• Published 14th Apr 2015
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Chrysalis Wins - Arkolo



Chrysalis's invasion is successful. The challenge of ruling begins...

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Ch.15 "Nightmares"

Chrysalis Wins

Ch.15 “Nightmares”

The light of pre-dawn started to infect the room Chrysalis slept in. This reminded her of the daily chore, and she grunted in annoyance, honestly wondering how Celestia was able to keep up with such a task. Though she kept her manner calm the previous night, she burned angrily inside. These ponies apparently hadn’t got the message she was in control. They didn’t fear her enough to respect her rule.

Plain Thatch arrived promptly outside of the royal bedroom, where the sentinels that stood guard let her through. When she saw that the queen’s horn stuck out amongst the pillows she decided to wait near the door. She was here for the royalty’s convenience, not the other way around.

The queen’s voiced carried out from the pile of plush objects.

“Ms. Thatch, do you have any family?”

A little disconcerted that the queen knew she was there, Plain Thatch shook off her surprise and responded.

“Only my husband your majesty. I was orphaned when I was young, and I never stuck with any potential family for very long.”

“Where does your husband work?”

“The gardens, his name is Cut Brushes”

“Good. I want you to accompany me this morning, after your cleaning of course.”

“Um, yes your majesty. May I ask why?”

“You’ll will find out.”

The queen emerged from the mound of pillows like a monster from its bog. With a flick of her hair, she whipped about her long blue green mane. The quick shower she took before collapsing into bed had given her some bedmane this morning. But she’d rather no have slept in the dog slobber she acquired the other day.

Plain went about her duties to make the room tidy, while Chrysalis sent out a mental call to her councilors. She would get the sun raised and then deal with the problem that started yesterday.

Colony, Vivisect, and Shade all met her at the Solar Observatory for the morning ritual. After the sun poked it’s face over the horizon, Chrysalis addressed her councilors.

“Gather everypony to the castle courtyards by noon.”

The queen didn’t look at any of them, causing some of the councilors to blink in surprise. Each hesitated for a moment before they took off, as if they expected more of an explanation, but one never came. As the head of the vanguard was about to leave the queen spoke again.

“Shade, what were you able to observe from the prisoners who were not imprisoned?”

“Their emotions were a mess. Some were full of despair , while others still had the will to fight. Some did seem to be cooperative, but I could easily tell they had ulterior motives. I made sure they were all secured, none escaped. Well, except for those who got away before you arrived.”

“I want the prisoners brought to the courtyards for the gathering. When that is done, hunt down those who escaped yesterday.”

“I’ve sent my best trackers in pursuit since last night, if those ponies try to hide among the populace they will be found quickly.”

“Thank you Shade, bring the prisoners and I will meet you in the courtyard.”

Chrysalis’s gaze hadn’t left the horizon and when her last councilor left she frowned. Her gaze was stern as she looked out over the whole of Equestria. The vantage point was impressive, and the view from the Solar Tower reached faraway lands. Chrysalis could almost see the Badlands from here. All of this would be her domain, but most of it still needed to be… tamed.

---

The royal bedroom had it’s last touches finished when the queen re-entered them. Plain Thatch put away a feather duster and bowed to Chrysalis.

“Is your majesty pleased with the tidiness?”

“Yes, yes, now come with me.”

When the changeling queen turned and left, the earth pony attendant followed, albeit nervously. The queen’s intentions were still unclear, and Plain privately hoped she hadn’t done something to offend the queen. She had seen one of those cocoons, and had no desire to be in one.

The journey of Chrysalis and the tan mare lasted a good distance, until they arrived in the courtyard. The service mare wanted to ask why she was there again, but she ultimately decided against it . To her surprise, when they entered the courtyard it brimmed to capacity with ponies. Over a thousand were able to occupy the ground within the castle gates.

A large podium was erected for the queen to stand on, to which she buzzed her wings briefly to land upon. Plain hesitated and stood off to the side, this large crowd made her nervous, and why did the queen want here there?

