• Published 14th Apr 2015
  • 4,461 Views, 156 Comments

Buggin' Hiccups - sunnypack



A changeling suffers from an embarrassing affliction that causes him to shape shift whenever he has the hiccups. Dealing with it is half the problem, when Chrysalis also sends him on an infiltration mission as well.

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3 - Hup

Chapter 3: Hup

Hup got up a little woozily, staggering.

“Sorry!” he yelled out, instinctively apologising like he accidentally met Metamorphosis on the way down. “I didn’t see you—wait, didn’t you crash into me…”

He trailed off as he realised that he’d been apologising to a bird of all things. Hup’s mouth worked as he tried to comprehend what kind of bird it was. It looked like an artist’s rendition of what a bird would look like. A single stroke of scarlet laced with gold coated the bird in pastel feathers. Its white eyes blinked at him mischievously before it chirped happily and alighted on his shoulder.

Somewhere in the back of his addled mind, he registered that the creature was a phoenix. The Broodwatch had mentioned them because the Princess had taken a liking to them and kept one as a pet. Which meant—

Hup’s eyes were as wide as saucers as he realised the mortal danger encroaching.

“Shoo!” he hissed urgently. “I’m sorry but you have to go!”

The phoenix chirped louder, almost on purpose. It flittered from the ground to land squarely on his back. With panicked hooves he tried to get the phoenix to leave, but his hooves didn’t bend that far back, and he was reasonably sure the phoenix wanted him to be found.

Gotta change, have to change, change, change, now!

He recalled an image of a colt from the Broodwatch’s training. For once, he was happy for the practice.

“Philomena? Philomena? Where are you— oh!”’

The tallest, most imposing figure of a pony came from the sky, landing with an ominous thud nearby. He choked back a gasp of surprise as he recognised the white coat, the shining regalia, the vibrant pink irises staring down at him and the malicious smile plastered over her lips.

It was none other than the Ruler of Equestria, Princess Celestia herself.

Hup blinked. The smile looked a bit off, like it wasn’t a proper smirk.

Celestia continued to appraise him with that weird smile as she approached. With every step he quailed further until he was shivering under her shadow. Her smile was creepy. No one in the Swarm smiled like that.

“Ah, I see you’ve found Philomena for me,” she said gently, holding out an inviting hoof. He hesitated, not knowing if he should shake it, kiss it, or bow. Before he could make a move, Philomena took off from his back and alighted on Celestia’s outstretched foreleg. Celestia rolled her eyes and sighed.

“Well, as you can see,” she continued with that smile. “Philomena is a playful little phoenix. She seems to have taken a liking to you, which is rare for those of her species and especially Philomena.”

Hup kept silent, afraid to speak. Not because he couldn’t, but rather because he was petrified that anything he said might be misconstrued, or worse, reveal that he was a changeling.

Celestia laughed suddenly, her smile moving into a grin that was also scarily non-threatening. When Chrysalis smiled like that there had to be really good news; well, sometimes she gets like that when she’s planning something too. “There’s no need to be shy, little one. I promise I won’t hurt you.”

Hup brightened. Really? Could he trust her? Maybe… He shook his head. The Broodwatch said the ponies were crafty little creatures. This Princess Celestia must be stringing him along.

Celestia looked surprised, and a little sad, at Hup’s reluctance.

“You shouldn’t be afraid,” Celestia cooed. “I love all my little ponies dearly. What’s upsetting you, little one?”

Philomena coughed in a way that suspiciously sounded like laughing. Hup glanced at the Phoenix in barely-concealed alarm.

What’s that phoenix planning?

With a flash, the phoenix darted from Celestia’s hoof and hopped the distance to his head. Hup reared in surprise, letting loose a startled yelp and flinging his hooves this way and that to dislodge the sudden feathery assailant. Philomena brushed her wings on his nose.

Oh no, not now!

He tried to keep it in. He tried to stop it from happening. He could feel it build up within him. Startling with the small tickling at his nose that shot down his nasal cavity. Like a tidal wave surging forward implacably, Hup desperately held back his desire to let loose the bodily reflex that would doom him.

But a living creature fighting an unexpected reflex was like trying to stop an avalanche with a spoon.

“Ah…”

Celestia leaned back. “Ah?”

“Ahhhhh…”

“Aaaah?”

“AHHHHHHHH CHOOOOOOOO!”

Hup sneezed so violently he rocked back from his standing position and flopped to the ground. With a desperate groan he realised his disguise had predictably dispelled.

Celestia for once, was left without words.

Hup waved a weak hoof. “About that promise about not hurting me?”

———————

Celestia took it all remarkably calmly. “So Chrysalis sent you to spy on us?” She raised an eyebrow.

“She has… a misplaced confidence in me,” Hup mumbled.

Celestia smiled in that weird way again. “I wonder…” she said with a furrowed brow. “If you would be interested in a job?”

Hup shook his head quickly. “I’m already failing at the one job I was given! If I get another I’ll be doomed for sure.”

