• Published 6th Sep 2013
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Five Score: A New Hive - bossfight1

Chris, on his twenty-fifth birthday, begins going through some inhuman changes. Set in the Five Sco

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Chapter 25: Settling In

Chapter 25: Settling In

The first terrified pony wasn’t a fluke, sadly. I counted no less than seven that up and ran for the hills at the sight of me as I was led across the property. Most of them either did double-takes at me, exchanged confused glances, some even gave a little smile and wave—likely out of brony-love. It was after I sent Bon-Bon legging it that I met Rainbow Dash. She seemed rather nervous at first, sure, but she warmed up when I wasn’t a condescending bey-otch; even more so when I chewed Shining out for the thousands of daggers he’d glared into me.

I finally entered the farmhouse with Shining right behind me; Rarity broke off to help with the new arrivals, giving Shining a kiss and a ‘be careful’ before departing. The place seemed pretty comfortable, in that “cabin in the woods” sort of way. I peeked into every room, looking for Twilight. “Nice little place, here…” I said, nodding approvingly. Shining had no comment.

Finally I found the kitchen. Sitting at the table in the middle of the room was Twilight, bent over a pair of books, looking like she was having a staring contest with them.

I cleared my throat. “Hello.”

Twilight looked up. With a panicked gasp she shot off a purple blast. I immediately ducked to the floor to keep my eyebrows intact. “FUCKIN’--”

“Twilight, don’t,” Shining said, somewhat reluctantly. “She says she doesn’t want trouble.”

I stood up, shooting an annoyed look at Shining before taking a calming breath. I walked calmly into the kitchen and pulled a chair aside. Twilight stared at me, half between confusion and fear. She glanced at Shining, who gave a small shrug as he walked over and sat beside her. “...Would you prefer if I looked human?” I asked, trying to dispel any discomfort.

Twilight blinked. “I, I don’t… Whatever you want?”

I nodded. With a burst of flame I took on my human form. “Better?” I asked. “I probably should have expected this kind of reception, I could’ve been… a bit more subtle, I suppose.” I sat down, folded my hands and exhaled. “So.”

Twilight’s expression hadn’t changed. “...So?”

“Let’s just get this out of the way,” I said. “Yes, I am Chrysalis. Yes, I have my memories back from before, and appears you folks do, as well. I remember my life as a changeling and Queen, I remember… what happened at Canterlot, I remember Discord’s takeover, and him banishing me a while after all of you were cursed. My life as a human was as Chris Barton, born in Maine. I started changing back on the 1st, and was fully transformed on the 2nd.”

Twilight blinked. “The 2nd? We didn’t fully change back until…”

“The 4th?” I asked. “Yeah, I’m guessing my changing abilities let me shrug off forced transformations quicker. They also let me keep… some semblance of my human life.” I flexed my fingers meaningfully.

“How have you been feeding?” Shining asked, suspiciously.

“My girlfriend,” I said simply. “She’s been with me this whole time.” ...Not counting what happened after the joyride in Dane’s car.

“Willingly?” Shining asked, raising an eyebrow.

I gave him a piercing glare. “Yes. In the first days I didn’t know the whole truth, I was still just human Chris up here,” I tapped my head. “I’m guessing it was the same with you, not counting any possible personality quirks?”

Shining looked off to the side in thought. “...Maybe.”

“So she stayed with me because she still loves me for me,” I said. “She still loves me even if I’m… like this.”

“You said you got your memories back,” Twilight said. “So you’re really Chrysalis? In both body and mind?”

I nodded. “With a side-case of schizophrenia.”

“...What,” Twilight deadpanned.

I shrugged. “My human self, he’s… a vulgar, nerdy goofball who has a tendency to do stupid shit sometimes. Chrysalis is… Well, nowadays, she’s serious, she’s a planner, she’s… not gonna lie, a bit temperamental. We don’t exactly… meld together that well, so on occasion I’ll be swearing and joking and all that, then, almost with an audible ‘clunk’ I’ll be talking like a legitimately smart person, analyzing situations, thinking about things the way a queen would.”

Twilight took a breath. “Why did you come here?”

“Well, partly, the same reason the others are flooding in,” I said. “Safe haven, the chance to be with others of our kind… to an extent. The other reason is… I want to get home, to Equestria. I want Discord to pay for what he’s done… Not just to me, but to all of us.”

