• Published 9th Mar 2014
  • 35,082 Views, 7,352 Comments

The Changeling of the Guard - vdrake77



Not all changelings are fit for life in a hive. But that doesn't mean they're capable of life outside it, either. Join one such changeling as he tries to find his place in Equestria, and what the difference is between survival and living.

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Vignette 2 - Cer Sus

Hi! I’m Cersus! I mean, I should be. Maybe not yet, though, but that’s fine. We’re actually not supposed to start using our names until we go out of the hive on our own, and… well, I’m not doing that, I think. Well, I mean, I am but I’m not supposed to be?

I don’t actually think I’m supposed to be doing anything. Mr. Hooves doesn’t really know much about how this works, but I think that’s because he used to be a digging drone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I like making my own caves, that’s a lot of fun, but it just seems… boring to make the same thing over and over and over again. I guess he likes it, though. He has like a million billion of the same fancy chalice thing, like on the cover of Daring Do and the Cursed Chalice of King Kookracha.

I think he’s gonna give them all to the princesses sometime. Maybe even the queen, so everyone can have the fanciest cups when they do stuff. I bet the Queen entertains too, if we do a good enough job!

Anyways. He’s supposed to watch out for me until my eyes get better, but Professor Showers told me that it doesn’t matter what I eat or how much… that just won’t happen.

So I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do or when I’m supposed to go back. I don’t… I don’t actually think I ever will go back.

Well good.

I like being outside. There’s just so much stuff here. I’ve got my own friends, and my own lair, and my own food, and my own stuff. I’ve got a whole box of important things, and it even has a lock so nobody can get into it! I mean, I don’t have a key for it, but Mr. Hooves says locks keep honest ponies honest. Which I guess makes sense, if someone sees a lock on something that probably means you shouldn’t be in there, but it also tells someone that isn’t honest that important stuff is in there too.

Which he told me is a Good Lesson about keeping things out of sight. It’s very changeling, he says.

I guess that makes sense, but I don’t think he’s doing it right. I mean, we’re supposed to be sneaky and take someone’s place, right? Feed on the love other ponies have for them, take it back to the hive, and everyone takes some. And it’s really risky, you understand, which is why there’s also shared identities. A changeling goes out, is that pony, and when they’re full or have a bunch of crystals or whatever they go back to the hive and another changeling takes their place. I suppose they might be doing like Idol does, but I guess I just always thought there had to be a pony first.

But his way works and I don’t get why we do it differently. It just… doesn’t seem right, now.

Just like I’m supposed to want to go back, and… I don’t.

I don’t think I should tell Mr. Hooves about that. I think it’d hurt his feelings. Which We Aren’t Supposed To Have, with capitals all big like that. But he’s a great big hippopotamus and I do what I want!

Don’t tell him I said that. Not that you’re supposed to tell anypony anything. Topaz says you’re supposed to be like a small pony in book form that I write to. But of course I know what a diary is. And you’re more like an adventure journal, because that’s cooler. Not that diaries aren’t cool!

In fact, you shouldn’t be reading this if you aren’t me. And if you’re him, I didn’t mean it. You already read it and you’re still reading it, I changed my mind.

And if Nighthawk is reading this, ███████████████ NEVERMIND DON’T READ THIS.

Okay, since we’ve established you aren’t Nighthawk and you aren’t Mr. Hooves, and you’re probably me since I hid this really good or well or whichever, back to important stuff.

Anyways.

Mr. Idol told me there’s a lot more exiles than normal, and since the one he tried to work something out with wasn’t going to be very nice to me, he worries. Which is weird, because changelings don’t really be nice to one another in the first place, so he said she was going to be ‘willfully derelict’ which means she wouldn’t do a good job on purpose because… well, cause there’s something wrong with me. Which isn’t that weird, I guess. I mean. I used to think that they were making up this stuff with the colors, because I’m not doing it on purpose, I promise! But there’s just… it’s the same. Nothing I do or say or squint at makes them suddenly make sense, and that’s just weird.

I’m really bad at writing this. A.K. Yearling makes writing sound fun, and it’s just making me feel bad. Anyways again.

The new changelings might not like me for being a nymph, which Professor Showers TOO LONG, I’m just calling her Topaz, actually says I’m not because I have wings, but we get wings when we’re not larvae so obviously she’s wrong. Or they might not like me for still being in the hive. Or they might not like me for being broken. The point is, I need to be careful that they don’t find out about me.

