**** Author's Note ****
Yes, the next few chapters are a bit nuts. I'm still a beginning writer and mistakes were made. Please continue through them, as the story does get serious again. I'm not going to rewrite these chapters because the rest of the story is constructed around solving this ludicrousness as logically as possible.
Sorry for the inconvenience.
<You have everything you need?>
<Yes, my Queen.>
<You're certain? I could negotiate for more supplies or things that you might need. Do we need milk bottles?>
<My Queen, we are certain that->
<Because I dont know what I would do if I found out that when I returned to the hive, that everything was on fire and there was changelings on fire and the nymphs were on fire because some crazy mare with a flamethrower decided to show up and->
I stopped moving to properly recover from the entire hive yelling at me at once.
<The Hive endures.>
If I had lungs, I would be taking deep breaths to calm myself. Thankfully, The hive can send their good feelings to me in order to calm me. I am capable of calming the hive as well. Benefits of a shared mind.
<Thank you, for that. I am still becoming used to laying twenty eggs a day, and there is another meeting tomorrow in Canterlot.>
Shining Armor had arrived at the edge of the White Tail Woods with a single chariot to return me to Canterlot.
"You look... different." He commented as I flew onto the chariot.
"Well for one, your eyes are glowing brighter than before."
"I've laid one hundred and fifty eggs since we last spoke. I've also been laying in a pool of distilled harmony."
Shining took a moment to process that before replying. "I think I should try something like that, sometime."
"Was your initial visit a pleasant one?"
"Informative, and I was able to play with a few foals in your hive."
"They're called nymphs, if they're changelings."
Our conversation halted long enough for the hive to inform me that it was 'awkward'.
"So..." I began, "Nice weather?"
His head turned to look at me, his eyebrow raised with his mouth slightly open. "Seriously?"
"Yes! The sun is out, the clouds aren't here, and theres a pleasant breeze."
"That's the day's scheduled weather."
"Isn't it great?"
He squinted his eyes at me. "What are you trying to do?"
"So my thousands of children aren't killed in a war we have no hope of winning if I don't?" I gave my best 'smile'. He didn't seem to like it. Maybe a bit too much fang?
"I understand your situation, but I've had alot of time to think this treaty over. Equestria and the Crystal Empire have no prior history with your hive. Anything you say or do could be a lie, and I'm not willing to place my trust with you without insurance beyond a Pinkie Promise."
He was giving off resentment and bitterness, but also guilt and sadness.
He growled at me, and remained silent for the remainder of the trip.
I had no idea what had soured Shining's opinion of me, but I had very little time to worry about it. News of my negotiations had spread to the surrounding nations, and ambassadors from the Griffon Empire and Zebreca, and Saddle Arabia had arrived to observe the proceedings.
The Griffon Empire met with me in my still un-altered room, announced with a knock on the door.
"You may enter!" I called, still trying to clear out space for the eggs I would be laying for the next two days.
The door creaked open and was followed by the clanking and rattling of platemail. I turned to see a heavily armored Griffon in silver armor with gold trim and red accents with a small shoulder-cape of red and gold with a design of a rearing griffon.
"Proto-Queen Aze, I presume?" The Griffon's voice seemed rough and worn, possibly from shouting orders as they looked more like a general than an ambassador.
"Yes, that would be me." I turned away from my task to fully greet what I assumed to be a 'him' from the deep tone of his voice.
"I am ambassador Julius of the Griffon Empire. I seek a private meeting." He stood in a rigid pose that looked uncomfortable, possibly a sign of respect?
"You did not wish to send a written request, I assume?" Normally I would have been informed at least a few hours prior to any arrival or need by mail. Princess Celestia was very fond of 'Dragonfire Instant Messaging' as she described it.
He seemed taken off guard by my comment, if his expression revealed nothing, his emotions did. "I had taken the initiative when I learned of your arrival. I will send a message before we meet in the future for your convenience."
I nodded. "That would be appreciated." I motioned with my hoof for him to come into the room. "Please, enter and let us discuss things. You have questions, I assume?"
He steadily but loudly clanked his way in, closing the door behind him. "Yes, although it pains me to admit it." He took a seat on a rougher looking sofa that I had avoided for that very reason.
What? Just because I have a carapace doesn't mean I can't like soft and fuzzy things!
"What do you mean?" I took up my much more comfortable seat opposite to him.
He sighed as if remembering a tragedy of his past. "Our once mighty empire has stagnated, and crumbled to near ruin after the death of King Alexander. Our economy has become almost non-existant and our military takes the large majority of all our supplies just holding back wild beasts from our towns in the outer edge of our territory."
"That is... difficult, but why do you mention it to me? Surely your standings with any other nation would be more in your favor than mine? I'm fighting to even gain recognition as a soverign nation, and you've an Empire!"