“Why’d he banish you?” Shining asked. “If anything, you might have helped him…”

“Discord never needs help in causing chaos,” I said. “And he banished me because I attacked him. His banishment of every pony in Equestria cost us our best food source. My people began to starve, to die out. I attacked him out of fury, and he banished me for it. I remember everything, now… and I want Discord to pay.”

“So you came here because you want vengeance?” Shining asked, unphased.

“I came here ‘cause I want to help you!” I said hotly. “Because I have nothing to gain from keeping up these hostilities while Discord is running free! I’m here to find a way home, to bring Discord to justice. So you can be distrustful if you want, you can keep watch over me, you can keep thinking I’m scheming behind your backs, but if you don’t want me here, I can just leave.”

Shining seemed keen on that offer; I wondered if they were gonna call my bluff. Twilight, however, looked deep in thought. She stared at the table, considering her options, before sighing. “...Fine. You can stay.”

Shining shot her a confused glance. “What?”

I blinked. “Really?”

“Just set up your camp or whatever, wherever there’s room,” Twilight said. She leaned forward and gave me a stern look. “Any trouble… Any funny business…”

I nodded. “I know. You’ve given me a bigger chance than I deserve, Twilight.”

“I’ll say…” Shining muttered, not quietly enough.

I ignored him and stood up. “I’ll get Liz to come in. Thank you… truely.” I headed out the front door of the house. I earned some confused glances from the ponies as I jogged across the property towards the dirt road. Echo, we’re good. Tell Liz to bring the truck in.

Yes, mother.

I scanned the property for a good place to put the truck. I opted to have us ‘camp’ near the forest, a short distance from the dirt road, not too close to the increasingly filled barn and the multitude of tents that littered the land.

As I waited for the truck, I realized I hadn’t discussed peace with Twilight and Shining. I considered talking to them again later, but decided they probably had a lot on their plate as it is; an immense pony migration headed for the farm, thinking of a way back to Equestria and all that. It was a big topic; I figured it would be better discussed when this was all over.

The truck came into sight up the dirt road. I also wondered if I should tell them about the eggs, but decided not to; Shining would probably assume the worst and kick me out after smashing all of them.

I seriously doubt he’d do that, Chris said in my head.

Maybe not… I replied. But I still think it might be best to keep the clutch under wraps for now.

As the truck made it into the clearing I directed Liz to drive it to the designated spot. As the truck halted with a loud hiss I hurried to the truck bed and opened the passenger door. Liz, Trixie and the grubs were staring, mouths agape, at the mass of ponies. “Wow…” Liz said.

I nodded. “Yeah…” I turned to Trixie. “Maybe you should try to keep your distance from us or something. If the ponies who know who I am see you with me, they might think you’re ‘allied with my insidious plans’ or whatever.”

Trixie nodded. “I guess you have a point.”

I addressed the grubs. “Maybe stay in human form for a while, yeah? I’d prefer if they think I’m the only changeling on the farm right now.”

“They’re not gonna question you coming in a big truck?” Shift asked, glancing towards the back of the truck cab, the clutch clearly on his mind.

I bit my lip. “...They might not know I came in a truck, necessarily. As far as they know, this is anyone’s truck.” Liz raised an eyebrow. “Look, I don’t know! Let’s just hope they don’t find out, and if they do, hope they don’t come in with a damned flamethrower.”

The grubs each took on their human forms. “Won’t the sight of humans on a predominantly pony-populated farm raise suspicion?” Echo asked.

“You could have come with anyone,” I said. “Look, I know this is all hope and speculation, but there’s no such thing as a ‘foolproof plan’ in this whole mess.” I looked to Trixie. “Just look like you’re not with us,” I turned to the grubs. “Look human for a while,” I waved a hand to address everyone. “And we’ll all sleep in the truck. As for food, maybe Liz and I could borrow a less conspicuous car from someone, go out and grab supplies as needed. We can contribute. Sound good?”

Liz nodded. “I guess so… Dunno who’d be willing to loan us a car, if someone even comes in a car, since ponies would have trouble driving.”

I glanced towards the farmhouse. “Looks like they got a car, I’ll ask them.” I faced the group. “Just keep to yourselves, no need to stir the hornet’s nest anymore than it has with my arrival. Fair?”

The group nodded. I climbed down from the truck. Trixie climbed out the far side of the truck and cantered into the forest, likely with the intent of looping back and appearing to arrive on her own. Liz and the grubs climbed out of the cab and stood at my side.

I gave a contented sigh; we’d made it.

