My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Pony POV Series
I am Master Kabutomushi. I am a changeling. I was a changeling. I am the Alchemist Master of the changeling swarm. I am an expert in alchemy and bioengineering, that surpasses that of any other kingdom in the world. It has been my experiments and discoveries that have led to many advancements. So much knowledge. It's not my fault the world rejects my findings, is it? If no one appreciates my discoveries but myself, then so be it. If I'm the only one who snatches the fruit of knowledge when it's right in front of our muzzles, is that my fault? No, I did not create the Love Tree, that failed experiment belonged to my father . . . I saw it express its feelings to him. I was a nymph at the time, but I still remember the incident clear as crystal. Especially my father's screaming as it ravished him. Wish I thought to save some of his blood that got on me.
I remember wondering, would I scream too? How self aware was it? Did it comprehend its own actions? Would it ignore me? I thought of everything I wouldn't have a chance to learn because of this thing.
The guards arrived in time to reduce the Love Tree to ashes before it managed to share its feelings with myself as well.
They called my father the greatest bio-engineer of a generation, I would go further to say that he was the greatest of all time. I never managed to replicate his creation. My failures include the Weeping Willow, and the Mexicolt Fighting Tree.
Of course, since this was before the time of Queen Chrysalis, as a nymph I was simply a serial number, nymph number D4166, I wasn't granted a name by Queen Cocoon until I had risen through the ranks and proven as useful the swarm as my father. Father had put himself at great risk challenging tradition by insisting on raising me himself rather than having Nymph Master Leaf-Bug (this was before Shield Bug's time of course) and her care-givers see to my development and see I was raised into a replacement alchemist for my father. No, father wanted me to surpass him, that had always been his hope, he said how 'replacing' other changelings as they died of old age could never be enough for our species to evolve.
My mother? Heh. I'm sure who she was exists in some record or another, but it wasn't that important to me at the time, and father never spoke of her, having one parent was scandalous enough, but two? He'd have been signing his death warrant.
Sometimes I wonder if the Love Tree escaping its confines was truly an accident.
Her Majesty said that it was a century before she became queen that the Love Tree experiment ended in disaster?
I am also the oldest changeling alive. I discovered some traits within a family of Earth Ponies converts, whose genes it turned out contained traits related to exceptionally long life spans. My compatriot Masters are also older than they look, but even Her Majesty is not as old as I am.
It's not eternal life, it is simply a delay of the inevitable, but Queen Cocoon was always looking for more layers of protection against the grim reaper. And she quite disagreed with my father, you see. She felt that risking evolution was risking 'degrading'. So when she eventually realized I wasn't aging and demanded I reveal it or be eaten (I didn't consider keeping the secret of prolonged life to myself was worth death) she decided why risk that...and why risk a useful Changeling giving birth to a deviant? So she ordered the other Masters to have me do my procedure on them. Hercules actually submitted willingly. That coltscout wants nothing more than to stand as an eternal wall to protect and serve forever and a day I believe. I'd call him a fool, but he's one of the few who let me work with his genetic code willingly.
It isn't even biological immortality (not for lack of trying), it just gives the grim reaper another ream of paper work to fill out. And it is far from perfect, let alone a guaranteed thing. I mean, genetic engineering tends to have so many side effects. I'd rather not say what, thank you. As far as I know, only one Earth Pony alive is as old as me, she even lives in the village a train ride from here, wish I could have met her before the rune was done, so much we could have learn from each other. Maybe we can chat after we have our emotions ripped out then put back in by our White Princess.
Of course Cocoon and father both believed that evolution required reproduction...I believe it only requires alchemy, science, a little magic, a lot of test subjects, and a willingness to tell nature buck you.
Come now, remember? How long Her Majesty Chrysalis has been slowly putting this invasion in place? Like a cancer? Slowly enough that a goddess wouldn't notice? And weren't I, Hercules and the others around ALREADY when she killed Cocoon? I wish I had gotten a chance to examine Cocoon's corpse in detail, so much I could have learned. Oh, I knew Cocoon's body very well. I am exceedingly proud of that quilt I made out of her DNA. But I like to examine my failures, you see. Sift through the rubble to find out where the structure collapsed. Like Wolf-Spider.
I have always been despised among my own kind, only because I constantly provide ways to increase our chances for survival am I tolerated. But that I sought knowledge that had nothing to do directly with increasing survival chances for the hive, some wondered if I was secretly a deviant. Am I? I don't think a DNA test could tell you anymore.
Her Majesty has positively refused to allow me to modify her at all. She called me an 'unnatural creature' and found me 'disgusting' when we first met, saying that by artificially extending my life I had violated nature's law. Being a drone-class, I was supposed to have died of old age long ago. You think Her Majesty would appreciate how we are the same, we are both doing what is needed to survive.
There is so much I have yet to learn! What's wrong with wanting to live? What's wrong with seeking knowledge? What's wrong with seeking perfection?
Doesn't she know that science exists for the express purpose of making the rules of nature our beotch?
Hehe. You know one advantage of being the reason Cocoon lived so long? I remember what she was like in her youth. Before she let herself go. She was quite the looker. Me and Hercules are the only ones with that knowledge. And that is the most precious kind of knowledge, isn't it? Knowledge only you have.