"Empire in name only, at this point." His mood was rapidly deteriorating. "I come as an Ambassador to you, for a trade agreement. At the very least we could use the lumber from White Tail Woods to construct walls for our settlements. We would repay with bits, as you're within Equestria's borders."
That gave me an idea. "One moment, please don't freak out."
<Gaius, Lanius? Do either of you know how many bits we have?>
<... We' ve never actually taken the time to count. Would you wish inventory taken?> Lanius replied.
<Please do so with haste, It may benefit the hive in some way.>
<Yes, my Queen.> they replied.
"And, back." I replied, Julius' claw was waving in front of my face and he was startled when I returned.
"This..." He lowered his claw to the ground. "Is normal?"
"For as long as I remain a Proto-Queen. It takes more effort for me to commune over distance with the hive mind than a matured Queen."
"That seems extremely useful, if endangering."
"You would be right. On a different subject, have you come here to observe the negotiations?"
"Yes. It was only recently we learned of the attack on Canterlot, and then heard of your peace treaty. It's not often I get to meet a new species."
"I doubt that our species is 'new', Ambassador Julius, but I will take it as a compliment." I tried to smile again, but it only sent a spike of worry into him, so I closed my mouth.
"You know, as a friendly tip... If you expressed your emotions more often, having you suddenly smile wouldn't bring up memories of Timberwolves." He grumbled.
"Apologies. I am still new to these 'expressions' you mammals do."
"Mammals." He muttered.
"I will inform you of our ability to assist via letter as I am able, Ambassador."
Taking this as his que to leave, he stood from his seat. "Thank you for receiving me, Proto-Queen." He gave a slight bow, and left the room with a quiet click of slowly closing the door.
I was beginning to think that something was taking amusement at my expense.
"Proto-Queen Aze, What has happened to your gaze?" The Zebrecan delegate asked, their voice a medley of rhyme.
"I was asking the Hivemind about Zebras. Sadly, we've not encountered your peoples before."
"This observation would seem true, as this is our first time meeting you."
I was attempting to perfect my 'expressions' and decided this was the perfect moment for 'Single narrowed eye with opposing raised eyebrow of slight annoyance at an obvious observation by another party.'
"Pardon my memory, but what was your name again?"
Huh, she didn't rhyme.
"You've decided to meet me for what purpose, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Of all species far and near, your intriging own has brought us here. You claim to be seperate from Chrysalis' hive, and we wonder how that impacts our lives. We observe the actions you take, to better understand the place in our world you make."
This was making my head hurt. How does she even organise her thoughts into rhyme like that? I think it's affecting me...
"Proto-Queen Aze, we mean no alarm, but it seems our presense causes you harm."
"W-what? Oh! No, I'm fine. Just..." I shook my head for a moment to clear the rhymes away. "Alright, better. You were saying?"
She blinked a few times before walking backwards from my room. "We think it best to take our leave, before our words make your brain bleed." She then shut the door swiftly, freeing me from her spell.
"Well... that was different."
I'll have to study those Zebras at some point. I hope they don't ALL do that or i'll have to negotiate via letter.
Wait, please don't tell me they rhyme in letters too!
The Ambassador from Saddle Arabia was far more 'normal' compared to the others I had met. He was actually a Prince, taking on the role of Ambassador until his position on the throne could be secured. His father was of poor health, and his xenophobic leanings gave 'Prince Sta'abel a sour impression of his ability to lead.
The Prince was an earth pony. Dusty sand colored coat with brown and black mane and tail with blue eyes like sapphire gems. He wore robes of cloth over his body despite the pleasant weather, but he informed me that his homeland is much hotter, and that Equestria was perpetually chilly.
"I've learned a little of the new ambassadors that have been staying here, but I would assume that given the amount of clothing you wear that you're not here for a favor?" I asked.
The Prince, as I will not be attempting to pronounce his name again for my own sanity, seemed amused by my reply. "There's no need to be so formal, Proto-Queen Aze. We are equals as far as I can tell. Do you hold yourself this way with your changeling subjects?"
"They are not subjects, they are my children. To answer your question, I do. And for formality, It would be reckless of me to lower my guard in my position."
He hummed in thought before replying. "Very well, I can respect your choice. You are correct that I have not come here to beg from you, however I would seek a trade agreement."
At this rate I wont have a kingdom left. "Oh? What do you wish to trade?"
"I seek the opportunity to appraise your land of its natural resources, and offer fair payment in exchange for retrieving those you are willing to part with."
I thought on this for a moment before replying. "I will think on your request, and send you a response via mail."
He stood from his seat and bowed. "Thank you for receiving me, Proto-Queen."
The second the door shut, I slumped into my seat.
"This is going to be a long day."