He didn’t tell me what to do if they’re from the Hive. And… And I think they are. And I’m afraid to tell him. Not because I don’t want to go back, exactly, but because… I don’t think they’d let him be him anymore. And I think he might let them, if the Queen told him to?

And I don’t know what we’d do.

I think I’d be an exile too, if they knew about me, and they should know about me, and the only reason they don’t is because Mr. Hooves is an exile, and he isn’t supposed to bother them and-

Adults make everything way too complicated.

Not that everything is easy with nymphs or foals or whatever, you know.

Nighthawk is the only batpony her age, because of something-something her mother had to ensure her bloodline before getting promoted and I guess her grandparents worry her dad was a Sun-worshipping something and honestly, wherever batponies come from sounds nuts. Which is extra weird because she says it’s not like the unicorn bloodline thing and that she’s not supposed to talk about it, and it’s not about being proud but about keeping old ponies alive. Which gets even more complicated because apparently the thing with them being called ‘thestrals’ is some kind of misunderstanding but it’s not even what they call themselves, not even all batponies are actually thestrals, some of them are something else, but that isn’t something she’s supposed to talk about. But her mom isn’t a thestral and Miss Mothchaser might not always be one because she’s distinguished herself and the Mare of the Night likes her because Princess Luna commended her for something. Which means the Mare of the Night isn’t Princess Luna and probably isn’t Nightmare Moon, and there’s way too many Nights to keep track of. Oh, and Nighty wants to be a Knight. Not just a royal guard, a Knight. As in, Nighty the Night Knight.

I think it’s hilarious, and I’m going to make it happen somehow, because Nighty is literally the best.

So all of this means that not all batponies are thestrals, but some are, and not all the ones we call thestrals really are. It’s like. Nighthawk says it’s polite to call a batpony a thestral, but rude not to call the ones who aren’t a thestral because we’re not supposed to know, even if you do know they’re not a thestral because they’re a third thing.

And that’s so confusing I don’t even get it. It’d be like… oh hey, I see you have a horn, so you must be a unicorn, but oh, I don’t see a horn so you must have to be a pegasus, even if you don’t have wings because calling you an earth pony is rude.

Nighty says you can tell when you know, but she can’t tell because she doesn’t know, but if she knows that you can know that must mean her mom or dad does know, so I think that means I know something about them, but I can’t actually tell, so maybe I don’t know?

If she wasn’t so cool she’d give me a headache. And batponies or thestrals or whatever they are give the absolute best hugs. Which are another thing I like about ponies in general. Nobody hugs in the hive.

Blue Risk and Red Clue aren’t really all that much better. They’re what ponies call ‘twins’ and frankly, don’t get it. The Hive does it way better. Who really cares if two eggs hatched at the same time, we all hatch around the same time. I think. Miss Topaz says it’s because foals are inside together the whole time, and they have to stay in their mother until they’re like… small nymphs. No larvae stage or anything. And that means twins come out at the same time.

Which is gross and horrifying and I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to work that way. But Miss Topaz said ponies sometimes have even more and she knows a mare who had quadrupeds lets (wrong word). She probably had to haul herself around in a cart!

I’m glad changelings don’t do that.

Anyways, Red and Blue get treated like they’re just one pony. Which… does sound like the Hive, but they aren’t, and I don’t get it. What’s really weird is that they look like each other, but opposites? Like, Red’s mane is blue and his coat is apparently red, which makes sense, but Blue’s mane is apparently red and his coat is blue, but they’re both red and blue! It’s just… red on blue and blue on red. Also, Red’s a mare, so that’s different too. And now we have two Red mares in our group, except Redshock (that’s me) only has a red mane… which double confuses things because Blue has a red mane. So, I call her ‘Other Red’ and she calls me ‘Red two’, and that works I guess, but now my mane feels silly. Maybe I should tell them to call me Cersus. Nope that’s a bad idea. Anyways, Red loves having a special nickname and even her brother sometimes calls her that when they’re doing sibling stuff, but mostly because it upsets their parents. Which is apparently a tradition, so I’m helping, go me?

