Crystal Empire, Grand Outer Courtyard of the Crystal Palace at Night
Prince Regent Shining Armor squinted his eyes angrily at his in-law. “This challenge seems a bit one sided…” He remarked, believing to have been cheated.
“What?!” Princess Luna exclaimed in shock. “How can this possibly be one sided, Prince Armor?! It is totally fair and just, like me.”
Shining’s face contorted into one of suspicion. “The challenge ‘who can move the moon better’ doesn’t seem a bit unfair to you?”
Luna laughed and waved her hoof at Shining. “Of course not! Why, it may be the fairest game out there… I just so happen to be the champion.”
Shining crossed his fore legs and pouted slightly, looking off to the side with an uncaring demeanor. “You know I always thought the movement of the moon was a lot smoother when Celestia was in control…”
Luna got up in Shining’s face, anger twisting her expression. “WHAT?! You take that back! I’m the best moon mover there has ever been and that’s never going to change!”
Shining butted his face into Luna’s. “So you admit that this game is one sided!”
Luna put pressure against Shining. “I admit nothing!!!”
Suddenly a pair of pitch-black hooves placed themselves between the two arguing ponies and pushed them aside. “Step aside bitches, I got this.” And with that, the naked ex-king Sombra strode forward, his horn lighting up as he took his own attempt at Luna’s game.
Luna watched the stallion confusedly as he tried to move her moon, then turned back to Shining. “Umm… Shining. While it is not my place to question your ways of leadership I must question why he is still alive, and how for that matter.”
Shining shrugged. “I think Sombra can regenerate if enough of him is left intact. As for why I haven’t tried to get rid him? He’s got amnesia and doesn’t remember a thing about being a tyrant, and I can’t bring myself to harm a pony who has no idea what’s going on. Besides, even if he did have his memory, it’s a terrible thing to hold and act on grudges. It’s best to just move on and leave the past where it belongs.”
Luna smiled. “A wise attitude Prince Armor. If more had your ideals this world would be a better place. I just hope the ponies of the Crystal Empire are feeling the same way.”
“So far they’ve been fine with it. He hasn’t really caused any trouble and…”
Shining and Luna brought their attention to Sombra, who had tried a little too hard to move the moon. “Son of a Parasprite!!!” Shining yelled. “He brought a meteor down on the palace!”
Luna examined the chunk of space rock intently. “Huh, it’s full of crystals… go figure…”
Sombra shifted his eyes back and forth, a ‘trying-to-hide-something’ look on his face. “Uhhhhh… I didn’t do it…”
Canterlot Castle, One Week After Fancy Pants’ Party
“I don’t think it suits me…” Chrysalis remarked while giving the white dress she was currently wearing a critical eye.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Cadence retorted, smiling happily. “It looks great on you! Really brings out your… um… Irises?”
Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “Yeah, because I want to match all my clothing to my irises. I think green is more my color.”
“Indeed, indeed.” Photo Finish agreed, examining her latest project assigned to her by Princess Celestia. “Hmmm… zis dress iz only in ze experimental period anyway. I’ll have to write zat down in my notes.” The mare took out a small notebook and scribbled something down into it.
Shape Shift, sitting on his haunches off to the side, watched intently as Photo write down her notes. The Changeling had no clue if the mare would be able to recognize him, he did only see her when he was disguised. The fact she wasn’t giving him a sultry look or trying to flash him supported his personal theory of being incognito.
While Shape Shift stared thoughtfully at Photo Finish, Chrysalis, starting to feel bored with the dress fitting, began to look around. They were in Celestia’s bedchambers (Sun symbols… Sun symbols everywhere). Celestia had requested Photo Finish create a dress for Chrysalis to be used during royal events that required such things. Chrysalis would have been happy to skip this whole thing and go nude. She didn't though, even if it almost pained her. Nonetheless, she persevered… for Celestia.
In the Castle’s throne room, Princess Celestia was reviewing some reports on the financial situation of Southern Equestria. Ever since giving the region to Prince Blueblood to look after the southern region had seen a large spike in efficiency and affluence. “How in the world did he do it?” Celestia griped, gritting her teeth a little.
The throne room door opening brought the ruler from her reports and caused her to bring her head up. Not much to her surprise, a royal messenger ran in, though she was tired and ragged looking. The brownish-coated mare dropped into a bow for her Princess, Celestia could hear her intense breathing.
“Arise.” The Princess stated neutrally. “What news do you bring good pony?” It was at this time Celestia noted the mare was one of her messengers to and fro one of Equestria's foreign allies.
