• Member Since 12th Dec, 2013
  • offline last seen 6 days ago

Zerodius


Not much of a fan... but some stories motivated me to post.

E

Twilight Sparkle hold a terrible secret! She is a changeling and can never reveal it to anyone. Pinkie Pie also hold a terrible secret! She is also a changeling and can never reveal it to anyone. Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Fluttershy all hold a terrible secret! Which is... actually the same secret. All of the background ponies hide their terrible secret, which is also the same one. Celestia XXIII can never reveal to her subjects that she is truly a changeling queen!

Everyone is convinced that everyone else would never accept their true nature and no one ever suspect the truth: Equestria is the land of friendship and love! Friendship is the big gimmick of ponies! Surely that means that everyone else are ponies and they're alone as deep cover changelings, right? Of course, no one realized that the last full-blooded pony truly died of old age centuries ago, the hive having effectively replaced ponykind. But well, they can't take chances! No way their fellow ponies, who are truly changelings (but they don't know that), would ever accept them as who they are truly (which they'd totally do), right?


Episodic, non-chronological scene format. Mostly meant to be comedic ; serious story arcs will be identified as such and thus, separated from the main scene collection.

Chapters (8)
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Comments ( 55 )

I remember one shot with same idea, even 2 one shots (but in one Celestia wasn't and in second only Trixie was real Pony or something)

But anyway gonna give chance

CCC

I know of at least three one-shots with similar ideas. I wrote one, and had a couple more linked to in the comments.

Although you've taken it in an interesting new direction. I love the way that both griffons and dragons are both fully aware that ponies are really disguised insectoid creatures, and are just polite enough not to mention it in front of the ponies themselves...

4607924
Glad you like it so far, or at least is giving it a chance.


4608103
Well, a big part of why I wrote my idea is because I wanted to explore both the humor and drama created by the changelings having replaced the ponies. Basically, my idea was to take the whole 'changelings replaced ponies' idea and explore what could have possibly led to this but most importantly, what kind of society this would create.

This is certainly an interesting concept, and it will be interesting to see how you develop the idea of how they are supposed to hide it all of their lives. It begs any number of questions.

4608540

It's not really hiding it. It sounds more like a mass psychological delusion which affects all of society due to the mixing of genetics over generations.

4609926
It's a mix of the two, mostly. No one ever reveal to anyone else their true appearance out of fear of being discovered and hated ; the most that gets revealed is in the family and even then, it tends to be hidden from siblings, with only the mother truly knowing, the mother likewise hiding the truth about her children to the father.

Basically, the pony-changelings spend their entire lives hiding their identity because they're convinced 'the ponies' will hate them. Due to the fact that they've been in deep cover through generations with no contact to the hive mind or with any queen of any sort, living as ponies through the centuries, they are unaware of other changelings and unwilling to find them out.

The result is that every pony-changeling is convinced they're either the only changeling in their part of Equestria or alone enough in being a changeling that it's too dangerous to share their true nature with even close friends and lovers. Due to having lived in a pony society for so long, their changeling traits have blended with pony magic enough that they could not be able to tell anymore who may or may not be a changeling anyway (for example, pony-changelings can go through 'soul songs' like ponies could thanks to their hive mind channelling the power of friendship and love. So not even soul songs can help in determining who is or isn't a changeling).


Basically, they've been living as ponies for so long they're no longer able to tell who is or isn't a changeling but because they've been living through generations in fear of discovery and considering themselves full changelings (even though they've mutated heavily through the generations), they continue to live in fear and to keep the masquerade going, even though it isn't necessary anymore.

Oh my god, this is hilarious. I can't wait for Chrysalis to show up, won't that be a laugh.

As for now, I just want to grab all those deep-cover changelings and laugh at them!

Oh sweet! Luna shall rescue them from their unwarranted phobia. Though Rarity's was surprising as was Big Mac's. I figured family units would know and keep the 'secret'

4613349
Yep, Chrysalis and the pure strain changelings will eventually show up. Part of why I refrained from making a chapter on them yet is because I wanted to make sure I could do more with the setting than just the usual Chrysalis jokes. But yes, eventually, there will be a Chrysalis-related chapter.