As for Trust, he’s got the weirdest name. When he gets his cutie mark, he’s gonna be allowed to take a second part of his name, which I think is the best idea. His parents are something called ‘ad-jud-icators’ and they know rules, and apparently it’s an unwritten rule that a pony is supposed to get their full name and maybe change it later, but his parents wanted him to make the choice, which is fine… but some of the other colts made fun of him and gave him a whole bunch of nasty names like ‘Trust Fund’ or ‘Trust Me’, which aren’t even clever, but he doesn’t really seem to care.

We call him Rusty cause he sounds like a squeaky wheel sometimes. And Trusty when he doesn’t, because that sounds respectable and stuff, and he’s alllllllll about being respectable. Basically he wants to know all of the rules, even if he doesn’t really care about following all of them. It’s nice to know if one of our ideas is a crime though, which is why we stopped trying to build a beehive in the park.

Also, carpenter bees don’t make honey. I mean, we were all disappointed, because that’s a lot of free honey we weren’t going to get, and Nighty was really excited about bees, so we let her keep all the ones we caught. Miss Dew also gave us a honey snack for catching ‘trouble bees’ so win-win.

So Rusty thinks Twilight Sparkle is the coolest pony ever, which doesn’t sound like her from what I know from Mister Hooves, but he’s wrong a lot and this is probably just one of those things. Red says he fancies her and then Rusty squeaks that it’s nothing like that she’s just a very intelligent mare and she knows a lot of things and that’s very respectable and did you know she even figured out to the day when Nightmare Moon was going to return and blah blah blah.

So yeah, he has the biggest crush. Everything starts with Twilight Sparkle this, or Twilight Sparkle that, it’s funny. Great snack, though. I think this is what hero worship tastes like.

Course, Red only teases him because she likes him, and she just likes watching him get all worked up. Nighty and me should really try to get him to notice her somehow. He’s really not a bad colt, he’s just oblivious about things. Maybe have her start carrying a textbook around? Or maybe comic books, but he tries not to let everyone else know he likes those, so I just stick them in his other books after I’ve read them.

I should probably wrap this up here. I hear Mr. Rattles outside, better make sure he doesn’t get in and start pawing everything up. Miss Topaz should be done with her class and I wanted to ask her if I could keep that big fluffy pillow she loaned me in my lair. Looks like Maneiac’s costume and it goes nice with my comics. Plus… I kinda like these flashcard things she does. And the science. Maybe after I’m done being an adventurer we can be mad scientists together.

Taking over the world must be fun, with the number of ponies who try it. Can’t be that hard. ‘Sides, it gets boring when everyone else is at school. Kinda wish I could go… anyways, bye!


CHANGELINGS CAN HAVE LOTS OF EGGS AT ONCE. MISTER HOOVES SAID THEY CAN. NEVER LAY EGGS. ALSO, EVERYTHING TOPAZ TOLD ME IS STILL GROSS AND SO ARE COLTS.


Need a fresh page so I don’t have to look at that one. Still gross. Anyways. Idol snooped around when I let him see my lair. Can’t believe him. Found my candy stash from Nightmare Night, even!

Didn’t make me share it, so that’s good. I would anyways, but it’s nice that I don’t have to. I absolutely didn’t spend the day after Nightmare Night too sick to move. I am a mature filly who knows better than to eat too much candy. I let him have a caramel because he likes them more than I do and I mean… he does make sure I have food and stuff. Him and Topaz. I should bring her some, I wonder what she likes. Maybe gummy worms? Are worms bugs? The jelly spiders are kinda bug-like, but those are arachnids and I know the difference, I think.

He gave me a bunch of advice for how I could fix it up, mostly stuff about making it look more natural and less like I’d dug it out and reinforced it with slime. Some stalactites and stuff. I like it, very lair-y. More stone dust in the slime, too, keeps it from being too green. Even suggested carving some bricks into the walls so it had this ‘sorta natural’ look so it was more like I found it and less like I made it.

Nightmare Night was pretty great, actually. Spitfire gave me a signed autographed photo with everyone. Nighthawk went as a knight with aluminum foil armor that she painted, because everyone knows the Royal Knights have to be hidden from the public for the good of Equestria. Pretty sure those aren’t real but I mean… how am I supposed to know? Red and Blue did the not-twins thing by being strawberry jelly and a tomato. Blue strawberry jelly and a blue tomato.

I don’t get it either.

Rusty ate an entire cart full of fudge because “That’s what you do on Nightmare Night.” Caught Red slipping a chunk into his bucket, but honestly, who gives away fudge? I’m pretty sure he went as someone having a sugar high, and his costume was perfect.

