• Published 10th Dec 2013
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My Family and Other Equestrians - Blade Star

A HiE fic with a twist. Our protagonist is not alone. How does one approach being in Equestria, when their family is along for the ride?

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Chapter 71 - Chrysalis

Okay, so I’m now in a serious bit of bother. Let’s review what I know. Firstly, I am in Canterlot, a mere couple of days prior to the Royal Wedding due to the actions of a creature known as a Weeping Angel. Second, I know that in two days’ time, Equestria will be attacked by an army of roughly five hundred insectoid vermin. I am therefore in a position to stop it, though that is not strictly necessary. Third, I am likely to be trapped here indefinitely.

My first thought you ask? ‘How the hay do I not contaminate the timeline?’. Mad, I know. Here I am, Equestria’s equivalent of December 6th 1941 and I’m worried about altering history. On the other hand, my rough understanding of temporal mechanics led me to the conclusion that my very presence at this point could have serious repercussions of future events. Doc Brown’s warning of altering history started looping in my head. Hay, accidentally bumping into somepony could start a chain reaction that would lead to the destruction of all life as we knew it for all I knew.

So, my first though was to get out of Canterlot, and keep away from, well pretty much everypony. If I could find a quiet corner of the world, I would be able to live out my life in relative safety. Otherwise, at some point in a few years down the line, I could potentially end up meeting myself, which would have disastrous consequences. Equestria had already had had two breaches in the fabric of space/time, it didn’t need another one.

I couldn’t go to see Celestia either. It would result in contamination to the timeline, as would any interaction. Time travel is not as fun as it looks. If only I’d been sent back further. Even worse, I had the ability to potentially get rid of or at least prematurely unmask a villain who to this day, has a bounty of over half a million bits on her head. But I couldn’t. To do so would mean that the season two finale would play out differently, which would affect everything else that happened, which would in turn create a paradox that would…

Wait a minute.

The angel had sent me back in time by about three or four years. I knew how everything was supposed to turn out. I was a product of a particular future and only existed because of that future. If I were to do something now, in the past, that would have a ripple effect on my own future. Everything would change; including my arrival and everything I did since arriving in Equestria. This would mean that the timeline in which Apple Bloom and I went to Time Turner’s shop and encountered the Weeping Angel would not have happened, or at least happened a different way. In turn, I, as I am now, would never have existed because of the change in timelines.

Well, you can’t send something back in time when it has never existed, now can you? If I did something in the past, I could create a grandfather paradox. I would change the past, but therefore never have existed to come back here and change the past in the first place. Confusing I know. If I understood temporal mechanics correctly, this would result in a reset of the timeline. The Weeping Angel itself would become a paradox, as it had fed off the time energy of something that had no time energy because it didn’t exist. To put it in layman’s terms, I could potentially be brought back to my point of origin (the present), and the angel would be caught in the paradox; the negative temporal energy would be like feeding a human poison, destroying it completely.

So, I guess I would be doing a little bit of interfering before I left, the paradox would need to be a major one for it to work; little changes wouldn’t have a serious enough effect. Assuming I was right of course. Nothing of what I thought had ever been proved by science or magic and an alarming portion of it came from a ‘fictional’ television show about a time travelling alien. But, hay, it’s not like I have anything better to do. And the worst that could happen is that the paradox destroys the totality of existence. Hay, if it did all go to pot, at least I’d be able to do something I’d always wanted to do; get even with a villain.

Today, getting into Canterlot Castle, outside of going to see a fairly well guarded Celestia or Luna in their respective courts, is pretty hard. They don’t let just anypony wander around in there. Everypony, even guards are routinely checked at security stations and various espionage protocols are in place to prevent replacement. It also of course, usually helps keep out the crazies and other ponies that shouldn’t be let near figures of authority.

However, at this point in the timeline, the Royal Guard was something of a mess. After all, it had been less than a year since the thestrals had returned from their self-imposed exile, and it was a difficult task to reintegrate them, particularly when there was still some animosity from a thousand years ago.

In addition, the Royal Guard had not engaged in large scale combat for over four hundred years. They were little more than a police force really, with the old trappings of military tradition. They were not really prepared for a large scale military incursion or combat in an urban environment. On the plus side though, it did make it far easier for me to enter Canterlot Castle unmolested. I certainly couldn’t do it today.

