• Published 19th Feb 2015
  • 9,610 Views, 292 Comments

Changeling Teacher - Skrive Flip



A changeling is captured and Princess Twilight is tasked with questioning it. Thinking it will be easy, and perhaps finding out what makes these bugs tick, Twilight goes the scientific route, but finds something she did not expect.

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Chapter 1 - Classroom

Twilight was not completely sure how to feel about her situation.

Her first reaction to the message had been shock, followed by curiosity, and finally ending in inquisitive glee that was still hanging on a bit now, even several days later. She could still feel that energy burning inside of her has the message had come across.

They had caught a changeling in Canterlot.

A changeling… in Canterlot… Had been physically captured for the first time since the wedding, three years ago!

And the princesses would like her to be the one to lead the interrogation, and the study of the creature as the first! Any sort of anger or resentment for the creatures had momentarily faded at the prospect of being the first to study an entirely new Species!

Twilight found herself internally squeeing still, even as she was teetering at the door to her basement, waiting for the guards to finish setting everything up. She could be the first pony to study a changeling. She could publish research papers, hold seminars! Maybe even… Publish a Book~

Had Rainbow Dash been here, she would most likely be gagging at the level of egghead Twilight was just radiating everywhere.

A pair of armor clad guards came up the stairs of the basement laboratory, stopping proudly before their princess and bowed with respect.

Twilight did her best to keep her composure, but she was unable to keep her voice from revealing a slight squeaking sound of excitement.

“Is everything prepared?”

“Yes, your highness” The guards confirmed, not betraying any sign of noticing the squeakiness of the princess´s voice.

“Good! Stand guard at the door, and let only my assistant inside. I want to be very thorough in this study” The princess ordered.

“As you wish your highness. Is there anything els-”

Slam.

Both guards raised their heads to see that their princess had slammed the door in their face, and as they could hear, was now squeeing with glee all the way down the stairs. For a while, none of them said anything, until one turned to the other.

“That… Sounded terrifying… Should we be worried?”

“Do you wanna be down there in place of the changeling?”

“No!”

“Then don't think about it…”


------------------------Down in the Basement----------------------


Twilight forsook the use of her wings as she was skipping down the stairs, unable to contain her excitement.

So it was up to the physical world to put a dampener on her. In this case, in the form of there being almost no lights on, so Twilight ended up walking directly into a wall at the end of the stairs.

Shaken out of her giddy mood much a similar to a drunk, Twilight took a moment to compose herself.

“Right! Gotta turn on the lights!”

With almost no effort at all, Twilight lit up her horn and sent a gentle magic pulse through the room, flicking on the switches on the walls and letting the lights come on. Some were magic charged, others were still old candles. But all of them put enough gentle illumination in the room together to get a clear view of everything.

Slightly off to the side in Twilight´s laboratory, a steel cage had been put up to contain the changeling. It had thick bars, and was inscribed with magic runes to contain the beast´s magic suppressed. Twilight was even happy to see that the guards had taken every possible precaution and put the beast in a straitjacket and a muzzle gag on the blasted insect.

“Everything is just perfect!” Twilight said with another small squeal. The guards had been clearly been taking their precautions, which she applauded, but with this excess of safety measures, she could show herself as benevolent and magnanimous to the evil being. Perhaps she could just easily loosen a couple of the less important restraints to warm it up to her and she could get a personal interview!

“The possibilities are endlessssssss~” She almost purred as she was lost in her own little world for a moment.

Clearing her throat, she took a second to compose herself, before she walked over to the side of the cage and peered inside. The creature was completely still. One thing she immediately noticed was the fact that the changeling actually had something you could mistake for a mane. As opposed to the regular drones she had fought back at the wedding, this had a long membrane hanging from the top of its head, kind of like Queen Chrysalis´s mane.

Even better!’ She thought. Perhaps this even was some kind of, prince or general! Oh the things she could get out of him!... Her… It… Whatever it was!