4627220
Yes, Luna's involvement will play a big part regarding this point.

As for pony-changelings not knowing the identity of fellow family members... keep in mind that the original infiltrators were deep cover ones. Not merely temporary infiltrators but long-term, multi-generational infiltrators. The goal of the deep cover was effectively to make sure that the changelings would actually become full-fledged members of Equestria, living their entire lives as ponies, soaking in their love, and even forming families with the ponies, their descendants continuing the deception. The long-term goal was to make each of the changelings into a love battery and a link to the magic of friendship, allowing the changeling queens to tap into the full power of harmony (something you can't do just by sucking love dry of random ponies).

So the masquerade is actually designed to be ultra-opaque ; individual changelings never reveal to one another what they are, with mothers disguising their foals until they're ready to disguise themselves. It is extremely, insanely rare for pony-changelings to know the identity of more than just their biological mother and most of those who find out about one another do it in extreme circumstances (such as being captured by other species or mortal injuries that prevent them from keeping up the disguise).

It must be noted that due to the fact that a well-made disguise is self-sustaining and will last for weeks, the usual method of revealing changelings (beating them up) does not work on pony-changelings ; even if they are killed, the disguise will stay on until its magic run out. So pony-changeling corpses will remain disguised weeks after they have died, only reverting once the disguise reach the end of its lifespan (and most pony-changelings are burried by then).

4627299

But if ponies know their mother was a changeling and always was a changeling then all that ponies siblings should be changelings. For example in the Apple family AJ's mother was always a changeling, she didn't just swoop in after Mac was born and leave before Bloom was born. So AJ should know Mac and Bloom are changelings. It would still be possible for her to not know that Granny, and all their cousins aren't changelings though.

4640805
I've adressed this issue, which has been pointed out in another site. To make a long story short... the mother hide from one another that they're changelings and disguise them until they're old enough to pull off the whole disguise sequence by themselves. This is to protect the masquerade ; the less the pony-changelings know others are truly changelings, the less changelings they can out if they're captured.

This kind of process was due to the earlier days of the deep cover agents which, as stated before, had the goal of permanently infiltrating pony society. The orders were never updated and due to how opaque the masquerade is, it never occured to the pony-changelings that the situation changed. Admitely, a large part of why the pony-changelings don't try to find out is not just fear but a lack of interest ; they've been born in a pony society, raised with pony values, and live a pony life so they don't really want to find out and due to how uncertain they are, they don't want to risk a life they genuinely enjoy and love.

4641802

you missed my point. If Applejack's mom has been a deep cover infiltrator in the same role her entire life, if she only ever portrayed Applejack's mom, if she was the only mare to ever marry Applejack's father and have foals with him, then none of her and Applejack's father's children, Big Mac, Applejack and Applebloom are able to be ponies biologically. There is no pony mother to give birth to a pony Big Mac and Applebloom.

The only way she could not know they were changelings unless her mind was unable to comprehend the logic "My mother was a changeling so her children are also changelings," and what that means to her family dynamic.

4641834
Oh! Now I get it.

All of the Apple family are changelings. As for Applejack not knowing her siblings are changelings is because her mother never revealed it and because neither herself, nor her mother, know that their father was a changeling. So they never tried to figure it out.

Basically, it goes this way: disguised father breed with disguised mother. Neither know one another are changelings. They have kids. Each kid knows their mother is a changeling but are disguised so they don't know who else is a changeling. No one ever reveal to one another their identity. The children know their mother is a changeling but not one another or their father. The father doesn't know any of the children to be a changeling. The mother knows but stay silent on the matter.

4641945

I get that. But how do they not realize that their siblings are changelings? Why does Applejack believe that her changeling mother had all pony offspring, except for her

4642010
Hmmm... interesting. Let us take this to PMs for now.

This is possibly one of the most original premises on the website.

In a page choked with surplus smut, brainless pairings, cheap self inserts and follow the leader stories, this has been a refreshing breath of fresh air.

Some minor grammatical issues aside
eg: Sure, he is younger than Twilight but by pony standarts, he was definitely legal

This story deserves more readers.

4645960
I am really glad you think so!

I'm still working on the idea and will be creating more scenes as inspiration and ideas come. I'm also aware of my weaknesses, grammar-wise. I unfortunately do not have a beta and auto-correction on my computer is iffy.