My plan, which had solidified on the walk there was fairly simple. I was going to enter the castle, avoiding being seen as much as possible and find a way to get close to ‘Cadance’ when she was alone. I then planned to do something incredibly stupid; attack. Using the various dark magic spells I had learnt ought to give me a chance, particularly against an unprepared opponent. If possible, I would do my best to restrain her. The change in the timeline would need to be somewhat major, so I needed to do something drastic.

Assuming all went well and I managed to somehow hold down a changeling queen running off the power of Shining Armor’s love, I could then affect the timeline. Say, by exposing her to a number of ponies. A twisted part of me suggested I kill her; after all, I was capable of doing so, and it certainly would affect the timeline enough. As long as I caused enough of a change, my slightly insane, undoubtedly stupid and idiotic plan might just work.




Getting into the castle wasn’t too tricky; it seems that at this point, the Royal Guard were content to trust you if you said you were with the catering crew. Speaking of, rule of thumb for getting into places you aren’t supposed to; never pretend to be someone important, always be low level staff, nopony will ever look twice at you.

With a promise that I had left my security pass in the castle kitchens by accident, I managed to get inside and quickly worked my way into some of the staff only areas. It was very surreal. Security was just so lax, despite appearances, that most issues could be circumvented. If I saw a guard coming, just duck into one of many unlocked rooms, if there’s one on watch blocking your way, it was alarmingly easy to distract them. It was both fun and horrifying. It was no wonder that the place had been infiltrated.

At length, I managed to locate one Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. A few moments of observation of her behaviour told me it was not her. My one concern was that I had arrived before Cadance was lifted, in which case I had contemplated interfering there. But no, after watching an extremely passive aggressive princess for a minute or so, I saw the tell-tale discrepancy in her eyes.

I now had to stick with her, following her without being seen, until such a time as I could get close to her, without risk of interference by third parties. Of course, it was mere days prior to the wedding, so she was going hither and thither talking to all sorts of ponies and no real opportunities presented themselves. However, at one point, I did get an opportunity to mess with her head.

At a rough guess, I decided it had to be around four in the afternoon at this point and ‘Cadance’ was still busy and almost constantly surrounded either by ponies connected to the wedding, or by guards. I was starting to get worried; come nightfall, the thestrals of the Lunar Guard would take over, and they were not so easily fooled. In fact, most of the post-Incursion re-training was done by thestral officers.

However, there were times, when she was in the relatively lonely hallways, that she was alone. For reasons that I still have yet to fully understand, possibly the ease of avoiding the guards going to my head, I chose to briefly communicate with her.

As best as I could, I had been discretely following ‘Cadance’ around for most of the day. No need to hide in air vents or anything of the like. And on occasion, she would pass me in the corridors, although I was safely hidden in the shadows. Anyway, at one point, she emerged from one room or another and began heading down the hallway. I meanwhile emerged from where I had been hiding and walked towards her. As I passed her in the hallway, I said one thing, quietly of course, so nopony else could hear.

“Good evening, Queen Chrysalis.”

I promptly of course made myself scarce, and I was gone long before she had had time to process what she had heard and turn around. I did however, hear her breath catch and she turned around, near galloping in the direction I had supposedly taken. I’ve no idea why I did it, but it put the wind up her and put her on edge for the next hour or two.

Since I realised that I was going to be here for some time, I couldn’t depend on just keeping out of sight to avoid detection. Falling back on habits forged in too many Hitman games, I sought out a disguise. Luckily, I was able to find my way into, what I presumed, was a storage room. Inside were a number of Royal Guard armor suits. The enchantment placed on them alters coat and mane colour to fit in with the others, and would make me all but invisible, at least at a distance.

Removing the armor from the stand it was resting on, I carefully fastened it to myself. It was actually quite similar to the King Sombra outfit I had worn on Nightmare Night, although the lower collar was easier on the neck. As I dressed, I quietly sung a little tune to myself.

“Now honour to the guardsman,
Who still keeps up the fight.
And shame upon the lunar stallion,
Who wears the golden light.”

It was in a way ironic for me. I always saw myself as a supporter of Luna. Yet here I was wearing, illegally I might add, the uniform of a Solar Guard. At any rate though, I now had a disguise and additionally, a weapon in the form of a spear. I felt the low level magic kick in as I locked the last clasp and like a wave, my dark grey coat turned to a lighter shade, whilst my mane turned to become silver. I was the spitting image of a unicorn of the Royal Guard. With that done, I stepped back out into the castle, now free to roam around without too much fear of discovery.

