder, and walking you farther into the crowd....as she busts out the moves. 'Moves' could be loosely interpreted as rhythmic stumbling. Ponies never seemed very choreographically coordinated to you. Ah well. Ball the fists, bump the shoulder, slide to the side. Rinse and repeat until dancing.

And you thought the ponies were uncoordinated.

Getting into the swing of things, you move closer to your 'special somepony', leaning in towards her face. "You need to get out of here, NOW." You anger-whisper. She simply smirks, continuing to step and slide.

"Why would I leave my own party, Anon?" For fuck's sake, Chrissy. She can clearly see your disgruntled attitude through your so-called dancing. "Besides..." Sneaking in front of you, she wraps a hoof around your shoulder, pulling herself in to where her horn bumps your forehead. Her eyes flash an unmistakable green, accompanying her true voice for a fleeting moment.

"The night is still young..."

Boy, did that send a shiver through you. Returning to her usual self...er, Cadance's usual self, she playfully backs off, continuing to dance to the beat. After that little display...who are you to say no? Letting a little more loose, you actually pull off what most sentient beings might refer to as 'a dance'. The smiles you two send back and forth only grow as the songs play. But not nearly as much as the distance between you two shrinks. Who cares what happens right now? As it stands, she's the princess. She's also your special somepony.

Wouldn't have it any other way.

You decide to go along with the charade for a while. And it's by far the most fun you've had in a very long time. Dancing, mingling, having that princess arm-candy as your company was enjoyed. A few patrons must have noticed that Cadance was a bit more...what's the word. Affectionate? Though it was pretty easy to chalk it up to the b-e-a-utiful necklace that she sported, given to her by you. When in reality, she probably took it back...

Eventually, the fun and games have to cease. As a song comes to a close, you take the chance to slip from the crowd, shooting 'Cadance' a glance, making your way towards the hall. Noticing your rapid departure, she follows quickly behind. In the empty hall, the only thing that can be heard are your tandem footsteps. One more corner...that should be fine. Waiting for her, you see her cheerily come around the bend.

Giving you ample opportunity to harshly grab her shoulders, pressing her into the wall, glaring at her, pent up frustration showing itself.

"Are you INSANE? What did you do with Cadance?" Still sporting the angry whisper.

The princess chuckles, her voice changing back to the changeling's halfway through. "Anon, you don't need to worry about HER at the moment." She sounded so...manipulative.

"Yes, yes I do!" You're about to completely justify your reasoning. But things are never that easy, are they?

"Why? So she can come back and you can pretend to be happy again?" Her voices raises as does her temper. Her once playful look has become a menacing gaze, accented by her now green eyes. "So you can keep living a lie?"

"So I can keep you SAFE?" You retort, your grip tightening. She lightly winces...good.

"She's safely tied up, don't worry. She won't be going an-" Her reassurance is interrupted by your reactive outburst.

"Do you have ANY idea how screwed we are now?!?" You damn-near scream. You almost want to, considering how bad the situation is anyways.

"...I'll take care of her, it'll be fine..." She stays silent, her gaze turning away from you.

"What, are you going to take her back to the clutch? Take her place?" You say, mentioning it as a desperate scenario compared to a solution.

"I'll do what I have to!" She barely glances at you, still turned away. Tears are welling...you've always wanted to make Cadance cry. This isn't what you expected it to feel like.

Running the situation through your head, your grip loosens on your changeling friend, no longer pushing her into the wall. "I can't let you do that..." A heavy sigh escapes your lips. "Where is she?"

"Why should I tell you?" She sounds hurt. Very hurt. "Why do you CARE about her?"

"Because I'm not gonna let you..." Raising your voice, she becomes truly silent. Faint green eyes, leaking tears, she patiently awaits the rest of your answer. "...I'm not letting you become the monster they think you are." She doesn't respond. A crippling silence befalls you two, hanging in the air for a short while. "...we need to talk to Cadance." She solemnly nods, stepping away from the wall...


Jerking your head towards the noise, you see a particularly unkempt pink princess, accompanied by Shining. "Anon! We're being attacked by-" Then she sees who you're accompanied by. Herself.


The word rings through the empty hall. Shining takes initiative, stepping forward. "Anon, get away from that thing, it's a-"

"I know."

"..." Shining stays silent...then steps forward, his horn glowing. "Then you know what it's kind does."

Being discovered is Chrysalis' nightmare come true, and it's becoming reality. "No, no, no..." She continues to murmur, barely able to comprehend it. Her distraught emotions show more than just through her rambling. The pink coat she imitates fades, slowly replaced by her black exterior. The fluffy wings degrade back to hold-filled films.

"She's different." You say, stepping in front of her, whose disguise continues to fail. Eventually, only Chrissy remains, standing behind you. Cadance gasps harshly as soon as it hits her.

"It's...it's you..." Stepping aside Shining, she begins to shout. "F-from the Labyrinth!!"

"Anon, I have a duty to Equestria. Step aside." And with that, the gig is up. Shining lowers his head, his horn glowing, scraping a hoof against the ground. "This is your only warning." He sounds just like a guard.

You hold your ground, lightly turning your head. "Get out of here." Chrissy nods, looking at you through teary eyes. As you turn back, all you can see is an adult-sized draft stallion charging full speed right at you, horn first.

This is gonna hurt.