Thank you very much for sharing your opinion. If you have further comments or questions, I am always glad to have criticism.

So how will she fix it? Just go to each pony's dream and say "I accept you as you are"?

Regarding the nightmares? She can't fix every nightmare personally in such a way and doing so would reveal she know about the pony-changelings being what they are, thus potentially either creating a freak-out or making them question their dreams.

Rather, she'll use her power to subtly influence how the dreams of pony-changelings go on a mass scale and stop the conjured images of their loved ones and acquaintances from being so hurtful to them inside of the dreamscape.

Oh, my... this is beautiful! I've read other "everypony is a changeling but no one knows" stories, and this is the first that treats that premise seriously, even while retaining comedy. Luna's Arc is especially heartbreaking and entirely believable.

Really, the only negative thing I can think of to say is that you could use an editor, but even without your English isn't that bad.

4674810
Thank you a lot for your kind words! And yes, I could really use an editor ; I try to make my stories readable, trying to avoid typos and what not but I am aware that I have weaknesses. I'm glad my story is readable.

And yeah, regarding the story's feel, I felt that it is better when the humor come naturally from the setting's butterflies and the characters' personalities. I also feel that it's best when the setting is capable of evolving past just being a joke. Not just because it give a greater variety of scenes but because those serious scenes may create further butterflies that can be used for new jokes.

This is really good.

I kind of want to see a scene where Spike talks to Twilight as a consequence of chapter 4, and Twilight just totally misunderstands him and freaks out.

But really I just want to see more scenes in this, no matter what they might be. :)

4681517
I do happen to be working on a new scene! Oh and any ideas for new scenes are always appreciated so thanks!

This reminds me that I also need to use Spike more ; he's an interesting character concept, especially when you take into account his in-between worlds aspect.

well, rather than ideas for new scenes, I'll just ask questions that might prompt ideas:

When Chrysalis shows up, how many ponies are going to feel like traitors for resisting her? (Are any going to not-resist?)
What's the deal with Cadence in this universe?
What happens with the events of Magical Mystery Cure?
What would actually happen if one of the ponies got revealed to another one "without their make-up"?
What if they were revealed to Spike?

(all answers ideally in the form of a scene, of course. :raritywink:)

4681745

Some, I will asnwer. Others, not (because that would spoiler future scenes) so...


Q: What's the deal with Cadence in this universe?
A: If a pony-changeling reach a sufficient power level, it will get too much for the polymorph spells and cause her disguise to 'leak'... which would blow its cover, of course. The solution? Ascension. Ascension in this setting has two functions: it upgrade both the pony-changeling itself and the disguise, elevating the pony-changeling from a sub-queen into a full queen (not unlike Celestia XXIII and Chrysalis) and giving them the ability to disguise into the form of an alicorn. Cadence, through her ability to tap into love, grew beyond the normal power of a pony-changeling and was thus elevated into a queen and her disguise, upgraded to that of an alicorn.

Q: What happens with the events of Magical Mystery Cure?
A: Reminder of what that episode is?

Q: What would actually happen if one of the ponies got revealed to another one "without their make-up"?
A: Unfortunately, "epic freak-out" is the answer ; the gryphon science report did not lie. Pony-changelings who have their disguises failing flip out and start to violently beat each others, often with lethal results. The alternatives include: a nervous breakdown, going catatonic, going insane with paranoia.

Q: What if they were revealed to Spike?
A: He already suspect it and frankly, he doesn't care ; to him, pony-changelings *are* ponies and he doesn't get why they make a big deal of them looking insectoif without their "make-up". In short, he would mostly go "Oh! Alright!" and then keep going with whatever he was doing before the revelation.

MMC is the Twilight Ascension epsiode.

(really what I'm saying is that seems like a neat scene to do here.)

4683493
Ha! Nice! Well, I'm definitely planning to write both Cadence's and Twilight's ascensions so yeah, I'll definitely do a scene based off that one.

