• Published 23rd Jan 2015
  • 26,515 Views, 1,719 Comments

Changing Views - lllWarHawklll



One moment I was enjoying life, the next... well, I'm not so sure, though I was hearing voices. Now, however? I'm the last survivor of my race. I'm not even human anymore...

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[0] The bigger they are...

Feather Wind was a happy mare.

After all, it wasn't every day that anypony could help with the wedding of a Princess, to the Captain of the Royal Guard no less! The fact that nopony knew when the last royal wedding ever happened just made it that much more exciting!

If Princess Celestia or Princess Luna ever even got married, that is. The records were practically non-existent on that subject...

The light-gray coated pegasus maid with a sky-blue mane had worked slightly overtime in cleaning her designated hallway's various luxurious decorations and making sure everything was positioned perfectly. As such, she would have to hurry to get her lunch in the kitchens before what little remained of her break time expired, which meant she would have to fly and use the castle's obscure shortcuts that not many knew of in order to reach it in time.



A few twists and turns later, she had stopped to reorient herself... until she heard strange sounds coming from a door in a nearby corridor.

While the castle staff was instructed to avoid eavesdropping on guests as to avoid political incidents among other things, Feather Wind was among the few that did it anyway whenever she thought she could get away with it. With lunch well underway, nearly every hallway was devoid of ponies, somehow including most of the royal guards.

Looking left and right for anypony that might catch her off guard, she approached the closed door as quietly as possible, practically making no sound at all. Part of her special talent involved being as quiet and non-disruptive as possible, after all.

What she heard was... odd, to say the least. She could swear there was... chirping, hissing and chittering?

Except for the other voice which still spoke Equestrian, at least.

"Look, I know you can still relay messages to the hive while disguised. I don't care if it's easier without it, we can't risk to be found out now, not when the wedding is so close at hoof."

A series of hisses and chirps was heard, ending with a snort.

"*Sigh* Damn it Yoreel, you know what happens when someling says 'what could go wrong'. Fine, let's just get this over with before somepony catches us. Here's the report so far."

"Nearly every scout has taken a position. Only Viper has yet to take one mainly due to lack of important ponies to take over. Everypony is too excited about preparing the wedding that they're completely oblivious to both our presence and any slight change to normal behaviors."

"Princess Cadance is scheduled to begin her return trip from Baltimare in a couple days, early in the morning with an escort of exactly four guards. Their return trip will be by private train, therefore the odds of anypony else interfering are minimal. Recommend you bring Edge and Redstar at the very least as 'replacements'. The other two can be anyling."

"Captain Shining Armor has ordered an increase in guard patrols, effective tomorrow. Finding time to send any more messages will be harder, but we will manage as best we can regardless of circumstances."

Feather Wind was a worried mare.

-----------------------------------------

"And finally... well..." she paused. "...We all miss you, Mother. We'll be eagerly waiting for your arrival."

"Alright, she got the message. 'Lunch' break should end soon, we should be back at our posts by then," said Yoreel as he trotted towards the door.

"Right, just don't forget—" And then she sensed it.

There was somepony at the door.

Yoreel was just about to open it.

And he didn't have his disguise back on yet.

"WAIT DON'T OPEN TH—"

-----------------------------------------

Despite having an ear on the door, Feather hadn't heard the hoofsteps approaching it. She couldn't have known that changelings had near-silent footing when they wanted to. Hay, she didn't even know what a changeling was.

"WAIT DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!!"

Until now.

The door opened, and on the other side stood a type of pony she had never seen before. Instead of a fur coat, the... thing had what looked like ebony-colored chitinous skin. A single frill was where the mane should've been and its ears were slightly jagged. Its back was covered in a sort of blue shell, sporting tattered insect-like wings while a slightly curved horn was on display on the creature's forehead. Each of its legs had holes haphazardly going through them and twin fangs hung from its muzzle while sky-blue, pupil-less eyes stared back in shock.

"..."

"..."

"..."

"..."

*Chirp?*

"AAAAAHHHHH!!~~"

They say a pegasus flew across the hallways of the castle at a speed that almost rivaled Rainbow Dash's 'official' record on that day. Nopony learned how or why however, therefore the story simply became a legend for the castle's staff.

Or, at the very least, the main topic of gossip for the day.

-----------------------------------------

The glare which Yoreel was receiving was intense. So intense, you'd think Celestia had brought the sun down upon you while you made your utterly futile attempt at finding a shadow to cower in.