- - - - -

We spent some time helping some ponies settle in, helping erect tents and the like. As far as they knew, we were just some helpful human volunteers, or friends of other ‘refugees’. While we were working I’d occasionally glance around and spot Shining, true to his word, staying at a distance and keeping an eye on me. I didn’t let it get to me, though.

When it looked like we’d helped all we could, we drifted apart and started roaming the property. While Liz and the grubs went off to mingle, I set out to find the rest of the Mane Six. Rainbow Dash had been plenty friendly, which was nice, but I wanted to find Pinkie, Applejack and Fluttershy, to introduce myself.

As I searched I spotted Rarity, holding a garbage bag in her magic and levitating pieces of trash into it. Might as well try and smooth things over, I guess. I casually approached her. “Hey.”

Rarity turned to me and blinked in confusion at the sight of a human on the farm. “...Hello?”

I gave my eyes a meaningful green flash. Rarity’s eyes widened in recognition. “Listen, I… I wanted to say, no hard feelings about our… introductions earlier,” I said. “I probably should’ve been a bit more… subtle, instead of ‘BOOM, CHANGELING QUEEN’, and I should’ve expected you wouldn’t exactly have welcomed me with open arms, so to speak.”

Rarity nodded slowly. “Okay…”

Wanting to get on more friendly terms, I tried to find something to talk about. “...So, uh… Who were you before all this?”

Rarity stared at me warily. “...I worked with Shining, up in Vancouver. Back then I was… Tom, and he was… Rachel.”

I nodded sympathetically. “I was a boy, too… Chris. This is who I was, before. Being a changeling in all this has certainly had it’s perks; I’ve been able to walk about in public, keeping some semblance of a normal life.”

Rarity didn’t seem interested; she kept glancing about, like she was trying to find the best place to run if I suddenly pounced. I sighed. “I’ll see you later, I guess…” I walked off, feeling Rarity’s nervous gaze at the back of my head.

I approached the stables, which had not been spared the invasion of tents and multi-colored ponies. I spotted Applejack walking outside the fence, carrying a bag of what appeared to be oats on her back. She was wearing the usual stetson she was known for, though god knew how she managed to braid her mane without the underappreciated gifts of evolution that are fingers.

She spotted my approach and frowned. “Hi?”

I smiled and waved. “Hey, good to see you.” I held out a hand, and shook Jack’s tentatively offered hoof. “I’m Chrys.” I gave the green eye flash again.

Applejack tilted her head to the side in confusion. “Chrys… Chry-- OH.” Her eyes widened. “Ooohhh…”

I glanced around the property. “Sorry if I’m making assumptions, but I’m guessing this is your farm?”

Jack nodded. “Y-Yeah, it is…” She leaned to look at the farmhouse behind me. “You, uh…”

I raised a hand placatingly. “It’s cool, they know I’m here… Can’t say they’re too thrilled, which I can understand, but they’re letting me stay.”

AJ seemed to relax somewhat. “Alright… Well, welcome, I reckon…”

I was getting a bit used to this sort of treatment. The events of the wedding were burning in my mind, giving me a fresh dose of guilt. I dragged my foot along the ground, biting my lip.

“...Heh,” I smiled. “I remember, before the wedding… I don’t know if you remember, either from the show or from your true memories, but… I remember coming to you, disguised as Cadence, to check on the catering for the wedding. You were… so friendly, so cheerful, you let me sample an… ‘appoh fwittuh’.” I laughed; I noticed AJ smiling a bit too. “Thing is, changelings can’t eat food, but I managed to eat the fritter without gagging… Kinda wish I could’ve tasted it, I’m sure it was great.”

I frowned and gave a sigh. “I was… well, put lightly, I was a bitch, even if I wasn’t planning that invasion… Listen, I want things to change from how they were, before. I know you’re more likely to… to keep your distance, to not give me even a lick of trust—and, believe me, I don’t blame you—but… I hope you’ll believe that I want things to be different.”

AJ stared at me, silent. Then she nodded. “Okay.”

I blinked. “What?”

AJ smiled. “You don’t seem too bad… at least, not anymore. I guess we can get along, if you’re serious about it.”

I smiled warmly. “...Thank you.”

AJ hefted the bag on her back. “Well, I gotta get back to work, but it was good meetin’ ya, Chrys… The new you.”

I nodded as she cantered off. “I like the new me, too.” I headed off in the other direction, a warm, positive feeling in my chest. I can do it, I thought. Changelings and ponies can play nice… All it takes is a bit of civility.

