X is a Changeling
By Wanderer D
Changeling X-025 kept a steady eye on the road ahead. Under his careful gaze, few things went past unnoticed. Perhaps a bird. Possibly insects. Most definitely invisible unicorns. But he was confident that there were no unicorns in need of an invisibility spell in Ponyville at this time.
Well, almost positive.
But, even if there were invisible unicorns lurking around, Changelings X-012 and X-014 were also on guard, underground, attentive to any sort of steady vibration that would indicate ponies—invisible or otherwise— were approaching.
Unless, of course, the invisible unicorn had cast a silent-step spell on itself. In which case, neither X-012, X-014 nor X-025 would be able to see or hear it. But that’s what X-018, X-029 and X-015 were for... or was it 18, 29 and 26? No matter. They would be able to sniff the scent of the invisible, silent unicorn. Few things could escape their sense of smell, after all.
There was a chance, however, that the invisible, silence-enchanted unicorn might cross through the creek... and if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction... well, at least X-028 and X-027 were in the creek and they would certainly notice something amiss. Unless the unicorn didn’t go through the creek, but cast an ‘odorless’ spell on herself! Damn those unicorns were sneaky.
It all made sense now. The unicorns knew they were there. They knew. They had to. There was just no other way that he wouldn’t have noticed them by now.
All the changelings that had counted on him to do his job and warn them... they would be lost. And it was all his fault because he was unable to see, hear or smell invisible, odorless, silent unicorns!
What would they do? Where would they go? What could they do anyway? Beg for mercy? Not from the ponies... not after Queen Chrysalis had antagonized the whole damned species and broken centuries of silence and careful manipulating and revealed their existence to every species in Equestria and the lands around!
Something tapped him on the shoulder and his eyes went wide, his body froze for a moment before he started trembling. This was it. He was done for.
X-025 took a deep breath and closed his eyes. At least he could die with his dignity int—
“PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!” X-025 shouted, falling to his furry knees, puffy tail twitching as he held the feet of the... bird... talking... to... him? His eyes went up to the unamused face of X-010.
“Dude, I just came to tell you... you were doing the whole twitchy thing again...” X-010 muttered, stepping back. “What the hay?” His eyes narrowed. “Were you... were you panicking about the whole invisible, silent, odorless unicorn scenario?”
When no answer came, the bluebird simply slapped his own face with his wing. “Oy vey.” He looked at his fellow changeling. “You do realize that there’s absolutely no chance whatsoever something like that will ever, ever, happen.”
“I.... um... I blame it on this body.” X-025 motioned at his chest, covered in soft brown fur. His little black paws were still trembling. “I swear, I hate being a damned squirrel.”
“Sure, blame it on the change,” X-010 rolled his eyes.
“It can happen!” X-025 insisted. “Remember when X-031 thru X-134 decided that they were all going to change themselves into bees and then, like a month after we couldn’t distinguish them from the rest of the real things? And they never came back?
“That’s just a legend.”
“Dude, you were totally there.”
“In any case, bees are different.
“Wait, then how are they different?”
“I mean, a different case. Their society is too similar to ours.”
“No, it isn’t. The drones don’t have personalities.”
“But the way they are organized is still similar.”
“Ugh, whatever.” X-025 rolled his eyes.
“Anyway, I came here to let you know, the Queen is coming back. With the Six.”
“Six?” X-025 blinked. “Oh. Oh! Yeah, I get it. X-012 became part of the group shortly after, right?”
“He insists he is now, ‘A-012’ not ‘X-012’,” X-010 elaborated, with an annoyed tilt of his head.
“What? But what does ‘A’ even stand for?”
“I hate him.”
“Everyone does.” X-010 shrugged. “Seriously. The whole thing was just... I lack the whistles and chirps to describe it.”
“Not to mention how annoyed all the legit flying-animal Changelings got out of that...” X-025 flailed with his little paws. “They’re unbearable as it is but... uh...” he trailed off, cringing under X-010’s glare.
“Yeah, and you’d better keep quiet,” X-010 hissed. “Anyway, our Queen is on her way back with X-001.”