"We are all prepared?" Celestia asked. The gathered participants of the peace talks took their seats.
Transcription for your sanity.
Second Meeting of White Tail Woods Hive and Equestria
Key for simplicity: WTW = White Tail Woods
EQ = Equestria
PC = Princess Celestia
PL = Princess Luna
PQA= Proto-Queen Aze
PMC = Princess Mi Amore Cadenza
SA = Guard Captain Shining Armor
M = Minos
N = Noblemares / Aristoponies
PC: This meeting is called to order. PMC, you have the opening statement.
PMC: Thank you, PC. I would like to formally announce my good faith with the WTW Hive and PQA. Several meetings and an extensive cultural exchange have eased my suspicions about the motives of PQA, and I fully support her position.
N: You mean that PQA bribed you in a back room deal?
SA: How dare you?!
PC: Order! N, you will wait your turn to speak. SA, if you would sit... Thank you. PQA, would you like to explain?
PQA: We were met by PMC in our quarters, and she made her suspicions clear. I offered to ease her doubts and convince her of my goals. This involved me-
SA: No, don't say it!
PC: SA, please await your turn. PQA, continue please.
PQA: This involved me taking the appearance of Queen Chrysalis as a nymph, dressed in a chicken suit.
N: Wait, seriously?
PQA bursts into magenta flame, shapeshifted into Queen Chrysalis as a nymph, in a chicken suit.
Several 'D'aaaws' are heard. Loud coughing and grunts in a sad attempt to regain semblance of masculinity.
"Yus, it is twue."
A Noble faints, is revived by Royal Guard.
PQA reverts to original form.
SA grumbles something unintelligible.
PC: We've all recovered? Yes? Alright. Nobles, you have the floor.
N: Looking over your proposed treaty, we noticed that you seek a trade agreement with Equestria and its citizens. What resources do you have available that would interest Equestria?
PQA's eyes go dark.
Alarm begins to spread.
PMC/SA: It's fine! She does that!
Confusion, all gathered begin to calm and await reply.
PQA's eyes glow again.
PQA: Does anypony or Minotaur happen to have an affinity for math?
PL produces an Abacus.
PL: Yes. What is the purpose?
PQA: What would be the total amount of one thousand bank accounts with five hundred bits, plus an additional account with ten thousand bits, at twenty percent interest rate over the course of a thousand years bear?
PQA's eyes dim, before glowing again.
PQA: Also adjusting for inflation and the scarcity of coins held?
Nobles collectively faint, PC visibly sweats as PL calculates.
PL seems shaken.
PL: five hundred twenty seven million, three hundred and ten thousand bits. (B 527,310,000)
PL drops her abacus onto the table.
PC's eye twitches.
PQA: Is that alot?
PC: This meeting will continue at a later date, to be determined by Equestria and informed personally!
Gavel announces end of meeting
Transcription by Twilight Sparkle
"Did I say something wrong?"
Princess Celestia was sweating ballistas.
"Luna, what are we going to do?! Does that much money even physically exist? Why didn't I think about opening a bank account?"
"Tia, we must remain calm-"
"Calm?! CALM?! I'll show you calm when I banish that changeling to the moon to prevent the collapse of society!"
"Celestia! Calm down!"
"She could buy the entire planet four times over and have enough left over to drown every dragon and noble in gold, AND still have enough to coat all of Zebreca in bits! What do I even do about-"
"CALM THYSELF, SISTER!" Luna bellowed in the royal Canterlot Voice.
Celestia rebooted her brain after reflexively blinking for a minute straight.
"Better?" Luna asked.
"Yes..." Celestia rubbed her chin. "I've got it! We'll just have to keep her in the dark about the wealth she possesses, so that she won't discover that she would send the entire economy crashing down around our ears!" She giggled manicly.
"Sister, thou scares us."
"Really, did I say something wrong?" I was very confused. Luna announced a number that I had never heard of, several ambassadors fainted, and now everything I even thought to ask was being provided to me. They even let me turn my room into a miniature hive and allowed caretakers and my personal guard to stay with me.
"I'm sure you did nothing wrong my Queen." Gaius said. He and Lanius were staying as my guard, and Gaia was still at the hive. I had just finished laying the last of my eggs for the day, and Minerva was caring for them in a miniature pool.
"Perhaps the Queen would like a distraction?" Minerva suggested.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Well, you still have yet to master alchemy, my Queen."
Oh, shell. She was completely right. "Thank you for reminding me, Minerva."
"No trouble, my Queen."
Now, who would be smart enough to invent alchemy?
Oh, you've got to be kidding. Of COURSE it would be her.
Alright, hopefully she received my letter and I won't-
The door opened.
She looked at me.
I looked back.
Didn't get the letter in time.