“Your Highness…” The mare started, leaving her bowing position and grabbing out a scroll. Celestia took it with her magic. Her mouth free, the messenger continued. “It appears that the Griffin Meritocracy wishes an audience with you. The Grand Magistrate wasn’t specific about why, however.”
Celestia unraveled the scroll and read it carefully, dissecting each word to find the issue under all the pretty wording and politic professionalism (something many lacked, but not the Grand Magistrate of the Griffins). It took Celestia two reads but she finally got the message. The Royal Alicorn sighed, closing her eyes and massaging her temples. “Well, I knew this time would come eventually. This is actually excellent timing. I’ll have better success if I can speak to Equestria’s allies one at a…”
“Umm… Princess Celestia?”
The mentioned mare’s eyes shot open and she felt her eye twitch involuntarily at what she saw. Standing at the open doorway to the throne room stood several other messengers, all of them Equestria’s errand ponies to foreign nations.
“Oh son of tail-lifter…”
The Next Day...
Celestia and Cadence, along with several dozen royal guards, stood in the Castle’s courtyard, awaiting the inevitable. Cadence shifted a bit, not liking having to stand out in the blazing sun one bit. The pink Alicorn could tell her Aunt was nervous; Celestia usually used her magic to always make the sun a good temperature. It was never too hot nor too cold. Today, however, the Sun had been shifting about, changing sporadically over the day.
Finally, Cadence found the strength to speak. “Aunt Celestia, what’s going on? Why do we have delegates from Equestria’s allied nations coming here? What do they want?”
Celestia looked down to the ground. “Somehow, despite my best efforts, our allies have discovered my relationship with Chrysalis.” The Sun Goddess turned to Cadence, a saddened look in her eye. “Cadence, Changelings have the worst reputation of any sapient species alive today. Most would risk allying with dragons before trusting a Changeling. They’ve no doubt come to voice their disdain.”
Cadence gritted her teeth. “What?! Who are they to tell you who you can and can’t love?! Your business should be yours alone!” Cadence found herself shaking slightly. Celestia gave her niece a shocked look (Even the scheming mare herself was secretly taken aback by her own outburst).
Celestia smiled weakly at her niece. “Thank you Cadence, that was quite thoughtful. They are simply looking after their allied nation, that’s all. Equestria’s size as a country alone scares off many who would seek ill against us and while it may seem distasteful to admit, many countries use their alliance with Equestria as a deterrent. I will simply have to convince them Chrysalis is no threat.” The Alicorn quickly got very serious. “And I shall convince them.”
Not if I can help it… Cadence mentally assured. “Oh, here they come!” She shouted, pointing off to the distance.
Sure enough, one could see several non-pony creatures strolling up to the castle, bodyguards in rhythmic step. Cadence took note of the species gather: Griffin, Zebra, Capricorn, and Diamond Dog (the western kingdom). These were the biggest players of the United Species Alliance; most of the smaller nations simply went along with the larger ones and didn’t bother attending meetings that did not concern them directly.
Celestia inhaled deeply. “Well, here we go.” Putting on a big smile, Celestia strode up to her guests (her own guards in step). “Welcome my friends and delegates, it is a pleasure to…”
“Save it Celestia.” The Capricorn diplomat grouched. “We shall get straight to business. So, where is the creature? Her sentence must be swift and…”
“Please silence yourself, Grizzled Policy.” The Griffin diplomat Septimus interjected. “We are here for a civilized discussion, not point and blame.”
“But we can’t deny what you’ve done, Princess.” The Western Kingdom Diamond Dog diplomat Onyx added. “You have mated with Changeling… bad, bad, bad.”
“I agree with Septimus.” The Zebra diplomat (and only female) Siasa remarked. “We must hear Celestia’s side before passing judgment, it is the only fair thing to do.”
Celestia coughed loudly, gaining the diplomat’s attention. “I am ready to answer any questions you have as well as…” The Alicorn shot a look at the Capricorn. “The proof to dispel any suspicions you may also have. Shall we begin?”
“Me rather tired…” Onyx stated, panting a little. “Would like rest.”
“Indeed.” Septimus agreed. “It was a rather long and rushed trip from all our homelands. A rest may help all a great deal,” The Griffin shot a look at the Capricorn. “As well as calm all down before the meeting. I suspect you have rooms ready?”
“I am always prepared.” Celestia replied, smiling slightly.
“Very good. We shall take our leaves to our own rooms and rest for the night. Until the meeting we will not be a disturbance. Will we?”
Grizzled Policy grumbled slightly. “No…”
“Good. Lead the way Princess Celestia.”