I believe that Luna should create a spell that forces the reveal of one very distinct changeling feature, should practice to cast it on whole crowds, and should talk with Celestia about how to proceed:
Zero: Agree to call ponies "changeling ponies", so their subjects won't feel bad about themselves. Interview selected subjects, starting by senior advisors and the six Bearers to get their opinions, and to let them know that they aren't alone and aren't monsters. Cook up a story about Celestia the First being the mysterious Changeling queen that ordered changelings into eternal deep cover, and that new orders are to just continue to be ponies, and be happy at that.
First step: getting the Royal Guard to reveal to each others en masse, and to know that every single pony in Equestria (but Luna) are actually changeling-ponies.
Second Step: The princesses and a large escort start doing a tour of the realm, where they do tons of closed-door events (either galas or similar exclusive parties in large cities, or town meetings in smaller towns), and at every even Luna first shoots a calming spell, then the reveal spell, then calmly goes onto a prepared speech about how changelings going into deep cover blah, blah blah… tolerance… no more use for hiding… talk with their kids...
… And to retain the secrecy until next year's Summer Sun Celebration, when Celestia wants every pony to show their true faces to the rising sun.

And, for more random chapters, I would recommend one about the spa sisters: say that, the sisters do massage each other au natural, so they came to discover that certain clicks on a deep tissue massage don't come from bones or ligaments, but from collision between different chitin plates. As such, by reproducing the same movements on ponies and getting the correct sounds, they have become capable of learning that pretty much every single pony that has gotten a back rub from them happens to actually be a changeling. Thing is: what do they do with that information?

4685903
But as Twilight's rather in depth explanation in the first chapter showed us, the transformation isn't just a surface level illusion. The transformation goes so far as to convert changeling-esque organs and chitin into pony organs and skin with fur. In this sense, while I still agree that an Aloe and Lotus episode would be awesome, especially seeing as how low guards are when people are relaxed (and therefore control on disguises might slip), they couldn't notice things like chitin plates rubbing together. Though on the subject, a great scene would be one of them losing full/partial control of a disguise while giving a massage due to absorbing too much happiness. THen the other rushes over and makes frantic gestures. Hilarity ensues.

4698147
You indeed have a point. And though it would indeed be funny, one has to keep in mind that the disguises are passive ; they do not have to be manually maintained and were designed to be self-sustaining for entire weeks of being set up. This is on purpose ; if a pony-changeling dies while disguised, the disguise will stay on and hide their true nature for entire weeks, only failing after the weeks passes as normal, the idea being to keep the illusion of the pony-changeling being a pony until he/she is burried, thus taking the evidence down with him/her.

It doesn't mean that the idea by NachoTheBrony cannot be used in some form ; but instead of feeling the chitin (they wouldn't since while disguised, it truly is fur there), the massages could cause them to drop small details regarding their appearance or to have twitches and reactions that betray their nature (like their sides shifting as if adjusting the position of wings when they're earth ponies/unicorns).

4698368
On the "Rarity" chapter you have already established that different casters have different skill levels, and throughout the story you have established that ponies learn to disguise themselves exclusively through maternal line, with no further support network. It is therefore likely that different ponies may have radically different spell steps resulting in the effect of maintaining the appearance of being ponies. Some spell sequences, like Twilight's, might be perfect, but some others could be significantly less effective, perhaps to the point where a good auscultation reveals holly legs, or a significant injury reveals exoskeleton and (?) rather than mammalian deeper tissues.
This could lead to several possible scenarios:
1) The Spa Twins detect chitin plates or holes under the skin of some of their customers, leading them to know that there are some other deep-covered changelings around. Thing is, they think that some ponies aren't, especially many coming or visiting from out-of-town.
2) Cherilee may see many scrapped knees. What if some really ugly playground injury ends up exposing black tissues in plain view of all foals? Suddenly all foals would know "there's a changeling other than me at the school!" And how does Cherilee transmit to the parents that their foal was nearly revealed?
3) Orphanages! Hospitals! Retirement homes!
4) How old was Applebloom by the time the Apple parents died? How good is she at applying spells that she was taught only as a toddler? And how good will they be when she teaches them to her own foals?

Well, this is my second time reading through this story.
Thus far, I have to say your abilities in crafting a comedic story with a serious undertone cannot be understated.
I envy your talents in being able to weave a narrative that is so cohesive, despite being displayed out of chronological order.