X-025 cringed once again. “Uh... well, you won’t tell X-001 about my breakdown from earlier, right? I mean, the Squirrel is getting to me and—”
“You know that that’s not much of an excuse. Especially where X-001 is involved.”
“It’s not my fault that he can keep the paranoia under control!”
X-010 snorted. “I hear that he doesn’t control the paranoia. He’s just paranoid all the time.”
“Right,” X-025 sighed. “Well, go spread the word. Everyone should be back in their place when she arrives.”
“Well, someone has to do your job,” X-010 muttered as he took off.
“Ha.” X-025 turned away and concentrated on the road ahead, and pretty soon the Queen strode into view with The Six. But someone unexpected was with her. Curse that thrice-damned idiot, X-010, for omitting the purple unicorn!
Quickly, he grabbed a couple of nuts and banged them on the tree trunk, alerting X-012 and X-014 that there was an unexpected visitor.
“...and are you sure that everypony’s pets are not going to be trouble? I mean, I know you said that they really wanted to come and stay but...”
“Winona and the others have been staying here for a while, Twilight,” Fluttershy said gently. “Don’t worry. Oh, hi Mister Squirrel~!” she called when she saw X-025 on the tree limb.
“Hello, my Queen!” X-025 replied promptly.
“How has your day been?”
“Extremely boring, for the most part, my Queen,” X-025 said honestly. “Most of the day I spent on this limb watching the road, trying to figure out if any pony was coming, the rest of it I spent it panicking that some pony might be coming, and the last few minutes I had to deal with an arrogant bastard.”
“Oh, that’s good!” Fluttershy replied with a warm smile. “I’m glad you had such a wonderful day!”
X-025 sighed, but forced a smile and waved half-heartedly at the pegasus.
“Wow, Fluttershy!” Twilight Sparkle looked from her to the squirrel. “I’m always impressed by how you can understand animals!”
Fluttershy blushed slightly and looked up at X-025, exuding cuddly love that the changeling ate greedily. “Oh, I’m just lucky, that’s all.”
They started walking, but stopped when Angel Bunny jumped from Fluttershy’s back.
Owlowiscious, Tank, Winona, Gummy and Opalescence also turned to look at the rabbit.
“Angel? Are you staying out for a little while?” Fluttershy asked, raising an eyebrow.
Angel nodded, motioning with his paws and squeaking them away with his customary angry motions.
Fluttershy smiled and nodded. “Make sure you’re back for dinner! Remember that we have all your friends and Twilight staying tonight for a sleepover!”
Angel nodded and soon Twilight and Fluttershy were on their way to the cottage once more.
“Anyway, I wish I could understand all our animal friends,” Twilight muttered and sighed. “Imagine all the things they could tell us!”
Fluttershy smiled. “Maybe one day you will!”
Twilight chuckled. “Maybe.”
“For now, I think we should think of what to have for dinner, would you like a daisy salad?”
“Really, X-025? Telling her just how boring your day was when she’s just trying to be nice?” Angel asked.
X-025 sighed. “Listen, X-001—”
“Angel,” Angel corrected.
“Call me... Angel,” Angel clarified.
“But that’s not your number!”
“But it’s my name.”
“No, it isn’t!”
“The Queen gave it to me.”
“Bleh. Fine. You six and your fancy num— names,” X-025 muttered.
“Anyway,” Angel continued, “That’s not the problem. Two things: One; Meeting tonight, usual time... and Two; What were you thinking, telling the Queen that your day was crap?”
“Well, it was!”
“That’s not the point!” Angel snarled as only rabbits could snarl. “You. Told. The Queen. That. You. Were. Bored!” He punctuated each word with an accusing finger at X-025.
“Well, yeah!” X-025 stuck his tongue out. “It’s not like she even understands us!”
“It’s a matter of respect for the Queen!”
“Fine, fine,” X-025 growled as only squirrels could growl. “I’m sorry, it’s just been a very tedious day and I think my mind is getting too affected by this body.”
Angel’s frown lessened at that. “I understand, X-025, but please, use caution. We never know who could be listening.”