Chrysalis turned about and patted a cushion that was placed next to the podium, the indication was unmistakable, so with shaky hooves Plain ascended to sit next to the queen. The other head changelings sat on the other side of the queen, and looked out to the skies. The hundreds of changelings buzzes about, and made seats for themselves out of the statues, and hedges. Dozens completely covered the courtyard walls.

One loud tap got the attention of all in the audience. The queen’s hoof hit the surface of the podium, which had been modified to magnify the sound. Her impressive strength made the noise something that was quite impossible to ignore. Even the old and deaf felt the sound shake their bones. Plain’s hooves had snapped to her ears, so they could survive the audible assault.

“I am not going to waste any pony’s time. So I hope all of you will return the favor and pay attention. I’ve shown your remaining leaders I am willing to discipline changelings that misbehave. To say what some ponies did last night irritates me, would be a gross understatement.”

Unlike the queen’s earlier addresses, where she had shouted quite loudly, and voiced her anger, this approach was different. Her voice was calm, and carried a deadly undertone.

“I am going to give all of you two options. The preferable of which, is to obey me willingly. Doing so ensures that you can go about your lives as if nothing has changed. Take Plain Thatch here, she has gone about her duty of cleaning the castle, and served me faithfully in that station. I have never tasted a trace of treacherous intent on her, and believe me when I say I know what such vile intent tastes like. It has a particularly bitter flavor.”

Several ponies in the crowd sweated, though not because it was a warm day.

“For being a good example, you may take the rest of the day off Ms., well I suppose Mrs. Thatch, enjoy it with your husband, and tell him to take the day off too.”

Chrysalis waved a hoof to dismiss her, the servant eagerly rose from her seat and gave a quick bow, muttering a quick, “Thank you your majesty” before she climbed off the podium. The tan earth pony could hardly believe that was it, what had she been so nervous about again? She let out a few chuckles in hindsight, as she went towards the castle gardens. It wasn’t often she got a day off.

“As for the second option, you can fight and rebel, but I warn you that I will enforce consequences you don’t even want to comprehend.”

The queen clapped her two front hooves together, and a group of vanguard responded to the noise. Some fifty ponies were dragged in front of the podium; all of them were thoroughly bound by slime. A few cocoons with ponies in them also found their way in front of the queen’s stand.

“I don’t care what your sentiments are, should you raise a hoof against me the result will be the same.”

Her eyes flashed green, and dozens of conjured cocoons appeared and hovered over the podium. With a silent mental command to ‘grab them’ , all of the bound ponies found themselves lifted in a telekinetic grip. Several of the vanguard and her councilors helped her place the guilty mob into the conjured containers.

Many members of the observant crowd gasped to see these ponies packed away in such a manner. Not very many had seen the process, which weren’t already part of it. When the last one was sealed up, Chrysalis leapt from her podium to make a thunderous stomp on the ground below. She ended up in the midst of the green organic capsules.

The ponies put into the cocoons had terrified expressions for a few moments, before the sedation of the liquid caused them to close their eyes.

“It would be quite simple to kill them, but that would be too kind for the irritation they’ve caused me, and I wouldn’t get any further use from dead bodies. No, they will be strictly food. Rather than having the dignity of their own free will, these ponies will exist in the twilight of their dreams.”

Most of the crowd was deathly quiet, only a few dared to show emotion as they cried softly.

“Those that are merely stupid enough to resist my rule will be left to dream unmolested.”

Chrysalis took casual sips of emotional energy from the pods she passed. It was enough to get a good taste, but not enough to cause a disturbance

The queen paused in front of one cocoon as she casually stepped about. It contained a large red earth pony, the one that had his legs particularly abused. Chrysalis’s expression turned hungry and her fanged maw opened wide.

“Those of you that prove vexing will get to waste away in your own nightmares!”

Her voice had finally picked up some volume, and expressed her inner ire. The queen’s long fangs pierced the cocoon that contained the red stallion, and she fed deeply. The green pod quickly soured to grey. She didn’t stop however, and the grey turned an inky black.

Big Mac’s eyes moved rapidly under his closed lids, as the liquid in the container darkened he started to kick about. The flailed limbs of the emotionally ravaged pony stirred the liquid of his container uselessly, and occasionally bumped an edge. When there was nothing good left to drain Chrysalis withdrew her fangs. After a wipe to her muzzle, she turned back to a disturbed crowd.