With a quick flash of her magic, the gag on the creature clicked and flopped down onto the floor. The creature coughed a moment before Twilight started:

“Hello.” She announced, standing proudly, doing her best to contain the excitement of her voice. “My name is Twilight Sparkle. I am going to ask you a couple of questions, If you don't mind?” She asked with a grin almost reaching from ear to ear.

It took only a couple of seconds for it to drop however as she realized the changeling had yet to move… at all.

“Uhm… Hello?” She asked, raising her voice slightly.

Still no response.

Well that was annoying.

“Hellou?” She tried again, with the same lack of a result. “Oh dear… It´s not dead is it?!” She questioned in momentary panic. Her horn lit up in a gentle purple as a small mist descended over the changeling in a sort of, scanning fashion. Twilight got quite immensely relieved that her spell had been able to at least identify that something was beating inside that thing. So she presumed it was a heart.

“So you are alive… Are you ignoring me?” Twilight asked, not able to hide the slightly offended tone.

The changeling didn't even move a millimeter. It almost looked like it didn't breathe, even if she had just confirmed that it did.

“Listen, you're not going to get out of the cage if you don't talk to me.” Twilight said, inching herself slightly closer to the bars.

Nothing. Bug was still completely still.

This was slowly beginning to grate at the alicorn´s patience.

“You know, I could just send you back to Canterlot, saying that you're uncooperative… And I can’t promise you their interrogation methods are in any way equine.”

“So… It would be nice if you began to talk… right about now?”

“Please?”

“This is ridiculous… I know you can hear me! I am right here!” Twilight grit through her teeth, and glaring at the offending creature, who still refused to respond. “I can't help you if you don't talk to me!” she asserted harshly, almost bordering yelling territory. Though she recognized her own frustration and took a moment.

Deep breath in.

Heavy sigh out.

“Right then… I guess I will have to do this through the scientific method!”

The grand purple alicorn turned on her hooves and went into her cupboard, quickly pulling out, and slipping into a white coat with convenient pockets for her quills. Along with that, she pulled out a clipboard and attached a block of paper to it.

She used a couple of minutes to prepare the page as her ‘Checklist over features of the newly researched changeling race’. She put up a lot of space for extra notes and once she was confident that the list was perfect, she made sure to sign it. Though the research subject made her giddy enough to sign it as ‘Phd. Twilight Sparkle’ and give a little whinny of excitement.

Clearing her throat and turning back to the cage, Twilight´s focus returned to the bug.

“Now, I am going to give you one more chance! You begin to talk to me, and we do this the nice way. Don't, and I do this the scientific way.” The princess stated firmly. Though to be honest, the major difference between the nice way and the scientific way was only really differentiated by the bug´s level of willingness. She was going to need some actual data still.

The changeling refused to respond. It didn't even flinch.

“O-Kay.” She conceded. “Let’s get this started.”

Letting her eyes glance down at the checklist she had made, she took to it one step at a time.

“Name of subject. Currently unknown.” She scribbled down. “Will be referred to, as Subject #1.”

Mentally checking off the name, she went on to the next box. “Sex…”

The quill hovered above the empty space, ready to write the fact, though could not, as Twilight was failing to pull forth a result.

“Uhm… Sex…” She repeated, as she lifted her eyes towards the changeling. Normally you could tell the sex by looking at the general build of the creature, which would give you the correct result at a 9 out of 10 margin, which she could always correct later, in case she was wrong.

But the changeling was different. It looked… Like a changeling… And the only changeling she had confirmed the gender on, was the queen, given the title. Even back at the wedding when she at her friends were in a crazed brawl, she never got any details on this question.

“Sex…” Twilight repeated, fishing for time and walked closer to the cage, eyes scanning over the creature.

Nothing was giving anything away! Beyond the membrane like mane, she saw nothing actually gender defining upon the bug.

The mental notion was raised that perhaps she could just write ‘Unknown’ in the gender box, was quickly shot down. She could not do this half assed! If she wanted to figure out everything about these creatures she would have to begin at some point! And it turned out it would be gender.