I hurriedly returned to the room I had seen ‘Cadance’ go into and stationed myself outside it, mimicking the behaviour of most Royal Guards. As a Briton who was often the only sober one amongst a group of drunks, I have a fairly good ability to keep a straight face. I remained outside that room, listening, for what felt like hours.

Eventually, my waiting and steady vigilance paid off. After all, eventually the various staff members packed up and went home. And so ‘Cadance’ was now far more exposed. Consequently, I saw her retreat to her room. I would not say she was running scared, but she knew that somepony out there knew about her, and it had her concerned. Much to my annoyance, I heard the lock of her chamber doors click. With night coming swiftly on, there was no way I would be able to break in, and I’m not the sort of pony who knows how to pick locks anyway. I may have used a few video game tricks here and there, but I was no expert of covert operations.

What I did know however, was that the royal suites, such as the one ‘Cadance’ was staying in boasted a balcony that allowed a pony to overlook the castle courtyard and a fair portion of the city. There were doors on the balcony, but given that it was near midsummer, I doubted they would be locked; Equestria after all has yet to invent a large scale A/C system.

Were I a pegasus, nothing could be simpler, a short flight and I would be there. As it is, my only option was to teleport myself there. And for that, I was going to need line of sight. If you cannot visualise exactly where you want to go, it is incredibly easy to mess up the spell, one of many reasons I so rarely use it. Plus, when I got there, I was going to need all the energy I had. A careful check of the surrounding room revealed all of them to be locked, for once. So my next option was the castle roof.

After carefully making my way to the upper levels of the castle, I eventually found a way to access the roof, a maintenance door of some sort. Much to my alarm, the hinges squeaked horrendously and for a moment, I feared I would be caught by the night guard. After freezing for a few moments though, it became clear that nopony was onto me, and I found myself on the roof of the castle, well a part of it anyway. I was now very exposed, both to the patrols and those inside should I accidentally knock off a roof tile.

By this point, the sun had all but gone down, and the moon was slowly rising into the sky. At least with my dark coloured coat, it would be easier to blend in, though the bright armor I was wearing sort of countered it. Steadily, I worked my way along the roof, keeping one eye out for patrols. Eventually, I got over the crest of the roof, and could see the balcony. Standing right there, looking over the city was ‘Cadance’ herself. A quick teleport and I was with her, standing a little ways behind near the door. Of course, a teleport is not exactly a stealthy entrance given its signature flash and pop.

Her ears promptly perked up, listening. It seemed pointless to try and be stealthy any longer. However, I was wearing a guard uniform; it was quite possible I could convince her I had come here on business. The disguised changeling queen promptly turned around. And in that exact instant, my courage failed me. Sure, I had contemplated what I would do in this scenario, I’m sure quite a few ponies would like to take a swing at this witch. However, when the variable called reality is introduced, it dawns on you quite quickly that you are mortal and facing something that could easily kill you. Thus, instead of coming across in any way as intimidating, all that came out when she turned to look at me, was a quiet squeak as my ears pressed themselves flat against my skull.

“I was wondering when you would show up,” she replied mimicking Cadance’s voice perfectly. She smiled cruelly at me, clearly able to sense my fear. I began to slowly tap into what dark magic I had, utilising the emotions I felt for Chrysalis, and to an extent, Cadance. I made sure to keep my thoughts away from anypony else, I desperately tried to summon back my nerves. “I suppose you are here to try and kill me?” I did my upmost to bury my fear and reply. Somehow this, in my old British accent, came out.

“Kill you?” I replied, sounding a little confused. “Um, no. Don’t be obvious. I mean, at some point I probably will kill you, but I don’t want to rush it.” My fearful state merely added to the believability, giving me a slightly crazed look.

“Then what do you want?” she replied. Before, I could respond, she cut me off, and acted in a way I had expected she would, if given half the chance. “Actually, don’t worry about that, it doesn’t really matter anyway.” And with that, she began to cast a spell.

Her horn glowed a sickly green colour that seems to be universal amongst changelings as a species. It isn’t dark magic by any stretch of the imagination, though, as it is relatively unknown, some do mistake it for that. It was easy enough to guess what she was doing, secondary teleportation. A green ring of fire began to form around me, when it was completed, it would enable ‘Cadance’ to transport me to the Crystal Caves, just as she had done with Cadance and would do with Twilight. She seemed to suffer from the same problem as Celestia; rather than deal with her problems, she preferred to lock them away. The ring quickly completed forming itself around me.