I've had more than one changeling try to kill me, the "unnatural deviant freak-show" over the years, in a way I'm grateful, a chance to experiment on my own species was so exciting, So much to learn, so much to understand! Not to mention that I got a chance to test drive the alterations I made to my own body!
Do I care how many I've killed? No, because I got information in exchange. That's the nature of alchemy: you must change or exchange one thing for or into another. Their lives and the pain they experienced were traded for the knowledge I desire. Simple as that.
I know my reputation of 'playing Frankenpony' but I assure you that all of my experiments have actually factual purposes. Do I enjoy it? Of course I enjoy it. I wasn't lying to Earth Pony #2 when I said I love the rush of holding someling's string of life in my hooves. It's so exciting and invigorating. And yes, I have a habit of not using anesthetic if I feel the experiment works better without pain being inhibited. But the end result is to learn something. A true scientist knows where to draw the line between business and pleasure.
. . .
I was a changeling.
Now I'm trapped in one shape. One form. One body. I can't even change one molecule of this form! It's suffocating!
It feels like my own skin is a prison! My decades of bioengineering on my body lost forever!
Not able to change my shape, LIKE A STATUE! Like the victim of a cockatrice!
I tried to pull my own skin off to escape, but the peons wouldn't let me! I'm trapped forever! AND I'M BLIND: I CAN'T SENSE LOVE ANYMORE! OR ANY EMOTIONS!
EVERYLING AROUND ME ARE LIKE PONYEQUINS!!! They're like puppets! Zombies! Husks! I don't feel anything from them! I'M LIVING IN A WORLD OF ZOMBIES!!!
Everything is like a picture show! None of it feels real anymore! None of it feels alive!
If I could sense a drop of hate at this instant, I'd suck it dry until I died of poisoning! It would be infinitely better than this void!
I'm like a lifeless object in a world of lifeless objects! They smile, they frown, they cry, but THERE ISN'T ANYTHING BEHIND IT! I sense nothing! They're all hollow!
The ponies I've converted to Changelings for my experiments? How do they feel to be cut off from their links to the sky, land, etcetera? I suppose it is similar. Studying that was the entire point. How it feels for them to suddenly be something else. Naturally they weren't willing. If they were willing, I might as well go study a willing convert we already had, correct? But they were just lab rats! Stepping stones leading to the tree of knowledge! I was brilliant! I'd spent over a century reaching for the forbidden fruit only to have my tower shattered below my hooves in an instant! It's not fair!...Wait...the conversions...
My body, a straight jacket that can never be taken off . . . the conversion cocoons . . . they should be able to fix this . . . yes? Yes. I must remain calm. . . . If the rune is completed . . . as I am now . . . I will be reduced to a husk . . . then I'll spend the rest of my days loving and adoring that little pet filly of Her Majesty's! And I thought I chaffed under Pitcher Plant, Her Majesty's pet imitation zebra.
. . . But if I reveal anything . . .
This is a disaster! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness! This is madness!
Yes . . . the conversion cocoons . . . they MUST BE able to restore me . . . there is no logical way they couldn't!
But if the rune is complete . . . I will never get that chance . . . her Majesty didn't want a drawn out war . . . but if I try to help in the rune being never completed . . . I won't SURVIVE the time I'd need to spend inside a cocoon.
I'm trapped. I'm trapped.
All these years. All these life times. All brought low because of a hoofful of traitors. All my hard work, planning and preparation reduced to nothing. I do not appreciate the joke.
Your Majesty . . . is this what you meant? By fate having declared that there was no way to win? That fate had decided who the victor would be, and that our choices would only determine HOW it would come about? Is this what you meant all this time . . . about trying to overcome fate's design?
But you did not run from it, you rushed towards it, you sought not to hide from it, you sought to do battle with it, you sought the very heart of fate, so you could stab it. You would seek out the moment fate planned for you, and you would break it.
If fate had determined long in advance that how my battle with the traitors would go . . . then what of before?
All of us, all of us Masters . . . was Cocoon herself destined to always lose to you, Your Majesty? Was I, were we then always destined to serve you?
Is that why we have been so effective a group? Hercules your determination and will to survive. Digger-Wasp your cunning. Pitcher Plant your memories? Your emotions?. Jewel Wasp your hunger. I . . . I your intellect and refusal to allow morals to inhibit my ambitions. But then what is Shield Bug? Is she a part of yourself you have hidden away? Buried?
What is then . . . what is then the filly? What is she then? What part of you is she? What aspect of you does she embody? What secret does she hold?
Was she then . . . always destined to be chosen by you, always destined to be taught dark magic by you, to be taught the first steps to becoming a mighty witch, to be prepared to become a princess of the changelings. I do not understand, you, You Majesty, know that to name your successors is to be succeeded. What did you see in her? What inspired you to take this foal under your wing after all your effort with Pitcher Plant? . . . But the pace at which the filly learned your magic . . .
. . . Perhaps, then, in the end, it was always your destiny to lead us Your Majesty, and Cocoon's destiny to merely prepare the way for you, and it was our destiny merely to insure you came this far . . .
Yes . . . I finally understand . . . you shall give us what the equine and draconic labrats always had but we lacked . . . you shall give us a goddess of our own.