The pretty pegasus maid that had been looking straight at his naked form (for a changeling) was there one moment, but after a mere blink, the only thing he could see was a quickly dispersing cloud in the shape of said pegasus. Gone was any trace of her in the hallway, replaced by the glaring face of his sister once he turned around.

"What could go wrong, he said. I sleep in the buff every day in the castle and never get caught, he said. Well WHAT DO YOU SAY NOW!?"

"...Mommy?" he whimpered.

-----------------------------------------

Feather Wind had managed to reach her quarters and rapidly scribbled a note mentioning some sort of attack being prepared against both Princess Cadance and Canterlot. She had thought about alerting the Captain herself, but that would require her to reveal how she got the information, something that may cost her job. Thus the note would remain anonymous.

She had barely left her room and started flying towards the guard's barracks when she was promptly tackled to the ground, the note slowly drifting towards the ground.

"Heh, guess Viper gets her job after all..." her aggressor chuckled before she quickly lost consciousness to a sleep spell.

The note was left there on the floor, unnoticed until the very next day.

==================================

A couple days passed.

...At least I think it's been a couple days. Hard to tell the time when you can't even open your eyes and stay conscious without someone nearby.

Click clack click clack - And here comes today's guest. Seems to be dragging something along, too. Judging by the link I'm feeling it's—

Joy "Hey Artemis!" Edge happily greeted.

Somehow, they managed to give me the exact same name I had as a human.

...Yeah... I figured I wasn't human anymore...

Humans aren't birthed from eggs that grow outside the mother's womb.

Humans can't sense the emotions of others as accurately as this.

Humans don't 'eat' said emotions.

Humans don't walk on all fours.

...Usually.

"Sorry that Mom can't come and feed you herself," began Edge with an apologetic tone. "The wedding's gonna happen real soon and everything has to be perfect if she wants to pull it off. It'll be such a buffet!"

Edge had been one of the frequent ones to feed me ever since I had my revelation. I totally did not have a breakdown since then. Nope. Took it like a man. Absolutely didn't flail my limbs around breaking everything in sight while shouting profanities left and right about my lost humanity.

Not being able to move or talk played quite a large part in that though.

After all the time I've had to bury my past feelings however, handling this situation... wasn't as bad as I'd thought it'd be. I mean, I had already lost everything beforehand...

At least now I had a family again.

...A VERY extended family.

Mirth "Oh, and I brought extra food this time! Still not as much as Mom would be able to give you though, I think," he chirped/chittered. Literally.

Between the period where I had my epiphany and now, a couple extra things developed with my body, though I was too busy internally screaming to notice at the time. Edge was somewhat worried about my emotional outbursts.

For one, my hearing improved to the point that I realized that whenever my 'family' talked, it came out as a series of clicks, screeches, hisses, chirps, chitters and croons. While I interpreted it as English, there was more to it than that. It's like a deeper understanding of the subtle changes in the undertones and overtones of each sound. Though, maybe it wasn't me hearing it as English as much as each sound had some sort of... instinctual meaning.

Also, my empathy improved somewhat, in that I could feel and form... links, I guess one could say, with others. These links were actually already there before; it's how we transferred 'emotions' between ourselves apparently.

From what Edge told me once I subconsciously formed my part of the link with him (he was overjoyed when it happened), it's what allows the recipient to feel what the host feels, though strong emotions can be felt up to a certain extent regardless of the bond being present or not. Turns out that us... changelings I think I heard him say... are able to connect with each other once we're within a certain range. Until now, it had always been one-way links with me, as in I could feel the emotions of others, but they couldn't do so with me yet, whereas now it was a two-way thing.

Every other species actually forms a similar link with anyone nearby, though not quite the same as ours. Changelings were the only ones able to interact with them, as it was how we absorbed emotions. We could attempt to link with non-changelings, but nothing would really happen.

Kind of brought the issue of food to mind. If we ate emotions, couldn't we just feed off each other?

"Hmm, I guess I should teach you about how food works for us today, while you eat," said my... brother, I guess? Still getting used to this whole thing.

'...Huh, wonder if we can read minds.'

"While we do still eat like all the other species of Equus, physical food is less important for us. Most of it is converted into a special gel we can use as an adhesive or to cocoon food for storage while very little of it is actually used for nutrients in our body. Emotions are literally energy for us, the 'glue' that holds us together. While we do technically produce our own 'emotion energy', we consume it faster than it's being made; which is why we need to find external sources of love."

"Speaking of our gel, if we end up putting any creature in a cocoon of it, the chemicals within would lull it to sleep while providing nutrients for the body. The gel is made out of the physical food we ate, after all. Then, all we need to do is manipulate their sleep a little bit, give them the perfect dream, usually involving loved ones or family and the like. We can just feed off the love they feel then, though you have to be careful not to drain too much since every creature also needs that energy to some extent. Draining too much can put them into a coma, and none of us want that."

