• Published 23rd Jan 2015
  • 26,513 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] Interlude: I like trains

'Cadance' was aboard a train, headed straight to Canterlot while being 'escorted' by four 'Royal guards', observing the scenery as it sped by the relatively peaceful ride.

Once they found out exactly where Princess Mi Amore Cadenza stayed the previous night, it was simply too easy to replace her. Very few knew about the existence of changelings, after all. Preparing against the unknown was always a 'hit or miss' sort of thing, yet nopony would ever expect a race of shape-shifters to pop out of nowhere and outright take the place of the bride and her guards.

Unfortunately, the information they had compiled on the Princess of love was not as great as she would have wished. No changeling knew of her hobbies, or her favorite foods, or who were her close friends. As such, Chrysalis had to improvise as best she could considering the circumstances. Acting like a Princess would hopefully be enough to convince all those ignorant ponies of her being whom she claimed to be and the looming wedding might give her more room to make mistakes under the claim of 'pre-wedding nervousness' or similar excuses. And yet...

She still felt bad for leaving her little Artemis behind. While Chrysalis loved every single one of her children unconditionally and equally, she left the only changeling in the entire hive which could possibly be her heir. Maybe she should send a few of her children back to keep an eye on her...

...No, she needed everyling for this. Besides, nopony knew of the hive's location and nopony should ever find it anytime soon considering it was in the Badlands. Few dared to venture in the barren wasteland devoid of plant life. Sure, the risk remained that somepony may end up discovering the hive accidentally, and the entrance was currently wide open, but the traps she had placed in it before leaving and all of the confusing hallways which made the hive an intricate labyrinth should keep her Artemis safe. Especially the traps she had placed in the chamber currently holding her little one. Nopony would dare hurt her anytime soon.

The Queen could now observe Canterlot in the distance, hanging on the mountain in all its shining glory; truly a marvel of architecture and spellweaving to keep it from damaging the mountain and the city itself from how the Capital was embedded into it.

And she hated it.

All of that brightness, the luxury, the 'sophistication'; it all got to the heads of most ponies whom lived in it.

Most.

All of those stuck-up nobles, muzzles held high, so self-absorbed one would think they thought they were the center of the world, nay, the universe itself. It made for love gathering to be an immense pain in the flank. Only changelings with proper experience could survive in the gauntlet that was Canterlot's society, and even then, the number of spies had to be held at a minimum because of how sparse love was. One would even think it was practically non-existent in it, were it not for the few travelers, tourists, or the occasional activities here and there... hay, the rare griffin visitors themselves usually had more love than certain sections of the city's residents combined.

Even the unions between ponies were planned up there, most of the time. Those arranged marriages, all to keep 'noble blood' and maintain their 'superiority' over others. It was no wonder that most of the population there was comprised of unicorns. Despite Celestia herself preaching about harmony, love and tolerance between all the pony tribes, the 'noble' unicorns took it upon themselves to discretely push the pegasi and earth ponies away through politics. Any that remained were given looks and unwelcoming stares until they too left for more accepting lands.

There was still hope for Canterlot, however. There were the few Earth ponies and pegasi that had managed to become quite wealthy and influential across the city, and the simple fact that they had done so began encouraging others to try as well.

'And yet, even those ponies have to keep up masks of superiority to maintain their positions' mused Chrysalis.

Besides the joyful innocent little colts and fillies playing around every now and again on the streets, the lack of love was frustrating and she was certain that even her dear sister was disappointed at her own subject's disharmony; especially while she lived practically next to them, in that grand castle of hers.

'It matters not, the city will be soon be mine, and she will regret not believing me all those years ago...'

Turning away from the view of the faraway mountain, she turned to see the humble town of Ponyville nearby.

That. Was a proper paradise for any changeling. With all of the welcoming ponies of each tribe, the friendliness among everypony, the proximity to nature (minus the Everfree forest itself), but especially the mere presence of the 'element bearers', the guardians of harmony itself, made sending any of her children there almost a vacation.

Almost.