“Sex.” Twilight this time said, a bit more calmly, as she was more just reminding herself. She walked calmly around the edge of the cage and got around to the back part, where the changeling was chained to, also the place in which is rear end was closest.

Now, had this been a regular day, of her walking around some random mare or stallion in order to inspect their privates, Twilight would most likely have been glowing red from her muzzle to the tip of her ears. Though this situation was different. This was just science after all. And it was a bug! There was no kind of tension here. It was like seeing Spike in the bath, at most the reaction should be “Aha” or “Huh”.

Getting around to the changeling´s rear, she was disappointed to see the creature had tugged its tail beneath itself. She guessed this was just a regular response of the thing being locked up, so she casually cast a telekinesis spell on the strange tail. It was a strange mix of chitin, but halfway out, it had this flimsy membrane which resembled the maneish membrane.

Tugging lightly at the tail, Twilight´s frustration grew. The changeling wasn't just keeping its tail between its legs out of fear. It was defying her.

“Will you stop that! I gotta check your sex!” She argued at the creature, so thankful none of her friends were around to take that out of context.

The creature refused however. It didn't move as much as a centimeter, but Twilight could feel the resistance on the tail.

“Come on, just stop resisting!” Twilight said, tugging a bit harder at the tail with her magic, still thankful that she had science on her side, and nopony was around to question her words.

Finally able to wrench the offending tail aside, with much applied magical force however, she starred in between the holed insectoid legs, to try and find the creature´s reproductive organs, yet found nothing.

While at first, Twilight was ready to squeal at the possibility of writing down ‘Nongender’ on the list, as that would truly be an interesting concept from a semi sentient biological creature, upon just slightly further inspection, she noticed the chitin plating was closed together. I.E, it seemed there was some kind of protective chitin plate in front of whatever organs this creature had.

“Interesting…” Twilight hmmed, as she inched her head closer and closer to the creature as to study it closer.

This however meant she was too focused to notice what was going on around her. Very specifically, one of the hind legs of the Changeling being lifted just slightly up, and then quickly kicked straight back into her face.

I.E, the changeling bucked Twilight in the face.

Like a stretched out rubber band, Twilight suddenly snapped backwards and fell flat upon her back, grasping her muzzle in pain.

“Argh!” She yelped as the chock ceased and the pain began to really set in. Nothing felt broken, but she could already feel something warm gently drip onto her hooves, and even a tiny bit onto her research notes.

Lifting one hoof up into view, she got confirmed what she suspected. She had gotten a nosebleed.

And it was because of the changeling.

In an instant, Twilight´s attention snapped back and she could feel anger build within her. She flopped back onto her hooves, only using one to hold on her nose to prevent herself from bleeding everywhere.

“You!” She hissed at the creature, which was still just lying un-moving there in the cage, though she did notice a satisfied smirk resting on the bug´s lips. Oh it had been waiting for her eh? So it was going to play hardball!? Well then, Twilight knew how to play hardball as well!

“You know you just attacked a princess of Equestria, right?” She asked almost sinisterly, while walking around to her medical cupboard. This was not the first time she had gotten hurt during her experiments, so it was no surprise to anyone she would keep a first aid kit about.

The creature still didn't react. It allowed Twilight to spout whatever she wanted to spout.

“I am just trying to understand your kind you know!?” Twilight barked at the bug, while stuffing a pair of cotton balls in her nose as to stop the bleeding. “And you're being incredibly uncooperative!” Twilight asserted, holding a hoof to her muzzle for a couple of seconds, letting the cotton stick a bit more properly, before then walking over towards the cage again.

“But you know what? I don't care.” Twilight quipped as she walked over to the cage, unlocking it, opening up the outer door and walking inside. Now within a meter of the restrained changeling, Twilight looked smugly down at the creature.

“Take a deep breath, Subject #1. I think its time I figure out what is going on inside that head of yours!”

Finally, a reaction came out of the bug. It´s eyes snapped open, and it gasped for air. But it was all too late.