Celestia chuckled heartily as she patted him on the head. “How about I give you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spy on the inner workings of the Equestrian government. What do you say?”

Hup blinked incredulously at the princess. She was quite obviously crazy, that’s why she smiled so sweetly. Though he must admit, it was kind of nice to have something different than the soul-crushing fear of Chrysalis’ malignant grin.

“What’s the catch?” Hup asked suspiciously.

Celestia cocked her head. “My, my, I’ve never had somepony address me in that manner for quite a while now.” She shrugged. “No catch, except you have to pretend to be me.”

“Be y-you!” Hup cried. “T-That’s impossible!”

Celestia rolled her eyes. “I’ll help you,” she said with a devious look that Hup recognised all too well. “All you have to do is attend some meetings, forward some documents for me to sign, and generally do all the duties I’m expected to do.”

“B-But why?! You trust a changeling to do this?”

Celestia gave that small shrug once more. “Philomena thinks you are a good pony, I mean changeling, or she wouldn’t want to be near you. It’s also time for me to have a short vacation. I’ll do some relaxing and take it easy for a few days before I get back. You get a fantastic report to show your Queen, I get a holiday, sound fair?”

Now it was this time for Hup to be at a loss for words.

“W-Why?”

Celestia sighed. “I think we were a little harsh on you changelings when we banished you from Equestria. The truth was I wanted to reach out and settle an agreement or at least open up negotiations, but I think Chrysalis would never agree to anything of that sort.”

Hup looked away. “Chrysalis tries looking out for us. She’s under a lot of pressure.”

Celestia laughed, though she waved a hoof in apology at Hup’s wounded expression. “Oh I’m sorry, I just never thought I’d hear a changeling say something so touching.” She settled down, showing a stony countenance as she locked gazes with Hup. “I’ll say this again. Pretend to be me, help me help you.”

Hup’s mind raced as he tried to come up with an alternative solution to this confuddling conundrum he’d found himself in. On one holed hoof, he needed to get some inside information from Equestria and this was the perfect opportunity. On the other hoof, it could be an elaborate trap or some sort of plan to inadvertently reveal something about his Swarm.

Hup glanced sidelong at Celestia waiting patiently for his reply. The easy aura of overwhelming power and authority was in some ways very similar to Chrysalis. They both had the confidence that they could crush some bug as small as him on any given day. He groaned, realising he had no choice.

“I accept,” Hup replied in resignation.

Celestia clapped her hooves in an un-princess-like display of excitement. “Excellent,” she exclaimed, then trotted away with a beckoning hoof. “Come with me.”

Hup shook his head, dragging his hooves along to follow the princess. It was just his luck.

—————

“Now you’ll need to wear a disguise that won’t attract any attention as we head to Canterlot,” Celestia explained. She stopped suddenly and stamped a hoof. “I know! A royal guard! Nopony would even look twice.” She glanced at Hup expectantly.

Hup blinked a few times before he realised that was his signal to shapeshift. At the end he was panting with the effort of the transformation. So many successive transformations without any nutrients was starting to take a toll.

“Are you alright?” Celestia asked with sudden concern etched all over her face.

Hup nodded weakly. “That’s my last shapeshift until I can find some food.”

“Food?” Celestia mumbled then her face cleared as she realised what he was talking about. “You need to feed on love?”

Hup shook his head. “It doesn’t have to be love, although that’s an intense emotion that’s often powerful enough. I need any strong emotion.”

Celestia tilted her head and then suddenly grinned. “Is my excitement at the prospect of a vacation after untold millennia enough?”

Hup sensed the electric undercurrent of her emotions flowing around her and swallowed, trying hard not to salivate openly.

“Yes,” he said. “That’s plenty enough for now.”

Celestia sighed, looking relieved. “Oh thank you, I thought I might have to produce enough love for you somehow. I thought I’d feed you sisterly love by having you transform into Luna, but when you said you were on your last transformation, I near had a heart attack. I thought I’d have to romance myself with a guard.”

“Is that bad?” Hup asked.

Celestia looked uncomfortable. “No,” she said slowly. “It just feels like something out of a cheap romance.”

Hup shrugged. Well at least the Princess of Equestria was willing to share her emotional reserves with him. It solved his hunger problems fairly conveniently. Hup couldn’t help but look back nervously. If Chrysalis found out that he was colluding with the ponies, he’d be destroyed for sure! He picked up the pace.

“I think we should get going,” Hup announced.

Celestia kept up an easy trot beside him. “Oh now you’re getting into it. See, it’s not so bad.” She smiled at him. “You might enjoy yourself.”

Hup had an uncomfortable feeling that the alicorn was enjoying this far more than he ever would. Turns out he was right.

Author's Note:

Heh. Things are falling into place. The groundwork has been laid out. I think I might extend this a couple more chapters than planned.

Thanks for sticking around! Feel free to bug me for updates.

Next Chapter: Well... that fixed everything.

As always, my high fly eye in the sky readers, thanks for reading!

P.S. Unedited because I'm still a butt.