Tales of a certain pink pony giving nightmares of streamers, confetti and pastries to anyling that wandered into the town with their own unique 'ponified' forms forced the Queen to prepare a class in 'How to be prepared for a Pinkie Pie welcome party'. Even then, only the most brave changelings could truly survive against the element of laughter unscathed. The last unprepared one whom was sent to Ponyville had left after a mere day, mumbling incoherently about cakes and lies. It took a whole month before that one was able to continue any operations across the country.

'One day, we shall learn your secrets, Pinkius Piacus,' swore Chrysalis, narrowing her eyes.

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Meanwhile in Ponyville, Pinkie Pie had just finished her shift in Sugarcube Corner and was about to head over to Twilight Sparkle's library to give her a very special surprise cupcake, because EVERYPONY loved very special surprise cupcakes! Especially when the surprise was extra surprising and when Twilight was in a very delicate and complicated experiment at its crucial stages where a single mistake could ruin the entire procedure and force her to completely start over, ruining weeks of work! Like right now!

Suddenly her muzzle scrunched, her knees temporarily weakened and her forelegs flailed a bit.

She knew just what to do, turning to look at a train in the distance headed to Canterlot, replying "Okie Dokie Loki!" and bouncing towards her next victi— err, friend, la-la-la'ing all the way.

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

The Changeling Queen suddenly felt cold and shivered, quickly averting her eyes from the establishment known as 'Sugarcube Corner', turning instead to view her four accompanying changelings in disguise which were in the same cabin as her.

Number six-two-six, Redstar, Sectine and Edge. The first three were sticking together in a warm pile, serenely sleeping the trip away as they hugged each other while Edge remained awake and alert, observing the scenery speeding by just as Chrysalis was.

'If only more of my children looked up to him and followed his example. Then again, none other can claim to have bested a manticore merely a year after being born, without proper training and while being a measly pegasus, with scars and injuries to prove it. Perhaps the others view him as if he were on a whole different level?'

She turned back to view the peaceful landscape once more. "Thinking about Artemis?" she asked.

He sighed after a moment, moving his gaze towards the floor. "Yes..." Edge replied. "Though I assume you haven't stopped doing so as well ever since we left."

"Indeed."

Unlike the 'relay' changelings, she could connect to every single one of her children, though it cost exponentially more energy to actively use the links with non-relay changelings over long distances. Being the Queen, it was necessary for her to naturally be able to multitask like nopony's business, allowing her to effortlessly work on multiple fronts at the same time. The drawbacks on such an ability were glaringly apparent at this moment, however.

When a pony, griffin or other sapient creature needed to take its mind off something, they could simply distract themselves with hobbies, friends or activities in general, using all of their concentration on such things.

Chrysalis was almost entirely unable to do so, her mind perpetually working on various thoughts at once.

She thought of Artemis, she kept track of the progression of the numerous squads of changelings converging to the point of gathering near Canterlot and she reviewed what she knew of 'Shining Armor' in preparation for her arrival, all at once.

"Why could we not bring her with us, again?" asked Edge, looking up to his disguised Mother. "I thought she had been moved from the incubation room to where she currently is while still in the egg, back when all the others of her group hatched."

"Because—"

"PIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEE!!!"

They both snapped their heads back towards Ponyville, bewilderedly watching an enormous multi-colored mushroom cloud expand from the town's local library, which was somehow completely intact itself.

'That oddly sounded like Celestia's personal student's voice' thought the changeling Queen, entranced by the...

"...Is... that... a double rainbow!?" asked Edge, mesmerized by the continuously rising rainbow cloud.

"What does it meaaaaan?" mumbled Sectine in her sleep.

"As... I was saying," slowly began Chrysalis, unable to tear her eyes off of the wonderful event in the distance. "She was moved because I had determined that she had not yet reached a certain stage of growth within the egg. Once her body begins to work on finishing her neural and magical pathways, it is imperative to not move her too much, otherwise the nymph would risk... complications.

"It's unfortunate, really," she continued in a somber tone, ears splayed back. "Had we stayed just a few days longer feeding her, we would probably be showing her the world at this very moment. Artemis was that close to being able to meet us outside of her egg."