Twilight lit up her horn in a very special spell she had read about a couple of years back. A spell which demanded utmost concentration, and recommended the subject´s cooperation.

Keyword being, recommended.

Twilight lowered her head down and touched the tip of her horn against the changeling´s releasing the gathered up magic in one sudden jolt of energy through the entirety of the bug. For just a second, the changeling tensed up in an almost spastic twitch, before the magic returned to Twilight´s horn, giving the go ahead for the second part of the spell.

“Here goes nothing…” Mumbled Twilight, as she closed her eyes and focused her mind onto her magic. But not just as into a spell, but almost as if her mind followed along with the magic she now sent directly into the very being of the changeling. She wanted to know what was going on inside of that buggy head of his.

And she was going to figure it out. Personally.

Everything faded around her, and soon she couldn't even feel her own hooves anymore, as now her consciousness was projected outside of her corporeal body.


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


Twilight had certain expectations as she had entered the mind of the changeling. She had expected some kind of secret meeting. Maybe a memory of a military training ground. Some kind of animalistic battle between the strongest amongst the colony over food and breeding rights.

Not a classroom.

But that was what she got. Definitely a classroom. It was clearly underground, lit by an eerie green luminescence which reminded her much of the changeling magic she had previously encountered.

The entire class was filled to the brim, multiple changelings even seeming to share their ‘tables’ with others as seats. There were also quite a variation in size of the weird bugs. Some clearly were less developed than others. But in direct opposition to Twilight´s expectations, everything was completely civil. There were groups chatting, some were drawing, others were just sitting in their own thoughts. It reminded her eerily of being back in school. If school had classes across age groups that was.

Suddenly, everything quieted down as a sharp tapping rang through the room.

Twilight turned, as much as she could while experiencing this memory, and saw the changeling. Not just A changeling, the one she currently had locked in her basement, the one whose mind she was scrutinizing at the moment. It was… Smiling?

“Good morning everyling. I am very happy to see you all decided to come to my class. It warms my heart to see your faces again.” Its voice, while in a buzzing and weird clicky way, actually sounded pleasant, and warm. It was genuinely happy.

It then took a step back, picking up a piece of chalk in its magic. “Now, for those of the youngest amongst you, who might not have seen me yet. I am Venerated Zichti, but you can call me ?XcdG?v Zichti.” He said, writing down the name on the board behind him.

One thing that really caught Twilight´s attention was how she could now see through the writing on the board, even if she felt that it wasn't Equestrian, and also the sudden jumble of a word. For some reason it didn't feel… Right. It was as if her brain wasn't giving her the right word, but just the answer closest to it. Which wasn't in any way helpful. Interesting. Also, why this informality? Venerated sounded like quite the title.

“Now.” Zichti started. “Can anyone of you tell me what Love is?”

While Twilight got a sudden rising urge to burst out singing, her confusion and academic curiosity got the better of her.

Zichti turned its head towards a slightly smaller changeling in the front row. “You there, little ling. What is your name?” It asked with a warm smile.

“Cictas…” The younger Changeling squeaked out nervously.

“Nice to meet you Cictas. Now, You're one of our newest here, can you tell me what you think?”

“Uhm…” The young changeling stammered. “F-F-Food?”

Zichti nodded and gave a reassuring grin. “Yes, that is correct...” it stated, beginning to write the word food up on the board.

Twilight was disgusted. How could they possibly take something so special as Love and degrade it to something as simple as-

“But what else is it?”

Both Twilight and some of the youngest changelings was torn from whatever train of thought they had and looked with much confusion onto Zichti.

It however, turned to one of the slightly larger changelings in the class. “Yes, Fletch?”

The changeling lowered his hoof again. “It is a bond. A psychological and emotional reaction that happens between sentient creatures.”

“Mhmm” Zichti nodded. “Elaborate.” it asked, as it continued to write upon the board.

“It’s something that happens amongst Ponies, for example. Usually when they want to pick out a mate. They declare their love for each other.” Fletch explained to the class.