"I have thousands of children that need their mother, you know." I scolded Twilight as she wrapped bandages around my chest.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't know you were coming and I just got your letter after I stunned you and I thought you were Chrysalis for a moment and my magic reacted faster than I could and-"
"Twilight!" I raised my voice, halting her stream of apologies and excuses with a hoof over her mouth. "I need your help."
"Wuwht?" She mumbled, and I removed my hoof. "Help with what?"
"I need your help with re-inventing Alchemy."
She blinked. "You know those are myths, right? Nopony can actually do those things?"
"Nopony." I agreed with a nod.
Her eyes lit up as her jaw dropped, accompanied by an excited gasp. "You're serious?!"
I nodded again, as she exploded into a cascade of 'YesYesYesYes' repeated for long enough that I walked upstairs to take a nap.
"Twilight, there has to be a simpler way of doing this."
"What do you mean? This perfectly lays out every element the myths talk about in their books!"
She had produced something she dubbed, 'The Periodic Table of Non Magical or Enchanted Elements'. It looked to me like a series of blocks with scribbles in the margins and large lettering. None of this meant a thing to me.
"I'm simply stating that there has to be a way that I can understand what I'm doing at a glance. I don't have the time to study in a university for years to learn what all of this means."
"Just how old are you, anyway?"
"Two years, seven months and four days."
She took a while to reply.
I nodded. "We mature much faster than you ponies do, and most of our knowledge is passed down through the hivemind. Do Humans still fight dragons?"
"What's a human?"
"Hmm, nevermind." I guess they lost.
"How can I make this simpler?"
"Well, lets start with Iron. It strengthens and purifys against evil spirits, but erodes over time. How about a Pro/Con list?"
"Like... Iron: +Strength, +Spirit, -Longevity?"
"Yes! Let's do that."
"But chemistry is so much more exact and complex than that! Every measurement has to be exactly right or it will blow up in your face!"
"But this is changeling alchemy, I'll be fine!"
We had spent several days tinkering and arguing about alchemy, before I decided that it was good as we were going to get without trial and error. For this purpose, I used one of my eggs that I had laid in Canterlot, and Twilight sat on the edge of the pool, ready to take notes. I sat inside of the pool with the experimental egg ready to be... experimented on.
"Are you sure this is ethical? It seems wrong to me somehow."
<Quick, I need a snarky rebuttal!>
<Counting your chickens before they hatch?>
"Twilight, that would be like counting your chickens before they hatch!" Hah!
"Did you seriously just ask the hive mind for a comeback?"
I stuck my tongue out at her in response. I think her snarkyness is beginning to affect me.
"Alright, here we go!" I declared, levitating magically liquified elements.
"Um... What do I do now?"
"Use them?" Twilight uncertainly suggested.
"Right! Here goes!"
I dumped all of them into the egg, combined with my magic.
Which elements, you ask?
I believe I said all of them.
The resulting explosion sounded as a mix between a lightning bolt, several ponies screaming, a gunpowder explosion and a choir of tears. Smoke that was dark as charcoal coated everything in the room and caused Twilight to sputter and cough. I was thankfully Immune. No lungs, remember?
When Twilight regained her senses, we opened the balcony window to let the smoke billow out and accidentally warn the neighboring nation of Roarham of imaginary invaders.
What was left of my efforts, was a very tall pony, about Celestia's height. His coat was dark as night with a mane and tail a pure crimson. His eyes glowed a deep red as well. What was most unsettling was... I had created an Alicorn.
"Wh-what!? Who am I? Who are you? What have you done with my parents?!" He babbled in a blind jibbering mess. "You must've killed my parents! You don't care about me! I'll make all of you pay!" And then he lept out of the balcony window crying tears of blood.
After Twilight and I had finished picking our jaws from the floor, we spotted another pony.
The Pink One.
She was dressed in a dark grey full body jumpsuit with many pouches, all with her cutie mark on them. Her face was concealed by balaclava, and she had goggles with bright green lenses.
"Allright ponies, where'd the Alicorn run off to?" She questioned, her voice attempting to be gritty and serious.
Twilight and I both had the presense of mind to point out of the balcony window. She leapt onto the railing before turning around to look at me.
"What did you decide to name him? I gotta know what terrible Oh See im going to be hunting after all."
Oh sea? Or is it 'Oh! See?'
"Soon to be Queenie! Focus!" The Pink One snapped.
"Oh! I will call him... Edgey."
She saluted me, and backflipped from the guard rail.
"Twilight..." I asked, not moving my head incase something else rediculous were to happen.
"We agree to never, EVER do that again?"
"Well, I suppose we should inform Princess Celestia that theres a fourth Alicorn..."
"Nah, don't worry about it. She'll probably have me end up dealing with it anyway."
"Oh. Well, back to work then?"