She kicked the dark cocoon so that it rolled up to the nearest members of the audience. Blueblood was the first pony the pod bumped into, and the prince recoiled at its touch. One glance revealed the clearly terrified subconscious pony as he thrashed about in the cocoon, and Blueblood let out a high squeal as he jumped away. The tall white unicorn turned tail and ran, as did a number of the ponies in the front row.

“I will bury anypony who crosses me so deep in the earth that even the demons of Tartarus will never find you!”

The whole crowd was now in a state that you could reasonably call, morbidly uncomfortable. Chrysalis smiled a predatory smile. She voiced the last thing on her mind, before she turned around and walked back to the podium.

“There are a few ponies that stole something from me. If it’s discovered any of you are helping these criminals, you will join their fate.”

The crowd erupted into a bustle of loud concerns, a few ponies had screamed at the sight of the blackened cocoon and the queen’s words. Many more couldn’t remain in their seats and prepared to bolt. Chrysalis boomed her voice across the crowd, to silence them.

“You may depart, and weigh your options…”

It was a stampede to get out of the castle courtyard. Disheveled ponies bumped into and over each other as they tried to be the first one out of there. A few were trampled in the chaos and crawled along weakly.

Shade watched and kept his personal feelings in check. The queen had just terrified the crowd, and smiled about it. The vanguard’s anxiety spiked higher as he brooded over the implications.

Clearly the queen was angrier than she had let on the previous night, and was choosing to vent it in this manner. The ponies would now be more terrified of her than anything. It took great restraint from the vanguard not to sigh. A great deal of his life’s work was to get to know ponies and their culture. He felt what little hope there was for the ponies to develop admiration for her was now dashed to pieces, at least for a few generations…

---

By the time night had fallen, a large amount of progress had been made on the new tunnel system which burrowed into the Canterlot Mountains. Both the old and new prisoners were hauled up the slopes and carried into a temporary holding chamber.

The queen walked with Colony by her side, and surveyed the work that was done. Sentinels stood post at the entrance to the fresh burrow, and made sure that non-changelings didn’t enter. Drones scurried about as they removed dirt and stone. As a unique feature to their division of the hive, drones had the ability to dig faster and longer than the other classes. Their hooves were tough and reacted as effective shovels or hammers where needed.

Chrysalis and Colony hovered in the air, as the new system was designed with many pitfalls to deter intruders that didn’t posses the ability to fly. The head drone led the queen past a few false turns, eventually ending up in a large chamber. All of the cocooned prisoners lined the floor of freshly upturned dirt.

“This complex will reach the roots of the mountain within another two days or so. There should also be enough individual chambers to house all of the current prisoners, and many times more when we reach that point. The pods will soon spread out from here.”

“Very good Colony, what I’ve seen has been acceptable. Oh and how did planning with Golden Trust go?”

“Before it was interrupted?”

“Hmm, I’ll need you to finish up with that as well. Just delegate a drone you trust to oversee the digging. I want strength of the swarm evaluated; it will be time to expand our territory soon.”

“Of course my queen, I will see to it.”

The head drone bowed out as she went to obey the new order. The queen yawned as she looked over the collective set of cocoons. As she did so, a momentary flash of movement caught the corner of her eye. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously, and she turned to leave.

---

Shade muttered to himself in exasperation.

“Why am I doing this again, stupid me...”

The head vanguard slipped into the chamber of prisoners as stealthily as he could. He had disguised himself as a drone, since vanguard really had no business being in the midst of a dig site.

Shade felt compelled to act though, the queen may have felt as if pony kind was some kind of spoiled child, but to drain that one stallion to such a point of darkness had been needlessly cruel. These ponies didn’t know what it was like to survive in the Badlands, but that wasn’t there fault. Ultimately he now found himself greatly conflicted. He didn’t want to judge the actions of either side, because he could understand them both. All he felt he could do was empathize.

It was not difficult to spot a severely darkened pod, and the disguised vanguard approached it. The large pony stallion inside trembled with uncontrollable jitters, and no longer possessed the strength to flail like he did initially.