“Before you go,” she said smugly. “Do tell me; was getting captured part of your plan?”

Now, if I may split hairs, a long range independent teleport of another being is an impressive magical feat; I personally only use teleportation when absolutely necessary due to the difficulty level. However, it also takes time to work. It actually takes a good five to seven seconds to completely encircle a target and to begin to teleport them, during that time the caster is vulnerable to certain magical spells. And with this knowledge; knowing that she was now just as vulnerable as I was, my fears departed. At least enough to garner me into action. So, it gave me great pleasure to reply to her question with:

“Of course.” Instantly, I let loose that dark magic that I had been quietly building up along with my courage. The bubbling purple and green magic shot from my mutated horn, whilst my eyes oozed with magical vapour. I imagine, even to a changeling, I looked an unsettling sight. I poured all the energy I dared into my spell; it was a very risky throw of the dice.

As part of my own study of dark magic, one of the many spells I had come across was what was termed a ‘Sealing Spell’. This had been used by King Sombra against Shining Armor, when the two clashed outside the gates of the Crystal Empire. The spell does what it says on the tin; it seals off a target’s magic. Any creature with a horn or other magic focussing appendage, will find their magic cut off, still there, but inaccessible. Such a spell could certainly level the playing field, so I used it against the changeling queen.

I was actually half surprised, as Chrysalis was when she knocked down Celestia, when I found myself free of the teleportation spell. Before me, Chrysalis was sprawled on the ground, a hoof clutched to her gnarled horn, which was now laced with obsidian crystals, in agony. In addition to knocking out her teleport, it had also disabled her ability to take on a disguise. She was now effectively powerless.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Did I break your concentration?” I asked sarcastically, enjoying the moment. Chrysalis meanwhile simply cackled.

“This is a foolish and fatal move, pony. You just declared war against the Changelings.” Encasing her in my magic, which she could no longer resist, I lifted her up, moving her towards the edge of the balcony.

“This is not war. This is pest control!” I replied coldly, now fully in control of the situation. Still, she continued to cackle madly.

“You think those pathetic guards can stop the might of my army?” she asked scornfully.

“I don’t need to stop them, just you. That’s the great flaw with a hivemind species. You are superior to ponies in one respect.”

“Oh, and what is that?” As I forced her front hooves between the gaps in the balcony, I used a burst of magic to create a pair of rudimentary hoofcuffs, something Strong Shield taught me. She was now secured, unable to fly, or use magic. I then formed a small amount of magic around her neck, just as I had done with Strong Shield, and squeezed, briefly choking her. I moved to whisper in her ear.

“You are better at dying!” I hissed angrily. And with that, I relented. As you can probably tell, I had let out that little nasty part of me that had not been out since Strong Shield got unmasked. This time though, I intended to keep it on a leash. I breathed to calm my nerves, and my heart; which was currently going a mile a minute.

“Now,” I said, my tone far more composed and controlled. “How about we get down to the important issues? I’m sure you have a fair few questions you would like to ask before your…departure.” As I’ve said before, as an educated Briton, playing a villain is something that suits me down to the ground.

Chrysalis snarled at me, unable to move, though like the other spells I had used, they would only last for so long. Like it or not, Chrysalis had more energy than I did and would eventually be able to override the restraints.

“Fine. How did you know?” she spat angrily.

“Ah, fox you may smell, and fox you may be. But I can tell your fortune in the water,” I said, dipping into an old tale of El-Ahrairah. “I’m from the future. Time traveller, you see, though not intentionally.” Chrysalis snorted. “I assure you I’m telling you the truth. You actually are quite talented at disguising yourself; I simply had the good fortune of knowing where to look. Your attempt, and subsequent failure, to take Canterlot has actually been well documented.”

“So, you are here to ridicule and then kill me?” I began to slowly walk around her as I talked, grinning cruelly.

“I suppose in a way you’re half right. In another way of course, you are completely wrong. It would be needlessly harsh to ridicule somepony such as yourself. You played a beautiful game after all. It’s just sometimes, you still lose. And, if all goes well, then no, I shan’t kill you. Well, I will, but none of this will ever have happened, you certainly won’t remember it. Hay, I’m not sure if I will.” I chuckled darkly.

“You do not strike me as a killer, pony,” Chrysalis stated, flashing her fangs. Evidently, I was not selling the act; I needed to step up my game. Using my magic, I picked up the large ceremonial spear that I had been carrying. I regarded it for a few moments and then with one quick strike, I brought it down on her right wing, slashing it cleanly. The changeling squealed in agony.