“I asked if you wanted more daisies?” Fluttershy repeated, motioning with her head to the salad bowl.
“Oh, no, thank you!” Twilight smiled. “I’m sorry, Fluttershy, these books about animal behavior you gave me are very interesting! I know it’s bad manners to read on the table but...”
“Oh,” Fluttershy smiled. “It’s okay Twilight, I know how much you love your books! Oh my, I forgot, the tea is ready! Would you like some?”
Twilight nodded gratefully, levitating her empty plate to the sink. “I would love some!”
Fluttershy served both of them, and then sat down, gently sipping her tea and observing Twilight read. It was already getting late.
The window opened up and Angel and Mr. Squirrel both jumped into the house.
“Oh, Angel!” Fluttershy nuzzled the rabbit. “Your dinner is in your cubby. Twilight and I will retire for the night, Twilight is staying in the guest room, so please make sure you don’t make too much noise tonight.”
Angel saluted, making Fluttershy grin and give him a hug. “Thank you, Angel. Are you ready, Twilight?”
“Hmm? Oh, yeah, sleep. Sure!” Twilight nodded, frowning at the book, then looking over to Angel and Mr. Squirrel. “I’ll follow you up.”
Angel waited for a whole hour before he ventured out of his cubby. “Okay, changelings. Meeting is in session.”
"Finally,” Opalescence meowed. “Da wait was exasperating! Really, don’t you gotz a funky-ass mo' betta way fo' our asses ta meet?"
“Ah don’t see th’ problem, t’ be honest,” Winona said, scratching behind her ear. “Anyway, let’s get this started, Ah have t’wake up early for herdin’.”
“I don’t mind,” Tank shrugged. “I can sleep as late as I want. I’ll be awesome anyway.”
The others glared at him.
“Can we get this started, please?” Owlowiscious asked Angel.
“Yes,” Angel said, nodding at all the gathered ‘animals’. “It’s time for the report...”
“I can’t put my hoof on it,” Twilight muttered, re-reading the paragraph. “This doesn’t make sense. All the animals act way out of character of how normal animals would act! Why?!”
She turned in bed. Tearing her eyes away from the book. “There must be an explanation! But what is it?” She sighed. “I wish I could understand them, I could ask them why they do the things they do!” She shook her head and muttered, “I could always ask Fluttershy but...” she shook her head again. “She thinks it’s normal!”
She rested her face in the pillow. “Think, Twilight! Think!”
She took a deep breath and glared at the book. “You said you contained all the answers... you lied!”
Twilight groaned. Then blinked. “Wait. What if... I cast a spell to understand them?” she mused. “I have that language translation spell... I’m sure I could modify it to work with animals!”
Levitating a piece of parchment, a quill and an inkwell, she set to work, creating a diagram and notes in a matter of minutes. “Yes! This should work!”
Gathering her energy, she focused the magic in the way she had envisioned, casting the spell, which made her glow for a second. But that was it.
“Hmm... how to know if it worked...” She frowned, then slowly smiled. “I know! I’ll go downstairs and listen to Owlowiscious! I’m sure he’s talking to other animals!”
With that goal set in mind, she rolled of the bed, but just as her hooves were about to touch the floor, she teleported back on top of the bed. “Wait! They might not trust me enough to talk to me! Maybe I should be quiet. Listen to them for a bit before they notice me.”
Twilight nodded to herself. “But... what would be the best way to do it?” her eyes twinkled. “Invisibility spell!”
With practiced ease, she cast her spell, which encased her in an aura of white, and then faded... along with her.
“Yes!” Twilight hissed, rubbing her forehooves together. She jumped off the bed, but then teleported back on top of it. “But wait! What if they hear me coming? That wouldn’t be good! I should cast a silence spell on myself!”
Once more, her magic enveloped her and this time, when she jumped out of the bed, she didn’t make a sound when she touched the floor.
“Excellent! Now to go do— wait. I’m forgetting something very important! Animals have a very keen sense of smell! I should cast an odorless spell on myself, there’s no point in going downstairs this way.”
