• Published 9th Aug 2014
  • 14,410 Views, 241 Comments

Changeling: The Movie - Obselescence

"Dear Princess Celestia, as your (former) most faithful student, I feel I have to warn you that this is probably a trap. Chrysalis cannot possibly be serious about this. Why would anyone, much less her, want to shoot a documentary on us?"

  • ...

Take Four

They toured a great many venues after Sugarcube Corner. Town Square, the Ponyville Park, an altogether unsightly library tree... Chrysalis had never quite realized how diverse pony hives were. So many frivolous, stupid, and frivolously stupid buildings. Which were still somehow better than her own hive. Tunnels, tunnels, and more tunnels. That was what she had, and that was terrible. Insufferable, even. No matter how many ugly and clashing colors the ponies put on their stores for selling things like quills and—and sofas, of all things—it would always surpass changeling engineering.

“Interesting,” said Chrysalis, observing a tall stone clock tower. “You know, perhaps we ought to build one of these for the hive. To change things up a bit.”

The camera coughed. “Underground, your Highness?”

“Yes, underground. Don’t interrupt.” All right, it was silly, but she wasn’t about to be told that by a drone. “If you question me any further, you’ll dig the space out for it yourself.”

“You don’t have to treat them like dirt,” said Twilight, moving them along. “I mean, I don’t think you have to treat them like dirt. Do you really have to—” she paused to wave at a nearby pony-friend, “—talk to them like dirt?”

“No, of course not,” said Chrysalis. “Dirt stays put and does what it is told.” A drone waved into the camera. She pushed it away before it could ruin the shot. “If I do not deal strictly with the drones, they get unruly.”

“Your Highness!” complained another. “We grow hungry.”

She pushed that one away too. “Like so.”

“Well...” said Twilight, looking entirely unconvinced. “I guess I have no choice but to take your word for it...”

They sat down together on one of Ponyville’s many gaudy benches, watching the many gaudy ponies go by. The clouds drifted lazily along overhead. Fuzzy white stains on a majestic blue sky. Chrysalis had never realized how much she loved blue. Not the sickly dim blue of bioluminescence, but the rich, lively hues of the open air. Azure, cerulean, cobalt... She missed those blues dearly.

They would have to be hers again, someday.

“Howdy, Twilight!” An unimportant orange hick-pony waved as she walked by. Applejewel, or whatever her name was. “Good luck with the varmints!”

“Hey, Applejack!” Twilight waved back. “Thanks!” She turned back to Chrysalis. “I’m just saying. We—ponies, I mean—we try to treat each other with respect, and I think it works pretty well.”

“Mmm.” Chrysalis had no inclination to argue. There was nothing to argue about. You simply couldn’t treat the drones with respect. That was just asking for chaos. They’d go all about demanding names of their own, and wanting to do things that didn’t serve her comfort. There was no way it could ever work.

So how did ponies manage?

She looked about the busy streets of Ponyville—not a queen here, but merely another face in the crowd. Princess Twilight treated them with respect, and allowed them to do whatever it was that they wanted. Why, then, did they seem so orderly? How did they move with such energy? She’d never gotten that sort of energy from a drone without a swift kick to the rear, and there seemed to be no swift kicking here at all.

“What is a pony?” she murmured.

“Hm?” Twilight looked up at her. “What was that? Another question?”

“No, no, it’s nothing.” said Chrysalis with a wave. “The question was merely rhetorical.”

“Oh! All right, then.” Twilight nodded knowingly. She went back to her humming, waving at her friends when she saw them.

“What is a pony, really?” She wondered if there were an answer to that, and if she would ever find it. Did the camera know? Was there something he’d seen, something he’d heard, that could answer the eternal question? She’d have to check when they returned to the hive. Hopefully there was a secret in there that explained those strange creatures called ponies. How they acted, how they lived, and how they could be conquered. One way or another, she’d learn...

“Your Highness,” said a worker, interrupting her thoughts. “The drones grow hungry.”

“The drones are always hungry.” She waved the worker away. “I am trying to think now. Bother me no further with their petty concerns.”

“Of course, your Highness.” The worker bowed. “I shall relay your commands.”