Zichti looked happy with the response, however, he was then quick to point over to another changeling who also had a hoof in the air. “Yes Aethe?”

“But love isn't just a mating thing!” The other changeling threw into the argument. “Its an emotional bond yes, but emotions are, strong things. Its connected to magic as well! So we can't call it completely material”

“But it is also a social and material thing!” Fletch rebutted at Aethe. “It is a prerequisite for many societies.”

“Yes. And yes.” Zichti interrupted the two changelings, halting their cross class debate. “Both of you are correct. It is a material thing. However it is also an emotional thing-”

“But aren't emotions just a psychological thing translated into something physical?” Fletch asked, tilting its head at, what Twilight was slowly coming to realize was, the changeling teacher.

Zichti however smirked slightly, lifting a hoof. “Now, That is an argument you could make. You could be content with the idea of a completely materialistic world. One in which we could equate food, love, magic and emotions, each as different physical elements we could measure with the right tools.” Zichti began explaining. “And that is a fine view to have. But It is my duty as a Venerated, and as your ?XcdG?v, to expand your minds. To tell you that it is possible, both logically and socially, to think slightly differently.”

There was that word again she didn't understand.

The Venerated changeling walked around its desk, leaning calmly back against it for a moment.

“Let me try to explain. We could easily look upon Love as a quantifiable variable. However, this leaves us with some uncomfortable questions. Like say, how does one acquire love? Not as in our way of acquiring it from a pony, but how does it come to be a physical unit? How is it tied together with magic? If love is a material thing, how can it then exist in all sentient creatures we know of? How can it then be stronger in some and weaker in others, Not in difference of race, but in difference of individuals?”

Twilight´s jaw dropped. She was hearing a changeling ask these questions. A changeling… a creature she only knew as a love eating parasitic bug. And here it was, asking questions about metaphysics. These creatures knew philosophy!?

“Also, What would the difference between the different kinds of love be?” Zichti continued. “Could one equate the love a pony feels for their special somepony to that they feel for their mother? Or could you equate that to the love you all feel for Queen Facadé? These questions are not easy to answer. Is it possible to physically measure this?” Zichti asked out into the class.

It then clasped its hooves together. “Tell you what, give me a hoof raise. How many of you believe it might be at some point possible to measure?” Zichti asked, seeing a couple of hooves rising in the class. “A few of you, and don't worry, you aren't directly wrong. There is a reason we are still arguing this.” It said in a reassuring voice. “Now, how many believe we can't?”

A couple more hooves than the other side was raised, but most of the class hadn't even given an opinion.

“And now, how many are undecided?”

The rest of the class promptly raised its hooves, showing both on the number and on their faces, that most was now slowly trying to process the questions themselves. Some were almost despairing, planting their faces directly into their desks in confusion, others were just blinking, trying to get to the answer, as if it was simply a math question.

“Now to all of you… Don't you worry. I don't even know.” Zichti admitted, gaining a couple of gasps throughout the entire class.

“Don't be so surprised. Even Venerated learn new things every day. And one thing I have learned through my life is that, love is important for us… we need it to survive. But I don't think its just physical… For if love is an inherently physical thing, It would be easy to handle, something we perhaps even could grow through predictable patterns in ponies or even amongst ourselves. But we haven't found a way to do that. I am personally of a conviction that this is a much bigger issue.” Zichti explained. “Love has also partly a metaphysical side. It can take physical form in the shape of a spell, nutrition, or even in pain… But much like magic, it is a tricky size and shape.

Something we can't…

quite

get aaaaa hhooooooullld ooooounnnnnn~

The entire world slowed down to a complete freeze and suddenly dissipated in a white flash.

And just as quickly as she had entered, Twilight was back in the laboratory, thrown onto her back, stunned and silenced.

“What… was… that?” She whispered.

“You tearing my skull open and invading my privacy.”

Twilight´s eyes grew wide and she snapped upright, bringing her eyes, to the source of the changeling who was now glaring at her.

“You spoke!” She shouted in surprise.