I think Nighthawk is mad at me, but… all I did was tell her she had something in her teeth when we were eating our candies, and she freaked out and flew away. And I would have caught her but it was dark and nopony catches batponies flying at night, not even changelings. Maybe not even Wonderbolts. And nopony’s seen her since. I’d go visit her at her house, but… I think her dad wants to scold me for a totally innocent thing we did that might have been technically illegally spying on the princess, and he’s captain of the Night Guard, so I might go to jail if he catches me, and then Idol would have to bust me out and that’s gotta be double-illegal, so that’s all out.

So I’m gonna go see Mr. Pris and ask him what to do. I miss her, and it’s only been like a week.


Mr. Pristine Grind is the only adult batpony I really know, and his place is always really quiet around lunchtime. Mostly because it’s like… their midnight. Which means I sort of feel bad about bothering him, but I’m pretty sure he hasn’t actually slept ever, because he loves coffee. I’d tell you how it is, but he says it’ll make me shorter. He’s also told me it’ll curl my mane, straighten it, and make my bangs uneven. Joke’s on him, I control all that. Mostly. Unless it makes my fin curl. But it probably wouldn’t.

Pretty sure it wouldn’t.

Anyways, he also makes breakfast all day long, and chewy tea, so it’s a great place to meet Nighty and eat cereal or omelettes.

Also, the place is built around flying ponies, but feather wings don’t flutter as well as changeling ones, so I just pushed a taller chair up to the counter before climbing up. “Can I get a quick?”

He gave this huge over-expressive sigh and I tried to memorize the motions. There’s this sort of hopeless shrug to it, it just screams ‘look at what I have to deal with’. It’s a great pony move. “Quiche. Key-shh. It’s Prench, you uncultured tartarion. Don’t make me feel so old. Been a while since you or your friends stopped by. You staying out of trouble, or are most of you in jail where you belong?”

“No cell can hold me!” I said, but… not that, something cooler. I forget what it was. Not as good as ‘uncultured tartarion’, but close. I gotta remember that one too.

He rolled his eyes, but grinned. “You’re a good filly. Mostly.”

“I try to be.” I shrugged a little, huddling into my wings a bit. It’s a good way to let ponies know I’m not sure of something. “...I think I upset Nighty.”

“Uh oh.” He scooped up a coffee mug in one wing, a towel in the other and started polishing it with a bored look. Now that was a good move. Focused, paying attention, but you can’t really look threatening while you’re doing dishes. “Want to talk about it, kid?” He paused, giving me a not-angry-but-good-at-faking-it look. “Please say it’s not colt trouble. I get enough of that from my sister.”

I blinked. “What? But Miss Mothchaser is nice!”

“Too nice, if you ask me.”

I was gonna have a talk with Idol. If Miss Mothchaser was being bullied, he should totally know. “I don’t think you can be too nice. Unless you’re faking it. Anyways, no, it’s not like that. It’s just. Okay. So on Nightmare Night, right? We’re all eating candy-”

“-hope you aren’t about to tell me you were swiping candy from each other, kid. That’s a friendship felony.”

“No! Um. We actually made a big pile and everyone was getting their pick. We were gonna mix it all up after that and split it evenly, but that’s not the point! Anyways, Nighty kept some of her treats kinda separate because you know, batponies are allergic to some kind of… flour or something?”

He gave a more real nod, though this one was a bit forced. “Something like that..”

“So we all got these candied pecans, and Nighty got some special made from shady acorns!”

This time, the sigh was completely real. “Mrs. Phlox means well, but she isn’t supposed to make a big deal about that.”

“Anyways, so we’re all eating them, crunch crunch, all big smiles and… well, Nighty has something in her teeth, and I tell her… and it moved. Not like. Just stuck there, but like…” I bent my wing real quick then straightened it out. “I didn’t say nothing about it doing that, but… Nighty ran away.”

Mr. Pris froze up for a moment. “Maybe you just imagined that… is what I’m supposed to say, but that’s stupid and I’m not a parent and I’m not going to lie to fillies.” He set the mug down hard enough that I’m not sure it wasn’t a slam. “Damn that old bat.” The batpony rubbed his face with his right hoof, looking even more tired than I’d ever seen, finally looking at me through one eye, hoof still over his face. “...Alright. You want to know why she freaked out, right?”

“I want her to come back!”