Celestia smiled. “My guards can show the way, Valor.”
The Guard Captain saluted. “Of course Princess. All right diplomats, follow my guards and I, we’ll lead you to the rooms that have been specially prepared for you. Let’s go.” The Captain bowed respectfully to the representatives and walked towards the castle.
The first three delegates walked past Celestia, the mare could feel the air get slightly colder when they did. Siasa stopped in front of Celestia and leaned in close to the Alicorn. “Whatever the others may say Princess, I trust your decisions and support you full heartedly. I know you wouldn’t risk your country’s security for a nice roll in the hay.”
Celestia smiled at the Zebra, she could hear the slight strain in the mare’s voice as she tried to talk like the rest of the delegates and not in her normal rhyming tongue. “Thank you Siasa, that means a lot. I knew you would stay with me and… wait, what do you mean a good roll in the hay?”
The Zebra smiled in a deviant manner. “Oh please Princess, a Changeling Queen that can take the form of anypony she wishes and probably sired her entire hive? I bet she is, as I heard a Griffin put it once, fire under the bed sheets.”
Celestia gulped and chuckled nervously. “Umm… Well, umm… I’m not telling you! I don’t have to.”
“You’re right.” The Zebra replied, smiling. “Because I already have my answer. Good day to you Princess Celestia.” With a bow, the Zebra departed for the castle, her guard in toe. “Princess Cadence.” She uttered as she pasted the pink Alicorn.
“Ambassador.” Cadence replied, bowing slightly to the pasting foreigner. The pink Alicorn walked up next to her beloved aunt and gave her a saddened expression. “Aunt Celestia? Is everything ok?”
Celestia turned to her niece, smiling. “Yes actually, everything is quite fine. It went better than I had expected truth be told. Though I wanted to eventually reach out to each nation’s leader one by one and explain the situation, this can work too.”
“Should we be frightened that the leaders of our allies didn’t come here personally?” Cadence asked.
“No.” Celestia replied plainly. “Ever since the Changeling invasion occurred the leaders of other lands have been… hesitant to have us all meet in Equestria. This is nothing new.”
“Well, if anypony can convince them that Chrysalis is good it’s you Aunt Celestia.” Cadence smiled warmly at her Aunt, an act that brought a good deal of hope to Celestia’s face.
“Thank you Cadence, I will certainly try.”
“Well… I think I’ll turn in for today,” Cadence yawned and sat on her haunches, stretching her fore legs. “I’ve got a letter to write to Shining and some other stuff too. Goodbye Aunt Celestia.”
“Cadence.” Celestia responded simply, bowing her head slightly in respect. The Solar Alicorn watched her niece leave and, when she was out of sight, let out a heavy sigh. “Creation give me strength… Maker knows I’ll need it.”
Cadence lay on her bed in her pretty pink room, looking at the ceiling with a devious smile. She had written her letter to her husband and completed all the tasked she had to do today. Now her mind moved to the next piece of business, one that she would take great enjoyment in. “This will certainly make up for last weeks blunder…” Sitting up, the mare stretched out some numbness in her body and looked around. “Hmmm… Where’s Shape Shift?”
As if on cue the little Changeling appeared, or more accurately: the disguised Shape Shift returned, he was still in his favorite skin set (the pale yellow stallion with a black mane). The Changeling slipped in rather suspiciously and closed the door quietly, as if trying to hide his presence. Cadence guessed he expected her to be asleep or gone.
“Hello Shape Shift…” Cadence uttered in the tone most use when they catch someone in the act. The Changeling jumped a little and spun around quickly, smiling awkwardly at his mistress. “Where have you been?” Cadence asked; that’s when the mare picked up a strong, musky scent. “And why do you smell like sweat and shame?” Cadence sniffed again. “Shame that you think was totally worth it?”
‘REASONS’ read the Changeling’s little board (Cadence took note that the marker was smudged, like he had wrote it beforehand and it had gotten damp and then started to run).
Cadence gave the Changeling a look. “Right, you know I don’t even care. Do you know why Shape Shift?” The Changeling shook his head no. Cadence grinned and hopped out of her bed. “Because I’m going to convince those diplomats that Chrysalis is still her evil self. They’ll yell at Celestia and give her an ultimatum to get rid of the bug butt, and Celestia, always looking out for her country, will cast aside Chrysalis from the political pressure.” Cadence giggled in way that was childish but evil. “Maybe they’ll even have her executed, oh Maker could I be that lucky?”
Shape Shift snorted slightly. THIS IS PROBABLY GONNA BACKFIRE, the Changeling mentally assumed.