I look forward to when the events of the Canterlot Wedding finally arrive and throw a spanner into the works.
I can only foresee chaos of a scale not seen before occurring on that day. The paradoxes and utter confusion to be had
prove to be an intriguing event to look forward to in any case.

4701953
In will answer each one individually since the points you brought up are very valid and as I said to others, I take noticed or perceived plot holes as a challenge.

1) The Spa Twins detect chitin plates or holes under the skin of some of their customers, leading them to know that there are some other deep-covered changelings around. Thing is, they think that some ponies aren't, especially many coming or visiting from out-of-town.

The spells used by the pony-changelings are polymorph spells, not merely illusion ones. As the first chapter (with Twilight) establish, the goal of the spell sequence is to effectively turn the pony-changeling into a pure pony as long as the spell hold out. Basically, as long as the spell hold out, a pony-changeling's chitin is turned into a pony coat and likewise, most of their internals are also swapped and 'edited' to make it look like it's pony innards.

As the full disguise is passive (doesn't need to fed magic to hold) and is designed to include permanence charms that extend its duration to a minimum of two weeks (for less talented pony-changelings), the disguise is EXTREMELY difficult to uncover. It's doubly difficult to uncover since most pony-changelings live the vast majority of their lives and thus, have full pony mannerisms and twitches while disguised (they don't have to fake them).

Unless someone wandered into the spa with an extraordinarily sloppy or messed-up disguise (like Rarity's in her chapter), they'll never learn.

2) Cherilee may see many scrapped knees. What if some really ugly playground injury ends up exposing black tissues in plain view of all foals? Suddenly all foals would know "there's a changeling other than me at the school!" And how does Cherilee transmit to the parents that their foal was nearly revealed?

My point for #1 apply here. But until the foal is old enough to master the spell sequence himself or herself, its mother will cast it for it. Due to the polymorph point, injuries will not reveal changeling traits.

Somewhat related: I don't picture changelings having yellow blood or anything ; they have red blood.

3) Orphanages! Hospitals! Retirement homes!

The masquerade is not absolute and when breached, result in just that particular pony-changeling being believed to be an infiltrator. As noted by the griffons in their science report on ponies, the masquerade is more opaque to the pony-changelings themselves than to the world at large specifically of holes such as these.

Being an orphan in this setting is likely to be extremely bad, even worse than usual ; an orphan whose mother died or abandonned the foal before it could master its disguise spell sequence will be labelled as a changeling, not a pony, and treated as such.

Within hospitals, pony-changelings who have the strength to renew their spells will do so until they die. However, a pony-changeling may end up exposed if it fall into a coma that exceed the disguise's lifespan, which again result in said pony-changeling losing its status as a pony, being labelled a changeling, and being prosecuted as such.

Generally, in retirement homes, pony-changelings reaching the end of their lives will try to hold on to their disguises as long as they can.

As a whole, pony-changelings are not as oblivious to the concept of changelings as ponies in canon. One has to remember that the masquerade is not "there's changelings among ponies" but "everypony is a changeling". Small-scale masquerade breaks occur periodically and are covered up by the authorities ; due to the nature of the disguises of the pony-changelings (very difficult to expose) and the nature of the investigators (themselves pony-changelings who wants to uncover real changelings but don't want to blow their own cover), it often goes nowhere.

4) How old was Applebloom by the time the Apple parents died? How good is she at applying spells that she was taught only as a toddler? And how good will they be when she teaches them to her own foals?

I'm still a bit on the fence here. But my primary idea so far is that Applebloom was barely old enough to learn the spell sequence. She's mostly self-taught but managed to get it working sufficiently well on an external basis at least.

4709050
I am really glad you think so! I've been working on a new chapter though it's not related to one of the story arcs and will be another purely humorous one.

I hope I'll continue to deliver!

4710690

I take noticed or perceived plot holes as a challenge.

You are a man after my own heart, then. (Is that the correct expression in English?)

Thing is, I believe you are painting yourself into a corner. Either changeling transformations have holes that you can exploit to drive your story through, or they don't and your story grinds to a halt due to not being drama to fuel the machine.

So I now need to poke some more holes so the story can continue flowing:

my primary idea so far is that Applebloom was barely old enough to learn the spell sequence. She's mostly self-taught but managed to get it working sufficiently well on an external basis at least.