I headed back to the truck, legs sore from the walking. Part of me wanted to get in the cab and take a nap, but I still had to find Fluttershy and--

“Hi, Chrysalis!”

I turned at the chipper voice. “...Pinkie Pie?”

The mare stood before me, looking much more friendly than any other pony I’d met thus far. I frowned. “...How’d you know who I was?”

“I didn’t!” Pinkie said. “You just told me!”

“...But that doesn’t-- I don’t…” I sighed and let it go, filing that under ‘Pinkie Pie’. “So, things been good?”

“Oh, they’ve been super good!” Pinkie said happily. “Well, except for losing the manhood I’d grown fond of, and being held captive by people who wanted to sell me, Rarity and Shining. Other than that, though, things couldn’t be better!”

I stared at her silently. “...Yeah, just peachy… I’m sorta in the same boat, a former, uh, bearer of… manhood…”

Pinkie nodded sympathetically. “Yeah… But, hey, it makes it SO much easier to--”

“OKAY, BYE NOW!!” I turned around and sprinted away from that topic like it was Slenderman.

- - - - -

I stopped at the edge of the forest, panting heavily as I leaned against a tree. “I think… that… was a bit too friendly…” I panted. “And now I do feel the need to scrub myself...”

I slowly became aware of a few tweeting birds some distance away. Curious, I followed the noise. “Hello?” The tweeting silenced somewhat as I called out and came into a small clearing, some ways in the wood.

There was a very small cottage in the center, built from what appeared to be on hand. It looked more like a shack than anything, but it seemed to be suitable housing. The place was littered with various animals, all chittering happily as they stood around…

“...Hey there, Fluttershy,” I said. The pegasus was laying before her cottage, a single bluebird balanced on her head as she watched my approach. She actually didn’t seem that timid, to my surprise.

A fox turned towards me and gave me a little growl; I supposed animals with better senses of smell could see through my disguise, like I was a Terminator. “Yeah, yeah, cool it, Ylvis,” I said, rolling my eyes as I approached.

Fluttershy stood up, so gently that the bird on her head didn’t even flinch. “Hi…” she said softly.

My inner brony was having ‘HNNNNG’ attacks by the second; if I’d met her three weeks ago, I’d have glomped Fluttershy without hesitation. Instead, I simply smiled. “It’s good to see you.” I could tell Fluttershy was trying, and failing, to place me. “...It’s Chrysalis…” I sighed.

Her eyes widened. “Oh…”

I sat down on the ground. The animals all moved closer to Fluttershy, away from me. It was a bit heartbreaking; I’d always loved animals—most of all, dogs. Seeing that they were skittish around me made me wonder if I would, ever again, indulge my primal ‘PET THE PUPPY’ instinct that triggered whenever I saw a dog on the street.

“So, how’ve you been?” I asked, folding my legs.

“Fine, I suppose… All things considered…” Fluttershy said; I liked that she could bring herself to speak above a small whisper. “So, do the others know you’re here?”

I nodded. “I’ve been trying to earn their trust. Dash, AJ and Pinkie seemed welcoming enough, but Twi, Shining and Rarity are… you know. Not that I blame them, not at all.”

“So you remember?” Fluttershy asked, quietly. “Everything?”

I nodded. “Everything. And looking back, with the human life I’ve known, I… I’m ashamed of it. I know not everyone will believe it, I don’t expect them to… But I hope my being here will help. I don’t want to be… that, anymore. Once Discord is gone, I’ll be doing things differently… for the better.”

I felt something brush my thigh. I looked down to see a rabbit, its whiskers brushing my leg as it sniffed me. Smiling, I slowly reached a hand down. The rabbit sniffed it, and I gently raised my fingers and stroked its soft fur. Fluttershy, who’d been looking slightly tense, relaxed as the rabbit curled up beside my leg and let me scratch behind its ears.

“Ees a bunny!” I said in a soft, baby-talk voice as I stroked its white fur. “Ees a wittle bunnyyyyy!” Fluttershy giggled, evoking another ‘HNNNNNNGGG’ from my inner brony.

Her eyes trailed to the left, and she spotted something in the woods behind us. “Hi, Shining.”

I turned to see him poking from behind a tree, clearly wishing he hadn’t been seen. He walked stiffly into the clearing. “Hey, Fluttershy.” He looked at me. “What’re you doing?”