He kept looking at me. “Ah, tartarus with it. I didn’t sign up for this. You want to know what shady acorns are, kid?” The sleepy batpony started rummaging under his counter and pulled out a jar, shaking it over the counter… until a fat beetle dropped out onto it. It must’ve been cold or something, because it didn’t really scuttle much, but… it was about half the size of a walnut.

One of the regulars looked a bit worried. “Hey, Pris, you really shouldn’t-”

“Shut it, the filly’s worried about a friend.”

“Shuttin’ up~”

I stared at the ‘acorn’, trying to figure out what he meant. “...That’s a bug.”

“Yeah. Yeah it is.”

“...Shady acorns are bugs?”

“Yyyep.”

“...Does Nighthawk know?”

“She does.”

“...Wait. Miss Topaz says some kinds of bats eat bugs…?”

“Miss Topaz isn’t wrong.” The batpony watched me, just smiling a bit as I worked this all out in my head. It made sense, I supposed...

“...Miss Mothchaser’s name sounds really different now.”

I got a smirk that showed off that one flat tooth of his. “My sister got that name because she was a bit of an aggressive natural hunter, even before she could fly. Deeply embarrassed about it, tease her if you get a chance.”

That… that seemed important, for some reason, but… “So… why is Nighty upset? Cause a bug leg was sticking out of her teeth?”

He actually laughed at me. Just a little, but still. “Most ponies aren’t very appreciative of us not being a bunch of frugivores, but hey. Lots of us actually don’t actually do well with grains. Bread and hay and stuff. But… yeah. Insects are a big part of the diet back home.”

The beetle, starting to warm up, was making its way to the edge of the counter. Putting a hoof in front of it made it turn around and head straight back the way it came. Another hoof sent it back the first direction. Definitely not a particularly clever kind of beetle. “Oh.”

“So yeah. Your friend is probably mostly worried she revealed a poorly kept secret to her friends. Mrs. Phlox should have de-legged them in the first place but she is getting up there in years, she probably forgot...”

“...You think she doesn’t think I want to be friends with her now…?”

“I think she might be a little scared she doesn’t fit in with the rest of you, and you might need to give her a little time to coax her back in, let her know you don’t think it’s a big deal-”

So I scooped up the little fat beetle and tossed him down the hatch. Colts, it was hard to keep a straight face; it was actually really good. Nutty like a termite, but a little spicy. I did my best to make a show of it, but the truth is, it’s not really all that gross. And I ain’t really a pony. The regular cracked up, nearly spilling his coffee, and a few of the others who’d been eavesdropping quietly gave a small cheer. I shrunk down into my seat, hoping it didn’t spin. I didn’t think I was making that much of a fuss. Eavesdropping was rude.

“...or you could just eat one and then she doesn’t not fit in it all!” Pris finished, staring at me, trying hard not to laugh. I didn’t even have to be good at reading ponies, he was really pleased. Maybe even proud. Adults were so weird sometimes.

I swallowed harder than I had to, and gave him a look. “I just want my friends all back together again.”

“Well. That’ll do it. I mean, you should let her tell the rest of your friends-”

“Duh, but I want her back already. So how do I do that?”

“Might start by writing a letter. Get her to come see you guys. Don’t even bring it up, just say you’re worried about her after Nightmare Night.” He scratched the back of his head with a wing-claw thing. “Mockingbird’s a captain now, he ought to be reachable by dragonfire. Send a letter to him, to be delivered to her. Perks of station, he can abuse it a bit for his little filly. Besides, this sounds urgent.”

“I dunno, he already doesn’t think I’m a good influence...”

“Well, you could have someone write it for you. Maybe your dad…?”

Now I couldn’t meet his eyes. “Can’t do that.”

“Well your mo-”

“Still no.”

“...Kid, you know-”

“It’s not like that. I just… want to do this on my own.”

He gave a sniff, and I could tell he wanted to push again, but I didn’t want to really lie to Mr. Pris. I don’t know how Idol says things that are true but not what ponies think he meant so well, but I can’t do it most of the time. He let it go, for now, but I don’t think he’s going to much longer. “Then you should write him a note yourself asking him to give the letter to her because you’re worried. He’s a good dad, and frankly, every kid needs a few not-good influences. Otherwise they end up a stick in the mud and never have any fun at all, right?”

“I guess so…”

“Still want that quiche?”

I just nodded, trying to think of what to write. “Can I get it to go?”