"Since we're naturally masters of shapeshifting, we usually tend to become whatever we cocoon to replace their daily life for some time. They end up feeding our hive while we get fed by their loved ones as we take their place. They get a very lovely and long-lasting dream and, once the nutrients in the cocoon start to expire, we simply give them memories of what they missed and put them back in place. No one notices anything, everyone is happy."

'...Shapeshifting? I... What? How the heck does that work!? You can't be serious—'

"Whew, I think that's all these two can safely give for now," said Edge while I felt the flow of love diminish substantially from him.

He was right, by the way. That was nothing compared to what... Mom... gives.

"Oh, almost forgot, meat is an exception to the rule. It's actually the only way for us to store long-term energy in case we run out of love. Helps when we're out there with the carnivorous species, since they tend to be harder to gain love from than the herbivores due to their predatory nature."

"But enough about all this teaching stuff, how about I tell you of some more of my adventures?" he asked, to which we each felt the other perk up.

This was the part I usually liked the most about his visits. While learning more about my new species was important and interesting, I felt some sort of childlike joy at being told these stories; most of which were exaggerated I feel, but nonetheless entertaining as heck.

Last time, he had told me how he was sent to gather information from the griffin nation's military headquarters, something done every month or so to make sure our existence is a kept secret, among other things. It resulted with him finding plans to invade Equestria, the land we currently reside in, which would've been bad for everyone. Couldn't get as much love when our food source was under threat of war, after all. Their Emperor wasn't even aware that his generals were in the process of planning that. It ended up with an elaborate plan, which consisted of Mom herself going out to lure Cerberus, the three-headed demon dog guardian of Tartarus itself, onto one of their main cities while Edge and a couple other siblings went sneaking about the palace, placing hints and forged documents blaming certain troublesome individuals. Mainly the warmongers who wanted Equestria under griffin control. It went without saying, when they were found out, the people wanted retribution. Which they got. Of course the plans for Equestria were never discovered by their investigators. As far as the Griffin populace was concerned, those Commanders and Generals wanted to start a civil war in an effort to overthrow the throne for themselves and were unafraid to use demons for it.

Apparently Celestia also made an appearance to calm the rampaging beast and return it to its post, which got her extra brownie points with their empire. Needless to say, it boosted the relations between both nations and peace reigned once more.

Honestly, it was kind of hard to believe and I sincerely doubted any of that happened. Still made a great story though.

"This one started in a town named Ponyville..." he began with a theatrical voice.

'Do all the places here have names based on horse puns? I've heard about the Neighagra falls, Fillydelphia and Los Pegasus, and now Ponyville? I mean I know that the dominant species in this part of the world are ponies but... seriously. Next he's gonna name a pun on Camelot or something.'

"We had learned that the Princess's personal student was to be moved to said town by order of Celestia herself, for reasons unknown to us, by our spies in Canterlot."

If I could narrow my eyes right now, they would be narrowly narrowed at how ridiculous the puns were getting.

"Now, you have to understand that back then, our race was relatively young, and our numbers minimal compared to now. Thus, our most experienced brothers and sisters were already occupied with important missions and the number of candidates able to monitor the student's activities were very scarce. Despite being merely a year old, I was chosen for the task, along with our sister Redstar. She's one of the relay changelings by the way."

'Woah, waitwaitwait, bro, you never told me there's different types of changeli—'

"I had barely managed to arrive and replace a certain somepony that went by the name 'Lyra Heartstrings' in time to see a chariot descend from the sky, containing none other than the Princess's student, Twilight Sparkle, and her pet slave iguana named Spike. They say he's actually a baby dragon, but I personally find that ridiculous."

"After trailing them without being noticed much, it appeared that they were in town merely to make sure all the preparations for the annual Summer Sun Celebration would be taken care of, but I refused to believe it was merely for that. Why would the Princess send her student on such an easy task nearly anypony could do? I stopped stalking Twilight to reconvene with my partner about the Princess's current whereabouts and activities. To this day, I'm still not sure I understood the reply. Redstar, whom had stayed stationed at the edge of the Everfree forest, relayed from the spies at the castle that Celestia had apparently closed day court early to lock herself in her room. The ponies assumed she was getting ready for the celebration, however if one were to listen carefully, you could hear moans of delight from her room. Further investigation of anomalous happenings in the fortress revealed that the kitchens were emptied of all their sugary treats that day... not sure why we got told that to be honest. She refused to leave her personal quarters until 'The time was right' and 'The Pastry Kingdom surrendered', whatever that meant."