A mild glow emanated from Shade’s horn and he lowered it to the inky pod. After he put a large amount of love back into the pod, it barely changed to dark grey. The effort caused the changeling to pant, and he went to the other cocoons to recuperate a little.

He went to many pods and fed a little from each. Once he felt his strength renewed, he returned to the afflicted stallion’s pod, and gave more emotional energy. The color change in the pod was very gradual, and it took several more gatherings to make a significant change.

On one of the back and forth trips Shade noticed a pony he recognized, an orange mare with blonde mane. The sight gave him pause, and some dots connected in his mind. A deep frown crossed his snout, he decided he wanted to return to this prisoner in a moment.

With one last batch of love imparted to Macintosh’s pod, Shade sat down to appreciate his work. The inky cocoon was now a dull green, not back to bright and cheery, but not the abyssal nightmare the poor stallion had surely been in.

A slow trot brought the drone disguised vanguard to Applejack’s pod, his horn glowed and was lowered to the surface of the transparent cocoon.

---

The musical chords of a banjo strummed through the evening air. AJ sat on a log near a campfire, with a half empty mug of cider sitting beside her. Stars had already appeared in the sky as a sparkly blanket of light, while the moon started its slow journey across the dark expanse.

Crickets chirped in the background, adding their melody to the piece Applejack was playing. She had her eyes closed, losing herself to the feeling of the music and the relaxed atmosphere. This wasn’t quite what she imagined being ‘imprisoned’ would be like, but she supposed changelings had their strange ways.

It did get a bit lonely, even if she could bring any place to life with her imagination. The only way to hear another pony’s voice was through her memories, which she could watch like a specter any time she wanted, but that was hardly a substitute for actually interacting with another pony.

Her banjo playing faltered, and eventually stopped. With a sigh she lowered the instrument and opened her eyes. Two stars fell in a streak across the sky, and caught her attention for a moment. Two falling stars… That was another thing that had branded itself to the inside of her mind.

A voice snapped her out of her perpetual contemplation.

“Hey uh, Applejack?”

The orange pony blinked her eyes a few times and looked over the campsite, she didn’t see anypony else. She took a quick look at the mug of cider she’d been drinking

“Either somepony is messing with me, or this here cider is a lot more potent than I remember it being.”

“Down here Applejack.”

The voiced sounded almost right in front of her, and her eyes peered over the mug, down into the fire. There in the fireplace was the image of a changeling. Slowly, she looked down to the cider she drank from, then back up at the fire, then back to her mug again.

“Okay, did I accidently get my cider mixed up with the ones from Granny’s secret stash, cause one experience of that was enough for me.”

The changeling only shook his head, “While I can’t speak for the cider...or your experience with alcohol, I can promise I’m not a hallucination.”

She lowered the mug and carefully placed it on the log besides her. The earth pony’s green eyes were, unsettled,

“Shouldn’t ya be, well, burnin’ up?”

Shade cocked an eyebrow

“Well, this is a dream. You can imagine me not on fire if you want to.”

“Right… forgot where I was for a moment.”

Her face scrunched as she concentrated, and a moment later, the changeling’s form popped out of the flames. He stood next to the fire in his natural dark grey form.

“It was Shade, right?”

“That’s right!”

“Well, would ya care to explain why you’re in my dream? Not that I don’t mind some company in this place.”

“Something has happened recently, and I felt I should let you know.”

Applejack’s lips pursed, what did this changeling feel was important enough to barge into her dream for? Why did it matter to him to tell her anything at all? The tall changeling bit his lip and struggled to get out words.

“Ya can just spit it out sugar cube; I can already imagine plenty of things have ‘happened’.”

“It’s your family.”

This made her heart stop dead in her chest. Her next words brimmed with barely contained hostility.

“What about my family…”

“They tried to rescue you.”

“And…”

“Your brother’s here.”

“…”

She slumped back on her log, and gritted her teeth. She should have figured, but it didn’t hurt any less to hear about it.

“Is he alright?”

Shade paused for a moment, not wanting to reveal her brother’s prior predicament, but managed to get out a half truth, “He’s in the same condition as you.”

“What about Apple Bloom and Granny Smith?”