“Sure thing, Red.”

“Can I get a couple more of those beetles, too? I might… kinda like ‘em, if I try more. And a little milk for Mr. Rattles…?”

“Attafilly.” He pushed the pastry and a bottle of cream my way, then gave me a firm look that was an awful lot like the ones Mr. Idol does when he’s in Serious Pony mode. “You come here if you need anything, you hear? And tell me if you have any luck with that cat of yours.”

I felt guilty and awful and all I could do was thank him, pay for lunch, and run home to write a letter. I was going to have to talk to Idol now, and I’d have to tell him everything, and he was going to be disappointed...


The letter was stupid and I felt stupid and I said a bunch of stuff and someone should have read over it before I sent it but they didn’t and I sent it before I could think about it and she’s probably never going to talk to any of us again. Everything is awful.


I got a note back! Miss Nerium says I’m a very good friend and she’s glad her daughter has me, and that she’s going to come out to see us today and everything is going to be okay!

And the castle has a big shiny bubble around it and it’s really pretty, I bet we can climb on it and look down at ponies and this is gonna be a great day! I bet that’s so we can all look at the wedding without bothering anyone.

Mr. Rattles even drank that cream I got him, I think!


I ruined everything again and Mr. Idol is gone. He’s gone and whoever isn’t him went to see Topaz and I heard all kinds of noises inside and there are infiltrators everywhere. Ponies all over the place aren’t the ponies I know, and I just wanted to talk to him about Mr. Pris and he didn’t even know who I was and someone must have taken him. Some dumb infiltrator who can’t hold his emotions was leaking everything Mr. Idol ever had out and… and...

I dunno what to do and… and I think I have to get my friends. I think I need to keep them safe. I don’t care if the hive is doing something, I don’t care why they’re doing it. They’re my friends. And Mr. Idol would tell me to keep them safe. Nopony knows about this lair except him. I’ll bring them here and it’ll be fine, it’ll be fine and we can be careful and I can cocoon them until they all go away-

Unless they’re looking for me. What if they’re looking for me? What if I messed up really, really bad?! Maybe I should just stay here until they go away… maybe it’ll be okay after the wedding...


oh crickets oh crickets oh crickets we’re invading oh crickets oh crickets


I got them! They’re all here, they’re all safe, I got them all and Red and Blue are crying but Trusty is trying to help and Nighty just looks like she saw a ghost and crickets I can’t get them to calm down and I’m eating everything I can but I think one of them saw us or felt us going into a bush in the park and he’s digging it up and he’s so hungry and he’s gonna take my friends and…

And Mr. Rattles does not like him. Huh. Well. That explains why Mr. Idol warned me about the undead ponies down here. They do not like being hit. And… that was fast. And now Mr. Rattles is dragging a changeling I think is just knocked out along with his trash bin. He stopped on the way by and patted me on the head and… he’s never done that before. Normally he just ignores me.

“W...was that a zombie?”

“Skelepone.” Trusty corrected, sounding Rusty-er than ever. “Official necromancer’s guild one, I bet. They work in the sewers. They’re basically just magical clockwork.” Other Red squeaked against his side. “I thought their charter said absolutely no fighting. I guess… I guess that only counts against ponies, and…. Not monsters? What’d you say there were, Redshock?”

“Changelings.” I was shoving everything I could find into the hole we’d climbed down through and yanking open the door to my lair, pushing them all through. “...they aren’t supposed to be here… but they won’t find us down here now. We’re safe. You’re safe. You’re all safe.”

Blue looked up, his eyes all red and face all snotty, and… and a little bit of slime on him, where one of the changelings had been trying to cocoon him, before we snatched him up. “But… but mum and dad-”

I tugged the entrance to my lair closed, sealing it up as tight as I possibly could. I was so tired. And I wanted Mr. Idol. And I wanted Topaz, and I wanted hot chocolate. And I was so out of ‘scared’ now. “We’ll… we’ll save ‘em. We’re gonna need to plan, and I should have come get you all before and-”

And then the world went pink.

Author's Note:

Bit of a change of pace here, but I felt we needed to see some of what was going on from an alternate perspective. Chapter was a bit bigger than normal, but this one dropped a few reveals that Idol has been pretty oblivious to. And verified something he said ages ago. And yes. This chapter is also a nod to a certain other fic I think most of my readers are familiar with. :scootangel:

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