My point for #1 apply here. But until the foal is old enough to master the spell sequence himself or herself, its mother will cast it for it. Due to the polymorph point, injuries will not reveal changeling traits.

Unless someone wandered into the spa with an extraordinarily sloppy or messed-up disguise (like Rarity's in her chapter), they'll never learn.

The point I'm trying to make here is that, as there is no such thing as a known changeling support network, changelings have to learn the spell sequence mother-to-foals. Therefore, disguise spells could vary wildly in their effectiveness, ranging from Twilight disguising down to a cellular level, down to Applebloom being barely capable of consistently looking like a pony. The Applebloom case would then result in a line of changeling-ponies that are barely capable of maintaining their disguise. Furthermore, the study of history shows that "everything that can happen has already happened in the past", so this means that Equestria will have plenty of changelings that can barely keep up a superficial disguise.

Additionally, this would mean for Aloe & Lotus to have additional business: What if they defect shoddy disguises and, after applying a calming draught or a calming spell, offer their client with classes on how to disguise beyond skin-depth.

Being an orphan in this setting is likely to be extremely bad, even worse than usual ; an orphan whose mother died or abandonned the foal before it could master its disguise spell sequence will be labelled as a changeling, not a pony, and treated as such.

The story may be yours, but I believe that you are just wrong here: ponies might be afraid of admitting to be changelings, but babies would be seen as automatically innocent and would therefore be protected. Orphanage caretakers thus would just perpetuate pony tradition and teach foal after foal how to look like a pony. This of course means that the caretakers themselves learn that every single one of their charges are changelings, and may wonder.

Additionally, this gives fuel to reasons why Scootaloo cannot fly: what if she's an orphan and ran away from the orphanage because the caretakers endlessly insisted to her that her wings were non-functional, resulting in Scoots eventually running away to try and become a pegasus through sheer stubbornness. Besides, this gives a good reason of why her wings go buzz.

However, a pony-changeling may end up exposed if it fall into a coma that exceed the disguise's lifespan, which again result in said pony-changeling losing its status as a pony, being labelled a changeling, and being prosecuted as such.

Your problem here is the Hippocratic Oat. Doctors and nurses will just reapply the disguise and act like nothing happened. The needs of reapplication of disguises will also likely mean that long-term wards will likely have every bed obscured by an opaque curtain, and doctors and nurses would have obscure three-letter codes scheduling disguise maintenance. This people would also notice that every single one of their patients is a changeling.

Besides, consider this story: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/38135/who-we-are
It deals with the Mane 6 accepting that one of them is a changeling, despite that the changeling is never revealed. In the context of your story: what if the same story happened here, the girls eventually agreed that all of them will accept that one of them is a changeling, and they all then dropped their disguises?

Hey: I just found another story about everybody being a changeling, although this other one is a short comedy about the love barrier revealing that every pony is a changeling.
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/197073/the-real-ponies-please-stand-up

Somehow you've managed to turn a concept that's generally more well-suited for a crackfic into a serious story that's both hilarious and engaging.

This is glorious. You're awesome.

4743107
I'm still dealing with some stuff + working on other projects so sorry for the lack of reply. As for the fic, I'm already familiar with it.

The big point with Deep Cover Confusion was to take that crackfic concept (everyone is truly a changeling) and then explore it in depth, namely how it came to be and what differences it creates in the setting.

Sorry for the lack of reply on the plotholes you pointed, too...

4781288
I'm really glad you think so! And yeah, the idea was that I took the crackfic idea and actually expanded on it. Basically, the concept was to take the usual 'everyone is truly a changeling' joke idea and then make it into a thought experiment ; how did this turn out to be the way? Why would everyone pretend to be a changeling until the revelation? What kind of world would that create? How different would be the Mane Six's lives in that context? Or Celestia's and Luna's, for the matter? How will Discord and other characters react to this state of affair?

I'm glad you enjoy this!... and I apologize for taking so long to make the next chapter...

This was brilliant from the start to this chapter. Well done. Also, an amusing idea comes to mind wherein each of the CMC worries whether their "Cutie Mark" never comes or will be a "Spying" Cutie Mark which could expose them... and then proceed to have their imaginations run away with just what such a Cutie Mark would entail.