“Good.” She looked back up at that brilliant blue sky, trying to recall what she’d been thinking. She’d been getting closer, she thought. If only she could remember. “Ah... I almost had it.”

“I hate when that happens too,” said Twilight beside her. “When someone interrupts you while you’re thinking and you lose your train of thought... Usually when I forget Spike’s dinner.” Her cheeks flushed and she looked off to the side. “I guess we’re a bit more alike than we’d realized.”

Chrysalis looked at Twilight. She didn’t stare, or even glare. She looked. She did not see a nemesis, or a mortal enemy, or even an unpleasant inconvenience. There, sitting beside her now, was a pony. “Yes,” said Chrysalis slowly. “I suppose we are.”

No, Twilight didn’t make slime or molt her shell every few months, but she could think logically. Use sarcasm. Avoid answering rhetorical questions. Drones didn’t know how to do that. Not even workers could. Only she, as queen of her hive.

And, in that single moment, Chrysalis realized what a pony was.

“Queen of their own little hive,” she whispered to herself. A laugh bubbled up from her humor gland. A great, rolling, rueful laugh. “I should have guessed.”

Twilight cocked her head. “Guessed what?”

“Nothing, nothing,” said Chrysalis, hiccuping out the remnants of her laugh. “But I think you are correct, Sparkle. We are more alike than we could have known.”

“All right,” said Twilight, laughing a bit herself. “If you say so.”

A silence set in between them once more, but there was something less awkward about it this time. Something a little more wholesome. A silence born from that rare, perfect moments when two mortal enemies didn’t want to kill each other, and the idea that maybe—just maybe—there’d come a day when they wouldn’t have to.

This beautiful, golden silence lasted a full minute before something ruined it.

The changelings are attacking!” a pony shrieked. “Everyone run for your lives!

“Of course,” Chrysalis groaned. “Always when it’s least convenient.”

The drones, in their hunger and their poor listening skills, had taken to the skies. Globules of love-retentive slime rained down upon Ponyville, slathering the streets in goop and the ponies in things that wouldn’t wash out for a days. It was a quick and simple way to grab a meal. It was also a quick and simple way to incite mass panic.

“Well,” said Chrysalis, spying the camera amongst the flying drones. “At least we’ll have an action shot.”

Twilight wheeled around and stared at her, mouth agape, eyes wide with fear. “Did you do this?”

“I assure you, Sparkle, that—”

Did you do this?

“No,” said Chrysalis, firmly. She looked straight into Twilight’s eyes as she spoke, choosing each of her words with the utmost of care. “I promise you, Twilight, that I did not. It was not my intention for this to happen. I take full responsibility for my drones’ actions here and any damage they cause. I am sorry.”

A pause.

“I...” Twilight nodded, hesitantly at first, then again with confidence. “Strange as this sounds, I actually believe you.” She looked up at the changelings attacking from the sky and down to the ponies stampeding in the streets. “I think I can smooth this one over,” she said, looking back at Chrysalis, “but this is a violation of your conditions for being here. Whatever happens, you’ll have to leave.”

Chrysalis sighed. “I understand completely.” She sighed again, long and low. “It really is a pity,” she told Twilight. “You are not as dull or annoying as I’d thought. I did enjoy speaking with you, and wish I could have done so longer.”

“Same here,” said Twilight with a wink. “You’re not as heartless or horrible as I’d thought either.” She stuck a hoof out. “I guess this is goodbye, then.”

“I suppose it is,” said Chrysalis. She took the hoof and gave it a firm shake.

“And, if you can,” said Twilight, giving her a warm smile. “I’d really like a copy of that documentary. For archival purposes, of course.”

“Of course,” said Chrysalis, returning the smile. She fluttered her wings, rising slowly up into the air. “I will be sure to send you one of the sacs. After all,” she said giving Twilight a wink of her own, “It could not have been made without you.”

They waved each other goodbye.

It was probably the last time they’d ever do that.

Chrysalis flew up over the drones and released the proper pheromones for gaining their absolute, undivided attention. She deserved that as a matter of course, but it helped here to add a little incentive. “Come along,” she told them, once all eyes were on her. “We’re done here. Let’s go home.”

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