Chrysalis heard the soft sound of hoofsteps and fake armor clinking—the real thing was made of gold for screeching out loud, what were they thinking?—nearing her before feeling her dear son's forelegs around her neck. "I'm sure we'll see her soon enough, after this whole ordeal. The wedding is only in three days, right? I could head back to check on our newest and first changeling princess once our victory is assured, if you wish." He craned his neck from his hug, towards his sleeping siblings. "With a bit of company, of course," he added while looking at Redstar, the only relay changeling of the current squad.

Chrysalis chuckled, her spirits slightly lifted. "Oh? Planning to betray this crown to join the young one's eventual hive? Hmph. I thought you loved me," she said in mock indignation, turning her head away, muzzle held high with her eyes closed.

"W-what!? B-but I, I-I meant—" stuttered Edge, eyes wide, panicking.

Then she actually laughed with her first genuine smile for the entire trip.

"Relax, Captain," giggled the Queen. "Even if you did do so, I would not mind, to be perfectly honest. We would still remain as a family, if not an even larger one. I have noticed the amount of time you spent with little Artemis; far longer than what it takes to merely feed her, compared to the other volunteers at the hive."

"O-oh, right," he replied, relieved and cursing himself for not noticing his mother's joking tone and emotions. "It's just... nearly every one of my brothers and sisters got to 'teach the ropes', as it were, to at least one of the younger recently hatched ones, while I've been either away on missions or just trying my best to find someling at home that would stay and spend time with me, but it's as if they felt unworthy to be near me..." He sorrowfully turned away, pondering.

In truth, he had completely forgotten how much the manticore incident had impressed others. Not that anyling knew that, including Chrysalis. While it had initially somewhat traumatized him for some time, the constant praise he got for the following weeks overshadowed it, and the praise eventually gave way to changelings giving him a wide berth whenever he happened to trot by, out of respect.

'Spreading the tales of his numerous exploits was maybe a bad idea...' she thought, frowning. 'Perhaps I should review our teaching methods more thoroughly.'

He suddenly perked up. "And then Artemis was born! I finally had the chance to play the 'big brother' role, and not just to anyling! No offense to my siblings, of course."

They both then felt a presence approaching from a couple cars away at a steady pace with an aura of nervousness.

'Why would that pony be nervou— Oh, right, I'm playing the Princess role. They're always so afraid of disappointing princesses for some reason,' thought the Queen while sending a pulse of magic to her three sleeping children, awakening them with a jolt.

"Gah!"

"Urk!"

"SPACE BUTTERFLIES!" shouted Sectine, which earned her confused looks from all around.

"Standard positions," was all Chrysalis had to say, causing the four smaller 'ponies' to each move to a different corner of the cabin, spears upright, eyes staring forward, faces set to 'completely serious', chests puffed out and muzzles held slightly high, giving them the general intimidating look guards tend to have on the job.

The door opened and in trotted a shaking unicorn stallion dressed in an expensive-looking suit, crusted with gems of the highest quality at just the right places, levitating a plate with a few drinks on it, somehow not spilling anything despite how wobbly it was.

"G-g-greetings, p-princess!" He bowed upon noticing her in all her natural beauty near the center of the car, looking out the window. "I-I know you haven't o-ordered anything despite knowing t-that first-class c-clients get free service, including food and drinks," he continued, gaining confidence as his obviously pre-planned speech rolled on, "and I thought I would offer you these from my personal stores, as a gift to you." He brought the plate closer to her, gently setting it next to her seat, revealing the three bottles of expensive, very old-looking 'Applejack Daniels', each sporting the image of a light-brown coated stallion with a Stetson over his head.

"Thank you. We will enjoy these... drinks quite thoroughly," replied the Queen-in-disguise, examining the precious containers.

The stallion didn't listen, however. All of his attention was on that cute face of hers, her gorgeous mane, that beautiful pink coat...

*Ahem*, Chrysalis cleared her throat on noticing his dreamy expression, getting him out of it. "Again, thank you."

...

...

...

...

"You can go now," she finally added with a shooing motion of her foreleg on seeing that he remained in place.

"Oh! Yes, of course, forgive me; enjoy your drinks!" he said while quickly scrambling back towards the door, letting out a tiny 'eep!' on noticing the guard whom was right next to him before slamming the door closed behind him.