Also, do the events of "A Canterlot Wedding" and "Magical Mystery Cure" still happen within this continuity?

4818861

Thanks!

Yes, they do but with some very notable changes. A Canterlot's Wedding is, simply put, the big 'exposure' episode but also will show how different the two changeling strains have grown ; wherever the pony-changelings still consider themselves changelings, the original strain changelings consider them as actual ponies and treat them as such despite knowing that they're truly disguised.

As for the topic of ascension... basically, if a pony-changeling grow sufficiently powerful that its sub-queen qualities trigger and would allow it to become a true queen, this will cause the normal polymorph spells they use to malfunction. The ascension has thus two purposes: to fix the biological problem by ascending the pony-changeling into a full queen and to update their disguise from a normal pony one to an alicorn one sufficiently powerful to hold their new power. Basically, the ascension is two-fold in this setting.

Ah, I see. Interesting. Should be even *more* interesting with King Sombra and the Crystal Empire, since I imagine it would contain a mix of both "real" ponies and early examples of the modern ponyling (Thanks to King Sombra's curse having essentially suspended time from its perspective for 1000 years). Or Tirek's reaction when he realizes what's happened. Not sure on the exact timing of that one, haven't seen the season 4 finale yet.

And since apparently my internet glitched out last night and failed to save the update to my comment, I wanted to point out both point out a potential plot hole and note some fridge brilliance which could serve as fuel for more chapters thanks to the previously mentioned plot holes. On the first point, wouldn't AJ, Big Mac and AB all KNOW that their siblings are "changelings"? I mean, they are related by blood, and since their mother taught them the spells then by default wouldn't they also know that AB is a fellow "changeling" and give her instruction in the necessary spells? Kind of hard to come from the same mother and not know you are all the same species, I would think. Kids tend to notice when Mommy is pregnant, and would have to be truly dense not to put 1 and 1 together. Granny Smith wouldn't know about it if the trio's mother married into the Apples, but I think that would be about it. Also, count in boarding school and higher education as other places where disguises would be at risk- you tend to get packed like sardines in both settings, and roommates would be bound to discover sooner or later that they are both "changelings".

On the other hand- or hoof, as the case may be- it would make sense if the orphan, hospital etc situation created a great deal of conspiracy theory mongering. Since they ARE "ponylings" themselves, all believing themselves to be deep cover infiltrators of pony society, they may notice that ALL their charges are "changelings" and, thanks to the confirmation bias, conclude that either someone "in the know" is making sure that fellow infiltrators get shunted over to THEM for care or treatment, or that their "masters" are slick enough operators to ensure that "changelings" only get sent to "changelings".

Naturally, this would lead to them insisting on being the ones to care for "their" charges (believing that might be their "mission", especially for families for whom medicine, orphan wrangling etc is a family tradition), while simultaneously becoming curious and/or suspicious of the others who insist on doing the same with "those" patients (I.E. other workers doing the same thing that they are doing). Of course, from perspective of the OTHER nurses, doctors etc, it would look like somepony was getting dangerously "inquisitive" about things...

In the end though, the whole setup would likely lead to hospitals, orphanages etc becoming an unofficial "support network" for those who cannot cast/need to learn HOW to cast the proper spells for some reason. Think a "Cell" format for all of this, which each "group" of ponylings so connected believing themselves to be a deep-cover "cell", and you've got what I'm getting at.

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Part of why my latest chapters have been lagging, putting the fic on what is essentially hiatus for now was due to me thinking over this plot hole, since it was a pretty serious one. And then, the solution hit me:

Namely, to emphasize on the whole 'conspiracy is self-inflicted' point. Basically, as far as absolutely everyone is concerned, the pony-changelings are not so much changelings fakes as the new evolution of ponies ; they have the same power, the same culture, and actually are related directly by blood to ponies (the reason they have natural colors, less holes in their legs, and have diverged to better mimic the original pony races? Millenia of interbreeding with the ponies).

The reason the conspiracy is opaque is twofold: one, those who actually do know about the pony-changelings being truly disguised don't blow the whistle because, to them, the pony-changelings *are* ponies and whenever or not they're disguised makes no difference (the griffins and Luna both know the truth, for example).