“Several families showed up, and there were a lot of escapees, some of your friends made it out. I don’t know about those two though.”

“My friends? Who made it out?”

“Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity.”

Atleast that news elated her mood a little, of course the situation still looked pretty grim.

“So why did ya come to tell me all this, aren’t we supposed to be enemies or somethin’?”

The tall vanguard shuffled nervously on his hooves, and started to slowly draw circles in the dirt.

“A pony’s a pony no matter what side they’re on.”

“But you’re a changeling.”

“Ha ya, kinda kills the saying doesn’t it.”

“I get what ya mean, but I still have trouble understanding. What’s the reason for being all decent all of a sudden?”

Shade let out a sigh, a conflicted look stretching across his face, “I’ve spent most of my life living among ponies; it just feels like the right thing to do.”

“Ha, hahaha, right thing huh? What about your queen then? Was takin’ over the right thing? Was impersonating’ Princess Cadance the right thing? She wasn’t exactly treatin’ any of us half decent either.”

Shade recoiled, and wondered whether it would’ve been better not to come. His position suddenly felt difficult to explain. At least, not without a long winded lecture.

“Oh, it definitely was the right thing to do.”

Both Shade and Applejack jumped. A chilling voice echoed through the dreamscape and both of them looked about nervously. The vanguard’s heart started to fill with dread.

“Right up here little darlings.”

The pony and changeling looked up, there in the face of the moon was the queen. Her green eyes overcast the naturally white glow of the heavenly object. She wore a wicked grin on her muzzle.

“I… my queen, I can explain!”

“Oh there’s no need Shade, I saw all I needed. I knew your head must have been getting cloudy with all the infiltration work you’ve had to do. After all, while I was never particularly talented at it, I was still good enough.”

The vanguard’s jaw hung loose, and no response left his mouth. The orange pony looked nervously between the two changelings. The queen’s smile kept getting wider and wider, and Shade’s jaw dropped lower and lower. Applejack grabbed her mug of cider and brought it to her lips. She watched nervously over the edge of the drink.

“I think you need a reminder Shade. Also we can bring the orange pony along, why bother telling her why you do what you do, when you can simply show her.”

“My queen-”

“Nonono, you lost the right to speak for now. I think it’ll be especially fun to take the pony along.”

The fabric of the dream space started to tear. It started with the moon, and advance everywhere else, like a large piece of parchment being torn to shreds.

---

The vanguard changeling plopped backwards and landed on his haunches. He felt dizzy and disoriented from the sudden ejection from the dream. He looked up to see the queen cut open the cocoon that held Applejack. Once it was open the earth pony was unceremoniously thrown into the dirt. Where she coughed and hacked violently to get the liquid out of her lungs.

“Hmm, I think I want to bring one more guest for this venture.”

The queen cackled merrily and she hopped over to another pod. Neither Shade nor Applejack moved while in their disoriented states, and Chrysalis hopped back over to them, while she held another pony in the air beside them.

“I think it’ll be fun to shove nosy pony’s nose into this as well. Isn’t that right little Sparkle.”

A purple unicorn hovered in the air, held by Chrysalis’s magic, she had her horn covered in a disabling slime. The disoriented purple equine looked thoroughly confused. Her eyelids were only half open, and green goop drooled out of her mouth. The queen was displeased with the inattentiveness and shook the little unicorn like a rag doll.

Wet goop was flung every which way. Twilight Sparkle suddenly found her sense of alertness.

“W-w-wha? The Golden Oaks Library, all those rare books- … You! You monster! It was all a…”

“Dream, yes it was. But now, I’m going to take you to a place where monsters are raised. I need to reinforce some lessons that apparently aren’t solid enough.”

The queen threw a spiteful glare towards her head vanguard, and the tall changeling groveled in the dirt.

“Forg-”

“I said you’re not allowed to speak!”

A fiery green portal erupted in the middle of the chamber. Chrysalis tossed all three of the equines through it with her magical aura. She hovered over to it and entered it last.

“To the Badlands…”

Author's Note:

bleeeeeehhhhhhhhh, yur comments made me want to write moar today! so late night update!!! im tired :ajsleepy:

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