All five changelings remained in their positions.

Waiting patiently.

Forever vigilant.

Displaying the epitome of patience.

...Until the only Mother in the group let out a sigh.

She opened one of the bottles and slowly exclaimed much louder than necessary: "MMMM, THESE DRINKS SURE ARE GOOD! WHAT A NICE STALLION TO OFFER ME THIS AMAZING GIFT! THEY ARE SO YUMMY AND FLAVORFUL!"

Chrysalis then sensed joy through the sub-link of the pony eavesdropping behind the door. She herself felt relieved as the stallion made his way back to the front of the train.

"Well, that was a nice snack," she mused out loud while the 'guards' broke formation and dispersed throughout the cabin; Edge returning to his spot at his own window to view the outside world, Sectine and Redstar going to a corner to chat, while #626 approached the Queen and sat on his haunches, leaning on her, happily looking up to his mother.

Normally, she would've milked the stallion for what his love was worth (emotion-wise, that is), however these were most likely the final moments she would have contact with her children other than using the hive links. At least until the plan was fully set in motion.

She would cherish them while it lasted.

As she was nuzzling her son, one of her many thoughts drifted towards her own mother.

'What would she think of everything I have done so far? she pondered, now facing the window once more with a sudden poker face. 'Well, for one, she would not approve of this invasion. Not like she would even recognize me. Not after what... Discord did with my body...'

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

Sectine interrupted her sister mid-conversation as she noticed the expression on her mother's face.

"Oooh, that's the face of a certain mother who is angry but doesn't want us to know it."

Redstar glanced at Chrysalis before turning back to her sister while wearing a confused expression. "Really? She looks sort-of fine to me... feels fine too."

"Trust me, if I could get a cutie mark like the ponies, it would be in deciphering mom's expressions. As for what she's feeling, didn't you say her mind worked differently than ours at some point? Maybe she found a way to mask her emotions from us."

After a little moment of staring at each other, they both wordlessly nodded and silently made their way towards their Queen and Mother, intent on cheering her up.

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

Chrysalis's thoughts were slowly turning darker and darker, making it increasingly hard to mask her rage at a certain spirit of chaos, until she felt a nudge from her side. She turned to see both her daughters sitting next to her, on the opposite side of #626; one feeling worried, the other levitating the still-open bottle of cider towards her with a hopeful, cheery grin.

...And just like that, her anger evaporated and another smile graced her muzzle as she took the drink in her own magical grasp.

'Maybe... I should actually be thanking him. I would never have had this second family, were it not for his changes.'

And she would love her children until the very end, no matter what happened.









"...Hmm, this really IS juicy and flavorful."

Author's Note:

I had originally planned this chapter to narrate various moments during Chrysalis's venture towards Canterlot, including the invasion itself and its (unfortunate) conclusion (sorry), but as I was typing away this little train scene, I felt the need to turn it into a chapter of its own with how it was turning out, as well as showing more of the relations between changelings, both between themselves and their Mother/Queen.

As I was typing this I accidentally pressed CTRL-A and ALMOST pressed the backspace button. Panicked for a second.

Threw in a few hints towards the backstory I made of Chrysalis along the chapter, as well as Artemis's role in their society, though the latter was kind of obvious. However, I'm considering adding the "Tragedy" tag for the next chapter. (Again, sorry.)

I can totally picture the final scene of this chapter as artwork (without the disguises on the changelings). Chrysalis in front of a window with a beautiful sky in the background, surrounded by her loved children, nuzzling one of them...

Gotta love fluff.

Fluff is life, Fluff is love.

If you are unhappy, angry or want to murder me in my sleep for what is essentially going to be the "extermination" of the changelings, well, hopefully the aforementioned fluff that is going to be the rest of the story as Artemis grows up to learn what it means to be a changeling will satisfy you.

Really wish I didn't have to kill off the changelings, especially after I read some comments about how people liked the way I made them out to be, (their deaths will be an unintentional thing by the ponies, by the way), but I feel it's a necessary evil to make the rest of the story better. Gives a lot more options to work with.