“Good, this is good.” Twilight nodded invisibly. “Now, let’s find out what pets talk about when their owners are not around.”
“...and that’s the latest news from the Hive,” X-023 reported.
“Thank you, X-023,” Angel said, shaking the groundhog’s paw. “Your job is dangerous, there is no one better than you at it. We really do appreciate it.” He turned around. “Who’s next?” he looked down at his list. “Oh. It’s Tank.”
“Well, about time!” Tank said, slowly, very slowly rising up. “My report: The Element of Loyalty is awesome. Only the most awesome mare in Equestria. And she has remained awesome since the last report.”
“That is your report?!” X-025 asked, incredulous. “What the hay?! How do you end up as one of the chosen? It’s like you’re unable to perform the simple task of observing something other than how ‘awesome’ Rainbow Dash is! You’re as bad as X-04—”
“We do not speak of Scootaloo in this Hive,” Angel interrupted, glaring at X-025.
“Whatever!” X-025 growled, exasperated. “I’m tired of being nice all the time!”
“Since when are you nice?” X-010 asked. “You complain all the time!”
“Calm down, yo!” Opalescence spoke up. “Dis aint sick yo! We need ta quit trippin' up n' solve dis up in a positizzle w—”
“Ah, you shut your mouth too, you pampered maggot!”
“Order!” Angel raised his voice.
“See! I told you all the changelings that became flying creatures were condescending bastards!”
“Order!” Angel repeated.
“Shut up! Just shut up!” X-025 shouted at X-010, who was showing him his behind and sticking out his tongue at him.
Finally, Angel jumped in the middle, roaring, “ORDER!” Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to stare at the fuming rabbit. Completely irate, he threw his carrot to the side, where it sailed through the air until it bumped onto something.
Said something materialized into a purple unicorn, rubbing her eye where the carrot had presumably hit. Her horn’s glow dimmed and sputtered out until they could hear her and smell her. “-in my eye!” she groaned, then, slowly and painfully looked at the gathered critters... who were all looking at her. “Oh...”
“I KNEW IT! I SO KNEW IT! IN YOUR FACE, X-010!” X-025 hollered. “WHAT DID I TELL YOU?! HUH?! A FREAKING INVISIBLE, ODORLESS, SILENT-SPELLED UNICORN!”
“Get her!” Angel shouted the moment Twilight turned around. “But don’t hurt her!”
“Easier holla'd than done!” Opalescence groaned, wrapping herself around Twilight’s right foreleg without extending her claws. “Why can't our laid-back asses just bust a cap up in her?”
Winona sailed over head, latching onto Twilight’s withers and trying to hold her down from behind, while X-025 jumped onto her muzzle and held it close as much as he could.
Angel himself took a running jump over Winona to land on Twilight’s head, wrapping himself around her horn to keep her from casting any spells. “We need to subdue her! We need to calm her down and explain! We can’t simply replace the Element of Magic!”
“Right!” Tank shouted, slowly starting to walk their way. “Don’t worry! I totally got this!”
The rest of the changelings watched, unsure as Twilight stumbled around, making muffled sounds as she tried to speak despite having X-025 clinging to her muzzle.
It was then that the lights turned on and everyone stopped, frozen in horror, at the sight of a disgruntled Fluttershy glaring at them.
She took in the scene.
“Uh...” Angel gulped, slowly sliding down Twilight’s horn. “T-this is not what it looks like.”
“I hope not,” Fluttershy growled as only Fluttershy can. “Because if I thought you were doing to Twilight what it looks like you’re doing to Twilight I would be very, very upset.”
There was a full minute of silence, broken only by X-025 releasing Twilight’s muzzle and thumping on the floor.
“Wait... she understandz us? What tha hell? Since when?”
“Language, Opal,” Fluttershy chided, watching Winona slowly slide off of Twilight, while Angel jumped to the floor. “I’ve always understood you, I just pretended I didn’t.”
“You mean you’ve been harboring changelings in Ponyville all this time!?” Twilight gasped. “But, Fluttershy! Why?”
The pegasus smiled. “Well, a Queen has to protect her Hive, right?”
o.0.o The End? o.0.o