The other point is the one that hit me and that fix the plot hole: Many pony-changelings are actually aware that they're surrounded by other pony-changelings. But the irrational fear of being publically lynched? It's just that: irrational. The truth is that when a pony-changeling's disguise fails, the people who learn of it cover it up to protect that pony-changeling out of the belief that even though they prove to be 'truly a changeling', they're a pony at heart along with, with them being pony-changelings themselves, they can relate and know the one whose disguise failed is not a bad person.

By extension, self-denial. Many pony-changelings, like Applejack, can guess that their siblings are truly pony-changelings. Others, like Twilight, rationally can deduce it too. But due to emotional ties, they decide not to act out on their suspicions and to simply treat their friends and families as pure ponies, rationalizing the lack of them giving themselves away as changelings being the fact that their suspicion is wrong.


In short, my solution is that the conspiracy is so solid because even if pony-changelings do end up outted, those who find out cover it up instead of giving the whistle and those who would actually be motivated to give the whistle consider them true ponies anyway.


Oh and yes, the Sombra & Crystal Empire storyline *will* be interesting. Both for the changelings and crystal ponies proper. The changelings in the crystal empire that are part of Celestia's hive will be much closer to the original strain... and in fact, this may explain how this motivate Chrysalis to strike (namely, giving an opening for her to attack). As for the crystal ponies... being the last pure-blooded ponies in existence (outside of Luna), it's likely to create some awkwardness and explain why Celestia XXIII will care so deeply about making sure the Crystal Empire is restored and kept safe.

So the real, real Luna returned. Interesting. And it seems only the ponies are unaware that they're all buggy...

New thoughts: Considering the closeness of the dreams and how they affect each other, I'm wondering what effect Luna will have as the Changeling-Ponies "find her". Could the wave of fear be reversed, wherein those who have gone to Luna would then send calming waves of acceptance and understanding through the dreamscape? This could then cause the ponies' acceptance of themselves to increase exponentially, which could also lead to dire consequences as a few outliers try to hold on to and complete their ancestors' "mission"...

This has got to be one of the more interesting and thought inducing fics I've read in a while. I love it, and will wait for it to continue! :pinkiesmile:

I've got no advice to give since my brain is peanut butter at the moment. :pinkiecrazy:

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Part of why the masquerade was not broken is that the mission left by the pony-changelings' ancestors was basically "live among the ponies, become one of them, wait for a signal". The idea of the queens who took Celestia's and Luna's place was to infiltrate the ponies' network of relationships and tap into the very magic of friendship itself, not merely harvest it.

This is a factor that kept the masquerade going ; since the orders did not involve an actual plan and was mostly just "infiltrate pony society and keep living among them through generations", the pony-changelings are technically fulfilling their mission merely by living their everyday lives as ponies. Add in the fact that through generations, the pony-changelings came to genuinely think like ponies and it make them further willing to fulfill their mission ; most pony-changelings actually don't want their mission to end. They don't want to act as changelings. They're happy being ponies and they hope the call to return to the hive will not come, just as it didn't come for previous generations.

Ok I have to ask.
Where does she think Sweetie Belle came from?

Edit: Ok one of your latter replies suggests she's just in denial.
An unbelievably deep state of denial.
...I'll try to ignore it.

For once in a story like this, as interesting as it will be, I find I'm not looking at the big reveal as the first major event that needs to happen before the story can progress. I'm looking forward to the day to day issues and Luna slowly working in the background.

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Doesn't that mean that if Luna told Celestia what's going on then Celestia could just make an announcement in her true form.
"My changelings, the time has come. Reveal yourselves!" wait a minute for the pony-lings to stare at each other in shock. "That is all. Return to your normal lives."

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To be fair, the main point of the story is mostly little day-to-day scenes showing off the amusing changes (and lack of changes) that Equestria being populated secretely by changelings may cause.

And yeah, the big reveal is likely to be nowhere near as chaotic as it may seem ; a big part of the story's humor come from the self-enforced masquerade and, largely, of how pointless it is ultimately (as it fool absolutely nobody except the pony-changelings themselves... and they largely don't connect the dots because they don't want to).

I would like to say that I'd post a new chapter soon but given my tendency to multi-task stories and how fickle my inspiration is, it may or may not happen.

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Could we have some more, please?
:applecry::duck:

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