I shrugged. “Just introducing myself to the rest of the Mane Six—or Bearers, I don’t know what I should call you guys.”

“I’m not a Bearer,” Shining said, levelly. “OR part of the Mane Six.”

“You know what I mean…” I said, rolling my eyes. I gave the rabbit one last loving pet before I stood up. “It was nice seeing you, Fluttershy. See you around?”

Fluttershy smiled softly. “Sure.”

I turned and headed towards the woods, passing Shining without looking at him. I came into the treeline and made to keep going when I heard him speak. “Everything okay?”

I paused. I tentatively backed against a tree and listened in.

Sure, eavesdropping is a GREAT way to earn trust… I thought, but I couldn’t resist.

“Sure,” Fluttershy said. “Chrysalis seems pretty… okay.”

“‘Seems’,” Shining said pointedly. “As in, I don’t trust her.”

“She knows she isn’t trusted,” Fluttershy said. “But I think she really wants to start over.”

“So she thinks she can just erase what she did?” Shining said. “Pretend it never happened?”

“She knows what she did, Shining,” Fluttershy said. “And I can tell she regrets it.”

“She hasn’t lost a wink of sleep over it…” Shining growled. “For all we know, she’s working for Discord, here to stab us in the back.”

“Oh, you asshole…” I mouthed, clenching my fists.

“Shining, you’re not giving her a chance!” Fluttershy argued.

“Remember the last person you said that about?” Shining snapped. “Remember how that turned out?”

“HEY!!” I yelled, stepping out from behind the tree. Shining spun around, surprised, as I stomped up to him, resisting the urge to smash him in the face. “That…” I pointed a finger in his face. “Is un-fucking-called for!! You can hate me all you want, but do not let that grudge poison your relationship with everypony else! I don’t care how long it’ll take for you to believe that I am here on friendly terms, what I care about is that your sister and her friends, at the end of the day, are our best and only real hope of taking Discord down! And I will not let you pull them apart just because of your grudge, no matter how justified! So why don’t you save all your distrust, your anger, your hate, for me, and not be a huge tool to your friends?”

Without another word I spun around and stormed into the forest, leaving a stunned Shining Armor behind me. As I entered the treeline, I could swear I heard Shining speak.

“...I’m sorry…”

- - - - -

I’d mostly calmed down by the time I got back to the truck. It was getting close to 9pm, and my legs were screaming for sweet release. I opened the front passenger door in the cab and climbed up. Liz was lying in the reclined driver’s seat; she perked up as I climbed in. “Hey. What’ve you been up to?”

“Cheating on you in the filthiest ways imaginable,” I said casually.

“Yeah, same here,” Liz said. “Big Mac and I just went to town…”

“Big Mac’s here?” I asked. “Cool. Who else?”

“I saw the Crusaders, Babs Seed included…” Liz said. “Ooh, they were so cute, I wanted to hug them right there, but I figured, they probably weren’t children anymore, at least not on the inside.”

I peered at the empty back seat. “Trixie and the grubs in the truck bed?”

Liz nodded. “I got some blankets and pillows for them, and used some folded tarps as a bedmat for them.”

I nodded. “...We should probably sleep in here, though. Remember how the grubs hatched, when you and I were sleeping side by side next to their eggs?” Liz nodded. “Now imagine us sleeping side by side next to the smorgasbord back there.”

Liz frowned. “What about the grubs? Can they hatch eggs?”

I shook my head. “It would take them roughly ten times as long to hatch a single egg as it does a Queen. It would take roughly two weeks for a Drone, Soldier, or even a non-changeling to hatch a single egg, and a Royal could hatch them only marginally faster. A Queen's strength comes from just how much she can do with even a small amount of love; with the love I got from you, I was able to lay countless eggs in a short time.” I reclined my seat and yawned. Liz pulled a couple blankets from the backseat and handed one to me.

“How were things with the ponies?” Liz asked. “Was there any trouble?”

Yes…” I laughed. “Lots of yelling, screaming and running—it was all very slapstick. But I managed to elevate from ‘to be shot on sight’ to ‘to be watched at all times’. I managed to get friendly with Dash, AJ and Fluttershy, though.” I yawned again. “I think things are gonna work out, Liz…”

Liz took my hand. “Things haven’t been so bad…”

I kissed her hand. “Not with you, anyway…”

“You are such a kiss-ass…” Liz giggled. I made a few loud smoochy noises.

Author's Note:

ANOTHER chapter!! More!! MOOORE!!