“How about now, my dear?” I replied, whispering into her ear. Chrysalis was in too much pain to reply. “That’s your problem, Chrysalis; you underestimate your opponents.” I turned away from her, examining the green coloured blood that coated the spear’s tip. “You think that by putting all your problems away in an old mineshaft, you won’t have to worry? These ponies are resourceful, clever and possess the most powerful source of magic known to exist; augmenting your own magic with a bit of love just won’t cut it. That is what will cost you. That is what will send you, and your children, hurtling off towards the Badlands to starve, slowly.”

Whilst I had been talking, and ironically making the same final mistake as Chrysalis, albeit without the singing, the changeling had been steadily chipping away at the crystals that laced her horn. Whilst King Sombra possessed magic far superior to Shining Armor, I did not outclass Chrysalis in the same way. She was close to breaking free. It was only by luck that I heard the cracking of the crystals. Turning around just in time, I hit her with a second shot of the sealing spell.

“You sly old vixen!” I exclaimed half in fright at the near miss I had just had. “You got me monologuing! I must apologise; I thought I had at least learnt from your mistakes.” I grinned as Chrysalis seethed as she found her magic once again inactive. Still, it seemed her ability to manipulate was right on form. She’d managed to goad me into getting too full of myself.

As much as I wanted to, Chrysalis was not the reason I was here. I was here to create a paradox that would, hopefully, allow me to get home. It was time to end this stupid charade. At that moment, we were interrupted.

“Hey, who goes there?” A pair of airborne thestrals had spotted the two of us on the balcony. Something tells me that a changeling queen and a pony that is clearly utilising dark magic, is not something that is going to go unreported. The pair quickly began to head for us. I had to act fast.

“Well, that’s a shame; it seems our time has run out, Chrysalis,” I said, flaring my horn to lift her into the air, removing the hoof restraints (with her right wing slashed, they were unnecessary). I then manoeuvred her so that he was facing me, hanging over the abyss. She struggled until the last.

“What are you doing? Release me!” she demanded, trying to once again override my sealing spell.

“I thought you’d want to escape capture though. I’m merely offering my assistance.” I replied callously.

“You slashed my wing; I can’t fly!” I let a smile play across my features.

“Don’t worry,” I replied darkly. “Falling is a lot like flying; only it has a more permanent destination.” At this point, the two guards were nearly upon us. I had to act now. “Sic semper tyrannis, Chrysalis!” And with that, I released my magical hold letting gravity take over.

Everything, in that instant, turned into a hot white light. I was no longer standing on the balcony; I wasn’t standing on anything. There was nothing to give any indication where I was. But at this point, I was willing to take that as good news; I wasn’t stuck in the past anymore. Presently, I heard somepony clapping slowly, and a figure emerged out of the ether.

“Oh, well played, dear boy. Very well played,” Discord said, clapping his eagle talon and lion paw.

“Discord? What the sam hell are y’all doin’ here?” I asked, my old accent returning.

“Well, somepony has to clean up your mess, don’t they?” the draconequus countered, sounding a trifle annoyed. “After all you did just create a paradox.” I instantly cut him off.

“Yes!” I jumped in the air before my current situation brought me to my senses. “Wait a minute, so where are we now?” Discord smiled.

“Now? Well, I’d say were in limbo whilst the timelines try to sort out their hissy fit. You almost did cause two alternate timelines to collide after all. Even by my standards this is an incredible amount of chaos for just one being.”

“What?!” I exclaimed. Discord waved a paw reassuringly.

“Don’t worry, your insurance will cover it. Hang on. Give me a minute and I should be able to buff it out. Celestia will have my head if she has to foot the bill.” He snapped his talon and mechanic overalls appeared on him, whilst one of the walls of wherever I was opened up to reveal circuits and vacuum tubes. With a welding torch, complete with mask, Discord made some adjustments, cutting a hydraulic line and gluing it to the dial panel. I suddenly found myself being propelled away. “There, that should do it,” he said “You might want to hold on; crossing six dimensions can be a little bumpy!”

A moment later, I found myself out of the void and lying face down in Time Turner’s shop. Just about awake, I turned around to see where I had come from. All that was there was the shattered remains of a statue.

Author's Note:

Proofread by Sidetrack.

And we're back. It's right back to our dear old slice-of-life next week.

This chapter is chock full of references to various villains. Points for spotting them all.

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