"I was about to head back into Ponyville when I was all but dragged into the town library by this pink demon! A short trip that should've taken a few minutes of galloping was literally done in the blink of an eye! Looking around, I saw the townsponies looking as if nothing had happened, even the ones that just got 'teleported' in, as if this was an everyday occurrence. There were streamers and confetti set up everywhere, as well as tables with pony food on it. It turned out to be a surprise party for Twilight Sparkle, and the only notable thing that happened then was when the pink pony, whom I learned later was named 'Pinkamena Diane Pie', engaged into a staring contest with me out of nowhere. I was certain she knew something, the way she was gazing into my eyes as if boring a hole through my soul, smiling without end. Then and there, I felt that behind the blue orbs of her eyes was an ancient, evil eldritch being, hiding, waiting for the smallest error on my part to feast on my soul— Nope, she was just wondering why I, 'Lyra Heartstrings', didn't start talking about something called... hands, I think."

"Don't worry," she had said. "Your secret is safe with me!" she happily exclaimed right before bouncing away towards other ponies, her smile unwavering.

"Never have I ever felt as scared as then."

He wasn't kidding, I could feel his fear right now. If I could shiver, I would shiver.

"Regardless, that night was when the 'Nightmare Moon incident' began, though that'll be a story for another time. I still had to discover the true agenda of Miss Sparkle, thus when she suddenly decided to waltz into the Everfree Forest along with five other mares, I got suspicious and silently trailed behind them from afar without any disguise, since I would blend in easier due to the night. They had just saved themselves from the crumbling edge of a cliff and I was about to catch up to them when Redstar came and informed me my part of the mission was over.

Since Mom learned of Nightmare Moon's return, she decided to investigate the matter herself and was on her way right then and there. I was to report what I learned during the day and return to the hive while Redstar would lead Mother to wherever the six mares were headed to, which ended up being the abandoned Castle of the Two Royal Pony Sisters."

"I hurriedly told of my meager findings and observations so that my sister could be on her way while the trail was still fresh, yet sometime during my review I could hear ferocious roars coming from not too far away, in the direction the mares had gone. My task complete a moment later, I headed further into the forest since our hive was on the other side, when all of a sudden a wild manticore appeared!"

'Manticores are real here...!?'

"The fight that ensued was actually what separated me from the other young ones among our family. A grueling battle where both sides fought and bled and where I survived against what is considered one of the strongest creatures of the Everfree! I had eventually returned to the hive, bleeding from a few cracks on my head's chitin, coated in the monster's saliva, as I had been that close to death! To survive such an encounter was almost unheard of and I was given more and more missions, given more extensive training sessions, until I got shaped into the infiltrator that I now am."

I could feel his pride as he said that, but also something else...

"At least..." he nervously began. "...Well, Artemis, that's the official story about the manticore, and don't ever tell the others, but what really happened was..."

~~~~~~~~~Wavy flashback effect~~~~~~~~~

I had just finished retelling about all the notable observations I had made during my short stay in Ponyville to Redstar, which unfortunately wasn't much. The town was so peaceful, I couldn't imagine anything of importance happening in it for the following decades. As such, I was feeling a bit down.

I wanted to help the hive! Climb the ranks! Go on super sneaky stealth missions!...

Either way, if Mom herself was coming here for this, it was probably out of my league. If only the Everfree didn't have this strange heaviness in the air, I could actually fly over it and make the trip back so much faster.

I suddenly heard the sound of rapid thumps, and turned around to see... to see....

Oh dear Mother...

-----------------

That pony nice. Help with paw. But still hungry... find food at other places...

Fly up cliff, weird smell on dirt... food? Follow trail...

Found pony, but not pony? Not pay attention, don't know I here. Maybe other ponies no mind me eat this one.

He turn, see me leap at him, not matter, head in my mout—

Ack! Head is hard! But hear cracki—

ACK! FIRE! GREEN fire....

...

Oh mommy...

-----------------

OHSWEETMOTHERI'MSTILLALIVE.
IT'SJUSTLOOKINGATMEANDFEELINGEXTREMEGUILTANDIDON'TKNOWWHY.

MAYBE IF I DON'T MOVE IT WON'T SEE ME AND LEAVE ME BE. I MEAN SPIDERS DO THAT ALL THE TIME SO IT MUST WORK.

...

...

Wait why is he feeling guilty? Where was that when he lunged at meeeoooOOH SWEET NON-EXISTENT FATHER PLEASE DON'T EAT M—

-----------------

Pony scared! No want her scared! I hurt pony! No want her hurt!

She not moving... she looking at me... head bleeding a lot... NO!

Must lick! Mommy show it help heal when bad cut happen. Will heal Pony! And she be happy with me again! Yes!

-----------------

Brain.exe has stopped working.

Rebooting...

...

A fatal error has occu—

Reboot complete.

Wha-? The hay is a brain...exe... why is there a manticore hugging and licking my face? They would never..do....this...kind...of......thing.........

...

...

ARGH A MANTICORE RUN AWAY~~~

-----------------

As the changeling-in-disguise ran for his dear life and left Simba the Manticore behind in the clearing, nopony was there to witness the lone tear that ran across his muzzle as his only pony friend (or so he thought) abandoned him. At that moment in time, the magic of Equestria decided to bypass the everfree's resistance to its harmony and compel Simba to—

~~Lonelyyyyy~~

~~I'm mister lonelyyyyy~~......

—sing a song out of freaking nowhere.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"...Seriously, please don't ever tell anyling about it. You're the only one who knows. Pleasepleaseplease keep it a secret!" desperately pleaded Edge, hugging my egg if the shaking was any indication.

'I don't even... you know what, sure, whatever. I preferred the first version of your encounter anyway,' I mentally sighed, unknowingly sending feelings that could be attributed to acceptance through our link.

Joy "Oh, thank you thankyouthankyou! You're the best! Keep the love though, you need it more than I do right now," said edge, sending back whatever I sent him.

The feels, man. They felt good.

"Anyway, by the time I made it back to the hive, I had accumulated even more cuts from all of the thorny bushes I ran through in my... err... completely justified panic. Normally they wouldn't even pierce our chitin, but... well, I was disguised as a regular, squishy pony, though I hadn't noticed at the time. I was told I had a soft yellow coat with light-pink hair. Kind of like one of the mares whom was accompanying my target that night. Hmmm...."

'Alright, so manticores are apparently REALLY a thing here, as well as griffins, pegasi, unicorns and alicorns. They all have sapience also. Geez, are there any more sapient species out there?'

"On that note, try to avoid meeting any diamond dogs. They're one of the very few bipedal species of Equus, they replaced all of their love with greed and, worst of all, don't have any dentists in their society. They're also really into 'enslaving-other-species-to-do-our-work-at-an-abysmally-slower-rate-than-we-do' nowadays."

'...Really? What's next? Dragons, Hydras and Cockatrices? Pfffbt.'

"Also, speaking of the Everfree, be extra careful of Dragons, Hydras and Cockatrices. They all have nests in there strewn about randomly, though last I heard the Hydras preferred the area around Froggy Bottom Bogg."

'...'

"..."

'...'

"..."

'Can you read minds!?'

"..."

'...'

"Sometimes, I really wish I could read minds, you know? Seems like something that we could really use and make us unbelievably overpowered," randomly muttered Edge.

If my eye could twitch right now, it would be twitching.

*Twitch*

...Huh, my eye actually Twitched.

Then I felt someone... someling I mean, approaching. Oh hey, it's—

"Mom! Err... I mean... Mother!" chirped Edge.

I thought I sensed something else about Mom. If I strained and tried hard enough, I could actually feel all the links she had with other changelings. And oh boy, were there a lot of them. I got a sort of headache trying to process that.

Amused "Hmhm, you can't do that yet, my little Artemis," chuckled Mom at my attempt to feel every single link at once.

'Yet? So am I going to be one of those 'relay' changelings?'

Sorrow "Unfortunately, we have to start the first phase of the invasion immediately. Princess Mi Amore Cadenza will be beginning her return trip to Canterlot two days from now; another opportunity like this one to take her place without any complications will be unlikely to come by again. I will be pulling everyling across all of Equus to an outpost near Canterlot," my new Mom explained.

Confused "But I thought the pulling of everyling was during phase two?" asked Edge.

Frustrated "Number 1337," My Mother simply replied.

Exasperated "Yoreel asked 'what could go wrong' again?" groaned Edge.

"I am afraid so."

'Why does the name 'Yoreel' seem so familiar... Ohh. Heh, appropriate,' I mentally chuckled.

Anger "How can you be joyful at a time like this, young one!? We are about to begin the invasion, which means we will have to leave you behind at the hive alone since we can no longer safely move you and everyling is needed for this!" my Mom near-shouted at me before going back to feeling sad.

'.......Oh.'

Needless to say, I didn't feel so happy anymore.